Pub of the week: The Annexe

11 01 2012

WG Grace surveys the scene from one wall of the Annexe, a slogged six away from the cricket pitch which he himself purchased on behalf of his beloved Gloucestershire CCC in 1889. The County Ground is now unrecognisable from when the Downend-born doctor plied his trade there, and it might be unrecognisable still in a few years’ time.

This evening, Bristol councillors will meet to decide whether to grant planning permission for a seven-storey block of flats at the ground above a new shop, offices and turnstiles. It is all part of a £6m scheme to transform the County Ground with the longterm aim of hosting matches during the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.

Once upon time, visiting teams to Nevil Road used to stay at the County Ground Hotel, now called the Sportsman, beside of which is the Annexe. This was the hotel’s stables before being converted into two skittle alleys, and then finally a pub.

When I visited last Saturday afternoon, it was a few hours before the Bristol Rovers vs Aston Villa FA Cup Third Round tie at the nearby Memorial Stadium, blue and white and claret and blue mixing freely, as it should be.

A particularly gratifying sight was seeing a large man dressed in a tricorn pirate hat heartily shake the hand of an elderly Aston Villa fan in a wheelchair, wearing a baseball cap every inch of which was covered in commemorative metal pin badges.

It is clear to see why the Annexe was named runner-up in the Bristol & District Camra branch pub of the year 2011. Currently on tap are Courage Best, Sharp’s Doom Bar, Hereford Pale Ale, Timothy Taylor Landlord, St Austell Tribute and Shardlow Brewery Cavendish. Beer pump clips showing many more are on display above the bar.

The beer here is better than the food; I have had better burgers from vans parked inside the County Ground on international match days. But many order numbers were being shouted out by the barmaids, so it can’t be all bad.

WG Grace may have tied up his horses here. That alone is a good enough reason to visit the Annexe, but the beer draws punters from miles around, not solely cricket lovers.

The Annexe, Seymour Road, Bishopston, Bristol. 0117 949 3931.



One response

11 01 2012

The Annexe is a lovely little pub – and manages to maintain its own identity despite essentially being in the Sportsmans garden 🙂

The food is usually pretty decent – especially for the price – but trying to get anything on a game day is always a bit risky and pizza is the speciality of the house..

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