This week in Bristol and Me, we speak to Gary Regis, general manager of The Greenbank
When the Greenbank’s previous owners wanted it turned into flats, the local community rallied and and said “there are already enough houses round here, we want our pub back”. They organised a Facebook group, a petition with 4,000 signatures, and joined with CAMRA to get it recognised as an asset of community value, which meant it had to remain a pub. Zazu’s stepped in, and the pub reopened in 2014.
There’s so much going on – more than 250 events per year – that it’s hard to keep on top of: drum and bass workout, baby yoga, life drawing, jazz, book club, baby boogie, folk night, sling library, all sorts. My favourite is Satellite of Love, a spoken word and poetry night. If someone has a good idea, wants to practise their singing or whatever, we’re here; we try and appeal to everybody.
I keep our drinks selection as Bristol as I can. We’re round the corner from Dawkins Ales, Wiper and True, Arbor Ales – all delicious and local – and I also go further afield for stuff people might not get around here. There can be a race to the bottom over cheap drinking, but we think you should pay producers a fair price, and then we’ll charge accordingly; we’re quite proud of that. Our food ethos is to keep it simple, fresh and local. We make our dough every day – we’re really good at our pizzas now – served alongside pub classics and specials.
Easton has changed in the time I’ve been here, with a lot more young families. People bandy around ‘gentrification’, but if the community is still here and there are more and better facilities, so much the better. There were no cafes when I got here, now there are several – Este is lovely, No 12 is great, the Thali; Easton is going places. More widely, the Bristol pub scene is so strong, with some fantastic places – and great areas – to drink in. Being named Bristol Life Bar of the Year over all of them made it even more special.