CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Devon Life today CLICK HERE

Patrick’s Pub Trawls: this month we visit The Drewe Arms in Broadhembury

PUBLISHED: 13:49 31 October 2016

The Drewe Arms, Broadhembury

The Drewe Arms, Broadhembury


In his regular series of columns for Devon Life, Patrick McCaig of The Otter Brewery takes us on a trawl of some of his favourite pubs

The Drewe Arms, Broadhembury

I have always tried to remain unbiased whilst penning this column – this one may be the exception. Having lived in the beautiful village of Broadhembury for a number of years I was lucky enough to have the Drewe Arms as a key village amenity. This helped my wellbeing, possibly not so the other locals, who no doubt frowned on our youthful antics. Arm wrestling the landlord’s daughter on the carpet in front of a huge fireplace and a fully booked room of diners brought instant notoriety.

Now I’m over the hill - not in terms of age but having upped sticks to a neighbouring village - often the mind slips back to old familiar places that we know and love. With its thick cob walls this timeless local once had a far-reaching reputation as a destination fish restaurant famed for its Scandinavian vibe. Today it appears the pub has managed to buck the ‘gastro’ trend and successfully execute a U-turn in terms of its function. It is still a destination pub but the buzz now comes from the eclectic mix of locals aka ‘the drinking crowd’ that in turn provide the pull for the diners.

Taking over custody of this 16th century treasure are Katie and Dan with Katie’s mum suitably cast in a supporting yet all encompassing role - upkeep of the pretty garden is just one of her ongoing projects. Between the three of them new life has been breathed into the heart of one of the prettiest villages you could hope to find in the Blackdown Hills.

Still a destination pub but the buzz now comes from the eclectic mix of locals'Still a destination pub but the buzz now comes from the eclectic mix of locals'

Feniton born and bred, Katie was first introduced to the Drewe at age seven. Fast forward to March 2011 and after four years managing a well-known Exeter hotel the chance to raise 16-month-old Harrison somewhere peaceful started to take shape.

With plenty of experience managing restaurants husband Dan would unwittingly become the resident chef. What followed can best be described as a hands-on DIY approach to reverting a restaurant back into a pub, room by room. This collective family effort is certainly paying dividends with each individual infectiously passionate about their respective roles.

The close-knit community has rallied behind the young couple and been integral to their continuing success. In fact, this is one of the pubs we often use as a barometer against which we can measure our own journey as a family-run enterprise. It was the very first account that mum managed to get Otter Bitter into all those years ago. Harrison, meanwhile, will be six in November, proving that time stands still for no-one.

Today there are five Devon cask ales on the bar, three skittles teams, quarterly beer festivals, a steady stream of cyclists needing rehydration and an enticing food offering. The business is open all day every day and the latest award above the door is CAMRA’s ‘Exeter and East Devon Summer Pub of the Year’. Certainly Katie and Dan have found that happy and often elusive equilibrium between drinkers and diners. There is also an enviable work/life balance here - they can literally hear son number two Max in the school playground from the beer garden.

After an alfresco lunch of beer battered hake and hand cut chips enjoyed during one of the last flushes of summer Dad, with his 70 years of wisdom, observed that you really can tell when people are doing things from the heart. Maybe parents do know best! The Drewe Arms, Broadhembury, Honiton, EX14 3NF. 01404 841267

The details

Real Ale

Avocet Ale,

Exeter Brewery

Otter Amber,

Otter Brewery

Devon Dumpling,

Bays Brewery

Otter Ale, Otter Brewery

Exmoor Ale, Exmoor Ales

Local Cider

Wildsider, Otter Brewery


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

Yesterday, 12:31

Kath Hope takes up the challenge to reduce her festive food miles and source her Christmas food and drink from within our bountiful county

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

SU CARROLL breaks bread with charismatic Devon restaurateur Edmond Davari as he embarks on a new venture

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

We hooked up with RACHAEL JOWITT, head roaster for leading South West coffee roastery, Voyager Coffee, to hear how the business is developing

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 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
Friday, November 16, 2018

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

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

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

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 winner of Devon’s Tea Room / Coffee Shop of the Year. Sponsored by Radio Exe

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

We reveal the winner of Devon’s Best Sunday Roast. Sponsored by

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