Bristol City Guide

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Once a major industrial city with one of the county's largest ports, Bristol is still England's sixth largest city. It was through Bristol that much of the UK's sherry, port, rum and table wines were imported and expert blenders worked in the dockside warehouses making now famous brands. The name ‘Harvey's Bristol Cream’ is no coincidence.

The panoramic views over the Avon Gorge from Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge (you can also see his lovely passenger steamship SS Great Britain here) are a must see, and Bath with its famous Roman baths is only 11 minutes away by train.

Today much of Bristol's economy is driven by its large student population and this is evident in many of the city's bars. However, this is a city with a long and proud connection to the wine and spirit industries and perhaps consequently boasts more good bars of genuine character than many other larger cities.

Bristol's best cocktail bars

Hyde & Co

Bristol's must-visit cocktail bar is located at the top of Park Street. A small gentlemen club-style drinking den, cocktails here are always on form. 4.5/5

Milk Thistle

Located in an impressive heritage Grade II Listed building, this bar is set over four floors and can have a wonderfully warm atmosphere when busy. 4/5


A dimly lit speakeasy-styled bar originally opened by Aurelius Braunbarth of Berlin and Munich. Found in the most beautiful area of Clifton.

The Rummer Hotel

A large cocktail bar and restaurant, with a phenomenal spirit selection and a cosy weekend bar beneath. 4/5

Red Light

A quirky speakeasy and the latest edition to the scene, this bar is worth a visit just for its payphone booth entry. 4/5

City recommendations from local bartenders

Beer & Cider
Located in the west country it's hardly surprising that Bristol boasts a great cider scene as well as beer. Some places to check out include Small Bar, a central craft beer bar and The Apple a floating cider barge moored on the harbourside with ample seating along the promenade. Perfect for a sunny Bristol day.

Late night
A local spot for bartenders to hang out after work, this place has dive bar written all over it but don't let that deter you from Mr Wolfs

Be it the sister restaurant to Milk Thistle and Hyde & Co, The Ox, a stunning basement steak and cocktail site, or Riverstation, a restaurant and bar located on Bristol's harbourside or Cowshed, a rustic, produce-led neighbourhood venue, Bristol's restaurant scene is thriving.

Alternatively for great Tapas check out Bravas

For the best coffee in Bristol go and see Full Court Press on Broad Street.

If you have one night

Relaxed: Eat at The Ox and move on to Milk Thistle then Hyde & Co for cocktails.

The ultimate bar tour: Start with tapas and wine at Bravas, move on to Hausbar, back down to Milk Thistle, Hyde & Co then finish at Red Light - geographically this involves slightly doubling up on yourself but if you're looking to hit these bars at their peak this is the best order. If you have time fit in The Rummer before Milk Thistle, especially if it's a weekend and their Cellar Bar is open.

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