LIVERPOOL

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"THE BOYS ARE GONNA TAKE A BREAK…FANCY A DRINK, LIKE?"

Liverpool Pubs

THE GRAPES | PUBLIC HOUSE | MATHEW STREET

It's an ill wind. The nearby Cavern Club only served soft drinks and so most every musician worth their salt popped into The Grapes for a quick one—and not-so-quick one—depending on the time of day or the gig played. And they still do, apparently. So The Grapes has definitely not lost its appeal. 

THE WHITE STAR | PUBLIC HOUSE | RAINFORD GARDENS

A stone's throw from The Grapes. A popular alternative watering hole for The Beatles and the groups that played The Cavern. They served Bass on draught—still do—the nectar of the Mersey Gods.

YE CRACKE | PUBLIC HOUSE | RICE STREET

Close to the Art College and a favourite haunt of John Lennon, Stu Sutcliffe, and Bill Harry when they were penniless students—and afterwards when they were still trying to make a go of things. They serve Bass, too. On tap. At least they do today.

THE PHILHARMONIC | PUBLIC HOUSE | HOPE STREET

Another pub close to the Art College. A little more grand, though, and with arguably the classiest Gents Toilets in all of Liverpool—in different coloured marble, no less. The Beatles and Brian Epstein liked to drink at 'The Phil'—and have a nosh there, too, as the food was always good. When he became hugely famous, John would bemoan the fact he wasn't able to go to 'the Phil' for a drink. (That's the Metropolitan Cathedral to the right, mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool. Sometimes referred to, locally, as 'Paddy's Wigwam' or the 'Mersey Funnel'. They're known to serve wine there and, apparently, do a great coffee, too.)

Liverpool Coffee Bars & Cafes

KARDOMAH COFFEE HOUSE  |

CORNER OF STANLEY STREET AND WHITECHAPEL

There were Kardomah Coffee Houses in cities up and down the country, sometimes several in the same city, but none achieved the mythic proportions of one particular Kardomah, in Liverpool, on the corner of Stanley Street and Whitechapel. It didn't hurt at all that the coffee house was mere steps away from Hessy's Music Store and across the road from NEMS—it was the place to go to—the place to be seen in—to conduct business in—even to have a drink of coffee in. The Beatles visited times beyond number—as do a good few other people in The One After 9:09.

PUNCH AND JUDY CAFE | LIME STREET

Situated, as it was, just outside Lime Street Railway Station, the Punch and Judy cafe was a favourite hang out for anyone waiting for someone to arrive from off the London or Manchester train. The Beatles waited there many times for their manager Brian Epstein to return from his latest trip to London where he'd gone to try and secure them a recording contract. Their hopes of success were dashed time and time again. Unlike the crowds of Liverpudlians all standing outside the Punch and Judy cafe—waving and cheering what looks to be Liverpool Football Club's triumphal return from London with 1964/65's F.A. Cup. A good enough reason for two cups of coffee in my book.

JOE'S CAFE | 139 DUKE STREET

Another firm favourite—especially on Friday and Saturday nights, as it stayed open all night—well almost. (Day 7:30AM-3:00PM | Night 10:00PM-4:00AM) Joe's Cafe as The Beatles knew it or Joe's Restaurant as it was later called was always warm and welcoming. Some say they did the best fry-up and beans-on-toast in all of Liverpool. That of course is open to conjecture, but Harry Lightfoot and 'Spike' Jones certainly think so—in The One After 9:09when they pop in after a particularly nasty episode at The Joker's.

    Joe's Cafe was also witness to another somewhat unpleasant episode. It was here that Brian Epstein told John, Paul, George, and Pete—him having just returned from yet another trip to London—The Beatles having only just finished an evening gig at the Cavern—that Decca had finally turned them down flat. Odd thing being— 'Spike' was in Joe's Cafe, too, this time with his girlfriend, Sandra Dudley—the two of them recovering from a very nasty altercation with a gang of Teddy Boys. Small world.

THE JACARANDA  | 23 SLATER STREET 

The coffee bar-by-day/club-by-night (based on the famous 'Two I's' coffee bar in Soho, London) originally owned by Allan Williams​—the Liverpool promoter who arranged for The Beatles to go play Hamburg. The 'Jac' was a much-needed hangout for the band in the early days. They played a dozen or so gigs in the basement. It was from here that John, Stu, Paul, George, and Pete set off for the Indra and Kaiserkeller clubs owned by Bruno Koschmeider, on the Grossfreiheit, in St Pauli. 

    The 'Jac' has since been completely renovated—and gone all posh as you can see—and once again it's one of the places to be seen and have a drink in, in Liverpool. (And well worth a second mention.)

CASBAH COFFEE CLUB | 8 HAYMAN'S GREEN | WEST DERBY

A second mention, too, for the Casbah Coffee Club. And why not, it more than deserves it. A cellar club originally opened as a place for the area's many teenagers to meet, drink coffee and or Coca-Cola, and jive to the latest 45-rpm records and—at the weekends—live bands—including The Beatles. 

    The Casbah Coffee Club had 2000 members in its heyday. Pete Best has said that the region's Coca-Cola supplier used to deliver over 200 bottle crates a week simply to keep up with demand. That's a lot of bottle tops and empties. Now re-opened and fully restored to its former glory, the Casbah is one of the key Beatles’ sites that still has something of the original rockin’ vibe. And, yes, if you ask them nicely I'm sure they still serve coffee and Coca-Cola.

Liverpool Music Stores

NORTH END MUSIC STORES (N.E.M.S.) |
WHITECHAPEL & GREAT CHARLOTTE STREET
The Epstein family business since the 1930s. The stores sold furniture in the main—as well as radiograms and television sets—even washing machines—and then opened record departments. Classical music was on the ground floor and popular music down in the basement in the Whitechapel store.
     Legend has it that Raymond Jones walked into NEMS to inquire about the availability of a new record called 'My Bonnie'. The manager, Brian Epstein, hadn't heard of the disc or the group that had recorded it, but made a note to find out more, as he hated losing a sale. He then went out of his way to find out more about The Beatles and, remarkably, stumbled across his own destiny, too.
HESSY'S MUSIC STORES | 62 STANLEY STREET |
For All Musical Instruments Our Easy Terms Are "Easier"  |
There'd been a Hessy's Music Stores in Liverpool since the early 1950s, but the store located near the corner of Whitechapel, was the prefered, favoured haunt of most every musician on Merseyside.
    And not simply for the wealth of musical instruments always on display, but for the music lessons Jim Gretty, the chief salesman, always gave away free with each guitar purchased. Every Monday evening he'd take the latest batch of hopefuls through three or four basic chords—chalked up on the wall—before leading them all into a heartfelt rendition of 'Singing the Blues'.
    John Lennon got his first proper guitar—bought by his Aunt Mimi for £14—from Jim Gretty in 1957.
    A few years later—December 1961—Brian Epstein wrote a personal cheque for almost £200 to clear all hire-purchase debts that The Beatles had at the store. To which John supposedly remarked: "Now that's what I call bloody managing."
RUSHWORTH'S 'THE GREAT' MUSIC HOUSE  WHITECHAPEL 
The largest musical instrument store in Liverpool. Arguably, the biggest record store, too. A great many Merseyside groups satisfied their musical needs here—drums, amplifiers, strings, plectrums, sheet-music, as well as guitars of all sizes and kinds.
    The Gibson 145 acoustic-electric guitars, much prized by John and George, were specially ordered from Chicago—and hand-delivered by the store's manager and a real live Rushworth—both of whom knew a good thing going when they saw it. 

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