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Bag O' Nails, Bristol

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user reviews of the Bag O' Nails, Bristol

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

Featured prominently in an episode of the TV police series Softly Softly circa 1969. Good episode. Go DCI Barlow!
Tuna - 22 Apr 2017 23:39
Very eccentric place. Worth a visit if in Bristol
filf - 5 Feb 2017 18:50
The Bag Of Nails is a small place with not much room to swing a cat. In fact, the first thing you notice when you walk in is the smell of cat urine and you'll soon see the moggies asleep in their beds on the bar. As a cat owner, I wasn't too bothered. But I could imagine it being a bit off-putting for some. Nevertheless this is a fantastic little pub with a good ale selection - Tapstone Kush Kingdom, Three Daggers Dagger Edge, Flying Monk Habit, Fixed Wheel Blackheath Stout, Bad Co Wild Gravity, Crate Brewer's Tap & Vibrant Forest Session IPA. The cider was Ashridge Elderflower Cider dispensed from a handpull with a Babycham pumpclip. Music is played from a record player. The décor is fairly gaudy. Recommended.
blue_scrumpy - 5 Jun 2016 17:48
Small bar with approx 4 real ales that are not mainstream. Wood floors and furniture with 3 cats laying on the bar. Mallisons Kohatu £2.50. Real fire keeping us all warm on a wet night. Will visit again.
rpf1955 - 25 Mar 2015 19:47
We came from afar for the BBQ / music festival at Bristol Harbourside this weekend - principally to see Hayseed Dixie. On Sunday we went to the festival for Levi Roots jerk chicken and Dj BBQ pulled pork roll for breakfast. We had 5 hours to kill before Hayseed Dixie and came to the Bag O' Nails as one of our team of 4 had heard it was good. What a great find. We stayed all afternoon, proper beer / cider, Decent music - live Blues Band, gas lighting. Great Barman, very attentive without being intrusive. It was our best pub of the weekend, by far. We really appreciated the independence and ambience and loved the pub rules. We are middle aged beer drinkers who had left our wives, kids & dogs at home. I can't stand cats but even the presence of the kittens didn't spoil my time. They left me alone and I left them alone. 10/10.
Gasmandh - 10 Jun 2014 11:00
Excellent pub with great beer. Very welcoming staff. And the cats...
palmwinedrinkard - 4 Feb 2014 13:14
Excellent range of ales and very knowledgeable barman, this is clearly a serious drinking establishment...nice atmosphere though and welcoming to newcomers like myself (on the recommendation of my sister).

Not a draught lager in site...keeps the riff-raff out! There were bottled lagers though and some very obscure and rather pricey porters if you're looking for something a little more unusual.

Has a lovely cat too, sitting nonchalantly on the end of the bar, perfectly at one with his/her were all of the drinkers!

Great little boozer, highly recommended.

robinbrum - 4 Feb 2014 06:59
If I lived closer to Bristol I would visit this pub more often. I can't recommend it highly enough. I've recommended it to friends and they've all enjoyed their time here. Excellent bottle selection, well kept cask ales, Real Vinyl and pub cats.
Slake - 17 Aug 2013 01:25
Popped in last week after a recommendation by the nice lady running the ferry over from the SS Great Britain. What a great tip. Lovely quirky little pub with super beers and a vinyl record collection for customers to request from (well - we did anyway!).
The young barman was a knowledgeable chap and made us feel very welcome.
The house rules were amusing and did not upset my wife who, whilst not a regular pub goer, also enjoyed her visit, so much so that I was allowed a couple of "one more no mores!" Keep up the good work!
lovegoodpubsmicky - 12 Aug 2013 15:32
Its the Landlords own pub and he can do what he likes as far as I am concerned. Its our decision as punters if we visit or not.
And I will continue to as long as he keeps the fine ale range going..
However I would like to clarify one key point with Luke.
I distinctly remember one of the house rules on my last visit to Bristol being "No Stilettos"
Has this now been dropped as you do not refer to it below?. This would be great as I could now visit on my cross dressing evenings as well...
jimshoppenus - 2 Jul 2013 10:36
Was in here on a Monday night (24/06) whilst on an overnight business stop and a good number were present enjoying their evening. Its a shame recent posts have resulted in the owner having to defend his business. Down to earth, eclectic and with standards, what's wrong with that? Some aren't going to agree or feel comfortable here so try elsewhere. Beer is sourced near and far and was in good condition (and only £2.50pt!) . Number of beers on is tailored to trade to keep quality up. Good selection of overseas bottles. Vinyl LPs supply the music. Overall a wonderful place to while away a couple of hours.
Leicesterbeer - 2 Jul 2013 09:28
Nova7, it's not graffiti, they are the rules of the pub, clearly marked as such. The only one that could possibly be seen as misogynistic is the most important one, rule #1, No C***s. Just for clarity, here are some of the following rules, #2 Racists, Etc can just sod off. #3 Daily Mail opinions shall have the piss taken out of them. #4 If you don't like Johnny Cash, shut up or go away. #5 No Scientology. #6 Sad pedantry is encouraged. #7, No, you are not getting any cheap beer. #8 Babies and toddlers must be stored in the cellar.

If that really make you feel unwelcome then I guess you are not going to enjoy my pub that much. I'll have a little cry about that later on.
LukeD - 30 Apr 2013 12:24
Nova7 is consistent, if you point out that she seems to be slagging off a pub, she slags off your pub too.
MrKiA - 29 Apr 2013 19:40
Very small one roomed bar, a variety of fairly dull brown beers on offer. An older persons real ale paradise I guess.

