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Oh dear, self promotion FAIL with Maldenman on the Pub Forum

Grain Barge, Hotwells, Bristol

Pub added by Dave McNally
Mardyke Wharf, Hotwell Road
Phone: 01179299347

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Moby Duck left this review about Grain Barge

Something a little different and interesting and made for a relaxing hours drinking before time was called on a Thursday night.Five handpumps at the bar ,all five were operational with four from Bristol Beer Factory and a guest from Arbor.
Quite enjoyed this one.

On 9th October 2019 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1430 recommendations about 1415 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Alan Winfield left this review about Grain Barge

The Grain Barge is moored at the side of Hotewlls Road.
You have to go down steps to get into the main room.
Once inside there is a long room which is bare boarded,there is wood bench seating and chairs and normal tables and chairs and a drinking shelf with bar stools.
There is an outside upped deck.
The pub is run by Bristol Beer factory,there were five real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Bristol beer Factory Fortitude,which went down very well,the other BBF real ales were Cardinal and Independence,there were two guest ales on the bar,Arbour Oz Bomb and Arbour Summit IPA.
There are great views up the River Avon form it.
The pub was very busy on my mid Saturday afternoon visit.
I really liked this pub.

Pub visited 15/7/2017

On 22nd October 2017 - rating: 8
[User has posted 6113 recommendations about 6113 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about Grain Barge

I am a fan of Bristol Beer Factory, so our visit here was working to my advantage straight away. I went for the BBF Nova which was superb. The other plus to our visit was that the place was quite on our Saturday night visit, so the bar was to ourselves and our choice of seating opposite the bar, was comfortable and had a nice view of the river.

On 12th October 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3012 recommendations about 3012 pubs]

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Bucking Fastard left this review about Grain Barge

Owned by Bristol Beer Factory this seems an interesting place to have a beer or meal,a large barge moored in Bristol Harbour offering fine views of the busy water traffic.It is possible to moor alongside and get a beer if navigating around the harbour.
There is a steep descent to the main entrance,with an open plan interior deck with a wooden floor and a mix of quite basic furniture.The bar is to the right with a long drinking shelf opposite while both the bow and aft are curved with large windows giving good views.Opposite a chalk board describing the food,served every session (mains £9-18,but sandwiches cheaper) are two long pews.A door beyond the bar gives steep access to the Upper Deck where you can sit outside on picnic benches which run around the full length of the boat.The kitchen is also up here,so smells waft around.There is an equally steep descent to the loos,beware in the gents if you have had a skinful,the long steel trough on entering is a wash hand basin not a urinal !Down at this level is the Hold Bar,closed on my visit,but available for private hire and the venue for live music events and a Monday quiz.
At the bar there are 5 handpumps offering on my trip BBF Enigma,Seven & Nova with guests Arbor Some Kind of Wise Guy and New Bristol Little India (£3.60,short measure,past it's best).The barmaid was off hand as well.
Despite it's GBG listing,I suspect this is a tourist trap which will get custom without having to try too hard .I may have been unlucky on my trip but I would raise a flag of caution just in case.

On 10th July 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2175 recommendations about 2175 pubs]

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Gill Smith left this review about Grain Barge

Called into this 2016 Good Beer Guide bar and managed to get a table on a busy early evening. Enjoyed the 6.5% Bristol Beer Factory Southville Hop. Some lovely smells drifting round as the bustling staff were delivering food.

On 21st April 2016 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1324 recommendations about 1207 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about Grain Barge

Looks like the Barge is off the market and remaining as a BBF pub, which is great news. Christmas visit found excellent pints of BBF Sorachi and Butcombe Xmas Steps. Staff noticeably better than previous and no leaking toilets this time. Beware the Clifton yummy mummies (and sprogs) who seem to have started colonising the place on weekend afternoons. I think this place deserves a point adding.

May 2013
This place is now apparently up for sale so I went in for what could well be a farewell pint. Four ales on, with BBF Acer (£1.60 a half) in very good nick and a decent Lurcher Stout from Green Jack (£1.90). Secured a seat on the upstairs decked area to enjoy the views and observe at safe distance the cattle market over the road at the Mardyke. Plenty of live music advertised and the food menu had a pie-heavy listing. The usual rabble of staff though the girl who served me was a cut above the usual offering. Toilets in the hull were reported to be semi-flooded. Sigh. Despite its faults I’ll be sad to see this one go – get a beer here while you can. Rated 7

June 2011
Located opposite the SS Great Britain is another fine boat – this one is a converted barge (built in the 1930’s) that is now an outlet for Bristol Beer Factory ales. Bristol's version of the Tattershall Castle but better, with excellent views to be had across the harbour especially on a fine day from the outdoor deck area. Ale is served down a few steps in the main bar, which also has a nice panorama view from the windows running from bow to stern, though the fixtures and fittings are a little bland. BBF Sunrise, Stout, Red and No. 7 are usually on along with a seasonal and are in good nick, along with a cider. Pricey - but it's all about the location, which in this case is lovely. The staff are often quite wet behind the ears which can occasionally lead to a bit of duff service, they could do with some older hands to steady the tiller. Food is pushed quite heavily here now and it can get quite frustrating on busy nights when the tables are reserved and you are cramped in at the far end. So it goes. Well worth a visit, especially on a summers evening. Rating 7.

