We’ve all been to a club at some time or other. Many of us have fond memories of their nightclub experiences.  In fifty years Brisbane has seen major changes not only in it’s skyline but also in the way people spend a night out.

Clubbed Out is a contemporary history project that records the history of nightclubs in Brisbane from 1950 – 2000. Everyone’s invited to share their stories of club life and share any souvenirs they may have as well.

We are looking for stories from those who worked in clubs, went to clubs and performed in clubs. We are also keen to see any souvenirs collected from clubs in Brisbane, including photographs, film, flyers, coasters, posters, uniforms, ashtrays, shot glasses, even fake id’s. Some of these may be selected for inclusion in the Clubbed Out exhibition and book.

Stay tuned for an online database and interactive map of Brisbane clubs..   Contact us now and let us know about your Clubbed Out experience.

73 Responses to About

  1. Louis Fossa says:

    I was the Bass player at DBs nite Club for about 5 years, from 1970 to 1975. On Drums Terry “Boots” Butler, Keyboards John McBride, and Johnny Morris always opened the Floor Shows in style. The previous Keyboard player before the aforementioned one was Bill Drysdale. There were bands before and after our time at DBs. I have a nice collection of Tickets, Photos, Passes and Newpaper items not only of DBs but also of some of the other Brisbane Clubs of the time.

    • Maddica Morris says:

      Johnny Morris was my grandfather, and I’m sure you’re aware of his passing. My grandmother was affected by the floods last year, and the shed full of my grandfathers things went under. If you have any items from DBs that you’d be willing to part with, I know she (all of us, really) would appreciate the memories.

      Feel free to email me at yarrj@yahoo.com

    • John Turnwer says:

      What was DB”s before 1070’s. I remember it from the 1967’s??

  2. Winnie Foster says:

    My memory of the following is fairly hazy and I would love to find out more. In 1972 there was a club called Willies Bazaar somewhere at the Valley end of Queen Street or thereabouts. It wasn’t licensed but had a Hawaiian themed bar along one wall. There was a mezzanine floor at the back of the room where most people sat on the floor. I think most people just smoked dope and drank fruit juice and coke. I don’t remember there being live music.

    PS When will the book be published?

    • Pauline says:

      Willis Bazaar was located in Queen Street before The Orient Hotel. You are correct with your memories. The legal age to drink was 21 until 1974 when it was lowered to 18. Many clubs did not have a license so people would drink soft drinks and coffee or sneak some stronger drinks or other substances in. I am still working on the book. It has taken a lot longer than anticipated. I’ll keep you posted via this website about developments.

    • Aggy cochrane says:

      There was live music sometimes but not always

    • Angels mcbride says:

      I remember Willies well, was definitely a regular and my best mate (still) worked in the kitchen. Was a funeral parlour before Willie took it over. Enter through a long hall, door straighr ahead, Willie standing there next to the cash register right of the door to welcome you. She was (is still I hope) a big bossomed lady from Fiji and certainly not a tranny or anything of the kind, although her clientel were of the gay persuasion for a great part (downstairs) It was certainly their place to be seen. Upstairs was a different story. Brisbane was a mecca for hippies in the late 60’s early 70’s (where hippie trail ended) so local and foreign they gathered there, few other places too but Willies was for many years the meeting place for all. On the dance floor gays & hippies mixed.
      The layout, so you can imagine it exactly was coming in through the front door after paying Willie your respects, tbe entrace was in the center. Around the 3 walls of the club was a balcony about a full room height above as the space was high enough to contain 2 full height floors. The lighting was low. To your left looking from the entrance was an open plan kitchen where you could see the cooks preparing your food (and very nice it was). This is under the balcony and had a dumb waiter to bring food upstairs to the hippies (munchies food …. lol). Also left in the rear left corner next to the kitchen was the square dance floor also under the balcony. Along the back under the balcony were seating and tables and same along right side, again, under the balcony. The middle was also seating at tables. In the right back corner was the stairs up to the balcony going straight up from front to back of rear right corner of the balcony. Upstairs there ware tables placed with one end against the balcony and benches along both sides of each. This around all three sides of the balcony rail. Along the back wall some low tables japanese style kinda with big throw cussions. On the left side against the front wall was the waitresses station where they made the drinks (coffees teas tropical cocktails sodas iced coffees etc) and the dumb waiter was on the left wall bringing up the food. All the waitresses were also regulars, most of my friends from then worked at Willies at some point.
      I honestly can’t remember if joints were smoked, cerrtainly acid, magic mushrooms etc abounded and smoking was certainly allowed but given the drug squad were very feared and were known to raid once in a while I can’t imagine we would have dared or been allowed to smoke pot there because the smell is very distinctive. There was an unspoken agreement tbat as soon as there was a raid all contraband was handed to the waitress who sent it down at the right moment in the dum waiter to the kitchen.
      Oh, and there was NEVER live music at Willies but there was always music & dancing.
      Great times.
      Hope that helps.

