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The Place

Westbourne is about 15 minutes walk from the beach - much of that is up one of two chines; Alum Chine starts at Vesuvio's and Middle Chine starts by a beachfront tea hut just before you get to Chineside cafe & Harvester pub. They are both beautiful walks - of the two I would chose Alum chine as it has more impressive bridges and brings you out the closest to Westbourne, nearly opposite Tiien Thai in fact.

Nevertheless it has the feel of a seaside town with a Victorian Arcade and a Grand cinema building. It's a local honeypot as the restaurants and pubs are densely packed tho parking is awkard (try Grosvenor Road for two hours free parking or closer to the beach in West Cliff for free parking all day).

 


 Food and Drink

 Camden Westbourne

 Part of a small chain of pubs (the other is in Ashley Cross) – each is independently run, a bit like Wimpeys I guess. This one is a converted shop so its long and deep but has their usual style of exposed brick and pipework.

A recent addition is a small astroturf garden at the rear but the kitchen vents onto that so its more for smokers than lounging tho it does catch the evening sun.

Camden have different offers most nights – the steaks are a good deal (pan fried minute steaks – filling but the meat is okay).

Happy hour is generous five until 8pm and includes draught Kozel and an apparently good house wine.

Dogs welcome and it’s not a tremendously child-friendly pub – very much more a daily locals place around the bar.


Indi's

Good service and a notch up on style from the Westbourne Tandoori in terms of contemporary decor and linen table cloths. Foodwise I think I prefer the latter but that’s just personal taste.


The Libertine

Run by Rich and his wife and recently refurbished including a £100k investment in the garden and the Forge function room, it’s a big pub that suffers a bit from its size. The main drinking area is one large hall that you can feel a bit lost in when its quiet, but they've done what they can to divide off a snug. It used to be the Hog's Head but so did every pub around here it seems (the Slug is another example).

There are large tables and plenty of raised ones that I increasingly like as you can stand or sit and still all be at eye level.

Sport with sound is put on for major events (it makes a lot of money and they’d be empty otherwise) but usually the TVs are on silent on the news channel, if on at all.

Due to a generous discount card it used to be the haunt of LV until the recent layoffs but it’s still a busy pub and preferred by many as it doesn’t get too loud in the evenings (acoustics are so important when there's alcohol around. I have left some pubs off the list simply due to noise).

The Forge is a nice idea – literally a converted forge in the rear garden that has its own real fire and radiant heating (the tops of the doors are glass and they catch the sun nicely too). It has worked well for us in the past; you need about forty people but they can spill out into the private garden easily.

The restaurant is large yet feels cosy – carpeted so the noise is absorbed and there is a raised semi-private area that can hold ~25-30 people – that works well for groups. They have a huge built in pizza oven that can easily cope with demand it seems. Several tables outside have radiant heating and dogs are welcome.

Hint - skip the loos in the bar and use the ones in the restaurant - the former somehow survived the refurbishment untouched. A miracle for sure.

 

Offers - Happy Hour 5-7pm including Heineken, and 241 pizza before 7pm, 50% off Steak night Tuesdays

 


Porterhouse

I have yet to visit since it has been taken over by new management. Used to be an old boys / CAMRA pub – lights on full and no music. I shall investigate one day but it doesn’t look hugely comfortable.


Renouf's

Cheese and wine but also draught beer and huge pork pies. Trevor runs the place well – right down to the excellent music (jazzy but not too jazzy). Definitely need to book unless you are just dropping in for an hour or so early evening.


Romanza

Owned by the same family for 30+ years and now run by the lovely Soula – this is the place you go if you are very hungry. Its traditional Greek (and traditionally generous as result) so expect paper tablecloths etc.

Reservations are needed at the weekend – it’s a popular place for the retired due to the value so its not got much energy about it sometimes, but for a huge healthy blow-out it can’t be beat.

From memory the grilled fish platter includes big fat sardines which are flamed to perfection.


Westbourne Grill

This is a real gem recently opened on an off-the-beat street by Barclays Bank. It wins on the freshness of its ingredients that are delivered daily (the downside there is the mains can be limited in number).

The prices are high but they do a 241 away from the weekend – the burgers are truly excellent. Draught beer is priced similarly to the pubs and children are not allowed in the evenings so it’s a favourite with me.

The Porterhouse is a few doors away and that or the Libertine are good place to meet prior. The kitchen is small so easing the pressure on the chef by saying ‘as it comes’ if you are a group is a good idea


Westbourne Tandoori

Reliable Tandoor, food is well spiced and the portions are generous.


Porterhouse

Refurbished in August 2018 and now run by a mother daughter team it's a freindly pleasant place to be and the range of beers is excellent. Very much a locals pub - older men predominantly - people know how to converse without shouting, giving the place a reassuring buzz.