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.

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.

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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 Enjoy dinner for under a tenner, served with complimentary soup and bread, and stick around for the band - the performance is always free. Expect anything from rowdy Balkan swing groups to chilled soul singers.

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Head down the road and you will find Biblos. In a sentence, it is a haven of delicious homemade wraps. Owners Ariel and William take influence from their respective heritages, serving a mixed menu of delicious Caribbean and Middle Eastern cuisine. This Stokes Croft venue has the added bonus of a BYOB policy, so grab some drink from the off-licence and enjoy the most affordable yet filling meal found for miles. Biblos is open till 2am at weekends, and provides a much-needed revival during nights out.

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Cross the road for Crofters Rights, the ultimate place to drink beer in Stokes Croft. Around sixteen lines of craft beer are served on tap, the names chalked across a large blackboard behind the bar. Crofters finds some of the best Craft Beer in existence from across the UK and the rest of the world, and did so before many competitors.

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If you're looking for pizza quick, look no further. 51's wood-fired bases are some of the best in Bristol, and their menu is loaded with puns – we love puns. Grab a table upstairs, or outside in the lovely garden area, and make your selection. There’s excellent burgers on offer too if you want an alternative to Italian food. In the downstairs bar, 51 hosts live music on Fridays and Saturdays, and a live DJ five nights a week. The crowds come here for a night out, or as part of a Stokes Croft bar crawl. Head in a little earlier, kill two birds with one stone, and have a drink and boogie after finishing your pizza upstairs.

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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. The first Sunday of every month plays host to Boundary Object, a series of Bristol's finest DJs playing all afternoon and late into the night. It is the Bell's ability to be a home for punters looking for a low-key drink as well as the Crème de la Crème of Bristol's burgeoning electronic music scene that makes it such a uniquely successful location.

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The Love Inn is a bar with small courtyard garden in Stokes Croft and not a swingers venue like the name might suggest. Owned by the group that brought you Love Saves the Day and See No Evil, they are offering tasty cocktails, food and live music in some superb surroundings. With a pop up kitchen, there is an opportunity to time your visit to coincide trying some of the best nomadic food in the city. The Love Inn open late on weekdays and even later on weekends which gives you plenty of time to try a few of their signature cocktails and throw some shapes on the dance floor to the beat of the regular live DJs, there is no reason why Wednesday night can’t be your new Friday night.

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Formerly a pop-up bakery, Elemental Cafe 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.

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Slap bang in the heart of Stokes Croft opposite the graffiti-laden Carriage-works, the Crafty Egg is a welcoming cafe with a relaxed vibe. Despite only opening recently, they've built up a loyal following already - with their Afghan eggs (a shakshuka type affair served with a toasted piece of pitta bread to mop up any leftover dripping yolk and smokey paprika tomato sauce) renowned. This is also a recipe owners Ben and Kate learnt when they were visiting "the Jungle" refugee camp in Calais on a charitable mission - so it's got an interesting backstory to match.

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One thing Bristol is good at is Caribbean food and lucky for us Caribbean Croft have opened in Stokes Croft. Serving up authentic and unique family recipes that Granny Ms Cat has handed down, you're guaranteed a full belly after visiting her. Also on the menu are bar snacks for those not wanting a whole meal, some spectacular deserts and a regularly changing specials board.

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The cornerstone to the Pieminister empire, the Stokes Croft branch is where the pies started life back in 2003. After a few refurbs the space is now head office upstairs and downstairs a cool place to try pies, cocktails and have brunch. Not forgetting where they came from you can still pick up the classics on an enamel plate, served with mash, gravy and bacon bits but for those that want to make a pie dinner more of an event they have stepped up their game.

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Inspired by the rich, varied culture and creativity of the incredible Stokes Croft neighbourhood, Pedro and his wonderful team established the Croft Ales brewery and tap room as a way to bring genuinely handcrafted, small batch beer to the fine people of Bristol. Every beer available is vegan, and they are working hard to be able to bring you lucky Wrigglers some gluten free options soon, so watch this space. The atmosphere is friendly, the vibes are chilled, the music is great, and the beer, needless to say, is bloody brilliant.

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Taking over a screen printers in Stokes Croft, Jamaica Street Stores has quote 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 mall plates with 50% of the offering being veggie and vegan, plus raw food available alongside high quality meat and fish options, you would be hard pressed to find someone who couldn't eat here. Their Sunday Roasts have come under the critical review of the Sunday Roast Club and have been marked excellent. (Pics courtesy of Jamaica Street Stores FB page)

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Published -18th January 2018