* Prices may differ from that shown
**Please note that this review is for the Taunton location of the Pitcher and Piano and not the chain in general ** Whilst I was taking my GCSE's many moons ago I spent a lot of time in the Taunton town library, but since then there have been a few changes to the old building. The library has been moved to a swanky new building and so occupying the premises nowadays is the Pitcher and Piano bar. I probably spend more time in there now than I did in the past and it is definitely a lot more fun! ~*~ The Ambience ~*~ There is a front and a rear entrance to the bar so if I am meeting someone "by the door" I always make sure we both know which one! The front entrance to the bar takes you straight off the busy main road near the centre of Taunton into a large foyer area, heavy glass doors lead you into the main bar area which has a really open and spacious feel, this is probably due to the atrium style vaulted ceiling which I believe offers something special to the building. This is a very large building, but I feel that it is laid out nicely to suit the needs of anyone. Although it feels fairly open plan, it is laid out in such a way that most of the tables have a degree of privacy. The main bar area is on several different levels (only by a few steps) so there is a wide choice of where to sit to suit every occasion. If you want intimacy or just a laid back drink, there are a couple of comfy sofas in the corners, there are tables to suit most party sizes and down the centre of the bar there are several large tables with stools - my ever-single friend likes to sit here because she thinks it is a good place to meet men! Even though this is a very old building, and it is clear that there is history attached to it, the decor has been done sympathetically whilst still feeling contemporary and modern. It has not been refurbished for a while and could probably do with it now as the paintwork is starting to look a little on the shabby side. As well as the main bar area, there is a larger room towards the back of the building, which is still open plan, but it is far from the bar and quite private - this area can be hired separately for private parties, and it is quite often used for events within the bar like speed dating or salsa dancing (it has a small dance floor once the tables are moved). Outside there is a large patio area which probably has about twenty solid heavy wooden tables with chairs, a sofa area and patio heaters. The rear is accessed via one of the older quaint streets in Taunton and so sitting here during the day in the summer and watching the world go by is really quite relaxing, and by night I quite often get dragged out there by my occasional smoking friend because once again, she thinks that she will meet men out here by asking them for a lighter! The lighting inside changes throughout the day with the use of spots and chandeliers, and I feel that this is where this bar comes into its own. By day it is a good central place to pop in for a mid-shop drink and it is an excellent place for a working lunch, but by night it changes into a bustling bar where the music is turned up to a not unsociable feel, but it gets you in the mood to party. If there is a big sporting even on, the large screen is utilised so you don't have to miss a thing. The main toilets are upstairs, and it really is quite a hike to get to them. There are plenty of toilets but it is always cold up there and whichever cubicle that I use always seems to have a broken lock! By day they are usually fairly clean, but by night they get a little "well used" and they never have any toilet roll. The taps on the sinks come off in your hands, but there is a nice full length mirror on the wall so you can always see how bad you look. As you walk past the mens', it only takes a sideways glance if the door is open to see activity at the urinals - not the best design in the world. For a long time I thought that these were the only toilets, but one day they flooded and a toilet miraculously appeared in a cupboard downstairs - this is specifically for disabled use, but gaining access into the pub in the first place could cause a few problems if you are in a wheelchair as there are steps at every entrance, and once you are inside, the seating choices are limited because of the split levels. There are 21 Pitcher and Pianos across the UK, they all have a similar sort of look whilst being individual in their own right. The Taunton location occupies a beautiful building and I firmly believe that they have done it justice, however when it was first refurbished and changed into a drinking hole, a few eyebrows were raised as there is a covenant on the building put in place by the foundation that part funded the build, stating that alcohol must not be consumed on the premises - whoops! ~*~ The Food Menu ~*~ The menu at the Pitcher and Piano isn't massive but there is something on it to suit everyone, I quite like short and succinct menus because it takes the stress out of choosing. The menu changes quite regularly which keeps things interesting and there is something to suit every price range. The last time I went in here to eat was at lunchtime. There are generally some special offers on, and I usually take advantage of them. On the most recent occasion we took up the "munch for less" offer which is a choice of eight dishes, plus a soft drink or coffee (£1.50 extra for a pint of lager or glass of wine). I chose a