Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Casbah Coffee Club in Liverpool, England

If you're in Liverpool, England for the Beatles tour (and what serious music fan wouldn't be at some point?), be sure to include a stop at the Casbah.

The Casbah Coffee Club provided a venue for early rock performers, including the group that would change music forever.  The Beatles even helped decorate the basement to ready the place for its opening.

Mona Best was the owner of the Casbah, who purchased everything for her business with money won from betting on a 33-1 Derby longshot named "Never Say Die".  The group then known as the Quarrymen signed a deal to play at the Club for 15 shillings each from opening night (August 29) to October of 1959.  After their first show, it was apparent to Mona that this was a group to sign for a longer deal--lines formed well out into the street to get into the Club to see the group.  In those early days, the Quarrymen had just one microphone and no amps--John Lennon soon asked Mona to hire an amateur guitar player to open for them, if for no other reason so that the group could use his 40-watt amplifier!  The Quarrymen at the time were Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ken Brown, four guitar players and no drummer.

Many historical things happened at the club that are important to every person who is a fan of rock & roll, besides being the place where the group that would become the Beatles first performed.  The Casbah also featured performances by the Searchers and Gerry and the Pacemakers, among others.  It was at the Club where a management agreement was signed by Brian Epstein to manage the Beatles in December of 1961.  Mona's son was Pete Best, who had become interested in playing the drums.  Mona bought him a new drum kit and Best formed his own group, the Black Jacks.  Well, it didn't take long before the group without a drummer and the drummer who was the son of the Casbah's owner to hook up.

The Quarrymen served customers from behind the bar in addition to playing sets.  To every rock fan's delight, the Casbah Coffee Club has been remodeled to look as it did in the early days.  Instruments, posters, microphones and amps, along with the silver stars painted on the ceiling by John, Paul, George and Pete remain to this day.  The Club is 3.5 miles from the Liverpool City Center.  The address is 8 Haymans Green in West Derby, Liverpool.  The only way to tour the Casbah is by reserving in advance, and it is recommended that you do so well in advance of your visit.  Tours are available 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridayas and Saturdays.  The tour lasts approximately one hour and costs 15 Euros.  E-mail the Casbah at:

I think it’s a good idea to let people know about the Casbah. They know about the Cavern, they know about some of those things, but the Casbah was the place where all that started. We helped paint it and stuff. We looked upon it as our personal club.” Sir Paul McCartney
Small area with three black wooden walls; only an amplifer, speaker and guitar can be seen.

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