Pubs and Bars / Pub of the Week

Pub of the Week: The Bear at Hotwells

By martin booth, Friday Jul 5, 2019

Signed rugby balls are displayed above stained glass versions of the Six Nations team crests above the bar of the Bear at Hotwells.

But it was a different sport on the televisions on a recent Friday afternoon, with Pakistan taking on Bangladesh at Lord’s as the Cricket World Cup group stage comes to an end.

A Bangladeshi chef from a nearby Indian restaurant threw his hands up in despair as his team lost another wicket in their fruitless run chase, before leaving the pub with a cheery wave to the landlord.

“Cricket, lovely cricket,” the landlord said with a smile, before helping one of his regulars sat at the bar with a crossword clue in a newspaper.

The Bear is one of the oldest pubs in Bristol from its days as a coaching house on one of the main roads into the city from Somerset.

The year 1675 is written on the outside wall of the pub, which has an area at the back that feels far removed from the roar of traffic on Hotwell Road outside.

The three ciders on tap here are Thatchers Gold and Dry, and Natch: with Courage Best and Sharp’s Doom Bar the two ales on cask.

This pub is now well-known as the venue for the weekly Be-Bop Club, where live jazz has been performed every Friday night since 1989. It also has a darts team and serves a Sunday roast.

“How’s your four-legged friend?” another regular at the bar asked a new arrival.

“He’s good. He’s doing better than I am anyway,” the new arrival responded, the landlord already pouring his usual pint of Thatchers Dry.

The Bear at Hotwells, 261 Hotwell Road, Hotwells, Bristol, BS8 4SF

Read more: Hotwells pub could be turned into flats

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