The Casbah Coffee Club was a rock and roll music venue located in the West Derby area of Liverpool, England, that operated from 1959 to 1962. Started by Mona Best in the cellar of the family home, the Casbah Coffee Club was planned as a members-only club for her sons Pete and Rory and their friends, to meet and listen to the popular music of the day. Mona turn up with the idea of the club after watching a TV report about The 2i’s Coffee Bar in London’s Soho where several singers had been discovered.
The Quarrymen — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ken Brown — went to the club to arrange for their first booking, to which Mona agreed, but said she needed to finish painting the club first. All four took up brushes and assisted Mona to finish painting the walls with spiders, dragons, rainbows and stars.
Additionally, to the four boys’ artistic contributions, Cynthia Powell, later too become Cynthia Lennon, painted a silhouette of John on the wall, which can still be seen today. The group oftentimes played at The Casbah as other venues, like The Cavern Club, had a jazz-only policy at that time. The cellar — with its first decoration — still exists.
In 2006, Culture Minister David Lammy declared that the Bests’ ex-coal cellar was to be given Grade II listed building status and a blue plaque, after recommendation by English Heritage. It was opened as a tourist attraction in Liverpool, together with McCartney and Lennon’s previous homes at 20 Forthlin Road and 251 Menlove Avenue respectively.
“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.