This month we look at some of the long-standing watering holes of Worthing and beyond.
Cosy, traditional and often boasting a few skeletons in their closets, here are some of the oldest swingers in town.
THE TUDOR CLOSE, FERRING
Namechecked in the Domesday Book, The Tudor Close once sat in the middle of open fields leading down to the sea. The thatched roof, flint walls and vaulted ceiling of this old Sussex barn have played host to smugglers, schoolboys, the French Canadian military and even cows (the conservatory used to be a cowyard), but these days most visitors are more than happy with the selection of real ales and modern pub grub on offer.
THE CORNER HOUSE
Pubs tend to pop up in convenient spots, and the Corner House is situated near to what was once the only crossing point for Teville Stream. You can’t take advantage of the archery course and pleasure gardens that featured here in the early 19th century, and fortunately there aren’t any coroners’ inquests these days, but it’s still a great spot for a pie and a pint, and the outdoor dining is hard to beat.
THE RED LION, SHOREHAM
Duck your head – this one has low beams befitting its 16th-century origins! You can’t miss the Red Lion, a former coaching inn which sits on the mini roundabout opposite the old tollbridge in what was Old Shoreham in the time of the Saxons. Established in a former monastery, the Grade II-listed building boasts literary connections with Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem Rizpah based on a robbery
foiled after the thieves were overheard discussing their crime in the pub.
Nestled in a row of half-timbered 15th-century cottages in the heart of old Tarring village, this Grade II-listed restaurant and bar is the real deal, with a jettied first floor and plenty of period charm. Its previous incarnations include a private dwelling and a museum.
THE GEORGE & DRAGON
Reputedly the longest-running pub in Worthing, the George has been pulling in Tarring punters since 1610. Original features abound, from the different floor levels to the brick and flint walls and dark oak beams. Don’t forget to check out the upside down pub sign outside, which hangs up to avoid clashes with the roofs of the double decker buses that used to run down the narrow high street.
Clearly an enterprising man, John Roberts started a wine merchants on this spot in 1808 and quickly realised the wisdom of opening a bar out the back. The Vintners’ Arms absorbed both the next door bank and Wesleyan chapel over time, later becoming known as The Thieves’ Kitchen in reference to local traders who used to meet there to discuss business. We don’t know what became of the parrot.