The wait is over – we’re finally returning to our beloved pubs. And even though we’re having to drink outside for the time being, we’re lucky enough to have some properly gorgeous pub with sunny gardens here in Bristol. In fact, we’re so spoilt for choice that we’ve been having a hard time deciding where to head to first. So to make it easier, we’ve compiled a list of 22 incredible Bristol pub gardens that you’ve got to visit this year.
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Steam Festival Garden
Famous for their bottomless brunches, resident foodie pop-ups and mammoth beer selection, the team behind Steam have undoubtedly created Bristol’s best beer hall. And for 2021, they’ve taken things even further with the launch of their new festival gardens – a mighty alfresco drinking spot that’s said to be one of Bristol’s largest covered outdoor spaces. With a spectacular sound-system set up, plenty of seating and festoon lighting for after dark drinks, we’re anticipating many a good time at Steam Festival Gardens this summer. If you want to nab a table, we recommend booking in advance as this is going to be a popular spot!
Where: Clifton Down Station, Whiteladies Rd, Bristol BS8 2PN
A Gloucester Road institution, The Gallimaufry is a must visit any time of the year, but there’s something particularly special about this joint during the summer months. With a sunny road-side outdoor seating area, The Gallimaufry seems to pick up the positive vibes and energy of the entire city. Their bar is packing good stuff too, with an abundance of local beers (you’ll always find a belter from Wiper & True on tap), taste-tested wines and exceptional spirits (including Psychopomp gin).
Where: 26-28 Gloucester Rd, Bishopston, Bristol BS7 8AL
Left Handed Giant Brewpub
Even though it only opened its doors in 2019, the Left Handed Giant Brewpub rocketed itself right to the top of our favourite drinking spots in Bristol. A laidback hangout spread across three floors, Left Handed Giant’s Brewpub is an absolute paradise for craft beer lovers. Their beer selection is second to none, with core brewpub beers made on site (including their staple pale Sky Above and local lager West Coast Pils), alongside top picks from national and international brewers. The outdoor space is sleek and contemporary, decorated with colourful characters that feature on Left Handed Giant’s beer cans (illustrated by their designer James Yeo), and beautifully urban views across Finzels Bridge towards Castle Park.
Where: Hawkins Ln, Redcliffe, Finzels BS1 6EU
Their taproom in St Phillips is set to open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout the summer too, with alternating street food favourites from Hummusapiens and Mission Pizza.
Where: Unit 3 Wadehurst Ind Estate, Bristol, BS2 0JE
The Victoria Park Pub
Step inside the Victoria Pub and we guarantee the first thing that catches your eye is the view into the garden. Floor to ceiling bi-folding doors open up into this amazing stepped garden area that finds itself sandwiched between neighbouring homes. On the clearest of days, the garden offers views of a seemingly endless blue sky (bring your sunnies) and at night, the criss-cross of festoon lighting creates an intimate atmosphere that makes it the perfect spot for enjoying a glass of wine or two. And with a garden kitchen turning out sourdough pizzas round the clock, the whole outdoor space is usually filled with the incredibly smoky scent of blistering dough – what’s not to love.
Where: The Raymend Hotel, 66 Raymend Rd, Bristol BS3 4QW
The Grain Barge
Built in 1936 by the Charles Hill shipyard, Grain Barge began life as a transport barge, shipping barley and wheat from Bristol to Cardiff. The barge is now permanently moored in Hotwells, just across from its original berth, and has breathtaking views across Bristol harbour and the world-famous SS Great Britain. It's one of our absolute favourite spots to enjoy a few drinks in the sun.
Where: Hotwell Rd, Bristol BS8 4RU
The Avon Packet
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a “locals only” affair; the Avon Packet may look like an old school establishment, but we can’t think of a more welcoming place to soak up the sun when we’re south of the river. Head out back through the main bar area and you’ll stumble across the Avon Packet’s most coveted secret: their garden. Adorned with brightly coloured potted plants and ramshackled garden furniture, it’s a real sun trap throughout the day and offers a bit of peace and solitude from the hustle and bustle of North Street that lies just a stone’s throw away. And it’s not just the punters that can be found wetting their beaks in the Avon Packet’s garden; this pub is also home to a handful of ducks and they’re guaranteed to bring the entertainment whilst you drink.
Where: 185 Coronation Rd, Southville, Bristol BS3 1RF
The Volunteer Tavern
The Volunteer Tavern’s outdoor areas has everything we think a pub garden should have: plenty of tables, an excellent sound system and access to incredible local beers. And it gets better. Across the summer, The Volunteer Tavern takes full advantage of this premium outdoor space to host beer festivals and live music events, so a good time is always guaranteed!
