It was two weeks ago I sampled the Bass from the jug in the Star, during which time you’ve had 30 new posts (oh !), and I still can’t get the magical taste of flat Bass out of my head.

I’m back in Bristol tomorrow and highly tempted to change travel plans (from Newport), which surely means it deserves its own NBSS score.

Old Green tree

Yes, this is the photo taken last time
Sign NOT made in a factory in Mansfield

I’d been here a couple of times a decade or so ago, and enjoyed the music and the Bass, but not THAT much.  On a Thursday lunchtime, like the OGT, it was quite wonderful.  Perhaps it’s the spirit of the Christmas markets rubbing off ?

Great entrance
Bass clock ahoy

Paul commandeered the tables, where we met up with a mate of Jon*, a local from up the hill.  He was on the Bellringer; what did he know about the Bass ?

Oh wow !

“Three pints of Bass please.  Will you, er, pour them from the jug ?”

Our expert barmaid knew exactly what I meant (top), and poured some perfect pints via handpump and glass jug.  I’ll let you beer bores debate the pointlessness or otherwise of this theatre.

See how the pint clears in the glass (I still made sure I had the third one poured, mind).

Does anything look better ?  (bar a busy public bar at the Boar’s Head)

The only way you can improve on flat Bass is with scratchings, of course. The only food seemed to be cheese and onion cobs, as you’d expect.

Be very jealous

It was pure magic, a Bass for the ages (NBSS 4.5).  As good as the Dead Poets or Black Lion, anyway.

Bass, or course

Inspired by the example of Her Majesty, I bought a second pint, as good as the first.  Look how well it goes against the emergency Primark bag, supplied by Jon’s better half and containing an emergency jumper.  There’s a whole Half Man Half Biscuit song in there somewhere.

My notes tail off after “Scratching cheddar”, “Autovac drip trays” and “Man explaining Hogarth to bewildered barmaid”, which is more M.E. Smith.

Rare flat Bass/Primark juxtaposition

At 2pm the place had a quiet buzz, probably attributable to four pints in two hours, and I set off for some exploration before last orders.

Real fire this time
Is there a better looking pub room ?

At the bar, a nice man from the pub attempted to engage me in sensible conversation. I’m sorry if he failed.

Real fire


Just pub heaven, and straight into my Top 10, if such a thing exists. I even bought the T-Shirt.



*My note say “Andrew weird” – I hope that wasn’t his actual name.



  1. There weren’t any men even older than us sitting in the “Is there a better looking pub room ?” room to suggest it but I think that bench, upholstered in a Bass red of course, is known as Death Row.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Young Martin – may I be so bold as to ask you to include your top 5 Bristol pubs for a crawl in your next piece ?
    The oldest fruit of my loins is spending a year there trying to upgrade his 2:2 to a 2:1 so he can do a Masters at Bristol Uni and I hope to visit him at his student flat/squalid hole in the new year.
    It would be nice to take him on a crawl of proper pubs to show him the old man still has it.
    Which he hasn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. P P-T,
      if I can offer my top 5 Bristol pubs for a crawl they are ;
      Highbury Vaults
      King William Ale House
      Kings Head
      Nova Scotia
      I checked them all out the week before last – and the Kings Head counts as two pubs as I had two pints on both my visits there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Mudge.
        I shall start planning pronto.
        I hope one of them has a really filthy scrumpy on sale.
        You know how you always crave a bacon sarnie with a hangover ? I’m the same with scrumpy every time I drive over the Severn Bridge and turn right for the West Country.
        Or if I’m training it down Taunton station raises the same expectations.


      2. P P-T,
        I think I saw really filthy scrumpy on sale in the Nova Scotia.
        I suppose that I could also recommend t’Old Fish Market and the Knights Templar but ONLY mid morning while waiting for the proper pubs to open.


      3. I’ve searched high and low for a good cider,any cider really,in a box that I can import into Ireland for Christmas.
        Several sites point out problems with excise but rather gives the lie about the EU* being all about the free movement of goods.

        *Don’t even go there Pie-Tin.You know who you’ll incite ….


      1. I’m a big fan of Breton cider.
        The real problem is availability and price.
        There is the beginnings of craft cider scene in Ireland but sadly it seems to imitate the mass market Bulmers faux cider in sweetness and price.
        €6 and upwards for a smallish bottle is often the going rate.


      1. Cheers RM -I did look on their site yesterday but it was down for some reason.
        I have forward this on to Desmond ( his new nickname after the 2:2 ) for research purposes.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Wes,
      I had read about the snuff before I went but with all the excitement about the Bass I forgot about it while I was there.
      Maybe next time.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes Martin, flat Bass is quite memorable, and your description chimes in with what would be my own.

