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 2 reviews

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Bath Road,
Arnos Vale,

(0117) 972 8838 

The ViewBristol Review

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Review byRachel Davis11/08/2009
For trendy dining without the try-hard attitude head to Bocabar. Its upbeat vibe yet mellow character and its decor of twinkly soft fairy lights is almost hypnotic.

The Venue
Bocabar is easy to spot from the busy Bath Road because it's got a bright yellow display above its chimney. Apart from this it's remarkably unassuming with very little exterior display. But a pleasant surprise awaits because inside this spacious warehouse-style restaurant and bar there's lots to look at.

A vast array of seating, from large sturdy wooden tables to low slung sofas, is mixed with lofty ceilings and low windows creating a well-lit, airy space. Around the many windows are an array of shiny beads and fairy lights with a few pot plants placed alongside some of the tables.

The bar is located to the left with further dining space beyond this. Black and white framed photographic prints cover the walls and the decor is light and simple. Bocabar is designed so that its customers can dine or simply enjoy a drink and you can sit anywhere you fancy to do either.

The People
Before 9pm Bocabar has a mixed crowd, from couples, students, large groups of friends, to families with children (children are permitted until 9pm). It has a relaxed family feel without sounding or looking like a creche. Later in the evening the customers remain pretty much a mixed group all of who seem happy to simply relax, dine or drink among friends.

The atmosphere hits you the second you walk through the door. It's busy yet the customers appear so relaxed that you immediately feel welcome and this is very much a place to chill out with friends. As the evening progresses the mood takes on a more mellow character. Soft lighting replaces the usual strip lights and candles are placed on all the tables.

Friday and Saturday evenings have a more upbeat atmosphere due to the live music but you can still lounge about and chat or soak up the sounds.

The Food
In the evenings you can order pizza, tapas and salads and the large, stone-baked pizzas go from £8.95 to £14.95. They're freshly made with a light, refreshing taste and the chefs haven't gone too over the top with tomato or herbs. Sides include fries and dips (£2.95) and the fries are crisp, warm and not too greasy and the salsa dip is heavenly, with a tart yet sweet subtleness.

You can also choose from the tapas board with prices starting at £3.50. The dishes are displayed in a chiller so you can choose your own combination, from stuffed vine leaves to sun-blushed tomatoes, and there's a good range of vegetarian and vegan dishes.

On Thursday evenings there's Brazilian-style food and live Bossanova music. During the weekend a brunch menu is available with the good old full English (plus veggie alternative) priced at £6.50 and £5.50 or for an extra treat eggs benedict or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs are available from £4.50. On a Sunday a roast is available alongside a Sunday barbecue and the usual pizza and tapas.

The Drink
Bocabar has an excellent bar. There's a variety of coffee, excellent hot chocolate with floating marshmallows, liqueurs and even Champagne sold by the bottle at £65.

Addlestones cider appears to be a firm favorite at £3.30 a pint. There's an extensive wine list, the least expensive glass is £3.50 or £13 a bottle for a Syrah Rose.

The Last Word
The wonderful thing about Bocabar is that it's whatever you want it to be. You can dine with family, take your kids for lunch, party with friends or even have a romantic evening. There's so much about this place that one visit is never enough.

What's near Bocabar?

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Content updated: 12/12/2010 11:30