Pubs and Bars

Bar Melba – Chelmsford’s New Gay Bar

Bar Melba Chelmsford logoEvery city should have a gay bar, and Chelmsford’s is Bar Melba, which will be on the High Street close to Shire Hall.

In April 2015, Chelmsford’s former gay bar, “Smiths” on Moulsham Street, closed down. A local resident has decided to take it upon himself to see a new gay bar set up in the centre of town.

The man behind Chelmsford’s new gay bar, who is reportedly from Great Baddow, does not wish to be named at the moment – the bar is still awaiting full planning acceptance. However, he spoke to The Chronicle and said: “Smiths was a legendary venue and to lose something like that is a shame. But there is now an opportunity to pick up the pieces and show what Chelmsford’s gay scene has to offer.”

You can keep track of developments and find out when the new bar will be opening by following Bar Melba on Facebook and Twitter:




The Bay Horse Bar & Bistro

TThe Bay Horsehe Bay Horse is a modernised Tudor pub that serves modern British food all afternoon and has a good selection of beers. What used to be one of Chelmsford’s dark and dingy drinking pubs is now a bright, vibrant public house that serves excellent food in a very relaxed atmosphere.

There is regular live music every weekend, with bands playing on Friday and Saturday nights from 10pm until 1am.

It is one of the only pubs in the town that has its own car park.

The building

The Bay Horse is a late 17th Century timber framed building. Listed grade II. Two storey with attic incorporating a single gabled dormer to the street. It has a peg-tiled roof, rendered walls with exposed timbers.


OConnorsO’Connors is Chelmsford’s Irish pub. A friendly and traditional pub with a long bar and a rear courtyard. Great lunchtime food and quality beers are served. Open late at the weekend.

The pub has a monthly acoustic music night and always has a St. Patricks Day party.

The Prince of Orange

Prince of Orange reuninion party

Prince of Orange reuninion party

It was formally the Prince of Orange, a pub very popular with bikers, punks, hippies and rockers or all ages.

This was for a while the most cultural, friendly and fun pub in town. There is an annual Prince of Orange reunion where old regulars return and the pub turns back time to 1980s.

They used to have beer festivals with live folk bands playing. I have fond memories of attending my first beer festival there and enjoying a little too much Exmoor Gold before heading to college the next day.

They also had a duke box and the only Eric Clapton song that played was Layla.

See Crispin Coulson’s website,, for more on the old pub.

The Woolpack

The WoolpackThe Woolpack is a traditional, back street town local that has character and a great atmosphere.

It serves excellent beers (winner of CAMRA awards) and has a annual beer festival. Some drinkers say that it serves the best Guinness in Chelmsford too.

For food, the bangers and mash (or chips) is a favourite.

Review: “A proper pub with proper real ales and proper uncomplicated food.