The best pub in Corfe Castle

Corfe Castle is a lovely little village, and unsurprisingly attracts lots of visitors.  This week, I was one of them, and my primary question was - which is its best pub?

Corfe Castle viewed through sepia-tinted beer goggles

I was staying in the Bankes Arms Hotel, but that's not really a pub (though it does have a bar).  So after a pint there I went across the road to its sister venue, The Greyhound Inn, which definitely is.

The Greyhound is a 16th century inn, and claims to be the most photographed pub in England.  As such, I had quite high hopes.  Sadly, its interior is rather generic.  Nothing strictly wrong with it, just sanitized to the point that it has lost most of its history and charm.

The food was nice, and the beer too, but the Greyhound has clearly decided to abandon real pub status and rebrand itself as a gastropub.  Perfectly fine for the tourists, but not me.  I needed something else.

Third time lucky, I wandered down West Street to The Fox Inn.  It wasn't clear if it was open, and when I tried the door and stepped inside to find it was, I also found I was the only customer.  Despite that, the landlord was serving dinner to the landlady at a table that said 'Reserved'.  Clearly the rush would be happening soon.

Despite the lack of other people, though, service was far from fast.  It was old style British hospitality at its best: a recalcitrance bordering on disinterest.  A few other customers came in after us, looking for diner, and only some of them found it.  Some struggled even to obtain a drink, such was the landlord's sluggishness*.

Thing was, I didn't care.  This was a real pub.  A real old pub, with beer direct from the barrel.  No pretences, no falsehoods, just a take-it-or-leave-it approach.  From the Trip Advisor reviews, most people would rather leave it, but not me.  I loved it.

I'm fed up of drinking holes that homogenize themselves on the back of perceived norms.  I like a pub where a distrustful owner serves barreled beer in a dark, old and quirky building, one which might have looked that way two centuries earlier

From the outside, there are many places in Corfe that look that way, but when it comes to the crunch, there's only one real pub: The Fox Inn.  Long may it continue.



*For a taste of his ethos, you might care to visit the pub's website.
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