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Tapas, wine and theatre

Tapas at the Top Bar is perfectly placed to round out your theatre evening - with a pre-show supper or post-show tipple.

How often have you booked your theatre tickets and gone for a bite to eat beforehand, only to end up legging it to the theatre because you got too relaxed at the restaurant over that nice bottle of Sauv Blanc.

One time I had to watch the first 15 minutes of a show on a small telly screen in a sort of holding room until it was deemed okay to go in. True story.

Imagine my excitement, then, when I found out that a tapas bar had opened on the top floor of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, in Guildford. It’s right there in the same building. Just a 30 second stumble down some stairs to your seat in the theatre.

I came to the opening night, earlier this year – but over


Tapas at the Top Bar is on the top floor at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford. It’s open on Main Stage performance nights, from 6pm-9.30pm Monday to Wednesday and from 6pm-11pm Thursday to Saturday – offering an alternative to the a la carte Riverview Restaurant and Riverbank Cafe on the ground floor of the theatre.


There is definitely a cool urban vibe to the Top Bar, with a gleaming baby grand piano taking centre stage at one end, backlit with funky fluorescent pink lighting. The space has been kept quite open, with a bar along one wall and floor-to-ceiling windows (which look out onto the River Wey) along the other. Chesterfield sofas and coffee tables have been arranged by the windows, with groups of tables clustered down the centre of room and around the piano.


You can come here for a bite to eat, or just a drink.  There’s a wide selection of drinks, including a comprehensive wine list and locally-sourced Silent Pool gin, Surrey Cider and Hogs Back Brewery ales.

If you’re coming for dinner, I’d suggest ordering two or three tapas dishes per person. There’s a choice of traditional hot and cold tapas. I went for dinner with the teenager recently, and we chose six dishes between us as well as bread.

We ordered the smoked Chorizo slow cooked in red wine, king prawns cooked in herb oil with black garlic, garlic mushrooms cooked in a creamy white wine and smoked Spanish paprika, marinated Manchego cheese in olive oil with red peppercorns, garlic and chili marinated squid rings and olives. I loved the dip-in and sharing nature of the menu, and while I’m no expert when it comes to Spanish food, it all tasted great to me – washed down with a glass of Spanish Cava.




Good for: Theatregoers who want to eat dinner or a snack – or even just have a drink – before the show, and those who love their Spanish food and love to share.

Not for: If you’re not into sharing food, it probably isn’t for you.

The damage: This is great value. Hot and cold tapas are £4 each, or you can order three for £10, 6 for £18 or the entire menu for £34.

The Top Bar, Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Millbrook, Guildford, GU1 3UX. Tel: 01483 44 00 00.



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