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Start the Bus, Bristol - pub details

Address: 7-9 Baldwin Street, Bristol, BS1 1RU [map] [gmap]

Tel: 0871 951 1000 (ref 34204) - calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras

Nearest train stations Bristol Temple Meads (0.8 miles), Clifton Down (1 mile), Redland (1.1 miles)

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> Current user rating: 5.9/10 (rated by 13 users)
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Urban Tiger, Bristol (0.0 miles), O'Neills, Bristol (0.0 miles), Drawbridge, Bristol (0.1 miles), Cosy Club, Bristol (0.1 miles), Commercial Rooms, Bristol (0.1 miles) - see more nearby pubs


user reviews of Start the Bus, Bristol

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

5 most recent reviews of 11 shown - see all reviews

The Webel MC has not misappropriated his praise here - this pub should by usual measures be truly ghastly to many of us more traditional, older pub aficionados - yet somehow it just about gets away with it and has enough redeeming elements to make it one to watch, if not a permanent fixture on your Bristolian beer-trails.

Okay. It used to be a Bass-owned 'Edwards' outlet - one of the '90s most uninspiring 'concept' brands that even lacked the vaguely laughable faux paraphernalia of more obvious themed venues such as O'Neill's et al. It was kitted out around 1999 as that kind of bar, and frankly even long after Edwards had its day, it appeared that it would always remain that kind of establishment, lest it be turned into a chain restaurant of course. It catered for the young, but specifically the student, the pseud, the lager-lout, and the mostly unimaginative who were too wet behind the ears to consider anything less predictable.

And by many people's measure, it still is! There's little doubt that while of a higher-end concept than its predecessor, Start The Bus still panders to the youthful market, and my recent visit on the offchance did reveal a number of pseudish punters who were hell-bent on 'hanging out' in that sort of inverted snobbish kind of way that the modern middle class's offspring do so well.

But. But but but. It is populated certainly by a more discerning and less-self-conscious type too. For all the arty adornments, charity clobber and other props that occupy the premises, there was a greater focus on localism, quality and diversity in both the food and drink aspects. Being Sunday, generous roasts were flying out of the kitchen, alongside other similarly appealing-looking fare. Numerous waitresses were whizzing around keeping on top of the hefty demand, mostly from younger customers but also a few older ones. Tables were full - I had to stand and survey the scene.

Both ends of the age spectrum had clearly cottoned-on to the improvements cask-wise too. 4 solid beers were offered - locales in the shape of 2 Butcombe, 1 Moor (Somerland Gold - marvellous) and 1 Copper Dragon from Northern climes. Also 2 cask ciders were on. There was a kind of pleasant hubbub presided over by a live DJ spinning some eclectic but fitting tunes, which weren't offensively obstrusive. Things are looking up indeed, I thought...

Having enjoyed 2.5 pints and a hearty portion of chips, I decided that although it's not 'my kind of venue' as such, it had much to commend it, and even the clientele weren't annoying me. In fact, with the sheer surfeit of young ladies dotted around the place it was hard to know where to look... It may be achingly arty, tryingly trendy, but somehow Start The Bus pulls it off in a similar way to its many counterparts all the way over in Brighton, on which it could well be modelled.

It SHOULDN'T work. But I think it does. See what you think...
TWG - 29 May 2012 17:45
This place continues to surprise. Challenging the notion that any youth oriented city bar has to pander purely to the lager market, it has stood up for British beers and places them squarely alongside the draught lager offerings.

While Butcombe is the staple, guest ales are rare and adventurous, from raspberry porters to unfiltered wheat beers. They're happy to talk beer with you, and the place equally welcomes boringly family types like me alongside the young hipster with skinny jeans and experimental hair. One of a kind and all the better for it.
WebelMC - 16 Apr 2012 20:59
Not your usual place to find a stock of real ales: studenty, "chilled" and pretentious. Returned a pint of Black Gold as it was off ("this is probably the first pint we have poured of this all day" said that barmaid ominously. It was 6pm). A raised eyebrow when returned, but exchanged to Butcombe which was cloudy and as tired as I was. Go for a latte or a lager. Not somewhere to try ale.
Dandillus - 30 Mar 2012 15:27
Worth a visit if your in Bristol . A choice of 4 beers 2 from butcombe one from Moor and Cropton Blackout the latter of which i've tried on a few occasions ,and is especialy good . There are two real ciders on. It is a very dark setting with comfy sofa's. A 7+ from me.
beatles38 - 19 Nov 2011 13:33
Despite itís odd name, this seems to be a chilled out and relaxed bar, certainly a great improvement from when it was Edwards. The outside has all been painted in a dark green colour and there are various murals on the walls. Inside there are various bold colours, with many of the walls being a lighter shade of green interspersed with red pillars. The drawings continue inside as well with all sorts of odd artwork painted on the walls.

Although all open plan, itís divided in to several different areas. The lowest level is where the most colourful artwork is, and this is filled with lots of leather sofaís and low tables. The main bar area has pine flooring and leather bench seating along one wall and a good selection of tables and chairs. Finally there was a curtained off area at one end that was being used by a band on this occasion who were apparently called Wu Lyf. To me he sounded as though he was in agony, but I guess some people may have enjoyed it. This spoilt the ambience slightly, as the music was quite loud in the rest of the pub. Music seems to feature prominently, with flyers on the tables detailing the bands coming up over the next few months, three or four most weeks.

There was a basic menu with a good selection of burgers and several sharing platters. The barman seemed more interested in chatting to his mate than bothering to serve anyone, but the barmaid was efficient and helpful.

Beers on tap were Deuchars IPA, Black Sheep and Adnams Broadside. Good selection of ciders with Westonís Traditional Scrumpy, Aspallís Suffolk, Addlestones, Strongbow and Gaymerís Pear.
Blackthorn - 22 Mar 2011 10:43

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