Newcastle’s Quay area has some of the finest waterside views in the north east of England, attracting tourists and photographers from all over the world. There are six splendidly engineered transport bridges over the Tyne linking Gateshead with Newcastle, all within three quarters of a mile of each other. Then there is the equally impressive Millennium pedestrian bridge. Situated on the Gateshead side of the river are the Sage music venue and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts, a stark contrast of old and new architectural styles. All of these structures double their impact on the observer by reflecting their striking images in the river Tyne, in particular when viewed from the north bank. Add lots of trendy bars, restaurants and water side apartments and you have today’s Quayside. Night or day it’s hard not to be impressed by the area.

Forty years earlier in the sixties, the area was much different, with run down or derelict buildings, bomb sites and ill lit thoroughfares. The most respectable places back then were the couple of restaurants housed in the Tudor buildings (still standing) on Sandhill just around the corner from the Quayside. Within a minute’s walking distance of these timber framed buildings was a very popular club, aptly named the Quay Club.

(The) Side in 2009. The site of the Quay Club was where the new red brick buildings on the right now stand

(The) Side in 2009. The site of the Quay Club was where the new red brick buildings on the right now stand

5 old side

(The) Side in the beginning of the 20th Century. The Victorian building which housed the Quay Club is half way along the picture on the right hand side of the street. The buildings on the left are still standing

The club opened on the 17th December 1965 and was owned by two businessmen named George Hoffman and Bob Lewis. The club was managed by Bill Keith who was also the manager of the Newcastle band, the Chosen Few. The Quay Club was located near the swing bridge over the Tyne on a thoroughfare called ‘Side’ and was situated roughly opposite the Crown Posada pub. The building that housed the club has since been demolished and has been replaced by a new block containing offices and a pizza restaurant.

The Quay Club was much smaller than the Club a’Gogo. It had three main rooms; a lounge bar on ground level, a smaller lounge bar and a basement below where the bands played. The smaller lounge was long and fairly narrow with a bar at one end near the entrance and a stair well at the other leading down to the basement. The stairs were quite steep and narrow and were very difficult to negotiate carrying amplifiers and drum kits. The basement was very dark and small – probably no more than about 15 metres in length and about 4 metres wide with a low ceiling. There was no stage and the bands would normally play at the end of the room furthest away from the stair well. The Quay club booked mainly local bands but some top names performed there over the years, including the Family and Ten Years After (with Alvin Lee).

The Quay Club became a recognised meeting place for local musicians. Before a visit to either Bowers restaurant (opposite the Central Station) or Barbecue Express (at the top of Pink Lane), a lot of local band members used to meet up at the Quay Club after their own gigs in the Newcastle area had finished. Amongst others, The Chosen Few, Alan Hull (Lindisfarne), The Gas Board (with Bryan Ferry) and drummer Alan White (from The Blue Caps and subsequently Yes) could regularly be seen at the club. And it wasn’t just local musicians who used the Quay Club as a watering hole after a night’s work. Other artists who were appearing elsewhere in Newcastle or just visiting the city frequently used to call in at the club. These included Eric Burdon, Pink Floyd and Geno Washington.

In spite of a good first few months, there were some problems with the club and it closed to the public at the end of May 1966 due to a fire. Arson was suspected.

The Quay Club reopened again on 4th August 1966. A year later, hoping to attract a wider audience, the Quay Club started to promote jazz nights once or twice a week. The club continued trading for another few years experimenting with various genres such folk music, poetry and comedy and eventually closed in 1969. The best years of the Quay club were between 1965 and 1967.

Glyn Sadler, vocalist with popular sixties Newcastle bands – the Elcort and the Sect, remembers an incident at the Quay Club when he was performing there with the Elcort. A well known, but possibly unwelcome, celebrity turned up at the club one night. This is Glyn’s account of the incident: –

“Tom Jones was in town at La Dolce Vita and was brought to The Quay Club when we (the Elcort) were playing, I think by Mike Jeffery from the Club A’Gogo. He stayed for a few numbers and then shook hands to leave. After a short while the barman came down and said that Tom was having a drink upstairs and had sent down a couple of drinks each for the lads. I went upstairs to thank him, and saw that he was at the door ready to leave. I walked over to say thanks and, as I did, a bottle flew through the door nearly hitting him. It had been thrown by Eric Burdon or one of his cronies in an open top car motoring down the street shouting “F*** off back to Wales”.

