Thursday, 8 November 2012

A Twitter friend of mine recently put out a plea asking for recommendations, basically somewhere in Stoke-on-Trent (specifically Hanley) to eat after 2pm that wasn’t overly priced and not a pub. Following regular visits - work related honestly - I can confidently proclaim that one place fits those criteria perfectly and never fails to deliver.

Fat Cat Cafe Bar (or Fat Cats as it tends to get called) is housed in the beautiful old BT exchange building and used to be a pit stop on the way to Valentinos nightclub, the casino or maybe the bingo. Now it stands alone as a venue in it’s own right. Bands, live sport, vintage fayres, a bar capable of entertaining the masses yet retaining an air of maturity and class that is often sadly lacking in other venues across the City.

And this is before food even enters the equation. The Fish Finger Bloomer is arguably the best value and satiating lunch I have come across in the Potteries for quite some time. It’s popularity is evident as I am assured it will remain a permanent fixture even though lunch menus change monthly. On my last visit, said bloomer was the order of the day for one colleague and I, another had the impressive looking and I’m told, 'beautiful' Grilled Rump Steak Ciabatta and another had the Stilton and Courgette soup of the day. The former delights will set you back £6.45 which includes a draught soft drink, tea or coffee, the soup £4.95. Excellent value for money for the quality served. Fat Cats also hides a perfect meeting room (told you it was work related), free to those willing to buy intermittent teas and coffees and take a lunch break in the bar if ‘hired’ for the day.

Fat Cats is the closest thing that Hanley has to a city bar, a bar that London, Manchester or Birmingham would be proud. The atmosphere is welcoming and respectful, suitably relaxed during the day and early evening to enable fine dining yet vibrant enough later to make it the only port of call should you be seeking a night of entertainment rather than merely a meeting place or stop off. It may be one of a chain but hey – who cares! This in itself is not always necessarily a bad thing.

Said Twitter friend waxed lyrical of her enjoyment following my recommendation and visit, as would be expected of the literally talented Mel Sherratt, a Stoke-on-Trent author whose reputation continues to grow as an outstanding writer. Mel is set to feature Fat Cats in her next book and her experience is reflected in the comments of others who are proud to have a stylish yet not over priced bar that is as impressive as it gets and yes – it’s in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

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