Someone’s gone to a lot of effort to create a shaby chic ambience for the local cognoscenti to enjoy an evenings live entertainment.

From time to time the mismatched furniture, second hand books and trash novel covers on the wall verge on the ‘trying too hard’ but there are a couple of reasons why we need to let them off.

The most important of course is the massive amount of live music they put on. This is not a small endeavour as they have something happening pretty much every night of the week, whether it be in the upstairs eaterie or the atmospheric cellar bar Chaplins really do go the extra mile. Generally speaking the quality is variable but you can see stalwarts of the local scene, acts from further afield, comedy and open mic nights. They really do make an effort.

Chaplins upstairs
Chaplins upstairs

Overall the impression of the upstairs is of an owner with a vision, a wadful of cash and a London designer who said ‘ we could do this – it worked really well in London’. Whilst I admit it does have a certain amount of charm if I see one more place with hand written motto’s on the wall I’ll puke.

The second reason we have to let them off this forced gentrification is the truly superb food. It’s not expensive but it’s damn good and they get a 10 for both pies and burgers. The menu isn’t massive which to be frank, with my missus is a good thing(otherwise it takes her ages to decide) and after all it’s a pub not a restaurant.

There’s a wide selection of alcoholic beverages upstairs which veer pleasingly away from the standard chain fare and of course teas and coffees for the drivers amongst us. Admittedly it’s a bit ‘slice of lime in a foreign sounding lager’ type selection but for the estate agents of Boscombe I’m sure it’s very nice. There’s a great selection of whisky and spirits too however I won’t be sampling these due to an unfortunate night spent with Reading Football Club a few years ago.

Tip, if you want food stay upstairs if you want a decent pint go to the cellar.

chaplins cellar
chaplins cellar

The cellar is a bit better served on the beer front with a range of ales and some of the more well known pretend Australian lagers. It’s where they have the ‘Solid Air’ nights and there’s a reasonable stage although it might possibly get a bit cramped with a Pachango or Ratrace on there!

I’ve been a bit sniffy about some of the aspects in Chaplins and it’s a little unfair. They are one of (if not the) best places to see free live music in the area so go along, buy beer and do try the burgers.

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