“You wouldn’t stumble upon this place, would you? It really is hidden away,” one man told his friend as they walked into the Bank Tavern, only a few hundred yards away from Broadmead but feeling far removed from the rest of Bristol’s city centre.
“I never even knew it existed,” his friend answered, looking around her as if she had just walked through the wardrobe and discovered Narnia.
For those who do know about the Bank, it’s a mighty fine thing that it’s located off the beaten track, with tables already at a premium for their Sunday lunches.
It was only just after midday but two visitors without a booking were managed to be squeezed into one of the two window seats, their roasts with all the trimmings competing for space on the table with hanging coats still dripping from the rain.
Through the lattice windows, there is a view overlooking the St John on the Wall burial ground and the centuries-old houses on John Street, some of which still have the names of long-forgotten solicitors firms in their window.
The tables outside can be packed in the summer as workers from nearby offices mingle with staff from the crown court.
People were being turned away on Sunday and it was not even 12.30pm, with full tables already enjoying their roasts and all the trimmings from a selection which on this Sunday was beef, pig belly or nut roast.
“How are you doing, alright? Back from your travels?” one local was asked as he arrived after a few weeks away to take his usual pew.
On the stereo, the Balearic rhythms of La Vie en Rose by Grace Jones was in stark contrast to a wet and cold September day in Bristol.
At the bar, beer options included ales from XT and Bristol Beer Factory, with among the cider options a trio of Thatcher’s on draft, Janet’s Jungle Juice and Orchard Pig Hogfather cider written on one pump clip in felt tip.
Throughout the week there is live football and rugby on the television, weekly live music and not forgetting their Sunday roasts at a pub worth stumbling upon.
The Bank Tavern, 8 John Street, Bristol, BS12HR
0117 930 4691