The Flying Machine and The Sign Of The Fish coffee bar – Queens Hotel Hastings 1960s

Supplied by John Busbridge

John Busbridge… I think both of these clubs were under the Queens Hotel which later became Bonitas. It appears the Flying Machine was frequented by lots of Swedish girls as I have one address on the front and three more on the back!

Alan Esdaile… I don’t remember the Sign of The Fish coffee bar.

John Busbridge… It was a religious coffee bar /disco hence the name.

Dave Nattress… Ah, Swedish girls….I fell in love with one in the summer of 1971 and we were together for 2 weeks then she went back, was I heartbroken!  We wrote long airmail letters to each other every other day for a year or so.  I used to phone her occasionally from home – the old man moaning about the phone bill and also I’d go into the office where I worked, (in the evening when it was quiet), and use the office phone. I guess the international calls showed up on the bill but I never got checked on it!  There were a few of us it could have been.  Next summer was not the same, did see her briefly but it had fizzled out.  I think I met a Danish girl that summer.

Annie Stenberg… Ah, the Flying Machine! I was in Hastings when it opened in the summer of 1965. Some of us Swedish girls who were there on summer language courses spent most of our time there and had loads of fun!


Lazybones Disco 1976 and Police Ball.



Anyone remember Lazybones?

Peter Fairless… Which one was that, under the Queens?

Jim Breeds… That rings a distant bell … was it under Queens Hotel?

Alan Esdaile… Yes Pete and Jim, trying to remember the chain of different names, was it The Flying Machine at one time? Bonitas, Emmas etc.

Chris Giles… Bonitas I remember chicken and chips on a Sunday Eve

Alan Esdaile… Thanks Chris! You just reminded me of the smell and the greasy taste. I feel sick!

Jane Hartley… Bonitas, Lazybones, Queen of Clubs, JRs.

Virginia Davis… That brings back memories

Andy Qunta… Yes indeed!

Jim Breeds…  Bonitas I could have volunteered as a name but Lazybones had gone from the memory until now!  Gosh yes. Chicken in the basket wasn’t it? And Scampi too, probably!  lol.

Chris Giles… Yep it was in a basket.

Jon McCallion… We played at bonitas after recording fooling around the same night I think.

Mick O’Dowd… Don’t forget cockroaches in a basket at Bonitas.

Read moreLazybones Disco 1976 and Police Ball.

Below the Queens Hotel Hastings – Queens Cocktail Bar. Year?

photographer: unknown

Had many titles over the years, The Flying Machine, Bonitas, Lazy Bones, Emmas, JR’s etc. Any idea of the year of this photo?

Paul Huggett… Going by the cars most likely mid 1930s

Michele Crew… That’s a great photo and probably the best it ever looked

Alan Esdaile… The cover over the entrance, has always stayed the same.

Mick Knights… There was a Christian coffee bar called the sign of the fish.

Nick Bloomfield… worked there when it was Emmas Disco (1978) and the management in a fit of desperation asked me to come up with some names for different nights. I duly obliged with ‘Funky Friday’ and ‘Saturday Special’. Thus ended my career as a fledgeling promoter…

Ernest Ballard… I used to drink in there a lot as my then wife was the receptionist working shifts. Met many top musicians including Elvis Costello when he was recording with SIr Paul McCartney. We were told by his management unknown to him to ignore him as he didn’t want conversation at the bar or people constantly asking for autographs. After a few days of this and a few drinks he shouted “. Does no one know who I am ? “. We all said. “ no”. He got more angry as we ignored him. Looking back it was so funny.

Peter Thomson… Free chicken and chips late night in Bonita’s. Never asked my age from 15 on. Can’t think of any other reason to go there….

Roy Penfold… I’d put it as mid to late 1940s.

Leigh Kennedy… The ‘Queens Hotel American Cocktail Bar’ to give it it’s full name, opened in july 1937. It was renamed the ‘Elizabeth Bar’ in 1957.

Mick O’Dowd… I took over from Colin Bell at Bonitas as resident DJ.

Alan Pepper… Remember it well Mick ! Hey DJ can you play Sex Machine by J B ? Hit it  !!!

Mick O’Dowd… Sorry Alan Pepper!

Lance Collins… Worked there for a few months but hated it. Missed being on the road. It had a really strange management team !!!!!!


Stallion – introducing the band 1974 & Stallion poster 6th November 1973.

supplied by Mick Mepham


supplied by Phil Thornton

Alan Esdaile… Great find Phil.  Stringer Jones, was a duo with Martin Stringer and Malcolm Jones.

Martyn Baker… Malcolm Jones was the other half of Stringer-Jones with Martin Stringer in Hastings (1975-6). I kind of re-met Malcolm again when we both worked for Capital Radio in the 80’s. Martin now lives in the west of Ireland. Both top geezers.

Harry Randall… RIP Vic/Tony and Steve gone to young! Sadly missed I’m sure by all who new them!

Leigh Wieland-Boys… My that takes me back. Fond memories of Steve D, rest in peace dear friend.

Martin Stringer… Crikey.

Queens Hotel taken over by Emma Hotels 1978

Peter Houghton… My dad’s friend used to own the Queen’s and the Cooden Beach he sold the Queen’s and kept the Cooden Beach

Lance Collins… I was the DJ for a while at Emma’s Nightclub. Shared the duties with a guy call John DELANEY. Was ok but still preferred to be out with my mobile.

Paul Morfey… I remember before that, when it was owned by Hickmott hotels. We did a lot of work in there, as electricians ie. Installing a fire alarm system through out the whole building. I was just a lad at the time but there is many a story to be told. Happy days!

Merv Kennard… was owned by the Krays from late seventies to mid eighties. I met Charlie Kray in the bar, the Uncle that ran the Queens used to spend time in the Havelock. I often had drink with him .

Harry Randall… Wasn’t Emma the Krays Auntie or related?

Alan Pepper… What year was it Bonita’s / Queen of Clubs ?