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From the Blog

Where to go for a drink in the sun: Cornwall's best beach bars

Posted by Bethany Walton on

Post-surf spritzers and sundown sangrias

Cornwall has just celebrated the arrival of summer with its colourful flora displays and traditional May Day parades filling the streets. The forecast is predicting blue skies and sunshine spells, and in our opinion, there’s no better way to see in the new season than with a drink on the beach.

Dotted by sandy coves and excellent ocean swell, we’ve rounded up the best beach bars, dog-friendly pubs and harbourside beer gardens to head to when the sun is shining in Cornwall.

The Watering Hole, Perranporth

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One of Cornwall’s only “bars on the beach”, The Watering Hole sits directly on top of Perranporth’s soft sands and is renowned for its laid back atmosphere, sunset views and live music. Family-run, the bar has been open since the 1970s and attracts visitors from near and far, promising a warm welcome every time.

Whether it's sipping on pints of classic Cornish cider or opting for one of Beetlejuice’s famous cocktails, it’s the picnic benches that provide the perfect setting for soaking up the sunshine. Prop up a board post-surf or stop by with four-legged friends in tow and head to the bar in search of an afternoon elixir. Also serving food from lunch through to supper, you can appease hungry bellies with zingy fish burgers, hot garlic prawns and loaded steak fries.

From May to September, the bar also comes alive with a whole host of events. From beachside reggae to weekend-long pop music festivals, you may want to check their socials ahead of time to see if there are any events due to take place.

Find the iconic pub by parking in the town and walking across the beach where The Watering Hole sits in the middle overlooking the ocean.

The Bowgie Inn, Crantock

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Enjoying an incredible outlook over Crantock Beach, The Bowgie Inn is a classic Cornish pub for fair-weather walkers and sunshine seekers. Located high above the water, the beer garden is one of the best for wave watching with blue views as far as the eye can see.

Order rounds of locally brewed ales or opt for one of their speciality cocktails. Made with light and refreshing Knightor Vermouth and topped with fresh orange, their Cornish spritzers make a tantalizing tipple on warmer days, while their classic summer cup is made with Cornish liquor and served with berries and mint.

Make a day of it by walking the coast path from Holywell over to Polly Joke, where sunbathing seals and fields of poppies mark the arrival of warmer weather, before finding the Bowgie Inn tucked away on the headland.  

Nearby property: Trewhella

Pandora Inn, Falmouth

Sitting on the edge of the creek in Restronguet Hill, it’s safe to say the Pandora Inn is one of Cornwall’s most-loved hidden gems. Thanks to its waterside location, the pub’s beer garden savours views over the river with the occasional yacht drifting past.  

Radiating an olde worlde charm, this 13th century pub is cosy and welcoming. The bar itself is brimming with local ales, stouts, spirits and wines, making it a definite crowd-pleaser for all, with a food menu to match. Tuck into their famous fish pie or keep things simple with a ploughman’s lunch or catch of the day, served alongside thick cut chips.

It’s worth arriving for a drink in style, so why not hire kayaks from Loe Beach and explore the creek before mooring just outside the pub for a celebratory tipple. For those who’d prefer an easier commute, you can hop on a water taxi from St Mawes or Falmouth.


The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

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© The Idle Rocks via Instagram

Indulge in coastal sophistication at The Idle Rocks, a renowned haven for relaxation in picture-perfect St Mawes. Known for its fine dining, the terrace menu consists of black truffle arancini, baked Cornish crab remick and Falmouth Bay oysters, served alongside bespoke paired cocktails. For those who prefer to keep things classic, their drinks menu is certainly extensive with wines sourced from around the world.

Explore the wines of Cornwall with glasses of Rock Rose by Trevibban Mill or opt for a bottle of French Brut Réserve all while enjoying beautiful views over the harbour. Spend a day meandering around St Mawes’ winding streets before finding the soft sands of the cove directly underneath The Idle Rocks.

Nearby properties: Cornerways and Seaglass House

Surfside & Rum Bar, Polzeath

Aptly named, Surfside can be found right on Polzeath Beach, moments from the shoreline and overlooking the incoming tide. Known for its tiki-style interiors and casual atmosphere, it’s great for those wishing to while away the hours with rounds of rum cocktails. The bar itself looks out onto the beach and there are a handful of tables on the sand too, both warmly welcoming dogs.  

What’s more, Surfside regularly host live music events so you can expect local musicians and DJs on weekends, while midweek is popular with surfers, walkers and beachgoers. For those staying for food, order a selection of small plates or give into temptation with their burger menu.  

Nearby properties: Seagrass, Waders, Tregoose, Trelorna, Sunny Seven, Treasure House, Doyden and The Cove

Fistral Beach Bar, Newquay

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© Fistral Beach Bar via Instagram

A go-to for many once the sun begins to shine, Fistral Beach Bar is perfect for post-surf pints and sunset spritzers. Positioned right above the sand, you’ll find a large suntrap terrace with plenty of tables ready to welcome casual wining and dining. The drinks menu consists of draught beers and ciders, sparkling wines, classic cocktails and candyfloss G&Ts, while pizzas, loaded fries and burgers take centre stage on the food menu.

After a day in Fistral’s famous waves, peel off your wetsuits and head straight into the beach bar where sunset promises an incredible backdrop over the horizon. From May until September, there are also terrace parties and sea shanty sing-alongs if you fancy a livelier evening on the sand - browse their upcoming events here.

Nearby property: Sea House


The Rashleigh Inn, Polkerris

Polkerris sits just around the corner from Fowey and opposite Carlyon Bay, recognisable for its golden crescent of sand and historic harbour wall. Access onto the beach is fairly easy which makes it a popular option for families and The Rashleigh Inn can be found footsteps from the sand. The suntrap terrace overlooks the beach while a fully stocked bar awaits inside the traditional coastal pub.

Having recently overhauled their drinks menu, The Rashleigh now offer a completely local selection of beers and ciders, so it's well worth trying something from a nearby brew house and the bar staff are on hand to recommend their favourites! What’s more, the pub is dog-friendly, so you can while away the hours with some good food and even better views. The beach attracts the crowds in the summer, and you can watch as brave divers take to the pier at high tide.

Nearby properties: Daymarker, Lantic Barn and Little Polkerris


Blue Bar, Porthtowan

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Nestled on the shores of Porthtowan, Blue Bar is one of North Cornwall’s best fair-weather destinations. It overlooks incredible surf with a suntrap terrace for casual drinks and late lunches. Offering a wide range of Cornish ales, lagers, spirits and ciders, the bar is akin to a traditional pub but with a surf style and cool character.  

It’s open all year round and warmly welcomes dogs, making it an ideal pitstop for coastal walks over from St Agnes. Sip on pints of Cornish Korev and share a selection of fish tacos and topped nachos for a real taste of the Blue Bar. If you’ve come prepared with swimming gear and beach towels, head onto the beach for a dip in the tidal pool or hire boards from Eskinzo for an afternoon amongst the waves.

Nearby property: Gwelefan


Looking for more summertime inspiration?

Read our guide to beachside dining in the county or incorporate a beautiful walk into your plans with our favourite recommendations for dog-friendly, sight-seeing and buggy-friendly routes dotted along the coast.

Image credits: The Idle Rocks and Fistral Beach Bar via Instagram | All other images are our own or sourced via Unsplash.


Posted by Bethany Walton

Beth can usually be found on a Cornish beach or enjoying a swim in the sea. She has great insight about where to visit across the county, plus plenty of recommendations for finding the best Cornish ice cream.

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