“ Address: The Hunter Club St Andrews Street South Bury St Edmunds Suffolk, IP33 3PJ „
The Doodle Bar is one of the newest bars to open in Bury St Edmunds and is fast becoming the place to drink and be seen drinking. The atmosphere here is laid back with comfy seating, there is an extensive wine/champagne list, beers, lagers and cider on tap as well as those of the bottled variety and their biggest boast is the sheer selection of spirits and cocktails on offer but more on this later. The bar is independently run which makes allows for the best prices and a wide selections of drinks to be passed on to the customer. There are function rooms available for hire as well as live entertainment, a pool table and a newly refurbished bar area sporting a more than smart and modern feeling 25ft long bar.
The new bar really does look the part (see picture), the back wall is fully mirrored, with an overall light and airy finish giving a great feel to the place, making it feel like the sort of place you would rather sit and drink than stand which just adds to the relaxed comfortable feel of the place. There are comfy sofas set round low tables around the perimeter of the room with each table seating at least 8 or more people making for a perfect area just to relax with friends in the atmospherically low lit but not dark bar area. As well as the sofas there are a few other tables with individual leather seats set around comfortably seating 6 people around each, again perfectly comfy it just depends what takes your fancy. If your party is bigger than 6 or 8 people this is not a problem as the more than approachable and friendly bar staff are more than willing to make accommodations with regards to making a larger seating area by pulling tables together and rearranging seats as required. Instead of stools at the bar there are tall seats so even sitting at the bar is a comfortable experience, and as the bar is so long it doesn't feel as though you are in the way even at busy times.
There is an ample beer garden here too with enough seating for 20 - 30 people at least, giving plenty of room for the smokers amongst us to get outside without having to go and stand on the street. The garden is also walled on each side so even when blowing a gale tends to be quite a sheltered area, not only this but also makes for a great place to sit and enjoy the last of the sun on a summers evening.
So What Exactly Is To Drink?
In fairness my main drink of choice when drinking here is Aspalls cider which is on tap, as well as Carlsberg, San Miguel, and IPA. Guest ales are usually featured here with the present one being the Cats Whiskers from the local Bartrums Brewery and of course Guinness. This is by no means an exhaustive list of what is available on the draught side of things just the ones that I can actually remember. As far as bottled beverages go Stella, Desperados, Tuborg, Corona and many other alcoholic brands are available, with soft drinks such as J2O, Coca Cola, orange juice and Schweppes lemonade also on offer. The Doodle Bar has got to have some of the best stocked fridges, and best selection of drinks on tap when compared to pretty much every other bar and pub in the local area. Bottled alcoholic drinks tend to be around the £2.50 mark with draughts such as Aspalls and Carlsberg being on average around the £3 mark. They do seem to keep an eye on the competitors in the local area here which is great for the customers as you can pretty much guarantee that this will be one of the cheapest places to grab a decent drink. The bar tends to be quiet busy which means you can also be guaranteed a good pint no matter what you are drinking as barrels are changed frequently and not left sitting in the cellar for months on end.
As mentioned above the array of spirits and liqueurs on offer behind the bar is really a site to behold offering probably everything you have heard of and more. Everything from standard/premium vodkas and Absinth through to such things as Sambuca, Cointreau and Bols Blue are available here along with all the other usual suspects you would expect to see such as Baileys, Bacardi, and Jack Daniels among others. The range of spirits on offer is immense and again this list is by no means exhaustive these are just some of the ones I remember seeing on offer whilst visiting the Doodle Bar on the numerous occasions I have been here. The vast ranges of spirits available here makes for an interesting night out if shots take your fancy, as well as making for a long list of interesting and flavoursome cocktails which for most people would take far more than one visit to try each of them just once. Shots, mixers and cocktails start around the £2 and go up to £5 and over depending on how exotic your choice of drink. There are quite often offers on for doubles or certain spirits and liqueurs which is good for trying something new as these tend to change on a weekly basis.
