Thursday 30th June 2016
I thought this was a rather strange name for a pub until I discovered the origins of it. Brooksteed Road was the old name for South Farm Road on which the pub lies. Owners Nick and Paula thought it was a good idea to revive the old name when they opened the pub doors to the public for the first time on 5th September 2014. The pub is very easy to get to from Worthing station and I arrived just after the evening opening time of 17.00.
Although quite spacious, the Brooksteed has many aspects of a micropub yet with some additional twists. The front of the pub has a conventional appearance yet once through the door there is a distinct modern feel about it. The predominant wall colourings are yellow, orange and grey. Opinions may differ, but I think they combine well.
You cannot miss the bar when you enter as it is directly in front of you facing towards the road. The counter extends about half way across the width of the room. There are a few stools in front of it. On the right side wall there are number of large blackboards displaying the food and drinks available. There is a cool room with a glass window behind the bar with the casks on display.
Along most of the left side wall of the pub is a fixed wooden bench covered with cushions. In front of this there are four tall tables of the type found in many micropubs. Facing the wall on the other side of the tables are high chairs.
The wall is painted alternately orange and grey and is graced by several pictures and a clock along with an antique Worthington’s mirror. There is also a hand-painted sign from the owners welcoming you to the pub.
Then the room narrows to accommodate the WC and there is a shelf to assist with upright drinking. At the back is a sort of “lounge” area with yellow-painted walls. Here there is a small sofa with a number of low tables and chairs. If I recollect correctly there is another cool room here for the cider and other drinks.
I could find no clues to its former use as a hairdressing saloon. There are many new pubs that were previously used for this purpose and even one that now performs both functions! (Thirsty Scarecrow, Dover).
There were five cask beers offered and these represented some local brewers and some from further afield.
The choice was: Fuzzy Duck (Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire) Bramling Cross (3.7%); Pilgrim (Reigate, Surrey) Vest Alia (4.3%); Redwillow (Macclesfield, Cheshire) Shameless (5.9%); Great Heck (Great Heck, North Yorkshire) Mercy (4.0%) and Long Man (Lillington, East Sussex) Golden Tipple (4.7%). This was made with malted “Tipple” barley from their own farm.
The cider selection was probably even more eclectic and consisted of: John Bachelor (Maplehurst, West Sussex) Dry (7.5%); Heron Valley (Kingsbridge, Devon) Devon Medium Cider (4.5%); Glebe Farm (Kings Ripton, Cambridgeshire) Lime Sider (sic) (6.0%) and Raglan Mill (Llanarth, Montgomeryshire, Wales) Snowy Owl Perry (5.5%).
Judging by the blank blackboard it looked like they normally have five ciders and perries.
If foreign bottled beers are your bag then you won’t be disappointed here. They serve a very large range indeed. There were at least eight wines offered plus the mandatory Prosecco. There is also tea and coffee along with a selection of Fentiman’s posh soft drinks.
The range of food is a little more extensive that most micropubs with a cheese board (four) and an Italian meats (three) platter. Also, they offer sausage rolls and pork and other pies. Naturally, they sell all the normal packaged snacks.
The pub was awarded Pub of the Year by the Arun & Adur Branch of CAMRA in 2016 and has subsequently gone on to win CAMRA Sussex Pub of the Year. I enjoyed my visit here and should you be in or around Worthing, I hope you will too.
The Brooksteed Alehouse, 385 South Farm Road, Worthing BN14 7AE. Tel: 07786 084020
Hours: Tuesday 17.00-21.30; Wednesday-Thursday: 12.00-14.00, 17.00-21.30;
Friday-Saturday: 12.00-21.30; Sunday: 12.00-14.00. Monday: Closed.
From Worthing station you exit from the station and turn right then continue parallel with the railway line. This is Cross Street. This joins South Farm Road in front of the level crossing. Turn right and go over the crossing. Keep on and you will find the pub around 300 yards on the right. It should take only around five minutes but if the crossing is closed, much longer. Leave at least ten minutes when returning to the station.
Worthing railway station is served by trains operated by Southern from London (Victoria), Brighton, Shoreham, Littlehampton and Portsmouth.
There is an infrequent service provided by Great Western Railway to Southampton, Salisbury, Bath, Bristol, Newport and Cardiff.