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Bristol pubs: The top-10

Bristol pubs: The top-10

After more than three months of not being able to nip to the pub, we’ll completely forgive you if the first thing you did on July 4 was exactly that.

And with Bristol pubs now throwing open their doors once more, albeit with coronavirus social distancing measures in place, it’s a great time to grab a drink and relax after so long in lockdown.

But with so many great pubs to choose from in Bristol, where do you start?

Here, we’ll round up the 10 best Bristol pubs, bars and sports bars, as well as the top three with gardens, so you can preserve your social distancing and help keep coronavirus at bay.


The best pubs in Bristol

When it comes to great pubs, Bristol is right at the top of the tree – or the top of the pint glass, if you prefer.

Whether you’re looking to sup something cold in Southville, sink a cocktail in Clifton or sip a glass of wine in Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol has something for everyone.


The best pubs in Clifton, Bristol

Clifton has always been a popular area for a pint.

It’s bohemian feel and relaxed atmosphere makes it ideal for summer drinkers looking to while away the hours.

And if you’re spending that amount of time in the pub, you’ll want a view to keep you company…


1 The White Lion

When it comes to those views, few beat the one from the terrace of the White Lion in Clifton.

The stunning Clifton Suspension Bridge and Avon Gorge is quite a sight from high up on the terrace of the White Lion, which also serves traditional pub grub and has a great atmosphere.

On a blistering summer’s day, there aren’t many better spots in the whole of Bristol to enjoy a drink.


2 Quinton House

While Clifton’s pubs are well-known throughout Bristol, there are few ‘hidden’ gems neatly concealed down its less-well-trodden Georgian streets.

Quinton House is one such watering hole.

It’s small, but what it lacks in size it certainly makes up for in pure character.

If you’re after a pool table and noisy games machines, don’t go to Quinton House.

But if you like a pub that hails from an era when pubs were pubs (if that makes sense), this is one place you won’t want to leave in a hurry.


3 The Eldon House

If you like your pubs to have a few stories etched into their walls, The Eldon House is for you.

This cosy little venue on Lower Clifton Hill was once a theatre back in the 1700s, but, according to legend at least, it was forced to close when angry theatre-goers rioted after actors failed to show up for a performance.

With a solid reputation for a great Sunday Roast, The Eldon House is the perfect place to eat away some relaxing weekend hours.


The best sports bars in Bristol

Bristol is something of a hotbed of sport, thanks to Bristol City FC, Bristol Rovers FC and Bristol Rugby Club.

And when Bristolians aren’t watching live sport at Ashton Gate or the Memorial Stadium, they’re more than likely watching on a sports bar’s big screen.


1 King St Brewhouse

With an on-site micro-brewery, open-plan interior, large sports screens and more ales than you’ll know what to do with, King St Brewhouse is heaven for sports lovers.

It’s in a great location, too, just by the river in Old City.


2 Racks Bar & Kitchen

Back to Clifton again, where Racks Bar & Kitchen is the favoured sports bar of choice for Cliftonites.

It’s an old wine cellar, so expect bare brick walls and wrought-iron fixtures and fittings – as well as 12 large flat screen TVs, meaning you’ll always be able to have one eye on the rugby or football while you enjoy a drink and some of Racks’ superb food.


3 Horts

How many pubs have you been to that have a 36-seat cinema room, complete with huge Sky Sports screen and leather armchairs?

None? It might be time for a visit to Horts in Bristol city centre, then.

As well as the sports cinema room, Horts offers great beers, excellent food and a really nice atmosphere.


Best pub food in Bristol

The whole pub experience has unquestionably been made better by our favourite watering holes offering great menus along with amazing beers, ales and spirits.

But with so many gastro pubs to choose from in our great city, where do you start?

Here are our four favourites…


1 The Kensington Arms

If you like your pub food ‘no nonsense’, then the Kensington Arms is well worth a visit.

Affectionately known by locals as ‘The Kenny’, the pub is in a great location close to Redland station and serves up classics like gourmet burgers and locally-caught fish and chips, followed by sticky toffee pudding and white chocolate cheesecake.


2 The Pump House

Close to Spike Island, meaning lovely waterside views, The Pump House takes pub grub up a notch or two.

A holder of two AA rosettes, the venue offers a deli service, with home-made scotch eggs and sandwiches, alongside tasting menus and upscaled pub classics using local ingredients.


3 Pieminister

Not only does Pieminister have a clever name, it also delivers on the pub food front.

The venue has now gone national, but started life in Stokes Croft, Bristol, back in 2003.

The branches in Stokes Croft, Broad Quay and St Nick’s Market do exactly what they say on the tin – serving great meat, vegan and vegetarian pies.


4 The Ox

How does steak and cocktails sound?

If the answer to that question is ‘yes please’, pay a visit to The Ox on Corn Street in the centre of the city.

As well as an array of tasty cocktails, the venue offers amazing cuts of locally-sourced steak alongside punchy sauces and perfectly-cooked triple-cut chips and skin-on fries.


Bristol’s best pub gardens for social distancing

As we continue to adjust to life with coronavirus, the traditional visit to the pub is now one where social distancing very much comes into play.

Of course, the best way to keep your distance from others is to stay outside, which means pub gardens are now more important than they’ve ever been.

Here are three of the best pub gardens in Bristol, where you can enjoy a drink and some food and also maintain your social distance.


The Eastfield Inn

Located in Henleaze, The Eastfield’s biggest and best asset is its huge pub garden.

As well as that Covid-19-friendly outdoor space, the venue offers a good range of beers and a superb menu of pub classics.

All you need now is the British sunshine.



Close to the Clifton Triangle, Channings is a traditional pub with a huge sun-trap garden.

With large tables and plenty of space in between, Channings is perfectly set up for social distancing.



This micro-brewery also has venues in Blackheath, Reading and Cardiff, but its Bristol base is the most popular thanks to a stunning roof terrace.

Not only is the terrace great for catching some rare British rays, it’s also perfect for social distancing.


Further reading…

Now you know everything there is to know about Bristol’s best pubs, why not take a more detailed look at one of Bristol’s most popular areas – Clifton.

Our comprehensive area guide covers everything from property, schools, transport links and, you guessed it, pubs!