As its address indicates, this little charmer’s close to the heart of Clifton and a stone’s throw from the Triangle, but it’s not on one of the area’s well-worn tracks and can be easy to miss. Drinks focus on real ales, with a changing roster of craft beers alongside permanent choices from local brewers Bath Ales and Bristol Beer Factory, but there’s also a globetrotting selection of wines from Spain, Chile, Argentina, Italy and California. Classic pub meals sit alongside seasonal specials on the regularly changing menu, with student-friendly prices to boot. The pub quiz returns on Mon 14 Sept while there are also regular karaoke and charity racing nights.
6 Lower Clifton Hill BS8 1BT, www.theeldonhouse.com
Friendly neighbourhood boozer run by the independent company behind the brasserie-style Zazu’s Kitchen restaurants in Gloucester Road and Southville – and consequently boasting the same community-minded ethos. Real ales and a particularly toothsome wine list are at the heart of the drink offering while food is based around tapas-style ‘small plates’ – other than on Sundays when they wheel out a cracking selection of roasts. “Like its cricketing namesake at the crease, The Grace has already stamped its authority on the Gloucester Road,” we said at Bristol 24/7 and we weren’t wrong.
197 Gloucester Rd, Bishopston BS7 8BG, thegracebristol.uk
“Here at The Greenbank, it’s all about the community,” they say and this iconic boozer in the heart of Easton certainly lives up to that. The first pub to be taken on by the Zazu’s Kitchen folk (see The Grace above), it’s a perfect spot to meet, socialise, eat, drink and be merry. Pizzas, stew, curry, soup and bar snacks (including homemade pork scratching) will keep the hunger pangs at bay while you sup on your craft beer or carefully chosen wine – although on Sundays you can go the whole hog (almost literally) on the Sunday roast. Plenty of events here, too, including open-mic nights, jam sessions, salsa, life drawing and yoga.
57 Bellevue Rd, Easton BS5 6DP, thegreenbankbristol.co.uk
Another successfully revamped boozer on North Street, now more than three years into its new life as one of the finest of Bristol’s craft beer specialists. Choose from the real ales and ciders from local microbreweries behind the bar and then find yourself a seat in one of the two rooms of its cozy split-level interior – or slip out the back to the surprisingly spacious garden, complete with awnings and heaters. It opens at 4pm, making it a perfect port of call after a recce through the eclectic shops along this stretch of North Street.
51 North St, Southville BS3 1EN
The Hen & Chicken
Back in the day, this was a bit of a rough and ready boozer, but like much else in Southville it’s undergone a complete reinvention and become a real stalwart of the local scene. Local real ales are the USP where drinks are concerned, but the food’s a cut-above yer usual pub fare, with the stone-baked 12” pizzas a particular favourite. There’s an outside terrace on the street for the smokers and a garden that’s a sun trap when the sun actually deigns to shine. Upstairs is home to The Comedy Box comedy club where you can catch some of the best stand-up around in an intimate setting, but the venue’s also used by theatre companies and hosts jazz and folk gigs. Stays open until midnight (1am on Fri and Sat).
210 North St, Southville BS3 1JF, www.henandchicken.com
This awesome little pub has a grim history – it’s the site where people used to enjoy their last meal before going to the gallows. It’s now a treasure trove of corners which you can sit in and enjoy an ale as a model train chuffs around the perimeter of the pub. There’s a cute little beer garden out back and old skool bar snacks, such as pork pies and homemade sarnies. The barman once told us he was Swampy, the eco-warrior form the 90s – but we’re not so sure.
164 St Michael’s Hill BS2 8DE, www.youngs.co.uk/pubs/highbury-vaults
The Spotted Cow
Cracking pub with a huge walled garden and top-notch cuisine for the foodies. If you like your spirits, this is definitely one to make a bee-line for as it’s got one of the finest selections of whiskies, rums and gins in the city. Beers include local brews from Bath Ales and Butcombe as well as organic lager and an ever-changing choice of craft beers, while many of the wines are sourced from small French vineyards. Food-wise, think local and organic and a menu that changes daily but usually includes lots of locally sourced meat and Cornish seafood. Great Sunday roasts too.
139 North St, Southville BS3 1EZ, thespottedcowbristol.com
The Star and Dove
Just a stone’s throw from Victoria Park, the Star and Dove is more than just a very good pub with a brilliant garden and some truly excellent beers, wines and spirits. The dining rooms upstairs focus on British heritage cookery, so expect dishes inspired by historical recipes which taste astonishing and look equally impressive. If you don’t want to go for the full dining experience, there is an equally inspired ‘Tavern’ menu. They also serve breakfast on Saturdays and an outstanding Sunday lunch.
75-78 St Luke’s Rd, Totterdown BS3 4RY, www.staranddove.co.uk
The Steam Crane
These days it can’t be missed thanks to its stunning new nautical paint job, a by-product of this year’s Upfest. The interior is as impactful as the exterior. Comfortable Winchesters are dotted around the generous floor space with quirky trinkets frequently catching the eye of lounging punters. The bar’s rammed full of an ever-changing whisky and craft beer selection, their speciality. If you need to line your stomach, their food offering comes in the shape of top-notch twists on classic pub fare, particularly exciting given the news that food service times are soon to be extended throughout the week. To top it off they have a great ear for music with a stream of talented bands and DJs ensuring the evening crowds leave in good spirits, ready for the next leg of their night out. This end of North Street was somewhat left behind by its loftier Southville section’s development in previous years, but these days it’s arguably one of the coolest drinking spots in Bristol and it’s the Steam Crane that continues to lead the charge.
4-6 North St, Bedminster BS3 1HT, thesteamcrane.co.uk
Small but perfectly formed traditional pub right next to the Lido pool and restaurant. The Victoria always has an excellent selection of Belgian beers carefully chosen by the landlord and the owner of the pub in addition to Dawkins ales and a selection of guest ales. Quiz nights, film nights, crap prize bingo, the Victoria is close to being a perfect local. NB Dawkins’ pubs in Bristol are definitely ones to look out for as is their beer. Proper pubs run properly.
2 Southleigh Rd, Clifton BS82BH