Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Beachcomber Bar, Minehead, UK ...

A recent postcard purchase set me thinking about a Tiki Bar that I visited every year for about eight years as a child. The post card above is an original from 1970 and depicts the Beachcomber Bar inside the Butlins Holiday Camp, Minehead, UK.

In the mid 60's most of the Butlin's camps in the UK had theme bars, the best remembered has to be the Beachcomber with its tropical storm, boats and Hawaiian bar maids. From the other postcards I’ve seen online the Minehead Beachcomber seemed to have the most ephemera and looks to have been the most decked out.

It was an amazing experience as a child, sitting eating and drinking soda in those surroundings - Running water abounded, fish swam, lightening flashed and the rain poured every half hour like clockwork!

This Pathe News clip recorded at another Beachcomber gives you a tropical flavour of what it was like. (I love the commentary on this … very much of the time)


Minehead Butlins was built in 1962 and the Beachcomber with its impressive A frame (… even if it was just bolted to a square shed!) proved to be a tempting tropical escape within the camp!

It operated for over twenty years before the decline started …

In 1995 - 96 The Beachcomber was used for the Bingo (yes … Bingo!) and retained some original fittings including the Volcano which by this time had become sadly dormant! In 1996 the venue was split in half and one side remained semi-intact and was renamed Hurricane Harry’s and was fitted out with new fittings and furniture.

The Beachcomber closed its doors for the last time in 1998 and was used as a storage room. Tiki Bar? ... yes! Tiki storage room? ... it'll never catch on!

Sadly in 2006 the building was demolished ending hopes that one day it might be restored to its former glory. Still I hold on to some fond memories ... and a postcard! ;0)

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