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basket house (plural basket houses)

  1. (idiomatic) A cafe or similar establishment where musical performances are given and the performers are then paid with money placed in a basket by members of the audience.
    • 1964 Aug. 12, "Beatniks After More Bread," Eugene Register-Guard (retrieved 8 Aug. 2011):
      Like a union is what some bearded beatniks and long-tressed girls are trying to form at Greenwich Village "Basket Houses." "Basket Houses" are coffee houses where they pass the basket to collect tips for the entertainers, who are not on the payroll.
    • 1969 Jan. 9, "The Scene That Ended," Village Voice, p. 55 (retrieved 8 Aug. 2011):
      Next month the Four Winds, an old cafe and the last basket house in the Village, will close to make way for a dress shop.
    • 1969 April 10, "Riffs," Village Voice, p. 42 (retrieved 8 Aug. 2011):
      Vince Martin showed up, Bob Gibson was expected, and all of a sudden the rogue's gallery of remember whens from the basket house days were all there.
    • 2010 Sep. 9, Sean Wilentz, "Excerpt: ‘Bob Dylan in America’," New York Times (retrieved 8 Aug. 2011):
      Unlike many of the other clubs, it was not a so-called basket house, where walk-on performers of widely ranging competence earned only what they managed to collect in a basket they passed around the audience.

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