We went to all 9 Bristol hall bars and reviewed them whilst drunk
Goldney is great, UH is terrible
Man loves an adventure. Asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, George Mallory replied simply: "Because it's there". Admittedly Mallory did die in his efforts to scale Everest but his words still hold true.
The 9 hall bar crawl is a similarly epic feat as conquering Everest. Beginning near the Triangle, you make your way round the Manor, Goldney and Clifton Hill House bars before heading up to Stoke Bishop to do Churchill, University Hall, Durdham, Hiatt Baker and Wills. Nine drinks, nine halls and all between the open hours of 8pm-10:30pm.
Now, I didn't want to drink at every hall bar in Bristol in one night. I didn't need to drink at every hall bar in Bristol in one night. But I did it, simply, "because it's there". Below is my review of every hall bar in Bristol, written as I got progressively more and more intoxicated along the way…
Like its hall drink- "Warden's Fury"- this bar is best in small doses. Though its setting and amenities seem promising- wood panelled bar, table football and pool table- Manor is let down by its flaky students, none of which can be found in the bar this evening. With an eerily quiet atmosphere, we left as soon as we'd gulped down our pints.
"IT'S A CLUB NOT A BAR!" These are the words that greet us as we step into the bustling hub of Goldney's boozing establishment. Apparently you're not allowed in here if you're not a resident. Tragedy. It's a shame because other than that and no card payments Goldney has it all- a raucous crowd, decent tunes, cheap booze. Fortunately an obliging fresher helps us out and after a quickly downed pint, we are stumbling on our way again.
Clifton Hill House
Possibly the most bizarre bar we're going to see all night. Strolling in, we're met with a wall of noise as some kind of punk rock group are warbling into the mike in one half of the bar. Sadly no one seems to be here to enjoy this spectacle so we purchase our Halloween themed bevs and sample the free candy floss being dolled out by a man looking baffled by the empty bar.
A short taxi ride up from Clifton to Stokey B and already feelings of post candyfloss nausea have begun to grip me. The mood isn't helped by encountering the sorry state of the Churchill bar. Quite frankly, it's deader than the dodo in here. The late, great drinker/war time leader would be convulsing in his grave at this empty establishment. Even the hall drink "the Nuke" and the timeless strains of 'Still D.R.E' can't lift the mood of disappointment. Not fit to bear Churchill's name. Sad!
Flat, tepid, uninspiring- and that was just the lager we got served. The bar itself looks like a Center Parcs with the heart ripped out of it, all wooden beams and sticky surfaces. No longer is UH's self-deprecatory beverage 'The Poverty Punch' served anymore. Tonight we must content ourselves with Thatcher's cider. It used to be said this place was cheap and cheery- now it's lost the cheer. That being said, the bar staff were lovely so perhaps that puts it above the graveyard of Churchill. Just.
God, it is hitting me now. Shots, pints, candyfloss have started to mix with a four pint Spoons dinner to impair my judgement. Maybe it's for this reason that Badock was an unexpected delight. I thought I'd find it full of surly chain smokers in dutty trainers yapping on about their gap yah- turns out they just congregate round the building entrance. Busy but not full, modern but not without character, there's a proper decks with discs lining the wall and prompt service at the bar. To drink, you can't go better than 'The Badock Bomber'- it's pounding away at my head like a Boeing B52.
I expected mediocrity but that still would've been better than this. "Dulldham" was so empty that even the bar staff seemed to have gone home. After hanging around the desolate Badger Bar for five minutes with no one in sight, I helped myself to half a pint of Strongbow Dark Fruit and left a quid behind the counter to pay for it.
I'm swaying like the Dead Sea and feel about as lifeless as it. The bar crawl is wreaking its revenge on me and I can't take much more of it. The news that Hiatt Baker doesn't even have a hall drink anymore finishes me off. A tactical chunder and minor existential crisis follows. But the crawl is almost done so, returning to the fray, I gulp down an orange VK and make for the door. Truth be told, I don't remember much of this place but it seemed pretty decent.
Dragging my weary limbs up the hill, we make it into the bar with moments to go till closing time. The taste of victory is sweetened by the Wills Raeza cocktail that is gulped down my mouth as I sink into one of the plush leather sofas scattered around the bar. With a decent crowd, amiable bartenders and oak panelled surroundings, what better place to round off the 9 hall bar crawl?