New families moving into the increasingly gentrified Sandy Park Road area of Bristol must secretly hate the fact their local pub is The Sandringham.
After all, there’s no overpriced craft beer, no food apart from packets of crisps or nuts and children are only tolerated until 7pm.
But then this vast Victorian pub in Brislington has been here for 125 years and the fact it refuses to move with the times and become the posh family-friendly gastropub many locals pray for makes it all the more alluring.
The Sandringham is a rare last bastion of cheap pints and Monster Munch crisps - although the fact I could only buy a packet of beef flavour on this visit, rather than essential pickled onion variety, might lose them a point in the ‘proper boozer’ stakes.
There really aren’t many ‘proper’ pubs left in Bristol like The Sandringham, with its upstairs function room and skittle alley, five dartboards, pool table and multiple large screens for Sky Sports.
When I arrive just after midday opening time, there is a strong morning-after-the-night-before smell of bleach - always the sure sign of a ‘proper’ drinkers’ pub - and a cluster of thirsty regulars are already in their usual places.
The bar staff know them all by first names and when one of the regulars hasn’t turned up at the same time for the same pint, there are concerned glances. It feels like one big family that looks after each other.
With its threadbare carpet, well worn bar stools and brass plaque for the ubiquitous ‘bulls**t corner’, it’s a pub out of time, one of a dying breed.
On the walls of this proudly Bristolian pub, there are old photos of Concorde and images of pre-gentrification Bristol harbourside, pictures of the pub in its Edwardian days and a framed one of Bobby Moore holding aloft the World Cup trophy in 1966.
One chap nursing a pint of Foster’s is on his usual table and reading every single word of his tabloid newspaper as he probably has for years.
The drinks aren’t the cheapest in Bristol - most pints are between £3.50-£4 and you’re looking at a fiver for the premium lagers - but there is Stan’s cider for £3.20 and my pint of Bass was only £3.80. The best-sellers, however, are the cans of Natch cider and the Thatchers Dry.
As well as a quiz night, the pub has occasional live music. Visit on September 23 and you’ll catch an act called ‘Stupid’ - well, that was the name chalked on the board at least. Maybe one of the regulars had altered it.
On Sundays at 2.30pm, the pub holds its weekly meat draw for £1 per ticket. Perhaps the prospect of winning the meat for the Sunday roast will win over all those new locals yet to visit and support their local pub. I doubt it.
Nonetheless, I love The Sandringham, warts and all, as it’s a proper pub without any airs or graces. Long may it stay that way.
Here are eight photos of one of the last ‘proper’ pubs left in Bristol.