In this issue, Group Editor, Simon Skinner heads to a venue he knows very well… His local pub!
It’s a fair statement to make, that pubs aren’t what they used to be. The days of drinking dens full of rowdy locals have been diminishing at a rapid rate. That’s not to say that these places don’t exist anymore, and thankfully there are still a good number of ‘proper’ boozers still out there. For many though, there has been a need to evolve, striking a balance between the restaurant trade and the traditional pub game.
This has indeed been the case for Harvey’s, the oldest and largest brewery in Sussex, who first established way back in 1790. As a result of being the oldest and largest brewery in the region, they also own the largest number of public houses in the county. An enviable title in more buoyant times, but with the downward trend for traditional boozers and stories of hundreds of pubs closing every week, Harveys have been busy addressing the threat head on; refurbishing their (many) managed locations, bringing them bang up to date and ensuring their custom for many years to come.
It’s always primarily been one of the aforementioned ‘traditional’ boozers, with a host of locals, a function room open for private hire (many a wake has been held at the Red Lion due to its proximity to the local crematorium), pool table and standard menu for the occasional diner. It’s fair to say that it needed a bit of love and attention.
It was then, with a fair level of excitement, that I heard about Harveys’ plans to give my local ‘the treatment’ and I’m pleased to report that ‘the treatment’ has been delivered. Murmurs of, “will it be a patch-up job” and “surely they’re not going to do all of that” have been completely and entirely eradicated and I’m proud to say that I now frequent, what must be one of the finest Harveys pubs in Sussex.
In what has been nothing less than a sensational and comprehensive refurbishment, the Red Lion has been transformed, with a contemporary colour scheme, new furniture, decor and an impressive range of quality beers – along with the standard Harveys beers that are always on tap.
Along with the general aesthetic, the team have opened up what was basically a wasteland at the rear of the building, converting it into a brand new car park to accommodate the influx that has inevitably followed. Adjacent to the new car park sits a brand new, private sun terrace – the perfect place to enjoy a quiet glass of something good and cold. Quite possibly a good place to hide from your respective other on a Friday evening after work too, but of course, I wouldn’t know anything about that!
Another impressive and notable update is that of what used to be a standard pub function room. It now sits as a beautifully turned out, intimate dining room with just 12 tables to choose from. And the menu! Well, let’s just say that I would travel a lot further than the 5 minute walk I currently have to eat here frequently. Quite simply an excellent pub menu, served to outstanding restaurant quality. Just take a look at the pictures alongside this article and you’ll see the standard that’s leaving the kitchen. The ribeye steak dish represents the most expensive dish on the menu at £17.00 and there’s an extensive children’s menu too.
Harveys have nailed it with the Red Lion and have delivered an excellent venue that serves a broad range of customers, and with the parking and excellent menu, comes highly recommended by your humble writer. If you are in the area with family, friends or indeed looking for a good spot for a business meeting in the Eastbourne/Hailsham/Polegate area of Sussex, you could do a hell of a lot worse.
Simon and his guest’s food selection:
Smoked Salmon, Crayfish Tail & Cream Cheese Roulade with crusty bread and garnish – £6.00
Sweet Chilli Pork & Vegetable Spring Rolls with a peanut salad – £6.00
Harveys Battered Cod Fillet with House Fries, Buttered Peas and Tartare Sauce (twice) £10.00 and just £5.00 for kids
The Red Lion, Lion Hill, Stone Cross, Pevensey, BN24 5EG
01323 761468 www.redlionstonecross.co.uk