Pagham-on-Sea, East Sussex, is a town described as “too bleak for the bleak geeks”, but it does have some quite good pubs. In this post, we look at the 11 pubs from best to worst (c.2019) at least according to the Good Pub Guide website:
- The Red Ram
- The New Inn
- The Ship’s Wheel
- The Mill House
- The King’s Head
- The Exchange Inn
- The Old George Inn
- The Snake and Feather*
- The Full Moon**
- The Mermaid
- The Prince Albert***
*Should be higher up the list but has too few ratings. If you go in here and you think the drinks are ‘gimmicky’ and try something CLEARLY LABELLED acidic/alkaline for a laugh, you’re (a) in the wrong pub (b) currently dying. The beer on tap is really good though.
**This is a pack pub. It is not a good pub, but it’s the only one in Barker Crescent. If you do not have a pack tattoo or patch, or you’re not a lycanthrope, or you are not accompanied by a lycanthrope, you are in the wrong pub.
***If you find yourself in the Albert at any point in time, you’re either in the wrong pub or making all the wrong life choices.
The Red Ram
Now a family-friendly (in theory) chain pub by day and the starting point of most rowdy stag/hen parties by the middle of the afternoon, the Red Ram shows sports, serves cheap food, and cheap drinks.
POS pub crawlers start here: line your stomach with their daily food deal and whatever local craft beer they have on tap.
The Red Ram is the oldest surviving purpose-built pub in Pagham-on-Sea, built in 1388. The name is thought to be an allusion to the original ostler’s seal, of which only one example survives on red wax, badly worn, but which appears to be a ram’s head. This is now kept in The National Archives, Kew. Other related documents of the building’s long history can be found in the East Sussex Record Office, The Keep.
Ricky Porter has been banned from this pub since his (now infamous) 18th birthday, during which he got banned from every pub in town that he hadn’t already been banned from.
The New Inn
This is where you would take your grandmother for Sunday lunch. They have a Pub Quiz on Wednesdays and karaoke on Fridays.
Ricky Porter is not only banned from this pub but he’s also not allowed within 200m of it, or the landlord, or the door staff.
The Ship’s Wheel
This is the pub most of the 18-30s crowd move on to after the Red Ram – cheap drinks, slightly pricier food, but great ale selections. It has a darts team.
Ricky Porter is banned for life.
The Mill House
Named for the actual mill that stood on this site before it became a pub (with accommodation upstairs), people insist on scrawling Simpsons quotes in the toilets so they’ve rolled with it and incorporated the popular cartoon into the decor with posters, framed prints and a Millhouse mascot doll behind the bar.
Ricky Porter has been banned since he was sixteen for:
(1) being underage
(2) serving himself
(3) breaking the barman’s jaw.
He only came here once. He didn’t like it anyway.
The King’s Head
In 1716, after an ongoing feud between the landlord of this public house (Thomas Swales) and the landlord of The Exchange (Robert Eales) for the affections of recently widowed Maria Whitton, a duel was fought in what is now the King’s Head’s beer garden between the two men. At the time, it was a dirt yard where cock fighting and other such activities were usually conducted.
Swales chose pistols and shot Eales of The Exchange in the shoulder. Eales shot Swales in the thigh. Both men got patched up and survived the resulting infections only to find that Widow Whitton had run off with Capt. Nathanial Black of the Royal Navy.
This tale, and others, can be found painted on the walls of the pub and printed on the coasters.
It is a fairly respectable pub with a live band on Fridays and a DJ on Saturdays, a pool table and a darts team.
Ricky Porter is banned from this pub, too, and while he isn’t mentioned by name, you can find the story of how the pub was renovated after a serious fire (with framed photographs of before and after) on the wall by the bar.
The Exchange Inn
Apart from the duel in 1716, nothing has really happened in The Exchange. The rivalry between it and The King’s Head was evoked for a Comic Relief five-aside football match (where all the players come in fancy dress) in 1987, and the two pubs have played a match to raise money for either Comic Relief, Children In Need or Sport Relief almost every year since.
Tickets are £2 and there’s always a raffle.
There’s a live band here every Saturday.
Ricky Porter got banned preemptively when he was seventeen after a fight outside. It is the only pub in Pagham-on-Sea (apart from The Full Moon, a special case) that managed to ban him before he actually set foot in there.
