Hop Poles Pub

Photo:Photographed by Bill Maskell 24-03-03.

Photographed by Bill Maskell 24-03-03.

Worst pub in Brighton

By Chris Ford, lived in Brighton for 18 months

My worst pub in Brighton, after not being here very long, is the Hop Poles pub, because it's a horrible manky old pub but it thinks it's not a horrible manky old pub. It thinks that it's a really cool Brighton pub and has sculptures made out of hubcaps that make me want to burn it down. So it's hideous, the staff are hideous and the people that go there are hideous. And all round it just sums up everything that Brighton is bad for.

Interviewed for the website on 05-12-2002
This page was added on 22/03/2006.
Comments about this page
I disagree totally. The Hop Poles is one of the few pubs with a welcoming attitude for all. Great food too. In 9 years of living in Brighton and London, it's one of the nicer pubs I have been to anywhere.
By Brian Ballard (23/12/2002)
The Hop Poles is a really nice friendly pub with good food and a really warm atmosphere. Yes, it's trendy: Chris, you are probably just slating it because you are not happy...and those sculptures made from hubcaps are famously sweet.
By Deaniac (07/01/2003)
I think that's a bit harsh, 'cos I love the Hop Poles even if it is impossible to hold a conversation in there half the time. But everyone's entitled to an opinion.
By Mangataot (14/01/2003)
Deaniac, you're absolutely right, I've seen woollen cardigans more trendy than I am. But it doesn't alter the fact that the Hop Poles sells Pringles under the guise of gamechips and that it is (and admit it now) terribly, terribly smug. All in my humble opinion of course, and I'm sure that some people love the pub. In the same way that some people love small, yappy, snippy, spiky-haired little dogs.
By Chris (21/01/2003)
I've never been to the Hop Poles, but just to broaden the debate: does anyone agree with what seemed to be Chris's original argument - that we do too much tarting up of anything a little bit shabby? I see it as a species of the cult of youth - the way human beings are allowed to be old so long as they don't look as though they are. Are we now extending the same principle to our whole environment?
By Nicky (03/02/2003)
I don't think Brighton is in any danger of running out of shabby pubs. I agree that it's a little smug, but if that is your criteria for a bad pub there are worse culprits. The Hop Poles is run by the same people as The Eagle on Gloucester Rd.
By David (02/02/2004)
Its so ironic that Chris thinks the Red Lion is great and the Hop Poles not. In Brighton for 6 years and only seen three bits of trouble - and guess what - the nastiest was during the one time I made the mistake of going into the Red Lion. Brass railings and fruit machines and intolerance. The Hop Poles, with its free-form seating, allows people to talk to each other outside of your own group as I have done many times. Sure, its a little trendy and the booze sure ain't cheap - but it just goes to show that if you move off the beaten track, you will find little gems.
By Mart (14/05/2004)
I would agree with Chris that the Hop Poles personifies the worst of Brighton. It seems to encourage the shallow pretentions that sometimes smother the creative sincerity of the Brighton spirit. I guess some chain pubs have got it and some don't.
By John Holmes (20/07/2004)
But who is the woman in the original photo in B&W??
By Sue (07/04/2005)
I totally disagree with this being called the worst pub. It has a great atmosphere, friendly and welcoming. Whenever I have friends down to stay this is where I take them. Fantastic food too!
By Luise (31/03/2006)
Never having been to the Hop Poles I think that maybe it would be a better place if I were to go there and give it a bit of class! Brighton sounds like a wonderful place to go or to live.
By Janny (21/04/2006)

About twice a year I'll visit the Hop Poles to see if it has miraculously improved, but it is invariably worse. The bar staff are really sociable and chatty - to each other! If you want one of them to actually serve you, you practically have to shout at them, which isn't nice. There are more reasons for me to dislike this place, but find out for yourself. I think it's utter toss in there, but you may not think so. It could be so much better.

By Douglas (05/10/2006)

Well, I lived in Brigton for over 3 years and the Hop Poles was indeed one of my favourite pubs! Of course, never try to go there on a Friday evening after 6pm as there is not a chance of finding a table. But for lunch, afternoons or even weekday evenings, I liked it very much! Good music, trendy, but nice atmosphere.... And yes, the food is as great as it is at the Eagle!

By Ianis (12/10/2006)

The only flaw I can see with it is space. Like a lot of establishments its a bit awkward to get past people when its busy. But the food's always been above average and they keep the real ale well. I'm not sure you can judge the pretension of a place when its clearly not big enough to make 'a wow' on a subjective scale of cool. The sculptures are actually very Brightonian, well made and significant - art fans.

By Jonny (14/01/2007)

I don't see how anyone could object to this place, it has good food, friendly staff, excellent beer and a welcoming atmosphere. I certainly wouldn't describe it as manky in any way. It has personality though, which is perhaps why it invokes such a range of feelings in people.

By Nicholas (19/01/2007)

I have never been to it as the Hop Poles - an odd and rather meaningless name. But as the Spotted Dog it probably was one of the worst pubs in Brighton.

By Adrian Baron (05/02/2007)

I think the Hop Poles is the best pub in Brighton. It has great food and the staff are really friendly. For Adrian's information the definition of Hop Poles is a tall pole to support the wires on which the hop plant is trained. (I assume he knows you make beer from hops).

By Heather (09/09/2008)

This boozer is a complete shambles, I wasted two hours of life in this place, it was one of my ultimate lows in life! And as for the bar staff, I've had better conversations with tramps, the place needs a revamp and some decent beer.

By Beeef (10/10/2008)

Used to go to The Spotted Dog a lot, back when Alan ran it - it was great - really friendly, lots of boys; lots of girls - zero attitude or trouble.

By Dee Stevens (10/12/2009)

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