Thanks to Devon’s quirky cities, beach culture, and wild expanse of Dartmoor, there are no shortage of places to sip your favourite tipple with excellent views. In Devon, you can drink ale on cliffs, try local brews in tiny breweries, sit in on poetry readings in community pubs, and sit with your legs swinging over harbour walls. Here’s our guide to Devon’s best bars and pubs.
The Pig’s Nose is probably not only one of the best pubs in Devon, but the United Kingdom too. Set in a small village at Devon’s most southerly point, this characterful pub is full of pirate contraband, local ales, and a loud and hearty atmosphere. The food is home-cooked, and there is not one ounce of phone signal or 4G, meaning that people here have to communicate with each other.
The Bread and Roses in Plymouth is a one-of-a-kind kind of place. It’s a community-run pub, with members having a direct say in the events, beers available, music, and workshops which take place in this gorgeous space. Profits which are made in the B&R are reinvested back into the pub, which means that free events and exhibitions happen on a rolling basis. The pub also supports local music, artists, and businesses with gusto, and often hosts foodie nights, open mics, and talks.
There is no finer place to spend a sunny summer afternoon than with your feet dangling over the harbour wall at The Ship Inn. It’s not a bad place in winter either, and is perfect for cosying up against the elements with a rich glass of red in hand. Sunday roasts here are done on epic proportions, but be sure to book a table as its a popular spot.
There’s nothing like getting your beer straight from the brewery, and at the New Lion Brewery Bar, you can sample limited edition brews, only available from the bar, while sitting in the sunshine outside, or in the brewery itself. The bar is open only on Fridays and Saturday evenings from 5-9pm, and sees a steady flow of locals propping up the small bar, filling up their growlers to drink at home, and playing old records. The brewery has a few ales and beers which are in constant circulation; Pandit IPA, Mane Event, and Totnes Stout, but the beauty lies in the one-offs, exclusive collaborations, and head brewer recommendations from Mathew Henney.
The famous Thatch is almost a rite of passage in Devon, and has an ever-changing atmosphere to go with its ever-changing clientele. This traditional pub in the famous surfing town of Croyde is full of character and has a well-stocked bar to boot. The food is also excellent, and has a mix of pub classics and West Country goodies. Don’t miss out on their famous nachos.
This quirky, backstreet pub with hearty ales and a lively atmosphere is an Exeter firm favourite. The open-plan bar has huge communal benches for everyone to sit at, huge pieces of art sprawling the walls, and books piled up in the windows. The Rusty Bike’s sister pub, The Fat Pig, stocks the bar with their own beers, as well as Exeter Distillery’s vodka, gin, and apple pie moonshine.
The Clovelly Bay Inn is just a great pub. The food which comes out of the kitchen is scrummy, the staff are lovely, and the punters spill out onto the village street and follow the sunshine until it disappears. The pub hosts a range of sausage, ale, cider, and pie festivals throughout the summer too, when the road is shut off and the party not only fills the pub, but the whole village.
If you fancy a coast stomp around North Devon’s rugged coastline, then a pitstop in The Ship Aground is absolutely necessary. This lovely family pub, which has plenty of sunlit patios and decks for basking in the Devon sunshine, is filled with local ales, wreck paraphernalia, and good times.
This 17th-century inn, which has a long history in the village of Doddiscombsleigh, has been featured in the Good Hotel Guide of 2017. From fine wines to delicious food, The Nobody Inn is a wonderful place to spend a long Sunday afternoon in winter. The rooms upstairs are an absolute delight to stay in, and come with breakfast and a £20 allowance for dinner.
Totnes isn’t home to just one brewery, but two. The Totnes Brewing Company is a small bar which sits under the Barrel House and in the old moat of Norman Castle, which dominates the town. This is a small, family-run, independent brewery, which sells not only their own beer, but a selection of small batch craft ales, gins, bourbons, whiskeys and artisan rums. It’s a bit higgledy-piggledy inside, which only adds to its charm, and has a little enclosed garden out the back. You can also take your own food in, so bar snacks are always top notch.
This 17th-century pub takes serious pride in its food and where it comes from. As well as having a wealth of local ales on tap and a whole menu of hand picked wines, the eggs come from the 20 hens who live outside, and the pork from the reared pigs in the field. Not only does this heavily reduce the pub’s carbon footprint, but you can be assured that your food is coming from happy, healthy animals. The rest of the pub’s produce is also as local and close as is possible. It’s also super tasty.
This beautiful, traditional heritage pub set in the rolling hills of Exmoor National Park pumps out gorgeous home-cooked food, offers exquisite accommodation, and has a gorgeous lounge area to while away the time in. It is set within four acres of gardens and countryside, perfect for exploring – either to burn off your hearty lunch or to work up to it – and is also home to the Heddon Valley Beer and Music Festival.