Where to drink near Merchants’ Almshouse

Merchants’ Almshouse is on King Street – also home to lots of bustling pubs, bars, restaurants and Bristol Old Vic.

In fact, the street has been nicknamed the ‘Beermuda Triangle’. We’ve rounded up some of the best places to drink near Merchants’ Almshouse.

Where to drink near Merchants Almshouse

The Beer Emporium

First up, head to The Beer Emporium. Walk down the hand crafted wooden staircase which looks like something out of Lord of the Rings and head underground to this cavern pub. On tap there is an ever changing selection of local and unusual brews served up with tapas.

Small Bar

Opposite, Small Bar serves up the best beers from south west producers complete with a retro throw back to chicken-in-a-basket by the purveyors of Bristol’s best fried chicken ‘Wings Diner’.

King Street Brew House

Continuing on down King Street, there is a micro-brewery at the King Street Brew House. There you can not only taste their own brews made on site but also try a selection from around the world.

Kongs of Bristol

If you’d rather play pinball, arcade machines, table tennis or table football while you sip your craft beer, head to Kongs of King Street where you can also dance to the small hours.

The Old Duke

For a more laid back vibe, The Old Duke has live jazz every night of the week and on Sunday lunchtimes in this traditional pub which is now world famous for its incredible line ups.

The Apple

Cider fans should head to The Apple – a cider bar on a converted dutch barge moored at the end of King Street on Welsh Back. When the sun’s out people flock to the quayside terrace so get there early.

These are just some of the highlights of what’s on our doorstep and where to drink near Merchants’ Almshouse. Of course there are always new places opening up – why not book a stay with us and discover what the city has to offer for yourself? 

Where to eat near Merchants’ Almshouse

Merchants’ Almshouse is one of the best located places to stay in Bristol – and we’re not just being biased! Our serviced apartments are in the heart of the city’s historic quarter with bars, restaurants, theaters, shops and the waterfront all within a 10 minute walk from the front door. So when choosing where to stay in Bristol, you will struggle to find a better located place.

To help you plan your trip, we’ve rounded up where to eat near Merchants’ Almshouse.

where to eat near Merchants' Almshouse
King Street – one of many where the old buildings have gained new life amongst the modern ones.

Spicer + Cole

Start your day with a delicious breakfast served at Spicer + Cole just a few minutes walk through the historic Queen Square. Serving great coffee and locally sourced food, they now have four cafes across Bristol.

Adelina Yard

Since 2016, Adelina Yard has been a welcome addition to the Bristol restaurant scene down on Welsh Back. Enjoy the waterfront view while being served the signature taster menu prepared by chef owners Olivia Barry and Jamie Randall who both previously worked in Michelin starred restaurants before opening their European style bistro.

Three Brothers Burgers

Staying on Welsh Back Three Brothers Burgers serve some of the best burgers in Bristol aboard the Spyglass boat. When the sun’s out sit on the terrace and enjoy views of the floating harbour, or in the winter sit inside next to the roaring wood fire.

Glassboat Brasserie

If you really want to splash out, head next door to Glassboat Brasserie. Every table has a view of the water on this restored boat, owned by Arne Ringner – the man behind the Clifton Lido. Classic French cuisine is served with a carefully chosen selection of wine throughout the week.

1766 Bar & Kitchen

We’re proud that the oldest working theatre in the English speaking world – the Bristol Old Vic, is one of our closest neighbours.

The theatre has just undergone a multi-milion pound refurbishment, including a brand new foyer space, home to the fantastic 1766 Bar & Kitchen, open every day 9am – late (apart from Sundays 11am – 5pm). Enjoy a cocktail and delicious meal using locally sourced produce while admiring the years of history revealed during the renovation by exposing the old brick work, now a central design feature.

These are just some of the highlights of where to eat near Merchants’ Almshouse. If you’re planning a trip to Bristol come stay with us and find out what other treats our incredible city has in store for you.

A brief history of the Merchants’ Almshouse

The Merchants’ Almshouse is some of the most quirky accommodation in the UK. Our serviced apartments are in a building of huge historical importance not only because of its age but because of the part it has played in Bristol’s history.

