Set back in the hills on a deep river estuary, Bristol is a city that feels like it should be much bigger than it is. A punchy club and music scene, arty street corners (look out for the random Banksys), a shitload of students, decent hotels (we stayed in the Hampton Inn and it’s highly recommended) and a choice of good restaurants, it was hard not to really like Bristol… especially as it’s compact enough to walk round easily, and full of enough interesting stuff to keep you busy for at least a couple of days.
Devil’s Gun by CJ & Co
Homemade pizza and pies
Kongs Of King Street
Much is made of its sea-faring history – well, with the river Avon flowing through it, connecting it to the Bristol Channel and the world beyond, why wouldn’t it be one of our great ports? – and the riverfront is a great place to go to experience the relaxing mix of history and hospitality that makes Briss-ell such a cool weekend destination.
Go out on Friday night and mix it up with the students drinking £1 pints and doing shots in the bars that line the St Nicolas Market area. Then on Saturday, change it up with some history at the SS Great Britain (thank you, Brunel) and a more sophisticated evening eating tapas at The Olive Shed on the dockside. Or just batter yourself senseless both nights like we did. In Bristol, you only live once…
Kongs Of King Street
Started off our Friday night here with some solid ciders, good music and an incredible selection of vintage arcade games. Street Fighter, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, Pacman… you name it, you can play it here at Kongs. The clientele are young but the vibe is definitely gamer-friendly.
The Mothers’ Ruin
Dark and dirty, but with a great line in music and DJs. We got here just as the soul and funk night was warming up, and the cheap drinks and classic tunes kept us happy for a good while. We came back later on and were hit for six by their ‘Doctor Pepper’ cocktails – actually Amaretto and Coke in plastic glasses. Beware the hangover the next morning.
The Crown and Cavern Club
A bit too death metal for us on a Friday night – but this is a great rock venue and a place for indie and alt fans to hang out. £3 to get in which was kind of worth it to hear some Metallica and watch the local metal kids head banging.
Rocked up here late on Friday night – it was jammed with Bristol’s youth sampling ciders and eating delicious, homemade pizza and pies. So we hung on at the bar, got busy with the ciders, and guess what – the pizzas were definitely worth the wait. Right by the riverside, so a great central choice for a night out.
Wow, what a shop! Just at the top of Christmas Steps, it’s seething with incredible taxidermy, gorgeous furniture and some eye-catching vintage trinkets. Beautiful packaging when you buy something, too.
What’s not to love about a FOPP. And Bristol’s is properly good, with a huge DVD section upstairs and vinyl downstairs. It’s worth the walk up from the riverside to check it out.
Proper old-school record collectors’ shop with a huge selection, and loads of bargains. You couldn’t peel us away from the vinyl here.
What we did:
Take a long stroll down to the river to check out the SS Great Britain. Wander the cobbled streets around the student quarter, checking out the pavement bars. Peek into the giant maritime museum at M Shed. Take a river trip on The Matthew, a replica of the ship that sailed to Newfoundland in 1497. Worked off our hangovers by climbing Christmas Steps and looking around the gorgeous almshouses.
Devil’s Gun by CJ & Co
What a smouldering hunk of disco this is. The first song to be played at Studio 54, it kicked off the soul and funk night in The Mothers’ Ruin and made sure we weren’t going anywhere for a few hours.
What we bought:
We needed big house numbers so they are visible from the street (we live on the side of a steep valley and delivery drivers are always complaining they can’t see what number our house is). So we bought 3 cricket score numbers from Dig Haushizzle… no one complains any more that they don’t know we’re at No189.
Where we stayed:
House Of The Dead / Crazy golf?:
No to both – but the vintage Pacman and Galactica games in Kong made up for it. Brad got three new high scores. I was dumped out of our two-player game first each time.