Chester's pubs

The city has a wealth of inns and pubs that cater for every taste from traditional quiet locals, through listed buildings steeped in history to lively modern bars.

Pub reviews

Here are our thoughts on some of the pubs that we and our guests have tried. Most of them are in the city centre and within walking distance of Baker's Cottage.

City pubs

The Albion Inn

Park Street, tel: 01244 340345.

A popular traditional English pub for grown-ups (children are not encouraged). The campaign for real ale (CAMRA) began here.

"Pub food and atmosphere is fantastic at the Albion" S.G. (August 2009)

Alexanders's Cafe Bar

Rufus Court, tel: 01244 340005.

As well as providing a pleasant spot for a drink or light meal, Alexander's is also a venue for live music and comedy with the feel of a student bar. H.B. recommended it for its "wonderful beer garden near the North Gate. Perfect for a cold drink and lunch time snack" (June 2013).

The Architect

54 Nicholas Street, tel: 01244 353 070.

This recently refurbished pub was built by a reknowned Georgian architect Thomas Harrison in the early 1800s. It is now an elegant pub restaurant with views across the Roodee and the racecourse.

"We ate at the Architect twice - excellent lunch and dinner" F&SN (April 2015).

"Beautiful spot to sit outside, lovely food, handsome building." NS (April 2013).

Bar Lounge

75 Watergate Street, tel: 01244 327394

A popular city centre cocktail bar and restaurant.

"Great place to eat out" GA (June 2014).

The Bear and Billet

94 Lower Bridge Street, tel: 01244 311886

"Good food." SF (March 2014).

The Boathouse pub

The Groves, tel: 01244 328709.

This pub has a fantastic location so close to the River Dee that it feels like being on board a boat, especially with their new 'floating beer garden'. You'll find it at the far end of the river side Groves and it's worth the walk with a good range of above average pub food on offer all day and a comfortable and welcoming interior. It can get very busy at weekends.

"Fabulous" SD (May 2013).

Recommended by LM for "great views of the river, good food and great outside space - loved the beach huts!" (June 2012).

"Great views of the River Dee... it was nice sitting watching the boats on the river." TB (March 2007).

The Botanist Pub

St Werburgh Street/Godstall Lane, Tel: 01244 408 100

Recommended by NG, (August 2014).

The Brewery Tap

52-54 Lower Bridge Street, tel: 01244 340999

This fascinating pub is easy to miss because it is not at street level. You have to go up a flight of steps to reach it and it's worth the climb because it's housed in an atmospheric 17th century Jacobean great hall.

The pub belongs to a local brewery, 'The Spitting Feathers', so you can sample Cheshire real ale. They also do pub food which features local produce.

"Amazing building and great beers." F&SN (April 2015).

"Perfect meal, nice service, beautiful atmosphere." NG (August 2014).

"Great atmosphere." BO (April 2014).

"Excellent!" SF (March 2014).

"Great pub atmosphere with a bit of sophistication." NS (April 2013).

Recommended by PJ (March 2012).

"Spitting Feathers great!" JN (May 2011).

"We loved the Brewery Tap for food and drink." FL (March 2010).

The Church Bar

Newgate Street, tel: 01244 318854.

A unique bar converted from a lovingly restored church complete with a stained glass rose window and organ. It was loud and lively on the Saturday night that we visited and we were lucky to find somewhere to sit down. They serve the usual drinks along with a choice of real ales and proper cocktails.

Recommended by NG as "beautiful", (August 2014).

The Coach House Inn

39 Northgate Street, tel: 01244 351900.

This restaurant is very convenient for the city centre, situated near to the Town Hall and Visitor Information Centre.

"Had fabulous dinner in Coach House at reasonable price." CS (March 2013).

The Cross Keys

2 Duke Street, tel: 01244 344460

"Excellent roast Sunday dinner." BO (April 2014).

Handbridge

66 Handbridge, tel: 01244 676194.

A revitalised gastropub with high quality food and only 10 minutes walk from our holiday cottage.

"We thoroughly enjoyed the food at the Handbridge. Friendly service and cooked to a high standard" wrote NP (September 2014).

S. F. recommends guests "not to eat in the Handbridge - took a long time to be served food." (March 2014).

"Very good." DM (March 2012).

"The Handbridge pub has a nice beer garden!" LC (October 2009).

The Pied Bull

57 Northgate Street, Tel: 01244 325829.

"Good for a traditional English breakfast" LS (May 2014)

Recommended by MJ for local ales (February 2013).

Telfords Warehouse

Canal Basin, Tower Wharf, Chester, CH1 4EZ, Tel: 01244 39 00 90.

An independent bar and restaurant overlooking the canal, with regular live music.

"We had very good meals at the Telfords Warehouse" LS (May 2014).

The Victoria

2, Watergate Row, Tel: 01244 347882

This pub has been here since 1269 and is full of character with a good choice of beer, unusual booth seating and a memorable interior.

Out of town pubs

The Cheshire Cat pub

Whitchurch Road, Christleton, tel: 01244 332200.

Lovely traditional pub, great canal side location with a pleasant garden for warmer days. The main drawback is that it's outside the city centre so someone will have to drive, unless you take a taxi. It's also very popular so try it mid week if you want to avoid the busiest times. Recommended for lunch by LMC (August 2013).

The Grosvenor Arms

On the B5130 Chester Road, Aldford, tel: 01244 620228

This beautiful pub is worth the short drive out from Chester. It's in the charming village of Aldford and there is a pleasant, if slightly muddy, walk along by the river Dee to help you work up an appetite for their excellent lunch menu. You can take children during the day - make sure you make time to visit the 'Magic tree' just beyond the church yard while you're there - details in the Kiddiwalks in Cheshire book.

We spent a lovely sunny Sunday walking along the river Dee. We had a picnic lunch by the river and then walked all the way to Aldford, where we enjoyed a well-earned evening meal in the Grosvenor pub garden. We called a taxi to take us back to Chester.

Recommended by LMC (August 2013).

The Peal of Bells

Church Street, Holt, Wrexham, tel: 01829 270411.

This charming country pub is about 8 miles from Chester. They serve food and welcome children.

"Good beer and excellent food at a reasonable price", P& MG (March 2007).

More Chester pubs

Of course these reviews are just our own opinions. You can read more formal pub ratings and listings on these web sites:

  • The AA restaurant and pub guide includes two or three places in the city centre and several more within easy driving distance.
  • Visit Chester food and drink section has an extensive list of eating places with short descriptions (although no ratings).
  • Chester@large lists and rates many local pubs (although some of the ratings are quite old and may not be relevant now). There is also a lively forum with discussions about eating and drinking in Chester.