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Latest Additions To Chester That You Have To Visit

You’ll never be short of something to do in Chester, but we will always welcome something new.

Chester has seen some wonderful additions over the last 12 months, from bars to trampoline parks to steakhouses.  We thought we’d take a look at some of our favourite new spots.


Storyhouse

In May 2017, Chester saw the opening of the brand new, multi purpose Storyhouse theatre. 

Storyhouse serves as a theatre, library, cinema and arts centre and is located in place of the Odeon cinema, which had closed in June 2007. The building has an 800-seat auditorium, a 200-seat studio theatre, two bars, a restaurant and a 100-seat boutique cinema. The building of the cultural centre cost £37m and is apparently the biggest of it’s kind outside of London.

There was a turnout of 10,000 people over the opening weekend, giving Chester a new breath of life. The theatre has seen performances over the summer such as Alice In Wonderland and A Midsummer Night’s Dream and will play host to comedians such as Jon Richardson, Stewart Lee and Sarah Millican over the next few months.

For information on ticket prices and what’s on, click here.

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The Alchemist

The Alchemist has finally landed and brought their luxury cocktail bar to the streets of Chester.

Located on St John Street, the bar/restaurant brings some intrigue and class to the Chester nightlife scene. Taking the place of Gin Rickey’s and Luke’s Eating House, this marks the 10th location for the popular brand.

The opening of The Alchemist has given Chester’s late night outings a well-needed shot in the arm and has received glowing reviews so far. Prized on their fantastic cocktails, they also offer a variety of food from different parts of the world, rather than your average pub menu.

With a great choice of drinks and food to choose from and well-praised customer service, this place is a must if visiting the Chester area.

You can find more information on the menu and reservations here.

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All Bar One

All Bar One is a stylish new bar/restaurant located on Newgate Street, not far from the Roman Amphitheatre.

Opening in March 2017, the menu features something for everyone and they have a very good range of cocktails and wines available. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of beer as well.

They have received very positive reviews so far, with people appreciating the redesign and praising the atmosphere and service provided. All Bar One can be a fantastic place for breakfast meetings or a night out with friends; they really have something for everybody. If you’re more into the latter, they have a resident DJ on Fridays and Saturdays to get the party started.

If you’re after more information, click here to go to their website.

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Flip Out Chester

Now let’s look at something fun for the whole family.

Flip Out Chester is a brand new trampoline park on Chester Gates Business Park. The park includes a total wipeout area, ninja warrior, adult & kids stunt box zones, dodgeball, soft play and a under 7’s area for the little ones. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a great American Diner and a Café if you don’t fancy a bounce yourself. 

For more information on each activity, check their website. In order to save time when you arrive, it is advised that fill out and sign your liability waiver online in advance.


Opera Grill

Launching in August of last year, the Opera Grill is a must for fans of steak. 

The 400-seater restaurant offers a wide variety of dishes, including vegetarian and gluten free options. It has a very Greek façade and is a fantastic place to eat, whether it is for work or just dinner with a friend.

If you’re a fan of music, they have a Music Lounge that features live sets every Friday night, and even a gospel choir on Sundays. The bar also offers a range of different spirits, cocktails and beers from around the globe. 

Opera Grill is a great addition to the Chester restaurant scene, and perfect if you’re looking for a high quality, delicious meal.

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Chester Bus Exchange

So technically this isn’t a place you HAVE to go to, but it’s still a great new addition to Chester.

The brand new £13m bus exchange opened this summer after being in development for a while and has 13 stands in total. The buses run from 6am until 11:30pm and there are friendly members staff available to help at all times. It also has a customer services office if you need any help and there are screens next to each stand with updating timetables and due times for buses.

If you’re staying in Chester, this is the best way to get to places like Chester Zoo and Greyhound Park and you can transfer here for the likes of Crewe, Holywell, Warrington, Connah’s Quay and Mold.


Summary

These are just a few of the many great new additions that we’ve seen recently in Chester. Let us know your new favourite places and maybe try out one or two of these spots if you haven’t already.

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Historic Chester Music Venues & Who’s Played There

Over the years, Chester has seen a lot of bands coming and going, and venues too for that matter. It’s got a great local music scene and has been host to a number of bands that would go on to achieve huge success. We’ve decided to take a look at some of the historic venues around the city and where they are today.

Let’s start with the venues that are unfortunately not around anymore...


ABC Cinema

The ABC Cinema opened in October 1937 with the purpose of showing films. In the 60s, the venue also decided to put on concerts and managed to get some big draws. The first notable band on this list is a small band called The Rolling Stones, have you heard of them?

