The traditional lunch is only served one day a week, and they're still slotting in bookings made pre-pandemic.
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A plate of British roast dinner with roast lamb, Yorkshire pudding, roast carrots, potatoes, broccoli and gravy on a table in a pub
Credit: Sergio Amiti / Getty Images

Struggling to secure a reservation and having to book a table months in advance isn't uncommon in the world of fine dining. But for a meal in a British pub? The Bank Tavern in Bristol says their traditional Sunday roasts have had such high demand post-lockdown that their waitlist for a seating is now four years long.

Sunday roasts are a British staple — a filling weekend meal typically consisting of a roast meat like beef or chicken, vegetables, potatoes, plenty of gravy and (hopefully) a Yorkshire pudding, traditionally served in the afternoon. (Roasts can often be ordered at dinnertime, too, though at a good pub, the kitchen may have run out of everything but a handful of parsnips.)

These Sunday trips are often casual — simply pop into your local or any random pub — but some spots are known for having particularly good roasts where a reservation is highly recommended, especially since these roasts are often only served one day a week.

The Bank Tavern — located in the heart of Bristol, a city already known for some of the best cuisine outside of London — has clearly garnered a reputation for a good roast. Owner Sam Gregory told the Bristol Post that, between working through their pandemic backlog and accepting new requests, they've had no choice but to stop taking reservations altogether after the waitlist hit the four-year mark.

"Because we had a huge backlog of bookings for people who couldn't eat here due to Covid or lockdowns, we made the decision to honor every booking," he told the paper. "We've actually closed off the booking system so you can't book online, and if we get any cancellations, we are simply back-filling with people in the diary from two years ago. We are up to January 2020 now so it's going to take a while to get through all the bookings."

In an effort to move through the list more quickly, the 19th-century pub (which boasts on its website that they won awards for Best Sunday Lunch in both 2018 and 2019) has added a fourth seating on Sundays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Gregory later added, "A lot of places doing Sunday roasts only release bookings for three-month slots, and if we knew we were going to be this popular, we would have done that but it's a nice problem to have!"

And yet, despite the popularity, Gregory lamented that The Bank Tavern still suffers from no-shows. (Don't do it, people!) "We always say to people if you are in town, stick your head around the door because sometimes tables come up," he was quoted as saying. "It's always worth checking just in case."

Worst case scenario, you could still grab a pint before heading off to one of the many, far-less-in-demand Sunday roasts in town.