Review: The Bank

9 Oct

I spent much of yesterday daydreaming about my evening – in between the tedious task of letter writing, printing and CV-modifying – and wondering to myself where I could go for a cheap and tasty eat. The age of austerity has hit me this week, so I was trying to think of a really good bargain. I then remembered The Bank – the latest trendy bar to open up on Stokes Croft. It had it’s opening night just a few weeks ago, and I know people who know people there. It’s one of those places where ‘cool’ people from Bristol will go because they know the owners, but fair enough – it’s a nice bar.

Spurred on by the success of Canteen, just a couple of doors down, and the increasing popularity of Stokes Croft as a night-time  destination, The Bank provides a welcome addition to the growing plethora of bars, clubs and cafes in an area of Bristol that has often been best known for its resident homeless and crackheads.

The owners, David Smeaton and James Savage, are also responsible for the Big Chill Bar, The Spotted Cow (a favourite of lbell’s) and The Park, on the Triangle. The owners’ stamp is securely in place at The Bank – it’s another chilled-out, dark but not dinghy bar, with solid earthy seating and a staff of young trendies in short shorts and hairbands. Drinks are pretty reasonable – £3.30 for a Gin and Tonic, £11.50 for a bottle of house wine – if not as cheap as the Canteen’s, but to paraphrase lbell’s favourite saying, as with all life, it’s swings and roundabouts. The Canteen may have a cheaper house bottle, but where theirs is drinkable if already pissed, The Bank’s house white was delicious and dry after only one gin.

You certainly can’t fault the great food deal at The Bank. Every day at any time (presumably this is temporary as some signs claim the deal lasts until 8pm), every pizza and ‘bowl’ goes for a mere £5, and they’re not stingy either!

After some deliberation (all the pizzas sound pretty tasty), it was decided that smoked salmon on a pizza just wasn’t right, so we went for one anchovies, capers and rocket; and one chorizo, semi dried tomatoes, olives, peppers and ground beef.

Both pizzas were cooked to perfection – thin bases, nicely fluffy crusts and the perfect amount of topping, but a slight lack of tastiness did require that significant amounts of salt and pepper were added. It should, however, be noted that lbell is an eater with a penchant for salt and spice, so I don’t want to overstate this comment too much.

The atmosphere in The Bank was just what you would expect: chilled out and cool, but there was certainly a growing buzz by about 9.30pm as it began to fill up and the chatter began to rise. Lbell left at about 10pm, so can’t comment on the remainder of the night (The Bank stays open until 4am during weekends), but can say with certainty that it merits several more visits, and several more gins.

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