So now we know – that we can book to dine outside with friends and family from April 12th. Thank the lord! And that fact that Spring is waving at us from just around the corner is an added bonus. And the really good news is that so many of our favourite venues have seriously pimped up their outside spaces, creating fresh new havens of alfresco loveliness where we can get reacquainted with our nearest and dearest. Bravo Chester! You’ve definitely pulled this one well and truly out of the bag …
Here is my selection of the best post lockdown outside-spaces in and around Chester – along with a few suggestions for the best dishes and drinks to enjoy while you’re there.
Hickory’s Smokehouse, Chester city centre
We know how much effort these guys put into their outside drinking and dining spaces, and Chester has to be the pièce de résistance with their incredible walled garden. A post-lockdown masterpiece with the stunning backdrop of the River Dee. And who doesn’t absolutely love Hickory’s? This super-popular venue is always bustling with happy faces, and one portion of chicken wings is never enough. True story.
Oak & Smoke Wood Fired Pizza Kitchen, Bridge Trafford
It’s time to get back to nature and dine underneath the stars with friends and family. In the garden at The Chester Fields you will find something a little bit different. A wood fired kitchen serving the best pizza in the cosy comfort of your own household (or two). This is a special place where we can all come together while remaining a safe distance apart – to enjoy great food using the best local produce – and with a great big glass of red of course! Real food cooked on a real fire seems to taste better somehow. See you there!
The Chester Fields Country Pub and Restaurant, Bridge Trafford
Gorgeous gardens, outside dining huts and those stunning views over the Cheshire plains – its certainly worth the ten minute taxi journey from the city centre. They have won countless awards for their consistent and authentic use of local produce too. Get cosy with blankets and schnapps – Spring evenings are definitely ON on at The Chester Fields.
The Old Dukes, Chester city centre
The Old Dukes burst into our lives late last year and we’ve been counting the days til we can return ever since. We’ve kept the Old Dukes vibe alive with a fair few takeaways – but now we can get properly excited about the real-deal-experience that we’ve been craving for so long. And we especially love their outside seats which will be back in action very soon.
The Black Dog, Waverton
I’m a massive fan of The Black Dog. These guys think very differently and put their exciting plans into action. They have plenty of space in the countryside to enjoy great seasonal food and drink with more than a sprinkling of stardust, and this year they have some very special plans in the making for a spectacular outside dining experience to take us into Spring time. Watch this space for details …
The Secret Garden at The Townhouse, Chester city centre
I’m totally in love with the Secret Garden at The Townhouse on Bridge Street. This is such a unique venue with great bedrooms (and a seriously good breakfast) and the most delicious Afternoon Tea which you can enjoy in this lovely new outside space, and we’re looking forward to their magical Spring reveal very soon. Expect a stunning city-centre oasis, a unique place hidden away where we can meet up with friends and family for Afternoon Tea and cocktails whatever the weather.
Commonhall Social, Chester city centre
Commonhall reopened after lockdown number one with a gorgeous new look, a new food menu – and a really great new outside space. There is plenty of socially distanced seating and two undercover areas with heaters and lots of lovely touches. We know you’re going to love it! And they’ll be back at the racecourse for the Commo Takeover from April 12th. Marvellous!
Barlounge, Chester city centre
In it’s 21st year – Barlounge is looking better than ever! This iconic Chester venue came out of lockdown number one with a stunning new terrace – covered, heated and very smart indeed – the perfect place to drink and dine, whatever the weather – and their sticky sausages are still totally divine!
The Boathouse, Chester River Dee
The Boathouse in Chester has one of the best outside spaces in the city with its sunning riverside location, a floating barge and the cutest, heated beach huts for a fabulous, socially-distanced Springtime dining experience. You can’t beat a delicious glass of red and a nibble to share while watching the sunset over the River Dee. Perfect!
The Pied Bull, Chester city centre
There are lots of great surprises to be found at The Pied Bull. The most incredible bedrooms, a microbrewery (the smallest inside the city walls we believe), great pub food, a couple of friendly ghosts and this fabulous hidden garden right in the heart of the city. This beautiful space is the perfect escape from the everyday … and their seasonal pub classics are delicious too.
