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Dolphin Inn, Hastings

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user reviews of the Dolphin Inn, Hastings

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

A weekend in Hastings for a gig with the wife and with 5 pubs in the current GBG we started here mid afternoon.

Very busy when we got here with food being popular which was a result as we were both hungry.

4 ales on, 2 from Harvey’s along with Darkstar's Hophead and my choice which was Burton Bridge's Golden Flame @ 4.3%, bit of strange brewery to find so far South, though it was a very well kept pint.

There's a fishing theme here with nets, baskets and rope knots hanging from the ceilings. In addition they also have a very large collection of pump clips on the ceiling in the main bar area.

Good food, the cod and chips was very nice, though the wife said her burger was a bit too big! Good quality though.

Tables and benches to the front overlooking the huts and sea. On a hot September day these were all packed.

The town was buzzing with various events on, though I understand this is a popular pub anyway and a great place to start the day in.
lezford - 20 Oct 2016 17:30
A gem.
Well kept beers served by knowledgeable, friendly staff.

Largely locals, yet welcoming.
Cash only ***
blooms - 23 Nov 2015 20:58
A welcoming, popular and comfortable pub on the sea front with a decent mix of punters. Varied range of very well-kept ales (Harveys Best, Dark Star Hophead and 4 or 5 other independents). There was Harry Sparrow cider from Aspalls - not often seen away from the flatlands.
richythemole - 31 Aug 2015 07:24
A gem.
A locals local.
Beer in good condition.
Pity about vacuous muzak so minus one point

blooms - 13 Jun 2015 19:51
Exceptional pub in the heart of Hastings Old Town. Great bitter, good food, friendly staff, well run. Always worth a visit.
pubking78 - 17 Mar 2014 13:09
Great little pub in Hastings old town.
Freelanderr - 9 Mar 2014 10:09
Good range of beers in this free house, and a reasonable food menu. It's worth trying the fish which comes ashore just across the road. Friendly bar staff. Currently cash-only but shouldn't be a problem to most as there is a cash machine on site.
PhilR - 4 May 2013 18:27
Revisited this pub after a 2 year absence and it's still as good as it every was. Excellent range of ales, good service and nice ambience. Best pub in Hastings in my view! - 28 Apr 2013 18:10
An excellent family-run freehouse in Hastings old Town, opposite the Fishermen's net huts at the Stade. Sells 6 real ales, 3 regulars, Dark Star 'Hophead', Harveys 'Sussex Best', and Young's 'Special' (which has replaced the Directors). A seasonal ale is a semi-regular, Dark Star 'American Pale Ale', being the current seasonal ale, but soon to be replaced for the colder months by Harveys 'Old Ale'. 2 other guest ales too, on my last visit a few days ago, they were Harveys 'Bonfire Boy' and Isfield Brewing 'Toad in the Ale'.
Ales here are consistently in good condition, well-kept by the landlord in an increasingly real ale dominated pub.
They sell decent food at lunchtimes too, and have a special evening on Mondays, with a fish 'special' that includes a pint or glass of wine in the price, for £7.95, much enjoyed by me (the fish coming direct from the fishermen's beach opposite, though sometimes from nearby Rye).
Friendly, warm pub, and a real fire was lit when I was here too, the winter's drawing in, enjoy a visit, cheers!
StevetheBeermeister - 31 Oct 2012 13:30
Second visit , beer was good again.
Very good choice of ales.
For me the best pub in Hastings so far.
markos - 2 Oct 2012 21:28
It's on the sea-front in a touristy location so you can forgive every square inch being covered with fishing gear and pirates.
It is the only pub I've ever come across that has a Meat Raffle every Sunday.

