The best bars and pubs in Suffolk

Did anyone mention the nightlife? It goes without saying that you go to Suffolk to escape rather than seek it out. There are a handful of places where you’ll want to let your hair down and have a few drinks, and some decent live music venues, but the best way to spend an evening in Suffolk is basically the same as it was centuries ago: head to a cosy local pub and sample some local ale.

For more inspiration, check out our guide to Suffolk and the best restaurants, hotels and things to do in the area.

Find a bar by area

The Suffolk hinterland

The Locks Inn, Geldeston

On the banks of the River Waveney, which forms the border between the two counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, the Locks Inn is technically a few yards into Norfolk on the north bank of the river, but it’s such a legendary local haunt that we had to include it. It’s a local legend too, recently rescued from obscurity by the local community and still hosting regular live music on Sunday afternoons, along with regular folk nights, Irish music nights and a thousand other inventive offerings to lure you in. It feels very remote and is one of the few pubs most easily reached by river – by ferry from the riverbank at Beccles.

Prices: £

Locks Inn, Geldeston, Suffolk

The Locks Inn hosts a folk music evening on Sundays

Stoke-by-Nayland Hotel

This family-run hotel in the heart of rural Suffolk (owned by the Copella Juice family, whose orchards surround the hotel) has been hosting live ‘Fleece Jazz’ nights for a decade, attracting some of the most popular artists in the British jazz scene. Tickets are held on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month and cost £15 to £20, and their cozy bar is a great place for a pre-gig drink.

Prices: ££

Stoke-by-Nayland Hotel, SuffolkStoke-by-Nayland Hotel, Suffolk

Head to the Stoke-by-Nayland Hotel for a fun evening of jazz and good food

The King’s Head, Laxfield

A proper pub, and one of our favourites in Suffolk, this old lawned pub in the pretty central Suffolk village of Laxfield was voted ‘Adnams Pub Of The Year’ a few years ago and is unusual in that there is no bar – just a room full of barrels where the staff disappear into to take your order while you make yourself comfortable in one of the pub’s wood-panelled rooms. It’s also unusual in that it has two names – it’s also known as the ‘Low House’! There’s good food, served in a separate dining room and the whole place feels very friendly and especially cosy on a winter’s evening.


The Eel’s Foot Inn, Eastbridge

Set in a rural location just inland from Dunwich, with numerous walking routes on its doorstep, this simple, welcoming pub has been hosting live music for years. A loyal fan of the local folk scene, it hosts a rowdy ‘Squit Night’ every Thursday evening, plus hosts the local folk club on the last Sunday evening of every month. Bring your instrument and join in if you feel like it!


Suffolk Coast

DP’s, Aldeburgh

Aldeburgh is packed with restaurants, but doesn’t have a great selection of places to grab a drink – with the exception of the legendary DP’s Bar, whose pristine Art Deco interior has been used as a chemist’s, a drugstore, a bookshop and now hosts live music events, the occasional quiz night and serves delicious Thai street food in its outdoor courtyard every summer. Even when there’s nothing going on, there’s a friendly, boho vibe that’s a pleasant contrast to Aldeburgh’s otherwise largely vanilla offerings.

Prices: £

Ramsholt Arms, Ramsholt

About five miles south of Woodbridge, this riverside pub is situated right on the Deben estuary, in an idyllic location with large windows and a large terrace overlooking the water. After undergoing a major refurbishment, it has been spruced up endlessly with simple wooden tables providing a place to sit and lose yourself in the beautiful views outside. If you’re looking for a country pub night out that also serves great food, then look no further. It’s perhaps the most ideal place to watch the sunset on a late summer evening by the river.

Prices: £

Ramsholt Weapons, Ramsholt, SuffolkRamsholt Arms, Ramsholt, Suffolk

The Ramsholt Arms not only serves delicious food, but also has beautiful views of the river

Ipswich and Constable Country

Dove Street Inn, Ipswich

Just a short walk from both the chic waterfront and the town centre, the Dove Street Inn is without a doubt one of Ipswich’s best local pubs, famous for its selection of draft beers (including its own brews) and a wide and interesting choice of bottled beers from all over worldwide. It’s deceptively large inside, with a back room and courtyard and a cozy bar at the front, and they regularly host beer festivals and other events throughout the year. They also serve a hearty menu of chilli, curries, pies and the like.


The Maybush Inn, Waldringfield

This is a beautifully situated riverside pub, owned by the same people as Butt & Oyster in Pin Mill on the Shotley Peninsula, along with a number of other quaint local pubs, about 10 miles from Ipswich, with a stunning location right on the north bank of the Deben River. Enjoy a pint or two and maybe a snack (they serve great snacks and all the usual pub favourites) on the large terrace overlooking the masts and the grassy banks of the tranquil river. A wonderful location for a summer drink by the river.

Prices: €

The Maybush Inn, SuffolkThe Maybush Inn, Suffolk

Enjoy a pint or two on The Maybush Inn’s large terrace overlooking the pylons and grassy banks of the tranquil river

Arcade Street Tavern, Ipswich

Right in the center of Ipswich town, around the corner from the Corn Exchange, this little bar has quickly made a name for itself in the local craft beer scene, with an ever-changing range of cutting edge brews on tap and literally hundreds by the bottle – and you you can take the beers you like with you in one of their unique cans, or ‘crowlers’. They also have a huge gin menu and regularly host beer and gin tastings, music and quiz nights and ‘Streetfood Fridays’, when local vendors are invited to sell their wares to hungry punters.
Prices: £

Arcade Street Tavern, Ipswich, SuffolkArcade Street Tavern, Ipswich, Suffolk

Arcade Street Tavern has an extensive gin menu

How we choose

Every bar, venue or experience in this curated list has been tried and tested by our destination expert, who has visited to give you his insider’s perspective. We cover a range of budgets and styles, from casual pubs to exquisite cocktail bars – to best suit every type of traveler – and take service, drinks, atmosphere and price into account in our recommendations. We update this list regularly to stay informed of the latest openings and to provide up-to-date recommendations.

Leave a Comment