A happening place back in 1890, but is this historic seaside resort still a party destination?
1 The Powder Monkey 16.30
After a journey that included cruising down the scenic Exe Estuary in a single carriage train, complete with rickety, wooden ‘escape ladder’, The Lush spots The Powder Monkey pub, selects a pint of ‘Dartmoor Beast’ and resists the urge to pretend the cannon in the garden is a big knob.
2 Franklins 19.30
We meet our contact, a ham-handed friend of a friend and head into town. First stop is Franklins, which can only be described as ‘a trendy wine bar’ in that it lacks any semblance of style. But it is very welcoming; ice-cold lagers start the evening off well.
3 The First And Last 20.00
The rattle of pool balls accompanies our Corona as we watch this sleepy market town warm up for a night out. Spotting a man dressed as a bumblebee passed out on a sofa we see that some have warmed up a little too quickly. Oh well, onwards and upwards to…
4 The Heavitree 20.20
Another huge pub with something of the Viking banquet hall about it: loud music, cheery bar staff and a vast range of sickly looking shots. The chesty barmaid tempts us with a ‘Brain Haemorrhage’ which involves sambuca, Baileys and some red stuff which all transpires to make us feel heavy in our tummies. A pint of cider reboots the engines and we’re away.
5 The Bath House 20.50
On arrival at this beachfront pub we wonder at the strange name and nearly ask if the locals are aware of the connotations it has in more sexually liberated parts of the country. But this is forgotten as we watch seagulls the size of dragons terrify chip-eating toddlers as the sun dips below the estuary.
6 The Grove 21.20
Along the promenade we pass a piece of cryptic graffiti which simply reads “Seaside is cunt” before entering this warm little pub which is known for its ales and cheesy chips. Sold on the idea we chat to a group of locals about what’s happening in ‘that London’ before they lead us on with the promise of a “proper good time”.
7 11A Church Street 21.50
Cracking little boozer whose secluded location gives it a whiff of the speakeasy. We’re delighted to see the bar staff seeing off a couple of shots as we push open the doors. A happy hour passes filled with a couple of pints and a very good White Russian. Pissed, we make for the doors, miss them completely and both crash into a fruit machine.
8 The Bank 23.10
A venue of two halves. On one side sits a noisy pub with a DJ playing euphoric trance. Through a car park we spot a door and find a small warehouse filled with pool tables and barely concealed rivalries. The silence is deafening. A gag-inducing pint of cider and £20 down the pan to the local pool shark and we’re away clubbing.
9 Fahrenheit 23.50
This former bingo hall, we’re informed in the queue, is the premier nightspot in town. As we enter we’re somewhat disappointed. There’s a weird smell, the dance floor is nearly empty and there is a ‘VIP champagne bar’ that seems to be cordoned off with some baling twine and two cones. The penny drops when we overhear a girl in a policewomen’s outfit say to her nurse friend, “This is shit, let’s try Q.”
10 Q Club 00.30
Small, dirty, smelly, loud, crowded and utterly good fun. Maybe it’s the fact we’ve been drinking for eight hours, maybe it’s the fact that the tiny dance floor is packed with girls or perhaps it’s that the DJ just put on Jump Around. Whatever it is, it’s brilliant in here. Shot follows shot as we prop up the bar and pluck up the courage to dance. It takes Summer Of 69 to do it, but as the lights come up we’re drenched in sweat. Then it’s back home to a booze- induced sleep. Well done Exmouth.
SCORES (out of 10)
Quality of hostelries: 8
Quality of women: 7
Chance of a beating: 2
Chance of cider-induced gut-rot: 10