Quadrant Park and the madness of 1990

Liverpool didn’t embrace acid house early on like Manchester did. House was dismissed as a fad in 1987 and the acid variety of a year later was seen viewed with suspicion by most Scousers. In Liverpool, apart from the odd club like the Mardi Gras and the Underground, house was strictly for Mancs and Cockneys. Who needed to jack their body when you could mong out to Floyd on your sofa?

Then Quadrant Park happened.

Located in Bootle, the Quad looked like a shoe warehouse from the outside and a Magaluf fun pub from the in. Four or five miles from the city centre, it was the sort of place that drew in its custom by sending out mass 18th birthday party invites with pictures of champagne bottles on the front. I once went to one such do there, where I was pursued by girl with bright red hair and a mad hat. It being pre-acid house, she'd been attracted by my Rick Astley-influenced outfit of spotted tie, blazer and chinos.

Then in 1990, rumours surfaced about the new nights at Quadrant Park, that this most townie of Merseyside nightclubs had betrayed its ‘cop off and get smacked’ traditions by ‘going house’. I went back on a Monday night to see LFO and sure enough, house it most certainly had gone, as you could tell by the fact the owners were selling Lucozade behind the bar for rather more than it cost in the shops. They even shut off the cold water in the toilets to give it that authentic acid vibe, the scamps.

Despite the fact that LFO didn’t show on that night, the place was properly mental. The music was a mix of British ‘bleep’ techno and Italian piano tracks, danced to by frighteningly skinny local scals and out-of-towners, some of whom wore kaftans just to prove they’d been to the acid house Harrod’s, Affleck’s Palace. Drug-takers or not, we were all swept up in its euphoric Scouse house wave.

As the club became bigger and bigger, the profits that could be had brought in the gangsters, and ultimately, the people who’d made the Quad what it was went somewhere else, specifically the new night that was starting on Slater Street near the legendary Conti club. Nice people, Balearic vibe, no wonder they called it Cream. Liverpool had got acid house at last.


  1. Happy days there la. I remember the first time I went to Quadrant Park. Couldn't believe it. A sweatbox filled with a collection of the hardest, meanest-looking people you could ever come across, only they were dancing like nutters on the bar and grinning from ear to ear and loving each other up in an atmosphere I've never experienced anywhere else. When All Join Hands came on the place went nuts. It was, without over-exaggerating the point, a glimpse into what the world could be. I went most weeks until it all got very moody and people started getting mugged and stabbed on the dancefloor. Thankfully, 051, Smile and then Cream were kicking off in the city centre. Good times indeed

  2. Anonymous8:59 pm

    The best days of my teenage life...

  3. Anonymous12:06 pm

    They were playing house at The State Back in 88 (Liverpool First Acid House Club) Got a flyer for Daisy Age Acid House Night at the State from October 88...plus a few there from 89....Drew

    1. Good call – I should have mentioned the State in the piece. The She was better, mind.

  4. Anonymous1:58 pm

    the basement in birkenhead first

  5. Anonymous4:33 pm

    birkenhead is not in liverpool la

  6. Anonymous10:42 pm

    Loved even time I went Corky

  7. Anonymous10:31 pm

    quad coconut grove the state

  8. The pivvy just off lodge lane


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