Top Ten Cornish Pubs (So Far)

Vintage sign at the Blue Anchor, Helston.

UPDATED APRIL 2013: a new list of our favourite Cor­nish pubs is now avail­able here.

As more beer geeks start to plan sum­mer trips to Corn­wall, we’ve been get­ting odd one-off queries about brew­eries, beer and pubs and so thought we’d put togeth­er a cou­ple of posts with advice for vis­i­tors, of which this is Part the First.

The fol­low­ing list is of Cor­nish pubs we like and can rec­om­mend a vis­it to, if you’re in the area. Those we’ve starred are worth going out of your way to get to.

Note: we’re based way out west, so our choice is influ­enced by that.

The Drift­wood Spars, St Agnes*
You often have to choose between great beer and a great view, but the Drift­wood Spars does both. It’s a fab­u­lous old, mul­ti-room build­ing with its own brew­ery, over­look­ing a beau­ti­ful seclud­ed cove. A must vis­it. (Blog post.)

Star Inn, Crowlas (Pen­zance)*
Home of our beer in the year for 2011. The on-site brew­ery pro­duces clean, pre­cise and char­ac­ter­ful real ales; both those and guest beers, usu­al­ly from up north, are per­fect­ly kept. You’d be mad not to drink Pete Elv­in’s own stuff, but it’s also your best chance of get­ting non-Cor­nish beers in Corn­wall. (Blog post.)

The Front, Fal­mouth*
Friend­ly staff, great range of ales and cider, bring your own food – what’s not to like? (Blog post.)

The Dock Inn, Pen­zance
Our usu­al choice in Pen­zance – one of the few places you can get Spin­go beers oth­er than at the Blue Anchor, often in bet­ter con­di­tion than on their home turf. Friend­ly wel­come and good food, too. (Blog post.)

The Blue Anchor, Hel­ston*
The beers brewed on site might be an acquired taste, tend­ing towards West Coun­try sweet­ness; and they report­ed­ly had a bad patch a cou­ple of years ago (but before our time); but this is nonethe­less a Cor­nish insti­tu­tion, and a tru­ly char­ac­ter­ful pub. (Blog post.)

The Water­ing Hole, Per­ran­porth
The beer is by no means great (it’s fine) but this is a pub on a beach. Not over­look­ing a beach, or near a beach – on a beach, with tables on the yel­low sand. The teenage staff were a bit dif­fi­dent last time we went but we can’t help but love a pub which feels so unusu­al and relaxed. (Blog post.)

Logan Rock Inn, Treen
A St Austell joint sell­ing almost the full range; cosy in bad weath­er, with a bona fide beer gar­den for nicer days. A good place around which to plan coastal walks.

Old Ale House, Truro
Recent­ly tak­en over by Skin­ner’s, this is the place to try their beers and stand a chance of enjoy­ing them. It’s a nice cosy pub with some love­ly old fur­nish­ings. Free peanuts too. (Blog post.)

Hand Bar, Fal­mouth
Where we go for an indul­gent treat. Corn­wal­l’s only craft beer bar. Clas­sics from USA and Bel­gium are sup­ple­ment­ed with occa­sion­al spe­cials. If you’re from any­where else in the coun­try, you will prob­a­bly have eas­i­er access to a bet­ter selec­tion at cheap­er prices, but we don’t, so it makes our list. (Blog post.)

St Austell Brew­ery Vis­i­tor Cen­tre, St Austell
The obvi­ous place to try St Austell beers, which occa­sion­al­ly offers the oppor­tu­ni­ty to try Roger Ryman’s exper­i­men­tal brews. For best results, go on a Fri­day after­noon when the staff knock off: there’s a great buzz and you might get to dis­cuss your pint with the peo­ple who made it.

If you’ve got oth­er first-hand rec­om­men­da­tions, feel free to men­tion them in a com­ment below. If you’re a pub­li­can won­der­ing why we haven’t men­tioned your pub, why not drop us an email?

8 thoughts on “Top Ten Cornish Pubs (So Far)”

  1. What about the Bli­z­land Inn? Eas­i­ly the best real ale pub up our way. 6 or 7 hand pumps and also occa­sion­al keg ales!! Usu­al­ly has some­thing from; Sharps, Coastal, Pen­pont, Har­bour, Tinagel, St Austell. Keeps it in great con­di­tion too…

    1. Thanks, Eddie. Not been, hence not on the list, but have heard very good things.

  2. I’m not say­ing that it par­tic­u­lar­ly mer­its a spe­cial jour­ney, but I’ve got a very soft spot for the Star at St Just. Park the car in the lit­tle square in the cen­tre of town, take a gen­tle stroll down to Cape Corn­wall, per­haps some fish and chips, and a cou­ple of pints of Tin­ners in the Star. Prefer­ably, say, mid-after­noon when it’s qui­et. Nev­er seems to get too full of grock­les, which as a West Coun­try man I appre­ci­ate. (Or per­haps I’m just lucky!)

  3. I whole­heart­ed­ly agree with your rec­om­men­da­tion of The ‘front and Hand in Fal­mouth. I’m not aware of any­where else like Hand in the west coun­try, let alone in Corn­wall – but would love some­one to let me know oth­er­wise.

    Hav­ing recent­ly done a crawl of Pen­ryn and Fal­mouth I would also sug­gest the Thirsty Schol­ar in Pen­ryn (good beer, great beer gar­den), the Boathouse and the Odd­fel­lows in Fal­mouth.

    My oth­er favourite pubs in Corn­wall are most­ly loca­tion based. The Rash­leigh Inn at Polk­er­ris (nice easy coastal walk from Par, superb beach loca­tion) and the best pub in the whole world, the Turks Head on St Agnes, Isles of Scil­ly. The best pub in world on hot sun­ny days when you have to rush to beat the boats to the pasties. The best pub in the whole world on a stormy day and there are no boats on or off the island, and the only thing to do is hud­dle round a pint with friends and fam­i­ly.

  4. Thanks Matt! Not had a chance to go to any of those yet but they are def­i­nite­ly on the list. As is the Blis­land, when I can work out how to do it on pub­lic trans­port.

    Rod – thanks for the rec­om­men­da­tion, we always seem to be pass­ing through St just at 10 in the morn­ing, must fin­ish a walk there instead of start­ing one!

    Ed – thanks for the tip, we had­n’t heard of this one.

  5. Cur­rent­ly stay­ing near wade­bridge and after a day of dad­dy duties myself and friends have earned an evening Pad­stow. Any­thing you’ve heard worth vis­it­ing ?

    1. Ah, now, we’ve got a blind spot there – not yet sur­veyed that part of the world. Let us know if you find any­thing.

      (If you like Sharp’s, you ought to find some of their stuff round there, and I think I recall hear­ing that new brew­ery Har­bour had got their beer into a pub in Pad­stow.)

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