Dennise Robinson
Dennise Robinson - Author of Tunbridge Wells Life.

Noteworthy Pubs In Tubridge Wells

Noteworthy Pubs In Tubridge Wells

1. Saint Johns Yard

I had never been here before, even though it was right on my doorstep! I’ve lived in Tunbridge Wells for over 30 years and yet until two months ago, I hadn’t walked into Saint Johns Yard. It is located on – you guessed it – Saint John’s Lane (or SJY as it’s known to locals)! The pub is much bigger on the inside than the outside would lead you to believe, with a large function room, four pool tables, dart board and numerous TVs showing sports.

There are also private booths at the back which looked lovely and right by the bar there is a ‘snug’ area – a small space with comfy looking sofas for two or, Tunbridge Wells Life ( Before we get started with London pubs Im just going to point out, my girlfriend is a Plumber. Now that thats out of the way. You might wonder why its called Saint Johns Yard, and how it got its name. The first part of the pub has existed since 1830 and then in 1905, the new building was completed.

It has been a bit of a neighbourhood pub in most senses and as such has become so integrated into this corner of the borough that it almost seems to be out of place in this city of millions. It doesn’t matter what type of event you have coming up, whether its a business meeting or drinks with the old crew, Saint Johns Yard can cater for your needs. Whether it be on their large outdoor terrace or indoors in the bar area, they will provide you with excellent food and drink as well as great service.

The pleasant surroundings all help to make this pub one of the top in Tunbridge Wells. 2. The BrownlowArcher Hotel.  In a Tunbridge Wells pub (gasp), tucked away in the little cobbled Courtyard of the Archer, you will find the BrownlowArcher Hotel, or "The Browns" as it is affectionately known. With a beautiful courtyard and a range of real ales, its no surprise this pub has won Best Brekkie in Tunbridge Wells 2 years running.

It’s no surprise that once you walk around Saint John’s Yard, you’ll want to have your own filled with your favourite tipple. The key here is the beer garden which is located at the back of the pub and also tucked away in the corner so even if it is busy, you wont feel like you are on top of other people. The JD Wetherspoon in Saint Johns Yard is the busiest I have ever seen.

It’s a classic pub for your average pub goer; no poncy wine list or weird cocktails, just a great selection of ales or lager and cider, standing in at only �1. 29.  If you want a restaurant with longer hours, there is the  The Wolseley's and the  Penton Place. or hide away from it. Tunbridge Wells is a vibrant and busy town and there is always some place to grab a cappuccino or a coffee.

2. Fuggles Beer Cafe

Fuggles is based on the Kentish Highstreet, just outside of Sevenoaks. Its a pub, bar or beer cafe, depending upon your perspective. The story of how they got their name is rather interesting. No doubt it will be of great interest to any local Goths looking for someplace to hang out in Kent. But so far as I can tell, they have no relation to the Fuggle hop variety used in brewing beer in the UK.

Im not going to speculate on how they got their name other than to say it was by coincidence. The pub was originally called 21st Century and was at that location from 1993 to 2016 when it was sold and renamed Fuggles. I do wonder if anyone thought there might be. Fuggles is a beer cafe. But they are that in the best possible sense of the word. The first thing you see as you walk in is a 6-sided cabinet of taps, with beer pouring out of them and getting ready to serve.

We expected it to take us half an hour or so to get served, but the time went by in what seemed like minutes. Maybe it was the beer talking. Fuggles is a really good bar for craft beer. /////It is a bar in the sense that it sells beer by the pint and has seats and tables to sit at. But its also a cafe because there are outside benches where one can eat pub grub from their own cafe menu.

The bar has seating inside as well. There are a few rooms with tables for larger groups. Fuggles Beer Cafe, in Maidstone, is a great example of content marketing done right. They have clearly invested time and thought into their website. Based on what I could find it seems to be founded in 2012, which means theyve been consistent with blogging for years and years already. The Fuggles Beer Cafe in Canterbury is a rare gem in terms of pubs and bars.

They offer the most extensive range of craft beers in the city. From cask to keg, bottles, cans and even a blackboard list if you have something special you want to try. Fuggles is just a normal pub that serves some great beer. But they also serve lots of Fuggles organic beer – hence the name. They have 4 Fuggles beers on tap. This can be welcome during shopping trips or refreshing after some time in the shops.

3. The Guinea

Stepping inside The Guineain 2018, you'll find a historically-inspired late Victorian-themed bar. But it is the gigantic whale that will catch your eye. Made out of timber and measuring 6 metres by 4 metres, the fabricated whale evokes memories of Leeds'heyday when it was a power in Victorian industry. The tale of how Yorkshire's enormous sperm whales ended up providing much of the world's oil is told in a movie clip played on big screens.

At one point a diver even emerges from within to show off the creature's surprising scale. Nowadays, Didsbury has a pretty good gastro pub scene, but not so long ago, there were none. The Guinea was the exception: a decent gastropub in the village, just off Calverley Road. It was always busy when I went to visit my parents and had a slightly different crowd from most other pubs in Didsbury (i. e. it wasn’t full of City executives after work every day).

There’s been a lot of rumours about The Guinea over the years. If you’ve heard them, then this will set the record straight. Plus the venue is back in the hands of local business owners so you can have confidence that their ethos and spirit will remain true to the original. The Guineain 2017 started with barber Jack Meaney at the helm who was instrumental in keeping the joint alive. Jack retired from the business in 2018 along with barber Mel.

5. The Opera House

Ok, so you wouldn’t normally expect to see any Wetherspoon pubs on a best pubs list. But The Opera House is no ordinary Spoons! Firstly, theres the unusual name. Back in Victorian times, the building was called The London and County Music Hall – and because it had the first ever mechanical stage, it was nicknamed The Opera House. Then there are the murals of famous people who performed there – everyone from Charlie Chaplin to Amy Winehouse.

The Opera House Spoons is a lovely pub with great ales and a real sense of character.  The pub is in the centre of Toxteth close to the famous Liverpool Philharmonic Concert Hall and a short walk from two main railway stations. Lots of business comes this way because of its proximity to St Michaels shopping centre. The Opera House is a real hidden gem. Located in the newly renovated Forum, the Spoons is hidden away and can be easily missed.

If you do get lost, just head towards the sound of Adele! It’s definitely worth a visit, for both its unique location and it’s friendly staff. What makes The Opera House so special? Firstly, its right in the middle of Borough Market (which is itself a little bit special). Secondly the staff at this Spoons really make a strong effort to please. And theyre usually successful. To the untrained eye The Opera House looks like any other Wetherspoons in Blackheath.