Essex Pubs: The Best Pubs in Essex According to Locals Who Drink There, Not TripAdvisor


We are spoiled for choice when it comes to pubs all over Essex. from big chains to small independent pubs in the middle of nowhere, there is plenty to choose from. When it comes to choosing where to try next, it’s very easy to turn to TripAdvisor for recommendations.

However, not everyone writes a review after visiting a pub, so we know that personal recommendations are always a good sign. One of the biggest questions is what makes a good ad? Is it the prices, drink selection, location, entertainment, food or something else.

Considering all of this, we’ve put together a list of all the best boozers in Essex based solely on recommendations from locals who drink there. Here are some of the best pubs in Essex, named by the locals:

Read more: I ate at Nando for the first time since the calorie list became mandatory

Bay Horse – Chelmsford

The Bay Horse pub in Chelmsford.

Bay Horse is in Moulsham Street, Chelmsford. This Grade II listed Tudor tavern has been serving customers for almost 250 years.

Today it is known for its live music events, calling itself “the best live music venue in Chelmsford”. This is also a pub that has been around several times talking to locals.

In addition to classic pub options, Bay Horse also offers an extensive 2-for-1 cocktail menu for three hours each day. The food is also very varied, with different food trucks visiting every weekend.

Ye Olde Smack – Leigh-on-Sea

Ye Olde Smack Inn in Leigh-on-Sea

Ye Olde Smack, known as The Smack to locals, is a pub in Leigh-on-Sea that overlooks the Thames Estuary. With beautiful water views, the outdoor space is perfect for a summer day.

It’s a Greene King pub so on the menu you can find all the typical pub fare. In terms of drinks you will find real ales, lots of wines and the new 1730, their own special pale ale.

You can also find regular events held in this pub. These include live music, speed dating and more.

The White Stag – Halstead

The White Hart Halstead
The White Hart Halstead

The White Hart in Halstead is on the High Street and is one of Essex’s oldest inns. It is believed to date back to the 13th century and its history is reflected in its traditional appearance.

It may just be a small pub, but there’s plenty on offer, including a range of beers and gins brewed and distilled there. The kitchen is also filled with many local ingredients. The White Hart also offers rooms to book should you wish to stay in Halstead.


The Alma is in Copford
The Alma is in Copford

The Alma in Copford is on School Road. One of the biggest selling points of this pub is the huge beer garden, perfect for enjoying a drink in the sun.

The focus is on locally sourced foods with menus including dishes such as fish and chips, burgers, curry, pie and more. You can also get a great selection of drinks, whatever your favorite drink is.

The Alma is a family pub, and dogs are also allowed to come. In winter you will find the inside of the pub super cozy with real fires.

The Beer House – Chelmsford

The beer house in Chelmsford

The Ale House is a quirky pub in Chelmsford that sits below the station in the railway arches. This unique looking pub is perfect for beer lovers with nine beers on tap, 13 craft beers on tap, two lagers and a cider on tap each day.

There are also still ciders and over 100 bottles and cans of beer as well as gins and wine. The Ale House does not serve food, but allows guests to bring food to enjoy while enjoying some of their many drinks.

The hoop – Stock

Popular restaurant and pub The Hoop in stock

Le Hoop is located in the beautiful surroundings of Stock. It is run by a husband and wife duo who are both classically trained chefs.

The food is influenced by English, Italian and French cuisines with everything from pie and fish and chips to rare breed ribeye steak and veal liver. The food offered at The Hoop is one of the main reasons it is so popular. The atmosphere of this pub also draws a lot of praise.

Shaw Farm – South Woodham Ferrers

Shaw Farm in South Woodham Ferrers is a lovely pub with a large pond where you will often see ducks. Part of the Vintage Inns chain, Shaw Farm offers a menu of dishes featuring country pub classics.

The bar is always fully stocked with British gins, cask ales, fine wines and more. During the summer the garden is the place to be, but in the cooler months the crackling log fires keep the interior cozy and warm.

Boar’s Head – Braintree

The Boar’s Head at Braintree

The Boar’s Head is a pub in Braintree High Street which has been described as having ‘the best’ owners. The self-proclaimed “leader in live music” is all about entertainment.

Most Friday and Saturday nights you will find live music like tribute nights, karaoke and jam nights. You can also play billiards and darts during your visit. There is no food offered by The Boar’s Head, but they have a visit food every Friday and Saturday in the beer garden.

The Jolly Sailor – Heybridge Basin

The Jolly Sailor in Heybridge Basin
The Jolly Sailor in Heybridge Basin

The Jolly Sailor is a family pub in Haybridge Basin. The pub overlooks the Blackwater Estuary, making it the perfect place for a drink in the summer.

A short walk from the center of Maldon, The Jolly Sailor has a day of relaxation written all over it. If you want a bite to eat, a seafood bar and barbecue area are available from spring through fall. It also has an ice hatch perfect for a summer day.


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