I love going to pubs. Just outside of Cheltenham there are a great array of country style pubs that I’ve frequented many a time. Since moving to Bristol these trips have dwindled but that’s not to say my love of pubs has. When I heard about a new pint-sized classic pub opening in Clifton, I got my walking boots on and made my way up that ever-so-steep St Michael’s Hill – James in tow.
The pub has that distinctive Bristolian vibe with industrial touches of exposed lightbulbs and quirky artwork, that is also available to buy. There are a mix of tables and booths in the back, along with stools in the windows, perfect for people-watching. There is also seating outside for when the warmth of Summer reappears.
On arrival we propped ourselves up at the bar and we’re amazed at the extensive collection of gins on offer! They have all your premium gins including local favourites Bristol Dry Gin, Monkey 47 and Psychopomp Woden matched perfectly with selected Fever-Tree tonics. The staff really know their stuff and provided plenty of suggestions based on what flavours we preferred. James was raving about his rhubarb gin and lemon tonic all evening! For those not on the spirits there is a full collections of wines, cask ales, local ciders and keg beers.
The menu is a little different to your usual ‘pub classics’ in that it’s championing the toastie. Which when you think about it, goes hand-in-hand with it’s cosy atmosphere and cold beverages. There are also a selection of sandwiches and meat and cheese boards, all at really good prices.
We started off with a mixed cheese and meat board to share featuring the likes of Dorset smoked mutton, salt beef, sharp cheddar, creamy brie and a punchy stilton. Served with olives, pickled onions, chutneys and fresh crusty bread. A good start to a meal but it only left us wanting more.
We decided we couldn’t leave without trying out a toastie. I opted for bacon, because what goes better between two slices of bread? Whilst James hadn’t quite had his fill of cheese, went for the West Country twist, a combination of thick cut ham and cheddar. Both toasties were enveloped in local doorstop bread, with lashing of butter to get that perfect crispness on the outside.
For pudding there are a selection of freshly baked goods including a millionaire’s rocky road which James found room for. I could not resist the offer of a bowl of sweets for £2. I tucked into a few and then enjoyed the rest on the way home, swinging my legs in the taxi pretending I was a little girl again.
For some, the menu at The Cotham Arms may not be substantial enough but we left feeling full and satisfied. It’s an ideal hub for winding down after work or grabbing a lunch with friends. If you’re a gin fan, you’re in for a real treat!
For more information, visit their website here.