The idiot's guide to Britain's media villages

From Edinburgh to Somerset, and Cardiff to Norwich, all self-respecting media schmoozers will gather together at the end of a hard day's deadlines. Genevieve Roberts and Sophie Morris reveal the hottest haunts


GLASGOW

GLASGOW

The Ubiquitous Chip

Who goes there

Attracts celebs like iron filings to a magnet, from Kirsty Wark to Meryl Streep, Ewan McGregor to John Cleese, and Billy Connolly to Keira Knightley.

Why they like it:

Divine home-made ice cream best savoured with a single-malt whisky. Oh, and vegetarian haggis...

The Corinthian

Who goes there

Local nightclub tycoon Stefan King courts all media types here. The party for "Scotland's Most Eligible" was held here.

Why they like it

Upmarket bar in a grand, historic building off George Square.

Groucho Saint Judes

Who goes there

Another mixed-media crowd, including staff on Glasgow Evening Times and The Herald.

Why they like it

Retro-styled regional offshoot of the London Groucho Club.

THE COPY CAT

Who goes there

Notorious drinking den full of hacks and their seedy contacts - difficult to tell who's who.

Why they like it

Close to Daily Record and Sunday Mail HQ at Central Quay. Some hardened regulars are organising a campaign to prevent its planned closure.

Oran Mor

Who goes there

Former Observer editor Andrew Jaspan held his leaving do from the Sunday Herald here.

Why they like it

Unique £6m church conversion with two restaurants, a bar and club, as well as an impressive auditorium for plays and concerts.

BELFAST

The John Hewitt

Who goes there

Journalists from three nearby papers, The Belfast Telegraph, Irish News and Sunday World. Novelists Bernard MacLaverty and Glenn Patterson; playwright Martin Lynch; punk godfather Terri Hooley; artist John B Vallely; musician Francis McPeake.

Why they like it

PC gastropub that ploughs all profits back into Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre. Also serves traditional music, jazz, poetry, theatre and cinema.

Restaurant Michael Deane

Who goes there

Convenient for BBC staff. The eponymous head chef and proprietor is married to Kate Smith, the UTV newsreader.

Why they like it

Michelin-starred for the past eight years, there's a bustling brasserie downstairs and a luxurious restaurant upstairs.

Cayenne

Who goes there

Attracts a cross-section of media types, usually on expense accounts. The chefs Paul and Jeanne Rankin, first in Northern Ireland to be awarded Michelin stars, have fronted their own television series.

Why they like it

The Rankins have created a veritable foodie empire in Belfast so that friends and regulars feel at home wherever they choose to eat. Cayenne remains their most formal restaurant, however.

Nick's Warehouse

Who goes there

Favourite media lunch spot. Close to The Irish Times, Belfast Telegraph and Sunday World, as well as the two main broadcasters, the BBC and Ulster Television.

Why they like it

A top-end wine bar with prices to match, Nick's is an anchor-tenant in the up-and-coming Cathedral Quarter area.

The Potthouse

Who goes there

Style and entertainment journalists such as Maureen Coleman and Andrea McVeigh of the Belfast Telegraph; and BBC Northern Ireland's Christine Bleakley.

Why they like it

One of the latest in a series of stylish bars across the city that attracts a younger, more glamorous crowd for eating, drinking and dancing. The glass ceiling dividing the bar from the restaurant (don't wear a skirt!) has caused quite a stir.

LIVERPOOL

London Carriage Works

Who goes there

Jane Wolstenholme Liverpool Daily Post editor.

Why they like it

Part of the Hope Street Hotel, described by Condé Nast Traveller as one of the coolest in the world.

Everyman Bistro

Who goes there

Highbrow media sorts. The Merseyside Tonight presenter Claire Hamilton practically lives here.

Why they like it

Discreetly tucked under Everyman Theatre, food ranges from trad British to voguish Eastern.

Bar & Grill

Who goes there

Everyone. BBC Merseyside, NorthWest Tonight, Echo, Mercury and Post staff. Venue for launch of new Kelly Brook vehicle, School for Seduction.

Why they like it

Kudos. Previously known as Prohibition, it was popular then. Venue for the BBC's Christmas bash.

WILTSHIRE

The Angel, Heytesbury

Who goes there

Endemol crew when filming The Farm; Rachel Royce of ITV-West and her estranged husband Rod Liddle; Guy Walters, novelist; David Macbeth, writer/dramatist.

Why they like it

Tim Etchells, Anthony Worrell Thompson's business partner, runs it, and opinion is divided over whether it has been improved or ruined by being Londonised. Great steaks.

