Thursday, May 3, 2012

Of All the Bars ....

London’s rock history is littered with some legendary clubs; the Scene, Studio 51, Marquee, Roxy, 100 Club, the Troubadour, Blaises, Bag O’ Nails, Roundhouse, the 2is .. the list goes on and on. But, standing out in terms of legendary status, is one name; the Scotch of St James. The Scotch, situated in Mason’s Yard just off Piccadilly, must surely claim to have witnessed more rock history in the making than any other. This tiny club, with Gered Mankowitz and the Indica Gallery as neighbours, was the favourite of rock’s 60’ aristocracy. The Beatles had their own table; Hendrix agreed terms with Kit Lambert to sign to Track records and some sources claim that Jimi played his first ever UK gig on its tiny stage. It was certainly a ‘fave rave’ with The Who, Moody Blues, Eric Burdon, P.J. Proby … it was a case of be there or be square! The rare shot here shows a Merseybeats member dancing with George's soon to be, Patti Boyd. Unlike other famed bars which were closed, demolished, or turned into offices, the Scotch, renamed as The Directors Lodge, continued as a cellar bar, albeit catering to the ‘beer ‘n’titties’ crowd. But here’s the BIG news! It’s back! The Scotch relives. The small stage is once again graced by the rock fraternity. In fact, on this very day (3rd May) a certain James McCartney is due to play. ‘Private party’, we’re told. What’s the bet dad shows up. What a blast. McCartney senior sitting at his old table. So far information about who has purchased and reopened it, and what they intend to do there is scant but we’re on the case! It’s likely to be a member’s club due to the restricted size, and there’ll probably be little change to another Scotch legend; astronomical drink prices. But if you’re taking our new evening tour, ‘Ticket to Ride’ you’ll get to see the place, and perhaps even the in-crowd filing in.

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