April 2023.

Mrs RM was very keen to tell the lovely Southworths that I wasn’t ticking the Beer Guide this year, and I clearly take my instruction from her.

But when you have a day on the South Coast free to yourself as your wife is staying in the caravan all day typing it still makes sense to use the GBG to plan your escape.

And very little in life, bar the annual first trip to tick new London entries, compares with the walk back into Brighton from Hove with three new pubs to explore and a view to Sussex-by-the-Sea along the way.

Sutton United celebrity fan Mark agrees;

Only a couple of miles from Hove station, but the sort of walk where you can lose a day wondering “How much for an espresso and a bun !!!” and “WHAT. IS. THAT ?” at every corner.

The city famous for fights between Mods and Rockers on Bank Holiday Mondays (fans of Sad Girl Bedroom Pop like me are OK) is full of posters for The Who‘s upcoming gig at the cricket ground.

Yes, Hove stuck in the 60s, though Brighton’s gig venues are as good as anywhere in the UK. Hove has lovely streets, the sort of unheralded rows you still find between Lambeth and Battersea.

The Poets comes as a surprise. Brash colours, plain sign, unnecessary addition of “Ale and Smoke House”.

Presumably it’s all beardy young folk living off parents queuing for smoked pork then ?

Well, not a bit of it, at least on Wednesday lunchtime. Just a few locals on stools being engaged in banter by a young South African barman. I’ve learnt that “Saffer” is an offensive term so I shan’t be using that again, thank you.

Anyhow, he’s a gem.

“Pint of Harvey’s please“. There’s a couple of homebrews as well, you guessed that.

Good choice”.

I get a fiver out. It’s £5.10. How could I not know a pint’s over a fiver in Hove ?

I drop the 10p over the bar on the floor by his feet.

“Hope you don’t expect me to do a dance for ya for 10p”.

The rapport with customers is wonderful, and he has immaculate phone manner, too. Great fun.

Odd soundtrack.

The conversation turns to high culture as Simon Rattle brings down the baton.

I’ve never been to a full orchestra mate. Ill Divo are OK though“. I’m sure it was Ill.

The locals were on the lager.

A bloke walks in and orders Kronenburg.

You don’t drink Kronenburg you prat!

Oh yeah. Moretti please“.

The Harvey’s is cool and rich (3.5), and the beer of choice for the smart looking guy who comes in next (Desperados for his girlfriend).

A lovely, welcoming, back street pub that reminds me of the lesser known King’s Arms in Borough.

I nearly stayed all afternoon; the banter at the bar had turned to cheese and things my dog doesn’t eat, but I had a different artisanal lunch stop in mind.

One question for the barman.

Is that really pig racing ?


  1. I was on my way to this pub – then called something else – many years ago, when I came upon one of our group, Geoff, sightseeing, and walking in another direction. He said that he’d see us later.

    When I got to the pub I was asked if I’d seen Geoff and if he was coming. I said that he was, but that when he arrived he’d probably have a bruised forehead, and complain of having walked into a lamp post.

    He duly arrived, complete with bruised forehead, of which he complained – to much laughter, having walked into a lamp post shortly after I met him. When his friends explained their mirth, he seemed shocked “But I hadn’t walked into the lamp post when I met (Etu)!!!” he exclaimed.

    (It would be a spoiler for me to give more detail on our meeting at this point.)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. My attention was attracted to Geoff on the way to the then Eclipse by his being a figure in the distance – I didn’t realise that it was him – with his head down, focused on a large sheet of paper and goose-stepping à la John Cleese Silly Walk almost. He’d just done a robotic turn on the corner and onto my route.

        He was – hope he still is – an engineer and enthusiast for particular interests, one of which was urban historic infrastructure. He had a to-scale map, upon which he was fixated, and was measuring out paces between points of interest.

        What was about to happen to him was near-inevitable, and required no particular prescience on my part.


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