The Cosy Club

Back only a few days after a brief saunter around the continent, and already there was a palpable sense of hype surrounding the opening of Bath’s latest bar cum lounge cum restaurant, The Cosy Club, situated in the newly built South Gate Shopping centre – itself a welcome development after the much-needed demolition of the gloomy, crusty, old mall that once inhabited the site.

Don’t let the Cosy Club’s rather understated entrance deter you. Climb the stairs whilst being serenaded by the suave voice of Frank Sinatra echoing from the lounge above, and you are confronted, first and foremost, with a feast for the eyes; a shabby-chic palace of kitsch and antiquity; a nostalgic’s dream.

The walls are adorned with faded pictures of monarchs, elder statesman and movie stars, there’s a collection of mirrors of varying styles, and the occasional mounted trophy head (fake, as far as I could tell). There’s a garland of lampshades hanging from the ceiling, reclaimed tables to dine from, leather armchairs to a lounge in, and a bar that looks like it was taken straight from a Parisian boudoir. It all leaves you wondering – just like a kid in a sweet shop – where to look first.

Though part of a small chain, The Cosy Club is in no way tainted by that generic feeling that seems to haunt most other restaurant and bar chains. The first Cosy Club opened last year in a grade II listed building in Taunton and subsequently went on to win the ‘Innovation of the Year’ award in the Restaurant Magazine’s annual awards. Bath’s Cosy Club looks set to win similar plaudits with its open-plan floor space and a 300 guest capacity creating something of a buzz in a shopping development that, though fresh, has seemed a little lacking in character.

A particular highlight is the alfresco balcony overlooking the South Gate plaza lined with neo-classical, majestic columns. It is the sort of balcony from which you can indulge in a spot of people-watching whilst enjoying a selection of tapas –the crushed peas with feta, mint and spring onion being a personal recommendation – that Blighty special, cheesy chips, and a cocktail or two to wash it all down.

The Cosy Club brings a much-needed element of fun to South Gate; the staff are helpful and courteous; the atmosphere is friendly, laid-back, and evidently quite quirky; and, perhaps most importantly, the food is good.


By Alexander Blanchard

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