You're never far from the water in Bristol, whether you're looking for a place to enjoy a pint in the Harbourside, or a riverside terrace for a special meal. Here are our top picks for where you can drink or dine by the water's edge.

Harbourside 

No.1 Harbourside

One of the city centre's most popular venues, stop by for a waterside drink or bite to eat, or check out the free live music they have on throughout the week.

Outdoor terrace at No.1 Harbourside - Credit No.1 Harbourside
Image - No.1 Harbourside

Harbour House

Take in the views of the colourful houses of Redcliffe from the back terrace, or watch the boats go by as you dine from the all-day menu. 

The terrace at the Harbour House restaurant in the Redcliffe area of Bristol - credit Harbour House
Image - Harbour House

Riverstation

Housed in a former police station, this is now one of the Harbourside's top spots for a cocktail or brunch with a view, Riverstation has both a riverside terrace and a balcony you can dine on in the upstairs restaurant. It even has its own pontoon should you want to arrive by boat!

Exterior of the Riverstation restaurant in the Redcliffe area of Bristol - credit Riverstation
Image - Riverstation

Mud Dock

A Bristol institution, Mud Dock has been serving Bristolians since 1994 and serves up a casual menu of breakfasts and light bites which you can enjoy in their spacious cafe, or out on the balcony to look out over the harbour.

A women wearing a black tank top serving people on a terrace - Credit Mud Dock
Image - Mud Dock

Wapping Wharf

Take your pick from a variety of independent cafes, restaurants, shops and bars, all within a stone's throw of the water's edge. For the best views of the boats, take a seat on the terrace at craft beer bar Junction, veg-focused restaurant Root, or tapas bar Gambas.

People dining alfresco at Wapping Wharf on Bristol's Harbourside - credit Hey What
Image - CARGO 2 in Wapping Wharf. Credit: Hey What!

Za Za Bazaar

One of the UK's largest restaurants, Za Za Bazaar is a great choice if you're dining in a group or with family, as there's plenty of space and oodles of choice - over 200 dishes available for lunch and over 300 dishes available for dinner, all for one great fixed price. You'll find it on the waterside by Pero's Bridge, close to the attractions of Millennium Square, Bristol Aquarium and We The Curious.

Variety of world dishes from above - credit Za Za Bazaar
Image - Za Za Bazaar

Watershed Cafe Bar

This independent cinema and arts venue has an excellent cafe which is open all day, even if you're not coming to an event or film screening. There's a small balcony upstairs to enjoy an alfresco tipple, otherwise there is more seating downstairs on the quayside at sister bar Undershed.

An exterior view of Watershed - Credit Watershed
Image - Watershed

The Architect

A cosy bar on Narrow Quay which has a small front terrace next to the water and Pero's Bridge, an ideal spot to watch the comings and goings around the harbour while enjoying a glass of wine and one of their cheese or charcuterie boards.

People on terrace at The Architect on Bristol Harbourside - credit Chris Cooper
Image - The Architect

Rick's

Not only do the team at Rick's serve up a fantastic selection of signature and classic cocktails, but there is also a menu of snacks, toasties and sharing boards if you get hungry. Don't miss their weekend brunch, where you can listen to some live jazz while tucking into dishes such as Eggs Benedict or French toast.

French toast at Rick's Bar on Bristol's Harbourside - credit Rick's
Image - French toast at Rick's

The Cottage Inn

There are fewer more iconic views than that outside The Cottage, with the colourful houses of Cliftonwood, the green expanses of Ashton Court and plenty of paddleboaders and boats to watch while you enjoy a tasty pub lunch.

People sat outside The Cottage Inn
Image - The Cottage Inn

Harbourside Kitchen

Situated next to the iconic SS Great Britain, this family-friendly cafe has a menu of light meals, pizzas and snacks for you to refuel after a busy day exploring the local attractions.

Harbourside Kitchen at SS Great Britain - credit Brunel's SS Great Britain
Image - Harbourside Kitchen

Noah's

This relaxed yet sophisticated seafood restaurant is tucked away next to the Cumberland Basin, so you can enjoy a plate of fish and chips or a bowl of mussels after walking around the harbour.

