Features cerise

Published on January 27th, 2014 | by Kate Ellis


5 hidden gems in Reading

At first glance it can seem like there are few independent and unique places to shop, eat and drink at in Reading. But below are five great places you may have missed, showing how much variety Reading really has. How many do you know?

Cerise Bar and Restaurant


Tucked beneath the Forbury Hotel, Cerise feels like a small oasis in the middle of Reading’s busy town centre. Possibly the most upmarket entry on the list, the menu and drinks aren’t cheap – but what you get in return is some of the highest quality food you will find in Reading. Worth visiting for the cocktails alone.

How to find it: down a small flight of stairs at the square at Forbury Place.

The Retreat


If you looked up back-street pub in the dictionary, you would most likely find a picture of The Retreat. Entering The Retreat feels like walking into somebody’s living room, a tiny pub on a residential street that was most likely someone’s ground floor converted. The Retreat feels like a true community pub offering a great range of beer, ale and cider you won’t find in most other places. If you’re lucky you might get to see the local ukulele group give a performance.

How to find it: on St. John’s Street off Queen’s Road.

Frock & Roll


Only a few streets away from The Retreat is Frock & Roll found on the end of a residential road. I would go as far to say that this is the best vintage shop, not only in Reading, but in Berkshire – the store attracts customers across the country. The regular events and the level of expertise and passion the owner has make this shop a highlight.

How to find it: at the end of Watlington street towards Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Milk Bar


Milk Bar is one of those places which will be common knowledge to some people, and completely unknown to others. Hidden down a side-street in Reading it offers a unique night out with great comedy nights, food, and, most notably, a great choice of rum. Great for people who want a night out but want to avoid the crowds in the Friar Street venues.

How to find it: above Shed in Merchant’s Place, just off Friar Street.

Real Vintage and Good Food Market


Unbeknownst to many people, Reading has one of the best vintage and food markets in the South East. Held at the Hexagon, many people do not know of it because it’s not clearly visible and not widely advertised. Each time the market is held, The Hexagon is crammed full of vintage clothing sellers from across the country, and stalls with great local food.

How to find it: In the Hexagon, check out Reading Arts’ website to find out when it is next held.

So these are just a few of the many hidden gems found across Reading, are there any places you think we have missed?


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About the Author

is a English Literature student at the University of Reading. She is interested in vintage clothes and oddities.

  • John

    Used to love going to Deutsch Dogs at Milk Bar, sadly they seem to have closed down at the beginning of this year.

    • Jem

      They were open the other week!

  • KYJ

    Whittington’s Tea Barge! Went years before I found out about it – haven’t ever been able to find where it is docked though.

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