I had a pint in the ‘proper’ Bristol pub with cheap drinks, live music and bingo night

The Albert Lounge on the corner of West Street in BedminsterThe Albert Lounge on the corner of West Street in Bedminster
The Albert Lounge on the corner of West Street in Bedminster | Mark Taylor
It used to be world-famous as a jazz club

‘Happy hour? Every hour is happy hour in here mate,’ laughs barman Rhys when I ask what the current deals are at the Albert Lounge.

With three shots for £5 and pints of Stella Artois at £3.50, there is certainly much to be happy about at this large corner pub at the end of West Street.

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A vast Victorian red-brick pub, I remember visiting the place when it was the Albert Inn back in the 1990s. In those days, it had a national - international, even - reputation as one of the country’s leading jazz pubs.

Since then, it has changed hands, closed, reopened, closed, become a cafe and family venue, closed and opened again.

In fact, at the time of writing, the Facebook page still says ‘permanently closed’, as does Tripadvisor, but it was very much open for business on the afternoon I popped in for a pint.

And it was getting busy, too, with plenty of Bedminster ‘faces’ and local characters.

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There was plenty of laughter and much drinking going on, although it was all tinged with a little sadness as landlord Tony Brewer died in July and he’s clearly much missed by staff and customers.

A large banner with the words ‘R.I.P. Blades - Tony Brewer Forever City’ occupies a prime spot on one wall opposite the bar, next to black and white photos of old Bedminster.

Barman Rhys is also the bingo caller at this popular Bedminster pubBarman Rhys is also the bingo caller at this popular Bedminster pub
Barman Rhys is also the bingo caller at this popular Bedminster pub | Mark Taylor

In the meantime, friendly landlady Tracey is still behind the bar and keeping the pub going as best she can in what has been a sad few months for this locals’ local.

It’s just as well the regulars are so loyal but also so good-humoured. There’s clearly never a dull moment in this ‘proper’ old school pub with no airs or graces.

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On Thursdays, the pub runs bingo with Welsh barman Rhys as the caller. On Fridays, it’s live music on the small stage where the dartboard is used the rest of the week.

Although a few of the taps were ‘out of order’, there was Stella, Fosters and Underfall lager on draught but bottled Thatchers Katy cider seemed to be the most popular choice.

At least it was to one drinker who cheerily told me she had once had 14 of them. Who needs happy hour with contented and thirsty regulars like that?

Albert Lounge, 1 West Street, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 3NN.

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