  3. Denis Street says:

    I am glad someone remembers De Brazil (DBs) and I remember Louis. It was a regular place for musicians to drop in after a gig in the early 70s and in the early hours. Yep worked with Johnny Morris a few times (not to be confused with John Morris – alto sax and the Australian Academy of Music) but never at DBs. Always noticed Johnny paid for his own drinks in his own Nightclub across the bar LOL – nice guy! I went to the Sounds of Seven at Cloudland for a few years in the early 70s too.

    Noticed Bob Watson’s name in the Sunday Mail (SM) too – I think my first experience playing in a nightclub was in a trio with Bob on Drums and Barry S on Bass and vocals, myself on piano. This was at the Lotus Room which was at the Cnr of Edward and Elizabeth (and still is) Brisbane.
    The old photo in the SM from 1948 shows a few guys I knew but much later – the photo is attributed to Jamie Hanson – a Jimmy Hanson sang at Cloudland.
    Maurie Dowden in particular was a wonderful musician – met him first while he was in the backing group (with a few other guys I worked with before and later including Darcy K on bass, Lindsay P on drums, Gary McD on guitar) of Johnny O’Keefe (JoK) in 1970 at the opening few weeks of the Mooloolaba Hotel where I was in the resident group (Tommy D that great guy who drowned, was the Bass player, Murray W on drums, Ray Rs on guitar).
    Ah those were the days of my misspent youth – and loving it! Nostalgia is a wonderful thing especially in hindsight LOL

    • Iris Brewer says:

      Maurie Dowden is now nearing 90 years of age. Sadly has lost most of his eyesight…But none of his brainpower!!! Sharp as a tack still. Physically frail..But certainly NOT OUT!! Lost beautiful wife Lilian last week. We celebrating her life and their 66 years together. Maurie is up there as one of my favourite people…And musician extraordinairre….My all time favourite accompanist. Iris Brewer..1960’s and 70’s Brisbane and Sydney club vocalist. His family and myself are compiling a book on his life…hopefully to present to for his 90th on December 5th..THIS year…ooee..Anything you may have could help ??? Iris Brewer

  4. Denis Street says:

    Forgot to mention, the old National Hotel was really a club also in those 60s and 70s days. This might spark some memories for some musicians and people who went there.

    • Louis Fossa says:

      Pleased that Denis mentioned the National Hotel. I was playing in Warrens Bar in a Band called ‘The Beaumen’ (which later became the Johnny O’Keefe band) ‘Boots’ Butler the Drummer, and I went to DBs Nite Club after the Beaumen disbanded. I changed from Guitar to Bass. The National Hotel at the time was the “in place’ cheers.

  5. lester vickary says:

    well DB,S…in the late 50,s was the place to be on a sunday night talent quest night i played there witH a group called THE SAXONS we got a free plate of chips for playing ……..then on the week JOHN LENNON WAS SHOT i was filling in for the band playing bass with steven bray and tibi volep………arrived early one night to catch ????????s topping up the bottles behind the bar with a bottle of water and.a funnel…..mmmmmm strange!!!

  6. Lee George (Ms) says:

    Oh! Boy! Memories! Memories! I frequented “DB’s” often in the late Sixties into the early Seventies…always after leaving “Warren’s Bar” at the National Hotel – we would trek to the De Brazil – following Johnny Morris who used to perform at the National earlier in the evening, if my memory is correct. I loved the “DB”!!! Great spot.

    Wow! I even knew, albeit it slightly, Bob Watson way back then. He was at a couple of the same parties I attended…in the days when DJ Gary Raines threw some good parties where lots of the local musos and radio folk attended.

  7. Lee George (Ms) says:

    There was also a great singer who was a regular at DBs…Garth somebody – I can’t remember his last name. He was part Maori…great guy!

    • John Randall says:

      I think it was Garth Terare. He is still singing.

    • Fay Perry says:

      Garth Sands was his name, and yes, he is a nice person and also part Aboriginal.

      • Luke Terare says:

        My name is Luke Terare and Garth is my father. His real name was Garth Terare but he used the stage name Sands which was my mothers maiden name. He unfortunately passed away about six years ago and he is dearly missed. I have fond memories of John and Lexie Morris and I’m very sad to hear that Lexie lost a lot of memorabilia in the floods. My dad was in 2 bands after the DB days and he has some videos on YouTube. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pzZdILlazI0
        Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this website and blog.

