skip nav  

Jolly Tanners, Staplefield

back to pub details

user reviews of the Jolly Tanners, Staplefield

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Speak as I find. When we visited a beer festival had just finished but we were able to sample one or two interesting pints. Unfortunately I cannot say that our food was as interesting. My green Thai curry was tasteless and the rice had past its best long since. I had heard that you could get a good meal. Perhaps if you pick the right thing you might strike lucky.
harveysfan - 27 Sep 2013 22:29
As a regular I admit I am biased. However, you cannot knock a pub which serves great fresh food, both on the regular menu and on the specials board - all of which are prepared to order. Not a microware and freezer establishment.

Today there were 6 real ales( including my beloved Harveys) and 4 or 5 real ciders, as well as 3 lagers.

I also have been tipped off that it has been voted as Camra's (north Sussex area), pub of the year. Curiously not in this years Good Beer Guide.

I beieve a beer festival coming up over Easter.
daviddel - 18 Mar 2013 16:43
Beer festival at The Jolly Tanners this coming Bank Holiday weekend.
Food available and live music at all sessions.
79Thatcherite - 20 Aug 2012 14:25
Visited during the London Brighton car run last November (can recommend as a very good base for watching the old jalopies trundle by) so this review is a bit late. Lovely pub in attractive location by the village green. Food and beer both very good. Landlord was a bit brusque but this must be one of his busiest days of the year and he did look after us very well so that's gotta be forgiveable.
Psi - 8 Sep 2011 11:28
A proper pub for locals and vistors alike, good range of beer & cider and they have beer & cider festivals from time to time. Good home cooked food. Good for lunchtime drinking as it's on a bus route too so you don't have to drive.
c_and_j - 2 Sep 2011 10:50
Always had a nice ambience, good place to go for a Ploughman's lunch.
tommo5 - 24 Jul 2011 15:39
Busy drinkers pub, surprising for a village pub. Good beer quality.
mtaylor40 - 15 Jul 2011 22:58
We visited during their Beer Festival over the Easter Week-end. Although it was busy the staff coped well and were very friendly. Great choice of beers and ciders