On 3rd January 2015 - rating: 8
[User has posted 4155 recommendations about 4142 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about Grain Barge

Set in a converted 1930’s barge in the Floating Harbour, with fine views over the water to Brunel’s SS Great Britain, the Grain Barge is a novel venture from Bristol Beer Factory. The gangplank and steps lead you into the main, street level bar with the servery in the mid section of the long room and a couple of seating areas to front and rear. Large windows run down either side of the barge, affording great views out across the harbour – you can even see the nearby Hotwells ferry stop, in case you need to dash off to catch a boat along the harbour. There is plenty of pew and standard seating to choose from, most of which is on the harbour side of the vessel. Additional seating can be found up on the top deck – not much use on a chilly November afternoon, but no doubt a popular spot on sunny days. I also noticed as I was leaving that there is another seating space downstairs in what I presume would have been the barge’s hold, but I didn’t get round to exploring down there. The main bar has modest décor, including a few painted seagulls here and there and some work by local artists. Music was playing throughout our stay – Phil Collins seemed frustratingly popular with whoever was in charge of the playlist – but this got lost for the most part in the general hubbub.
Four Bristol Beer Factory beers were available on this visit – Seven, Sunrise, Independence and Nova – with Dark Star Hophead as the solitary guest ale. An eclectic range of keg products was also available including more BBF brews and beers from other local micros such as Tiny Rebel. I had a very enjoyable pint of the Nova which seemed to be in top condition. We primarily visited with the intention of grabbing a bite to eat and found a slightly pricey and limited menu from which I opted for the minute steak, which was excellent. The staff were particularly friendly, engaging customers in small chat and providing helpful recommendations for those dazzled by the beer range.
I really enjoyed visiting this unusual place and was glad I managed to find a way to include it on our itinerary. I thought the place worked well and was a good spot for BBF to showcase their beer, rising above the potential novelty factor to become a destination in its own right.

On 12th December 2014 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2607 recommendations about 2607 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Malden man left this review about The Grain Barge

Having visited the other drinking barge in Bristol that specialises in ciders, I wasn't sure, but nice stroll down the Avon harbour towards Hotwells brought us here and good it was. More spacious than expected, windows offered panoramic river views as well as that at SS Great Britain across the water. Generally traditional seating inside at scrubbed wooden tables.
The downstairs bar (Hold Bar) was closed but this is available for hire. It was way too cold to brave the on deck seating.
The pub showcases Bristol Beer Factory ales, Acer, Number 7 and Sunrise on, plus guest Dark Star Winter Meltdown. Mulled cider available too.
Food looks very good and hearty, home made pies a speciality but chalk board menus on offer too.
Framed photographs for sale. Live music from 8pm on Friday evenings.
Accessible by ferry if visiting SS Gt Britain across the river.

On 29th October 2012 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1689 recommendations about 1664 pubs]

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Blackthorn _ left this review about The Grain Barge

This is a terrific spot on a sunny day to sit and look at the harbour, the dockyards opposite and all the activity on the water. On a cold November’s evening it’s slightly less appealing. Unfortunately a boat is never going to be exactly cosy, but it could have definitely done with being a few degrees warmer. The radiators were doing their best, but seemed to be fighting a losing battle. 270° panoramic windows are great when it’s warm, but not so great when the temperature is hovering around the freezing mark.

That said, I still like it here and found the barman to be efficient and helpful. Inevitably a boat is going to be long and narrow which limits the seating options somewhat, and it can on occasions be difficult to get anywhere to sit. The décor is what you would expect from an old barge with plenty of wood paneling and some interesting fish related murals on the walls. The main bar area is on the upper deck offering great views as mentioned previously. The lower deck is available for private functions and hosts regular live music nights on Friday’s.

There’s a decent food menu chalked up on a couple of boards consisting of some unusual dishes at reasonable (but not cheap) prices, including an interesting range of sandwiches. Wednesday night is pie night where they do a pie and a BBF pint deal for £8.50. Probably not the cheapest offer around, but the two pies we sampled (Beef & caramelized onion with horseradish mash and a Smoked haddock and prawn) were both very good, and I would have happily paid £8.50 without the beer. As it was a most enjoyable pint of No. 7 was a bonus. There was also a selection of cakes at the end of the bar which seemed unusual, although something that’s cropping up in more and more pubs these days – The Battle Axes at Wraxall and The Star & Dove in Totterdown are two more that immediately spring to mind.

Beers on tap were primarily from Bristol Beer Factory, with their Sunrise, Acer, No. 7 and Stout. The guest was On The Rails from Ascot Ales. Ciders were Ashton Press and Lilley’s Apple & Pear.

On 25th November 2010 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1770 recommendations about 1700 pubs]

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Steve of N21 left this review about The Grain Barge

This is a rare venue, real ale on a boat, or to be precise a Grain Barge. According to the Bristol Beer Factory web site it was originally built in 1936 by the Charles Hill shipyard and spent its life being towed up and down the Severn Estuary from Bristol to Cardiff before being bought by the BBF and refitted in early 2007. It is now moored opposite its original berth in Hotwells, close to Brunel's SS Great Britain.
The Barge now has two bars, the main harbour side lounge and dining areas with plenty of seating and dining tables and then the upper 'al fresco' drinking deck with great views of the harbour and people mucking about on the water.
I utilised it on a sunny Sunday lunchtime when it wasn’t that busy and the top deck was a fantastically different place for a pint. So can’t comment on what it’s like on an after work evening or what the food is like.
Full range of BBF beers on hand pump but I plumped for a bottle of the Milk Stout, which was excellent.
If you are doing the walk around the Bristol floating harbour, I definitely recommend a stop for one here.

On 5th September 2010 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1747 recommendations about 1693 pubs]

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