Posted 16th June 2011
Updated August 2014 – After so much sun and beautiful weather I thought it high time we updated our post on the best outside dining experiences in Bristol. There are tons to choose from but here are some of our favourite spots for alfresco dining. Please let us know your recommendations in the comments below.
Under the stars, Narrow Quay, Bristol City Centre
Situated in Bristol Harbourside by the fountains, this bar boat is a real sun trap and perfect for a sunny afternoon/evening. They do great tapas, dishes are £4-£6 each with sharing platters of 3 or more dishes from £9 upwards. Particularly recommended is the hummus, the tortilla, and fried potatoes with spicy tomato salsa. Combine this kind of summer picking food with a well stocked bar – a wicked pimms and lemonade, a great selection of ice cold beers and a (very drinkable) house white at under £3 a glass. Like them on Facebook here
The Bristolian Cafe, Montpelier
Tucked away on Picton Street, with just a few tables and chairs outside this cafe-bistro is something of a suntrap and brilliant for a spot of alfresco dining. Freshly squeezed OJ and the Bristolian Breakfasts are definitely worth a try or, for a lunchtime treat something like the whitebait – delicious! Read our full review here
Lido, Oakfield Place, Clifton
A Victorian swimming pool with poolside bar and terrace restaurant – an afternoon here and you could be mistaken for thinking you were on the med. The poolside cafe bar offers tapas and light bites – the olives are simply humongous and tapas is divine, particularly the warm chorizo. The restaurant is preceded by an excellent reputation, its more expensive however mouth wateringly tempting and there are some great set menu options for those on a tighter budget. An idyllic location, the perfect al fresco experience. Read our full review here
The Spyglass, Welshback
A barbeque boat – need I say any more?! Since opening under new management the food is really great with a delicious grill menu and plenty of platters. The Spyglass offers a fun and unique dining experience and is only open in the summer months so you had better visit whilst you can! Read our full review here
The Pump House, Hotwells
A reputation for truly fantastic food, served on a sunny terrace overlooking Bristol’s harbour. The Pump House is definitely worth a visit if you are looking for something special. Be sure to try their Sunday Roast or, drop in for drink and a piece of cake. Visit their website here
Boston Tea Party, Stokes Croft
BTP on Cheltenham Road boasts a rather brilliant terrace – perfect for enjoying one of their all day breakfasts outside or perhaps, just for tea and cake. It’s off the main road a bit down the steps so you don’t feel too assaulted with the hubub of busy Cheltenham Road and the surrounding leafy trees provide lots of shade. My personal favourite items to try are the poached eggs on toast and the homemade lemonade. Delicious!
Eat Drink Bristol Fashion, Queen Square – May Only
Each year in May, Queen Square is transformed into something pretty special with the arrival of giant tipis and Eat Drink Bristol Fashion. Bristol’s best restaurateurs “pop up” in the tipis for one-night-only events and EDBF’ serve a house tapas menu. The dishes are a quirky take on British classics with dishes like chips and curry sauce, scotch eggs and seasonal asparagus. Well worth a visit for some festival fun in the sun. Read our full review here
Everywhere! Welshback & Kings Street, Bristol
It’s difficult to recommend one place on Bristol’s Welshback, it offers the best ploughman’s ever (no wonders they have won awards) and locally brewed ciders in The Apple and finer dining in the more expensive (but utterly romantic) Glass Boat. Kings Street is stumbling distance, with food served in the Llandoger Trow and Renato’s Italian. You get the idea. If you’re looking to kick back and relax in the sun with friends then in Welshback you really can’t go wrong.
No51, Stokes Croft
No 51’s may be a super late bar and club by night, but by day they serve some rather brilliant pizzas cooked in their in house pizza oven. The garden out back is spacious with a good mix of sun and shade and somewhat tucked away from the otherwise vibrant neighbourhood of Stokes Croft. Read our full review here.
Mud Dock, Bristol Floating Harbour
A great bar – cafe – restaurant serving breakfast lunch and dinner situated above an bike shop on Bristol’s Floating Harbour. Mud Dock’s terrace offers a fine view of Bristol’s harbour and a pretty ferocious tan if you turn up at the right time of day – make sure you pack the suncream! Read our full review here
Primrose Cafe, Clifton
By day this quaint little cafe offers breakfasts, teas, cakes and sandwiches outside in bustling Boye’s Avenue opposite Reg The Veg, but by night it transforms into a more sophisticated bistro with twinkly fairy lights and romantic tables outside. One of my favourite places and worth a visit when you are looking for something special. Read our full review here
Cafe Retreat, Clifton Downs
A simple but superb little cafe offering breakfast, lunchtime and afternoon treats for peckish Bristolians looking for a pitstop. My personal favourite is the poached egg on toast, washed down with a cappuccino and that fabulous view – a great way to start the day.
The Town House, Whiteladies Road
I’m a big fan of the Town House, Particularly with their 3 courses for £10 lunchtime deal which, when you consider the quality of the food is an absolute bargain. The garden is lovely, as is the food and service. The menu changes pretty frequently so no top recommendations from me – but food here is consistently good. Read our full review here.
The Folk House Cafe, Park Street
Now this is something of a secret retreat. Tucked away up a side alley off Park Street is The Folk House arts centre and their superb cafe offering fresh seasonal produce. I love their salads and the chocolate brownies are rather splendid. The courtyard at the front is very quaint and perfect for a nice shady pitstop on your way up (or down) Park Street. Read our full review here
The Lansdown Pub, Clifton
A traditional pub serving real ales, great wines and delicious food. We love the beer garden here. Its spacious, has a nice atmosphere and gets a good amount of sun. In the colder monnths the canopy is pulled over and the heaters are switched on so this is an outside space which can be enjoyed all year round (indeed we’ve enjoyed meals outside here for my birthday in December!) As far as food goes, its the Sunday roast dinners and the burgers which steal the show.