So, hands up if you know where Cirencester is? Hands up if you've ever been on a night out in Cirencester? There, I thought that would whittle down most of you...but fear not, here's a brief overview of what you need to about the pubs and bars in the market town in Gloucestershire that's also known as the "Capital of the Cotswolds."
With a population of 20,000 - and I find that quite large with all things considered - it's not the smallest town you'll ever come across. Much of the 'suburbs' of Cirencester, or Ciren for short, will have a couple of local pubs hidden away. In the Stratton area, pubs such as The Drillmans and The Plough have been standing for decades and decades. As you move further into the town centre, you'll wander past places such as The Nelson...somewhere that as a teenager was renowned for serving people underage; of course, I should point out I can't prove this for fear of libelling them! But nowadays I feel it's much harder for 16 and 17 year olds to get served in many pubs across the country, let alone a countryside town. Oh, what a great time it was to be a teenager back in 2004!
In the town centre there are a number of classic pubs. A main favourite with many people is the Crown, formerly the Slug and Lettuce for people who haven't been to or lived in Ciren for several years. It's a big favourite with students from the Agricultural College, contains a decent sized beer garden and provides all sorts of food. Although prices can't be considered cheap, very few places can be within Cirencester as relatively speaking it's an affluent area.
Elsewhere, other pubs such as the Black Horse and The Golden Cross are often busy on Fridays and Saturday, but during other evenings they're quiet. This is the case with the majority of places in the town, which begs the question how so many are staying in business? The pub trade is described as a dying one in the UK, and it's clear to see why when it's so quiet for the majority of nights during the week.
Cirencester does lay claim to a few bars and clubs. Bars such as Mackenzies and Times Square - formerly Bar Havana - are popular with all sorts, from the young to the old, and provide many drink offers during the week. For example, at Times Square, they provide a 'Happy Hour' between 7.30pm and 9.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays, where the majority of drinks are just £1.50. Bargain! Mackenzies does various offers on certain drinks and cocktails during the week, such as 2 for 1 cocktails on Saturdays and student nights on Wednesday. There's also the cleverly named Somewhere Else which moved locations last year from it's previous spot to around the corner to replace the Marlborough Arms - a much bigger location for a quite popular pub.
There is a main 'club' - I use that term loosely considering the size of the place - which is called The Rock and can be found opposite Times Square; I believe they're owned by the same company. It's got somewhat of a cult status amongst people, with many saying it's rubbish, but many still go back time and time again. Open Thursday - Saturday, and on Wednesday for Agricultural College students, it's certainly not cheap, but no nightclubs are. Sometimes you can go there and it'll be packed to the rafters, but other times it'll be deserted. With its small dancefloor, it must be quiet for it to be described as that!!
There's also a bar-cum-club called Seventeen Black, which has only been open for a year or two I believe. It's in the same location that used to be the nightclub "Tin Can", which shut several years ago, and again, it's a very small location, but attempts to be quite trendy at the same time. Having only been there once, I can't say too much about it, but I believe it's open until 1am or 2am every night of the week. For a sleepy town like Cirencester, that's an interesting decision but I guess it must still get custom.
So there you have it, a brief run-down of the 'where to go' in Cirencester...evidently it's hardly Soho, but then again where is?! Cheltenham and Swindon are only short journeys away for big nights out, but with the untimely demise of pubs and bars around the country in places such as Cirencester, I shouldn't advertise those large towns...So yeah, Cirencester, it's great.
If you see a sign for the pub Thames Head dont pass it. Stop, park and go in and you certainly wont regret it. As its name suggests the source of the River Thames is just a stones throw away from this pub. There is a plaque for you to stand by and have your photograph taken by it. Lots of children, and yes, Adults as well, love to stand astride the river Thames here and have a pic taken. Many a bet has been made on this ie. I can stand astride the River Thames as of course people picture it at London. The pub itself is a real old fashioned old english pub. Go inside and see all the old things in the windows. Mostly sewing machines! The food is the best I have ever tasted and had in any pub. The prices are so reasonable. When we last went, we had a family "do" and 6 of us went, had a meal which was more than we could eat but having said that I dont mean pilled up where you think immediately that you cant eat it. We all had roasts and the bill was £40. The atmosphere in this pub is great. You can sit and relax, you dont need to have a meal, and no one rushes you, you dont feel that you should get another drink straight away or move on. Like all pubs around this way it also has a log fire glowing away. Children are welcome as meals are served. This is one pub you really should not pass.