From its magical location at Totland Bay, The Waterfront is known not just as a place to relax with a beer and catch some of the finest sunsets in Europe, but also for its delicious Mediterranean cuisine.

Sourcing fresh ingredients from local suppliers wherever possible, the venue specialises in seafood and pasta dishes, with locally caught fish and crab and lobster in season, as well as traditional Sunday roasts. Daily specials also feature on the menu, along with a wide variety of drinks, including Island Brewed Ales and the award-winning IW Gins and Vodka.

Not surprisingly, The Waterfront is always a popular choice for Christmas parties, and this year they’re offering two and three course festive menus from December 1st through to the 24th. Menus will be posted on the website and early booking is advised.

Everyday visitors can drop in from noon onwards seven days a week, and the relaxed ambience of the venue even includes an invite for well-behaved dogs, who are welcome on leads in the bar, terrace and beer garden.

Many newcomers to The Waterfront are fascinated to learn of its chequered history. It was in fact built in 1869 to house the original church in Totland, until a new one was constructed on the opposite side of the road six years later.

The original building was then removed from its position on Church Hill and re-erected on the beach in its present location. It opened as a reading room and library, which became  popular with local residents and early tourists, including day visitors who landed at Totland Pier by paddlesteamer from Bournemouth.

In the 1950s the building was converted again, into accommodation as part of the Totland Bay Hotel which was closed in 1972 and demolished in 1979.

By this time The Waterfront had fallen into serious disrepair but thankfully was saved from demolition. It opened as a cafe/restaurant in 1984 some 100 years after it was first rebuilt on the beach.

The building was closed again in late 1992 because of the sea defence works which were carried out in 1993. It re-opened and as a pub restaurant in 1994, and  since 2014 has been home to the popular Mediterranean Kitchen and Sunset Bar. In March 2019 the current owners Adrian and Lorna Bolton took over.

Find The Waterfront on the beach at Totland Bay, PO39 0BQ. Telephone: 01983 756969. Website: www.eatbythesea.com

Colin Clarke
Author: Colin Clarke