Bristol loves cider, blah blah blah, we know, but it is true – fuelling everyone from pirates to drum ‘n’ bass DJs over the centuries. With a more-than-normal amount of specialist cider pubs in the city, you’d think it would be hard to stand out among the crowd. But The Coronation Tap (also known as The Cori Tap) doesn’t have to try very hard.
It’s one of the oldest pubs in Bristol and the only cider specialist in Clifton. Hanging around since the 18th century, it’s even older than the nearby Clifton Suspension Bridge. So this traditional boozer has had years of serving scrumpy to locals… including its homebrew speciality, Exhibition.
Go steady with it though, at 8.2%, Exhibition will blow you away. Only served in half pints, locals and visitors alike have tried, and failed, the 10 before 10 challenge. Which involves trying to finish off 10 half pints before 10pm. Those who have completed it probably can’t even remember having done so, but have written themselves into Bristol history. (If you can’t do it, you can always grab a bottle to take home with you.)
Don’t worry, Exhibition is not the only thing you can drink, with a selection of obscure, ever-changing cider taps, real ales, lagers and even some wines. While regular jazz and blues musicians, performing on a small stage in the corner, bring often bring a lively atmosphere to this cosy cider pub in Clifton. It’s a friendly place too with everyone from Brunel to Massive Attack having had a drink (or three) at Sion Place over the years.
It wasn’t always so friendly, mind, back in the 60s the strict landlord banned the use of the word ‘scrumpy’, instead sticking to ‘dry’, ‘rough’, ‘medium’ or ‘sweet’ cider. He also banned women from ordering anything larger than a half-pint. Clientele with scruffy hair or clothes (which includes a lot of people in the bohemian days of Clifton). It’s not like that anymore though.
Despite a far friendlier and more relaxed atmosphere, it still feels like a blast from the past stepping inside. Wood-panelled walls, inset wood benches, and the time capsule-like decor lean into its storied past. Hugely popular with locals and students alike, barely a boring goes by at The Coronation Tap. To learn more about this traditional cider pub head here.