The Stones brought their live show to the city of Chester on 14th September 1964 to play for their adoring fans, along with Inez & Charlie Foxx. The band was supporting their debut self-titled record “The Rolling Stones” and they played the cinema again on October 1st 1965. It seems so crazy now to imagine a band of that calibre playing on our doorstep.

That was just the beginning, the list of artists who ended up playing at the ABC Cinema during it’s time putting on live events is impressive to say the least.

After The Rolling Stones, the venue managed to book performances by Gerry and the Pacemakers & The Kinks in November of 1964. Chucky Berry and The Moody Blues both played in 1965 and Roy Orbison performed in March 1966. The cinema enjoyed multiple more shows through the latter end of the 60s, with another show from The Kinks and even The Jimi Hendrix Experience on their first European tour. The last concert to be held at the venue was heavy metal legends Motorhead on 11th November 1979.

Since then, the cinema has gone through many different owners and has now been turned into a Caffe Nero.


The Beatles (Not a venue, but we can't forget The Fab Four!)

It should be worth noting that Liverpool based pop rock sensations The Beatles played in Chester a handful of times during 1962 and 1963. The “Love Me Do” singers performed to crowds at The Riverpark Ballroom for 4 consecutive Thursday in 1962. These shows hold a special place in The Beatles’ history for a few reasons. 

The first show on 16th August was supposed to be original drummer Pete Best’s final show with the group but he didn’t show up, having to get a replacement fast. The second show on 23rd August was also John Lennon’s wedding day, having gotten married earlier in the day. The band played 2 more shows on the 30th August and 13th September. The venue closed in 1963 and was demolished, with a NatWest office in its place currently.

The Beatles also played a show at The Royalty Theatre on 15th May 1963, performing songs like “Please Please Me”, “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Do You Want To Know A Secret”.

Image from Mirrorpix

Image from Mirrorpix


Quaintways

Quaintways was a music venue/nightclub on Northgate Street and hosted some phenomenal bands and artists in it’s time. It was a staple on the Chester music scene throughout the 60s and 70s, with people still having fond memories of it today.

One of the first notable bands to play at the venue was Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. The band was supporting their debut album “Fleetwood Mac” and played the club on 14th April 1969. Following that, 1971 saw a multitude of bands that would go on to rock fame including Status Quo, Thin Lizzy, The Sweet, Slade and Uriah Heep. Rock giants Judas Priest also played in March 1973 and Stealers Wheel (best known for their song “Stuck in the Middle with You”) put on a show in June of the same year. The last show at the nightclub was by German rockers Scorpions on 15th March 1976.

Today, the venue is still a nightclub but is now under the name Rosie’s, with a focus on dance music and club nights.


Northgate Arena

Believe it or not, but Chester’s leisure centre had a shot at putting on a handful of concerts over the years in the late 80s and 90s. 

The first concert held at the centre came from punk new wave singer Joe Jackson on 20th August 1981. Following that, a few more gigs held place by artists such as New Model Army in December 1991 and Levellers in May 1992. Notable performances include electronic legends The Prodigy on 18th March 1994, The Smiths frontman Morrissey on 11th December 1997 and Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers on 16th September 1998. The last show to be held at the venue was Ocean Colour Scene on 22nd April 1999. With it being primarily a leisure centre, the sound apparently wasn’t exactly great and is probably a contributing factor to why gigs are no longer held here.

Image: The Prodigy On Tour

Image: The Prodigy On Tour


So now that we’ve had a look at some of the venues of this city’s past, let’s take a look at what this city’s had to offer from the last few years...

Telford's Warehouse

Telford’s Warehouse is a bar/music venue located next to the river and has put on a fair few fantastic acts.

The first band to talk about that has played this special venue is none other than Coldplay. The “Paradise” hit makers played Telford’s way back when on 2nd July 1999. The band played in Chester only a couple of days before the release of their first record “Parachutes”, which spawned the singles “Yellow” and “Trouble”. Imagine being able to see Coldplay in such an intimate environment, before they would go on to headline stadiums across the country.

Other notable performances include prog rock outfit Porcupine Tree on 3rd November 1994, pub rock band Dr. Feelgood on 8th April 2002 and folk singer-songwriter Frank Turner on 15th May 2011.


Chester Racecourse

Predominately used for the Races (as stated in the name), the Chester Racecourse has also been home to a few special concerts. The first of these special events was none other than pop legends The Bee Gees back in March 1968.

