31st December 1977: The Swingin' Apple, 18-22 Wood
This was the final Warsaw gig
Richie remembers the venue: " The Wilsons is
now the Revolution above that used to be a gay bar called
the Bar Royal and above that Freewheelers (briefly the
Nightriders when first opened). The block was owned by
Sadie - famous club onwer and character in Liverpool from
the 60s onwards and the lot was sold after his death. Bar
Royal / Freewheelers is now tha Camel club after being
briefly absorbed into the Krazyhouse (metal club) next
door before being sold on.
I'm sure it was the Wilsons that was the Swingin' Apple
but was too young to know it and some people reckoned it
was the whole block or even just the top floor
(Freewheelers) sorry can't be more help there. I did know
some people who claimed that they were at the Warsaw gig.
This side of town was very much a harder core antithesis
to the Erics arty punk crowd over at Mathew street and
Warsaw (as opposed to Joy Division) were namedchecked a
bit by the older skinheads that were still around for
Then and now (2009) - which club was on which floor
More info from: http://link2wales.co.uk/liverpool-n-z/liverpool-sl-sz/
Swinging Apple - club that ran 77/78 and was thought to
be for those not cool enough for Eric’s. it was the top
floor of a place in Seel St, of the 3 levels, the bottom
two were gay bars/clubs (Samantha’s Club and the Bar
Royal), it did eventually turn into the biker club
“Nightriders”. In summer of 1977 when bands played,
between sets they would go to cool off on the back stairs,
some of the staff and regulars from the 2 bars below soon
found those, young sweaty boys, they would furnish them
with drinks, obviously hoping to score! Club got a mention
in Julian Cope’s ‘Head On’ book. Margi Clarke’s brother,
Frank Clarke (Letter to Brezhnev etc) was orig manager.
The DJ was Peter Thomas (Beyond The Implode backing
vocalist). Eddie Smith says; ‘I remember bringing along a
bag of punk / new wave records on the opening night
because while Peter had some good punk stuff, he didn’t
have enough to spread over the whole night.
Unfortunately, because the new fangled pogo dancing
caused the floor to bounce, a weight had to be put on the
record deck playing arm to stop the needle from jumping.
This, in turn, scarred some top-level vinyl with horrible
scratches.The Liverpool punk in-crowd were all there. I
remember Pete Burns laying on the floor the whole night,
probably getting off on the pogo vibrations’. On New Years
Eve, a Manchester band called Warsaw played their last gig
under that name at the venue before changing it to Joy
Division. The Apple’s days were numbered when it became a
bit of a battleground for punk versus teddy boy warfare
and tended to be a place were the average fun-seeker
avoided. An image-change as the Fat Club (complete with
murals of hamburgers, chips, ice cream etc on the walls)
didn’t really take off and the place was closed.
John (Elvis) remembers the Apple:
I remember 'the apple' very well .I used to go there quite
often and remember people like Banjo, box head, gonzo,
Nigel, tony clark, tony burns, mad mary, pete burns, pez,
jay, and many others. I was a teddyboy and never had any
trouble in the apple. contrary to popular belief there was
no big conflict between teds and punks in 77,78, 79 etc,
But there was a little grief between the rockabillies/teds
and the neo mods that sprang up after the movie
Quadrophenia was released in 79 ( I think ) . On the whole
teds, punks, mods and any other cult/ minority groups got
on great and we generally went to each others bars and
clubs. I even went out with a modette named Karen for 5 or
6 months. No, the main source of grief for all of us were
the 'squares' those numbskull beauts who are the 'mister
aimless' middle of the road donkeys who will dress in
whatever fashion, listen to what ever music, is foisted on
them and whose reaction to anyone who looks different is "
Hahaha look at him, he's not wearing flares and platforms
like us, Look, he hasnt got long hair in a centre part
like us, he's got a quiff...........Get him! "
As regards the apple it was on the top floor and the bar
below was called 'ceasers' it used to be full of bouncers
drinking there after hours, below that on the ground floor
was the bar royal, which always had the door shut. inside,
the apple was painted black, it had a small room with a
bar and seating with tables around the walls. The opposite
wall to the one where you entered had an arched opening
each end with a wall about 10 ft long connecting them.
Going through these arches took you on to a small dance
floor and there was a small stage about 18" high across
the back wall. It was a tiny club totally out of
proportion in relation to its effect on those who went
there, and those who later wished they had gone there.
I loved the apple it was totally genuine, no poseurs,
unlike Erics, which I also liked and went to, to see the
bands, both punk eg xray specs and later rockabilly eg the
The apple later became the dada bar but it was on its last
legs by 79.
It was the only bar in wood street that I remember in the
late 70's. There was only the Swan at the very top and
Maxwells Plum at the very bottom on the junction with
hannover street. The empire pub was an old mans pub and
shut at 10.30pm. It was a dark gloomy street but loads of
fun for us.
Other people remember there was no stage. Bands had
to perform on the floor and musicians often had to step to
one side mid performance to let someone get to the toilet.