Fairly Misogynistic grafitti chalked up on the walls including several words that are not used on the BBC made this lady visitor feel unwelcome.
nova7 - 29 Apr 2013 10:29
So the group of lads who started abusing me and other customers when I refused to serve them the other night were 'right' somehow ?
Pubs are not shops or cafes. I have to supervise people who are getting drunk, while ensuring that people who want to cause trouble are not allowed entrance.
This anonymous poster is lying. If Tom was acting cordial towards them, there would have been a reason for it, and I suspect the reason is that they were already rather pissed and acting obnoxiously. (As the others present in the pub that night have said to me.)
LukeD - 12 Mar 2013 09:27
What happened to the 'customer always being right' ?!
Dandillus - 28 Feb 2013 20:04
Sothyorkshireman, My point is that you are wrong. I have spoken to various customers and my staff about the night in question and ascertained the following. You turned up with a bunch of mates, obviously the worse for wear after visiting a LOT of other local pubs, (at least 7, I gather from your posting history on that day), and proceeded to draw attention to yourselves and act fairly obnoxiously while you were in my pub.

We do not welcome drunk groups of lads into our pub, as it is for nice people only. Hence these days we have a sigh on the window that says, 'No Idiot Pub Crawls.

You said that the quote,' The main subject amongst the customers however, was the young barman...' I have spoken to many other people who were present in the pub that day, (and most of them were more sober than you and your friends were) and they have all unanimously told me that this was not the case. So I believe that you are lying or at best highly mistaken. You didn't listen what other customers were saying because you and your friends were all pretty drunk after having been on an all day pub crawl visiting as many pubs as you could.

Who do you want me to believe, sober customers or highly pissed up customers ?
LukeD - 28 Feb 2013 14:26
I originally posted a comment about this pub in March 2012, and through curiosity, took another look at the site. I am astounded that the owner/landlord decided to call me a liar and refer to my comments as 'bullshit'.
He openly admits that he was not present at the time, whilst the small group of other customers he refers to were from the local area and made more comments about the chap behind the bar than we did. If this is the attitude of the owner, then I pity those who venture into the pub and dare to offer any truthful comments that the owner may disagree with.
Make up your own mind, but if you want my advice, visit the many other pubs in Bristol that offer good beer as well as a friendly atmosphere and give this a miss.
SouthYorkshireman - 16 Feb 2013 00:35
Great Choice of Beer , staff with great Knowledge,no food except crisps, Amazing Amanda the Barmaid.
This used to be a meeting place for abolitionists , no offence mean't but she can chain me up anytime
Cliftonclive - 6 Feb 2013 19:55
Gone are the days of Cherubim, and Seraphim, in what was once nicknamed the chapel of Rest.
These days its more like a Greek Palace, with a Red headed Goddess behind the Bar, and the Beer tasting like gold. 9/10
Cliftonclive - 6 Feb 2013 19:47
Surely if it never fails to disappoint, then it always disappoints
beatles38 - 13 Jan 2013 22:44
Been visiting the "Bag" on and off for several years now and it generally never fails to disappoint. Popped in tonight to find Oakham,Dark Star and Sunny Republic amongst the five ales on, and of the ale quaffed all was good :-P . Was bit miffed from the previous post with regards to the staff in question as I know for a fact that the welcome from all the staff and especially the girl behind the bar in question is always welcoming, even that of the resident four legged feline friends, so don't let that put you off! Well worth a visit still if in the vicinity :-P
fat_beer_badger - 10 Jan 2013 23:03
Called in yesterday (Sat 5th Jan) afternoon where I was the only customer. Nice pub, but the young barmaid made me feel most unwelcome. She completely refused to enter any small talk ("it's quiet today", "have you been busy" etc) and as soon as she had served my beer, went and sat at a table at the back of the bar and looked like she was writing her diary! Didn't even say goodbye when I left.
No wonder some pubs find it difficult to survive if this is their best effort at customer service!
martyngs - 6 Jan 2013 14:31
Excellent. The Emperor penguin Porter (9%) and Teignworthy Barrel-Aged Stout (13-15%) were especially welcome and at very reasonable prices. If you like strong beer come here rather than (I saw you coming) Brewdog and their over-priced fizz.
baxterfish - 8 Dec 2012 11:57
This weekend's beer festival has a choice of 26 beers. The beer list has tasting notes and even includes descriptions of the breweries. Landlord's beard still defies description.
MrKiA - 1 Dec 2012 17:26
Visited for the 1st time on Saturday since it re-opened. It was just as I remember it. Decent range of ales available and L.P's being played.
PoorBeerHater - 21 Nov 2012 10:25
TWG, thanks for giving the time for a review. The reason for us not filling all of our six handpumps with beer is for two linked reasons. During the summer our cellar cooling went down and for a few days we had no cooling at all. It was fixed at great cost, but this fix wasn't quite right, and for a few more weeks the cellar still wasn't as cool as I would have liked. This combined with the low turnover that the pub has during the summer, (hint hint) meant that we had to reduce the amount of cask ales on offer, in order to keep the quality up, and reduce the amount of beer that we had to throw away as it was past it's prime. Anyway, the cooling is fixed, and as we head for busier times, I hope to keep the six handpumps filled permanently from now on.
LukeD - 9 Oct 2012 14:11
Time for a renewed review of the Bag o' as it has been taken over yet again but this time by a young chap who seems to know what it takes to get it back on the beer map. I spoke to Luke in May not long after he'd settled in, and he demonstrated a confident and articulate local knowledge, and a keen awareness of what this pub needed to return to former glories. Happily, on revisiting last week, I believe he's made good on his plans, for the Bag o' was back to form with a vengeance!

Perhaps not the greatest number of cask ales on offer, but whether that is representative I don't know; in any case all those sampled were found to be in good nick (so I'm hoping the last reviewer was indeed "unlicky"). Most offered were 'LocAles' which is heartening to see given the plethora of high-performing brewers in the wider region. It seems that the pub has again become a focus for showcasing such product, which is great. Granted, it now has seriously strong competition from the Three Tuns down the road, but the 2 places present the punter with such contrasting experiences, they should continue to coexist peacefully with mutual levels of success.

That 1940s feel is still present in the dimly-lit and woody little bar area. Some of my older friends with whom I was travelling (we were moored up down on the Harbourside having completed the western half of the Kennet & Avon Canal/River Avon navigation) really loved the Bag as it yielded an authentically trad vibe, which of course they remember first-time round (almost!).

