I thought I’d visit Frinton while I was down the Naze;  not like anyone dies, there, is it ? Apart from everyone.


What Pub tells us the Lock & Barrel is the only pub within “The Gates“.  These were the gates until 2009,

when the introduction of modern lifting barriers saw fighting in the streets.


I made an untroubled entry onto Connaught Avenue, the main drag and scene of the “mobility mauls” of a decade ago.

UK’s biggest seller of pimped scooters

A large LCD screen is linked to the CCTV camera at the gates.  It shows the average age of inhabitants and visitors within the gates drop from 73.9 to 73.8 as I enter.

Under-50s were only allowed into town in 2005 when it was realised a youngster was needed to re-tune radios to TMS, which is why it’s taken so long for me to visit.

As you may have guessed by now, it’s not very exciting, a bit like one of those western suburbs of Worthing, though at least without the micro pubs.

Best I could do
Artisan bakery and youngster

The beach is spotless. And empty.  I suddenly long for Jaywick.

The Essex coast

BUT.  I can recommend Frinton for one reason at least.

Best fish & chips. Ever

Café 19 gets good ratings and turns out to have the best fish & chips & mushy pea puree in the world, possibly setting aside the Barge at Grimsby.

In fact, with a clientele of blue-rinse octogenarians discussing Norway ++, their culinary needs (“I’m NOT a sausage person”), and how many husbands they’d seen off, it was positively BRAPA.

Go on, read the menu aloud, I thought to myself.  They didn’t.

So onto Frinton’s only pub.

THE pub in Frinton

I can remember the surprise when Sheps got the gig running the first pub in town back in 2000.  Presumably the retired colonels were swayed by the WWII associations of Spitfire and a sense that a Kent brewer would run a more civilised place than those ruffians from Bury St Edmunds or Southwold.

Wicker chair nightmare

It’s dark and featureless, and looks much older than its 18 years, a bit like an unloved North London Wetherspoons. I rather liked it.

The Italian landlord is cheery and efficient, gets a star for playing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and served a decent Spitfire, albeit in a horrible thin glass.

NBSS 3 – will never touch the GBG

I waited for something to happen. Like the lacings on the Spitfire, not a lot.


All the action was happening at 80th Beryl’s birthday over at Café 19.


  1. Did you get free entry on you ‘retired’ ticket?

    ‘Best I could do’ – is definitely brilliant what a lovely building with all those lovely south facing balconies for the old folk to sit in their deckchairs (and hopefully not fall off).

    Is the Lock and Barrel the first brewery pub in the Herne model….?

    It’s 11:06 on a Saturday morning and that fish and chips photo is making me hungry… 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Point of order – The best Fish & Chips in the world are North Bay Fisheries, Scarbro’ (coincidentally 75yds from the North Riding Brewpub on North Marine Drive). Second best are the Brown Room, Filey (opposite Cobblers Arms micro pub). You will find the Fish Fryers Guild rules of association prevent anywhere south of Chesterfield from being considered, or anywhere not using Beef Dripping in their pans.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. NO! The best fish & chips in the world are to be found at Frankie’s in Brae, Shetland. They can even tell you the name and number of the trawler that caught the fish and it’s delivered on the day it’s landed. For Yuletide they are doing deep fried pigs in blankets and stuffing balls. To die for (probably literally)
      A close second is the Fort Cafe, Lerwick.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The problem with Yorkshire fish and chips is that they typically close at mealtimes, that is around 1300 and 1800.

      People don’t still get up at 0500 to go to work in their clogs, but some folk apparently need reminding.

      The beef dripping’s OK if it’s not about six months old too.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. no to be fair it has to be the best fish and chips in the world, because if replacing the crossing gates caused a bit of grief, opening a fish and chip shop there, they didnt have one till the early 90s…and thats the 1990s, seemed almost to signal the end of days was approaching for Frintonians. The Lock & Barrel was also the first pub I believe inside the gated line, a mere roughly 21st century addition, it having been against the towns charter to allow pubs of any form less they attract the wrong crowd till then, Shepherd Neame celebrated the opening by getting a spitfire to flyover.

      and theres quite a selection of Shepherd Neame pubs in that part of Essex, theres one in Rowhedge as well I think, for obvious reasons I guess, but they are still a curiosity nonetheless yet generally always serve a much better pint than their counterparts in that there London

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I thought the old colonels would be swayed by the Spitfire flyover !

        Thinking about it, you’re right about Sheps. It’s the Anchor (old GBG entry) in Rowhedge. King’s Head in Rochford closed when I walked past last month, I think they don’t stand out too much.

        I’m glad someone takes my view on fish & chips as gospel ! They were so good I may well detour back there when I inevitable need to make a trip to the Spoons near Harwich.


  3. Regular readers will know I hate bastard Christmas with a vengeance.
    And tonight I moved into official Christmas Damage Limitation Mode.
    It’s the official start of two weeks of hell when my nearest and dearest suddenly drink far more than they can cope with – because it’s Christmas.
    And because I drink heavily all year but not enough to to make a tit of myself on a regular basis and now I’m urging restraint on these alcoholic amateurs they’re suddenly Ernest Hemingway admonishing Florence Nightingale.
    I’m like the designated driver of getting ordinarily sober people who are hammered back home into their beds.
    Everyone,including my nearest and dearest,suddenly start behaving like twats and I hate it.
    I’m heading into the dark side of the moon now and I’ll see you,Syd Barrett-style,like a zombie on about January the 4th.
    I hate bastard Christmas.
    Really hate the bastard thing.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You know what. It isn’t “Christmas” at all. That’s just a word weak people give to a period of days they have off work each year and insist on doing some things they’ve always done because they’re too dull to do anything else. If you want, you can travel to Mansfield on Christmas Day, go to a pub and have a curry for lunch. And YOU DON’T HAVE TO SEND CARDS AND PRESENTS TO ANYONE.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Worst for me is the office workers choosing a Titanic pub for their annual pub visit, suddenly drinking far more of the 8% Wreckage than they can cope with, starting to behave like twats and that’s why that proper winter beer isn’t stocked for the three weeks running up to Christmas Day.
      Maybe they should have only sold it in half pints !

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “when the introduction of modern lifting barriers saw fighting in the streets.”

    Pfft. You must realise that fighting will always occur in the streets; they just use whatever’s ‘current’ to explain it. 🙂

    “UK’s biggest seller of pimped scooters”

    Well, that explains your ‘everyone dies there’ comment above. 😉

    “It shows the average age of inhabitants and visitors within the gates drop from 73.9 to 73.8 as I enter.”

    So, a bit like the town of Parksville on Vancouver Island over here then.

    “Best fish & chips. Ever”

    To die for perhaps? 🙂

    “Wicker chair nightmare”

    Nonsense. Only the backrest appears to be wicker.

    “I waited for something to happen. Like the lacings on the Spitfire, not a lot.”

    I think the landlord should have ‘Staying Alive’ playing round the clock. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  5. “and looks much older than its 18 years” – before the pub the building was Blowers and Cooper (ironmongers) and the old shop sign “30 Blowers & Cooper 28” is on the ceiling over the bar (I’ve never managed to even fit it all in a widescreen phone photo, let alone a 4:3 WhatPub friendly format). You are of course correct that the interior is only 2000 vintage. There is a newspaper article about the opening here: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/frinton-grapples-with-a-revolutionary-concept-the-pub-698750.html

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well done Sheps.
    Years earlier “mass-market chain JD Wetherspoon dropped plans to open an outlet called The First Pub after residents protested”.
    Shepherd Neame did though “insisted on a “smart dress only” rule”.

    Liked by 1 person

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