Since then, the Racecourse has been home to multiple different music events including performances from Westlife and Van Morrison as part of the city’s Chester Live event and Chester Rocks which was a festival than ran for 3 years. The 2011 line-up included Iggy Pop and the Stooges, McFly, Taio Cruz, The Wanted, Feeder, I Am Kloot, Sugababes and The Saturdays. In 2012, The Courteeners, Pixie Lott, Katy B, Labrinth and Tinchy Stryder all performed and 2013 saw Jessie J, The Wanted, Lawson and Union J play sets.


The Compass

Formerly The Hangman, it was rebranded as The Compass and was often a great place for local bands to play in. With a tiny room upstairs and all of the gear on one end of the room, it was a small and intimate setting to enjoy local music. Occasionally, you would have bands from afar play shows at the venue.

Probably the biggest show held at the venue was on Valentine’s Day 2013 where The 1975 played a show just before they hit the big time. A couple of months before their debut album was released and rose to number one in the UK Album Charts, the band played this tiny show, blasting through songs like “Chocolate” and “The City”. The support act for the show was Catfish and the Bottlemen, who have since then enjoyed success of their own. You’d be unlikely to catch either of those acts in a venue that size again.


The Live Rooms

Lastly we move on to one of Chester’s most popular music venues, The Live Rooms. Formerly a comedy club called The Laugh Inn, it was rebranded in 2013 and has put on a number of great acts since. 

The first big band to play the venue was The View on 17th October 2013. Following that, the club made a name for itself and attracted the likes on rock band Pure Love and electro icon Gary Numan in 2014. They enjoyed a successful year in 2015, putting on shows by the likes of Funeral For A Friend, Lordi, Young Guns & Nothing But Thieves, Buzzcocks, The Damned and Fozzy and continue to put on both local and international artists.


Summary

It’s crazy to think how many amazing bands have passed through our city over the years and how music has always been a staple on the nightlife here. 

Do you remember going to any of these places or attending some of these historic gigs?

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Ideas For A Top Night Out In Chester

So, you’re considering a trip to Chester. It’s a city known for it’s historic background, beautiful buildings and you’re never short of something to do.

Now this is great for filling your time during the day, but what about when the sun goes down? What does the Chester nightlife have to offer?

In this article we’ve taken a look at some of your options and outlined the highlights.


Night Clubs & Bars

Chester is well known for it’s nightclubs and bars, and it would take a long time to list all of them, so let’s talk you through the highlights.

First off we have Cruise. Cruise is Chester’s biggest nightclub and can appeal to everyone. It has six different themed areas, each very different to the last, meaning they’ll be one area at least that appeals to you. With bars spread across the building, you never have to go far to grab a drink and a different DJ in every room, playing a range from intense dance tunes to Britpop anthems. More often than not the club plays host to a variety of reality TV stars too, if that’s your sort of thing.


Next up we have the Chester branch of Revolution. This bar/restaurant has a great sense of style and has a dance floor in the back for those who want to move their feet. As well as offering a wide variety of drinks, Revolution is known for its crazy shots flavours. Some of the flavours include candy hearts, jellybeans, chilli and birthday cake and they do offers on multiple shots. If you are a fan of alcohol, this is the place for you.

Carrying on the theme of bars, we have Kuckoo, a small bar located on Watergate Street with a passion for cocktails and indie music. This place may not look like much on the outside, but it’s a completely different story once you enter the building. The small setting of the bar just adds to the atmosphere and brings people closer together, with a soundtrack of the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Oasis and Red Hot Chili Peppers to sing your heart out to. They also have a great range of interesting cocktail combinations available and the staff members clearly love their jobs.

Now we move on to Fiesta Havana, a place with a strong Latin vibe and great times to be had. Also on Watergate Street, it features a bar area with seating and then off to the side, a dance floor that is usually packed with DJs playing till the early hours. If you wanted to get there early, they also have great food options, having something to suit everyone’s tastes.


Restaurants & Pubs

If you’re looking for something a little quieter, why not try one of these restaurants. 

Hickory’s Smokehouse offers a family-friendly BBQ spots by the river, serving up the finest Southern hospitality in town. Starting with free popcorn while you order, this place offers authentic BBQ style food, from ribs to steaks to wood fire chicken skewers. It’s also open 9am-11pm every day, so there’s no worry of leaving early. With friendly staff and a great bar, this place could be a lovely night out for two or fun for the whole family. Be warned though, it’s in high demands so it’s recommended to book in advance.

Another food option could be Picanha by Fazenda, bringing the tastes of Brazil to the city of Chester. Offering a fusion of the traditional gaucho-style grilling and Rodizio dining experience, it regularly receives gloating reviews online and sends the customer home feeling more than full. They also have an extensive range of drinks, and the last sitting is usually around 9:30 so it’s a fantastic place to enjoy some food and grab a few drinks.

