The Coach House, Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire
It must be said that for many people visiting Stratford Upon Avon, it is William Shakespeare that is the pull factor. It is here in this beautiful Warwickshire market town that you can visit the great man’s birthplace, the church in which he is buried, go and watch one of his thirty nine plays in the spectacular Royal Shakespeare Theatre, take part in a lesson inside the actual school that he attended and visit many other buildings associated with the man widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s most outstanding dramatist.
It is England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon” that draws in the annual three million tourists a year. But Stratford Upon Avon is far more than Shakespeare, it is a market town with more than eight hundred years of history offering a wide variety of ancient buildings, leisure, entertainment, shopping experiences & its Historic Pubs, which is why I was visiting!
The Coach House, a 475 year old building situated on the site of the historic Seven Stars public house has been given an extensive refurbishment and rebranding. The former Lamplighter pub situated on the east side of Rother Street was recently renamed The Coach House giving the premises a fresh start & an impressive looking makeover.
Situated in the medieval area of the town on the east side of Rother Street, records show it began life as a public house in the year 1828, yet its listed building status suggests a date much earlier of 1799 for the building structure itself. In 2021 a large section of temporary scaffolding was removed from The Lamplighter, as work on essential repairs at the gable end of the pub were finally completed.
Discussions between Stratford Town Trust, a grant-giving charity which benefit the community, the pub owners Davenports and the developer of Bell Court meant that work had been delayed for many months but in May 2021, The Coach House emerged from the ghost of The Lamplighter becoming Davenports first managed pub in Stratford upon Avon for over fifty years, since The Old Tramway on Shipston Road in the early 1970s! Over £400,000 has been spent on renovating & refurbishing The Coach House and twenty five new jobs have been created in the town.
After four years of unsightly scaffolding, which had been holding up the medieval gable end wall of the pub, a decision was made to change the name of the pub to The Coach House, providing a more modern updated appearance whilst not forgetting the buildings important past history & heritage. Many of the buildings original features have been preserved including some very impressive, exposed timber framed oak beams and the restoration & repair of the historic medieval gable end wall.
One of sixty-eight pubs owned by the famous Birmingham brewing house Davenports, the exterior façade of the Coach House is a real delight. Five large Georgian style windows are set alongside the famous slogan, Davenports since 1829, a traditional pole strung pub sign and four attractive hanging flower baskets. A flower laden archway, flanked by two large beer barrels & decorative ornamental lamps frame the entrance. There are also some alfresco tables out front for those warm sunny days!
On entering the pub through a small porch, the first thing customers will notice is the long attractive central bar which partitions the two sides of the pub. There are several large boards with references to Davenports detailing the brewer’s history, familiar slogans, vintage photographs and a neat wallpaper design showing Davenports beer labels. There was a clean fresh look and space about this room. In a small open alcove in the middle of the room stood a bust of the Bard of Avon referencing the town’s most famous son.
The main room was very bright with sunlight streaming in through the open doors which open out into a smart garden terrace at the back. This newly created covered garden area, with heating appliances, is an ideal space for sitting out in the sun enjoying a drink from the wide selection of branded ales and cocktails.
I chose to sit in the snug, on the right hand side of the pub, which was comfortable and cosy. If you are looking to eat, The Coach House has a focus on home-cooked food using quality, locally-sourced ingredients. Many of the menu choices are paired with a beer suggestion which I think is an excellent idea. Customers can also opt to try one of the Davenports Beer Sampler Boards which includes your choice of three x 1/3 pints of Davenports famous ales. A sharing platter of Loaded Nachos, Fries, Meat Platter or Veggie Platter is a great way to enjoy some food & drink with friends.
I love a hot, home-made country pie so I opted for The Coach House Daily Pie, which changes daily, I enjoyed a wonderful Chicken & Leek Pie served with creamy buttered mash, peas & a red wine sauce. It was fantastic! I paired my meal with a Davenports Mild 3.5%. A wonderful, traditional Mild draught beer. It had a smooth, dark complexion with fruity aromas which gave way to a full-flavored taste & a noticeable sweetness. This is how a mild should be! It went down very well with the pie!
