About the Place
Feeling like a new town with its sprawling shopping area full of chains, Bournemouth lacks the seaside vibe that you would have hoped for in such a famous destination just two hours from Waterloo (by comparison Old Town Poole / Poole Quay has that in abundance and its on the same line).
There's an amazingly inconveniently placed station - a taxi drivers dream - an over-cultivated and characterless garden running the Bourne River valley to nowhere (we walked the length of it once - it just ends) and the characterless Pavillion concert hall that kills comedy dead.
All in its been run unimaginatively by the council obsessed with budgets and bins - no originality, no art, no sculpture, no vibrancy no joy - just small thinking that has yielded Milton Keynes with a pier.
A great choice for a political conference. We don't go out there much.
Food and drink
Brewhouse and Kitchen
The Brewhouse chain offers a proper pub experience right down to the happy bearded brewers (not hipsters – just blokes with beards).
They brew beer onsite so sometimes it can smell a bit earthy but the raised log fire that you can sit around more than makes up for that (as at Dec 2018 its been shutdown as the chimney caught light - will update when we know its running again)
Beers are tad pricey and there are no happy hours but their beer garden does seem to be slowly taking over all of Bournemouth with yet another extension being built last time I was there.
Make sure you check out upstairs too – its surprisingly spacious
Upstairs through a door off the high street the Cosy Club opens out into a Victorian-drawing room themed room with a restaurant further up.
It's an odd mix of too-low sofas and awkwardly located high tables that don’t have enough room around them but we have enjoyed the times we have been there, generally after beach walks
An upstairs pool halll with a cool vibe and half price draught & cocktails 5-8pm Mon-Friday. Tables are full size and cost around £13 an hour (best to prebook) - a regular haunt.
Absolutely lovley warm friendly Tapas joint a tad down and opposite from the Brewhouse - say hi to Louise at the bar from us and you may get a free shot
Crazy expensive and stuffy but the front garden has amazing views across the sea - we tend to head to it after a pier to pier and then on into Westbourne for food.
Stylish place and great pizzas for a tenner on a Tuesday night - convenient for the main bus stop too.