I love a good boozer anywhere in England, but pubs in Penzance have a particular appeal. Ale has never tasted better than when it’s got plenty of pirate-y overtones! So, if you’re on the lookout for the best pubs in Penzance – here’s my guide.

Now, for this feature I’ve stuck to your good old fashioned pubs. Penzance also has a couple of great bars and a few restaurants that can swing together a pretty mean cocktail, but I’ve stuck firmly to pubs here. Think real ale, hand-pulled taps and preferably a dog-friendly policy.

Luckily, I was spoiled for choice with those requirements in Penzance. This fabulous town has plenty of great watering holes. So, if you’re thirsty for a pint or perhaps craving some good old fashion pub grub – here are the best pubs in Penzance.

My FAVOURITE pub in Penzance

Deciding which is the best pub in Penzance was no easy task. There are plenty of great ones, however for me, one really stood out.

The Turks Head is the oldest pub in Cornwall

The Turks Head

Yep, it’s The Turks Head in Penzance. This may not come as a surprise if you’ve read some of my other blogs – it also warranted a mention in my favourite old pubs in Cornwall.

So what makes The Turks Head my pick of the pubs in Penzance?

Well, firstly there’s the history – you really can’t go past that. It still gives me chills to walk into a pub and think about all of the drinkers who’ve sunk a pint there over the centuries. I can’t help myself – I wonder what those walls have seen!

What I love about the Turks Head, though, is that our bartender seemed chuffed to bits to share the history with us.

When the response to ‘can you tell me about the history’ is ‘well how long have you got’, then I know I’m onto a winner.

There’s a good selection of beers and the food is honest. I wish there were a few more wines available by the glass, but they have a pretty well curated list if you’re looking to buy by the bottle.

Honestly, if you’re a history lover or a visitor to England looking to experience one of the most historic pubs in the country, head for the Turks Head.

Other great pubs in Penzance

That’s not to say that there aren’t other great pubs in Penzance – far from it! The town well and truly delivers when it comes to that. Here are some more great ones.

The Navy Inn, a great foodie pub in Penzance

The Navy Inn

If you’re looking for a more foodie pub, then I recommend the Navy Inn.

While it’s established itself as a bit of a foodie haunt, you could never call it pretentious. Somehow it manages to be both a cozy local (complete with tradies at the bar) and a gastropub. Works for me.

The exterior of the pub is very pretty, especially when the flower baskets are out. Inside, there’s a cute bar as well as a lot of fascinating nicknacks.

I especially loved the ode to the old landlady – a feisty female pub owner is always a lady after my own heart.

There’s a good selection of beer and wine. The food is highly regarded and features all those British pub classics like battered fish and chips.

I especially love their cute little courtyard in the back. Perfect if you want to enjoy a little bit of sun. Perfect!

The Dolphin Tavern

If you’re looking for a pub in Penzance that has that village-y look and feel, I recommend the Dolphin Tavern.

This pub tends to be a little more geared towards the guests who are staying in the rooms, so it’s a little quieter than some of the other options.

Nonetheless, if you’re looking for an honest pub meal in a gorgeous grey stone pub, then this 16th Century Quay Street establishment is a good choice.

The beer selection is mostly St Austell’s (like many Cornish pubs), but there’s also a few wines and spirits available too.

It also benefits from being right near the waterfront, which always makes the seafood taste better! I recommend grabbing the crab sandwich and watching the world go by.

Seven Stars

Alright, so this pub is just on the borderline of being a “bar”, but I’m letting it in.

Now – fair disclosure. I love a pub with a bit of a gritty edge and the Seven Stars isn’t without it. What can I say – the danger makes you feel alive.

Jokes aside, I hear back in the day it was a bit/a lot “dodge” (as us Aussies would say), however, it’s under new management and has been done up.

There’s still the pool tables and dart boards, however. Now, I don’t mean to stereotype, but when a place’s entertainment revolves around big sticks and sharp objects – it says something.

Now to be fair my visit was in the middle of the day so I didn’t see it at its most raucous – but it was friendly and the beer was good. And cheap.

Look, it won’t be for everyone but sometimes you just want to be reminded that pubs aren’t all gastronomical journeys and sometimes they have a bit of bite.

In that case, there’s places like the Seven Stars.

Exterior of the Admiral Benbow in Penzance

The Admiral Benbow*

Sometimes with a pub, you want sleek lines and Scandinavian minimalism. Sometimes, you want it to look like Aladdin’s Cave exploded.

For those times, there’s the Admiral Benbow.

It’s part ship (literally), part curiosities cabinet and all awesome in my book.

