In the April of 2022 we (very excitingly) opened our first exhibition in the workshop space at the back of our Quaker's Friar's store. It was a photography exhibition, detailing the diversity and entrepreneurial spirit of Old Market (head over to this blog post for some hot takes if you didn't get to see it in person).
But what is this 'Old Market' you keep going on about, you may be wondering? Where is it, what is it, and why is it important? Well, fear not. Keep reading to discover a little more about this historic shopping district, and scroll a little further than that for a directory of business owners in the area - from retail to services, guitars to pints, we've got you covered.
At the intersection of Old Market Street, West Street and Midland Road sits a diverse range of shops, services and companies.
The area, like the majority of Bristol, is rich with history. In medieval times Old Market was home to vibrant market stalls, which were placed directly outside the castle walls (the remains of which you can still visit today, in Castle Park). It was also the main road to London, which members of the royal family paraded down during their visits. Over the last century it's had vast ebbs and flows of independent business life - from manufacturing to retail - and has always been the go-to area for bespoke, high quality craftsmanship. As far back as the 18th Century it is recorded as being a hub of trade, and a well-established shopping destination for independent businesses.
However, Old Market Street, West Street and Midland road have been neglected over the years. When Castle Street was bombed in the war, shops were moved to Broadmead and the Temple Way underpass was constructed. Due to large roundabouts severing it at either end, and a road formation that has turned it into a fast ‘cut through’ route into the City Centre, Old Market became an area to pass through, rather than a place to visit.
There is a huge variety of business-owners: printing specialists; tailors; nail bars; hairdressers; restaurants; support hubs; retail shops; bars and pubs; theatres; record shops; cake makers; vintage shops, and so much more.
Certainly not an area to overlook, Old Market is a vibrant centre of commerce, design and innovation. Scroll down to learn a little more about our wonderful Old Market Businesses.
West Street, Bristol
Restaurants, Bars, Bakeries and Pubs
Assembly Bakery - A small, independent, artisan bakery that is known for its award-winning sourdough bread. Assembly Bakery try their best to source ingredients as responsibly as possible. They are proud to work with some of Bristol's best suppliers including Shipton Mill and Origin Butchers. All their gas and electricity comes from renewable energy sources.
Bagelicious - Bagelicious is independent, family owned and one of the finest bagel shops in Bristol. Found at 24 Old Market Street, customers are their top priority which is why they only use top quality ingredients. All their bagels are freshly prepared and filled. They love people as much as they love bagels!
Bodkin Bakes - Bodkin Bakes’ mission is to create fantastic bakes suitable for anyone and everyone to eat! Most days you can find Daisy in the kitchen. She is a researcher, recipe developer, and artist who firmly believes that homemade is best. The Bodkin Bakes kitchen is completely nut free.
Chido Whey - CHIDO WEY has been serving Cali-Mex realness since October 2020. Their corn tortillas, fruit juices and salads are all freshly made and they pride themselves on making Bristol's fiercest and most delicious Mexican food and cocktails. The use locally sourced free range meat and organic fruit and vegetables, fused with selectively imported Central American produce.
Deocraft Cakes - Deocraft Cakes opened in the very heart of Bristol in December 2015, providing only the very highest quality of cakes and decorating supplies. Their cakes are made using only the purest of ingredients and each cake is individually crafted from innovative designs.
Old Market Cafe - A locals' favourite, this traditional cafe serves delicious cooked breakfasts, hot and cold sandwiches and jacket potatoes. It's said their friendly staff serve the best priced breakfast in Bristol!
Old Market Distillery - Born in January 2021 the Old Market Distillery represents the next evolution in craft distilling in the city of Bristol and was set up to produce a distinctive style of gin which has been largely forgotten. Based in the newly renovated and welcoming Old Castle Green pub, the distillery currently makes two stunning gins that recreate the famous Old Tom Style.
The Punch Bowl - The Punch Bowl Ale House and Kitchen is an ale and craft beer venue with, as their name suggests, an enticing and diverse food offer. The listed building is whispered to date back to 1806. Owned by various wine merchants throughout the years, it wasn’t until 1872 that the pub first opened its doors as the Punch Bowl.
