Ye Cracke is a small pub that is tucked away just off Hope Street, on Rice Street. It is around the corner from the old Liverpool Arts College that was attended by John Lennon, and Cynthia Powell. Most days after college they lads were found inside Ye Cracke and this pub arguably has more significance to John Lennon than any other pub in the city. It’s been referenced in many biographies about him since. Most notably the conversations he would have with Bill Harry, Stuart Sutcliffe and Rod Murray – They all watched a terrible poetry recital one night and decided to take it upon themselves to put Liverpool on the map. It was in Ye Cracke that they formed a group called The Dissenters. Sutcliffe and Murray went on to enjoy success as artists, Bill Harry founded the Merseybeat magazine which transformed the Liverpool music scene.John brought Cynthia Powell here on his first date.
The Jacaranda was an old watch shop in 1958 and it was bought by Alan Williams and turned into a coffee shop. When the Beatles met Alan Williams they hounded him for a chance to play in places Alan owned. He let them play in the Jacaranda if John and Stuart painted the place. John and Stuart painted the lady’s toilets and there is still a section of wall that appears to have been preserved. When the Beatles left Liverpool for Hamburg, they left in a bus parked outside the Jac.
Today its well preserved and known for its cult status. It hosts a fine record store upstairs, it has a middle floor pub and its basement hosts talented local musicians and bands and is one of the best pubs for mid-week drinking. It has something for everyone in here, including fantastic cakes to eat during the day while you listen to vinyl records that you can play from the table you’re sat at.
Heading down to the other side of town is where you will find the world-famous Mathew Street. Today it hosts many pubs and clubs and not all have Beatles connections at all but do play on the theme. One pub, The White Star, is still very traditional. It is known in Beatles history as the pub where Alan Williams and Bob Wooler (the original cavern club DJ and huge figure in Merseybeat) would pay their acts. The Beatles would go into the back room to receive their money, today there is a “Beatles back wall” in the exact place where they received their earnings. Brian Epstein later met with Bob Wooler in here in 1963 and discussed The Beatles performing on the Ed Sullivan show in the back room.
When Merseybeat was in full swing, Mathew street was full of warehouses and very few places to drink. The Cavern didn’t sell alcohol, so for the Beatles the best place to go for a drink was The Grapes.
Throughout their time on Mathew street, The Grapes was visited as frequently as The Cavern by the Fab Four. Pete Best famously went to the grapes to drown his sorrows when he was kicked out of the band and famously George Harrison got a black eye outside of here, because Pete had been kicked out of the band. It was refurbished a few years ago, but it still has Beatles heritage.
It wouldn’t be a Beatles pub crawl without a visit to The Cavern. The Beatles performed in The Cavern Club 292 times and people travel from all over the world to visit the club that had its own smell, its own dance and where most of the planets biggest stars have performed.
The original cavern opened in 1957 as a jazz club and was taken over by rock and roll, thanks in some part to the rebellion of John Lennon, who would regularly get notes passed to him on stage by the owner to “stop playing that bloody rock and roll!” By 1959 it had been sold to a new owner and Beat groups were regularly playing.
In 1973 the Cavern Club was closed down and knocked down to build an underground rail loop – that never came to be. In turn it was then rebuilt in 1984 out of many of the same bricks and to the original plans, moving its door further down the street and building a second stage. It remains one of the most visited attractions in Liverpool and today it hosts music all afternoon and night and some of the world’s greatest Beatles tribute bands play here. Situated opposite is a wall of fame featuring all the great acts that have performed on Mathew street and in the world-famous Cavern Club.