Certainly no signs of the dirt or smells mentioned by the earlier poster
becked - 26 Apr 2011 13:38
This pub was our favourite of the day. The landlord is extremely welcoming and very professional. The beer range extends over handpulls in the main bar and the smaller bar at a lower level. All are listed on a blackboard. The main bar has an open fire. Whilst the pub is dog friendly, it was clean and tidy and certainly not smelly on our visit. Some of the locals seemed on the eccentric side. Beers available were mainly from the Fullers range - London Pride, Jack Frost and Gales HSB. Although there was also Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted and Crouch Vale Blackwater Mild. Real ciders were Addlestones & Biddendens Dry. Whilst not far from the main A23, this place is relatively unspoilt and I would visit again.
blue_scrumpy - 30 Jan 2011 17:32
The Jolly Tanners, would be vastly improved by new carpets and seat covers; it is like sitting in a flea pit cinema - greasy and smelling of dog pee.
quafferman - 16 Jan 2011 00:01
Visited this pub on a REALLY busy day (London-Brighton vintage car run was going past the door at the time). Was made really welcome, served quickly (we did book ahead) and food was excellent. I was drinking the Harveys Sussex which was excellent. Very friendly Landlord & staff. A classic country pub.
alan_From_SAWW - 13 Nov 2010 11:21
Cottage Hurricane, Harveys Sussex Best, HSB, 1648 Signature, Pride, Brains Dark, O' Hanlons Port Stout plus real ciders. Pub on two levels with handpumps at the top and bottom. Good pub.
GuideDogSaint - 24 Oct 2010 23:50
The August Bank Holiday Beer Festival is in full swing!
Champion beers, real cider, live music, good food.
79Thatcherite - 28 Aug 2010 14:14
I posted a review in March 2009 and have visited The Jolly Tanners several times a month since then and my opinion hasn't changed. I have two friends, one lives in Thornton Heath and the other in Chipstead, both consider the distance worth it as the landlord is charming, the beer is excellent and the food is very enjoyable. As for the comment about Chris playing golf. Why shouldn't he? If he works in the pub at lunchtime and in the evening for 4-5 days a week, surely he's entitled to a few days off. As for Chris having a second job, he's training to be a special needs teacher which is most commendable. As for 'localer' he/she is not worth commenting on.
brightonboy3449 - 12 Aug 2010 07:40
I would just like to say although I can only visit this pub about once a month with my wife, the reason we do visit is because of the landlord and staff making us feel so welcome. We certainly feel "inclusive" and the landlord has always time for a chat. The food is fantastic, and there is always a great range of specials to choose from. The pub is full of character unlike most of the modern copies of traditional pubs that look so fake. The wine and cider is always great, and on the occasions I do have real ale it is always well kept. Well done the Jolly Tanners
Playswell - 18 Apr 2010 11:25
Although I live a few miles away the Jolly Tanners is my local and I visit 2-3 times per week. I make an effort to come here because the pub has a great landlord who knows what is important in running a pub. He has available 4-6 real ales, mostly from local micros, that are kept in good condition as well as a couple of real ciders. Food is home-cooked, good and reasonably priced- if you want restaurant quality go to a restaurant. The landlord has created a warm, welcoming, dog-friendly country pub that offers something for most people who enjoy family run pubs. Does that make me sound like a member of "the landlords fanclub"? Too bloody right I am.
ScaryBigdug - 1 Apr 2010 17:22
I note that these recent comments, be they good, bad, offensive and rude, or indeed libellous, do not seem to have had an adverse effect upon trade at this place at all.
Knowing that the other pub in the village has recently closed, its future uncertain, the proprietors here must be doing something right!
79Thatcherite - 31 Mar 2010 12:30
I am another regular at this pub and feel that having read the comments below, I would like to make a few comments of my own to 'localer'.
I feel certain that are a number of people who drink reglarly in this pub who share your sentiments towards some of the characteristics of The Jolly Tanners, indeed this is cemented in the fact that nobody is certain as to your identiy. I feel somewhat bemused that someone who appears to feel so disheartened at the state of their local has not come to mention it to anyone. I think I think that if there was a regular in this pub that baltently did not like the landlord, it would certainly be a well known fact among the actual locals.
It is my opinion that the comments of 'localer' would have been far better received had they not taken the tone of a personal attack on individuals. It would not be fair to detract from the fact that this website exists for the purpose of the public wishing to read honest personal reviews of pubs. There should be no place for personal insults or advice on the nature of how to run a business. If you dont like a pub, it is fait to say that you should be allowed to air your views on the website in an obective and constructive manner to inform other users that this pub did not live up to your expectations.
If you chose to continually visit a pub which you clearly dislike to be served by a landlord you feel is either too incompetent, drunk or disinterested to run a pub, I do not feel that this is the place to vent your frustration at the situaiton. If I were the landlord I think I would relish the opportunity to discuss your greivances with you, however, I may feel equally pleased if you never came in my pub again....but thats one of the many reasons why im not a pub landlord. I do not possess the dedication required to make the service of drinks to other people the order of my day. I love pubs, and I generally pay homage to the people that run them well. I am certain that from my experience, the landlord at the JT is a competnet, experienced and dedicated landlord who does his best to make everyone feel welcome. If these comments qualify me as a member of his 'fan club' then so be it, but they are not praise, merely comments based on my experience.
I dont mean this as as personal attack on 'localer' in any way whatsoever, I always find the comments on this website to be of value and interest.
I just want to detract from the theme of an agument about this pub and say that all of thre posts on this website are the comments of the authors and that we are all entitled to our opinions and to air them if we so wish.
vladthedrak - 30 Mar 2010 21:07
In response to the localers complaint regarding the "landlords fan club". Had your original post been a review of the pub, rather than a direct and personal attack on individuals, such as Phil (who by the way is a delightful man) and the Landlord, one imagines that such uproar may have been avoided.

