The Southmead estate pub with cheap pints and a heart of gold - Mark Taylor reviews The Pegasus
The Pegasus is a no-frills pub that’s still at the hub of the local community
Bristol pubs don’t get more local or neighbourhood than The Pegasus in Southmead.
In the middle of a vast interwar council estate, ‘The Peggy’ is a pub that continues to serve generations of the same families.
It’s as much of a hub as the community centre or library and most of the people drinking there have been using it for years, often decades, and everyone’s known on first-name terms.
This deep sense of community is especially evident in a corner next to the bar, beneath strings of paper Thatchers cider flags.
A noticeboard is covered with the orders of service from funerals of several much missed locals. These include Michael Dorrington and Martin O’Neill, whose name is also above the door of the small lounge area to the side of the main bar area.
Also remembered is ‘Queen of the Mead’ Joyce Williams, who died last year aged 96. More than a hundred people lined Pen Park Road on the day of her funeral to pay their respects to a local legend who grew up on the Southmead estate in the 1930s and lived there until her death.
To outsiders visiting The Pegasus for the first time, it could appear to be a little imposing. Intimidating, even.
So-called ‘sink estate’ pubs are often daubed with a certain reputation but in my experience, there is often a soft heart inside the hard exterior.
Apart from the noticeboard of remembrance for former customers and local characters, this is a pub that also gives something back to the area.
A quick look at The Peggy’s Facebook page reveals the pub and its generous regulars raised over £600 for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at nearby Southmead Hospital earlier this year. That’s proper, big hearted community spirit.
And it’s a pub that it clearly well supported. At 11.45am on a Wednesday, The Peggy was doing a surprisingly brisk trade - I know plenty of posh Clifton pubs that would love to be that busy on a mid-week morning.
But then this Southmead favourite doesn’t feel the need to fleece the regulars as soon as they set foot on the red linoleum floor.
My pint of Carling was just £3.60, which is considerably cheaper than many pubs in neighbouring areas like Henleaze and Westbury-on-Trym where you’re lucky to get change out of a fiver these days.
Had I not been alone and working, I might have been tempted by some of the various offers. Five Jagerbombs cost £10 and shots of tequila and sambuca are £7 for two.
The pub runs a regular quiz and occasional karaoke and DJ nights. If you’re feeling lucky, put Sunday October 2 in your diary as there’s a poker night with a £5 ‘buy in’.
The Peggy is a no-frills one bar pub with a pool table, mismatched chairs and a handful of flashing amusement machines around the edges.
There’s no real ale on offer but Madri, Guinness, Stella, Atlantic pale ale, Coors, Foster’s, John Smiths and Blackthorn Dry are all on draught.
On the morning I was there, most of the regulars seemed to be ordering cold cans of Natch and Thatchers Gold, the welcome sound of vintage Neil Young coming from the speakers occasionally punctured by the click of ring-pulls.
Before I visited The Peggy, a few friends raised their eyebrows and joked that I might need a bodyguard when reviewing the pub. The reality was quite different.
A local pub where the drinks are cheap, the welcome is warm and the room is filled with conversation and laughter - there aren’t many places left like it, more’s the pity.
The Pegasus, Greystoke Avenue, Southmead, Bristol, BS10 6BA.