The Star in FishpondsPosted on: 06 Jun 2019
I should really be ashamed of myself. I've lived in Fishponds for a while now. The Star is a 10 minute (tops) walk down the road. I'd heard great things about it. I'd ambled by more times than I can remember (and I'm not one for strolling past a pub without generally popping in for at least a swift half). I'd never even crossed its threshold - until one recent Sunday afternoon when, with a spring and step and some time on my hands, I decided to take the plunge, head on in and enjoy a pre-dinner beverage. Needless to say, it'll be a regular for me from now on.
Greeted by a friendly, welcoming and really rather comely barmaid, I adjusted myself from the haze of sticky drizzle outside and immediately felt comfortable and cosy. True, the outside might not be much (then again, appearances can be deceptive, right?) but entering this den of drinking utopia was precisely what I needed on a wet, grey and grim afternoon: a proper pub feel, fine hospitality and a great selection of ales and ciders (they also brew their own beer on-site).
The Star is a real community pub and, from the outset, I was treated as though I'd been there a hundred times before, not just by the staff but by beer quaffers already enjoying a tasty libation, who greeted me with pleasant hellos and seemingly cheery familiarity. Combining contemporary trappings with a cosy almost country pub feel, the place has a multitude of bric-a-brac and oddments dotted around, with a strong emphasis on Irish memorabilia and signage (Craggy Island one way, toilets the other) and a shelf crammed with DVDs and books.
With an exposed stone wall, wooden floorboards and an assortment of pictures, posters and paraphernalia, tables and high swivel stools, it would be very easily to make yourself at home and settle in for an hour or two. Which, on this particular afternoon, I very much did.
My initial (soon to lead to more than one) pint of Thundering Molly cider was a real treat. At 5.2%, it was a strong but well-poured, fruity, fresh, apple-based nectar of golden heaven; effortlessly, deceptively quaffable and at the very reasonable price of £3.30. The well-stocked bar also has an extensive range of beers (usually four regularly rotating) from local breweries and the usual line-up of wines, spirits and, apparently, one of the best-poured pints of Guinness in Bristol. They don't serve food but they're happy for you to bring in your own.
There's a big pub garden, it's dog and family friendly, there's a real fire (which I can imagine being reassuringly, magnificently snug during the winter months as the embers crackle away as you enjoy a pint), they screen BT sports events and terrestrial TV, have pool, darts and a skittle alley, and there's live music every week.
To say it has everything you want to get away from the hassles and vagaries of modern life, a sneaky slice of unadulterated respite from it all - although no doubt livelier and more rambunctious on a Friday and Saturday night - is an understatement. I felt calm, I felt relaxed, I felt welcome, I felt happy. And two hours and a few pints of Thundering Molly later, I also felt a bit squiffy, giddy on the intoxicating effects of the fermented apple, chatting enthusiastically to several new-found friends and tickling the ivories of the pub piano as I'm wont to do after several swigs of the strong stuff (ET, Indiana Jones, Philip Glass, the usual repertoire).
And as I said my goodbyes and was whisked away with by the other half who'd tipped up to rescue me from what would unquestionably have been a long and heavy evening, I didn't feel ashamed anymore. Oh no. Rather I was ecstatic I'd finally ventured into The Star to confirm it was every bit as awesome, inviting, hospitable and genial as I'd been told. Schwarzenegger said, but what the hell, so will I: I'll be back.
The Star, 539 Fishponds Rd, Bristol, BS16 3AF.
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.