Sort file:- Herne, March, 2021.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.


Earliest 1935

Chez Laurie

Latest 1975

(Name to)

Hawthorne Corner

Herne Bay

Chez Laurie

Above photo showing the "Chez Laurie" in its better days.

Chez Laurie

Above photo, date unknown.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 18 March 1950.

Chez Laurie Application Refused.


Among the strong opposition offered at St. Augustine's Division adjourned licensing sessions to an application for a full licence for the "Chez Laurie," Thanet Way, was that of the licensees of the "Long Reach," Whitstable, and the "Wheatsheaf," Swalecliffe, represented by Mr. Malcolm Morris. Opposition was also forthcoming from the L.V.A., represented by Mr. W. Edred, from the homes in the area owned by Mackeson and Co. Ltd., George Beer and Rigden Ltd. and Fremlin's Ltd. (Mr. P. Bracher) and from the licensee of the "Roman Galley" (Mr. L. Swain).

Mr. Gordon Friend, making the application, said the "Chez Laurie," which was designed and built for its purpose and was granted a restaurant licence in 1937, was unique between London and Margate. It catered for the middle and upper middle classes who wished to patronise neither the ordinary public house nor the first-class hotel. In the six months ended December 31st it served some 35,000 main meals and was the only house on Thanet Way where a meal could be obtained at any time.

There was an insistent demand by motorists for drinks before and after meals and for drinks without meals. In this connection, Mr. Friend stressed that the Government was trying to make this country more attractive to overseas visitors and he suggested that Americans were not likely to go to the "Hog and Donkey," Chislet, for instance. It was not only a question of a local need, but of the need of the travelling public.

Mr. D. W. G. Dollimore, the licensee, stated, as showing the present demand for drinks, that in the past six months he had spent 2,500 on supplies. The bookings for various functions ware growing and had now reached two a week. On such occasions, as well as at the Saturday night dinner-dances run at the hotel, there were difficulties with only a restaurant licence and it was an embarrassment to ask a brother licensee to obtain an occasional licence. If the application were granted, he was prepared to surrender the off-licence at Hawthorne Grange, behind the "Chez Laurie."

Mr. Dollimore described the lack of a full licence as like driving a high-powered car with the brake on.

Mr. Friend:- With rationed fuel might be more apt.

Evidence in support of the need was given by Mr. F. E. Spanton, farmer, of Chislet Court, by Mr. F. N. Nason, hotel furnisher of Canterbury, residing at Alexandra Road, Whitstable, by Mr. G. Tye, a Ramsgate business man, and by Mr. W. S. Pullinger, former Chairman of the Herne Bay Urban District Council, who said it would be a great convenience to be able to take friends and business associates to the "Chez Laurie" for a drink.

In cross-examination by Mr. Morris, Mr. Nason said that both the "Long Reach" and the "Wheatsheaf" were high-class hotels and he had nothing against them. The licensee of the former had shown enterprise by putting tables in his saloon bar and serving excellently-cooked meals, but the accommodation could not be compared with that of the "Chez Laurie."

Asked if he had supplied the hotel furnishings for the "Chez Laurie," witness replied “No. I should have made a better job of it if I had!” (Laughter.)

Mr. Bracher contended that the restaurant licence was quite adequate for the purposes of the "Chez Laurie," while Mr. Morris said there was no reason why motorists should want a drink at that particular point. He thought Mr. Dollimore could the better keep up his clientele by not having a full licence to that anybody could come in and have a drink.

Mr. Swann thought the application premature and that it might well have waited until the end of fuel rationing. If the licence were granted, the "Chez Laurie" might well have its character altered within a few years to that of an ordinary public house. After a retirement, the Bench refused the application.

Application was then made for an additional wine and spirits licence for the present off-beer licence at Hawthorne Grange. This also met with trade opposition but was eventually granted.


Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, Saturday 08 February 1941.


An application by Mr. A. K. Mowll, on behalf of the "Chez Laurie," Thanet Way, for a supper licence, was granted.


Information below taken from the in-line Kent and Sussex Courier 5 February 2009.

THIS 1930s Art Deco nightclub used to be the place to go for Kent clubbers.

The distinctive three-storey building with strange-looking aeroplane wings was at Hawthorn Corner, off May Street, on the Thanet Way near Herne Bay, Kent.

Alas, now all that remains is an empty field of rubble and bushes.

During the 1950s it advertised itself as "The east Kent rendezvous for all first class parties", "Good food cooked and served in a first class atmosphere" and boasted a car park for 120 cars.

Serbian-born Branka Stavrides owned The Chez with her Greek-Cypriot ex-husband Andrew from 1965 until 1980 and still lives next door to the site.

She said: "It was built in 1935 by a Mr Warrington. He had a daughter called Laura - hence the name Chez Laurie - at the house of Laura.

"We held dinner dances where people could have dinner in one room and then dance in the other.

"My ex-husband later turned one of the rooms into a disco. It was one of the first places to be open until 2am. Dancers would come from Whitstable, Margate, Faversham and Medway. It was really famous.

"People still stop me in the street and say Hello Mrs Steve. They always found it hard to say Stavrides. They tell me what a lovely time they used to have there."

In its heyday in the 1960s and 70s the venue brought in a number of high profile acts including legendary rock bands The Who, Status Quo and 70s pop band Vanity Fair.

"Four hundred youngsters would pour in and the whole building would start shaking," recalled Mrs Stavrides.

"We charged 50p on the door so it cost 1 for a boy to bring in a girl. I have wonderful memories but it was hard work."

Herne Bay Conservative city councillor Vince McMahan remembers going there in his teens.

He said: "I have many fond memories of going to The Chez Laurie and distinctly remember having more hair.

"I was 16 when I first went in the mid-70s but it was always a popular venue from the 60s. They used to have many bands there and a disco every weekend.

"We used to go there on a Friday night, move on to Birchington and end up in Margate.

"It closed for a while in 1975 for a few years and then reopened as The Blitz. They had a couple of old search lights out the front beaming up into the sky for effect. It was a rather grand building with revolving doors."

The site was bought by Paul Turner in 1980 and turned into a promotional photo studio before closing for good in the late 1980s.

Sadly the historic building's concrete and metal had deteriorated to such an extent that it could not be repaired and had to be demolished.


I will be adding the historical information when I find or are sent it, but this project is a very big one, and I do not know when or where the information will come from.

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If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-