Even London has difficulty matching Bristol when it comes to nightlife. Bristol may be famous as a student town, but there’s a whole lot more to it than cheap shots and £1-a-pint nights. We’ve surveyed the best of the best and come up with our top tips for a tipple during your stay in Bristol. <o:p></o:p>
Whether you’re after creative cocktails, craft ales from local breweries or some fine West Country cider, we’ve got you covered with our list of the finest pubs and bars in Bristol.<o:p></o:p>
You’re in the West Country so you’d better get some cider into you. There is no finer place to do so than Bristol’s famous cider barge, The Apple. The unmistakable farmyard smell of fermented apples leads eager scrumpy drinkers to this converted two-floor Dutch barge moored in Welsh Back, and none leave disappointed. The range of craft ciders is impressive, but only the strong of heart (and constitution) brave Old Bristolian, an 8.4% scrumpy that has the consistency of mead and is so potent, it only comes in half pints. Grab a glass and drink it slowly on a bench on the cobbled pier and worry about the headache later. Those who’d rather drink something a bit lighter can choose from apple, pear, raspberry or strawberry; still or sparkling; dry, medium or sweet.<o:p></o:p>
Hausbar is the award-winning brainchild of the rather wonderfully named Aurelius Braunbarth, whose love of flavour and entertaining blossomed during a childhood spent at his father’s Michelin-starred restaurant in Germany. This was followed by a career in Munich and Berlin’s best bars, all resulting in a well-honed craft that has now been bestowed on lucky Bristolians. The décor is suitably pre-war Berlin, the staff knowledgeable and attentive, the aura relaxed and the cocktails a step above. It’ll take a little bit of finding – up a hill in Clifton, underneath a now-closed Indian restaurant – but the effort is worth it.<o:p></o:p>
Small Bar is backed by a wealth of craft beer experience. Its owner Bruce Gray managed the very first Brewdog pub in Scotland, before venturing south to Bristol and opening this elegantly dishevelled monument to elite brews. You won’t find any commercial breweries here. Instead, its 31 taps are dedicated mostly to local breweries from Wiper and True to Bristol Beer Factory, with guest appearances from the best of the rest from around the UK. A word of warning, most of the beers and ales under the ‘Crazy S***’ section of the menu will blow your head off. Approach with caution.<o:p></o:p>
Taking cues from Prohibition-era speakeasies, it would seem that any cocktail bar worth the salt around the rim of its margaritas has to be pretty damn hard to find. Hyde & Co is especially tricky, which is a sign of just how good it is. This low-lit den of classy concoctions is so indebted to the speakeasies that littered America in Prohibition times, you half expect the piano in the corner to strike up Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer and your drink to be interrupted by Elliott Ness crashing through the door. The drinks are creative takes on old-timey ingredients, such as the cobweb-banishing Café Noir, a heady mix of rum, coffee liqueur, spices, bitters and absinthe.<o:p></o:p>
First things first, the unusual name refers to the Welsh fishing village of Llandogo and the name for a flat-bottomed barge, a ‘trow’. The Trow is probably Bristol’s most famous pub, and reputed to have played a part in two hugely important works of fiction. Not only is it said to have been the inspiration for the Admiral Benbow Inn in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, it’s also supposedly where Daniel Defoe met Alexander Selkirk, the man who inspired Robinson Crusoe. If you’re looking for an old-fashioned boozer, they don’t come any more old-fashioned than a pub with a gloriously authentic Tudor front that dates back to 1664. It’s a very popular spot, and when the weather’s fine the crowds spill out onto the cobblestones of King Street, where there’s plenty of outdoor seating.
Our Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel is in a prime location on Broad Street in the city centre<o:p></o:p>