Sort file:- Tunbridge Wells, March, 2023.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 12 March, 2023.


Earliest 1828-

White Bear

1985 (Name to)

Open 2020+

11 London Road / 84 High Street (2019)

Royal Tunbridge Wells

01892 318010

Above picture, date unknown, showing the "White Bear" on the left and the "Eclipse" on the right.

White Bear 1964

Above photo, June 1964.

White Bear 1985

Above photo 1985.

White Bear sign 1986

Above sign, March 1986.

With thanks from Brian Curtis

White Bear 2019

Above photo 2019.


In 1869-70 the pub was part of a consortium who were advertising their goods of selling tea in response to grocers' selling beer and wine. (Click for further details.) I believe this was incorrectly identified as the "Carpenter's Arms" in the advert.


From the Kent and Sussex Courier, 19 June 1874.

Tunbridge Wells petty Sessions.

The New Licensing Act.

Mr. Sherrard of the "White Bear Inn," applied for an hour to be granted for the keeping open of his licensed premises beyond the usual time on the night of the 20th inst. on the occasion of a supper being held by the employees of Messrs. Strange and Son and Mr. Soper, after the annual cricket match.

The request was granted.

The Chairman asked how the new Licensing Act affected their powers of Magistrates to grant extensions to publicans.

The Clerk (T. F. Simpson, Esq.,) said that the hours remained as under the former act, but the magistrates had not now the power of fixing the hours for which public houses should be kept open in any district only on special occasions.


Sussex Agricultural Express 27 January 1891.

Mr. Wall, of the "White Bear," Tunbridge Wells, was granted an extension for one hour for a smoking concert.


Closing in 1985 the premises undertook quite a few changes in the preceding years, I am informed that the pub changed name to "Rupert's" and then "Bar Zia" and even a restaurant called "Bar and Grill" but as yet do not know when the changes happened.

Latest news is that it has returned to its name of the "White Bear" again.


From the By Lydia Catling, 17 July 2019.

Popular White Bear pub returning to Tunbridge Wells.

A pub favourite is set to return to the high street.

The Tunbridge Wells Bar and Grill, which recently closed down on the High Street, has been acquired by Young's pub group who have decided to return the business to its original name The White Bear.

A representative at Young's, the large pub and hotel company, said: "We are reinstating the venue as a local pub in the truest sense and so it is only fitting that we return to its original pub name.

Tunbridge Wells Bar and Grill 2019

The pub is due to relaunch as The White Bear in late August.

"Our understanding is that this pub was hugely popular in its original incarnation and we hope to welcome back all the locals."

The original White Bear closed in 1985 and has since been home to a burger restaurant and in recent years a bar and grill.

The group have big plans for the building, located close to the popular Pantiles, and are undertaking an extensive refurbishment.

There are currently no images of the renovation plans available but the pub group said they have opted for comfortable furnishings with a mix of contemporary and vintage design, featuring a light and airy conservatory, magnificent walled garden and retractable roof.

The pub will also welcome dogs and have a 'doggy bar' with treats for canine companions.

It is hoped the refurbishments will be completed and open for trading by the end of August.

A spokesperson at Young’s said: “We are incredibly excited to be opening our third pub in Kent and look forward to providing the residents of Tunbridge Wells with a welcoming local.”


From the By Alex Jee, 16 September 2019.

The White Bear pub reopens in Tunbridge Wells.

An old local has been restored and reopened under its original name.

The White Bear ceased trading in 1985 and the building was then used for multiple restaurants, appearing most recently as the Tunbridge Wells Bar and Grill.

White Bear 2019

The White Bear has reopened in Tunbridge Wells.

After the bar and grill closed down, the building was acquired by Young's pub group, which announced its plans to return it to its original glory in July.

Two months after the announcement, the rejuvenated pub, which is very close to the Pantiles part of town, has officially opened its doors.

In a press release, Young's said: "Tunbridge Wells has its local back.

"The venue has been restored to its former glory by Young’s and has reopened as a quintessentially British yet modern pub under its original name.

"A bright and airy spacious entrance, high ceilings, green floral styling and ample comfy seating ensure guests feel right at home from the moment they step inside.

White Bear inside 2019

The restaurant boasts 'ample comfy seating'.

"With an expansive bar and several semi-private bookable tables, this pub is great for large parties in the light-filled open spaces or smaller get-togethers at the cosy corner tables."

The menu curated by head chef Ian Ellis includes Whitstable oysters, Brogdale Farm berries and Kentish Blue cheese.

The restaurant also caters for their diners' canine companions on weekend mornings, with dogs welcome between 10am and 11.45am.

Craft beers, cask ales, wines and spirits are also available.

This is in addition to the 'Orangery', which is advertised as "an all-weather botanical oasis complete with a retractable roof, theatrical garden grill kitchen and outdoor bar."

White Bear orangery 2019

The 'orangery' features a rectractable roof and an outdoor bar.

There will be live music on the last Saturday of each month - starting on September 28.

There are also three TV screens, which will be showing all of the rugby world cup matches.


From the By Mary Harris, 7 March 2023.

The White Bear was so popular from the mid 1980s onwards, there would be queues down the High Street with door staff dealing with punters eager to get inside the door. This was in the era when queues also snaked down the High Street for popular nightclub Davinchi's.

It was then called "Rupert's" from 1988, setting a trend for popular pubs to station bouncers at the door. It then became "Bar zia" which closed in 2007, before opening as "Tunbridge Wells Bar and Grill." Pub and hotel company Young's bought the site in 2019 and took it back to its roots by renaming it the "White Bear," which is a popular venue today.



WILLARD William 1828+ Pigot's Directory 1828-29

WILLARD Ann 1832+ Pigot's Directory 1832-34

HUGHES John 1841+ (age 60 in 1841Census)

BARTON Thomas 1851-May/52  (age 51 in 1851Census) South Eastern Gazette

BOX Francis May/1852+ South Eastern Gazette


SHERRARD Edward 1869-74+

STARR Spencer 1881+ (age 59 in 1881Census)

BENJAMIN George W 1882+

COTTON Alfred Edgar 1891+

WALKER James Rivett 1903+ Kelly's 1903

FEAVER Walter 1913-22+

COKER Daisy Mrs 1930+


Last pub licensee had PORTSMOUTH George & Gladys


Pigot's Directory 1828-29From the Pigot's Directory 1828-29

Pigot's Directory 1832-34From the Pigot's Directory 1832-33-34

South Eastern GazetteSouth Eastern Gazette


Kelly's 1903From the Kelly's Directory 1903


If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-