Top five bars in… Bristol, UK

With a glowing reputation for top quality restaurants, Bristol is now creeping up the ranks of the best UK cities for drinking, writes James Lawrence.

Whether it’s Clifton’s iconic suspension bridge, Brunel’s groundbreaking SS Great Britain or Redland’s leafy suburbs – everyone has a favourite part of Bristol. It’s a city that is awash with the past, but is renowned for its youthful vibe and energy, while ongoing rejuvenation has transformed derelict buildings into world­-class leisure attractions.

Samuel Johnson’s pithy observation that: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life,” could so easily have been levied at Bristol. With two major universities and a significant number of students staying in the city after graduation, Bristol has become known for its alternative character, which is most evident in its famously vivid street-­art scene. For this we should also thank the city’s most famous – and inconspicuous – resident, the muralist Banksy. The hipster enclave of Stokes Croft is a veritable paradise for lovers of his work.

However, like all student towns, Bristol’s nightlife (at least in the city centre) has been focused on clubs and pubs – loud, fun and raucous for sure, but lacking in refinement. Yet in recent years savvy entrepreneurs have been bringing class to Bristol, including Andy Dodd, who opened the Faraway Cocktail Club in April this year. His sister project, the Flipside Cocktail Club, has been going strong for more than four years, with plans to expand outside of the city in 2019.

This is exactly what the city needed – a bold vision that has added variety, sophistication and spice to Bristol’s nightlife. London may grab all the headlines, but Bristol is increasingly giving the capital a serious run for its money in the mixology department.

Click through the following pages to see our top bars in Bristol, UK.