‘Twas a few days before Christmas and all over Bristol…Santa was found scoffing his favourite festive treats.

This being the last #FoodFriday before Christmas, there was only one person we could ask for their favourite places to eat and drink around the city…

Santa

Image - Inside Santa's Yurt at Wild Place Project

  • Sherry

Pata Negra

Sherry is for life, not just for Christmas. Purveyors of my favourite tipple (as well as delectable tapas), Pata Negra have an ever-evolving list of sherries to match your mood and your food - everything from dry Manzanilla to sweet Pedro Ximenez. Eat, drink and be merry!

Paco Tapas

This place makes me one happy elf. The motto of this fantastic restaurant – recently awarded a Michelin star - is that no tapas bar is worth its salt without a carefully crafted sherry list. So, they've handpicked theirs, and offer them straight from the barrel, by the glass, bottle or shaken into excellent cocktails. Bah YUMbug!

Paco Tapas

Image - Paco Tapas

  • Mince pies

Pinkmans

I’d like to find a way of transporting this sensational bakery to the North Pole. Their December festive bakes, Ferrero Rocher and Christmas pudding sourdoughnuts, are out of this world. They also do an excellent line in Florentine-style mince pies (made with shortbread pastry, mincemeat and crowned with almond frangipane) as well as a special vegan-friendly Christmas loaf made with white sourdough, cranberries, chocolate chips and cocoa. Get in quick though, they close on 23 December.

Pinkman's doughnuts

Image - Christmas pudding sourdoughnuts at Pinkmans

Hotel du Vin

For a truly special treat, get your chops around Hotel du Vin’s festive afternoon tea. Tasty mini savouries, turkey sandwiches, warm scones topped with cream and jam, exquisite miniature cakes and my favourite crumbly mince pies, topped with a wisp of homemade candy floss.  

Festive afternoon tea hotel du vin

Image - Festive afternoon tea at Hotel du Vin

Hart’s Bakery

Follow your festive nose here for dreamy pastries, cakes, bread, the obligatory mince pies and Stollen. Christmas specials include a ‘Leftover sandwich’ made with roast turkey, pig in blanket, gravy, cranberry sauce, lettuce and mustard mayo in a white bun. Merry bloomin’ Christmas.

Stollen

Image - Stollen, credit @HartsBakery

Joe’s Bakery

This bakery on Gloucester Road dates back to the late 1800s and in that time has perfected its mince pies, Stollen (choose from authentic German, spelt and curd) Christmas breads, yule logs, cinnamon stars, Panettone, traditional Christmas cake and rich Christmas pudding-esque truffle cakes.

joe's bakery

Image credit @JoesBakeryBris

  • Festive food

Pi Shop

Make your merry way to this restaurant from the Sanchez-Brothers Group (owners of Michelin-starred Casamia and Paco Tapas) for their Festive Pi. Topped with pork stuffing made from Tuscan fennel sausage, garlic, sage, bay leaf, thyme, plus sprout tops with fresh sage, house-made cranberry sauce, parmesan & an egg yolk all on a white base – it’s Christmas on a pizza.

Festive pi

Image - Festive Pi from Pi shop

Pieminister

If you’re going to leave out a pie on Christmas Eve, may I heartily suggest one of Pieminister’s delicious Christmassy pies. Hot festive favourites include the Deer Santa pie, stuffed with venison, bacon and red wine, Mistlemoo (steak and port), The Cracker (turkey and cranberry) or Christingle (veggie parsnips, chestnut and cheese). There are branches in Stokes CroftBroad Quay or St Nick’s Market) or you can order online…

Pieminister Xmas pie

Image - Pieminister Christmas 

Bristol Local Christmas Market (1-23 Dec) and Bristol’s Christmas Market (until 24 Dec)

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year down in Bristol Shopping Quarter, where you’ll find these two markets with their festive tinsel-topped stalls selling everything from sweet treats to Christmas crafts. After a spot of Christmas shopping, be sure to try the infamous Yorkshire pudding wrap before following the smell of glühwein to the new Jägerbarn bar and beer garden for plenty of merrymaking.

St Nick’s Christmas Market (2-24 Dec)

Prepare to feel awfully festive with a trip to Bristol’s famous St Nick’s Market in the Old City. It’s a great spot to pick up quirky stocking fillers from all sorts of artisans and feast on seasonal delights – I should know! Plus it has the same name as my alter-ego, so it must be good.

St nick's market

Image - roasties, pigs in blankets and stuffing at St Nick's Market, credit @stnicksmarket

  • Winter warmers

Swoon

The traditional Italian thick hot chocolate from Swoon is so ridiculously good, it should be on my naughty list. Do yourselves a favour and try one. Order a scoop (or three) of their seasonal gelato – mince pie, mulled wine or pumpkin and amaretto flavours – and you have yourself a very merry Christmas indeed.

