The Bell stocks seven permanent cask ales - Abbey Bellringer, Butcombe Bitter, Bath Gem, Hopback Summer Lightning, Otter Ale, RCH PItchfork & Stonehenge Danish Dynamite - plus two rotating guests, mainly from West Country breweries.
I usually stop past the Bell on the way to the Star Inn, which is but a few moments further down the street. The Bell although traditional in many aspects has a sort of rough around the edges dive-bar feel. Seems to be frequented by students and hardened boozers. They offer up to 12 cask ales for your drinking pleasure. On my last visit it consisted of 9 fairly local traditional bitters and golden ales. It didnít quite get my heart racing, but there are usually a few new ones if that floats yoru boat. Condition can be a bit hit and miss. I wouldnít personally go out my way for this place, but I would stop past on a pub crawl if I had plentiful time.
On my visit it was quite quiet, just a few stragglers at the bar, it had a run down feel but nothing bad about that, it seemed to be how they wanted it to be, a little old hippy with a bit of hoppy too. The beer was borderline, but I may have chosen a bad day. Iíd go back. Apr í14. Seems to be struggling a little, again pretty empty on a Saturday afternoon, so not much atmosphere.
A unique place in terms of atmosphere and the decor is rather interesting too. At least 6 cask ales were on offer when I visited and most of them were from local breweries. Worth visiting as itís not too far from the areas where most tourists congregate yet is quieter than most of the pubs in the city.
A very nice, dynamic pub in central Bath. Stopped in here on a Saturday evening in early March, 2013 just as a band was getting ready to start playing. The venue itself is nice with a decent (though not extensive) range of ales, plenty of seating, lots of beery ephemera, and good tea. The missus and I spent about 30 to 45 minutes in here listening to the band - which was a fine bluesy/ roots rock outfit - and enjoying our respective beverages (beer for me, tea for her). This place really works as a real ale house and music venue. Highly recommended.
Update - December 2012. Reported in November 2012 that the pub is up for sale. In early Deecember 2012 a meeting took place to consider the possibility of a community buyout. Watch this space.
Review based on a visit in 2006. Walcot Street is the centre of bohemian Bath and the Bell is at the heart of Walcot Street. A wide cross section of humanity passes through this place and a lot of them stay for a while, so its invariably pretty crowded. Best bet is to get there early and find a spot to sit while you work your way through the 12 beers on handpump (although only about five of them change on a daily basis). Most of the beers are from local microbreweries. Thereís a big beer garden out back in what used to be the coach yard when it was a coaching inn. Its a venerable building with several rooms, although its really more about the atmosphere than the architecture. The only food available is nibbles and vegetarian sandwiches. Eclectic live music on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday afternoon, plus open mic night on Thursday. Wi-fi internet access and onsite launderette (thatís a first for me). A visit to Bath isnít complete without hitting the Bell.
Oakes (805) Vancouver, British Columbia | September 2, 2010
Good beer list with a couple rotating handles. I like the vibe in here. They have bands play, the patronage is mixed and the place feels like fun. Sadly, the beers donít seem to be kept all that well - two visits and we barely found anything in good condition.
Only stayed for one pint, but wish we could have stayed longer, as there were several cask ales available. The atmosphere was cool a little run down, but with loads of character. Probably about a five minute walk from the main drag. Cheerful service.