The best pubs in Bath

The Hare & Hounds pub, Bath

Bath is known for its history and has many time-honoured pubs. There are plenty of wood-panelled, winding inns to spend an afternoon in, some with centuries-old features, others serving the best Sunday lunch and home cooking in town. However, a newer breed of pub also aims to please, serving dozens of craft beers and ciders in open spaces designed for socializing.

For more Bath inspiration, browse our city guide to the best hotels, restaurants, bars and nightlife, things to do and places for afternoon tea.

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The Bell Inn

Robert Plant, Peter Gabriel and Michael Eavis helped acquire this popular Bath live music institution in 2013. On Sunday lunchtime and Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings you might hear everything from jazz and blues to folk and roots, and, as the pub says, “some things we’re not sure what to call.” “. There’s also an open mic spot on Thursday nights and vinyl DJ sets on weekends. The beer is good too: draft options include Abbey Ales’ Bellringer, brewed in the bath. At certain times also pizzas in the garden.

Contact: thebellinnbath.co.uk
Price: £

The architect

In a prime, central location overlooking Orange Grove, this new venture calls itself a pub, but that doesn’t really capture what’s on offer here. This is one of the most striking places in Bath to have a drink or eat. The soaring, leather-filled drinking and dining areas occupy the former dining rooms of what was once the Empire Hotel, a grandiose affair completed in 1901 and designed by Major Charles Edward Davis – the architect is credited. Davis was also responsible for opening the Roman Baths in the 1870s and 1880s. The Architect is open daily from 9am to 11pm and you can stop by for anything from a pint of Bath Ales’ Gem to cocktails, breakfast, afternoon tea and a full meal (mainstream pub fare).

Contact: thearchitect.co.uk
Price: ££
Reservations: Recommended for eating

The old green tree

A pleasantly cozy and civilized old fashioned town center pub not far from the Abbey, with charming little oak paneled rooms and an open fire. The talkative locals who love this spot say the beers are always kept superb. There are also stacks of malt whiskeys to choose from – just ask Tim the owner. It ticks all the boxes of a traditional pub and as such food is secondary to its main aims, but soups, sandwiches and lunch dishes are nonetheless available (but only at lunchtime). The pub is packed on rugby match days.

Contact: 01225 448259; facebook.com/OldGreenTree
Price: £

The old green tree

A pleasantly cozy and civilized old fashioned town center pub not far from the Abbey, with charming little oak paneled rooms and an open fire. The talkative locals who love this spot say the beers are always kept superb. There are also stacks of malt whiskeys to choose from – just ask one of the friendly bartenders. It ticks all the boxes of a traditional pub and as such food is secondary to its main aims, but soups, sandwiches and lunch dishes are nonetheless available (but only at lunchtime). The pub is packed on rugby match days.

The old green tree

The old green tree

The Star Inn

This is the most pleasant traditional pub in Bath. Away from the Georgian wing of The Paragon (actual address 23 The Vineyards), it dates back to 1760, and you can expect cozy paneled rooms and the lack of music or slot machines. Sample an award-winning hoppy pint of Bellringer brewed by Abbey Ales, Bath’s oldest brewery. Beers can also be ordered by the mug. Traditionally, generous free munchies (mostly cheese) are laid out at the bar on Thursday nights, and the first Sunday of the month is quiz night.

Contact: abbeyinnsbath.co.uk
Price: £

The Raven

This pub on cobbled Queen Street in central Bath is normally a quiet place, but it made national headlines in April 2021 when one of the owners ejected Sir Keir Starmer from the premises over differing political views. Voted Pub of the Year by CAMRA’s Bath in the past, there is a good selection of real ales including the honeyed Raven’s Gold. The pub’s hearty, locally made pies are also recommended, with a variety of classic meat pies as well as a vegetarian option (usually a creamy goat’s cheese and sweet potato) and the occasional vegan option. Most patrons sit upstairs, leaving the bar to those looking for a good-natured meal and chat.