baguette which came with a portion of chips and my husband had scampi and chips. For the money, I was expecting a meagre portion, but I was wrong. The portion sizes were generous and more than enough for a mid-day snack and everything was beautifully cooked. The kitchen is situated within a corner of the bar so you can see exactly what is going on, and it is clear to see that all food is prepared and cooked freshly to order which is a rare delight in a chain in my experience. A choice of soups salads and sandwiches is available which are all slightly more than the run of the mill choices that are usually available - Cajun chicken baguette, halloumi salad, mozzarella and sun-dried tomato ciabatta to name but a few, prices vary from £4.45 - £9.25. They have a large selection of grazing dishes on the menu, which is great if you are in a small group and cannot decide what to have, or if you just want a very light meal or a starter. These dishes include potato wedges with a choice of dips (£4.15), breaded mushrooms (£3.95), chicken wings (£4.25), calamari (£4.25) and many more. Prices range from £3.95 to £5.25 (tempura prawns) but you can get them at a reduced price if you order two or more. Again these portions are not meagre and they all seem to come with a sauce, dip or chutney of some description that just pushes them up a notch for me on taste and puts them one step ahead of much of the competition in the area. If you are looking for something a little more substantial there is a range of "posh" burgers, fish and chips, ratatouille baked aubergine ...all under £10, and in fact the most expensive thing on the menu is a 10oz steak which comes in at £12.95. I am deeply impressed with the food prices, I think that they are very competitive and represent extremely good value for money given the quality of the food. Puddings are available for under a fiver, but I have never sampled one enough to be able to review them - I don't do sweets! All of the dishes are presented immaculately with real attention to detail and everything is spotlessly clean. I have never had a bad meal in here and I have always left feeling satisfied and full. The staff are attentive without being overbearing and over all it is an extremely pleasant place to eat, whether it be in the day or in the evening, as a couple or with a large group of friends or colleagues - this place lends itself to any occasion. ~*~ The Drinks Menu ~*~ Ahhh, my favourite bit. I probably drink five times more in the Pitcher and Piano than I do eat, which is wrong I know but I just can't help it! The Pitcher and Piano in Taunton is a great place to start a night out in my opinion and I get drawn back here time and time again on a Saturday night. Invariably I generally have a voucher in hand for a free drink as they are generous with promotions if you sign up to the website, but even with no voucher I am happy to be here. The drinks menu is extensive, in fact it's a twelve pager which is very impressive. They have a wide choice of wines - medium, dry, full, mellow, fruity, red, white, rose, sparkling - who new there was so much to choose from? Prices start at £3.35 for a small glass of white (£12.50 for the bottle) which I do not think is so bad but if you want to push the boat out, you can be the proud owner of a bottle of fizz for £160. There is a massive choice of beers and lagers both bottled and draught, I am not a beer drinker personally and so they all taste the same to me, but if you like a certain variety, chances are they will have it here. They must have every type of spirit imaginable here, all lined up along the back of the bar, they really do look attractive with the rainbow of colours. Mixers, soft drinks and coffee and all available in abundance at the sort of prices that you would expect to pay in this sort of establishment. Cocktails and dreams! The cocktail menu is nothing short of divine. There do not seem to be very many places now where you can get a proper made-in-front-of-you cocktail, but this place does it to perfection. All of the staff are very knowledgeable about the cocktail menu and will point you in the direction of something delicious if you tell them your likes and dislikes. They are on the pricey side at a smidge under £7 for most of them, but they are an experience in itself. I still wake up in the night thinking about the White Russian I had once, mmmmm, and some of my favourite memories have involved the rear patio, sun and a mojito! As well as the classics, they have developed their own individual recipes which are definitely worth trying. ~*~ Other bits of info ~*~ As you have probably guessed I love the Pitcher and Piano. It takes on a different identity from day to night and suits practically most needs in my opinion. The food is delicious, the drinks are amazing, the staff are courteous and the clientele is varied - what more could a girl want? Decent toilets would make a big difference but that aside, I would highly recommend a visit if you are ever in the area. There is no separate car park, but parking can be sought at the Cresent car park which is two minutes walk away. For more information visit the p&p website: www.pitcherandpiano.com where you can see detailed menus. Pitcher and Piano, Corporation Street, Taunton, TA1 4AJ. 01823 350 104 Also posted on Ciao under my username chilcott1
I used to work in the City of London and after works drinks and long boozy lunches were the norm, ahh, it was a great life! One of