CoffeeBeer >> Pint Pleasures >> Previous Beer Columns >> Two East Sussex Pubs

Previous Pint Pleasures - August 6, 2001

guinness eileen

Inkermans Arms, Harbour Road, Rye Harbour, East Sussex

guinness eileen

Chequers Inn, The Lower Lake, Battle, East Sussex

Practically everybody who's ever been in Kent or Sussex knows about Rye. It's a historic town boasting quaint cobblestone streets and the Mermaid Inn and Ypres Castle and is a recommended stopover for tourists. In fact it's so full of tourists it's sometimes hard to locate the cobblestones through all those tourists. Rye Harbour, on the other hand, is a pleasantly quiet community with fishing boats and drying houses as well as its own vine-covered Martello tower which guards all that fish against any potential Napoleonic invasions. Although it lies along the River Rother not far from the Channel, Rye Harbour currently features lots of boats and barges resting on dry or almost dry land. In these recordbreaking years of rainfall -- resulting in massive swathes of greenery currently devouring the countryside -- it's strange to see no water in Rye Harbour.

Nevertheless there is a great little pub in Rye Harbour, the Inkermans Arms. Located on the main road from Rye to the Harbour, this is a real locals pub decorated with authentic ships' carpenter tools, a model of the ship Albion, and all sorts of information on the walls about flatfish and sailing ships. On the Sunday lunchtime when we stopped by the place was buzzing. A large seafood menu is featured and there were quite a few diners in evidence. We stood at the bar nibbling on Bombay mix and roast potatoes while everyone but my vegetarian self chomped away on complementary wild boar sandwiches. There is a large garden out back with a "No Dogs" sign -- but this didn't deter the Jack Russell who appeared to be presiding over the outdoor activities. I assume he belongs to the pub and doesn't appreciate canine customers.

Inside the pub we had pints of Greene King Triumph (4.3% ABV, Greene King, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk). This is a good old friend of a beer we haven't seen around for awhile. It goes well with curried nuts and I imagine could only improve a wild bore -- er, boar.

As we left Rye Harbour we headed over to Battle, yet another historic town near Hastings where the appropriately named Battle of Hastings was fought. We made a very short stop at the Senlac Inn where we'd experienced tolerable pints and reasonable food on previous visits. The first smell and sip of my pint of Harvey's Sussex Best can only be described as "hideous", so I returned it. We then tried the London Pride which had acquired an unpleasant slippery aftertaste. Since these were the only real ale alternatives we asked for our money back and left. Sometimes you just have to be firm in your convictions.

Fortunately we discovered the Chequers Inn just down the road, now run by the previous owners of the Senlac Inn, Rick and Sandra. We were told that the new owners at the Senlac are having major problems, and not just with the quality of their beer: one recent party of diners had to wait an hour and a half for their food. Come on, guys -- nobody these days has that sort of time to waste!

The Chequers, on the other hand, is a charming, friendly, inviting place featuring a nice restaurant area, a 50p pool table, old jazz posters, and a piano crowned with a very pretty accordion, broken keys and all. Out behind the car park is a terribly inviting beer garden -- actually more of a woodland area with picnic tables, a large barbecue pit currently sprouting a nice crop of grass, and a resident peacock who will make an appearance if your timing is right. Our first visit was on a Friday evening in June when the four of us sat at tables just outside the entrance to the pub. As I sat there shivering in my fleece jacket I sipped a lovely pint of Harvey's Sussex Best (4% ABV, Harvey & Son Ltd, Lewes, East Sussex). This beer needs to be in good form to be drinkable, and when it is, it's delicious, as was this pint. What a pleasure to find such consistency. Now, if only they could reduce that ridiculously high price of £2.00 for a double shot of Glenlivit...

After fortifying ourselves with another pint we took off down the road dragging a mattress behind us. Hmmmm, wait a minute...I suppose that sounds a bit odd, doesn't it? Trust me, we weren't offering curbside service; but we were all spending the night with Giles and he'd arranged to borrow a spare mattress from the pub to supply extra sleeping accommodations. So please don't expect the pub to throw in a free mattress with your pint.

Chequers Arms Updates
(Last updated 1st October 2001)