5 Nelson Parade, Bristol , Bristol BS3 4JA
After numerous changes of management and intermittent periods of closure, The Ropewalk reopened just before Christmas with ambitious new owner Tristan Roddy at the helm.
Following a spell running pubs in London and Brighton, Tristan has arrived in Bristol, where he has family, and decided to take on the Ropewalk.
He certainly has his work cut out for him, as this Bedminster pub has had more ups and downs than a funfair roller coaster over the past couple of decades.
In the 1990s, The Ropewalk gained a good local reputation as a live music venue and it drew a discerning crowd of regulars.
Since then, the Young's brewery-owned pub has changed tenants several times and there have been periods when it attracted a rowdy element that was off-putting for those who simply fancied a quiet drink without the hassle.
The new licensee has deep-cleaned the place and exorcised it of bad karaoke and cheap lager. Now, all he has to do is get rid of some of the stigma attached to the pub.
The cleaner, fresher new look makes the most of its original features, such as exposed brick fireplace and stripped floorboards. It's lighter, brighter and more comfortable, thanks to button-back leather Chesterfield sofas and a generally more welcoming environment.
Although Tristan is still tied to Young's brewery to supply his beers, he aims to offer a good range of real ales if the demand is there.
It will take a while for Bristol's real ale drinkers to realise The Ropewalk is back in good hands, but the rich and fruity Winter Warmer I tried was well kept and the range of ciders includes Stowford Press and Aspall.
The new-look pub plans to restart live music soon, as well as open mic and poetry nights and pub quizzes.
Sunday roasts have already started and are proving popular, with organic meat supplied by Adey's Farm in Berkeley, Gloucestershire.
Options include top rump of beef, confit pork belly, or lamb shank braised in red wine, with a whole roast organic chicken carved at the table also on offer for £48 (to serve four people).
The rest of the week, food includes a range of baguettes and light bites, as well as main courses, such as cheese burger with chips for £10.50 and beer-battered haddock, chips and butter puréed' peas for £11.
After years of decline, The Ropewalk has benefited from some much-needed TLC and I hope the new owner's efforts pay off.
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