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Pub review of The Beehive, 
Cheltenham: 'Not your average street-corner pub' 

The Beehive Cheltenham 
Our writer finds a perfectly balanced bitter and peculiar treats at this pretty pub Credit: The Beehive Cheltenham 

The Beehive is not your average street-corner pub. Chic Cheltenham might be an estate agent’s description of Montpellier Villas, at the end of which it stands. The architect was John Forbes, designer of the Pittville Pump Rooms and nearby St Paul’s Church, whose career was cut short when he was imprisoned for forgery in 1835.

Shabby-chic might be a description of the interior. Beyond the handsomely engraved windows, the first things that struck me were the worn and evidently well-trodden floorboards in the main bar.

The next was an ancient advertisement for the Nailsworth Brewery, on the chimney breast above an ornate cast-iron fireplace. The words were barely legible.

“It was based near Stroood,” said one of two regulars perched on bar stools. “He’s Scottish,” said the other. Ah, Stroud then, I surmised, before pointing to a large jar and inquiring: “Are those nuts?”

“No, dog biscuits. Do you want one?”

Despite my polite refusal, he plucked one out. Then he tossed it to a hitherto recumbent black Labrador that came instantly to life, leapt high, opened wide and caught it handsomely.

None of which seemed to distract two crib players ensconced at the ancient, well-scrubbed table closest to the “snug”, a room almost as big as the bar but harbouring a fireplace stacked with logs. There was also a book case in which nestled comfortingly old-fashioned board games, such as Monopoly and Cluedo, and second-hand paperbacks including the Good Beer Guides for 2005 and 2003.

Nailsworth Brewery closed almost a century ago but the name has been revived as a micro. Not that its products were being pumped at the Beehive today. I went for the one regular among many ever-changing guest beers. Timothy Taylor’s Landlord is a perfectly balanced Yorkshire bitter and a personal favourite.

It went well with a Greek salad that tasted even better once some warm pitta had been delivered on request. Better by far than dog biscuits, I suspect – although the leaping Labrador might disagree.