And so to my final GBG pub in Gloucestershire.  103 Guide entries, 11 newbies this year, so actually not a lot of churn when you consider that tally includes Bristol, where you expect at least 11 new craft/tap/micros annually.

I’d timed my trip to Snuffy Jacks to coincide with a rare Sharon Van Etten gig and less rare Vietnamese takeaway in the city centre, but really it was the chance to explore Fishponds that was the big draw.

Loads of places you’ve never heard of there

I’ve been enjoying Boak & Bailey‘s tour of all the Brizzle pubs, and they’ve now done even more than Duncan will have managed over the decades (and this was my 73rd).

Very few in the North-East quadrant of the city, oddly, and nothing in Mangotsfield yet.

Fishponds has a claimed population of 37,575, which is an even greater number than the number of microbars in Bristol.

It feels a bit like the Heatons, comfortable Victoriana with pleasing modern bars but lacking the grit a mile or two down the line.  I know you like the way I consign a place to its fate based on a 5 minute walk.

Sunset over Fishponds

I wondered why this impressive looking Spoons hadn’t made the Guide yet.

Typical Tim emporium

Till I crossed the road and realised it was a Stonegate. They do great copies of SPoons, don’t they ?  The actual Spoons is an old cinema.

Snuffy Jacks looks like every other micro pub you’ve ever been in (307 and rising in my case).

At least there’s a sign of sorts outside

I always get a little scared by compact micros like Snuffy, terrified I’m going to trip over a child or a dog off its lead or a pashmina.

Hazard warning

But I survived the trip to the bar, and couldn’t have had a better welcome, to be fair. Even though I was outed as a “CAMRA” and offered discount.  How do they know ?


The Herne-prescribed £3 a pint has long gone (except in Wigan), but £3.60 for a superbly flat pint of Plain (NBSS 4) Brizzle bargain.

One of my top Bristol pints

It felt like a community local rather than a beer destination, rather like those new bars opened up in Canton.  How Fishponds would react to comparison with west Cardiff is hard to tell.

The highlight is the functional loo.  Look away now, Pauline.

Too late

A great way to finish a county.

An hour later, a Google search for “noodles” revealed Big Bao, which I searched for in vain for ten minutes before realising it was a kiosk in the centre of the pedestrianised shopping street.

Great Vietnamese food for £6, and they laughed at my pronunciation of “Big Bao Big Boy”.


Sharon Van Etten had fun with pronunciation of SWX, a modern club-like basement venue that’s too narrow and hence lacks the greatness of Brudenell Social Club or the Fleece.   The beer range was Becks Vier, Thatchers and Aspalls, and they played OMD between sets.  Make of that what you will.

Big Jeff spotted

Sharon has the songs, but I haven’t warmed to the more theatrical set and being squashed between swaying couples who have jumped on the SVE bandwagon made for an unhappy experience.

Sample overheard line   In my view Astral Weeks is a ******* classic




  1. It’s interesting that you mention Canton, Martin. It has about the widest range of venue styles in such a small area that I’ve ever known, I think, from the vast Chapter complex, through the recently-gentrified, such as the Lansdowne, the Proper Pubs, like the little Brain’s Butcher’s Arms, the odd micro like St Canna’s, and a Spoon’s to boot. I haven’t visited those flashy new bars yet either. Mrs E thinks that the density of these pubs stems from the historical siting of a cattle market there. There are about eight, just within a hundred yards of the crossroads, and mostly long-established. There doesn’t seem to be much rivalry with Bristol that I’ve noticed though, not that that means a deal.


    1. Now you list them I see the diversity of places in Cardiff. I’m not sure the variety of customers is quite as great though. And beer quality was average as younger drinkers switch to posh Lager and Ciders.


  2. Do you recall which OMD tracks they played? I was a fairly devoted fan of theirs in the early 80s but didn’t stick with them as the decade wore on.

    I wonder if these pubs don’t ask “are you a CAMRA member” to all men of a certain age, i.e. our age! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s the CAMRA T-shirt that reads “Give me a discount or you’re getting kicked out the Beer Guide next year”.

      The OMD track was “If You Leave”, as local Bristol bylaws dictate no music older than 1986. You might recall that from the Wondrous “Pretty In Pink” soundtrack.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I had definitely jumped off the OMD train by that point. Still don’t get the appeal of that particular song– but hey, every one of those bands longed for a big mainstream hit, I won’t begrudge them having achieved it!

        Liked by 1 person

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