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Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds

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user reviews of the Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds

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

One of the smallest UK pubs - for which the new distancing rules will be problematical.

Capable of accommodating only about 5 customers - permission to serve outside is critical.

Negotiations are going with the relevant authorities - and, hopefully, will prove successful.
tradervic - 28 Jun 2020 08:29
I'd read that this pub was small. But I wasn't quite prepared for exactly how small it would be. You can see inside as you approach. But I couldn't work out how I'd be able to fit in through the door! Miraculously, the locals managed to make space for an extra body. As a Greene King pub, only Abbot & IPA are served. The single bar is full of oddities including a mummified cat. I decided to ascend the narrow staircase in the hope of finding some space. But upstairs there is a small room which acts as a function room. I doubt you could hold a function with more than 10 people, due to the confined space. There was also a toilet. With no seating or tables, I went back down to the bar and managed to perch on the end of a bench. I definitely recommend a visit here. The people in here are friendly, if not a little eccentric and the pub itself is a gem.
blue_scrumpy - 1 Feb 2018 21:08
Worth a visit as a curiosity.GK IPA not a favourite of mine but I have to say it tastes much better in Suffolk than elsewhere!

oldandmild - 7 Jun 2015 04:44
Its had upstairs toilets for decades (well, one bisex toilet to be precise)
cellarbuoy - 20 Feb 2015 17:24
After ticking the 3 pubs I had left from the Camra GBG I thought I’d give what is portrayed as the smallest pub in Britain a try.

To be honest I wouldn't argue with that statement but it was pretty disappointing. The pub holds around 25 people max and seating is at a premium.

I know it’s a GK pub but I expected a bit more. 2 ales on the pumps which were GK Abbot and GK Abbot was decent but was over £1.00 more than the ales in the other pubs I’d been in that day.

A good mix of customers with all of them friendly including the barman.

I am reliably informed that the addition of upstairs toilets is quiet a new concept but I didn’t try them out.

Glad I’ve been in as the last time I was in Bury I couldn’t get in here.
lezford - 20 Feb 2015 14:24
Now has toilets and food available as it is bang opposite another Greene King outlet The Corn Exchange.
Bronzewhaler - 16 Aug 2012 18:22
Perhaps a "must-do" but only if one can actually get in to the building! The obvious charms of the Nutshell seemed to ensure that on a busy Saturday afternoon it remained permanently-packed with punters - i.e. about 6 people! Even outdoors it was over-run.

The quaintness of the place and the character it exudes are natural draws, but not enough to make me hang around and wait for a space - particularly as I was told by the few that made it to the bar that the only cask beer on offer is oh-so-predictable Greene King. If you want a better drink in a more capacious environment, go elsewhere.

As I never got in, I can't really rate this pub. Good luck to those who do have the patience to manage it!
TWG - 15 Aug 2012 17:39
Can't add much to the reviews below; but visited here yesterday; strange place; but loads of character.. a must-do if in Bury..
Nitram - 16 Nov 2011 21:54
Popped in for a swift half the other night as my wife had never been in. Definitely an experience, and a good one, if slightly surreal at that. Good banter with the staff, all the banknotes still on the walls, wonderful character. Decent Abbot as well. Has to be done, methinks!
metrology_man - 25 Oct 2011 08:40
Visited this gem yesterday for the first time in 25 years and nothings changed, even the mummified cat is still hanging abouve the bar. Maybe its the pub but even the Abbot Ale seemed to taste better....
Hodge1 - 20 Sep 2011 09:32
What can you say? It's tiny and typical GK beers - then again it's so unique a stay in Bury wouldn't be complete without dropping in and checking it out. I'll be back .....
SAFCDoog - 11 Sep 2011 13:19
We were in Bury St Edmunds and just had to go, just so we could say we had.

We weren't disappointed. It is very, very small. Apparently the local radio station once got 102 people (and a dog) in there for a stunt and I have no idea at all how they did it. Some of them must have been under the bench seats.

