There was a copy of a treasury note for ten million pounds (below) on the wall above my head during a visit to the Bank pub on John Street last weekend. Like a pub called the King’s Head which has many pictures of a king and oak trees, the Bank does not shy away from its moniker. Close-up pictures of bank notes are everywhere, and the Queen surveys proceedings regally from a photograph above the small book shelf.
It is not a pub non-Bristol dwellers are likely to stumble across, even though it is only a short walk from Broadmead and yards from The Lanes, where a few friends and I had a few warm-up games of bowling before getting stuck into the ales on Saturday afternoon.
The pub is a favourite of Camra drinkers (they get discounts off beer and the food served in the afternoons) and usually has a selection of four of five real ales. These currently include Hook Norton Haymaker, England’s Finest and Golden Chalice from Glastonbury Ales.
For cider drinkers, Black Dragon from Wales is served alongside Thatchers Gold and Thatchers Dry, with a jar of pickled eggs on the bar enough for me to need a stiff drink.
For a city centre pub, the Bank is blessed with plenty of outdoor space, where they host an annual beer festival and last year put on five days of music from buskers to raise money for charity.
Shabby chic, or just plain shabby, is how best to describe the pub’s interior, with green leather banquettes worn down to their innards by years of drinkers’ bottoms. Fresh flowers decorate each table, however, and history is contained within many original features such as the dark wooden panels around the walls and the window frames.
Not even all the money in the world could recreate a pub like the Bank. I would wager good money, though perhaps not ten million pounds, on that.
The Bank Tavern, 8 John Street, Bristol.