Everyone knows that Thursday night is the new Friday night, so it was no surprise that there was already a queue when we arrived at the launch party of the new Turtle Bay venue. Fitting perfectly into the hustle and bustle of Cheltenham Road, the Turtle Bay team have expanded their Bristol offering in the building that once was Plantation, keeping its Caribbean roots but putting their own spin on things.
Once inside, we headed straight for the bar. The whole place was buzzing with laughter and music, and just a touch of rum – the capsule menu showed off their cocktail reinvention skills, and we, of course, sampled them all.
Drinks in hand, we moved up to the mezzanine to check out the party from above and take it all in, and get our hands on some of the beautiful platters of food that were being brought round. The venue itself looks incredible – huge murals adorn doors and walls, bottles of rum and cans of Ting become part of the interior design and there are even some fun, unique elements that fit the Stokes Croft vibe perfectly, like a pair of barber’s chairs sat near the window.
Back downstairs, past the open kitchen where everything smelt just uh-mazing, the band started playing, really kicking things into party mode as people started moving to the beat. We bumped into friends, then some more friends, and then got chatting to total strangers – the whole place just gives off a friendly, happy vibe that you can’t help but join in with.
If the party was anything to go by, Turtle Bay’s second Bristol venue is going to be a huge success. It has all the fun (and rum) of the Broad Quay setting, but mixes that with a good pinch of Stokes Croft charm and a few relics from its former days as Plantation, making a unique and lively Caribbean venue. I, for one, can’t wait to check it out in full swing on a Friday night – the jerk chicken is to die for!