One-trick venues, your time is up. Instead, the future lies in fluid, buzzy hang-outs that include bars, restaurant and bedrooms (and often music and art spaces too), where regulars can immerse themselves in the life of the building. Even tweedy Cheltenham has caught the bug at No.131, a restaurant- with-rooms which, as well as serving awesome 28-day aged Devon-reared Ruby Red steaks from its Josper grill, hosts one-off supperclubs (Sabrina Ghayour, July 26), and has a basement bar, Crazy Eights, where you can stay late, listening to live jazz and electro DJs, whilst sipping vintage cocktails. Try the Air Mail from Esquire’s 1930’s Handbook for Hosts, a concoction of rum, lime juice, honey and prosecco.
No. 131 is the brainchild of Sam and Georgie Pearman, who, as Lucky Onion, own several great pubs and stays in the Cotswolds. Their update of this Georgian Grade II-listed villa is as sympathetic as it is coolly contemporary. Sexy wallpapers, zinc-topped bars and gorgeous tiled floors, not to mention an art collection that includes pieces by Hockney and Sir Peter Blake (O loves the ‘Sin Will Find You Out’ neon sign in the restaurant), in no way detract from the building’s handsome simplicity. If some of the details are quirky (painkillers on the bar at breakfast), the food is serious, fastidious, and gimmick-free. From a snack of local Hobbs House bakery sourdough with Netherend Farm butter, through starters such as tuna tartare with soy and avocado to a sharing, blow-out beef Wellington, the menu, like No. 131 itself, blends traditional and trendy elements in a satisfying whole.
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