The UK’s Best Pubs
Land’s End – The First & Last Inn
The perfect start (or end) to any journey, dating back to the 17th century, this fantastic pub has a sheltered beer garden, log fires, oak beams, superb live music every Saturday, a history of smugglers and ship wreckers. And their awesome End of the Road burger is a thing of beauty to see you off in style. These days it’s the great atmosphere and awesome food that bring in the punters rather than a need to avoid customs officers but whatever the reason it’s a great pub to visit.
If you like spirits then stay the night in one of the pub’s guestrooms where you might get to see ‘Annie’ the building’s resident ghost.
Newquay – The Bowgie Inn
With perhaps the best view of any pub in the country The Bowgie (‘Cowshed’) is another pub steeped in history, set on West Pentire headland in Crantock. Dating back to the 18th century, this superb Inn is all about quality service. They even used to grow their own potatoes for the best pub chips. Check them out online to see their surfcam, menu, read their blog, and you’ll find yourself green with envy on their Facebook page admiring all their stunning beach and food photos!
This pub is great all year round but especially on the August Bank Holiday when they hold their own Ale Festival.
Exeter – The Old Firehouse
Good food, good drinks, good times! This superb pub is exactly our idea of a good night out, the atmosphere is every bit as good as their West Country pulled pork burger, although the whole menu is exceptional and really well priced. The funky lighting and great tunes has made The Firehouse a big hit with students and locals alike and we heartily agree (even if we did get our a****s handed to us at the Monday quiz night).
The building used to be an old firehouse, Yeah, who’da thunk it?
Bath – The Bath Brew House
“The best laid plans…” and all that, sometimes the secret to a great night out is keeping it simple and this stunning pub does just that. A great range of drinks, big wholesome man food and their very own beers brewed on the premises which are simply liquid joy! And yes, whatever jokes you want to make about their beer and Bath water they’ve heard it already.
Occasional watering hole for members of the Bath and England rugby squads.
Bristol – The Gallimaufry
This is definitely not your average ‘boozer’ in any way. From the crazy, random décor to the funky menu and wholesome grub, everything about The Gallimaufry is just a bit special. Big into re-using and upcycling anything and everything, this green ethos has created one of the most interesting pubs you’ll see but it’s definitely the food and drinks that will keep you hanging around.
‘Gallimaufry’ is a type of stew made with whatever comes to hand, which is exactly how this pub evolved.
Cheltenham – The Strand
Any pub that dedicates an entire night to burgers (‘gourmet’ burgers no less) gets our vote. The Strand mixes its top grub with great drinks and promotions, big screen sporting events, live music, they even have their own comedy event. We’re not joking, this place is our favourite Cheltenham hostelry where great nights are as welcoming as a plate of Strand chips.
If you have a bad day at the Cheltenham Gold Cup the good folks at The Strand will make you feel better by serving you food and alcohol. #NiceGuys
Worcester – Keystones
“Man cannot live on beer alone…” That’s why in Worcester we always take time out to visit one of our favourite cocktail bars. Yep, man cocktails are most definitely ‘in’ and Keystones pour the best around. You’ll find all the classic cocktails as well as newer funky drinks plus a few specials of the their crew’s own invention. If we had to pick just one? Smoking Barrel.
The bar also has some amazing cartoon superhero décor. “Kapow!”
Leicester – Cosy Club
If you like your drinking on a big scale then Leicester’s Cosy Club is for you, no, not the glasses but the size of this building is vast! Along with the trendy décor and amazing food this is a top night out any day of the week. The sheer scale of the converted warehouse helps contribute to the brilliant atmosphere you’ll always find. In fact we’d go as far as saying it’s the Vardy of Leicester pubs!
This cool pub even has its own ‘secret garden’ but unfortunately we didn’t manage to find it on our visit (!?!).
Birmingham – The Prince Mosely
Birmingham’s best boozer is packed full of surprises. Just like the Tardis, the modest exterior really doesn’t give any sign of the Pandora’s Box of fun to be had when you cross the welcoming threshold. Whatever your guilty pleasure you can indulge in it here; cheese and wine, cigars, cocktails, cask ales, great food, awesome tunes… In fact the only people who might be disappointed are Chas and Dave fans, there’s currently no Chas and Dave themed night but we reckon it’s just a matter of time “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit…”
Outside you’ll find a dedicated cigar bar aswell as a wine and cheese shop and hubcap guard dog?
Nottingham – The Malt Cross
This huge venue takes good times to a new level.
Originally an old music hall venue, this fantastic bar’s very history is all about letting the good times roll, from the huge lists of acts and events to the heart-warming pub-grub menu.
Most of all it’s the history that seeps out of every brick and bar stool that makes The Malt House a bit special.
The original music hall venue was closed in 1911 due to “Declining moral standards”.
Chesterfield – The Market Pub
Ok, so at this point we might need to put away the glass and focus on the knife and fork as this is awesome hostelry takes ‘pub grub’ to a whole new level. Using the freshest of ingredients this really friendly and welcoming pub serves up a fantastic menu of delights, along with live music and great beer. Of all the stunning things in the Peak District the Market Pub is definitely one of our favourites.
The pub also hosts regular wine and whiskey tasting nights but personally we prefer their pies.
