This month has seen the closure of a landmark pub in the city, The Jacaranda. On 31st October the bar on Slater Street went into liquidation. Some questions over the closure still remain unanswered but whatever the reasons behind the demise, many will agree that the closure of the Jacaranda is a major loss to the night life in Liverpool and will be sadly missed.
The Jacaranda was originally opened by Allan Williams as a coffee bar in 1958. The place was most famous for being a hang out for The Beatles when they were starting out in the early sixties. After languishing for many years, The Jac was given a whole new lease of life when it was reopened in 1996 with much of its original décor. At its peak in the late 1990s-2000’s; it was a popular meeting place for musicians at a time when the music scene in Liverpool was still relatively modest. The Jac was perhaps most notable for being one of the first bars in Liverpool to host an acoustic open mic night, which ran every Thursday in the basement. Starting out as Craig’s Acoustic night, I remember serving my apprenticeship in there as a performer. When Craig decided to move on, the acoustic night continued under various people including Andy & Vince, Tom O’Rourke and most notably Col and Fieldy, who ran the night successfully there for over ten years.
The place holds many memories for me; for instance I remember going there for my 21st birthday. What I loved about the Jac was how down to earth it was. I used to spend hours picking out records on the jukebox. I felt at home in there, sitting back with a pint of lager listening to classics by The Beatles, Dylan and The Stones. I spent many great nights in there; it was part of my youth. However in the last year, The Jac struggled; perhaps due to the economic climate as well as fierce competition from other bars in the area. The facelift that the Jac received in its final months drew a mixed reaction from the public. However I believe the place still had a magic about it when I went in there for the last time over a month ago.
So if the Jac has now finally closed its doors for good, then what does the future hold for the building? Open yet another trendy bar? Perhaps someone will come along and realise that The Jacaranda is a place that’s worth preserving. Let’s hope so!
Stuart Todd runs and hosts the award-winning Liverpool Acoustic Live music events with Graham Holland. Stuart was formally in the group Triad before leaving to do solo work. In recent years he has had a successful partnership with local classical guitarist and composer Neil Campbell with whom he formed the duo Campbell Todd. He has also been in the band The Freebies and involved with a number of creative writing projects. His current band is called Three Minute Hero.