The Beehive Pub, tucked away in the heart of Montpellier in Cheltenham, is an independent pub serving a fantastic range of traditional ales and local ciders, as well as an extensive selection of wines from around the world.
The Beehive Pub in Cheltenham’s Montpellier is a traditional watering hole in every sense of the word. From its warming woody interior to the impressive selection of traditional ales it serves. But, can this backstreet boozer pull in the punters when it really counts, SoGlos wonders?
Set snugly in the back streets of Montpellier – far enough off the beaten track that first timers may need to ask a friendly local for a point in the right direction, The Beehive Pub has all the affable charm of country pub, with the added benefit of being a couple of minutes walk from Cheltenham’s town centre.
A few well-mannered dogs mooching around, hunks of chopped wood resting in the fireplace, scattered piles of well-thumbed newspapers, and a charming walled garden with gloriously balmy heaters for drinking alfresco on an autumn’s evening, all complete the picture of rustic-meets-regency hospitality.
The real test of a truly good pub is not in how full it is on a Friday night, however, when you need to shoulder-barge your way to the front of the bar, but on a weekday, when an altogether different crowd seeps out of the 9-to-5 working woodwork to enjoy a casual early evening drink or two. It was with this in mind that we ventured to The Beehive after a long day at the desk to see if the Montpellier pub could pass the Monday litmus test.
Dreading the shudder of silence and the occasional blowing of tumbleweed in a bar that relies on the weekend crowd, there was an audible sigh of relief when we entered The Beehive to find a refreshingly informal and upbeat vibe was already alive and kicking.
The bar played host to a group of lads wearing tell-tale football strips who naturally deserved a pint for their post pitch analysis; a smattering of couples enjoying a glass or two from the impressive wine list; and happily, the odd golden oldie or two supping from the selection of real ales on tap – a clear sign that an eclectic mix of drinkers felt welcome, and so did we.
The drinks selection also met with our approval – with Cheltenham’s own Battledown Brewery and The Festival Brewery’s top tipples alongside Westons and Thatchers cider on tap, as well as a wine list with more than 20 choices available by the glass, which would take you valuable drinking time to read thoroughly, not to mention the usual suspects in the spirits department.
While we didn’t get chance to test the food menu on this visit, a blackboard of chalked-up specials certainly got the stomach growling with its varied, and seemingly well-priced, selection of pub grub. Offering a sexy twist on classic combinations, including salmon fishcakes with champagne hollandaise sauce, crumbled goats cheese tartlet with basil oil, or banoffee pie with crushed raspberry coulis, the seasonal menu is something that we will be definitely diving into on our next visit.
After a large glass of Rioja or two, as recommended by the cheery bar staff, The Beehive Pub had surpassed all of our expectations. Located on the corner of Montpellier Villas, it felt that we had discovered a secret haunt away from the sterile bars favoured by the high street. And while you may not feel like walking from town for a drink, it is well worth the extra few paces – on any day of the week.
By Michelle Davies
Sunday 12 October 2008
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