Our colleagues recently shared their top tips for visiting Deepbridge’s home city of Chester, highlighting some of their favourite places and things to do when not in lockdown.
Chester Racecourse is the oldest racecourse still in operation in the world, with its first race meeting in 1539. One of the pioneers of racing at Chester was Henry Gee, who became mayor of Chester in 1539 and introduced an annual horse race meeting. Due to Henry Gee’s love of horse racing, his name became synonymous with racehorses, as today they are still often called ‘gee gees’.
With crowds of up to 20,000, the racecourse’s location in the heart of Chester makes for a colourful spectacle as those dressed in their finery make their way to and from the course. Phill Secrette, Head of Investor Services reflects, “if the weather is good, there is nowhere better to watch top quality sport. Chester is one of the great racing venues, whether in the ‘posh seats’ or watching the racing from the historic city walls.”
Gareth Groome, CFO, comments, “some cities have football or rugby at their core, but Chester is very much a racing city. The city comes alive on race day.”
With over 35,000 animals, Chester Zoo is one of the UK’s largest zoos and a leading international conservationist organisation. In 2014, the story of the founding of Chester Zoo by George Mottershead in 1931 was told in the BBC drama ‘Our Zoo’.
Anjali Roberts, Strategic Partnerships Manager, praises the Zoo, “Chester Zoo offers a great family day out. We are extraordinarily fortunate to live so close to one of the best zoos in the world, but no matter how many times you visit, there is always something new to be amazed by.”
Sam Piddington, Head of Corporate Finance, added, “I’ve been a member of the zoo for almost 20 years now and it’s a wonderful place for a day out. My highlights would be the free-flying bat house, the beautiful orangutans and the incredible elephant enclosure just as you enter.”
The creation of the theatre, cinema, restaurant and library space that is Storyhouse created a cultural hub in central Chester and was formally opened by Her Majesty The Queen and The Duchess of Sussex in 2018. Storyhouse is now well established on the circuit of the UK’s leading performers and artists.
Paul Bowman, Investment Manager, commented, “from comedians to Shakespearean productions, Storyhouse offers a fantastic repertoire of entertainment. It’s great to have a cultural home in the heart of the City.”
Tony Lyons, Project Manager, continued, “attending the Christmas productions has quickly become a family tradition and Storyhouse’s outdoor summer performances in the park are highly recommended.”
For a City with a population of just 120,000, Chester has an abundance of eateries of all price ranges and styles. As a particular favourite pastime for most of the Deepbridge team, eating out is our specialist subject. Ian Warwick, Managing Partner, kicks off our review by highlighting his love (some might say addiction) for La Fattoria. Based on Lower Bridge Street, La Fattoria is an Italian trattoria which is synonymous with the vast majority of Deepbridge celebrations. Ian comments, “whether it be one of Pasqualino’s pizzas, the calamari or traditional Saltimbocca, Fattoria is the home of great Italian favourites.”
“The Deepbridge Christmas Party would feel wrong if not held at La Fattoria. It is a Deepbridge institution. My particular favourite is the Ravioli Sofia, filled with lobster and crab, washed down with a glass of Brunello – perfect,” added Fuchsia Curry, Head of Private Client Marketing.
Charlotte Johnson, Executive Assistant, adds, “the warm welcome from the team always ensures a meal starts off on the right foot, and makes you feel at home. Most of us would agree that Ian treats it like home anyway!”
Another favourite of the Deepbridge team is Hickory’s Smokehouse on the banks of the River Dee. Terri Action, Relationship Manager, sings the praises of Hickory’s as an informal place to dine, drink and hang out with friends, “the great taste of an American smokehouse, coupled with an energetic vibe make Hickory’s a favourite. Hickory’s location makes it a great venue to enjoy summer afternoons in the beer garden or winter nights in the bar.”
Natalia Grandini, Administration Executive, adds, “since moving to Chester, Hickory’s has become a firm favourite of mine. The steaks remind me of growing up in Brazil and the cocktails are dangerously good!”
Steven Powell, Regional Director, concluded, “although I’m based in Kent, for the Deepbridge online Christmas Party in 2020, we all received a ‘Hickory’s at Home’ food box delivered to our homes. The food was amazing… and it lasted me several days!”
Joe Glaister, Administration Executive, offers 9 Elephants as a top eatery, “at the end of my first week at Deepbridge, we went for a team meal at 9 Elephants. The Thai food on offer is the best around and the restaurant is quirky in style.”
Lewis Tandy, Marketing Manager, adds, “the Massaman curry is fantastic and there’s also a great selection of Chef’s specials.”
If you’re not after a meal and would prefer liquid refreshment instead, then Chester is well stocked to keep you happy. The Deepbridge team share their thoughts on where to head for the best drinks in Chester.
If you’re a fan of the pubs run by Brunning and Price, then you should visit Old Harkers Arms, the original B&P pub. Set alongside the Shropshire Union Canal, on the ground floor of a former warehouse, “Harkers” offers a wide selection of real ales, wines and spirits. A strict no-music policy means that the bar rings with the sound of conversation and the floor can be littered with resting dogs with their owners. Andrew Aldridge, Head of Marketing, comments, “Harkers is the type of pub where hours float by unnoticed. A great place to meet friends and put the world to rights over a pint of the local Cheshire Cat ale!”
Sandie Marshall, Finance Manager, adds, “the odd glass of wine in Harkers is the perfect way to unwind at the weekend, and a real miss during lockdown.”
If a livelier crowd is what you’re after, then Bar Lounge on Watergate Street is a must-go destination. A chilled vibe, great sharing platters and amazing cocktails makes Bar Lounge a favourite destination during the early evening and then the resident DJ turns the bar into a vibrant hub on weekend evenings. Heather Hughes, Investment Co-ordinator commented, “the cocktails and the general vibe, make Bar Lounge a great place to enjoy a night out. The location also means it is a mecca on race days.”
Andrew Hughes, Head of Renewables, adds, “before lockdown stopped our fun, we’ve had many team nights out at Bar Lounge and everyone knows we’re in for a good night.”
Round the corner from Bar Lounge is the unmarked entrance to Prohibition, the Prohibition era themed bar. Ideal for small groups, prohibition takes visitors on a journey to the US of the 1920s, with classic cocktails, a dark and secretive atmosphere and hidden rooms. Ben Carter, Investment Manager, recommends, “the classic cocktails and secretive nature of having to knock on the door for entry makes Prohibition a unique experience – if you can find it.”
George Siddorn, Investment Analyst, added, “a right little gem, if you manage to find it, but that is half the fun and separates those ‘in the know’ from those who aren’t!”