The best pubs in Suffolk-according to the AA Pub Guide 2020
- Credit: AA
AA Publishing has just released The Pub Guide 2020: 2,000 Pubs for Great Beer and Good Food. Here are the 15 inns in the county they chose as their ‘Pick of the Pubs’ making them some of the top 500 in the country.
The Unruly Pig, Bromeswell
This idiosyncratic pub has too many awards to mention, but most notably head chef Dave Wall has been named the best pub chef in the country! He leads the team to cook thoughtful 'Britalian' plates, prepared with care and overflowing with a sense of place, owing to the sourcing of ingredients. It's dog-friendly with treats and water for your pooch, and there's a suntrap garden and terrace - fabulous for drinks and dining in the sunshine. At the bar expect only premium beers and lagers, but it's wines that are The Unruly Pig's passion, and you'll find some very interesting glasses here, most of them available by the glass and with drivers' measures available. Look out too for their homemade cordials, house Negroni, and unusual soft drinks such as locally made kombucha and shrubs.
Anchor Inn, Nayland
Perched right on the river, the trees swooping into the water and kayakers gliding past, this pub enjoys an envious location. There's a front bar heading up a clutch of rooms leading to a sunny terrace. The pub has the Cask Marque Award of Excellence for its offering of ales and craft lagers. And the menu uses local produce where possible, as well as ingredients from the onsite smokehouse - including the veggie friendly slow-cooked BBQ jackfruit.
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Elveden Inn, Elveden
Belonging to the Guinness family, you won't find a better drop of the black stuff outside of Ireland anywhere other than here. Expect a sunny lawns, spacious dining spaces, regular events, and food that makes the most of the estate's vegetables and game. The tapas style plates, fish and seafood deli board and ploughmans are perfect for sharing alongside a drink.
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The Ship at Dunwich, Dunwich
Quite simply one of the best locations in the county for walking and birdwatching, being on nature's doorstep. The Ship has a clearly defined bar, serving well-kept real ales and excellent wines, and the dining rooms offer classic British food, be that fish pie with a cheese crusted mashed potato top or Sunday roasts. It's a hit with dog owners.
Sibton White Horse Inn, Sibton
If you ask nicely, owner Neil will let you glance down into the cellar one of the oldest in the area. The publican is rightly proud of the offering he and his wife provide and this year it was named the Good Pub Guide Suffolk Dining Pub of the Year for the second year in a row. The White Horse has it all. Excellent beer, food that really is a cut above the rest (including homegrown ingredients and a long list of locally sourced ingredients), expansive gardens, and suntrap courtyard where, from July 12, there's a barbecue every Friday evening throughout July and August. A must-visit.
The Crown, Stoke By Nayland
A highly respected independent pub with rooms. This place has a huge floor space with loads of niches and nooks for drinking and dining. At the bar some fantastic breweries are represented, including Crouch Vale from Essex, whose Brewers Gold is a former Supreme Champion Beer of Britain. Food is served from breakfast through to dinner and is highly seasonal. Take the current menu, for example, which sings with vegetables such as kohlrabi, peas and new potatoes.
The Randolph, Southwold
One of the friendliest places to eat in the smart seaside town - and they've kept the locals local feel, by having quiz nights, family events and dining offers such as 'burger night'. Lunchtimes offer a range of homecooked dishes alongside hot and cold sandwiches and even a Yorkshire pudding filled with beef, gravy and horseradish.
The Kings Head (The Low House), Laxfield
At this traditional 15th century Suffolk low house beer is still served direct from the barrel from the tap room, with a focus on local brews as well as specially selected beers from further afield. There's a lovely large garden (where you can book in advance to eat in the pavilion if you're a group), and the kitchen dishes up simple, but incredibly tasty fare, from homemade pates and pies to local ham with sautéed potatoes and local free-range eggs. A joy to visit.
The Old Cannon Brewery, Bury St Edmunds
A hotel, bar and restaurant with its own brewery on site! The free house produces its range of beers with East Anglian grown barley and the special house yeast, and many of the dishes on the menu sneak in a bit of beer. You can arrange a tour most Monday mornings, which includes beer tasting and a bacon sarnie.
The Bull Inn, Barton Mills
An award-winning boutique hotel and 500-year-old coaching inn with the choice to dine in the pub or dining rooms. The food here is simply packed with flavour, and portions are notoriously generous. At lunchtimes with a pint try their ploughmans of cheddar, Norfolk Binham Blue, Blythburgh free-range pork, apple and black pudding terrine, homemade bread and chutney, pickles and apple.
The Packhorse Inn, Newmarket
The very first hotel/pub for Chestnut Inns. This is a rather sophisticated spot, with a refined bar area and dining nooks, and wonderful accommodation. Expect local ales, fine wines and cocktails, and a menu that's a real cut above what you'd expect from the average pub. A fixed price menu is supplemented by imaginative a la carte offerings such as hay-baked beetroot with sunflower and coriander seed pest and goats' cheese mousse, and chargrilled monkfish shank with pickled lime glaze and fennel salad.
The Crown Inn, Snape
After a spot of canoeing at Iken, a bit of bird spotting, or maybe a meandering river walk, you can spend a lovely afternoon at this 15th century Adnams pub. You'll find everything you could need or want in a Suffolk inn- a large garden, well-kept beers (many from Adnams of course), and great food made with meat from their own smallholding and veg and herbs from their own allotment. Try the 'porky platter' - a tasting of their home-bred pork.
The Angel Inn, Stoke By Nayland
There's bags of character at this 16th century former coaching inn, with its wonky walls and brickwork. Upstairs are six very comfortable bedrooms, while downstairs at the bar (Cask Marque accredited) they have excellent local and international beers and spirits, a large gin menu, and a variety of cocktails and mocktails. The menu has a modern European feel. Think pan-fried cod with lemon roasted fennel, hot smoked salmon fishcake with keta and tomato, and classics like the house burger with bacon jam.
The White Horse, Whepstead
This dog-friendly pub, just 10 minutes from Bury St Edmunds, is a big part of the local community. Step inside, where you can't fail to be charmed by the 17th century features, or wood by the menu of home cooked food, from fishcakes to pork cutlets. At the bar you'll find a decent drop (usually including Woodforde's Wherry and Calvors Session IPA). And outside there's a play area for children.