CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
C'EST LA VIE LOUNGE
202 South 5th Street
Southeast Corner of South 5th and Mickle Streets
The bar at 202 South 5th Street had a long and interesting history. The bar was operated from 1920 through at least 1938 by Ludwig Buch, according to the 1920 Federal Census and the 1931 Camden City Directory.
Ludwig Buch was born in Germany around 1864. At the time of the 1920 census he was a widower. His sons Louis, Carl, and Harry were at home, as well as an adult daughter, Mary McAdams and her husband Harry. he remarried in 1920, after the census was taken. His wife Margaret Buch, was well known in the neighborhood for her fine German cooking. She passed away in January of 1938. Ludwig Buch was still operating the bar at that time.
The 1940 Camden City Directory indicates that Elmer W. Orcutt was the proprietor. After World War II, the first published City Directory, that of 1947, shows the bar as Creato's Cafe, run by James and Caroline Creato of Collingswood NJ.
The New Jersey Bell Telephone Directories for 1956 and 1959 list the bar as Ray's Tavern. The bar appears to have changed hands again shortly afterward, as an advertisement in the 1959 banquet program for Veteran's Boxing Association Ring No. 6 states that "Ray and Frances" were then at My Friend's Bar on Mount Ephraim Avenue.
The bar is not listed in the 1966 New Jersey Bell Telephone Yellow Pages. In February of 1967 the bar was badly damaged by fire. When the liquor license was up for renewal in June of that year, a corporation called Cambar Inc. was the applicant. The principals in Cambar Inc. at that time were Rose Swersky of Atlantic City NJ, Ronald Goldstein of Cherry Hill NJ, and Horst Stein of Philadelphia PA.
A 1977 entry shows Roy's Cafe, and in 1982 the bar was known as the Traveler's Home Port. Another management change around 1991 resulted in the bar being renamed the C'est La Vie Lounge. A series of incidents which attracted the attention of the police and Alcoholic Beverage Commission authorities resulted in the bar being closed in the early 1990s.
202 South 5th Street was razed in the late 1990s.
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