Opened by Edward Fewtrell in 1966 as Rebecca’s – named after his eldest daughter – the premises operated along similar lines to later opened Edward’s Number 7 and Edward’s Number 8 bar and nightclub which were housed in an adjacent building in opening in 1979. On the ground floor accessed from John Bright Street was Rebecca’s Brasserie, and to the rear, accessed from Lower Severn Street, was the nightclub part of the venue which occupied the upper floors (if my memory serves me correctly Edward Fewtrell’s office was on the very top floor) and was originally divided into the Cabasa, the Blue Soul and the Sin Bin.
The view above shows the ‘Geoffrey Buildings’ that housed the venue on the now pedestrianised John Bright Street – which was once a main thoroughfare with both the number 45 and 47 bus routes having their termini opposite the front of the club – with Lower Severn Street running off to the left of the shot.
In later years the club and bar ware renamed Boogies and Boogie’s Brasserie (the only bar where I’ve ever witenessed a mounted policeman entering a premises still on horseback during a particularly lively disagreement with ‘the Zulus’ during the mid 1980s!), respectively, and were – certainly during the early to mid-1980s – always packed and a popular haunt being as it was at the time, in the epicentre of club life in Birmingham. I’m sure anyone who frequented Boogies will recall Norman ‘Nobby’ Nobbs lurking outside the entrance drumming up business in his inimitable ‘market trader’ style and harassing the queuing minions with his banter!
Sadly, as with the rest of Edward Fewtrell’s clubs, Ansell’s Leisure bought Boogies in 1989 and renamed it Orleans and the nightclub part befell a fire which gutted the premises leading to its partial demolition and rebuilding more in keeping with the Westside Development Scheme . . . which was a stroke of luck for the impending development!