Friday 27th July 2012
The Victoria is a lovely pub in a residential area on the eastern edge of Clifton. It is one of several with this name in the city.
It is a solid bit of imposing Victorian architecture that somehow seems smaller inside than it should be. There are two distinct drinking areas that must have been two rooms at one time but are now joined.
It was built around 1850 and in more recent years was an Ushers (of Trowbridge, Wiltshire) pub. Now it is another in the small chain of five Dawkins pubs that have their own brewery at Timsbury near Bath.
There is a very attractive bar back that advertises the ownership in stained glass. The walls are decorated with beer mats and there several ornate mirrors.
This is an atmospheric pub and no more so than in winter when there is a roaring fire. The term "community pub" is often over-used, yet I think it is correctly applied with reference to the Victoria. There is a quiz every Tuesday night and less serious competitions are the free "Crap Prize Bingo" on the last Thursday of the month and the free "Play Your Cards Right" that occurs on the second Thursday of each month. They also have a number of board games.
Twice a year on St Georges Day and at Halloween they hold a Beer Festival with over twenty beers and ciders.
There are normally six cask beers available and when I visited there were three from Dawkins: Brass Knocker (3.8%), Bristol Best (4.0%) and a special, Jubeerlee (6.0%).
There were also three guest beers as follows: Butts (Great Shefford, Berkshire) Barbus Barbus (4.6%), Severn Vale (Dursley, Gloucestershire) Severn Sins Stout (5.2%) and Box (Holt, Wiltshire) Steam Derail Ale (5.2%).
There is a large range of Belgian bottled beers and there were three draught ciders from the Ashridge Cider Co of Staverton, Devon. Apropos nothing, Staverton is the only intermediate station on the South Devon Railway between Totnes and Buckfastleigh.
Ciders on offer were Ashridge Traditional (6.0%), Medium-Dry (6.5%) and Devon Blush (4.5%), a medium-sweet offering with added Blackberry flavour.
So, should you be in Bristol and have some time on your hands you could do far worse than to come out of the city centre to visit the Victoria.
The Victoria, 2 Southleigh Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 3EX
Open: Monday to Friday 16.00-23.00; Saturday 12.00-23.00; Sunday 12.00-22.30
From Bristol city centre it is almost entirely uphill should you decide to walk. Buses 8 and 9 (same route but in different directions) run along St Pauls Road and Whiteladies Road, both about five minutes walk away. Buses 1, 2, and 54 also go along Whiteladies Road.
Clifton Down railway station is about ten minutes stroll.