Best Pubs in Tunbridge Wells: 7 Spots for an Amazing Evening

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So you’re planning a trip to Tunbridge Wells and want to know the best spots to get your beer on? My friend lives there and has given me an exclusive look into the best pubs in Tunbridge Wells. Whether you prefer the quintessential British Pub with a roaring fire and wooden beams or something a little quirky, this list has got you covered.

The History of Pubs in Tunbridge Wells

Tunbridge Wells, originally known as Royal Tunbridge Wells, gained fame in the 17th century for its chalybeate springs. These springs attracted visitors seeking the supposed health benefits of the iron-rich waters. As the town flourished as a spa destination, so did its hospitality industry—this means more pubs!

The 18th and 19th centuries marked a golden age for pubs in Tunbridge Wells. The demand for top-notch boozers grew as the town’s popularity soared among the gentry and royalty. Many well-known pubs still present in the town were established during this time. For example, The Compasses has been in operation since the early 1700s.

The Best Pubs in Tunbridge Wells

But you didn’t come here for a history lesson, so let’s get to it and explore the top 7 pubs in Tunbridge Wells.

The Guinea

Topping my list is The Guinea, one of the oldest pubs in Tunbridge Wells, with parts of the building dating back to the 17th century.

Atmosphere: The Guinea exudes traditional British pub charm with its wooden beams and fireplace. It’s the kind of place where you can easily spend hours drinking pints, playing cards and chatting the night away.

Specialities: The Guinea is well-known for its impressive selection of real ales and craft beers. The pub also offers a tasty menu featuring classic British pub grub like fish and chips, pies, and, I’ve heard, a superb Sunday roast. If you’re looking for a classy yet boozy affair, their bottomless brunch might tickle your fancy.

Unique Features: The Guinea often hosts local musicians and comedy nights, making it a lively weekend spot. Their beer garden is perfect for a relaxing pint in the sun.

Beau Nash

Next is the pub named after the famous 18th-century socialite Richard “Beau” Nash, the Master of Ceremonies in Tunbridge Wells.

Atmosphere: Beau Nash incorporates elements of Nash’s flamboyant style. The pub’s decor includes replicas of 18th-century furniture and portraits that echo the glamour of his time.

Specialities: Beau Nash boasts a range of well-curated beers alongside a selection of wine and spirits if you’re that way inclined. Its food menu leans towards the gourmet side, with dishes like seared scallops and slow-cooked lamb shank.

Unique Features: The pub’s elegant interior is complemented by regular wine-tasting events and themed evenings. It’s a great spot for those looking to enjoy a sophisticated night out (or at least at the beginning of the night).

The Compasses

The Compasses, dating back to the early 17th century, is now recognised as the oldest pub and building in Tunbridge Wells.

Atmosphere: The Compasses is a quintessential country pub, offering a warm and welcoming environment. Its rustic decor and roaring fireplaces show you the true meaning of a ‘public house’.

Specialities: This pub is famed for its extensive beer and cider selection. It serves traditional pub grub with a modern twist, ensuring that there’s something for everyone.

Unique Features: The Compasses often hosts community events and charity fundraisers. I have even heard their quiz nights are particularly popular.

Duke of York

Located on the Pantiles of Tunbridge Wells, The Duke of York offers an elegant welcome to the Royal Borough.

Atmosphere: The Duke of York combines historic charm with a lively, contemporary buzz. It’s spacious yet cosy, with plenty of seating both inside and out.

Specialities: Known for its wide range of ales and lagers, The Duke of York also offers an excellent gin selection if that’s your tipple of choice. The menu features everything from classic pub snacks to more substantial meals, like steak and ale pie.

Unique Features: Join in with the pub’s quiz night every Monday evening.

The George and Dragon

On the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells, The George and Dragon building dates from 1212 AD and was originally a manor house. According to tradition, Kentish Archers were treated to a banquet in the Great Hall upon their return from Agincourt in 1415. 

Atmosphere: This pub offers a charming mix of medieval decor and modern comforts. The wooden interiors and historical artefacts create a unique, cosy and intriguing ambience.

Specialities: George and Dragon has a good variety of ales and lagers. The equally impressive menu features cracking Sunday roasts.

Unique Features: The pub’s history and unrivalled surroundings make this a perfect gastropub for an evening out or even a wedding.

The Ragged Trousers

With one of the more amusing names, The Ragged Trousers is next on the list, boasting a fantastic craft beer selection.

Atmosphere: The Ragged Trousers offers a lively and artistic vibe, unlike the more traditional pubs on this list. The decor is eclectic, combining contemporary art and traditional pub elements.

