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