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Cleethorpes Cafe Society

This feature was launched in 2005 when "Café culture" was all the rage and Cleethorpes "traded up" with a number of smart café bars selling food and alcohol way into the small hours. While the more imaginative Estate Agents and planners drew comparisons with the Mediterranean, this feature attempted to document the more localised charms of a seaside resort. Recently, the "credit crunch" has caused a number of businesses to close or change hands. It will be interesting to see what develops.

This is not an endorsement of any particular business - merely an attempt to compile a "nostalgic record" of seaside culture while it still exists. Latest news is that NE Lincs Council has put the re-development of the Sea Road area (including the Hawaiian Eye) on hold and the businesses have been offered a temporary extension of their leases.

Tea Bar

This tea bar on stilts stirs up images of the old Olympia amusement arcade, swept away in the 1953 flood. The painted adverts promise "Jugs of Tea" - an offer which calls to mind afternoons on the beach, unwrapping sandwiches whilst sheltering behind windbreaks. Sadly, there now seems some doubt whether this stall is still trading.

Boaters Beach Restaurant

July 2009 - Boaters Beach Restaurant entertained the Sunday afternoon crowds with a roof-top concert in the Sun.

Winter Gardens

Just as "Remember the Alamo" is a battle cry for Texans, in years to come Meggies will be recognised by the words, "Remember the Winter Gardens".

The Winter Gardens has now been demolished. Latest plans call for the site to be occupied by a medical centre, although at the moment it is just a car park.

Winter Gardens Protest

The Winter Gardens had been a central part of the Cleethorpes entertainment scene for decades, hosting weddings, dances, literary luncheons and the annual Beer Festival. February 2007 saw the final Tea Dance, the final Bags Ball (or "Melody Night") and a closing "Demolition Ball", headlined by the Buzzcocks.

Browns Cafe

Browns Cafe

British weather being what it is, any seaside resort needs to offer plenty of shelter from the elements, preferably offering staple British meals with portions that fill the belly and prices that don't stretch the pocket. Brown's is an early morning refuge nestling between the amusement arcades and the railway station. It's hard to say how long it's been there, although the sepia blow-ups of Edwardian bank holiday crowds on the walls evokes a mood of nostalgia which suggest it's been there forever. By the time the modern-day trippers arrive, it's sometimes hard to find a seat, but early on a summer morning, with the sun glittering over the water, there can't be a better venue to sit and watch the freighters progress down river.

Hawaiian Eye

The Hawaiian Eye Cafe is located just opposite the Pier. Opened in 1960 by David Blyth, it was named after the TV series, "Hawaiian Eye", starring Robert Conrad as a detective working out of a Honolulu hotel, which ran on ITV from 1959 to 1963.

Hawaiian Eye

Even though the show itself is long forgotten, the SouthSea spirit is still evoked by those hardy customers eating their meals at the tables outside. Both venues are a year-round resource offering a reviving cup of tea or coffee and a traditional seaside meal to trippers and locals alike. In their own way, these cafes and their customers preserve the unique atmosphere of the seaside resort. Bikers parked outside the Hawaiian Eye after a trip up the coast and the shiny parade of Scooters opposite Browns on a Sunday morning, their pennants and foxtails fluttering in the wind, are like a piece of living heritage.

Registered Charity No. 505255.   Member of YHACS