While it may seem like I’m Rugby through and through, I’m not actually from this little Warwickshire town. I first moved to Rugby in 2008/9 (I think) and have lived here ever since. Why the life story? Well, because for the first five-ish years that I lived in Rugby, I would regularly walk past a rather large frontage on one of the most attractive streets in the town centre and wonder why nothing was there. We would have discussions about how great it would be if something opened there. Imagine if it was a bar? Or a restaurant? How great would that be.
Lo and behold – in May 2014 up popped Bacco Lounge. I think I’d describe it as a bar that serves food. It’s not a restaurant, not in my mind. But you can certainly have a meal there. They also do a mean cocktail. I know, because I’ve thoroughly checked them out.
I’ve been to Bacco countless times, so I thought it deserved a mention here. After all, one of the big questions when somewhere new opens in your town is usually, ‘how long will it last?’ and although Bacco Lounge has been open for some time now and more than proved its place, I wouldn’t want to ignore it then complain if it disappears.
From the outside, it’s a good looking building. For somewhere that for so long appeared to be derelict, now it presents an appealing vista of two storeys of glass frontage, through which you can watch people tucking into food, sipping on cocktails, or generally passing the time of day – at any time of the day. I’ve been for drinks, lunch, late afternoon catch-ups, and breakfasts. And it just seems to ‘work’ at any of those times.
The food is a wide range, from brunch dishes served all day, to wraps, sandwiches and panini, salads, burgers, and some ‘classics’ (think eclectic here) including curry, Jambalaya, chilli, mac and cheese and steak and chips. They also have a tapas menu which is excellent value, as well as specials.
On a recent visit, my friend opted for a lounge breakfast (at 5pm on a Sunday!) with bacon, sausage, hash browns, beans, black pudding, grilled tomato, mushrooms, fried egg and toast. We all love a full English and she reckoned this wasn’t a bad offering. It even persuaded her to try black pudding for the first time.
I’ve tried a few different things. You can have three tapas, with ciabatta, for £9.95, and if you go on ‘tapas Tuesday’ you get a glass of wine thrown in too. Can’t sniff at that hey? They’re actually pretty good too. I’m not sure they’re all authentic dishes, and they won’t be knocking any Spanish restaurants off the top spots, but as a chain eaterie goes, they’re tasty and they hit the spot. I’ve tried lamb and mint koftas with tzatziki, honey-glazed shredded five-spice pork, sweetcorn fritters, and chicken teryaki skewers to name a few, and certainly have nothing to complain about.
Mr M has gone for the Rib Tickler burger in the past, which comes with eight-hour slow-cooked pork, barbecue sauce, mature cheddar, sour cream and sweetcorn relish, all in a brioche bun. In usual Jamie style, it’s big, messy, tasty and packed with meat.
On my latest visit, I took a sojourn into the specials menu, going for a nicely seared salmon and avocado salad. Simple, but well executed and at around a tenner, not bad value either.
As well as quiet lunches, we’ve had some nice nights at Bacco Lounge. The presence of plenty of seating means it’s a sit-down-and-have-a-drink kind of place rather than somewhere where people loiter at the bar. This seems to make it uber female-friendly, but also a great place for couples and gangs of friends to go. It’s bustling and modern but (dare I say it!) somewhere you can still have a conversation without being drowned out by music or shoved out the way by people doing shots at the bar.
In short, I think it’s just what Rugby needed and the fact it’s pretty much always busy seems to be testament to this. It may be part of a chain, but in this day and age it’s not that surprising that an independent business couldn’t afford such a large space. And chain or not, it’s just a pleasant place to be. Long may it last.
I’ve always paid in full for what I’ve had at the Bacco Lounge in Rugby and they’ve never known I was a blogger.