If you’re looking to grab a pint somewhere, the good news is there are some great pubs in Colchester. You’ll find bars of friendly locals, surprisingly good pub grub, and a proclivity for real ales on pump.
The Fat Cat (Free Mouse) on Butt Road, past the bottom end of the town centre, is a quirky little dog-friendly pub with a quaint oak bar, hand pumps, and follow the tubes to find the firkins serving beer on gravity from the air-conditioned tap room they’re housed in. The Fat Cat hosts regular games nights, pub quizzes, and serves a menu of excellent homemade food. The atmosphere’s easy-going; it’s the kind of place you can walk into without knowing a soul, and end up staying until final orders.
Or, a couple of streets away from The Fat Cat, you can make your way to the New Inn, a traditional red-brick watering hole that was named Essex CAMRA Pub of the Year 2017, and Colchester CAMRA Pub of the Year 2017 and 2018. It’s a popular place with locals, tourists, students, professionals; its wide range of clientele gives it a community atmosphere. Its commendable array of drinks hail – as far as possible – from local East Anglian breweries. There’s a great beer garden, two bars, top-class service and the food is leaps and bounds better than you’d expect for such reasonable prices.
If you’re staying at our Colchester Cowdray Avenue hotel you’re less than a ten-minute walk from the The Victoria Inn, on North Station Road. It’s dog-friendly, you’ll be welcomed by staff and locals alike, there’s a top-class range of real ales and ciders to choose from, it’s got a good beer garden for when the sun’s out, and a great covered area making it a popular choice all year round. In terms of decor, the Victoria Inn isn’t exactly the most modern of drinking dens, so if you’re looking for style our next recommendation may be more up your street.
The Church Street Tavern is a tasteful townhouse close to Culver Square with a downstairs bar that’s brilliant for weary shoppers looking to wet their whistle, and an upstairs restaurant serving proper food that puts rival gastropubs to shame. The Sunday roast is super, and their steaks are aged for a minimum of 45 days to tantalise your taste buds. It’s open early and closes late, so you can make your way down for a morning coffee, a lunchtime craft beer, or an evening cocktail.
Even closer to the shopping action is The Purple Dog, which stands shoulder to shoulder with the shops and cafés of Eld Lane. It’s one of the oldest pubs in Colchester and has been serving locals in one way or another since 1647. It stocks award-winning ales, beers and wines, and serves a menu of well-priced pub grub. All in all, it’s a good, convenient option if you’re shopping in Colchester and need some refreshment after your retail therapy.
Last but not least, The Wooden Fender is a fantastic 17th-century pub close to our Colchester (A12) hotel. It well and truly ticks all the right boxes: real ales, rustic features, friendly service, good prices, and an excellently priced food menu that ranges from pheasant to feather-blade steak and the best ploughman’s lunch you’ll ever find, featuring magnificent homemade Scotch eggs. It may well be a pub, but The Wooden Fender could easily have made our list of favourite places to eat in Colchester; the food is that good. A word to the wise, book a table in advance to avoid disappointment.
Whether you're coming to Colchester for a trip to the zoo, a tour of the castle, a visit to Firstsite, or an evening at the Mercury Theatre, stay with us at any one of our three Colchester hotels. They're perfect for exploring this most historic of Roman towns and all of its fascinating attractions.
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