If it’s real ales, live music or rugby-friendly pubs you are after than there are few cities better stocked than Gloucester.
From the vibrant Cafe Rene through to the traditional values of the Robert Raikes Inn there are a variety of great pubs within easy walking distance of each other in the heart of the city.
Gloucester also boasts an array of buzzing bars aimed at its student population and younger generations with the Eastgate Street strip the place to party on a Friday or Saturday night.
And despite offering a number of chain venues, one of the city’s strengths is that it still features a high number of individual pubs and bars . Kelly Ramsey, Project Manager for Marketing Gloucester said this makes going out in Gloucester an experience unlike many others.
She said: “We have a couple of Wetherspoons and other chains but for a city of our size it is quite surprising how many of the pubs and bars around the city centre are individually owned and run. It means that we can offer a different experience to many other town and cities.”
And this individuality extends to the Gloucester’s growing reputation for offering locally sourced real ales and an eclectic range of music.
Kelly said: “Real ales and live music are both very important to the city. We are quite well known for our ales and we get quite a lot of people visiting different pubs as part of a real ale trail.”
Renowned for its rugby, Gloucester also offers a number of places to celebrate a cherry and whites victory, drown your sorrows or watch live sport on the TV.
And with the extensive cocktail list at the Old Bell and the recently refurbished New County Hotel the city now offers something for the discerning drinker seeking something a little more sophisticated from a night out.
So whether you want to put the world to rights over a few pints, celebrate a family occasion or really let your hair down, here are 10 pubs in Gloucester worth checking out.
1. The New Inn , 16 Northgate Street, GL1 1SF, 01452 522177.
Type: Real ale pub / hotel
Food and drink: Carvery food and a wide range of real ales.
Great for: Real ale and a lively atmosphere across four bars in an historic setting.
Open: Opens for breakfast at 7am Monday to Friday and 8am on Saturdays and Sunday with the bars open until 11pm seven days a week.
Featuring one of the best examples of a medieval gallery in England this 14th century building is packed with character features. The central city location makes it a popular and lively venue and thw wide range of real ales makes it a must for beer fans.
2. The Bumble Bee , Waterwells Business Park, Quedgeley ,GL2 2AB, 01452 727 041.
Type: Country pub
Food and drink: Classic British pub food backed by a changing line-up of real ales and an extensive wine list.
Great for: Lunch with the family.
Open: Monday to Saturday 12pm to 11pm, Sundays 12pm to 10.30pm.
A self-styled country pub on the edge of the city the Bumble Bee offers the best of the traditional British pub experience from hearty food to real ales.
Roaring log fires in winter and a spacious well-kept garden in summer make this a pub for all seasons. And its handy location just off the M5 also makes it an ideal meeting spot for family reunions and celebrations.
3. The Old Bell , 9a Southgate Street, GL1 1TG, 01452 332 993.
Type: Cocktail bar, pub and restaurant.
Food and drink: Gloucester’s premier place for cocktails, 30 types of vodka and home of the popular Tiger’s Eye fusion restaurant.
Great for: Forgetting your cares over a few cocktails.
With its impressive list of cocktails it is fitting that this 16th Century Grade I Listed building is a former apothecary’s townhouse.
These days it is mixology rather than medicine that is the order of the day with specialities including a lychee martini, a freshly-minted mojito or a fiery bloody mary. The decor remains faithful to the original building and it is the attention to detail in the interior and drinks (they even hand cut their own ice using ice picks) that has helped make it such a popular spot.
The Old Bell is also home to the Tiger’s Eye fusion restaurant serving Asian-inspired cuisine and the chance to cook your own meal on one of their sizzling black rock grills.
4. Cafe Rene, Greyfriars, 31 Southgate Street, 01452 309340.
Type: Pub, cafe and live music bar.
Food and drink: A wide range of beers, wines and spirits. Light bites and and European-influenced main meals including a charcoal grill.
Entertainment: Live music, comedy, televised sport and all-night ghost vigils.
Great for: Letting your hair down to one of Gloucestershire’s best up and coming bands on a Friday or Saturday night.
Open: Sunday to Thursday 11am to 12am, Friday and Saturday 11am to 4am.
Arguably Gloucester’s best live music venue Cafe Rene has established itself as one of the most popular destinations in town.
