It all started, as so many of my journeys around Bristol have done in the last few weeks, with a hunt for a gorilla. This particular hunt had taken me along the Bristol & Bath Railway Path to find Endangered PJs at Bitton station, one of the furthest simians away from Bristol city centre.
While passing through Fishponds on the way to Bitton, I remembered an email I had received last month from somebody who recommended that I visit the Cross Hands on Staple Hill Road.
So a short detour off the path later and I was ensconced in one of their comfy sofas enjoying a swift half of Boondoggle from the Ringwood Brewery. This was just one of five real ales on tap when I visited, the others being Landlord, Otter, Gem and Doom Bar. There were also four ciders on tap: Thatchers Gold, Stowford Press, Addlestone’s and Old Rosie, a most generous selection.
The Cross Hands is the sister pub of the Royal Oak on the Gloucester Road in Horfield, and there are a few similarities. Recently refurbished, a lot of love has gone into making this pub a welcoming place.
In one corner of the high-ceilinged pub when I arrived was a group of new mums who were greeting the newest baby to their little gang with the requisite admiring noises. The presence of mothers and babies was a good indication of the pub’s friendly nature.
As it was a sunny afternoon, most of the other clientele were sitting out the front in the spacious paved beer garden, with new furniture. Quite a sun trap.
The Cross Hands reminds me in many ways of the Wellington, like the Royal Oak also in Horfield, not least because of their respective spaciousness, alcoves and good quality food in a pub rather than gastro pub setting.
What especially caught my eye food-wise at the Cross Hands were its bar snacks which included cheese on toast with Lee & Perrins, devilled white bait with mayonnaise, and a pint of prawns.
Events here include Saturday barbecues, pub quizzes, open mic nights and live comedy. If you’re quick, sign up for tomorrow’s Body Shop pamper party where a brand new cocktail menu will also be served.
It’s all happening at the Cross Hands. I could have stayed for much longer than I did, and will definitely visit again soon, but I had a gorilla to find.
The Cross Hands, 1 Staple Hill, Fishponds, Bristol. 0117 965 7759.