Bristol City FC’s friendly pub offers a warm welcome, cheap pints and the cleanest toilets


Red and white are unabashedly The Coopers Arms color palette. But this pub just outside Ashton Gate stadium has always been a haven for Bristol City supporters.

A one-room Victorian pub with an L-shaped drinking area wrapped around the bar, The Coopers Arms is opposite Greville Smyth Park. Popular with locals, it’s also one of the go-to pubs for a quick pint – or three – of cider before a match at Ashton Gate.

The pub’s ties to Bristol City go beyond just pre-match drinks and you might even spot the odd local hero there. Last month, Ashton Gate legend Geoff Merrick visited the Coopers Arms to meet supporters and sign copies of his new book, Life With The Robins and Beyond.

READ MORE: Popular family-run village pub near Bristol put on the market

When I arrived for a late afternoon pint last week, football was the only topic of conversation other than Ukraine and Boris Johnson’s fine. Apart from the bartender Pat who served behind the bar, they were all men who put the world in order.

A group of gentlemen huddled on the red-upholstered banquettes next to the “Grumpy Old Men’s Club” sign. Across the room was a larger group of men enjoying pints of Thatchers Gold and Blackthorn Dry after work.

The Coopers Arms serves a range of ciders and beers

The carpeting, upholstery, and wallpaper may be red, but the air was definitely on the blue side. If the bar staff put a swear box on the counter, they might soon have enough savings for a holiday in the sun.

The simple choice of real ales on tap is Bristol Beer Factory’s Doom Bar, Wychwood Shipyard and Fortitude brewed a short walk from the pub. At £3.80 my pint of Fortitude was certainly cheaper than the pubs and bars around the corner of North Street, including the brewery’s own tap room.

And it was also a perfectly preserved pint. Fresh, crystal clear and in perfect condition, this was the best pint I’ve had all year.

For those who don’t like cider or beer, there are Carlsberg, San Miguel and Moretti. The pub has always been known for the quality of its Guinness – a tradition reflected in a Guinness mirror and clock on the wall.

A few regulars enjoy a pint next to a sign for the pub’s ‘Grumpy Old Men’s Club’

With fresh flowers on the windowsills, the cleanest men’s restrooms I can remember and a five-star food hygiene rating, proud owners Ian and Nicky clearly have high standards. There’s live music most Sunday afternoons and a Deal or No Deal fruit machine for guests who don’t watch Sky Sports on TV nearby.

As for food, hot Clarks pies made in Bristol are available during the week, but the kitchen is fully open on weekends. Served from Friday to Sunday, menu choices include a 6oz jerk lamb burger and chips (£10), a large hot dog, onions and chips (£7.50), a cheese omelet and ham and chips (£8.50) and a range of freshly made sandwiches for £3.

The tongue may not be for those more sensitive ears, but The Coopers Arms is certainly a traditional pub and a very real place. You feel like the posers would get overlooked here, and if you’re looking for a trendy, overpriced craft beer bar, forget it.

The Coopers Arms, 12-13 Ashton Road, Ashton, Bristol, BS3 2EA.

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