We visit the ‘proper’ Bristol pub with cheap pints, meat raffle and several dartboards

When it comes to ‘proper’ Bristol pubs, The Sandringham is one of a sadly dying breed. From the partially-frosted glass windows (that don’t give passers-by a clue as to what’s going on inside) to the threadbare carpet and slightly stained bar stools, it’s like stepping back in time to how pubs were 40 years ago.

A large and impressive building on Sandy Park Road, The Sandringham has been a Brislington landmark since Victorian times. And despite the fact this corner of BS4 is getting increasingly gentrified as house prices soar and estate agents describe it as ‘the next Southville’, the only old pub left in the area (apart from The Langton) refuses to change.

In fact, a few weeks ago, many locals would have spotted something unusual happening at The Sandringham. The faded old signs outside were changed and the chipped paint of the window frames were given a fresh lick of emulsion.

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For a horrible moment, I’m sure many of the regulars may have feared the worst but they needn’t have worried as their beloved local hadn’t been sold or about to be gentrified and it’s business as usual.

It’s still used by the same people as ever and still offers the same no-frills experience. That means cheap pints, several dartboards, large screens for sport and a lively crowd of locals who tell it as it is.

Late afternoon mid-week and the crowd when I arrived was a mix of people in hi-vis bibs, T-shirts branding names of local scaffolding firms and paint-splattered workmen on their way home. Bar staff are on first name terms with virtually every regular and ‘new’ faces attract a deal of curiosity but a friendly welcome nonetheless.

When it comes to food, the choice is between peanuts, Bacon Fries and Mini Cheddars. My pint of Thatchers Gold was only £3.80 and other choices on tap include Moretti, Guinness, Kronenbourg 1664, Foster’s, John Smith’s, Bass and Butcombe Original. If you’re looking for trendy craft beers and posh pub food, this is certainly not the place for you.

But if you want to sit on a well-worn chair and catch live racing from Thirsk racecourse (and there’s a bookies across the road from the pub if you fancy a flutter) or use up loose change on the Fishin Frenzy Big Catch game flashing on the slot machine, all against a backdrop of Rod Stewart’s Maggie May or Electric Light Orchestra’s Livin’ Thing, this is the pub.

The pub has occasional live music and there’s a large function room upstairs (a lot of locals had wedding receptions there back in the day). And on Sunday, there’s a meat raffle. If that's not the true sign of a ‘proper’ Bristol boozer, I don't know what is.

The Sandringham, 8 Sandy Park Road, Brislington, Bristol, BS4 3PE.