THE Rolling Stones have performed at the world’s biggest venues, and partied with some of the most famous names of the last half century.
But, as far as rock historians are aware, only one Yorkshire venue inspired them to write their names in lipstick on a wall, as a characteristically anarchic way of saying “thank you” for a great evening.
The place in question is Plunkets, a restaurant in the centre of York which is said to have been owned by the family behind Terrys chocolate.
Now the restaurant, with the lipstick graffiti preserved on the wall of the top floor bar, is up for sale.
According to Sharon Brown, the co-owner of Plunkets, The Rolling Stones visited the building in 1968 after playing a gig in Leeds, when the upstairs was used as a coffee bar.
It is not every night you get a chance to hang out with the likes of Mick Jagger, so it’s unsurprising that somebody was willing to sacrifice their lipstick to ensure a record was left of the rock band’s visit.
“They (The Rolling Stones) were just chatting to students,” said Ms Brown. “It was the place to be for students at the time.”
Thankfully, for rock aficionados, the owners had the wisdom to preserve the signatures.
“We’ve never had the signatures valued. It’s part and parcel of the building,” said Ms Brown.
There is also a poignant edge to the autographs. They include the signature of Brian Jones, a founding member of The Stones who was found dead in his swimming pool in 1969.
If the walls of Plunkets could talk, they would have plenty of tales to tell. The ancient building has witnessed centuries of innovation and turmoil.
The family-owned Plunkets is based in timber-framed premises which were built in 1640. It is thought to have once been owned by the famous York chocolatiers the Terry family to make and sell their confectionery.
Today, Plunkets specialises in American, South American and European food. It has been a restaurant for 50 years, and the business, which has 22 staff, was acquired by the current owners in 2006.
It is being sold through the corporate finance team at JWPCreers, the accountants and business advisers, who hope the associations with The Rolling Stones could attract potential buyers.
JWPCreers’ corporate finance partner Tony Farmer said: “This is a rare opportunity to acquire an established, well-managed independent restaurant in historic premises in the heart of one of the UK’s most popular tourism cities.
“Although York has many restaurants run by national chains and international establishments, Plunkets has its own niche and is popular with young people, theatre-goers, local residents, business people and tourists and has a history of strong revenues, profitability and cash generation.
“The senior director wishes to pursue other opportunities and the sale of Plunkets, which offers many opportunities for growth, provides an ideal chance for an established independent restaurant operator to extend their portfolio or for an independent restaurant business, or national chain, to acquire the business and move into the city.”
Somewhere in York, there may well be a group of pensioners who can remember the night The Rolling Stones popped into their regular haunt, and left an enduring impression.