Popular choice for pensioners Xcetra

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Conveniently located on the corner of Bridge Place Bar Xcetra is a well known hotspot for anyone out for fun on a Friday night.

But on my Friday lunchtime jaunt I discovered a different crowd is also tapping into what the bar has to offer.

On our arrival there was a four-deep queue of hungry pensioners lined up at the bar, all of them clutching their five pound notes and putting in their carvery orders.

This savvy bunch clearly knew they were on to a good thing as they piled their plates high with steaming veg, great big slices of meat, and lashings of hot gravy.

As we waited we were greeted by a polite lady, possibly the manager, who explained that we needed to order at the bar and handed us some menus.

The decor in Xcetra is clearly aimed at a younger clientele, with high ceilings, a UV back-lit bar, chandeliers and three large wall-mounted flatscreen TVs in gilded gold frames.

So much so that the regulars, who were luxuriating in booths with their mobility scooters close at hand, looked thoroughly out of place.

After a quick sweep of the exhaustive new menu I opted for a ham and cheese panini (£3.85) and, because it was Friday, a cheeky portion of chips on the side (£1.35) and a diet coke.

The whole bill came to reasonable £6.65.

Despite being clearly under pressure, the service once we got to the front of the queue was second to none.

We were greeted by the most enthusiastic barman any of us had met.

He apologised for the queue, took our orders and told us there might be a slight wait for the food due to the high volume of carvery orders.

Taking our drinks we headed up some steps to the back of the pub and seated ourselves down in a high-booth.

From this vantage point it was easy to see the pensioners as they lined up for their carveries. Each trying to fill their plates to maximum capacity, balancing that final Yorkshire pudding on top and then shuffling back to their tables with their creations intact.

Luckily we weren’t in any hurry so enjoyed chatting whilst we waited about 20 minutes for the food.

The classic pub grub was everything I expected and although the portion of chips was quite small it was plenty for me.

Also on the menu were a selection of hot mains with the usual burgers, soup, wraps and baguettes.

Bar Xcetra seems to be successfully cornering two quite different markets. Perhaps that’s the secret to keeping a bar aloft in these tough financial times?

Good luck to them I say. I will definitely be going back.

by Debbie Lockett

Star rating HHHH