Smokey Joe’s Diner

  • Food 7 / 10

  • Drink  6 /10

  • Atmos 8 / 10

Smokey Joe’s Diner A bright and fun diner-themed cafe/man cave

The Longer Read At the time of our visit Smokey Joe’s Diner was surrounded by building site hoardings, whilst Cheltenham’s ‘Brewery Quarter’ project was being completed. In fact, if you’re on the way to the Brewery cinema, flash your ticket and they’ll give you 10% off.  It’s worth persevering past the building site though. This is a bright and breezy take on an American Diner. Smokey Joe’s is part cafe, part vintage museum, part arcade games gallery. Seating ranging from trad diner booth to sofa in front of the fire. On our visit (Sunday morning) it was busy with pram-based families but there is more than enough space to find a quiet spot.

It’s fun here. Retro posters, random Americana, neon and, wait, is that an ELO type space ship on the ceiling? Through the back there’s a man cave of vintage arcade games.  Nice to see a pile of Sunday papers as you walk in. No sign of the bloody Daily Mail either. All good.

Smokey Joe's

Menu at Smokey Joe’s

The menu? It follows the format with an Englishman in New York Breakfast (£10) and ciabatta pizzas (circa £7) down to bagels, gourmet hot dogs, mac ‘n’ cheese and lots of waffle options.  And nice to see a separate Gluten Intolerance menu.

Coffee is good (rather than great) and a vanilla milkshake was predictably a sugary hit. That thing happened where your drinks arrive and by the time your food arrives you’ve finished them. So, you don’t order another coffee ‘cos it probably won’t arrive until you’ve finished your food. Etc, etc. So service was a little slow, but other phrases to describe that are ‘relaxed’ and ‘Sunday morningish’. It’s not as if there’s nothing to distract you while you wait. Bagels were soft and chewy in the right proportion.

On a subsequent visit service was very slow and chaotic. It really could be an issue if time is tight when you go.  On the brighter side the hoardings were down and Bennington Street is on the up.  Monty Smith, the clothes shop has set up recently and there are some other interesting businesses here. And I can’t really think of anything like Smokey Joe’s in Cheltenham, maybe Bill’s. But that restaurant is definitely not as as creative and interesting and it’s a chain restaurant.

15-17 Bennington St, Cheltenham GL50 4ED
Tel: 01242 513744   Web: