In­de­pen­dent spirit make Old Mar­ket

Bristol Post - - NEWS - Robin MUR­RAY robin.mur­ray@reach­

ON Mon­day The Sun­day Times re­leased its an­nual list of the coolest places to live in the UK - the places it deems the most highly-sought-af­ter des­ti­na­tions to call home.

While Bris­tol is no stranger to such ac­co­lades, the area of the city which stars in The Sun­day Times’ run­down will no doubt have taken plenty of peo­ple by sur­prise.

It isn’t one of the usual sus­pects, the likes of Stokes Croft or Mont­pe­lier, but is in­stead Old Mar­ket which flies the flag for the city in the top 10.

The area hasn’t al­ways had the best rep­u­ta­tion and while there will be many peo­ple rais­ing an eye­brow at its in­clu­sion, a strong case can def­i­nitely be ar­gued for it.

We think Old Mar­ket is, as The Sun­day Times sug­gests, wor­thy of be­ing recog­nised in such a glow­ing way. Here’s why:

One of the best things about Old Mar­ket with­out ques­tion is its se­lec­tion of bars, with plenty of op­tions in a rel­a­tively small area. The fan­tas­tic Old Mar­ket Assem­bly, which opened at the tail end of 2015, acted as a cat­a­lyst for other busi­nesses to fol­low suit.

The spa­cious bar, which also in­cludes the bril­liant Wardrobe Theatre as well its own bak­ery, is from the same team be­hind The Can­teen in Stokes Croft - an­other cul­tural hub which opened bang in the mid­dle of a once-trou­bled area - and at­tracts peo­ple all over the city.

To The Moon, mean­while, just off the main road on Mid­land Road, is a quaint and cosy venue sell­ing a range of lo­cally-sourced drinks and de­li­cious cock­tails, while the new­ly­opened Elmers Arms again of­fers some­thing dif­fer­ent, spe­cial­is­ing in real ales and real soul mu­sic.

If you want a more tra­di­tional pub you’re also not short of op­tions. There’s the newly-ren­o­vated Punch­bowl, The Old Mar­ket Tav­ern, The Stag and Hounds and of course The Vol­un­teer Tav­ern just around the cor­ner, which is ar­guably one of the city’s finest neigh­bour­hood booz­ers.

Fan­tas­tic bars and pubs

Top notch cof­fee

If you’re in need of a pick me up, some of the best cof­fee in Bris­tol can be found in Old Mar­ket. One of the finest places to grab a brew is Alex Does Cof­fee, headed up by - you guessed it - a cof­fee-ex­pert named Alex, who sources beans from Ex­tract in St Wer­burgh’s to make bev­er­ages of a very high stan­dard.

Along­side that there’s the bril­liant Cafe No. 25a, owned by the same man as No 12 in Eas­ton, which not only serves sen­sa­tional cof­fee but quite pos­si­bly the best cheese toasties in town. Over the road you’ve got Ex­change’s equally im­pres­sive cof­fee, while West Street Kitchen also knows how to serve a proper brew.

Live mu­sic

If you’re par­tial to a bit of live mu­sic, Old Mar­ket has you cov­ered.

The Ex­change in Old Mar­ket

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