Located upstairs at Genesis Cinema, Bar Paragon is a haven for cinema-goers and non-cinema-goers alike! Open every evening and serving up a wide range of cocktails, beers, ales and wine, Bar Paragon is also host to events such as Cocktail Mixology classes, Poetry Slams, short film nights and Quizzes.
“As my mum and dad courted here in the 1960’s, the history of this site is obviously close to my heart. The Paragon Theatre of Varieties opened here in 1885, and was host to emerging artists Charlie Chaplin, Little Tich, Stan Laurel, and Gertie Gitana – singer of ‘Nellie Dean’ – amongst others. As a celebration of artists past, we give you Bar Paragon, and wish all the performers here the same success as those who trod these boards before them.
Bar Paragon is christened in honour of the history of this site, which has been used for entertainment purposes for over 150 years.
Lusby’s was destroyed by fire in 1884 and its proprietors, Messrs Crowder & Payne, who had owned the theatre since 1878, hired the architect Frank Matcham to design a replacement theatre which was to be called the Paragon Theatre of Varieties.
The Paragon, which opened in May 1885, was host to many stars of the time, including Harry Champion in 1884, Little Tich in 1902, Gertie Gitana in 1909 and Charlie Chaplin, who appeared in Fred Karno’s Mumming Birds before he achieved world-wide fame in Hollywood.
By 1912 music hall was in decline and the theatre was converted into a cinema and named the Mile End Empire.
Since this time the cinema has been through many changes, the most notable of which was the demolition of the Paragon Theatre building, and the subsequent erection of a purpose-built cinema in 1939. This building still stands and is now home to Genesis Cinema, owned by an East End family who were frequenters of the Mile End Empire, and pay homage to its history in the naming of Bar Paragon.