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Pub/Bar of the Month July 2017: The Cornubia, Bristol, UK

The Cornubia, Bristol, UK

Every time I visit Bristol I am impressed with the expanding beer scene. There always seems to be a new pub or bar to visit.

Cornubia, BristolThat said, I am equally impressed with the older establishments that, today, are offering more beer choice than ever.

One of my favourites is the Cornubia. This old pub – taking its odd name from an ancient, Latinised name for Cornwall – looks like a Georgian shop with its small-paned windows and indeed that’s how it started life back in the eighteenth century.

It later became the brewery tap for George’s brewery and, when that was subsumed into the Courage empire, the pub was used as a hospitality centre.

It reopened to the public in 1996 and the current owners – former winners of CAMRA’s national Pub of the Year award at their previous pub in Kent – have taken it to new levels.

Part of the charm of the Cornubia is its obscurity. It’s tucked away just off the main road not far from Temple Meads station but it takes a bit of finding, hemmed in by uglier buildings of a much more recent vintage that were constructed after bomb damage during the Second World War.

Step Out of Time

In a sense, you step out of time by entering this pub and that move away from the vibrant modern Bristol into something rather more relaxed and traditional is exaggerated by the presence of a small, enclosed courtyard surrounding the pub.

This little oasis features tables on wooden decking and splashes of greenery and floral colour. Barbecues are held in summer and you can have a game of boules.

Inside, the pub is basic but comfortable. The single L-shaped room has tables of varying sizes but also a shelf drinking area for busier times.

Every inch of wall space is covered, with British flags, pump clips, newspaper cuttings, photographs of pub events and awards certificates fighting for your attention. There’s a tank for fish and another that is home to some giant terrapins.

Cornubia, BristolEntertainment comes via a selection of board games, a library of books, quiz nights, live music and an infatuation with rugby union that makes the pub a focal point on international days. The Cornubia is also a big supporter of charities for the armed forces.

Food is as stylistically basic as the pub itself, with popular pork pies, pasties and spicy pickled eggs the main offerings. That’s because attention primarily falls on the beer provision.

The bar is primed with ten handpumps that serve up to eight, changing cask beers at any time – many from local breweries, and it’s not just the all-too-familiar selection of hoppy golden ales. I enjoyed a traditional dark mild on my last visit.

The house beer is brewed by a local brewery and there’s a good selection of traditional ciders, too, as you’d hope in the deepest West Country.

If you’re looking for somewhere to while away an hour, for a chat with some mates or just a quiet pint with a book, the Cornubia ticks all the boxes.

The Cornubia, 142 Temple Street, Bristol BS1 6EN.
Tel. (0117) 925 4415
Opening Hours: 12–11; 12–6 Sundays and bank holidays

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