Where: 9 New St, Bristol BS2 9DX
Overlooking Bristol’s historic harbour, there really are few places that can rival the view from Arnolfini’s alfresco drinking deck. This year, the decking has been extended to make sure there’s plenty of room to enjoy a drink with friends safely, and they’ve even added a slide on/off tent roof should the weather turn against you. And with the Bristol Beer Factory team handling the hard work behind the bar, you can soak up the sun without a care in the world, knowing that you’re sure to get a pint of the good stuff from their award-winning collection of locally brewed beers.
Where: 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol BS1 4QA
Another big Wriggle favourite for a sunny tipple is Mud Dock. Sittin' on the Mud-Dock of the bay (well, floating harbour), this is the perfect place to be wastin' time, watching the ships roll in. Start in the morning sun with a coffee, then stick around until later in the day when it becomes socially acceptable to have a sunny beer or four. The gorgeous views from the terrace of this converted boat warehouse make any visit here thoroughly memorable.
Where: 40 The Grove, Bristol BS1 4RB
Situated on the edge of Clifton village, the Lansdown not only boasts the perfect terrace for bright, sunny days, but it's also a top spot for those cooler summer evenings. Usually draped in canvas (to keep the chills out), this covered garden comes with plenty of heaters for the evening and some statues of classical nymphs to keep you company whilst you drink. A regularly changing food menu and plenty of bar snacks will keep you in good stead if you feel the munchies setting in after a couple of Bath Ale’s Lansdown West Coast IPA.
Where: 8 Clifton Rd, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1AF
The Lion Cliftonwood
There’s no doubt in our minds that whoever coined the term “good things come in small packages” was referring to the garden at The Lion! It might be the smallest pub garden on our list, but with a clever use of plants and greenery, The Lion team have created a cosy and unpretentious sunny spot, perfect for a quiet mid-week drink or Sunday stroll destination. Just be warned – if you’re heading up from Hotwells, it’s a steep route up to The Lion, but we guarantee the reward (that is, a gin in the sun) is totally worth it.
Where: 19 Church Ln, Hotwells, Bristol BS8 4TX
Prefer a more urban setting whilst you imbibe? Micro-brewery Zerodegrees boasts a sun terrace pitched high enough for you to people watch all afternoon or simply stare cross the old and new city scape. The mango beer is hard to beat and the prices for the in-house beers are particularly enticing. What better way to spend a day than sampling them all, in the interest of research of course.
Where: 53 Colston St, BS1 5BA // Read more about Zerodegrees here.
The Star & Dove
Refurbished and relaunched at the end of 2019, we’ve only had the pleasure of visiting The Star & Dove a handful of times before it had to shut its doors again, but the few times we have stopped by, we’ve left feeling more than impressed! Beautifully decorated with a contemporary rustic look, The Star & Dove has everything you need from a modern local. Their menu is a real tour de force, offering innovative takes on pub staples and snacks, including outstanding al la carte dishes and Sunday roasts. The outdoor space has been put together with the same meticulous attention to detail; there are plenty of large robust benches to share with mates, as well as enclosed heated spaces constructed within a disused storage building, so it’s the perfect drinking spot whatever the weather.
Where: 75-78 St Luke's Rd, Totterdown, Bristol BS3 4RY
There was no doubt in our minds that Bambalan had to make this list. Their rooftop terrace is a city-centre summer paradise; live DJs, table tennis showdowns, spot on cocktails and outstanding North African & Mediterranean dishes, Bambalan knows how to have a good time. It’s central location makes it an unbeatable spot for after-work drinks and has some amazing views of the bustling harbourside. And if you’re looking for a sun trap, you’ve found it – just make sure you slap on the sun cream before getting your party on.
Where: Podium Level, Colston Tower, Colston Street, Bristol BS1 4XE
Channings boasts one of the largest beer gardens around. A stone’s throw away from the Triangle but without the noise, it’s a great space to meet up with the gang and while away long summer days. With plenty of large tables to share with your mates, this garden gets full sunshine for most of the day. That tan doesn’t top up itself you know.
Where: 20 Pembroke Rd, BS8 3BB
The Spotted Cow
This North Street institution has a walled oasis, perfect for kicking back after a day at the coal face of your office. They also have a sheltered outdoor area, perfect for if the sun gets too much for you (hands up pasty crew). With a brilliant selection of ciders and craft beers including Arbor and Tiny Rebel, you can take your micro-rage at Jeff from accounting down a peg or two whilst surrounded by a sculpted selection of plants.
