Already this sounds a bit wrong. Stamford is a quaint, stone market town with hearty, ruddy pubs. The Cosy Club should be the name of some swinging 50’s bar in America, filled with pinstripes and trilbys, cigars, lightbulb-framed mirrors and Bugsy Malone.
There is also an element of grandeur about The Cosy Club. The backdrop to the bar is straight out of Moulin Rouge. Every candle-lit table is met by comfy, leather armchairs that you can disappear into and there is decadence to the place. Chandeliers twinkle in the eaves and what-would-now-be-called ‘shabby chic’ decorations line the walls.
It is juxtaposed to the other pubs in Stamford. In the Tobie Norris or the Lord Burghley nobody would bat an eye-lid if a dog wandered through the bar. Here, replace the dog with a line of can-can girls singing Copacabana and you’re closer to the mark.
There is also something of the hunting lodge about the interior. There are pendant lights made of antlers, and busts of trophy animals on the walls. Alongside these are enormous portraits of people that were alive when they had to do portraits because they hadn’t bothered to invent cameras (too busy hunting probably). Curiously, one of the portraits is of Kevin Macallister’s old man neighbour in Home Alone – you know, the one with the shovel that you think is bad, but then he goes to listen to his ginger niece sing in the choir and you realise he’s not bad, and then he saves the day and calls his son??
In the bathrooms – the gents at least – the walls are plastered with what appear to be framed personal ads for the landed gentry; professional photos of aristocratic young ladies with information about family lineage, possible marriage prospects, horse riding skills and so on. Bizarre.
Behind the bar they serve two guest ales, a couple of not supermarket ciders and could probably rustle you up a cocktail or champagne if you asked. Somewhat taking away from the otherwise impressive space is the large restaurant area (never a winner in a pub). They combine the annoying habit of Masterchef-voiceover-ing the menu (rustic chips?) with a pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap Tapas night on Tuesdays. Sadly, I think that The Cosy Club is trying to be all things to all men (and women) which rarely works.
Nonetheless, I keep going back. I guarantee that every time you go to this place you notice something different. It’s crazy and totally out of place, but in a town where many of the other pubs have similar vibes, I think The Cosy Club is a refreshing change.