The bespectacled figure reading a book in The Barley Mow’s beer garden one recent Wednesday afternoon is a man who has his priorities sorted.
A pint of beer on the table before him, he quietly basks in the warm summer sun while chilled out tunes play faintly overhead and a light breeze rustles the leaves.
Tucked away in St Philip’s, between Bristol Temple Meads and the bustle of Old Market, this venue that proudly holds the title of best pub in Bristol is a proper hidden gem.
Inside is just as rustic and welcoming as out, with art hanging above bare wooden table tops and a tantalisingly delicious-looking lunch menu. Alas, it’s 2.15pm. The kitchen is officially closed so its crisps, nuts or nothing.
There’s a vast array of local beers on tap, including plenty of Bristol brews from the likes of Moor Beer Company and Wiper and True, among others. Selections are etched on black boards hung around a familiar ‘Taste of Independence’ logo.
The Barley Mow is the flagship pub of the Bristol Beer Factory and was named as CAMRA’s Bristol & District branch pub of the year in March – although if the sign outside is to be believed, it’s ‘probably the best pub in the world’.
Tempting as the beer selection is, seeing that it’s Wednesday lunchtime, an apple juice and packet of salt and vinegar will have to suffice.
“Apple juice? Sure. Do you want the fancy stuff?” Asks the bar tender cheerfully, dolling out a bottle of Somerset’s finest juice, with a glass and ice.
“I’ve not seen you in a while,” they say, turning to the next customer approaching the bar.
“No, I’ve been away,” comes the reply. “I assume this place didn’t fall down without me?”
The pub soon empties again as everyone heads to benches either to the front or rear of the building to make the most of the afternoon sun.
The Barley Mow, 39 Barton Road, St Philip’s, Bristol, BS2 0LF
0117 930 4709
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