My wife chose the home made Rich Beef & Red Wine Lasagne. She said her meal was wonderful. She said it had obviously been made from good quality beef, which was piping hot and there was plenty of it! The salad was nicely dressed and the garlic bread very tasty. She gave her meal ten out of ten!
Customers are faced with a serious choice of starters which includes Ultimate Cheesy Garlic Bread, Terrine of the Day, Classic Prawn Cocktail, Rosemary & Garlic Based Camembert, Soup of the Day, Glazed Chicken Wings, Spiced Humous or Cheesy Baked Mushrooms. There is also an appealing selection of sandwiches served on white or grain farmhouse, Ciabatta or Piadina wraps, all served with seasonal fries. The burgers speak for themselves, why not try a Moving Mountains Burger, Baron`s Burger, Mighty Burger or the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Burger! The choice of main meals is endless ranging from the Davenports classic Beer Battered Fish & Chips, Piri Piri Chicken, Charred Haloumi Bowl right through to Flat Iron & Rump Steaks. Vegetarians, vegans & kids are not forgotten either! There is something on the extensive menu for everyone!
There is also a tempting dessert menu should you have a sweet tooth and room for a little more! Sticky Toffee Pudding, Chantilly Citron Tart, Molten Chocolate Bundt Cake, Apple Crumble, Arctic Roll, Profiterole Cake & or a selection of Ice Creams. The pub also serve an Afternoon Tea menu with individual Eclairs ready to tempt those with a sweet tooth even further!
Dogs are very welcome at The Coach House, in fact they have their own section of the bar! Paw your dog a drink! A water chiller, silver dog bowls, treats, snacks, nibbles and a Think Pawsitive dog mat greets all of your canine friends.
The central bar is well-stocked with popular spirits and boasts a fantastic cocktail menu all of which I was told are freshly made to order. A major focus at The Coach House is on excellent quality food & the use of locally sourced ingredients. Much of the pubs meat products & pies are obtained from just around the corner at The Artisan Butcher and A.M Bailey for their fresh fruit, vegetables, milk & dairy products on Western Road.
Period photographs placed on the walls around the pub reflects the proud history of owners Davenports, as well as an obvious nod to the most famous former resident of the town, William Shakespeare, which all adds to the traditional pub atmosphere. The impressive refurbishment has not only preserved the best of the building’s remaining original features but also treasures its historical past. Updated toilets including new disabled facilities make The Coach House a much more accessible attraction for all to enjoy.
Davenports, famed for its ‘Beer at Home’ service which launched early in the 20th century has been focused on growth and the historic The Coach House is one of their recent acquisitions. Despite the pub & hospitality trade going through challenging times in recent years Davenports has continued to invest in new pubs, bars and restaurants, providing many new jobs in towns & cities across the country. Davenport’s beers also made a recent guest appearance in The Strangers’ Bar at the House of Commons, which was hugely successful with our serving parliamentarians and Commons staff!
The Coach House is also a very pleasant pub in which to relax for a pre or post – theatre drink or meal if you are visiting the town for a play at the nearby RSC theatre. Whilst sitting in the bar enjoying my meal I noticed several people coming in off the street, not only to eat but to sit and enjoy a drink, read the newspaper or chat with friends. You can also watch sport on one of the televisions or listen to live music on occasions! The Coach House has many live music events and they have proven to be very popular with local residents and visitors to the town.
It is still very much a local for the community as well as the many visitors. Whatever you like, whatever the season, The Coach House is sure to have something on the menu to satisfy your appetite. For fabulous food, friendly service and quality ales, in a local friendly pub, The Coach House is a great choice.
I liked The Coach House and the staff were brilliant! I urge you to check out The Coach House at the earliest opportunity when you are next in Stratford Upon Avon. You will not be disappointed!