Sunny Pub Gardens, Beer Gardens and Roof Terraces in Bristol: A GuidePosted on: 07 Aug 2020
Discover outdoor drinking in Bristol.
A music-filled beer garden, a sophisticated rooftop terrace or a family-friendly pub garden; whatever your style, Bristol is aplenty with places to enjoy a drink in the sunshine.
Scroll right down for a few of our longstanding favourites, and see list of new outdoor solutions below.
What's new for 2020?
COVID-19 has levelled new obstacles for hospitality across the world, but Bristol has risen to the challenge.
New beer gardens and outdoor bars have popped up across the city, allowing the people of Bristol to enjoy a socially-distanced pint or two. Here’s a few.
Church Pub Garden
Since 2004, Bristol circus school Circomedia has been based in St. Paul’s Church at Portland Square. The church closed officially in 1988 and is a Grade I listed building.
To support the school’s running costs, Circomedia is opening a new, pop-up beer garden in its grounds, to be known as Church Pub Garden.
Church Pub Garden will make use of the former church’s picturesque front lawn, where locally brewed Lost and Grounded beer will be available on tap.
Alongside local beer, expect jugs (yes, jugs) of cocktails, organic wine and music, against the backdrop of the St Paul’s Church and its leafy surroundings. It's going to be one of Bristol's prettiest beer gardens - that's for sure.
The garden opens on Friday 7 August, and will be open for the rest of the month on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 17:00 to 22:00.
Introducing Bristol's newest pop-up pub and beer garden! Join us this weekend for our launch party and enjoy a refreshing locally brewed pint or cocktail in the leafy oasis of Portland Square. It's going to be a scorcher!???? https://t.co/cwCHUguOJS #beergarden #bristol #pub pic.twitter.com/Uk37zDQmRe— Circomedia (@Circomedia) August 3, 2020
In a groundbreaking collaboration between Bristol chefs and leading hospitality businesses, Breaking Bread is a pop-up restaurant and pub garden on the Downs, Clifton.
It’s a socially-distanced tipi village, boasting 60 covered dining spaces and two, al fresco café/pub gardens. The launch sent Bristol into a frenzy: the restaurants are mow fully booked for August, and the initiative got a mention in The Guardian.
The pub garden, The Pipe & Lovers, is a collaboration between The Love Inn and The Pipe & Slippers, two long-established indie pubs in the Stokes Croft.
Inside, expect cocktails, the very best of local brewers, and wine courtesy of Monty Wines - an independent supplier based in St Werburghs. They serve light bites, too.
Crofters Beer Garden
Another new one: set up by the team behind leading local music venue The Crofters Rights, you’ll find the sunny Crofters Summer Garden on the corner of Ashley Road in Montpelier.
Open six days a week, from Tuesday to Sunday, head down to enjoy local beers and freshly-made, Neapolitan-style pizza from Ray’s.
Thekla's Dockside Bar
The music venue on a boat: Thekla is a Bristol institution. In July, the former German cargo ship turned award-winning live music venue, unveiled its brand-new Dockside Bar. It’s open from Thursday to Saturday.
Making use of the venue’s prime Dockside location, the bar boasts seating along the harbour and specially curated playlists by Thekla’s band of resident DJs. To secure a table, it’s best to book.
Over in Stokes Croft, Lakota is putting its courtyard to work with the launch of Lakota Gardens; another brilliant (and socially-distanced) outdoor venue.
If you’re in the market for a social-distanced drink visit The Oasis; Lakota’s answer to a sun-trap of a beer garden.
Lakota Gardens is also home to The Courtyard: a new covered performance area.
In recent weeks, The Courtyard has welcomed table raves (seated DJ sets), bottomless pizza and prosecco brunches, and one of the UK’s most successful comedians, Russell Howard.
Roof Terraces in Bristol
The White Lion Bar
For an unparalleled view of Bristol’s most iconic landmark, The White Lion Bar is the place to be. Its super spacious, all-weather terrace sits on the edge of the Avon Gorge, overlooking The Clifton Suspension Bridge.
The White Lion Bar is part of the boutique Avon Gorge Hotel; a 78-bedroom Victorian getaway, first opened as the Grand Clifton Spa and Hydropathic Institution in 1898.
On the hunt for a breathtaking, 360-degree panoramic view of the Clifton Suspension Bridge? Stroll up to the Clifton Observatory - a building steeped in local history - and nab a seat upon its cosy rooftop terrace, the aptly named 360 Roof Terrace.
The 360 Roof Terrace forms part of the Observatory’s 360 Glass Café; a venue with both indoor and outdoor seating overlooking the Bridge.
After you’ve recharged with locally-sourced refreshments, descend into the Observatory to enjoy some local history.
Once an 18th Century windmill, The Clifton Observatory is now home to a museum, Camera Obscura and the ‘Giants Cave’; a natural cave in the Avon Gorge which can be accessed from inside the Observatory.
COVID-19 Update: The 360 Café is open seven days a week for takeaway only.
Soak up some city views at Bambalan; a Mediterranean restaurant and bar with a terrace boasting views of bustling central Bristol.
Expect fresh and flavoursome bites (complete with laidback dining), yummy craft cocktails, and in the summer, a ton of vibrant rooftop parties.
For now, Bambalan won’t be hosting any major soirees on its sunny rooftop terrace, but you can still pop in for food and drink.
The Old Market Assembly
After a day shopping in central Bristol, stroll over to The Old Market Assembly.
