Ok…so as I may have mentioned in my ‘about me‘ blurb, this blog is prone to a bit of randomness; and I bet, based on some of the posts, you may have thought it was pretty random anyway! The Octopus Diaries is first and foremost about dining out, however sometimes I come across (yes…ok so I go out of my way to seek out) dining or drinking experiences that I really can’t categorise but have to write about, simply because they are so damn weird, wonderful or uniquely random.
It’s also rare that I have to start my blog post off with a public safety warning. So if you are easily offended by some choice language or to be fair scared sh*tless of cats best to pop on over to a less scary post on the blog – Cheese Posties should do it (hmmm…actually on 2nd thoughts – ha ha!)
It’s my usual trick that when I’m visiting somewhere, I’ll do a spot of blog research – one to mainly establish where I need to scout out in terms of dining experiences, but also to discover if there are any elements of ‘foodie randomness’ going on in the vicinity. Subsequently, if a venue keeps coming up time and time again, it feels like I am being summoned – so clearly when I typed in ‘random things to do in Bristol’ and a pub called The Bag O’ Nails kept popping up, it seemed like a good idea to pop in!
Now while cat cafés appear to be all the rage at the moment (the first one in Wales is heading to Cardiff in the near future), I can honestly put my hands up and say I have never heard of a cat pub…until now!
Located on the corner of the somewhat chaotic St. George’s Road and Jacob’s Wells Road roundabout in Bristol, I have to say it’s quite a welcome relief to enter the pub. The atmosphere has a zen-like quality, and with only a faint smell of cat pee lingering in the air, you are overcome with a sense of serenity. That could be due to any number of reasons, from the actual presence of the cats, to the mindfulness of the patrons to the furry residents. Either way aside from a record player crooning away in the corner, and the low buzz of conversation in what I can only say was a small but busy pub, it was eerily and randomly quiet…
A pint of local draught Elderflower cider in hand (which to be fair was a touch on the warm side, but tasted very pleasant all the same), it was time to relax and take in my surroundings…after all this is supposed to be a post on ‘Acts of Foodie Randomness’ and quite frankly the omnipresence of cats just seemed normal (ish!)
So lets start with the signs behind the bar, which included “No f**king stupid inflatable animals or fish (please)”, “No stupid hats please” and “No ludicrous Xmas jumpers”…ok we were finally getting somewhere. That combined with a certificate for ‘Beard Friendly Pub of the Year’ and a very special ‘Rules of the Pub’ blackboard…and I knew I was in the right place to seek randomness!
With more kids stickers on the toilet walls than my 5 year old’s bedroom door (I’m surprised Rule #22 didn’t refer to ‘no peeling, while peeing’) Too much?…this post gets worse ha ha!
It was also around half way through our pints, that we figured it would be a fun idea to investigate the available games; and while a round of wooden jenga was tempting (I was worried about scaring a cat when the tower inevitably toppled), it was the Genus II Edition of Trivial Pursuit that caught my eye!
Now I’m pretty competitive, but I know when I’m beaten – especially as the questions were circa 1981, and the fact I had been in nappies was clearly going to be detrimental to my answers! I finally gave up when my response to “What did Louis Armstrong have in his other hand while playing the trumpet?” – was “a cat” – oh dear!
Needless to say we opted to make our own ‘entertainment’ and created some alternative and fun questions for the barman (sincere apologies in advance…this was probably more amusing at the time…)
Blue Question (Geography) – Is it rude to request a cat to move if they steal my chair while I pop to the toilet?
Pink Question (Entertainment) – Do you allow Guide Dogs in your pub? (it seemed a valid question at the time!)
Yellow Question (History) – Is a prior knowledge of feline behaviour important before entering the pub? And added to this is catnip a banned substance in the establishment?
Brown Question (Art & Literature) – Will I get barred if I accidentally spill my pint on a cat?
Green Question (Science & Nature) – Do you offer a refund if the cat mistakes my pint for a litter tray?
Orange Question (Sports & Leisure) – If a cat knocks over my drink while bolting through the pub in some psychotic crazed manner, can I have a free pint?
- There are lots of cats…ha ha!
Rating on the Foodie Randomness Scale*
A spot of randomness rocks
*please refer to Foodie Randomness ratings
Would I recommend The Bag O’ Nails?
Evidently if you want a noisy pub then this is probably not the place for you! However, if you fancy a relaxed pint with a difference or ‘kittens on toast’ (ok…I bypassed that delicacy!), then I can highly recommend a visit. The cats were beautiful, and I was amazed at how chilled they all were.
It’s not a prerequisite to adore cats, but if you have a feline phobia, allergy or just generally dislike the furry beings then sensibly it is best to give this pub a wide berth.
Address | 141 St George’s Rd, Hotwells, Bristol BS1 5UW
Web | The Bag O’ Nails Facebook page