our favourite places to go was the Pitcher and Piano in Cornhill right in the city of London. The Pitcher and Piano is located on 28-31 Cornhill, London, EC3V 3ND which is right near Bank tube station, bang in the heart of the city. Pitcher and Piano bars are a chain of bars which I do tend to like as you generally know what kind of service you are going to get and what the food and drinks are going to be like also. What I like about this bar is that it's glitzy and very smart looking. It is quite spacious and not like a typical backstreet London boozer. You get a really nice feeling of openness in this bar as the ceiling are very tall so even when this bar is packed and it really gets packed on a Friday night you still don't feel claustrophobic which is nice. Hanging from the ceilings are beautiful chandelier type lights that give the bar it's chintzy look and keep it illuminated. The inside interior is sleek and features a nicer polished floor with lots of wood and chrome around the bar and on the seats. As well as tables and chairs to sit on which is nice eating lunch during the day there are also leather booths which are perfect for the evening as you can Lunch time is really nice here and what I like is the fact that you can say to them if you are in a hurry and only have an hour for lunch and they will rush through your order for you so you can eat and get back in time. The food is pretty much standard pub food but is very good quality and way better than say a Hungry Horse or a Harvester. They do a really nice range of quality burgers which come with some really nice chips. If you want something small there are nice salads and fancy sandwiches as well, all fairly generous portions and well cooked and presented. Having worked at an Investment Bank during my time in the city champagne was always one of our favourite drinks and The Pitcher always delivered on perfectly chilled bubbly. The bottle is always served in a silver champagne holder with ice surrounding it so your bottle stays cool all the time you want it. You also get champagne glasses with the bubbly, the only way to drink proper champagne. The cocktails are always good as well and you can get just about anything you want as the bar tenders are very knowledgeable. I've organised quite a few drinks evening during my time at the bank and my previous job and it was always a pleasure working with this Pitcher and Piano. I could either call them up or wander in and reserve and an without having to leave a deposit and my space would always be cornered off for me and held until our party got there. You can also pre-order food as well so sometimes if we were entertaining clients we would get a whole load of appetisers to be ready no the table when we got there such as nachos, mini sandwiches etc. If you're in the city I definitely recommend this branch of Pitcher and Piano.
The Pitcher and Piano is a pub set in the Lace Market area of Nottingham city centre. The building itself is an attractive de-consecrated church, with tall stained glass windows, and a large old fashioned wooden door. The signage for the pub is quite subtle, leaving the building looking as regal as it did years ago, except for the small scattering of tables and chairs outside , and the small crowd of smokers huddled outside the doors. Inside, it's a lot lighter and more modern, although there are plenty of little alcoves for groups to have an intimate drink and meal .There is a dancefloor where the altar used to be in the evenings, and the overall effect is light and bright, with the mezzanine floor bringing in a modern touch . It's a nice surrounding in which to enjoy a drink, but in the daytime I feel it lacks vibrancy, and seems rather dead. There is a fairly wide selection of drinks, though they aren't particularly cheap and there are rarely and special offers, save for the occasional deal on cocktails. They serve a fair range of wines and cocktails, as well as spirits and bottled and draught beers, with draught beers averaging around £3.95 a pint. This is fairly expensive for Nottingham, though fairly typical of bars in the Lace Market area. There is a food menu with a reasonable range, though there isn't anything particularly inspiring there. However, they do have a nifty little idea , where you can order three of a range of starter sized portions for £11.50 and make your own little meal that way. There are dishes for both meat eaters and vegetarians, and I must say that when I have seen food served here (I've haven't eaten here in a long time myself, I usually just visit in the daytime for a refreshing pint) the meals look fresh and well presented and the portions adequate. The pub, during the daytime, is generally very clean and tidy. However, in the evenings it does become very busy, especially at weekends, and tables do become cluttered with glasses . It also seems to attract a rowdy, stag/hen night sort of crowd, and can become overly loud. I actually don't like it too much in the evenings. Overall, I think the pub is OK in the daytime if you enjoy your peace and quiet, but it does rather lack atmosphere. It isn't a pub I go out of my way to visit, rather one that I'll nip into on a summers day if I'm too hot and need a cool down. It might be good in the evenings if you like crowded, lively, noisy bars - sadly I don't, so overall this pub only gets 3 stars from me, and to be honest those are more for the lovely building in which it is housed than anything else.