It is true indeed that this website is a site for “honest opinions by ale drinkers for ale drinkers". Restrain your comments to the food, ale and decor and leave the locals alone.

There is also nothing wrong with either landlord or landlady having a private life outside of the pub, if they so choose. Christmas eve is a special time for the Landlady and her family ( you might have some inkling of this had you been listening). The locals had arranged a golfing weekend with a gentleman they value the company of.

The Landlady was very present this weekend, had you had the courage to discuss your views with her.
louisebotting - 30 Mar 2010 16:51
to localer if you were truely a local then you would of known that he was away this weekend as it has been spoken about the last couple of weeks if not months!!! also if it was that important then you could of spoken to the landlady!!!
mish420 - 29 Mar 2010 14:53
I would like to submit my honest opinion of this pub for the benefit of anyone wishing to visit The Jolly Tanners. I have been going here for several years and chose to go here because of the very relaxed, warm and friendly atmosphere. This is a favourable review because I truly enjoy visiting The Jolly Tanners. Like many of us, I have a very demanding business life and it is great to retreat to this original English pub for a relaxing and enjoyable time. In my business life I travel the world extensively. I have stayed in some of the finest hotels but greatly appreciate the genuine warm atmosphere at The Jolly Tanners; mainly due to the fact that it is not pretentious. It is what it is; a lovely welcoming country pub with a wonderful, caring landlord and landlady.

Finally I would like to mention that I don't just go to a pub to drink ale. I go to meet up with my family and friends and to spend time enjoying their company in a warm friendly laid back atmosphere which engenders a 'home from home' feeling. Furthermore although I am not particularly local, I have found the locals to be the most brilliant, friendly, warm people I have met; partly due to the warm and inviting atmosphere created by the landlord and landlady.

LSUK - 29 Mar 2010 13:07
Some people just don't like the truth.

I did consider bringing these issues to the attention of the landlord this weekend but guess what? He's not there again!


So, don't turn around and tell me that the reason the current regime isn't as successful as the previous is because of market conditions. It's just a question of what's important isn't it?

Gives me no pleasure at all but it needs saying.

localer - 28 Mar 2010 20:04
just a quick note to localer, as the current climate is so bad and pubs are closing all around do you not think that you should be supporting your local? no matter how shabby the inside is? i also find that your first notification was "well out of order" i find that if you have something to say, or a compliant then it is always best to do it in person otherwise people don't have the chance to respond to such a blatant attack. also if you were a local then i'm sure that your landlord would like to have a chat
tony_silks - 28 Mar 2010 14:26
Having been told about the recent broadcast on these pages I subsequently read the copy in the pub i felt compelled to write something. i now hard the landlord does try to keep all and sundry happy at what is a difficult time for pubs in general, not least this one. the present landlord does have a mountain to climb to match the performance of the previous owners as they were driven exclusively by money and sold at the top of the market at a price never to be repeated. this meant that husband and wife worked, slept and played for the day when the price was right. Good luck to them they cant take it with them! However as we know Chris is on his own in the role. business is not as it was 4 years ago and he is working outside of the house to boost income. Not afraid of work, lets hope it rubs off on the other man in the field. Good company, reasonable food, plenty of free music, and one of the friendliest drinking watering holes for miles. Whoever the author of the original pack of rubbish is or was will probably know that we now know who you are, why, well because a really true local would have taken the landlord to one side and said can i help, as most of us do! Poacher
layzell - 27 Mar 2010 16:35
I see my honest opinion has been removed from the site only to be replaced by opinions of the landlord's fan club! I don't see how that is fair.

Must we only submit favourable reviews of our CAMRA pubs or should we tell the truth? You decide.

