Cheltenham may be known for its many festivals, ranging from literature and music to food and drink with plenty in between. However, when you want to create your own magic night out, where better to go than one of the town’s best local hotspots?
We’ve put together a list of Cheltenham’s best places to take friends and family, where you can enjoy fantastic food, delightful drinks, and enchanting entertainment – read on to explore the best bars, restaurants, and theatres in Cheltenham!
All Bar One
If you’re looking for a stylish bar with a relaxed atmosphere and a huge selection of food and drink, All Bar One is a winning choice. The wine list is extensive, featuring ‘familiar’ choices such as the refreshing Il Pallone Pinot Grigio as well as more ‘adventurous’ options like the fruity Villa Dei Fiori Pecorino, while beer fans will love the speciality selection that includes a ginger beer with notes of mandarin and kiwi.
All Bar One’s kitchen also impresses, with exotic dishes like duck dumplings, Caribbean chicken curry, and huevos rancheros giving the menu a delicious and diverse appeal. However the stand out dish might just be the Wagyu burger – made from 100% Wagyu beef. If you’re in town for an early lunch or a late breakfast, the bar’s brunch menu is tempting with its range of brunch cocktails – the breakfast martini is a particularly daring choice!
Cheltenham’s Soho Bar is a lively and bouncing establishment, its plush décor and ambience creating the perfect atmosphere for a night out. With live music every Thursday and two cocktails for ten pounds Sunday-Friday 4-8pm, Soho Bar is one of Cheltenham’s prime hotspots.
The bar offers a variety of dishes, from lamb koftas and tempura prawns to a succulent rump steak – if you’re a burger person you can take advantage of the Two Burgers for £12 deal on every day! The drinks menu offers interesting choices, from the classic mojito to the inventive espresso martini, while the stock also includes a number of exclusive and limited edition Champagnes.
Bentleys Bar and Kitchen
Only a short distance from Cheltenham’s centre, Bentleys Bar and Kitchen is the perfect place to settle down on a Friday or Saturday night – with two different but complimentary bar rooms, it’s great for a quiet drink or two as well as a wild night out. Bentleys also provides classic bar entertainment with two pool tables, while its outdoor seating offers an al fresco experience when the sun is shining.
It wouldn’t be a bar without an impressive drinks selection, and Bentleys Bar and Kitchen doesn’t disappoint with its creative cocktails, wonderful wines, and quality craft beer – we recommend starting with the ultra-smooth Velvet Elvis. The kitchen also holds its own, serving up some of the best gourmet burgers Cheltenham has to offer alongside a variety of other dishes.
Located close to the town centre, Cheltenham’s Lumière has been steadily building a reputation as one of the UK’s top restaurants. The simple and modern décor set the scene for a memorable eating experience, whether you’re popping in for lunch or settling down for a full three course meal.
Serving up decadent British cuisine with a creative twist, the menu offers a variety of innovative dishes ranging from the rich and tasty rabbit lasagne to the fresh and flavourful Gigha halibut. However, Lumiere’s desserts take the spotlight – the Valrhona Guanaja dark chocolate fondant will satisfy any and every sweet tooth.
East India Café
The East India Café offers an Indian cuisine adventure unlike any other, and their self-stated mission to make customers feel like members of the British Raj promises an Anglo-Indian treat. The Bombay café feel gives the place an atmosphere unique from other Indian eateries, combining 19th century Raj décor with a modern take on historic cuisine.
The list of options are varied, from its A La Carte selection to an exciting testing menu featuring fiery Punjabi samosas and a spiced chocolate dessert. For bigger budgets the two banquet menus give the opportunity to experience a full range of Anglo-Indian cuisine, including a biryani made with either lamb or guinea fowl or a mouth-tingling marinated lamb leg. The Indian cookery masterclasses are a must-try for anyone wanting to recreate the dishes at home.
With the style and simplicity of a friendly neighbourhood restaurant, Purslane offers a dining affair geared towards seafood but with enough variety to satisfy plenty of other tastes. Whether it’s a light and tasty lunch or a belly-filling evening meal, you’ll find what you’re looking for on the menu.
From Lechlade trout served with sourdough toast to hand-dived Oban scallops, the seafood options are inventive and modern, while carnivores will enjoy the succulent Wiltshere beef and triple cooked chips. Purslane’s dessert menu caters for the sweet tooth with a rich chocolate terrine, while also serving homemade ice cream and a selection of local cheeses.
The Cheltenham Playhouse’s intimate atmosphere and luxurious interior décor make for the perfect theatrical setting, with the auditorium seating 228 for a variety of absorbing and well-performed productions. Theatre-goers can expect a high level of comfort, excellent views of the stage, and a satisfied feeling at the end of the night.
Pre-performance drinks are available in the classy Lounge Bar while the Green Room Bar is regularly open after each show. Fans of stand-up will want to drop by on the third Sunday of every month for improvised comedy nights.
The Everyman Theatre offers a variety of productions for Cheltenham’s theatre fans, from ballet and opera to comedy and music. The auditorium is grand and elegant with a capacity of over 600, and has previously hosted well known acts such as the Birmingham Royal Ballet.
Café Everyman serves up a variety of cakes and sandwiches as well light meals and drinks, while the Matcham’s and Circle Bars both offer pre-show drinks at reasonable prices.
Serving as an entertainment hub located in the picturesque grounds of Dean Close School, the Bacon Theatre offers Cheltenham’s cultural scene an attractive selection of venues – the theatre itself seats over 500 in a stylish auditorium, while the 120 seater Prince Michael Hall provides an intimate setting for smaller events. The Greek-style Tuckwell Amphitheatre completes the unique trio, accommodating 300 for open air theatre during the summer.
Putting on a plethora of performances ranging from film and live productions to dance and musical theatre, the Bacon Theatre complex is the ideal destination for Cheltenham’s entertainment lovers. The Orangery Bar stocks plenty of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for the interval, while there are also sugary treats available at the refreshment area.
If you’re staying over, Jurys Inn Cheltenham offers a city centre location with easy access to the best bars, restaurants, and theatres in the area.
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