They’ve found the keys! Liverpool’s historic bar, The Magnet, is back – and pinging back into action. Getintothis’ Luke Traynor talks to artistic director bro Johnny Mellor.
A slice of glitzy Las Vegas is now blazing brightly in a newly-revamped Liverpool nightclub.
Magnet in the city centre has recently reopened its doors after being closed for months for an extensive overhaul.
The renowned Hardman Street nightspot is aiming to bring its former retro-feel back to life with a chic new look that hails straight from the USA.
One of the man bar’s features a row of gleaming pinball machines, fixed into the wall, which were plucked from the smokey Las Vegas gambling halls of the 1970s.
They were snapped up by a friend of Magnet‘s artistic director Johnny Mellor who bought the machines during his time in America.
Purloined from different hotels on The Strip including The Stardust, the pinball machines form a razzmatazz backdrop to the far end of the basement club.
With leather booths installed and the club’s red-light Moulin Rouge-look to the fore, 1950-style bric-a-brac is dotted throughout the premises.
Recreating Blackpool promenade glamour and tease, Mr Mellor took his interior inspiration from his time touring Europe as a music tour manager.
The overhaul in Magnet follows an injection of cash from Circus resident DJ Lewis Boardman and Chibuku promoter Rich McGinnis.
New toilets, plumbing and flooring has been installed as the club management try to recapture the success story it enjoyed in the 1990s.
Johnny Mellor, from Magnet, said: ‘Twenty years ago, this was a cool club with no adverts, full of Bohemian charm which was ticking over nicely.
‘The 24-hour licensing rules led to the wrong sort of people coming and those who fed off our good name.
‘Now, it’s about going back to the old days, with good doorstaff to keep the wrong sort of people outside.
‘The place has been gutted, stripped back and made a lot sturdier. The music will be alternative and club nights on 4am.
‘It’s for people slightly older than the youngsters who are still up for it, but want somewhere to shack up without music blasting their ears off.‘
Urban myth suggested a mural underneath the plaster was painted by by fifth-Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe.
Magnet has a rich history with Queen and Freddie Mercury playing one of their first gigs here when the venue was called The Sink.
An old snap of Magnet.
Bob Dylan visited the club, and in more recent times, model Sophie Dahl and actor Samuel L Jackson regularly frequented the club during his time filming 51st State in the city.
Former owner Neil English was known for being the first club boss to openly welcome black people into The Sink.
Norman Killen, former Cavern and Sink disc jockey, recalled: ‘Being at the top of town, close to Toxteth, it became a favourite place for the black community, and because it played a lot of jazz.’
The Magnet on Facebook.