Elmer's Arms - The Elmer's Arms is a Real Ale Bar with a 60s jukebox, regular live music and DJs. With a community, party atmosphere, they're as much a testament to the music scene of Bristol as they are to their regulars.
Asia Express - Asia Express is a family run, authentic and traditional Chinese food take away restaurant, serving some of the best noodles, soup, duck and curry dishes. Their chefs are well known for their excellent Chinese cuisine and their dishes are works of art.
The Ill Repute - The Ill Repute helps you maintain your 'fermental health', serving the best craft beers, spirits and cocktails. They are also a great destinations for top-shelf tacos and banging burritos. They support local and touring bands, solo artists and DJs who are often found on the main bar stage, or in the “Subterranean Social Club".
Stag and Hounds - A traditional English pub marking the start of Old Market street. Full of history, this 15th century building continues to this day to bring great food & refreshments such as delicious stone-baked pizzas, real ale and craft beer, to the people of Bristol. Offering good quality live music, a friendly atmosphere, a bookable function room and a roof terrace.
Lawa Restaurant - Lawa Restaurant offers the the best Middle Eastern grilled kebabs in Bristol. With their own in-house Juice Bar they can serve freshly squeezed healthy juices to accompany your meal. They also offer a takeaway and delivery service. Perfect whether you want to dine out with friends in their restaurant, or fancy a meal at home.
The Long Bar - The Long Bar Housed in a deceptively narrow building, The Long Bar is one of Bristol's oldest pubs. It is a lively and popular place for locals, with one, long bar spanning from front to back. It has a pool table and secluded wooden drinking booths.
The Old Market Tavern - The Old Market Tavern has been around since the mid 17th century. Since then it has had many fronts and even knocked through to next door. Now it stands as a beautiful pub with great decor.
To The Moon - Established in 2016 by husband and wife Chris and Gemma, To The Moon is a bar concentrating on top quality drinks at reasonable prices. With events such as DJs, live music, community socials, drawing classes & rum tastings, plus a cosy interior, it is a unique setting which embraces Old Market’s diverse community and welcomes all from far and wide.
Tomo No Ramen - Founded by Chef and native Bristolian James Stuart, Tomo No Ramen creates both food and an atmosphere that is familiar and open, while pushing you to the unfamiliar and new. Tasty seasonal ingredients are turned into an exciting and ever changing menu that uses traditional techniques and forward-thinking flavours, accompanied by local beers, Japanese whiskies and great wine.
Independent Shops and Services
Azzta Computers - Azzta Computers is an IT servicing company that started in 1999 in Bristol. They service PCs LED TVs and Printers and are an authorised EPSON printers centre. Their main aim is to give a first class service to their customers.
Aldo's Barbershop - Aldo looks after his clients and the community, providing a friendly atmosphere and quality haircut where everyone can forget their day to day issues and troubles. It's all about the customer relaxing, being listened to whilst having a drink, feeling good about themselves, looking fresh and being free to take on the world again. #GetItCut
Army of Few - Army of Few is a small but potent collective of versatile multi-disciplined designers with a combined experience of over 25 years in the music industry. Specialising in original campaign artwork and marketing for the music industry AOF has produced cutting edge creative for some of the worlds biggest artists and record labels.
Bangs Hairdressers - A friendly, professional salon in Old Market. Art Director, Padge, has been working in the hairdressing industry for over 30 years. He’s also been a creative for session work at London and New York Fashion Week and worked on many campaigns. His session work has been featured in Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, L'Officiel, Glamour, Vogue Italia and Wonderland.
Bicep Press - Bicep Press is a Screen Print studio based in Old Market, Bristol, specialising in Fine Art editions for galleries and publishers. They pride themselves on having the finest attention to detail, a dedicated and collaborative approach and creative solutions in screen printing.
