A Cornish Village with no Pub

Beer glass symbol from Ordnance Survey map key.

Gorran Haven is an interesting place — proper seaside, where many Cornish coves are more Sea Salt. It has cones of chips, ice cream, sandcastles, and families nesting behind windbreaks on the beach, just like the holidays we remember from when we were kids.

What we discovered as we waited an hour and a half for our bus yesterday, however, is that the little pint mug on the Ordnance Survey map is somewhat misleading: Gorran Haven doesn’t have a single pub. Several churches, yes, but no pubs.

When we said this to a local, he disagreed and pointed. ‘Up the hill there,’ he said, before conceding, ‘Well, hotel bar, really.’ There is indeed a ‘bar bistro’ but it didn’t look like the kind of place we could tramp into in walking boots, dusted with yellow pollen, thirsting for pints and pork scratchings.

‘Well, the cafes are licensed, too,’ said our local expert. This is also true, but drinking bottles of Betty Stogs or San Miguel at a picnic table wasn’t really what we had in mind on this occasion.

We’re not complaining, just surprised. We’ve been to similarly-sized villages with more than one pub, and it’s unusual to find a corner of the Duchy that doesn’t at least have a St Austell house.

In the end, we were perfectly happy with two mugs of strong tea which we drank on the beach as the tide came in.

5 replies on “A Cornish Village with no Pub”

It’s a real shame to read this and discover that the former Llawnroc Inn freehouse we used to visit has become the Llawnroc Hotel, a “luxury hotel” with a bistro “located on the site of an old inn where villagers have met for hundreds of years.”

Several times we’ve stayed a night at the campsite at the top of the village, just to be able to walk to the pub in the evening and have a meal and drinks in the beer garden with views over the village and out to sea.

To be fair, according to the website it “promises to serve as a social hub for the community for generations to come” and serves Cornish ales. However, It no longer appears to be the kind of place to have a cheap meal and a pint at the picnic tables, so I doubt we’ll stay at the nearby campsite again and think we’d also be happier with mugs of tea on the beach.

Anywhere decent in Porthleven, to your knowledge? The BITE entries are interesting, for one pub in particular. Mind you, Helston is only ten minutes away(!) by bus(!!).

Having checked with Boak, who’s been out drinking there more often than I have, the view is that there aren’t any very special pubs, but they’re all fine. The St Austell one on the harbourside is a bit corporate but has a decent range of their beer on tap and in bottles, and does a very respectable pasty at a very respectable price.

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