    It was my staple during the 1970s and 1980s, at one of my favourite pubs, the Chequers, at Stanton-By-Dale, where it was sold on stillage. The landlord had a dimpled half-pint pot, which he kept topped up with it, in turn to keep himself in like manner.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was one of the would-be customers who said that, as I read it Paul, but I’ve read many, far sillier things there, so your point stands 😉


    1. Must be said, the best Bass I ever had was in my home-brewing days, back in the eighties. I asked the manager of our village local if he would let me have a bottle of the yeasty dregs next time a barrel was finished, to act as a yeast starter. A couple of days later I was the proud owner of a seriously murky 2-litre lemonade bottleful, pending a brew day. Well by the time I got round to it, the top two-thirds was beautifully clear and decant-worthy into a pint glass to sup as I mashed. Flat at the proverbial but tasted fabulous. Never had anything like it since.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Clive,
        Con the pub manager into thinking that you need the yeast from EVERY cask he sells.
        Just one cask finishing every day will give you fourteen pints that “tasted fabulous” each week, and all for free.


      2. Regrettably, Paul, that was then and this is (4+ changes of management later) now. Doom Bar & Pride is the choice most of the time, with an infrequent but very welcome (Bootleg Fools Gold, last time) guest. Have to concede that it’s kept & served very well, though, just a little underwhelming.


  4. Ha ha, you’ll all be going on holiday to Beamish and Criche Tramway to experience life as it was when things weren’t better. Pulling ale through a beer engine then decanting into a jug and pouring it into glasses. What ever next? Presumably you all made Mrs Benger swear that the emergency jumper can only be washed in a Dolly Tub with homemade soap. I bet you still peel potatoes with your metal knives, boil them for twenty of your minutes then smash them all to bits. Clearly a most primitive people.

    Pub looks nice though.

    Oh and remember, you don’t score NBSS on how much you like a beer, a proper beer connoisseur should be able to score highly a beer they do not personally favour, or conversely give a low score to one of their favourites in poor condition.


  5. I know it is best to get the third when pulled from the cask, but when it is pulled into a jug and then poured, won’t all three be pretty much the same? Just wondering.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Top pubs in Bristol? King’s Head, King William Alehouse and Highbury Vaults definitely. Cornubia (near King’s Head), Volunteer (back of Cabot Circus, not the Naval Volunteer on King St), if you like flat Bass the Myrtle Tree and if you like cats (as Mudgie said) the Bag of Nails (these two are round the corner from each other), the Merchants Arms (not far away) and out on a limb, the Post Office Tavern,Westbury on Trym (No. 1 bus from the Centre) for more Bass in the leafy suburbs.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. And for filthy cider, try the Orchard (decent ale too). Other filthy cider houses are available and their names and addresses may be obtained in a plain brown envelope on payment of a pint of Lerwick IPA in the Scalloway Hotel, Shetland, or just by asking, really.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Bill,
      Your mention of the Post Office Tavern, which I don’t know, reminds me of the dozen times I stayed in Bristol from 1984 to 1992 and me often using the Cattle Market Tavern, a right proper pub in which other customers were often outnumbered by postal workers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, the Cattle Market was a cracking little Wadworths pub, full of posties from the sorting office practically next door. Then the sorting office closed and the pub died on its arse. Closed for years now and possibly now demolished. Boo.


      2. The Post Office Tavern (aka POT) in Westbury on Trym has some tenuous historical connection with the postal service but is now a comfortable suburban local serving Bass from the barrel, Butcombe, Courage Best, Doom and A.N.Other. Good food (pub not gastro) at reasonable prices. Bench seating! (Apart from the Seat of Death which they got rid of a few years ago. It was the comfiest seat in the pub but too many people who habitually sat there died, so everyone started to avoid it.)


  7. “Man explaining Hogarth to bewildered barmaid” –I love this so much! Only in a pub.

    So is flat Bass the result of beer that once had carbonation but has been allowed to go flat, or does it come flat straight from the brewery? You’ve got me curious to try it. To think, I was in Bath in 1993 but lacked the sense to go find that pub!


    1. I actually don’t know, Mark ! Such difficult questions, I guessed it was just Bass served without a sparkler, poured from the barrel or allowed to, er, go flat in the jug. I fear someone will give us the answer.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. “Perhaps it’s the spirit of the Christmas markets rubbing off ?”

    Are you turning to the dark side?

    “Bass clock ahoy”

    Wait, that’s just the same photo as above only three steps closer. 😉

    “See how the pint clears in the glass”

    Yes but, the lacings will be the true test. 🙂

    “probably attributable to four pints in two hours, ”

    And not much in the way of food.

    “Just pub heaven, and straight into my Top 10, if such a thing exists. ”

    Oh they exist; and we strive to find them as, in a way, that’s what life is all about.


    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s