Cheltenham Rocks

A Social Life Less Ordinary

On Saturday evening The Clarence Social opens its doors for the first time and on Wednesday evening we were lucky enough to have a sneak peek inside this brand new eating, drinking and meeting space in Cheltenham.

Before our visit Wednesday I was unsure what to expect as The Clarence Social is totally new, it’s not a renovation, face-lift or even a chain, it’s box fresh and completely unique. There have been some tantalising glimpses on the company Instagram page focussing on the theme and décor but the layout and use of space was a mystery.


The Clarence Social sits at No 1, Clarence Parade and forms part of the Grade II listed ‘Newspaper Building’ having been home to the Echo for almost a century. It’s a classic regency townhouse with an impressive façade that seems quintessentially ‘Cheltenham’.

I had wondered how a townhouse could work well as a restaurant and bar without seeming cramped or claustrophobic. In fact, due to a radical design it feels the opposite, with the restaurant forming a mezzanine floor giving the bar downstairs high ceilings, creating space and openness.

Those looking for a cosy drinking spot or a nightcap can retreat to the speakeasy-style basement with private bar, luxe-meets-industrial-style and frankly enormous (but hidden!) TV. Those who know me will know I’ve seen my fair share of bars over the years but the quirky secret entrance to the basement bar is the best I’ve ever seen.

For diners the menu is varied and reasonably priced, including Mac n Cheese (£7.50), The Clarence Burger (£12.50), Cote de Beouf (£46) and lots in between.

As well as some staples, the wine selection is different from the usual offerings plus there’s a cocktail menu that would be tempting to work your way through.

A lot of thought has gone in to making The Clarence Social an interesting option for people looking for a relaxing, fun night out in Cheltenham.

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