The Faulkner, Hoole
The Faulkner is a favourite neighbourhood restaurant serving really good food (they’ve won tons of awards). As independents go, its one of the best and their outside space is delightful! Its weather proof and super-cute with booths, fluffy cushions, heaters and fairy lights – the perfect way to bring in the Spring!
Ring O’Bells Christleton, just outside Chester
Stop everything! And check out the Ring O’Bells Tipi, which takes Alfresco dining to a whole new level! I always describe this fabulous place as one of our Great Cheshire Pubs. Chef Andrew King heads up an award-winning kitchen and its always a really good quality experience all-round, and definitely worth the five minute car journey from the city centre. Chef Andrew loves the Spring as much as I do, so you can be sure of some delicious lighter dishes as well as some bloody good seasonal ales from this favourite country pub – and who wouldn’t want to dine in that stunning new space?
Blue Bell 1494, Chester city centre
Now this is a real gem in the city centre – a beautifully authentic Spanish tapas bar with this gorgeous garden. We reviewed Blue Bell 1494 last year between lockdowns and gave it five stars (click here to find out why) so give it a go, it really is a very special place with another great ghost story from 1645. New dishes included Queso de Cabra Frito – deep fried Goats cheese drizzled with honey & served with quince jelly, and Vieras Fritas – pan fried scallops with a pancetta & Parmesan crumb, served on a fresh pea purée. Both of which were delicious! And we cannot wait to have a go at their brand new Street Food Menu this weekend, its getting rave reviews!
The Goshawk, Delamere
Just 15 minutes drive from the city centre, this is another Great Cheshire Pub with a stunning outside space, and this one overlooking an immaculately manicured bowling green. The Goshawk is located close to Delamere forest, so a walk through the stunning woodland followed by great pub food is the perfect Spring outdoor escape with the family.
Opera Grill, Chester city centre
Opera Grill is a pretty impressive venue. Seriously sexy food, fabulous decor and a truly cosmopolitan vibe, their outside terrace space is the place to be seen in the Spring sunshine. Heated, covered and with plenty of space, if you’re looking for a super-stylish venue, then Opera Grill is definitely the place for you.
Duttons, Chester city centre
I love the new look Duttons – and the fact that it sits on the most beautiful street in the city (Godstall Lane) just makes it all the more gorgeous. Sitting outside Duttons enjoying a delicious alfresco lunch with a glass of wine or two is an affordable treat – and the staff are delightful too.
Rowton Poplars, Waverton
Hidden away in Waverton is a very special place called Rowton Poplars Hotel. This unusual venue is well known for its great quality food, fabulously warm welcome and super-cosy bedrooms. Independently run by the Friend family, they have taken full advantage of their idyllic canal side setting by creating a gorgeous fairylight-lit garden – now with super-cute Bubble Barns and Wigwams for a fabulous dining experience in the great outdoors.
Popcorn, Chester city centre
Quirky, cute and covered, this is one of my favourite outside spaces in the city. And they even have heaters and blankets keeping you cosy and warm as Spring time get going. They serve a delicious casual dining menu including plenty of vegan options … and it’s the most instagrammable bar in the city.
Shrub, Chester city centre
Independent plant-based restaurant Shrub opened post lockdown number one, and their gorgeous terrace is ready and waiting for April diners. These fabulous tables overlooking The Cross have to be among the very best Alfresco tables in the city, and perfect for Springtime dining on the historic rows, overlooking the city centre streets below.
The Botanist, Chester city centre
We love The Botanist. This Chester favourite had a proper spruce up last year and is looking as fresh as a daisy ready for The Great Chester Comeback, and that gorgeous outside space has had a makeover too. A little oasis in the heart of the city, this gorgeous city centre garden is the perfect warm-weather hideaway.
Restaurant 1539, at Chester Racecourse
Is there be a better view in the city? The Roof Terrace at 1539 is luxury dining at its very best and the champagne is on ice ready and waiting for us all to return. With stunning views overlooking the Roodee, 1539 makes the perfect venue for a special occasion – or just any occasion. You know the food is going to be amazing – and the service is always spot on too.
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The White Horse Chester Racecourse
Aren’t they gorgeous? These magical outside huts at The White Horse at Chester Racecourse really are super-cute and they all have their own unique design. Choose from The Dead Nettle, The Michaelmas, The Nightshade, The Candytuft, The Honeysuckle or The Heartsease – they make the perfect spot for a post-covid catch up with someone special. We love them!