We visit one of the last ‘proper’ pubs in Bristol where you can buy three pints for £10 and still get change
The ‘happy hour’ lasts six hours on weekdays
Meat raffle. Two words that separate the men from the boys when it comes to pubs - and at this Bristol boozer this important weekly event takes place on Sunday at 3pm.
The Masonic is, according to its Facebook page, ‘a proper pub’ and a ‘buzzing local where cheerful conversation abounds’. And nobody can argue with that.
It’s a weekday at 3pm and one regular is already getting a good ribbing from his mates for being so late to pull up a stool at the bar.
When he apologises and explains he had to help with the shopping, his red-faced friends splutter into their pints in fits of giggles.
Like The London Inn, The Avon Packet and The Apple Tree, this is one of those old south Bristol pubs that has been here since the Victorian times and still surviving despite everything life throws at it.
And that’s because the staff know most of the regulars on first name terms and they know what they’re going to order before they even get to the bar.
And, of course, being within walking distance of Ashton Gate, it’s also a Bristol City and Bristol Bears pub so always very busy on match days, which probably makes up for those quieter evenings.
The L-shaped room wraps around a bar decorated with Robins scarves, huge England flags, signed City shirts and even a signed England rugby ball.
Live sport is shown on half a dozen large screens dotted around the room, and there’s a dartboard, pool tables and skittle alley in a separate room at the back.
On Monday and Tuesday, the pool is free and visit on a Friday and you’ll inevitably come across the karaoke night hosted by the brilliantly named ‘Mike 8-late’. With all the traffic diversions and roadworks in BS3, I just hope Mike isn’t finding himself getting delayed and having to change his name some weeks.
Another reason The Masonic continues to pull in the drinkers during the week is the Monday to Friday ‘happy hour’ from 11am to 5pm.
During that slot, all draught pints are £3, which means a significant saving on products like Guinness, Amstel, Stella, Stan’s cider, Thatchers Gold, Courage Best and Foster’s.
There aren’t many pubs left in Bristol where you can buy three pints for £10 and still get change to buy a packet of Monster Munch or Mini Cheddars.
For those who want to invest a little more in sustenance during the six-hour happy hour, there are usually a few clingfilm-wrapped rolls on offer.
In a fast-changing area of south Bristol that was gentrified long ago, The Masonic is a refreshing throwback to the old Bedminster.
It’s one of a dying breed in some ways, but the fact it’s still here, still busy and still worth a detour means it will be around a lot longer than many trendy places more worried about updating their Instagram pages than giving the locals what they want. Give me a pub like The Masonic any day.
The Masonic, 110 North Street, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 1HF.