Set over two floors in a former bank, The Old Market Assembly is home to an ornate domed ceiling and a small, but mighty rooftop terrace.
On a summer night, tuck into a quality, freshly prepped dish (the venue received ‘Best Restaurant’ 2018 in the Bristol Life Awards) and watch the sunset over the city.
Pub and beer gardens in Bristol
Arnolfini Café Bar
The quayside near the Arnolfini contemporary art gallery is a top hangout, and it’s easy to see why. Many dangle their legs over the harbourside walls and watch as boats and paddle boarders go by.
But if you’re looking for something with a bit more comfort than the edge of a stone wall, take advantage of Arnolfini’s café bar, complete with a sun-soaked, outdoor seating area, and occasional DJ sets in the summertime.
At the moment, Arnolfini’s café bar is operating al fresco, on its recently-refurbished and newly-enclosed decking area. The café bar is being run in partnership with leading Bristol brewery, Bristol Beer Factory, in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines.
More harbourside views! (Because you can’t ever have enough of that.) You’ll find The Ostrich on Lower Guinea Street in Redcliffe.
Slump into a striped deckchair overlooking the water with an award-winning Butcombe beer, or head inside to enjoy a proper sit-down meal. On the menu, expect nothing less than traditional British pub classics and seasonal, local produce.
The Cottage Inn
On a stroll along the harbourside, you might be struck by the multicoloured rows of houses up on the hill. That’s Cliftonwood, and its vibrant, Victorian houses have become an iconic part of Bristol’s skyline.
A sister venue to The Ostrich, The Cottage Inn is the place to stop and stare at the houses – its outdoor seating area at Baltic Wharf looks directly onto them.
The Cottage also dates back to Victorian times; it was used by merchants for storing Baltic timber. Since then, the venue has swapped out the timber for pub classics, seasonal ingredients and fresh seafood.
No room and the Inn? Visit The Pump House on the other side of the water. It too has a good outdoor seating area with picturesque, harbourside views.
Escape to the countryside – almost. Venture out of central Bristol and into St Werburghs to discover The Farm; a warm and friendly pub with a laidback, grassy beer garden.
Now, when you arrive at The Farm, it should be easy to tell if you’re in the right place: its exterior is adorned with a wacky mural painting of, well, a farm.
Head inside, grab a pint (and one of their infamous Roasts if you visit on a Sunday) and soak up the sun on a picnic bench. A lazy Sunday? Sorted.
The Gloucester Old Spot
Colourful bunting, fairy lights and a castle for kids: The Gloucester Old Spot is a charming pub with an even better beer garden.
It’s a real family-friendly pub and comes complete with great pub grub and a sought-after Sunday Roast. Find The Gloucester Old Spot in Horfield, in BS6.
A bit full? Try your luck at The Lazy Dog. It's a sister pub to fellow Bristol watering holes The Windmill and The Pipe & Slippers.
The Lazy Dog's got a lovely (and spacious) beer garden, decorated with shrubbery, fairy lights and picnic benches.
The Volunteer Tavern
Out and about in Bristol’s shopping district? Retire to The Volunteer Tavern’s cosy, all-weather pub garden. (Yep, they’ve got heaters – perfect for those chillier evenings).
The Volunteer Tavern dates back to 1870, and today, its beer garden sits enclosed by Grade II listed walls, shaded by London Plane trees.
It’s got all the markers of a great pub garden; from homemade bunting to colourful lights, to cosy, covered seating areas.
Another city centre gem is The Phoenix. The pub is situated right behind Cabot Circus, in the heart of the city's shopping district.
The Phoenix is an independently-owned, dog-friendly pub armed with a top-notch Sunday Roast - it's made with local, Buxton Butchers meat.
The pub is also home to a sunny and spacious courtyard, knitted out with picnic benches – perfect for post-shopping spree tipple.
Fun fact: the pub has been under its current owner since 2010, but the building itself has been around since 1850!
Whiteladies Road is home to several top restaurants, an artisan bakery and a boutique cinema. It’s also home to one of Bristol’s leading cocktail bars, Flipside.
Flipside is a cool and contemporary venue, complete with a mezzanine overlooking the bar, and stylish, all-weather outdoor space. (Yep, it’s got heaters!)
The garden comes decked out with covered, cushioned seats and, of course, a healthy dose of twinkly fairy lights.
The Brewhouse & Kitchen
While you’re on Whiteladies Road, swing by The Brewhouse & Kitchen on Cotham Hill.
It’s a microbrewery and chain pub, serving over 50 craft beers and traditional grub.
On the opposite side of the road, The Brewhouse has its very own pub garden on the corner of Hampton Park. It’s a super sunny spot filled with plants and colourful picnic benches.
The King Street Brew House
Last but certainly not least, we celebrate King Street.
Every weekend, hordes of pub-goers flock to King Street: a C17th street off Welsh Back waterside.
Under antiquated street lamps, dozens of wooden benches fill the street to create a pub playground between the likes of Small Bar, The Old Duke and the King William Ale House.
But at the top of the lane sits the self-titled leader of it all: The King Street Brew House.
Since its opening in 2016, the Brewhouse has quickly become a favourite with local beer-lovers – and with good reason. Expect homemade beers and quality pub grub.
After a pint at the Brew House, pop over the cobbled road to The Apple - the city's legendary cider boat.
Kate Hutchison, Content Editor of 365Bristol.com
Get in touch with Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org.