The quirky Bristol pub home to 14 cats and a very strict set of rules

the quirky bristol pub home to 14 cats and a very strict set of rules - The quirky Bristol pub home to 14 cats and a very strict set of rules

Unless it’s peak time, there’s a strong chance humans will be outnumbered by cats when you visit the Bag of Nails.

The Hotwells pub is known as Bristol’s unofficial cat pub, home to 14 moggies ranging in age from a year and a half to seven.

While there are lots of people who know about the traditional boozer’s unique selling point, there are many others who have no idea they can go to a pub where stroking more than a dozen cats is encouraged.

But it wasn’t supposed to be like this – having a pub filled with cats wasn’t part of Luke Daniels’ plan when he took over eight years ago.

the quirky bristol pub home to 14 cats and a very strict set of rules 2 - The quirky Bristol pub home to 14 cats and a very strict set of rules

Owner of the Bag of Nails, Luke Daniels (Image: James Beck/Freelance)

“In my first week of running the pub we got a cat called Malcolm, kind of accidentally,” said the 48-year-old, who used to run The Cornubia.

“He belonged to my friend who was no longer allowed to keep him in her flat, so I said I’d look after him for a bit at the pub.

“He ended up living here and now eight years later we have 14 cats, which is quite silly really. We once had 24 with loads of kittens but we’ve given lots of them away.

“The cats are definitely a draw for many people and we get a lot of what we like to call ‘cat tourists’ – but we also have a great selection of real ales, a huge vinyl collection and a fantastic atmosphere which people also love.”

the quirky bristol pub home to 14 cats and a very strict set of rules 3 - The quirky Bristol pub home to 14 cats and a very strict set of rules

Cats are well and truly pampered at the pub (Image: James Beck/Freelance)

The cats live in the bar area and upstairs at the pub but are not allowed in the cellar where the beer is stored.

Malcolm has since left the pub, said Luke, but his son George is currently the king of place, strutting up and down the bar to assert his dominance.

Strict set of rules

Luke fully acknowledges the St George’s Road boozer is not a pub for everyone.

A chalkboard at the bar displays a very strict (and amusing) set of rules which everyone must abide by – and Luke has no problem with telling people to leave the premises if they fail to do so, as his recent reply to a negative TripAdvisor demonstrates.

Some of the rules are not safe to be printed on Bristol Live, it must be said, but it’s rule number eight which has caused the most uproar, said Luke.

the quirky bristol pub home to 14 cats and a very strict set of rules 4 - The quirky Bristol pub home to 14 cats and a very strict set of rules

The Bag of Nails is on St George’s Road (Image: James Beck/Freelance)

“The ‘Babies and toddlers must be stored in the cellar’ rule has caused a few problems, but you can’t please everyone,” he said.

“We’re definitely not a pub for everyone and in my first year I turned a lot of people away. We can definitely be strict about who we serve.

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“We don’t allow large groups of people who clearly want to try and create their own atmosphere rather than fitting into the pub’s atmosphere.

“We’re lucky to have such a great set of regulars here from students to older drinkers, which is what I love most about the place, and I don’t want that to be spoiled.”

Haven for ale lovers

the quirky bristol pub home to 14 cats and a very strict set of rules 5 - The quirky Bristol pub home to 14 cats and a very strict set of rules

The pub is popular with real ale fans (Image: James Beck/Freelance)

Luke’s first job when he took over the reins was to remove the keg lines and replace them with casks.

The pub now stocks a wide range of ales from local breweries and from producers further afield, with a strong emphasis on real ales.

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“We stock beers from Tapstone Brewery in Chard which go well, and we’re big fans of Moor Beer too,” said Luke.

“I’d say we have a nice mix of traditional ales and the more hipster ales.”

The pub also offers an extensive range of bottled Belgian beers, but don’t expect to find any major brands – or much else aside from ale, for that matter.

Back to: Home Bristol NewsSource: Bristol Post

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