10 quay club cutting

I have diaries showing that I played at the Quay Club a total of seventeen times between February 1966 and June 1969 in four different bands from the Jazzboard through to Sneeze. In all those times I can’t remember any violent incidents or fights at the club. Nor can I remember any menacing bouncers there like the notorious Findlay brothers from the Club A’Gogo. However, Glyn from the Elcort remembers one confrontation there involving Brian Short, the singer from local band – the Sect who tried very hard not to stick his nose in. Glyn says: –

“Brian Short had cosmetic surgery done on his nose. One night he came to the Quay Club having just had the bandages removed telling everyone to look at his new nose. The Elcort were playing and were in a jam session with Ronnie, John and Bob Sergeant from the Junco Partners. I don’t know how, but a fight started with some people – I think because the Junco lads were dancing around as they always did and accidentally bumped into someone. (The basement in the Quay Club didn’t have a very big stage area). Anyway, Brian who was in the middle of it ran for cover shouting ‘Stop the music – don’t let them hit my new nose I’ve only just got it!’”

Overall I remember the Quay Club as having a more intimate and certainly a less intimidating atmosphere than the Gogo and in spite of the odd fracas such as that mentioned in Glyn’s story the club was mostly trouble free.

6 Composite ads 2

After four years as one of Newcastle’s top clubs for young people the Quay Club suddenly came to an end. On 12th September 1969 an advert appeared in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle stating that due to unforeseen circumstances the Quay Club would be closed until further notice. The ‘unforeseen circumstances’ are believed to be a fire at the premises. As far as I am aware the club did not reopen.

See if you remember some of these local bands that played at the Quay club in the mid to late sixties: –

Sixties newspaper ads for the Quay Club

Sixties newspaper ads for the Quay Club

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7 quayclub9 quay club Village

Here’s some gig dates for the Quay during the time that it was open:-

1965 to 1967
1968 to 1969

  1. Mike

    November 25, 2016 •

    I only went to the Quay Club a couple of times and remember it as small, dark and dirty. Downstairs, if you had the nerve to descend them, was full of what appeared to be copulating couples. Or was that just wishful thinking?


  2. Evelyn Thompson

    December 30, 2016 •

    I used to go there 3 times a week loved it I met my husband there


  3. Jean Robson...was Mance

    January 26, 2017 •

    In the sixties, I was a croupier with the Bailey Group and after work and before we'd head off to Bowers for breakfast we would visit a club or 2. I remember Bill Keith very well, went out with him for a short while too, but i think i heard he was still married, so not for me, still happy daye and happy memories. I'm 75 now not many of the old folks left.


  4. Davey pasola

    February 2, 2017 •

    I remeber the Quay Club well. Between 1967 and 69 I used to go there on a Friday or Saturday night after the Printers Pie (my usual wateringhole closed at 11pm. You could drink till 2 am and get a fry up at Bowers opposite the central station then catch the all night bus home to Benwell. You loved the place. I recall one night seeing Robert Plant in the Band of Joy Playing there. Kevin Gammon was the guitarIst in the band iI think.

    Anyway great times. Wouldnt swap them for any.


  5. Tony Brown

    April 12, 2017 •

    In 1963-4 I used to go with my girlfriend at the time, Liz Lord, to a place on The Side called The Cafe Montmartre.It had a jazz club in the basement and we loved it for its Bohemian atmosphere. It was our favourite haunt but we didn't let our friends know about this jewel of a place. Many years later, I met Liz at a party and she said that she'd told people about our days in The Montmartre and no one knew of it. The reason was that it had become the Quay Club. Until I read this article I'd often wondered what happened to the place and now I know. This is a wonderful article. Thanks for all the work you've done in putting it together.


  6. susan

    September 22, 2017 •

    My favourite place ever back then. My friend Pauline and I knew Glyn And Rob from the Elcort and I had a bit of a fling with Rob, the lead singer. I knew Bill Keith quite well! He was always threatening to bar me cos I was only 17! :)


  7. Arthur Ely

    November 19, 2019 •

    Must have been 1967/8 I went to the Quay Club to see the Juncos supporting a little known Birmingham band Robert Plant and the Band of Joy (with John Bonham on drums) - whatever happened to them.
    Was at Rutherford College of Technology (later Newcastle Poly then Northumbria Uni) and friday nights were either the fortnightly college dances or the Quay Club.


  8. Pamela Kindred

    March 7, 2020 •

    Many thanks . Simply wonderful to relive SOME only a few memories of the club. As far as I know, the membership card is in a photograph album along with my Young Set, A Go Go card. My brother, being eight years older than myself went to The Quay Club more frequently. Great days, fine music, dancing, laughter and tears. Growing up in Newcastle upon Tyne. Just the ticket! Still working on that! Art, Music, Comedy. People and places. Familiar Faces. Alan Hull wrote about people standing around in such places . Just to look or stare at their faces, at each other. I have probably mis quoted the words of his song. My apologies. I’ll get my coat. Now, where is it? Can I find the ticket? Here it is in my suede coat pocket. The coat has long gone , but the music and poetry remain. Best wishes.


