The Best Pubs in Exeter

Despite its limited nightlife, Exeter has a wide-range of pubs that are suited for all occasions, whether it be pre-drinks, tasty food or simply a few evening pints. Although difficult to choose, I’ve narrowed it down into a list of my five favourite pubs which are all definitely worth a visit during your time in Exeter.

The Old Firehouse

While it may seem an obvious choice, The Old Firehouse is undoubtedly one of my favourite pubs in Exeter, with its huge pizzas, live music, and the fact that it is one of the few places in Exeter to keep its doors open beyond two in the morning. Although JK Rowling recently dispelled the myth that The Old Firehouse inspired the Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter, the pub has not lost any of its rustic charm. While the pizzas steal much of the glory, and rightly so, the main menu is also not to be missed. Homemade traditional pub dishes are on offer including a variety of vegan and vegetarian options too. One of my favourite things to do in The Firehouse is try the local farm ciders, which come in a variety of alcohol strengths and flavours, such as the Maverick which is a ginger and chilli flavoured cider.

The Bowling Green

Located on Blackboy Road, The Bowling Green is most familiar to students who live in the Mount Pleasant and Polsloe areas. This pub is great for a relaxed evening with a few pints. It has a rustic interior with wooden beams, wooden tables, and a wooden bar, giving it a cosy, traditional feel. However, what gives The Bowling Green it’s charm is its board game collection, which all customers are welcome to use. With classic games such as Risk and chess on offer, as well as a pool table, The Bowling Green has a fun atmosphere that makes it perfect for a mid-week evening out with your housemates.

George’s Meeting House

If you want cheap pre-drinks or just a cheap night out in the pub, then of course Wetherspoons is the place to go. However, if you want to broaden your Wetherspoons horizons beyond The Imperial and The Chevalier, then George’s Meeting House is a must-visit. Located at the end of South Street not far from the Quay, George’s Meeting House is a converted 18th century chapel, with two overlooking pews raised above the main bar and seating area. The chapel aesthetic is singular to any pub I’ve ever been to before and I’d highly recommend grabbing a table in one of the pews in order to observe the people below get steadily more tipsy. It definitely provides a unique drinking experience.

The Port Royal

Offering quayside views but without the trek to Double Locks, The Port Royal is a lesser known pub among the student population but is worth a visit. It is located just beyond the vintage and craft cellar shops, right on the waterside. Weather permitting, the outdoor seating area provides beautiful views across the Quay, with the chance to see the sun setting over the distant hills of a late afternoon. If the weather isn’t suitable for sitting outside, then the indoor seating is quirky and cosy, still providing views of the water. The food in The Port Royal is exquisite, offering both hearty main meals and tasty bar food.

The Monkey Suit

While not strictly a pub, The Monkey Suit has both a funky and chilled atmosphere, with low lighting, comfortable sofas, and fairy lights. Situated on Sidwell Street, The Monkey Suit is accessible to most student areas, making it a perfect destination for any night of the week. While it offers an interesting variety of wines and craft beers, the cocktails are definitely my favourite. Monday is the best night to go for cocktails with two-for-one on selected cocktails all day. There are fruity and creamy cocktails which are all worth a try, and you can also purchase jugs of specific cocktails which are great for sharing.


Emma Hookway


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