Palace Hotel, Bristol

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Palace Hotel
Palace Hotel Bristol.jpg
Palace Hotel, Bristol is located in Bristol
Palace Hotel, Bristol
Location within Bristol
General information
Town or city Bristol
Country England
Coordinates 51°27′24″N 2°34′48″W / 51.456581°N 2.579910°W / 51.456581; -2.579910
Completed c 1860

The Palace Hotel (also known as The Gin Palace") is a historic public house situated on West Street, Old Market, Bristol. It is a grade II listed building.[1] Its exterior ornamentation includes two Assyrian-style hermai.[2]


The Palace Hotel was built in 1869 for the wine and spirits merchant, John Sharp.[3] At that time it was thought that a new Great Western Railway main station was going to be established nearby. For that reason it was to have been called the Railway Hotel[4] – but Brunel's great Temple Meads Station was built half a mile south, so trade was less than expected.[5] A smaller Midland Railway terminus, St Philip's Station, was opened nearby but this was closed in 1953 and subsequently demolished.

The bar has a sloping floor.[6]

In 2000 Thomas Brooman CBE, co-founder and managing director of WOMAD (World of Music and Dance), took charge of the Palace.[7] He spent much time and money bringing the place up to the high standard for which it is worthy but after 5 years decided it was time to move on. The Palace finally closed its doors in mid-2005 and was sold. The following year the new owner submitted a planning application to change its use to an estate agent's office. In August 2008, further applications were pending, with vigorous counter moves to restore it to a pub. In November 2008 it was announced that the owners of the Bristol Bear Bar across the road had bought the lease and, following a period of decoration in which maintenance of the pub's original features was a priority,[8] it is now up and running as a pub. It is currently (as of August 2017) operating as a gay venue, trading as 'The Gin Palace.[6][9]


  1. ^ "No.1 The Palace Hotel". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-05-15. 
  2. ^ "The Former Palace Hotel". National Heritage List for England. Historic England. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "Old Market. The Palace Hotel". David Goddard. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "Gin palace built to greet railway travellers, who never came". Bristol Post. 3 March 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "Bristol - Old Market". Brisray. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Bristol's Gin Palace pub to reopen as gay bar". Bristol Post. 23 November 2008. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "Bristol". Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "Palace Hotel , Bristol". Marshall & Kendon Architects. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  9. ^ "The Palace". Old Market Quarter. Retrieved 19 November 2015.