Bristol City Guide
All the coolest spots in one of our favourite beer cities
Saturday 18 December 2021
This article is from
Brewing the Future
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Pubs & bars:
SMALL BAR | 31 King St, Bristol BS1 4DZ
Run by local brewery Left Handed Giant, Small Bar might look small when you first walk in, but it has a TARDIS sort of vibe. After every corner you turn there seems to be more seating, and they manage to fit in over 30 taps at the bar, pouring beer from all over the world - Small Bar’s name is not an indication of venue size, but of the size of the independent breweries showcased. The rustic decor offers a cosy environment, and the bar also serves up some of the best fried chicken in the city courtesy of Wing’s Diner, so no wonder it’s everyone’s first choice for beer in the city.
LEFT HANDED GIANT BREWPUB | Hawkins Ln, Redcliffe, Finzels BS1 6EU
One of my favourite places to sink a few beers with friends in the city, Left Handed Giant brewery’s city centre brewpub is an impressive venue - spanning three floors and an outdoor terrace, this is the kind of bar in which you’ll not want to leave once you’ve found a seat. There’s a vast selection of brewpub specials, LHG brewery brews and guest beers on keg and cask, a gaming lounge on the top floor featuring dart boards and pool tables, and a drool-worthy menu of pizzas made in a wood fired oven manned by Mission Pizza. Book a table and spend the evening, you won’t regret it.
THE OLD BOOKSHOP | 65 North St, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 1ES
With 10 draught lines, two cask lines and a carefully curated bottle list, all showcasing European beer with a focus on German and Belgian offerings, this is one stop on your Bristol pub crawl you are not going to want to miss. Re-opened in August under new management from beer lovers Laura and Neil, the vibe here is cosy and eclectic, with the walls adorned with prints and murals from local artists; plus, Laura and Neil are vegan, so everything served here is vegan-friendly, including the mezze-style small plates from local food pop-up Hummusapiens.
ZERODEGREES | 53 Colston St, Bristol BS1 5BA
Set in an old tram shed on Colston Street, in the heart of the city centre, lies one of the coolest bars in Bristol - it even won an Architectural Design Award. It has its own microbrewery with visible steel tanks, in which they brew an eclectic mix of traditional and modern beers, which you can drink alongside something from their fantastic and extensive food menu. If that weren’t enough, there are also three balconies with phenomenal views, and a dining terrace and garden, so it’s the perfect spot for a few pints in the sun.
GRAIN BARGE | Hotwell Rd, Bristol BS8 4RU
Yes, as its name suggests, this is a pub on a barge. Headed up by the guys at Bristol Beer Factory, this quirky spot is perfect for a relaxed evening with friends. It offers local, seasonal produce to eat, and beers from all around the West Country, with beautiful views over the harbour and towards the iconic SS Great Britain. Grab a pint and get settled on their terrace for a slightly different way of spending an afternoon day-drinking.
WIPER AND TRUE | 2-8 York St, St Werburgh's, Bristol BS2 9XT
Famous the country over for its perfectly-balanced and refined beers and its iconic label designs, Wiper and True began as small team of nomadic brewers travelling all over the country; since 2014, though, they reside in St Werburghs where the team focuses on its core range and seasonal brews - and there’s also its Barrel Store barrel-ageing facility, where the focus is primarily on mixed-fermentation and wild yeasted beers. Its taproom is a firm favourite among Bristolians for weekend drinks too, and there are plans for expansion, with a big new site in the works. Look out for news in the coming months.
LOST AND GROUNDED | 91 Whitby Rd, Brislington, Bristol BS4 4AR
Founded on a love for European brewing styles, Lost and Grounded specialises in German and Belgian beers, and has some of the most gorgeous beer labels in the business. Need I go on? We’re all fans of its Keller Pils and Running with Scepters IPL, right? Pop by the brewery to have a look at its state of the art brew kit, grab a couple of schooners from the taproom if you’re there on a weekend, and stock up on cans to drink at home.
