The Small Bar, King Street

A new bar on King Street is a welcome addition to the Bristol drinking scene

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Not so long ago, I tried a cronut. Though it wasn’t called a cronut because the name is patented by the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York who came up with these trendy hybrid treats. It was called a cro-dough.

Gimmicky labels aside, I’m not convinced. The doughnut alone is a thing of deep fried density. As far as pastries go, it is the satisfyingly squashy cushion to the croissant’s light lace counterpane. When the two come together it’s like an indecisive couldn’t decide whether they wanted something for tea or for breakfast.

I’m not against all hybrids in the food and drink world though as I happily discovered last night. Small Bar on King Street in Bristol is a craft beer bar that feels like a swept up pub. The newest thing from the Big Beer Co, it’s a bar for people who like pubs.

The beers range from London’s increasingly well-known Kernel Brewery, (which I visited last year to meet lovely owner Evin O’Riordain) to local Bristol ales from New Bristol Brewery and Bristol Beer Factory.

photo-11My non-beer drinking friend RP declared that their range had converted her to drinking beer though in the end we plumped for best of the Bristol ciders, Burrow Hill. Oddly, they only sell this in 2/3 pints and not because the glasses are too small. The glass tankards were an inch under full. But having got over my quantity over quality instinct, the size makes it a much safer – and cheaper (a two-thirder costs £2.35) – drinking experience.

Exposed filament bulbs, weathered wood tables and wobbly iron bar stools do make this a zeitgeisty drinking hole. The cronut of the bar world in a consciously cool, industrial way. Yet friendly staff who know their stock redeem it from hipster pretension and its location a hundred yards from the Harbourside and close to fellow Bristol craft beer Mecca, The Beer Emporium, make it a relaxed start to an evening.

Don’t forget to go up either of the two staircases (yes, I did get lost on the way down). You’ll find a cosy ‘library’ that’s well worth settling in to.

Small Bar, 31 King Street, Bristol

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