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We Love: Real Ale Pubs

Contrary to popular belief you don’t have to have a beard and wear socks with your sandals to like real ale!  Bristol has a plethora of small independent breweries who provide a wide range of real ales from the one man band ‘Twisted Oak Brewery’ to the regional behemoth ‘Butcombe’. 

All these breweries need an outlet for their beers. Here are 4 of my favourites:

  1. The Cornubia
    The Cornubia is what pubs used to be like before accountants and designers got their hands on them! Located in Temple Street, a period property that is dwarfed by office buildings, The Cornubia is a hidden gems of Bristol and a real ale fans delight. 

    It always has a wide selection of local beers as well as local ciders and perrys, it is “cosy” and makes no concession to fashion! It is a pub pure and simple, and all the better for it.  It also has regular live music specialising in Blues.
  2. The Hare on the Hill
    A quick history lesson: Smiles brewery was a Bristol institution in the 70’s/80’s then it was sold and the dreaded accountants took over.  Some of the employees felt that the new owners were more interested in profits than the product and set up Bath Ales. And the rest is history!

    Bath Ales have several pubs in Bristol so why The Hare on the Hill?  It is the first and in my opinion, the best of the Bath Ales pubs in Bristol.  Once again it is a pub for the community set in the residential area of Kingsdown, it does everything a good local should, but unlike many local pubs it also serves great beer. 

    The brewery has stuck to its original ethos that the quality if the product is paramount and from that everything else will flow, and they are right.  Bath Ales goes from strength to strength and Smiles no longer exists!

  3. The Seven Stars
    In the late 1980’s The Seven Stars was an old man’s pub.  It sold keg beer, old men played crib and it was a functional boozer.  Fast forward 25 years and The Seven Stars is still a functional boozer but by improving the product it offers, it awarded as CAMRA pub of the year in 2010 and 2011 and runner up in 2013 and nominated for the 2014 award!

    With an excellent changing selection of up to 8 real ales this is once again a pub that is successful because it does the simple things well.  It sells excellently kept beers at a fair price without the gimmicks. A simple but successful formula.
  4. The Highbury Vaults
    Warning student alert!!  Situated at the top of St Michael’s Hill, in the heart of student-land, The Highbury Vaults is a Bristol institution.  Originally a Smiles pub, it is now owned by London brewer Youngs.  In addition to the full range of Youngs products it also has a good selection of guest ales, all excellently kept. 

    Unlike most modern pubs The Highbury Vaults has a traditional snug that is an oasis if the student chatter becomes too boisterous, the food is good and hearty, and the staff are excellent.


No doubt you will have your own favourite local, so why not let us know about your favourite real ale pub and why it should be added to our list.