Once upon a time in Bristol there were hundreds more pubs than there are now. Some of these pubs were even next door to each other; take a look at the strange layout of the Three Sugar Loaves on the Christmas Steps which was once two pubs, now knocked into one.
On Stoke Lane in Westbury-on-Trym, there is the unusual sight, especially in such a residential area as this, of two pubs which almost but not quite share a front door, the Prince of Wales at number 84 and the Black Swan at number 92.
So this week’s pub of the week is in fact two pubs of the week.
First, the Black Swan, with Doom Bar, Chuffin Ale from Box Steam Brewery, and Courage the ales on tap when I visited last Saturday afternoon. New guest ales to come soon are chalked up near the bar – Adnams Ghost Ship and Thwaites Crafty Devil – with a request to ask for any others.
My pew was in a corner of the pub with a bit of a poultry theme. On a ledge above a framed painting of a black swan on a stamp were an array of ducks, befitting as this pub’s nickname is the duck, plastic, ceramic and wooden; as well as a number of swans.
Th Black Swan has a very homely feel, and warm too, especially when the fire between the bar area and a snug around the corner is lit. Elsewhere, there is a large back room where live music is sometimes hosted, and a beer garden out back with children’s playground and water feature.
The Prince of Wales is one of those pubs where one could lose hours checking every single item on the walls, from Royal coats of arms to plenty of rugby, cricket and golf memoribilia.
The most interesting item I found was a design for George’s Premium beer that looked like it could be an original artist’s version before the design was printed to appear on bottles.
This used to be a George’s pub and is now owned by Butcombe, whose ales predominates on tap with its bitter, Gold and Rare Breed on tap alongside Bass, Henry’s IPA and Fuller’s London Pride.
There are plenty of nooks and crannies here, with one nook in one corner underneath a television only big enough for one person at a squeeze to sit down.
There is, however, plenty of room for two pubs on Stoke Lane.