My Sis wanted to explore Penzance, on the assumption that it must have an “independent” quarter.  Even Glossop and Mansfield have one of those now, and surely Falmouth can’t have all the alternative scene.

We didn’t find it. Only in the attractive but scruffy square housing the Beer Guide-listed Crown did we see much of character, and this home-brew pub is a very acquired taste.  If you like the 1970s you may love it. The beer was decent if floral (NBSS 2.5), in an Otter glass.


That said, Sis had loved their Red IPA on keg in the enterprising Spoons in the main street (the actual “High Street” is the most nondescript I’ve ever seen, apart from Durham’s of course).

We both like Tim’s pubs; this one had friendly service, a good cheap grilled halloumi and some commitment to interesting beer.  However, we both noted that in wet-led pubs like yesterday’s Star, you don’t get food residue on your table, which is a bonus.

That’s apparently Penzance’s beer scene.  I passed at least one pub (the London ?) that used to be in the Guide; it looked forlorn. To be fair to Penzance, folk come for the views, not the pubs.

Redemption came at the Sportsman, a stiff mile uphill from the centre to the adjoining village of Heamoor.  Its not a great looking pub, inside or out, though the pool table was getting good use.

It did, however, have a beer as good as anything I’ve sipped all year, and Bass.  The great beer was 80/-, an astonishingly complex Scotch ale brewed by Rebel, a walkable distance from my Sis, who proclaimed it beer of the week. Despite this greatness, I was delighted when the pleasant barman told me its sales were dwarfed by Bass.



  1. Bass – you know my liking for the stuff!
    I’m sure Boak & Bailey have found more interesting places to drink in Penzance than you did.


    1. One average home-brew pub in the current Beer Guide tells a tale, and didn’t see much in the branch newsletter. The good pubs like the Blisland, Star and New Inn near Par are exceptional and pubby though.


  2. There’s good Bass in town at the Union (Chapel Street) and Yacht (by the Jubilee Pool), as there has been since at least 1978 in both cases; the latter also has excellent St Austell Proper Job; the Dock has Penzance Brewing Co Trink (for now — it’s endangered); the Lamp & Whistle just down from the Crown usually has something different on cask as well as Orval etc. in bottles; the First & Last near the town hall sometimes has a decent beer from up north on, but not reliably.

    But that is about it.

    Agree about the beer at the Crown — lovely pub but only the Porter ever really tastes OK to us and even that’s better sometimes than others. And, yes, it’s one of the least appealing Spoons in the country, but the staff at least are friendly, and one of them is a bona fide beer geek.


    1. Appreciate that. Only having one pub in the Beer Guide surprised me. My Sister has been spoilt by Falmouth when it comes to pubs and shops so Penzance disappointed, though no different to,say, Newmarket locally.

      Yes, staff in Spoons were very friendly; I was just making the point that beer pubs often cleaner than food pubs !


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