The Granary: Going with the grain

Image shows: The Granary building

The Granary has been given a new lease of life as an all-day restaurant and late-night bar by the owners of Harbour House. We sat down with Puja Chadha, the team’s lead creative mind, to hear about how the Byzantine building’s heritage has been preserved, while injecting a healthy dose of innovation into this new chapter.

What do Black Sabbath, Byzantine design and Delboy from Only Fools and Horses have in common? They could all be found, at one point, at the grade II-listed The Granary building on Welsh Back by Bristol’s harbour. What was once an important pit stop for touring rock legends remains one of the finest examples of the Bristol Byzantine-style Victorian architecture.

This commanding architectural marvel, designed by architects Archibald Ponton and William Venn Gough, was originally built in 1869 as a grain store, serving a critical role in Bristol’s history. The building’s use then metamorphosed into the much-loved Granary Club that operated between 1969-1988 – a celebrated music venue that welcomed the likes of Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Genesis, Thin Lizzie, Def Leppard, Billy Idol, ACDC, Queen, the Sex Pistols and Black Sabbath to the stage. A classic scene of Only Fools and Horses filmed there once saw Delboy fall through the bar, too.

Its latest incarnation is a new restaurant and bar on the city’s dining scene. Having opened towards the end of 2023, The Granary all-day dining restaurant (complete with The Granary Club below) seamlessly draws on the building’s unique heritage while embracing a very 2024 Bristol clientele.

The Granary – a concept born from the minds of those operating acclaimed Bristol restaurant Harbour House – offers a modern British menu that revolves around seasonal and sustainable ingredients, with a nod to the building’s design by using flavours inspired by the Byzantine trade routes. Though the venue remains relatively new, The Granary’s culinary team are no strangers to delivering high quality menus showcasing local ingredients cooked over fire and a revolving stone oven in an open kitchen. General manager Zack and restaurant manager Damaris add the finishing touch to the dream team, ensuring that the food and beverage is brought alive with a soulful service.

New ideas for an old venue
Puja Chadha – one of The Granary’s founders – explains how the team brought the much-loved Bristolian building back to life:
“The Granary is a nod to the building’s great history and heritage. The idea was to juxtapose the exterior of this building and seamlessly bring it in, yet make it feel more modern with soft natural colours found along the lands by the Mediterranean. The addition of palms in upcycled sinks along the space not only brings in fresh air but also a sense of calm.

“The traditional format of hospitality and the build process has always been very male dominated, so we wanted to shake it up a little and use as many women during this process as possible to give small artists and craftspeople a platform.

“Everything you see as you step inside is 100% upcycled, woven, polished, created, painted or designed by women, from the large weave by Bristol-based Honest Weaves to the 100-year-old butcher’s block now beautifully polished into a kitchen table by Twist of Somerset.

“The soft palette, including plaster pink and sage green paints, was developed especially for The Granary by female-owned Victory Colours, mural artist Ellen Donohue created bespoke wall murals and the chairs were upholstered by the women at Bristol Upholstery Collective.”

Setting the mood with food
The Granary really embraces all-day dining opportunities. From the freshly-ground coffee made as you enter the restaurant, the full bar, relaxed café-style seating and restaurant tables to the opulent basement bar (with the same interior design intentions as its sister venue above), you could start and end your day without having to leave the venue’s front door.

The menus feature a stellar cast of local supplies”

“The whole menu is seasonal and sustainable, we’re buying everything as local as you can – 99% of all our food comes from within a 30- to 40-mile radius,” Puja notes. “Our meats are prepared using a nose-to-tail approach, we do all our own butchery on site. We have a zero-waste policy and our whey, vegetable and fruit peels are used in the club for cocktail syrups and drink infusions.”

The menus feature a stellar cast of local suppliers: rare variety grains are sourced from Shipton Mill, day boat fish delivered daily from Wing of St. Mawes. Meat is procured from The Story Farms, which uses regenerative and wildlife-friendly farming practices.
Vegetables come from DeGusta, and milk is supplied by Bruton Dairy. Seasonality and sustainability flows through into its bar menu too, including Wogan Coffee, Lost and Grounded Brewers, Branch cider, spirits from Bristol Distilling Co, and the award-winning vineyard Woodchester Valley.

The Granary Club

When The Bristol Magazine visited, we tried dishes including the chorizo, ricotta and hot honey sourdough flatbread; hung yogurt with roasted garlic and herbs; tabbouleh, citrus pearls and lemon dressing; white fish tempura with Szechuan sauce; and cider-brined boneless fried chicken with brown sugar buffalo sauce and blue cheese. All were presented immaculately – a rich rainbow-coloured spread.

The breakfast/brunch menu looks equally appetizing: including a south Asian omelette dish with dahl, pickled green chilli and red onion relish, turmeric and coriander; steak and eggs; freshly baked milk bun breakfast rolls with a variety of fillings; and sesame buttered spinach with cider hollandaise on a buckwheat waffle.

For something even more special, spring sees the launch of the new ‘Taste of The Granary’ menu, highlighting six of the best seasonal dishes and a decadent dessert to share, priced at £45 for two people.

The Granary is certainly an ideal location for people working around the harbour and Queen Square areas seeking a fresh, delicious and locally-sourced meal within walking distance of offices.

The Granary, 32 Welsh Back, Bristol BS1 4SB;