Not living in the city centre anymore it has become one of my goals to visit the recently reopened Jacaranda whenever I’m in town. My first visit was always going to be one of apprehension and nerves. A famous historical venue for the city certainly, but on a personal level it was one of my most frequented haunts as a student. Three floors that all offered something different in terms of a vibe; you could get bottles of Stella for a pound, and Fieldy and Little Col (hope I got those names right) did a tremendously enjoyable open mic in the basement, where you could just sit off in the graffiti covered caves and spend evening after evening not doing any uni work.
The new Jacaranda has remained true to itself, and each time I visit I feel like that this important part of my past hasn’t just been stripped away and replaced with something new and shiny, but my memories can still reside there and I’ll be able to make new ones as well.
Speaking of which, it was on my most recent visit when I discovered, to my absolute delight, that the top floor had been made into a fantastic coffee shop/vinyl store – something it apparently used to be on the first floor back in the 1950s. Immediately I was struck by what an inspired idea this was and, not only that, but how well it had been executed. This isn’t just any normal vinyl store or indeed a coffee shop; barring the new release section customers are invited to select any of the records from the Jac’s collection, take them back to one of their comfy leather booths and then listen to it.
This is made possible by each table having a vinyl player on its top and multiple speakers built into the seats; you just sit down, put your record on and away you go. It’s also possible to listen through headphones which you can get behind the bar, and there is even the option of listening to what the people at other tables are listening to on their turntable! It’s a wonderful way to shop for old records as any that take your fancy can simply be purchased on the way out, or alternatively just placed back on the shelf and you’re free to go about your day.
Obviously by day it’s calling itself a coffee shop, serving what I’m told is excellent coffee (I had a beer…you can still have a beer) made with a first class machine, which you can then have served up with a fresh handmade sandwich, or a piece of cake, whilst you listen to your chosen records.
Not content with being the city’s new go-to place to enjoy vinyl, they’ve even got their hands on a genuine 1948 Voice O Graph booth from the States – and it isn’t just for show. You can actually go inside and sing or play, and record your very own 7” vinyl to take home. Like a photo booth for making records. The only other machine of its kind which is believed to be open to the public currently resides in none other than Jack White’s Record Store/Recording Studio Third Man Records in Nashville. Jack White 1, the city of Liverpool 1 – pretty good result I’d say.
The Jac has actually managed to come back into my life with more to offer than ever before. I’ve already been in touch with one or two people who I just know will love the idea of having a nice cold beer (or a coffee I guess), kicking back and listening to a few classic records to fill an afternoon. Wish something like this was around years ago – but I guess I’ll just have to make the most of it now.