With British pubs increasingly becoming clones of each other, we go in search of the country’s most unusual watering holes
Tired of stepping into a local hostelry in search of a quiet pint, only to find it’s been turned into a generic sports bar, fitted with multiple TV screens and serving pricey craft beer?
Never fear. We’ve taken the time to compile a list of Britain’s proudly distinctive pubs, so you don’t have to break your back searching for a place with a little style.
Have one on us.
Teviot Row House, Edinburgh
— Edinburgh University (@EdinburghUni) November 19, 2014
Teviot Row House is, straight up, the oldest student union bar in the entire world, so you can be sure the regulars in here know how to take their ale.
There are actually six separate bars in the entire place (less queuing equals a win in our books), including a pub-library hybrid section, probably to make the students feel at home.
If you can deal with all the studenty activities going on through term time (open mic nights should be a laugh), it proves to serve your drinking needs well.
Teviot Row House Student Union, EH8 9AJ, more info
The Tempest Inn, Brighton
— Nigel OrangeTeK (@NigelOTEK) June 13, 2016
Few places allow you to sup your favourite beer in a seafront cave, but The Tempest Inn is one of the exceptions. It’s almost more fun to roam and explore the entire place, which is made up of a dozen connecting caves – we know what your thinking: there’ll be no issues with finding a seat then.
The food isn’t to be scoffed at either, as they source local and organic ingredients from the city itself.
159-161 King’s Road, BN1 1NB, more info
The Sheffield Tap, Sheffield
— Brad (@SuperFurryBrad) May 28, 2016
Lets face it, we all hate waiting for trains. Let’s face it, we all love drinking beer. You see where we’re going with this?
The Sheffield Tap’s perfect location (if it was any closer to the station it’d be blocking the 16:15 to Nottingham) means finding this wonderful delight no problem at all.
And with its wide variety of craft beers, there’s plenty of choice for your mid-journey beverage.
1B Sheffield Station, S1 2BP, more info
The Grove Inn, Leeds
A man known only as Keith, preforming a song called "I love Leeds" at the Grove Inn. What a great evening! pic.twitter.com/TA2Z9jw4u5
— Eszter Horvath-Papp (@EszterShed) July 26, 2013
The Grove Inn is something of an acquired taste, but if you give it a chance, you’ll be richly rewarded. The pub dates back to Victorian times, and provides a sharp contrast to the shiny high-rise buildings that surround it now. Its layout is maze-like, with each separate room boasting bags of character and history. The decor here is quirky, and for every piano, wooden floorboard, and oversized mirror, there’s an accompanying story.
Back Row, LS11 5PL – thegroveleeds.co.uk
The Milk Thistle, Bristol
— Visit Bristol (@VisitBristol) June 13, 2016
This one might prove trickier to find, as it’s hidden away in one of Bristol’s most historic buildings: Quay Head House.
The place itself it modelled after a prohibition speakeasy, giving the place a vintage style and feel. It’s not just beer you’ll be gawking at across tables either, The Milk Thistle boasts a regularly changing cocktail menu to keep your taste buds occupied throughout the night.
Quay Head House, Colston Avenue, BS1 1WB, more info
— HD Pensions Team (@HD_PensionsTeam) May 20, 2016
Drinking and gambling may be a notoriously dangerous pastime, but every gambler I’ve ever met in a pub has claimed that he is definitely, DEFINITELY, up on his winnings, so it can’t be that dangerous.
At Manchester235, you’ll get your shot at glory, as it’s themed after a Las Vegas casino, with all kinds of debauched games littered about the premises.
2 Watson Street, M3 4LP, more info
Evans and Peel, London
— The Hub (@thehubpr) January 23, 2016
Is it a bar, or is it a secret, underground detective agency? Truth be told, the line was blurred long ago, but what we can tell you is that Evans and Peel is so invested in their noir detective agency theme, you’ll probably get immersed in a compelling mystery there.
Even their website looks like a screen grab form CSI – you’d be surprised if Horatio Caine didn’t pop out and offer you a Cosmopolitan.
Alas, you will have to settle for other, less prolific, DIs for your drinks.
310c Earl’s Court Road, SW5 9BA, more info
— Martine Hibbard (@girltini) March 5, 2014
Okay, you got us, Bunkhouse isn’t officially a pub. It’s actual purpose is a hostel, which explains the beds lining the walls.
They do however, offer a decent selection of craft beers at their bar, and it’s not uncommon to see a gaggle of youths relaxing with a pint before heading back to their actual houses.
Worst case scenario: you have a few pints, and fall asleep on the bed. Win win.
94 St Mary Street, CF10 1DX, more info
Main image: Cardiff Bunkhouse