Best pub beer gardens in Bristol

The sun is shining, the cider’s flowing – but just where are the best places in Bristol to catch those rays and grab a drink…

beer garden

The Spotted Cow

On the cusp of Bedminster and Southville, this large, friendly pub has a big, inviting beer garden which basks in the afternoon sun. They serve delicious ales and ciders (including local favourites Bath Ales, Butcombe, Thatchers) and have a decent menu of locally-sourced food, such as steak and chips, cheese boards and Sunday roasts. There’s also a quiz on a Tuesday, Open Mic night on a Wednesday and jazz and blues music on Sundays. More info here.

The Cambridge Arms

An impressively large pub in the residential area of Redland, The Cambridge Arms has an equally impressive beer garden with enough benches for scores of people. They still get full on a sunny day though! The pub stocks a range of world beers, in bottles and on tap, and serves up traditional pub food with a modern twist. Sunday roasts are popular among locals and visitors alike and there’s a regular pub quiz night on a Sunday eve too. More info here.

The Lansdown

Clifton has a number of nice pubs to choose from, but it’s The Lansdown you’ll want when the sun’s shining. A traditional pub, with traditional ales and ciders on offer, as well as delicious homemade food. It’s cosy inside, but with a decent beer garden – combining sunny spots and shaded areas for those who burn easily! There is also a small decked terrace which proves a real suntrap on a hot day. More info here.

The Flyer

This is one of the most popular pubs on the Gloucester Road drag. It may always smell a little bit of fish, but that’s cos it does the best fish finger sandwiches! And it’s not a problem when you get to the large walled beer garden out back – complete with heaters for when the sun goes down. The drinks choice is second to none, with 16 types of ciders, fruit beer and more. The food is fabulous – but the prices do reflect that. Dogs welcome. More info here.

The Grain Barge

OK, not strictly speaking, a beer garden – but defo a lovely outdoor space in which to enjoy a drink or some alfresco dining. As the name suggests, The Grain Barge is a boat – in one of the loveliest areas of Bristol Harbour, next to the ss Great Britain in Hotwells. There’s a top deck to the boat which has plenty of seats and tables. Or you could head inside by the full length windows, equally as nice on a sunny day. Great food, drink and regular live music this is a winner. More info here.

The Apple

The Apple is also known, in Bristol and beyond, as the cider boat. Situated on the Welsh Back at the bottom of the quaint, cobbled King Street (home to The Old Duke, Llandoger and King William – the first two having a wealth of outdoor seating too) here we have another boat – but with plenty of seating out front on the harbourside. With an insane amount of ciders, including some super strength delights, and rustic ploughmans to soak up the appley stuff this is a perfect place for cider lovers to while away a sunny afternoon. More info here.

Highbury Vaults

This Youngs pub in Cotham is on the site of an old gallows, apparently. It’s deceptive front entrance makes you think you’re about to enter a tiny old man pub, but once inside there’s a warren of cosy seating, a model train track running round the place and a warm welcome awaiting you at the bar. Head to the back and there’s a decent sized covered beer garden – which effectively doubles the size of the pub. Decent ales and ciders are accompanied by homemade sandwiches and small bar snacks. Attracting a mixed crowd, this is a real gem of a pub. More info here.

The Farm

A very popular pub here in St Werburghs – near the actual farm, hence the name. This one is renowned for its Sunday lunches and combines a welcoming indoor pub with a decent beer garden, which sometimes hosts mini festival style events. It actually has a thriving events programme, which includes reggae Sundays and poker nights. More info here.

The White Lion Bar @ Avon Gorge Hotel

Possibly the best placed beer garden/terrace in Bristol, certainly in terms of the uninterrupted views over Avon Gorge in the shadow of the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, you best head here early on a sunny day in order to bag yourself a perch. You’ll often see this place bustling with people, lapping up the sun. A gastro style vibe, expect decent coffee and tasty cake, excellent wine, Tom’s legendary pies and more. More info here.

The Lanes

Not only does The Lanes offer retro bowling, amazing pizzas, great milkshakes, decent drinks, banging club nights, live music, film screenings, karaoke and accommodation – it also has a good-sized courtyard out back. With plenty of seats the walled area attracts people wanting to bask in the fresh air (or have a fag!). In a great central location, this is somewhere you can go in the afternoon and stay all evening. More info here.

4 Responses to Best pub beer gardens in Bristol
  1. Jon
    July 15, 2013 | 10:57 am

    I discover a great beer garden on the weekend. It's a short drive out of Bristol. The pub is called the dundry inn. It's on the top of dundry hill just off the a38 5 mins drive from bedminster. It's a little hidden gem. It feels as if ur on holiday when sitting in the garden with the views of Bristol

  2. Rob, Crews Hole
    June 18, 2013 | 11:02 pm

    Beeses – by the river in Brislington, or take their ferry from Conham. Fantastic garden with the best natural children’s play equipment in the city (the bouncy tree). They also have great beer – nothing better for a summer evening.

  3. Julian
    June 18, 2013 | 6:02 pm

    So many pubs missing with real beer gardens. Has today's city drinker forgotten what a beer garden looks like? A garden is not concrete and steel decks. It must contain grass and a cool place to hang out. The Victoria for example faces west so the tiered garden has sun in the evenings.

  4. pubgoer
    June 18, 2013 | 11:28 am

    How could you miss off the Hope & Anchor? Best hidden spot for a lunchtime pint on a sunny day

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