Forgetting to bring a face mask is a serious faux pas in this new era of pub-going.
Luckily, the good folk at the Volunteer Tavern have got your back with a selection of face coverings in a variety of designs available for £5, with all the proceeds going to Women’s Aid (or get a disposable option for a pound).
Make it past a cluster of signs and blackboards outlining Covid-19 safety measures, scan the track and trace code, grab a spritz of hand sanitiser and you’ll eventually find yourself in what has to be one of the finest beer gardens in Bristol.
Fairy lights and outdoor heaters cast a warm glow over drinkers sat at tables on the paved courtyard, braving the chill of an early autumn evening one recent Thursday for the joy of meeting for a few bevvies.
Laughter fills the air in the walled garden and there’s a sense of relief that some semblance of normality can be sought in this popular local that borders Old Market and St Jude’s.
There’s a steady flow of people arriving at the back beer garden entrance and most go good-naturedly through the motions now necessary as part of any social visit. A cheerful member of staff greets each in turn and patiently goes through the same Covid-safety spiel that she must repeat dozens of times a day.
Of course, there’s always one who hasn’t got the message and doesn’t get why pulling a t-shirt over his face doesn’t quite cut it.
While the ever-patient person on the door politely explains the rules, other members of staff rush in and out of the wood-panelled pub, laden with drinks orders from the pared-back menu displayed on chalkboards in the garden. This features a decent selection of cask ales, beers, ciders, wines and spirits.
Dating back to the 17th century, the Volly has no doubt seen some changes over the years it has stood strong on New Street. It’s proving well-placed to deal with the fast-shifting situation we’re currently dealing with and keep the beers and laughter flowing.
The Volunteer Tavern, 9 New Street, Old Market, BS2 9DX
0117 955 8498
All photos by Ellie Pipe
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