The Old George Inn
Very quiet ‘old man’s pub’, has a pool table and three regulars throughout the week who never speak to each other. It does, however, have a darts team.
Ricky Porter’s last pub crawl (his 18th birthday) was the most exciting thing to happen to the Old George in over two decades. He has, obviously, been banned ever since after terrorising the regulars in 57 mins 43 secs of total carnage.
The Snake and Feather
The Snake is one of the best pubs in Pagham-on-Sea as far as inclusivity, variety and quality goes, but has very few reviews. You really need to know where it is to go there, and it’s not the kind of place you would want to stumble upon if you weren’t already in the know.
We’d love to tell you more about it, but we can’t. You’ll just have to find someone to take you.
This is the only pub where someone actually managed to lay Ricky out cold. No one ever talks about it and they really hope that punter never comes back, either. Revenant Rage is not something you want to happen in your pub twice.
The Full Moon
The Full Moon is Barker Crescent’s only pub, and it is fully understood that no one drinks there except werewolves.
This being the case, and it also being a Known Fact that pretty much anyone in the Pendle Clan could skin a werewolf with their bare teeth (that is, anyone directly descended from the three Pendle Sisters, which includes the Wends, the Shaws, the Foremans, the Wend-McVeys and the Porters), absolutely none of them are welcome in the pub.
This is… difficult to enforce, but Ricky has never set foot there because his Great-x-Grandmother Beverley Wend (née Pendle) has an Understanding with the Alphas.
Ricky is therefore banned by default.
It is very unfair that The Mermaid is still languishing at the bottom of the table since Gus, the old landlord, died, and his nephew Gary has taken over. Gary hails from Chichester, West Sussex, and is easily one of the nicest guys let alone landlords you’ll ever meet.
Gary is all about making inclusive community spaces. There is an undead support group who meet there on Thursdays, which, unlike other such groups who say things like ‘death certificate holders only’, has no restrictions on the type of undead who can attend meetings.
Gary understands that everyone needs support from time to time, and possessed toys may freak people out but that’s no reason to exclude the cymbal-banging monkey of your nightmares just because he’s a polyester blend. Also, his name is Fred.
In the old days, The Mermaid was worse than the Albert. Ricky got banned from here too, which was a genuine blow since Gus never checked ID and he’d been drinking here with his cousin Wes since they were fifteen. Ricky can’t remember why he got banned but presumes it has something to do with the night he staggered home with Gus’s (severed) hand in his pocket.
If he ever takes up drinking again, this is where he’d go first to try his luck. Gary seems like a soft touch into second chances.
The Prince Albert
If you’re not here for a dodgy deal, do not approach the booths or the snug.
If you are not prepared to get stabbed with something (up to and including a used syringe), be mugged, leave with stolen goods, or get offered seriously dodgy cocaine cut with various household detergents/powdered glass, do not sit in the main bar area.
If you do want sanitary toilets, a quiet drink, or not to get started on by some random guy on meth, you’re in the wrong pub.
That’s about all we have to say about The Prince Albert.
It shouldn’t be possible to be banned from this pub, but Ricky Porter has managed it. He can’t remember why, but if it tops the severed hand in his pocket then it must have been one hell of a night.
The Prince Albert was getting worse. The barman, a sallow faced young man with styled, dirty hair and a sullen attitude, caught her eye and pointed at a booth. The oak door was ajar, wreathed in cigar smoke. Meredith nodded and swaggered over, sliding effortlessly around the sticky table into the stained seat. The door swung shut, and she was trapped in what amounted to a claustrophobic, mood-lit cubbyhole, hemmed in by panels on all sides. A dim lamp picked out rings of spilled beer, and the Albert’s ragged beer mats that had seen much better days. It threw no light at all on David Wend, a hulking shadowy presence opposite her. She could make out the collar of his trench coat, but it was as if he absorbed the light around him, blurring his silhouette further with the fragrant puffs of his long cigar. His face was hidden from her, and the roughly cut hair around his ears seemed to hide two other profiles, as if he had three faces rather than one. She wasn’t sure what she was looking at. It was best not to look too closely.
David Wend chuckled deep in his throat as she studied the beer mat in front of her instead. “Ms Blake. Lovely to finally make your acquaintance in person.”
Meredith’s lips twitched. “Likewise.”
~ Real Meat, a first draft scene
LOOK OUT for the next werewolf post – Thursday! Featuring an interview with author Richard Brown.