For too long, the Bag was the Elephant in the Room, having been so consicuously-closed with an uncertain future, but it is now firmly back in business and Bristol pubgoers are all the better-off for it. Well done guys; don't change a thing and you'll be fine.
TWG - 20 Sep 2012 17:49
A nice looking little pub with a vaguely Continental air. Some of the comments on the notice board are unprintable and hence highly entertaining. When we were there we thought the Glastonbury Spring Load was slightly past its best but maybe we were unlicky.
16jamesdoc - 5 Jun 2012 10:57
Fantastic pub, great to see it back in use after a few years closed. Excellent beer and the landlord is passionate about it - climbed down into the cellar to bring me a taste of something he'd just racked up./

There's a box of old records in the corner and a record player to put them on, and an awesome pub cat called Malcolm I think.

Regarding the list of "rules" I couldn't see one I disagreed with! Sanitised chain pub this aint, but if you want a cracking pint and some real Bristol atmospher pop in.
OldRogue - 29 May 2012 18:09
What a great return visit after a couple of years. Very friendly pub with a great selection of beer. The new landlord chap with a beard was very helpful and knowledgeable about the beers. Liked the music and the pub cat.
beer_hunter - 13 Apr 2012 19:35
South Yorkshireman, I don't know what my barman, Tom did to annoy you, but I frankly don't believe your words. I think that you are lying. All I hear from my customers about Tom is how friendly and knowledgeable he is, and for you to say that 'The main subject amongst the customers however' was Tom's attitude is just bullshit.
One of my customers noticed you and your friends, and says that you were pretty pissed and noticeably obnoxious by the time you had made it to my pub. That's what he says anyway. I wasn't there.

LukeD - 11 Apr 2012 00:30
Visited this pub on a saturday night, after catching a short taxi ride from the city centre. Whilst the pub itself ticked a lot of boxes, it was let down by the barman.
The pub is small and quite dark, offering a nice homely feel, whilst the range of real ales was reasonable. Some local lads in the bar were friendly and overall, this should have been a good visit.
The main subject amongst the customers however, was the young barman, who had either worked far too many hours or had just suffered a serious humour bypass. He was surly, disinterested, and made the least amount of effort possible to show any interest whatsoever in serving beer or adding to any kind of atmosphere.
It was a shame, that a pub should suffer from a barman like this, but in a small pub, this role can have a great effect, or in this case, a detrimental one.
SouthYorkshireman - 29 Mar 2012 20:19
Finally got around to popping into the reopened Bag O'Nails and it's just as great as it ever was, maybe moreso with the refurnishing. The number of beers wasn't as big as I've known it in the past, but still a good choice and although the prices have risen a little I'm not going to complain about a landlord trying not to go broke.

No kids, you say? Great. When were they ever allowed in this pub? And if the odd rude word on a blackboard is gonna keep some people away, then boo hoo. I won't miss them. Rubbish toilets, you say? Yeah well I don't really go to pubs for the toilets. I go for good beer and a good atmosphere and this has both. Could do with some better music though :P

Jack_McMarker - 30 Jan 2012 18:30
I have joined beer in the evening to make my thoughts known about the Bag O Nails. I don't see the problem with this, each opinion (good or bad) is as valid as anybody elses and this is the point of the website.

The landlord is correct in suggesting "It's my pub and I'll do what I want with it". There are after all plenty of pubs in Bristol to choose from.

I will continue as I aways have to vote with my feet.

knash170 - 16 Jan 2012 17:04
10 out of 10 to any pub that does not allow kids in.

I am sick to death of going in to pubs which allow kids in esspecially as most of the parents could not care less who thier kids annoy as long as they are left in peace.

Pubs are for adults they are not a creeche.
kevmac - 15 Jan 2012 13:10
A word to the two users who registered on this site only yesterday, just to criticise myself and my policy towards the admission of children in the Bag Of Nails.
My premises licence enabling me to legally sell alcohol on this site explicitly says that under 14's are not allowed on the premises at any time, other than to enter the rooms upstairs. This is because children are not allowed in the bar area of any pub in this country. If you do not believe me, you are welcome to pop along and i shall happily show you the legal documentation confirming this fact.
Children are NOT allowed in my pub. This is not my policy, but the policy of the licencing department, and of the UK government. I would not be able to successfully challenge this because of the size and nature of the pub.
My pub is an adult environment, where adults go to drink and do all the things that adults like to do to relax. The Bag Of Nails has NEVER allowed children to enter, so I don't understand why you object to this legally binding policy, if you have indeed been a frequent visitor to this 'Bristol Institution' over the years.
The toilets are of course cleaned every day. I agree that the gents is far from perfect, but it is clean.
Regarding your comments about the ale being flat and stale; I'm sorry if you found this to be the case, but personally I think this unlikely as our turnover of ale is such that no barrels of beer are on sale for more than three days. Maybe you could mention exactly which of my beers you found to be stale, and which day you visited, then I could tell you exactly when the barrel was racked, reached and first put on sale, as I keep records of all this. If you do find yourself with a pint that you are not happy with, you are more than welcome to bring it back to the bar, and we will happily change it for a different one, without any fuss.
I'm sorry that you both seem to have been highly offended by my use of the C word. What can I say ? It's my pub, and I chose to put it there. My intention was not to offend people, but set the tone of the pub. Apologies to have offended you by chalking up a small word on a blackboard, hidden up by the ceiling.
LukeD - 15 Jan 2012 11:34

Food for thought - the 'fruits of your loins' shouldn't scream the place down or riot in the first place, if this is the case then the last place you should be going is to the pub without them, leaving in the company of some other poor soul! An even worse solution is to pass them off to a cafe, who wants to sip a nice coffee in the presence of a screaming, rioting child?) the solution - ensure the child doesn't scream and riot - back to pubs.

If like many people, your kids aren't screaming or rioting, you should have no problem sitting in a pub with them, relaxing and taking the opportunity to familiarise the next generation with this lovely environment.

