The One Elm, Stratford-upon-Avon
Muddy checks out the hipster vibes, new interiors and latest menu.
We don’t mess around at Muddy when we get word of a newly refurbished neighbourhood pub. Take a peek at the new sage green interiors at The One Elm in Stratford-upon-Avon and quick look at the brand new all-day menu…
Slap bang in the centre of historic Stratford-upon-Avon – just 10-minutes’ walk from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the River Avon. Slightly off the beaten track, away from the busy high street at the junction of Guild Street and Birmingham Road, it’s still only seconds from Shakespeare’s Birthplace. But this is no tourist trap – more of a friendly, urban neighbourhood local full of cosy snugs, a new log burner up in the Loft and re-paved courtyard.
This cool, cosy town centre pub with a secret courtyard and two floors of drinking space underwent a complete makeover earlier this autumn. On arrival jovial young landlord Mat Faulkner gave my friend Sarah and I a guided tour of the pub’s new-look…Having been a few times before it really does compliment this period building.
Painted in soft sage green with comfy leather armchairs and booth seats as well as plenty of tables and chairs, the One Elm bar is the ideal spot to hole up on chillier evenings, especially when the fire is lit. It’s a proper locals drinking area (and it really does entice well-heeled boozers very successfully) and there’s two gastro-pubby areas – one towards the back of the pub, the Loft upstairs, plus the Secret Courtyard with heated seating outside.
There are lots of knick-knacks, vases and Shakespeare memorabilia scattered artfully around, mixed in with a few pieces of upcycled pieces of furniture – note the yellow painted legs of the wooden tables above.
The One Elm is one of 5 characterful pubs in Warwickshire and Birmingham, owned by the switched-on Peach Pub group. Its sister pubs now include The Star and Garter in Leamington Spa, Warwick’s Rose & Crown, The Almanack in Kenilworth and award-winning art deco pub, The High Field in Birmingham. Peach has a further collection of 13 pubs in market towns across Bucks and Bedfordshire; Oxfordshire, Herts, Hampshire & Surrey.
Upstairs the loft has been transformed with cosy booths upholstered in rich kilim fabrics, country style dressers, vintage tables, wicker lampshades and a new log burner. The great thing is you can choose wherever you fancy sitting!
The sage green colour scheme continues in the bar area downstairs with a few rustic touches…
Landlord Mat is from Solihull originally, and as a teen played for Greater Birmingham Rugby Team even trialling for England before an injury. Previously a P E Teacher, coffee shop manager and cocktail mixologist he quickly rose from assistant to deputy manager of The One Elm in under a year. The 27-year-old has since stepped up as landlord and was the group’s youngest landlord for a spell! He heads up a team of pleasantly informal youthful staff, in a laid-back ‘uniform’ of plaid/tartan shirts and jeans.
The old Ash tree in the outdoor courtyard has been chopped down to made way for a new staircase up to The Loft. Mat said: “The Elm tree – from where the pub gets its name, used to be on the roundabout. This lovely pub, the second opened by Peach pubs in Warwickshire, has been well-loved and used by the people of Stratford for almost 15 years.”
The pub’s been given a new look inside and outside, including the lovely hidden courtyard so there’s more space to sit. On Mondays it’s 2-4-1 on mains, Tuesdays 2-4-1 on burgers and Thursdays 2-4-1 on cocktails between 7pm and 9pm. They’re also open for breakfast every weekend from 9am. There’s something for everyone here! It’s very much part of the community.
The new downstairs bar positively glows with warm copper and serves local ale from Stratford’s award-winning Purity Brewing Company or Church Farm Brewery in Warwick. Both go down particularly well with new bar snacks – free-range Scotch eggs and brown sauce; Westcombe Cheddar and ham hock croquettes or honey and mustard mini sausages.
Sarah and I were heading to a 7pm press night at the RSC so were on a bit of a time-limit. We sat in one of the leather booths downstairs and shared a platter of three snacks including Breaded Brie and Chilli Jam, Mini Fishcakes with Tomato Salsa and Spiced Tomato Houmous & Pitta – £3.75 each or 3 for £10. Admiring the decor as we did.
