THE heart of Chester’s night scene continues to shift to St John Street with more bars and restaurants coming on stream.
Once, Off The Wall and The Marlbororough Arms were the only attractions but now there is plenty to tempt residents and visitors alike – including guests at the new Travelodge in the street.
Cruise nightclub, Pizza Express and Pitcher and Piano have now been joined by The Chester Grille restaurant in the MacDonald New Blossoms hotel with a basement Room Bar to follow in December.
And The Marlbororough Arms is currently undergoing a refit.
Landlord Ben Iles, who hopes the venue will reopen at the end of the month, said: “We will be maintaining traditional values but there will be a quirky side to it because I’m quite eccentric myself.”
There will be 35-40 different beers including hand-pulled ales, Weiss beer and bottled beers from around the world plus hand-pulled ciders.
Ben said the mix of venues in St John Street complemented each other to act as a draw.
“It’s bringing trade this way. We are the new Watergate Street, or perhaps I should say the second Watergate Street!” added Ben, a Cestrian who found Chester transformed after returning from university.
“Eight years ago Chester didn’t have much of a night-life apart from Rosie’s but it’s all changed.”
Meanwhile, the 75-cover Chester Grille restaurant has already opened in The Blossoms.
Head chef Dave Halewood, formerly of Hoole Hall Hotel, has created an all-day menu of classic dishes, grills and daily specials.
The same company is behind the 150-capacity Room Bar in the basement of the hotel which is due to open in December.
Latin American restaurant chain Las Iguanas is believed to be close to sealing a deal for the building next to Off The Wall which used to be occupied by the Masons Print Group but was empty for years after they vacated.