Independents and co

September 12, 2014  •  Leave a Comment
If you live in Bristol and recently picked a copy of this month's Clifton Life, you might have spotted our article on page 46. July was Independent Retailer Month and to celebrate, the magazine challenged us to visit as many small companies in Bristol's Clifton Village as possible. Here’s a diary of our adventures.
It’s so easy to not appreciate the good things around you, and that’s certainly the case with us and Clifton Village. Despite living only minutes away for almost three years, we’ll admit to having failed to properly explore the wealth of indie firms that the area has to offer. Until now that is! 
We certainly didn’t finish the month hungry. The village is packed with independent gastronomic treats and we tried plenty! But we also took advantage of quirky gifts shops, intriguing antiques stores and the kind of homeware outlets you’d think had disappeared for ever.
Week one
We started our month at a Bristol legend. Reg the Veg has been selling fresh fruit and vegetables in Clifton since the 1960s, so we ditched the supermarket shop and stocked up for the week. Shopping locally for fruit and veg in a quirky store is so much more enjoyable than in a faceless chain.
Reg the Veg, 6 Boyce’s Avenue, BS8 4AA
Reg The Veg-2Reg The Veg-2 Reg The Veg-4Reg The Veg-4
Our eight-year-old seems to go through shoes like water. The solution? SoleLution! We recently bought her some sandals from a famous chain store, but they fell apart within a week. A sturdy pair from this independent shoe shop saved the day! 
SoleLution, 1-2 Boyce’s Avenue, BS8 4AA
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If there’s one thing Clifton doesn’t have a shortage of it’s great drinking establishments. One of our favourites is The Mall. From the front it looks pretty small, but venture downstairs and it opens up into a big area. There’s also a brilliant secret garden but shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone!
The Mall, 66 The Mall, BS8 4JG
The Mall 1The Mall 1 The Mall 2The Mall 2
This week we also visited:
Lisa Elliott Floral Design, 1 Waterloo Street, BS8 4BT: Very well stocked florist
Café Sewciety, 9 The Mall, BS8 4DP: Food, drink and a sewing workshop!
Lisa Eliott FlowersLisa Eliott Flowers
Cafe Sewciety 1Cafe Sewciety 1 Cafe Sewciety 2Cafe Sewciety 2
Week two
We kicked off our second week with a dinner time treat. You can’t beat a good, classic fish and chip shop and Clifton has a great one! Clifton Village Fish Bar serves up quality, traditional fare such as cod and haddock but also offers calamari and sea bass. No soggy saveloys here! 
Clifton Village Fish Bar, 4 Princess Victoria Street, BS8 4BP
Clifton Fish Bar 1Clifton Fish Bar 1 Clifton Fish Bar 3Clifton Fish Bar 3
As it was the end of the school year, our little one wanted to buy her teacher a card so we popped into the grand Clifton Arcade. Originally opened in 1878, the beautiful arcade is home to 15 independent shops. We popped into Objets de Désir and bought a brilliant Clifton-focused card, and also couldn’t resist picking up some coffee from Otomi, a shop that sells authentic Mexican food, gifts, stationary and textiles.
Otomi, 7 Clifton Arcade, Boyce’s Avenue, BS8 4AA
Objets de Désir, Unit A, Clifton Arcade, Boyce’s Avenue, BS8 4AA
Clifton Arcade, Boyce’s Avenue, BS8 4AA
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Objet De DesirObjet De Desir
Otomi-4Otomi-4 Otomi-5Otomi-5
Otomi-3Otomi-3 Otomi-2Otomi-2
Think Pizza and you don’t think France, but Pizza Provencale has managed to pull it off! ‘Pizza Prov’, as it’s known to the locals, serves the biggest and yummiest pizzas we have ever tasted. A large is more than enough for three people! With its quirky French memorabilia, it feels like a Parisian bistro. 
