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The Green Man
A short history
For Whom The Bell Tolls
This distinctive wooden-panelled pub has the feel of a country pub in the middle of town, close to but away from the hurlyburly of The BRI and St Michael’s Hill.
The earliest recorded licensee was the wonderfully-named Cornelius Meaker in 1851, but this Grade II-listed building is at least a century older (the upper floor ceilings are so low that we had to extend into the loft to fit a shower cubicle!)
Like all five Bristol pubs, this was a Georges then Courage then Ushers (Watneys) house. I still have a Watneys mains electric clock given by a friend and old regular of the place. The minute hand gets so far round the dial then drops back to half past. It could never be closing time in those days then!
For many years in recent times the pub was ruled by Anna Luke; her then husband Nick also owned the fantastic The Old Green Tree in Bath which sports original Edwardian panelling. He kitted out The Bell (as it then was) in similar fashion so the pubs are sisters.
After Anna retired there was an attempt to turn it into a gastropub which sadly failed. Glen Dawkins remembers “I live minutes away from the fish & chip shop near the pub and used to visit with my best friend Jane, order our takeaway ‘for half an hour’s time’ so we could pop up the road for a pint. When it closed I just couldn’t bear to see it looking so forlorn and with her considerable help took on the lease.
I’ve got a thing about carpets in pubs and was, days from scheduled re-opening merrily ripping up the dingy swirls to reveal lovely old floorboards…until half way when it turned to chipboard! It was a real trace against time to fit new boards (including going through central heating pipes several times with the nail gun!). Hours before the doors were to open I still hadn’t finished. Thankfully for me/unluckily for him my old mate Dos popped his head round the door and got swiftly roped in to helping out!”
From Bell to Green Man
Helen and Kris Nathan were recruited to launch the new pub and we decided on a change of name. The pub was forever getting confused with the other Bell nearby, and we wanted to signal a change anyway. Kris is a superb chef with a great belief in natural food, so The Green Man was born. Initially we just did organic drinks, but upon brewing our own the fact that the only organic hops we could get after blight affected the UK had to be air freighted from New Zealand kind of negated the organic qualities.
After six amazing years they now run their own pub The Kings Arms in Mevagissey, Cornwall. Well worth visiting! The baton was handed on to experienced publican (and musician) Phil Sinnett who is doing a brilliant job and made it his own. The kitchen is run by the great Bear Grillz boys; burgers and Roasts to die for!
The pub boasts an astonishing array of gins (86 at time of writing), each beautifully presented. But, as ever, the focus is on great beer with six real ales and a growing range of craft beers.