Cosy Club Cheltenham
Food 5 / 10
Drink 4 /10
Atmos 5 / 10
Cosy Club Cheltenham Existential Despair Down at the Cosy Club
The Longer Read Cosy Club
A few days ago I was walking past the front door of Cosy Club. A staff member was outside finishing a cigarette, dressed in a Cosy Club hipster costume/uniform of (from memory) no socks, beard, super-skinny jeans and braces. I just happened to catch his eye and he shot me a look of absolute psychic pain and self-loathing. I recognised that look immediately – as a student I once dressed as Henry VIII for money.
Still, keep an open mind eh? What do we have here?
Cosy Club has an interesting location. It’s on the first floor of a newly completed section of the Cheltenham Brewery Quarter near the cinema and other chain restaurants. Huge windows overlook Poundland and the lower High Street. If you’re here for a coffee, position ‘A’ is on one of the sofas, looking out, where you can feel good about one of the best views in town.
The entrance is at ground level, to the right of Soho. You head up the stairs, past walls covered in framed oil portraits that, I would guess, have never troubled an auctioneer. Plus some dead things with horns. At the top of the stairs, there’s a long bar opposite, with a huge school-style honours board behind. To the right a restaurant section, to the left a lounge bar/cafe. The ambience is half Gentleman’s Club, half what I imagine a golf clubhouse in, say, Akron Ohio, would look like. Staff ALL say “Hi Guys!”. They are dressed in a just-about-different-but-basically-the same way. It’s fascinating, I’d love to see the staff dress handbook here.
This place is huge.
We found a flat white (£2.50) OK, nothing special.
There are two beers on tap, an IPA and a Pale Ale. Both are brewed by Bespoke Brewery, a brewery in Mitcheldean. This information isn’t well advertised- the beer pump clips are not Bespoke’s usual, but instead say “Cosy Club IPA” or similar. For us this undoes any merit of choosing a local brewery, and “House Ale” is such a vague and unhelpful description that the extra effort spent printing their own pump clips seems downright weird.
We try the IPA. On this occasion the beer was a little cloudy suggesting poor cellar management. It was also poured through a sparkler, a pet hate of ours- the beer is forced through what is essentially a tiny colander. This left the beer flatter and blander than it should have been. IPA’s should be about bright and hoppy flavours, and like almost all real ales don’t need to be served through a sparkler. (Those from further north may disagree…) Head over to Sandford Ale House to experience the difference. If that all seems rather a long lecture about beer, it’s not our fault, Cosy Club has made its bar a big feature.
The wine list is grown up. A South African Shiraz, Percheron is on at £22.45. It’s a fruity wine, and so is the mark-up; we’ve seen it retail for around 6 quid. A dark chocolate and ginger torte was a story of two halves – pleasant bitterness in the chocolate top, but an over-sweet, cloying and oily base.
We may come back to check out the restaurant proper for a food review sometime. Breakfast runs along the toast, avocado, egg route. Sandwiches and burgers. A ‘Classic’ 6oz burger is £9.50.
We left wondering, beyond the pre-cinema mob, what sort of person comes to Cosy Club? It wasn’t that busy whilst we were there. It so happens that we can answer that question from reports in the catering industry press – the Cosy Club product concept was reported to be a ‘hybrid outlet’ with a target market of ‘female clientele in market towns’. So there you go ladies – it’s all for you.
What’s good? The sofas are comfy, the huge windows let in the light and offer a unique view of Cheltenham. The top half of the torte. And, remember, this review is really only about the cafe bar side of things. For all we know, the restaurant is terrific and the burgers the best in town. If you’ve tried them let us know*.
* And in fact, no sooner had we posted this than @cheltgem got in touch on Twitter to mention that her other half says the pancakes/bacon at Cosy Club are the best he’s tried in Chelt. Brekky worth a shot. Staff friendly.