Public terrace and suntrap with a spectacular view across the River Tejo to the 25 de Abril bridge and the Rio imitation Cristo-Rei.
The little kiosk does good, cheap bica's of coffee and imperial glasses of beer. If you take exception with young bohemian types playing percussion stay away. Otherwise, take a book, people watch and easily while away a few hours.
Rua de Santa Catarina, Santa Catarina/Bairro Alto; Metro: Baixa-Chiado
Restaurant in Bairro Alto that gets it right in a pop art, azulejo tiles adorning the walls and mightily tasty arroz de polvo (octopus rice) way.
Should you like your fish, dust off your Portuguese and brave the lusophone only menu.
Rua Marechal Saldanha 23/25; Tel 21 346 47 91
Discreetly hidden away in a quiet backstreet is this cultural centre and lounge club built into an old warehouse.
They publish an online magazine, screen films and run a funk, soul, hip-hop and rare groove session at Apolo. During summer 2006 it proved the ideal venue for Spain vs France in the World Cup. Don't lose heart as you head up Calle Fontrodona, it is there and the cava is at knock down prices.
Calle Fontrodona 33; Metro: Parallel L3; www.maumaunderground.com
Ignore the photo of Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock they've got hanging from the wall and wedge yourself into this small bar/restaurant for some fine, fine food.
Pedro Almodovar is said to love the place. After a few raciones it's hard to disagree. They deserve recognition for their liberal use of olive oil if nothing else.
Calle de la Libertad 4-6;
Tel: 91 532 12 19;
Auri, the owner, has stylishly pulled off the Berlin idea of going for a drink in someone's house.
Getting in is the closest you're going to come to a speakeasy but they make a decent mango mojito.
52 Upper Belgrave Road, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2XP
Art work hangs from the lime green painted walls and exposed pipes at this trendiest of hang-outs in Chueca. It's laid-back and an ideal escape from the nearby mania of Gran Vía. The staff are sound enough to knock off any euro cents you might be missing for your cafe con leche.
11 Calle Colón, Tel. 91 522 9107, Metro Gran Vía
A friendly bar dedicated to making the perfect caipirinha. The music policy plays homage to Miles Davis and all trumpet players of his ilk. Don't expect to find any chocolate con churros here.
Calle Huertas 55, Tel: 91 429 78 61, www.trochabar.com
The Central Library has a beautiful main reading room and free internet access. A good place to read, study and reflect. It's possible to take a tour of the building. The haunted yarn given by the librarians sounds like they've seen the opening scenes in Ghostbusters one too many times.
College Green, BS1 5TL;
tel: 0117 903 7200;
Once a trucker's stop-off under the Cumberland Basin flyover. After a makeover it's become somewhere to have a coffee by the water's edge with a panoramic view of the Suspension Bridge and the ostentatious Clifton terraces. For engineering fans it's possible to walk to Brunel's original 19th century lock which made the floating harbour possible. It now sits unused beneath the flyover.
Brunel Lock Road, Cumberland Basin BS1 6XL;
tel: 0117 925 5800;
A giant redbrick warehouse sitting between the River Avon and the entrance to the floating harbour in the Cumberland Basin. It's home to environmental think-tanks and the City Council's sustainable development unit. It has a gallery and cafe open to the public. The best part of the centre is the attached Ecohome which anyone is welcome to nose around.
Smeaton Road, BS1 6XN;
tel: 0117 925 0505;
Another reason to visit Stokes Croft. As you come in through the door there's a lounge bar area with a good selection of Spanish & Portuguese beers. Towards the back is the restaurant area. Their tapas is imaginative and well prepared.
130 Cheltenham Road, BS6 5RW;
tel: 0117 944 2442;
A 1950's former tea-packing factory now home to a hub of Bristol's artists. It's a pivotal part of the city's artist-led initiatives and is due to be completely refurbished with new gallery space, a reading room and a cafe bar by early 2007. They produce a critical journal and commission works around Bristol entitled 'Spike in the City.' Over the May Bank Holiday weekend each year they host their Open Studios event allowing the public in beyond the galleries. The opening Friday night party for Open Studios is a boozy glut of trendy art types and a lot of fun.
Bristol has greedily twinned herself with a host of cities, Oporto, Hannover, Tbilisi in Georgia, Beira in Mozambique, Guangzhou in China and Puerto Morazan in Nicaragua. Acknowledging the French connection is this ambitious venture which sets out to change attitudes towards food. Within the large dockside premises is a restaurant, deli, cafe, bakery and a cookery school. The food is conscientiously sourced mostly from within a 50 mile radius and is magnificent. Foodie paradise.
Canons Road, BS1 5UH;
enquiries: 0117 906 5550;
reservations: 0117 943 1200;
Before Goldie Lookin Chain sprang on the scene with their über ironic 'joke hop' there was the Bristolian hip-hop of Parlour Talk. Their album 'Padlocked Tonic' is a first-rate blend of varied beats, great scratching, humour, rapping in Bristol accents, and a big dose of funk - West Coast this ain't, rather West Country.
Sister pub to The Pipe & Slippers across town. The ethos is much the same, mixing pub and bar culture with a kitchen that does tapas and pieminister pies. The real boon of this place is the 1970s NSM jukebox which only plays vinyl. It won't accept today's new fangled coins mind, so old school 10ps and 50ps are bought from the bar.
14 Windmill Hill, BS3 4LU;
tel: 0117 963 5440;
Take the suburban train line to Bedminster station from Bristol Temple Meads;
A lounge club with good drinks and live music. It's in the heart of Clifton so the crowd can be a little stuffy on occasion. However, Thursday nights are a more laid back affair as the club is set aside for live jazz and latin music.
15 Richmond Terrace, BS8 1AA;
tel: 0117 973 0986
An often criminally overlooked asset to the city. The line links Bristol Temple Meads, in the centre of the city, to Severn Beach from where the Severn Bridges and South Wales are clearly visible. The scheduling is sadly erratic but it provides a superb link between east and west Bristol. It's worth travelling to the end of the line as it snakes up the Avon valley providing some beautiful views. Once at the Severn estuary there are some excellent walks.
Stops at Bristol Temple Meads, Lawrence Hill, Stapleton Road, Montpelier, Redland, Clifton Down, Sea Mills, Shirehampton, Severn Beach;
Bookings and timetable: www.thetrainline.com;
The excitingly designed Harbourside concert hall by architects Behnisch & Partners was set to do for Bristol what the Guggenheim had done for Bilbao. A shameful Arts Council decision cut the funding and the project has never been revived. With this turn of events At-Bristol, with its stunning all-reflective planetarium, became the centrepiece of the Harbourside development. The centre mixes art, science and nature. It includes an Imax cinema, the interactive 'Explore' science museum and 'Wildwalk', a walk through a living section of rainforest.
Harbourside, BS1 5DB;
tel: 0845 345 1235;
More than just a second-hand books and vinyl trader. This shop also sells a range of hats and acts as somewhere you can find out about left-of-centre events going on in Bristol. The profits from their Banksy print t-shirts go towards local NGO Kiptik which supports development projects in the Chiapas region of Mexico.
82 Colston Street, BS1 5BB;
tel: 0117 933 0909
A bar with the finest selection of whisky in Bristol. Open until 4am on Friday nights and 6am on Saturdays, it has become a place where DJs, late night revellers and insomniacs congregate after everyone else has gone to bed.
1 Park Street Avenue, BS8;
tel: 0117 9250890
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