On entering the restaurant, you and your dog would be forgiven for thinking you’d just walked into one of Soho’s latest haunts. The American diner decor and ambience is trendy but welcoming, perfect for a family lunch, a night out with friends or a casual dinner for two.
The homemade, artisan burgers are their speciality, and are made with local, dry-aged beef, from Aberdeen Angus cross Hereford Cows on Stokes Marsh farm. There are other varieties and a veggie option on offer, as well as the Burger of the Month – think shredded confit duck with smoked cheddar, or short rib braised in black treacle and Guinness. Toppings and dips add that extra touch, and there’s a good selection of sides including BBQ beans and mac ‘n’ cheese, as well as gluten-free buns on request. House chicken wings come with a hot, sticky or BBQ glaze.
Still hungry? Why not pair your burger with a shake. There are six varieties to chose from and they come with or without your preferred liquor! The dessert highlight is their ‘Sundae Service’ – choose your ice cream flavour, toppings (boozy raisins with smashed meringue anyone?) and sauces and get ready to indulge!
The downstairs restaurant area is dog-friendly, but fido isn’t allowed in the more casual diner space upstairs. Ask for a bowl and treats to keep him entertained while you’re planning where you’re going to walk that sundae off!
At lunchtimes on weekdays you can grab a Tavern Burger, side and drink for just £12 from midday to 5pm.
The Tavern are know for their party atmosphere at weekends. ‘Late Night at The Tavern’ runs from 10.30pm to 2am on Fridays and Saturdays, with Lucky Onion DJs spinning the decks on vinyl. Food is served until midnight, but you might want to drop your pooch back at home for a slumber before you join in!
If you stop by in the evenings and fancy something different, ask for the secret ‘undercounter’ menu, which changes daily. Expect snacks like devils on horseback, and larger plates like quince-glazed St Louis pork ribs. Or treat yourself, with a burger and a couple of small plates on the side.
Situated in the centre of Cheltenham, The Tavern makes for a great pitstop while out and about with fido. A 20 minute walk from Pittville Park, it’s an ideal spot for lunch or an early dinner before or after a walk, so you can make sure you’ve earned that burger!
If it’s views you’re after, a short drive north will take you to the bottom of Cleeve Hill; the highest point in the Cotswolds at 330m, a hike to the top will see you rewarded with stunning vistas of the surrounding countryside.
For other dog-friendly venues in the area, check out our ‘Also in the Neighbourhood’ recommendations below.
Address: The Tavern, 5 Royal Well Place, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 3DN
The surrounding roads are pay & display from 8am – 6pm; you can park for free after this time. There are also several car parks nearby. The nearest is Royal Well, with payment required until 8pm at £2.60 for two hours.
Cheltenham Spa train station is a 20 minute walk away, with access from surrounding towns, or further afield. Being in the city centre, the restaurant is also well served by local buses.
After a walk up Cleeve Hill, our appetites were well and true whetted as we strolled through Cheltenham to the unassuming side street behind the main parade on which The Tavern sits. Bubbly and inviting, this upscale American diner was just what our grumbling tummies were after. Plush blue velvet banquettes, paired back wooden benches and quirky light features cleverly combine to entice you in. We found many a local post-work in the bustling bar, while groups of friends tucked into chorizo scotch eggs and salt ’n’ pepper squid, and families dived into a meal each member would enjoy.
No sooner were we through the door than the manager appeared with greetings aplenty for Rigby. After doggy greetings, and stories of their own much loved Westie, we were whisked to a spacious table with plenty of floor space for Rigby, upon which a dog bowl and jar of treats rapidly arrived – it was doggies first, and we whole-heartedly approved of our welcome.
With sustenance on our minds, we ordered our ‘hard’ milkshakes for that little extra treat, as much deliberation over the gourmet dinner menu ensued. With so many much-loved classics, a decision wasn’t easy, but we eventually settled on one classic – a Bacon Cheese burger, and one modern twist, a French Dip (brisket, with jalapeños, fontina and gravy dip). Slightly misjudging the size of our tummies, we selected a range of sides, including a salad (our attempt at being good!), french fries with our choice of BBQ dip, and a selection from the changing ‘under-counter menu’, which to our delight included Tater Tots – a much-loved child favourite.
With Rigby ensconced beside our table, chew happily in paw, we were not disappointed when our food arrived. These are not just any burgers. The Wiltshire sourced beef and fine ingredients employed throughout were evident, with the French Dip a particular highlight. Defeated by our mains, we debated how much room we had, and decided we couldn’t resist a Sundae Service. Having all had our fill, Rigby included, we decided an amble was in order – if only to work off those milkshakes.
Low-key, buzzy and friendly, this is a delight for anyone partial to a little comfort food with added sparkle, and let’s face it, aren’t we all!
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