Local Tim Crutchley talks us through the must-see bits of Montpelier, Bristol's bohemian neighbourhood nestled just behind Stokes Croft.

Montpelier might not have the cache of Clifton, but there are plenty of reasons it’s been voted one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the country.

Throughout the area are beautifully painted houses and street art, with the Silent Hobo mural at Montpelier Station often the first introduction to the area for visitors, but keep your eyes peeled for many more as you explore the area.

Silent Hobo Montpelier - Tim Crutchley
Credit: Tim Crutchley

Picton Street

Picton Street is really the spine of Montpelier, with a number of little shops and cafes located off the main throughfare of Stokes Croft.

At the top end there is the always busy Bristolian Café, which is great for brunch and cosy evening meals. Wandering down the street, past the one-time home of one Cary Grant (in pre-fame Archibald Leach days), there is the Licata & Son Italian deli and the Radford Mill Farm Shop, along with a number of little shops, including the sometime shop of Alex Lucas, whose murals can be seen across the city. 

Brunch at The Bristolian
Image: Brunch at The Bristolian

The original Oowee Diner is found at the bottom end of Picton Street, which due to extremely popular demand (think enormous burgers and exceedingly dirty fries) is really just a takeaway venue. They now have a vegan establishment in the city centre, plus a larger sit-down diner on North Street in Southville for those of you who like to attack a food mountain with a knife and fork.

There’s also a Thali restaurant nearby, which I love for light and fresh Indian food. There are no 'typical' curries found here and it’s all the better for it. 

Ooowee Diner - Tim Crutchley
Credit: Tim Crutchley

Cheltenham Road

Whether we’re classifying from Stokes Croft up to the Arches as part of Montpelier or not is open to debate, but seeing as I’m writing this, I think it would be remiss not to highlight a few of the places on this stretch.

Nearer the Stokes Croft end you can find all manner of jerk at Rice and Things (it’s the place that fills Stokes Croft with the smell of BBQ year-round), The Social for food and cocktails, and Boston Tea Party for coffees, teas and brunches.



Image: Flour & Ash

Boston Tea Party is a southwest chain, with half a dozen branches dotted around Bristol and they have banned single use plastic cups, which is very in-keeping with the Bristol spirit.

Further up Cheltenham Road you can find the Cox & Baloney Tearoom, and on the other side of the road the Flour & Ash pizzeria. In the busy independent pizza market this really stands out as one of the best (their ox cheek ragu pizza is tip top) and they occasionally run special menu evenings, which are always worth keeping an eye out for. 

As you get to the Railway Arch Gloucester Road really gets busy and there are a large number of bars, pubs and restaurants for the next mile or so. 

  • Check out our local's guide to Horfield further along Gloucester Road.

Montpelier - Tim Crutchley
Credit: Tim Crutchley
 

Hidden Pubs

There are a number of little pubs found within Montpelier, which you wouldn’t know existed if you kept to the main strips.

At the top of the list is The Cadbury, which has the best beer garden in this part of town and does brilliant Sunday Roasts, currently run by the Popti & Beast kitchen (a butcher based down in St.Werburghs, which itself is worth a visit for local produce and hot meaty snacks).

You can find this just off the end of Picton Street, also near here is The Old England pub, which has cricket nets in the back garden that were put up for W.G. Grace to practise.

Montpelier - Tim Crutchley
Credit: Tim Crutchley

A pub that will be surely worth a visit, is the currently-being-renovated Star and Garter, down near the St Pauls end of Montpelier. It was a Bristol institution and is now going to be run by the family involved in organising the Dance Village at the Glastonbury Festival and also the St.Pauls Carnival. There’s a little park next door, so once it's been renovated, this will be worth a visit in the summer.

About the author

Tim Crutchley is an engineer working in green energy. He’s been based in Bristol for 8 years and has lived in places across the UK, but has always felt a special connection to the city.

You'll probably see him strolling around the harbour, drinking a Thatchers Gold or desperately trying to shorten the list of new eateries to visit around the city.

Montpelier night - Tim Crutchley
Credit: Tim Crutchley

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The Local's Guide: Montpelier
 

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