Bored of the same old watering holes? Check out the fantastic Bag Of Nails in Hotwells

Bored of the same old watering holes? Check out the fantastic Bag Of Nails in Hotwells

Posted on: 15 Apr 2019

The Bag Of Nails on St Georges Road in Bristol is one of the best real ale pubs in the city. Fact. It's been a firm favourite and alcohol-swigging staple for many of the city's heartiest imbibers for decades, and its gaggle of meandering moggies which saunter the pub and sleep on the bar have ensured a new, cat-loving kind of beer sipper added to its ongoing legion of fans.

Dating back to the 1860s, Bag O'Nails is home to a refreshingly mixed bag of clientele; students rub shoulders with office workers who vie for bar attention with red-nosed regulars, bohemian arty types, construction chaps, and occasionally those wide-eyed unprepared people who don't know exactly what they've got themselves into.


Beer is, of course, the main focus here, and there's plenty of it gushing freely from the bar taps. Beverages procured from local breweries share pouring space with beers from further afield, as well as a good selection of bottled beers and real (ie: proper gert like rough scrumpy) ciders, and there are usually nine rotating beers on offer.


If you're fed up with a cluster of mewling, grizzling kids interrupting your desperate attempt for a quiet pint, then this is the perfect quaffing nirvana for you: a blackboard is chalked up with a list of brilliantly inspired and offbeat instructions, including no inflatable bananas, idiot pub crawls and, naturally, no children.


Ironically, in a place that's brimming with feline incumbents, there's nary enough room to actually swing a cat, being as it is a very small oblong bar decorated in terracotta colours with a bare-boarded floor and a smattering of tables, pew seats and stools. There are also a couple of very cool portholes in the floor.

Outside the Bag of Nails in Bristol.

Conversation and chatter are also the predominant forces here, where conversation is king and, like several other micro-breweries in the city, mobile phones are frowned - nay, positively sneered - at and where talking takes precedence over texts. There's usually a good jazz vinyl spinning on the record player in the corner, and you can always help yourself to one of the many board games to while away the hours between the copious ale consumption.


The pub's idiosyncrasies are its appeal. This is no identi-kit, formulaic gastro-pub (in fact, gastronomic highlights include packets of crisps, the occasional pork pie and sensational pickled eggs); this is a fun, quirky way to enjoy faultlessly kept real ales in a distinctly offbeat emporium, and it's usually buzzing and packed out (though it doesn't take many punters for that) on a Friday and Saturday night.


Quizzers amongst you can take part in a night of brain-stretching, noggin-scratching every Tuesday, and it participates in beer festivals twice a year with other nearby pubs. Excellent ales in an awesomely unorthodox venue, Bag O'Nails is brimming with brilliance, beers and a health sprinkling of barminess.


Bag O' Nails is located at 141 St. Georges Road, Hotwells, Bristol, BS1 5UW. For any more information on future events at the pub or with any queries, contact the team on 0117 940 6776.

Article by:

Jamie Caddick

Jamie is a writer, blogger, journalist, critic, film fan, soundtrack nerd and all-round Bristolian good egg.  He loves the music of Philip Glass, the art of Salvador Dali, the writings of Charles Bukowksi and Hunter S Thompson, the irreverence of Harry Hill, and the timeless, straw-chomping exuberance of The Wurzels.  You can sometimes find him railing against a surging tide of passing cyclists, or gorging himself senseless on the Oriental delights of a Cosmos all-you-can-eat buffet.