Assessments are getting nearer, the end of the term is in sight, and the weather is getting warmer (well, we hope it is, for goodness sake!). So with all this in mind, why not have a cheeky gossip with your friends, rant about the endless deadlines and refresh yourself with the never-ending joys that Bristol has to offer. One way to explore this bright and graffiti-clad city is by checking out some wallet-friendly bars and pubs that will make your Instagram account sing you its sweet gratitude.
Just a disclaimer: there are many more fabulous venues in Bristol which are affordable and fun, but sadly I can’t fit all of them in this post, so please feel free to try any pub and bar in the city for more fabulous deals, food and drinks!
Another disclaimer, please know that you don’t have to drink alcohol to have fun, so I’ll also mention some of the non-alcoholic options offered at these places.
With all that out of the way, here are some of my picks of student-friendly pubs and bars in the centre of Bristol, so sit tight and let’s get stuck in!
The Commercial Rooms
Where is it? : Corn Street, near the Hippodrome
Bit of background: Although owned by JD Wetherspoon, with a stunning dome to let the light in and historic paintings on the wall, this pub is not your average Wetherspoons. The Commercial Rooms was built in the 19th century, and held the first telegraph office in 1852, with the main seating area – once known as ‘The Grand Room’ – a news room that was regularly used for general business (JD Wetherspoon, 2015). Before that it was a gentleman’s club, but the only saucy thing about this place these days is the never-ending supply of ketchup and mayonnaise littering every side table.
Why it’s cool: It serves cheap food and drink, with free tea and coffee refills and a burger and soft drink meal deal for under a fiver. And you can buy pints from as low as £2.90.
Good for: After class drinks with your mates or a post-assessment feast.
Where is it? : Welsh Back, on the way to Thekla.
Why it’s cool: It serves a selection of local ciders, with student discounts on days during the working week, and does a good selection of food. It’s also a pub on a boat with an open deck, that is covered in fairy lights and has heaters during the colder days. Also… did I mention it’s on a boat?!?!
Good for: Locally produced ciders, beautiful views of the river and a pit stop on the way to nightclub and music venue, Thekla.
The Blue Lagoon
Where is it? : 18/20 Gloucester Road, Stokes Croft.
Why it’s cool: Stokes Croft is known for being a vibrant and eclectic area, and The Blue Lagoon is right in the heart of it. The venue offers 2-4-1 cocktails most nights and free entry to the many gigs it hosts, as well as having a shaded bench area outside if you’re keen for some fresh air. They also have an impressive food menu, and their Instagram feed is incredibly drool-inducing – their breakfast dishes, such as Buttermilk Pancakes and Eggs Benedict, make me wish I could eat through my phone!
Good for: Student Night on Thursdays, evenings of live music and having cocktails with the baes.
Where is it? : Corn Street, near the Hippodrome (right next to the Commercial Rooms).
Why it’s cool: With the same sand-coloured building and columns like its neighbour, this local eatery and bar is intriguing in its own way. It has dark walls, plush leather-seated booths and a long list of cocktails, housing classics such as a Mojito as well as its own drinks like the Bristol-themed Banksy, SS Great Britain and the Cliftonite. There are also regular deals on food and some killer-looking ice cream floats, which makes you want to float in the ice cream!
Good for: Flirting with a date in a leather booth over truffle and parmesan chips, quirky cocktails and hitting it hard with your crew over an alcoholic milkshake.