Specialities: This pub is a haven for craft beer lovers, with a rotating selection of local and international brews. Their food menu features creative takes on pub classics and French dishes.

Unique Features: The Ragged Trousers regularly hosts art exhibitions and live music, making it a cultural hotspot. Their Sunday jazz sessions are particularly popular.

The Claremont Pub & Garden

The final pub on this list is The Claremont, with its sun-drenched garden in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Atmosphere: The Claremont combines the best of both worlds with its dapper interior and beautiful garden space. It’s a versatile venue, perfect for casual drinks and special occasions.

Specialities: Known for its excellent selection of gins and cocktails, The Claremont also offers a robust beer and wine list. Its food menu emphasises fresh, locally sourced ingredients and seasonal dishes.

Unique Features: The Claremont’s garden is a standout feature (probably why it’s in the name), offering a serene outdoor dining and drinking setting. Earlier this Summer, The Claremont teamed up with the team at Xclusive Shishas to offer a unique concept for pubs and bars in Tunbridge Wells.

Special Mention: The Fuggles Beer Cafe

This pub-cum-bar-cum-cafe created in 2013 in Tunbridge Wells specialises in the best British & European beers. Born out of a vision of creating somewhere to showcase the best we could find, a mix of pub, Belgian-style cafe and bar rolled into one.

Best pubs in Tunbridge Wells: Fuggles Beer Cafe
Fuggles Beer Cafe

Atmosphere: Fuggles Beer Cafe offers a refined yet relaxed environment that appeals to both casual visitors and beer connoisseurs. With its warm wood interiors and eclectic decor, it provides a perfect setting for spinning yarn and enjoying multiple pints.

Specialities: Renowned for its impressive selection of craft beers, Fuggles Beer Cafe features over 30 beers on tap and more than 100 bottles sourced from across Europe and beyond. Alongside its extensive beer menu, it offers a selection of fine gins, whiskies, and natural wines. The food menu includes gourmet hot dogs, artisanal cheeses, and a variety of charcuterie, perfect for pairing with the drinks.

Unique Features: Fuggles Beer Cafe sets itself apart with regular events such as quiz nights, running clubs, and book clubs. The cafe also demonstrates a strong commitment to sustainability and provides enthusiastic support for local breweries and distilleries.

Local Brews to Try

The local brews truly stand out when it comes to enjoying a pint in Tunbridge Wells. The town is blessed with various craft breweries and pubs that take pride in offering unique and flavorful options. Here’s a look at some local beers you shouldn’t miss!

  • Traditional 3.4% (Larkins Brewery): A smooth Kentish style tawny session bitter provides a pleasing balance of our own hops and malt.
  • Spirit of Kent 4% (Westerham Brewery): This golden ale is hopped with nine different types of Kent-bred and Kent-grown hops.
  • Coppernob 3.8% (Tonbridge Brewery): A medium dry, copper-coloured ale with a biscuit and caramel maltiness.
  • Session Pale Ale 3.8% (Cellar Head Brewing Company): Refreshing and uplifting, this straw-coloured fresh pale ale has flavours of gooseberry and green grapes

Let me know your favourite on this list or whether other Kentish brews tickle your fancy.


Too long; didn’t read? Well, Tunbridge Wells is celebrated for its chalybeate springs, which helped grow a thriving pub scene since the 17th century. Notable pubs like The Guinea, with its traditional British charm and real ales, and The Compasses, the town’s oldest, highlight a mix of historical and modern attributes. The Beau Nash and The Duke of York offer stylish, sophisticated settings, while The George and Dragon and The Ragged Trousers provide unique thematic experiences. The Claremont is famed for its garden and contemporary offerings. Local brews from Larkins, Westerham, Tonbridge, and Cellar Head breweries enhance the experience.


What are the best pubs in Tunbridge Wells for live music?

The Guinea, The George, and The Royal Oak host live music events annually. The Ragged Trousers offers a Sunday jazz session.

Which pub in Tunbridge Wells has the best beer selection?

The Ragged Trousers is the pub with the best beer selection in Tunbridge Wells. It boasts twenty-two selected draught lines showcasing a range of beers, ciders, and real ale and loves working with local and independent breweries. 

More pub-cum-cafe, but the Fuggles Beer Cafe also stands out for its remarkable range of craft beers, with one of the most extensive selections in the area, including over 100 bottled options and 30 beers on tap​.

Are there any dog-friendly pubs in Tunbridge Wells?

There are several dog-friendly pubs in Tunbridge Wells. Notable ones include The George & Dragon, The Mount Edgcumbe, Beau Nash Tavern, and The Bedford. These pubs welcome dogs and often provide water bowls and treats. 

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