Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Pubs in Tenby, Pembrokshire

Tenby in Pembrokshire, South West Wales, is a beautiful place and well worth visiting for a weekend break, preferably longer to fully appreciate it. If you get bored of the amazing scenery and beaches there is plenty to do in the surrounding area what ever your preferences. It truly is a 'picture postcard' place to look at.

I present the evidence in these photos, my wife has had family here for many years, and first took me down ten years ago. We still visit several times a year, the kids love it.

Anyway, enough of the tourist hard sell, the town has plenty of pubs to refresh those sun soaked bodies if ice creams fail to do so.
The first few years we came we visited most of them in the town, in recent years because our kids were young we haven't been to that many but I tried to make up for that last week during our Easter holiday.
When the tide is out thats pretty much all beach too.

The first couple of evenings were spent drinking in, with poor choice from both Londis and Sainsbury's. Unfortunately the latter has got a small store in Tenby with an even smaller beer range, you certainly wont get your Punk fix here. Londis used to have quite a few bottles from local and interesting breweries, I had my first St. Austell Clouded Yellow from there, but the choice is not as good these days.

The first pub I visited was the free house '5 Arches Tavern'. A pub with dark corners, stone columns and nooks abound, it had 2 pumps with Brains Bitter and Theakstons Black Bull which I chose. It was creamy, almost nitro 'smooth' apart from the temperature, an okay start.

Practically built into the old city stone walls is 'The Bush Inn' a thin and narrow pub, appeared to be many more locals than tourists drinking in there. Welsh brewery Felinfoel seem to have the only ale on there amongst the many keg taps. 

So I headed onto Upper Frog Street, past the Tenby Rugby Club which does serve non-members, and found the 'Normandie'.
It has the appearance more of a bar/restaurant, entry that day was difficult due to the two staff smoking and blocking the door, peering through the window I couldn't see any hand pumps. Next time I'll venture in but that day I had plenty of others to choose from.
Like the The Coach and Horses, Tenby's oldest pub, Dylan Thomas once got pissed there, it advertises itself as the towns 'finest gastropub' esp. Thai food apparently. Their Hancocks was off, so in one of the two small front rooms I had a pint of Doom Bar, unfortunately not in the best condition malty but no hop profile.

I turn onto the high street with a view over the harbour and north beach, see above,  further and I pass on the left the now closed 'Sun Inn' but on the right is a Marstons called 'The Lamb'. I've been in here a few times before, mixed crowd, quite empty today, no single hop series on which was a shame, but Hobgoblin, Banks bitter and Jennings Laughing Gravy which was at 4% a really good bitter, copper coloured, sharp fruit good bitterness. The pub's 70-80's punk soundtrack was pretty cool too.

The Lamb
Later we went for a family meal at The Buccanner , I started with a pint of Felinfoel Double Dragon smooth and malty, a little spicy, its not an outstanding bitter but hits the spot. As I then received an insane pile of Pembrokshire ribs (reminded me a bit of TV's Man vs Food, but on this occasion man wins!) I followed them some how with a pint of Doom Bar, better condition this time, seemed lighter, noticable hops balanced its malt, good pint. A busy pub, serving standard but pretty good food, the only thing I didn't like was they ice chill their glasses, fine for those drinking cider or lager but not mine please! Seriously, some guy had ice crystals on the rim of his Strongbow!

The following day, I went into the Lifeboat Tavern. They have two handpumps, currently  serving Doom Bar and one other which was off so I couldn't tell what it was. Again I previously have drunk in the Lifeboat, good nights, lively younger crowd, with its bar shaped like bow of a boat, and plenty of tenby rich seaside history on display.
 As I'd already had Doom Bar that week I moved down the square passed the Buccanner and down the road towards the harbour and into the Hope and Anchor on the left.

Hope and Anchor, Tenby's best pub?

After being limited to 2-3 taps in the pubs so far this was much better. 3 permanent pumps with Brains Rev James, Doom Bar, and Felinfoel Double Dragon again. But also they have 6-7 guests on, this week it was Wharfebank brewery's 'Tether Blonde, Fullers Chiswick, Kite brewery's Thunderbird, Robinson's Enigma and another I forget.

I started with the Enigma, an amber ale, nice and light, lightly malted, dry and smooth, very pleasant. Looking at the numerous CAMRA 'we're in' good beer guide I order a Fullers Chiswick something I've only had in bottle form before. Fruity, biscuit malty, nice dry bitter finish.
The pub has a pretty standard menu for food except for fish where it has an extensive range for the freshly caught seafood of Tenby.
It apparently is a free house but they seem to be advertising its range of forthcoming guest ales from a Molson Coors flyer which includes Worthington White Shield and others from their 'Shield' range.

I finished with the newish Welsh Kite Brewery. Later when looking them up I realise we pass them on the way down here to Tenby, a detour next time perhaps! Their Thunderbird was excellent, a 4.5% bitter, nice hops, balanced with malts well, fruity and good bitterness.

Back out onto the road, back through the town you pass the Tenby House 'Griffin Bar', its popular at night with a younger larger crowds, its a more spacious pub, selling Hobgoblin, St. Austell Tribute.
I'm sure I'll see plenty of this on holiday in Cornwall next month so I pass this time and proceed back through the town towards the South beach and tucked down Lower Frog Street I go into the 'Crown Inn'.

This is a Brains pub, we've been there several times over the years, always good atmosphere, its basically a large terrace house on a side street.
They have 5 pumps with Abbott Ale, Brains SA and their IPA, Caledonian Raspberry Fool, and Smiles brewery Blonde.
I was tempted by the £2.10 pint offer for the IPA, muted in its hoppiness I thought, light in everything. Started to wish I'd tried the Caledonian or Smiles. The pub however are advertising that soon they will also be serving direct from the cask ciders and ales.

So thats my first round up of the pubs in Tenby, next trip (June) I'll try to visit the ones I passed by this time, and I know there are a couple more I've not mentioned.
A great holiday destination, and for the ale drinker the Hope and Anchor is your best bet.


  1. It's a beautiful part of the world, I love it! I'm hoping to get down there this summer.

  2. Nice review of tenby pub and beers very helpful and informative. I will be visiting tenby In may with my brother-in-law and our families. We are both real ale fans, so much so my brother-in-law opened his own brew pub last year in canterbury, kent (the foundry brewpub). We will be paying the hope and anchor a visit.

  3. Tenby was my second (summer) home when I was growing up, as my grandparents lived down there and we visited every year. Haven't been back for a few years though - last time (pre-interest in real ale) I drank Guinness in the Buccaneers, but next time I'm down, I'll head straight for the Hope & Anchor, cheers!

  4. Thanks for the comments guys.
    Tenby is a great place, we are back next month!

  5. Having a great time down in tenby going to the hope and anchor tomorrow night with the brother in law (master brewer and owner of The Foundry Canterbury Kent) looking forward to a good ale :-)

  6. You certainly have got the weather, hope the beers good too.

  7. Hope and anchor was great god selection of beers my favourite of the night was the merry monk. Also for future reference the food was very good and reasonably priced. Calamari was awesome

  8. Warning Hope and Anchor - don't expect much customer service here, not prepared to own up to mistakes or apologise.

  9. Well i can only say that I've have great and friendly service there, never had a problem myself.