The Mersey Venues

No. 2: The Mardi Gras
Mount Pleasant, Liverpool

Mersey Beat: April 24 1964

Swinging Bluejeans and Kenny BallThe Mersey Sound has produced a fantastic crop of new beat clubs, but one of the most popular with Merseyside teenagers first opened its doors over six years ago.

It was September 28 1957 when the Mardi Gras opened its doors to Merseyside teenagers, and in the years since a glittering array of top beat and jazz stars have appeared there.

Club membership is confined to over 18s and the club's two floor premises will hold between 700-800 people - the dance floor alone accommodates 300. Open four nights a week - Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturday and Sundays - the club has two bars, one on each floor, and a snack bar on the second floor.

The club's dance floor and bars, with walls decorated with Beat City murals done by Liverpool artist Bob Percival, have appeared on television and cinema screens all over the Continent.

Dutch Avro TV recently televised a programme and a film in the 'Look At Life' series featured the Swinging Bluejeans at the Mardi Gras. Film cameras will again be at the club in June when location shots will be filmed for a Rank feature film.

An average of 12 different groups a week play at the club, and famous personalities who have visited the Mardi Gras whilst in Liverpool include Frank Sinatra Junior. Amongst the top line stars who have appeared there are Kenny Ball, Johnny Dankworth and Muddy Waters - and the Count Basie band played an informal session there during their last visit to this country.

Owner of the Mardi Gras is Jim Ireland, who is also manager of the Swinging Bluejeans, the Escorts, Earl Preston's Realms, Cy Tucker's Friars and Billy Kinsley's the Nameless Ones. The club is also the headquarters for the Theatre and Philharmonic presentations of Roberts and Ireland, who have brought such jazz stars as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk and Dave Brubeck to Liverpool.

The next Roberts and Ireland presentation is a rhythm and blues and gospel package show, which includes Sonnie Terry and Brownie McGhee, to be presented at the Philharmonic Hall on Friday May 1.

Average charge for admission to the club for members varies from 2s 6d on Tuesday nights to 6s on Saturday nights, with guests paying 1s extra.

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