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Phil Mellows is a freelance journalist living in Brighton

 

 

 Pub Guide


 

 

 

This page lists the pubs I like. It begins in the vicinity of Brighton station and extends outwards from there in kind of widening gyre. The common denominator is that they can be relied upon to serve good cask beer. So far I've only done Brighton and (bits of) Sussex. More later!

As itís not possible for me to be in every pub all the time (although itís an intriguing thought) Iíd be grateful for your corrections and updates.

Last updated April 2017


Brighton


Around the station

Battle of Trafalgar, Guildford Road
Unpretentious freehouse with a garden.


Evening Star, Surrey Street
Dark Star tied house, but other interesting ales always available, plus Belgians. Honeypot for real alers and tickers.

Grand Central, Surrey Street . Web site
The closest pub to Brighton Station is now part of the Fuller's estate, but guest beers from local brewers are available. The best bit is the splendid gin bar and theatre upstairs, and the roof terrace has been done up, too.

 


Centre/The Lanes

Seven Stars, Ship Street
Indigo has transformed this former Young's house into a craft beer pub in the industrial chic style. Not a huge range, two or three local ales on handpump, Camden and Beaverton on keg. Gins also featured. Food is provided by the Little Blue Smokehouse.

Pump House, Market Street
One of Brighton's oldest pubs, the Pump House is now in the care of M&B's Nicholson's Inns chain which has installed an interesting, and constantly changing, selection of cask beers, mostly from micros.

The Mesmerist, Prince Albert Street  - Web site
Old Orleans is now a splendid and spacious proper pub over two floors with frequent live music and general partying.

The Quadrant, Queens Road
Opposite the Clock Tower, a good place to meet Ė and wait for a bus. Upstairs room doubles as a venue for comedy and such.


The Quadrant

The Tempest, Kings Road Arches
Not sure about the papier-mache pink cave effect, but there's no doubt this expansive venue is a welcome boon for pub-goers wondering why they can't get a decent pint on the seafront. Cask ales from the North Laine Brewhouse feature, and the food's good, too.

Market Inn, The Lanes
Good, friendly service marks this pub out. They even took the sink apart to find my mumís earring.


The Cricketers, Black Lion Street
Splendid Victorian establishment thatís buzzing at weekends, although the posh upstairs bar is quieter. Flagship of legendary operator Dave Day.


The Cricketers


Western Road/Brunswick

Prince of Wales, Churchill Square
Tiny pub serving an excellent pint of Sheps.


Pull & Pump, Clarence Square
Handy for the shops. A Pleisure pub specialising in tequilas.


Lion & Lobster, Sillwood Street
Since Gary Whelan out of Ballykissangel took over here it's developed into one of the best pubs in Brighton, as you can tell by the crush at the bar. Find yourself a nook or cranny in the maze of rooms, which include a split-level roof terrace, and enjoy local ales, excellent food and Sky Sports - even outdoor. City Pub Company, the latest venture of Firkin entrepreneur David Bruce  took over this pub in the spring of 2014, to no obvious effect. 


Robin Hood, Norfolk Place
Owned by Martin Webb out of TV reality show Risking it All this is a Peopleís Pub which means all profits go to charity. So you canít ask for a top-up. Itís a good pub, though, with a nice range of pizzas. Recently refurbished with a warmer feel.


Iron Duke, Waterloo Road
Friendly, close to sea, Sky Sports, Thai kitchen, rooms to let.
The room at the back has been converted into a theatre presenting a mix of music, comedy and drama.

The Temple Bar, Western Road . Web site
Local ales and tank lager from Bill King's new outfit Firebird served from an island bar, plus Indian food and a rather pleasant upstairs bar cum function room. Run by Brighton pubco Indigo.

Craft Beer Co, Upper North Street. Web site

Coastal outpost of one of the country's craft beer bar pioneers. Expect the usual great range of brews, gourmet burger menu and knowledgeable service. The pleasant upstairs rooms are available for hire.

Craft Beer Co.

The Windmill, Upper North Street
Bustling pub, good place to eat, serving into the evening.

Beer Dispensary, Dean Street
Brighton Bier Company has joined forces with South London brewer Late Knights to convert the former Prince Arthur into a kind of cask beer boutique. Always a good range of cask beers, at the same price per pint, plus craft keg from a beer wall, loads of bottles and cans and three ciders served from handpumps. Dizzy Gull provides an interesting snacky food menu.

 


North Laine

The North Laine Brewhouse, Gloucester Place
Housed in the cavernous former Gloucester nightclub, this one really adds something to the Brighton pub scene. There's a shiny microbrewery behind the bar producing a range of beers plus good food, loads of big tables to sit at and the kind of harsh acoustics the young folk don't seem to mind.


The North Laine. 