The first Pitcher and Piano I had ever been to was in Nottingham in the Lace market. I was a student at the University of Nottingham and had been living there for only a few months when my friends and I ventured out into the 'posher' part of the town, the Lace market. The Pitcher and Piano there was the most inventive and original bar I had ever seen. It was inside an old converted church. The pews and alter were all gone and replaced with a bar and lots of comfy leather seats. There was even an upstairs put in with more seats. It was one of the strangest but one of the best experiences I'd had. The original walls, pillars and features of the church were all still there including even a great big stained glass window at the back. At night with the mellow bar lighting it had an almost creepy air to it but it was still really enjoyable. The only negative I found at that time was that the drinks were really quite expensive. We couldn't afford to have many there and ended up moving onto a cheaper student night. But I would point out that this was a good few years ago, 2005 and I was a student at the time so being a pauper I had a very different idea of what an expensive drink constituted! All these years later and back in Birmingham I have to admit the Pitcher and Piano here is no where near as exciting. It is not in an old church, rather a new bar in Brindley Place. But it is one of my regular hot spots and a place I would always recommend to people as a great place to go. Despite the lack of a church interior, the interior is still pretty fab. Its all wooden floors and leather sofas, it even has a log fire in one of the corners. It's a lovely place for a drink in the day or night. They have a downstairs with another bar and loads more comfy seats as well as an outside area over looking the canal. Nowadays I think the drinks are reasonably priced, not exactly cheap but not as expensive as some places in Birmingham. I particularly love their cocktails. These can be between £5-8 depending on which one you have, but we have found that on a sun-thurs nite they are buy one get one free. Absolute bargain! And the choice of cocktails is amazing, they have a whole book full. I always love an easy mango when I go. The pitchers of cocktail usually go down well with me and my friends as well! Pitcher and Pianos serve food during the day as well, although I have to admit to never having tried it. There are often some cheap deals on tho, 2 meals for £5 etc so I think it would be worthwhile trying it! Don't be fooled by the name however, no piano in sight i'm afraid!
RICHMOND PITCHER AND PIANO I visited this marvolous pub shortly after an interview based in London. After walking through Richmond with my gorgeous partner, we felt we had to visit the river. It was at this stage where we planned to get some food at have a pint at the Pitcher and Piano. Where we were greeted with a vairety of seating areas; in sun, in shade and obviously indoors. Because it was such a beautiful day we chose to sit outside. We were shortly greeted by a smartly dressed waitress who was ready to take our order. I was rather taken aback by this- i never knew of a place where drink orders were taken at the table. However, i loved this! The waitress service was pretty good. We ordered drinks and within a few minutes they turnt up. We were then able to order food, which didn't take a long time to come out. And just enjoy the good company and the sunshine. However, one thing i would have to say about this place was that when you sit outside you're not able to see the river- which is of course Richmond's finest feature. However, the view was replaced with a large view of flowers... I like flowers. But the river was much prettier than the flowers, so i feel that they didn't really think that through as much. The food was lovely; We purchased a bowl of chips with melted cheese. I feel that the bill was a wee bit expensive. £20 for a bowl of chips, 2 pints of lager, a Pimms and a regular glass of Chardonney. Although the chip portion was to share; i feel that they were a bit tight with their portions although the quality of the food was very nice and well presented. The pub itself was well presented on the inside with wooden floorings which was indeed shown to be polished. However, i was disapointed with the lack of space in the toilets (female). The cubicals were rather small and when you're slightly tipsy this doesn't help you out so much, also if you're slightly tipsy and wearing tight trousers- not a bonus, oh well... I wasn't impressed with their Menu, my intention was only to purchase a nice Sarnie, however it was all poshified up. I was expecting something like; Tuna mayo sarnies and cheese and onion. However, it was nothing like that! And everything seemed to be served with olives...apart from the chips. Don't get me wrong, i loved the place... however, i feel that they could have put more things on the menu for un-posh people, hehe. What can i say, it was my first proper time in London! I really enjoyed my time in this pub/resturant, experienced a fantastic service, had a lovely view of flowers- although a river view would have been better. Altogether, it's a well cleaned, lovely atmosphered pub. And i really enjoyed time here.
