The building dates to the 1830’s and for much of its life was in use as a bank.
JD Wetherspoon announced that they were purchasing a second pub in Cheltenham in the summer of 2009. The company already owned the Moon Under Water in Bath Road. The Clarence Street premises was previously the Que Pasa Tapas Bar. After a £630,000 refurbishment the Bank House opened on October 16th 2009. But it was not without some controversy. When Wetherspoons submitted their application to the Cheltenham licensing authorities to permit to sale of alcohol on the premises from 9 am it caused furore and a Gloucestershire based alcoholism specialist claimed that it could have a corrosive effect on society. He said, “Anyone who wants a pint of beer at 9 am has got a problem, full stop.” Eddie Gershon, a spokesman for Wetherspoons claimed the move would be good for business. He said: “We want to take advantage of the early morning trade. If people want to have a drink at 9 am then who are we to moralise about it. It’s better to have a well-managed pub serving alcoholic drinks early in the morning that a poor pub serving drinks late at night.” The Reverend Andrew Dow, rector of St Mary with St Matthew church, situated immediately behind the pub, was initially fearful of the impact that the early opening times would fuel anti-social behaviour but on inspecting the Bank House he changed his mind. He said: “I met with the solicitor and management from Wetherspoon and they have alleviated any concerns I had. They even offered space on their noticeboard for me to advertise events at the church. I am now confident the pub will be an excellent neighbour.” The licence was granted in November 2009.
In November 2012 a new social club was launched at the Bank House aimed at single people aged 65 and over providing a chance for them to get together whilst enjoying a drink and a bite to eat. Membership of the Wednesday Club was completely free and initially 25 people expressed interest in the club. One lady said, “I’m really looking forward to going along and meeting new friends. There’s not a lot to do for people of my age, and I do enjoy a trip to the pub, so it sounds a lot of fun.” More than 30 people turned up for the first meeting.
The Bank House was awarded with a platinum star rating for its toilets in the 2013 Loo of the Year awards. Managing director of the Loo of the Year awards said: “The toilets at the Bank House have been designed and fitted out to a very high standard and are both clean and well maintained. The pub richly deserves its platinum award. It is the highest individual award the judges can deliver.”
Blocked drains outside the property caused the temporary closure of the Bank House in February 2015. The award-winning toilets were put out of use because there was a risk of flooding. A spokeswoman for Severn Trent water said: “We were called out at 7.30 pm on Monday 9th February and our contractors went out to have a look at the problem. They didn’t have a long enough hose at first, so they came back on Tuesday with the right length. The hosing of the drains by Severn Trent was successful and the Bank House was reopened by mid-afternoon, no doubt much to the relief of its thirsty regulars.”
The Bank House was sold to a private property investment company in a £3 million deal backed by Cheltenham law firm Harrison Clark Rickerbys and KBW chartered surveyors in March 2017. The property was leased back to JD Wetherspoon. Richard Knightley, senior director at KBW said: “I was very pleased to find this prime bar and restaurant investment opportunity for a client and agree a deal. The prime location, excellent tenant covenant, long lease in place and prospects for rental growth all combined to make this a very attractive investment proposition.”