There can’t be too many Bristol pubs that let people to bring their own instruments but The Hare on The Hill positively encourages it.
This tucked away pub on the steep slopes between Stokes Croft and Kingsdown regularly asks customers to take along instruments, from horns and banjos to fiddles and washboards.
But before you decide to push your keyboard up Nine Tree Hill, don’t worry – the pub already has an in-house piano. Since Liz Chambers and Ed Johnson took over the former Bath Ales-owned pub three years ago, they have introduced a number of regular music evenings.
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On the first Tuesday of the month, there’s a sea shanty session and a folk session on the last Wednesday. There’s also a fortnightly Sunday live music session. On the second Wednesday of each month, there is an increasingly popular jazz jam session hosted by New Orleans jazz quartet Barrel House Vipers, which celebrates pre-swing era jazz and ragtime.
For those customers who want to reserve their energy for drinking, rather than performing, record collector Ed has decks set up in the pub playing vinyl and there are low-key DJs every Friday and Saturday (from 9pm-midnight), playing soul, Afrobeat, funk, punk, ska, indie and electronic.
Liz and Ed have truly put their stamp on The Hare on The Hill since taking on the lease of this cosy freehouse. The couple moved to Bristol in 2016 and while Liz finished her masters, Ed worked in various Bristol real ale venues including Small Bar, The Lanes and The Bag of Nails.
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Prior to that, Liz and Ed each worked in the trade for 15 years, previously working at famous Brighton beer pub the Evening Star, which is where they first met. The Hare on The Hill takes its beer seriously and the choice rotates so regularly that the choice on tap is likely to change each time regulars return.
Local brews dominate the pumps, with this month’s beers including Bristol-made Moor Nor’Hop, Arbor Destiny’s Mild, Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout and Left Handed Giant Sky Above. On a recent visit, I also tried Tiley’s Special Bitter, which is brewed at The Salutation Inn at Ham in Gloucestershire. The ciders change, too, with the excellent Ashridge Devon Gold one of the choices on draught when I was there.
Liz says: “Our ethos has always been to serve great beer in a relaxed and welcoming environment. “We’ve got ten keg and five cask lines, featuring a rotating selection of 4 keg pale ales from Bristol and across the UK, Belgian and German lines – Hofbrau Weiss and Saison DuPont are on at the moment.
“As well as traditional and modern cask ales, we also have two lagers from Bristol’s Lost and Grounded and we’ve got a fridge full of German and Belgian bottles.” The pub also hosts occasional tap takeovers – last year, these included takeovers from Zapato Brewing and Thornbridge.
But Liz says that although she and Ed have always worked in well-known ale pubs, The Hare on The Hill isn’t ‘just about the beer’. “We get a real mix of people in, and that’s something we love about the pub – people of all ages and backgrounds come in.
“As well as all the regular live music, we run a popular pub quiz on Monday evenings and we’ve also recently started serving Sunday roasts. “The roasts are proving so popular that booking is now strongly advised – they are already a strong contender on the Bristol roast scene.”
The Hare on the Hill, 41 Thomas Street North, Bristol, BS2 8LX. Tel: 01179 878462.
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