Located on the corner of St. Pauls Road (Hamilton Place) and Hanover Street. George Meek is recorded as a brewer in 1883. There is a faded photograph of the pub with Frank Oliver as the landlord. The date is not recorded but a painted sign on the wall of the pub reads ‘The Victoria Brewery. Rock Brewery Co. Ltd. Celebrated Ales & Stout. In 4,8,16 and 34 gallon casks. Delivered free to all parts’.
The Victoria was an ordinary back street Whitbread pub up until the early 1990’s. It was bought by Banks’s Brewery of Wolverhampton in 1991 along with the Mitre Inn and the Railway Inn, New Street. The Victoria was disposed of by Banks’s about eight years later.
In January 2001 a refurbishment of the pub caused some controversy. The exterior was painted in two shades of bright green and a new pub sign had a saucy caricature of Queen Victoria flashing her bloomers. Inside the pub there was another painting of the Queen sitting on the toilet with her bloomers round her ankles and the words ‘royal flush’ written on the cistern above her. The Victoria had another makeover and the offending signs were removed and the pub had a lick of orange paint. The name of the pub changed to the ‘Spa Retreat’ on 15th April 2005. After a period of closure in 2007 it opened again in December of that year as the ‘St Pauls Tavern’.
The former pub was entirely gutted, redecorated and was officially opened in November 2016 as the Coconut Tree – a Sri Lankan street food restaurant. From these beginnings the Coconut Tree brand has extended into a business model and there are now two Coconut Tree branches in Bristol and other in Cardiff. At the time of writing in February 2020 there were plans to open two new venues. The Coconut Tree in Cheltenham has ceilings plastered with Sri Lankan newspapers and has a bar adorned in copper pennies set in resin. Beers are still served at the Coconut Tree but the emphasis is on cocktails.
Landlords at the Victoria Inn include:
1870 Eliza Jane Symes.
1883 George Meek
2001 Joe Young
2001 Peter Jones
2004 Richard Barker
2004 Patricia Taylor (owned by Avebury Taverns)
2010 Nichola Morrison (St Pauls Tavern)