The days are lengthening and that means there’s more time for getting out and about. Melissa Blease takes a look at some summer foodie events in July – from eating pizzas to a background of live music and joining an alfresco dining club
In and around Bath, we’re spoiled for glorious pub gardens to kick back and relax in. We’ve got perfectly picturesque picnic locations on our doorsteps. Many of us have our own little patch of greenery to set up an impromptu party in… or at least, a handy park nearby. But sometimes, we want a taste of summer handed to us on a plate that we don’t have to worry about washing up when the sun sets – which is why we’re celebrating the summer parties that we’re all invited to this month.
AFTERNOON SUMMER SOIRÉE AT THE BATH PRIORY
Ah, The Bath Priory: located in Bath’s version of the Hollywood Hills, this quintessentially elegant, long-established, world-class, escape-from-it-all sanctuary represents the epitome of traditional British glamour. Meanwhile, the hotel’s sublimely beautiful private grounds (four acres in total, incorporating a kitchen garden, sumptuous meadow and impeccably manicured lawns, all lovingly tended by Chelsea Flower Show award-winner Jane Moore) form an integral part of the overall Bath Priory experience. On Thursday 5 July, we’re all invited to experience the glory of those gardens at what’s surely the most refined summer soirée in town. Arrive at 12.30pm and expect to be greeted by live music, courtesy of a mellow jazz band before you enjoy an arrival drink and canapés served on the garden terrace. The canapés will subtly segue into a three-course lunch and wine in the hotel’s restaurant before you take a leisurely stroll around the fabulous foliage. Tickets for this exquisite extravaganza cost £55 per person; call the hotel’s events team on 01225 331922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make that all-important reservation.
POP-UP EVENTS AT ELECTRIC BEAR CO
Since totally reinvigorating the site of a former maltings on Brassmill Lane in August 2015 by establishing a craft brewery and tap room, it’s estimated that the Electric Bear Brewing Co has produced more than 250,000 pints of beer. This is from a range of 25 plus labels, many of which have won a clutch of prestigious local, national and international beer awards. Now it has to be said that the car park adjacent to beer HQ itself doesn’t exactly scream “location, location, location” to those in search of dignified summertime fun. But if you think laterally, it’s the ideal spot in which to put a whole new spin on the old saying based around who best knows how to organise an, erm, knees-up in a brewery.
You can sample the freshest Electric Bear brews direct from the taproom every Friday and Saturday, or visit the shop any day of the week. But if you fancy a taste of urban carnival life, the Electric Bear Street Food events hosted by fabulous Filipino-themed foodies JC’s Kitchen on Friday 13 July and the Twisted Indian Pop-Up on Friday 27 July are the hippest, most happening dates for your diary.An Electric Bear Street event with JC’s Kitchen
SUMMER SESSIONS AT THE BATH PIZZA CO
The Bath Pizza Co is the little sister venture to the Green Park Brasserie restaurant and bar, which has proudly flown the flag for the city’s independent merrymaking scene for almost a quarter of a century. Since raising their canopy in April 2016, the Bath Pizza Co has transformed the area adjacent to the thriving Green Park Station Market into the kind of casual, lively refuelling hotspot that tasteful Bathonians so richly deserve. An open kitchen is home to a wood-fired oven that acts as the epicentre to the BPC’s USP: real pizzas, freshly prepared by a team of dedicated foodies who are passionate about the local produce on our doorstep. But there’s yet more to the BPC than even those perfect pizzas. The company’s Summer Sessions series plays host to a variety of the best music-makers in and around the locale, with the super-cool Kinsman Trio playing live on the covered semi-alfresco terrace to supplement the dough-based delectation on both Thursday 12 and Thursday 19 July. Admission is free; drink and meal deals abound.
ALFRESCO DINING CLUB AT THE INN AT FRESHFORD
If you haven’t visited the Inn at Freshford lately, summer is the perfect time to get with the fresh-faced programme. This characterful, historic pub now thrives in the capable hands of the Ideal Trade Company, who fairly recently undertook the refurbishment of three very special pubs in the nearby vicinity (the Cross Guns in Avoncliff and the Old Crown Inn on Kelston Road completing the triumvirate), giving all of them the care and attention they so richly deserved. Today, all three funky contemporary inns specialise in proper, down-to-earth modern pub grub and feature splendid gardens to chill out in when the sun comes out to play – and on Friday 27 July, playing out at the Inn at Freshford is exactly what we’re going to do when the Barabiku Alfresco Dining Club dominates proceedings. Featuring a bespoke seasonal menu freshly prepared on site from locally sourced ingredients and cooked using a variety of open-fire cooking methods, we reckon that this is set to be the barbecue garden party of our dreams. Space is strictly limited and the event is predicted to be very popular indeed, therefore advance booking is essential; call 01225 722250 or email email@example.com for further information and to ensure your place on the guest list. Can’t make the date? Check out the Barabiku Feasts hosted by the Cross Guns in Avoncliff on the first Sunday of every month.Alfresco dining with food cooked on an open fire at the Inn at Freshford
HOLBURNE UP LATE
Home to one of the most fascinating art and museum collections in the west country, surrounded by enchanting esplanades and adjacent to a former 18th-century pleasure garden, the Holburne Museum is Bath’s grandest cultural oasis… and it happens to be attached to the glorious, fully licensed Garden Café, featuring a private alfresco terrace that opens on to the historic park and gardens nearby. Enjoy exclusive after-hours access to the Holburne on Friday 27 July, when the galleries, café and garden will all remain open until 9pm, four hours longer than usual. There’ll be live music in the café and the opportunity to enjoy a cocktail and admission to the Holburne’s latest special exhibition Prized Possessions: Dutch Masterpieces from the National Trust Houses at the special offer price of £10.Take advantage of after-hours access to the Holburne Museum on 27 July when there will be live music in the café
FUTHER INSPIRATION FOR GROWN-UP JULY JOLLIFICATION
Piper Heidseick Rooftop Champagne Bar at The Mint Room, Lower Bristol Road
Champagne/premium liqueur-based mix-up magic-in-a-glass served up in super pretty, instant instagram hit surroundings (fairy lights and candles; cushion-strewn sofas) combine to create an exclusive ‘members only club’ vibe set against a unique contemporary skyline backdrop.
Rooftop terrace at the Ivy Bath Brasserie, Milsom Street
Chic but chilled-out, glam but genial, this lovely little open-air courtyard dining room subtly beguiles all who take to a table here. Top tip: the lunch/early dining set menu offers exceptional value for money – two courses £16.50; three £21.
Alfresco Sharing Menu at The Royal Crescent Hotel
Royal Crescent executive head chef David Campbell has created an array of delicious sharing plates designed to be enjoyed in the the hotel’s beautiful private garden from 5–8pm every weekday… This proves that luxury can be a very affordable treat for all: the elegant small plates are priced at a remarkable £2–£6 each, while impeccably gracious service, an exquisitely dignified vibe and the uniquely beautiful surroundings come as standard.
- The Bath Priory, Weston Road, Bath
- The Electric Bear Co, Unit 12, The Maltings, Brassmill Lane, Bath
- The Bath Pizza Company, Green Park Station, 2–3 Westmoreland Station Road, Bath
- The Inn at Freshford, The Hill, Freshford, Bath
- The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath
- The Mint Room, Longmead Gospel Hall, Lower Bristol Road, Bath
- The Ivy Bath Brasserie, 39 Milsom Street, Bath
- The Royal Crescent Hotel, 16 Royal Crescent, Bath