NEWTOWN PARK | Unit 9, Wadehurst IP, St Philips Rd, Bristol BS2 0JE
While most people would be put off starting a brewery during a global pandemic, the group of friends behind Newtown Park were not. An opportunity to build a brewery which would epitomise the team’s vision of providing excellent food, drink, & good times came along in November 2020, so husband-and-wife team Lara Light-McKelvaney and Michael McKelvaney joined forces with their Italian brewer friend Virginia Casadio to make their dreams come true. With an ever-expanding range of modern beers and a cool taproom, I see bright things in Newtown Park’s future.
LEFT HANDED GIANT | Wadehurst IP, Unit 3 St Philips Rd, Bristol BS2 0JE
Renowned for its contemporary and progressive beers, adorned with cool and eccentric can labels, Left Handed Giant has been making waves in the south-west England craft beer scene since it found its premises in 2015. And with a selection of delicious brews ranging from hazy DIPAs to classic West Coast IPAs to barrel-aged stouts to fruited goses, it’s no wonder why. The brewery and taproom is situated right in the city centre, so head along for a brewery tour followed by some tasty beers.
CASAMIA | 8 The General, Lower Guinea St, Bristol BS1 6FU
This Michelin-starred family-run British restaurant has been voted one of the best in the UK, thanks to the exciting tasting menu of creative seasonal dishes, served in cosy modern surroundings. It is a very exclusive dining experience, with less than 10 tables, and the restaurant has an open plan kitchen so you can watch the chefs hard at work. It’s on the pricier end of the scale, but well worth it.
SOUK KITCHEN | 277 North St, Southville, Bristol BS3 1JP, 59 Apsley Rd, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2SW
Souk Kitchen serves up very reasonably priced Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, including a fantastic range of mezze dishes, brunch, lunch and main meal options. Head to either of their two locations - one on North Street and one in Clifton - for lively, vibrant food in lively, vibrant surroundings. Perfect.
FLOUR & ASH | 50 Whiteladies Rd, Clifton, Bristol BS8 2NH
Flour & Ash is a pizza joint serving award-winning sourdough pizzas with a premium spin on classic toppings (e.g. ox cheek and red wine ragu on a white base, or roasted aubergine, garlic, pomegranate and tahini - yum). The menu also includes some tasty small plates, main courses, house-made soft serve ice cream, cocktails, good wine, and craft beers, so there’s really something for everyone here - the ideal place to go with a diverse group of people.
EAT YOUR GREENS | 156 Wells Rd, Totterdown, Bristol BS4 2AG
Please, for the love of god, go and eat here even if you’re not vegan. Beautifully-presented food made entirely from scratch using local and seasonal produce, served on Fridays and Saturdays during their Brunch and Supper clubs, with Sundays designated as Roast Day. How wholesome is that? FYI, it’s a fairly small cafe, so book in advance.
What to do in Bristol:
CLIFTON SUSPENSION BRIDGE
This world-famous bridge joins the Clifton area of Bristol up with Leigh Woods in North Somerset. The non-profit Trust that takes care of the bridge offers free guided tours and runs a visitor centre, but if you’re feeling lazy you can grab a pint and sit on the terrace of the White Lion pub and enjoy the panoramic views of the bridge, its towers, the Avon, and the rolling hills of Somerset.
Bristol is renowned the world over for its street art, not only because of elusive graffiti artist Banksy - it’s also home to Europe’s biggest street art festival, Upfest. There are several street art walking tours in operation across the city, and there’s even an app which will help you follow the trail of Banksy artworks. However, it’s difficult to have a wander around Bristol (especially in Bedminster) and not see a unique piece of street art, so if you follow your feet you’ll find something exciting around pretty much every corner.
HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE
As well as being home to Europe’s “largest annual meeting of hot air balloons”, there are also several companies which offer hot air balloon rides above the city. What better way to see Somerset’s landmarks and enjoy the gorgeous scenery? Take off from Ashton Court and float above the South West in a one-of-a-kind sightseeing experience.
Nestled within the streets of Clifton, this open-air heated Victorian swimming pool opened in the mid 1800s. It was originally a community swimming bath, and was reopened around 10 years ago as an exclusive ‘urban retreat’, consisting of a pool, spa and restaurant. Book early to avoid disappointment - both the glass-fronted restaurant and the serene pool are very popular with locals, since it’s such a unique way of spending the afternoon.
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