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Wednesday, January 27, 1999 Published at 17:41 GMT


Drinking coffee with the Beatles

The Beatles collecting their MBE's from Buckingham Palace in 1965

Plans are in the pipeline for the re-opening of the basement coffee shop some think of as the real birthplace of the Beatles.

Roag Best, brother of original Fab Four drummer Pete, is planning to open the venue for its 40th anniversary in August. He hopes it will lead to the club becoming a permanent feature on the Liverpool tourist trail.

The Casbah Coffee Club, located in the cellar of the Best family home, was where the Beatles first played with the original line-up of Pete Best, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

[ image: Ringo (center-right) joined the band after they played at the Casbah]
Ringo (center-right) joined the band after they played at the Casbah
Other famous Merseybeat groups such as The Searchers and Gerry and the Pacemakers also starred at the club.

The Casbah was first opened in August 1959 by Pete and Roag's mother Mona Best. It soon became a popular hangout for young music fans from all over Merseyside but closed in 1962. Except for a special one-day event 15 years ago, it has been shut ever since.

The house stayed in the Best family and they say the cellar is still identical to the way it looked from 1959-62 - with the exception of a fresh lick of paint.

If the Casbah is permanently re-opened to the public, the Bests hope it will become as popular as other Liverpool landmarks made famous by the Beatles such as Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane and the recently opened 20 Forthlin Road - the childhood home of Paul McCartney.

"We want to do it properly by booking people in with a guide to tell them the full story of the Casbah," said Mr Best.

"There is a lot to be told. The Casbah has a very interesting history and we plan to give them the full story."

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