Contact: theravenofbath.co.uk
Price: £

The Raven

The Raven

Bath Brewhouse

With an in-house brewery and huge casks on display, this large venue next to the Odeon cinema on James Street West has a spit-and-sawdust style and a 1960s-1970s soundtrack. Multicolored picnic tables and fairy lights are dotted around the huge courtyard at the back. Craft ale fans can take a brewery tour twice a day at 12pm and 6pm (£7.50 per person). The menu features pub classics like mac and cheese, fish and chips and burgers.

Contact: thebathbrewhouse.com
Price: £

Bath Brewhouse

Bath Brewhouse

The Boater

The Boater is just steps from the Ponte Vecchio-inspired Pulteney Bridge. An attractive netted bay window welcomes you into a compact but pleasant main bar, with steps leading down to one of the few large beer gardens in central Bath, although it’s more of a courtyard set back from the river’s horseshoe weir. This is a Fuller’s pub, so come here for the lager, craft beer and ale – wine and cocktails aren’t a specialty, although there’s often some homemade gin to try. Pub grub is available. On rugby match days the place is absolutely buzzing.

Contact: boaterbath.co.uk
Price: £

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the-boater-pub-bad-ext.jpg

The grapes

This eclectic freehouse on Westgate Street is one of Bath’s oldest buildings. As an inn it dates back to at least 1792; before that it was accommodation for visitors to the nearby thermal baths. It has recently been completely refurbished by owners Ellie and John Leiper. The heart of the establishment is the bar on the ground floor, with mismatched tables and seating, including reclaimed bus seats, plenty of Somerset and Bristol beers and ciders, and live blues, jazz and traditional Irish music, usually three nights a week. There is terraced seating front and rear. Upstairs, a large room with an ornate Jacobean stucco ceiling is used as an izakaya bar (something like a Japanese version of a tapas bar) on weekends and for various events such as life drawing and debates at other times.

Contact: thegrapesbath.co.uk
Price: £

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The Marlborough Tavern

This gastropub — complete with reclaimed furniture and autumnal colors — is a popular spot for an afternoon cider and a handy stop after visiting Royal Victoria Park or the nearby Royal Crescent. On weekends, it’s packed with families looking to grab lunch after a run in the park’s massive playground. The patio garden has plenty of benches and is lined with trees. The roast dishes here are very popular, but there’s plenty more on the menu, all freshly prepared. It’s also dog-friendly – perfect for all types of park life.

Contact: marlborough-tavern.com
Price: ££
Reservations: Recommended for eating

The Marlborough Tavern

The Marlborough Tavern

rabbit & dogs

Perched high on Bath’s far north edge, this Victorian pub with a modern makeover (think oversized paintings of cows on the walls) enjoys superb far-reaching countryside views. The scene is best appreciated from the picnic tables set out on the huge, decked outdoor patio and adjacent lawn; In summer there is an outdoor bar. Food is the other big draw – Hare & Hounds is one of Bath’s premier gastropubs. It keeps things winsomely simple in the form of homemade burgers, fish and chips, pork belly, steaks, Sunday roasts and sticky toffee pudding and local Marshfield ice cream. The place is popular with families and dog owners.

Contact: hareandhoundsbath.com
Price: ££
Reservations: Recommended for indoor consumption; Outdoor tables cannot be reserved

Hare & Hounds

rabbit & dogs

The pack horse

This dreamy pub in the heart of South Stoke, a beautiful little village on the south outskirts of Bath, dates back to the early 17th century when it was an Aleroom. It was recently saved from being converted into a private residence by a heroic municipal takeover. Inside there are inglenook fireplaces and beams and outside there is a spacious, lovingly tended tiered garden full of lavender and roses and plenty of seating. Food is some of the best pub grub in and around Bath and local drinks on tap include Honey’s Cider and Butcombe Beer. Lovely walks stretch from the door, including along the rest of the Somersetshire Coal Canal.

Contact: packhorsebath.co.uk
Price: ££
Reservations: Recommended for eating

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