Pub landlord shares why customers must wait ‘four years’ to eat famous Sunday roast

Food historian tracks the evolution of the Sunday roast

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The Bank Tavern in Bristol must have delicious Sunday roast dinners, as the waiting list to try one is a whopping four years long. The roasts have proved so popular that landlord Sam Gregory said he had to switch off the online booking service to allow the pub to deal with the backlog of bookings.

The Bank Tavern is located in the heart of Bristol, not far from the city’s main shopping area.

It is a busy pub which serves roast dinners from 12pm every Sunday.

The Tavern’s website describes its roasts as “plentiful” and all ingredients are sourced locally from trusted suppliers in and around Bristol.

However, to eat one of the pub’s famous roasts, customers must wait a while.

Landlord Sam Gregory explained: “It had got to a four-year waiting list until the pandemic but because we had a huge backlog of bookings for people who couldn’t eat here due to Covid or lockdowns, we made the decision to honour every booking.

“We’ve actually closed off the booking system so you can’t book online and if we get any cancellations, we are simply back-filling with people in the diary from two years ago.

“We are up to January 2020 now so it’s going to take a while to get through all the bookings.”

He added: “A lot of the tables of two have been easy to rebook but it’s the larger tables of eight or 10 which are taking a bit harder to fit in.”

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To give customers more opportunities to eat at the pub, Sam has introduced an additional sitting on Sundays, from 5pm to 7pm.

However, despite the eagerness of diners, the pub still has to deal with cancellations and no-shows.

This is despite customers receiving reminder emails and calls.

But luckily for some, this means that other customers could get a table at the pub before their allocated date and time.

Sam therefore recommended that people check with the Tavern on Sundays if a table has suddenly become available at the last minute.

Customers are not able to book when this happens, but it is still worth turning up and asking on the day.

The landlord continued: “We always say to people if you are in town, stick your head around the door because sometimes tables come up if we get no-shows.

“It’s always worth checking just in case.”

But what is it that makes the Bank Tavern’s Sunday roasts so popular?

Sam said he believes consistency is one of the main reasons.

He explained: “We stick to the same meats all year round but add seasonal alternatives like lamb and venison, but our starters and desserts change every week.

“A lot of places doing Sunday roasts only release bookings for three-month slots and if we knew we were going to be this popular, we would have done that but it’s a nice problem to have.”

The pub offers other classic dishes too such as a bean burger with chips or a fried schnitzel with potatoes and salad.

For these meals and more, the Tavern’s kitchen is open 12pm until 4pm from Monday to Saturday.

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