Café René is a located in a medieval building on Marylone (St Mary’s Lane), a lane that dates from at least 1316. Also on the lane is St Mary de Crypt, a church that was first recorded in c1140.
The pub itself is nowhere near as old and according to The Story of Gloucester Pubs by Darrel Kirby, there has only been a pub on the site since the late 1970s (other pubs have been located very near by).
Interior and Exterior
The pub is accessed from Southgate through an archway at the end of Marylone. The frontage of the pub is quite simple with nothing more than an doorway leading to a foyer which then leads onto the pub. Inside the pub is split into two parts with the bar area to the left and a dedicated restaurant area partitioned off at the rear.
Near the entrance is an authentic Roman well that’s surrounded by a modern circular brick structure. This well would have originally been outside the building in a courtyard and the present day bar area would have also been part of this courtyard. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that the courtyard was covered over.
The bar runs the length of one of the walls and the front is designed to look as though the counter is propped up on large barrels. At first glance you would think that the pub doesn’t serve any real ales but propped up on the far end of the bar are at least a couple of casks of ale along with some traditional cider.
Throughout both the bar and restaurant the walls are lined from floor to ceiling (in the restaurant the actual ceiling) in used wine bottles.
According to the pub’s website there is also a cellar bar that hosts a mix of DJs and live bands on Friday and Saturday nights. Because of the live music, and the fact that there is an entrance fee after 11pm, the pub is open until 4am on Friday and Saturday.
At least two ales are available and sometimes more. When I visited the two ales available were Slater’s Queen Bee and Mole’s St Elmos Fire. There were also another two ales settling. Both were reasonable priced at £2.70 and £2.80 a pint respectively.
The ciders that were available were Black Rat, Cheddar Valley along with some guests.
* Darrel Kirby goes into detail about possible links with the cellars/tunnels beneath the pub and the Greyfriars, Cromwell and MI6 in The Story of Gloucester Pubs but like most things of this nature, much is pure speculation.
More Photos of Café René
31 Southgate Street
Tel: 01452 309340
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