I've had great fun with kids of all ages in pubs.

The point is that as a landlord of a public house you should be appealing to the public (the title of the venue gives this away abit). Writing *unt on the wall and narrowing your audience too much is not the best move now is it? It's not the first welcoming thing, for kids or for the 20 year old or for the 70 year old who still enjoys a beer is it? Bad move.

After all, if we don't introduce kids to the such an environment maybe we are contributing to a dying art?

knash170 - 15 Jan 2012 10:56
After two years for a refit the 'Bag' has finally opened.
Oh dear :( I don't think Kirst170 missed any point at all, disregard families at your peril especially on the harbourside considering 80% of pub goers have children it would be silly to discount them. If they are ill behaved then as suggested this ' Landlord ' should be able to deal with it.
Unfortunately this is a irresponsible, ill-informed, unimaginative, 'Landlord' that thinks writing the word C - - T on a blackboard is the way to go forward. Even the word C - - T in the most harden pubs in ' Our Bristol ' language like this is not acceptable. Although a great range of ales they were a bit flat and stale, shame. No local beers, of which we are blessed with in Bristol and should shout about. The decor is fresh and straight from a charity shop ok if you like this sort of thing.Shame the toilets havnt been cleaned since my last visit in 2009 !! Come on 'Bag' time to up the antie and your game after all you are a Bristol institution be proud of it.
Alfiethebullmastif - 15 Jan 2012 10:14
knash170 I think you are missing the point here.

I am sure "lots of people with children enjoy a pint" but I can assure you that the vast majority of people enjoy having a pint without the fruit of your loins screaming the place down or running riot.

If you have kids take them to a cafe or a wacky warehouse, leave the pubs to the adults.
kevmac - 14 Jan 2012 23:28
Recently popped in to the bag o nails. Utterly disappointed that the landlord has to write *unt on the wall of his pub and terrible hand wirting for all to see. Who wants to go in to a traditional public house, sip a nice beer with friends....and have to look at that? The principle behind it is that it's unacceptable and unimaginative and not very funny. shame.

In addition, toilets are less than desirable, something I didn't expect due to the length of closure and the refit that was going on. I think more effort in having decent toilets would have been high on the list.

Interested also in why landlord suggests his license prevents babies and children from entering this pub? Never heard of this and would be enlightened to know more, and if it does exist why isn't it over turned, lots of people with children enjoy a pint?

Interesting to listen to landlords values on tradition, then see bright pink wall paper with lady print?

My last comment, light the fire, thats what its there for!

I may have laid off and been a little less critical but writing rule number 1, no *unts has completely killed any respect I may of had for the landlord, and only brought out the bad in my experience. Shame as it could be a wonderful little pub, after all it was a bit of an institution.
knash170 - 14 Jan 2012 19:58
Really like the new decor and much needed spruce up. The ale quality wasn't quite up there on our visit though. The potholer was a bit tired and my alligator ale from Ascot was woefully flat. Will give it another go as love the pub, and hope for better next time.
Dandillus - 2 Jan 2012 21:46
Really excited to see this place finally open whilst driving home from work the other night. made my first visit last week and was immediately struck by what a good natured atmosphere there was in the place. Teardrop Explodes was playing when I walked in and a group of blokes at the bar whom I'd never met before were quick to start chatting with me, I guess they were as happy to be in there as I was.
I think this place is unique, I enjoyed it so much I went back the following night. I have never done that before. I went home and said to my wife we must go there together, it's ace.
The service was sincere and knowledgeable, I think the C word was Christmas not c**nt. I didn't find this out until my second visit.
I drank Ashley Down on my first visit, Oxymoron on the second. I would have already made my 3rd and 4th visit if only I didn't live in Bath.
Urso - 30 Dec 2011 00:10
Its good to see this Bristol institution re-open again after several months of closure, now with Luke Daniels (from The Cornubia) at the helm. Layout inside its pretty much unchanged, but then its a small pub so options are limited. Its certainly had a spruce-up and a change of colour scheme though.

The change of colour scheme is salmon. An unusual choice perhaps, but it works well enough. Thats complimented by some red wallpaper depicting drawings of dressed up ladies. Difficult to describe, but youll see what I mean. As before there is some bench seating along the right hand side, with the bar counter on the left. There were a few black and white photos of jazz artists on the walls, and the music was provided courtesy of a turntable with a collection of vinyl stacked nearby.

The illuminated holes in the floor also remain which is an interesting feature, and there were a few board games around as well as a book on Bristols pubs, which, I guess, dated from somewhere around the 70s. It made an interesting read to see how many were still around, although thankfully those that are with us are no longer owned by Watneys. A large blackboard sign on a pillar at the end of the bar documented the pub rules (or pub statements in many cases) such as Tom Cruise is a t**t, No Scientology (obviously a theme there), Babies and Toddlers to be put in the cellar, No Beards, No C**ts and No C word, although obviously youre allowed to write the C word since it was one of the previous rules. Landlord seemed friendly enough though in spite of all his rules, and it was good to see it packed to capacity on a recent Friday evening visit.