Bristol Vintage - A vintage treasure trove stocking antiques, collectibles & object de virtue (and some weird and wonderful stuff). Phil opened up the shop 10 years ago to bring character and charm to Old Market. From homewares to garden accessories, there's no chance you can leave empty-handed!
Carpets Direct - Carpets Direct is situated opposite the Trinity Centre and is full to the brim of quality carpets and flooring solutions. Customers visit from all over Bristol as they love the variety, the low prices and the customer service.
Country Studio Framing - Country Studio Framing create custom picture frames for your artwork, collectibles and family memorabilia. Offering a high-quality service and excellent customer support, they're a one-stop-shop for all your framing needs.
Electric Ladyland - Founded by Steve Baker in 1976, Electric Ladyland is filled to the brim over multiple floors with restored vintage guitars, amps, mixers and other accessories. People who know and love the shop go there as much for Steve's knowledge and conversation as they do the instruments that he sells.
Puzzlair - Puzzlair was the first ever escape room in Bristol and is still going strong some nine years later! With two venues in Old Market, Puzzlair offers a variety of themed games suitable for a range of ages and abilities.
Specialist Records - An independent record label & record shop based inside The Exchange music venue. Focused primarily on new punk, indie, metal vinyl records, they're a treasure-trove of musical knowledge.
Frank's Vintage - Frank's Vintage is a vintage and second hand homewares shop specialising in pottery and mid century furniture. Franks stocks a wide range of homewares and accessories with a strong love for all things 60s and 70s.
Glitch Studio - Glitch is the place to be. It's a multi functional space where a hair salon, cafe, nail bar, tattoo studio, and event space coexist under the same roof.
Good Store - Good Store is collaborative lifestyle store & creative space. It is a fusion of all things beautiful and joyous, championing the work of over 60 makers. Formed by three local independent business women in 2019, it is an umbrella brand for their own companies: The DIY Supermarket (Beth), Palace Flophouse (Josie) & Duvet Days (Emma).
The Gossip Nail Bar - The Gossip Nail Bar is the first nail salon in Bristol to focus on awesome nail art with a small team of talented nail artists. A fun and friendly, cruelty free and vegan nail salon just a few minutes walk from Bristol’s Cabot Circus, in Old Market.
Hounsfield Printing - Hounsfield Printing has been operating and providing great service since 1981. With no job too big or too small, Hounsfield Printing create high-quality print and advertising materials, and one-off documents. Whether you need help designing a business card, menus or posters, their team can help you develop high quality designs to your specification.
HRS Motorcycles - HRS Motorcycles offer a range of clothing, helmets, boots, parts and accessories for motorcycle riders.
Jokoto Tailoring - Jokoto tailoring was created by Eloise Atwell and Hannah Bartlett in 2018. Old Market was an ideal place to start their business venture of bringing their fashion and tailoring craftwomanship to the public. With a team of six, their workshop caters to small mends, refitting of garments, bespoke tailoring and small production runs.
Kings Motorcycles - King Motorcycles offer motorcycle repair. The also buy and sell motorbikes and offer parts and accessories.
Life of Si - Simon was born in a bookshop in Yorkshire and studied publishing. Since then, he has always dealt in books and prints. In 2014 he travelled around South East Asia for 3 months. On his return he started specialising in 19th century and early 20th century maps and natural history prints, which he sells from Life of Si.
Live Ink - Live Ink is a t-shirt and garment printing shop with a strong focus on eco-friendly screen printing and print on demand. As well as in-house production Live Ink is also a crew of print experts who travel across the UK and Europe bringing screen printing live to festivals and events for a unique hands on zero-waste merchandise experience.
Old Market Barbers - Despite the name, Old Market Barbers is in fact the newest barbers in the area - and it’s already so popular! In a mere 2 months Alex has an amazing 150, 5-star reviews. He has 13 years of experience and is happy to serve the diverse customer base that Old Market is famed for.
Old Market Express - Established in 2016, this family-run convenience store is your one-stop-shop for variety; stocking everything from chocolate bars to cleaning products. They have the best staff and you always leave with what you were looking for.
