15 Cross Street

The Bodega became Top of the Town


30 Jan 1965
30 Jan 1965
Dec 1960
Dec 1962

The Bodega was in a basement opposite the Royal Exchange. Upstairs was a bar called the Red Barn. My friend and I used to go there most Saturday nights. I remember the cloakroom attendant was a German girl. The club was turned into a shop selling Goth clthes in the 1970s.

Beryl Coyne (nee Cadman)

I'll never forget the night I walked into the Bodega, and, there on stage....Cyril Davies & the Rhythm and Blues Allstars, with Long John Baldry belting out St. James Infirmary.

I can go to my grave a happy old man.

Barry Sheekey

I first played at the Bodega in around 1959 in a band called 'The Mayfair Jazz Band'.  At that time I don't think any of us had been within a hundred miles of Mayfair; we were all from Gorton, Reddish or Denton, not quite as classy.  The line up was Bill Hough on trumpet, either Don Matley(?)or Chris Lucas on clarinet, Ray Jenks on trombone, Denys Morehouse on Piano, Pete (? - from Denton) on bass and Gig Smith on drums.  Yours truly was on, dare I say, banjo, and guitar. 

I played a guitar with a Selmer pickup through an amp that Denys had converted from an old wireless (and I mean wireless - definitely not a radio).  The fact that I was playing an electric guitar caused a few raised eyebrows amongst the pipe smoking baggy sweatered jazz afficianados who thought that saxophones and electric guitars were the instruments of the devil.  We were supporting Bob Barclay's Yorkshire Jazz Band.  Bob Barclay played tuba and the fact that he was of mixed race gave him immense street cred. That he had a Yorkshire rather than a New Orleans accent seemed to be irrelevant.  

We were pretty bad*, but to us, playing at the Bod was only one step away from playing on 52nd Street.  Soon after, I sold the banjo and bought a pair of Green Suede shoes with the proceeds. A few years later I was resident at the Bodega with the Blues Syndicate.

One other memory I have is of the first time that I went to the Bodega which was probably in 1957 or 1958.  I took a girl called Glenys Orrell who was my ex-girl friend's best mate and I really fancied her. I can't remember who was on, but I do remember that Glenys and I held hands.  Sadly that was about as far as our relationship got.

*On second thoughts, we were VERY bad. 

Pete Crooks

I have fond memories of the Bodega as my brother Don was the manager there for several years.

The approx date was 1960-1970, my two brothers and I worked there on Saturday nights. I worked in the jazz room and we sold Long Life tinned beer.

One brother Eric worked in the cloakroom.

My brother's right hand man was Andy who looked after the beer and bars and his wife Evelyn did the bar food.

My brother rented the jazz room to the impressario Paddy McKeenan and he hired the bands.

If anyone knew my brother Don or his partner Dorothy or me, I would like to hear.

George Roberts

My mum Betty Parsons worked for many years behind the bar and got the chance to listen to some really good jazz performers, Chris Barber, Humphrey Littleton, Kenny Ball and many smaller up and coming '60s groups.

Through Paddy McKeirnan's connection my dad, Johnny Parsons later became the Manager at Mr. Smith's he succeeded Don who was sadly killed in a car crash after work one night.  My mum had many happy memories of the Bodega - did this later become "The Red Barn"?

Angela Devereux (nee Parsons)

Cyril Davies All-Stars with Long John Baldry was indeed a great show, as was The Steam Packet featuring the Brian Auger Trinity, Rod Stewart, Long John Baldry and Julie Driscoll.

The Bodega was a favorite of mine due to the great bands they booked. The Twisted Wheel was good for the all-nighters and many Sheffield musicians of the 60's like myself used to end their local gigs and make the drive across the Snake to attend - thank God there were fewer drink driving laws enforced at the time!

Keep up the good work - nostalgia ain't what it used to be!

John Pearson

I would love to hear from anyone with connections to The Bodga, especially Angela Devereux.

