You might know it best as the first port of call when it gets to shot-o’-clock on a Saturday night, but the clue is in the name when it comes to Northampton’s Revolution bar.
A recent revamp of the venue, including leather sofas padded out with vintage cushions, traditional wooden tables and some quirky locally sourced feature furniture pieces, has transformed it into an ideal spot for a family meal or a few drinks with friends any day of the week.
I picked the Bridge Street venue with a group of colleagues for a midweek evening out - to make the most of the good weather as much as anything - and we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of both the food and the service.
Between us we had a go at a bit of just about everything that was on offer. The newly developed menu boasted a range of classic Tex-Mex dishes, burgers and stonebaked pizzas and we particularly enjoyed how, in keeping with the brand’s own tradition, many of the meat marinades came with a hint of Revolution’s signature ingredient: vodka.
We all tucked into a huge portion of nachos with pulled pork, a couple of pizzas generously topped with rich boozy meats, a selection of the snappily-named burgers and wraps, and even the salads, which, available in both ‘green’ and ‘red’ styles, were very well flavoured and nicely filling.
Although the dessert menu promised the sort of indulgence that is usually only acceptable on a night in when no one else is watching - including a banoffee ‘fluff’, a salted caramel and chocolate fondue and even a portion of milk ‘n’ cookies - we resisted as we had an extra special treat lined up.
One of the many special events on offer at Revolution is a cocktail-mixing masterclass, where those taking part are given the opportunity to come behind the bar for a one-on-one miniature lesson in how to make their favourite cocktail from the drinks list.
Even though there was a vast selection to choose from, I went straight for my all-time favourite: a ‘Pornstar Martini’. I was shown by our friendly barman exactly how to mix the ingredients, how to add the sparkling wine shot correctly at the end, and how to stick straws to the outside of the glass for an extra fancy twist.
We all had fun watching and tasting each other’s cocktails and especially enjoyed learning how to make a lemon peel spit fire - some with more success than others.
And it wasn’t just us making the most of a sunny Thursday evening. The restaurant gradually filled up with couples, groups, and even a large hen party who were well looked after by staff as they celebrated their friend’s special night.
We spent the rest of our evening all chatting away at a cosy corner table while the staff made sure that we were fully equipped with drinks, and anything else we needed, throughout.
All the waiters were friendly and polite, which isn’t always common in chain restaurants, and really made the business stand out as one that values all its customers.
Although I would recommend it first as a good spot if you are planning a big meal or social event, Revolution also offers a range of sharing platters and a good value lunch deal, as well as an extensive and ever-updating drinks menu complete with all the latest vodka flavours.
So even if it isn’t your type of place when it comes to painting the town red, it’s an ideal place to get the party started.
To view the drinks and food menus, current offers and available party packages, visit the website at: www.revolution-bars.co.uk/bar/northampton/
Value: Generous portions at reasonable prices
Food: Typical crowd-pleasers cooked well
Disabled access: Some steps at entrance
Parking: Bridge Street, free after 6
Price: Mains £8-£15