Good Vibes at the Grapes

I’ll be the first person to admit that my nights out in Bath tend not to be very… diverse. I just find it so difficult to stray away from SpoonsThe Brewhouse and The Cork – or the holy trinity as I like to call it. While my therapist might attribute this to attachment issues, I just think, as the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But as a person in the midst of a quarter-life crisis, I’ve decided that it is important to venture out and try new things. And by things, I mean pubs. So… here we are now, standing outside The Grapes. First thing: the name. I like it. It makes me feel healthy as I imagine myself greedily feasting on a smorgasbord of perfectly finger-sized fruits. I dream of my past life as a Roman emperor, Augustus perhaps, gorging on the finest grapes in the land, both in their solid and liquid, alcohol-infused form…

Did someone say alcohol? Aha, I snap out of my fantasy and back into reality as I step across the threshold. The first thing that hits me is the music. Old school funk and soul bangers are being blasted out from the vinyl decks, under the watchful control of an enviously enthusiastic DJ, grooving his way through his mid-forties. Good vibes, as my stoner friend might say. Perhaps the music was slightly too loud for my liking; it was just at that volume where I had to shout in order for my incredibly insightful point about our esteemed Chancellor’s latest mini-budget to be heard by my friends. I don’t know why but all of our pub talks seem to devolve toward religion, politics and money. Yes exactly, those topics which you’re not supposed to talk about at a dinner party. What can I say, I just love breaking taboos dude. 

Now perhaps I’m a bit too used to the almost-definitely-underage crowd at Wetherspoons, but I must admit that it did feel slightly like the three of us 21-year-olds entering lowered the average age by about 10 years. I guess ‘real people’ as I like to call them (those who aren’t in that weird limbo of studenthood) need somewhere to go out on a Saturday night as well. To be fair, it did bring an air of sophistication to the place; the crowd was without a doubt ‘cool’, I might even go so far as to say ‘edgy’. But bear in mind, this is coming from a person who frequents the Wetherspoons in possibly the squarest place in the country, in which the coolest person is inevitably some bloke who has popped in to use the bathroom on the way to Sainsbury’s.

This brings us nicely on to my favourite topic: the drinks. I’ve got to say, they had a pretty good selection up for grabs. Asahi on tap is a rare phenomenon in Bath and is certainly much appreciated. A decent selection of other beverages is available to suit even your fussiest diva friend’s needs. They are, however, severely lacking a student discount as the drinks aren’t exactly cheap. I had some generic lager which was pretty bland but unoffensive. Full disclosure though, my taste buds were pretty shot at the time from what I still maintain to be a fever, but which my housemates suspect to be a multi-day hangover. 

I should say, the all-knowing oracle that is Google claims that The Grapes is a Japanese pub, but beyond the Asahi you never would have guessed. The Grapes is about as Japanese as Bristol’s Tokyo World festival (read: not at all). Besides this, I really enjoyed it. As corny as it sounds, the place had all round ‘good vibes’ and made a very welcome change from Wetherspoons. The older I get, the more I realise that a night out is not always necessarily about getting as absolutely plastered as possible on the cheapest available drinks, and that atmosphere, live music and the people around you actually make such a difference to a night. Fuck, what have I become? 

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