The Forge & Fern

In collaboration with Vertex Investment Group, CMS Architects worked on the construction of exciting new Bristol venue The Forge & Fern. The project won the Commercial Development award at the 2022 Bristol Property Awards, and was most recently named Best Non-residential Extension or Alteration or Conversion at the 2023 LABC Awards.

Historically a blacksmith’s, the property was adapted into a cider house, and later the Red Lion pub. We were invited to provide architectural services to renovate the old pub into a brand-new venue, whilst maintaining the history and fabric of the original pub. Newly named The Forge & Fern, it has been transformed into a large family-friendly restaurant venue that has established itself as a popular community space since opening in July 2022.

The venue has a strong focus on the environment and sustainability, with a verdant living wall improving biodiversity, a herb garden offering fresh ingredients, and beehives on the roof providing honey for the restaurant.

Among its other notable features are a glass floor providing a view into the cellar containing a gin distillery, a new seating area out the front of the venue, and a slope for wheelchair use to ensure accessibility to all.

Also encompassed within the project was construction of rental accommodation above the pub and a block of seven flats adjacent to it, balancing the client’s requirement for as much accommodation as possible with those of the planners and conservation officers. All involved are pleased with the outcome, bringing our work on this project to a close.

Architects: CMS Architects
Interior Designer: Vertex Investment Group
Planning Consultant: Stokes Morgan
Structural Engineers: Morgan Structural Ltd
M&E Engineer: Brunel Integrated Services Ltd

Images: Walter Dirks