While some GBG obssessives completists finish off Loch Ness or Swaledale, I focused on Essex.  There’s a hundred and thirteen GBG pubs in this most underrated county, and according to my unique scoring system, only three of those had duff beer.

There’s some gorgeous pubs in Old Leigh, but newer Southend isn’t a hotbed of real ale, let alone craft, averaging just a couple of GBG entries annually.  Astonishingly, it’s ten years since the famed Cork & Cheese closed just after the s*****g ban, leaving the Trout as the only obvious real ale specialist.  I’ve had some good pints of Courage down by Marine Parade over the years, though.

In many ways it really is the Bournemouth of the east.

And it takes longer than you’d believe to get there, particularly by car.  “Take the A13” sang Billy Bragg, foretelling the road to hell that is the A127 at present.

The approach via Sutton Road passes mobility scooter shops, retirement homes, and finally some striking tower blocks to the east of town, and ending at the venerable Sutton Arms.


There’s not many candidates for my annual Underpass Art Top 10, but the promise of nirvana isn’t, for once, a false one.


Turning off the High Street at KFC, I suddenly thought I was in Dulwich.


The Railway looks like the Antic Pub you dreamed of, but turns outs to be run by Punch.  Only the tighter (i.e. sensible) beer range gives it away. This former Charrington house is on the National Inventory, and it shows.


Perhaps I’m wrong, and it is just shabby without the chic, but it convinced me, and clearly a wide range of punters.  Plenty of takers for the vegetarian food, but plenty of old blokes on the 3pm pints as well.  Some genuinely weird ’70s  music could have been Viv Stanshall; whatever it was it created a singular atmosphere that I loved.  Twitter suggest that Steve Ignorant from Crass played here recently, which I’m sorry I missed.

The wonderful Adnams Mosaic (thin glass apart) was my second NBSS 4 beer of the month, which must be a first. Perhaps they can even make the Wherry taste good ?

Over to you, Shoeburyness…

14 thoughts on “SE15 COMES TO SOUTHEND

  1. I see reviews referring to this or that Antic pub in London,i have been in quite a few of them but would not have the faintest idea i was in one without reading a review from somebody else who says it is an Antic pub.
    How the hell do people know this when there is no signage outside saying saying it is an Antic pub.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Antic would presumably argue that each pub has its own identity and that they are not trying to create a “”brand” like, for example, Draft House.
    Plus it avoids negative PR when you undertake a prepack administration and dump a few underperforming pubs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was a little disappointed when you didn’t respond as I bellowed passing through Waterbeach on Saturday evening Martin. However, it did not occur to me that you were in Southend where I occupied myself for 15 minutes longer than intended on the morning. My personal highlight was seemingly managing to make the BR barrier assistant run away followed closely by watching the tat market with overpriced baked goods being assembled.

    Shabbiness is not necessarily a bad thing. Martin.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Martin, sorry for my delayed reply. I was passing through Southend en-route from scoring some required and relatively uncommon track at Billericay. One day I will run into you.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. At some stage I will get a move on, get bookwork done on time and update my blog less infrequently. However, I am unable to make any promises as to when. I would also add that the ticket barrier incident would be very difficult to write about without ending up libelling the poor chaps, and I don’t want to go to gaol. I’d put it in the comments section here, but again I don’t want to go to gaol and I’m sure Martin wouldn’t want to share a cell with me.


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