Friday 27th July 2012
I have always thought of Bristol as a very laid-back city. Possibly the only other contender in this category is Norwich, but the feel of Bristol wins and its pubs are extremely relaxed indeed. The Green Man is the perfect example to confirm this theory.
It's a back street pub east of the University and north of the Royal Infirmary. It has one room with both full-height and half-height wood panelling. Pump Clips, pictures and mirrors festoon the walls and the wooden furniture adds to the atmosphere.
This was my first visit here. The pub is part of the small chain of five Dawkins pubs in the city and was acquired by them in 2009. Prior to that, it had been known as the Bell. The first recorded licensee was in 1863, although the pub could be a bit older than that.
Dawkins are actually more than a pub-owning company as they also have a brewery at Timsbury, near Bath. Despite that, there are still a number of beers from other brewers in their pubs.
The Green Man has five hand pumps for cask beers. The following is a list of the beers on tap when I visited: From the home side there was Dawkins Alederflower Ale (4.0%), made with Elderflowers, and Brass Knocker (3.8%). Also offered were: Dorset (Dorchester) Jurassic (4.7%); Cheddar Ales (Cheddar, Somerset) Bitter Bully (3.8%) and Purple Moose (Porthmadog, Gwynedd, North Wales) Glaslyn Ale (4.2%).
There were some ciders from the Ashridge Cider Co of Devon but, regrettably I didn't record which varieties.
All Dawkins pubs accept the company's loyalty card which enables holders to a free pint after ten have previously been bought.
There is free Wi-Fi in the pub and food is served on Fridays and Saturdays from 17.00 to 22.00, also on Sundays from 12.00 to 16.00.
This is a lovely little pub and I wished I could have stayed longer.
On leaving the pub I noticed something special a few doors down the street. It was a former off-licence that was still decorated in the house style of H & G Simonds Brewery.
This has fond memories as they brewed some of the beers of my youth. Their main brewery was in Reading and between the wars they had taken over the George's brewery in Bristol.
In 1960 Simonds were absorbed into the Courage-Barclay Company. So that shop's livery must have dated from before then. Their trademark was the hop leaf and this lives on as it is used by the Farson's brewery in Malta, once owned by Simonds. They even brew Hop Leaf Pale Ale.
Of course, this is really only an excuse to show an image of a Simonds beer mat from my collection. Actually no, although the shop was a complete surprise on the day, and I hope it stays in its present condition for some time.
The Green Man, 21 Alfred Place, Kingsdown, Bristol BS2 8HD
Open: Monday to Thursday 16.00-23.00; Friday and Saturday 12.00-23.00;
The pub is less than mile from the city centre but it is all uphill.
The nearest bus stops are on St Michaels Hill served by the 8 and 9.
Also, it is not far from Cotham Road South along which the 21 and 22 run.