The Almshouse was built in 1696 by the Society of Merchant Venturers. The Society represented people trading overseas, exporting and importing goods to Bristol. As trade coming into the port city grew, the Society took charge of the docks (now the Harbourside) from the early 1600s to 1848, overseeing the establishment of Bristol as the country’s second city after London.

Old sailors sitting outside Merchants' Almshouse Bristol - home to quirky accommodation uk

Originally, the Society built the Almshouse to look after their sick sailors and families once they were unable to work at sea any longer. The building was four sided around a central courtyard, set within a larger complex including the Merchants’ Hall where the Society operated from.

However the Hall – along with two sides of the original Almshouse building, were destroyed during bombing in World War II, leaving the remaining two sides of the accommmdation which is still used today.

In 2014 the building was bought by the current owners and developed into vibrant serviced apartments. Today, the Merchants’ Almshouse provides a completely unique opportunity for people visiting Bristol to stay in one of the city’s most quirky accommodation right in the centre.

Who are the Society of Merchant Venturers?

The Society of Merchant Venturers have been intrinsically linked with the history and development of Bristol. From their formation in 1552 they funded various exploration voyages around the world throughout the 16th and 17th century. This led to them taking charge of the city docks from the 17th until the mid 19th century.

However, an article documenting the history of the Society cannot omit the organisation’s involvement with the slave trade. Due to the nature of the organisation’s trading routes – in particular with the West Indies and Africa, this should be acknowledged.

In the 1800s the Society helped set up the Great Western Railway, funded the building of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and supported the University as well as setting up and funding various schools in Bristol. Now they provide support for projects which continue to support the young people in the city – for example Bristol’s Royal Hospital for Children and education programmes at the SS Great Britain.

When the original Merchants’ Hall which neighboured the Almshouse was destroyed in World War II, in 1953 the Society moved to The Promenade in Clifton where they are still based today.

Top things to do in Bristol this summer

With the clocks due to go forward in just a few weeks, it’s time to get planning your summer holidays.

Nearly 3m people chose to holiday in Bristol in 2018 and it’s no surprise when you see how much there is to do here. To help with planning your trip, we’ve taken a look at some of the top things to do in the city this summer and given you a taster of what’s to offer:

Merchants' Almshouse are Bristol holiday apartments located behind the brick building
Merchants’ Almshouse is located behind the brick building

The Harbourside
Head to Bristol’s harbourside – just minutes from Bristol holiday apartments ‘Merchants’ Almshouse’, on any weekend in the summer and you’re almost guaranteed to be entertained. The summer series of events launches with the Bristol Craft Beer Festival from 7th – 8th June. The event is a two day celebration of craft beers with tastings and talks from brewers all accompanied by great food and live music.

For those who can’t make it to Glastonbury, Bristol Sounds from 20th – 24th June sees some of the UK’s biggest music acts perform at the Lloyds Amphiteatre. Acts include Tom Misch, Bloc Party, Elbow, The Cat Empire and The Cinematic Orchestra.

July hosts arguably the highlight of the Harbourside’s event calendar as thousands of people head to the Bristol Harbour Festival from 19th – 21st July. For the first time the weekend will kick off with gigs from some of the UK’s biggest music legends – New Order on Thursday 18th July and The Specials on Friday 19th.

The UK’s leading comedy acts are being lined up to perform at the Bristol Comedy Garden from 3rd – 7th July. At the time of writing, the line-up is yet to be announced for the event which takes place in Queen’s Square (right in front of Merchants’ Almshouse), but we promise it’ll be the perfect way to fill your summer evenings with laughter.

Boat Trips
Throughout the year Bristol Ferry and The Bristol Packet run boat trips from just outside the Merchants’ Almshouse, around the harbour but they step it up a gear in the summer. Both companies have a series of lunch time pub trips where you hop on the ferry to go up the river to a local pub, enjoy lunch and then return back to the habourside.

For a unique way to enjoy the harbourside through the summer evenings take a sundown cruise where you can enjoy drinks on the boat while also stopping off at some of the harbourside’s pubs.

