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Well House, Exeter

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user reviews of the Well House, Exeter

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Sadly not too sure when, or indeed if, we'll ever get to drink here again, after a fire destroyed the hotel of which this is a part. A sad, sad sight on the cathedral green at the moment.
littledrummerboy - 7 Nov 2016 18:25
Halves of Ashridge Devon Blush cider and Salcombe Seahorse went down well enough but this is a pretty unexciting place that wastes a great location in the cathedral close. An old building.
BoehmBawerk - 10 Jul 2016 15:38
OK tourist trap pub, did have decent beers on. Otter Ale, which was in good condition. Quiet on a Monday evening.
rpf1955 - 8 Jun 2016 22:27
Sitting outside on a warm evening (10 pm and still lightish) we e njoyed a couple of beers - Otter; Hanlon's and a couple of guests. Good condition if not stunningly brilliant, but just the place to sit and watch the comings and goings around the cathedral area. A sort of "alehouse" feel inside and perhaps a bit dark although it has huge front windows if you can get a seta there. Nice place for a beer and always very popular.
mcroyal - 22 Jul 2014 11:54
Modern feel inside and a bit cramped in places.

However the beer was good (Otter) and staff friendly enough. Was showing the Ashes (Sky Sports) but dunno whether it's a football or rugby pub in the winter..

Prime location, but the odd thing was that although there were tables outside, we couldn't take our drinks there??
Dunno whether this was because it was a Friday evening or what?
d.franks - 13 Aug 2013 19:00
They need to sort out the interior of this place - it's half mess (the front area) half labyrinth (the bogs towards the back). Quite expensive, but it is in Exeter's prime location, directly opposite the cathedral in a very attractive row of buildings. One or two problem-makers amongst the local clientele ("I hate visitors - I'll be glad when they've all gone") but if they don't like visitors, why drink in a prime tourism venue? Pretty fair selection of beers (a range of Otters, one Bath, some eclectic guests plus the inevitable DoomBar) and particularly agreeable bar staff...
Torqueback - 29 Jul 2013 15:55
Wasn't all that impressed with the place really.
It is in a good location with fine views across to the cathedral and you can do a lot of people watching from here.
We visited during the day and it was dead, can't say that the interior of the place did it for me and my pint of Becks vier was very forgettable.

And where the hell is that skeleton!

montie49 - 4 Apr 2013 18:55
Friendly service, good pint of O'Hanlons Goldblade, fantastic location with those big windows looking out onto the beautiful cathedral...but, somehow misses the mark. The interior is charmless, it has retained it's 'sticky table' slight roughness despite recent refurb, and the blaring, bland pop doesn't do it for me.
curioushistory - 15 Nov 2012 16:58
Used to be a good old-style boozer but has lost a lot of its character recently. Where once it was usually always busy (even at off-peak times) with jolly boozers and old scrotes of varying degrees of rancidity, now there are usually fewer but more respectable looking types and families with toddlers (children previously not allowed, the acoustics of the confined space do tend to amplify their cries...). OK choice of beers, which are usually OK but rotated where there once once always a dependable house ale. Service has fallen off where once it was spot-on and friendly, now is average.
Mr_Jollyur - 12 Oct 2012 13:16
...nice, well-run place in great location on the Cathedral Green...
MikeClarke - 25 Sep 2012 15:09
Hmmm. Not too sure about the new decor. Lost a lot if it's character even though it's not changed too much. Beers still good though. The Sundancer was very nice - really hoppy. Will assess again later in the year on my next trip down.
littledrummerboy - 3 May 2012 21:43
Pretty decent pub with a nice view of the cathedral. Good beer from Otter & Exeter breweries. Worth a look.
baxterfish - 30 Mar 2012 07:24
Shut for a re-furb. B**tards! I was looking forward to popping in for a pint here on my last trip down. Should be open again mid to late April '12 according to the sign.
littledrummerboy - 15 Mar 2012 11:13
Nice place with well-kept beer and a couple of good ciders on handpump.
Convenient for looking at the tents on the Cathedral Green.
Trequites - 27 Dec 2011 10:18
I visited this pub for the first time on Saturday and was deeply unimpressed. The place was grubby, with dirty tables and food on the floor. There was a suited young man (the manager?) walking around picking up glasses but seemingly oblivious to the detritus scattered about. 'Pop music' was playing at an obtrusive level. The decor and lighting were more akin to a 'modern' restaurant than a pub.
The interior is a single room with the bar situated in the right hand corner. Six handpumps, one not in use, the others dispensing four ales and a cider. I opted for a pint of O'Hanlon's Flagship IPA which was quite drinkable.
This place did not feel remotely like my idea of a pub and I won't be returning any time soon.
holbornboy - 22 Nov 2011 22:24
Come here for the real ale but forget about the food.Meals are overpriced and not very good. They struggled to cook half decent chips!
brenhell - 27 Oct 2010 23:25
Located in Cathedral Close, just across the green from Exeter Cathedral, is The Well House Tavern, a bare boarded bar with dark beams and wooden furniture and that inevitably uncomfortable, rather echoey feel that such places inevitably have. Large plain glass windows at the front give you a good view of the Cathedral but, unfortunately, presumably because of Council restrictions, outside drinking on the green is not permitted.