Everyone loves a great deal and we found one at the Pitcher and Piano. We visited our local P&P in Winchester last weekend and had a very good meal. This is one of my favourite places to dine in Winchester. I like this place because they offer a good lunch deal at a not so over the top price like a lot of places. Not only that but they give you nice meal for what you pay. One of my favourite choices on the £5 daily list is the roasted Mediterranean vegetable and feta wrap and falafels in pitta. These meals are lovely and they are not too heavy and perfect for a quick lunch. Over the weekend when my boyfriend and I visited we tried the P&P sharer which is a sizeable platter for two people and best of all you can get two large glasses of wine and the rest of the bottle for free. This is wonderful if you go for the house wine. There are so many choices on the P&P menu and I would certainly recommend anyone who enjoys nice food at a good price. I also like the look of the restaurant. It was nice and clean but some of the worn seating could be changed out. Other than that it's decent eating.
Location reviewed: Winchester I first went to a branch of this chain last night and my impressions of it are mixed. It has a very slick, cosmopolitan feel to it - Laminate flooring, minimalist colours, seductive lighting, VIP booths if you care to hire one. and the drinks/food prices are reflected by the standard of the interior. It happened to be buy one get one free on cocktails last night i.e. two for a fiver. i was about to go to the bar and order when a waitress came and took our order. i am so used to ordering at the bar in those sorts of places that that was a nice change. the menu was quite pricey but i just had a starter of chips and chilli con carne for 3.50 which was actually very reasonable given the portion size. however a burger, with extras, came to over 10 pounds which i thought was a rip off given how measly the portions were - my friends has ordered chicken burgers. and the service was soooo slow! i couldnt believe it. ok it was quite busy but we still had to wait over 30mins for our food. and apparently it is just as slow when it is quiet. so all in all i had a good night out with my friends and the ambience was really nice but the good service and general value for money was less than evident
I have very mixed opinions of chain bars and pubs. At their best there are ones like Weather spoons who actually do good real ale and have made use of some quite nice quirky converted buildings ( I am thinking of the Robert the Bruce in Dumfries which was rescued form the remains of the old Methodist church and done up wonderfully and the elegance of the Waterhouse in Manchester) . At their worst they are anonymous identikit places selling overpriced lager. Pitcher and Piano is a chain of 27 bars. There is one in Manchester on Lower Mosley Street but I have never been in it and actually am not sure I have ever seen it (even though I worked around there for three moths). Thus my first experience of a Pitcher and Piano was a couple of weekends ago as the Trafalgar Square branch was the location for the wonderful Ciao Meet organised by Lizkempo. The location of this bar is perfect. It is on King William IV street literally a minutes walk from Trafalgar Square. It can be easily reached from Embankment, Charing Cross, Leicester square and Covent Garden Tube stations. I can see this being a very popular place as it would attract tourists and theatre goers as well as office workers and shoppers. On the Saturday I visited it seemed to be a very popular place for larger prebooked groups. As well as the Ciao Meet there was some kind of Rugby Club (or other male activity do) and also a Spanish meet upstairs. My first impressions of the bar were good. It was housed in a lovely old building and there seemed to be plenty of room in the bar. This might be different at 6pm on a Friday or 9pm on a Saturday night when it is heaving and you can not get a seat but at midday on a Saturday it looked large and quite sophisticated. I do not remember too much about the décor but I do remember there were plenty of comfy sofas and coffee tables to relax at. The venue is on two floors. The bottom one has an open area with smaller areas leading off it. Our meet was held in a fairly self contained area at the back of the venue. It was nice as it felt fairly private and the area was non smoking so as a non smoker I could fully relax. The atmosphere and ambience was comfortable and relaxed. There was music playing in the background. I think it was general chart, maybe dance music but I could not say for sure. I liked the Pitcher and Piano for a Saturday afternoon drink at an organised event like the meet however I am not sure how much I would like it in a peak period on a weekend night. I imagine it would be very loud, crowded and smoky. The range of drinks available at the bar is fairly good but it seems to cater for a younger trendier clientele. There was a wide range of bottled lagers and beers as well as a smaller selection of draughts. The beers on draught were the usual suspects of Stella, Guinness and so on. Luckily for me they did have Hoegarten on