If it’s raining
From 25th – 28th July ‘Cinema Re-discovered’ at the Watershed is a unique chance to see classic films bought back to the big screen. There is also plenty to find out about Bristol’s recent history at the MShed or take in some art and culture at Arnolfini – all located on Bristol’s Harbourside.

If you’re looking for somewhere unique to stay to enjoy any of these events, Merchants’ Almshouse is a series of serviced apartments on the harbourside. Book with us direct to get the best rates.

Why book a serviced apartment?

Looking for large group accommodation in Bristol for a holiday or business trip can be tricky. Hotels are often expensive and lack in private space to hang out and relax. Air B&B can be a good alternative but the quality of accommodation and service varies – and you rarely get a visit from housekeeping.

Why not book a serviced apartment?

It’s the perfect option if you’re planning a group trip and you’re looking for large group accommodation in Bristol; or you’re visiting the city for business and need a place to stay that’s a little more welcoming than a lonely hotel room.

Below we’ve listed some top reasons why:

Contact Merchants Almshouse
The lounge and kitchen area in an apartment at Merchants’ Almshouse


  • Home away from home

If you’re travelling as a family or a large group, having space to relax together while you’re away is important. Hotels and bed and breakfasts sometimes offer lounge areas but they’re public – you can’t kick back and stick on Netflix!

When staying in a serviced apartment you have the space and facilities which allow you to hang out together. Space to chill in the lounge area means you’re not stuck in individual hotel bedrooms. And having a kitchen with everything you need to cook your own meals allows you to make your experience even more comfortable and enjoyable.

So rather than being out all day every day, you have the freedom to recharge your batteries (and your wallet) at your own pace.


  • Live like a local

Staying in a serviced apartment allows you to relax into the natural rhythm of the city. More often than not, a serviced apartment is right in the hustle and bustle with all the attractions and nightlife right on your doorstep.

When you step out of your apartment at Merchants’ Almshouse for example, you are in the heart of the historic quarter with the Bristol Old Vic – the oldest continuously working theatre in the English speaking world, Bristol Harbourside and the best bars and restaurants minutes from your front door.


  • Value for money

Hotels and B&Bs start to get pricey if you’re planning a holiday as a family or large group. You’ll find savings of up to 40% if you stay in a serviced apartment meaning you’ll have more to spend on nice meals out or a trip to the theatre. Then again you could always get a takeaway and rock back to the apartment or save even more cash and eat in for a couple of nights.


  • You’re looked after

Despite having the privacy of your own space, housekeeping visit your apartment every day to freshen up bed linen and towels so you can fully relax during your stay. You’ll come back to your apartment from a busy day of sightseeing or business meetings with your bed made and fluffy towels at the ready.

Pick of the best Bristol events in 2019

Bristol is a vibrant city to visit anytime of the year with plenty of attractions to keep visitors of all ages entertained. To help plan your visit to the city in 2019, we’ve done the hard work for you and listed all the highlights taking place throughout the year you won’t want to miss.


Leonardo da Vinci: A Life In Drawing
1st February – 6th May 2019
Bristol is one of 12 cities across the UK who’ll be simultaneously showing drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, as part of events marking 500 years since the artist’s death. 12 drawings by one of history’s greatest geniuses will be on display at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery as part of Leonardo da Vinci: A Life In Drawing.


Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival
22nd – 24th March 2019
Some of the world’s biggest jazz and blues musicians descend on Bristol in spring for the seventh Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival. Liane Carroll, China Moses and The Herbaliser + Rodney P are some of the highlights of this year’s festival which takes place at venues across the city.

For jazz and blues fans who can’t make the festival, head to The Old Duke, just minutes from Merchants’ Almshouse, to catch world famous live jazz any night of the week.


Pop Legends at Ashton Gate Stadium
22nd May – 10th June 2019
Ashton Gate Stadium has an incredible line up of pop legends performing this summer. Kicking off on 22nd May Sir Rod Stewart brings his show to the home of Bristol City and Bristol Rugby, followed by Take That (28th May), Muse (5th June) and The Spice Girls (10th June).


