King's Head, Bristol
We'd not been to Bristol city centre for a decade or so and, on visiting it recently, were alarmed to find it to be a vast building site - millions of square feet of office space and hundreds of urban apartments being constructed in the hope (we guess) that the economy will soon rebound and demand for property will pick up. Naturally, all this frantic, speculative, construction left us fearful that even that venerable old boozer, the King's Head, might no longer be standing, but we needn't have worried. It could have been '99 all over again (even 1899) - it was almost as if we hadn't been away. So, what's it like? The King's Head is an old, narrow, traditional pub, serving a good range of interesting and well-kept ales on the hand pumps. It's a friendly, relaxed pub and, indeed, has an air of timelessness about it. And this timeless mood is in no small part engendered by the unique interior - the back of the pub is partitioned off with a shoulder-height screen that encloses some seating and the rear portion of the bar in a shape that's reminiscent of a tram car, which gives it its name: the Tramcar Bar. The walls and shelves are festooned with advertising, memorabilia and old bottles recalling long-forgotten drink brands, it's no wonder the pub is in Camra's heritage pubs inventory (the only one in Bristol it seems). The only 21st century twist, in the nostalgia fest is, sadly, the price of the booze, markedly up since our last visit. But if that's the price of preserving such a piece of our heritage, so be it.
60 Victoria Street, Bristol, Bristol, Avon, BS1 6DE
0117 927 7860
How to get there