Korova Bar opened its door in Liverpool back in September 2005. The bar, which has now closed, is located along Fleet Street in the city centre and has been known as the “cultural hub” of musicians. The bar’s previous location is now the site of Black Rabbit, an offbeat gathering place famous for its weekly events.
Korova Bar had numerous rooms, including a basement area where gigs take place and the bar section. Some of the bar’s most famous performers include Florence & The Machine, 2manydjs, and Klaxons. At some point, Korova Bar served food during the day, where diners watch Classic films on sixties-style TVs while sitting on the bar’s signature bright red booths.
Korova Bar was a joint venture of Rob Gutmann and a local band, Ladytron. The bar draws respectably alternative bands like the Longblondes and Hot Chip and electro outfits from Simian Mobile Disco and 2 Many DJs. It’s where a crowd of cool cats gather on its leather banquettes surrounded by post-punk imagery and old TVs screening classic movies in black and white.
From its venue in Fleet Street, Korova Bar eventually moved to Hope Street. However, around 2010, the building got devastated by fire. Since its untimely move from Fleet Street and sudden closure due to fire, no other music venue on Merseyside can compete with Korova, given its legendary gigs and roguish charm.
Because of the structural instability of the top floor of the building, the fire authorities ordered the venue to remain closed for the foreseeable future. However, promoters stated during that time that they were reopening the venue as soon as possible. In September 2013, promoters of Korova announced that they reopened the bar but through a copycat business, a bar and restaurant called Frederiks.
According to Rob Gutmann, the bar’s “bread and butter” was not focused on “underground indie-style bands.” He said he was just a big music fan and loved attending gigs, so he opened Korova, a cool music venue where his favourite music bands could perform.
He also thought Liverpool does not have enough music venues for small and upcoming bands during that time. The bar’s name came from one of his favourite films, A Clockwork Orange. There was an iconic scene in the film where the main protagonist was in the Korova Milkbar. Even if it’s not real, he found it very interesting and decided to name the bar after it.
Korova’s promoter and booker was Steven Miller from EVOL Promotions. According to him, it took a year for them to plan the bar before their ideas started coming to life and eventually opened the venue.
According to Steven Miller, he remembers walking around the venue’s location with Rob before work started. And once the work began, it was a race to of time for the opening night, and in fact, the pain was still drying during the opening, which was headlined by To My Boy and The Rascals.
With its fun and lively atmosphere, Korova was successful in luring customers, especially music fans. Later on, it became Liverpool’s cultural hub for musicians. They put a great deal into improving the playlist, programming, and overall aesthetic. Everything came together and quickly felt like a community. It brought a sense of great pride amongst the owner and promoter.
Steven Miller can still clearly recall his excitement upon walking out into the basement for the first time and heading into the main bar seeing all the rock ‘n’ roll fanatics with their cool jackets, haircuts, and scarves.