The new ‘grill and sizzler’ menu features chicken, King prawn and marinated halloumi sizzlers which sounded appealing – so we went for the halloumi (£12.75) and King Prawn (£14.25) sizzlers. Very tasty they were too – especially good if you’re looking for something carb-free – only, we did share a portion of Skinny Fries.
Burgers include a choice of One Elm coarse-ground steak burger; breaded chicken burger, Spiced Bean Burger and the new Two Elm – a double burger with cheese, lettuce, tomato and burger sauce. All come with a range of extras from bacon, fried egg, gherkins and jalapeños, and with chips, thick or thin. Other mains range from pub classics like Fish & Chips, to Mac & Cheese alongside proper ham, egg and chips, and Chilli & Lime-spiked Fishcake with Spinach & Tomato Salsa, pictured below.
Chilli & Lime-spiked Fishcake with Spinach & Tomato Salsa
Coffees come with a cute Lyle’s Golden Syrup tin filled with sugar cubes and a handful of Smarties, which my kids usually snaffle.
Sadly we ran out of time for puds. The 4 main choices are Sticky Toffee Pudding, Chocolate & Raspberry Ripple Sundae, Creme Brulee and Chocolate Brownie with Jude’s Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream, plus Crumble on a Sunday. A selection of Jude’s free-range ice-creams and sorbets in a waffle cone are another alternative.
Moving swiftly onto booze there are 12 gins include Tanqueray London Dry Gin; Cotswolds Dry, Muddy favourite Silent Pool and Chase Pink Grapefruit. Of the cocktails, the Rhubarb & Ginger warmer (Rhubarb & Ginger Whitley Neill gin, ginger ale, mint & lemon) Hendrick’s Bramble (Hendrick’s gin, Creme De Cassis, sugar syrup & lemon juice), and the Espresso Martini sound particularly good winter warmers.
The wine list may be short but features carefully chosen classics by Peach co-owner Jo Eames, from 3 multi-award-winning suppliers: Tanners of Shrewsbury, Liberty Wines & Boutinot.
Indeed! There isn’t a specific Kids Menu as such, because at Peach the philosophy is children should have the opportunity to eat food that’s ‘as good as yours’. There’s plenty of kid-friendly choices. Chefs are happy to make smaller portions or simplified versions of anything on their menu. Half-size Sunday roasts (at half-price) are a big hit.
Kids will think the outside courtyard space with its heated booths pretty cool; they can be less confined in an enclosed outdoor space. The only thing to watch is around the front, the pub sits on the corner of a busy through road.
OUT & ABOUT
You have the delights of 800-year-old Stratford-upon-Avon on your doorstep with lots of fun things to do from boating on the River Avon, to visiting the quirky MAD museum, Shakespeare’s Birthplace and Family Homes, shops, art galleries, tea-shops, hotels and of course you’ll be spoilt for choice with theatre from the RSC’s three fantastic national theatres (Swan, RST and The Other Place) Stratford Arthouse, the fringe Attic Theatre and small 100-seat community theatre space, The Bearpit. The RSC also has the brilliantly interactive family-friendly exhibition The Play’s The Thing in the Swan.
National Trust property Charlecote Park, a Victorian country house and deer park, is just five miles away in Wellesbourne. Alcester, Warwick, Leamington Spa, Shipton-on-Stour and Coventry are an easy drive.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Laid-back, down-to-earth high-quality pub food without hiked up tourist prices, and after-work specials including 2-for-1 cocktails on a Thursday and Sunday roasts! A bit of a hipster’s paradise and good for a party – there’s grown-up party nights, a Rum & Reggae night and the first ElmFest with live music and street food this August. Keen on eye on their social events calendar!
Not for: Formal white-table cloth intimate fine dining or an all-singing, all dancing outside kids play area.
The damage: Decent. Breakfasts, £3.50 – £9.50; starters/snacks £3.75 (3 for £10); soup, £5.50; Burgers £10 – £14.50; Mains, £9.50 – £21.50 for an Aubrey Allen Dry-aged Flat Iron Steak; Sides, £3. Puds, £3.50 – £5.
The One Elm, 1 Guild Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon, CV37 6QZ, Tel: 01789 404919. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, oneelmstratford