As some of the last summer rays of the year shone on the terrace of the Portcullis in Clifton Village on a recent evening, one solitary drinker sat outside soaking up the sun.
Inside, talk was also of the sunshine. “I’ve been to Lanzarote a few times, it’s cool,” one punter in a Volvo-branded jacket said while sitting at the bar nursing his pint.
“I stayed in a lovely hotel, there were palm trees and stuff and a nudist beach although I didn’t realise it.”
Even if the sun is shining and the talk is of Spanish holiday islands, the Portcullis still has the feel of a pub in which to hunker down in the winter with a roaring fire.
The fourth in the now five- (soon to be seven-) strong Dawkins family of pubs, this is the smallest of the bunch with one room downstairs housing the bar and one room upstairs with one wall covered in comic book covers.
‘Secret’ beer gardens are not rare these days, but the Portcullis’ is so well hidden that even locals may not be able to describe its appearance or how to find it.
In pre-internet viral story days, the Portcullis found brief fame because of a former landlord’s dog, Daisy, who used to jump on the bar to ring the bell for last orders.
She has long gone to the kennel in the sky – as have many of the celebrities on the ‘staircase to heaven’ which features framed photos of Victoria Wood, George Michael and Andrew Sachs from 2016, with more space to fill once the Grim Reaper does his work.
Coming into the pub straight from work, a 30-something man in a Nike baseball cap and camouflage trousers swiftly finished a pint of lager, not the usual drink of choice here with half a dozen ales in casks, including Dawkins’ own Bristol Best bitter and Bristol Blonde.
Later on in the evening, the Portcullis began to fill up with more regulars, greeting each other by name as the sun set over Clifton Village.
The Portcullis, 3 Wellington Terrace, Clifton Village, Bristol, BS8 4LE
0117 973 0270