Whitby is without a doubt one of the most wonderful places I’ve ever visited in the UK. From the stunning drive across the North York Moors on the way and that glorious first glimpse of Whitby Abbey and the sea beyond, I was enchanted and spent most of my time quite in awe of the beauty of the town. I mean, look at it!
It’s somewhere I’d always wanted to go, especially as Dracula is one of my favourite books, so Ross took us off on a weekend for my birthday. Once we started researching the pub situation in the town, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that there were plenty of places worth a visit as well as a brewery (called, unsurprisingly, Whitby Brewery). Now, this isn’t a definite guide to Whitby’s pubs as there were plenty we didn’t get to, but more than enough for a weekend’s visit!
With its glass frontage looking over Whitby harbour, it’s hard to miss Abbey Wharf. It’s huge! It’s mainly a fish restaurant (complete with takeaway counter) but it’s also got a nice bar with views out to sea – and sells beers from Whitby Brewery which was great to see. The bar itself is quite long and well-stocked, and the bar seating area also has a stage and an area which looks like it’s been set aside as a dance floor which does some a bit strange in a fish restaurant, but it is a big space so it didn’t feel like it was in the way. It does appear that they have live entertainment later on weekends, but we popped in early and avoided it. A nice enough place for a few drinks, best to visit during the day so you can see the views.
Wetherspoons (The Angel Hotel)
I never knew that Wetherspoons operated hotels, but they do and there’s one in Whitby. A sprawling modern building, the bar area is set over two floors with a door leading up to the hotel rooms. Like most other Wetherspoons venues, there’s a lot of tables and chairs so getting a seat wasn’t a problem – but getting a beer was. There were four local beers on cask, but when we enquired about them we were told most of them were ‘coming soon’. I notice this happening in other Wetherspoons pubs fairly regularly and it’s just annoying – just have the clips turned around like other pubs do! Is this so they brag that they have x number of real ales on when in reality there’s only one or two on at any one point? Anyway, we had a half each and moved on as there was nothing else actually available at that time we wanted, so it’s not one I’d recommend if you’re visiting Whitby.
The Pier Inn
Located on the harbourside (the opposite side to Abbey Wharf), we were enticed in by the free house sign and ended up staying for some grub. It’s quite a traditional looking pub, but also has a TV with sport on (or sport news, I wasn’t paying attention). Beers on draught came from Whitby Brewery and we were pretty chuffed to be served our drinks in one of the brewery’s glasses – which are lovely and we ended up buying one from a local off licence to take home. Food-wise, we went for scampi and chips each and it came with chippy chips which was nice to see, and it was good value. The chap on the bar was also very pleasant and helpful.
The Station Inn is definitely one of Whitby’s best pubs. Unsurprisingly it’s near to the train station and on our visit the clientele had a mix of regulars who were settled down for the evening and tourists nipping in for a few. The cask selection was good, and they also have their own house brew made by Whitby Brewery, Platform 3. There’s a few rooms; we settled ourselves in one near the front with a cosy open fire and had a few games of darts. Bliss.
Little Angel is a fairly central pub, and we decided to pop in on the way back to our apartment as our last one for the evening. Online it seems to be described as a ‘goth friendly pub’, and it reminded me of Grand Central in Manchester – sticky, slightly grubby and not really somewhere I want to spend too much time – although the music was more pop/chart rather than metal. Ross’ beer was pretty naff and he left it, and despite being a fairly empty pub with plenty of seats, there was a group of local gents stood at the bar bothering the staff and, more annoyingly, blocking the view of the cask beers. I wouldn’t rush back.
The Black Horse
Located within the heart of the old town, The Black Horse is one of Whitby’s must-visit pubs. From the outside it looks absolutely tiny and it doesn’t seem that much bigger when you get inside. However, alongside the cosy front room there’s a slightly larger second bar area through the back which has more seats. It’s said to be one of Europe’s oldest public serving bars and, according to The Black Horse’s website, it’s had some, shall we say, interesting past uses. There’s a couple of beers on cask (tip: there’s different options in the second bar) and as it’s full of character and ye olde charm, it’s one not to miss.
(Nb, forgot to take any pics, d’oh)
Middle Earth Tavern
I loved this pub, and if there was more beer choice I could’ve spent a while inside. It was cosy, friendly and had very nice bar staff with locals and tourists alike were made to feel welcome as soon as they walked in. There’s plenty of board games, pool and a couple of darts boards and it was lovely and warm after the bitter cold outside. But, like I mentioned, the beer selection wasn’t particularly exciting so I just had an Old Peculiar and we moved on.
Located on the same road as the Middle Earth Tavern and The Endeavour (see below), this felt more like a locals pub than some of the others we visited. It had two rooms – a larger room at the back with a TV and a moderate-sized crowd and a smaller front room which had a chap using Skype as its only occupant until we arrived. Beer-wise, it had a couple of cask options available including one from Whitby Brewery we didn’t spot elsewhere, so it was worth a visit but I preferred the atmosphere of some of the other nearby pubs.
The Endeavour might have been my favourite pub in Whitby. On entering, the first thing we saw was a cute little dog having a nap (I do believe she was named Shandy) and the bar had quite a vibrant atmosphere with very welcoming staff on the bar. Although cask beers dominate Whitby’s pubs, The Endeavour also offers up a keg option which was nice to see. There’s also a dart board and I think they do fairly regular events such as live music. It’s worth seeking out.
The Plough Inn
The Plough Inn is one of Whitby’s two Samuel Smith’s pubs. It’s a large venue mainly frequented by locals in the centre of the town. As with the brewery’s other pubs, the beer is very affordable – I do believe we paid £1.92 for two halves of the Extra Stout. What a bargain. We also had a game of pool, which was again very cheap. A good bet if you’re on a budget.
So there we have it, a look at the pubs we visited during two days in Whitby. For its size, Whitby does have a lot of pubs. We didn’t quite make it to every single one – so maybe a return visit is on the cards.