The 2i's Coffee Bar: Difference between revisions

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The name of the 2i's derived from earlier owners, Freddie and Sammy Irani, who ran the venue until 1955.<ref name=storytellers>[ Musicstorytellers: People With 2i’s]. Retrieved 24 October 2013</ref> It was then taken over by Paul Lincoln &ndash; an [[Australian]] [[wrestler]] known as "Dr. Death" and wrestling [[Promoter (entertainment)|promoter]] &ndash; and Ray Hunter. They opened it as a coffee bar on 22 April 1956.<ref name=birthplace>[ 2 I's Coffee bar, The Birthplace of British Rock]. Retrieved 25 October 2013</ref><ref name=glinert>[ Ed Glinert, ''The London Compendium: A Street-by-street Exploration of the Hidden Metropolis'', Penguin UK, 2004]</ref> Tom Littlewood, previously its doorman and a [[judo]] instructor, became its manager in 1958.<ref name=storytellers/>
The [[basement]] of the coffee bar had [[live music]] making use of a small, 18-inch wide stage. Lincoln and Hunter started putting on [[skiffle]] groups; the first resident group were [[The Vipers Skiffle Group|the Vipers]], who included [[Wally Whyton]]. It soon won a clientele attracted because of its [[rock and 'n'roll]] music, and for a time became "the most famous music venue in England," and attracted talent spotters and music promoters such as [[Jack Good (producer)|Jack Good]], [[Larry Parnes]] and [[Don Arden]].<ref name=birthplace/>
The coffee bar allowed standing room for about 20 people, and had a serving counter with an [[espresso]] coffee machine, orange juice dispenser, and sandwich display case. A door at the back led to the manager's office, and a narrow stairway led down to a "dismal and dark cellar about the size of a large bedroom, lit by a couple of weak bulbs. At one end was the small 18 inch stage made of milk crates with planks on top of them. There was just one microphone, left over from the [[Boer War]], and some speakers up on the wall."<ref name=birthplace/>
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