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Today marks the launch of The Punchbowl Ale House & Kitchen, the latest pub to hit Old Market’s foodie scene and an exciting new venture for the Wickwar Wessex Brewing Co. We were lucky enough to be invited along for a sneak preview this week, and we were astounded by the pub’s fantastic transformation and delighted to find a peaceful and spacious beer garden at the back of the venue.

The team behind The Jersey Lily and Gloucester Road Ale House & Kitchen has given The Punchbowl a new lease of life, with warm wooden benches, soft lighting, and contemporary copper fittings. The pub’s offering of distinctive and delicious Wickwar Ale, carefully selected wine, and a great range of spirits makes it a fantastic watering hole, befitting of its location in unique and quirky Old Market.

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The day was absolutely roasting, and by the evening it had reached the perfect temperature for a refreshing gin and tonic in the stunning beer garden. We compared a few different gins, all served in fantastic balloon glasses (almost the size of punchbowls) with plenty of ice and zesty garnishes. My personal favourite was The Botanist, paired with Mediterranean Fever Tree tonic and a slice of lime.

Perhaps the most anticipated moment was the delivery of beautifully presented nibbles, giving us an idea of the standard of home-cooked food on offer. Passionate chef Adam ensures that everything is made from scratch, from the soft and comforting bread, to the mayonnaise and tartare sauce.

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We all left singing the venue’s praises, with gin-induced smiles and that warm fuzzy feeling that only the best quality food can yield. Personally, I’ve already booked my table to sample the brand new menu – the food really was that good. Here’s what my fellow connoisseurs had to say:

Sally – I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer’s evening in Bristol. As an area I don’t often visit, the up-and-coming foodie scene in Old Market was a pleasant surprise. I went for a sweet Plymouth sloe gin before we found our way to the wonderful beer garden to mingle. The nibbles on offer were second to none and all homemade on-site; needless to say they didn’t last long.

We sampled an array of treats from vegetable crisps and bread with oils, to chorizo with sweet peppers and extra-crispy pork crackling – a definite highlight for me. With such a relaxed vibe and beautifully fresh pub grub, I’m sure it won’t be long before I return.

Emma – My favourite nibble was definitely the chorizo with peppers, and I think sloe gin with tonic could be my new favourite summer drink. The lovely beer garden is a real hidden gem and the decor feels timeless. It’s clear the team has put a lot of work into the revamp and it has certainly paid off.

Tori ­­– As a huge fan of Jersey Lily on Whiteladies Road, I was excited to learn that the Wickwar Wessex Brewing Co. were set to breathe new life into one of Bristol’s oldest pubs. I had high hopes as we headed to Old Market to check out the transformation and sample some tasters, and I wasn’t disappointed. The elegant beer garden is my new favourite al fresco spot in Bristol – I can think of no better place to while away a sunny evening with a gin in-hand.

As a gin-lover I was pleased to see that the bar had an impressive range, including bottles I’d never heard of. The Twisted Nose gin was absolutely delicious, and was expertly paired by the barmaid with Fever Tree’s brand new aromatic tonic. I couldn’t resist tucking into all of the nibbles that were offered, and among my favourites was the sumptuous scampi with tartare sauce – undoubtedly the best I have ever tasted.

With tasty drinks, top-notch food and a cracking beer garden, Punchbowl is on to a winning formula.  Foodies and gin-lovers, you heard it here first – The Punchbowl Ale House & Kitchen is a resounding, unanimous must-visit.

Robbie Masters

Robbie Masters

Robbie's a creative Senior Editorial Assistant with a passion for writing, painting and, above all, eating.

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