The heady scent of beer wafts gently to the nostrils of those entering The Dark Horse one recent Thursday evening.
Within the cosy confines of the pub on Church Road in Redfield, a scene of joyous chaos is to be found as a diverse crowd makes the most of all the easy-going local has to offer.
In a corner, just under the chalk board detailing the latest selection ciders, a couple of small children let out a peal of laughter as their imaginary game takes a hilarious turn. Parents, supping their beers at the nearby table, roll their eyes with a smile at the sudden noise.
A sign asking people to keep their dogs on lead is being brazenly ignored, but no one seems to mind. A bright-eyed spaniel is the star of the show this evening anyway.
It is a pub that wraps all who enter in its warm embrace come rain or shine, offering a vast selection of ales, ciders, wines and spirits behind the well-stocked bar, strewn with fairy lights, and a simple menu of Pieminister pies or tapas (and roasts on a Sunday).
Behind the bar, a new bar tender is learning the ropes. With a welcoming smile, she flawlessly talks through the selection of house wines, before carefully putting a food order into the till and producing a vast jug of water to complete the order.
With a hint of Alice Through The Looking Glass heightened by a gild-framed doorway, The Dark Horse is deceptively vast. One room leads into another and yet another.
Outside offers more to discover, with a basic backyard area rising up to a sun-trap terrace, where small clusters of friends make the most of the evening rays.
Inside, pies are as hot and hearty as you can hope for, accompanied with a heap of creamy mash, generous portion of mushy peas and plenty of gravy.
Space on the long wooden benches is soon at a premium as more people pile into the pub. Each time, customers cheerfully shunt down to make space.
“Nice to meet you,” calls a regular to the new bar tender as they head off into the evening.
The Dark Horse, 172-174 Church Road, Redfied, Bristol, BS5 9HX
0117 9555 725
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