At last, you say, a pub I’ve heard of.

Actually, the Dolphin is Plymouth, in the same way that Coopers is Burton and the Ale Wagon is Leicester, in a world where towns are defined by pubs.

It had been 22 years since I’d set foot in the Dolphin. 22 !


That’s odd, as I was here in 2011 and seem to have just forgotten to do it, but then Plymouth does have about 372 GBG entries.

A lovely night in the Barbican, with the high quality busker treating us to “Sara” by Dylan, a real toe-stomper there.

“Do you do “Death Is Not The End” ?”

Look closely and recoil in horror though.

NINE real ales. Nine ?

Last time here, I remember it was banter, Bass and Beryl Cook.

This is a Bass shrine, after all.


Seriously, which chump went in the Dolphin and said “I love this pub but it would be much better if you added eight other mainstream beers so I had a choice of BBB” ?

AND ciders

Everyone seem to be drinking Bass, anyway (actually Thatchers rules but ignore that).

Straight from the barrel

And I have to be honest and say this; the Bass isn’t what it was.

Still NBSS 3+, and it got better as I sat there letting the atmosphere sink in, but it won’t compete with Tywardreath or Gweek or Bath or Buzzard or Burton for Britain’s best Bass.


But as a pub, it was just wonderful. Really great staff, friendly locals spanning the ages, and that buzz you get from the very best boozers (SEE: The Dove in Bury St Edmunds).

Purists might balk at the cricket on TV or the fruit machines, but it’s a pub not a National Trust property.


Should have stayed and had a Tribute.




  1. Looks like it’s been rather genrtified since the days of the 1975 GBG (see my comment on an earlier post). No Bass back then of course, just gravity served Courage Plymouth mild and bitter. The Courage involvement would have come from their takeover of the local Octagon Brewery – good to see some windows surviving showing OB ownership.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s more the case that the Barbican has gentrified around it – that was very noticeable to me since I was first there in the early 1990s. The fabric of the pub is pretty much unchanged since then (although I imagine it was knocked through in the dim and distant past) and, as Martin says, it still attracts a “mixed” clientele.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. So long since I ‘Bass’d’ in the Dolphin I can barely remember when it was. Actually, I remember exactly when it was, sometime during a week of cloudy weather during the last total solar eclipse visible from Plymouth. We stayed at Turnchapel, tootled about on the sea taxi, drank in noted cider house/shithole The Seven Stars, and managed a whole Bori-burner…

    It may have been that time but I also recall a trip to The local Allied Brewery micro which operated out of the distribution depot. Erased from history it seems…

    Liked by 1 person

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