I love Bristol. And, like Manchester, it gets better each year. More layers of street art, more new bars and cheap eats, more previously undiscovered little gems.
A joy for Corbynistas and unbelievers (says Mrs RM) alike.
Not quite great enough to live there (rubbish football), but good enough to cough up for a central Premier Inn for 3 nights. Thankfully at half the price it would have been when the balloons arrived.
For ease of reference, here are the key locations in Bristol. Boats, cat pubs, and Gasheads.
Our Premier Inn adjoins the famous Bear Pit, which brings the cutting-edge very close to the main shopping area in a way you’d never see in Cambridge.
Later we would succumb to the burrito bus in the underpass.
But on our first night, I asked our teenagers to choose somewhere close by for tea, mindful of Mrs RM ongoing hobbling (Bristol is very hilly).
It’s interesting seeing how two teenagers respond to Bristol. Having walked round Elephant & Castle, Hackney and east Berlin for pub ticks, it looks quite sanitised to me.
But James and Matthew were clearly a bit unnerved by some of the subterranean Chinese cafes on our doorstep that appealed to me, and rejected the pizzas of the Full Moon, before eventually plumping for Lebanese in Biblos in Stokes Croft.
Stokes Croft is the entertainingly mixed bit of the A38 that connects the centre to St Pauls, which itself has had a few lively pubs in the Guide over the years. Especially lively on the August Bank Holidays I tend to visit, anyway.
With enormous portions of jerk chicken, Lebanese sausage and baba ganoush, this was an inspired choice, particularly as it was a few yards south of one of my remaining GBG ticks.
The Canteen (top) really does look like a bit of squatterville from the outside, and Mrs RM shot me one of those “Are you mad ?” looks as I ushered her in. I get a lot of those.
Mrs RM lived in Acton, Harlesden and Royal Tunbridge Wells in her teens, so she’s oddly more used to edgy places than me.
A trip to the Gents confirmed how safe it was.
My photos convinced Mrs RM to cross her legs.
Odd place, very Bristol, but we took to it, once our ancient eyes adapted to the dark and our ears to the pumping reggae.
No posing tables here, Mudge ! And OS maps on the table, always a winner.
Very “Bethnal Green Working Mens Club”, the tables set out for relaxed communal drinking and what looked like a stream of live music.
Impressed to see they had Butcombe on, I inexplicably plumped for the Arbor (NBSS 3.5) on the basis I liked the pump clip. Wiper and True,of course, for Mrs “Evil Keg” RM.
The barman instinctively handed me the contactless pad at the same time he said “£6.10 please“. Clearly cash is dead here.
Beer in GBG Bristol is very rarely bad, but rarely stellar either. You’d find all my NBSS marks over the last decade between 3 and 4. That seems OK to me.
And, despite being double the average age here, we both loved the Canteen, and only two teenagers who needed the WiFi code made us hurry back to the Bear Pit.
In their own words, it’s proper Rumpy.
The Hamilton House complex is seemingly under threat; yet another example of the successful development of scruffy areas rendering them prey to the housing development that then kills what made the area desirable in the first place.