It’s completely possible that Jane Austen visited The Star Inn throughout the time she lived in Bath. Maybe while she was performing research for a bold new book, to be set in the less flourishing parts of the town.
If she paid a return go to today, she ‘d find the place hasn’t changed much. The club is created in such a way that confounds each and every single principle of 21st century customer flowthrough and spend maximisation. It would not be simple to participate in demure long-distance flirtation, either.
The rooms are small, cosy and compartmentalised, the bar just available through a series of little frosted-glass partitions. Decoration consists of dark wood panelling on the walls, and just somewhat less dark floorboards underfoot.
A variety of old photos of black-and-white Bath hang at different intervals, together with a framed notification that itemises the guidelines of The Star Inn Sick and Dividing Society. This was a turn-of-the-century insurance coverage scheme, whereby Star regulars paid in 7d every Monday night, and went out one shilling and 8 pence weekly, need to they fall ill and be unable to work.
What’s more, it seems that the club’s philanthropic impulses still survive to this day, judging from the framed certificate sent out by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (“Thank you for the ₤ 1095.31 gathered”), and from the kindly way in which one of the regulars comes by and asks if the wallet that has been left resting on the bar belongs to me. It does.
All right, so the option on the menu isn’t line-caught seabass versus rib-eye of beef; today’s lunch selection is ham and brie bap or roast ox flavour crisps. However the beer comes straight from the town’s Abbey Ales brewery: Bellringer ale (4.2 percent abv) and magnificent Salvation (4.8 percent), plus fascinating visitors such as the yummy Stonehenge Heel Stone (4.3 percent), and Abbey’s own cider, Hells Bells (6.0 percent).
The other special function of The Star is the pinch of free snuff which they will provide you (or a minimum of fetch, if you ask), and which you can take as an aperitif or digestif (or with a scarf). Flavours change from time to time; carnation is present.
As the structure dates back to the 16th century, numerous generations of Star drinkers are, perforce, now drinking ale in the celestial saloon bar, and, in acknowledgment of this truth, the bench above which the cribbage and dominoes sets are kept is known to everybody as Death Row.
“That’s where all the old chaps sit,” laughs the property owner cheerily. “It’s a little bit of a tradition, really.” And long might it continue.