Pubs and Bars / A-Z Bristol pub crawl

A-Z Bristol Pub Crawl: The All Inn, Fishponds

By Betty Woolerton , Friday Sep 1, 2023

If there was a prize for the Bristol pub with the most slogans on its walls, the All Inn in Fishponds would win hands-down.

‘Eau my god, water way to have a good time,’ reads white lettering above a stainless steel water container.

The bar is ‘the All Inn’s very own wonk shelf’, there’s a motivational ‘You’ve got this’ framed in gold and punters are told to ‘pull up a pew’ if they didn’t clock what to do with a foldable chair hanging from the wall. .

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Even the humble pint glass has been infiltrated, with phrases indicating how much of your pint you’ve drank from ‘first sip’ to ‘time for another’.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a ‘live, laugh, love’ peeping under a plate.

The All Inn reopened under new owners in spring having undergone a huge transformation

Jokes aside, this is a pub which has, clearly lovingly, been revitalised after it closed in February.

Back then, the All Inn’s previous tenants moved on from the business after more than eight years, citing “ever-rising costs”.

Many years before this it was a traditional coaching inn and has formed part of the Fishponds community in some guise or other for the decades to follow.

Before it was renamed, the All Inn was called the Cross Hands, a nod to its location on the fork of Downend Road and Staple Hill Road.

 

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When the Cross Hands closed, a band of friends from Oxford stepped in to take it over. New owners Dodo Pub Co opened their first pub in east Oxford 2009 called the Rusty Bicycle and have developed a small empire of neighbourhood venues in the city, as well as in Cheltenham, Caversham and Witney.

Expanding to Bristol, the change of hands has seen the venue radically modernised from a traditional, hearty boozer to a trendy, clean-cut pub.

Now, the decor includes a red neon light in the shape of a dodo above a ‘brief history’ of the independent and self-funded business.

For eating, there’s burgers, wood-fired pizza, wings, sides, dips and cocktails, as well as house lagers, ales, wines and more. Emptied giant Italian peeled tomato cans hold the cutlery on each table.

On a recent evening, the clientele ranged from a trio of 40-somethings sat in the glare of laptops and nursed pints to two older gents sharing stories over burgers and ale.

The Cross Hands dates back to 1853, when it was a hotel

An illustration of the former hotel by Ronald J Scott

Wander to the loos and you’ll notice a photo and illustration of the Cross Hands Hotel all the way back when there were horse and carts outside.

The words above say: “Cross Hands pub est 1853 changed hands to the All Inn Pub in 2023.”

It’s a small nod to the history of a much-loved neighbourhood pub steeped in history as it enters its new chapter.

The All Inn, 1 Staple Hill Road, Bristol, BS16 5AA 
www.dodopubs.com/locations/the-all-inn-pub

All photos & video: Betty Woolerton

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