Pubs across Bristol with the luxury of outside seating were able to open after months of closure on April 12, but it was a different story for those without.
With the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown only allowing hospitality venues to resume serving people outdoors at Step 2, those with no space for al fresco areas have had to wait patiently until their turn.
And the wait is finally over this week as Step 3 of the roadmap, which began on Monday, permits venues to resume serving customers indoors.
This is not only good news for business owners with no outdoor seating areas, but also for those whose trade has been heavily dependent on the weather over the past month.
Here are 10 brilliant pubs across the city that are opening for the first time in months this week.
They’ll be needing plenty of support, so be sure to pop in for a pint or two if you can.
The Elmer’s Arms opened in July 2018 and has earned glowing reviews from people of all ages for its selection of beers, atmosphere and live music nights.
In 2020 the bar raised more than £4,000 from over 100 supporters in a crowdfunding campaign to boost its chances of survival.
Its landlord spoke out about how difficult it was watching other venues open in April while his stayed shut, so he will be delighted to finally join them this week.
53 Old Market St, Bristol BS2 0ER
Old Market Assembly
Popular Old Market haunt the Old Market Assembly, loved for its cracking beer selection and live music nights, also reopens this week.
The venue will be reopening on Thursday, May 20.
A bar spokesperson said: “We are so happy to be able to throw open our doors and welcome you all back in from Thursday at 4pm.”
25 West St, Bristol BS2 0DF
The Shakespeare Tavern
One of the last remaining original Georgian buildings on Prince Street, the Shakespeare has a rich history.
It’s loved by many for that, as well as the fact it has an impeccable selection of ales and a landlord who “treats the barrels as if they were his own children” to ensure the pub’s Cask Marque grade remains at the highest level.
The Shakespeare Tavern reopened on May 17. You can book a table on Greene King’s website.
68 Prince St, Bristol BS1 4QD
The Swan With Two Necks
The Swan With Two Necks was taken on by a new owner in October 2019, after the former landlady had called time at the bar in August.
Having picked up the reins, Jamie Ashley quickly got to work on stamping his authority on the pub, introducing a wide range of craft beers from his favourite breweries.
But sadly just six months later he was forced to close when the first lockdown was announced, and with no outside seating, it has been a tricky year for the publican.
12 Little Ann St, St Jude’s, Bristol BS2 9EB
The Gryphon was one of many venues in Bristol and beyond to launch a survival crowdfunder last year.
Given its modest size and lack of outside seating area, the heavy metal haunt has been particularly badly hit by the pandemic, but it finally welcomed customers again when it reopened on Monday (May 17).
You’ll need to book a table here before visiting.
41 Colston St, Bristol BS1 5AP
The Old Fish Market
The Old Fish Market is one of the biggest pubs in the centre but with no outside seating, it wasn’t able to open on April 12 when many others were.
On Monday the pub posted on its Facebook page: “Back open and super excited to welcome you all back.”
59-63 Baldwin St, Bristol BS1 1QZ
Strawberry Thief serves a broad selection of craft and Belgian beers, alongside wines, ciders and small plates in a quaint setting.
The bar said on Facebook: “Over seven months without hearing the happy Thief buzz! Well that will change from today.
“We hope to see old and new faces, and yes the beer tastes really really really good.”
26 Broad St, Bristol BS1 2HG
Clifton pub The Portcullis, run by top Bristol brewery Dawkins, got its doors open again on Monday.
Speaking about the relaunch, the pub said it was “looking forward to welcoming all our fantastic customers and friends back”.
3 Wellington Terrace, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4LE
The Bag of Nails
Bristol’s legendary cat pub, the Bag of Nails, also resumed service on Monday, having raised more than £20,000 in a crowdfunding campaign.
The campaign was launched in late April as the pub’s doors stayed shut, due to its lack of outside seating.
Aside from being home to 15 cats, The Bag of Nails is also loved for its no-nonsense approach and range of real ales.
141 St George’s Rd, Hotwells, Bristol BS1 5UW
Support Your Local campaign
We don’t want to see more cherished venues join the growing list of pubs closing following the pandemic, so here at Bristol Live we’re doing all we can to lend a helping hand by launching #SupportYourLocal.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic we’ve spoken to plenty of landlords across the city to discover what challenges they face and how people can support them.
And as part of this new campaign, we’ll be championing even more of Bristol’s pubs, from large, well-known establishments in the heart of the city to community hubs on its fringes.
We’re keen to hear from as many landlords as possible, whether it’s because you want to shout about your recent refurbishment or simply because you want to get something off your chest, so please do get in touch in the comments below.
You can also nominate your favourite pub in Bristol in our survey.
While it has some outside seating, Bank Tavern landlord Sam Gregory decided not to reopen on April 12 as building work directly outside the pub was due to begin.
Known for its award-winning roast dinners, the pub got the doors open on May 17 – although this sadly coincided with the start of the construction work.
The pub reopened with a new menu and has all the same rules and restrictions from last year in place.
8 John St, Bristol BS1 2HR
The Lyons Den opened on Kingswood’s Regent Street in 2019, replacing a former charity shop.
It offers up to 10 cask options and five kegs, showcasing beers from breweries a little further afield in the South West as well as Bristol’s most renowned producers.
The micropub reopened on Monday, May 17.
121 Regent St, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 8LJ