“What makes a Great Pub ?”, asks one of those interminable polls in Beer Twitter Land.

Stuff your pub cat (not literally), your ten homebrewed ales, your Michelin star.  I say any pub with a copy of the 1981 Royal Wedding Album on the shelf is a cast iron classic.

But we’ll come to that later, after a gastropub near Gatwick Airport.


It was the morning of 1 April. I’d arranged to meet Mrs RM in Borough Market that evening, and after assisting Hull CAMRA with their enquiries about the off-shore pub at Spurn Head, I headed to London Bridge.  Via Horley.

Surrey isn’t a county of great towns, Leatherhead apart, and Horley is strictly functional (or so I thought).  But at least it’s got a couple of GBG pubs, one more than crafty Crawley.

The Farmhouse is a bit of a contrast with the Spoons;

A very Surrey Spoons
A very Surrey country pub

Nice beams, a giant fireplace, casual dining, pashmina mums. A pub awaiting BRAPA’s visit with glee.

Typical gastropub humour
Art composition
Aiming for the Brunning & Price market

Narrow, bustling and bewildering, with groups of diners rearranging tables to make my progress harder, so I headed into the pretty garden, armed with a half of Harvey’s in a pretty Carling glass.

Landlord in a Surrey gastro ? – no chance
Branded glassware is SO overrated

Let’s be fair, the Sussex Best was Good Beer Guide standard, cool and tasty, whatever the focus on food.  Credit where it’s due, local CAMRA.

A long journey for a half of NBSS 3 bitter, but as I wove back to the station via modern housing estates I checked WhatPub for pre-emptive tick potential.


Weirdest pub entrance of the day

I had 20 minutes before the train to Redhill.  Could I do Fifty Four justice ?

It’s a pub

No, I couldn’t.  You’d need a day.  More antiques emporium/café/Tourist Office/drop-in centre than micropub, it’s completely at odds with well-ordered Horley.

The owner and a mate, wonderfully cheery blokes, were sipping tea on the High Street pavement and playing a game that I think was marbles but looks like M&Ms on a roti on my photo, all overseen by a Dog With No Name.

Weird game
Dog With No Name

Oh, they served me a quick beer while I admired the LPs, something lovely from Pilgrim that may or may not have been real ale according to the Divine Orders of CAMRA.

Possibly cask then

Appropriately, they were playing “Shiny Happy People”, rather than the Charles & Di singalong album, as I left.

If the Horley model works they should franchise Fifty Four to Preston. Matthew Lawrenson would love this one.



13 thoughts on “SURELY NOT HORLEY ?

  1. Oh that looks interesting- good find. The Farmhouse is functional and efficient at what it does but hard to love. 54 on the other hand looks more Chorley than Horley.


  2. “I say any pub with a copy of the 1981 Royal Wedding Album on the shelf is a cast iron classic.”

    Perhaps. But that photo doesn’t look like it’s part of a pub. 😉

    “The Farmhouse is a bit of a contrast with the Spoons;”


    “A pub awaiting BRAPA’s visit with glee.”


    “Aiming for the Brunning & Price market”

    Especially with that art composition in the background! 🙂

    “Branded glassware is SO overrated”

    Hey! I happen to be drinking out of a Russell Beer glass. Though it’s holding a beer from Red Racer. But I like it for the name. 🙂

    “Weirdest pub entrance of the day”

    But it’s on the High Street so it must be posh.

    “Weird game”

    You sure that’s not the beginnings of making a pizza, soon to be put into an artisanal oven?

    “Dog With No Name”

    It’s probably on one of the charms near his front left foot.

    “Matthew Lawrenson would love this one.”

    He’d blend right in. 🙂



    1. Obviously the 54 doesn’t look like a typical pub, but when you’ve visited 200 boxy micropubs with high tables, beer mats and hops on the wall and sullen service you’ll see why a I warmed to it 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pleased to learn that the “handy plant pot” was not required.

    The sprawl around Gatwick of Crawley- Horley and Redhill-Salfords has to be one of the least appealing parts of Surrey, even though the first named town is in Sussex (just)!


  4. Fifty Four doesn’t really look to be my sort of pub but it’s got better quality tat that the Salisbury Arms or any ‘Joules’ pub.


      1. It’s near enough on my way to and from Brighton 2½ months from now but I’m not sure if I will find time for it.

        Liked by 1 person

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