Brubecks coffee bar ‘was place to be seen in the 1950s’

Maureen, here on her 21st birthday, was part of 'The Brubeck's Set', a group of cool young people who hung out at Brubeck's Cafe in Morecambe.
Maureen, here on her 21st birthday, was part of 'The Brubeck's Set', a group of cool young people who hung out at Brubeck's Cafe in Morecambe.

Our piece last week on the life of Maureen Hemingway got me thinking about Brubecks coffee bar.

It seemed like a cool place for young Morecambrians to hang out in the 1950s and ‘60s so some research was clearly in order.

According to Wayne Hemingway, Brubeck’s was named after Dave Brubeck, American jazz pianist and composer.

The trendy coffee bar was located on the corner of Victoria Street and Northumberland Street.

In his weekly column in last year’s Visitor, Wayne quoted his mum Maureen who was a regular at the coffee bar as one of The Brubecks Set.

As you can see from our photos, she went there with the wrestling champion Billy Two Rivers, Wayne’s dad.

Maureen described Brubecks as ”the place to be and be seen in the 1950s”.

She went on: “Many parties were held there after the shows in the town. Brubeck’s invited the stars of the time, a very young and spotty Cliff Richard, Adam Faith and an equally young and spotty Lonnie Donegan.

“There was Alma Cogan, Tommy Steele, The Shadows, Screaming Lord Sutch, the (very young) Rolling Stones and many, many more.”

A quick look on the website ‘Old Morecambe Archive’ reveals some more personal memories of Brubecks.

David Peddle said that Brubecks was ahead of all other coffee bars of the time because of its design and furnishings.

“Everything about Brubecks caught the essence of a coffee bar of that era.

“There were dark cavern like spaces, or cafes with jukeboxes serving espresso coffee. None were in the same league as Brubecks.

“My most regular period visiting Brubecks was the fall of 1961, with a guy called Vic who worked in the parts department at the County Garage on Lancaster Road.”

The proprietor of Brubecks was Joe Atkinson, described as “a tall athletic looking fellow” who in summer was a diver in the Aqua Loonies group who performed at the Super Swimming Stadium.

His mother also worked there behind the bar.

Another frequenter of Brubecks, Dave Bunting, described it as “ground floor, smoky as hell, great cappucinno, great birds and there was a jukebox selection box at most of the tables...playing Buddy Holly, Buddy Holly and Buddy Holly.”

Sounds marvellous. Bring back Brubecks, that’s what I say!