Out of all the things that us country dwellers are wrongly accused of, the idea that we have quiet, provincial, early-to-bed-before-10-and-alone evenings is the thing that gets me the most.
Just because I live In The Sticks doesn't mean that I don't like to wear impossibly high heels (and I never take the easy option and wear flats as the evening wears on); it doesn't mean that I don't like to drink Jack Daniels until the wee hours and it doesn't mean that I don't appreciate a location that is a little more than 'spit 'n' sawdust'.
The Wheatsheaf at Northleach fulfills all the requirements of a Gloucestershire Place To Be. It's aesthetics are second to none with the interior like a paint chart for Farrow & Ball and crackling fires glowing in the hearth. It's saved from any twee tendencies with the use of stunning almost industrial lighting inside and out (which I fell in love with whilst having an illicit cigarette – NB:Sorry Mum) and some rocking art on the walls. Tatler have just given it a rave review in their gorgeous travel bible: "This is a secret Tardis of coolness in the Cotswolds."
The food is yummy – my favourite was a naughty, garlic-y riot of snails and mushrooms on toast which I'm hoping will slither its way back onto the menu soon – and the bar is grand too. Sommelier, Angela Kaiser is working with a great friend of mine (Alex Pack at Liberty Wines) to keep us fueled with interesting wines from across the globe, whilst the bar serves the best Bloody Marys in the county (they even host an annual competition). The private dining room is perfect for parties and just because there are antlers on the walls doesn't mean any Hooray Henrys are swinging from the rafters – they wouldn't like the Dub Step that pounds out of the iPod in there anyway.
And it has rooms too. Slightly saucy rooms at that. When the place threw a post re-furb party back in the summer, we could run riot checking out the interiors. Firstly, like the bar and dining room, their stunning. But is it just me, or are they a little naughty with wet rooms opening into the bedrooms and roll top baths facing the king sizes? No? Maybe I am a little provincial then.
I was in there for lunch at the weekend with C R-B and her Plus One and The Housemate, enjoying a risotto and several glasses of Le Fume Blanc. With a stunning location and good company, I couldn't see myself moving anytime soon and as the snow began to fall outside, I couldn't really think of a better place to be stranded.
And then I saw my bar tab...
Credit where credit's due: The Wheatsheaf