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  • Writer's pictureKate Able

The Bear & Swan - Chew Magna, OHH

Updated: Jan 29, 2023

Once they owned 3 pubs, This one, The Northey Arms and the Old House at Home...

So of late we've nailed this side of Bristol , why? Well there's loads of good places to eat so why not. The Bear and Swan is in Chew Magna , surrounded by good places to eat, so it has to be on top of its game.

As part of the Old House at a home(OHH) group it also has to stand along side the other pubs and eateries in its midst. Once they owned 3 pubs, This one, The Northey Arms and the Old House at Home, now that's changed a bit and The Northey is now a Butcombe pub and they now run The Cow & Sow steak houses in Bristol.

... a balance between good pub food, environment and value...

One thing is for sure they tried bloody hard to make their establishments stand out - a balance between good pub food, environment and value.

The environment is set inside a Victorian frontage, classic "Public House" not far from Chew Valley Lake in the small busy village of Chew Magna.

Our visit is on a weekday, a cold January and we know the place pretty well , just occurred to us we have never reviewed it, so why not?

The space is a nice, open plan lots of room, a wood burner is lit in the wooden floored dining room area, there is also a long classic bar and a snug area with tables and open fire , it's a nice cosy Pub environment and always seems busy.

the menu is nice varied with some interesting starters and the staple pub classics

Feed me...

The menu is always changing in line with seasonal produce, it's nice because you feel like it's not the same old same old, prices have gone up for sure but that's the way of the world right now, and so long as they keep the standard high then we are happy. Consistency is so important, the menu is nice varied with some interesting starters and the staple pub classics for mains as well as some veggie and a vegan options too. What we really like given the cost of things these days is the idea of offering x3 dishes as small plates for £14, the portion sizes mean this gives you a great meal even to share over lunch and keeps the cost way down. It's nice management of a menu that is full but not over complicated.

We ordered starters of Squid and Padrón peppers, and mains were simple 8oz Burgers with coleslaw and fries, easy!

The starter of squid was about as tender and well cooked as we've had of late - so easy to mess it up and many "posher" establishments do mess it up, this was bang on , grapefruit mayo? Not sure I got a hit of grapefruit but the mayo based dipping sauce was good, worked well. The Padróns were different to normal, we've had em plenty of times here and they are normally banging, not sure why but this time they had some weird crumb sprinkles over them that didn't really taste of anything,no idea what it was, and then for me no seasoning, I want a healthy hit of Malden sea salt over em and maybe a little chilli kick.

The Burger was as expected, proper ground beef cooked just right, I like it medium in a burger and it was, nice seasoning and a fresh brioche bun, fresh salad and gherkin, bacon and cheese with a side of crispy fries ( a little shy in quantity for us ) the coleslaw was delicious- again don't be shy chef ! You make good slaw let's have it !

We didn't have desert, just so full after that monster burger, but next time maybe we will and add our pudding thoughts here, but no reason to think they can't knock out a hearty pudding, let us know if you've had one, by replying to this...or subscribing.

Drinks wise, a very good selection of local beers and lagers plus some excellent named wines, we had a good old Moretti.

Outta here...

We have eaten in all the pubs the OHH company have and have had (excluding The Cow and Sow) , The Bear & Swan tops the lot easily and always has, the service is consistent the food is consistent the space is good, it's clean, access is pretty good, there are steps to get up from the pavement so bear this in mind if you have mobility issues.We are not sure at the time of writing this if there might be another option, so worth a call if visiting .There is a rather nice garden out the back for the summer months, but at this time of year the fire side snug is the place to be.

The toilets are clean and the food for us represents good value, parking ain't great but the side streets of Chew Magna generally have spaces and we have never had an issue.

This is definitely one you should try, we do all the time, even at 8:55pm and they still served us good food. Well done team Bear & Swan!


  • Food score 8/10

  • Service Score 8/10

  • Comms Score 8/10

  • Vibe 8/10

  • Disability Access 6/10 - steps coming in,

  • Bog 8/10

  • Sticky Table 8/10

  • Value for Money 8/10

  • What is cost £63.53 inc drinks for 2 people 2 starters two mains.

  • What it’s worth - Yes

  • Would we go back ? Yes!


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