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The Essential Guide to Bristol
04 March 2010
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The Bell

Venue Image
Venue Image
Hillgrove Street,

(0117) 909 6612 

The ViewBristol Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byLucy Duggan28/10/2008
This tardis of a pub provides an oasis of calm in one of Bristol’s busiest neighbourhoods.

The Venue
If you weren’t looking for it, you would never chance upon this place: it’s tucked up a hill on a dead end road off Jamaica Street, and is dwarfed by an all singing, all dancing super-sized Evangelical Church which stands opposite.

It’s deceptively small and very attractive frontage looks cosy and inviting, a reflection of what is to be found inside. With lots of pine wood and low ceilings throughout, it feels a little bit like being in a cabin.

It’s a pub of two separate halves: the wood burner and bay window give the front character that the back lacks, but the back area is a good space for a large group to get the drinks in and even have a dance when the music and alcohol demand it. It’s a particularly clean and fragrant pub with a vase of flowers on the bar and no dirt in sight.

The courtyard garden deserves a special mention: it’s spacious, heated, sheltered and framed with a raised red brick flower bed, which has an abundance of climbing and draping plants. Also, despite the presence of some pretty big roads nearby, it is so quiet (punters aside) that you can hear the resident black cat fart.

The People
The Bell boasts a cosy and familiar atmosphere; it’s a really good place to catch up with friends. The bar-staff are friendly and easy-going; the management is meticulous. It attracts a slightly bohemian crowd of all ages. They often have great DJs providing music to drink by: funk, soul, samba, reggae, rock and roll, but even when it’s not live, the music’s good.

The Food
With one of the cheapest Sunday lunch’s in town (£5.25 and very nice too), it’s a good destination for a pub lunch. For the same price you can get a decent Ploughman’s here, too. They don’t leave you waiting for long once you have ordered either, which is a plus.

The Drink
There’s a good, slightly alternative set of draughts to be found here: the amazing Aston Press Cider, San Miguel, Fosters, Budvar, Guinness, Buttcombe Gold, Blonde, Bitter or IPA. These will set you back anything from £1.30 to £3.05, depending on what you get.

Shorts are a bit expensive starting at £1.65 for a shot, or £2.85 with a mixer, but their ample selection of wine is reasonably priced starting at £10.95 a bottle. Their Spanish Rioja is excellent.

The Last Word
The only time a visit to The Bell will leave you disappointed is when you go there and find it is closed. Otherwise a quality-time is guaranteed.
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