It's always exciting when we hear of brand new pubs and in this issue I can report as such. On King Street in the centre of Bristol The Beer Emporium is planning to open on 30th June and will be offering cask real ales alongside craft beers and international kegged and bottled beers. The Croft music venue in Stokes Croft has closed and the owners of Lanes in Nelson Street have taken it on with the plan to open up as a craft beer bar called Crofter's Rights. Not new but having undergone a full transformation the Barley Mow in The Dings has reopened with an emphasis on craft and world beers as well as increasing its real ale handpumps to eight. Expect many of the beers to be from the excellent owners, The Bristol Beer Factory.
So much for that bit of excitement, on Stapleton Road the Stapleton Road Tavern is undergoing conversion and is unlikely to appear as a pub again and the Old Fox in St. Philips has become a cafe/diner. In the Eastville area The White Lion has had its planning application to convert to housing approved and the Greenbank remains closed and under threat of demolition.
Towards the west of the city the Cotham Porter Stores has been the subject of a busy selling process but its fate is not known at the time of writing. The Plume of Feathers in Hotwells is another pub being converted into housing while the Adam & Eve is closed and 'To Let'. Another pub to let but still open is the wonderful Shakespeare in Redland but just across Whiteladies Road the Coach & Horses in Highland Square is offering a CAMRA discount on its ever-changing selection of real ales. CAMRA discount is also now being offered by the Ember Inns pub chain. Overlooking the Clifton suspension bridge, the Grapes in Clifton has been placed on the market where its freehold can be obtained from agent SidneyPhilips.co.uk for £395,000 + vat. Other freeholds for sale (but not necessarily with Sidney Philips) are the Bourne End at Henbury, the Air Balloon at St. George and the Lamplighters at Shirehampton. 'Sold subject to contract' are the Scotchman and His Pack in the city centre and the Chequers at Hanham whilst a planning application has been submitted to demolish both the Harriers in Hartcliffe and the Long Cross in Lawrence Weston. Totterdown's family of six pubs looks set to reduce to five as the Bush converts to a day nursery or similar while in Brislington a Greene King new-build Hungry Horse is taking shape on the old bus works site.
In Keynsham the former Pioneer could well be a restaurant by the time you read this and a free of tie private lease is offered on The Old Bank. At Banwell the Bell has re-opened and offers up to four real ales; so far Teignworthy, Butcombe, Everard, St. Austell, Dartmoor and Forge have been seen amongst others and at Clutton the Warwick Arms is now a Mezze restaurant (Mezze at The Warwick Arms) but can provide a drink at the bar for the non-dining visitor. Sadly the New Inn at Priddy has closed where the plan is, we are told, to convert into a house, holiday lets and to build an additional house in the garden.
The Parkway Tavern in Stoke Gifford has closed and is boarded up, expect a conversion here. The Star in Frampton Cotterell is also closed and has changed hands, and is in danger of permanent loss. In Kingswood the Anchor Made For Ever is boarded up, the Royal Archer is 'To Let' and the Highwayman has been granted planning permission for the site to be developed for housing and retail. As if that is not bad enough the Queen's Head at Willsbridge has also gained permission from South Gloucestershire Council to convert into a private house. Further out of town the Carpenter's Arms at Wick is closed and boarded but the Griffin at Bridgeyate has enjoyed a spruce up and is open once again for food and drinks.
As per the opening paragraph of this report there are some positive things happening in our local pubs and much reason for celebration but note that 72% of the pubs mentioned in the preceding text are either directly threatened or subject to a potential change of use if a new owner or leaseholder decides to do something different. Give pubs a chance and keep your support in place - happy pubbing!
Mike Jackson, for the Bristol Pubs Group
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