Old Market Plants - A houseplant hub for greening any space or home with practical solutions, care advice and a wide range of plants from small to tall. Tucked alongside the plants are luxury and person centred gifts complimenting a self care ethos, and a refill point for local good karma and convenience. You're welcome to take a break here.
Per Temps - Starting off life as an independent family-run business in 1961, Pertemps has grown to become one of the largest providers of staffing solutions in the UK, owned and controlled by its own employees. Not a big, scary faceless company, Pertemps strongly believe in the personal touch.
Prior - Prior is a not-for-profit independent shop, workshop space, gallery and community hub. They are committed to conscious shopping and showcase design-led, handcrafted work that is made responsibly and sustainably. Supporting over 150 Independent makers, they offer free business mentoring and spearhead collaborative community projects.
Skin Deep - Skin Deep has been open since the 1980s and has become a world renowned tattoo shop. With links to Bristol's famous tattoo history of the 50s and 60s, the shop continues the city's tradition of tattooing its residents young and old with port town style designs of ships, pin ups and swallows. Beauty is only Skin Deep.
SOFA Project - SOFA Project is a Reuse, Recycling and Rehabilitation charity and social enterprise. SOFA stands for Shifting Old Furniture Around and the charity has been doing just that for over 42 years in the West Street and Old Market areas, providing affordable furniture, appliances and paint to people on low incomes and helping to stop items unnecessarily going to landfill.
Sparta - Sparta is a gay sauna and spa. It is a safe and comfortable space for men to relax, connect and escape. Downstairs it has a sauna Jacuzzi, bar and private cubicles; upstairs a cape and sling.
TE Stone LTD - TE Stone is an Engineer's Merchant, established in Old Market in 1941! They are a supplier of industrial fixings, fastings and general engineering supplies, as well as a fountain of knowledge of everything engineering. They are open to the general public and are happy to help members of the public with their DIY projects.
The Dentist - A thriving Private Dental Practice in the centre of Bristol, The Dentists Old Market was founded in 1985. The team provides knowledge and expertise in all aspects of general and cosmetic dentistry.
Charities and Venues
Independent People - 1625 Independent People is a charity that works with young people who are homeless, leaving care, or at risk of homelessness in the South West. They have a vision of a world where all young people have a safe place and trusted adults to turn to and can access the opportunities they need.
Bristol Law Centre - Bristol Law Centre is a charity providing free legal advice in specialist areas of social welfare law, and, in some cases, representing clients in court. They help over 1,500 people a year access the justice system.
The Exchange - Exchange is a community owned, not for profit, independent music venue. It is also home to Gig Buddies Bristol, a befriending project that enables and empowers people with learning disabilities and/or autistic people to enjoy all the great events going on in Bristol by pairing them up with new friends with similar interests.
The Old Market Assembly - The Old Market Assembly on West Street is a venue like no other, set over two floors in a beautiful building that was once home to a bank. Serving up deliciously seasonal, locally sourced food and at weekends plays hosts to an eclectic mix of touring artists, club nights and live shows.
Off The Record - OTR is a mental health social movement by and for young people aged 11-25 in Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. They offer a variety of projects to promote good mental health and wellbeing, and empower young people to support themselves and their communities. Find out more at otrbristol.org.uk and @otrbristol.
Talking Money - Talking Money is a charity that supports people with money worries; helping with long and short-term debts, benefits advice, fuel poverty, and income maximisation. Their trained advice team offers free guidance and support to disadvantaged individuals and families to improve their financial circumstances and move out of financial hardship and the cycle of poverty.
The Trinity Centre - Trinity’s vision is for everyone to have the opportunity to access and shape arts and culture. They believe art improves individual well-being, empowers communities and enhances society. Their mission is to empower communities through arts and they do this through providing a diverse programme of arts, heritage and cultural projects, activities and events.
The Wardrobe Theatre - The Wardrobe Theatre is a fringe studio venue and thriving arts hub in the heart of Bristol that has showcased the best theatre-makers, companies and artists from around the UK since 2011. Every year they welcome audiences of 35,000 people through their doors and stage more than 500 performances.