IT was the venue that thought it was too good for the Beatles. Now, after years of decline and name changes, Dunfermline’s Kinema is back.

The old cinema and music hall has re-opened as a restaurant after a substantial face-lift six years after its latest incarnation, a night club, closed.

For many Fifers, however, Kinema will always be best known as the place to knock back the then up-and-coming Fab Four. Then manager Cecil R Hunter turned down a booking for what was to become the biggest ever British band.

The Beatles did come to the Kingdom, as they played two sets at the Carlton Cinema in Kirkcaldy in October 1963 on their Scottish tour. This was near peak Beatlemania in the UK. and Dunfermline missed out.

Kinema did not make the same mistake again. The venue hosted David Bowie, Elton John, and The Supremes. Its new owners hope some of this stardust will rub off on their eatery.

Owner-operator Yanli Zhao said: “The Kinema has a superb and rich history. Over the decades, tens of thousands of dancers and music lover would have come through its door to see the likes of The Who, The Clash and even Iron Maiden!”

Its new owners say that not only have they saved a piece of Scotland’s live music heritage but they have created a must-see restaurant that they hope will draw food-lovers from across Scotland. The building had lain unused since 2009.

The Kirkcaldy businesswoman added: “All of us at the Kinema are very proud to be writing this iconic building’s next chapter, and hoping to be welcoming thousands more to our modern and stylish restaurant. There’s nothing like this in Dunfermline, or the wider area.

“We’ve curated dishes from around the globe - Chinese, Thai, Italian, Mexican - and presented them buffet style, and our chefs will perform at live cooking stations at our Teppanyaki Grill.”

About 40 jobs have been created, with general manager Connor Young and head chef Scott Spink both recruited locally from Dunfermline.

Ryan Barrie was consultant for the project to overhaul the Kinema. He said: “The Kinema is filled with stories and heritage, and I was delighted to be involved in this exciting and unique project.”

Mr Barrie was the brains behind the Citation and the acclaimed Spiritualist restaurant in Glasgow’s Merchant City. He added: “The new restaurant really does have the X factor, with the chefs as the headline acts and its exceptional interior as the luscious stage for their creations. I can’t wait for it to open and people experience its awesome interior and exceptional food and drink.”

The 240-seat restaurant comes as a relief for those who thought the building would be lost altogether.

First opened as a dance hall at its current site in 1938, Kinema became one of Fife’s top nightspots and one of Scotland’s must-see music venues. It is thought to have hosted some 10,000 gigs, putting it on par with major venues in Glasgow, such as the Apollo, or Edinburgh.

Generations of Fifers remember it as the place to go dancing. Or hear the likes of Billy Connolly, Madness or Big Country, Barbara Streisand, Ultravox, Thin Lizzy and Souxie and the Banshies.

Under different names Kinema Ballroom, Night Magic, Hollywood Boulevard and Velocity, the venue endured very different times.

The venue, however, closed in 2009.

By 2014 there was talk that the site would be cleared and shops built in its place.

A council report said it had been demonstrated that its use as a nightclub was no longer viable. It added, according to the Dunfermline Press, that it was “very unlikely for the site to operate sustainably – if at all – as a public house in the future”.

There was also plans to pull it down for a skate park. When the building was auctioned in 2015, nobody even bid for it. Locals, who had campaigned for the venue to be saved, were distraught. There had been hopes it could be used as a youth centre.

Dunfermline had a Palace Kinema back in to Edwardian times, one of the original Scottish moving picture houses.

There are still a number of kinemas across the UK, although the French spelling “cinema” for the same ancient Greek word has come to dominate.

The Kinema Ballroom was opened on Dunfermline’s Pilmuir by the directors of the Kinema Palace at on December 23, 1938, almost exactly 80 years before the new restaurant.

The provost of the town hosted that opening might, which was followed up by a Christmas Eve dance. The venue got more or less its current look when it was expanded and refurbished in 1964.