Attempting to play table tennis on all the Ping! tables dotted throughout the city has over the last fortnight taken me across Bristol. On Sunday, I decided to head east, to tables in Hillfields Park, Fishponds and St George’s. After a hard-fought 11-10 victory in Eastville Park, I needed liquid replenishment.
And so it came to pass that I found myself just over Fishponds Road from the park in the Queen’s Head, an imposing pub dating back to the late nineteenth century with yellow and red brickwork and ivy growing up one wall facing Royate Hill.
It is a pub that I have passed many times, but Sunday afternoon was my first time visiting. Doom, Courage and Bass are the ales currently on tap, with cans of Thatcher’s Gold and Natch to please the cider drinkers.
Now owned by Greene King, it is a former Hall’s Oxford & West Brewery Company pub, with their sign with a hare on still by the door. Inside, its size means that when I visited a young boy could go round and round on his scooter unbothered by the regulars.
Two dogs were also with their owners at the bar, and the pregnant bar lady was talking to a regular with a baby strapped to his stomach.
There are pool tables, a courtyard garden and a flatscreen television, which when I visited was showing the Scottish Open golf, the commentary drowned out by Black Sabbath on the stereo.
The point of the Ping! tables around Bristol are to encourage play, not drinking, but a swift half was just the tonic I needed before facing my next opponent.
The Queen’s Head, 286 Fishponds Road, Eastville, Bristol, BS5 6PY