Sheffield – The Riverside
Do not pass go, do not collect £200, when in Sheffield just head straight to The Riverside. The menu is fuelled by the Twisted Burger Co and offers towering brioche buns filled with 100% beef burgers. At the bar you’ll find a massive drinks list with a little something for everyone which can be enjoyed out in the riverside beer garden. This building had once fallen on harder times but it is now our favourite Sheffield spot.
The Riverside has a huge events list including art displays, comedy nights, band and club nights.
Doncaster – Cask Corner
Any venue that describes itself as a “Dive bar & bordello” is likely to turn our heads. Inside it’s even crazier, the décor includes; ironing cyclists, road signs, the world’s largest dartboard, even coffins! The events they host are equally bonkers but brilliant, music hall nights, live bands, DJ’s comedy nights, even burlesque. But don’t let all that distract you from the great beer, match it with one of their Yorkshire pies and you’re on to a winner.
The ceiling is decorated by ‘Clive’ the Mannequin who doesn’t talk much.
Leeds – The Midnight Bell
From the outside this relaxed venue doesn’t need to shout about just what a great pub it is. There’s no noise, no fuss, no drama, but inside you get what has to be Leeds best pub. The food is phenomenal and all locally sourced. The funky/retro menu perfectly matches the old meets new décor which adds to the pubs urban feeling. It’s also well-watered, with the excellent Leeds Brewery pumping the main vein with its life affirming beers.
The pub stands in what is believed to be the oldest set of industrial buildings in the world.
York – The House of Trembling Madness
With one pub for every day of the year, York has plenty of top pubs but our top pick has to be The House of Trembling Madness. It’s as honest a pub as you’re likely to find. The food, beer, décor are all kept simple which just adds to the genius behind them, just like a real pub should. And this is a pub with some boozy pedigree with drinking on the site dating back to 1180 AD. There’s even a handy shop attached so you can take some of their fine beers home with you.
The rear end of the pub’s medieval hall was part of the first Norman house to be built in York.
Middlesbrough – Sticky Fingers Rock Bar
Ok, so strictly speaking not a pub, but strictly speaking, we don’t care! Just a brilliant venue that cares passionately about good music and good beer. However, this being the North you can’t serve all that without pies so Sticky Fingers plug the gap with some of Pieminster’s finest. Unlike many music venues there’s no snobbery, just like minded folk sharing a good pint while tapping their toes to some top tunes.
Not content with guest artists they also have guest ales and even guest pies!
Newcastle – The Botanist
It’s not every pub that has a tree growing in the middle of it but then The Botanist isn’t every pub. If Alice in Wonderland had a Geordie accent, loved good food, great beer and live music then this is the kind of place she’d come. In fact it’s the kind of place she’d run and it’s brilliant! Some trendy pubs just try too hard but here they’ve got it spot on with honest food, funky décor and a drinks list that would turn the Mad Hatter a little ‘kooky’. This pub might not have been around long but long may it reign.
While their green fingers are good they’re definitely at their best when mixing cocktails which are well worth sampling.
Edinburgh – The Lioness of Leith
In a city so famed for its legendary pubs is it right to have a favourite? It feels like picking which one of your children you love the most (it’s the middle one if you’re asking). But if we only had time for one smash and grab pint we’d chose to spend that time at the Lioness of Leith.
They’re doing something new and exciting here and they’re doing it well.
If you ask for afternoon tea with your pint it comes served on stands made of vintage records.
Stirling – The Kilted Kangaroo
Of course, what would be more natural in Stirling, the home of the William Wallace monument (aka Braveheart, aka, Mel Gibson) than an Aussie themed pub. And strewth, this one’s a beaut! The food is big and manly in the freshly killed and grilled Aussie style, while the drinks are cold, plentiful and like any good pub served by staff with predominately… Scottish accents (go figure!).
They serve kangaroo rump steak which is really delicious and healthier than traditional beef (although much harder to catch).
Aviemore – The Ski-ing Doo & The Doo Below
As the name suggests this bar is the place for the ski-ing and boarding community to break bread and crack open a cold one which is good for them as it is the best drinking spot in the whole of Aviemore. Ok, so you have to walk a little further up the road but everything in Aviemore is within easy walking distance and the top tunes and great atmosphere make the extra steps well worth it.
The Ski-ing Doo is actually a distant cousin of Scooby… ok, you caught us, we made that on up.
Inverness – The Auction House
If you’ve made it this far then you’re seriously committed to a great time and in these parts The Auction House is famed for providing them.
By day this is a great family friendly pub that shows all the big screen sports action. In the night the DJs and party crowd come in and “turn up the bass” for some top nights in the Highlands.
The original site was as the name suggests an Auction House and prior to that a church.
John O’Groats – The Seaview
You’ve made it.
The furthest reach of mainland Britain which is celebrated by the fantastic view at this great pub. There’s plenty of parking, home cooked food with the freshest local ingredients and some outstanding whiskies. The welcome really is incredibly friendly and perhaps can only be beaten by the stunning vista at journeys end.
At certain times of the year it is possible to see the Northern Lights from the hotel’s windows.
(but please don’t drink and drive, always pick a designated driver, buy him crisps and ‘pop’).