Inside the pub, a blackboard tells us that the original building was a Norman hall and was constructed as part of the medieval burial ground before tenements were built in the 15th century. After a number of varied uses, the building became The Well House Tavern in 1984 and is now part of the Royal Clarence Hotel next door along with a sister café bar and Michael Caine's restaurant.

Despite an apparent emphasis on food and wine, particularly at lunchtime, there's 6 handpumps which, on my recent early evening visit, were serving O'Hanlons Yellowhammer, Cotleigh Tawny Owl, Cotleigh Buzzard, plus Teignworthy Reel Ale and Well House Ale ( brewed by Otter ). Mistakenly as it turned out, I went for the Cotleigh Tawny Owl ( £ 3 at 3.8% ) , which was pretty uninspiring, but a subsequent pint of Yellowhammer ( 4.2% and a notably cheaper price of £ 2.50p ) was much better. The pub is listed in CAMRA's 2010 Good Beer Guide and is holding a beer festival on 24/25 September.

Despite the lack of comfort and the rather incongruous loud music, I wouldn't be entirely averse to a return visit.
JohnBonser - 23 Sep 2010 13:05
Great choice of beers. Great view out of the window(!). Real 'live' skeleton. Good mix of clientelle. Bit expensive now but in a city devoid of real pubs this is a gem.
darkestdevon - 21 Jul 2010 02:28
4 handpumps, £3pint but the 5.5% tasty pint of Hopback Winter Lightning was worth it, a nice place where u can escape the chav scum of other establishments nearby, 8/10
fat_beer_badger - 20 May 2010 00:36
having a problem with the pc . statr again . Managed to find a dark beer in here in a city that does not appear to cater much for the dark drinker. Other than that nothing I hadn't seen before . Pub that looks like a shop from the outside . a reasonable choice of beers that said . a cosy sort of bar and very friendly staff .
beatles38 - 17 Apr 2010 10:42
mANAGED to find find a darkish one in here , in a city that does not cater much for the dark ale drinker . from the outide
beatles38 - 17 Apr 2010 10:34
Busy on Saturday afternoon. 6 ales and a cider on handpump. Quality of the 2 I tried was excellent although they are now £3 a pint.
cheshirecat - 12 Apr 2010 15:25
Popped in yesterday after visiting the Beer Festival. It was pretty busy and, I'd say, had been for awhile as there were empty glasses and plates on just about every table - not good. Whilst the beer was fine, there was an strong smell, something like vinegar, all over the place which was very off putting. We moved on after 1 pint.
cheshirecat - 10 Jan 2010 10:33
Looks more like a tea room frontage from outside. Don't be put off by that because this is an excellent pub. I asked ffor Exe Valley's Autumn Gold but was advised to try it beforehand as it wasn't to everyone's liking... and as I founnd mine meither so plumped for the Wellhouse Bitter from Otter instead. Beer was on top form and the staff knowledgeable and able to cope admirably with busy spells in this city centre pub. Not sure about the clear glass window frontage but it does afford a view of the cathedral.
Snarling_Mallard - 7 Nov 2009 23:55

Great pub, best range of well kept ales & ciders in Exeter, theres a Roman well and a skeleton in the cellar. The food is very good (Michael Caines influence)


