Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Klooks Kleek / The Station Hotel -the pub with the richest music history in London?

One serious contender for this title is the Railway Hotel in West Hampstead. During the 1960's it ran a weekly club night known as Klooks Kleek.
Originally a jazz club, the music changed to reflect the new interest in Rhythm and Blues. West and South West London were UK blues centres in the early '60's, and a number of small venues became part of a thriving new club scene including the Marquee, the Flamingo, the Ricky Tick, and the Crawdaddy. Klooks was small upstairs function room. Unlike other venues it had no stage at all. There were no mixing desks, lighting rigs, or sound checks; the bands just tuned up and played. While the Graham Bond Organisation was probably the most respected band of that era, others went on to much more success, among them the Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Animals, Eric Clapton, Family, The Who, Rod Stewart, Cream, Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin all of whom played at Klooks. There was also Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band, Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds, Georgie Fame, Herbie Goins and the Nightimers, Geno Washington and the Ram-Jam band, Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers. Occasionally, American bluesmen would drop in -Howlin' Wolf was there, and Jimi Hendrix jammed with John Mayall.

By the late '60's, the scene had moved on, and the venue was renamed the Moonlight Club with bands like Siouxsie And The Banshees, The Cure, The Jam, Joy Division, and The Stone Roses playing gigs there early in their careers.

The Railway still features some live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

The Railway, West Hampstead , 100, West End Lane, NW6 2LU


  1. As an 18 year old in the 60’s and living only a mile from here I often visited.
    You needed to arrive early to get a spot near the front
    Only good music beer and nothing else. My favourites were Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames and Zoot

  2. I went there in the mid sixties -already remembered it as in a basement! Saw John Mayall with Clapton etc, also Brian Auger with Julie Driscoll....

  3. Used to queue on the stairs. Saw Fleetwood Mac, Duster Benett, The Nice, Family amongst others. Got an ultra violet stamp on the back of your hand if you were going down to the bar where the locals drank.

  4. I have just published a book on the history of Klooks with help from Dick Jordan and Geoff Williams who ran the club from 1961 to 1970.
    'Decca Studios and Klooks Kleek', The History Press.
    Half the book is about Decca Studios which was next door, and at the back of the book there is a list of every band and when they played at Klooks.

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