Pubs and Bars: Pub of the week: The Shakespeare
From the Beano comics stacked neatly beneath the table, to Bristol art adorning the walls, The Shakespeare is certainly pulling out all the stops.
The Totterdown local has recently been revamped and amidst the polished wooden floors, oversized furniture, exposed brick walls and chalk board menus, it has retained a true sense of character.
“We are trying to build the live music back up to what it used to be,” says the barman, a flicker of pride crossing his face as he points to the upcoming line up tacked to the wall and a poster promoting ‘Reggae Sundays’.
A chalk board in the middle of the solid wood bar announces that sausage and chorizo rolls are back by popular demand and the array of pub snacks on offer is impressive – from wasabi peas, to nuts and pickled eggs and a few indistinguishable morsels.
On a midweek lunchtime the pub was quiet, but stop by of an evening or a sunny Saturday afternoon and you will find it heaving with people of all ages.
A request for a soft drink is met with a deluge of choice and while the organic ginger beer doesn’t come cheap at £2.70 a bottle, it is a cold, refreshing and fiery treat.
Entering the pub, a man dressed in ripped jeans, a t-shirt and leather jacket with tousled hair is greeted by name, as he is served a pint of ale and heads off to sit outside without lingering to chat longer.
If one were to judge a book by its cover, he looks like he’d know a thing or two about music. That, or he’s just here for a quiet afternoon drink and peruse of the newspapers thoughtfully displayed on a table.
A bright bloom of sunflowers in the corner decorates the way through to a suntrap, two-tiered garden, kitted out with yet more solid wooden furniture of a type that looks genuinely indestructible, and enhanced with colourful displays of flowers.
Calm, pleasant and catering to a wide clientele, the revamped Shakespeare is no doubt a sign of the times in Totterdown, as organic ginger beer and mezze platters replace the basic beer and pub grub.
But people willing to pour so much effort into maintaining a genuine community local must surely be commended.
With live music nights, a medley of art by local artists, hearty platters of food and Sunday roasts soon on the cards, this is one pub that deserves to thrive.
The Shakespeare, 1 Henry St BS3 4UD
0117 977 2911