The Pond, Gloucester Road
Small, simple freehouse just off the road leading down from the station to the sea. Dark Star brews usually on tap and in good nick. Thai restaurant upstairs. Thai snacks served in the bar.

The Lord Nelson, Trafalgar Street
The Nelson has been knocked through two next-door properties and has doubled in size after being taken into management by Harvey's. It's all been well done, and there's the full range of Harvey's ales on the pumps, but you can't help feeling Brighton has gained a good pub and lost a great one.

The Prince George, Trafalgar Street . Web site
Brighton's famous all-vegetarian pub has been pulled out of decline by Indigo and now serves local beers alongside an imaginative meat-free menu.



Great Eastern, Trafalgar Street
Part of the local Pleisure chain. Reliable, always busy, interesting beers, good service, live music and comedy.


Basketmakers, Gloucester Road
One of Brightonís most popular pubs. Fullerís (ex Gales) tenancy. Good food, relaxed atmosphere.


Basketmakers


Waggon & Horses, Church Street
Well run freehouse thatís taken full advantage of pedestrianisation. Interesting whisky list.


Waggon and Horses


The Foundry, Foundry Road
Nice. Nice and comfortable. Cheap pizzas.


Heart in Hand, North Road
Brilliant old fashioned jukebox that pulls in the Mods on their Brighton jaunts. For some inexplicable reason they've swapped this brilliant pub sign for something more conventional, but I'm keeping this one. It's history, you know.


Heart and Hand


Seven Dials/Preston Circus

The Joker, Preston Road
Brakspear is finally making a success of this prime site on Preston Circus, right opposite the Duke of Yorks cinema. There's a selection of craft beers to wash down a menu of mostly different kinds of chicken wings from the Orange Buffalo, and live music has returned to the venue upstairs. A private booth for hire in the style of an old train compartment adds a quirky touch. 

Hare & Hounds, London Road
This dodgy old dive on Preston Circus has been totally reinvented by Indigo which has installed its signature island bar with a good selection of cask and craft beers. La Choza, one of Brighton's most popular eateries, provides Mexican street food from a kitchen in the corner. Very much a young person's venue in the evenings. Not the place for a quiet pint.

The Cow, Dyke Road
The Indigo boys have converted the old Tin Drum into a not-too-crafty craft beer house with an American saloon kind of feel to it. Without the fighting. Superior pub grub and bar snacks provide the solids.

Good Companions, Dyke Road . Web site
A revelation. Local operator Indigo has transformed a large, dodgy boozer into a splendid, if slightly pricey, place to eat and drink.


The Mitre, Baker Street
Old boys pub. Occasional old girl sighted. Full Harveys range and arguably the best beer pub in Brighton, once scoring an 11 out of ten.


Pumps at the Mitre.


Open House, Springfield Road
Inn Brighton headquarters next door to London Road station. Interesting spaces, expansive garden and very nice food.


The Signalman, Ditchling Rise

Formerly the Railway Tavern this is now The Signalman, and part of the Inn Brighton chain. Fine range of local ales and ciders, quality food and a sheltered garden. Classy.



The Level/Hanover

The Geese Have Gone Over The Water, Southover Street
The Geese has been reopened by the people from the Shakespeare's Head, and they've brought their menu with them - up to 1,000 permutations of different sausages (including veggie and gluten-free), mash and gravy, washed down with well-kept ales. Very tasty, and good value, too.

The Southover, Southover Street
The Pub With No Name, as it used to be called, now has a name and a much-needed refurb creating  an island (or rather peninsula, since it's attached to a wall) bar that makes a world of difference to the atmosphere. It now also has customers and, as well as Sussex ales, craft keg beers (served in two-thirds of a pint glasses). Upstairs you'll find a roof terrace and a table-tennis table, donated by some generous regular (ahem).

The Setting Sun, Windmill Street
High up on Muesli Mountain, from the Setting Sun's rear terrace you really can watch the sun go down over the sea, the Brighton and Hove city-scape spread out below. On a clear day you can even see Worthing. But that's not all this pub has going for it. The beer is decent, a couple of well-kept cask ales always on, and the food, while not quite as ambitious as it once was, is good.

Druids Arms, Ditchling Road
Grungy freehouse that somehow manages to serve one of the best pints of Harveys, and occasionally guest ales from Dark Star, in Brighton. Friendly service, and a Southern (US) style menu with jerk chicken, ribs, wings, burgers and the like. Snug new patio area, too, between the pub and the revamped Open Market.

Constant Service, Islingword Street
Ever-smiling barstaff at this Harvey's tied house provide perhaps the best service around while 'Big Tom' the chef makes a mean pie. Sky Sports, a record deck spinning vinyl classics and occasional live music. 

The Reservoir, Howard Road . Web site
Hiding down a side street, the Reservoir is a bit of an odd one, featuring a Thai kitchen on a sort of stage at the back. It's a very popular Thai kitchen, though, and there's also a surprise downstairs bar and garden. Local ales and exotic lagers served.

