CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Review: The Cove Café Bar, Hope Cove

PUBLISHED: 09:53 31 May 2016 | UPDATED: 09:53 31 May 2016

The Cove Café Bar: The South West’s best craft beach bar by a country mile'

The Cove Café Bar: The South West’s best craft beach bar by a country mile'


Patrick McCaig of The Otter Brewery pays a visit to a pub in a seaside Devon village

'An endearing, uber cool beach-style café bar set right in the heart of this unspoilt fishing village''An endearing, uber cool beach-style café bar set right in the heart of this unspoilt fishing village'

I’ve long held the belief that whatever Cornwall has to offer as a county (or should that be country!) Devon can more than match. Think of the countryside, the cathedral cities and even the cider! Then there is the coastline. It’s not necessary to leave our county to find an array of beautiful beaches to stretch out on. In fact, because ours are a little more sheltered they are probably all the more welcoming for it. They are also home to some very inventive, forward thinking small businesses.

Putting this theory to the test we decided to swap one Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (the Blackdowns) for another, Hope Cove - or to be geographically precise Inner Hope. Located some five miles west of Salcombe and five miles southwest of Kingsbridge this small seaside village boasts its own sandy beach and striking coastline in either direction. The famous laid back South Devon magic is definitely at work here.

Helping to perpetuate this holiday feeling are a couple who have turned their ten-year love affair with the area into their living. Toby and Shelley fly in the face of the established argument that you can’t mix work and pleasure. Previously a journalist and PR for the music industry and a night owl who somehow also found time to run a live music venue, Toby has literally lifted the best bits of his former life in Cheshire and transported them down to Devon. The location (they got married here) picked itself and Shelley’s astute eye as a former estate agent soon found the venue. That was nearly three years ago.

The result is an endearing, uber cool beach-style café bar set right in the heart of this unspoilt fishing village. But there’s more to the offering than just its proximity to the sand. Toby’s love of craft beer – so-called because of the craft brewing movement that started with small American breweries experimenting with different, often very powerful hops - has found the perfect home here. The Cove has the mindset of a modern urban craft bar that you might find in somewhere like Bristol but with the beach as its backdrop. Big, bold punchy flavours from small UK breweries sit alongside more traditional cask ales and also a very strong local cider and lager offering.

The music vibe hasn’t been lost either. We arrived to the sound of dub filling the bar as Toby beavered under the counter connecting a new keg of Tarka and Mark the Fisherman sneaked a fresh lobster into the kitchen. Live bands regularly squeeze into the lounge area and with the furniture parked next door in the Post Office you get the impression they’re always nights to remember.

The food hits the mark too. Fresh fish naturally takes centre stage – think creamy mussels, a pint of prawns, salt and pepper squid or handpicked Salcombe crab served with a squeeze of lemon. Then there are the stone-baked sourdough pizzas, homemade burgers, hot dogs with South Devon Chilli Farm sauce and a ‘little sailors’ menu for children. Take on the seafood platter as we did and you won’t leave hungry!

There’s so much to pull you back here but for us it was that their offering is such a unique one. Toby is someone who really understands what the world of craft ale stands for and consequently this has got to be the South West’s best craft beach bar by a country mile.

The details

Real Ale: Otter Amber, Otter Brewery; Topsail, Bays Brewery; 30 different craft beers

Local Lager: Tarka, Otter Brewery

Local Cider: Devon Red, Sandford Orchards; Wildsider, Otter Brewery; Yarde Dry Cider, Yarde Cider

Contact details: The Cove Cafe Bar, Harbour Lights, Hope Cove, Kingsbridge. TQ7 3HQ.

Tel: 01548 561376


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

Public Houses are a cornerstone of life here in Britain, dating back as far as the Roman invasion in 43 AD. Devon is no different and its humble establishments are steeped in history and nostalgia. We’ve taken a look at 11 of the county’s most historical pubs

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A traditional Christmas pudding recipe, served with clotted cream and a brandy Crème Anglaise with a dash of cognac

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

Whether you have strawberry or raspberry jam on your scones, or prefer Earl Grey to English breakfast tea, we’ve found 12 of the best tearooms that Devon has to offer

Read more
Monday, October 22, 2018

We’ve spoken to award-winning chef Michael Caines MBE to find out more about Lympstone Manor’s wine celebration evenings and when their new vineyard will produce its first bottle of wine

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Sunday lunch is an enduring British institution that’s incredibly important to get right. We’ve chosen 12 places in Devon that will guarantee sublime stuffing, mouth-watering meats and Yorkshire pudding perfection.

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Devon Life’s readers and followers have been voting for their favourite food & drink stars and we can now reveal our finalists who will be attending our glamorous ceremony at Sandy Park on November 15

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

As the winter begins to close in, there’s nowhere better to take refuge than one of Devon’s many cosy pubs. Here are 9 you should look for when needing to escape the nippy British weather

Read more
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Check out Michael Caines’ column in the latest issue of Devon Life where you can read more about what this recipe will be perfect with

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the finalists for Devon’s Tea Room / Coffee Shop of the Year

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the finalists for Devon’s Best Sunday Roast. Sponsored by

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the finalists of the Pub of the Year award. Sponsored by WBW Solicitors

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the finalists for the Restaurant of the Year award. Sponsored by Westchem

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the finalists for the Local Producer of the Year award.

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal finalists for the Independent Retailer of the Year award. Sponsored by NFU Mutual

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search