8 Best places to drink in Cornwall

Drink up in the best affordable pubs and bars by the sea on your trip to the Cornish coast

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  • 02 March 2021
  • • 7 min read

Heading down to Cornwall on your British staycation in 2021? Take a break from beach hopping and coastal walks and sit down at one of the best bars in Cornwall for a drink in the summer sun. There’s nothing better than a drink with a view, and lucky for you there are plenty of idyllic spots down south that serve up perfectly pulled pints and freshly shaken cocktails by the sea. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding places to drink in Cornwall, with towns and villages dotted all along the coastline each with their own well-loved watering hole. Check out these eight affordable pubs and bars in Cornwall that are well worth a visit, all over the southernmost part of the UK.

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1. Belushi’s, Newquay

Sitting on a cliff top overlooking the surfers down on Towan Bay, Belushi’s no doubt has the best spot in Newquay. Its prime location means the atmosphere at this bar is always buzzing, particularly in the summer when the sun is shining and all beer garden tables and huts are taken by locals and holiday makers looking for an al fresco drink by the sea. Grab a table out back where you’ll find spectacular ocean views across the beach and bay, then when the sea breeze gets too much, move to the sheltered area at the front of the bar to bask in the sun amongst the atmosphere Belushi’s is known and loved for. 

Try and be there for Happy Hour, every weekday from 4 until 7pm, when the bartenders shake up some of the best cocktails in Newquay at 2 for £10. When you download the Belushi’s Backstage app, not only can you order from your table, but you can rack up points and earn yourself more great drinks deals. Belushi’s also serves up some unforgettable chicken wings and huge juicy burgers, too. If you’re in Newquay during your trip to Cornwall this year, you won’t be able to resist walking past Belushi’s without popping in for a drink or two.

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2. The Watering Hole, Perranporth

Being one of the UK’s only bars on a beach, it’s no wonder the Watering Hole is known as one of the best beer gardens in Cornwall. Grab an outdoor bench and sink your toes into the sand while you quench your thirst with a couple of good cold pints down on Perranporth beach. You’re guaranteed a lively atmosphere every weekend at the Watering Hole, particularly when they’re hosting their regular live music nights. Their food and drink selection is also top notch, serving up real ales from local breweries and some seriously tasty food including a range of bar snacks and even a Sunday roast. Whether you’re straight out the sea and head to toe covered in sand, or ready for a night out with cocktails, we just love the chilled out, welcoming atmosphere this bar provides right on Perranporth beach. 

3. Driftwood Spars, St Agnes

A little further down Cornwall’s coastline is the charming town of St Agnes, with a great old pub sitting just a few hundred metres from Trevaunance Cove. Driftwood Spars is one for the beer lovers amongst you as it’s home to its very own on-site microbrewery creating their very own top quality range of gluten-free real ales. If beer isn’t your thing, their wine and spirits list is just as extensive. They extended their beer garden in 2020 to accommodate even more passers-by looking for a drink in the sunshine or a spot of delicious homemade pub food - the ingredients of which are all sourced from local traders. Plus, their new Crib Shack opens up every summer serving extra bites to eat as well as teas, coffees and, of course, more beer. Pop by their beer garden on a hot summer’s day or sit inside for a cosy pint to hide away from the southern rain. 

4. The Working Boat Pub, Falmouth

Look out over Falmouth Harbour as you sit by the sea with a refreshing pint of beer. The Working Boat Pub is one of the best places to drink in Cornwall, with one of the best beer gardens in Cornwall - the 15 beers and ciders on tap are just the cherry on top of the cake. This modern yet charismatic pub is a local favourite, hosting regular events including quizzes, local festivals and even beach clean ups meaning the atmosphere is always buzzing. Sit out on one of the tables by the sea wall, or take shelter at the high table in the bar which looks out at the view. Exploring Cornwall by boat? Feel free to moor up on the Working Boat Pub;s private pontoon for just the price of a beer (or two). It’s well worth the trip down to Falmouth. 

5. Ruby’s Bar, Padstow

Just a few seconds away from Cornwall’s famous Padstow Harbour is a little bar serving up some incredible cocktails. While there’s no outdoor seating at this spot, it’s the perfect place to cosy up on a rainy evening, or escape the scorching sun with freshly shaken cocktails in a cool, contemporary setting. Ruby’s Bar is one of Rick Stein’s very own, so you know the quality will be to the highest standard. Order a few of the house cocktails which were all inspired by Rick’s travels around the world - the Mexican Margarita is definitely one to try. There’s also a wall full of gin, along with a huge range of mixers and garnishes to make gin lovers feel right at home. This small, quirky bar is hands down one of the best places to drink in Padstow.

6. The Ship Inn, Porthleven

A real local favourite, the Ship Inn welcomes visitors to the southern town on Porthleven, right by the seafront. This 17th century pub has some epic views looking out over the stunning coast lining the village - even better with an ale in hand from a table in the terraced garden. The garden is the ideal spot to sit back and relax after a long walk along the southwest coastal path, with sweeping sea views and a truly welcoming atmosphere from the staff inside. When the wind picks up or the heavens open, or if you’re visiting during the colder months, grab a seat inside and marvel at their incredibly unique decor - all the walls and the entire ceiling totally covered in beer mats and fishing memorabilia. Being a small pub, the Ship Inn doesn’t take bookings so get there quick to avoid disappointment. 

7. Surfside, Polzeath

With Polzeath beach on one side and the southwest coastal path on the other, Surfside is the perfect spot to sit down and enjoy a good rum by the sea. While the main bar whips up some amazing local seafood dishes, head around the side to The Rum Bar, built into an old quarry behind the restaurant where you can order some tasty (and strong) rum cocktails inspired by Cornwall’s pirate past. This no-frills bar is a top option for a super casual post-surf drink surrounded by people enjoying Polzeath beach. We just can’t get enough of the vibe here, and once you get yourself a table you’ll never want to leave that view. Wait until dusk to witness one of the best sunsets in Cornwall over the ocean. 

8. The Sloop Inn, St Ives

If you see a free table in the the Sloop Inn's beer garden, grab it before it’s too late! As you might guess from the architecture, this charming pub is one of the oldest and most famous in Cornwall, believed to date all the way back to about 1312 AD. Being right on the harbour front of St Ives - one of the most bustling towns in the county - there’s no arguing that this pub garden has the views and the atmosphere to go with it. Sit back and enjoy a real ale on a sunny summer’s day, with the sea, boats and people watching galore, before you carry on your tour of the beautiful St Ives. 

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