The Hemsby Dining Club

Six times per year, a group of friends meet for dinner at restaurants in or around Bristol. The date and venue for the meals are decided deterministically by a one-shot vote, requiring minimum effort from those invited. The result is a peripatetic dining club.

How it works

Each meal is arranged according to the constitution. However, the most concise summary of how things work is given by reading the following text that accompanies each poll as instructions.

We use Doodle to run the actual poll. We may not always in the future, partly because it's packed with ads. The Wikipedia article about Doodle mentions some competing products. However, Blenchly has written the Bloodle front end and back end too, and we're likely to move to this.

Essential HDC facts

A typical meal is attended by eight diners. Over the five meals since September 2019, eighteen different people have ever attended and sixteen different people have ever voted. The club is named after a venerable ferret, sadly no longer with us.

The next poll

The following list of ten restaurants is, in the correct order, those to be presented in the upcoming poll. Shown after each venue is the automatically-chosen pub for drinks beforehand, then its constitutional status, finishing with R3, the score used for its ordering. You can consider this score the group's expressions of enthusiasm for the venue. Note, however, that this rating doesn't only reflect group opinion about a restaurant's suitability for a big group, but also how willing poll participants are willing to travel to eat there, among other factors. It should therefore not be understood as a general expression of quality.

The symbol ★ denotes restaurants that we've visited the most, and, among those remaining, the symbol ☆ denotes those that we've collectively decided is worth a return visit. For those visiting from further away, rail and bus stations within 800m are indicated with the 🚈 and 🚌 icons.

Expired choices

The following venues have expired from the process, having failed to win a poll three times in a row. They may, however, be suggested for inclusion again, especially if they received a relatively high score. If you'd like to see these added to the list of 'active' venues then please let us know.

Which pub?

Historically, the favourite pub for pre-dinner drinks is the Seven Stars. With a lot of people, plans to meet before the meal at a pub can often get complicated. So, if we know of one, we suggest meeting at the nearest pub within 800m of the restaurant, so we have a definitive meeting place with at most ten minutes' walk to wherever we're eating.

To do this, we maintain a list of our favourite pubs, which currently comprises the following eighteen pubs: The Seven Stars; The Apple; The Bank Tavern; The Hillgrove; The Highbury Vaults; The King's Head; The Barley Mow; The Duke of York; The Famous Royal Navy Volunteer; The Hope and Anchor; The Old Stillage; The Golden Guinea; The Colosseum; The Lansdown; The Ostrich; Left Handed Giant Tap Room; The Volunteer Tavern; Kingsmead Street Bottle.

This list is by unanimous consensus, at least from those preferences which have been expressed. That is, any regular diner can veto a pub's inclusion on the list. For this reason, requests to add or delete pubs are welcome.

The mailing list

To be informed of upcoming meals by email, join the announcements mailing list. This is done by sending a blank email message to You should of course know one of us! If we're unlikely to recognise you from the name and email address in your request to join, it might be a good idea to drop me a line first, so that we know to approve your subscription. And, if at any time you're no longer interested in attending, you can discreetly unsubscribe from the mailing list by sending a blank email message to