If you’re after something on the cheaper side, why not try The Square Bottle. Located on Foregate Street, this Chester branch of 'Wetherspoons' offers a variety of food including BBQ burgers, chicken and salads. This is a great place for fans of sport as well, as they are always showing the latest matches with an atmosphere to go with it. Serving as both a place to enjoy a quiet drink during the day and a lively crowd at night, there are definitely worse nights to be had.


Music Venues

Chester has always been a city with a strong music scene and in 2017, that hasn’t changed.

If you’re after a quirky venue that doubles up as a nice bar to have a drink, then Telford’s Warehouse is the place for you. Located next to the Canal, this independently run venue/bar has a really great vibe to it. The prices are reasonable and often plays host to a variety of acts, from acoustic open mic nights to full band loud gigs to classic vinyl DJs. A must see on the Chester music tour, at least a good place to start your night out.

Moving on to the full time music venues, we have The Live Rooms. Previously The Laugh Inn (co-owned by comedian Jason Manford), the venue opened in 2013 and is now Chester’s largest independent music venue. The venue has seen it’s fair share of bands, including The Misfits, Craig Charles and even Gary Numan. It plays host to a wide variety of artists, ranging from different styles and genres but always proven to be a great night out. It has also become a host venue for the annual Chester Live Festival every summer. 

If you fancy yourself a musician or just a fan of quality acoustic music, then why not head on down to the Ye Old King’s Head. Hosting a range of live music most nights, it’s became well known for it’s Open Mic Nights on Thursdays, hosted by the wonderfully charismatic David O’ Connor. The crowd are always accepting and up for a good night, so there’s no need to be nervous. If you like relatively cheap beer and good music, this might your kind of thing.

Lastly we have Alexander’s Live, a wonderful venue in the heart of the city. It often hosts weekly Open Mic and Comedy nights, as well as full band gigs. In the past, the venue has seen the likes of Bill Bailey, Jack Dee and even Duffy. Alexander’s has a very relaxed vibe, being a nice place to grab a quiet drink or some food, making it a perfect place to start the night. 


Chester as you can see, is not short of things to do when it comes to nightlife. There really is something for everybody, whether it be dancing to your heart’s content, enjoying a peaceful meal and rocking out to your favourite band. Now get out there and try it for yourself.

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How To Look Great At The Chester Races This Year

The Chester Races 2017 are almost upon us; therefore dress code preparations ought to be done. Dress code is a building block in confidence levels and consequently, self-esteem.

However, all this greatly depends on the enclosures you are looking to participate in. This guide will cover the dress code all the way from Dee Stand and Open Course to Tattersalls then finally, County Concourse.

source: visitchester.com

source: visitchester.com

Let's start with the Dee Stand and Open Course dress code...

There is no strict dress code in this area, though it is preferred to dress in line with the elements. There are only a few rules to note when it comes to the Dee Stand and Open Course; no promotional or branded outfit will be permitted on the course.

If you had been planning on such clothing, it’s bad news I’m afraid. You will be denied entry to the course if you do not follow this dress code, so plan ahead to avoid disappointment. 

For ladies, nice/pretty dresses are preferable. Maybe a floral print dress with a chain clutch and nude pumps for example. It’s your opportunity to dress up and look good so make the most of it. For men, a good example would be coloured chino bottoms with a patterned shirt and nice boots. Making yourself look nice without having to be suit and tie is the look you’re going for.

When it comes to the Tattersalls Enclosure, the dress code is slightly tighter than the Dee and Open course so take that into account. These are some of the dos and don'ts.

The male dress code is described as smart casual clothing. For example, you could go with a pair of smart, slim fitting dark jeans with a buttoned up shirt and a nice pair of shoes, maybe even a blazer. Sportswear and shorts are definitely not acceptable; especially not trainers so please leave them at home. Try to look smart but comfortable and dress for the elements, there is nothing wrong with bringing a coat.

For ladies, again use this as an excuse to break out some of your nicer summer dresses or even a jeans and blazer combination. When it comes to your shoes, plan ahead for a long day and make sure you will be comfortable and able to still walk by the end of the day. For the smart casual look, boots, loafers and oxfords are your best bet. Also, make sure you consider the colour of your footwear. To be on the safe side, go for neutral colours such as brown, black or cream as they will go with most outfits.

You can’t forget about accessories either. A pair of sunglasses on a sunny day is essential and a handbag can really help you complete an outfit. It’s also advised to consider the practicality and length of your dress. The elements might get the best of you so you don’t want a dress that is too short. The Race Course also has the right to deny access to anyone who is showing too much or not dressed appropriately, so take that into consideration.