    • Lisa Terare says:

      That was my Dad Garth Terare (Sands), sadly passed away now we miss him dearly.

  8. Anthony says:

    Hey, I’m just curious to know how things are going with this site. It seems like Pauline hasn’t posted anything since January , does anyone know if the site is still active ?.


    • Pauline says:

      Hi Anthony
      yes it has been a while between posts! But, we are up and running again. I ‘m hoping to update regularly and will have some snaps up soon too.

  9. Hi,

    I’ve been reasearching Brisbane musicians of the ’60s, and can confirm the opening of the Primitif Junior as opening on Friday 15 January 1965 (Source: Telegraph ad), and from what I can gather lasted about 10 months or so. The 5, The Purple Hearts, The Boys (better known as Mike Furber and The Bowery Boys) played there.

  10. judy willis says:

    i remember Johnny Morris singing at Lennons Wharfies Club and a Restaurant in Edward Street it was up on the 8th floor in this building and i am trying to remember the name???? Can anyone help me please???? I used to go there after finishing my shift in the Telepnone Exchange which was in Elizabeth Street. All gone now but the memories are still with me.

  11. Catherine Kent says:

    Has anyone mentioned Top Cat in Elizabeth St early 60,s Seem to remember DJplaying music. Don,t think any live musicians. Also friendly with an exotic dancer from DB,s. The comments are very wholesome at the moment. I think we need spicier stories.

    • Pauline says:

      I’ve listed Top Cat as TC’s, that was how it was listed for an entertainment license. Was the exotic dancer you mentioned at DB’s Feathers? Would love to know more about those girls. Also, more than happy for some spicier stories too!!

      • Ross Palm says:

        One of the girls was Feathers! Changed into that amazing red feathered outfit in the kitchen area near the bar and then struggled to get through the crowd to get on stage. Wonderful times. Many fond memories.

    • John Turnwer says:

      I remember the bouncer at the door. Was involved with a heap of grief later.

  12. Bernard Spink says:

    Kiss was in Ann St. in the valley in the 70,s

    • Rick Morris says:

      It’s name was ‘Kisses’ & started in the 80’s, before that is was ‘Pinocchios’ & before that it was called ‘Torinos’ which was fire bombed a couple of weeks before ‘Whiskey Au Go Go’.

      • Sean says:

        Is this the same site/building of the current Beat Nightclub..? A book I’m reading list Torino’s nightclub as having been located at 671 Ann St. When I go to this address as per Google Maps I see the Beat Nightclub. Just wondering if the Beat Nightclub is the same building as Torino’s that was firebombed in the ’70’s…

  13. Glenn says:

    I remember TC’s in Elizabeth St. The signage said “TC’s Sound Lounge.” And man, the word “sound” said it all. I only went there once, sometime around 1963 or so, and the DJ had the volume so high it nearly blew everyone right back out onto Elizabeth St!
    As I recall the place was also very dimly lit.
    I believe this venue was later to become Chequers.

  14. Janette Wales says:

    I used to work as a waitress at a nightclub in Brisbane in early 1974 and I am pretty sure it was DBs. You had to go downstairs to get to it. And if I am not mistaken Johnny loved his Tequila. I know I was there when the floods hit and I remember one night we had a heap of army boys come in and ask everyone to go and help clean houses. I was living in New Farm at the time and walked through water up to my waist and then caught a bus to get to work. I earned $50 a week and our tips ranged from $10 to $100 a week – depending on how drunk the patrons were and how good a waitress you were.

  15. Kerry Davies says:

    Can anyone tell me when De Brazil stopped operating as a club? Researching for a book that mentions it, probably in the 1980s, where someone walks up Albert Street towards Queen Street and disappears downstairs into De Brazil’s (mentioned as a restaurant that ‘they say, has a strip show upstairs late at night’). Does this ring true?

  16. bill fordham says:

    can anyone tell me who owned de Brazil?

    • Jeff says:

      Johnny Morris owned The D’Brazil

    • John Turnwer says:

      My enquiry exact!!

    • kevin collins says:

      Sure, I can tell you that, Myself , Johnnie Morris and 5 other band members bought the De Brazil around 1958. The place was in receivership, we did a deal
      with the finance company, put in $100 pounds each, total, 700 pounds. We played 6 night a week at the the National Hotel owned by the Roberts brothers, then went on to perform at our night club in Albert St. till early hours.
      I sold my share to Johnnie and moved to Sydney around 1961.
      I was the drummer /singer. Kevin Collins.

