The Walmer Castle
The Walmer Castle holds the honourable distinction of being the only Brighton pub I know of that’s a genuinely untied good old fashioned Free House. It’s not part of a pubco chain and nor is it owned by a brewery. It’s not even affiliated with a brewery, it’s just a pub serving its community for the benefit of its community and for that it deserves a lot of credit. But the credit it’s due doesn’t end there for this is a fantastic pub with a great deal to offer beyond its novelty of being truly independent.
A few years ago this was a pub best described as quirky. Fairly dimly lit and a little scruffy round the edges it was best known for its fishtank wall in the back room which helped it stand out in a part of town that’s not short on decent boozers. Sat at the top end of the infamous hill of Hanover it possibly suffered slightly by virtue of its position at the wrong end of an incline that’s littered with pubs. However, it no longer relies on aquatic draws for trade and has much to recommend it post refurbishment (and post fish).
For starters this is a pub that takes ale seriously. It’s not uncommon in this part of town, or in modern life in general in fact, as the explosion in popularity of craft beers and English ales has been evident for some time now. However it still warrants comment and there were four ales from two local breweries on the hand pumps when I visited, including very reasonably priced Dark Star Hophead alongside ales from Arundel’s Goldmark. I always look favourably upon pubs serving quality beers from local breweries so the Walmer Castle has performed admirably on this front.
But to describe the Walmer as a beer drinker’s pub would be to do a disservice to its chef because the food here is superb. There’s a solid menu packed with traditional pub favourites and on Sunday’s they excel themselves by offering a staggering THIRTEEN different roast options. You wouldn’t think there were thirteen different varieties of roast but somehow they’ve identified them and jammed the chalkboard full with all these tasty options. On my visit I plumped for my first ever four bird roast and was mightily impressed not just by the quality of the grub but by the generous portion size which can all too often let a decent roast offering down. At £10-11 a pop they’re not lunches for the budget conscious but I felt no remorse in parting with my cash having devoured the hearty offering laid in front of me and would happily return to work my way through the twelve other options on the Sunday menu.
In terms of entertainment the Walmer’s placing itself as a pub that’s serious about both beer and food doesn’t mean its value ends there and there’s a stack of board games available to the visitor with a hankering for some competitive table top action, which is a nice touch. Despite being airy and relatively modern inside it still retains a cosy feel, partly due to its compact nature, and I can well imagine it’s a fine place to enjoy a game of chess on a chilly Winter’s eve.
At a glance
|Free Wi-Fi?||Yes. Code at bar|
|Bar games?||Selection of board games|
|Garden?||Small terrace at front|