Cafes: New cafe and bar opens on historic narrowboat

Martin Booth, April 10, 2017

The historic Greenshank narrowboat carried general cargo all across the English canal system after being built in the 1930s and is credited with helping to prevent the system’s closure in the 1960s.

Its restoration by Bristol Packet has taken more than a year but the Greenshank is shipshape and Bristol fashion once again, and now welcoming guests as a floating cafe and bar.

Luke Dunstan has grown up in the family-owned business and is the driving force behind the new cafe. “It was on the verge of sinking and was in a terrible state of disrepair,” he told Bristol24/7.

“If we didn’t take it out of the water, it would sink. So we pulled it out delicately, cut the bottom off and replaced the bottom of the hull, and realised we had what could be a nice space.

“We then formulated the idea of having a floating cafe.”

Cake with a view

Opening on one of the hottest days of the year so far, space was swiftly at a premium on the deck with panoramic views of the Floating Harbour.

Also acting as a waiting area for Bristol Packet’s popular boat tours around the docks, and further afield to day trip locations such as Beese’s and down the Avon Gorge, the Greenshank’s new lease of life has been perfectly timed for the beginning of the busy holiday season.

All the coffees on board are made with beans from Extract in St Werburgh’s, with pastries and cakes from Mark’s Bread on North Street until their own kitchen is finished, and a few bottles beers, ciders and wine by the glass.

Sweet treats on the opening weekend included carrot cake, chocolate and salted caramel, orange and almond, lemon drizzle, chocolate and vanilla, and Victoria sandwich.

Cream teas of a freshly baked scone, organic clotted cream and strawberry jam are also available, with a selection of loose leaf teas.

The Greenshank will reopen on Good Friday and be open over the Easter weekend, with plans to open seven days a week once the kitchen is ready.

The Greenshank on the Grand Union Canal in Braunston, Northamptonshire in 1965 – photo courtesy of Bristol Packet

Greenshank Cafe & Bar, Wapping Wharf, Gas Ferry Road, Bristol, BS1 6UN
0117 926 8157


Read more: Bristol Packet to open floating cafe in docks

Like this? You might be interested in...