Continuing on from my first blog post about Eat, sleep, drink (in) Rugby, here’s some top insider tips on the best places to eat, drink and be merry in the birthplace of the game.
Rugby once laid claim to a Guinness Book of Record for having the most number of public houses inside a square mile.
That record may now be no more, but there are certainly plenty of pubs within easy walking distance. And there has been a Rugby Real Ale trial created
In addition to a now-annual Food and Drink Festival, Rugby has also tried to establish itself with a town centre café culture in recent years, with varying degrees of success.
Either way, there are a good number of pubs, café s and restaurants in and around the town. But here’s my Insider’s choice on where best to go
Every bit a traditional English pub.
Twice winner of Warwickshire Pub of the Year, The Merchants Inn has become a second home for rugby fans in the town.
‘The Pub of Rugby’ – or The Fan’s Own Pub (a play on words to Rugby’s #ProudHome RWC status), it prides itself on selling the best real ales and continental beers, erving food seven days a week.
And with live rugby matches shown on a big screen, it creates a unique atmosphere befitting of a pub located within a stone’s throw of The Close at Rugby School.
Where? The Merchants Inn, 5-7 Little Church Street, Rugby, CV21 3AW.
A short pass from The Merchants is this brasserie-style restaurant.
Ferguson’s offers British and European cuisine with the emphasis placed firmly on quality, seasonal produce.
Executive chef David Ferguson has brought a wealth of experience to Rugby, together with a commitment to excellence which extends to front of house,
Where? Ferguson’s Restaurant, 7A Eastfield Place, Rugby, CV21 3AT.
3. Bacco Lounge
Bacco Lounge has quickly established itself as a great venue to enjoy a drink or a meal.
A grade II listed building in the centre of town dating back to the 1800s, Bacco Lounge has an extensive menu to satisfy the heartiest of appetites while offering a home-from-home atmosphere in which you can relax and have a drink.
Where? 16-18 Regent Street, Rugby, CV21 2PY.
Similar to The Merchants, something of a Rugby institution.
A unique and atmospheric restaurant and coffee house in the heart of the town centre,
Opened 25 years ago, Summersault serves vegetarian food, all prepared in-house using the freshest ingredients.
Great whether you are looking in need of a decent meal or a cup of tea and slice of cake.
Where? Summersault, 27 High Street, Rugby, CV21 3BW.
Serves authentic Mexican and Cajun food and prides itself on offering fun dining, not fine dining.
The town centre restaurant has a relaxed atmosphere, but when it comes to food and service, quality remains the key.
Insider tip: it is a very good idea to book in advance.
Where? Churchside Arcade, Little Church Street, Rugby, CV21 3AW.
Other honourable notable mentions to check out and enjoy in Rugby town centre
William Webb Ellis
A short punt away from Rugby School, the pub itself is adorned with memorabilia in a celebration of the game, complimented by several screens all showing different rugby matches live or recorded. Good food and selection of beers.
One of Rugby’ s oldest pubs, ‘The Dirty Duck’was subject to a recent £ ½ million refurb, to great effect. Has a great beer garden which is a little hidden gem in the town centre.
Formerly for decades the Three Horse Shoes (most local still refer to it as that), The Sheep Street Chophouse at The Rugby Hotel specialises in char-grilled steaks and classic British flavours. Open for lunch and dinner, it prides itself on the local, seasonal ingredients
As Rugby CAMRA state, a true local community pub where you can have a conversation without the interruption of TVs. Jointly owned by Everards and B&T breweries as part of Everards Project William initiative, ‘The Stars’ has 14 hand pumps selling 12 real ales and two real ciders, and a very smart traditional bar area, Snug, TV room, lounge plus conservatory.
Just out of the town centre
The WineGlass Restaurant at Brownsover Hall offers delicious comforting food prepared with signature Michelin precision and intensity of flavour. Their menus follow the seasons, and change five times per year, highlighting the very best of local food heritage.
Wine features prominently in the Wineglass with a selection handpicked by the Vineyard’s Director of Wine and over 40 wines and champagnes by the glass.
Named after a local myth, The Dun Cow in Dunchurch is a popular country pub and restaurant with a wealth of rural charm and rustic character. Hearty, seasonal pub-food is available backed by cask ales and fine wines.
A 400 year old traditional country pub with roaring log fires sets the scene.
Based in the heart of the village of Willoughby within the Leam Valley six miles from Rugby, it serves freshly prepared meats and fish to order, real ales and fine wines.
Advance booking advisable.