Sort file:- Dover, December, 2023.

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 12 December, 2023.


24 May 2019


Closed May 2023

(Name to)

31 Biggin Street


Lava 2019

Above photo 24 March 2019 by Paul Skelton.

Lava 2019

Above photo 24 March 2019 by Paul Skelton.

Lava sign 2019

Above photo 24 March 2019 by Paul Skelton.


Situated in the former Vision Express building, the new establishment is due to open in April 2019. The "Lava Lounge Bar" to give it it's full name is a  can be described as a Cocktail Bar.


From the By Andy Robinson, 25 January 2019.

Dover is set for a new cocktail bar which wants to open until 2am every night.

The bar will help to rejuvenate the food and drink offering in the town centre if permission is approved.

A new swanky cocktail bar has been proposed for the disused Vision Express shop in Dover's town centre.

The unit in Biggin Street is seeking permission from Dover District Council to change of use from a shop to a drinking establishment.

It has been submitted by London estate agents Gammell & Company alongside applicant Benjamin Dowle from Dover.

Vision Express 2014

The old opticians closed on January 1 this year and has been empty ever since. Above image from Google May 2014.

If permission is granted, the bar has the intention of opening from noon until 2am from Monday to Friday, Saturdays and Sundays, including Bank Holidays.

It will have one full-time employee and five part-time employees.

The bar will be on the ground floor of the three-storey property and the proposed ground floor plans include two VIP booths at the rear of the property behind the bar area on the left-hand side.

Upon entry, the initial drawings show a small seating area with stools on the left and four tables with seating on the right.

Toilets will be up the stairs on the first floor next to the fire exit.

Lava plans

The initial plans for the bar (Image: Dover District Council).

Dover Town Council has expressed its support for the new cocktail bar's planning application in the form of a consultee comment.

A spokesman for the Town Council told the Dover Express: “The council supports widening the use of this Biggin Street commercial property for food and drink, drinking establishment, and entertainment and leisure alongside the existing retail permission to help high streets reinvigorate their appeal.”

Biggin Street is off Pencester Gardens, the area where police and council patrols were stepped up in May to combat anti-social behaviour as part of their special project titled Operation Urban.

The plans are thought to create a divide from people who are cautious about late night drinkers causing anti-social behaviour and bids to try and revive the High Street after the opening of St James.

The planning application is still subject to consultation.


From the By Lauren MacDougall, 8 May 2019.

The Lava Lounge is the tiki cocktail bar just weeks away from opening in Dover.

The bar will play host to a number of special events for its opening weekend.

Plans emerged last year for the former Vision Express in Biggin Street to be transformed into a bar.

And now those plans are about to become a reality as The Lava Lounge is set to open its doors for the first time on Friday, May 24.

Owned by Ben Dowle, 34, the bar has a tiki theme upstairs and a volcano theme downstairs.

It will be open until 2am on selected nights.

Mr Dowle is opening the bar with the help of his partner Shannon Price-Tupper, 26.

She told Kent Live: "Nightlife in Dover is a bit rubbish and this is why we wanted to open somewhere new.

"We went for a cocktail bar because we wanted something a bit more classy that would appeal to all different types of people, something for both the older and younger generations.

"It's taken four months to rip out the old interior and do it all up, we are very excited but also very nervous."

The old opticians closed on January 1, 2018 and has been empty ever since.

Inside the new venue, guests won't find pairs of glasses but themed wall art, tiki masks and a water fountain.

Miss Price-Tupper added: "We are also thinking of opening one night in the week as well as the Friday and Saturday nights.

"We haven't got as far as finalising exactly when we will be open though.

"I think we will play it by ear and see how popular it is once open."


In December 2021 the Kent police posted a formal objection to the renewal of their drinks license, stating the reasons being a failure to ensure crime prevention and public safety. We will see what happens next.


From the By Chantal Weller, 23 May 2023.

Lava Lounge cocktail bar shuts in Biggin Street, Dover.

A cocktail bar has closed down as devastated bosses say people “do not seem to be interested in going out anymore”.

The Lava Lounge in Dover announced on Facebook yesterday that it has shut permanently after “one hell of a ride”.

Lave Lounge inside 2023

The team says they are devastated to have closed. Picture: The Lava Lounge on Facebook.

A representative from the business told KentOnline that Covid and the cost-of-living crisis were to blame for its struggles.

“All of us at Lava are devastated to have to close the bar, as are lots of our customers,” they said.

“But times have been hard and we have never recovered since Covid and the cost-of-living crisis.

“Local people do not seem to be interested in going out anymore due to increasing costs and the nightlife economy seems to have taken a massive dip in custom.

“We want to thank all of our customers, staff and management for their time with us as we couldn’t have done it without them.”

In the Facebook post the team said the memories made will last a lifetime.

“Lava Lounge has been one hell of a ride to say the least… full of dancing, parties and laughs… but unfortunately that adventure has come to an end and our doors have closed for the last time,” the post read.

“Us here at Lava Lounge would just like to say a massive thank you to all of our customers that have visited us, the DJs, the staff and everyone else that has been a part of our journey… it truly has been a time to remember and the memories will last a lifetime.

“We wish you all the best.”

Lave Lounge inside

The site was in Biggin Street. Picture: The Lava Lounge on Facebook.

The cocktail bar in Biggin Street first opened in May 2019 and hosted DJ nights as well as themed nights for special occasions such as Bank Holiday weekends.

It shut its doors for the last time in the early hours of Friday.

Visitors have commented on the venue’s Facebook post saying it is such a shame and they will miss it.

“Such a beautiful bar. Thank you guys for the memories,” one person wrote.

“Ahhh gutted, many a good night had there," another commented.

The closure of Lava Lounge follows the loss of The Funky Monkey earlier this year.

But there are plans for a new music venue and nightclub in a unit formerly occupied by estate agents Bairstow Eves in Market Square.

Other bars including "Rhino and Bull’s," "Attic Bar" and "Vinoteq" remain open.



DOWLE Ben May/2019+


If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-