We had a pint in the best pub in the Bristol area - and it’s not in Bristol

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The pub opened surrounded by controversy but it’s now an award-winner

According to its website, The Siren’s Calling is ‘for those wanting to escape the rigours of real life’ and a place where ‘everybody is welcome’.

This five-year-old Portishead pub also describes itself as ‘the epitomical Cheers bar’, a reference to the 1980s American TV series centred around a convivial bar where a group of locals meet to drink, relax and socialise.

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Perched at the end of Portishead marina, with fantastic views of the boats and super-yachts, there really is something quite special about The Siren’s Calling. And we’re lucky it’s there at all - before it opened, the thought of a bar that opened in the evening sent a few marina residents into a tailspin in case it shattered the tranquility.

Or, as the owners of the pub put it at the time, the locals ‘revolted’, although looking around the bar just after 4pm opening time (that’s the Monday to Thursday time, it’s 2pm on Fridays and 12noon at weekends) and there certainly seemed to be a few retired locals drinking there quite happily now. They could probably come down in their slippers and nobody would notice.

What has really put The Siren’s Calling on the map is the fact it recently won the coveted CAMRA Bristol and District Pub of the Year 2023, making it officially the best pub in the area, with the Merchants Arms in Hotwells coming second.

The most remarkable thing about The Siren’s Calling is the fact it’s a simple one-room pub in a new-build unit next to a Costa Coffee. But add a few chunky farmhouse tables and chairs, squishy sofas and a few beer posters and a modern breezeblock and concrete unit has become a cosy community pub with one of the best views imaginable.

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And then there’s the beer, of course, with four cask ales on tap (all £4.10) and a range of keg beers and lager, much of it local.

I stuck to the crystal clear, perfectly kept Bristol Beer Factory Fortitude but could have easily stayed all evening supping Thornbridge Hirundo, New Bristol Brewery Pard or First Chop DDH Jester/Olicana hazy pale.

Inside The Siren’s Calling, which has scooped a prestigious award from CAMRAInside The Siren’s Calling, which has scooped a prestigious award from CAMRA
Inside The Siren’s Calling, which has scooped a prestigious award from CAMRA | Mark Taylor

The keg beers included Cloudwater SoCal, Deya Two Factor Authentication and De Huyghe Delirium Tremens (a Belgian blonde).

Lagers I spotted included Ayinger from Bavaria and Keller Pils from Lost & Grounded in St Philips, Bristol. For cider fans - and let’s face it, the pub is close to cider country - there was the potent Black Dragon (at 7.2%), Thundering Molly and Saxby’s.

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Behind the counter, there were several jars filled with Bristol-made Gingerbeard’s Preserves pickled eggs of various flavours including cider and chilli. And if pickled eggs aren’t your thing, there are crisps.

But then why let food get in the way with the serious business of drinking? And this award-winning pub is as fine a place for that as you’ll find. It’s an absolute gem.

The Siren’s Calling, The Marina, Newfoundland Way, Portishead, BS20 7PT.

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