The Crab and Lobster Tap was the first inn on the Isle of Wight. There is a longstanding folktale that King Charles I visited the inn and was sketched by the Owner, but unfortunately early maps of the settlement do not show an inn. However, it is known that the inn dates back at least to the mid-eighteenth century, and it has even been suggested that the name Ventnor is a corruption of the word “vintner”, or wine maker (the earliest landlords brewed their own beer).
The term “tap” originates from the fact that hotels could not sell alcohol to their residents and so would open a bar nearby. The original “tap” was the cottage to the right of what was the Crab and Lobster hotel, and was where the famous Ventnor Crab fair originated, the frontage of the pub being where locals and mainlanders alike would gather for wrestling matches and other traditional events. The pub is one of the very few on the island to have a proper underground beer cellar, with barrels stored directly under the pumps to give a nice short run and perfect temperature.
The current licensees, David and Dianne, look forward to seeing you and extending you a warm welcome combining the best of English pub and ale traditions with some of the finest modern cooking prepared with fresh local ingredients.
The Crab & Lobster is open