‘A bent nail on the fence post of life.’ That’s how the Hope & Anchor on Jacob’s Wells Road describe themselves above the specials board. This is a pub that doesn’t take itself too seriously, with a selection of fictional characters among the menu items and framed on the walls.
It could quite easily have crowed about its beer garden, hidden away but backing onto Brandon Hill and easily one of the best in Bristol, spread over three levels with tables made out of old Singer sewing machines.
It could also claim the most dried hops above the bar of any pub in the city, perhaps only the Green Man in Kingsdown competing for this accolade.
And then there’s the six different real ales on tap. When I visited on a Thursday evening last week, these were Golden Sheep, the new pale ale from Black Sheep; Bob; Doom Bar; Cotswold Way from Wickwar; Dorset Gold from Palmers brewery in Bridport; and Clark’s Classic Blonde.
So why a father and son ordered a Carling and a Grolch I shall never know. To complete the selection on tap are ciders Pheasant Plucker and Stowford Press.
The food here in the Hope & Anchor is good, but not so good as to warrant a mention in the Observer Food Monthly’s best pubs for food in 2010.
A current deal sees a Sunday lunch deal of two for £17, while away from the classic pub grub of scampi and chips, specials include bouillabaisse (£9.25), butternut squash, leek and coconut bake (£8.50), and rollmop herrings (£8.75).
If only all bent nails made the fence post of life so pleasurable.