Small but perfectly formed, this effortlessly cool independent bar is an exciting music and arts venue. You might feel like you’re in Amsterdam or Berlin here, but you’re actually right next to the glorious Town Hall. Wherever it is, Grayston should be top of your to-visit list, especially since its brilliant recent revamp.
Owned and run by local folk, this cosy space occupies a charming building dating back to 1860, with outdoor seat
ing for the warmer months. Inside, you’ll find an eclectic and ever-changing range of cask ales and other drinks, all lovingly curated and served in the kind of genuinely intimate and inclusive atmosphere drinkers always dream of. A string of awards and CAMRA commendations are all the proof you need of this, including a listing in the Guardian’s Top 10 pubs with live music.
Events-wise, where do we start? Support from the Arts Council has helped turn this place into a thriving hub of creativity and culture, punching well above its diminutive weight. The venue hosts all sorts of events and festivals, from social and cultural history talks through to comedy acts and the town’s legendary Festival of Words, which its owners helped set up. There are plenty of free and ticketed music gigs too, and previous artists who’ve played here include Working Men’s Club, Nadine Shah, Pale Blue Eyes, Lounge Society and many more. It’s definitely a place to discover the next big thing before they get big!
Coming up in 2022, look out for comedy nights and pop-up art shows, as well as monthly dedicated nights for fans of jazz, hip-hop and folk music. Definitely not to be missed is the all-new Town Festival, an action-packed long weekend of grassroots music curated by the Grayston Unity but spread across various venues. The dates for your diary are 13 -16 October, but get your tickets booked well ahead.
Been to the Grayston and like what you saw? Then check out its equally impressive sister bar, Meandering Bear, just a five-minute walk away. For more details and full event listings visit each bar’s website or social media.