A Stout Guide to Bath.

Danger bridge

We couldn't find exactly the information we were lookig for so I nipped over there last week to do a bit of a recce.

OK – the first thing to note is that a large area of the city (between the train station and the abbey) is undergoing a make-over/rebuild (think Victoria Square and then some).  The first phase is due to open autumn 2009, so that whole area is in a state of flux and there may well be new bars/hotels/restaurants open by then – but since it will be all new and shiny it is questionable whether our average reader would even be allowed in


So leaving that area aside, the good news is that there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of pubs in Bath.  There seems to be something to meet most tastes.  From a personal point of view, the ones that will warrant further investigation would be


Down from the abbey ...

HillI use the terms up and down here, because Bath is built on a bloody steep hill – it’s not quite old Edinburgh standards, but it may pay to map out any pub crawling carefully with an altimeter.  

anyway down from the Abbey is the Hobgoblin.  Dark, gloomy, good beer and gallons of rock music.


Uphill, I would suggest the Saracens Head on Walcot Street -  seems like a no-nonsense type of pub – it has beer and seats and tables (and TVs).  

Saracens head

And conveniently close to the Travelodge (central) is the Pig & Fiddle (Broad St/Saracen St)– just be careful going down the steps at the back door!)


On up and up and up Walcot Street - The Bell is a proper pub which advertises live music on Sunday afternoons; sounds attractive if we’re recovering from celebrations on Saturday.


Before returning to the oxygen rich areas of base camp, we should not miss cutting across to The Star (at the Paragon on Roman Road)– proper old style pub, no distractions, good quality beers (a range from Bath’s own Abbey Brewery).  Probably wouldn’t be too impressed with verses of Stand Up for the Ulstermen, but if we’re there to enjoy a quality pint in its natural surroundings, then I think we’ll be in good company.


Back down to George Street and across the road from the Travelodge is the Porter, which describes itself as a vegetarian pub.  Now those of you who know me will know that I enjoy my kebabs as much as the next man (actually, given the chance I quite enjoy the next man’s too), but – given that meat isn’t an essential ingredient of beer, I wouldn’t rule this place out – it seems to have a variety of music going on, for whenever you get bored discussing the merits of Humphies’ kicking technique.


So plenty of pubs, and for some reason a great number of barbers shops – so those of you with hair may like to while away an hour or so there, while the rest of us soak up the … umm … atmosphere in the other establishments.  


There is also a rash of deli/sandwich shops (more wraps than an Antrim housing estate).  Some of these places are quite specialist; everything from fish (which will please some) to sausages (which, lets face it, should please everyone with any sense) 

Sausage Shop Sausages

But naturally what we really need to know is where are we going to get a decent approximation to an Ulster Fry?  

MenuWell, my research has pointed to one clear leader – the Snack Bar on Railway Street.  

The fact that this establishment has remained open (perhaps even flourished) despite all around it being turned into the aforementioned building site and that it opens at 7am – should be enough to indicate a emporium worthy of the custom of most fry aficionados.

Snack Bar

The next 3 likely candidates conveniently sit in a row in Kingsmead Square/New Street (The Waverley, The Jazz Café, and the other wee one, whose name escapes me).  They range in price and décor accordingly, with the Jazz café being the only one that could accommodate more than a couple of our more rotund brethren.  Seems a case of literally paying your money and taking your choice.  


Finally moving back up-hill again (and within easy rolling distance of the Travelodge), I would suggest the place beside the Sausage shop on Green Street. Which although a little ‘corporate chainy’ should tick all the right boxes.


For those eating later in the day/night – we recommend Schwartz Brothers for burgers (4 Sawclose – opposite the theatre and at 102 Walcot St)

Schwartz bros


Not forgetting those with an early morning (or even late) departure from Bristol airport – Zero 9 upstairs in the departure area.  A good range of breakfasts available (Big Breakfast £7, Ultimate Breakfast £9.25) with a 2 meals for £9.99 offer that is sure to appeal to the hungrier amongst us.

See you there!

The Rec