I mean, this is the kind of place where the bartender finishes his shift and joins the crowd. If your staff want to hang out somewhere in their spare time, you’re doing it right.

They are also doing their menu and drinks list right – there’s a good selection, and their Cornish ciders are particularly tasty. If you’re not sure what to get, go for the Doom Bar.

Make sure you leave enough time to see the incredible objects that have mostly been “rescued” from ships wrecked on the Cornish coast in the pubs lifetime. If you ask nicely, the bar staff might even show you the smuggling tunnel.

Yep, this is my second favourite pub in Penzance and I’ve got to tell you, it was a very close call. I highly recommend it.

Quirky interior of the Admiral Benbow in Penzance

Dock Inn

Adorable. I have a serious soft spot for black and white old English buildings, so The Dock Inn is right up my alley.

So is the vibe – even though its along bustling Quay Street, it’s still got that kind of “community living room” vibe that I just love as well.

Add in quiz nights – my favourite pub activity ever – and you’ve got a winner in my books.

I hear that the food is good, although I didn’t get to try it. The menu did pique my interest though – although its mainly British, there were a few unique offerings like Duck Spring Rolls. Not bad.

The drinks selection is pretty standard, with some good beer, wine and cider, as well as some harder stuff if you so feel inclined.

All in all, it’s a fab little pub in Penzance. I’d happily return – and perhaps spend the night.

The Tolcarne Inn, one of the best pubs in Penzance
The Tolcarne Inn, one of the best pubs in Penzance (well, Newlyn)

Tolcarne Inn

Okay, so technically I think this is in Newlyn – but you can walk there from Penzance, so I’m including it.

Right up near the waterfront, the Tolcarne Inn is a charming pub in Penzance. As you’d expect, it’s got a fascinating maritime history which adds in that little bit of extra charm.

It has a great menu – heavy on the seafood, of course, and using mostly local ingredients. I had the cream mussels which were super tasty.

The drinks menu is pretty standard for a Cornish pub, but they have a few wines on offer which makes me happy!

Keep in mind this is a little more of an eating pub than a drinking pub; the kind of place you could take your Nanna on a Sunday afternoon. But hey, that’s not a bad thing.

The Globe

Quirky exterior and serves Doom Bar? Works for me!

It’s really hard to go past the cute and quirky exterior of this Penzance pub. Just in case you forget what pub you’re in, there’s a big globe decal – could be helpful after a few too many.

Inside, this is a fun and cheerful pub that has a relaxed and friendly vibe.

It plays a lot of sport, which could be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it. Personally, I’ll do a bit of flag waving and yelling at the screen (even when I don’t know what I’m yelling about).

Maybe it’s the sport or maybe it’s the crowd, but it’s easy to strike up a conversation here, which is always a good thing.

So the beer and food selection might not be groundbreaking – but the company is good and the bartenders grin, so it gets a big tick from me.

The Crown*

The Crown was a close contender for “the best pub in Penzance” for me. This feels like the kind pub you loved visiting during your uni days.

You know, the beer is affordable, the decor is unpretentious and the people at the table next to you are one drink away from becoming your best friend.

It was this vibe that made The Crown a standout for me – and I suspect it’s been carefully cultivated.

Their website tells me they have a pretty full calendar of live music events, which is always a tick in my book. Sadly, there was nothing on during my visit – although we did hear the rehearsal of a band next door.

One highlight of this pub is it has a pub cat. Now, I have been clear about my love of pub dogs, but I just have to say it – a pub cat is even better. Especially when said pub cat, like most cats, treats you with just a hint of disdain before coming over for pats.

If you’re looking for a friendly local that feels like it’s a real life hangout rather than a tourist attraction, I’d definitely recommend The Crown.

Farmer’s Arms

A pub that loves live music and hosts spoken word nights is my jam, so I have to include the Farmer’s Arms as one of the best pubs in Penzance.

There’s even an open mic on Sundays between 3pm and 7pm. Don’t worry, the requirements are “can and will” sing. I definitely can’t and the willingness depends on the amount of beer consumed (note to the landlords: don’t serve me on a Sunday).

Even when it’s not an official event, you’re still welcome to strum a few chords out on the resident instruments.

It began with a guitar (as every good story does). Then, landlords Taf and Nigel – at the helm since 2011 – put out a request for donations. A bass, violin and cajon were promptly added to the fray. I like it.

There’s a decent selection of beer and the decor is relaxed and, well, pubby.

But mostly – it’s about the live music. Any beer tastes good when there’s live music in the background (except Fosters, which is sadly on the menu). I highly recommend this pub.

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