back to top

13 Weird And Wonderful Places To Have A Beer In Britain

Going further afield doesn't make you love your local any less. Give these a try. There are so many great places to drink beer, and Britain's Beer Alliance wants you to check them out.

Posted on

1. Take a tour, and find out how they make it.

David Blaikie (CC BY http://2.0) / Via flic.kr

The Meantime Brewery tours run Thursday through Sunday, so you can find out how they make the brilliant beer you're about to drink. Not only will you see how the brewery works, you can also touch and taste the ingredients they use. If it's a sunny day, you can sit out in the beer garden afterwards, and if it's cold out, you can sit inside with a pie when their main hall with its dramatic copper beer tuns turn into a restaurant.

2. Drink in a Michelin-starred restaurant that will pair food with beer for you.

5chw4r7z (CC BY-SA http://2.0) / Via flic.kr

Head to the five-star Westbury Hotel in Mayfair, and learn a thing or two about food and beer pairings in a restaurant that chooses them for you. Each course comes with a different, perfectly matched beer picked by the chef (they even have a vegetarian version if that's your thing). The menu changes with the seasons but has previously included the likes of marinated quail, smoked egg, and baked potato, paired with Sharp's Single Brew Reserve from Cornwall. Tasty.

3. Have a beer in Britain's most crooked pub.

John Horton (CC BY http://2.0) / Via flic.kr

Your eyes are not deceiving you – this pub really is that crooked. Staffordshire's The Crooked House was originally a farmhouse and became a pub later on. It went a bit wonky in the 1800s because of the local mining that caused the ground to subside. One end of the pub is four feet lower than the other end of the pub, and your beer will slide down the bar if you don't keep your mitts on it.

4. England's alleged oldest pub.

Roland Turner (CC BY-SA http://2.0) / Via flic.kr

At the foot of Nottingham Castle, you'll find Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem carved into the rock (one of 20 pubs vying for the title of "oldest pub in Britain"). It's a labyrinth of sandstone caves and dates back to the days of William the Conqueror. It gets its name from the crusades, as the soldiers used to have a final pint here before heading out to the Holy Land. It's got its own stories of ghosts (of course), but they tend to stick to the "past landlords" variety. Keep your feet off the upholstery, and you'll be okay.

5. The pub so keen on craft beers they named their pub The Craft Beer Co.

Ewan Munro (CC BY-SA http://2.0) / Via flic.kr

With 37 beers on draught and 300 bottles in the fridges, you will spend more time than usual at the bar trying to figure out what you want. Find The Craft Beer Co on Leather Lane in Clerkenwell, London (or any of their other locations), where they also hold beer launches, parties where you can meet the brewers, and themed beer festivals featuring "the hoppiest of IPAs to deep, smoked porters, with everything in between". Yum.

6. The only pub in a sea cave.

Draco2008 (CC BY http://2.0) / Via flic.kr

Located in the cliffs of South Shields, The Marsden Grotto has a reputation for being haunted. It's been the setting for a couple of TV paranormal investigations that have found up to seven spirits just hanging out. On the more practical, non-ghost side of things, the pub is dug into the cliff face and looks out onto the beach. It serves mostly seafood, and all 18 skeletons that were found when they were building the place have been long since removed.

7. Britain's smallest pub.

Ben Babcock (CC BY http://2.0) / Via flic.kr

The Nutshell in Bury St Edmunds holds the Guinness World Record for the smallest pub in Britain, measuring just 15 feet by 7 feet. In 1984 they decided to see how many people they could fit in and somehow managed to squeeze in 102 people and a dog, like a clown car. When not conducting scientific experiments, only about 10-15 people can get in here at once. There are bank notes on the ceiling, a tiny dart board, and a tiny copy of The Times. There's also a mummified cat hanging from the ceiling, if that's your sort of thing.

8. The pub in a Grade II listed stone lodge.

Bernt Rostad (CC BY http://2.0) / Via flic.kr

Euston Tap is one of the two stone lodges that once guarded the Euston station entrance. This is a place to wait for a train as well as a destination to try out new beers and convert non-(beer)believers. There aren't many beers you won't find here, from small London breweries to obscure foreign beers. This one's good for a first date – your escape route is close if it's not going well.

9. The pub that believes in aliens.

Emma (CC BY http://2.0) / Via flic.kr

The Barge Inn is the gathering spot of crop circle enthusiasts. Some travel light years to get there, but you just need to travel to Wiltshire. When you get there, ask if they managed to get their hands on some of the beer that was brewed with ingredients from space (no, seriously).

10. The only pub inside an ancient stone circle.

fribbleblib (CC BY http://2.0) / Via flic.kr

The Red Lion in Avebury is the only pub in the world to be built inside the largest neolithic stone circle in Europe, believed to be even older than Stonehenge by about 2000 years. Prior warning: The pub itself has been voted one of the top 10 most haunted pubs in the world. They've even got a ghost horse-drawn carriage, apparently.

12. Visit a brewery that's not in London.

Holiday Gems (CC BY http://2.0) / Via flic.kr

Don't let the recent appearance of independently run craft beer breweries in London overshadow the ones that have been there 175 years. If you're in the North, check out the family-run Robinson's Brewery in Stockport, and learn about brewing techniques both super old and brand-spanking new. And when you're done, stop for some eats in the restaurant that makes use of local and seasonal ingredients.

13. Lastly, go mudlarking by the Thames, and then have a pint.

Robert Scarth (CC BY-SA http://2.0) / Via flic.kr

The Prospect of Whitby dates back to 1520, which makes it one of London's oldest riverside pubs. You don't have to jostle too hard for a spectacular view over the Thames; there's loads to go round. Historically, the place was known to be frequented by smugglers, thieves, and pirates (plus Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys, and pals no doubt sampling their real ales), although these days you're more likely to find people in wellies.

Take a break from the usual, and drink beer in some of Britain's quirky, posh, fancy, and downright weird and wonderful places with Britain's Beer Alliance. Follow @BeerForThat on Twitter and find them on Facebook to discover more awesome beers.