Pizza Provençale, 29 Regent Street, BS8 4HR
Pizza Provencale 3Pizza Provencale 3 Pizza Provencale 2Pizza Provencale 2
This week we also visited: 
Clifton Village Pharmacy, 10 Princess Victoria Street, BS8 4BP: Independent chemist 
Portcullis, 3 Wellington Terrace, BS8 4LE: Great pub with a secret garden
Clifton Village Butchers 12, The Mall BS8 4DR
Clifton Village Pharmacy-2Clifton Village Pharmacy-2
Portcullis-2Portcullis-2 Clifton Village PharmacyClifton Village Pharmacy
Clifton Village Butcher-2Clifton Village Butcher-2
Week three
You would have thought traditional hardware stores have all died out as DIY chains take over. But Clifton has managed to retain one that the Two Ronnies would be proud of! Clifton Hardware is a small shop but it’s packed floor-to-ceiling with household products and DIY essentials. We stocked up on batteries at a bargain price for Virginia’s camera flash, but we didn’t ask them for four candles...
Clifton Hardware, 19 Regent Street, BS8 4HW
Clifton Hardware 4Clifton Hardware 4 Clifton HardwareClifton Hardware Clifton Hardware 2Clifton Hardware 2 Clifton Hardware by Virginia Allwood - Le Shop UK PhotoClifton Hardware by Virginia Allwood - Le Shop UK Photo
Like hardware stores, it can be hard to find a good barber. But Bristol Barber Co has been keeping the male heads of Clifton looking smart for more than 20 years. Dan’s hair and beard needed tidying up so we popped in. At £15 for a cut and beard trim from the friendly staff, it was well worth it. 
Bristol Barber Co, 17 The Mall, BS8 4DS
Clifton Barber 3Clifton Barber 3
This week we also visited:
Made Just So, 32 The Mall, BS8 4DS: Lovely gifts from British designers
Bar Chocolat, 19 The Mall, BS8 4JG: Chocolate heaven in Clifton Village
Bar chocolatBar chocolat Made Just So 1Made Just So 1 Made Just So 2Made Just So 2
Week four
Nina is always on the look out for props to use in our portrait photography and when she spotted an old crate we just had to go into the shop. Focus on the Past is a fascinating store that has been trading for more than 30 years. Run by a cooperative of 12 dealers, it’s jam-packed with goodies including furniture, kitchenalia, pottery and glass. You could spend hours in there!
Focus on the Past, 25 Waterloo Street, BS8 4BT 
Focus On The Past 1Focus On The Past 1 Focus On The Past 3Focus On The Past 3 Focus On The Past 4Focus On The Past 4
We had a friend coming round for dinner, so needed a nice bottle of wine. Clifton Village has the perfect place. The Clifton Cellars has been selling wine from a 200-year-old building for more than 20 years. The friendly and knowledgeable owner helped us select a lovely bottle of red.
The Clifton Cellars, 22 The Mall, BS8 4DS
Clifton Cellars-2Clifton Cellars-2 Clifton Cellars-4Clifton Cellars-4
Clifton Sausage has to be one of Bristol’s best independent restaurants. Serving up that very British of dishes, sausage and mash, it also offers a range of other meal and vegetarian options. Being veggies, we opted for the amazing Glamorgan sausage as part of the great value £15 for three course Sunday deal. The service is also top notch.
Clifton Sausage, 7 Portland Street, BS8 4JA 
As our week of independent shopping drew to a close, we celebrated with a few cocktails at Amoeba. Another establishment which looks deceivingly small from the outside, the bar has a huge cocktail menu! With happy hour every day between 4pm and 9pm, we couldn’t resist trying a couple. The Thai Daiquiri and English Country Garden served by an extremely friendly and efficient bartender were to die for!
Amoeba, 10 King’s Road, BS8 4AB
Clifton Sausage -1Clifton Sausage -1
Clifton Sausage -2Clifton Sausage -2 Amoeba 3Amoeba 3
Amoeba 4Amoeba 4
This week we also visited
Yume Kitchen, 21 Regent Street, BS8 4HW: Yummy Japanese food
Rainbow Café, Waterloo Street, BS8 4BT: Family run restaurant
Yume KitchenYume Kitchen Yume Kitchen 2Yume Kitchen 2
Rainbow Cafe 1Rainbow Cafe 1 Rainbow Cafe 2Rainbow Cafe 2
Words: Dan / Photos: Nina 
Note: Cafe Sewcity in Clifton has closed but you can find them in Montpelier. Yume kitchen Clifton has closed but you can try their delicious food in their Cotham Hill restaurant.


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