Review: The Rose and Crown, Godalming
In the year of the staycation, what could be better than an uber-cool cocktail bar in the heart of a pretty market town with luxury rooms upstairs? Nothing right?
THE LOWDOWN / LOCATION
There aren’t many wine and cocktail bars around that also offer boutique accommodation. But in the heart of Godalming, that’s exactly what you get at the Rose and Crown. And not only that, there’s also one of the coolest outdoor bars I’ve seen since I left Melbourne (21 years ago!).
The Rose and Crown has seen a few changes in it time – it’s said to be one of the oldest and smallest pubs in Godalming, but since those days has also been a butchers and a bakers. Sadly, no candlestick maker has ever taken up residence. Shame
It’s on Mill Lane, just a short jaunt from the High Street, and only a couple of hundred yards from Godalming Station – handy if you’re coming by train, or fancy popping in for a vino on your way home from work.
This place is kitch and cool in all the right ways. There are echoes of Scandi-cool going on – think muted pinks and neutral tones, long-legged blonde wood tables and stools alongside low mid-century chairs and pouffes and polished timber floors. It’s simple and stylish with quirky flourishes – a stag’s head or two peers down from the walls, a faux rose tucked behind his (or her) ear and sparkling glass beads hanging from an antler. The vibe here is fun, easy-going and definitely not try-hard.
The outside space is nothing short of fabulous. It’s Miami beach meets Danish log cabin. There are several cabanas with picnic style seating, fairy lights and candles galore, and the courtyard is strung up with vintage bulbs and bunting. It sounds like it shouldn’t work – but it really does.
SCOFF & QUAFF
It’s all about the quaffing here – cocktails, twisted gins, wine, fizz, craft ales and artisan beers – with a tasty snacking menu to accompany the extensive drinks list.
There are nibbles (olives, posh nuts, and the like) and small plates, which are perfect for sharing, plus authentic stone baked pizza. We opted for a mezze plate of dips, sourdough pita, olives, semi-dried tomatoes, chargrilled courgettes and artichoke hearts, plus mini figs, alongside a salt and pepper calamari and a Margherita pizza. The great thing is that while the menu is not the main focus, it’s also not an after-thought. The food is fab.
I love a snacky, tapas type dinner especially when it’s supported by an excellent local wine – in this case, the Denbies Estate Whitedown Rosé. Mr M couldn’t resist the craft beers – so he supped on one or two of those.
Every second week on a Thursday, there’s a piano man in residence – Ben Noke – tinkling on the ivories and warbling out a great range songs – from Prince and Bowie to S Club 7, Robbie Williams and Oasis. Impressively, he was taking requests from the audience, and from what I could see there wasn’t a song he couldn’t play or sing.
Did I mention the rooms? Just a short shuffle upstairs there are four boutique bedrooms each stylishly kitted out in its own original style. Mind your head though, this where talk of the ‘smallest’ pub really comes into its own. The door leading to our room – the Juliet suite (which has two bedrooms – the main double, plus an adjoining smaller room with two singles – was literally only 4 ft high. I might add here, that Mr M is a fairly tall 6ft 5, and yet there were still no bumped heads. Once you’re past the threshold, the ceiling returns to full height. The room is brimming with cosiness, comfort and character. Breakfast is a choice of cereals, pastries, fruit and yoghurts with tea and coffee.
In the evenings, I’d say leave the little people at home. The vibe is wine bar and there’s quite a grown up feel to it. Having said that, there are rooms with bunk options, and on a previous visit on a Saturday afternoon, there were several families here together (pre-Covid) with their children in tow.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Couples looking for a sneaky get-away, groups of friends wanting a night away where they’re guaranteed fabulous cocktails,
Not for: The bar is open Wed to Sun, so if you’re looking for a drink on Mon or Tues, you’ll struggle.
The damage: Cocktails are between £7.90 and £8.50 and red, white, rose and sparkling wine is from £24 a bottle up to £50. Rooms are from £90 – £110 per night for bed and breakfast.
The Rose and Crown, 4 Mill Lane, Godalming, GU7 1HF. roseandcrownbar.co.uk