The Shakespeare’s Head
Although this is yet another pub from the many that make up the Drink in Brighton stable, the Shakespeare’s Head has a unique selling point standing it apart from the crowd in the form of its semi legendary bangers and mash menu and it was for this reason I chose to bump it up my to do list on a cold December evening.
At first glance it’s a fairly unremarkable looking place from the exterior, sat halfway up the hill leading from the station to the infamous Seven Dials roundabout, and the interior doesn’t boast anything particularly unusual either. In fact I was taken with just how much the inside reminded me of fellow Drink in Brighton venue the Sidewinder, which is perhaps unsurprising given their shared parentage although I’ve often been mildly impressed with how this pubco manages to try and keep its many venues distinct. Essentially this pub, although considerably smaller, has the same feel as the Sidewinder due to similar furniture and low lighting, and like the Sidey it has an abundance of outdoor space. But I don’t think it’s so similar as to be deliberately designed to fit a rigid formula in the same way that all Wetherspoons pubs are, and as previously mentioned, it does have that sausagey USP…
The Shakies (as they apparently like to be affectionately known) boasts a menu of 14 different types of sausage, 10 varieties of mash and four choices of gravy, all proudly displayed on a blackboard from which the diner is invited to pick and mix his or her chosen combination. It’s a fairly simple premise and one that works very well, with the pork and black pudding sausage I plumped for a thoroughly decent banger indeed. And whilst you may think that 10 varieties of mashed potato is stretching things (much like the Walmer Castle‘s 13 different options of roast), they’re imaginative enough to work, with choices such as celeriac and leek or mustard packed mash.
Naturally Sunday diners are catered for with the full complement of traditional roasts and assuming they’re up to the same standards as the top notch sausages I’d be confident of getting a decent Sunday afternoon feed in this pub.
The beers follow the same pattern as other DiB pubs with a rotating selection of local ales that for some reason never features Harveys. Laine’s Best is most commonly found, as it’s brewed by sister pub the North Laine, and there are often a choice of popular Dark Star ales too. Continental beer fans will be pleased to see a choice of Belgian beers on tap as well as a good mix in the bottles.
All in all this is a decent local pub with a nice ambience and some jolly lovely food. The three outside areas suggest it to be a Summer pub but Winter drinkers can enjoy its cosy charm along with a generous selection of board games and if you’re in a group you could easily take over the cubby room at the back for an entire evening of board game geekery accompanied by bangers and beers, which quite frankly is the stuff of dreams to this humble pub fan.
At a glance
|Food?||Yes, sausage and mash menu|
|Free Wi-Fi?||Yes, code at bar|
|Drinks promos?||Yes, ask at bar|
|Children welcome?||Daytime only, until 8pm|
|Bar games?||Decent selection of board games|
|Garden?||Three outside areas|