Shakespeare Bars


The Crypt Tavern and Restaurant at No. 10 Bench Street were destroyed by a fire in the 1970s.  The site has never been re-developed and a scaffold beam supports the adjoining properties.

 The restaurant was in the basement of the building.


Picture Courtesy of Dover Public Library


Picture Courtesy of Dover Public Library

Formerly the "George", "The Vine" and the "Shakespeare Hotel", it became the "Crypt Tavern" after a long and interesting history, in 1964.  The new owners were Raberni Inns who reopened after extensive alterations plus the creation of new bars.

Fire visited the premises several times during 1968 and 1969, no one outbreak being disastrous in itself, but the cumulative results no doubt leaving scars.  Ownership passed to Rabb Inns in December 1971 and some years later, early one Sunday morning, the 27th March 1977, a passer by reported fire.  The conflagration proved serious that time and although many of the residents escaped or were rescued, seven fatalities resulted, including one of the firemen.

"The Crypt Tavern and Restaurant", with apartments over, were described subsequently as a mass of rooms and passages which could be compared to a rabbit warren.  The owners were refused permission to reinstate the damage in April 1981 but were authorised instead to demolish the remains in November 1982.  It was April 1985 before that happened however and the site is still vacant (2008). (Smith 1991)