DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Sort file:- Tunbridge Wells, April, 2023.

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 11 April, 2023.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest ????

Opera House

Open 2020+

88 Mount Pleasant Road

Royal Tunbridge Wells

01892 511770

https://www.jdwetherspoon.com/opera-house

https://whatpub.com/opera-house

Opera House

Above photo, date unknown. The figure of Mercury balanced on tiptoe is sadly no longer there.

Opera House 2011

Photo taken 19 March 2011 from http://www.flickr.com by Dayoff171.

Royal Opera House 2018

Above photo, 2018.

 

This Wetherspoon pub was originally built as an opera house, which opened in 1902. It became a cinema in 1931 and, nearly 40 years later, made the transition into a bingo hall.

 

From the https://www.kentlive.news By Will Rider, 25 October 2019.

Inside the Tunbridge Wells Opera House - the most stunning Wetherspoons in Kent.

J D Wetherspoon took over the site in 1996 before transforming it into a public house.

Wetherspoon pubs are scattered across every part of Kent but one in particular stands out.

The Opera House in Tunbridge Wells provides a stunning setting for punters right in the heart of town.

Designed by John Briggs, the Mount Pleasant Road opera house originally opened in 1902.

It was converted into a cinema after being bought in 1931 before becoming a bingo hall in the 1960s.

The building was bought by J.D Wetherspoon in 1996 and to this day still shows occasional opera performances.

The ground floor and former stage are used as the seating areas with the upper tiers and boxes generally unused.

An exception was made for the 2018 Football World Cup with scores of England fans flooding into the dress circle to watch the matches of an a large projector screen.

Take a look at the photos below to find out what it's really like inside.

Opera House inside 2020

The view from the front door as you enter.

Opera House inside 2020

The stalls have been converted into an eating and drinking area.

Opera House inside 2020

The private boxes overlooking the stage.

Opera House inside 2020

The view from the stage onto the stalls and circles.

Opera House inside 2020

A bar has been put in at the back of the stage.

Opera House inside 2020

A closer look at the stage bar.

Opera House inside 2020

The stairs lead to the upper tiers.

Opera House inside 2020

The entrance to the dress circle.

Opera House inside 2020

The view from the back of the dress circle overlooking the stage.

Opera House inside 2020

A look behind one of the private boxes in the dress circle.

Opera House inside 2020

The view onto the stage from the upper circle.

Opera House inside 2020

The old seats in the upper tier.

Opera House inside 2020

An ashtray fixed between the seats on the upper tier.

Opera House inside 2020

The view from the highest point of the theatre looking down onto the stage.

Opera House inside 2020

A framed programme from a 1946 production of Miss Hook of Holland.

 

From the https://www.kentonline.co.uk By Secret Drinker, 7 April 2023.

Secret Drinker reviews Wetherspoon's Opera House pub in Tunbridge Wells.

A self-proclaimed Secret Drinker fan reminded me it’s been a little while since I visited the venerable town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, so that’s where I headed last Friday lunchtime.

Having ridden the iron horse I walked uphill towards the town centre following my nose and wondering where I might end up.

Opera House 2023

The entrance to Wetherspoon’s monster pub in Tunbridge Wells is impressively grand and has been well maintained.

The sun was shining and folks were out in force, either enjoying a break from work or catching up on a spot of shopping.

I’ve always considered this popular commuter township extremely upmarket so I was surprised to see just how many beggars there were in doorways - mind you, where else do the vagrants have huskies?

I suppose Tunbridge Wells having an opera house isn’t so astonishing and the fact it became a bingo hall before being taken on by JD Wetherspoon not altogether surprising either.

Where else in the county would you find the folk sitting in shop doorways have a well behaved husky as their dog of choice?

Spoons have a tradition of saving historic buildings and this Grade II listed beauty must be one of the jewels in the company crown.

Though once you’re through the grand entrance, and having taken in the impressive architecture, it’s not long before you’re reminded this is a pub chain which operates a mass production line, whatever the setting.

