The Pubs of London’s Bitchier Sister
Bath/Aquae Sulis/Caerfaddon (to the English, Romans, and Welsh respectively) is an old city filled with students, pubs, and Tory’s – I personally only have issues with one of those things. Its history is as long and as rich as London’s but with more middle-aged tourists and less knife crime.
Despite its propinquities towards designer shops that no student could afford, the city boasts two universities, The University of Bath, and Bath Spa University. The former hold such alumni as the former CEO of Sainsbury’s and a UKIP MEP, and the latter can brag the inclusion of Her Royal Highness Mary Berry, TV’s Kate Garraway, and for a short time myself (though I moved on to better things).
Knowing that any student city is prolific for its pubs and clubs, I went looking for the Bath Pub Crawl. On my quest all I managed to discover was a 4 pub list on the Bath tourism website, this was an abomination. With my good friend Jordan Giles in tow, we took it upon ourselves to form a quick pub crawl. Consisting of seven establishments, all of which were chosen for their theme, food, or price of drink, this pub crawl will introduce any Bath novice to the brighter side of posher drinking.
Yep, we’re starting off with a Wetherspoons. The chain is famous for the cheapest food and drink available on the high street, and let’s face it who can resist a curry club?
2 – The Cork
A newer pub that likes exposed lightbulbs and serves its food on “quirky” trays instead of plates, but the staff are nice and catching sight of their extensive wine list, I felt physically exhilarated.
3 – Molloy’s
Out of two Irish bars in Bath, this is the cheapest – Monday nights see pound-a-pint (where, as you might guess, pints are a pound), as well as the finest karaoke you’ll find. Malloy’s was the stomping ground of my Fresher year, and is home to many loud and hazy memories.
4 – The Raven
Possibly one of the smallest pubs I’ve ever been in, my robust 6ft3 frame had trouble fitting in, and as a lumbering klutz, it was a miracle I could manage to get out without incurring damage costs. They serve some great pies, and we became thankful for the second floor seating once we saw how twenty-five people packed out the lower bar.
The oldest pub in Bath, this one might not be the cheapest, but as I overheard one excited tourist proclaim, “Oh my God, it’s like a real pub – look at it”. The Saracens Head is good spot for getting drunker and a sitting inside some history.
This pub came to be on the list through a couple of reasons – firstly the drinks are cheap, you can’t ask much more than that. The second was the aesthetic, huge wooden tables and an assortment of old, random stuff on the walls made the place pretty comfortable, and the loud music drowns out all the stupid things that drunk you is saying. Finally, and most importantly, when you’ve had a few it becomes The Fig and Piddle, which is hilarious.
7 – The Bell
The final pub on my “Intro-to-Bath” crawl is a good one. If it weren’t old it would be hipster, but this bar literally was there before it was cool. Playing jazz non-stop, the drinks are cheap, and I was incredibly excited to see a dog sitting in the corner. Seriously, who doesn’t love to see a kindly old canine napping? Nobody, that’s who!
After these seven pubs, and the many more throughout Bath that were tried, tested and struck off the list, it was time for the final leg of our journey – Alexandra Park. An eleven-acre park, 114 years old, and the highest point in the city.
From the top of Alexandra park the panoramic view of the city was breath-taking (although this was most likely the result of the few hundred steps we climbed). Nonetheless, I felt accomplished about finally taking the journey I had neglected in my year living there. So, surrounded by wild garlic (which really stinks, seriously this stuff will suffocate you), I took out my new blue lighter. Blue for the River Avon which runs by the city, blue for the melancholy year I spent there, and blue for the rain which didn’t stop for single bloody moment since I got off the train.