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

I’ve lived here for almost 7 years and truth be told I didn’t know much about the area when I moved in. 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 side-by-side, the Silent Hobo mural at Montpelier Station is often the first introduction to the area for visitors, but there are many more across the neighbourhood.

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, just located off the throughfare of Stokes Croft. At the top end there is the always busy Bristolian café, which is great for people watching and brunch.

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, perfect for a browse for anything from a fresh apple or birthday card to a chest of drawers. 

Brunch at The Bristolian
Image: Brunch at The Bristolian

The original Oowee Diner is found at the bottom end of Picton Street, it’s takeaway, and now vegan, only. Marmite butter waffle fries being the author’s favourite. They’ve a range of burgers and dirty fries, with a sister vegan joint in the city centre and a larger sit-down meaty venue south of the river.

Mural of a man on Picton Street in Montpelier
Image: Street art on Picton Street. Credit: Tim Crutchley

Just along from this is Bianchi's, this is located in the former home of Bell’s Diner, and stands well in these big shoes to fill. Think hearty, yet polished, Italian food. For me, it’s the best place in the area for a special occasion.

There’s also a Thali restaurant down here, 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 Cheltenham Road 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 some of the best burgers in the city from Smoke & Glaze at The Pipe and Slippers pub, 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.

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

Smoke and Glaze chicken burger
Image: A chicken burger from Smoke & Glaze. Credit: Tim Crutchley

Further up Cheltenham Road you can find The Cloak and Dagger restaurant and event space, Replay board game bar (with added table tennis!) and on the other side of the road Koocha vegan mezze bar. I’ve long enjoyed Middle Eastern mezze dishes and this provides all of the traditional staples done well, but also meat-free kebabs and burgers.

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.

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, with all meat supplied by Popti & Beast (a butcher based down in St.Werburghs, which itself is worth a visit for local produce and hot meaty snacks).

Nearby is the Old England pub, which has cricket nets in the back garden that were put up for W.G. Grace to practice.

Montpelier - Tim Crutchley
Credit: Tim Crutchley

Another pub that is worth a visit is The Star and Garter, down near the St Pauls end of Montpelier. It is 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 this is worth a visit in the summer.

About the author

Tim Crutchley is an engineer working in green energy who’s been based down in Bristol for almost 10 years, and whilst has lived in places across the UK, has always felt a special connection to the city.

You’ll probably find him strolling around the harbour, evangelising about the joys of sour beers and 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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