They don’t mince their words at Stockwood pub The Concorde. A polite notice on the board near the entrance certainly spells things out in black and white to first-time visitors.
It reads: ‘If you are only coming in to use the toilet, please make a donation to the charity pot – don’t just take the p***’. A humorous but effective reminder for anybody caught short that this is a respectable neighbourhood pub that doesn’t put up with any nonsense.
John Hawkins took over The Concorde in 2017 as a sideline to his dry lining business. Since the pandemic, he’s pretty much running the pub full-time with help from enthusiastic young bar manager Ben Payter.
A classic 1960s-built community pub of the type we are sadly losing across Bristol – think The Gainsborough in Lockleaze or The Giant Goram in Lawrence Weston – The Concorde is one of only two pubs in Stockwood.
Since The Man in Space closed on Pynne Road seven years ago and The Antelope on Sturminster Road was demolished in 2003, it’s just The Concorde and the Harvesters (another 1960s estate pub) left. And with the closure this week of John’s off-licence on Hollway Road after 50 years, Stockwood drinkers must be staring into their glasses wondering what will go next.
Thankfully, The Concorde is thriving post-pandemic. An L-shaped single-room bar with function room, beer garden and ample parking, it has become more family-friendly since the latest owner took over.
“Our plan five years ago was to make it more of a family pub and we feel we have,” says John. “We still have some work to do on the beer garden to attract more youngsters but we’ve had a few parties for children and that’s been brilliant – we even put a bouncy castle in the function room!”
With its chunky stripped pine furniture, squishy leather sofas and Air Force blue paintwork, the interior is a lot more comfortable and welcoming than the exterior might suggest. With their red brick and partially flat roofs, 1960s estate pubs were never buildings of beauty, more functional meeting places for the local community.
Food is limited to crisps, Clarks pies and pasties. Behind the counter, there are also large jars of pickled eggs and ‘pub style’ pickled onions the size of golf balls.
When I visited, there was only one real ale on draught – Doom Bar – but three Thatchers ciders (Gold, Dry and Haze) and cans of Natch. Stella, Madri, Carling, Staropramen and Guinness are also on the pumps.
Prices are average – Thatchers is £4.10 and premium lagers are 50p more – but despite an increase in April, landlord John says his regulars are still coming in.
“They moan but they still pay it and come in everyday – they know how hard it is. We have 20-30 regulars who come in every day.
“A lot of them work for themselves and start early so they come in between 3-4 on the way home for a few pints. We’re lucky to have such a loyal bunch of regulars.”
The pub has a DJ night twice a month and there are traditional games like skittles, pool and darts. It also shows all the big live sports events on multiple screens, including the Joshua v Usyk fight this weekend.
At a time when so many places are threatened with closure, close-knit communities like Stockwood need decent local pubs. The Concorde is most certainly that.
The Concorde, Stockwood Lane, Stockwood, BS14 8SY.