If you are anything like me, then you live for the weekends and all of the fun that comes with them. Friday cannot come soon enough and even better once the clock hits 5pm and you can forget about work and let the frolics begin! Bristol is always buzzing with activity with plenty to do and see, however if you do find yourself without plans, why not spend some time exploring the city and checking out the latest and greatest food and drink spots?! You can gather your pals and plan Saturday morning’s breakfast, pay a visit to some of Bristol’s favourite dinner spots, partake in a pub crawl (come on who doesn’t love a pub crawl); set up date night, take the family for a bite or sit with a beverage and watch the world go by – there are lots of possibilities and plenty of venues for you to take your pick from.
If you are a Bristol native, you will already be familiar with Bristol’s famous Gloucester Road (if you are visiting Bristol however, this is a fantastic place to explore). But, do you know just how much variety there is stretching along the glorious and diverse pavements in this part of the city? I am going to give you some inspiration on how you could enjoy 48 hours in one of the most colourful and artistic parts of Bristol…
Where to begin? Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, for it sets you up for the weekend ahead and you will have been able to enjoy a lie in beforehand, so now it’s time to fuel up. Bakers & Co. is an institution for breakfasts and brunches on Gloucester Road, and as their saying goes, ‘bakers gonna bake’. Their menu has a great selection to choose from whether you want to be healthy or indulgent with fantastic speciality coffees and fresh juices to set you up for the day. The café-come-restaurant is a delightful bright spot with the food and interior taken from inspiration the team picked up from their travels to San Francisco; you can sit inside or out before continuing on with your weekend. Mosey a little further down Gloucester Road towards Montpelier and you will find The Bristolian Café on Picton Street. This joint appears numerously on many breakfast recommendation lists and what you can expect from this venue is imaginative and free range (including vegan and vegetarian) options all coming in for under a tenner. However, if you are planning that pub crawl, you may want to splash out on ‘The Bristolian Challenge’ – a HUGE version of their classic breakfast. An obvious choice but one not to be missed is Boston Tea Party on Cheltenham Road; with its large outdoor seating area this is a great place to meet and convene with the gang before carrying on your weekend. With full and lighter options, there is plenty of choice on the menu and if you are anything like us and nursing a sore head from Friday night’s antics, you might want to get a Bloody Mary down your neck here. If you are in need of a ‘grab and go’ option, Emmeline is perfect. Place your order and take a seat on the bench, fresh breakfast options, toasted sandwiches, fruits and cakes await you. Emmeline also has a twist in that it sells flowers from local florist Mighty Quinns Flower Emporium (so fellas if you are spending Saturday night on a date, you could pick up a bunch to earn yourself some brownie points). Venturing into Stokes Croft now Café Kino is a vegan café and community space where all of the food is handmade from scratch on-site. Everything is 100% free of animal ingredients and the produce used is local and organic. If you are heading out solo, why not grab a seat by the window and people watch, or set up your laptop and let your creativity come out. Alternatively, head across the road and say hello to the guys at The Crafty Egg – serving breakfasts and brunches, including (obviously) eggs served up in different ways, this funky space also offer pancakes and bagels and a few healthy options too – although I think you should go all out.
You might have decided to have an almighty lie in, or you’re more of a ‘lunch time’ person; if this is the case, there are plenty of other establishments on the Gloucester Road to get your food fix, line your stomach for the night out ahead or take the little ones for an afternoon treat. If you are looking for something quick and easy, Pizzarova is the perfect place to start. Their restaurant is modern and relaxed; the food is also tasty, quick and won’t bankrupt you. Choose from their classic margheritas, their original monthly specials or make your own from a wide range of toppings. Just down the road situated five minutes away is Bristol’s Bagel Boy. This venue has inside and outside seating, or you can grab and go. A satisfying, hearty lunch (they often do great value lunchtime deals as well) – the only trouble is making a decision on which delicious bagel you’d like! Pretty much next door is where you will find Biblos (it is worth noting they also have homes in Stoke Croft, St Werburghs and soon Whapping Wharf). Biblos offer a delicious, fast-food fusion of Middle Eastern and Caribbean cuisine in the heart of Bristol. Not only is the food delicious, it is also healthy and fast. Just down the road is Eat a Pitta. You may have already visited them in St Nicks Market or in Broadmead; well this is their lovely new establishment on Gloucester Road. Sit in or takeaway some of the best falafel in Bristol – it is worth noting that they also do Gluten-free options. If you fancy visiting somewhere a little off the beaten track, there are also some great hidden gems tucked away off of the main beat. The Lazy Dog on Ashley Down Road is a community pub where doggies are welcomed and emphasis is placed on quality food and drink. The mains are all very reasonably priced and they have a large beer garden for when the sun decides to grace Bristol with its presence. Down in Stokes Croft however, you can take an afternoon trip to Zitto & Bevi. If you love all things Italian, this charming little Osteria is just the place, situated on Nine Tree Hill. With a vast selection of wines to choose from, alongside all the classic Italian style beverages, you can work your way through the menu, ordering finger food and light bites with fuller ‘fork’ style options also available. This place may even make you forget you are in Bristol for a little while. Across the road and tucked away by Lakota in the old crypt is Door & Rivet (blink and you might miss it!). This unique café and shop is filled with eclectic furnishings and a menu that changes regularly but always delivers on taste – if you fancy feeling like you are part of a secret society, head here.
