The Cheltenham Literature Festival runs from the 6th – 15th October and whilst we know it’s all about the books (here’s the official festival guide to What’s On), its definitely also all about the food and drink too. Whether you prefer a pint, a glass of fizz or a potent cocktail or two, Cheltenham has some of the best bars and pubs around. We’ve picked out a few of our favourites below for you to enjoy.
If you’re out for dinner instead, then you should check out our Top 10 Places to Eat during the Festival.
Here are LewisLoves’ top ten places for topping your tank up during the Cheltenham Literature Festival…
1. Wild Beer, 30 Cambray Place, GL50 1JX
You might well have seen the Wild Beer brewery’s distinctive beers gracing the shelves of your local beer shop as they’ve got a strong following. Either way, don’t miss this three storey Georgian townhouse and sunny courtyard filled to the brim with their wild fermented and barrel-aged beers. Beer beginner or saison-ed expert, there’s bound to be something to challenge your taste buds. They’ve got a decent rotation of interesting world beers too as well as top notch wine, spirits, bar food and even their own “Sleeping Lemons” gin – Mrs L is a big fan!
2. The Grape Escape, 10 Bath Road, GL53 7HA
If you fancy yourself as a wine connoisseur, you can’t afford to miss out of The Grape Escape. With over 300 carefully curated wines, they offer a changing selection by the glass including several super special wines, preserved using the Coravin system. For a bit of sophisticated fun, we’d recommend the £15 wine flights; 5 mystery glasses of red or white and a chance to show your friends just how much you know about wine. They also do a mean grilled cheese and serious meat / cheese platters to keep your hunger at bay.
3. The Retreat Wine Bar, 10-11 Suffolk Parade, GL50 2AB
The Retreat has been a Montpellier institution since the early 80’s with drinkers young and old. There’s always a great buzz, with delicious food being served from the open kitchen and, most importantly, plenty of value for money wine to choose from. It might not be French, but it certainly has the feel of a Parisian neighbourhood bar.
4. Sandford Park Alehouse, 20 High Street, GL50 1DZ
As CAMRA’s national pub of the year in 2016, you can expect an awesome selection of well kept cask ales and keg beer at Sandford Park Alehouse. Even better, it’s light, airy, has a massive beer garden, and is nothing like the spit and sawdust old men’s pub you might have imagined. Whilst introducing real ale to a younger market, they’ve managed to rotate through 1,400 different beers in 3 years. It might not be your local but you’ll definitely wish it was!
5. Door 4 Montpellier, 4 Montpellier Walk, GL50 1SD
Montpellier’s newest opening is already whipping up a storm with its innovative cocktails, limited edition wines, and boards of artisan mezze, cheese, bread and charcuterie piled high. Spread across 3 small but exquisitely formed floors, get there early to bag yourself a seat near the bar and watch the cocktail magic take place!
6. The Clarence Social, 1 Clarence Parade, GL50 3NY
A relative newcomer to the Cheltenham scene, Clarence Street Social offers excellent food, wine, beer and cocktails inside a splendid Georgian townhouse. It’s hiding a secret in the basement though; if you can find your way in, the Croft & Jones Trading Co. speakeasy is an exclusive prohibition-era drinking den
7. Lily Gins, 2a Ormond Terrace, Regent Street, GL50 1HR
If you’re after a loud, proud, Victorian style bordello serving creative and potent cocktails, then Lily Gins is definitely the joint for you. The staff are a lot of fun, there are always banging tunes in the air, and by late evening, people will probably be spilling out the door and carrying on the party on the streets of Cheltenham.
8. The Beehive, 1-3 Montpellier Villas, GL50 2XE
A classic country pub set in the heart of beautiful Montpellier, The Beehive proudly offers local beers, wines and classic pub grub done properly. It’s a community pub where professionals and tradespeople, young and old, mix around a roaring fire or share some sun in the courtyard garden. Why not go along and find yourself a comfy perch at the bar? (They also do a cracking Sunday roast if you are in the mood!)
9. John Gordons 11 Montpellier Arcade, GL50 1Su
As an independent wine and spirits merchant and bar on the doorstep of Montpellier Gardens, John Gordons will definitely hit the spot if you fancy a gin or whisky. They have a massive selection ranging from your typical bar options up to some very pricey but undoubtedly delicious rare specimens. Even better, if you find one you like, why not treat yourself in the shop and try the whole bottle at home just to make sure?
10. The Stable, 40 Clarence Street, GL50 3NX
Renowned across the South West for their pizza, The Stable also has a rather excellent array of ciders on tap. If apples are your thing, then this is definitely the place to head with over 80 ciders at the last count. There is plenty of seating across two floors and you can share a decent pizza with friends to keep you going. If you fancy an adventure however, be sure to ask for one of the tasting boards and the staff will pick you a selection of 1/3 pints across the sweet to dry spectrum. Scrumpy-cious!