3 ISSUES FOR JUST £3 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

Thursday, July 19, 2018

For most of us, the difficulty of having a cream tea is deciding whether to put the jam or cream on first (cream first, obviously). But for coeliacs and the gluten intolerant, finding a place that caters for your dietary needs can be far harder. To help you out, we’ve picked 8 places for gluten-free cream tea in Devon

Read more
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Devon Life Food & Drink Awards - to be held at Sandy Park on 15 November - are back and we want you to nominate your local heroes

Read more
Tuesday, July 3, 2018

From pale ale and real cider to craft beer, Devon is home to a number of real ale breweries and CAMRA award-winners, meaning a good pub is never far away – we pick 16 places to go in Devon to find the best pint

Read more
Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Bean freaks, brew geeks and the simply curious – take note. 17 of Devon’s top speciality coffee shops have been revealed in the new South West and South Wales Independent Coffee Guide.

Read more
Tuesday, June 26, 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, June 19, 2018

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

Read more
Wednesday, June 6, 2018

On the 1st of September, running for the 6th year in a row, the famous UK Rum Festivals is bringing Caribbean flair to Exeter, not only for pirates but for everyone interested

Read more
Tuesday, May 29, 2018

There’s nothing quite like taking away crispy battered cod and golden chips to enjoy by Devon’s beautiful coast. With your help, we’ve picked 12 places to pick up this quintessential British treat in the county

Read more
Friday, May 25, 2018

There’s nowhere better to make the most of the glorious summer sun in Devon than in one of our many delightful beer gardens. From north to south, we pick 9 of the best pubs to visit

Read more
Friday, May 25, 2018

With views of the coast, the countryside and our towns and cities, Devon’s eateries are home to some of the best views the county has to offer. Here are 23 places that are a treat for the tongue and the eyes

Read more
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Using fish to grow vegetables? It sounds crazy but it works. CHRISSY HARRIS finds out as she visits an aquaponics farm. Pictures: Steve Haywood

Read more
Monday, May 14, 2018

To celebrate the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19 at Windsor Castle, Boringdon Hall are laying on an afternoon tea filled with deliciously regal treats

Read more
Thursday, May 3, 2018

The first event is taking place on Thursday 7th June in South Sands’ beach-facing terrace restaurant, and promises to be an exclusive experience for 16 guests

Read more
Tuesday, May 1, 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
A+ South & South West
Great British Holidays advert link
Pure Weddings advert link
South West Life advert link

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

Devon's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search