The Old Courthouse
The Old Courthouse has become the 61st pub to join the Brunning and Price family after opening in Cheltenham. Taking its name and a number of design choices from its heritage as a former court, The Old Courthouse opened in February 2018.
Welcoming its first customers in time for one of the UK’s biggest horse racing events, Cheltenham Festival, the beautiful pub has been well received. Particular praise has been saved for the range of drinks on offer, the quality of the food and the relaxed atmosphere. The Grade II listed building has been transformed with the help of design agency Spatialized. The plan of the building remains firmly in the footprint of its legal days and features a number of clever touches.
On the ground floor, what was the large public waiting room and canteen, has been transformed into a cosy yet vibrant bar area. On the first floor the grand Court Chamber has now become a place to enjoy a drink or bite to eat. To find out more, Premier Hospitality spoke to Spatialized Director Lee Armstrong who outlined some of the pub’s standout features:
“The brief was to take the essence of what Brunning and Price is known for in its destination country pubs and brings those principals into the town centre whilst still respecting the beautiful building that we have inherited. We think of it as much a restoration project alongside the restaurant conversion scheme with an opportunity to create a wonderful ambiance in which to dine, drink and relax with friends.
“From the outside It’s rather a journey of discovery due to the orientation of the building, Glimpses of what awaits you in the ground floor are granted through the now restored Georgian windows as you make your way around to the concealed side entrance.
“Those who remember the previous restaurant incarnation will be amazed with the transformation to the spaces upon opening entering the building, it was imperative to rectify the damage from the previous restaurant interior and restore the building to its former glory. The key was in relocating the kitchen into the vaulted cellars ( not an easy task I can tell you!) which then allowed us to create a ground floor bar including private dining rooms – a pastiche to the buildings heritage due to the lack of any character which was missing, lost or destroyed over time.
“This of course is a taster of what awaits on the first floor. Once you decide to continue your experience up the original stone curved staircase with walls now adorned with artwork relevant to the town and of the period you greeted with a beautifully dressed conversation lobby before entering the courthouse room itself.
“Double takes, open mouths, gasps of amazement – one if not all are the usual reactions to what now awaits. After stripping out the previous restaurant elements of modernity we set about sympathetically creating a relaxed bar area embellishing a room which champions the buildings past heritage.
“Humongous chandeliers illuminate the main space along with traditional wall and table lighting to help create the different levels of atmosphere necessary for a room with grand ceilings. The glazed atrium was stripped of its previous garish decoration and now sits proudly flooding daylight onto the listed press bench and jury box as well as the original judges chair itself and glows beautifully at night with concealed wash lighting
“Unfortunately the nature of the building as a civil rather than criminal court meant there was a lack of any juicy historic tales which was a challenge for the storytelling of the surroundings however the artwork installation incorporating life size oil paintings and associated memorabilia of a Courthouse theme help in creating a wonderful ambiance whether popping in for a pre-theatre drink or celebrating with a slap up dinner.”
With a number of large tables complimented by private nooks, The Old Courthouse is ideal for groups and more intimate gatherings. It is also set to be popular with theatre goers as it located opposite the Everyman Theatre.
To find out more, please visit www.oldcourthouse.pub.