Mostly bikers went into this place in the early 60s. I was still at school. We walked from Old Moat Lane, and up Palantine Road. It was just around the corner after the Florist.
We could only afford one drink, we had coca cola - we could make it last longer than coffee, the straw was very soggy after a few hours.
My Dad used to ask if I had been to The Closed Book when I got home. He never could get the name right.
Well, by 66 it was very much a mod hang-out along with the Cona and Mogambo in town.
Wow..what a groovy place The Swinging Door was - and the smell of the coffee as you walked down the stairs.
We were Mods then, and local to the place.
Lots of times the Mod crowd would be sat around chatting and drinking their coffees..then a roar of motorcycles outside meant we were going to be evicted at once by a crowd of leather clad " Greasers" arriving to take over the place.Then a few weeks later our gang of Mods would do the same if there was enough of us!
We would drive past on our scooters, and if there were scooters outside the place we went in..if there were Triumphs and BSA's outside we gave the place a wide berth until it was Mod friendly again..just so many happy memories from then.
My wife, Heather and I used to pop in to the Swinging Door whenever we were visiting the laundromat nearby. We were no Mods but enjoyed the coffee and the music.
A big "thank you" Manchester Beat .... I have racked my brains for years now trying to remember the name of the Swinging Door.
My sister (Mavis) and myself were the only girls there with a scooter - mine started off a deep turquoise colour, then I painted it psychedelic. It was great.
(See image on right)
I particularly remember a guy we called "Joe the Jew" ... he was tall, dark, and handsome (and knew it). He always wore very expensive suits. And he was the biggest snob I had ever met. He got hit by a mini one day and ended up with his leg in plaster. He was so embarrassed that it was only a mini that had hit him - we never heard the end of it. He had a brother called Anwar (who was even better looking than Joe)
I remember going out with him one night (in his car, not on my scooter) and it broke down miles from nowhere and I had to spend the night in the car with him. (it was all very innocent!!) My mother went "ape" when I got home the next day.
If anybody remembers me I'd love to hear from them.
Paul(webmaster) has Joanie's email address
I came across your site today when I searched for the Swinging Door café in Didsbury on a whim. I am Wythenshawe born and bred, attending Burnage in my secondary education. I bought my first scoot, an LI 150 widestyle in November 1965, and progressed on to a TVR 175, GT200 and and SX 200. My GT had front and back cash bars, front and back carriers, backrest, Florida bars (at 45 degrees), spare wheel, fly screen, alloy front mudguard, chrome twin stack exhaust, chrome side panels, 18 mirrors and 12 spotlights.
I used to go to the Swinging Door but then rode with the Wythenshawe scooter boys who used to go to the Wythenshawe bowl at night after evenings in the Portway.
I also knew the Middleton scooters boys who hung out at the Jungfrau and also the Stockport scooter boys. Used to go to the Oasis, the old wheel, the masque, which earned me an unfavourable comment in my first report in my first job.
Got banned for 12 months on my scoot so didn’t drive as much, used to go to Spring Gardens Tuesdays, Top of the Town Thursdays, Takis Fridays and every other night Sound. I borrowed some records from sound which I still have and which have Sound written on them. They also put white stickers on records to stop them being nicked – I have some of those as well.
Can scan them if you are interested in putting them on your site. I would like to contribute to your site if you think it is appropriate.
Was back in Manchester in May for a couple of weeks
Absolutely loved the swingin door they used to do a fantastic Salad Sandwich with boiled egg dripping with salad cream im 60 and find it hard to believe that I was quite happy just sitting with a coke for 3 hrs just happy to hang out with the crowd. I was a mod and just loved anybody who owned LAMBRETTA yes!!