The Harbour Bar on Scarborough’s Sandside has survived almost unaltered since it opened in 1945. It is still thriving, run by the Alonzi family whose ancestors arrived in Scarborough in 1896. The outside is plain and not that impressive but when you get through the door you will realise why people have cared enough about it to keep it spotless and unchanged. You can enjoy a Knickerbocker Glory ( unless you’d prefer a Strawberry or Pineapple Glory, a Fruit Cocktail, a Pear Melba, or a Banana, Chocolate and Jelly Delight) and watch yourself reflected in its mirrored walls surrounded by a confection of ice cream colours which makes it look as if you are sitting inside a giant banana split while you eat it. Everything sparkles, from the chrome to the lighted advertisements around the wall which advise you to try a fresh farm egg milk shake and eat ice cream every day in order to stay fit and get your vitamins the easy way You can almost hear generations of children quoting that in an attempt to get a second helping out of their parents but given the size of some of the ice cream sundaes on offer one might just about be enough! The bar has been cherished and looked after with care for all of its sixty five years and looks ready to march on towards one hundred years of serving ice cream by the harbour with no trouble whatsoever.
My own earliest memory of the Harbour Bar was when I was taken in there on a family trip to Scarborough. My cousin ordered a Knickerbocker Glory and I can still remember the awe I felt when she sat there and ate the lot. I was a faddy little thing at the time and probably asked for a bottle of lucozade. My loss. From then on I always insisted that we go and sit down at the counter in there each time that we were in Scarborough- ignoring the fact that I didn’t like ice cream. Even at eight years old I liked its style.
There are very few ice cream parlours left from the 1940’s era which still have their original fittings and the Harbour Bar is one of Scarborough’s real treasures. I still don’t like ice cream much but they serve a great milky coffee and you can sit there and dream yourself back in time. The nineteen forties may not have been a time which you would want to have lived through in reality, for obvious reasons, but people will always need to relax even in the hardest of circumstances and it had a sparkle and glamour all its own. To recapture that aspect of the 1940’s you can always watch an MGM musical, but better still you can visit the Harbour Bar, a place where the harsh realities of life (both then and now) have been removed. Sit down at one of the red topped stools around the long curving yellow counter, order yourself a treat and enjoy some real life glamour from the past.