An unusual, and fairly local choice of beers on tap with Bitter and Butty Bach from Wye Valley, Ruby and Star Gazer from Yeovil Ales, plus Cheddars Totty Pot. Ciders were also slightly more esoteric with Wilkins Dry and a very pleasant Richs Sweet.
Blackthorn - 20 Dec 2011 21:48
The Bag of Nails has finally re-opened, and I look forward to greeting customers both old and new to the bar.
Our current opening times are Mon, Tues, Weds, Five until Eleven, and Thurs, Fri, Sat and Sun, Midday until Eleven. These may increase in the future, I hope. Friendly dogs are welcome but because of our licence, babies and children are not. We have five ales on draught and two farmhouse ciders. The ales are prices between 2.70 and 3.20, depending on how much we had to pay for them. I'm buying almost all of my draught stock direct, but in the future I shall start to get ales from further afield.
We do not give any kind of CAMRA discount and shall not consider it until CAMRA stop giving away Wetherspoons vouchers away free to all members.
I'm not interested in being included in the CAMRA good beer guide and will not be until some serious changes are made to the format of the book, which reflects that there are many more cracking pubs that sell decent ales than there were twenty years ago.
We do not sell any draught lagers, or other carbonated drinks on draught, however we do have a growing range of bottled world beers, which currently includes two great German pilsners, three wheat beers, three American Craft Beers, two Trappist beers and two Abbey beers. In time I would like this selection to grow to a range of ninety nine bottled beers, ales and ciders.
All music is played on vinyl at a volume that can be discerned, and therefore cannot be described in any way as musak. Customers are invited to choose which records to play and are welcome to bring in their own (suitable) vinyl. The music policy is based around the theme of 20's, 30's Delta blues and subsequent blues and Jazz heroes, but my record collection also has many more modern classics.
I'm pretty sure that we already have the best range of board games in Bristol for customers to play, which include, Carcasonne, Catan, Go, Chess, Diplomacy, Ingenious, Villa Paletti and of course Hey, That's My Fish.
Oh, and we have a kitten.
LukeD - 20 Dec 2011 11:08
Most of the difference in price between the Three Tuns and the Bag is because the 3 Tuns gives me a CAMRA discount - and the Bag doesn't!
MrKiA - 17 Dec 2011 17:22
The "Bag" has been redecorated sympathetically, it retains the best of its old style while being a bit smarter, so should please the old regulars. It's been doing well since it opened and was very busy at the weekend. Some good beer on and respectable customers... Looks like it's going to be a success. My only criticism is that the prices are high compared for example with the excellent Three Tuns close by.
MrKiA - 13 Dec 2011 16:42
The Bag o' Nails is now open!
MrKiA - 6 Dec 2011 00:19
Sorry that you didn't like my spartan words, neverlovedelvis, and perceived it as an unhelpful attitude. However resorting to sarcasm here is equally unhelpful, I would argue. You shall certainly find out when the pub is open, and if you wish to follow our progress then you can choose to have a look at my previously mentioned blog from time to time. All that I can say is that I have a lot of work to do before the pub can open, and a lot of big decisions to make. I am entirely unsure about how long this will all take to complete, however I am certain that we shall managed to open our doors sometime before Christmas. I look forward to seeing you there.
LukeD - 26 Sep 2011 13:21
Thank you so much Luke. That's very helpful. Great attitude!
Neverlovedelvis - 24 Sep 2011 18:39
It'll be open when it's ready. We have work to do.
LukeD - 22 Sep 2011 23:06
Luke, Looking forward to opening day. Any news of the timeframe?
Neverlovedelvis - 7 Sep 2011 16:44
'Tis true. I am taking this place on very soon. How soon, I cannot say for certain, but for the minute you can follow my progress by following my journal, the 'Saga of Nails'.
LukeD - 26 Jul 2011 03:27
The latest news i've heard , Luke Daniels was in the 3t up the rd the other day, and advised some of the locals that he was hoping this pub would be opening in May 2011.
Cliftonclive - 22 Apr 2011 15:47
Still closed today.
The_Final_Arbiter - 9 Mar 2011 23:39
Sorry to find this place closed and boarded up when I went back to Bristol this year. Was a lovely place with a lot of character a few years back.
DudleyC - 15 Nov 2010 10:46
The latest news is apparently positive - a buyer has been found and word on the street is that they intend to re-open it has a pub. Let us hope they stick to the tried and tested formula, for let's be honest - it was not that which failed the pub.

TWG - 1 Nov 2010 16:08
Sunday night was the last night at the Bag o' Nails for Paul and Amanda, it is closed now, but should reopen before too long.
MrKiA - 2 Aug 2010 23:16
First visit in 2years,and the place aint changed. Friendly service from not only the barman but his collie dog too! 4 ales available of which i opted for a winner from Tring which was v good, and another from Stroud which was ok. Very quiet though for a thurs evening.. still a well deserved 7/10
fat_beer_badger - 19 Jun 2010 19:35
Arrived at 11:55 - notice on door said it opened at 12:00. Strolled around for 20 minutes, at 12:15 it still wasn't open, so I went elsewhere. The management can open when they please but they shouldn't put up misleading opening times.
newbury_drinker - 29 May 2010 23:13
Cracking little bar with a great welcome from staff and locals. We arrived just as a mini-beer exhibition was starting on Thursday afternoon. A couple of west of England brews but mainly a selection from the north for the exhibition - from Sowerby Bridge and Keighley area. Very well kept beer.
JBGatelad - 18 Apr 2010 15:08
Recent reviews look right - a basic but welcoming 1-bar local with a few happy and gentle inebriates on a cold Sunday evening. Beers obviously change often - here we had good Weymouth "Chesil" and Keystone "Cheer Up". The loos are fine. Make sure if you're following the road out from the Cathedral that you perist round the corner by the roundabout into what feels like another street but is still St George's Road.
Arctium_lappa - 5 Mar 2010 20:50
Very nice pub, doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't, but good beer and a friendly barman to help me choose - can't ask for more than that.
daveinbrum - 16 Feb 2010 17:47
Really nice pub, Paul and Amanda are total Gems. Bit quiet and the beer could have been better, but they really make up for it.
make.mine.a.blonde - 1 Dec 2009 23:16
A welcoming beacon on our dark, staggery, approach. Bath Festival Gold, Northumbrian Bucking Fastard, Facers North Star Porter, 2 reverse clipped (GWB Classic Gold, a.n.other), 14Nov. Straightforward one-room bar, mock fire to rear, big mirror, old pumpclips, ugly toby jugs above top bar shelf, nice window to street. I wrote down great staff, but cant remember why. Pies & pasties in warm cabinet at bar, 1.50/1.80, salvation!
trainman - 22 Nov 2009 16:03
Our reason for coming to Bristol, this great pub was holding a beer festival, and we have always enjoyed calling in here anyway. The Thursday afternoon session was great, quiet and we got to chat over the bar with friendly couple running the show. Had all beers across the bar, and not a poor one among them. Abbeydale Deception, Allgates George Lyon Bitter, Arbor Motueka, Festival Gold, Festival Ruby, Mallinsons Nile and Nook Best. Called in Thursday evening but it was a bit too packed to feel comfortable, but still enjoyed a couple more including Bank Top Sweeneys. First class pub. On our way out met up with a couple of BITE members, Beatles 38 and Mark. First class place and will call at Bristol for a couple of nights with the caravan whenever we go to Cornwall now to do the rounds.
gillhalfpint - 21 Nov 2009 14:55
Although I'm a regular , some might say part of the furniture , the bon beer festivals are among the highlights of the drinking year in Bristol . always good, and its great to meet fellow contempoaries , gillhalfapin t , gary from Manchester AEM , and endless other people , some I only meet a couple of times a year . the beer as always very good , and though your packed like Sardines , this only adds to the atmosphere . great night
beatles38 - 21 Nov 2009 13:12
Below par lately with a much diminished range of ale because they're "getting ready for the beer festival". There are another 362 days in the year folks when your twice a year festival punters probably won't be in. And I might. I say might......

