On a street rich in pubs with intriguing and grandiose names, the Famous Royal Navy Volunteer is pulling out all the stops to keep up with its neighbours.
Inside the historic King Street watering hole one recent Thursday lunchtime, the pleasant aromas of candle wax and wine linger in the air and a lone man is keeping busy behind the amply-stocked bar.
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Close in age to the nearby Llandoger Trow, a recently-closed pub dating back to 1664 that’s said to be haunted by no less than 15 ghosts, “the Volley” is faring far better and, in recent years, has carved out a reputation for its vast craft ale and beer selection – and a mean Sunday roast offering.
All is quiet on this miserable mid-week afternoon, apart from a group of friends at one high up table living their best January and tucking into towering burgers and fries, washed down with a pint or two. A solitary man in a far corner sips idly at his drink as waits out the rain in the pub’s cosy confines.
The England Cricket team are playing in South Africa on the wall-mounted TV screens, but the game is being ignored by all in the pub – those scenes of sunshine and blue skies a bit too much to bear in the full throes of a British winter.
Situated on a cobbled street that has been one of Bristol’s go-to drinking destinations for centuries, The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer pays homage to the city’s maritime history with framed pictures hung on its historic walls.
The pub may have kept many of its traditional trappings, but it is also meeting a modern, and ever-growing, appetite for local beers and ciders. This, plus the fine wines, food offering and secret sun terrace ensure the Volley continues to hold its own on an old street that’s still full of life.
17-18 King St, Bristol BS1 4EF
Main photo by Ellie Pipe
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