Sad as Acropolis cafe bites the dust

The Acropolis in its former position at the junction of Market Street and Bridge Street

The Acropolis in its former position at the junction of Market Street and Bridge Street

First published in Remember When? Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

Today marks the end of a little piece of modern Bradford history – the closure of the Acropolis Coffee Lounge & Grill opposite Britannia House, after 44 years.

The Acropolis goes the way of the Olympus Coffee Bar in Great Horton Road, the Java, which used to be opposite the Alhambra stage door, Edwards, which used to be on Ivegate, and further back in time, Collinson’s and Betty’s on Darley Street.

Other cafes remain, on Northgate and in and around the Kirkgate Centre, but Bradford’s dream of a thriving cafe-bar culture, which flourished briefly in the 1990s, seems to be vanishing.

Before it was bulldozed, it contained a number of food and drink emporiums, including Fatty Arbuckles and Bella Pasta Cafe Grill.

In August 1988, the T&A ran an advertising feature about the newly-refurbished Acropolis which, 24 years ago, was located where the Ginger Goose is now, at the junction of Market Street and Bridge Street.

In 2001, owner George Demetriou moved his establishment round the corner into Broadway . But the closure of the main post office on Bank Street and the postponed Westfield development have drained custom away, according to chef Jimmy Styllianou.

Since giving up his own establishment, the Britannia Coffee Lounge on Bridge Street after 27 years, to work at his cousin’s coffee bar from 2001, Mr Styllianou has been a familiar figure, standing up straight, wearing his little Leonard Cohen-style trilby.

He’s probably lost count of the square peppery portions of shepherd’s pie, chips and peas he’s served up.

Some places had jukeboxes – such as the Continental in Godwin Street and the Garden of Eden in Forster Square. But jukebox-less Gresham offered a different experience for those not in the mood for listening to early Status Quo, Canned Heat and Tyrannosaurus Rex.

In the early 1980s, Godwin Street also had another cafe-bar establishment called Sticky Fingers, after the Rolling Stones album of the same name.

But city centres are dynamic: cafes, like shops, come and go.

It’s just that cafes, bookshops and record shops, like cinemas, have personal associations that most retail establishments do not.

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