October 22, 2020

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Foodies welcome

I visited the iconic bar known as the birthplace of the Beatles, and despite not being a big fan, I can now see why it’s a must-visit attraction

I visited the Cavern Club in February 2020. 

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I visited the Cavern Club in February 2020.

  • The Cavern Club in Liverpool is known as the home of the Beatles, as the iconic band was the club’s signature act during the 1960s.

  • I visited the club in February 2020 as per my editor’s suggestion, but, not being a huge Beatles fan, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it.

  • I ended up loving the Cavern Club — it’s unpretentious, authentic, friendly, and full of character. The musicians were excellent, too.

  • Sadly, the club has been closed for months due to the coronavirus lockdown and is now facing an uncertain future, ITV News reports.

  • Here’s what it’s like to visit — and why I hope it stays open for years to come.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Cavern Club is one of the most famous places in Liverpool, UK — or so I discovered earlier this year.

It’s particularly beloved among Beatles fans, and is known as the birthplace of the iconic band — they first performed there on February 9 1961, went on to establish themselves as the club’s signature act, then were offered their first record contract after soon-to-be manager Brian Epstein saw them perform there in November of that year.

In total, the band performed at the Cavern Club 292 times from 1961 and 1963, drastically elevating the club’s status around the world.

The Cavern Club that exists today is not the original venue, but rather a replica that sits opposite the original site, built using 15,000 bricks from the initial club (which was demolished in the 1970s, according to Visit Liverpool).

Full disclosure: I’m not a hardcore Beatles fan. Sure, I enjoy their music, but I don’t actually know a great deal about the band, and despite being a 27-year-old Brit I’d never been to the Cavern Club until the start of this year.

In February, though, I visited Liverpool for the first time, and my editor — who is a dedicated fan — suggested I check out The Cavern Club to see what all the fuss was about for myself.

I admittedly wasn’t expecting to enjoy it, but after my visit I now understand why the club is so popular — and would even recommend it to another non-fan.

Sadly, the coronavirus lockdown has hit the venue hard, and its future is uncertain, ITV News reported.

The Cavern Club has been closed since March when mass gatherings were banned in the UK, and director Bill Heckle told Sky News that the venue was facing financial ruin after losing £30,000 ($39,000) a week as a result. 

This is what it’s like to visit, and why I hope it’ll stay open for many years to come.

The Cavern Club is situated on Mathew Street in the heart of Liverpool.

The entrance to the Cavern Club in Liverpool. 

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The entrance to the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

It’s known as the home of the Beatles, as the band was the club’s signature act during the 1960s.

The Cavern Quarter, Liverpool. 

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The Cavern Quarter, Liverpool.

The Cavern Quarter is home to lots of Beatles-themed venues, such as a pub …

The Cavern Pub, Liverpool. 

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The Cavern Pub, Liverpool.

… and restaurant.

The Cavern Club Restaurant, Liverpool. 

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The Cavern Club Restaurant, Liverpool.

There are also other restaurants and shops on the street, such as Turtle Bay cocktail bar and Vivienne Westwood designer clothes.

Mathew Street, Liverpool. 

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Mathew Street, Liverpool.

I visited at 4 p.m. on a Monday in February, and the street was pretty busy.

Mathew Street in the Cavern Quarter, Liverpool. 

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Mathew Street in the Cavern Quarter, Liverpool.

There was lots of Beatles-related art to admire, and a street musician entertaining visitors.

Rubber Soul Beatles Bar, Liverpool. 

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Rubber Soul Beatles Bar, Liverpool.

Entry to the club was £2.50 ($3.30), and they only took cash — as someone who hasn’t carried cash since around the year 2007 (OK, I’m slightly exaggerating), I wasn’t ready for this and had to go to an actual cash machine and come back.

The entrance to the Cavern Club, Liverpool. 

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The entrance to the Cavern Club, Liverpool.

A sign at the entrance showed who was performing that week, and I was amazed that they had live music from 11.15 a.m. every day.

The Cavern Club's live music schedule in February 2020. 

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The Cavern Club’s live music schedule in February 2020.

Under 18s are allowed in until 8 p.m., and after that it’s adults only. The club is open every day except Christmas (well, when we’re not in a global pandemic, that is).

Opening hours of the Cavern Club, Liverpool. 

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Opening hours of the Cavern Club, Liverpool.

You walk down five flights of stairs to get to the club, music getting louder as you go. A woman asked me if it was my first time, and when I said yes, she told me I would love it. She was right.

Going down into the club. 

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Going down into the club.

The main room of the club is full of character, with brick walls, low arches, and dim red lighting.

Inside the Cavern Club. 

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Inside the Cavern Club.

With sticky floors and loud music, it immediately felt authentic, cool, and unpretentious.

