Things are changing so quickly, its nearly impossible to keep up with it all. But one thing is for sure – Chester is Open For Business! We have some of the best bars and bartenders in the country, and we can still support them this weekend. You may only be able to enjoy a drink or two with your own household, but the Rule of 6 still applies to outside spaces.
Here’s my Top Picks of What’s Hot in the city this weekend.
Please help our beloved venues by observing the rules, and lets make Tier 2 a thing of the past, and Tier 1 our new reality.
Liquor & Co
Gotta love Liquor & Co. This is a super-cool bar with a super-friendly team run by the main man Mouse! Always ready for action, Mouse and the rest of the crew serve delicious drinks with the best brands, and with a serious amount of old-school-bar-charm. They’re currently open Thursday to Saturday evenings for bookings and walk-ins.
My how I missed Barlounge during lockdown. Now in its 20th year (can you bloody believe it?!?), there is something so comforting about walking into a really great bar where everyone knows your name. These guys are so special to me as I kinda feel like I’ve grown up with them. The familiarity is really comforting and Rick’s Pina Coladas are beyond marvellous, and their new terrace is super-stylish too. Some say an Institution, I say Home. Please book your table to avoid disappointment.
They’re back with a bang! We all missed Commonhall during lockdown, but even though they threw a few wonderful weekenders down at Chester Racecourse, Commonhall Street is their spiritual home. They may have taken their time coming back but with very good reason. The new-look Commonhall is as fresh as a daisy and their outside space is simply fabulous. Scandinavian in style, this space is now larger yet cosier than ever before, with plenty of covered and heated areas for you to snuggle up and enjoy all that this great venue has to offer. This is a place for boozy hot chocolates and old school liqueur coffees – but do not fret, Steins and Wines still on the drinks list. And even though they’ve added some healthier dishes to the menu – you can still enjoy the classics as their famous burgers and roasts are still a thing. And of course doggie roast is still on too. Great to have you back in your rightful home Stew and team, you’re looking better than ever!
Craft & Company
Sister to Liquor & Co and literally just over the road, Craft & Company is a beer lovers dream and another one of my favourites. Like its Big Sis, great cocktails are very much a thing, but so are some really great craft beers and a really good gin selection. But what I’m lovin’ at the moment is their new Sunday deli board … making Sundays great again! Please DM them through their Facebook page to book your table. Cheers ?
As neighbourhood bars go, this is one of the best. Located in super-cool Notting Hoole – The Suburbs is artisan, eclectic, friendly and perfect for a weekend pit-stop. The food is great (I recommend the burgers and the South African inspired Braai box) to eat-in or takeaway, but seeing as this is a bar guide, we absolutely love the Steins and delicious cocktails – and did you know they now have their very own gin?
I love Ryan! He runs one great bar! Amazing kocktails and great service to a soundtrack of everyones favourite tunes. This bar is dangerous – in as far that you lose all track of time, which is perfectly acceptable at the weekend (my recovery time is much longer now I’m in my mid-forties). Any bar that can stick a Caramac in your drink as a garnish and a crispy creme doughnut over a milk bottle full of gorgeousness has got to be right up there. And it is.
Duttons holds a very special place in the Chester Food and Drink landscape. Now in its 21st year (!), it really is better than ever. They had a super-funky refurb at the beginning of the year which suits its stunning location on leafy Godstall Lane perfectly. And now for the really good news – their Half Yard of Ale is back on the drinks list! Choose from Manchester craft lager, Original and The Boilerhouse craft pale ale.
Opera Grill has to be one of the sexiest bars in the city. Its super-decadent decor is always a sight for sore eyes and Sam, Nick, Lewis and the team and beyond adorable. The drinks are seriously super-sexy too, and their recent internal cocktail competition in support of Chester Food and Drink Week showed off their awesome bar skills perfectly (click here find out more about that). In my opinion, a visit to Opera Grill makes the weekend pop!
Very new and very beautiful. Housed in one of the most historic spaces in the city, Vin Santo is much more than a wonderful wine bar. With 32 wines by the glass and a great choice of fizz, enjoying something special recommended by this fabulous team in this stunning crypt is a special treat indeed, and one that everyone can enjoy. Fabulous.
The best things come in small packages. It may be a little bar, but it packs a great big punch with fabulous drinks and stunning hand-painted decor. Make it a must on your weekend list.
Who doesn’t love Popcorn?!? This is one seriously fun and groovy bar with the most instgrammable decor in the city. But its certainly not style-over-substance. The food is great, the team is great and the drinks are delightful. Its one of my favourite weekend hangouts, with a really gorgeous outside space. Perfect!
These guys are very serious about beautiful drinks. Located on Watergate Street but hidden away up some secret stairs, this is a must for every drink connoisseur in the city.
Botanical and beautiful, a very new addition to the Chester Food and Drink scene but already adored by everyone who has visited. Run by two of the most legendary bartenders in the city, you know the drinks are going to be divine. And check out the doughnuts!
Exotic Booze Club
If you’re looking for a side of fun and frolics with your cocktails then head straight to Exotic Booze Club in Chester Indoor Market. A food and rink hub in the heart of the city, Chester Market is full of the good stuff including everything you need for the weekend (food and drink wise!). EBC serves whatever you desire with a smile and lots of giggles if you’re in need of some left-of-centre entertainment. And they’re open til 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays along with the rest of the food and drink vendors. Yes please.
Yes! Its the news we’ve all been waiting for! Paysan reopens this weekend. We love Paysan for lots of different reasons. A good old giggle with Nev over the bar is a treat indeed. The wine list is bloody good and great value – and the rotisserie chicken and chips with garlic aioli is divine. Venture upstairs to the Cavern of the Curious Gnome for the best craft beers around. All in all its a great experience and we’re chuffed its back. Cheers Nev!
The Botanist Chester
The Botanist has reopened – and with a bit of a spruce up too. It’s looking as fresh as a daisy and the team are in fine form as well. The cocktails are as Botanically Beautiful as ever and we love the new menu (check out the Hot Board – buttermilk chicken, patatas bravas, crispy pork bites, scampi, spicy lamb meatballs). And the really good news is that you can enjoy 25% Off Food Mondays to Wednesdays throughout September. Get involved!
One of my favourites and for so many reasons. Firstly, Nikki and the team are ace. Always super friendly and super welcoming, this is a bar with a big heart. Locally brewed award winning beer from their sister-brewery just down the road and with a great rum selection (always gets my vote) – Big Hand is like a great big warm hug, not that we can have any of those at the moment. I love their new covid secure booths and on that note, I have to say their covid procedures are spot on. Non-intrusive, easy to follow and totally thorough at the same time. Well done Big Hand, you always get it right.