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The Essential Guide to Bristol
29 March 2009
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Highbury Vaults

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164 St Michaels Hill,

(0117) 9733203 

The ViewBristol Review

Review byElla Woods13/03/2009
A first class pub with buckets of charisma which is adored by both old and young.

The Venue
This old-school pub has a trendy Banksy-style stencil to the adjacent side. It has a slim facade but when you get inside you realise it stretches back for a long way. The interior is delightfully old-fashioned, with traditional wood-panelling and a comfortably cluttered feel to it.

There are lots of large tables and benches, some tucked away, plus a pool table and an ATM. This is a pub to go for a quiet drink or for a chat – not for those who want music or the distraction of a television. Sit outside and enjoy the secluded beer garden which is partially covered and heated.

The People
The clientele tend to be a mix of older male regulars, students and lecturers. Most people keep themselves to themselves and the pub is often busy but infrequently rowdy. Bar staff are very friendly, if eccentrically so, just be sure not to ask any silly questions or you will feel their wrath.

The Food
The food comes from a simple but solid set-menu and consists of fairly good, hearty gutfillers. Jacket potatoes are available from £4.50, soup from £3.50 and there's always a meat and veg special available.

But the unanimous favourite dish here for customers is the chilli con carne with rice or nachos (vegetable chilli is also available). This is rich, tangy and deliciously spiced – a real signature dish.

The Drink
The Highbury Vaults prides itself on its real ale selection and the long list is well-informed, including Blackthorne (£2.95) and Bath ales Gem plus rotating guest ales. Lager on tap includes Fosters (£3.05) and you can get a bottle of Corona for £2.95 plus Heineken, Budweiser and Becks.

The cider selection isn’t huge; you can either fork out for a bottle of Bulmers for a whole £3.65 or sample the far more appetising Addlestones which is light, smooth and full-bodied. There is a small wine selection and a house white starts at £2.75. Tea and coffee starts from £1 and a coke is £1.70.

The Last Word
This is an excellent boozer which is reassuringly traditional but comes with a quirky edge.
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