One of Bristols’ best-kept secrets, this low-key pub is right next to Stokes Croft – but feels a million miles away
Long before Stokes Croft became the city’s most bohemian locale, The Bell was widely regarded as something of a Bristol institution. Tucked away on Hillgrove Street, just off the main Stokes Croft drag of bars, independent stores and kooky cafés, it has long served a multitude of purposes: a laid-back meeting place for local artists, DJs and musicians; a low-key community pub, and a popular weekend pre-club boozer all rolled into one.
In many ways, The Bell manages to be all things to all people. Its clientele has always been mixed, and you’re just as likely to be standing at the bar next to Bristol Mayor George Ferguson or a gaggle of middle-aged real ale buffs, as 19-year-old students, popular local DJs and renowned Stokes Croft artists.
It boasts a busy patio for the smokers, a quieter second room for those who want to avoid the crowds, and a bustling main bar area. Here, you’ll find a roaring fire and, tucked away in the corner, a DJ booth, where seated local selectors – and occasionally surprise big name guests (Ben UFO and DJ Sotofett have both taken to the decks over the last few years) – play a great mix of styles most nights of the week.
It’s a credit to long-serving manager Marion Cross that the Butcombe Brewery-owned pub – whose real ales dominate the drinks list – has managed to retain its unique atmosphere during Stokes Croft’s recent period of gentrification. Happily, The Bell remains a haven for drinkers of all ages.
|Venue name:||The Bell||Contact:|
18 Hillgrove Street
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu noon-midnight; Fri noon-1am; Sat 4.30pm-1am; Sun 1pm-midnight|
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