  9. Dave Ismay

    July 20, 2020 •

    The story mentions no bouncers like those at the GoGo but as I recall Charlie Oughton worked the door at the Quay and he was very, very capable.
    He was a black belt and several dan grades judoka who was British Champion and taught marshal arts at his own Ren Sei Kan club. His brother George managed local bands and although a little over weight was also quite useful in a melee.
    Billy Keith left the team at the GoGo to manage the Quay club and took some of his mates with him as I recall.


  10. dave armstrong

    August 5, 2020 •

    Greatest club ever when I was at Newcastle Uni. Met Alexa Seddon there- and never looked back--- hi Alexa if UR still dancin'! :D


  11. L McAndrew

    November 7, 2020 •

    My favourite all time club. From evening and nights in le cafe monmartre owned by my boyfriends family to THE Quay Club. Seemed to spend my whole late teens to early 20s there dancing to virtually every band that played there. I was one of the first members there. Friends were the doormen and my future husband. Was great pals with Charlie Oughton. I remember the fire. Never went back. Didn’t think it would have been the same. Friends tell me it was. My heart and memories of my youth are and will always, always be The Quay Club.


  12. Bryan S

    November 18, 2020 •

    OMG!! I worked as a DJ here in March 1968! I KNEW that there was a 'connection' between myself and LINDISFARNE. It was brilliant! At that time, I remember playing 'HEY JUDE', it was number 1 at that time.
    I worked in one room, introduced the band, then continued the music in the room where I was set up with my 'gear'. From there, I worked in the SAME job, DJing for more than FORTY years, now retired and living in Alicante/España. Thank you all for some BRILLIANT memories! Loved it!
    Bryan S (


  13. Bryan S

    November 18, 2020 •

    More from Bryan S: How about some 'namedropping'...
    Greg Burman...Went on to manufacture some GREAT sound equipment,(Sunderland?).
    Nicky Thorburn (Guitar/Vocal)
    Barry Sewell (Keyboard/Vocal)
    John Reid (Drums Vocal)
    Stuart Somerville (Bass/Vocal)
    Dave 'Holly' Holland (Lead Vocal)
    Replaced by 'Steve' from Manchester.
    They bought themselves a BRAND NEW Ford Transit mini-bus in RED.
    Stuart: R.I.P my good friend,(Kennersdene/Tynemouth).
    AMAZING memories! Thank you ALL!


  14. Lisa mcandrew

    November 19, 2020 •

    Hi there. Give my love to Alicante. I holiday there in the city several times a year for the past 20 years but haven’t been since last year du to COVID-19. A beautiful and glorious city.
    I’m also one of the oldest members of the Quay club since joining when it changed hands from being le cafe montmartre which I frequented with my then boyfriend whose sisters owned it.
    I met you there and danced to your music and the bands in the hottest room on earth or should I say underground. I’m Lisa Mcandrew close friend of Sam Taylor Jen Buglass. We knew Stuart who lived round the corner from Jen in those days. Eric Wilde and DerekRobinson the doormen lived near me in Forest Hall and had known them from schooldays. Last time I heard from cliff Robinson they were alive and still kicking. I’ve mentioned a few names but I’m sure you’ve seen so many to remember. I was devestated when it caught fire and particle my life gone. Still got the memories thank goodness. Second home was the pasada 3rd the GoGo Oxford and Maj not to leave out the Mayfair. From 70 it was a married scenario and a complete change of lifestyle. We had grown up. Hope to meet up next time we are in Alicante. Stay well and Safe and aMerry Christmas at the town Hall


  15. Dave Ismay

    November 19, 2020 •

    Bryan S
    Names we all recall Greg sold from a shop in the top of Handysides arcade Toby Twirl were "The Shades of Blue" Holly died recently and I vividly recall our shock when Stu drowned whilst canoeing off Tynemouth
    I think I first met him in The Calypso or Le Cav in Front St


  16. George Hoffman

    March 15, 2021 •

    Big Hello to all the Quay Club members scattered around the globe !
    So nice to read that you still remember the good times and fabulous music.
    Those were precious days of our youth, never to be same again.

    Best wishes,
    George Hoffman, past owner of Quay Club,


  17. Hilary Rumley

    April 16, 2021 •

    5 of us Uni of Newcastle students hired the Quay Club for our 21st(s) in early Feb 1968. A great party for all of us plus friends & gate- crashers!!
    Hilary Rumley (nee Cameron)


  18. Eileen Susan Conway

    May 6, 2021 •

    Just discovered this site and remembering that very special time particularly the GoGo years when I was just old enough for the Young Set. Did I really see Rod Stewart there? Regular visits to Greys Club when I was older followed which recollecting now was the smartest of all the nightclubs in 67 before the disco really took off.

  19. Bryan S

    May 6, 2021 •

    Come on Eileen?...To remember all of this, you must be at least 26 years(+V.A.T), of age! Great days and GREAT memories????.


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