The Abbot was good enough (it ought to be; they could practically roll the barrels down the hill). and everyone was very friendly. I can't see us going there for a night out but it's a fun stop off for a swift half.

If you're in Bury, you have to go.

There are other two pubs disputing the title of smallest in Britain. Now I have to go and see them so I can judge
Royed - 13 Aug 2010 00:48
As a pub fan I have wanted to visit the Nutshell for a long time,so when the occasion finally arose to visit B St E for another reason,hardly worth visiting for the Nutshell alone, I was able to pop in. It is very much as others have described,worth the visit for the novelty factor,pretty cramped with a sociable twelve fellow drinkers at the time of my visit.
On the down side GK IPA/Abbot only, not my favorite brewer by along way,dirty toilet,a cleaner would not go amiss.What is the cellar like?
With the Nutshell being in spitting distance off the GK brewery(I assume it is owned by them) why not use it as a promotional vehicle for its wide portfolio ales,which it as acquired from its many takeovers.
TheGriffin - 10 Jun 2010 11:52
Apparently this is the smallest pub in England, and I for one am certainly not going to argue with that claim as I really cant see how you could lose any more space from here and still run a fully functional pub.
If you can squeeze in, and particularly if you can get one of the bench style seats that seem to be extensions of the window sills, this is a very pleasant place to spend half an hour or so enjoying a pint, I would however struggle to recommend it for any more than that.
The dcor is an array of largely money based bric-a-brac that includes various foreign coins surrounding the door frame and a virtual cornucopia of various funny money notes on the ceiling, amongst other things (including a signed picture of Al The Pub Landlord Murray) dotted about the wall.
Service was friendly and prompt, which in fairness it ought to be when you are pretty much full to capacity with only customers inside, but I have seen quiet places get it wrong in similar circumstances before so kudos for that.
The beer is classic Greene King and the IPA was very nice thank you kindly and the price nothing to gripe about.
Entertainment wise, there isnt space for anything barring background music, but given that when I was in there they were playing some classical music that had additional heavy metal guitar and drums added and which worked surprisingly well, Im not complaining.
If you wanted to boil the essence of this place down into a very small, convenient prcis that distilled its totality into a very small number of words (hmm, if only there were an easier way of putting that!), it is a bit of a novelty pub that will be a hit with tourists and is actually pretty good of that ilk, but not somewhere youd wish to spend the whole night.
Mr.Monkfish - 21 May 2010 17:17
I loved this cute little pub. It is very intimate but just means you can get talking to everyone and anyone. A real mixture of people, local and tourist, young and old! Everyone should try it at least once! Friendly bar staff too.
Lucy1982 - 20 Sep 2009 16:45
Had a pint of Abbot which was good to taste.Great little pub,plenty of 'olde worlde' stuff on the walls to look at.Very friendly barman.Visit was for uniqueness only.
sweeties1975 - 7 Sep 2009 11:28
Another one on those list of 'must visit' pubs. Although in the centre of town it is an old fashioned friendly local (though that may be down to the intimate scale of the place). Only downside is that it's a Greene King pub. I wonder how it survives and if it actually makes money in these days of the relentless pursuit of ever increasing profits ?
anonymous - 29 Aug 2009 17:05
Really cute; no room for anything so you have to stand outside
Strange dudes talking funny
usdude84 - 20 Aug 2009 13:25
Reputed to be the smallest pub in the country, the Nutshell sits on a street corner in the central shopping part of Bury St Edmunds. At a rough guess, I'd put the dimensions at about 15ft x 7ft.

It's a reasonably atmospheric quirky place with a fine collection of bank notes displayed on the ceiling and various animal bones suspended down from the ceiling.

It's relatively unspoilt interior earns it a listing in CAMRA's National Inventory of Unspoilt Interiors.