Village, Islingword Street
Formerly the Horse & Groom heavy metal venue (the old name is still up in the tiles), the people behind Brighton's famous Blue Man restaurant has rescued the pub from being turned into flats and installed a quirky all-day cafe-bar that's especially busy at brunchtimes and evenings when there's live music on. Usually has a cask beer, served straight from the barrel. Worth supporting.

The Charles Napier, Southover Street
Unspoilt Fuller's tenancy that's clearly back in favour with the locals. Sport in the front bar, East African-inspired food from the Kitgum Kitchen served in the back bar. Guest ale (usually). Beer garden. Morris dancing.

The Admiral, Elm Grove
At the bottom of Elm Grove, the Admiral used to be a student hangout called the Cornerstone. Now it's been very tastefully reinvented as a traditional pub with interesting bric-a-brac, local ales (featuring Downlands Brewery), live music and a burger, wrap and nacho menu.


Queens Park/Racecourse

The Independent, Queens Park Road
The former Walmer Castle is now in the hands of restaurateurs and establishing a new identity as a food-led pub. The beer's still pretty good but we're all waiting to see whether they can make it work on this spot.


The Hartington, Whippingham Road
Punch tenancy and one of the best run pubs in Brighton. Always plenty going on. Good food lunch and evening, plus pool and a sheltered garden.


Round Georges, Sutherland Road
Pleasant pub with cheerful, helpful staff and a fine Sunday lunch. One of the few pubs round here to serve lunches midweek too, and it's great food at reasonable prices. Plus satellite footy.


Kemp Town

The Black Dove, St James's Street. Web site
The draught range is, frankly, disappointing, but the bottled list is good and reasonably priced. Most importantly you can drink amid a surreal Victorian-Americana decor in the kind of fizzing atmosphere you get from a team of enthusiastic cocktail bartenders. Oh, and don't forget to check out the kotch.


St James Tavern, St James Street
A Pleisure pub specialising in the unusual combination of rum and Thai food. Donít sit in the bay window at the back because thatís where Viv sits.

St George's Inn, Upper Sudeley Street
Hidden in the backstreets a gall stone's throw from the Royal Sussex County Hospital, the former Sudeley Tavern welcomes health workers and Defend the NHS campaigners, refreshing them with remarkably well-kept ales, typically Tim Taylor's Landlord, Adnams' Ghost Ship and Franklin's English Garden. Comfortably the best community local in the area.


St George Inn

Sidewinder, Upper St James Street
A young personís place but thereís usually a handpump working and thereís a lively evening atmosphere and two big beer gardens.

Neighbourhood, St James's Street
Arguably a bar rather than a pub, but it has a decent bottled beer range and worth including here for its surprisingly extensive and well-appointed garden.



Hove/Portslade


Farm Tavern, Farm Road
Friendly little Greene King tenancy off the main drag. Upstairs function room.

George Payne, Payne Road
Deserved winner of Best Turnaround Pub in the 2013 Great British Pub of the Year Awards, proving you can still make a success of a back street local. Has a huge buzz about it.

The Ancient Mariner, Rutland Road.  Web site
Becalmed in the backstreets of Aldrington, west of Hove? In need of a pint? Here's your man. A bright and breezy local from InnBrighton featuring Sussex ales and all-day food.

Sussex Cricketer, Eaton Road
Part of M&Bís Ember Inns chain so the dťcor is a bit Ikea but the ale is cheap and good and varied. Hove cricket ground is out the back and itís a handy place to nip into during lunch. Large sunny garden.


The Neptune, Kingsway
Best known for the Friday night live blues, and the beerís good too. Can be a bit of squeeze getting to the bar though.

Stanley Arms, Wolseley Road
This is what pubs used to be like - except the beer's better, a fine choice of mainly local ales that, one Monday a month, you can sample straight from the casks down in the cellar. Friendly banter abounds. Precious.  

Railway Inn, Boundary Road
Bang opposite Portslade Station by the level crossing, this used to be a dire pub called the Whistlestop, but now those talented people at the George Payne have taken it on, installing a good range of ales and a sound food menu, it's well worth stopping off at.  

The Watchmaker's Arms, Goldstone Villas - Web site
Brighton & Hove's first micropub, and one of the larger of the new species. Run by a bunch of teachers after class, it serves a good range of well-kept local ales, including one or more from the pub's own brewery out the back, plus gourmet bar snacks.

 


East Sussex


The Queen Victoria, Rottingdean
This one's crept up to become arguably the best pub in this pretty seaside village. Well-kept beer, good food and a choice of 30 gins. As it says, 'A Proper Pub'.

