The Bear and Billet
The Bear and Billet public house is a fine building and dates back to 1694. A grade I listed building, it is located at 94 Lower Bridge Street. The inn has been described as "the finest seventeenth century timber-framed town house in Chester" and "one of the last of the great timber-framed town houses in England".
The Bear and Billet stands on the west side of Lower Bridge Street, near the Bridgegate.
Built as the town house of the Talbot family, Earls of Shrewsbury and sergeants of the Bridgegate, to replace a building on the site which was destroyed during the civil war. It was probably also used as a grain warehouse because in the gable are double doors and a bracket for a hoist.
The large, timber framed building first became an inn in the eighteenth century, although it remained under the ownership the Shrewsbury family until 1867. It is said that the Earls of Shrewsbury had leased it to an innkeeper on condition that a suite of rooms was always kept available for the Earl and his family. A drawing of 1820 shows it as the Bridgegate Tavern and it is believed to have acquired its present name soon after. The present name derives from the heraldic device of the Earls that consist of a bear tied to a billet (or stake).
The inn is constructed in timber framing with plaster panels. It consists of cellars, above which are three storeys and an attic in the gable overlooking the street. Each storey is jettied above the storey below.
The Bear and Billet has a range of food available throughout the week.