Festival of Nature
1st – 9th June 2019
Bristol is world famous for being the home of the BBC Natural History unit so it’s not surprise the city is also home to the Festival of Nature. With 50 organisations set to take over Millennium Square and a brand new area this year on Merchants’ Almshouse’s doorstep – Queen’s Square, families will be able to take part in loads of activities to get up close with the natural world.

Bristol Sounds
20th – 24th June 2019
If you haven’t been lucky enough to get a Glastonbury ticket this year don’t worry. Catch some of the acts as they stop off en route to Glastonbury at Bristol Sounds – the city’s series of open air concerts minutes from Merchant’s Almshouse, at the amphitheatre on Bristol’s Harbourside.
Acts confirmed for 2019 are Bloc Party, Tom Misch, The Cat Empire and Elbow. Tickets go on sale on Thursday 31st January at 9am from See Tickets.


Bristol Harbour Festival
19th – 21st July 2019
Bristol is home to one of the UK’s largest free festivals which takes place every July – the world famous Bristol Harbour Festival. This annual celebration of music, dance and arts takes place around the harbourside – right on the doorstep of Merchant’s Almshouse.


Bristol Doors Open Day
13th – 15th September
For one weekend a year the doors to some of Bristol’s most impressive buildings are opened to the public. Take the chance to look behind 101 buildings at Bristol Doors Open Day.


Bristol Christmas Markets
Do your Christmas shopping a bit differently and explore Bristol’s Christmas markets throughout the festive season. From The Harbourside Christmas Market to the German Market in Broadmead there are plenty of amazing traders to buy some completely unique gifts from.


Merchant’s Almshouse – located next to the Harbourside, in the heart of the historic and theatre district of Bristol, is the perfect place to stay to make the most of everything the city has to offer throughout 2019.

You might even spot more than one event here which takes your fancy so why not book a couple of stays with us?


A Hidden Gem By The Harbour

The minute I first saw Merchants’ Almshouse, it was love at first sight. I still clearly remember the day. One morning back in early 2014, I replied to a guy on Facebook who was advertising household items for sale. We made contact and agreed to meet in the evening to view the items in person. He gave me the address, explained that once I arrived on site, I would find an old pink house, a black steel gate and a buzzer. I had lived in Bristol for 4 years and thought I knew places to stay in Bristol city centre like the back of my hand – how wrong was I!

The appointment was for 6pm, but I arrived a few minutes earlier, just in case I didn’t find the place (you know, Bristol can always throw up a surprise). It was dark, I wondered around and around the area for about 20 minutes, resulting in being late despite planning in time for getting lost! It turned out I was right next to the property and but could not see it. Then, the guy came down to meet me.

Although I knew the area pretty well, I had never realised that there was a property right there, with places to stay in Bristol city centre. I reckon my mind was just ignoring the existence of that property. Thinking back, I may have thought that it was a derelict place, or an old building that was dismissed or something – therefore I excluded that it could have been the place I was looking for.

The guy met me at the gate, we shook hands and he let me into the courtyard. I was confused and amazed at the same time, I was already in love! Standing by the entrance of the courtyard, I started looking around to get my bearings. It was like being in a gated sub-dimension of Bristol city centre, weird but fascinating. The building was under refurbishment and was a disaster, like an abandoned building occupied by squatters.

“Do you really live here?” I asked the guy. He said smiling “Yes, why?” I tried to hide a sort of embarrassment. While I was still looking around and amazed by the surrealistic situation, I followed him into his flat. He had been living there with his girlfriend for 7 years, but they were planning on leaving the country soon. They brought out a bottle of wine, we sat on the sofa and they started telling me about the place.

They considered themselves really lucky for having secured  their flat. The location was amazing and rent really low. They explained to me that the building was designed to offer affordable places to stay (in Bristol city centre, unbelievable!) but it was recently bought by a developer who was going to refurbish it completely and rent it out at “modern” prices.

I always wanted to live in the city centre but I just could not afford it. Therefore, after viewing and bargaining some of the items they wanted to get rid of, I asked if I could have the contact of their new landlord. As you may imagine, I contacted the landlord the following day. What happened next I’ll write about in a new post soon.