Star Club

  • vergrößern © JR-Project Rabenstein/Günther
  • vergrößern © JR-Project Rabenstein/Günther
  • vergrößern © JR-Project Rabenstein/Günther
  • vergrößern © JR-Project Rabenstein/Günther
  • vergrößern © JR-Project Rabenstein/Günther

    It all started with the Kaiserkeller in late 1959. Restaurateur Bruno Koschmider opened the first rock 'n' roll club in Hamburg at the corner of Grosse Freiheit and Schmuckstrasse in St. Pauli.

    Next door to striptease shops and rip-off bars, there were suddenly sweaty young Englishman with leather jackets and dangerous quiffs on the stage, letting the guitars rip and shouting their raucous declarations of love to Lucille, Carol, Peggy Sue and Miss Molly through their 30-watt amplifiers.

    For young people at that time, the "beatniks", this club was a revelation. Since Bill Haley unleashed hall and street fights between his fans and a truncheon-swinging, tear gas-throwing police during his first German tour in 1956, adults and the press ensured that this music was almost completely suppressed. What remained were pop, jazz and so-called "Teenagermusik" - Germanised and watered down American rock songs. The only bright spot: the British Forces Broadcasting Service BFBS and Chris Howland with his "Saturday Club" in the WDR.

    A little unknown band called "The Beatles"

    Nevertheless, progress stood still. While the Kaiserkeller was the first club in Germany that regularly brought rock music and local stars like Tony Sheridan live to the stage, real stars like you would hear on records and on the radio did not come to Hamburg. There were just more or less unknown bands that mostly played others' hits, even the Beatles were no exception.

    It was time for the Star Club...

    One morning, St. Pauli awoke to bright orange posters plastered with the announcement: The hardship has ended! The era of old-fashioned music is over! On 13 April 1962, Manfred Weissleder opened his Star-Club on Grosse Freiheit and over the next seven years, lured rock greats like the Beatles, the BeeGees, Jimi Hendrix, Little Richard, James Brown, Fats Domino, Eric Burton, Lee Curtis and Jerry Lee Lewis to the middle of St. Pauli. A milieu that initially scared off many young people and even more parents.

    Suit instead of leather jacket, party instead of brawl

    You seldom heard of fights and angry rockers in leather jackets at the Star Club. You went to hear music. And you did so wearing a suit, tie and Nyltest shirt or high heels, lipstick and a beehive hairstyle backcombed nice and high. The only nightly problems were for those under 18. At precisely 9.50pm when the star band had finished their first set, there was an announcement over the house speaker, the moment of truth, which always brought some guests to an abrupt stop at 10.00pm. All young people under eighteen years now had to leave the Star Club. The waiters are instructed to perform an identity check. In ten minutes, the Star Club will resume with...".

    The last memory of the club: a plaque

    Soon, nearly one million visitors were coming each year. If you were a teenager in Hamburg, your first stop was the Star Club. Some even came from the UK, France and Scandinavia, just to spend a few nights on Grosse Freiheit. Desperate parents wrote letters and called the Star Club office to ask if their uprooted son or missing daughter had been seen. The Star Club was a little bit of freedom in a hostile world dominated by authorities, prohibitions and constraints, and everything that was fun they tried to fight and suppress. It hosted its last concert on 31 December 1969 before being taken over by a very permissive nightclub, Salambo. The building then remained vacant for a long time and was finally demolished after a fire in 1987. Today, only a plaque commemorates that legendary time.


    You can find more information at and

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    Address: Grosse Freiheit 39, 22767 Hamburg

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    +49 (0) 40 - 300 51 701

    Mon-Sat: 09.00 h - 19.00 h

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    Your Hamburg Tourismus Team