We have a pint in the cosy Bristol pub run by the same family for 20 years

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It also has an award-winning beer garden with great views

You kind of know The Mouse is going to be one of those special pubs as soon as you step inside and hear the buzz of conversation, the roar of laughter and that smell of home cooking.

And that’s before you spot the choice of three West Country ales, the real fire and the well positioned TV screens showing live sport.

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It's one of those places you thought only existed in small rural villages or episodes of Midsomer Murders. You certainly don't expect to find one in the city.

Once The Royal Oak, the pub sits at the top of Water’s Lane, a short walk from the Westbury-on-Trym shops. 

Next to a church, The Mouse has an award-winning beer garden at the back with fabulous rooftop views across the oldest part of the village.

A one-bar pub with bare wood floors, shelves of well-thumbed books and pictures of Westbury-on-Trym as it used to be, The Mouse has the genuine feel of a cosy village inn. There’s even a pub quiz every Thursday evening and live music every couple of months. 

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Elaine Monaghan and husband Billy have run The Mouse for 20 years - an impressive stint in an increasingly challenging industry - and they seem to know most of their customers on first name terms.

Elaine Monaghan has run The Mouse for 20 yearsElaine Monaghan has run The Mouse for 20 years
Elaine Monaghan has run The Mouse for 20 years | Elaine Monaghan

Popular with football and rugby fans due to the live sport coverage, the pub is especially busy during The Six Nations. With Elaine hailing from Dublin and Billy coming from Glasgow, the friendly rivalry apparently adds to the fun.

They are helped by long-serving barman Mike and a small team of young staff who clearly enjoy the banter with the regulars.

The beer garden offers fabulous views across the old villageThe beer garden offers fabulous views across the old village
The beer garden offers fabulous views across the old village | THe Mouse

On the Friday evening we visited, the pub was packed with locals, many of them bagging the best seats to watch the football on the TVs - one of which is behind the bar, next to the optics, for those on the stools at the bar.

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My pint of Devon-brewed Otter Ale was crystal clear and in immaculate condition. There was also St Austell Tribute and Butcombe Original on draught, alongside a range of lagers and Thatchers ciders.

In keeping with the pub’s traditional style, the food is straightforward and good value.

A couple on a nearby table were clearly enjoying the chickpea and spinach curry (£11.25) and one chap had ordered the beef burger with cheese and bacon (£12.95) to takeaway - it was wrapped in foil and ready just as his taxi arrived. Now, that’s what I call customer service.

The Mouse in Westbury-on-TrymThe Mouse in Westbury-on-Trym
The Mouse in Westbury-on-Trym | Mark Taylor

Other dishes on the menu included homemade cottage pie (£11.50), fish and chips (£12.50) and homemade chilli and rice (£10.95). Children’s meals cost £5.50 and include pasta in tomato sauce, and two sausages, chips, peas or beans.

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On Sundays, the roasts served between midday and 4pm include beef, chicken or nut roast. They are all £13.95 or £12.50 for a smaller portion.

This was the first time I’ve been to The Mouse for at least ten years and it has barely changed. It’s still a fantastic local and one that regulars obviously treasure. I certainly won’t leave it a decade before I return - it's an absolute gem.

The Mouse, Water’s Lane, Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, BS9 4AA.

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