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Tapas at the top bar

A mix of urban cool and relaxed piano bar, the new tapas bar at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is perfect for a pre-show supper

Next time you’re seeing a show at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford you might want to check out The Top Bar which opened on the top floor of the theatre last night. Oh, sod it, why wait until you’re seeing a show. This brand new tapas bar is open to anyone, and the food is great, so gather a group of friends and try it out.


Offering an alternative to the a la carte Riverview Restaurant and Riverbank Cafe on the ground floor of the theatre, The Top Bar makes great use of this space. It had always seemed a bit of a waste, given the great views. The tapas bar open on Main Stage performance nights, from 6pm-9.30pm Monday to Wednesday and from 6pm-11pm Thursday to Saturday.


Overlooking the River Wey and parts of central Guildford, this restaurant is certainly in a good location, and with a pianist tinkling out the tunes and funky fluorescent uplighting, it has the feel of urban piano bar about it. The space has been kept open, with a bar on one side and a wall of windows on the other. The decor is fairly basic, with some oversized Chesterfield sofas and coffee tables by the windows, and groups of tables down the centre of the room. It feels fairly relaxed, and a great way to make more of a night out at the theatre without that rushed feeling you sometimes get when you’re having dinner elsewhere before a show.



A steady stream of tapas dishes found their way to our table from the smoked Chorizo slow cooked in red wine, patatas bravas,  and mini mozzarella and cherry tomato skewers. Easy favourites were the garlic and chilli marinated squid rings, marinated Manchego cheese in olive oil with red peppercorns, garlic mushrooms and the king prawns cooked in herb oil with black garlic.

There’s also a wide selection of drinks, including a comprehensive wine list and locally-sourced Silent Pool gin, Surrey Cider and Hogs Back Brewery ales.



Good for: Anyone who’s planning an evening at the theatre (obviously), 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: Great value, I’d say. 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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