The Bull, Ditchling. Web site
In the village where Dame Vera Lynn, gawblesser, resides, the Bull won the Great British Pub of the Year title in 2016. As well as offering fine food and letting rooms, it's also serves as the Bedlam Brewery's tap, being owned by the same chap. 

Half Moon, Plumpton Green
Great food pub, especially for fish. And they take their beer seriously, too.

Abergavenny Arms, Rodmell
Nowhere near Abergavenny. Nowhere near anywhere, really, but worth the trip out for some well-kept ales, good food and excellent service.

The Juggs, Kingston by Lewes
Extensive gardens picturesque setting at the foot of the Downs makes this Sheps managed house a summer destination.


Griffin Inn, Fletching
Top food freehouse (nearly a restaurant but not quite) with a rambling garden sometimes featuring a jazz band.


Tiger Inn, East Dene
Beachy Head Brewery now operates this village inn, in a great spot for a trip out.


Lewes


Rights of Man, High Street
Formerly the Rainbow, local brewer Harvey's has taken over and done a remarkable job on an awkward site, creating two comfortable bars and a roof terrace.

Pelham Arms, High Street
Spacious Hall & Woodhouse hostelry with a nice garden.


Brewers Arms, High Street
Freehouse right next door to Tom Paineís house. Expect the old boy was always in and out of here.


Lewes Arms, Mount Place
One of the worldís great pubs. Since the Battle of Lewes Arms when regulars boycotted it because Greene King had taken out the Harveys, Fullerís has taken it over, Harveys is back on and the bloke whoís got the Basketmakers in Brighton is tenant. Donít forget the upstairs room.


John Harvey Tavern, Cliffe High Street
The Harveyís brewery tap does good, interesting food, as well as the full Harveys range shipped in from just across the road.


Gardenerís Arms, Cliffe High Street
Freehouse with a variety of well-kept cask beers always on offer. The place to get the local goss.


Gardener's Arms

The Snowdrop, South Street
Named after the 1836 Lewes Avalanche, the Snowdrop is a gem of a freehouse in the town's Cliffe district prettily decked out barge-style with great food, a good selection of cask and bottled beers and regular live jazz and folk. Nice garden in the lee of the inland cliff from whence the snow fell.


Music in the Snowdrop


West Sussex


Buckingham Arms, Shoreham
Just opposite the station beside the level crossing, a highly convenient spot for a good pub serving a range of ales.

Old Star, Shoreham
One of them there micropubs, close to the harbour and serving three to five local ales, straight from the stillage. Free cheese and biscuits, too, if you catch it right.

Duke of Wellington, Shoreham
This Dark Star house has been bought by the brewery's founder, the legendary Rob Jones. As well as Dark Star beers there's always interesting alternatives from other brewers, on keg as well as cask. Plenty going on, too, including frequent live music, and Rob is planning a brewhouse on site. Exciting times.

Shepherd & Dog, Fulking
Ancient pub at the foot of the Downs with a pretty beer garden and lots of old beams.


Maypole Inn, Yapton
Friendly village pub with a good range of ales.


Angelsey Arms, Halnaker
While itís the restaurant quality food that keeps this pubís tills full its appeal for the pub-goer is the warm buzz and well-kept ales in the public bar. The large garden has a country house feel to it.


Gribble Inn, Oving
Brewpub that gave birth to Hall & Woodhouseís Fursty Ferrett.


Fox Goes Free, Charlton
Classic country pub with a big sunny garden. When the sunís out, obviously.

The Ship Inn, Southwick Street, Southwick
A short stumble from Southwick train station, the Ship is an unspoilt local boozer with good beer and a food menu. 


Worthing


The Selden Arms, Lyndhurst Road
Next door to Worthing Hospital, the Selden is a splendid local that takes its beer seriously. There's usually a few local ales on the pumps, including something from Dark Star, and a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Anchored in Worthing, West Buildings
Opening last year in a disused shop close to the seafront, Anchored (geddit) is one of the new wave of micropubs. Drinks choice is limited to three cask beers, a cider and a couple of Sussex-made wines. Closing time is 8pm Monday to Saturday and 3pm on Sunday, but while it's open the atmosphere is extraordinarily convivial, helped along by Nigel, your whiskered host, who'll serve you at your table, there not being any bar
.


Chichester


The Fountain, Southgate
Reliable watering hole just up from the station. Hall & Woodhouse ales. Live music.


Bull Inn, Market Road
Former Evening Standard journo and butcher Bill 'Mister Sausage' O'Hagan has taken over the Bull and installed a constantly-rotating half-dozen locally-brewed cask beers - as well as an all-day sausage menu featuring a range of flavours. There's also a sausage counter where you can buy them for home consumption. Pool room out back.

Eastgate, the Hornet
Friendly local just outside the town centre. Fullerís ales.


Park Tavern, Priory Road
Former Gales house, Now Fullerís.


 









 

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