Dress wise, good options include teal and sequin dresses, texture and linen dresses or a shirt with smart jeans. Figure hugging dresses of a good length with a lovely pair of heels never goes amiss.


Now the County Concourse is the strictest of all the enclosures when it comes to dress code. 

Gentlemen are required to wear a suit with a collar and tie, and smart shoes to match. This is non-negotiable and you won’t be allowed in unless you meet these requirements, so pre plan your outfit and make sure you look as smart as you can. Use this as an opportunity to look your best and potentially impress others.

A medium tie of a good length is your best option; a tiepin is also something to consider. Play around with the colours, for example a black jacket with a white shirt would go well with a red tie, or a black tie will complement a maroon suit jacket with a white shirt nicely. It should also be noted that denim is not permitted. Footwear wise, a pair of smart black or brown shoes will go nicely, depending on the colour of shirt/jacket. Make sure you look sharp, bring out the inner James Bond.

For ladies, fancy dresses are preferable. The dress code is similar to the Tattersalls Enclosure, although make sure your dress is an appropriate length and you should accompanied it with some beautiful earrings or a hat depending on the weather. 

So there you have it, a guide to how to dress correctly for the Chester Races 2017. Make sure you are dressed accordingly to the enclosure you are attending and feel confident about how you look. 

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6 Great Reasons To Visit Chester

Chester is blessed with bewitching beauty and unique atmosphere. The city is famous for a lot of things and attracts tourists by the numbers. From one of the oldest racecourse centres in the world to magnificent city walls, to a 1000-year old cathedral, an amazing zoo and marine centre, Chester City has it all. 

What’s more is that the people in Chester are warm and welcoming. If you are looking for a weekend break, Chester might just be the perfect place for you or together as a family. You can take a ride in one of the heritage or open-top buses that allow you to explore the city, or take a guided tour of the city, or you can sail up the river in one of the pleasure cruises. 

Chester City has been a conservation City for over 50 years now and still retains some half-timbered houses as well as the famous Rows. To add to that, it houses breath-taking parks, riversides, bridges, gleamy shopping centres, as well as the numerous musical festivals. All these make Chester to be ranked so highly on England’s best places to visit. 

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of your town, then a Chester weekend trip will do you good. Here are some of the best places you can visit in just a weekend...


City Walls

These were the first walls to be built by the Romans back when Chester was still a fortress under the name Deva Victrix. The City Walls run for approximately two miles around the city. Interestingly, the walls still have gates with medieval designs. While touring the walls, you won’t miss having a glimpse at the Eastgate Clock, the second-most-photographed clock in the country. It was built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. 

Some of the other City Wall highlights include the Pemberton’s Parlour – a hemispherical tower that has a great view of the river, the Morgan’s Mount watchtower, the Bonewalesthorne’s Watchtower, as well as the Grosvenor Bridge. Also, ensure that you visit the Wishing Steps. Anyone who runs up and down twice without drawing any breaths will have a wish come true. 


The Cathedral

Next, you can head to the most imposing building in the city – the Cathedral. It was instituted into being a cathedral back in 1541 after serving as an abbey for many years. You can have one of the best views of the whole city from the Cathedral’s tower. Note that Saturday would be the best day to visit the Cathedral since it does not open on Sundays. 

One of the best things about the Cathedral is the Early Decorated Choir. A Cathedral’s trip is never complete until you listen to the earliest volunteer choir in the country. This was the first place to perform the Handel’s Messiah and is still being performed during the Christmas season. 


The Chester Rows

Chester’s galleried walkways are possibly the most distinctive feature of the city. The Chester Rows evolved from shops and houses dating as far as the 14th Century. They are found in all the four main streets in the city meeting at right angles at the market cross. In the Watergate, Eastgate, and Bridge Streets, the galleries are at first-floor level. In the Northgate Street, however, they are found at the ground level. 


Boat Ride

A Sunday morning boat ride on the great River Dee is just to die for. The boat trip will take you upstream to the Queen’s Park Bridge, across the meadow to the Grosvenor Park. You will gain some useful insights and have a better understanding of the city’s history after this trip. 


Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo is one of the largest and most popular zoological parks in the UK. This 125-acre site is home to over 400 different species of animals. The most popular spots in the park include the penguin pool, the Chimpanzee Island, as well as the largest tropical house in Europe. 


The Blue Planet Aquarium

This is another wildlife-theme attraction site in Chester. It houses over 50 species of fish and other marine life. The Caribbean Reef is possibly the most popular spot in the marine centre. You will be able to see a lot of different types of fish, including moray eels, southern stingrays, as well as some really huge sharks.

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