The Benett Arms, Semley

Who goes there

Michael Vestey of The Spectator, and Bob Walter, Tory MP for North Dorset. Guy Ritchie was in one night with Brad Pitt, shortly after Madonna took up residence at nearby Ashcombe Park.

Why they like it

Traditional pub, but also one of the first to get a free computer to help country folk who can't afford their own. The landlord Joe Duthie stood in the last election as the candidate for the Lower Excise Duty Party. Fine wines and lovely open fire.

SOMERSET

Babington House, Near Frome

Who goes there

Linked with Soho House in London, it attracts many of the same media names, including Steve Coogan; Lorraine Candy of Elle; Marcus Rich, MD of Emap Performance; Jonathan Webb, channel controller of Trouble and Challenge; Rimi Atwal, also of Emap; Julia Hobsbawm of HMC; Harriet Scott of Heart 106.2; and Johnny Hornby, CEO of CHI, all have Soho House membership. Owned by Nick Jones, husband of Five newscaster Kirsty Young.

Why they like it

Exclusivity - Babington House operates as a hotel for members, but is not open to the general public.

EDINBURGH

Valvona & Crolla Caffe Bar

Who goes there

Kirsty Wark, Mariella Frostrup, Clive James, and the wine critic Matthew Jukes.

Why they like it

Good for before, during or after shopping. Ever-changing menu and great Italian wine.

The Tun

Who goes there

Staff of Edinburgh Evening News, The Scotsman, Scotland on Sunday and the BBC. Iain Mcwhirter of BBC Scotland; Iain Martin, editor of Scotland on Sunday; Alan Cochran, Scotland correspondent for The Daily Telegraph; and Robbie Dunwoodie, The Herald's parliamentary reporter.

Why they like it

Opposite the Scotsman, with the BBC above the pub itself and parliament down the road. All the atmosphere of an airport lounge, and better known for bad karaoke than as the hub of political debate.

Doric Tavern

Who goes there:

Alan Taylor, associate editor of the Sunday Herald; Bob Cuddihy, former Scottish TV presenter-turned-PR guru.

Why they like it

Over the road from Waverley Station, and since the 1860s the watering-hole of choice for journalists, writers and artists.

The Witchery

Who goes there

Anyone up from London. An old favourite of Rebecca Hardy when she was editor of The Scotsman, now of The Daily Mail.

Why they like it

A classy restaurant guaranteed to impress.

The Hallion

Who goes there

Simon Cowell, Angie Hunter, Adam Boulton, Jackie Clune and Julie Burchill all visited during last year's festival. Christian Slater held his birthday party there.

Why they like it

A private-members club that maintains an air of exclusivity.

BRISTOL

Hotel Du Vin

Who goes there

Executives from the Western Daily Press; BBC Natural History Unit producers; PR bosses.

Why they like it

The bistro atmosphere and much-improved food. Good for eavesdropping.

Tobacco Factory Arts Centre

Who goes there

George Ferguson, president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, redesigned it and lives on top floor. Digital company e3 media also based here.

Why they like it

Bar's vibe appeals to luvvies and geeks alike.

Il Bordello

Who goes there

Favourite with Bristol print journalists; writer Annie Milner hosts poetry nights.

Why they like it

Started out as media-only club, now free to non-members most nights.

NORWICH

Tatlers

Who goes there

Amanda Sandland-Taylor, founder and director of Newsmakers PR; various BBC Norwich journalists and actors.

Why they like it

Victorian townhouse restaurant that is stylish, low-key and relaxed, all scrubbed-wood tables and huge wine glasses. Owned and run by the young restaurateur Annelli Clarke.

The Wildebeest Arms

Who goes there

Susie Fowler-Watt, the Look East presenter, and some of her TV colleagues.

Why they like it

Great food and wine that doesn't break the bank, and exceptional service.

Threeways

Who goes there

Andrew Turner of Radio Norfolk, who says: "It's quite simple but great - authentic Lebanese food is served and there's a lovely family atmosphere."

The Linton Travel Tavern

Who goes there

Alan Partridge, the Radio Norwich presenter.

LEEDS

The Living Room

Who goes there

Most of the cast and crew of the Yorkshire based soap Emmerdale.

Why they like it

Its 1920s-style interior. Asian-influences menu, and traditional comfort food to combat wintry weather.

The Duke Of Wellington, The Old Steps, The George

Who goes there

Yorkshire Post and Evening Post staff.

Why they like it

Old-school hack venues. Dark, smoky, dingy. Where reporters lived and breathed in the days before Leeds regenerated itself.