A cafe by day and a bustling bar by night it offers outdoor space, candlelit cellar dining and a sizeable space in which to bust out some moves to a live band or DJ.
Recommended in the Rough Guide Cafe Rene has everything you could want from a night out in just one place.
5. Teague's Bar, 48 Kingsholm Road ,GL1 3BH, 01452 421 733.
Food and drink: A good range of beer and cider. Famed for its pre-rugby breakfasts.
Entertainment: Televised rugby.
Great for: A cooked breakfast (it comes in two sizes ‘forwards’ or the smaller ‘backs’ breakfasts), and a few pints before going to watch Gloucester RFC just over the road.
Open: 11am to 1pm
"The most rugby-crazed pub in the country's most rugby-crazed town,” according to The Guardian, Teague’s is the place to meet before a game and celebrate victory or drown sorrows afterwards.
Owned by former Gloucester and British Lions player Mike Teague a section of the pub is devoted to his Lions tour in 1989 when he was named player of the series, along with programmes, jerseys, boots, balls and photographs of Gloucester teams dating back to the 1800s.
Located a stone’s throw away from the home of Gloucester rugby this is the unofficial HQ of the cherry and white army.
6. The New County Hotel, 44 Southgate Street, GL1 2DR, 01452 307 000.
Type: Contemporary bar and restaurant
Food and drink: Affordable a la carte cuisine and a wide ranging drinks menu.
Entertainment: Live music.
Great for: Unwinding with a glass of wine after a hard week at work.
Recently refurbished the New County Hotel is a stylish and sophisticated addition to nightlife in Gloucester.
Chic and contemporary it offers an attractive and relaxing place to unwind or even to impress a date.
The most exciting new venue to open in the city for some time.
7. Robert Raikes Inn, 36-38 Southgate Street, GL1 2DR, 01452 526685.
Type: Traditional pub.
Food and drink: Wide range of Samuel Smiths beers and traditional pub grub.
Great for: Catching up with friends.
Open: Open Monday to Saturday 12pm-11pm, Sunday 12pm to 10.30pm.
The former timber-framed home of Sunday school founder Robert Raikes, the building was lovingly restored in 2009 at a reported cost of £4.5million.
Since then it has firmly established itself as one of Gloucester’s most popular watering holes without losing any of its history.
Raikes’ story has been wonderfully preserved with pictures and articles lining the walls. One of the areas that best shows the blend of old and new is the beautifully restored courtyard where the first Sunday school classes were held and which is now one of the best beer gardens in the city.
8. The Pilot Inn , Sellars Road, Hardwicke, GL2 4QD, 01452 720452.
Type: Family friendly pub.
Food and drink: An eclectic mix of traditional pub meals and a well-stocked wine-list and bar.
Entertainment: Children’s play area.
Great for: A family meal overlooking the canal followed by a walk along the towpath.
Open: 11am-11pm Sunday to Thursday, 11am-2pm, Friday to Saturday.
With its superb location overlooking the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal the Pilot is one of the city’s best appointed pubs.
A perfect spot to sit back and watch the world go by, the pub is also one of the more family friendly venues around with a play area and spacious garden.
The food is of the traditional home-cooked variety and the bar is well stocked with a range of wines, beers, ciders and spirits.
9. The Fountain Inn, 53 Westgate Street, 01452 522562.
Type: Traditional pub
Food and drink: Excellent homemade pub food and a selection of six different real ales.
Great for: A hearty lunch and a pint or two of real ale.
Describing itself as ‘a country pub in the heart of the city’ The Fountain offers the best of the traditional British pub experience.
Renowned for real ales and hearty homemade pub food, it boasts roaring fires in the winter and a quiet courtyard garden in the summer.
10. Doctor Fosters , Kimberley Warehouse, Gloucester Docks, GL1 2ES, 01452 300 990.
Food and drink: Everything from real ales to cocktails. Traditional pub food.
Great for: A quiet drink after exploring the docks many attractions.
Open: Monday to Saturday 10.30am-11pm and Sundays 11am-10.30pm.
This bar is one of the few places to grab a drink down at Gloucester’s historic docks. The area has undergone huge development in recent years and is now one of the must-see sights the city has to offer. An ideal place to relax after a hard day’s shopping at Gloucester Quays or an afternoon spent exploring the Waterways Museum.