We visit one of the last ‘proper’ Bristol pubs where four pints cost £6
‘Being a first-timer, I didn’t know the protocol and asked for a pint of draught’
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“There can’t be a better pub in Bristol for banter,” said the chap next to me, lifting the metal ring pull on his cold can of Natch cider. “And there aren’t many pubs where you wipe your feet on the way out, either,” chortled his mate across the table before the rest of the rosy-faced regulars collapsed into laughter.
Located close to Bedminster Bridge and overlooking the river towards the Redcliffe tower blocks, The Little Grosvenor is one of the last ‘proper’ pubs in Bristol.
Rarely open in the evening, this small Victorian pub has survived thanks to the fiercely loyal daytime regulars, some of whom begin drinking there before most of us have even started work in the morning.
With its central bar, two compact drinking areas and small covered courtyard at the back, it’s one of those rare finds - a pub for locals completely untouched by time and fashion.
For the first-time visitor, The Little Grosvenor might appear to be a little daunting. The sort of pub, perhaps, where heads turn and conversation stops if you’re a new face.
A handwritten ‘No shoplifters’ sign on the door keeps away any light-fingered locals who might think about popping in after a furtive shopping spree in the nearby Asda. “We don’t get any trouble in here, mate,” said one reassuring drinker. “They wouldn’t dare start something in here!”
This is a pub proud to be Bristolian and when it comes to football, red is the colour, although one regular who supports West Ham was the butt of a few jokes. On the wall, there are pictures of Knowle-born Bristol City superfan Stoney Garnett, who died in July.
Garnett was a much-liked regular at The Little Grosvenor - as well as other pubs on the way to Ashton Gate - and one of his trademark red fedoras hangs on the wall behind the bar.
When I arrived, the place was so packed there was standing room only, although one elderly gent gestured to me to grab a seat at the table where the regulars were holding court. In the middle of the table there was a growing pile of discarded ringpulls. Apparently the staff save them up for a charity - they must get hundreds of them every day from this pub.
Being a first-timer, I didn’t know the protocol and asked for a pint of draught, only to be told none of the taps on the bar were working and that all the beers and ciders are served in cans straight from the fridge.
‘And they’re all £1.50 mate,’ beamed the man in the Bristol City shirt standing at the bar. ‘Apart from the Cheddar Valley cider in the box, that’s expensive - it’s £2.50 a pint.’
I went for a can of Guinness, which seemed to be one of the most popular choices alongside Doom Bar, Foster’s and Thatchers. “You tell me where you can get four pints for £7 and still get change,” grinned another satisfied Little Grosvenor regular, who had been there since 9am. It was now 3pm.
I’d never set foot in Little Grosvenor until this week but I was made to feel immediately welcome by the regulars. It might be a little rough around the edges - in the old days, people would have called it a ‘spit and sawdust’ boozer - but The Little Grosvenor is a classic Bristol pub of the type rapidly disappearing from our landscape.
The people who drink there every day wouldn’t have it any other way and neither should they. It’s one of the last ‘proper’ Bristol pubs left. And I’ll raise a cold can to that.
The Little Grosvenor, 3 Coronation Road, Southville, Bristol, BS3 1AA.