tap((£2 for a half pint). I was not that impressed with their beer pumps though. They looked very stylish being nice and silver but they did not have any pictures of the beer on the head of the pump. Instead the name of the beer was stylishly written vertically on the length of the pump. I found this particularly difficult de to my short sightedness but others in the party said that they had to ask what beers they had. They also had a decent wine and cocktail list. The wine starts at £3.40 for a glass or £13.40 for a bottle. I find this a bit pricy for my tastes. They even serve Dom Perignon at £95 a bottle. I was being careful not to drink too much so delighted in the mocktils that they offered. These non alcoholic cocktails were fun an tasty and contained a lot of fresh fruit purees and juices. I liked the look of the virgin moijito made with apple juice and mint leaves that either Olly Plimsoll or his girlfriend Filthyneon had. It looked refreshing and tasty. I myself plumped for a Tropical Colada that had mango pineapple and coconut milk if I remember rightly. These were around about £2.50 and I had fun watching the barman work his wonders with the cocktail shaker. I did not dare look at th alcoholic cocktail as they would be out of my price range. I thought about asking for a Long Vodka as they did do a non alcoholic version of it but again did not buy one just because of the prices. I would defiantly not buy a hot drink here. The coffees are over 32 as are the teas. How can they justify chagrining £2 for a herbal infusion when all it is a bag which you can get 20 bags for £1 and some hot water. As you can gather I personally found the prices of some of the drinks quite expensive but I do realise this bar is in a prime position in the heart of London thus warranting premium prices. I was quite impressed with the bar menu. There seemed to be something for everyone from nibbles, sandwiches, salads, burgers and mains. I liked the fact that it was quite adventurous with some of its choices. Alongside the traditional fish and chips and bangers and mash they had gnocchi, Mediterranean fish stew and Barbary duck. There really is something for everyone. I was impressed that they even did gluten free bread in their sandwiches and baguettes if it was requested. There is waiter service there but you had to ask at the bar and I found myself having to ask a few times then had to actually order at the bar. I plumped for a mozzarella and olive burger. It was nice as a semi veggie not to have to settle for the usual Quorn burger. Mozzarella and olive sounded slightly different. I did not have to wait long for my burger and I was impressed when I received it as it was really nicely presented on a white square plate with salad and a portion of decent chips. The burger was quite thick and had nice big chunks of olives. The highlight of my meal was the lovely tangy chunky relish/salsa. I paid £7 .95 for my burger. A start/;oghtr bite was in the region o0f £3-4. Amain courses were between £8 and £11. The food prices are perhaps a little bit more than I am used to paying for a bar meal but again I am willing to take the location of the venue into account. I think they are similar in price to somewhere like Hard Rock Café. I have not ruled out returning to a Pitcher and Piano in the future. I had a good time there but I think that was due to the company. A big thanks and hugs all round to all those who made the meet as they were delightful company but the bar did contribute. The food was nice as were the mocktials. However I prefer my bars and pubs to be slightly cheaper and slightly more individual and quirky. http://www.pitcherandpiano.com/ 40-42 William IV St, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 4DD 020 7240 6180
I was visiting Glasgow the first time that I visited a Pitcher and Piano, almost 5 years ago. The place was what all city bars should be- stylish, comfortable, with a large grand piano in the centre of the room. The place was buzzing with people. I distinctly remember my starter- a mezzo platter with hummus, pitas, taramasalata and that tzatsiki for about 4 quid. Beautiful, huge portions and a perfect snack for sharing with a friend or two, as an accompaniment to a pint of something cold. I also recall my main course- an absolutely gobsmackingly good fettuccini with sundried tomato and cream, spinach and rocket. It was the kind of meal that was perfect in every way and remains the meal that I refer to (with my saliva glands working overtime) anytime I order pasta. Nowadays I go to the Pitcher & Piano in London's West End, which is somewhat less atmospheric than the one in Glasgow but remains a pub that you can generally get a table, along with pretty attentive service. The food remains a highlight (although admittedly I've not had anything as great as that pasta meal circa 1997). Drinks are more of an after thought (standard beer selection and wines at London prices, some cocktails too but nothing too outrageous). My recommendations? If you are ever in Glasgow, visit the Pitcher & Piano. Make sure to order their main course (particularly if it's pasta!). Grab a table in the elevated bit by the window and enjoy!
