Bill asked me for a piece on Bristol. I never say no to requests, though to be honest I’ve no real appetite for raking over old posts. But it’s Bristol !

So here’s my highlights from 4 years of Brizzle blogging, which frankly could have been out of date even before last Friday.


2 hours 54 mins says Bing Maps, that’s the quickest it’s ever been. Shame I won’t be going for a while, and shame they’ve banned diesel vehicles too.

In happier times I’d have been there about now, finishing off Gloucester with my lovely but now chronically underused pinkie.


The 3 Guide ticks I need are a good cross-section of Brizzle GBG entries; traditional local, modern craft bar, micropub.

The other good thing is they’re spread evenly around the inner suburbs. I reckon it’ll take me 3 hours to walk from Temple Meads to those three and back.

Battered Philip Navigator markings being transferred to new copy donated by Mudgie

And you should walk, the hilly streets will do you good.

And you’ll see the best of the street art.


Kids today

And you’ll find great ethnic food.

Big Bao Big Boy – £6

And there’s definitely music even I haven’t heard of.

Actual band names

And the pubs ? Hundreds of them, or there were, till last week.

“Being picky, the Beer Guide pubs can seem dominated by students” I wrote in 2016.

Expensive craft on scary beer boards

And “I’ve had the odd bit of average beer in places with far too many handpumps.”

I know my place. Boak & Bailey are your port of call for Bristol knowledge, as they live there and have been visiting every pub in an Alan Winfield style. They can even guide you to flat Bass, which makes them heroes.

5 flavours of Courage Best

But these were the pubs that impressed me.


Lime Kiln

Pint of Sunshine is what you need

Proper seats, waving sooty charity box, friendly staff, strong beer.
Bag o’ Nails

An acquired taste

Err, cats. And more cats. and great beer. And Bass at the Myrtle Tree next door.


Proper local. Proper seating. Tiny Rebel. Upmarket Brizzle.
The Seven Stars


Unfussy, outside drinking, top beer, next door to the Fleece.


The Hillgrove

Hillgrove Porter Stores

Kings Arms, Kingswood



Draper’s (see Boak & Bailey)

Beware the Rovers fans

Snuffy Jack’s, Fishponds

Dog on the loose
Posh loos

Great city, and of course you can always get the train to Bath nd drink Bass in the Star if you’re bored.

40 thoughts on “BRISTOL. FOR BILL.

  1. MBGA. Making Blogging Great Again. These are really wonderful to read. Love them. How about one on a city that nobody could possibly expect? I don’t mean Maidenhead. Surprise us and really MBGA.


      1. Tobacco Factory is a big, post-industrial barn with excellent beer from Bristol Beer Factory and others plus an array of evil keg. Coronation is indeed a Proper Pub, used to be owned by/tied to Hop Back.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah, Smiles! Started at the back of Bell’s Diner, a famous Bristol restaurant, sadly no longer with us. Expanded a bit and made superb beer for many years. Smiles Best was a go-to beer. Got taken over by accountants, farmed out the brewing, beer quality plummeted. By the end, you literally couldn’t give the stuff away. (I saw this in the Cornubia, they were offering free pints and the punters, myself included, were choosing to pay full whack for something else) They had a lovely brewery tap which won a CAMRA award for best new pub but they ended up trashing it, although I think Luke from the Bag of Nails managed to get hold of the beautiful slate bar top.


      3. Bill,
        It’s the Highbury Vaults I remember best for Smiles beer during the 1980s.
        I had a pint there the year before last.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Stafford Mudgie, the Highbury was the first pub Smiles bought. They fetched up with a few, before having to sell all but their Brewery Tap to Young’s. The Highbury is still a Young’s pub as far as I know.


  2. You do make me yearn for the trip to Bristol we haven’t yet had this season and may never do. It is a wonderful city, albeit built on the profits of the slave trade which a man from ‘Ull stopped. At least we have Rovers next season.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was fortunate to get to Bristol the last two years – including two nights there in November ’18 – and it’s nice that, Tim’s one-size-fits-all venues excepted, none of the pubs I used had got round to fitting sparklers, so proper beer properly served.
    As cats are the antidote you’ll be safe having gone to the Bag of Nails.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Bill,
        Yes, and I’ve always thought it unfortunate that some drinkers describe beer served NOT through a sparkler as “flat” when it’s actually much livelier than beer that’s had a sparkler thrash the condition out of it.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Best example of that was when the Petersgate Tap in Stockport had Bass on 2 pumps, with and without tight head.

        Both were very good. The “flat” version was a top 10 Bass.

        Some folk don’t get flat Bass at all.


  4. You really make Bristol appealing to visit. We keep talking about going there. Some day we will accomplish it.

    We were pleased as punch to play our part in the transfer of ownership of the Philip’s Navigator. One of us was always awake to be sure nothing happened to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Believe me, your Aygo is a step or two above that car! If parked in an uphill direction, the seat belts would not be functional. Aygo 1, Volvo 0.


      1. What, London stinks like a pet shop ?
        ( I only saw a pub cat in the Seven Stars, Carey Street at the beginning of this month )

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes thats right, in fact there were two black ones both asleep on a couple of chairs, I have photos but unable to put on here for whatever reason, I’ll stick them on the B&P Forum.


      1. Yes, asleep, I think I vaguely remember them now.
        Why do cats sleep even more than me ?


      2. Citra,
        Yes, I certainly do recognise them now I’ve seen your pictures on the Beer and Pubs Forum.
        I’m not quite “up half the night” but my normal hours of sleep are 9pm to 1am and 2am to 6am – and I’m quite likely to have a nap during the day.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Maybe a bit like me having a proper black coffee early each morning ?

        I’ve just realised that during the last two years I’ve drunk 17½ pints in Bristol pubs which is 5½ more than my 12 in pubs across the potteries. I’m not sure if that says more about Bristol or Stoke.


    1. Citra,
      No, with drinking in moderation I don’t think I’ve ever been caught having a nap in a pub, and it’s not likely to happen this year, but there’s a first for everything, like being refused a pint early last November.
      And thankfully my nap’s not likely to be slumped over a steering wheel given how rarely I drive. .

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I didn’t say it explicitly in the post, but the beer quality in Wolves the last couple of years was as good as anywhere (i.e. Manchester and Cambridge), though it’s a shame the Banks’s sample room isn’t open to the public 😉


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