Wednesday 6 May 2020

A Life in Pubs 2) Chaplin's

I sadly can't find a decent picture of this place, since even the pub that replaced it closed years ago. Chaplin's was a Hollywood comedy theme pub in Burgess Hill, and that's not something most towns can boast. I do not not how a Hollywood comedy theme pub came to be, I do not know why, I just know that for one reason or another it became our regular haunt back in the early years of the century. Actually, it was probably because they never ID'd us and we started going there when we were seventeen.

When you walked into Chaplin's, you were greeted by a battered mannequin of Charlie Chaplin himself, although more than one person was convinced it was meant to be Hitler. There were pictures of classic Hollywood stars on the walls, including a huge picture of Laurel and Hardy, who looked more and more like my good friends Paul and Andy every time we went there.

The beers weren't great, the wines weren't either, but we were kids and it wasn't expensive, so we didn't care. We continued drinking there for years. There was karaoke on Thursdays, where we originated the classic cockney'd up version of Avril Lavigne's "Complicated," and sang some particularly boisterous renditions of "Build Me Up Buttercup." There was a quiz once a week, which was repeated up the road at the Railway Tavern on the weekends, allowing the attentive quizzer an excellent opportunity for cheating.

Chaplin's was crap, but it was the pleasant sort of crap that leads to fond memories. Above Chaplin's was Checkers, an absolutely terrible nightclub by all accounts that I succesfully managed to avoid visiting until it shut down. The whole lot was bought up and got a makeover. Chaplin's became Pulse, which was equally naff but not in the same way. Checkers was replaced by a strip club, leading to much wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst the sheltered populace of Burgess Hill. Then this mysteriously burnt down, taking Pulse with it. 

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