Hamish Howitt says it has been a long-time dream to dedicate his pub of 23 years to his all-time favourite band, The Beatles.
Now, in a first for Blackpool, and as part of a major renovation project, Hamish and the extended Howitt family are working eight days a week to make the publican’s grand vision a reality, opening the Beatles-themed Yellow Submarine Pub Ltd at the Scot’s Bar in Rigby Road, South Shore.
The ambitious plans will see the bar, sited at the former Royal Pavilion Theatre, transformed in a kaleidoscope of colour, taking visitors on a journey back to the 60s.
Hamish says the new bar will undergo a complete overhaul when scaffolding goes up next week, with an expected six-figure sum to be invested in the build.
The landlord, who has lived in the town since 1967 after hitchhiking a ride home from London, said he was passionate about the project which will mark a new era for the bar.
“I’ve been all over the world and no other band in history has made the cultural impact of the Beatles,” he said. “The North West was their home but I’ve been sat in a bar in Indonesia, where the wall was covered in Beatles pictures and tracks playing, also in Singapore, Dubai, Cairns in Australia...
“They were a global phenomenon. It seemed crazy there were bars all over the world yet not in Blackpool. I’d toyed with the idea eight years ago, it’s been niggling and niggling at me.
“I’m nearly 68 so I said it’s going to be now or never. My boys are huge fans of the band too and it’s a family project, it’s going to look amazing, I’m totally immersed in it.”
The build, which will see the frontage of the bar transformed with a montage of colour and fibre glass figures, huge musical claves and memorable images, quotes as well as a 32ft yellow submarine is expected to take around 12 weeks with a grand opening set for Easter weekend.
Renowned Liverpool band The Cavernites, who recreate the vibrant sounds of The Beatles during their touring years 1962-1966, will play on the opening evening on Friday, April 10.
Hamish added: “We want to create something special, not just a pub to drink in this is an experience from the moment you walk in the front via the famous Abbey Road zebra crossing.
“It will be a magical mystery tour from start to finish, even down to the staff wearing Sgt Pepper inspired uniforms. This is a real work of the imagination
“We’re installing state-of-the-art lighting and visuals for the front - plasma screen TVs, the works. It is going to be a real spectacle and that’s what I want it to be - somewhere people want to come back to time and time again.
“It’s going to be fun, vibrant and endearing to the young, right through to the old. Only live bands and singers at peak times, no backing tracks by singers, all live.
“Our cinema-theatre is one of the oldest purpose-built buildings in the UK - if I don’t do something now, I never will.”
Hamish, who is working alongside sons Hugh and Henry, both keen musicians, is hoping to have live music nights running with sounds of the swinging 60s throughout the week.
All current staff will be kept on with potential for new full and part-time positions.
And as well as the bar, Hamish is working on a side project to breathe new life into the theatre space, with plans in the works to add a dedicated museum, which will be subject to grant funding.