There are many readily available old books and articles about London drinking establishments but other cities had their notable boozers, too.
Here, for example, is a handy list from an 1815 guide to the inns and taverns of Bristol:
(In the original that text runs across a page break but we’ve stitched it together.)
The author was probably more interested in their hospitality (rooms and food) than in the drinks on offer but, still, it’s something to chew on.
Whenever we post something like this, we get asked: ‘Yeah, but how many of them are still there!?’ So, this time, we’ve checked (which took longer than we expected) and we reckon the answer is that, of the 18 taverns listed 200 hundred years ago, only five are still around and currently selling drinks.
We got most of our info from the fantastically complete Bristol’s Lost Pubs website and from Paul Townsend’s account on Flickr.
Because this has the makings of a historic pub crawl, too, we’ve also suggested substitute pubs for those which have gone, but you’ll have to work out your own route.
- Bush, Corn Street — opposite the Corn Exchange but long gone, replaced by a bank (now Lloyds) in the 19th century. Nearest substitute for crawl purposes: The Commercial Rooms (Wetherspoon).
- White Lion and White Hart, Broad Street — both long gone, but the Victorian Grand Hotel occupies the site where both stood (along with the Plume of Feathers) and has a bar open to the public.
- Talbot, Bath Street — the Victorian inn building — the George’s Brewery tap? — is still there but is now an office. Nearest substitute: Er… BrewDog Bristol.
- George, Temple Gate — a listed Victorian pub building containing elements from the 18th century and earlier occupies the historic site but was derelict for years and is (we think) currently under development. Substitute: see below.
- Saracen’s Head, Temple Gate — across the road from Temple Meads station but long gone thanks to both civic ‘improvements’ and the Blitz. The Reckless Engineer, on the ground floor of a particularly brutal brutalist building, is its spiritual successor.
- Full Moon, Stokes Croft — still there and still serving drinks!
- Greyhound, Broadmead — frontage preserved as the entrance to the Galleries shopping centre which contains several cafes but no pubs.
- White Hart, Horsefair — we think the author is referring to the old White Hart on Lower Maudlin Street which is quite near Horsefair. (But we could be wrong.)
- Rummer, All Saints’ Passage — still there, now a trendy hotel with cocktail bar.
- Montague, Kingsdown Parade — destroyed in the Blitz. Substitute: The Green Man, Alfred Place.
- Bell, White Lion, Three Kings, Three Queens, all on Thomas Street — St Thomas Street, which we think is the street in question, doesn’t have any pubs and is today lined with mostly 20th century buildings. Substitute: The Cornubia, Temple Street, across Victoria Street at the top end of St Thomas Street might be your best bet.
- Queen’s Head and Angel, Redcliff Street — another street now without pubs but with but lots of ugly office buildings and industrial units. Substitute: The Seven Stars, Thomas Lane.
- The Hole in the Wall, Prince Street — actually on the Grove, Queen’s Square, a few steps from Prince Street, this is still there and still a pub.
Main image: ‘The Bush Tavern, Corn Street, Bristol in the Old Coaching Days, chromolithograph by William Lewis after JH Maggs’, shamelessly nicked from Bristol Libraries Flickr account.