And I thought this site was for honest opinions by ale drinkers for ale drinkers.
localer - 24 Mar 2010 21:31
Being of reasonably advanced years and having travelled the world and lived in many parts of it I have probably experienced more than most when it comes to pubs and bars. I feel compelled to counter the ralther odd negative review by 'localer'about what I consider to be the absolutely finest real pub I have ever encountered. The Jolly Tanners is for me the epitome of what a local pub should be: Warm, friendly, inviting, cosy in winter, country garden in summer, good value, decent not overpriced food, fabulously friendly and attentive landlord and landlady and frequented by basically nice, normal, easygoing regulars.

There is none of the 'cliquish' feel you get from many country pubs where the locals do not exactly welcome others in.The locals here are always receptive and happy to talk (even presumably 'localer' giving the weird review below).

Above all for me a local pub is about the beer and by that I mean real ale of course. Even though I don't drink much of it, to me it is like a fine wine, to be savoured slowly and deliciously. Chris always has a remarkable range of ales amongst which there is (almost) always one of my absolute favourites.

So what if the fires do occasionally need a log or two?. I am happy to chuck them on myself, in fact I enjoy the freedom to do exactly that as the feel I get from the ambience in this great pub is that it is like a 'home from home'. So what if the pub could do with the merest hint of a makover in some departments?. So what if you occasionally have to wait a moment or two for service? These things are all part of its charm, its atmosphere, its joy, its quintessential Englishness.

I get the feeling that 'localer', would be a lot happier in one of the themed pubs around, maybe a Harvester or some suchlike where all is sparkling and fake and impeccable and impersonal.

Although I don't visit the Jolly Tanners as much as I would like I have, from the moment I first encountered Chris, been treated very much like a priviledged local and feel like I am one and this is the only pub which I have been to in my entire life where I have had this feeling.

This pub is an absolute gem and a joy and long may it continue to be so.
mercury - 24 Mar 2010 10:20
This is a response to the resent post by 'localer' and its inaccuracies.

I have been a local at The Jolly Tanners for about 3 years now, and over that time I have never had a pint of ale. I drink whisky or soft drinks and I have never felt the service has been poor.
The food is very well prepared and tastes fantastic, as for the specials being one off, they go quickly because everybody orders them... I thought that would be obvious.
The Tanners carpets are what you would expect from a pub carpet, and the chairs are comfortable and well kept. The fires in my experience are only ever out during the summer, and during the winter they are well stocked and very warm.
My main issue with the review is the comments about the landlord and lady. The local in question must not spend as much time at the Tanners as they claim, because they blatantly do not know the landlord very well or the landlady at all! As for the landlord being drunk , the idea is laughable. The way Localer's post is written makes out that he spends the majority of his time sitting around filled to the brim with alcohol, unable to string together a coherent sentence. This, you will find, is definitely not the case as the landlord is a very charming, clever and funny man, who makes it his priority to ensure you are happy in his establishment.
I hope this helps equalise the opinions of anybody who reads these reviews.

