February 12, 2019 by Kay Byrne
By William Greenwood
Swansea Camra members are invited to join our trip to Bath on Saturday, 16 February. We suggest that you catch the 10:29 train from Swansea. There’s an eight minute gap between the arrival in Cardiff of the train from Swansea (11:22) and the departure of the Bristol and Bath-bound train (11:30) — its final destination is Portsmouth Harbour. The Cardiff to Bath Spa train arrives in Bath Spa at 12:34.
For the return journey, the best train (Cardiff-bound) leaves Bath Spa at 19:36
After a change at Cardiff, this train arrives in Swansea at 21:43 — in time to catch most buses for those needing to get a bus home outside Swansea. For those living in Swansea/not needing buses home once we get back, there’s a later train leaving Bath Spa at 20:36 which also requires a change at Cardiff and which returns to Swansea at 22:44
Be aware that at 3 pm on Saturday, with no Six Nations matches, Bath RFC will be at home to Newcastle Rugby. I have tried to time our visit to The Old Green Tree (no. 5 below — it’s tiny!) to happen while this match is in progress …….
So now for the interesting part :
Bath Pubs itinerary
Most notes lifted or adapted from What Pub.
1. Bath Brew House
14 James Street West, Bath. BA1 2BX
Home of the on-site James Street microbrewery. There are usually five guest beers, sourced mainly from nearby micros. This pub also serves food.
1A. The King of Wessex (Wetherspoons)
5-10 James Street West, Bath, BA1 2BX
Almost next door to the Bath Brew House, this pub may suit anyone needing cheap and cheerful Spoons food with a pint!
3 John Street, Bath, BA1 2JL
Owned now by the St. Austell Brewery, who themselves now own the (Bristol-based!) Bath Ales Brewery, for whose ales this pub is the tap. You’re likely to see more unusual Bath beers here.
3. Star Inn
23 Vineyards, Bath, BA1 5NA
First licensed as a pub in 1759, the Star is on the CAMRA National Inventory of Historic Interiors and is a not-to-be-missed gem. Outlet for the nearby Abbey Brewery, whose ‘Bellringer’ is usually on, along with Bass. Both are served using direct from the cast dispense.
4. The Bell Inn
103 Walcot Street, Bath, BA1 5BW
Very close to The Star. The Bell was purchased by 536 of its regulars, fans and staff following a community buy-out in 2013. The Bell offers six regular ales, plus three ever changing guests from local micros. Another not-to-be-missed pub, the community atmosphere is very welcoming and lovely, the decor and flyers reflecting the interests of its arty, music loving, alternative minded customers. This could be my favourite on the Bath list!
5. The Old Green Tree
12 Green Street, Bath, BA1 2JZ
A classic unspoilt pub in a 300-year-old building. Overall very small! Three oak-panelled rooms include a snug at the front of the pub, a superb northern-style drinking lobby, where it is nigh impossible not to strike up a conversation, and a comfortable back bar. The Green Tree Bitter is brewed exclusively for the pub by the nearby Blindman’s micro-brewery whilst the guest beers (normally three) are generally sourced from local microbreweries, with a stout or porter usually on offer in the winter months. A local farmhouse cider, Honey’s Midford, is also available,
5A. Crystal Palace
10-11 Abbey Green, Bath, BA1 1NW
Around the corner from The Old Green Tree, we should treat this Fullers pub (ESB on regularly!) as an overspill from The Old Green Tree, and go between the two in small groups as the latter is so small. The Crystal Palace is a pleasant Fullers pub with a pretty view of the Green.
6. The Raven
6-7 Queen Street, Bath, BA1 1HE
Another highlight of our tour. A busy eighteenth-century free house in the heart of Bath, just off Queen Square. The four guest ales come from far and wide, and the two ‘House Beers’ are brewed exclusively by local brewery Blindmans. And importantly, they serve the well known, very tasty and very filling PieMinister pies from Bristol.
And then we have two reserve or additional pubs, in case we have time. Both are central, and close to The Raven.
7. Coeur de Lyon
17 Northumberland Place, Bath, BA1 5AR
There’s a larger range (4) of Abbey Brewery beers in this pub. This is Bath’s smallest pub (be warned!) and an absolute gem. The building is believed to date from 1749 and was originally known as Marchants Court. In around 1860 a public house known as the Avondown Stores (presumably because the beer came from the long closed Avondown brewery at Batheaston) was established at Northumberland Place and in around 1880 the name of the pub was changed to the Coeur de Lion. Nobody knows the reason for the change but the name is though to be unique to the UK.
8. The Garricks Head
7-8 St John’s Place, Saw Close, Bath, BA1 1ET
A theatre pub for over 200 years, but originally the town house of Beau Nash, Bath’s 18th-century Master of Ceremonies, this local is reputedly the most haunted pub in the city. Four guest ales, mostly from local or regional micros, include some rarities. Three or four ciders.
So there we have it, I hope you really enjoy Bath and its excellent pubs.