A spruced up, modern country inn-style pub complete with roaring log fires, an extensive bar and a covered, heated garden out back
Like many of Bath’s ancient, long-established inns and hostelries, the Crystal Palace (established circa 1780) boasts a fascinating history. The pub – formerly a lodging house – was originally known as the Three Tuns, but its name was changed to commemorate the Great Exhibition held at The Crystal Palace in London in the early 1850s.
The massive plane tree that dominates Abbey Green to the front of the pub is a Bath landmark in its own right, and happens to be one of the oldest platanaceaes (don’cha know!) in the Heritage City, and Horatio Nelson is rumoured to have slept upstairs at the inn when it was a lodging house. In 1981, several skeletons and a Roman mosaic were discovered in the pub’s cellar; the mosaic is still there, preserved underneath layers of sand and polythene. So, might there be any ghosts lingering around the bar when last orders are called? That’s up to you to decide – for our purposes right here, right now, we’re going bang up-to-date…
Today, the Crystal Palace pub is a spruced up, modern country inn-style pub slap-bang in the middle of the city centre, complete with roaring log fires, an extensive bar and a covered, heated garden out back that’s spacious enough to make you feel as though you’ve escaped to the country. As we’re on Fuller’s territory here, their own highly-acclaimed cask conditioned ales abound at the bar, alongside an ever-evolving range of craft beers, lagers and seasonal ales, a splendid wine list and all-kinds-of-everything to keep all-kinds-of-everybody happy. On the food front, menus blend time-honoured upper-crust pub grub tradition (fish and chips; perfect pies; etc) with contemporary flourishes to remarkable effect, using impeccably-sourced, seasonal British produce in pretty much every dish. Want to know where the food on your plate comes from? We’re really rather impressed by Fuller’s sourcing philosophy; in our experience, national operators rarely maintain standards as high as this right across their operations, and they’re passionate about developing and supporting their chefs, too. As a result, Fuller’s chefs are as proud of their menus as we were delighted by them on our most recent foray.
Once settled at a cosy table for two in the dining area to the right of the bar (there’s a gentleman’s club-style saloon on the other side and a bright’n’breezy dining space to the rear of the pub too, adjacent to that garden,) we shared a splendid salad of Laverstoke mozzarella, smoked bacon, broad beans, peas and mint (a taste of classic British late spring on a plate, beautifully balanced, and super-pretty too) and a dish of huge tiger prawns, pan-seared in their shells, liberally seasoned with chilli and coriander and teamed with a velvety garlic aioli.
On from this, a friendly, well-informed member of staff (by the way, the staff here – led by manager Kim Rennie – are lovely, as is Kim’s dog Dashwood) steered Mr Pig towards the roast guinea fowl served with lesser-spotted (why?) salsify, potato rosti and an utterly divine tarragon cream sauce, while I decided to engage the kitchen in a little game of roll the dice: seared lamb loin and belly, or spiced cod supreme? The kitchen selected the cod… and it fully lived up to its name: supremely moist, beautifully cooked (crispy skin; creamy white flesh) and served with silky cauliflower puree, caramelised spring onion and fruity mango salsa.
Anybody who knows me well knows that not only do I go weak at the knees in the company of a good chef, but I turn all girly and daft whenever I’m in the vicinity of any pud involving salted caramel, peanut butter and chocolate, too. Cue predictable full-on swooning at my side of the table, then, when I was presented with a peanut butter and hazelnut tart served with Fuller’s own salted caramel ice cream – divine, divine, divine. Mr Pig, meanwhile, was equally happy (albeit in a ‘boy’ way) with his Bakewell Tart, which he almost drowned in lashings of crème anglaise; if those puds didn’t represent the best full stop at the end of the best pub dinner I’ve had in a very, very long time, I don’t know what does (mind you, such indulgence did mean that we had to forgo the pub’s legendary West Country Cheese Board, which brings a fabulous selection together on one slab.)
As you’d expect, Sunday roasts here are legendarily good, lunch brings superb sandwiches (including a fabulous fish finger combo) served with proper chips to the table and the Prix Fixe menu represents exceptional value for money. But even if you just want to kick back with a proper pint in a proper pub and leave properly chilled out, you’ve come to the right place.
Like many of Bath’s ancient, long-established inns and hostelries, the Crystal Palace (established circa 1780) boasts a fascinating history. The massive plane tree that dominates Abbey Green to the front of the pub is a Bath landmark in its own right, and happens to be one of the oldest platanaceaes (don’cha know!) in the Heritage City, and Horatio Nelson is rumoured to have slept upstairs at the inn when it was a lodging house. But in recent years the Palace lost its sparkle a bit, and became known as little more than a prosaic watering hole for tourists, shoppers and office workers. Meanwhile, on the food front, it would be polite to say the menus were mundane. But hey ho, that was then and this is now – and history, as we all know, has a marvellous way of reinventing itself.
Today, the recently-refurbished Crystal Palace pub is a spruced up, modern country inn-style pub complete with roaring log fires, an extensive bar and a covered, heated garden out back – and the grub perfectly matches the backdrop: think, proper Brit-trad fare such as excellent fish and chips, perfect pies, boisterous burgers and – yay! – braised faggots enlivened by just the right amount of stylish supplementary flourishes to keep the contemporary foodie happy. Portions go large here, but if you’re going for a 3-course blowout consider the Devon crab cakes or London Porter smoked salmon starters and make sure you leave room for the vintage ale and molasses sticky toffee pudding at the finishing line.
- Wheelchair access ,
- Free wifi available ,
- Dog friendly ,
- Gluten free options ,
- Baby changing facilities
Monday - Saturday: 11am - 11pm
Sunday: 12 - 10:30pm
10-11 Abbey Green, Bath, Avon BA1 1NN
The Crystal Palace pub in Bath is located just a short walk away from the city’s biggest attractions including the SouthGate shopping centre, the Roman Baths, Bath Abbey and Bath’s Rugby Ground ‘The Rec’.
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