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The Essential Guide to Bristol
14 August 2009
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Bristol Flyer

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96 Gloucester Road,

(0117) 944 1658 

The ViewBristol Review

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Review byWilf Langridge14/01/2009
A popular Gloucester Road pub which fairly recently became part of a chain – whether or not it lost some authenticity in the process is contentious.

The Venue
The Bristol Flyer has a large, stately look to it with a white painted facade and a bit of a town hall feel from the outside. Compromising this formal demeanor, however, is the fact that the exterior is adorned with giant butterflies of varied colours – a playful decorative addition which certainly excites a sense of curiosity in the pub-goer.

Inside, the Bristol Flyer is a clean, stylish venue with large leather sofas and bare brick walls. Although some customers complain that the interior lacks character, it would be unfair to write it off completely – the mismatched furniture, bold colour schemes, and dark wood give it a quirky visual edge and sense of fun. This is no traditional pub, but nor is it clinical and featureless.

Having said that, punters are likely to point you outside when asked why they enjoy this place. The beer garden is a private space to the rear of the pub where no roads are in sight – just bricks and branches. The foliage and fairy lights makes this one truly atmospheric and so much more than a place to have a quick smoke.

The People
The Bristol Flyer is fairly far from the centre so you won’t get too many people travelling from other parts of Bristol to drink here; students are particularly absent. What you do get is a healthy cross-section of the Gloucester Road crowd and all the ageing ravers, new-agers and young trendies, with blue and white collars alike, who collectively make the area such an interesting and diverse part of Bristol.

That said, the aura in here isn’t always so harmonious. On busy nights, especially weekends, the bar gets uncomfortably rammed and you may find yourself waiting 20 minutes to get your round in. It’s during these times that larger groups settle in for the evening which makes the place rather charged, loud, and not so endearing to those in groups of three or less. Still, come in the daytime and this is a great place to chill out, relax with friends or sit solitary with a newspaper and a coffee.

The Food
Tasty pub food is the consensus here – fairly unremarkable but satisfying, with steaks, chips and sandwiches featuring throughout the menu. A good cheap eat is their shepherd’s pie with sauteed savoy cabbage (£6.20) which comes with delicious creamy mash and a hearty filling.

If you want a snack you can indulge in, try their potato wedges (£3.50 to £3.80) which have mouthwateringly crispy skins and arrive with lashings of salsa and sour cream. Puddings are OK, though quite limited, with the inevitable pies, ice cream and chocolate brownies (the latter of which bags the top spot here and is a steal at £3).

The Drink
There’s a lot to choose from – lager, ale and cider can be found in many varieties, both on tap and in bottles. You may even want to try your taste buds on their range of fruit beers which are not too easy to find in Bristol pubs and bars and are a delight for beer lovers with a sweet tooth.

Prices aren’t great but nor are they that out of sync with the area, with a Carling at £2.65 a pint, a vodka and mixer at £3.14 and a glass of lemonade at £2.20. If you want cocktails then venture elsewhere as this pub will not oblige.

The Last Word
The Bristol Flyer is not a place for the traditionalist, but it’s particularly good at what it does – being a buzzing modern drinking venue which is a far cry from appearing as a clone-like chain. It's also about to be extended, so watch this space.
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