St Ives has a pub to suit all tastes, from pubs that cater to families wanting something to eat as well, through pubs that have large screens for watching sports events, to pubs that will satisfy even the most dedicated party animal. Of course, you will find your own favourites, and where you choose to go may depend on who you are with and what you want from your evening, but the following venues are some of our favourites. We’ve decided to put these into a recommended running order, by which you may like to visit first…then after that…..and then after that……
The Sloop, The Wharf
An iconic pub, with a history in St Ives that goes back to the 14th Century. Situated right on the harbour by the slipway, the Sloop has an outdoor drinking area that is extremely popular, as from it you can see anyone who is anyone pass by! Good food is served throughout the day, and there is a second-floor outside roof terrace just behind the Sloop itself that is open in sunny weather and will pamper you with table service, fine drinks and light bites to keep hunger at bay. In the evening the atmosphere of the Sloop comes into its own, often with Bob on guitar playing a variety of tunes (requests taken!) to liven up the evening at weekends. In both summer and winter this is often the first place to fill with people and one of the last to empty.
The interior gives you a real sense of the building’s history with an old wooden bar, low wooden beams and seating that reminds you of pews. The Sloop often organises live music on a temporary stage opposite on the harbour beach – if you see the stage being built you know there will be a treat in store. Friday night Meat Draws are also a feature of the Sloop, with live entertainment, nibbles on the bar and excellent prizes (not just meat!) to be won. In high season, volleyball games are organised outside on the beach, with local groups of lifeguards and sports teams vying for first place. The Sloop is the focal point of St Ives – and rightly so as it has so much to offer depending what time of day you decide to visit.
The Castle, Fore Street
Moving into Fore Street, The Castle is an old-fashioned real-ale pub with a traditional feeling of comfort and warmth. You will recognise it as you approach by its magnificent stained-glass windows, and you may be drawn in by the list of Guest Ales, good food and the sound of happy customers. There is a quiz night on Mondays if you fancy a challenge, and a Beer Festival over the Easter Weekend. This is the sort of traditional seaside pub where good, honest ale-loving folk reside. The last time we were there we were treated to an impromptu performance by a Cornish male voice choir singing traditional Cornish songs – a fabulous experience.
Lifeboat Inn, The Wharf
Back round to the harbour, but this time the other end from The Sloop. The Lifeboat, as its name suggests, is close to the lifeboat house right on the harbour front itself, taking advantage of brilliant sea views while being right in the centre of the hustle and bustle. Open fires and dog-friendly in the winter, a large sports screen for football and other sports events, a pool table and a definite family-friendly feel during the day, the Lifeboat fulfils many functions. In the summer season the Lifeboat does a brisk trade in reasonably priced excellent pub food until 9pm, when the evening vibe takes over. This is often a brilliant venue for live music at the weekends, particularly during the St Ives September Festival, when the whole town is full of poetry, music and drama.
Hub, The Wharf
If you prefer your décor sleek and your music more contemporary, Hub is the place for you. American-style food (pulled pork, amazing burgers) is available in the first part of the evening, but when the kitchen closes Hub becomes a venue for those who appreciate a loud and up-to-date DJ, up-to-the-minute guest beers and cocktails. This is the place to grab a booth or a seat on the balcony, get a round of drinks in and watch everyone party. A great place to start your evening.
Balcony, The Wharf
Huge windows overlooking the harbour let in plenty of light and are perfect for people and boat watching. This is yet another fabulous place for burgers and light meals in the daytime and early evening, with a large screen for watching your favourite team while nursing a drink. In the evening it’s a great place with a surf atmosphere to have a drink and watch people pass, but the main crowd arrives after 11 as Balcony stays open until late most weekend nights during the summer. There is a DJ and a small dance floor (one of the only ones in St Ives) and occasional live music. Because there are no nightclubs in St Ives, this is often the place where people’s evenings end…
There are of course plenty of other pubs in St Ives. If you like to feel at home there is a branch of Wetherspoons, those who enjoy a more sedate pub may like the Union in Fore Street, the Queens Hotel produces beautiful gastropub food, and there are several other quirky little places dotted around that may tempt you in as you explore.
For somewhere to rest your head, browse our cottages in St Ives >