Spotlight On: The Schoolrooms and Assembly Bar & Bistro
Nestled away in the picturesque village of Low Bradfield, a former Victorian-era school housing a much-loved café, aptly named The Schoolrooms, has recently broadened its offering by opening a classy new bar and bistro space, Assembly, adding a decidedly modern twist to the historic venue.
The building itself dates back to the 19th century, when it served as a junior and infants school educating children in the local community until its closure in 1985. Decades later, the building was beautifully restored, preserving its original features while incorporating contemporary design elements.
The family-run business opened in 2011, initially as a farm shop and café with a deli counter and butchery also on-site. The ethos was “to give school dinners a good name!” and the location quickly became a popular stop-off for local residents and walkers looking to enjoy a day out in the Peak District.
The farm shop eventually became a gift shop for a matter of time, before the decision was made at the beginning of this year to commence with a significant renovation of the award-winning café space, closing the adjoining gift shop to make way for additional seating and a brand-new bar and bistro venue in the process, Assembly.
“Assembly opened around Easter,” says Charlotte at The Schoolrooms. “It looks amazing and it’s been going really well so far. It only opens in the evenings, Wednesday to Sunday, so people have been coming along to sample our cocktails (we have a lot of great speciality gins), guest beers from local breweries and to try out the menu, which puts a modern twist on traditional British dining.”
While the award-winning Schoolrooms focuses on providing fuel for the day via its hearty breakfasts and lunches, Assembly takes on the evening shift from 4pm ‘til late, Wednesday to Sunday (1pm ‘til late on weekends) and serves up a slightly more refined experience while honouring its commitment to seasonal menus stocked by local suppliers.
A brief glance at Assembly’s offering will reveal everything from sea bass and gnocchi dishes to ‘fancy’ fish and chips (using Bradfield Brewery beer for the batter, of course) and indulgent Yorkshire puddings loaded with beef brisket, crispy onions and topped with a red wine jus.
The Wednesday and Thursday evening Supper Clubs have been a huge hit with punters, giving diners the opportunity to enjoy a discounted midweek treat: two courses for £19 or three for £24. However, if you’re looking for a more casual culinary affair, a tempting bar snacks menu serves everything from bread and olives to truffle fries and harissa halloumi bites.
If it’s a warm day, bar drinks and nibbles from Assembly can be taken outside and enjoyed while basking in the delights of the great British countryside. Alfresco evening meals are not yet on offer (though it’s something they’re looking into), but The Schoolrooms has plenty of external seating for summer coffee and food during the daytime.
Speaking of plans for the summer, Charlotte tells us there are a few more tricks up their sleeve yet: “We introduced the Supper Clubs offering at Assembly, which are doing great, and the next step is to introduce some live music evenings – acoustic nights, dinner and dancing, that sort of thing. We’ll be announcing any new events on our socials, so keep an eye out for that.”
“We feel really privileged to be based in this setting, a quintessentially British village that’s only a 20-minute or so drive from the city centre. There’s also a short bus from Hillsborough that drops you off nearby. We’ve got outdoor seating overlooking the cricket pitch, there’s a play area for kids in the garden and we’re obviously next to some beautiful walking routes. It’s just a lovely way to spend the day – and now an evening!”