More than 150 young rioters rampaged through the St Paul’s and Stokes Croft areas, the scene of rioting earlier this year amid anger over a new Tesco store.
In St Paul’s, at least three burnt out cars and several bins had been set alight overnight and the Avon and Somerset Probation Trust offices had suffered damage.
In the main shopping area of Cabot Circus, designer jewellery store Thomas Sabo had its windows smashed.
Andy Valentine, 28, who lives in St Paul’s, said: “The only way I can really describe it is like the start of an end of the world movie.
“It sounds dramatic, but it’s true. Where you have a small group of people that have an air about them that you just don’t want to be around.
“Then two or three or four or five more arrived and before you know it, it was kind of 120-strong, with bad intentions loitering outside my apartment.”