So lockdown has eased, and we can enjoy a pint with mates again. But… We’re still all feeling the Covid fear a bit. Well, if you want to enjoy a drink in the fresh al-fresco air of Plymouth, there are plenty of pubs and bars with outside seating.
But, the question is, which is the best pub in Plymouth? And crucially, which is the best pub to enjoy the sun and the views?
Wonder no more. Our definitive list of the best pubs with outside seating in Plymouth will help you enjoy the summer months and our new found post lockdown freedom.
1. The Waterfront
Slap on the, well, the waterfront of West Hoe. The Waterfront pub is a lovely spot with views across the sound and ample outside seating. It serves a decent selection of premium beers, ciders and wines – but its also fairly pricey for Plymouth. On a sunny day though this is one of the best pubs in Plymouth to sit and soak up the sun in the Ocean City.
2. The Terrace
Sticking to the seafront, The Terrace is the cafe that overlooks the Lido and the small beach below the Hoe. The food is fairly standard fare like burgers, pasties and sandwiches. And, they also have a solid selection of bottled beers and a couple of tap too. Probably the best views from a pub anywhere in Plymouth (stiff competition from the Waterfront) and reasonable prices too.
3. The Pier Masters House
A new addition to the Plymouth bar scene, Pier Masters House is found just between the Elphinstone car park and the Barbican. Basically walk up from the Barbican and you’ll see the restaurant jutting out into the harbour. Food is great, with steaks and sharing plates aplenty. Plus they have one of my favourite beers, Mahou, on tap. The outside seating is also well covered, so if it starts to rain (quite likely with Plymouth’s maritime climate), you’ll be able to avoid getting too wet. A strong contender for best pub with outside seating in Plymouth…
4. The Ship/The Barbican strip in general
The Ship is the first pub on the quayside Barbican strip, that includes Rust and Royal, Bar Rakuda and The Cider Press. All of those have ample outside seating and food, so they’re great if you’re meeting friends for a drink on the Barbican. Personally I prefer The Ship as the beer selection is better. Another nice feature here is all of these pubs have parasols for that wet weather protection. This Barbican strip is also a very vibrant spot on a pleasant summer evening, with live music and DJs adding to the atmosphere.
5. The Three Crowns
If you’ve ever been to Plymouth’s Barbican on a Bank Holiday weekend you’ll know that the Three Crowns is a local fave. It’s kind of like a rough and ready maritime pub but with a semi-gentrified air. Lots of outisde seating on the sunny side of the Barbican means that it’s always going to be a solid choice for al-fresco drinking in Plymouth. It’s not to everyones tastes, but some will say that this is one of the best pubs in Plymouth for sure. If this doesn’t suit, you’ll also find…
6. Bonne Sante & Blue Bar
Sticking with the Barbican, these two bars have set up camp in the small central paved area between Three Crowns and the Barbican Strip. Both are primarily food establishments, but offering a good selection of beers, wines and spirits. Plus they get the sun until relatively late in the day.
7. Seco Lounge & Bar
We’re off to Royal William Yard now, and Seco is a solid choice for anyone heading to the area. A decent beer and wine selection, cocktails, good food including sharing platters and reasonable prices make this easily one of the best pubs with outside seating in Plymouth.
8. Bistrot Pierre
This French themed restaurant in Royal William Yard has the advantage of being right next to the grassy area. If you’ve got kids in tow this will be a good spot, where you can watch them running around while you get down to the serious business of drinking (and maybe eating).
9. Caffeine Club & Beggars Banquet
If you can handle the overbearingly chintzy decor, these two bars next to the Box on North Hill are great for some beers in the sun (during the day anyway). And with ample outdoor seating, they’re some of the most popular drinking spots in Plymouth. The crowd does tend to be student heavy, but also attracts a solid local clientele too.
Right in the heart of studentsville, opposite the university, Air is one of Plymouth’s original and enduring outside bars. Cheapish beer and cocktails plus that semi-Bohemian student vibe make this a great place to hang out with friends in central Plymouth.
11. Union Rooms
Yes, it pains me to include a Wetherspoons on this list. But… It does have a massive outdoor beer garden in the centre of town. If you like Wetherpoons then fair play to you. Nuff said.
12. The Bank
Behind the Theatre Royal, you’ll find this old pub with a great outside drinking area to the rear. Food is decent pub fare and the selection of drinks is basically standard for a quality pub. Being so close to town, it’s also a handy place to catch a pint after shopping or if you just want to chill out before a night on the town.
13. The Mount Batten
On the otherside of the water from the Barbican (grab the ferry) you’ll find this perfectly placed pub and eatery. Food is very generous, drinks are pretty standard and the outside seating area is huge. Perfect if you want to look out to sea or back to the city with a cool drink in hand. It’s also quite affordable and as it’s not in town it’s usually quite chilled even on a busy day. If you’re taking a walk to one of the beaches over this side of the water this makes a great stop for a refreshing drink on the way out or back.
14. The Edgcumbe Arms
Taking a day-trip to Mount Edgcombe? Take the ferry from Royal William Yard or the Cremyll ferry across to this lovely pub looking back across the water to the city. There are a few seats outside overlooking the water so you can either sink a drink in the sun (hopefully) while waiting for your ferry back, or make a day of it.
15. The Marina
Found on the edge of Sutton Harbour, just up from Annabells and The Stable, this is a popular pub for soaking up the sun away from the hubbub of the Barbican. But you still get the views across the marina, which is nice. You’ll also find The Loft here, which is quite a lively spot when it’s open.
16. Miller Carter Steakhouse aka The China House
This hasn’t been the China House for a while, but the Miller Carter Steakhouse is still a good spot to sit and watch the view across the harbour. Nice outside decking, looking towards the Barbican, make this one of the best pubs in Plymouth to enjoy a pint without too much of a crowd.
That’s our list of the best pubs in Plymouth with outside seating, but we’re sure there are plenty more. We’ve tried to keep it city centre because, well, that’s where most people want to hang out really. But if you have any other al-fresco drinking suggestions in Plymouth drop them in the comments below!