“When I think about all the people we lost to AID’s, I imagine them in Sadie’s Bar, up in the sky, dancing away.”
Interior of Sadie’s Bar Royal, as remembered by Pat Taylor today. Left photograph courtesy of John Harrison, Right photograph courtesy Pat Taylor.
Just off Wood Street - a dimly lit street beside the heart of Liverpool’s early gay scene - the Bar Royal graced (or disgraced, depending on who you ask) many queen’s hearts. More commonly known as ‘Sadie’s’, it is often remembered for its 70’s decor resembling “your nan’s living room”, its sticky carpets, a vibrant disco room and of course, the infamous Tony Sadie who ran the club until its closure when he suddenly passed away in the late 1980s. People often remember the club for its exclusiveness, with the owner Sadie and his doorman Reg heavily vetting guests upon their arrival, bolting people in to create a protected community of mostly gay, transgender and cross-dressing individuals. Here, they were free to be more expressive of their identities and dance the night away.
I had the pleasure to speak with Pat Taylor who worked at ‘Sadie’s’ for over 10 years. Her vivid descriptions of the venue helped us to rebuild a model of this once-lost space. From Sadie’s window beside the entrance, where he would police who could enter, to the smokey disco room, this model allows us to reconnect with our LGBTQ+ history, transcending time to understand the significance this place holds for a generation of LGBTQ+ people.

We appreciate that this model may not be accurate to everyones recollection, but it exists here as a personal memory of this space - another way that Sadie’s Bar Royal lives on today.
Back to Top