There are a large selection of wines and champagnes available but not having much appreciation or in fact recognition of fine wines and champagne was not something I paid much attention to. The one quick glance I did have at the wine list did however seem like there should be something to suit everybody's taste and pocket, with glasses of white and red wine starting at around the £3 from what I can remember with the most expensive champagne being around £200 a bottle. Now there were obviously various wines and champagnes available between these prices most of which seemed reasonably priced, with most of the wines being available by the glass or bottle. This as far as I'm concerned goes to show the variedness of the clientele that visit the premises for a drink not that you would guess it from the relaxed comfortable atmosphere that prevails with everybody mingling and talking which I find to be a rare quality in drinking establishment these days.
As well as the main bar area there is another large room with bar facilities that is available for private hire, and is also where the entertainment usually takes place. There are open mic nights on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month which are most definitely worth a look with a lot of local talent showing up making for a varied evening of good music from amateur artists, most of whom are performing their own material with the odd cover thrown in here and there for good measure.
Comedy nights and jazz nights are also held quite regularly throughout the year, these are advertised on the website as and when they happen and again are well worth a look and make for a good nights entertainment. As well as all of this there are also live bands of all genres that perform here on a pretty regular basis and there seems to be at least one event going on here every week as well as the regular open mic nights so it's worth keeping an eye on the website because no doubt there will quite often be something going on here that may well catch your interest.
One thing that I feel is well worth a mention is the pool table. The fact that there is a pool table here may not seem to be much to shout about, however the fact that the price of a game is only 30 pence may well make this the place to come if you fancy a game, with most other pubs and bars in the area charging £1 a game, 3 for the price of one can't be bad, this coupled with the fact the drinks here are cheaper than most of the places charging extortionate sums for a game of pool could mean for a far cheaper than usual night out.
On top of all the above there are salsa dancing classes, yoga and Pilate classes, as well as a whole host of other things that go on in the function hall that is attached to the Doodle Bar all of which happen mainly in the daytime when the hall isn't being used for private functions, or live entertainment.
Rooms for Hire:-
There are two rooms for hire here, a function hall and a conference room. The function hall has a bar and is available to be privately hired for parties and other such events, if advanced warning is given buffets can either be bought along by the organiser of the party or with the recent arrival of the new chef and installation of a new kitchen buffets can now be laid on by the proprietor . The function hall as well as having its own small bar also has plenty of seating again comfy sofas, seats and tables are in good supply, as well as a purpose built stage area plenty big enough for a disco or full live band, along with a large dance floor area. Again the seats and tables can be arranged as necessary depending on the size of the groups using the hall or what is happening in there.
The conference room is pretty much what you would expect and is also available for hire upon request. It comes complete with a projector capable of being hooked up to a TV, Slide Machine, or Laptop/PC or even a games console if needs be. Chairs and tables are also supplied with this room making it suitable for everything from business meetings, business promotion, teaching and exams. The conference hall as with the function hall is available for hire any time of day however the conference room does not have a bar area. I believe access to tea and coffee making facilities is available, and again I'm sure buffets are allowed to be bought in or supplied on request.
This has to be my most regular drinking haunt in Bury St Edmunds and in my opinion as already stated is by far the most laid back and friendly place around the local area whether it's to pop in for a quick pint or stop for the evening and sample a bottle of wine from the extensive list, or give a few of the cocktails a try. I find the Doodle Bar caters well for all age groups and encompasses the needs of all. With a more than exemplary range of drinks to suit all tastes means it draws a vast cross section of people in, meaning there is always a friendly, civil and relaxed atmosphere with every likelihood of having a good night with no trouble.
As mentioned before there has been a new kitchen installed and there is a new chef on site so once the finishing touches have been put into place I should think there will be a decent menu and food available also. If this can match up to the quality of service received by the members of staff here, as well as to the variety of drinks available I feel that this will really set this bar apart from the competition it already seems to be miles ahead of in and around Bury St Edmunds.
Address:- 65 Guildhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1QB
Telephone:- 01284 748280