Pubs of Manchester

All pubs within the city centre and beyond.
A history of Manchester's hundreds of lost pubs.

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Cyprus Tavern, Princess Street

Cyprus Tavern, Princess Street (owner Takis Kitromilides). (c) Yiannis Kitromilides.

The Cyprus Tavern is a famous old Manchester institution and was opened in 1967 by Takis Kitromilides, brother of the locally famous Denos Kitromilides.  For nearly 25 years it was a family-run restaurant, pub and later, nightclub.  Parts of the interior reflected the background of the Kitromilides' with some Greek-Cypriot decor and the white arches giving the place a 'taverna' look.  Takis's son, Yiannis, took over as owner-manager in 1989 and has kindly supplied the photos shown here, along with much of the history.

Cyprus Tavern, Princess Street. (c) Yiannis Kitromilides.

In the '70s and '80s it was the late-night drinking home of many of the local late-teens and twenty-somethings particularly at weekends, and patronised by students during the week.  Indeed it was one of the first nightclubs to be student-friendly in the late '70s.  To the uninitiated it was considered a rather daunting place to go, particularly during the football season, when the blue or red halves of Manchester would frequent it every other weekend, and fights would often ensue, particularly later in the evening.  It was notable as focal point for one of City's firms, the 'Young Guvnors'.


Cyprus Tavern, Princess Street. (c) Yiannis Kitromilides.

Cyprus Tavern, Princess Street. (c) Yiannis Kitromilides.

The Cyprus Tavern would also host various music evenings, both by DJ (playing mainly indie music) and by live bands.  Local legends such as The Distractions, The Passage, Crispy Ambulance and 808 State, played at the Cyprus Tavern in the '70s and '80s.

The Distractions (Mike Finney vocals, Alex Sidebottom on drums) at Cyprus Tavern, 1981. (c) Mark David Cooper.

The famous nightclub Legends (now Fifth Avenue) was over the road in the '80s.  As former DJ at the Cyprus Tavern and Bar Manager at Legends, Darren Bradley recounts, trouble would sometimes brew in both venues and police riot vans would park up around the corner, ready for any trouble.


Cyprus Tavern, Princess Street. (c) Yiannis Kitromilides.

Cyprus Tavern, Princess Street. (c) Yiannis Kitromilides.

It's a common misconception that the Cyprus was shut due to licencing problems associated with football-related violence, and although the venue was subject to much unwanted police surveillance, this was not actually the case.  Takis and Yiannis, understandably fed up of the police interest, simply decided to close-up in 1991 as they felt the place had run its course.


Poster in Cyprus Tavern. (c) Cyprus's Facebook group.

It re-opened as The Granby in the early '90s and reinvented itself slightly, as a mainly student venue, which did succeed for a reasonable time, attracting local celebrities such as Steve 'Alan Partridge' Coogan and Mark E Smith of The Fall.  It was the first late-night bar of its time, and can be considered the forerunner of many of Manchester's thriving bars today.  Like the Cyprus and Legends before it, The Granby's closeness to Fifth Avenue meant it would pick up stragglers from there that either didn't want to or couldn't get in.  The Granby was a still pretty popular with football lads; we popped in a fair few times en route to or on the way back from Moss Side in the '90s.


The Granby, Princess Street. (c) Beerintheevening.

The Cyprus still lives on as the San Siro restaurant, and the Greek restaurant, Bouzouki By Night, two doors down Princess Street was originally owned by Takis Kirtomilides.  Thanks once again to Yiannis Kitromilides who got in touch to help us add words and pictures to the history of this great Mancunian venue.

Cyprus Tavern, Takis and Yiannis Kitromilides and chef. (c) Yiannis Kitromilides.

Facebook group - The Cyprus Tavern: "We Saw The Whole Of The Moon"www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&gid=6198884723.

23 comments:

  1. SOME INACCURACIES IN THE DESCRIPTION !
    YIANNIS KITROMILIDES

    ReplyDelete
  2. Darren Bradley1 March 2010 16:03

    Lets get a couple of things straight The Cyrpus was located opposite Fifth Ave yes But in the 80s Fifth Ave was the legendary Legends nightclub a place for NOT BEING RACIST for coloureds + the Cyprus was for whites Many a Saturday night the riot vans use to be parked up around the corners ready for trouble I know i worked in both places Dj at the Tavern + Bar Manager at Legends It was a good era yes there was a lot of trouble but i remember many a happy times at both places R.I.P The Cyprus Tavern + Legends

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Darren

      Have you got a sister that used to come with you when you were a DJ at the cprus Tavern?

