Harbour Bar at the Esplanade Club
Visited on: Sunday 17th March 2013
This is a private member's club that is open to the public, if that makes sense. The building started life as a sail making factory during the 1860s. During the 1930s it was purchased by the Watchet Boat Owner's Association to become their Headquarters and bar.
It is in a wonderful location right on the harbour side overlooking the marina and with views of the Bristol Channel including the islands of Flat Holme and Steep Holme with Wales in the far distance.
The public are welcome and I have to say that it is well worth visiting with a small but good beer selection and it is no wonder it was CAMRA Somerset Club of the Year from 2010 to 2012.
The choice when I visited was as follows: Quantock (Wellington, Somerset) Ale (3.8%) and Stout (4.5%) along with St Austell (St Austell, Cornwall) Ruck & Roll (4.0%), a limited edition ale for the Six Nations Rugby Tournament. Should you be a cider enthusiast you would be over the moon with Rich's (Highbridge, Somerset) Farmhouse Cider at just £3 a pint.
On entering I found myself in a medium-sized room with a stage area to the right and the bar to the left. Non-members are required to sign in here.
I got a pint of my favoured Quantock Stout and found a perch along the wall and had a look around. It has a very quirky decor with red being the predominate colour.
There are many interesting photographs and memorabilia of Watchet and maritime subjects on the walls. High up on one wall is a rather strange mural. Another rather odd feature is that the Ladies and Gents toilets are hidden away behind thick red drape curtains. However it is a very friendly place and I liked it immensely.
You must visit if you are in Watchet as the beer selection and quality is very high. One thing to remember though is that it is only open during the day on Sundays.
The Harbour Bar at the Esplanade Club, Esplanade, Watchet, Somerset TA23 0BZ
Tel: 01984 634518
Open: Monday to Saturday 19.00-24.00; Sunday 12.00-24.00
The focus of public transport in Watchet is at the station of the West Somerset Railway which runs from Bishop's Lydeard, near Taunton, to Minehead. It's the longest steam-hauled preserved line in the country. It runs daily in summer and at weekends in winter. This is also where the town's main bus stop is. Watchet is served by routes 14, 18 and 28. The latter runs at least hourly all day from Taunton to Minehead. If you arrive by train, cross to the town by the footbridge. The bus stop is alongside the station building. Cross the road and walk down Swain Street. At the end, turn right into the Esplanade and you will see the club on the right. There is an alternative route from the railway station's platform. Do not cross the footbridge but walk along the platform in the Taunton direction. At the end you will find a foot crossing over the railway to the harbour, there you'll find the club on the Esplanade.