We’ve mentioned before that the Canal Quarter is the new, up and coming area in Chester, and for good reason. The area is packed with different venues, starting from a traditional pub, musical haven, London-style boozer and finishing with a classy bistro with oodles of gin and what’s best, local beer.
Artichoke took over from the old Globe down the canal a few years back, and went to town with the décor. If you remember the Globe and the unfortunate mixture of goth nights and football watching, you best forget it straight away. Artichoke sports clear lines with clean colours and embraces the original features of the place; the tile walls and iron pillars give the venue some unique character. You can also enjoy the sunshine on the little terrace area outside the French doors, officially the best place in Chester to do some duckling spotting.
The Artichoke is a bistro bar with an overload of choice no matter what you want to consume. They boast having the biggest selection of gin in Chester and just by glancing behind the bar you can easily verify that. They have an impressive selection of wines and an even more impressive know-how behind them. Should you desire a cocktail they not only make them pretty but pretty tasty and pretty lethal.
And don’t even get us started on the food! Artichoke sports a rather fetching Sunday roast with a choice of meats and delicious trimmings, and a surefire way to rid yourself of the Monday blues with their 2-4-1 pizza offers. All food is handmade, in an open kitchen at the back of the venue so you can observe your meal being made. No nasty surprises here!
But what we’re really interested in is Artichoke’s special relationship with beer. The bar which dominates the front of the venue has a plethora of taps with delicious tipple. They always have at least four local guest ales on, most notably Tatton Brewery’s and Weetwood Brewery’s produce, usually on cask. Their keg selection is also varied, with fruit beers, stouts and lagers… but no plain over-commercial crud here! For example, the lager and stout are from Freedom Brewery. Their fridge is also stocked with a fantastic selection of bottled goods, some of which you probably can’t find anywhere else in Chester. A lot of the bottled beers are seasonal as well, at Christmas time they offer specials like the Delirium Christmas special (the elephants have Christmas hats, it’s fantastic I tell you) and in summer, they have a lot of refreshing and light ales to choose from. On a hot summer’s day Tom chose Ticketybrew’s Pale Ale, a fine little tipple with tasty American bittering and aroma hops and sweet taste brought by the brewery’s Belgian yeast, expertly recommended by the bar staff.
Speaking of which, we cannot commend the bar staff enough. They always ensure you feel welcome and attended to, are always on hand to offer advice, recommendations or just a general natter, time permitting. It can get very busy in the Artichoke, as more and more people are finding the bistro bar and making it their own.
Even the Chester Beer Appreciation Society (CBAS) have embraced the Artichoke and hosted several events there, and for a good reason. There is variety and character there that can easily take on a horde of beer lovers.
After careful deliberation we have ended up scoring the Artichoke Four out of Five. The Artichoke is an excellent bistro bar and always makes you feel welcome, relaxed and well looked after as well as offering you a great selection on different tipples, but it is essentially a bistro bar and with that table service is often part and parcel of the whole experience. You can park yourself at the bar to enjoy a quiet drink but it does get lively during lunch and dinner hours. This by no means is a negative factor and we enjoy seeing an independent enterprise so well loved by the community.
The Canal Quarter is definitely the place to be in Chester, and if you seek some canal side sunshine, great grub and top tipple, head over to the Artichoke. We know we will.