A quick pop over the Severn for our first visit to Bristol....
Named for the medieval stairwell-cum-alley that stretches beyond its gray exterior, the Christmas Steps is tucked away just off Bristol's Rupert Street. Sandwiched between a mix of old and new buildings, this pub is a cosy, classic but convivial classic.
Set on two-and-a-bit levels, the lower part is dominated by the hearth and, if you're lucky, the roaring fire within. I visited on a cold, drizzly January day in 2020 and this was most welcome.
One part of the bar is up around a corner in a weird mezzanine-cum-cubbyhole, where you'll find local cask from breweries such as Bristol Beer Factory, as well as the usual selection of keg options. The rest of it is in a more conventional position on the upper level, which is a bit more expansive but no less cosy than the downstairs.
The decor is superb - exposed stone walls are matched with mahogany and metal. Appealing food is also available, including Sunday lunches.
And while the idea of a quiet pint of a local ale next to a roaring fire may be appealing to folk like me, the other side of pub life is well represented by DJs playing well into the night.
A quirky, recommended little stop-off if you do a trip around Bristol - there are several pubs within walking distance that could make for an excellent crawl, some of which I will be covering later in this series. But I know some other folks who know Bristol better than I do, perhaps they're better placed to let you know what's what...