"The Ace Cafe is an old transport café; from 1938 designed to accommodate the traffic travelling on the new North Circular Road. Popular with Rockers in the 1950/60s it was a local haunt for the petrol heads. Today it has been refurbished and Rockers and motorcyclists from all over the world go to the Ace to share stories, fix bikes and see the legend itself
The Ace Cafe located on The North Circular in London, was built in 1938 as a transport cafe primarily for hauliers. Due to the fact that the cafe was open 24 hours a day it soon started to attract motorcyclists. The cafe was rebuilt in 1949 after being destroyed in a World War II air raid. This happened because the building is very close to the Willesden Railway Marshalling Yard, the actual target of the raid. A number of events occurred in the Post-war environment to make the Ace Cafe a success, the emergence of the Teenager; increases in road traffic; and the British motorcycle industry being at its peak. Many young people started to meet at the cafe with their motorcycles and listen to Rock'n'Roll music.
The cafe established itself as a cultural hub for rockers, and many bands and motorcycle enthusiast groups formed there.
The original cafe closed in 1969; one usage before it re-opened was as a tyre sales and fitting shop. One abiding virtue was that for some time they did sell and fit motor cycle tyres. However the Ace Cafe was refurbished and reopened in 1997, but no longer for 24 hours. The cafe is now also famous for its various classic and sports car gatherings.
An attempt was made in the 80s and 90s to re-create the Ace Cafe some miles away on the Western Avenue"
and here's a little something from the Ace webpage:
"Driven by a passion for bikes and rock n' roll, Mark Wilsmore started planning in 1993 to reopen the legendary cafe. Twenty-five years after the cafe closed, the first Ace Cafe Reunion was held in 1994, attracting 12,000 people. The following annual reunions, known as "Ace Days", took place on historic ground: Brighton's famous Madeira Drive. The original Ace site couldn't accommodate the steadily rising numbers of visitors. Over 25,000 enthusiastic riders celebrated Ace Day in 1997.
Since then major steps have been made towards the reopening of the Ace Cafe, including securing the original site and launching the Ace Cafe Club, with parts of the original Ace Cafe opened to the public on FRI, SAT, and on Bank Holidays and every first Wedensday of every month. Visitors can check out the place and see the progress. Based on the rich heritage and traditions of the 50's and 60's, the Ace Cafe still embodies the same values as when the original Rockers called it home. What could be found on a Triton going for the Ton in the sixties today can be found on a modern sportbike or streetfighter. The bikes, the music, and perhaps the whole world have changed, but the spirit remains the same: Non-conformist, rebellious, individual and authentic."
There are in fact very thin rumours of an Ace Cafe opening in San Francisco that so far have only resulted in leading me on pointless trips to dissused and boarded up cafes and with cryptic promices from the local free motorcycle paper of an opening in the "very near future"....watch this space.