Pity because they're friendly souls behind the pumps.
an_ecunemical_matter - 17 Nov 2009 17:24
How can I have forgot to review this place? An absolute gem of a pub. Perfect in fact. Great selection of ales, nearly all from microbreweries, and some decent cider available too. Their pricing policy is interesting (you'd know about that if you stay for a few). If people comment on another pub and say the landlord/landlady was welcoming then they know nothing until they have been to this place. I have never known 2 more friendly people running a pub. An absolute credit and I hope this places goes from strength to strength. I visit Bristol only once a year but a visit here is top of the list of my priorities. It is very unusual for me to award a 10, but I cannot fault this place.
Sharp - 12 Nov 2009 23:56
Bloody brilliant. Great ales, great pub, great landlady. Was down with some friends from Derby on business, and we ended up in the Bag O Nails. It was the landlady's birthday, so she bought us all a drink!!! Recommended.
SpondonBeast - 17 Sep 2009 21:38
A big disapointment to crisp eaters all over the world , went in ,and asked for the bag o nails home brand , made nowhere else else in the world . helicopter flavour , and they said sorry we've only got plane
beatles38 - 15 Sep 2009 23:01
Wouldn't think of coming to Bristol without calling here on a daily basis. Yes they source new and unusual breweries and the great choice of ever changing ales make it the place to be. Friendly atmosphere generated by Paul and Amanda who keep the beers in tip top condition. Am booking back into Bristol so that I can be at their next beer festival 19-22 Nov.
gillhalfpint - 9 Sep 2009 10:26
Popular real ale pub that frequently crops up in the Camra guides and does regular beer festivals. Quite small with a limited amount of seating.
Good choice of beers as you would expect, including a very pleasant Titanic Anchor. Also Stowford Press and Thatcher's Gold ciders.
Blackthorn - 25 Aug 2009 09:31
This is my local so you may decide to take what i say with a pinch of salt. On the other hand you may decide that i must know it quite well. So here goes. You known those kind of pubs that look like they've been decked out by ikea, complete with glitterball and nasty plastic chairs that you slide off of after 5 or 6 pints? Well this isn't one of those.
Unspoilt, old fashioned ale house that has between 6 and 8 different real ales on at any given time all of which are very well kept. Regular beers include Palmers copper ale, Crop circle from hopback and several from the GWB brewery. I think you will struggle to find a better real ale house in Bristol.
Neverlovedelvis - 18 Aug 2009 17:30
think BY and Large this is probably the best real ale pub in Bristol ,if it's choice you want , of course if your happy drinking bath ales all night , or fullers or butcombe's ,fine, and there's nothing wrong with that they are excellent ales, except personally i don't want the same meal every evening . i'm sorry if i have embaressed this pub , and I certainly don't claim to have drunk in every pub in Bristol , but there you have it
beatles38 - 9 Aug 2009 19:56
It is interesting that bs8drinker hides their identity, only registered on Wednesday 8th July, has only made three comments, and all three of these comments are having a go at LukeD. Is it possible that this person signed up to purely to have a go at Luke? Could they be closely associated with one of the three pubs LukeD commented on? Draw your own conclusions!

By the way I think it perfectly acceptable that a landlord should comment on other pubs, particularly when HE is NOT hiding his identity
MrKiA - 10 Jul 2009 17:35
bs8drinker - 8 Jul 2009 12:47
Tonight, we visited this pub. Despite it being rather chilly outside, all doors and windows were closed and two large air conditioning units were on seemingly at full blast. Unnecessary waste of energy annoys me. The atmosphere was pleasant and the selection and condition of ale available was good. I was slightly dismayed to see many cardboard 'table talkers' advertising cider scattered around. It made me feel as though I was drinking in a JDW or Toby Carvery. On reflection, next time I'm in the area I shall probably make the effort to travel further, to the Merchants Arms.
LukeD - 8 Jul 2009 01:27
I've been unfair to this pub by not re-reviewing but over about a years worth of infrequent visits there has been little to complain about. The staff are sober and informed about their trade. The canine doesn't moult as much and if he does moultings are swept up. The beer is always good and the value is great,and in honesty you'll probably get the best range in town nowadays here. Keep it up folks,well done.
an_ecunemical_matter - 15 Jun 2009 19:12
Was lucky enough to finally get back here in a more aware state than previous. A teeny-tiny little place which nevertheless manages to pack in several excellent ales (including a mild on my visit). The interior is very basic, no-frills except for some pictures on the walls and some oddments in corners - the focus in here is having a drink and some banter.