Now it’s time for dinner and drinks; you can rest assured knowing whatever you might fancy you will probably be able to find on the Gloucester Road. If it’s date night, there are plenty of charming and quirky venues to choose from which are sure to impress. For a loved up setting, you could always start at Zazu’s Kitchen. Choose to sit inside or outside by candlelight for dinner and perhaps also treat yourself and your other half to some cocktails. If you are looking for somewhere a little bit special, we suggest Greens restaurant, situated just off Cheltenham Road. The chefs here specialise in bringing you ‘everyday fine dining’ with modern twists on classic British dishes with wines to match. Just around the corner from here, you’ll find Flour & Ash and if you haven’t yet heard of these guys (although this is unlikely), what better time to pay them a visit?! Simple, sourdough pizzas are what you can find here with a fantastically creative menu and wonderful atmosphere. TIP: order the Ox cheek and red wine ragu pizza and let us know how you get on. Over towards Montpelier is where you can find Bells Diner – a relaxed affair offering up modern Mediterranean cuisine; order as little or as much of their plates as you like and get sharing their cleverly thought out dishes. Located just by the beautiful arches is where you can find The Library Wine Bar, this intimate and welcoming venue is romantic and charming, with candles adorning the tables and dim lighting. Owner Louise is a joy and will happily help you choose the best wines to suit what you fancy – there are also cheese and Charcuterie boards or small nibbles and tapas to order if you fancy a bite. Alternatively, there are plenty of BYO (bring your own) establishments that are serving banging food, such as Simply Thai, Oh Calcutta, Dain Korea and Afendi.
It might be all about the booze for you and your friends and if that is the case then you have hit the jackpot with all the watering holes dotted in this part of the city. You could start by assembling at The Grace (formerly Robin Hood’s retreat); a friendly neighbourhood boozer with an amazing secret beer garden hidden out the back, or, go across the road to the Bristol Flyer who have a wide range of world beers, wines and spirits and another great beer garden for you to sit and drink in. Down a little further you will find neighbouring bars The Gallimaufry and The Blue Lagoon. Hard to miss as they are always busy with punters sitting outside, these are fantastic drinking spots where you can also find live music and an outgoing atmosphere. Across the road is The Urban Standard – a bar and kitchen with a stripped back industrial warehouse feel to it, open all day and late into the evening, they serve up great cocktails with a wide range of spirits. Pretty much next door you’ll find the Prince of Wales – a traditional pub with a colourful exterior, they have real ales and a warm welcome awaiting you. Now we find ourselves at Cheltenham Road and the fun doesn’t stop there. Pop into The Bootlegger to get the party started in this prohibition style bar, with over 90 cocktails to choose from (all freshly made) and 1920’s jazz as your soundtrack. Head towards Stokes Croft and be sure to pop into The Pipe & Slippers (sister pub of the Lazy Dog) a fantastic pub with a down to earth and homely feel, this is a firm favourite amongst Bristol locals. If you do stop by here, you must order their speciality – a ‘Pipe Dream’. This area of Gloucester Road is buzzing with bars and pubs, you only need to walk a few steps in between them all; try The Love Inn, The Canteen, No.51 and The Full Moon; these are all venues that stay open until late so whether you want to sit outside beer in hand, dance to DJ’s or live bands, you can make a night of it until it’s home time. Want something to soak up all that booze? Make a late night pit stop to Slix or Rita’s on Stokes Croft to get a hold of that dirty burger and cheesy chips.
So now it’s Sunday, and you may have woken up with an absolute stonker of a hangover feeling like you are ready to die and you need carbs to survive, or you’ll be fresh and ready to enjoy the final part of the weekend. Sunday is clearly a cheat day and the perfect excuse to indulge in whatever food or treats you like before starting again on Monday. Gloucester Road throws up plenty of places to get your fill. If you are anything like the me, hangovers equal burgers and getting them in your face ASAP. The question is where to choose? The Hobgoblin has a reputation for their ‘dirty fries’ (I’ve seen five grown men be defeated by these) and bad ass burgers. One thing is for certain and that is you will definitely not leave here feeling hungry. A little way down the pavement is Atomic Burger; with 80’s tunes blaring from the TV and a fun restaurant, their vast choice of juicy burgers will hit the spot and their milkshakes are pretty bang on too. If you fancy traditional fish and chips or heart warming soul food then Soul Fish is the perfect antidote. However, down in Stokes Croft is where you’ll find MeatLiquor and their offerings, treat yourself to a burger and a portion of the chicken wings and commence that food coma; or recent addition Oowee Burger is the name on everyone’s lips at the moment for serious food filth.
If you are looking for the more traditional Sunday roast options, then why not head into St Werburghs? The Farm is a traditional family pub with a great beer garden and cosy inside space serving up big portions of the classic English meal. Some of the places already mentioned also do lush roast dinners, The Gallimaufry, The Grace and The Flyer all partake in the Sunday tradition. You may fancy an alternative to a classic roast; if this is the case then Pieminister in Stokes Croft is the place to go, lovingly made pies served wish mash and lashing of gravy – you can even order the ‘Mothership’ if you are feeling ravenous.
Hopefully this has given you some inspiration to enjoy a weekend in our lovely city and to make the most of places on our doorstep that you may or may not have already tried – now all there is left to do is to make it through to Friday and let the fun begin…