If you’re after cider, then you’re in the right city. As far as proper Bristolian cider bars go, The Apple ticks all the boxes. It’s situated just off King Street – itself now home to a number of the city’s most popular pubs and bars. The Apple’s reputation for authentic West Country cider has made it a firm favourite among locals and visitors alike. Take a pew out front, or maybe even venture onto the boat itself, and sample some of the (arguably) best cider Bristol has to offer. Averse to apples? Fear not. There’s a selection of spirits, beer and wine too, complementing a range of cider that meanders from sweet to dry, strong to sessionable. Although, if you fancy something a little special, go for the Old Bristolian. It’s got a bit of clout to it, but it’s only served in halves, mind.
Toddle down King Street and you’ll find yourself in hoppy heaven. Small Bar is fast becoming one of Bristol’s best beer purveyors. It showcases scores of the best independent brews you’ll find across the UK, ranging from tangy pales to velvety stouts – with a couple of ciders and a crisp lager thrown in for good measure. If one in particular takes your fancy, then you’ll be set for the afternoon. If in doubt, grab a flight – in other words, a hand-picked selection of delicious drops – and work your way around the menu until you find something that hits the spot. On top of this, Small Bar’s scattered benches out front provide the perfect setting to swig a beer and watch life unfold in the sun.
The Cambridge Arms
Beer gardens and the Great British Summer go hand in hand; they’re inseparable. The Cambridge Arms in Redland is home to one of the most traditional outdoor areas the city has to offer. It is therefore a particularly valuable option to take into consideration when the sun has got its hat on. It’s spacious, relaxed and has plenty of seating in its own little sun-trap. Being a Fuller’s pub itself, try a perfectly stored and lovingly served London Pride – refreshing would be an understatement. Sample traditional British summer time in perhaps its most glorious form. If you’re pottering around Whiteladies Road, the journey up the hill is worth it.
Famed for their roasts, The Grace is also home to another of Bristol’s beautiful beer gardens. Take a step out the back and find yourself whisked away from the hustle and bustle of Gloucester Road. You’ll be transported into a piece of summertime loveliness that you’ll probably never want to leave. Keep an eye out for the odd sing-a-long too, as nothing goes better with a boozy afternoon than some live music.
No. 1 The Harbourside
Right in the heart of the city, taking prime position on the Floating Harbour is No. 1 The Harbourside. Its waterside plot is an ideal place to worship the sun while keeping cool. Brave the rays and venture closer to the water, or take a step back and enjoy the summer breeze from the shade. Either way, their delicious drinks selection and mouthwatering locally sourced food menu complement the weather perfectly. Who knows, you could even be tempted into a canal boat trip after a few beverages…
The White Lion Bar
Fancy visiting Clifton suspension bridge, but worried that all that heat might make you parched? No worries – one of the best views in the city is from The White Lion at the Avon Gorge Hotel. Its sprawling beer garden teeters over the edge of the gorge, giving the thirsty sightseer everything they could possibly desire.
The Spotted Cow
Head south of the river and you’ll come across an absolute gem of a find. An integral part of North Street’s burgeoning food and drink scene, The Spotted Cow is everything a sterling pub should be, and more. Its vast beer garden is the icing on the cake when it comes to summertime socialising. Add a fine selection of real ales, exotic spirits and delectable wines into the mix, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a lovely spell in the sun. Peckish too? Not to worry. Make your way down to the Cow on a Sunday for a lovingly prepared roast, topped off with a delectable cheese board to help soak up the excess booze.
The Grain Barge
Not far from the SS Great Britain, The Grain Barge is Bristol Beer Factory’s flagship vessel. There’s a certain something about having a drink on the water when the sun’s out, and this is the place to embrace Bristol’s nautical heritage. You’ll find a vast array of local beers on tap, perfect to enjoy on deck.