WhiskyTest - 23 Mar 2010 21:48
Having read some of the posts on this site I feel compelled, as a true local, to add my 10 pence worth. The Jolly Tanners is a unique and friendly pub located in the pretty village of Staplefield. It has an exceptional garden, is particularly welcoming in the summer for family & dog walkers alike. The pub is warm and cosy in the winter with log fires burning in both bars, although this last two weeks there have been a few problems with the logs not burning quite so well!!. There may also be a few cobwebs, but this is a country pub after all. The food is good honest pub grub, and although it may not set any fields afire, is ample and reasonably priced for, what I consider, unpretentious decent quality food. The Landlord is a consummate host who, despite previously implied drink problems, always treats each of his customers as a friend. The delightful and elegant landlady, sadly not high profile, is a driving force in every decision made in this local’s local pub. I cannot agree that this is a purely ale drinkers pub. I myself am a cider drinker and always have at least three choices of decent cider to consider. There are at a minimum three lagers to choose from also. My son, a whisky fan, is not often disappointed by the Landlords recommendation, and my daughter is never without a choice of soft drinks ranging from Victorian lemonade to good old bog standard cola. The bar staff are attentive and friendly, often going the extra mile, if you should but ask. Yes, I agree there may be times that you have a short wait (never more than 2-3 mins) but that just adds to the whole charm of a family run and local lead environment. For me there is nowhere finer to while away a lazy Sunday, and if you are lucky the Landlord might share his crossword with you!! BRAVO JOLLY TANNERS. This is a pub that, as a local, I am happy to put my name to recommending. Look forward to seeing you there.
louisebotting - 23 Mar 2010 21:44
Good beer and food,
Shame about the locals "I live in this village, what r u doing in my pub attitude".
pwilkins - 29 Oct 2009 08:29
This pub is right up there with the Royal Oak in Friday Street when it comes to great real ale - simply brilliant. When I went, there was a nice selection of beers from local breweries and others from around the country -I think the landlord dedicates a great deal of time to getting the offering just right. What surprised me most however, was the quality of the food - home cooked and delicious, big portions too.
Tidy07 - 14 Aug 2009 15:57
I don't know which pub bonmot went to on the 24th Jan, on a parallel world possibly. My friends and I have been there many times over the past three years, both lunchtimes and evenings. The food and service have been faultless, the landlord pleasant and helpful and the atmosphere friendly. As for the guest beers and ciders...the choice is often a difficult one (but good difficult, not bad difficult). My partner loves his real ale and when we come here he's in Heaven.
brightonboy3449 - 31 Mar 2009 12:34
A fantastic traditional english country pub. In an area where diners and beer lovers are spoilt for choice, this is a real gem. The beer is fantastic, the landlord was friendly and helped me chose the right beer for me of the 7 available...a little taster of some of them too! My wife loves cider and she was impressed with the several they had on offer. The food was great, reasonably priced and a lovely atmosphere. Best of all this pub is dog friendly and has a massive beer garden....the beer festivals are, I am told, not to be missed so I will be checking their website to find out when the next one is. The locals are friendly and quite often on the weekends there is live music which is hard to find in the coutryside these days.
vladthedrak - 3 Feb 2009 16:18
Three weeks later, we can smile about our New Year's family reunion lunch - but "dreadful" is the word that my partner still utters whenever "Jolly Tanners" or "Staplefield" is mentioned. The nine of us, five adults and four children, arrived at 1pm, as planned, and were told to go to the dining room. We were surprised; we've dined by the bar before. The dining room features on the pub's website though, for our benefit, the room was cleared and the table was positioned across the room, with one end backing onto the Ladies lavatory. After ordering our drinks, we had to return to the bar for menus. The barman apologised that we hadn't been given any. At 1.30pm, we went to look for someone to take our orders, and a fresh-faced waitress turned up, fairly promptly. At 2.20pm, the waitress returned to say that two dishes we'd ordered were not available. I asked why it'd taken so long to tell us but she looked embarrassed and we moved on. At 2.45pm, the food started to arrive but we had to return a cold Shepherd's Pie to the kitchen for re-heating. At 3.15pm, the landlord appeared, and he apologised. We suggested that he might like to provide the desserts on the house - he seemed to count the children, and wandered off. At 3.45pm, we went to look for someone to take the desserts order, and discovered that the young staff were preparing to leave. Very generously, one of them came to take our (the children's) order. At 4.30pm, the landlord summed the bill without a word of contrition or a cent of concession. This pub used to be an old haunt. It ain't any more.
bonmot - 24 Jan 2009 22:16
What a great pub, actually went here to finish off a Sunday out for my sisters hen party unlikley location I know! But they do food Sunday afternoon. It was great ! the staff were very friendly and we were given a great table by the fire, all the locals were friendly as well. Roast was brilliant 7 different veg and home made puddings, could not have asked for a better Sunday afternoon, will definately be going back as often as I can..
nicnocs1 - 17 Nov 2008 14:02
A couple of friends and I meet here once a month (we live some distance apart and this is about halfway for all three of us), and have done so for the past two years. The landlord is one of the most friendly I have ever met. We only meet up once a month and he always remembers our names and has a joke or two with us. The guest ciders are fabulous and the food cannot be faulted. My partner and I have also been walking in the area (we live in Brighton) and during the winter the pub is always warm and inviting. I would not hesitate to recommend this most excellent pub.
davidcwicks - 6 Nov 2008 08:49
What a great pub; clean smart interior, friendly landlord, perfect beer, who could want for more?
kryten - 25 Aug 2008 17:42
Tried this pub whilst doing a "Time Out" walk, in preference to the Victory down the road, simply on the basis of reviews on BITE and its previous CAMRA recognition. Very pleased that we did. Excellent welcome from the landlord, good choice of reasonably priced food. The Sunday roast was freshly cooked and carved. The beer too was in top condition. The Hepworth's (ex old Horsham King and Barnes team) was new to me and very pleasant but the winner by far was the Dark Star Meltdown. What a quaffable beer and so fresh and delicious. Very pleased to have found this pub. Noone would would be disappointed after a visit here.
GrahamH - 17 Aug 2008 18:06
Really good food and also, for us, very IMPORTANT our dog was very welcome throughout and the lanlady even brought dog treats.
Four of us had a delightful time on 4/7/08.
christubbs - 6 Jul 2008 00:18
My partner & I had dinner at this lovely pub with some friends on a Sunday evening. What can I say but it is simply a good old fashioned welcoming country pub. There are no gastro pub queues or menu's ! In fact the only thing that might stop you getting to the bar are the friendly pooches sleeping lazily on the floor !