BIRMINGHAM

Bank

Who goes there

Roger Borrell, editor-in-chief of the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Evening Mail; Fiona Alexander, editor of Birmingham Post, along with most of city's media and business community.

Why they like it

For its smart, modern, canalside setting and its buzz. Great smoked-fish risotto with poached egg on top - nursery food of the gods. Lively bar area with strange-coloured drinks.

Hotel Du Vin

Who goes there

Particularly popular with advertising types and design creatives.

Why they like it

It's a spectacular restaurant and bar inside a redbrick Gothic pile. And it has a great wine list.

The Bull

Who goes there

Popular with the boozier element of the Birmingham media community.

Why they like it

It's a Victorian real-ale pub with strong Irish links. The landlady, Rose McCann, is as warmly welcoming as the dishes she serves, which include winter delights such as partridge with fennel.

Jessica's

Who goes there

A cross-section of high-flyers from the worlds of television, press and PR.

Why they like it

French cuisine served up in stylish contemporary surroundings. Tipped for a Michelin star, this is the latest place to see and be seen in the Midlands.

The Malt Shovel

Who goes there

Among the first ports of call for any media type visiting the area.

Why they like it

For its hearty gastropub fare away from the city centre.

CARDIFF

La Fosse

Who goes there:

Wyn Innes, managing director of S4C International; BBC Wales producers.

Why they like it

Seafood restaurant, with Welsh lamb thrown in for carnivores. The bold interior features a glass cauldron spouting dry ice, and you can see into the kitchen. Discretion prevails here - you're unlikely to find out who frequents La Fosse without paying a visit yourself.

The Yard

Who goes there

Employees of The Western Mail and South Wales Echo; and News Wales reporters.

Why they like it

Big, modern, light bar close to Mail and Echo HQ, Thompson House.

Y-Mochyn-Du

Who goes there

Western Mail & Echo and News Wales employees.

Why they like it

Genuine Welsh pub where you can even hear the mother tongue spoken (its name means "the black pig"), with huge beer garden.

La Brasserie and Le Monde

Who goes there

BBC employees and anyone with a budget for boozy lunches.

Why they like it

Smartest French places in town.

OXFORD

Qi Club

Who goes there

The QI (Quite Interesting) is the brainchild of John Lloyd (producer of Blackadder, Spitting Image, and the BBC quiz show QI). Rowan Atkinson was at launch party and Lloyd offered honorary membership to John Sessions, Jo Brand, Bill Bailey, Hugh Laurie and Alan Davies.

Why they like it

Quite interesting chat - you're allowed to say that Mozart is better than Eminem (but some say it's a "lame Soho House").

The Watermans Arms

Who goes there

Oxford Mail and Oxford Times staff.

Why they like it

Great beer selection, and it's five minutes along the Thames from the office.

Le Manoir Aux Quat' Saisons, Great Milton

Who goes there

Anyone who's feeling rich or being spoilt.

Why they like it

Raymond Blanc's legendary HQ, voted best hotel in Britain by Condé Nast Traveller in 2004.

Sir Charles Napier Inn

Who goes there

Media types on their way in or out of the city.

Why they like it

Idiosyncrasy - sardines with piccalilli, anyone? Speciality ales, vintage bubbly, croquet, boules.

MANCHESTER

The Circle Bar

Who goes there

Chris Bisson (Kash in Shameless) with cast and crew.

Why they like it

The Man Utd of venues. Sophisticated and sexy, with designer unisex toilets. Exotic lagers prevail, and you are as likely to bump into a Premiership footballer as someone winding down from the set of Shameless.

The Press Club

Who goes there

Tyrone Dobbs and colleagues from Coronation Street; Jon Montague, head of comedy, BBC Manchester; Manchester Evening News staff; local-radio presenters.

Why they like it

Described as being the Oldham Athletic of media haunts, or like an episode of Shameless but with folk who think they're posh. Delightfully grubby, it was originally a den for the city's many hacks, it's now a big, square downstairs room, like a slightly better-decorated Phoenix Club or rehearsal space for Stars in Their Eyes. No brewery deal - it serves cans of Stella at about £3 a pop. Open till 5am.

Piccolinos

Who goes there

The music industry's Tony Wilson, and the city's PRs.

Why they like it

Wilson loves the ambience and says that the restaurateur's a genius.

Sam's Chophouse

Who goes there

Tony Wilson, again, who likes the "brilliant chef and traditional English food".

Palmiro

Who goes there

Wayne Garvey, head of entertainment,: "Extraordinary place, experimental Venetian cuisine that is either sublime or, frankly, terrible, but always exciting and memorable.

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