The Duke of Wellington
I like this pub. No pretensions, no bullshit. It’s honest and wholesome.
The Duke of Wellington sits halfway up the hill of Upper Gloucester Road, quite close to Brighton station, and its slightly out of the way location means it tends to have a very local feel to it, despite being relatively close to the city centre. First and foremost this is a football pub, specifically an Albion friendly pub. On matchdays the place is packed out pre and post game with blue and white clad football fans, partly due to its proximity to the station (Brighton’s Falmer stadium is 3 stops away on the train) and partly due to the fact that it is more than happy to cater to them. There are screens showing live football which helps to draw in the crowds and they knock out pre match pies and rolls for the hungry Albion faithful en route to the latest spectacle at their tidy new stadium.
Of course if you’re not football friendly that shouldn’t put you off because the Welly (as it’s affectionately known by its regulars) has much more to recommend it. For starters it’s one of the few genuinely decent pubs in the centre of town with a pool table and they’re always looking to provide extra value with added entertainment of an evening, such as live bands, karaoke and DJs. In this respect it very much feels like a pub in a village, where it would be the centre of the local entertainment scene. And yet this attractive, modern venue is actually situated very centrally within our buzzing city. I think it’s just that bit more out of the way than the pubs along Queens Road or Trafalgar Street which would stick out more obviously to folk arriving at the station, and as a result it caters far more to a local crowd of loyal regulars.
Besides the aforementioned matchday snacks the Duke of Boots (a nickname used by the staff if not the regulars) offers a limited but perfectly decent selection of sandwiches, pizzas and pastries which is offered more as stomach lining than as a full on dining experience. This isn’t somewhere you’d come for a quiet sit down meal but it does do the basics well, in that if you’re on a long old day of boozing, they’ll make sure you’re not running on empty and will fuel your beer marathon with satisfactory belly filler.
I’ve already mentioned the pool table in the back room and the regular entertainment they put on, usually at weekends, but I should also give a nod to their regular Sunday night quiz which they bill as one of the longest running in all of Brighton. I can’t verify how true this is as it’s a very difficult thing to actually measure however I do know that it has been going on for as long as I can remember and should definitely be considered if you’re on the quizzing circuit and looking for a Sunday evening quiz fix.
Smokers will delight in the small terraced courtyard out back which provides sheltered outside space in which to smoke and socialise however it won’t much appeal to those looking for a summer pub garden as it doesn’t get a lot of sun and is therefore more functional than fun. It is good to have the option of making use of the outdoor space however as the pub itself isn’t very big and can get quite crowded so on long Summer’s evenings with the doors open the rear courtyard area helps ease bar congestion.
Although I can’t be certain, I’m fairly sure that children would be accepted during the day, however I’m not so sure it’s the sort of place you’d want to bring them. Not that there’s an unpleasant crowd or anything untoward about the place, because that’s far from the case and I’ve always found it to be incredibly welcoming and friendly, but more because space is limited and it very much caters to a beer oriented clientele. And speaking of beer they’ve always got at least two ales on the hand pumps, one of which is Sussex’s finest, Harveys, and this very much meets with my approval. I’ve never had a bad pint in here.
In a packed part of town, densely populated with pubs, the Welly does well to hold its own as a friendly and straightforward clean and comfortable boozer with a personality of its own and a loyal following. Pick this pub if you want no nonsense good old fashioned beer and banter. I regularly do.
At a glance
|Food?||Yes, limited selection of simple bar snacks|
|Free Wi-Fi?||Yes, code at bar|
|Drinks promos?||Yes, ask at bar|
|Children welcome?||Daytime only, until 8pm|
|Fruit/quiz machines?||Yes, single fruity in back room|
|Bar games?||Pool table and darts in back room|