Happy days in the Lorelei coffee bar

Union Street

Oh, the Lorelei coffee bar, yes, we used to half live in there, yes, loved it. In the very beginning they used to open on a Saturday night, after the clubs had closed, and that was super because once the club had closed, we all would go round camping through the streets at all hours of the night and early morning, you know, singing loud songs, one thing and another. We used to behave outrageously, really, when I think about it. But yeah, we used to land up in the Lorelei and it would be crammed to the doors, you know, just drinking coffee. I’m sure people these days just wouldn’t bother, if it’s non-alcoholic, but we did then and we loved it and it was great fun.

And that was a great mix, Lorelei, of boys and girls. It was sad when that went although the two fellas who owned it, they owned it for a long time afterwards, they just stopped doing the Saturday nights. But you’d always see gay people in there and whenever I went to Brighton, I’d always go in there and I’d always see someone gay. But they’ve been gone a long time now.

Comments about this page

  • The Lorelei had an odd bohemian charm and some strange dishes – one was chips and cheese (a bowl , like a deep soup bowl, of chips covered with grated cheese). Several people warned against going there but to me it was just an odd cafe in the Lanes with an odd menu.

    By Adrian Baron (20/07/2007)
  • Myles and Paul were the owners of the Lorelei. I was a regular in the late sixties and was often found sitting in the window seat with their cat on my lap. Chips and Cheese was the snack to have after a night out at The 42 Club, and yes, the place was always jumping on a Saturday night. Fabulous memories of a fabulous era for me. I was nineteen, had just come out on the gay scene and loved every minute of it. I still have a few 45s that Paul sold to me after he changed the music on the jukebox. A bargain at sixpence each.

    By Chris Baron (11/01/2013)
  • I worked there approx 1986/87 – Carlos and Thomas had it then. I was part time chef / waitress / table clearer etc. Great memories. Loved it and miss it, well why did I look up this page? Memories – happy days. I giggled seeing the chips ‘n cheese but it was really popular. I’ve been really thinking honestly to come back and visit when I can. Just it’s a bit far from North Wales. I made friends with Peter Trapper and his band Test Tube Babies, and David Fairchild from Space Monkeys. They looked after a lonely Welsh girl.

    By Pamela (01/03/2013)
  • I used the Lorelei a lot in the early 70s. I worked in the Lanes on a Saturday and a lot of my mid teenage years seem to be centred on the area. I was never aware of the gay scene, but I remember going there a lot for coffee and egg’n’cress sandwiches, which I love. There was another coffee bar a few hundred yards away in Meeting House Lane – very modern and airy with long pine benches. It may have been (unimaginatively) called “The Meeting House” and was very popular for gathering!

    By Marc Turner (01/03/2013)
  • Interesting to come upon this site as nobody seems to remember the heyday of the Lorelei in the early 60s when it was owned by Eddy and Brenda. I worked there in 1963-64 as a washer-upper at the tender age of 15 for half-a crown an hour.  The ‘short-order chef’ was the late great Johnny Frusch of jazz bass fame and he, as I recall, introduced the first ‘American Style Hamburger’ (i.e. with all the trimmings inside) to Brighton. No ‘Wimpy’s’ for John.
    It was a really ‘hip’ place to hang out and attracted many of the artistic fraternity of Brighton. In particular I remember Gary Farr, prior to his T-Bone days playing acoustic guitar and singing in the basement on a Sunday evening. His brother Ricky went on to promote the Isle of Wight Festival after owning several clubs. He was also a regular.
    The juke-box was a ‘class act’ and to this day Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie are personal favourites as I listened to alternatives to what was happening in the pop world that I would have been unaware of had I not worked there.
    Another attraction was the best-looking waitresses in the town (I would have worked for nothing), and I remember Anne and Cindy in particular as two beautiful 60’s faces that would have graced Lucy Clayton’s Agency. Much too classy and old (at least 18/19) for this poor boy.
    Unfortunately it did not last, I think maybe the owners extended too many credit lines (you know who you were) and the introduction of this working class boy to another world of what seemed like style and ‘hip’ was gone. Not bad memories for someone who spent his time there with ‘dish-pan hands’.  A happy interlude which, albeit short-lived, had a lasting affect on me.

    By Bob Ward (01/06/2016)
  • I remember The Lorelei from the summer of 1964 when it was run by a guy called Dosser Green, at least he always seemed to be there. I knew Gary Farr but from working on a building site in Haywards Heath. The last time I was in there was early 1970 when Miles and Paul had it.

    By Terry Fitzpatrick (04/12/2016)
  • I’m a bit hazy on names and dates these days but I think it was Eddie and Brenda in charge when I worked as cook. I’m not sure that they owned it. I’d moved on before Mick Green took over but I knew him. Does anyone remember when Jack West and I had a sword fight there?

    By Andy Grenyer (26/12/2017)
  • My stepsister Susan and myself frequented The Lorelei in the mid-60s, drinking coffee, and yes the chips’n cheese were great, listening to the juke-box and learning how to use eyeliner (hands-on instructions) and tampons (verbal description only ) from a wonderful gay guy called Nico. Happy days.

    By Jane (18/07/2019)
  • I lived in Brighton, briefly in the mid-Sixties, in Montpelier Road (opposite the Starlight Rooms).The Lorelei was ‘the scene’ – and, like several others here, I used to work a few hours for Eddie and Brenda. A free meal and some pay…Sometimes, on a Saturday evening, the place would close so we all could go up to The Heart and Hand(?) in the North Laine. When the pub closed, we’d all trail back to the Lorelei and re-open.

    By Roger Hudson (16/10/2019)
  • Just reliving some ’60s memories and the Lorelei was one of them. Also the Starlight Rooms in Brighton. Feeling nostalgic…..

    By Hilary (09/10/2020)

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