The family-friendly Kingswood pub saved from being turned into flats - Mark Taylor reviews The Rose & Crown

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The old skittle alley is now being transformed into a restaurant

“I’ll have a pink G&T - actually make that a double,” said the cheery chap on the high bar stool at the Rose & Crown.

A surprising request, perhaps, for 11.45am on a Wednesday, and even more so in a neighbourhood pub on Kingswood’s Two Mile Hill Road.

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Already nursing a pint at a nearby table, I’m the last person to judge anybody taking refreshment before midday but I was already warming to the bonhomie of this recently reopened pub.

A few minutes later, another man, possibly a student, entered the pub and ordered a coffee and piece of rocky road from the selection of cakes at the end of the bar.

Closed and in disrepair for over a year, there was a strong possibility that the Rose & Crown would end up being turned into flats by developers like so many local pubs.

That was until Christopher Williams (a former manager of The White Horse in Hambrook) and Ben Dossett bought it and gave the handsome red-brick Victorian building a complete makeover.

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The smart new interior of the Rose & Crown in KingswoodThe smart new interior of the Rose & Crown in Kingswood
The smart new interior of the Rose & Crown in Kingswood

The Rose & Crown reopened in July and, by all accounts, it has been an immediate hit with the locals. The owners have managed to attract a mix of the pub’s old regulars as well as local families thanks to the spacious bar and enclosed garden.

In a few weeks, the old skittle alley will reopen as the pub’s restaurant, serving a full menu throughout the day.

The pub is already hosting events - a recent fundraiser for pancreatic cancer with the help of Feel the Funk Disco was well attended and they raised over £1,000 for the charity.

With its high ceilings, stripped wood floors, tweedy banquettes and posh foliage-print wallpaper, the light and airy bar is smart and modern but retains its Victorian grandeur.

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There are armchairs and a wood-burning stove at one end - it’s all very posh and wouldn’t look out of place in BS8.

A gender neutral sign on the door leading to the toilets might confuse a few of the old boys who still remember the pub from its spit and sawdust days.

Apart from Pipers crisps, cakes and pastries, there is no food available until the kitchen is finished and the restaurant opens.

Contemporary art mixes with traditional Victorian features at the pubContemporary art mixes with traditional Victorian features at the pub
Contemporary art mixes with traditional Victorian features at the pub

In the meantime, Kingswood folk are flocking to the pub for well-kept ales like Bristol Beer Factory Our House (a reasonable £4.20 a pint) and Butcombe Original.

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Also on draught is Wiper & True Amber Ale, Amstel, Birra Moretti, Inch’s cider, Red Stripe, Guinness and Beavertown Neck Oil.

Christopher says: “We have a great advantage by serving products that aren’t as readily available locally such as beers from Bristol breweries like Wiper & True and Bristol Beer Factory.

“The hardest part of the journey since opening has been all of the pitfalls and delays we’ve had in getting our kitchen and dining room ready to open.

“That’s something the locals have been following very closely, but we are getting there and it shouldn’t be long now.

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“We’ve already become quite a safe space for families, and individuals who would otherwise feel less comfortable in a traditional ‘spit and sawdust’ environment.”

Rose & Crown, 111 Two Mile Hill Road, Kingswood, Bristol, BS15 1BH.

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