When I walked into the Three Sugar Loaves yesterday after work, there was a scrape of chairs as the regulars at the bar turned to look who I was. Then the music stopped. I thought this kind of thing only happened in films. But no, this was Bristol on a Tuesday night.
The atmosphere improved when a Pulp song came on the stereo, but this certainly was not a warm welcome. Come back on a Saturday night and it will be pumping drum and bass on the stereo, an altogether different welcome entirely.
The Three Sugar Loaves, split over two levels at the foot of the Christmas Steps but surprisingly small, is one of those strange beasts, a pub aiming to be resolutely modern but one which is within a historic seventeenth century building of real character.
This means that under the oak beams and ancient stone walls (unfortunately painted over in thick porridge-coloured paint) in the back room are chalk boards advertising cocktails with such inviting names as Sugar Tits and Shit the Bed.
The beer on tap is Betty Stoggs and Reverend James, with Guinness and Thatcher’s Gold also available. There is food on offer too, but you would be better off going to the fish and chip shop next door or the Chinese up the Christmas Steps. Food here includes lasagne (£6.95) and chilli nachos (£7.25).
The Three Sugar Loaves may burst into life on Saturday nights, but during the week it is a bit of a nothing pub, rather sad considering that it is one of Bristol’s oldest surviving hostelries. You will get a much warmer welcome elsewhere.
The Three Sugar Loaves, 1 Christmas Steps, Bristol. 0117 929 2242.