Friday 27th July 2012
This venerable pub is thought to date from the early 1800s. The first record of a licensee was in 1882. Nowadays it is a tied house of The Young's pub-owning company, now completely independent from the Charles Wells brewery of Bedford that brews beers with the Young's name, as well as their own brands and those of Courage.
This is a lovely multi-roomed boozer. There is a very small front bar then the pub opens out into the main room with a number of alcoves that are wood-panelled to half way height. There is also a small room that contains a bar-billiards table, not so common nowadays.
The walls are covered with paintings of battlefields and also old photographs of royalty, both from the home side and also from foreign lands and they give the pub an almost timeless feeling.
Well worth a mention is the large shaded garden which, when I visited, was actually busier than the pub.
Food is served every lunchtime, seven days a week, and in the evening on Monday to Friday.
Not surprisingly there were a number of beers from the Wells-Young group brewery in Bedford but there were a few guests.
From Wells-Young there were Young's Bitter (3.7%), Young's Highbury Gold (4.8%) (Young's London Gold rebadged), Young's Waggle Dance (a honey beer originally brewed by Vaux in Sunderland) and Courage Directors (4.8%).
Other offerings were St Austell Proper Job (4.5%) and Tribute (4.2%); Bath (Warmley) Gem (4.1%) and Liberation (St Saviour, Jersey) Liberation Ale (4.0%).
So if you like historic pubs and a good selection of beers the Vaults is well worth coming out of the city to visit.
The Highbury Vaults, 164 St Michaels Hill, Kingsdown, Bristol BS2 8DE
Open: Monday to Saturday 12.00-24.00; Sunday 12.00-23.00
Buses 8 and 9 run from the city centre up St Michaels Hill and
Clifton Down railway station is about ten minutes walk away.