On a sunny afternoon, there are arguably few finer places to be than sitting outside than The Pump House, ice cold gin in hand, soaking up some precious rays.
A longstanding landmark on Bristol’s waterfront, the building has gone through various guises, reportedly including a stint as an abattoir, before its latest transformation 10 years ago at the hands of Toby Gritten and Dan Obern.
Having successfully carved out a reputation as one of the city’s top culinary destinations, the popular pub has also been quietly building up an impressive 680-strong gin collection and is now ready to make a bit of a song and dance about it, with a weekend-long programme of anniversary celebrations.
Kicking off on Friday evening with a Monkey 47 gin masterclass from 6pm (£7 per head), the weekend will continue with a mini gin festival, more masterclasses, a special juniper juice-themed tapas evening, live music and DJs and sampling opportunities aplenty.
Then, there’s chance to kick back with a Sunday roast to round off the celebrations.
“I’m really excited about it,” says assistant manager Hannah Harper, her passion for gin shining through as she admits delivery day, bringing yet more brands to sample, is her favourite.
“It is over the last six or seven years that we have built up our gin collection,” she continues.
“As we are a small, independent business, we like to find small, independent gins and support the little companies as well as the big ones. I recently found one called Barbican Botanist Gin.”
Since Hannah took over the reins as The Pump House gin guru about one and a half years ago, she has been hosting regular Friday night ‘meet the distiller’ events, to give people a chance to learn more about their favourite tipple and try some samples.
“I really enjoy it,” she says. “It makes my Friday nights so exciting.
“We do intend to keep the gin collection growing because there are so many gins out there. Summer’s a great time for gin, because we grow our own herbs and flowers that go into the drinks.”
Proudly, giving a tour of the greenhouse that houses an array of fragrant greenery, she also reveals the Pump House even has its own ice cube expert, Tenzin Phuntsok, who spends much of his time creating fruit and tea flavour infusions to go into the drinks.
Gin masterclasses will take place from 1pm throughout Saturday afternoon, featuring Nathan Sorby from Mangrove, Cotswold Gin with Jack Barnard and Rachel Bramwell on Edinburgh Gin.
From 6pm on Saturday night, a gin evening gets into full swing, with David Coveney talking through the drinks, accompanied by tapas dishes created by chef proprietor Gritten and his team for £10 per head).
Reservations for Friday and Saturday evenings are essential. Call 0117 927 2229.
The Pump House, Merchants Road, Hotwells, Bristol, BS8 4PZ
Read more: Pub of the Week: The Pump House