Opera House, Royal Tunbridge Wells - Atlas Obscura

Opera House, Royal Tunbridge Wells

Royal Tunbridge Wells, England

A grand Wetherspoon pub set in a former opera house dating back to 1902. 

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One of the largest pubcos in the United Kingdom, JD Wetherspoon runs almost 900 boozers across the country, several of which repurpose Grade II-listed historic buildings. One of its finest examples can be found in the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells, housed in a grand opera house built in Edwardian Baroque style.

Boasting a capacity of 1,100, the Opera House originally opened in 1902 and was purchased by Union Cinemas in 1931 to be converted into a cinema. Though it was bombed and set aflame during World War II, the Opera House reopened in 1949 and was used as a bingo hall in the 1960s.

In 1996, Wetherspoon purchased the historic building and converted it into a public house. The interior, which retains much of the features of the theater, is known for its grandeur, offering a semi-surreal experience—perhaps the poshest place to grab a pint. The pub has also hosted several opera performances since 2006, reviving the past of the Opera House.

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November 13, 2023

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