The Christmas menu bookings are already being taken at the Colosseum
A blackboard in front of the bar advertises Christmas menu bookings but whether the Colosseum will still be open long enough to get out the tinsel and party hats is another matter. Bristol city centre pub goes up for sale">The pub on Redcliff Hill was put up for sale this week so its future hangs in the balance.
Pouring my pint, the friendly barmaid was already talking in the past tense. She said she had enjoyed working at the Colosseum but was glad she had a second job in a supermarket as a back-up as she didn’t know what was happening.
The brick-built pub opposite St Mary Redcliffe Church dates back to the 1960s, when the old buildings on Redcliffe Hill were demolished to make way for a huge insurance office block - now a Mercure hotel. Rewind to the 1970s and 1980s and the pub would have been packed with office workers lunchtimes and after work, but that regular trade is long gone.
Close to Temple Meads, the Colosseum has always been a favourite meeting place for football fans, whichever club they support. With a balcony overlooking an ancient burial ground and a front terrace looking straight across to the famous church, it’s a prime location even if the pub itself is set back from the main road and shielded by trees.
On Tuesday lunchtime, the pub was surprisingly busy. There was the unmistakable ‘clack’ of pool balls in the back room and a few drinkers on the outside terrace.
A salmon pink-painted pub with red carpet and the sort of functional furniture you might encounter in a community centre or care home, it’s traditional and timeless, although there is certainly a 1980s feel to the place.
My pint of Guinness was £5 and certainly one of the more expensive drinks. The Blackthorn Dry, Thatchers Gold, Stella and Kronenbourg are cheaper although the general rise in prices may mean it’s harder to buy three pints for £10 as you could a year ago.
The food is reasonably priced, too. Main meals are £7.95 and include lasagne, chilli con carne, hunters chicken and fish and chips. There is a range of tapas dishes for £3.50 and 12” stone-baked pizzas are £6. Also on offer for morning visitors is a full English breakfast for £5 and a bacon, sausage and egg sandwich at £3.50.
The estate agents dealing with the sale of the pub highlight the fact that there are two owners’ apartments above the pub and that they have the potential for an additional revenue stream via Airbnb or rental.
Let’s just hope the next owner doesn’t decide to turn the entire building into a rental property like other pubs have. It may be dated, and it might have seen better times, but the Colosseum is one of those classic Bristol pubs people may only miss when it’s too late. And what a shame that would be.