They serve the best sandwich in the world for £9. The michael caines creation won a sandwich competition in Paris and its bloody lovely!
charliew - 21 Jun 2009 09:48
I've been coming here occasionally for about 20 years and the place never seems to change, it still seems more like a shop than a pub. That said the beer is always on form, we tried the Brannoc ale. Its well worth a detour for.
Hodge1 - 12 Apr 2009 15:01
Otter, O'Hanlons, Exe Valley, Scattor Rock, Branscombe, and Skinners alesregularly on sale as well as real cider straight from the barrel. Great place, looks like an old fashioned sweet shop from outside, with great view of the cathedral.
schaf - 2 Feb 2009 19:25
fast efficient service and a well kept pint of Teignworthy "old moggie", yum, 8/10
fat_beer_badger - 8 Jan 2009 21:48
In here on Saturday, beers included Otter Well House Ale (maybe a rebadged Otter Ale), Teignworthy Old Moggy, O' Hanlons Port Stout and Goodwill and Branscombe Vale Branoc. Also real cider and Skinners lager. Lovely views of the cathedral out of the big glass windows.

Worth finding.
GuideDogSaint - 5 Jan 2009 21:36
Go and see the skeleton in the cellar..............
Paris_Hilton - 5 Oct 2008 10:16
Well appointed and friendly pub. They had Skinner's ales on when we visited, a definite bonus.
blamm - 25 Sep 2008 15:55
Popular centrally-located pub, with nice range of real ales on offer.
daveinbrum - 21 Sep 2008 20:26
Expensive but given its location and the view from the large windows that's not surprising. A decent place for a pint or two.
Pubgrabber - 28 May 2008 20:10
good place for an afternoon beer while watching the world go past. never had a bad pint in there, not surprising when you see what percentage of the peoplein there are drinking ale
guestale - 27 Mar 2008 13:52
very good pub in nice location. very good ales, well kept and served. reasonable pub food.

it's a good walk to here from the Gt Western Hotel & St David's Station, but well worth the effort.

there's not much of pub interest in between mind...!
alehouses - 6 Mar 2008 13:56
Tremendous beer range - Otter, O'Hanlons and Sharp's when I visited last week. The ale was very well kept and the staff were friendly and helpful. Great position opposite the cathedral. Highly recommended.
padmeister - 6 Feb 2008 22:02
Busy pub in a great setting. Good range of beer (cider as well), mostly from local breweries. Not very impressed with the food on my last visit.

Get one of the tables by the window and watch life on the outside.
Bard - 13 Nov 2007 14:38
Cracking pub in probably one of my most favourite settings for a hostelry opposite the magnificent exeter cathedral.Quite a small pub so can get a little crowded but I recommend everyone visit this little gem
Brianofbuxton - 1 Jul 2007 23:45
Cracking pub!

Cracking manager David!

Cracking Food!

and most importantly Cracking Beer!!!
anonymous - 20 Apr 2007 10:12
Nice setting overlooking the Cathedral.4 hand pumps, good beer. Only downside was the music playing.
paulb - 18 Dec 2006 19:50
Beerhouse with a good selection of beer and food.
Uncle_Dunkel - 26 Feb 2006 20:55
Makes a change to find decent cider. Decent range of ales, the food looked expensive but good quality. The cathedral opposite is worth a visit too.
SW6 - 21 Dec 2005 08:12
Not a bad pub for a quiet drink after work or a lazy afternoon. Good menu, more varied than pub grub.
mattster - 30 Oct 2005 15:25
Another closed pub (noy my day) but this time for complete refurb. Fab location opp Cathedral so if they do a good job should be a cracker. I'll give a predictive score
celerycelery - 27 Jan 2005 17:11
The cellar is haunted!!
anonymous - 27 Nov 2004 21:01
It's an old style pub, exellent local ales (otter brewery mainly) several ciders, view of the cathedral.

I haven't really tried the food..

Turbo - 17 Sep 2004 21:18
Still not a bad little pub, doesn't look terrible.
Good beer range.
Gill - 30 Mar 2004 13:48
looks terrible but good local beers and the usual lagers etc. stunning view of the Cathredral. has a roman well and a skeleton in the cellar.
moosifer - 12 Oct 2003 11:58

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