George Roberts

I played at this venue as a member of Dougie Richford's London Jazzmen, whoever put that poster with his name on the side...thanks for ever and ever.  Some records can be heard on youtube if you search for him or my channel under the name of Bill Hales.  Here's a link if it works

Only 2 of that band still breathing now, me and Toni Goffe the bass player.  Colin Bowden, the drummer who joined us from the Ken Colyer band is still bashing away at 80!   Paul Sealey, the banjo/guitar player with the second band is gigging with Chris Barber and sadly Kenny Ball has left us all.

Can anyone from your area remember the clubs at Stockport, Oldham and Altringham?  

I remember Kenny Baker joining us on the stage there and blowing so loud it was awful.

I have only found your page as a girl friend from 50 years ago in Leeds found me on youtube and we are now have a lovely time remembering those days,  she came to Manchester and we drove back over the Pennines.  Happy days. 

Ohhhhh the power of Google and Youtube.

Bill Hales




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Comments (12)

Topic: The Bodega
Pauline Aldridge says...
Belonged to the Bodega modern jazz club, Friday nights, around 1952. It was raided & closed by the police in 1954, due to drug trafficking. Didn't seem fair as we didn't do drugs. The bongo player was a friend, later my friend's ... Read More
9th April 2014 7:55pm
Frank Wilson says...
Met my wife March 9 1964 in the Bodiga. One of the better places to hang out in Manchester, seeing her again was a close run thing as I tripped with my drink a and threw it all over her. Well remember groups like 'The Country Gents'
13th April 2014 10:20pm
Malc Bohm says...
Smile I was the MC & DJ @ The Bodega1959/62. Any one remember? I worked for Paddy McKernan & made lots of friends.
3rd July 2014 8:47am
George roberts says...
Hi There
I knew Paddy quite well, he used to rent the jazz room off my brother Don who mamaged the Bodega. I am sure we knew mutual people there, drop me an email please.
28th August 2016 3:31am
P Smith says...
I remember that night Cyrill Davies and the All stars played, me and my friend Kenny Clark sneaked in with some older guys on a rainy Manchester evening. We were totally knocked out by the music and the smokey atmosphere in the cellar club. I bought ... Read More
9th November 2014 10:04pm
John Walsh says...
I Have many happy memories of the Bodega, Me and my mates used to go there two or three times a week between 1958/63. Wednesday nights was Pete Haslam. Saturday night's a big name Trad band, Andy the barman used to give us the occasional pass ... Read More
5th December 2014 7:02am
Jeff says...
Played the "Bodega" a couple of times supporting Victor Brox Blues Train, and, if I remember correctly John Mayall. DLT was the DJ. who got us a reasonable amount of bookings round the M/cr area. Cheers Dave..
20th August 2015 8:00am
Peter Lomas says...
I first went to the Bodega around 1960, the band playing that night was Bob Wallis Storyville Jazz Band. They were very loud but enthusiastic and I loved them. Later I saw Mick Mulligan with George Melly and saw their never to forgotten version of ... Read More
20th February 2017 2:09am
David Tuson says...
Smile I met my wife Margaret in September 1964at the Bodega - after almost 50 years of married life that day was the most formative of my life!
28th March 2017 3:40pm
george says...
I can relate to Dave/Peter/John post a little, as my brother ran the Bodega for many years. Andy was his bar manager with his wife Evelyn. I would love to hear from any of the above. write to
28th March 2017 7:17pm
george says...
Hi Guys A bit more info on Bodega. My brother Don, was manager/director of The Bodega for many years. Andy and his wife Evelyn ran the bar and snacks. Dorothy Kaufman was the secretary . Don rented out the jazz room to Paddy McKeenan and he employed ... Read More
28th March 2017 7:54pm
Cheyan (Manchester) says...
Does anyone remember slim traynor, the hillbilly bandits, are there any photos or footage of them playing?!
17th January 2018 10:01am

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