Après Bar

Be transported to alpine realms in the wonderfully wintry wood cabin Après Bar at the Winter Fair and ice rink in Millennium Square by We The Curious. Pop in for a post-skating mulled wine, hot cider or draft beer and cosy up under blankets before browsing the food stalls and fairground rides.

Apres bar

Image - Après Bar at the Winter Fair near We The Curious

Racks Bar & Kitchen

Get super toasty next to the crackling fire at Racks with a glass of spiced apple mulled cider or some other wintry cocktail concoction. Cheers!

Bristol Cider Shop

Get that warm, fuzzy, twinkly festive feeling with a glass of something mulled. Bristol Cider Shop do a dazzling mulled cider with cider brandy – extra yummy with one of their West Country cheese toasties.

Bristol cider shop

Image - Bristol Cider Shop

No.1 Harbourside

Head to No.1 Harbourside to give their warm Gin and Tonic a whirl. They also do hot toddy or mulled cider.  Sister bar, The Old Market Assembly also has some delightful warming winter cocktails on offer.

Xmas Tavern

Jingle all the way to the pop-up Xmas Tavern at Nailsea Electrical on Gloucester Road, open from Tuesday-Saturday until 23 December. Warm your cockles next to flickering fire pits under snuggly blankets while sipping mulled wine, cider or hot choccie. Best of all though, are the Christmassy shots - hollowed-out marshmallows filled with Kahlua, the most heavenly of boozy treats.

Xmas tavern

Image - Xmas Tavern

Windmill Hill City Farm

Warm up in the café after meeting the farm animals at Windmill Hill City Farm, they do a very jolly Candy Cane Mocha topped with a chocolate snowflake which is sure to bring you much cheer!

The Rummer Hotel

There’s all sorts of festive treats in store at The Rummer - a roaring fire, mulled wine, local craft gin (made onsite) and blazing cocktails. If you’re after something out-of-the-ordinary, try their winter special, the Brandy Blazer – a cocktail made from Cognac which a pleasing flambé flourish.

The RUmmer

Image - Mulled wine at The Rummer, credit @therummer

Carrots for the reindeer

Better Food 

After flying around the world, my reindeer deserve the best. Independent health food store, Better Food (with branches in St. Werburghs, Wapping Wharf and Clifton) sells organic, locally-grown, ethically-sourced and Fairtrade produce.   If I’m in need of a healthy pick-me-up, the café serves organic home-cooked meals and snacks, cakes, fresh juices, teas and superb coffee. Cracking.

About the author: Father Christmas, deliverer of Christmas gifts to children (and lucky adults) via chimney around the world, is well-known for his penchant for mince pies and a nip of Sherry. Word has it, Bristol is one of his favourite places to stop for festive treats on his long overnight journey around planet Earth, and who can blame him with that delicious lot?

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Pata Negra is a bustling, Spanish tapas & wine bar in the heart of Bristol’s Old City.

Paco Tapas
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With jamón ready to carve, padrón peppers roasting over the wood fire and sherry straight from the barrel let them transport you to Andalusia.

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Critically-acclaimed bistro restaurant, serving fine European cuisine

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With their open-plan kitchen and wood fired oven they created striped-back ‘Napoli meets Bristol’ pizzas in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.

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Bristol Shopping Quarter's streets will play host to wooden chalets offering a selection of gifts as well as festive food and drink.

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The Bristol Local Market will see makers and producers selling a tempting selection of hand-made items and locally produced ciders, beers, cheeses and jams for the Christmas table.

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We The Curious
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We The Curious (formerly At-Bristol Science Centre) is a state-of-the-art visitor attraction, offering an amazing world of hands-on discovery for you, your friends and family.

Winter Fair and Ice Rink in Millennium Square
Christmas
Winter Fair and Ice Rink in Millennium Square

Head to the winter playground on Bristol's Harbourside this December, with an ice rink, big wheel, film screening, Christmas market and more!

Bristol Cider Shop
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CREDIT: Jon Craig

Bristol's award-winning cider shop.

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The Rummer Hotel
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Cocktail Bar & Dining Room set in a listed building in the heart of Bristol's Old City, serving Brunch, Dinner, Sunday lunch and late night drinks.

Racks Bar & Kitchen
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Swoon
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City Farm Allotment.jpg

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Newly opened health food store in a fantastic location for South Bristolians and those visiting and working in the city centre. This store’s café also has a sunny outdoor terrace.