This sturdy looking pub has always suffered a bit from ‘plain sister syndrome’ given that it’s at the top of the village, without a view of Runswick’s stunning crescent shaped, golden beach, unlike the Royal Hotel bang on the front. If you didn’t turn down the vertiginous coast road, you’d be none the wiser, and think ‘ah, this is a good looking place, let’s stop here for lunch’. Well, even if you are the wiser, you should call by anyway. After all, there are only so many hours to be spent staring out wistfully to sea.
It was always a bit dark wood/psychedelically swirly carpet/maritime prints traditional, and one of the rooms still is (maybe the money ran out) but the rest of it has been scrubbed up and very pleasing it is too, in a neutral, Farrow & Ball sort of way. Old red brick has been attractively exposed and someone’s gone a bit Kevin McCloud with painted tongue and groove – but there’s a glowing wood stove with tables and chairs artlessly mismatched.
On the pumps, Thwaites Wainwright and Wold Top Five Wold Rings, eight decent wines by the glass and a reasonable looking espresso. Food is very much pub grub but all the better for that. At the other end of the pub there’s a huge dining room and upstairs, six simple, immaculate bedrooms.
We were very glad of the warm welcome (and fire) on a filthy January day, and with nil visibility, didn’t miss the sea view at all. On a good day though, there’s a handsome stone-flagged yard – a great place to collapse after the steep climb from the bottom.
2 Hinderwell Lane, Runswick Bay, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire, TS13 5HR
01947 841010, therunswickbay.co.uk
DRINKS SELECTION 4/5