With so many great options to choose from, deciding which pubs in South Devon stand out from the crowd is not an easy task. Of course, it’s simple enough these days to research which pubs have the most votes online. But in our opinion some of the best pubs in South Devon are well-kept secrets, situated in sleepy villages that could never attract as many visitors and votes as the larger, more central establishments.
In addition, picking the best pub for you means matching it to your requirements at a particular time. For example, some South Devon pubs might be ideal for special occasions but not for a casual drink, or vice versa.
For these reasons, we’ve taken a more personal approach and spoken to five members of our locally based team, to find out what they think about the best pubs in South Devon. I also asked each of them what they look for in a pub.
Clare M: The Crabshell Inn, Kingsbridge
Clare likes pubs with modern décor, plenty of outside seating and a good atmosphere. Clare doesn’t mind spending a little more on food if the quality is up to scratch, but she thinks the atmosphere is most important of all. Her vote goes to the Crabshell Inn in Kingsbridge:
My friends and I love to go to the Crabshell where we can sit outside and enjoy the Estuary views, watching the paddleboarding and crabbing and so on. It’s a great place to go for drinks and good food. The Crabshell Inn is very popular for drinks and informal meals as well as private parties and events. You’ll find it at a great location on the Quay in Kingsbridge (TQ7 1JZ).
Emily: The Pickwick Inn, near Bigbury
Emily likes a clean, stylish pub that’s not too difficult to get to. The food has to be tasty but good value, and most importantly the service must be warm and welcoming. Emily told me why she believes the Pickwick Inn is one of the best pubs in South Devon:
The Pickwick Inn near Bigbury has an excellent menu, with great pizzas and roasts. They have quite a simple, seasonal food menu with a good choice of ales, too. I like that they’re really pleased to welcome big parties so it’s a nice place for special occasions.
Housed in a 16th Century building in St Ann’s Chapel (TQ7 4HQ) near Bigbury, the Pickwick Inn has a reputation with locals and regular visitors alike as one of the best pubs in South Devon. There are regular quiz nights, live music performances and plenty of special offers to look out for.
Emma: The Fortescue, Salcombe
Emma is known as something of a foodie amongst the Coast and Country Cottages team. For her, the menu is the most important thing when it comes to choosing a pub. Meal deals are also something she often looks out for. With this in mind, Emma’s vote went to the Fortescue Inn in Salcombe:
The Fortescue Inn serves good food, the portion sizes are very generous and the wine selection is great. It’s friendly and offers great deals – which is one of the reason that locals go there a lot. The owner is very proactive and it’s obvious he really cares about his pub.
If you’re visiting Salcombe, make the most of the Fortescue Inn’s convenient central location on Union Street and pop in for a drink. Food is served all day from 10 am to midnight.
Norma: Island Street Bar and Grill, Salcombe
When Norma’s friends and family visit from Liverpool she likes to take them somewhere with a lively atmosphere, where they can make a real occasion of their night out. It’s nice too if the pub is walkable within Salcombe.
The Island Bar and Grill has a nice mix of locals and visitors and a good mix of age groups as well. It’s especially lively in the summer when there’s a band playing every week. You can sit outside and look over the Estuary, which my friends love when they come down from Liverpool.
Island Street Bar and Grill is located in Hannaford’s Landing, the same building that houses the Coast and Country Cottages Salcombe team. There’s regular live music, special offers and a reasonably priced menu of tasty, hearty dishes.
Ross: The Cherub Inn, Dartmouth
Dartmouth Resident Ross likes friendly pubs that offer a flavour of community life, where locals and holidaymakers mingle, families feel welcome and there are dogs around to stroke too! His vote goes to the Cherub Inn on Higher Street:
I like the Cherub mainly because it’s compact and sociable. The traditional bar area downstairs is so small that when it gets busy it can be quite an effort just to get in and out. That means people naturally get talking so there can be a nice buzz on weekend nights. There’s an occasional live music there, too – that’s when it really comes alive.
The Cherub Inn is Dartmouth’s oldest and only complete medieval building. It’s location on Higher Street means it’s centrally located yet also a little out of the way. Upstairs there is a restaurant floor, where traditional, reasonably priced ‘pub grub’ is served.
So there are just five opinions about the best pubs in South Devon from our locally based team at Coast and Country Cottages.
One thing’s for certain: there’s a pub for every occasion in South Devon. Whether you’re looking for a gastro-pub by a beach, a family-friendly village tavern or a bustling bar for lively night out, you’ll find them all within a short drive of wherever you are in the region.
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