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8 of the best pubs in Exeter

PUBLISHED: 17:19 01 February 2018

Exeter Quayside (c) Beth, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Exeter Quayside (c) Beth, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


Exeter’s pub scene is thriving with a varied selection of proper boozers that are guaranteed to satisfy any type of taste. We’ve picked 8 you need to visit on your next trip out in the city

1) The Fat Pig

Located just a short stroll from the River Exe up to John Street, this quirky local prides itself on providing food and drink sourced from as close to Exeter as possible. In fact, many of the ales and spirits are produced in house – the mini-distillery is kept in the spare bedroom - meaning you can be sure of the time and effort that’s gone into each beverage you consume.

Food comes direct from local farms and they shoot much of their own game, resulting in an ever-changing menu that will vary depending on what time of year you make your visit. Whether you sit in the bar area or the wonderfully bright conservatory, you’ll certainly be in for a memorable experience.

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2) Tabac Taphouse

If you’ve developed a taste for the homebrewed craft spirits and ales on offer at The Fat Pig then head to this sister establishment just 10 minutes away on Queen Street.

Carrying the same relaxed atmosphere and eclectic decoration as its older sibling, it is located right next to Exeter Central train station, making it the perfect drop-in after returning from work or heading away on your travels.

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3) Mill on the Exe

The Mill on the Exe – formerly a mill for paper, wool and corn during its 500-year existence - was established as a pub over 30 years ago and in that time it’s lost none of its charm. Just a ten-minute walk away from Exeter Cathedral, the beamed ceilings and riverside views of this red-brick pub are a treat after a long day in the city centre.

Despite its proximity to the centre, it manages to retain a feel of seclusion and escape few other pubs in Exeter can hope to achieve. As the River Exe runs steadily by, we recommend keeping it simple with a pint of Tribute and fish and chips – you won’t get a more reliable meal than that.

4) The Hourglass

This pub on Melbourne Street has been serving patrons since 1848 and knows precisely what it is: a proper pub serving local real ale and food freshly cooked to order.

Beers will often change daily between local brewers like the Exeter Brewery, Exe Valley Brewery, Dartmoor Brewery and many more from the counties surrounding Devon. They’re dog-friendly so bring in your pup and enjoy an ale while taking in an interior adorned in unusual and eye-catching paraphernalia.

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5) The Oddfellows Bar

With exceptional British-themed fare sourced from close to Exeter, a great list of carefully selected craft ales and a commitment to never sending anything to landfill, it’s easy to see why this is one of the best regarded gastropubs in town.

Located just away from the city’s commercial centre, owners Faye and Yvan Williams have been in charge since 2006 and over that time they’ve raked in industry awards as well as the appreciation of the general public. When you visit there’s a good chance you’ll get to experience one of their many events including comedy nights and pop-up kitchens.

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6) The Old Firehouse

JK Rowling may have recently squashed the longstanding legend that this pub was the inspiration for the Leaky Cauldron in the Harry Potter series, but that doesn’t mean it loses any of the atmosphere that’s made it so highly renowned with students and locals alike.

The courtyard will be thriving in summer as visitors drink ales and ciders respecting Devon’s illustrious brewing history while sharing one of the famously enormous pizzas. In the chillier months the rustic interior is as warm and welcoming as any country pub, a welcome repsite from the hustle and bustle of the nearby High Street.

7) The Prospect Inn

After browsing the shops and historical attractions located on Exeter Quayside, this pub – owned by the independent Heavitree Brewery – will be your closest stop for a riverside pint of ale or cider.

The food offerings are delightfully simple and are sourced from the local area – each producer can be seen at the base of the menu – allowing the quality of the ingredients to speak for themselves. If you’re lucky, you may get a busker or two playing within earshot to round out the atmosphere of this wonderful riverside location.

8) The Thatched House

Based in the Exwick suburb of the city, there has been a building on the site since the 1600s but it only became a pub in 1937. A recent refurbishment exposed many of the features from that pre-war era and today they have been expertly preserved for the next generation of ale and cider lovers to enjoy.

Once again local breweries are well represented behind the bar and you can sample ales from Teignworthy, Red Rock, Powederkeg, Black Tor and even their very own Thatched House Ale. To ensure you try each one of them, grab one of their tasting paddles containing room for three 1/3 pints.

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These pubs are just one of the many reasons we love Exeter!


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