Top of the Town (Cross St)

At the time, Rowntrees owned four popular clubs:

  • Top of the Town
  • Sound
  • Seen/Takis 
  • Spring Gardens

with all but the last featuring groups two or three nights a week. Top of the Town was my favourite venue - the clientele a little more "souly" than "poppy".

I remember working there with Jimmy "What becomes of the brokenhearted" Ruffin, very much down on his luck and coming over to us as a bighead. We had to clear the stage for him and then found out his band - Campus, a Manchester based backing band - had arrived with no gear. Out it all had to come!

Paul Mlynarz - Phoenix City Smash 

I particularly remember Top of the Town on Cross Street which used to have a record shop called Spin Inn at street level. The DJ in the late 60s and early 70s was called Gary Laine, I seem to remember and he managed the shop too.

My friends were Glenys Withington, Kath Walker, David Holt and Mike Curtis. Happy days!

Melanie McNeeney I remember so fondly Top of the Town on Cross Street. I also remember the DJ, Gary Laine, where is he now, does anyone know. My friends at the time there were Brenda Smith, Leslie Cooper, danced many a night away there. Happy days.

Catherine Barrow (nee Dillon)

I have just read Paul Swarbrick's account of when he was working on Whitworth St in Manchester and how he used to go to Takis at lunchtime and enjoy the music. I was really pleased to read that as I was the DJ during those lunchtime sessions.

My DJ name was Pete Roscoe and as well as the lunchtime sessions I also did Top of the Town,and Rowntrees in the evenings. Does anyone recall the Miss Supertakis beauty contest that we had, I arranged that together with Mr Paul Partakis who was the Manager and part of the family that owned the group of clubs 


Just to say after having lunch at Sam's Chophouse with a friend who works at 15 Cross Street. I asked him if i could take a nostalgic walk around. Such memories - we stood where the bar was as I remember it, needless to say it's now an internal car park.

But never mind, I still felt in good spirits. The dance floor is now offices - none of the wall plan remains.

I can add it to my yearly sojourn to the Oasis which as you already know is a car park. What have they done to Manchester? 

Alan Fildes - 28/2/09

I think Top of the Town was one of the best clubs in Manchester when they became mainly discoteques after 1966.

All the guys wore brown or green mohair suits, with Jaytex or Sherman shirts with Slazender v-neck jumpers or slipovers. The girls often in mohair suits too with short feathered hair like Julie Driscoll.

The music was great not just soul but lots of Bluebeat, Carolina by the Folks Bros, Ethiopians etc. The DJ Gary Laine was great too.

There was an upstairs a kind of long room with a bar at the end, was this the Red Barn of the former Bodega? 

Warren Taylor - 9/8/09

Top of the Town was THE best club in Manchester, I used to go every Saturday with my friend Lorna, travelling on the train from Bury - and getting the last possible one back which was probably about 10:30 in 1968!! Well, we were only about 15......

The soul music played there set me on a lifelong love for Motown - I have lived down south for many years but have happy memories of this club. 

Also can remember DLT at Mr Smiths I think it was, and used to go to the Twisted Wheel, and Rowntrees Spring Gardens. I have never seen any pics of Top of the Town - do any exist?

Kathy - 27/5/10

Started going to Top of the Town in 1970 with my friend Margaret. I too still play the records I bought from The Spin Inn on my lunch time. This for me was the start of a lifetime passion for Northern Soul!

When I hear The Elgins 'Heaven must have sent you' I'm there on that dance floor again wearing my Ossie Clark dress! I was there on the night it closed, broke my heart.

Lorna Simpson - 5/9/10

I also used to get the late train home.........Kathy.........was Bridge your second name , did you live on Bolton Road. My first taste of soul music, had to borrow a birth certificate as id.

Jess Fisher - 25/10/10

68 - 69 - 70 - the best time! Does anyone remember Frank Healy, Dennis Wilson & Jimmy Grimes? Also Time and Place and Nice and Easy - brilliant memories!

Jim Neild - 27/4/11

Attended the Wheel from 63 with the Eccles/Salford crew - most passed on now. Anybody remember me?

Mike Leonard - 27/4/11

When the Twisted Wheel closed, we spent some of our time in our (local) in town The City Arms. One night my old mate Johnny Richards came in blue mohair suit,and white stiff collar shirt, we all had to change, we got hair cuts, new modern clothes, we went to the Top of the Town.

We were amazed lots of attractive grown up girls, it was a great place, slightly different music, met new people, fitted in with our new lifestyle, it was more for the weekend rather than mid week but a good night out. Happy days.

Peter Byrne - 26/5/11

I worked at Top of the Town 1970/71. There was two bouncers I knew Jimmy and Mike, they did Spring Gardens and Sound as well. I went out for a short time with a barmaid who worked at TOTT,she was called Brenda and lived in Middleton.

Does anyone know of whereabouts,I would love to know,what happened to her since then. I remember her coming to my house Xmas Eve 1969,good party had lots of beer because most of the guests myself included worked at Wilsons Brewery.

Paul Hopkinson - 26/9/11

Another great club, Rowntrees. Used to go in the late 60's, dance all night, then thumb a lift home, not recommended these days. I had a few scrapes, but nothing serious. We used to stand outside the club and just thumb, never had Sto wait more than a minute.

Amy Harris - 22/4/12 

Anyone remember Jimmy Howarth or Howard. He worked on the door at Top of the Town. He worked with my dad and used to let us all in for nothing, great for impressing girls. All it cost was a half of guiness, and leave it on the fag machine.

I was 15 when we started going in there, we all thought is was the best thing ever, the music was brilliant, the atmosphere was was always good, also we went in Spring Gardens and Sound, what a time that was, it will never be replaced, loved every minute of it.