There were no smiles behind the bar, no time for pleasantries, just make your order and move on.

Opera House inside 2023

Once inside this huge Grade II Listed building you can’t fail to be impressed by the architecture which has been retained.

Opera House inside 2023

Between the bar near the entrance and the bar at the back of the Opera House there is a central, lower area, which proved particularly popular with diners.

Mind you, selecting a pint might take you a moment as I counted no less than 24 drinks available on draught. And, in my haste to make a decision, I committed a rookie error in settling for a pint of Cliff Edge from Orkney Brewery.

Not that it was a bad beer, but as I was eating I should have perused the menu and ordered food at the same time as this would have saved me a few pennies.

I selected the table with the least number of empties left on it and, once I’d worked out whether it was 6 or 9, went for a jacket spud with tuna mayo for 6.34, noticing later that if I’d ordered it with my pint the combo would have been 7.74, rather than the 8.69 I paid for the two separately.

After a very swift look round I placed my pint among the other used glasses on what I now know was table 9 and popped to the loo while I waited for my food to arrive.

Opera House ceiline 2023

Pub ceilings aren’t always worth looking up for, but this one certainly is.

I chose table 9 as it was the clearest available and left my pint while I had a quick look round. By the time I returned, three minutes later, my food order had been delivered.

By the time I got back my potato was waiting for me and the dead glasses had gone – my receipt showed the order time was 1.08 and it was with me by 1.11, now that’s fast food delivery!

I realise it arrived speedily, but I have to report I was greatly impressed by my three-minute baked potato with green salad and dressing on the side – it was well presented, extremely fresh and served at the perfect temperature. It’s strange, but I generally end up feeling good about eating at a Spoons because I always seem to go for a pretty healthy option and the fact this came without butter and only a little mayo made it particularly good for me.

There were stacks of other folks in and a real mix of ages with some eating, a number drinking several pints and more than a few just having coffees.

Just a small selection of everything available, this run of six ales, featured three which were included in Wetherspoon’s Real Ale Festival

There seemed to be a gambling corner, with three huge fruit machines but I only saw one woman prepared to make an investment while I was in.

There was no music playing and there were only a few small screens dotted about, which all seemed to be displaying the Wetherspoon logo for some reason.

I mentioned earlier that I popped to the loo before my spud was delivered and I should say I was a little disappointed by the gents as the toilets were very ordinary, and more than a little smelly, for such a grand building.

Opera House inside 2023

Hopefully I managed to capture the scale of this place with this photograph, it really is a huge pub.

None of the upstairs areas were open the day I was in but it looks as if you can reserve a box for dinner.

I thought I might have judged a little too quickly when I found a second gents at the back of the pub, but this was equally pongy and, with its broken mirror and missing tiles, also looked very uncared for.

As with any boozer there are always going to be good points as well as bad – there is an astonishingly varied choice of drinks and the food, particularly for the price, is excellent.

The staff are lacklustre and the tables certainly aren’t cleared quickly enough, but the real-ale festival that was running was a real plus.

Opera House inside 2023

This is a view of the wall at the far end of the pub. The only screens I saw were small and were being used to promote the company.

Above all, the setting is absolutely stunning and I certainly wasn’t the only person impressed enough to be taking pictures.

Whatever else you might say about Wetherspoon, you can’t argue it delivers excellent value for your money and is incredibly convenient.

Opera House bar 2023

This large corner bar near the front of the pub had 24 different drinks available on draught.

Opera House machines 2023

In keeping with the size of the venue, the three large, electronic fruit machines were all group together at the front of the pub.

Opera House gents 2023

The toilets were okay, although they didn’t smell too fresh. I know it’s too much to expect the loos to have been revamped from the Opera House’s original facilities, but compared to the rest of the place I found myself disappointed.

Opera House gents

I later discovered there was a second gents at the back of the pub but, with its cracked mirror and missing tiles, it looked as disappointing as the one at the front and was equally smelly.

 

LICENSEE LIST

 

If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-

TOP Valid CSS Valid XTHML