Dec 17 2009 by David Holmes, Chester Chronicle
A WELL known Chester inn is reopening as a boutique hotel, bar and restaurant.
The Commercial Hotel in St Peter’s Square, behind The Cross, closed for a refurbishment almost four years ago but successive business plans failed to materialise.
Now workmen are putting the finishing touches to the interior with the downstairs bars opening this weekend.
Behind the venture are former Chester DJ John Locke and David Coughlin, partners in The Northern bar in Manchester, plus Martin Ellis of Chester’s City Bar.
The business owners hope the relatively hidden, almost secret nature of the location, could become its selling point.
John, who hopes the venue will be “inclusive” to customers of all ages and backgrounds, said: “We want this to be the worst kept secret in Chester!”
Owned by the gentleman-only Chester City Club, located opposite, the grade II listed Georgian building dates from the early 1800s.
A single storey extension into what was the Forrest recruitment office will accommodate the main bar selling beers, wines and cocktails plus bar food.
A middle room will house a DJ at weekends while the original bar, where the interior is listed, will sell real ales and whisky.
In the new year, work will be completed on an upstairs A la Carte restaurant cum function room where occasional comedy nights may be held. There will also be four hotel rooms and one suite.
Outdoor drinking is likely to prove popular in the courtyard during the summer months.
Thomas Harrison, architect of Chester Castle, built The Commercial Hotel at the same time as his Commercial Newsrooms.