Well worth the short walk from the city centre, I will be intending to visit as much as possible when back in Brizzle.
Quinno - 10 May 2009 11:24
Amazing pub. Really pleased made the effort to walk down to it. 6 pumps on from variety of breweries. Nice little touch such as putting out little glasses of each ale so that you could see if they were pale, dark etc. Really friendly bar staff and customers with great advice and directions to other real ale houses. Only tasted 3 of the ales. all well cared for. I cant rate this place enough!!
tomtomtom20082008 - 16 Apr 2009 13:58
beatles38 - 1 Apr 2009 05:57
Beer festival starts , thurs april 24th
beatles38 - 30 Mar 2009 22:07
I'd just like to echo all the positive reviews below. I've been a few times, and have each time been impressed with the beer, the friendly service, and the decor (gas lights!). Very good.
thomashenry - 5 Mar 2009 13:17
The sort of bar that once entered takes a massive surge of will to leave. Several ales on the go, all kept in good order and dispensed with gentle good humour and attentiveness by the landlord.There's a copy of the CAMRA good beer guide on the bar so you can bone up on the various brews on offer or receive trustworthy advice from the staff. The clientele are sometimes eccentric, but nearly all are chatty and friendly, so unless you ask for it you're unlikely to feel like an obvious outsider. The Bag O'Nails is somewhat reminiscent of the White Lion, but with a bit more legroom and wider choice of beers. Watch out for the cartoonish spaniel. It's a genuine local, relaxed with bags of character which may well set the standard that you judge other pubs by. Altogether excellent.
ILooklikeme - 16 Feb 2009 18:16
On my first visit to Bristol just over a month ago, I overheard some locals talking about this website so I thought I would sign up and rate my Bristol pub trip starting with the Bag O Nails.

Upon first entering, I was greeted by a lovely old pub decor, with the exclusion of a few tacky plastic seats. The young barman made me feel instantly welcome, with a nice greeting and a joke about the rain.

The beer had a colour guide along the bar, which was a great idea, however considering the bar staff not needed. The young barman on initial site wouldn't be out of place behind the bar at a Wetherspoons, but had an incredible beer knowledge without the arrogant attitude often seen among CAMRA individuals,This really made my visit worth the walk in the rain.

The locals where a varied bunch, all very friendly and willing to help me find nice places nearby.

Overall an exceptional pub, with some of the best kept beer, service and atmosphere I have ever seen.

..... Now to convince the barman to come and work in my local... if he could bring some of his guest beers with him that would be nice too!

BlackburnDave - 26 Jan 2009 18:17
Great beer, great boozer, great atmosphere, great spaniel, in fact a top pub.
Dylanwing - 18 Jan 2009 20:45
amazing for ale drinkers - never heard of some of the breweries, and every pint we had was in fine fettle. yes, I recommend this place
bennyprofane - 15 Jan 2009 15:46
Cracking little friendly boozer. I'll be down soon and i'm bringing a big Scottish sausage for Mike. Get the red wine in ya numpties or i'll rip off yer heed and s***e in the hole.
TheJock666 - 7 Jan 2009 18:56
Good new year's eve, massive buffet, plus gorgeous Thornbridge Hall Russian Stout 7.7% at 2 a pint - as were all the real ales that night!
MrKiA - 6 Jan 2009 00:19
Just spent a week in Bristol and visited a number of pubs, but this was far in font of any that we visited. The beer range was fantastic, with seven ales on, all in fantastic condition. We went back in on New Years Eve and were made very welcome by Paul & Amanda. The locals were great too, we certainly didn't feel like strangers. It's a pub I will visit again when in the area.
Thanks to you all at the Bag O Nails, and all the best for the coming year.
Caraman - 5 Jan 2009 18:07
Wonderful friendly pub we had gone to a few times during our fortnight in Bristol. Paul and his team made us so welcome even though we were strangers to his bar. Good selection of beers available, We were invited in for New Year's Eve, and what a fantastic night they gave us. Deserve their place in the Good Beer Guide. Lovely to see a true local that is so people and dog friendly. Scoobie the spaniel welcomed everyone too. Well done.
gillhalfpint - 1 Jan 2009 10:02
After being down in the doldrums for a few years, the Bag O Nails seems to be back where it was circa 2004/5, ie, reliable place to try a few unusual beers. The Gents don't smell as bad as they used to. Alas, not the sort of place I can convince my 2 for 1 cocktail colleagues to pay a visit to this Friday after the Xmas meal. On the last two visits the ale has been in top notch condition, and they have a small glass of beer by the pump so they don't have to answer questions like 'do you have any light beers?' clever or lazy, you decide.
Dandillus - 16 Dec 2008 10:49
Worth going to if you're making a trip up to The Grain Barge.
mattbeer - 1 Sep 2008 15:43
Reasonable ale in a pub that relies a bit on its huge reputation from the stewardship of 2 old farts called Jimmy and Jeff. Nice old farts they were though. An inch of dog hairs is to be found around each of the table legs. The canine that the said dog hairs were previously owned by is allowed put his paws on the bar. How sweet/unhygenic. Zany regulars,and still a haunt for a beerticker or two,though the range nowadays makes their pasttime FA Conference rather than Premier League. Judge for yerself.

Ok. Just ok.
an_ecunemical_matter - 5 Aug 2008 20:28
A small cosy pub , which despite it's size ,offers a large range of real ales , and European beers ,especially bottled beers, the two regular real ales are otter and otter bright and 4 guest ales , 1 draught cider ,currently thatchers , whilst the lagers on keg include staropromen , and to my knowledge the only place in Bristol? where Warsteiner is sold ?. The regulars are largely eccentric but friendly .
beatles38 - 1 Aug 2008 08:40
Enjoyed my stop-off here over Christmas - nice old boozer with a bit of character.

Dark and slightly foreboding interior won't appeal to all tastes, but there's plenty of other places nearby.

