CHESTER'S hospitality scene remained resilient over the past year with increased sales reported, according to new research.

The city was one of the best in the UK in keeping the overall number of hospitality venues, reporting a one per cent decline in the past 12 months, compared to the northern average of -2.6 per cent and the UK average of -2.5 per cent.

New research conducted by Northern Restaurant & Bar, in partnership with CGA by NielsenIQ, revealed how Chester’s hospitality is continuing to thrive during a challenging year, demonstrating 5.6 per cent sales growth among managed pubs, bars and restaurants.

City centre venues which opened their doors in 2023 included North Light on Northgate Street and The Leopard on Foregate Street, while there were welcome returns for The Falcon on Lower Bridge Street and The Lock Vaults on Hoole Lane. The Forge, located at Hotel Indigo Chester, was also awarded two AA Rosettes for Culinary Excellence last year.

The city is due to be boosted with the arrival of ‘X’ by Harry Guy at the £5 million boutique hotel Wildes Chester, Boheme on Bridge Street and Turtle Bay on Exchange Square by the New Chester Market.

Researchers say with over a quarter (26 per cent) of new openings in the North, this resilience is particularly noteworthy against a backdrop of rising energy prices, food and drink inflation, and increased National Living Wages.

Consumer sentiment across the country is also positive, with 4 in 5 stating that they are satisfied with the quality of the overall experience during recent visits to pubs, bars and restaurants. A higher percentage of customers in the north are ‘very satisfied’ with the quality of food, service, drinks and overall experience, than the south.

Siobhan Thompson, event manager for NRB24, said: "The results underscore the strength, resilience, and ambition of Northern hospitality establishments. While challenges persist, it's heartening to witness the industry's adaptability and positivity. The surge in new concepts, site launches, and the enthusiastic influx of customers through the doors offer a much-needed burst of positivity."

Northern Restaurant & Bar, the first major hospitality event of the year, returns to Manchester Central on March 12-13, an important date for those in the northern hospitality industry. For more information, visit