If you’ve ever been to England, you know there is no shortage of unique pubs. From the high-end money makers to the locally-owned holes in the wall, there are plenty of places to wet your whistle. Bag of Nails Pub in Bristol, however, definitely stands out. At first glance, this bar has all the staples—great beer, music, and good company. Take a step inside, however, and you’ll see it has even more. The pub is also home to 14 cats. Owner Luke Daniels is unapologetic about the pack of felines that helps run his business, and the cats are helping put the place on the map.
Daniels told the Bristol Post that he never intended to run a cat-friendly pub. It happened almost by accident when he agreed to temporarily care for a friend’s pet. That one cat, named Malcolm, ended up staying. And as we all know, once you have one cat, you can’t say no to more.
Now eight years into his role as Bag of Nails owner, Luke has 14 cats that call the pub home. While he admits his pub isn’t for everyone, his pack of cats has turned the place into a type of tourist attraction. There are the locals that come to the pub for the beer and atmosphere as well as travelers who can’t resist the allure of socializing in a British pub with a cat or two lounging nearby.
All of the Bag of Nails cats have their own stories and came to the pub under different circumstances. They also all have names, and it’s a challenge for locals to learn and recognize each individual feline. With more than a few identical-looking litter mates, it’s not such an easy task.
Jove and Luna, for example, are tabby siblings with stunning swirls in their coat patterns. The best way to tell them apart is to look for their eyes. Luna suffered an eye injury before she came to the pub that required extensive treatment.
Another tabby named Philomena (of Charlie Brooker fame), made herself at home in the pub when her mother carried her there from a nearby park during a storm. The pub turned into a safe haven, and now Philomena enjoys all the attention. You’ll know it’s her, however, because she’ll refuse to sit in your lap. She prefers to receive pets on her own terms.
By the time a tabby boy named MonkeyFace came around, Luke was running out of ideas for names. But the friendly guy was still welcomed to the family. Like most cats, he enjoys sitting in a good box and getting head scratches.
There are a few of the Bag of Nails cats that prefer favored hiding spots to mingling with crowds, but most of the cats make an appearance on a daily basis. The pub made it through lockdown thanks to their popular takeaway beer service, and the cats are now pleased to welcome back their favorite patrons—with restrictions, of course.
Unless it’s peak hours, there’s a good chance there are more cats enjoying this local pub than humans. And when we think about it, that doesn’t sound half bad.
Featured photos via Facebook/ Bag of Nails, Bristol