It’s time for another Sal’s Top Five! Don’t forget, this is a series, so do check out my previous guides to Bath’s best sweet treats and takeaway lunches – but for now, since it’s blooming freezing out there and the nights are drawing in, it’s time to celebrate Bath’s best pubs. On a cold, grey winter’s day, there’s nothing quite like tucking yourself away in a proper pub, and Bath has plenty to choose from. The problem is, you want different things from your local on different days, so without further ado, I present: a pub for every occasion…
This is the cosy one: a pocket-sized pub right in the centre of the city, with a wonderfully snug little bar downstairs. There is a restaurant upstairs and in the past, I’ve had some great meals here, but my favourite thing to do at The Salamander is find a cosy corner in the bar for a few pints with friends, especially when it’s really old and miserable outside.
The Bath Brew House
Speaking of pints, when it comes to a serious beer-drinker’s pub, I think it’s hard to beat The Bath Brew House. With their own microbrewery quite literally on site (it’s in the bar, you can go and have a look) they brew some fabulous house beers, but also have a fantastic, constantly-changing selection of guest ales. They do a brilliant line in properly good pub food as well.
The Bunch of Grapes
Alright, before anyone gets cross, this one isn’t technically in Bath – it’s in Bradford-on-Avon. But the menu, created by head chef Tony Casey, is genuinely outstanding, so it’s absolutely worth the mere ten-minute hop on the train (bonus: no one has to drive home, so everyone can try barman Fin’s brilliant cocktails). Stylish but understated, The Bunch of Grapes is a little fancier than your average boozer, and the seven-course tasting menu blew me away – click here to read my full review.
The King William
One of the very best reasons to go to the pub is for a cracking Sunday roast, and for my money, Bath’s best Sunday roast is to be found at The King Bill on London Rd. I’ll freely admit I’m very hard to please when it comes to a good Sunday lunch, but this one ticks all the boxes: crispy, golden roast potatoes, dark, rich gravy, huge fluffy Yorkshire puddings, incredible side vegetables that would almost take over were it not for the mouth-watering roast meats. Click here if you fancy reading my full review of the King William’s roast lunch.
Finally, The Boater makes this list because of its brilliant events – and I’ll be honest, most of my favourites are in the summer, when you can take full advantage of The Boater’s beautiful shady riverside beer garden. From the World Cup on the big screen outside to immersive Shakespeare (Shakespeare in the pub, by the way, is exactly how the Bard would often have done things when he and his players were on the road, and it’s utterly brilliant – highly recommended), there’s something for everyone.
As always, I had a tough job narrowing it down to five, so honourable mentions go to The Chequers, another great foodie pub, and the Marlborough Tavern, which also has a beautiful summer beer garden in a quiet corner of the city centre.
What do you think? Have I missed your favourite local? Leave me a comment and let me know!