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Cedars Lounge celebrates 32 anniversary

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Published: Fri, December 21, 2007 @ 10:43 a.m.

After 32 years, Cedars Lounge is finally celebrating its first birthday.

Mara Simon, business manager and daughter of the owner, Tom Simon, said Cedars opened its door in January 1975. The Simonses, of Lebanese descent, named the establishment Cedar’s Lounge after Cedars of Lebanon, the symbol on the Lebanese flag.

Aside from expanding the bar, adding the cafe and opening the outdoor patio, Cedars hasn’t changed much over the years. It’s still known for its unique, artsy atmosphere and progressive music scene.

Simon said the music scene has definitely evolved over the years. With different generations, she said, you get different sounds. Before 1981, Cedars was primarily a jazz bar.

Then one day, Donnie Yallech of the B Minors walked into Cedars and asked Tom to give his band a chance. The first time the B Minors played at Cedars, it was a Wednesday and people came from out of nowhere and the place was packed.

“If it wasn’t for these people, this place may not exist,”Simon said. “I get very discouraged and upset when I hear people say nothing’s going on [in Youngstown.]”

Simon said her father was first inspired to create the unique atmosphere of Cedars after visiting different bars in New York. He knew he had the power to make something big happen for Youngstown, she said.

“It started opening people’s eyes,” Simon said. “My dad gave them an outlet that you couldn’t get anywhere else.”

In the 32 years Cedars has been making Youngstown a great place to hang out, it has played host to plenty of parties, but it’s never celebrated its own bar.

“We’ve never celebrated Cedars and the people who made it happen,” Simon said. “It’s a celebration of Cedars and what my father has provided to the community for all these years.”

This weekend’s performances — both Saturday and Sunday — will all be by local bands that played back in the day. Pete Drivere, owner of Ampreon Recorder and sound technician and booking agent for Cedars, was a member of the Infidels, which will be playing a set Saturday.

Simon said a lot of the older bands that will be playing at Cedars this weekend are worth coming to see.

“Some bands haven’t played out in over 20 years,” Simon said. “It’s going to be odd, but a good odd.”

Hors d’oeuvres will be served in the cafe in the early part of the evening on both nights. Also, there will be a 20-minute video looping throughout the evenings that is a short history of Cedars.

“After seeing what my father’s done, I want to keep things alive for years to come,” Simon said.

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By moestradamus ( moestradamus )

Ahhh Cedars. We love you. Happy Birfday!


By jessica ( anonymous )

my home away from home...can't wait to celebrate what they have done for the music scene, the artsy scene and for giving many people like myself a place to call home.

By bobservo ( Bob Mackey )

what is above cedar's in that building? i've seriously always wanted to know. this calls for some investigative journalism.

By apaulling ( anonymous )

I graduated from Liberty in 77, cedars was our hangout- actually was introduced to punk scene in
early 80's there, was only place in y-town brave enough to let it rip! If I was not 2400 miles away I would stop by....

By jessica ( anonymous )

Bob, currently there is nothing really upstairs. The original Cedars bar was actually on the 2nd floor.

By bobservo ( Bob Mackey )

i say we go investigate. they have to be hiding something up there.

By Will ( anonymous )

It's actually a ballroom that has some sever fire damage and was never fixed.

By Stell4ever ( anonymous )

Congratulations on the celebration!!! Umm..I remember Mara being like 3 years old. Yikes! Anyway, I remember the second floor this way....The bands that used to play at Cedars rocked that small Lebanese cafe until your ears would bleed...there were always ..like 4-6 old men down at one end of the bar...and then crazy kids galore all over the place...spilling out on to the sidewalks, back behind the stage, in the little room that had the bathrooms and into the alley. We asked Tommy if he would open the upstairs so we would have more room to dance...And Tommy loved him some Cedars girls back in the early 80's! Mary, Janie, Karen, Gina, Janine, Peggy, lots and lots...it's all somewhat of a pre-12-step blur, but upstairs at the Cedars didn't last very long, and there was a fire, and we were re-relegated back downstairs where stealing Tommy's beer glasses and writing on that bathroom wall were elvated to an art form. God I loved that place!

By Stell4ever ( anonymous )

wait...there's more...For a while there was a little cafe sort of semi attached to Cedars called Hayley's Spoon...Excellent fries..it was the peanut oil. It's been 22 years since I left Youngstown for California, and seeing this article was a wonderful walk down memory lane. Thanks.

By bobservo ( Bob Mackey )

thanks for the info

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