The famous Army and Navy on the Army and Navy roundabout has now closed and has subsequently been changed into a Frankie and Bennys, a bed superstore, a Travelodge and a development of one bedroom flats. This is a shame as back in the day although it was a bit of a shabby old place, it was really popular for music lovers all over the county, with famous names like Oasis and Ocen Colour Scene having played there. They used to have regular band competitions about ten years ago which is where lots of new talent was always spotted. Despite the fact it has now closed, it legend still remains and many of the people that once went here for music and new bands now go to the Golden Fleece which is on Duke Street in the town. They have bands playing weekly and had a recent 'FleeceFest'. Another place that is an Army and Navy wannabe is BarHouse on Victoria Road in Chelmsford. They regularly have bands and djs just as the Army and Navy did but nowhere has the fame or atmosphere that the Army and Navy once did.
This is a place that will forever remind me of my latter teenage years, from having played there as a supporting act and seeing some amazing performances, to having a great time on gay nights with my gay best friends.
I think i should say now that this pub no longer exists, although its legacy still lives on, and the roundabout is still referred to as the army and navy roundabout. They pulled it down around a year or two ago and are building a hotel with some chain of restaurant threre-rumor has it that it will be a frankie and bennys?
The place was a bit ramshackle-the toilets needed a complete refit and everything was a bit flakey, but the atmosphere was always great, and some great famous bands have played there in its time, despite the 250 person capactity-one of the last bands i saw there was Lost Prophets around 7-8 years ago, and it was just months before they were regulars on Kerrang. Around the same time they had The Dammned play there, the original punk band, who despite the low key venue and their age, played a blindingly fantastic performance.
So no, this place wasnt the prettiest of things, in fact inside was an eyesore, but since it has been gone, there has been nothing to replace it, and so the live music scene in Chelmsford is slowly being stamped out. Such a shame, as there is some great local talent that is forced out of the area to find an audience.
They did a pitiful effort at revamping it just before it was knocked down but it was turned into a generic chain pub, and didnt get very much business in comparisson, as the reason it was so busy was that it offered something different to the other pubs in the town centre. If people could get the generic pub in the town centre, they weren't going to be interested in walking 10 minutes to get the same thing.
Still, although this place is actually closed now, if you visit chelmsford and want to eat out or a place to stay, then visit the army and navy roundabout, and instead of seeing the pub, you will find a chain of hotel and restaurant. -i believe the hotel will be a premier inn.
The Army And Navy public house is not exactly the most salubrious of places in Essex - in fact when compared to pubs in general it is a disgusting dump. However, it is also virtually the only place in the Chelmsford area which has decent live music and as a result I spent many Friday and Saturday nights there in my mispent youth. In the past it has played host to some of todays greatest bands when they were just starting out (or when their careers have slid into oblivion). Notable visitors include The Verve(allegedly), Collapsed Lung and those rock megastars Oasis (who I saw play to approximately 12 bored looking people). However, recently it seems to showcase more and more tribute bands and old punk acts such as Peter and The Test Tube Babies and Stiff Little Fingers. There is an entrance fee payable on the door when bands are playing - usually in the region of around £3-£5 and once inside, leaving is not to be recommended as quite often they will not let you back in without paying again. The atmosphere in the pub is generally friendly although most of the occupants are under the age of 20 (18?), but is also very 'hippy-ish' for want of a better word. Facilities are generally nasty and best avoided. There is a room behind the bar area which allows you to escape from the music, which contains a jukebox(ok so you can't escape music altogether) and two pool tables, but this area is quite often too crowded to be able to use them. There are also gay nights on Wednesday and Sunday but I have no idea as to the popularity of these. Overall, if you are looking for a place to go for a meal or a drink then this is definitely NOT the place to go. If however, you are looking for an evening of musical entertainment then check it out. There is a list of forthecoming bands which will be playing on a blackboard outside the venue or by contacting them directly they will send you a flyer to the same effect.