Come off the Bear Pit and you’ve hit Stokes Croft. Ask any five strangers what they think about the area and you will get five different answers. The road leading through Stokes Croft has an ever changing group of people using it, from hurrying commuters, lunch time freelancers, the dinner crowd, the drinking crowd and finishing with land of the walking dead.
A local commitment to independents and the 'buy locally’ mentality is unrivalled in Bristol. The area saw a famous riot in 2012 when Tesco Local opened at the top of the road. You can still see the Boycott Tesco mural opposite the shop, and Banksy’s Mild Mild West mural outside The Canteen seems to have prophesied the event.
Often colourful, often grimey and teeming with things to look at, buy and eat, be brave and take a walk.
Taking over a screen printers in Stokes Croft, Jamaica Street Stores has quite the impressive first impression. A tall, listed building made mostly of windows allowing you to peer into the large open space indoors can't help but pique your interest. Serving small plates with 50% of the offering being veggie and vegan, plus raw food available alongside high quality meat and fish option.
Fancy something spicy? Serving up authentic and unique family recipes that Granny Ms Cat has handed down, you're guaranteed a full belly after visiting Caribbean Croft. Also on the menu are bar snacks for those not wanting a whole meal, some spectacular desserts and a regularly changing specials board.
If you love brunch you must give Ceres a go, Owner Dan runs both the venue and the kitchen, ensuring the quality of food is constant with every single dish. Every mouthful is a move into the gastronomical unknown, an introduction to new aromas and modern tastes, influenced by the creative approaches to cooking seen across metropolitan Australia today. Open for evening dining too, you don't have to get up early to enjoy the beautiful food from this lovely little restaurant
Sitting top of Stokes Croft is Café Kino. This bright and spacious co-op café and community space is dedicated to vegan living and an ethical approach to life. It brags ceiling-to-floor windows that dominate the shop front and allow for excellent people watching. This is a prime place to perch and tuck into homemade burgers, breakfasts, salads and cakes, and watch the eclectic passers-by.
If you love coffee and want to also take some beans for home you must hit up Elemental Cafe who defiantly stands as the enthesitis to the supermarket. Working as a collective, the building has extended back to provide a home for an art gallery, a community meeting space and even a micro-coffee roaster. Along with all this you can still buy your fresh bread, sandwiches, GingerBeard preserves and watch the world go by.
Coming up from town the first pub you hit is The Full Moon. Currently adorned with a galaxy themed mural and sporting, possibly, the largest pub courtyard in Bristol, you would be smart to pop in for a beer here.
The Full Moon is a bit of a commune, with a backpackers hostel, bar and club (Attic Bar) all on the same night, you get a fantastic mix of pub goers, enthusiastic europeans and clubbers leading to some of the most random conversations you’ve had in one night.
If you like your pints community focused then the Canteen should be on your tour. This is, arguably, Stokes Croft’s most quintessential venue. Found right along the central stretch, on the ground floor of Hamilton House, it’s values are perfectly in line with the community-focused approach of the surrounding community. This venue has put people before profit since 2009, and lead the way in the rejuvenation of the local area.
Hidden down a quiet side street is The Bell. This cosy Stokes Croft pub has a spacious garden, a friendly atmosphere, and a good range of Butcombe beers on tap. DJs spin an eclectic mix of vinyls on weekends when the pub transforms from a quiet boozer to a very lively one, with people spilling onto the dancefloor once the coveted garden seats become fully occupied.