Best Harbourside bars in Bristol

The long stretching harbourside is one of the most fantastic things about Bristol. It’s a beautiful walking space during the day, and lively and buzzing by night, with low light reflecting off the water and laughter and fun spewing out of many fantastic harbourside bars.

This guide is a rundown of Bristol’s best harbourside Bars, cocktail Bars and Pubs. We go through the venue’s atmosphere, elegance and signature drinks to give you a look into some fun evenings out in Bristol.

If you like this, you might enjoy our other posts about Bristol’s best harbourside restaurants.

The top 3 harbourside bars in bristol are:

  • The Apple (Cider),
  • Under the Stars (Wine and Tapas) and
  • The Arnolfini Cafe and Bar (Mix of beers, wine and cocktails).

Each of these has lovely outdoor seating right on the riverfront.

Image from the Instagram: @Theappleciderboat

The Apple is a cider bar on a boat- it’s rough and ready with their signature cider ‘The Old Bristolian’ a Student Classic. It’s so strong at 8.4% AVB it only comes by the half- and it’s often up on special offer.

Under The Stars is a more elegant, wine bar on a boat. It’s smaller and intimate and their upstairs terrace is a gorgeous place to sit and take in the buzzing harbourside and all the warm light reflecting off the water. Great food too.

The Arnolfini Cafe Bar has lovely large wooden benches right on the water. Many people also get takeaway drinks and sit on the water edge pedestrian-way. The Arnolfini is a gallery and theatre space and the bar is relaxed but nice quality, like you’d expect from a theatre bar.

If you know what you’re after, and you’re on a multi-streak night, you might like our guide to Bristol’s best Gin bars and Bristol’s best Wine bars.

On the Right-Hand side are the Arnolfini Bar, The Architect bar and Under The Stars. On the Left are No. 1 Harbourside, Pitcher and Piano and Revolution Cuba.

Harbourside Bars Bristol

The Apple cider bar (already mentioned in the top 3 bars listed above) is based on a boat on the river but has a stunning outdoor space with bench tables on the cobbled streets.

There are gorgeous old trees full of fairy lights in the evenings (and they have big umbrellas and heaters too for when the weather is less perfect).

Top Harbourside BarsDescriptionSelling point
The AppleCider bar on a boat with a huge outdoor bench area on a coble street under large trees right on the waterfront. Iconic bristol bar- well loved. Site here.Great for big groups- strong cider
Under the starsWine bar on a boat. Gorgeous top deck with plants and sparkling lighting, an overview of the beautiful riverside. Site here.Special, relaxed, innocent
No. 1 HarboursideNice fairy-lit, raw material bar. Outdoor seating on a pedestrian waterside terrace. Cocktails and good beer and cider selections- all from local breweries and distilleries. Site here.Good for a big group
Left Handed GiantA brewery across 3 floors with wide glass windows to the tabre pub and an outdoor terrace by the river. Pool tables upstairs and fantastic Pizzas. Site here.Good for big group and pizza options

No 1 Harbourside is relaxed and atmospheric. Easy to pop into and it’s large enough so you can happily go as a group. They do live music once a month and also do nice fried seafood pub dinners.

Left Handed Giant- Photo from their Instagram @lhgbrewpub

The Left Handed Giant brew pub is a fantastic and very popular, relaxed bar. Set over three floors all in glass is a huge space with a view over to the distilling rooms. There are outdoor benches on the river opposite castle park, and pool tables upstairs.

Great for a big group- they’re also home to mission pizza- excellent quality thin, Neopolitan base pizzas to go with your craft beers.

Best harbourside cocktail bars

These three are on the same stunning river stretch where the water comes up a channel into town and is flanked by bars and cafes on both sides. The lights reflect off the water and the atmosphere is stunning. Very near to the harbourside- are many great cocktails bars- you may also enjoy our guide to Bristol’s best classic cocktail bars too.

The Architect is more upmarket, and one the more peaceful side. Great, classic cocktails and bar selection.

Photo from Instagram: @thearchitectcafebar

Pitchers and Piano and Revolution Cuba are more commercial but excellent vibe to start or spend the night with great cocktails and a buzzing atmosphere.

The details are in the table below.

Top Harbourside Cocktail BarsDescriptionSelling point
The ArchitectElegant, black and gold decorated cocktail bar. Small outdoor terrace area. Fine wines, beers, cocktails, cheese and charcuterie. Link here.Relaxed, elegant post-work
Pitchers and PianoCocktail bar right on the riverside and covered in twinkling, warm lights. This is a pedestrian walkway in the centre of bristols harbourside buzz. Site here.Cocktails, good for big group
Revolution CubaTapas and cocktail bar right on the river, next to pitcher and piano. Huge, lively old warehouse hall with chic low lighting and full of energy on the weekends. Site here.Cocktails, good for big group

Best harbourside pubs

As well as bar bars, Bristol has some great harbourside pubs. As mentioned above, The Arnolfini is one of the best Harbourside pubs/bars in Bristol. It has a great selection of drinks and a very relaxed, elegant atmosphere.

Harbour House beautiful indoor dining space: Image from @_harbourhouse_

Harbour House is a stunning riverside spot with a great warm wooden interior and high warehouse-like ceilings. They have a stunning river terrace- the place is picturesque and gets booked for weddings.

They go great gin and cocktails as well as regular bar offerings.

This table lists the best harbourside pubs with descriptions of the venue and its selling points!

Harbourside pub-barsDescriptionSelling point
The ArnolfiniGreat riverside bench tables under huge trees and a tent shelter. Gorgeous views. Nice, relaxed pub/bar with local craft beers, wines and cocktails. Site here.Relaxed, elegant
Harbour HouseGreat terrace overlooking the peaceful river. Warm wood and sail rope interior- an inviting pub with a great bar. Great wine selection and cocktails. Site here.Romantic pub-like, relaxed
The OstrichLovely harbourside pub, with pub classics, a good bar and right by the river for a lovely stroll afterwards. Site here.Pub classic
The Pump HouseLovely higher-end pub with an outdoor front section overlooking the waterfront. Big wooden benches, a large canvas tent roof and fairy lights. Link here.Pub drinks, peaceful waterside tent area

The Pump house has a lovely, fairy-lit and plant-filled garden out front. It’s on a pedestrian walkway right by the locks. It’s a lovely, relaxed spot for an evening drink.

The Pump House Harbourside Pub

The Ostrich is off the main strip- and a relaxed lovely space to spend an evening with friends, out in their large front garden or inside the cosy pub.

We hope this is a useful guide to some of the nicest harbourside pubs and bars in Bristol.

Check out our other posts on food and drink in Bristol, including our posts on great pasta in bristol, the greatest pizzas in bristol, great Bristol Japanese restaurants, the best tapas in bristol and Bristol’s best burgers.

Recent Posts