We found this pub at the end of one of the fantastic walks in the area & decided to try it in the evening as it serves food all day.

The landlord welcomed us on our arrival and engaged us in friendly discussion at respectable intervals throughout the evening. The pub has 2 real wood fires which were expertly burning during our meal and is family run. The food was excellent with large portions, piping hot and at a reasonable price. The service was also some of the best we've ever received.

I'm not an expert in beer, but do like a pint and the mild I had was delicious and my friend enjoyed his bitter. This is what a country pub should be like, so come on and support it !
pumpsandtinks - 25 Feb 2008 21:39
Had noticed this pub on "Doggie" pubs website and popped in today to receive a very friendly welcome for me and our dog.
The owners have two dogs.
Good number of customers in and seemed to be enjoying good food. Will come back again.
christubbs - 28 Nov 2007 21:49
I tried the pub, under the new management; the beer was still good, but the following was noted - the old wallclock had been allowed to stop - this previously always kept good time / the flowers in the vases were all half-dead / the fires were hardly alight - noone came to tend them, unlike when Pete ran the place, so the room was chilly / none of the toilets had soap.

anonymous - 23 Jan 2007 17:21
i think that the new owners are really welcoming althought that it was a sad thing the pete and ange have left. one thing that i do have to say that the food now is superb whoever is cooking, the food comes out tasting amazing. this is a pub that im gonna use for years

tony_silks - 15 Dec 2006 13:57
Pete keeps excellent condition ales, including guests, which are changed weekly or more.
Lovely garden. Pub pleasant place to relax.
Only criticism is, that the food has declined in quality and gone up in price.
Quaffer - 8 Nov 2005 16:31
This makes an excellent lunch time stop on a walk between Haywards Heath and Balcombe (via Staplefield).
mactavish - 10 May 2005 14:08

got anything to say about this pub?

Please read our reviews policy before posting.
Only registered users can post reviews. Please log in. If you don't have an account yet, register here.