  17. Patricia Macfarlane says:

    Thanks for the good read I was trying to find out what warren from warrens bar national hotel real name and what year he died can you please help?

  18. Lisa Morris says:

    Bill – Johnny Morris owned De Brazil (DB’s), I am his daughter.
    DB’s closed in March 1981.
    It had 3 floor shows and strippers later in the evening.

    And yes Janette he did love his tequila 🙂

    • Danny Murdoch says:

      Hi Lisa, you’re father Johnny Morris was an absolute gentleman. He gave me some invaluable advice about compiling music charts & entertaining in general when I began singing in the late 80’s. I met him through another musical acquaintance, Graham Judd, a top drummer during the 60’s & 70’s. First time I met him must have been in 1987 one night at Leo’s, the club he had in Edward St. Then later he kindly invited me to sing at The Hibiscus Room at the old Lennons Hotel & a club he had at, I think, called the Riverside Workers Club. Always loved his laid-back style, always impeccably dressed & always had classy backing bands in his venues. Good memories, nice man.

    • John Turnwer says:

      There was a big rocker there!! His name was Dennis! He later bought a nightclub in Windsor I think. He used to come out and announce that Johnny O’Keefe was the King of Rock and Roll. Help me out there!!

      • Diana says:

        That was Dennis Knight, Big Rocker managed by JOK, he is still singing and is on Today 2016 at the Bribie Country music Rock & Roll Birthday!!! Blast from the Past !

      • Mark says:

        I remember Dennis used to be a regular at Brentleigh’s Theatre Restaurant at Lutwyche for quite a while. If I recall, he used to come on after the floor show finished. Happy days!

  19. Tony Morris says:

    Johnny Morris was my grandfather.

  20. Lynne Keen says:

    TC’s in Elizabeth Street was owned by Trevor Clelland. It opened around 1967? & later became Uncles. They had telephones on the tables & you could call table to table or phone the DJ (Tommy ….) & request a song.

  21. Glenn Smith says:

    Lynne. I think TC’s opened in about 1964 – I remember seeing Ronnie Burns and the Flies play there in late ’64 or early ’65.

  22. Luke says:

    TC’s opened on May 2nd 1963 and Ronnie Burns and the Flies did a week run there from MArch 10th-16th 1965

    • John W says:

      Yes it did open in early 1963. I was a bass player in a band that played several times at TC’s in 1964. Still have several photos of us there. Once we were the warm up band for Tony Worsley and the Blue Jays.

  23. Yusuf Mohammad says:

    This a belated apology to a group of 17 diners who sat at a table ‘on the verandah’ of Leo’s at 160 Edward Street one Saturday evening in 1968. I was their waiter and twice within a period of three minutes spilled the large silver plated platter of vegetables which was to have accompanied the meat and fish dishes I had just served them. Most of you were understanding even though my lovely boss, Mister Luigi, wasn’t! But I didn’t lose my job, being told by him in front of all the staff that I was the only waiter he could trust to come to work sober! Sorry again, Yusuf Mohammad (Joseph Rooke)

  24. Paul Clarke says:

    Hi All..I was in the army in 1976-1979 stationed at 8/9 RAR at Enogerra and a group of us frequented DB’s after coming back from the bush…..Any one remember Johnnys’ one liners songs? The one that sticks in my mind was the “Tally man Banana” one can’t remember most of it because we were pretty loaded by the time Johnny came in with a couple of Ladies on his arms. Cheers for the memories…..

  25. I sang at DB’s in late 1978 in a duo Summer Wine with Donna Black. Our backing band was Lemon, Lime & Bitters, with Bill Hillman on bass. I played my own guitar through Johnny, the keyboard player’s amp, and by the end of our week there, we sounded pretty good. Great learning curve for beginning our short stint as a duo on the Brisbane music scene. We later expanded into a 5-piece and worked in Brisbane and the Gold Coast until 1980 when we became Lady & The Outlaws which lasted until 1982. I’d started in Townsville with bands in 1969 and am still going strong. Johnny was a nice bloke. I can’t remember the agent’s last name who got us into DB’s…Daphne?

    • I don’t know why I didn’t mention Quentin’s. I was there in 1971 with a group called Barabbas and we actually ran the place for a while. Railroad Gin, Spike and various other bands played there (for nothing). Met some great people there.

