The Seahorse is arguably the most child and family friendly pub anywhere, there is an area set aside specifically for young children with a TV tuned permanently to cbeebies or similar, and dotted with all sorts of books and toys and small seating.
They also welcome bookings for kids birthday parties, in fact my kids have been to them there and had a great time.
The pub hosts Karaoke every week. It is a large pub with helpful staff and the only drawback from my point of view is there are no real ales.
Buddy’s in the High Street is one of the largest pubs in town. The downstairs bar is trendy and aimed at younger customers, and “career” drinkers; with cheap lager, no real ale, and a noisy ambiance; dance music, and laser lighting.
There are bottled beers, but the pub thrives on its reputation for selling cheap lager.
There is no beer garden and nowhere, except the narrow High Street, for smokers.
It has attracted criticism from some locals because of smokers and drinkers outside from quite early in the day.
There are large TV screens for showing major sports events, and seating on several levels. There is no parking but it stands in the centre of town.
Upstairs is a separate venue called Buddy’s Live Lounge which plays host to irregular live music, as well as other functions. It has two stages and a quite large capacity of about 150 people. (Only the Pavilion and Landmark are larger for live music.)
The Boat House,
1-4 The Promenade,
The boat house was formerly known as The Wheelhouse and is an integral part of the promenade of shops on the sea front on Wilder Road which is designed to represent a paddle steamer. It is currently run by local landlord “H” and features live music, mainly during the tourist season. With a seating area outside this is a great place to sit and enjoy the sea views on warm days.
There is usually a choice of two local ales but, on this occasion, I was limited to Yelland, at a very reasonable £3. Service is warm and friendly. Decor is mainly traditional with nautical leanings.
The Chill bar is an intimate bar and music venue at the junction of High Street, Fore Street, and Portland Road. It is downstairs from the Rock Cafe which is owned by the same couple, Lawrence and Isabel.
The venue has had a number of names including “One-Fy-Five” (a reference to the street number) and “Cravings”. Some years ago it had a reputation as a bit of a chav pub but Lawrence’s introduction of rock bands most Saturday nights and open mic most weekdays has changed that.
At the time of writing there are open mic nights on Tuesday and Wednesday (acoustic) and on Thursday (full band)
No draught ales, sadly, although there are usually one or two reasonable bottled beers. A tad more expensive than average for the town but not ridiculous, and you rarely have to pay to see a band.
Decor is classy-chic, and music orientated, with pressure sensitive leather stools and a “stage” area with star cloth and in house PA.
This bar runs a strict over 21 policy and no dogs. Service is very friendly and warm with Lawrence a stylish larger-than-life presence.
The Pier Tavern Ilfracombe, with Lantern hill in the background
Pier Tavern The Quay, Ilfracombe, Devon, EX34 9EQ 01271 866225
Update – The Pier closed down for a refit recently. I spoke to builders on Thursday 12th Sept who told me that it was scheduled to reopen on Friday 13th September (the date of this entry) Some of the information here may not be 100% accurate now until I can check it out)
The Pier Tavern is a large pub standing, as its name suggests right by the pier. It enjoys some fabulous views from the front out over the harbour and across to Lantern Hill shown in the picture. At the rear there is a substantial patio area with, up some steps, views across the sea.
There is no customer car park but it is close to the pier car park which is public pay and display. It is within easy stagger of all the harbour accommodation.
The pub has live music during the holiday season most often acoustic acts during weekend afternoons. There is a stage area where they have full bands in the evening from time to time.
Dogs are allowed
There is a reasonable selection of proper beer for example Doombar at £3.20 a pint when I went in recently. Prices are typical for the town. Service is friendly and welcoming.