The inevitable memorabilia in the form of framed newspaper cuttings tell us that the record number of people in the pub at one go is 102 ( plus a dog!).

Apart from a table on the left which seemed to be the haunt of regulars, seating is on a bench flush up against the window. You're not allowed to take drinks outside.

The windows are plain glass and, sitting on the bench by the window, you feel very much on show to be gawped at by the passing shoppers, in a manner rather reminiscent of the girls in the windows in Amsterdams red-light district. Etched windows would be an improvement and would eliminate the goldfish bowl effect.

On my recent lunchtime visit, I was pleasantly surprised at how much of a local this was. True, occasional visitors such as myself would pop in, stay awhile and move on, but it's clearly not just the visitor curiousity that I was half expecting.

It's a Greene King pub and the 2 pumps were serving IPA and Abbot at 2.60p and 3.15p respectively. Both were in good condition. There's hardly any room for any more pumps on the bar - so no guest beers - nor is there realistically room for more than one barman serving at a time.

I enjoyed the visit. It's one of those pubs that it's nice to say you've been to and, whilst I certainly wouldn't discourage you from going if you get the chance, I very much doubt that I would go out of my way to visit again
JohnBonser - 11 Aug 2009 17:47
Ok, it's a tourist attraction, but if you are in Bury you just have to try it!
A nice drop of GK and I liked the "function room" upstairs.
flashharry1965 - 29 May 2009 10:34
Couldn't fault the beer- Greene King Abbot and IPA only, but both served in excellent condition, far better than they taste elsewhere. However we felt the pub was in need of a good clean- of course it's an architectural gem and full of atmosphere etc etc but that doesn't justify it having greasy surfaces and being just a little bit smelly. Lots of people stop to gawp at this pub- in one case even to have their photo taken in front of it- what a pity more of these admirers don't call in and buy something. If the Nutshell had even 5% of the custom thronging into to the nearby McDonald's its future would be guaranteed.
edchambers - 18 Feb 2009 22:00
Great LITTLE pub. The Landlords a good bloke and will always chat to the few people that can fit in the pub. Pity its a GK pub. It is expensive but worth it for the atmosphere if not for the well kept but very bland beer. 8/10
tommyn11685 - 13 Feb 2009 09:29
A tourist attraction.
Something Greene King have picked-up upon,and duly cranked-up the prices!!3.20 a pint??Oh,come on!.......
Not the best place to conduct a major drug deal of clandestine affair,as yes,its very small.
Nice enough,but a curiosity at best I'm afraid.
Lived here for 35 years,been in once.
take your camera.beware of frottage!!
toolster - 11 Dec 2008 18:09
The scruffiness of this place goes with its quirckiness and thought the choice of beer was limited it was a nce pint. It was odd sitting in what was effectively a shop window having a pint, especially when a girl walked past with two ferrets on a lead!
gdm - 3 Nov 2008 14:05
Quite different from your normal public house beer range is poor tho and the place could do with a lick of paint
superseagulls - 12 Oct 2008 11:51
Lovely novelty place but beer was expensive
fred123456789 - 17 Sep 2008 12:15
Once we had toured the town centre three times looking for a place to park, we strolled into what amounts to a large phonebox for a unique experience. It wasn't busy - how could it be? - with just four or five people inside. The beer was OK, although disappointly expensive at 3.20 for a pint of GK IPA. Very friendly barman.
The stairs up to the loo are frightenly steep, but the "conference room" made us chuckle. If you don't mind sitting directly outside the loo door, you can get a good view of the street below as people wander past. Very large windows do make it feel a bit bigger, but I can imagine it feeling quite hemmed in with about a dozen customers as you cannot take your drink outside.
In a Nutshell - groan - well worth the trip.
Gristy - 1 Aug 2008 23:54
Smallest pub in Britain, with a mummified cat hanging from the ceiling.

