With such good weather finally hitting our shores, we thought we’d check out one of the many great spots around the UK’s waterfront. We made our way along the Avon to The Cottage Inn, at Bristol’s bustling harbour front. The building itself dates back to 1868 and was once a timber warehouse for the docks. With the closure of the docks in 1975, it became the Harbour Master’s office until the 1980s when it started its life as a drinking establishment. Bought by Butcombe Brewery 10 years ago and recently given a renovation two years ago, it’s a postcard perfect setting!
The pub looks fantastic from street level, with an old stone and brick exterior and a raised seating area overlooking the harbour. Inside, it has that classic seaside feel with nautical blue wood-panelled walls, maps across the walls and a few seafaring artworks. The bar has a fantastic range of cask and keg to compliment the ambience of the place.
With the sun shining, it only seemed right to grab a pint of Butcombe’s new lager, Underfall. Named after the historic Underfall Yard boatyard, which the pub overlooks. It’s a beautifully balanced brew, with a subtle sweetness and a crisp, dry finish. We found a seat on the already busy front patio and caught up with General Manager, Joseph Hanna, who told us why this pub has been so successful…
“Over the past couple of years, we’ve built a strong group of drinkers and eaters, as soon as the sun comes out those steps are rammed.” He said, nursing his pint and admiring the scenic view of the boatyard.
“There’s a real mix of people that come here; tourists, people that want to be out on the water, the boat club next door and the caravan club too. People like to come for walks in the sun. We’ve got the rowing club with about 10 different rowing teams, all training at different times, who all pile in from the water to get their pints and cheesy chip. Then we have cyclists a couple of times a week.”
After shooing away an eagle-eyed seagull, Joseph continued; “There are also lots of events on the harbour, which is great. We did the launch for Butcombe’s new lager Underfall back in May, which was fantastic; we set up an outside bar, barbeque and even a beer bike too!
There’s a lot going on out here, our sister pub The Ostrich recently got refurbished up the road and it’s been received really well. We’ve also got Bristol Harbour Festival starting from the 19th-21st of July, where 250,000 people descend upon the whole stretch of the harbour. We had a great hog roast on last year, so we’re hoping to have some great stuff on this year too.”
After a good chat about the pub, we all stayed on the patio for another couple of hours, continuing to enjoy some of Butcombe’s other brews – Goram IPA on keg and Bristol Food Connections festival beer Joined at the Hops. This pub has something for everyone; great beer, good food and somewhere where you can sit and watch the world go by.