Yeah I've noticed this. The area has changed a lot in the last 5 years. I do miss what it used to be like but gentrication is happening everywhere, just got to find new places to go out
While I see where you're coming from if we're honest Stokes croft was a complete shithole. 5 or 6 years back there wasn't anywhere to go apart from the full moon, junction and whatever the bank was call before it was the bank (a place so friendly a barman once told me to fuck off when I tried to pay for two pints with a twenty), unless you count the queue at best at 3am as a night out. When you got out the clubs or when you passed back through you put your head down and walked through quickly trying to avoid the gangster types staring you out. I remember the night the guy got murdered in club uk I walked back through from thekla or somewhere and got asked what "the fuck I was looking at" 3 times in 100 yards. It was seriously sketchy that night and that wasn't uncommon. That's not to mention the stupid number of crack heads, although it was getting better by 08. I'd rather have pissed students any time.
Even by the time the riots hit the place was much improved and it did seem to have a bit of a golden moment two or three years back when it had cleaned up a bit but was still recognisably the old stokes croft.
I agree it has changed out of all recognition these days and probably gone too far down the friendly and trendy route (just wait till they finally do the carriage works, it's only gonna get worse) but still I can't imagine what it was you liked about the place in the mid/late 2000s.
Having said all that the clubs were much better. I got all sentimental about clockwork/powerhouse the other day. And the old Lakota with propper courtyard. And smoking inside....
I liked going to the croft, junction, blue mountain, clockwork, full moon and lakota. There were some amazing nights put on and fewer annoying students/tourist types around. I agree with what you said about the area being more sketchy but in the venues you seemed to have a better mix of people.
Who knows maybe I'm just getting old and nostalgic