The Cavern Club is known for its brick arches. 

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The Cavern Club is known for its brick arches.

There’s a small stage, where singer-songwriter Richard Batty was entertaining guests.

The Cavern Club's stage. 

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The Cavern Club’s stage.

The walls are covered with Beatles memorabilia from decades past, as well as gig posters from other artists.

Inside the Cavern Club. 

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Inside the Cavern Club.

There were people of all ages singing, drinking, chatting, or just listening to the music.

People visiting the Cavern Club. 

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People visiting the Cavern Club.

With guitars on the walls and knick-knacks all over the place, there’s tons to look at.

Souvenirs on sale at the Cavern Club. 

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Souvenirs on sale at the Cavern Club.

The brick walls are covered in people’s names, which I thought was a nice personal touch.

The brick walls of the Cavern Club. 

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The brick walls of the Cavern Club.

Of course, there’s a bar.

The bar at the Cavern Club. 

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The bar at the Cavern Club.

All your classic drinks are available, at affordable prices too: You can get a bottle of wine for £15.95 ($21).

The wine menu at the Cavern Club. 

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The wine menu at the Cavern Club.

There’s a second part to the Cavern Club called the Cavern Live Lounge (despite the fact that the main room is also home to live performers).

The way to the Cavern Live Lounge. 

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The way to the Cavern Live Lounge.

You walk through a corridor featuring this huge wall carving of the Beatles to get there.

The Beatles mural in the corridor to the Cavern Live Lounge.. 

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The Beatles mural in the corridor to the Cavern Live Lounge..

Inside, it’s more like a theatre than a bar, with a decent-sized stage in front of tables and chairs for the audience.

The Cavern Live Lounge. 

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The Cavern Live Lounge.

The vibe was different — it felt more intimate and chilled.

The Cavern Live Lounge stage. 

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The Cavern Live Lounge stage.

A second bar was serving up drinks, and there was no line for either of them when I was there.

The Cavern Live Lounge bar. 

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The Cavern Live Lounge bar.

I had a peek at the food menu, which featured very tempting nibbles like halloumi bites and sweet potato fries, as well as larger dishes like bacon cheeseburgers and BBQ jackfruit sandwiches.

The food menu at the Cavern Club. 

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The food menu at the Cavern Club.

There was a huge photo of Adele on the wall from when she performed at the Cavern Club in 2011, plus a huge screen showing Paul McCartney. There was a definite feeling of being at an iconic venue where countless stars have performed over the years.

Seating in the bar of the Cavern Live Lounge. 

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Seating in the bar of the Cavern Live Lounge.

There were lots of souvenirs on offer, from stickers to ukuleles.

Souvenirs and their prices at the Cavern Club. 

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Souvenirs and their prices at the Cavern Club.

I went back into the main room, as I loved the friendly, fun vibe. The performer was taking requests and also playing feel-good covers like “Here Comes The Sun.” I was impressed by how talented he was.

Richard Batty performing in the Cavern Club. 

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Richard Batty performing in the Cavern Club.

Having looked around the whole venue, I got a drink (a tonic water for £1.80 ($2.40) and decided to relax and enjoy the music.

A tonic water at The Cavern Club, Liverpool. 

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A tonic water at The Cavern Club, Liverpool.

Judging by the accents of those around me, there seemed to be a fair few locals as well as lots of tourists. I spoke to a couple from Austria who were loving it.

Richard Batty entertaining guests. 

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Richard Batty entertaining guests.

A group of older men got up and started dancing to The Who, and a little later a couple of women took to the dance floor. Everyone was very merry, and I imagined it must get even more fun into the night.

People dancing at the Cavern Club. 

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People dancing at the Cavern Club.

I liked the Cavern Club so much more than I’d been expecting.

The Cavern Club, Liverpool. 

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The Cavern Club, Liverpool.

I realized that I hadn’t been excited to go because I knew so little about it before.

However, the Cavern Club is a rare old venue (it opened in 1957) that has maintained its sense of authenticity and charm.

It’s popular with tourists, but has managed to maintain its regular, local clientèle, which is no mean feat.

Whether you’re a hardcore Beatles fan or not, I’d definitely recommend you swing by the Cavern Club — don’t go to Liverpool without seeing it.

If you’re looking for a swanky night out and an excuse to dress up, the Cavern Club probably isn’t the spot for you, but if you’re after a chilled, affordable evening with friends, it’s perfect.

The club has been closed during the coronavirus lockdown, and is currently struggling to continue operating.

However, it plans to open from August 27 to September 1 to celebrate Beatleweek with live performers and livestreams of the best Beatles tribute acts around the world.

I sincerely hope the club survives and is full of live music and happy people again soon, because I’d love to go back.

Read the original article on Insider