      Delete
  3. Yianni , could you expand please ? as weve stated in teh disclaimer, most of our information is from personal memories and friends recollections etc, please feel free to let us know which bits are inaccurate and we will correct them accordingly if they are truly wrong.

    Darren, you will note we only refer to Fifth Avenue from the 90s onward, which indeed it was. I dont recall there being a particular problem with racism in the Cyprus, with many of the City black lads going in fairly regularly. Thst not to say there were never any problems, as was the time, but it certainly wasnt infamous for it. Great pub/club and a great part of Manchester history for people of our age.

    ReplyDelete
  4. HI IT A COMMON MISCONCEPTION THAT THE "CYPRUS" WAS SHUT DOWN BY THE POLICE ! THIS IS NOT ACTUALLY THE CASE AND IT WAS A DECISION MADE BY MYSELF AND MY FATHER,TAKIS KITROMILIDES WHO OPENED THE CYPRUS TAVERN IN 1967, IN THE SUMMER OF 1991 AS WE FELT THAT THE PLACE HAD RUN ITS COURSE AND WE HAD HAD ENOUGH OF THE UNWARRANTED POLICE INTEREST ! THE GRANBY WAS THE FIRST LATE NIGHT BAR OF ITS TIME AND IT COULD BE SAID WAS THE FORERUNNER OF MANY OF THE MANCHESTER BARS TODAY . IT ACTUALLY CLOSED DOWN IN 1991 PROBABLY A VICTIM OF ITS OWN SUCCESS AS MANY OF THE BIG PUB COMPANIES HAD COTTONED ONTO THE IDEA ! THE SITE ITSELF IS NOW AN ITALIAN RESTAURANT CALLED SAN SIRO WHILST THE BOUZOUKI BY NIGHT, A GREEK RESTAURANT BUT NEVER EVER A TURKISH ONE,IS ACTUALLY 2 DOORS DOWN PRINCESS STREET AND ALSO ORIGINALLY OWNED BY MY FATHER ! I HOPE THIS HELPS AND IF YOU WANT I CAN SUPPLY A COUPLE OF PHOTOS ! THE CYPRUS TAVERN ACTUALLY HAS 2 PAGES DEDICATED TO IT ON FACEBOOK !!!
    YIANNIS KITROMILIDES

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  6. dont remember city hooligans in there it was always united as far as i remember

    ReplyDelete
  7. A haunt of both Blues and reds on match day. The owner Yiannis was of the Blue persuasion, it seems

    ReplyDelete
  8. the only time I remember seeing city was when they where being chased out of the door

    ReplyDelete
  9. funny that, seem to remember the complete opposite, think both sides had their time in there at different times

    ReplyDelete
  10. V Thirteen 'What Happened To You?'mentions the one and only Cyprus Tavern. http://youtu.be/mdsTqHEAglY

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great track and video. Still like to dig out Chicken Rhythms every so often!

    Nice that the Cyprus Tavern is immortalised in song

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which song/line? I never picked up on that!

      Delete
  12. Some of my most memorable moments were spent in the Cyprus 1989. Better than hacienda.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Used to go in there a lot in the mid 80's as it was the only place to go for a pint mid week after last orders without having to pay to get into a club.

    One Mr. Brett Anderson was a DJ down there for a while.

    ReplyDelete
  14. inspector Ron Dumplington10 March 2012 10:05

    once visited this place in the 70s along with 4 other vulnerable young boozers and started dancing with some dodgy looking birds wearing cheap perfume.After a couple of funky numbers we realised for one reason or another that these were probably blokes and made a quick awkward exit.So much for Greek hospitality!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Here is a good one for you to research guys......Wetherbys on Port street made famous in the Guvnors autobiography for getting smashed up after 5-1 derby game 1989 I think !?!
    Yiannis Kitromilides

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.
    Car Centre Warrington

    ReplyDelete
  17. i remember the cleaner waking me up one morning after i fell asleep on the toilet,i had sick in my underpants

    ReplyDelete
  18. There was other people involved in this restaurant apart from takis kitromilides and yiannis kitromilides including Constantine kitromilides who I enjoyed a warm relationship with, who sadfully isn't mentioned in this article. He did things in the background which is equally as important in the running of a restaurant and deserves some credit

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks, we will update this page with a mention of Constantine. I'll ask Yiannis about him as well.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Much appreciated

    ReplyDelete
  21. I saw Frantic Elevators there. They were supposed to be supported by my mates' band Life's Small Victories, but since there were no punters there except for a couple of mates of each band - Frantic Elevators asked LSV to go on first so that they could get home early

    ReplyDelete