As well as the main event itself, Chester has a wonderfully wide choice of bars, pubs and restaurants to enjoy before the races. With many just a stone’s throw from the iconic racecourse itself, it’s easy to see why the glamorous events at the Roodee continue to allure both locals and visitors to the charming city centre.
Here, we’ve compiled a handy list of what is going on at a few of our favourite places during the Boodles May Festival. Whether it’s somewhere for beers and cocktails, or brunch and coffee, there is truly something for every race-goer here.
Big Hand Alehouse
With a warm pub atmosphere and vast choice of beer, the Big Hand Alehouse is the perfect place to kick off your race day, as well as the perfect place to end it. The Big Hand Brewery – based in Wrexham – opened up the Alehouse in the basement of Chester’s Watergate House last year, a location with eight cask pumps and a stylish yet traditional interior. Big Hand are offering bookable breakfast from 10am – 12pm on all race days this week and live music on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
85 Watergate St, Chester CH1 2LF
A race day tradition for many, Bar Lounge boasts nearly two decades in offering the finest experience to race-goers. With an extraordinary choice of spirits and cocktails, twinned with dedicated and attentive service, Bar Lounge is a must-visit for anyone looking to indulge on race day. This week, they’ll be offering their famous pre-race brunches. Tables are currently still available on Wednesday and Thursday but book as soon as possible to avoid missing out!
75 Watergate St, Chester CH1 2LB
Fresh off the back of their Taste Cheshire ‘Best Bar’ award, Lono Cove is quickly becoming one of Chester’s most popular venues. Offering a unique cocktail menu with each drink more distinctive than the last, this hideaway is sure to leave a lasting impression. This year, they’re pulling out all the stops for Chester Races. With an earlier opening time of 1pm and a closing time of 2am, race-goers will have even longer to enjoy Lono Cove’s spectacular beverages and funk reggae sounds.
66 Watergate St, Chester CH1 2LA
Craft & Company
With its excellent beer and cocktail selection, Craft & Company is a firm favourite of ours. A strong commitment to serving the finest craft beer and cocktails – all contained within a house party atmosphere – makes Craft & Company the perfect post-races destination. Open until 3.30am on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and with booth hire available and live music on Friday night.
24 Watergate St, North, Chester CH1 2LD
Commonhall Street Social
Situated down one of Chester’s many hidden side streets, Commonhall Street Social serves the highest quality craft beers and spirits in a casual laid-back environment – there’s no other bar quite like it in Chester. The beer garden at the rear is one of Chester’s most popular sun traps, with a ping pong table and outdoor heaters completing the great atmosphere. With live DJs on each race day, the party will be in full swing at Commonhall Street Social.
10 Commonhall St, Chester CH1 2BJ
Church Bar and Restaurant
One of Chester’s largest and most popular bars, The Church boasts a dazzling interior with beautiful decor. Offering an incredible selection of beers, spirits and cocktails is an everyday practice for The Church, but they always go the extra mile for Chester races. This week, they will have live acoustic music on Thursday and a live band on Friday. They are also offering a set menu with tables still available upstairs, along with platters available downstairs.
Newgate St, Chester CH1 1DE
The relatively new Docket No.64 has made a lasting impact in the short time it has been open. A bespoke selection of fine wines, craft beer and locally-sourced food ensures an enjoyable experience any time you visit this intimate venue on Northgate Street. This week, Docket No.64 are offering a pre-race brunch from 10am – 1pm, including breakfast, coffee and fizz for £20. There is also live music on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
64 Northgate St, Chester CH1 2HT
Another time-honoured Chester Races tradition has to be Oddfellows, with its dedication to unsurpassed quality and service, along with the quirky yet classy décor. The new cocktail menu here demonstrates Oddfellows’ quest for perfection, and it certainly comes close. Oddfellows will have live music on both Thursday and Friday, with pre-race brunches still available for Wednesday and Friday – be sure not to miss out.
20 Lower Bridge St, Chester CH1 1RS