Plate of fish and chips with tartare sauce - credit Noah's Bristol
Image - Noah's

The Ostrich

The harbour's largest pub terrace has its own outdoor bar and plenty of room to catch some rays on sunnier days. Take your pick from the main pub menu with classics such as fish and chips, or the Portside BBQ in the summer months.

Exterior of The Ostrich pub in Redcliffe, Bristol
Image - The Ostrich

Three Brothers Burgers

If you're in the mood for burgers, head to this favourite of many Bristolians, home to a great value lunch deal, tasty milkshakes and an extensive collection of local beers. There's also a dedicated plantbased menu if you're looking for vegetarian or vegan options.

A burger at Three Brothers Burgers in central Bristol - credit Three Brothers Burgers
Image - Three Brothers Burgers

6 O'clock Gin at The Glassboat

In the mood for a G&T? This gin bar is situated on a boat along Welsh Back, with views along the river and quayside. As well as a fabulous gin and tonic with a range of 6 O'Clock gins, you can also order from a range of gin cocktails.

Glassboat at night - credit 6 O'Clock Gin
Image - 6 O'clock Gin at the Glassboat

More top Harbourside picks...

  • Under the Stars - longstanding bar on a boat serving Mediterranean dishes, close to Cascade Steps.
  • Paco Tapas - high quality tapas with a waterside terrace in Bathurst Basin.
  • Grain Barge - take a seat on the top deck to enjoy views across the harbour to Brunel's SS Great Britain.
  • The Apple - Bristol's beloved cider boat, serving a range of local ciders and perries.
  • Spitfire BBQ - hearty smoked meats and soul food with a large front terrace.
  • The Stable - tuck into pizzas and a large selection of ciders at this waterfront bar.
  • Brunel's Buttery - a local stalwart, pop by for a sausage or bacon sandwich to enjoy by the water's edge.
  • The Olive Shed - operating since 2001, this Harbourside stalwart is a popular spot for some sunset drinks.
  • The Pump House - sophisticated gastropub at the far end of the harbour, with views across to Underfall Yard and the Cumberland Basin.

Riverside spots

The Wellhead

This cosy cocktail bar in Finzels Reach also boasts a small riverside terrace with views across to Castle Park.

Riverside terrace at The Wellhead cocktail bar in Bristol - credit The Wellhead
Image - The Wellhead

Veeno

Tucked away by the river behind Temple Mead Station, this wine bar is a lovely spot to relax in and enjoy some glasses alongside a meat or cheese board.

Exterior of Veeno wine bar near Temple Meads
Image - Veeno

Left Handed Giant Brewpub

One of the city centre's largest bars, this three-storey brewpub is run by local brewery Left Handed Giant and has a large front terrace looking out over the river and park opposite.

Left Handed Giant Brewpub, credit Finzels Reach
Image - Left Handed Giant Brewpub

Some more top picks...

  • Toto's by the River - independent riverside bar in Redcliffe with a lounge for live sports.
  • Adelina Yard - award-winning fine dining restaurant with a focus on local ingredients and creative cooking.
  • Bella Vista - friendly Italian restaurant with booth tables overlooking the river and Bristol Bridge.

Countryside

Chequers Inn

On the outskirts of East Bristol you'll find the serene area of Hanham Locks, home to two popular pubs: the Chequers Inn and Old Lock & Weir. 

The Chequers has a large terrace and riverside garden, as well as some balcony seating in the pub if you want to enjoy the view from indoors.

A view of Chequers Inn and Hanham Lock in East Bristol - credit Shonette Laffy
Image - Chequers Inn

Lock Keeper

Enjoy traditional pub food in the garden of the Lock Keeper in Keynsham, which backs on to the River Avon and is a popular stop for walkers in the warmer months.

People in pub garden at The Lock Keeper in Keynsham - credit Youngs, The Lock Keeper
Image - Lock Keeper 

Beeses

A bit of a local secret, Beeses is only open from April until October and is one of the prettiest riverside bars in the area. Walk along the River Avon path to catch the Conham Ferry across to the bar, or take the more relaxing option of a boat trip from Bristol City Centre with Bristol Ferry or Bristol Packet Boat Trips, who run regular weekend trips to Beeses.

Beeses Riverside Bar, Credit: Shonette Laffy
Image - Beeses, Credit: Shonette Laffy

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