      • Leanne Rasmussen says:

        My sister used to work at Willys Bazaar, I used to want to tag along at the time. I remember this mature eccentric mature lady with blonde way out hair, I think it was the owner Willy. I remember it was really dark inside, even though I was young I loved the atmosphere, the good old days, the seventies. My sister was Gail Beckett

  26. Steve dowden says:

    Did anybody know Allan Dowden?

    • kevin collins says:

      Yes, we owned a restaurant in Airlie beach Qld, called K.C,s I employed
      Allan who played Organ, occasionally at our restaurant, back in early 80,s.
      I have lost track of him since then. kevin Collins.

  27. pierre says:

    Reply to John Turnwer re ‘Big Rocker Dennis’ . .sounds like Dennis Knight who used to be an Elvis impersonator. I worked with O’Keeffe on bass 73 – 75 out of a Sydney homebase. Manyt Brisbane trips would have DK on the bill as support. The Bris agemt who put those tours together was also a Dennis . .sharp dresser, fast talker. He & Jok used to party hard after-hours! DK lived around Wellington & loved to sail . .took us out on his 16 ft cat a few times . .lovely man. Shows also included locals like Tony Worsley . .good times. pierre.

  28. Luisa McCluskey says:

    I used to go to DB’S nearly every night. I was a worker in the 70’s and new Johnny Morris the band Denis Knight and a few others. One night I had a bet with Johnny on who could drink the most Tequila. Well guess who won. Never touched it since ????. Johnny Morris and Denis Knight came to my wedding in 1977 when i found the love of my life. I would love to know where the boys from the band are these days,

  29. Luisa McCluskey says:

    I used to go to DB’S nearly every night. I was a worker in the 70’s and new Johnny Morris the band Denis Knight and a few others. One night I had a bet with Johnny on who could drink the most Tequila. Well guess who won. Never touched it since ????. Johnny Morris and Denis Knight came to my wedding in 1977 when i found the love of my life. I would love to know where the boys from the band are these days,

  30. tim la budde says:

    please call me 0448643915. The DB. was great would love to talk to you.

  31. tim la budde says:

    Thank you The DB. was part of my life.

  32. tim la budde says:

    please call me 0448643915. The DB. was great would love to talk to you.Johnny Morrris and crew meant a lot to me.

  33. Ian Carnegie says:

    Snoopy’s Hollow was YMCA in Edward St between Adelaide St and Ann St. When the Wickham Tce car park was built we were asked to do one on the roof top – It was called Snoopy’s on the Rooftop in 1968. With YMCA building to be demolished attention was switched to Wizard’s Cauldron at Windsor YMCA. I believe from Ledge of EMF, resident band, that there may have been another “on the roof top”. Yep it was a crazy scene, the Orb, DB’s, Kalana Carnival, Festival Hall and many scattered around halls in neighbourhoods. The prize band was Purple Haze which then became The Coloured Balls – Mick and Lobby etc. Ross D Whylie and Jon Blanchfield were stars. When we turned 21 we could drink but only till 10.00pm and then if we didn’t get lucky we’d go to the Pizza Hut which was licensed to 1.00am if we ate a pizza.
    The Playroom on Goldie offered us breakfast if we could last the night, the challenge was on even though they used a lot of water in their kegs.

  34. Andrew says:

    For those of you whom visited nightclubs in the ’60s, there are likeminded individuals at this facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/groups/brisbanerocknroll50s60s/?ref=nf_target&fref=nf

  35. kim weedon says:

    Hey everyone. I used to visit DB nightclub..for a few years in the late 70’s. Johnny Morris was a lovely guy. Remember the band remember meeting JOK as well…What memories…ran into Bill (base guitarist) at Aldi a few mths ago…stopped him and we had a chat….small world !! Great times ????

  36. Jen nancarrow says:

    I went to Whiskey a Go Go disco for first time – the night before the bombing. I also used to work casually at Pacesetters disco Lennon’s. So many good bands played there including Railroad Gin. Loved the Boathouse too and went to Sadlers a couple of times.

  37. Ross Comerford says:

    I got to know Maurie Dowden through an ex partner of mine who was his granddaughter. He was a great old guy and very generous about sharing his knowledge, recordings and experiences with me. I am also a professional jazz piano player with an appreciation for all styles of jazz, and man, I can tell you that he was a gun player even into his 90’s, and I can only imagine what he would have been like in his earlier, hungry years. I am sad to announce that I learned of his passing this morning the 18th of dec 2018 and Steve Downden who has commented on this site, was his son. I would like to pay tribute to Maurie who was a huge part of the Brisbane music scene through the 50-70s. Rip old mate and my condolences to Shannon, Steve and all the Dowden family. I will never forget his kindness to me….Ross Comerford

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