Situated within the historic Royal Exeter Hotel in the centre of town, 1812 is a vibrant and elegant lounge bar serving up traditional tipples and an extensive repertoire of cocktails – if you can’t find the drink you fancy on the menu, their talented team of mixologists will whip it up for you.
Pride of place
The venue is situated on the aptly-named Exeter Road, also home to the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) and the new Bh2 Leisure complex. This classy over 21s venue has won the coveted title of ‘Best Evening Experience – Bar / Nightclub’ five times now from the Bournemouth Tourism Awards.
With comfy seating, a welcoming terrace and funky live music Thursdays through to Sundays, 1812 is a popular venue ideal for after-work drinks, pre-club cocktails or for a whole night’s worth of entertainment. The talented bar staff often showcase signature mixes and cocktails inspired by their own stories and passions (Momma’s Peach Cobbler anyone?) alongside popular and perfected classics including your mojitos, daiquiris and margaritas.
Mix it up
If you’ve always fancied getting your hands on a cocktail shaker and an enviable top shelf of spirits, keep an eye out for 1812’s regular mixing masterclasses. Recent events have featured Pothecary Gin in a cocktail making masterclass and a Diplomatico training and tasting session.
If you’ve got something to celebrate, you can reserve a booth or private area in the 1812 bar for a minimum six people. Alternatively, you might like to take a pew at a table or comfy couch, gather around the performance area or join the buzz around the bar, whatever suits your group.
There is also an inviting patio area out the front of the venue with heaters, seating and tables, where people spill out for fresh air or quiet conversation once they’ve chosen their cocktails!
Time to dine
1812 also has a popular restaurant, serving up classic English and European dishes with a twist. The restaurant manager, Helen Winnet is sommelier trained, hand-picking the wine list and offering popular wine-tasting masterclasses too.
Table bookings are available from 5:30pm, ideal if you’re catching a show at the BIC opposite or the Pavilion Theatre just across the Lower Gardens or heading out later for drinks and a dance and the last sitting is 9pm on a weekday and 9:30pm at weekends. The restaurant comfortably seats 90 guests and strives to use local, completely fresh, home-made and seasonal products wherever possible.
Keep it in the family
Independently run, and part of a long-established, proud family hotel business, 1812 offers a personal touch to its service. New menus are presented four times a year to reflect the season and the talented chefs are happy to adapt their dishes to accommodate all dietary and lifestyle restrictions. They also invite guests to suggest improvements to the food, the drink and the service to continue pushing their high standards.
Choose your menu
You can dine from the a la carte or set menu, choose three courses for £15 (Monday to Wednesday) or round off your week with a traditional Sunday roast. The a la carte typically features mouth-watering starters such as Cornish mussels, a Dorset ham hock and prosciutto terrine or seared scallops. To follow, perhaps you’d be tempted by a 10oz sirloin steak with the works, a pan-fried fillet of hake or colourful tiger prawn and crayfish tagliatelle?
The £23.95 three-course set menu offer for a minimum of six people promises such treats as carrot and anise veloute or buttered chicken liver parfait to start. Mains could feature a pan-fried skate with dill mash or perhaps a roasted vegetable pappardelle followed by an indulgent Amalfi lemon posset or summer berry Eton Mess.
If you’re planning to dine at the start of the week, 1812 offers a great value ‘three for £15’ menu served Monday to Wednesdays, which changes daily and features classics from 1812’s signature English and French-inspired menu such as a tossed salad of goat’s cheese, pear and walnut, pan-friend chicken with a butternut squash puree and a honey and rosemary parfait.
And when it rolls ‘round to the end of the week, 1812 serves up its famous Sunday roast from 12:30pm to 3:30pm with live music accompaniment in the bar. The Sunday roast incorporates three finely-crafted courses with mains like roast sirloin of Hampshire beef, loin of Dorset pork, chicken breast, pan-fried skate wing or a butternut squash risotto before a selection of tempting puddings such as a dark chocolate brownie with marinated cherries and an iced mango parfait.
A place in history
1812 the venue was named after the year the founder of Bournemouth, Captain Lewis Tregonwell, took up residence in his mansion, now of course the Royal Exeter Hotel. The building was the very first house built at the mouth of the Bourne stream, which in turn gave the town its name.
Captain Tregonwell regularly invited friends to stay and relax and enjoy the beaches and gardens, the very first people to enjoy the privilege of a Bournemouth seaside break. The mansion was renamed Exeter House and the road Exeter Road to commemorate the stay of the Marchioness of Exeter. Subsequent visits from the royal family gave the hotel its grand Royal moniker.
Today, 1812 is a popular and flexible venue equally suited to a formal business lunch or drinks as a big party night out. There are post-work happy-hour drinks every weeknight where you can enjoy the same great cocktails for half price between 5pm and 7pm. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the bar and restaurant if you’ve still got to close that deal or you’re trying to tempt the rest of your colleagues out to share your well-earned refreshments.
1812 is certainly no ordinary hotel bar. It’s a mainstream venue in its own right with an enviable reputation for its food, its bar and its service. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to meet up or somewhere lively to mingle, 1812 is a popular destination for all parties and all reasons. Why not book your table for dinner today or pop down for half price cocktails and see where the evening takes you?