Is there anywhere as glorious as Gloucester Road for a guaranteed good time, morning or night?

Pick any stretch, wander 100 meters, and you'll enter a vibrant community, smell yummy World cuisine, see colourful fruit stalls, animated bars, and creative galleries. The Wriggle team collectively spend around 60% of our week there, and it's where you'll find the greatest concentration of independents in Bristol.

The mish-mash of pubs is one of its defining features, and is over-due a proper tribute. So here's our tribute, a guide to the best pubs of Gloucester Road plus a little bit about each, from North to South. 

Inn on the Green

Situated in the heights of Horfield, The Inn On The Green serves good ales and ridiculously good food to the local community, who keep it a guarded secret. The pub has plenty of seating and is the epitome of a community pub. Fairy lights, leather chairs and broad wooden tables fill the space, while the bar has a range of proper real ales that rotate all year round. The menu offers well-priced food that's a massive step up from standard pub fayre, a great Sunday roast, and an annual ale festival held in the large car park. The garden is partly covered, and there’s a pool table, heaters and music speakers outside. The Inn also hosts a Sunday night quiz where you can enter a meat raffle...True story, I once won a rabbit.

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The Wellington

Owned by Bath Ales, The Welly sits beside Horfield Common and encourages affection from many. With a separate dining and bar area, and a small concrete garden and children’s play area, it offers something for everyone. Grab a comfy chair in the nook, a booth in the alley or a seat up at the bar with one of the old boys. The bar has a great range of Bath Ales and Beerd beers, a comprehensive gin selection, and some interesting bottled beers for those looking to go off piste. As the dining room is pretty popular, I find heading in after 8pm means a better chance of getting a table. Great place to watch the rugby if that's your bag, but be warned - it’ll get very busy if Rovers are playing.

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The Drapers Arms

Formerly Drapers Shop - see what they did there? - The Drapers Arms is the “first micropub in Bristol” and it's as quirky as you’d expect. Opened and run by owners Vince (Ashley Down Brewery) and Garvan, they wanted to open somewhere close to home that they would personally like to drink in. It’s a small space, and they sell cask ale or farmhouse cider and encourage a lively atmosphere. If you can find somewhere to sit, you'll enjoy a ban on music and TVs, and may be asked to pay a charity donation if you start chatting on your mobile. The pub is only open 5.30pm-9.30pm, so pop in early to get a table near the window and try some real ale.

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The Royal Oak

The Royal Oak is the big brother of The Shakespeare in Redland, and has shaken off it’s colourful past as The John Cabot. The pub is now a cosy, friendly boozer, serving decent food and a good range of drinks. Don't expect anything too fancy, it's not that kind of pub. The horseshoe-shaped seating area provides plenty of space and the enormous garden has a second bar plus pizza oven that can be hired for private parties. The pub is popular with those heading into town on the weekend, families who enjoy the kids play equipment, and students who take advantage of the wallet-friendly food deals in the week. Look out for their popular pork and cider festival running each year too. The ladies toilets are beautifully decorated, I’d pop in for a half just to have a look at those.

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The Golden Lion

The Golden Lion, standing in the shadow of Horfield Prison, is a prominent fixture on the live music scene. Live bands and open mics are held most nights of the week alongside a music themed quiz on a Mondays and the ‘Rock and Roll Bingo’ on Wednesdays. The pub feels pretty old fashioned inside - a small bar with the standards on tap, a nook usually occupied by guests gorging on the latest pop ups (vegan pie makers Pie Baby are currently in residence) and a stage to the rear. The atmosphere at the weekend ramps up, and the space fills out. Go in for the music and food, stay put for the entertainment and to check out the lion-themed artwork on the walls.

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The Grace

Wander up Gloucester Road far enough and you'll discover The Grace: a proper little oasis of calm amidst all the hustle and bustle. Walking into The Grace feels like taking a step back in time – not in a phoney, olde-worldy, gimmicky kind of way, though. The Grace is simply the definition of a 'proper pub'. There's beautiful stained glass windows, comfy, squashy leather seats, fireplaces and twinkly lights aplenty, making it the ideal place to hunker down in the winter months. In warmer times, though, The Grace boasts a simply stunning beer garden, with tables and plants galore. Whether you're after a classy cocktail (or three), pints of real, locally brewed ale and cider, or craft beers, The Grace is the perfect place to while away an afternoon.

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Industry Bar and Kitchen

Industry Bar & Kitchen is the latest arrival on the buzzing Gloucester Road. It's the result of months of hard-work from brothers, Arron and Nathan, who've put painstaking care into every detail of its beautiful industrial-style interior. With a family background in the hospitality industry, they've pulled in their connections to bring in a talented chef. The food is tip-top - all ingredients sourced as locally as possible - using an array of Gloucester Road's independent suppliers. The menu stretches for Small Plates through to top-notch burgers (with the Arancini veggie burger a specialty).

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The Hobgoblin

If you haven’t heard of, and subsequently drooled over, The Hobgoblin’s dirty dirty fries, where have you been? This pub was once a squat and since it was reclaimed, it's remained pretty understated yet smartened up. Walk in, have a look at a menu, and you’ll be sure to stay put. All the meat is smoked on site, specials are rotated, and they actually have a veggie option on the dirty-food menu. The beers are standard fare, but no one heads to the Hobgoblin for artisan IPA’s. The Hobgoblin is also the home of the Kraken Challenge - finish the meal in 45 minutes and you get it for free, plus a t-shirt! Fail and it's £25 for the meal (and your mug shot on the wall of shame).

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The Urban Standard

Peer in the window of the Urban Standard, and you’ll barely see into the long, galley-like bar. Enter, and you’ll be transported to somewhere very cool indeed. The low lighting, wooden benches and large art pieces on the wall creates a chic industrial space that remains inviting. Serving brunch, lunch and dinner during the day, roasts on Sundays, and a fine array of craft beers and cocktails throughout the week, this bar is a great place to meet friends for a spontaneous drink or dinner. I’m a huge fan of their full English breaky. The kitchen uses local produce, is well priced, and serves perfect portions for us greedy people. Look out for their regular tap takeovers to meet local brewers and sample what’s in the brewery pipeline.

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The Gallimaufry

Quite possibly the trendiest pub on Gloucester Road, The Galli is a mish-mash of live music, art, great food and great beers. The cosy, two-level bar includes a restaurant area on the top level serving great small dishes and larger bites, brunch, and one of my favourite Sunday Roasts. Below lies a stage for the crackin’ line-up of live music on everyday - George Erza played there once - and some great outdoor seating. There is always something local on tap, really nice wine list and quality cocktails. Take advantage of happy hour during the week, or a banging Bloody Mary on a Sunday. It’s worth popping in just to oggle at the decor, but do stay for the brilliant bar snacks.

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The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a bit of Gloucester Road history, colourful, lively and always busy, this bar is a popular option for any day of the week. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as open mic nights, live music and sport, you can enjoy any hour here. The bar is bright and colourful and the food is homemade and well priced. The jewel in the crown though is the vast outdoor seating, facing out towards the bustling Gloucester Road, the people watching opportunities here are fantastic.

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Published -28th March 2018