Set in a historic building, all rusty distressed walls and art deco drinks carts, it has an ‘East End squat meets Cotswolds five-star inn’ feel. The café-lounge-cocktail is surreal suspended between the seasons: a cozy fire crackles in a room decorated with veranda rattan armchairs and autumnal heather. Despite the towering high ceilings and crumbling cornices, it’s relaxed and comfortable.
The local bohemian crowd has already claimed it as their own. As I sipped a cocktail of limoncello and thyme, two young local musicians seated at the next table energetically oscillated between bashing the government and discussing the prospects of Bristol’s post-Covid DJ scene. Although the hotel is running before it can operate and has yet to open a full-fledged restaurant, the cocktails are spot on. The Rosemary Paloma, with tequila, grapefruit and agave, is a vivacious carnival of a drink – sour, sweet and smelling of the prairie. The Smoky Martini, with brandy, orange liqueur and caramel syrup, is breathtaking – tangy and chewy at the same time. Snacks are adequate and include olives, cheese and cold cuts. It’s the kind of place where guests can feel at home, taking their half-drunk digestives to their rooms at bedtime.