bristol pubs

Life in numbers: our 2023 Bristol pub visits

At the start of 2023 we added a new column to our pub visits spreadsheet having reflected on changes in our pub going habits.

Those changes were partly due to the disruption caused by COVID-19 but were also a result of moving to another part of Bristol.

The new column was about gathering data on our behaviour within a given year.

We shared some initial stats in January after one month of data but now we’ve got a full 12 months to play with.

Firstly a caveat; our spreadsheet only captures our visits to Bristol pubs. Tempting as ‘every pub in London’ might be, we’re not the people to tackle that particular challenge.

And although we have started logging visits to taprooms we’re a bit lazier about it and don’t really trust our own numbers to the same degree.

So, we’re happy that the general shape of this data is correct, even if there might be a few inaccuracies or omissions.

The big numbers

In total we logged 125 pub visits in Bristol, across 54 different pubs.

Within this list a mere 19 were new to us, but it was enough to get us over the 300 mark on our ‘every pub in Bristol’ mission.

We think it’s clear that, these days, there is not any one pub that we really regard as our favourite or our local, now that we’ve moved an hour away from The Drapers Arms. 

The Swan with Two Necks, The King’s Head and The Barley Mow (St Phillips) are our most visited pubs, and are all within a 20 to 25 minute walk.

The front of The Old Stillage with graffiti style mural in pink and blue.

Sort-of our local, but not

Of the pubs that are closer to us, The Old Stillage is probably the one we’d be most tempted to refer to as ‘our local’.

But with only 5 visits over the course of the year it’s not exactly a regular haunt.

In fact, we visited The Drapers, way across town, as often as The Old Stillage, less than 10 minutes from our house.

That’s partly because The Old Stillage a totally different pub on Friday and Saturday night (loud DJs, excitable young people) than the rest of the week (murmuring jukebox, mixed crowd).

It’s also about 5% too grungy and hippyish for Ray – one of the slight tensions between us when it comes to judging pubs.

Some 2024 resolutions

We made an effort this year to revisit a lot of pubs from our Bristol Pub Guide to check that our descriptions were up to date. But there are a few contenders to which we didn’t make it, and we really must fix that in 2024.

We’ll try to get better at logging taprooms this year too. We do find ourselves at Lost & Grounded on a fairly regular basis, for example, so we need to stop pretending we’re “not taproom people”.

We’d also love to polish off the rest of the pubs in the city, getting up to 350 or whatever it is.

Jess has some crawls planned to scoop up a few key clusters but, otherwise, we just need to get on the bus and get out to those suburbs, even if it’s just to tick one mediocre Greene King pub.

The data

Pub NameAddress2023 Visits
Swan with Two NecksSt Philips12
Kings HeadVictoria Street10
Barley MowBarton Rd7
Old Fish MarketBaldwin St6
Hare on the HillDove Street6
Llandoger TrowKing Street6
Drapers ArmsGloucester Rd5
Old DukeKing Street5
Old StillageChurch Road5
Zero DegreesColston Street4
Merchants ArmsMerchants Rd3
Small BarKing Street3
Highbury VaultsSt Michael’s Hill3
Good MeasureChandos Road3
LangtonLangton Court Road3
Grain BargeOn the water at Hotwells2
Red Monkey (former Chums)Chandos Rd2
Ostrich InnRedcliffe2
The AnnexeNevil Road2
Fishponds TapFishponds Road2
Eldon HouseCliftonwood1
Volunteer TavernSt Judes1
Strawberry ThiefBread St1
Prince of WalesGloucester Road1
OrchardHanover Place, Spike Island1
Stag and HoundsOld Market1
Open Arms (former Colston Arms)St Michael’s Hill1
Rose of DenmarkHotwell Rd1
Royal Naval VolunteerKing Street1
Old BookshopNorth Street1
The ShakespearePrince Street1
Post Office TavernWestbury on Trym1
Hatchet InnFrogmore Street1
OxfordOxford Street, Totterdown1
No. 1 HarboursideHarbourside1
BulldogFilton Avenue1
Green HouseThe Centre / Park Street1
Rose and CrownTwo Mile Hill Road1
Bear & Rugged StaffSouthmead1
Treble ChanceSouthmead1
Rising SunAshton Gate1
Good IntentBroomhill1
Grapevine (Brasserie)Mangotsfield1
Red LionMangotsfield1
Lamb InnMangotsfield1
Forge and FernStaple Hill1
Pied HorseSummerhill Road1
StarHanham Road1
Kings Head ArmsKingswood High Street1
Kingswood ColliersKingswood High Street1
Black HorseKingswood High Street1
To the MoonMidland Road1
Old Castle GreenGloucester Lane, Old Market1

9 replies on “Life in numbers: our 2023 Bristol pub visits”

Well done! Through the pandemic I’ve become a bit of a bit of a personal data nerd. Not asking for identification of other categories but do you track other things as thoroughly?

Bearing in mind where your most visited pubs are clustered, why only one visit to the Volunteer? I had it down as a must revisit for our stay in Bristol at the end of this month. Maybe I’m wrong to do so?

The Volunteer rather than the Famous Royal Navy Volunteer on King Street? It’s a good pub, and in our Bristol pub guide, but maybe not an absolute favourite. I think we’d have visited more but it’s often pretty busy, or we get distracted by the Swan on the way. Maybe the crowd skews young and hip, too, so we feel a bit out of it.

Yes, The Volunteer Tavern, New Street. I do remember it being busy when we last visited (2 years ago?) but the clientele was mixed inside, if younger in the beer garden. Interestingly, we didn’t discover the beer garden until after we left, walked round the corner and back passed the pub on the other side.

I must visit Swan with Two Necks more. My first visit for about 6 months yesterday. Still excellent.
Do you mean Kings Arms on Kingswood High Street (my nearest pub and a “semi-local”)? Or Kings Head on Two Mile Hill?
If on Kingswood High Street / Regent Street the Lyons Den (micropub) is also worth a visit, but maybe you did that in a previous year.

Oops, we meant the Kings Arms.

Yes, we have been to The Lyon’s Den, but not since it opened. Skipped it the other day because we were pursuing ‘ticks’ and can only drink so many beers in one session.

We were in The Swan With Two Necks yesterday, too, enjoying tunes and taters.

“It’s also about 5% too grungy and hippyish for Ray – one of the slight tensions between us when it comes to judging pubs.”

Admirable honesty, I love the personal touch in your posts. I know Mrs RM would have been less than impressed if I’d tried to get her in the Kings Arms (before refurb !) when everyone was drinking cans of Natch.

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