Here we go … yet another bar/restaurant to open up in Nottingham in the last few years, this time in the Lace Market area. It's about one minutes walk from Hockley and a couple of minutes walk from the market square. It's also close to the Broad Marsh shopping centre and about five minutes walk from the train station. Now there are so many places in Nottingham to choose from on anight out it gives me a headache. So what’s the deal with this one then? Why is it always packed out? The main reason for this will be answered on arriving at the Pitcher and Piano. Even before you go inside you will start to understand the draw of this place. Some people have been known to stand outside wondering it they have come to the right place at first. Then they see the doormen and realize that it must be. Other people go strangely quiet once they are inside and stare dumbfounded all around them. Why? It’s a church … Yes, you heard me right. It’s a church … but with beer! Many of the original features are still there. I would guess that it has a listed building status of some sort so they couldn’t completely gut the inside. It still has the stained-glass windows in place. In fact, keeping a lot of these features makes the Pitcher and Piano the attraction that it is. The Pitcher and Piano is on three floors, with the first floor one mostly taken up by the restaurant area and a private VIP room. The food is pretty good with a nice selection of dishes (including vegetarian ones), but as usual for these sorts of places it doesn’t come cheap (ranging from £7 and upwards for a main course). What you do get from eating up there is a magnificent view. Most of the interior stonework has been left intact. Don’t ask me about the VIP room, I’ve never been in and frankly have no wish to anyway. The third floor, accessible by a winding staircase, is where you will find the toilets. Whoever thought of this was a serious sadist. The stairs seem to wind on forever, and for most of the people who are drinking on the ground floor section it is a bit of a trek. If you weren’t feeling a little queasy from the drink then the stairs may do it too you! The ground floor is the main seating and drinking area, with just one long bar along one side. This can get extremely busy some nights and the layout wasn't thought out too well. It’s not uncommon to find yourself queuing two or three deep at bar at the best of times on a weekend night. It can alos get quite smoky on the ground floor too. In the middle of the ground floor is a circular seating area on a raised platform. People tend to mill around the outside of this section as it gets filled up very early on in the night. There are a few seating areas around the edges of the ground floor but the vast majority of people have to stand up. As far as drink go it isn’t anything special, offering the standard bar/wine bar fare. They normally have lots of bottles, the usual lagers and beers on tap. They have a reasonable selection of spirits for once but these can be a bit pricey. Expect to pay the usual city centre prices around £2 per drink (or more if you hit the spirits). The Pitcher and Piano is a hard place to judge on the five star rating system. I think I will have to plump for a three overall. This is probably a bit harsh but I go there quite a bit and the novelty of the place does wear off. Then it is just another bar, which gets crowded and charges a fortune for a few drinks. Not somewhere I can stay all night at but still good for one or two drinks. For someone who has never been there then it is most definitely a four star just for the novelty factor. It’s one to put high on the list if you get a chance to visit Nottingham. Address: High Pavement, Nottingham Telephone: 0115-9586081 W ebsite: None (as of February 2001)