It was friendly, welcoming and served beer in excellent condition. Greatly enjoyed the Harvey's Best and the seasonal South Downs Harvest (which ran out on my second night there, to my great distress).
This counts as a Real Pub.
mark555 - 20 Sep 2012 22:56
Beer always in good nick, friendly locals and happy day trippers usually make up the clientele, and the bar staff ain't to bad either.
MSE12 - 12 Aug 2012 14:14
I was there the day after I visited the the nearby Stag, at the end of May. Lovely pint of Dark Star IPA after an invigorating walk in the country park at the top of the cliff. Whitebait and chips ok, not special, but generous portiosn and service was excellent - very friendly.
Southerngirl - 22 Jun 2012 11:05
A great pub, full of atmosphere. There were 4 beers on when I visited the other day - 2 from the Dark Star stable (always a good sign) plus Adnams Broadside and Taiphoon from Hopback. I didn't try the food sadly, but next time I'm in Hastings I'll make a point of it.
daveid - 11 Jun 2012 13:16
Does what it says on the tin. Cracking pub.
halfabitterman - 1 Jun 2012 19:20
An understated comment below concerning the mixed fish platter. Three whole fish - a mackerel, a whiting and a dab with a side salad and a bowl of proper chips for £7.95 is outstanding value. Washed down with one of my favourites - Harvey's Old Ale. A memorable visit to a fine pub.
GazzaTheBeerMan - 31 Oct 2011 14:01
Good Beer, great fish & chips, proper boozer
alewhale - 12 Sep 2011 23:15
Was in this beautiful old pub on 31 August. Fantastic bar staff (the lovely Louise and John were on when I was in) and superb ales for sale. A friend of mine had been there a couple of weeks before and left three pints for me in the tap. These were duly administered by Louise and John and several more were had before a local guy took me to another pub to taste their home brewed ale. I could not recommend The Dolphin highly enough. The location, condition of the ale, bar staff and friendly welcoming locals could quite simply not have been better. I live in Scotland but will be back for sure and will be recommending this great little pub to everyone I know. Give yourself a rare treat and visit this place, you will not be disappointed.
davidmulhern - 6 Sep 2011 11:16
Went here a few weeks ago. Great put I thought. Had between 4 and 5 real ales on. Good chat at the bars from locals.

Also ate here and had a mixed fish platter which was nice and priced at under £8 which we thought was very good value.

Outside is a terrace with several benches, although was very busy on the day we were there.
rwjc22 - 29 Aug 2011 11:35
Nice old pub. In prime tourist area but seemed to cater mainly to locals, which is a plus point IMO. Well kept beer. Worth a visit if in the area.
newbury_drinker - 27 Aug 2011 23:56
Good ales, but the staff weren't the most experienced; and the fish was very tired, on the wednesday evening I visited.
biggles221 - 15 Aug 2011 16:42
This is really good pub right in the heart of the fishing boat area of the old Town. Beers I've tried, Harveys and Hophead are well kept and the fish meals are excellent. Best of all are the pleasant and efficient staff who remember who you are and remember to provide an old guy with a jug for his Harveys even though I'm not there all that often. Other bars in Hastings have a lot to learn from this ace pub.
D.Bookless - 8 Aug 2011 15:28
By far the best Hastings hostelry always greeted with a smile the ale is always in peak condition these gems are getting rarer. Come on publicans follow by example
unclebrian - 8 Aug 2011 11:51
Just to echo what has been said before: a great little pub close to the Stade and parking. Good beer, good food. Very small inside. Pleasant staff. I recommend the Hophead or Tribute and if a hot day sitting outside just watching the world wander by - although chances are it will feel like most are sitting next to you!
wanderjahre - 26 Jun 2011 08:13
I live locally and use this pub infrequently. The beer is always good and there is usually Hophead and Harveys all in top notch form. One of the best time to go is early when the old fishermen are in. Always friendly people there. Lovely jubbly.
Badmouth - 17 Jun 2011 21:25
After several visits, I would say the real ales are amongst the best kept in the town. The regulars include Harvey's Best and Hophead and there are usually a couple of guest ales - Betty Stog and Tribute when I last visited. The landlord, Mark knows his stuff and it shows. Good mix of clientele and if you're lucky you might even get an acoustic jam session.
halfabitterman - 9 May 2011 07:56
The pub is an absolute gem. The ales on offer were in perfect condition, the food was superb and the service top notch. We couldn't fault this pub and without doubt the finest in Hastings! - 27 Feb 2011 11:52
It was very busy when I visited the pub.
From the outside one would have thought the pub was bigger. They have a good choice of real ales, mainly from Dark Star.
As said before they have a good mixture of local people and tourists.
They are opposite the fishermen huts and not from the seafood stalls.

