Monday 20 March 2023

A pub crawl around Chester, UK

You might have seen recently I went to stay in Chester, my old stomping ground. This gorgeous city is only small but it has a LOT to offer ...unfortunately it was torrentially raining when we arrived so after checking into Hotel Indigo, we decided the only thing for it was to go on a pub crawl of all the 'olde world' pubs. So below you'll find everywhere we went, as well as everything you need to know and what we thought of each place...

Watergates Bar, 11 Watergate Street

Located in what is said to be the oldest medieval crypt in England, Watergates Bar is actually a Greene King - being part of a chain I expected it to be fairly cheap, and it was definitely more expensive than I thought it would be. Our round of a cider & black and a Carling came to £10.50; they didn't have Dark Fruits or Fosters, our go-to choices, which ended up being a theme of the afternoon... We also ate here, and for a katsu chicken burger meal and a camembert & prosciutto sandwich with chunky chips it was over £22.

However, the decor and the barman made it amazing - obviously it's an ancient crypt, so it was all archways and dark wood, enhanced by fairy lights and hanging vines. There's plenty of information about the crypt and its ghosts, and they show sports in here too. There is loads of seating as well as a 'snug' area which you can hire on request, and the bar is dog-friendly. It even has a roof terrace but due to the aforementioned rain we decided to skip it... My one complaint would be that the toilets were freezing and smelled of broccoli.

My rating: 8.5/10
Kate's rating: 8/10

Bear & Billet, 94 Lower Bridge Street

Our next stop was the lovely Bear and Billet; small but perfectly formed, it was only £7.50 for a cider and a lager. It's an old timber-framed house, and is said to be one of the last of its kind remaining in England. There was a proper fire crackling, comfortable seating, and the food looked really tasty as well as being reasonably priced from what we could see. Also, the food comes up from the kitchen via a dumb waiter which was honestly fascinating to see. They had some decent tunes playing, and there were a decent number of customers for a Monday afternoon. I absolutely adored it in here and can't wait to go back!

My rating: 9.5/10
Kate's rating: 8.5/10

The King's Head, 48 Lower Bridge Street

We headed up the road to the King's Head, which is in some sort of partnership with a haunted hotel youtube show and as such is covered in posters and has some gimmicky merch on display next to the bar. It was really grotty and tired-looking in here, and the toilets were pretty gross. There was a fire, unlit, and it just lacked atmosphere for me. The food looked okay and the barmaids were friendly enough, but I definitely wouldn't go back. It also cost £9.50 for our two pints! Not for me. 

My rating: 4/10
Kate's rating: 3/10


The Pied Bull, 57 Northgate Street

This is a pub I remember going in when I was at uni, but it seems really different now; we didn't get a friendly vibe whatsoever, and the place smelled entirely of a chip fryer. It was also super expensive - £6.25 for two HALVES! We pay just over that for two pints at home, so this was crazy to me. It could be sooooo much better here, but it just lets itself down in my opinion. It has a big outdoor area at the back, though, so bonus points for that.

My rating: 4/10
Kate's rating: 2.5/10

The Dublin Packet, 27 Northgate Street

We popped in here for another drink, and it was quiet but almost cosy - it definitely seems like a 'locals' pub, which is fine. I didn't note down the prices of our drinks here (oops) but I don't remember being shocked so it was probably around the £8 mark for two pints. The pub is named after a boat, and there was some info about this behind the bar which was interesting. It's definitely a more modern pub than some of the others in the city.

My rating: 6/10
Kate's rating: 7/10

Ye Olde Boot Inn, 9 Eastgate Row

Up on the rows, this is a little and very old pub that is a strictly 'digital free zone' - no phones, tablets or laptops allowed, although of course they do accept electronic payment methods (eye-roll). There are posters and beermats everywhere reminding you not to whip out anything electric, but it was only £3.30 for two halves which wasn't bad. They don't do any of your generic branded beverages, so I'm not sure what we actually had - a cider and a lager, sure, but I don't know the names at all. It's the sort of place I would go back to if I was on my own with a good book, but there was a definite lack of atmosphere. Not even any background music allowed!

My rating: 6.5/10
Kate's rating: 6/10

The Old Queen's Head, 97 Foregate Street

This is a much more modern, generic type of pub with drinks offers on and that sort of thing; the barmaid we met in here in the afternoon was sooo friendly, and they have music and sports on etc. Just a nice, big, friendly pub with a bit of atmosphere - not much else to say really! Would be perfect for Friday night pre-drinks before hitting some of the more boujie bars in town.

My rating: 8.5/10
Kate's rating: 8.5/10

Have you been to any of these pubs, or visited Chester? Let me know in the comments!

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