My first experience with The Botanist was an awestruck one - marvelling at the bike chandelier in the Chester branch. After that, it was taking photographs of the treehouse and glass dome up in Newcastle - and the wonder never seems to wear off for me; whenever I visit a Botanist, no matter how many times I've been before, there always seems to be something that I didn't see last time, a little something hidden behind a big something else. There's just something so captivating about the chain of bar/restaurants that really catches the imagination, and so when the Chester Botanist invited me to their first birthday party (alongside the very beautiful Katy), I couldn't wait to get my gladrags on for a night of cocktails, garden games and a whole lot of fun.
When we arrived (early, for the first time in my entire life) we were sat down as they finished setting up - shortly after which, we were handed a glass of Prosecco and a gorgeous striped paper bag each and left to explore. Although usually absolutely breathtaking in it's decor, for the night the restaurant had pulled out all the stops, with bunting, paper lanterns and balloons decorating the bar area. In the bags (which we delved into as soon as we'd managed to snap some photographs) there were a few sweet treats, two lollipops sticks (one could be redeemed for a Botanist cocktail and one for Pimms later in the night) and laminated instructions on how to use them.
Getting there early meant we got a good go at everything before there were too many people to play effectively - and my lord was there some fun things to do. We had been promised some garden games and The Botanist definitely delivered - we tried our hand at a giant jenga, played some slightly-larger-than-normal connect four and also played some hook-a-duck and hoopla (well, we had to give everything a fair go.) Fair to say though, there was only one place I was interested in being - and that was at the cupcake station.
THAT'S RIGHT, A DECORATE YOUR OWN CUPCAKE STATION. Which, it turns out - I took surprisingly seriously... They were a lot of fun to do though, and definitely brought everyone's competitive side out (I'm not naming any names, Topshop team, but there was definitely some "worst cupcake I've ever seen"'s being thrown around later in the night!) We tried to stick around for the winner - who won a meal for two at The Botanist (I strongly suspect it should have been me!), although I was so tired we ended up leaving a little early; although not before a cheeky Botanist cocktail (a florally, minty mix of jasmine, lime, red amaranth, mint, rum and elderflower liqueur - I'd highly recommend) and also a glass of Pimms (not to mention a shot of cocktail in a glass, although I didn't manage to catch just what!). We also got to catch some of the live music, which had all of us dancing and singing and generally just pulled the night together in a really lovely, friendly way.
All in all, we had a fabulous night. Not only is the atmosphere in The Botanist Chester special, they fill it with people who reflect it to a tee. We laughed with waiting staff, barmen and managers alike during the night - and all were willing to stand and chat for at least a few minutes where they could. I hear the canapes were nice, although I missed out as I was taking cheeky selfies with the props they left out especially! Happy First Birthday, The Chester Botanist, we had a ball - and here's to many more to come.
Have you been to the Botanist? What were your opinions?