Pete Connolly - 25/5/12

Top of the Town was my fav place. Used to like a boy called Lyn Harding - he was Welsh but I went out with Mike Scott and married him. Went to all underground clubs some are opening again, like the Gas Lamp on Bridge St. Margaret Morton now Scott

Guess who I am POSITIVE I saw in Marks and Spencer on Sunday. Gary Laine, the DJ from Top of the Town. Still good looking after all these years.

Catherine - 25/01/2013

I used to go to Top of the Town in the late 1960s early 1970s and remember another dj there called Jimmy Rydell. Also after him a guy called Dave the Rave, also remember the Spin Inn and as you walked down the steps a huge glass window full of american import singles and all the top Tamla and soul singles.

There was always one with a big arrow pointing to it saying record of the week. This was usually played by Gary Laine on a sat/sun night in the club.

Happy memories of a great time in my life.

Alan Kelly - 24/3/13

I was one of the djs at Rowntrees/Nice and Easy/Time and Place. I rember all the good sounds that we played .

Montz Carn, Stue Dean, Mike Shaft - any one know where they are now? Would like to meet up again and talk of old but good times.

Also would like to see Linda Jackson again to say sorry - it was the worst thing I ever did. Linda knows what I mean.

Paul Bates - 31/3/13

Top of the Town ... very happy memories of dancing the night away there.Fab music and also saw a few groups there including Edwin Starr.

I just have to hear any Tamla music and I am transported there.Met loads of handsome blokes (one a life long flame) there dancing around our handbags...
There was always a good crowd and a fantastic atmosphere and no trouble ,or am I remembering thru rose coloured glasses?

Seems like only yesterday but it was 40 plus years ago!....

We used to spend all our money so never had the money for bus home our answer was to take our slippers in our handbags! and walk home in them.We wore platforms, clogs and Derber wedges....which were great but hard to walk in at the end of night.Happy happy times thank you TOP OF THE TOWN X

Christine Rogers (was Shipley) - 9/4/13

Oh my word - all the people that went to Top of the Town. Any one remember me and mary worked behind bar in 1967.

Mary went on to live with Jimmy the doorman. I also worked at Rowntrees Spring Gardens.

All four clubs where owned by greek family. In 1975 I got a bar job at Gennives? spelt wrong!! on Dickenson Rd, the old Oceans 11 which they also brought after they had sold off the other clubs.

I worked tues/wed 8-1 for £3 a nite!! When we worked at Top of the Town as it was only open pub hours went on to Mr Smiths or Time and Place!! Mad happy times! 

Ruth Hayes - 8/6/13

Top of the Town was the first real club in the city centre I ever went to in 1972. I worked with a guy called Les Jones from New Moston and we took two girls from work whose names escape me.

I was 17 and didn't really drink but managed to get really drunk on the Double Diamond they were serving. I remember staggering round the bus station trying to find the bus to Urmston and then completely trashing my bedroom "sleepwalking" after the beer ... a lot of explaining was required in the morning.

I also remember buying lots of motown in "Spin INN" which was run by Gary Laine. Who was probably the Peter Stringfellow of his day !!!! Sorry Peter!!

Les Whatt - 2/9/13

My favourite memory of Top of the Town was a Friday night in September 1967.

We'd played there & gone down really well with the regular crowd. This was when "Andy" Anderson was still with "Oliver's Twist" (before he joined "Phoenix City Smash").

Our crappy van was buggered, so after the gig we had to wait in the back alley guarding our equipment until friends could come & rescue us. We eventually stored the gear at Andy's office in Burnage, collected our Lambretta's & headed back towards Andy's house. I unfortunately didn't make it; I was on the wrong end of a "Hit & Run" on Stockport Rd in Levenshulme.

I ended up in Withington Hospital for months; fortunately for me they mananged to save my leg. I ended up going out with a staff nurse & we used to get all the gigs for the nurses dances; which were brilliant! Great memories!

Dave Tommins - 2/9/13

Friday night was always top of the Town night for us, dark green suit with 8 buttons on each sleeve,(my mate Roy P had 10)brogues, ben sherman shirt button down collar felt on top of the world, a pass out to the thatched house pub round the corner for a bar football mini tournament what was that bar attached to the top of the town with the entrance at the rear but you could get in and out to the topper (slang we used for the top of the town) then down to Super Takis on Saturday night (which was always a trek from Victoria bus station & Round trees Spring gardens Sundays

A meat & potato pie at Louis van (a tight man never got away with a penny less)at Victoria bus station & onto the late night number 8 bus on Friday & Saturday night to Bolton (miss that last one at quarter 3 and it was a long walk across chapel street dropping off at Ali Ga) was entertainment plus & it dropped us off at the top of langworthy road Salford for a walk down as far as the Langworthy hotel where we lived neareby

Fortunate enough to go out with Miss takis in 1967(or maybe she was the lucky one, she was older than me )whatever did happen to Linda Bridle who worked at Edna Glynne clothes shop corner of St Annes Square Manchester, lived in Swinton and whose father owned the Ellesmere Cinema on the East Lancs Road. 

Mike Reilly - 21/9/13

Started going downtown in about 67 with my great mates Martin Mcann and Eamonn Kavangah. We were regulars at Top of the Town, Sound, Spring Gardens, Wood Street Bier Keller, Nice and Easy, Time and Place and many many others. Great times, met my wife at Sound 40 years ago. Miss those days.

Mark Serridge - 30/10/13

Reply to letter from MIKE LEANARD 27/4/11.

I remember and know you Mike from Brookhouse Estate. You will remember me for sure. GRAHAM WESTALL our dad's worked for LUT.

I have lived in Australia since 1971.Now living in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Tasmania is the island under Melbourne Victoria.

Graham Westall - 3/11/13
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