On the way back from Rye with Paul we popped in two Sussex stragglers that reminded us how inconsistent “service” is in pubs these days.

Pale blue/light blue dividing line is new barrier post 2/3/19

Three Legs beers were on the bar at the Ypres Castle, but you know how I love a brewery tap on an industrial estate.

The new traditional

Their Tap is only open Thursday to Saturday, just to annoy visiting pub bloggers, but it does at least open decent hours from noon opening. With the English summer in full effect, there were more folk settled in than in some of the pubs in Rye.

First impressions count. Look how neat the handwriting is !  And how simple the beer descriptions Hurrah !


Clear if uniform pricing.  And cheese.

And a welcome to match Jeff and team at the Castle, as were greeted like long-lost relatives (perhaps we were). “Welcome.  How you doing ?”  etc. etc.  Simple but effective. They did offer to set up a tab, perhaps a first for me.

Of course, it would have been better for the blog if they’d said “Sorry Old Fellas, no Boring Brown Bitter” but they were just great advocates for their beers.

Great smile mate

Outside on the benches (it was warm) a fair few folk had decided to leave work  at lunchtime and enjoy beer and ’80s tunes.

“Don’t sit on the edge of the bench it’ll tip !”  said one of them as I sat on the edge of the bench.

We got chatting.  They tried to convince me that the track playing was Dexy’s Midnight Runners. It wasn’t; it was this one;


Dexy’s Afternoon Joggers, more like !”.  I promised I’d use that on my blog.

Lovely beer (says Paul), beautifully presented and the biggest bowl of free nuts since March (the place, not the month).


The other pub required an exciting diversion over the A21 at Hastings, veering dangerously close to Pashmina Pauline, apparently.

We were safe in the Plough in Crowhurst; it had a Harvey’s sign.

Looks trad

I asked for a half of Harvey’s Best.

“AND ?…”

One of the most annoying words to hear at the bar, along with “YES ?” and “£5.20”.

Paul couldn’t get to the bar with the bar flies blocking the pumps, which had homemade pumpclips rather than the brewery ones you might recognise from afar. Why ?

“AND ?”

The beer was OK, the pub a bit sparse, the welcome a reminder that Old and Traditional pubs don’t always give the best service.




    1. Agree. I don’t want to overstate the issue, but I guess you must recognise that issue when the bar staff expect you to know exactly what you want before you can see the bar, particularly if it’s a large range of unusual beers. You want to say “Gimme a minute !”.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Quite a good comparison there. Sort of underlining the fact the brewery tap on the industrial estate has to attract. people to go there. Hence, the beer has to be spot on, and the service and everything else, because sitting in the yard of an industrial unit isn’t the nicest of places.

    On the other hand, the traditional pub doesn’t have to try as hard because it’s a recognised entity that people frequent for good company and a few drinks (not necessarily beer) in a cosy atmosphere. Take out of the equation we are looking at different cohorts of customers between these two types of premises, although they do overlap. Thing is, the way pubs are going the traditional pub does have to work hard to attract to attract, and keep, customers. I pity those who don’t in the current climate.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I shouldn’t say this, but the places run by young beardies (No offence intended) are often more cheerful. and of course in the industrial type Tap you might be the only customer at the bar so time to be polite. Doesn’t always work that way, but you get more grumpy oldies than young folk.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. The ‘Beards’ are of course interested in their work, the beer they produce, and the beers they like to drink. On the other hand, so many staff in average trad pubs just don’t give a …

        Don’t get me started on the art of being a licensee, proper bar person.


  2. Quite a few of those places along the roads of Sussex and Kent. I’ve gone past that one a few times and I’ve managed to resist stopping. Seems I’ve made the right choice. Poor service and frankly, the interior looks like a barn. But what do I know? Maybe it is the latest gastro trend.


  3. Just as well you didn’t bump into us -we were very well refreshed,although only managed 2 pubs -Crown &Jolly Fisherman. 2 coffees & 2 packets of crisps consumed on train home before an ill advised trip to t’ spoons back in the Stone

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I found those hand-written pump-clips pretentious and extremely annoying. They were also completely unnecessary, as one thing breweries inevitably get right is to supply clips which both stand out and are recognisable.

    I hate to think what would happen if a mini-bus full of thirsty CAMRA members turned up. Mine host would soon run out of patience as they struggled to read his poncy home-made clips; that’s if they could even get near them because of the immovable lager drinkers sat hogging the bar.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was thinking this same thing; a real shame, as time and care was put into making these hand-written pump clips with the (surely unintended) result that they’ve actually made the beer selection process more difficult for the customer! That time and care could have been put into something else that would actually benefit the customers.


    2. Paul,
      Yes, and not just “a mini-bus full of thirsty CAMRA members”.
      Harveys Sussex Best Bitter is my favourite beer. imagine my disappointment if I missed it from the familiar pumpclip not being there.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So disappointing when you see that exterior and expect a proper Harvey’s pub. In part I suspect you’re getting a difference between north and south. In rural Sussex perhaps you don’t have to bother about customers in order to make money.


      1. Definitely not a Harvey’s pub, although they too seem to have difficulties in choosing the right type of tenants for their pubs.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. “Perhaps you don’t have to bother about customers, in rural Sussex”, but you certainly should, as like Kent, the county is littered with closed, rural pubs.

    “WhatPub” hints at eatery connotations for the Plough, but also says it “gives a warm welcome to walkers”. I wonder whether this would have been the case if Martin and I had turned up wearing boots, caked in mud, and then trampled all over their newly stripped floorboards?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I nip into the Tyne Bank Brewery Tap in Newcastle quite a bit and the young beardies are welcoming, cheerful and happy to talk about the beer all night. Half a mile away in the heart of the Ouseburn, Newcastle’s Shoreditch, is the Brinkburn Street Brewery Tap, which is food orientated, and the young beardies give the impression that the place is more important than their customers. Cheerless, unwelcoming and not very efficient.


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