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Beatles Shrine Fights For New Life

Family of Former Beatle to Reopen Historical Coffee Shop

January 29, 1999 12:00 AM ET

With such albums under his belt as Best of the Beatles, The Beatle That Time Forgot and Once a Beatle, Always..., Pete Best has never seemed in a terrible hurry to put the past behind him -- and it's a trait that evidently runs in the family. Roag Best, brother and now manager for the pre-Ringo Beatles drummer, is looking to re-open the Casbah, one of the venues where the band got its start.

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the opening of the makeshift coffee house that was started by Pete and Roag's mother, Mona, to provide young bands with a place to play in the late Fifties. The venue, located in the basement of the Best's large home in West Derby, Liverpool, has been closed since the early Sixties, but with Pete Best touring again and the anniversary just around the corner, the timing seems right for a little Beatlemania.

It seems the British National Trust paved the way for profiting from Beatle family homes when they strayed from traditional castle purchases last summer and invested in the McCartney home where Paul spent his formative Beatle days. According to Beatles Festival organizers, there has always been a demand by fans to see the Casbah, with the only reservation to opening the venue sooner being the basement was not equipped to accommodate the crowds.

Plans are in the works to open the coffee bar in accordance with the annual Beatles Convention, a Fab Four gathering that takes place in the Merseyside city every August. Whether the Casbah will remain a permanent fixture or just be available for special events remains unclear.

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