The Ace Cafe was built in 1938 as a roadside cafe to cater for traffic using the then new North Circular Road. In World War II, the building was badly damaged and subsequently rebuilt in 1949. It was a state-of-the-art cafe and one of the first to use neon signage. With its proximity to Britain’s new and fast arterial road network, and staying open 24 hours, the cafe soon attracted hordes of young motorcyclists who were bored and searching for their own identity. They found it at the Ace, together with the ‘devils’ music – rock n’ roll.
The advent of the ‘teenager’ in the early fifties saw the Ace booming, with the arrival of the Ton-Up Boys. The British motorcycle industry was at its peak, when along came rock n’ roll. It wasn’t played on radio stations, so the only places it could be heard was at fairgrounds or on Jukeboxes in transport cafes.
“Drop the coin right into the slot”......From this powerful fusion of motorbikes and rock n’ roll, came the legends of record racing. Dropping a coin into the slot, then racing to a given point and back before the record finished, turning the North Circular Road into an unofficial race track.
Come the sixties, the Rocker had emerged, and the Ace Cafe became the launching pad for
many British rock n’ roll bands, like Johnny Kidd & The Pirates.
Official website ace-cafe-london.com