Where: 139 North Street, BS3 1EZ
The Cottage Inn
Whilst not strictly a beer garden (let’s be honest, we’re playing fast and loose with that term in this list), The Cottage is one of the best places to watch the sun go down on an evening. There’s a formal seating area right outside the Cottage Inn, but anyone who’s anyone knows the cool kids sit at the steps on the edge of the river to be closer to the boating action. We think this location pairs perfectly with a cider, but for beer fanatics you’ll find some absolute classics from Butcombe Brewery (pint of Goram, anyone) alongside a stellar line-up of wines and spirits.
Where: Baltic Wharf, Cumberland Rd, Bristol BS1 6XG
The Pump House
Polish up that pint at the Cottage Inn and keep making your way around the harbour to stumble across another list-worthy outdoor drinking spot, courtesy of The Pump House. This Bristol favourite has set up its outdoor space at the front of the building to maximise on the harbour views, and with plenty of benches lining their decking, there’s almost always a free spot that’s perfect for people watching. Whilst you’re here, you’ve got to get yourself a gin or two; The Pump House boasts one of the largest gin selections this side of the country, so it’s absolutely sacrilege not to sample some of the bartender’s recommendations. For us, it’s got to be the Rock Rose gin: served with a tonne of ice, a twist of orange and a sprig of lavender, it’s absolutely heavenly.
Where: Merchants Rd, Hotwells, BS8 4PZ
The Farm needs little introduction: an established staple of Bristol’s pub scene, this wateringhole is loved by all, thanks to its friendly “everyone’s welcome” atmosphere, great value drinks, cracking pub eats and, above all, its huge sunny garden. We’ve spent many a day here knocking back pints of Hop Back Brewery’s Summer Lightning ale and chatting all sorts of nonsense in the heat of the sun. The atmosphere is always spot on, but we find it particularly enjoyable during the St Werburgh’s Fair when it’s packed to the gills with people and the music is pumping (ah, to see those days again).
Where: Hopetoun Rd, Bristol BS2 9YL
No. 51 Stokes Croft
Whether you find yourself in Stokes Croft for a couple of quiet ones, or gearing up for a big night out, No. 51 Stokes Croft is always a good place to stop by. Their garden is a hidden oasis tucked behind the busy strip; bathed in golden sunlight and with a new outdoor bar, they’ve pulled out all the stops to create a low-key environment whatever the occasion. We’re particularly fond of the graffiti soaked wall from Bristol based artist collective LongFox, which features some iconic local landmarks. To sum No. 51 up in 6 words: it’s a cool place to be.
Where: 51 Stokes Croft, Bristol BS1 3QP
Okay, we’re cheating a little here because we thought it wouldn’t be fair to pick one bar on King Street to feature in this list. After all, isn’t King Street just one big urban beer garden anyway? Starting down at the Apple and working your way up through the Old Duke, Kongs, and Small Bar, you can easily spend a whole afternoon sampling as many beers at as many venues as you like. And if you feel like a change from street-level seating, pop into The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer and check out their roof terrace.
Where: All of King Street (including Small Bar, the Beer Emporium, The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer, Kongs, Renatos, Gosha’s House, King William, The Old Duke, King St Brew House, The Apple)
Inn on the Green (AKA Out on the Green)
If you’re looking for somewhere with laidback, rural pub vibes but you don’t want to stretch your legs too far, then the Inn on the Green (this year, they’re calling themselves the ‘Out on the Green’ for obvious reasons) has got your name written all over it. This lovely local has two cracking gardens with plenty of space for you, your mates and their dogs (yes, this is 100% a dog friendly establishment). Both gardens are kept in tip top shape with planters brimming over with brightly coloured flowers to keep the bees happy, and spotless purple umbrellas to keep you shaded on the hottest of days. Every summer, they host a beer festival too, so keep your eye on their social channels to find out when the next one is pencilled in!
Where: 2 Filton Rd, Bristol BS7 0PA
The Best of Bristol Beer in Your Garden
It’s not just the pubs in Bristol that tick all the right boxes. We’re also lucky enough to have an abundance of incredibly talented brewers knocking out first rate craft beer. Whether you’re hosting a BBQ with friends or recreating your favourite pub from the comfort of your home, you can’t go wrong with one of these Bristol Legends Beer Boxes from Bristol Pantry – packed with a variety of the finest beers from breweries across Bristol, it’s the perfect way to explore the city, one sip at a time.