The tucked away Bristol pub serving some of the cheapest pints in the city
and live on Freeview channel 276
A weekday, late afternoon crowd is usually the sign of a good drinking pub and The Ship in Redcliffe is no exception to that.
Just after 4.30pm, it was buzzing. By 5pm, there was even a cider-fuelled rendition of Elton John’s cheesy 80s hit Passengers, complete with a mass singalong to the ‘want to get on, he want to get on’ chorus.
Hidden behind St Mary Redcliffe church and the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, The Ship is a handsome detached period property adorned with Union Jack flags and Sky Sports banners.
Close to Temple Meads and the tower blocks of Redcliffe, it’s a pub that serves the locals as well as office workers, which means there’s a steady trickle of customers throughout the day.
It’s the last pub in this part of Redcliffe. The nearby 18th-century pub The Bell on Prewett Street closed years ago and is now derelict, awaiting to be demolished and turned into flats.
But The Ship seems to be thriving and well supported by a loyal band of locals, which for such a tucked away pub is quite an achievement at a time when many places are struggling to pull in punters due to the cost of living.
And it’s also a pub with a sense of humour. A sign behind the bar informs customers that ‘A lovely lady and a grumpy bastard live here’, and there’s a notice next to the dartboard with the words ‘bullshit corner’, presumably a designated ‘naughty step’ for drinkers misbehaving or telling too many tall stories.
A ship’s wheel and a few nautical pictures reflect the pub’s maritime name and although it’s a five minute walk from the river, it does feel like one of those backstreet boozers you might chance upon in a small Cornish fishing port.
I grabbed a table next to a blackboard advertising live Sky Sports events and The Ship’s £10 lotto draw on February 22. The prize money is already £590 so I bet the pub will be packed that night.
In the background, 80s and 90s hits struggled to rise above the sound of banter and laughter as regulars chatted and put the world to rights.
A group of suited office workers arriving for post-work pints looked slightly startled by some of the more animated imbibers and scuttled through to the back room, which is also used for functions. But then maybe they were startled by the prices at The Ship, which must rank as one of the cheapest places to drink in Bristol.
Butcombe Original was selling for just £2.50 a pint and Foster’s is £3.10. Other bargain drinks include Carling, Thatcher’s Gold and Doom Bar.
“People can’t believe the prices in here,” winked the landlady as she poured my pint. “Especially the Guinness, which is £3.70 - when I tell them that, they say ‘I want a pint not a half’ as they’re used to paying twice that in some places in Clifton!”
The Ship, Cathay, Redcliffe, Bristol, BS1 6PA.