city slicker; Bristol

On Saturday, a recreation of the Matthew Ball ship, in which John Cabot first discovered North America in 1497, will be lifted into the water at Bristol's Redcliffe Quay. But there are other reasons for dropping anchor here:

Etymology: The city's name is believed to have transmuted from its original Saxon, Brigstowe, due to the local habit of adding an "L" to final vowels ("Good morning, moi lover, oi'm from the Encyclopaedial Britannical").

Most common Christian names:

Dirk, Hayley, Isambard, Kingdom. (The latter two are after the revered 19th-century engineer, Brunel, who built the Clifton Suspension Bridge.)

Tippler's Bristol: Celebrated for its trading links with Bordeaux, Jerez, Oporto, and the home of both the prawn cocktail of the beverages world, a schooner of Bristol Cream sherry, and its low-life cousin, a pint of scrumpy (rough cider).

Regional cuisine: The faggot, a succulent tennis ball of minced pigs' intestines in caul, traditionally eaten tapas-style with a schooner of well-warmed Bristol Cream, or as a plat de resistance, with plenty of chips and curry sauce, accompanied by a bone-dry litre or three of scrumpy.

Music: The "Bristol sound" of Massive Attack, Portishead et al is now so famous as to be passe. (Recently, I bumped into a Japanese record executive in a Hong Kong night-club musing wistfully as to how Tokyo could ever aspire to produce a Bristol sound.)

Restaurants: Bristol has produced its fair share of good ones - Keith Floyd's highly laudable Harvey's, Markwick's and Hunt's - but Bristolians are traditionally suspicious of innovation, subtlety and the necessity of opening their wallets, leading some of the best newcomers, such as Mario and Franco's up-market trattoria and Mulligan's excellent fish and chip brasserie, to go under.

Last year, the husband and wife proprietors of Lettonie - one of only six Michelin two-star restaurants in the country - complained in print that they couldn't survive on the local trade they were getting, thus unleashing what the Bristol Evening Post described, under the headline "city's sour taste for top diner pair", as an "eating-out row".

Mini-celebrity spotting: Bristol's institutions of higher education are a magnet for society offspring. For the forward-looking paparazzo, Bristol is a gold-mine, with the likes of Stephanie Beacham and Lesley Caron dropping into town to visit their kids. Until very recently, Haiqa Khan (nee Jemima Goldsmith) could often be espied at chucking-out time, deep in discussion of Islamic jurisprudence over a table full of non-alcoholic scrumpy tankards in the Prophet Mohammed lounge at the Albion, in Clifton.

Wheels: Cut a dash in the M32 traffic jams in a Range-Rover and customised trailer, bearing the legend "[your name] Financial Services Balloon Team". Or capture a more retro mood, at the wheel of a sleek 1950s Bristol 403, product of the city's very own bespoke automobile company.

When to visit: In 1997, when the celebrations commemorating the great dual anniversaries - 500 years since John Cabot discovered America and 40 since Russ Conway released the Party Pops LP - are expected to make Rio Carnival look like a wet Monday night at Lettonie.

Ending it all: Hastings may be Britain's suicide capital, numerically, but Bristol is streets ahead style-wise. Georgian garret blow-outs may be due for a comeback, in the manner of the 18th-century poet, Thomas Chatterton, but most still opt for the classic jump off the Clifton Suspension Bridge. If you're wavering, check in to the once-magnificent Avon George Hotel, overlooking the Bridge, and let the tawdry corporate bungle that has brought the fine old establishment low, tip you over the brink.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor