documenting the optical sounds of '60s pop, Acid Punk & Psychedelia

The Bag O’Nails Club, London

Come with the NME to the Bag O’Nails discotheque where things rave on all night!

About The Club

Swinging London has one club raving seven nights a week – the Bag O’Nails in Kingly Street, near Carnaby Street and just off Regent Street, in London’s West End, and it’s one of the few places where one can still see London at its grooviest.

But what may amaze many of its teenage patrons is that their parents may well have jitterbugged at the Bag to the sound of Ike Hatch, a coloured jazz singer-bandleader, who was one of the club’s top attractions in the 1930’s.

The club was revived last year by agent-manager John Gunnell and London club-owner Lawrie Leslie. Since its oak-beamed doors first swung open to the pop hungry public the club has seldom had a night when it’s been anything less than crowded.

Although the Bag is all on one level, alcove tables provide privacy for anyone wanting to have a quiet drink or talk business although often this is not possible because of the volume of the bands which play there. But then most people go to the club simply to enjoy themselves.

Regulars at the Bag O’Nails include Georgie Fame and his fiance Carmen, Eric Burdon, Zoot Money, Chris Farlowe and Geno Washington.

The Rolling Stones like it and the Beatles occasionally look in. Brian Epstein is sometimes seen talking business with his partner Robert Stigwood and Micky Dolenz went down when he was in London.

The original idea was that the Bag O’Nails should be more comfortable and roomier than its contemporaries. Certainly it is comfortable but unfortunately on some nights the popularity of the club exceeds its size – particularly if a name artist is appearing.

Membership at the Bag O’Nails is three guineas a year and admittance varies between 7s. 6d. and 12s. 6d., depending on the night of the week. If a top name is appearing naturally the prices are higher.

A measure of gin or Scotch costs 3s. 6d. but some people prefer to buy it by the bottle, which would cost £5 10s. The club is also open for late-night meals.

Unlike most other London discotheques the Bag is open on Sunday – a boon to the people who go there after concerts at the Saville Theatre.

Groups play “live” every night and top American singers frequently open their British club tours there.

NME – 01/04/67

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