Sunday, 6 December 2009


Recently a reader wrote to ask where in Rhyl was the Shanghai Club. What a wonderful name – conjures up pictures of Peter Lorre sitting in a corner fanning himself with a pith helmet.

The Shanghai, later known as Phoenix Club, was on the northeast corner of Water Street. It was upstairs over an amusement arcade. During World War 2 and immediately afterwards it became notorious because of servicemen getting drunk and fighting.

Leaving the club you would open a door blindly and find yourself standing immediately on the top step of a steep flight of stairs. Not surprisingly, there was a fatal accident there in the 1960s. In present times we complain about health and safety regulations – we forget how dangerous some places used to be.

The pictures above were taken earlier this year by Yours Truly. The one at the top shows the corner in question; the shuttered doorway was the club’s entrance. The other picture shows the same corner viewed from the promenade walkway. The floor above what is now Les Harker’s Monte Carlo Amusements, 19-21 West Parade, was the club’s premises.

MON 7th DEC 2009 UPDATE: Peter Trehearn reports that for a while in approximately late 1960s/early 1970s the premises were used as a social club for speakers of Welsh language. The club was named Clwb Triban (triban referred to the Plaid Cymru badge) and the stairs were still steep.

MON 24th MAR 2010 UPDATE: Gareth Morris reports that in the early 1980s the premises were home to a singles club with a name something like ‘Club 2000’, and the stairs were still steep.