8 Great Winchester Pubs
After a few pints/G&Ts/arguments, James and Kelly present the Winchester Bloggers 8 Great Pubs.
Ancient alleyways and medieval architecture mean Winchester is the perfect environment for seeking out the warmth of a good pub on a cold evening. But with endless beautiful settings and friendly atmosphere mean it's equally accommodating for drinks with friends on a summer evening. In other words, it's a great place for a pub. Here are the Winchester pubs we love the most.
Bishop on the Bridge
Pubs generally excel either as a winter location or a summer hot spot. The Bishop on the Bridge offers both. The beautiful courtyard garden overlooking the river is a real Winchester calling card - a huge favourite for revelers enjoying a drink in the sunshine. Yet on a cold winter day, the wood fire, welcoming interior, and friendly vibe make it the perfect spot to spend an afternoon with friends.
As if this wasn’t enough, The Bishop is helmed by a great group of friendly staff, features a nice selection of ales and interesting beers, plus it offers a cracking selection of food that changes on a regular basis. Added together, The Bishop on the Bridge is a Winchester pub gem.
No. 5 Bridge Street
On the opposite side of the street from the Bishop is another one of our favourite pubs - No. 5 Bridge Street. And like the Bishop, No. 5 has more than one trick up its sleeve. The decor is definitely cool but unlike other contemporary spaces that can be alienating, No.5 feels immediately welcoming.
The food is a huge real draw, with some of the best gastro pub food in Winchester and a chef who clearly likes to push the boundaries. And once you’ve enjoyed the ambience and fine food, No.5 has one final surprise to reveal - it’s also a boutique hotel. These beautifully designed and finished rooms are in high demand so must be booked in advance but trust us - they are well worth it.
While our first two pubs are fine examples of modern pubs that combine traditional sensibilities and taste, the Wykeham Arms is all about history. It’s been a pub since 1755 and you can feel the energy of these years the moment you step into the bar. Our favourite feature is the school desks which remind us of getting our fingers trapped as we tried to fish out an exercise book! Located right next to the 14th-century college, the Wykeham Arms is an essential visit for those who want to get a feel for ancient Winchester - and have a pleasant drink in the process.
The Green Man
Another pub successfully striking a balance between traditional pub elegance and modernity is The Green Man. The decor is pleasingly plush and eccentric, the beers are good and the layout - with tables surrounding a striking central bar - makes for an unusual feel. It’s a great location for pre-cinema drinks (the brilliant Everyman cinema is opposite) and one of the finest places to immerse yourself in Winchester life.
Boasting one of the oldest bars in England, the Royal Oak is one of those pubs that was seemingly built without any forward planning or consideration - and is all the more enjoyable for it. With its odd nooks and crannies, tiny doorways, low ceilings, and steps leading seemingly to nowhere, the Royal Oak is one of those places that makes you feel pleasantly intoxicated even without having a drink. It’s the kind of place you’ll duck into for a quick drink while Christmas shopping and realise four hours later that the shops are closed.
This pub, at the top of the high street, is an outstanding example of renovating a beautiful pub to give visitors the mix of pub tradition and modern comfort. The space is comfortable, attractive and relaxed, with just the right mix of original features and new touches. The food is simply outstanding. The breakfasts - often can afterthought in pubs, are worthy of the visit alone, while the exceptional evening mean its one of our favourite places for a romantic meal.
At the risk of gushing too much, we have to mention the rooms. Beautifully laid out and decorated, the rooms are a delight of irregular angles and creature comforts. We still fondly remember setting down our toothbrushes on the shelf and watching them slide straight off into the sink! The Westgate is one of the very best - a real Winchester pub treasure.
The Old Vine
The picture perfect Cathedral setting helps. So does the "the place to be seen" al fresco seating. Then there's the timeless and sophisticated interior. It's no surprise that the Old Vine is one of Winchester’s most beloved pubs. Count us as fans too. We appreciate the friendly staff, the wonderful food and the atmosphere. The Old Vine is quite rightly lauded as one of the City’s best pubs, attracting plentiful tourists, making it a rare beast: a destination for locals and visitors alike.
The Mucky Duck
For the slightly younger/young at heart crowd and sports fans, there’s no better pub than the Mucky Duck. Just off the beaten track, The Mucky Duck is a great haven for those escaping the bustle of the high street, without requiring a trek to reach. Living up to its calling card: “hard working, easy going attitude”, the Mucky Duck is a great alternative to the regular drinking establishments and a cracking pub in its own right.
Agree with our selections? Have we missed off your favourite Winchester Pub? Use the comments below or tell us on Facebook.