Punch launches Congleton cocktail bar

The Bench Bistro was acquired by Punch Pubs & Co back in January 2024.

The town of Congleton is now home to a ‘quirky’ cocktail bar, following an investment by pub company Punch Pubs & Co

The Bench Bistro, formerly known as the Young Pretender, was acquired by the pub company back in January 2024.

After a £200,000 investment from owner, the bar has reopened under the leadership of publicans Richard and Verity Shaw (pictured), who have taken on their second Punch venue under the same name as their debut.

The due also operate the Bench Bistro in Nantwich, 20 miles away from the new Congleton bar.

"The Young Pretender stood out to us instantly," says Richard. "Verity and I saw so much potential and immediately saw our vision come to life. The building lends itself to what we do and how we work, and the location is perfect, we would struggle to find a better second venue."

The Benchmark 

The new-look Bench Bistro features a bright and colourful interior coupled with multiple archways adorning flowers and foliage. Neon signage complements the colourful setting, while murals of the Bench Bistro’s food dishes and drinks are displayed on the walls.

Distinct to its brand, the venue has its own unique quirks, from garden gnomes and hummingbirds to a pick ‘n’ mix station. Every food item on the menu is delivered on a picnic bench. 

"Richard and Verity are fantastic publicans, and the Bench Bistro has gone from strength to strength over the years," says Punch Pubs & Co’s head of operations Andy Wilkinson. "It’s a privilege to have been a part of their journey and I’m excited to see their incredible hard work come to life here in Congleton too. The Bench Bistro is a pub like no other and I’ve no doubt that it will become a popular hotspot here too."

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