Ah Bristol. The largest city in the South West of England, proud home to over 400,000 people, crowned the best city in England to live by the Sunday Times and the world’s biggest manufacturer of hot air balloons…
Us Bristolians have a lot to be proud about when discussing our great city and one thing we’re happy to boast about are the quality pubs and bars we have dotted about the city. Here’s a rundown of some of the best pubs in Bristol: our favourites that with not only the best beer on tap, but the best atmosphere, the best people and often the best food.
A bar that is rarely seen without Butcombe Gold behind the bar, we’re starting with The Spotted Cow! Situated on North Street the pub has a rich heritage dating back to Bedminster’s agricultural past. Winner of the Bristol Lifestyle Awards best pub category in 2017 and a CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide listed pub, the Spotted Cow is a quality, local pub and not to mention their walled beer garden is the perfect little sun trap escape away from the city buzz.
Fancy a pint by the water? Our very own pub The Cottage boasts one of the best locations in Bristol, right on the historic harbour at Baltic Wharf. The original building dates back to 1868 and was used by merchants for storing Baltic timber for the growing number of businesses in the Dock in that period. When the Docks closed in 1975 the building went into decline and eventually became the home for the Harbour Master’s Office. In 1983 it was refurbished and became ”The Cottage”. A must-go venue in the summer where you can bathe in the glorious evening sunlight and enjoy the superb views of Clifton, The Suspension Bridge and of course the wonderful harbourside.
From one harbourside spot to another, The Ostrich brings a whole new meaning to the word ‘watering hole’ with its perfect position on the waterfront. No one is quite sure of its exact opening, but the first mention of the pub have been found in a directory from 1775. The Ostrich has loads of outdoor seating for watching amateur sailors learning new skills on the water or looking out onto the goings-on across Bathurst Lock and the bascule bridge. Another great waterside Butcombe pub for enjoying a pint.
A short jaunt from Bristol’s historic and picturesque Christmas Steps lies the Bristol Yard, a firm favourite for those all important post-work drinks since 1979. Inside you will find a bar stocked with a carefully selected range of craft beers and ciders from Local, National and International brew houses, a fantastic place to come for food, whether it be a quick lunch or a relaxing meal with friends or family, their kitchen is chock full of the finest and freshest ingredients the South West has to offer. However their in-house mixologists really are the stars of the show here, developing a drinks menu to cater for everyone’s tastes, with classic cocktails to their own creations like the jocosely named ‘Caramel Snob’ which has a base of brandy and gin that’s topped up with caramel, cream, maple syrup and sugar syrup. (Our mouths totally aren’t watering right now…)
A short walk down Corn Street leads you to The Hatchet Inn, Bristol’s oldest pub with a varied and colourful history. Dating back to 1606, its name is inspired by the woodsmen of the nearby Clifton Wood, and the pub has been home to all sorts throughout the centuries – cock-fighting rings, bare-knuckle boxing and playing host to famous regulars like the pirate Blackbeard. Swing by for a pint of Butcombe and a bowl of Mac ‘n’ Cheese!
And from Mac ‘n’ Cheese to Bristol’s best carvery, The Bank Tavern is tucked away from the hustle & bustle of the city centre and has stood proud since the 1800’s. Surviving an alarming number of riots, two world wars and a myriad of socio-political battles it’s an independent free house that prides itself on award winning ales and ciders, excellent food and not taking itself too seriously…
Venturing on through St Nicks Market you’ll stumble across The Crown, with it’s doors open for the alternative to the curious to the thirsty, they’re passionate about all things craft and real ale with a gusto for real and rough cider on the side. A pub with a love for all things Rock ‘N’ Roll, a theme that is reflected in their decor, atmosphere, jukebox & special events. They’ve even got a separate late bar and special events venue titled ‘The Trap’ which consistently features new, local craft beers and ciders and in the winter months comforting mulled ciders.
Heading up from the centre of the city, The Bell was widely regarded as somewhat of a Bristol institution, long before Stokes Croft became the city’s most bohemian locale. A classic wood-floored hostelry, This Butcombe pub boasts a supremely eclectic clientele, situated now in the most vibrant, contemporary, cosmopolitan community of Bristol. A range of local art adorns the walls and the toilet graffiti has to be seen to be believed!
Another treasured Stokes Croft venue, The Canteen started out as a café/bar and has now turned into a melting pot of art, great beer, yummy food, live music and culture which always equates to a good time! They pride themselves in being accessible, affordable and open to all, they’ve even been awarded the Sustainable Restaurant Associations highest rating of three stars for their commitment to local and ethical suppliers and for the care of people and the planet!
If you’re after a truly rustic, country pub feel then it’s got to be the Dark Horse. Situated on Redfield’s Church Road, it’s a pub with a true passion for real ale and with an extensive collection of traditional local farmhouse cider and a rotating line of local craft beer, you’re guaranteed to find your new favourite pint there in no time.
A legendary Bristol Freehouse, a cask beer mecca and the life and soul of Westbury – On – Trym. The Prince of Wales is without a doubt one of the most charismatic and character filled Pubs in Bristol and (perhaps) the best place to watch the rugby. Complete with a terrific beer garden, why not have a bash at a game of Boules come summer time?
Slightly further afield, The Pelican or The Pelly, as it’s fondly referred to by locals, is set in the centre of Chew Magna in the beautiful Somerset countryside still recognised as a part of Bristol. This well loved pub boasts a top notch food offering which will keep you enticed through every course. With a fabulous wine list and even better selection of Butcombe beers on the bar, there’s something to tickle even the most refined taste buds. Come rain or shine, you can choose from cosy log fires or our stunning sun trap to while away your hours with friends and loved one.
Like The Pelly, The Langford Inn is positioned just outside of Bristol in the pretty village of Langford. Well worth the journey out of the city, upon walking in you will be met by a warm and welcoming atmosphere with the pub still retaining many of it’s original features including oak beams and displays of local memorabilia, an impressive range of real ales and a menu of fine wines to compliment any meal, a traditional British pub through and through.
And finally the Ring O Bells… An archetypal village green pub with sensational views idyllically located betwixt the Mendip Hills and the beautiful Chew Valley (the Lake District of Somerset!) just outside the commotion of the city. Landlords Ian and Jo are always happy to welcome drinkers, diners, families, walkers, cyclists and anyone else into the pub!
Now you know our favourite jaunts in and around the home city of Butcombe Brewing Co, pub crawl anyone?