The sun has got his hat on and after a long year of lockdowns the Harbourside is once again buzzing with people! If you’re headed out for a stroll around the water any time soon, be sure to check out these hot spots for some of the best food and drinks the historic Harbourside has to offer.
Oliver's Ice Cream
There are few simpler pleasures in life than an ice cream, and Fran and David of Oliver’s Ice Cream make some of the best in the city. Their love for the craft is evident in each scoop, and seeing customers consistently leave with a smile on their face is why they do what they do. With a rotation of over 60 flavours, including plenty of dairy-free options, there’s something for everyone at this little Harbourside gelateria, just be prepared to wait in line for your turn!
Salt and Malt
Bristol might not quite be on the coast but being sat on the historic Harbourside can often feel reminiscent of a trip to the seaside, and we all know no beach visit is complete without some good ol’ fashioned fish and chips; and no one does it better than Salt n Malt at Wapping Wharf. Grab a portion of chips, served in the iconic newspaper cone, and wander around the waterfront, or if you’d prefer a more refined experience you can sit in their small but perfectly formed restaurant. Their eat-in menu celebrates all that the English coast has to offer whilst the takeaway operates as a classic chippy - battered sausage whilst you wait, anyone?
With the winning combination of gorgeous Harbourside views, mouthwatering mediterranean small plates and an extensive wine list, it’s clear to see why Olive Shed has become a Bristol stalwart since it opened back in 2008. When the sun hits their terrace, with a glass of vino or cocktail in hand and some fresh calamari on the table, you really are transported to the Med; and be sure to check out their daily specials board for some extra-indulgent offerings!
Whilst Bristol has many foodie hubs dotted around the city it’s always worth venturing off the beaten track to find hidden gems and local favourites, and if you wander past the uber-trendy Wapping Wharf you’ll come to Brunel’s Buttery - a proper Bristol institution. These guys have been serving up old school breakfast baps, sarnies made with thick cut white bread and no frills teas and coffees since the 80’s and have very much taken the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach to their menu (it quite literally has not changed!). You might have to get in line for your bacon buttie, but trust us, it’ll be worth it.
Imagine that cafe
Bristolians are nothing if not creative, and our ability to turn anything into an awesome venue is evident all across the city (think shipping containers, boats, airstreams, a giant mirrored disco ball, you get the idea!) Even something as compact as a horsebox has been transformed into a fab little café. Situated on Bristol Marina next to Banksy’s Girl With The Pierced Eardrum, Imagine That café serves hot drinks, pastries and veggie and vegan sandwiches all from their tiny green horsebox, and if that wasn’t enough they also host grassroots gigs across the city, too!
The Orchard Inn
Cider is the unofficial drink of the South West and Bristol is in no short supply of cider bars, but up there with the best has got to be The Orchard Inn. Tucked away in Hanover Place this traditional pub has been operating since 1834 (as White Horse until the 1980’s) but has in recent years cemented its status as a top quality boozer, winning multiple awards and gaining quite a reputation for its extensive cider offering and HUGE sandwiches.
The Cottage Inn
A superb pub in its own right, when the sun comes out this spot-on Baltic Wharf transforms into *the* place to soak up some rays and enjoy the glorious view over a pint or two. Despite a relatively small outdoor seating area, the steps outside offer ample space to watch the world go by, or grab a table inside to enjoy a classic pub lunch, with a focus on fresh fish, seafood and sharing dishes. And of course come Sunday this Butcombe pub is all about a great British roast (booking is definitely advised!).
Tucked away at the far end of the Harbourside, far from the busy city centre and with the rolling hills of Ashton Court Estate and beyond in the background, is Underfall Yard café, a quaint spot that boasts one of the most picturesque views of Bristol going. The boatyard has been operational since 1809, and the sounds of metalwork and hammering remind you of the area's impressive history. The café is only open for outside seating at present, but with plenty of picnic tables and a prime location for watching the world go by you wouldn’t want to be inside anyway!
Spoke and Stringer
We’ve all been there, you and your mates want to grab a bite to eat but no one can agree on what they want. Instead of meeting in the middle or settling on the majority decision, head to Spoke and Stringer; from fish n chips to fried chicken, burritos bowls to brunch, this Harbourside suntrap has got it all and then some! Built on a firm belief that a healthy mind and body starts with a nutritionally rich diet, expect lots of fresh ingredients and colourful dishes as well as plenty of veggie, vegan and gluten free options.
The Grain Barge
No Harbourside guide would be complete without at least one bar on a boat, and for us it’s got to be the Grain Barge! Championing all things Bristol, the bar stocks a variety of refreshing beers and cider from Bristol Beer Factory and gins from Six O’Clock and Bristol Dry Gin, as well as serving up seasonal dishes and Five Acre Farm pies, all made from local produce. Combine that with an unbeatable view of the harbour and you’re onto a real winner.
Authentic Texas style BBQ, local beers and cool cocktails are the name of the game at this funky Harbourside joint, and they do not do things by halves! Spitfire’s ridiculously tender barbecue meats spend up to 15 hours in the smoker and their portion sizes are not for the faint hearted; a real meat-lovers paradise, be sure to come hungry, but maybe leave your veggie mates out of this one...