Beer range and quality good, will seek out again.
Quinno - 6 Jun 2008 19:43
Visited this pub on recent trip to Bristol. Great liitle boozer with bags of character and a great selection of ales.
Micky_P - 3 Jun 2008 21:34
Shame the beer was warmer and flatter than even I like it. I know it's a beer pub, but "vin rooj" from the box was equally undrinkable. "Bag o' Spanners" may be a better name.
mackerel - 6 May 2008 16:40
Good basic boozer with a good choice of ales. In it's own way, perfect.Have a meal in the Hope & Anchor then come here for the beer.
baxterfish - 26 Feb 2008 15:12
this is my favorite pub in england its has an amazing pair of landlords i spilt my takeway 2 pints on my skateboard and she gave me 2 more pints for half price and she let me taste all the ales wich were fantastic.very small but very freindly and cheap.
1honeydew - 23 Feb 2008 10:39
Had two great tasting pints here on saturday,discovered the place by accident but a great discovery, 8/10
fat_beer_badger - 18 Feb 2008 15:15
Thank you ever so much for all your continued support since we took over in May 2007.
We look forward to seeing you all soon.
Love Manda, Paul, Sascha and Scooby.
mandaross - 11 Jan 2008 19:04
Fantastic little real ale pub. Generally 5 or 6 guest ales on and all are well kept. Come down and join jonny farty pants and the mammoth for a beer! The landlady is very easy on the eye. Great rack!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.!!!!!
SirLancelot - 10 Jan 2008 21:55
Great pub! A friendly welcome, lots of ale to choose from (Archers, Burton Bridge, RCH et al) and good value too (2.00 to 2.40 a pint).
biermeister - 30 Dec 2007 21:16
A great pub not compromising to trends. Recent beer festival was a great success (as a drinker!)with some unusual ales on offer and all excellent. Congrats to the management & staff.
Bob_Sherunkle - 4 Dec 2007 14:23
Visited earlier this week and the pub appears to have perked up after a slight dip. I really enjoyed my pints of Church End, Three Castles and Hop Back Crop Circle and the regulars and landlady were friendly. Well worth a visit.
downender - 1 Jun 2007 20:31
A real gem, great selection of ales at reasonable prices for a city centre pub. The price of lunch? 1. Yes, large filled rolls of excellent quality for only 1. Can feel a bit morbid if you are the only one in their due to the dark wood finish etc but it's usually packed of an evening so no real need for Prozac. :)
MisterX - 1 Jun 2007 16:14
Excellent selection of beers in good condition.
anonymous - 16 Feb 2007 09:29
Less than 10 minutes walk from the centre, this is well worth making the effort to visit when in the city. On my last visit the selection of ales had been slightly depleted, but there was still a choice of three which were all new to me. Plenty of foreign beers in bottles too. Excellent little pub.
fromedrinker - 22 Jan 2007 13:49
One of the best pubs I've been into. Great choice of beer and imported lagers (bottled and tap). Traditional decor and friendly atmosphere.
tanglewood - 3 Nov 2006 21:11
Can understand why it has been known as "The chapel of Rest" but, superb range of beers and really should be called an Ale house. However the last time i was there the draught lagers were pulled with no head on them, which does'nt help it's cause. This is a place for people to ponder!
daveandjeanetteforpubs - 21 Oct 2006 23:21
Outstanding pub, streets clear of any other pubs in Bristol city centre. Good beer selection regularly changed, fairly priced and refusal to sell mass produced lager is a huge bonus. Friendly staff and a cracking cosy atmosphere when busy. Beers very rarely in anything other than good condition and if they're not they won't argue if you complain and ask for something else.

Hard to fault.
Aleguzzler - 20 Oct 2006 18:55
I can fully understand why this might not appeal to many punters, even those who like me are committed ale buffs. Although not a perfect publican, Gordon's regime in the '90s was a hard act to follow, and perhaps it has not realised its true potential lately.
But for all that, if you want a simple, no-nonsense beerhouse away from the madding crowd of lager-swilling students, then the Bag o' might have what you're after. In my experience, the ales have been both varied and in good condition, and the service satisfactory. The gents could do with a bit of attention but then again that's always been the case ever since it opened in 1996!
As ever, appareciation of such a place will depend on what one looks for in both a pub and a night out; maybe it isn't the place to take the missus. But it isn't rough, isn't frequented by dubious or undesirable characters, and one has to give it some credit for creating a genuine 1940s pub experience without the tawdry fakery of pubco theming, and with better beer!
TWG - 17 Oct 2006 17:23
Stopped in on a pubcrawl. Beer was pretty good, but the place is a bit of a shitbin. The missus hated it.
gbiddlegbiddlegboh - 21 Jul 2006 13:50
Great beer but nothing else. A shame because this could be a cracking pub with gas lighting and Victorian photos on the walls plus strange portholes in the floor. Unfortunately the licensees/staff are completely disinterested and everyone seems to just sit there in silence. Used to be nicknamed "The Chapel of Rest" and you can see why.
anonymous - 10 Mar 2006 20:17
It's a strange one - back a few years ago you couldn't find a better pint or nicer place - gas lamps and all. Ales rotated every Thursday, and there were always at least 7, plus many continental bottles (and that's before all the trendy bars got into Leffe).

And then it just went down hill after the departure of Gordon - on my last trip the pissed up barman had his stereo sat on the bar, with rubbish music full blare, and some wasted mate of his was being lary. That was 2 years ago and stayed away since. A real shame.
OldRogue - 20 Dec 2005 16:03
Small, quiet pub with fantastic beer.
ged - 20 Sep 2005 21:46
This pub is tragic, beer is ok'ish, but the rest of it is very poor
JockStrap - 3 Sep 2005 18:02
Yes, this pub has a great selection of ales. But yes, sadly, the atmos is not the best and the decor very depressing. Ok for a stop off on a pub crawl, wouldn't want it as my local.
Sal - 11 Jun 2004 16:06
Definitely dark and gloomy but generally excellent beer and an annual ale festival ( 40 ales ).
Jeff Mead - 24 Nov 2003 16:46
One room pub lit by gas light devoted to real ales and continental lagers - what more do you want. Simultaneously awarded CAMRA regional 'Pub of the Year' and Maxim magazine 'Worst Pub in the World'. Also known (affectionately) as the Bag o Shite.
Martin E Henry - 17 Nov 2003 16:08

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