The Jacaranda first opened in Liverpool in the late 1950s as a music bar designed to showcase local musicians looking for opportunities on the live music scene and the philosophy of the venue is the same to this day, although much has changed since the ’50s.
The Jacaranda is such a well known name around Liverpool and the world largely due to the The Beatles, who were regular customers in the Jac and played some of their earliest shows in the famous Jacaranda basement. But we shouldn’t look at the Jacaranda as a place that The Beatles played – it’s so much more than that. The Jac precedes The Beatles and has a rich musical history. Really, we should look at how The Jac played an important part in the success of The Beatles.
However, it would be fair to say that it lost its way somewhat in the noughties era, with cheap pints and a tendency to cling to its Beatles heritage, so when it closed its doors in 2011 it didn’t come as a massive surprise.
We recently caught up with the Jacaranda’s current owner, Graham Stanley who has turned the Jacaranda around and created a new lease of life to the Jacaranda name. Graham knew what the venue needed; a modern day return to its roots, which means bringing back quality live music to the basement. Liverpool is packed full of exciting live bands ready to take the opportunities that come their way and passionate promoters (including Liverpool Noise) who can provide those opportunities.
The second step for Graham was to create a space for music lovers to hang out and the creation of the plush upstairs cafe, bar and vinyl store brought something really unique to the city. The quality of the upstairs space is what really made it stand out, with comfy booth seating and vinyl turntables built into the tables so that you could sit, drink coffee, eat cake and listen to your favourite music on vinyl. However, by far the most impressive feature of the upstairs space is the 1948 Voice-O-Graph, one of the last remaining, working Voice-O-Graph’s in the world. It’s a phone box size recording booth which allows you to record up to a minute of speech onto vinyl which would be ready almost instantly. After a two-year closure the Jacaranda was back with so much style.
So it makes perfect sense that Graham had plans to expand the Jacaranda name. Yes, the venue is full of character but it is limited in size (the basement capacity is 80) and the Jac is only growing in popularity…In late May this year Jacaranda Records: Phase One opened, located just down the road from the original Jacaranda, giving the team the chance to build upon the legacy and create so much more. Jacaranda Records Phase One is a bar, live music venue (500 capacity), record store and another fantastic place to hang out.
This time you can take your vinyl into one of the venues mini indoor garden sheds where there’s a turntable on hand and you can totally switch off from the world outside. You’ll probably also be intrigued by the naming of the place; Phase One certainly suggests that there’s more to come and there is…all will be revealed soon and it’s very cool!
This August bank holiday weekend will see the Jacaranda celebrating its 60th birthday in spectacular fashion with plenty of live music (read about the full line up for their birthday weekend here) and a very special closing party on Sunday night – we’d urge you to be a part of it!