Not many pubs have a history as rich as The Llandoger Trow on King Street. And, no, the time your mate snuck behind the bar to pour his own pint doesn’t count. While not quite Bristol’s oldest pub, it does date all the way back to 1664. As you might imagine then, some pretty famous faces have popped in for a drink in all those years. Most notably of all, Blackbeard – the face of Bristol’s pirating history – is said to have made his appearances ever so often.
It also said that two of the nation’s greatest adventure novels were inspired by the pub. The author Robert Louis Stevenson based the Admiral Benbow Inn of Treasure Island on The Llandoger Trow, while Daniel Defoe met the Scottish privateer Alexander Selkirk here – who served as the inspiration for Defoe’s most famous character, Robinson Crusoe.
Did we mention that the pub is also haunted? Supposedly there are up to 15 ghosts wandering the Grade II Listed Building. The most famous is a small boy, with a metal leg support, that walks the top floor. His footsteps have been heard by numerous staff over the years, while the other ghosts have been involved in many other paranormal activities.
The Llandoger Trow closed in 2019 after centuries of serving pints to pirates and the public. After two years, however, it reopened in 2021 – keeping much of what made it unique and its history alive and well. The historic building’s timber-framing stands out on Kings Street’s busy pub strip. And apart from the odd modern detail, it still feels like an olde pub of yore.
It’s still a top spot to grab a pint nowadays. With 26 kegs, four casks and five ciders on offer most days, there’s plenty of options. From local craft beers to European pilsners and perry cider. Perfect for any type of beer drinker.
Since reopening, The Llandoger Trow has also become widely known for its Red Room. No, don’t worry, we’re not talking about more ghosts. This is the location for Techno at the Trow, the German techno night hosted at the pub every Friday and Saturday night. Running 8pm to 12.30, it brings in some of the very best of Bristol talent. It’s free entry to all and a surprising discovery in this once privateer pub. Somehow the rest of the pub remains undisturbed by the debauchery as well. What the clientele of the past would think of it, we can’t say. We just know it’s a ruddy great night.