Beer is greedily marked up by Greedy King, so have a half, savour the uniqueness (as you'll only need a half to take it all in) and be on your way to the Cannon...
Quinno - 24 Jun 2008 18:33
If you're going to buy drinks for everybody the Nutshell's certainly the place to do it!
joegreen - 19 Jun 2008 14:09
I really enjoyed this pub,there was a guy in there who owns a pub just outside Ongar and had come up to see the brewery about something and insisted on buying everyone drinks in there.Good crowd and beer,and excellent for just watching the world go by.
nickchug - 13 Jun 2008 12:40
Like most, I had to visit the Nutshell just because of its reputation as the smallest pub in the country. Once you get past the novelty of opening the door to find yourself standing at the bar, it is not too dissimilar from any other pub. It sells beer, you may or may not get a seat and there is a particular smell about the place that I just could not put my finger on. Interesting for the novelty, but not much else.
LennyBanter - 12 May 2008 19:52
Well worth a visit out of curiosity.
Smallest pub in the country and full of interesting bits and pieces as described before.
Just a pity it's a greene king pub.
chopin - 21 Mar 2008 11:26
It is quite tiny. The beer is the usual distinctly average GK mass-produced (and in here, well over-priced)IPA and Abbot.
And surprisingly, wet dogs are allowed inside....I couldn't tell whether it was the dog that smelled or some of the 'wandering' clientele. But suffice to say, if the place is packed, don't brave it.
alehouses - 3 Dec 2007 13:15
Re last post if you think 3.05 is expensive for a pint of Abbot in a town centre pub you're lucky you don't drink in the Green Dragon near Braintree where it's 3.20! Is this a record for a pub out in the sticks? Even the GK IPA IS 2.75! Simply obscene.
anonymous - 3 Oct 2007 12:27
One of the more interesting pubs to visit, noted for being the smallest in the country and certainly not geared up for darts, pool or smelly fart dispersion. Despite its miniscule size, it has bundles of character and plenty to focus on. Artifacts include a mummified cat and mouse, stuffed animal heads, bank notes lining the ceiling, an orderly collection of foreign coinage orderly labeled and displayed along the door and walls plus a few unexplained tools and instruments that would probably baffle Jack Hargreaves (ask your dad, kids!). The tiny bar still manages to fit 2 Real Ales among the more standard lagers; the ubiquitous Abbott and GK IPA although the Abbot is astonishingly expensive at 3.05 a pint. The IPA is a bargain by comparison. Furniture is restricted to a bench around one end of the pub and a small table at the other. Posters welcoming coach parties and function room available for up to 2 people show that they have a sense of humour. I actually thought the function room was a joke until I went up the stairs to find a small room from which the solitary toilet branches. Since there is no drinking allowed on the pavement outside, the interior can get quite cosy but most people seem to gel together and it is not hard to strike up a conversation. Bar staff tend to be interesting characters and the selection of CDs was top notch the night we were there. Yes it is a bit touristy with t-shirts and souvenirs available but on the whole, a must visit pub for the experience.
RogerB - 3 Oct 2007 11:55
great little pub. worth visiting excellent

TA010929 - 27 Dec 2006 01:07
This is the smallest pub in Britain official. I would wager it is the smokiest as well.

Mummified cat and other random articles hanging from the ceiling.
DeggyT - 4 Nov 2006 22:24
Great little place - I would say it's about the size of a snooker table. Good GK IPA. The mummified Tom & Jerry hanging from the ceiling give it a certain.... something. Tip - do not attempt the stair to the loo unless offensively sober!
joegreen - 5 Oct 2005 13:50
It's so small I had to fight my way to the bar, and I was the only customer. Not enough room to open a packet of crisps, but worth a visit.
anonymous - 26 Sep 2005 14:32
though the smallest pub in britain, i know some one who managed to lose his mate in it
dan - 1 Apr 2004 12:26
Claims to be the smallest pub in UK.

I can believe it!
Vindaloo - 22 Aug 2003 13:14

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