markos - 24 Oct 2010 22:28
Yes, it's not a bad pub at all. But the trouble with Hastings is that it still displays (though it's getting better) the awful legacy of the old days when it was a GLC 'overspill town' for the scum of London who couldn't be housed there due to a shortage of housing stock in the old GLC area. The result was that the scum were 'relocated' to Hastings, much to the delight of the guest-house landladies, of course, whose cash flow rapidly improved thanks to all-year-round occupancy but, sadly, to the detriment of Hastings. Fortunately, some thirty years or so on, things are slowly improving as the 'dregs' are either 'popping off' or moving away, to be replaced by respectable people. So, the thuggish tattooed half-wits that hung around the pubs spending all their dole money on booze are slowly disappearing. Nevertheless, as some of the comments prove, there are still traces of the f****ng this and f****ing that brigade who spoil it for everyone else. Enjoy the beer and the food, but don't forget your earplugs!
BillJ - 21 Sep 2010 21:24
Thatchers Gold Cider on draught was lovely.

Not sure if it's one of the best pubs in Hastings, but it has to be one of the best spots to sit outside and watch the world go by.

We had a couple of Friday lunchtime pints here and the pub and Hastings in general was very busy. Can imagine it might be rammed at the weekends.
Pat_Bateman - 23 Aug 2010 10:07
A rare example of a pub used by locals and visitors close to the front and can please both camps.
Excellent ale including the superb Darkstar brewery hophead or American pale ale .....Landlord and staff make a real effort to make all welcome....
Never felt any vibes of Royston ... but maybe I just mix well ....
A long walk to a better pub...
kisstaker - 13 Aug 2010 20:58
Worth seeking out when in town;good landlord.
WOTCHACOCK - 24 Mar 2010 23:08
Have to agree with GrahamH that you get the feel the landlord really is making an effort. Food looked and smelt great (will try next time) and great beer with a selection of 4 hand pulled - 2 of which were Dark Star.
mjc - 2 Feb 2010 16:42
Very good beer selection, but definite vibes of "Royston Vasey".
I was glad that my brother knew one of the locals because otherwise I am sure that they would have eaten us.

I'll give the place 8/10. It would get 9/10, but for the scary locals.

MankyBadger - 20 Dec 2009 23:00
A lot of people are talking about this place. New landlord apparently and he's really making an effort. The quality and price of the fish is excellent. Beer too. The Dark Star Hophead as a regular is a great find. The inside of the pub is unspoiled , clean and comfortable. The outside can get busy, but that's understandable given the location. Well worth a visit - combined with the White Rock Hotel towards the other end of the seafront, which also has excellent beer and food in a contrasting environment!
GrahamH - 12 Oct 2009 10:28
Visited this pub last weekend. Had the best Fish meal I have had for a long time. Grilled sardines, fresh, plump and well presented. Followed by skate on bubble and squeak iwth a butter and gerking sauce. It was delicious and presented beuatifully. The previous weeked we had a meal in Bournemouth in a highly rated fish restuarant which was not a patch on this meal.

No frills pub but the food is out of the oridinary.
KATHYFROMTHEFARM - 7 Aug 2009 09:56
Nice beer, but full of loud sweary locals, effin this effing that.

Nice outside when the weather is warm
zagreb - 1 May 2009 09:05
Tradtional bar with a great menu. Reasonably priced, imaginative and tasty food and good portions! Service has always been friendly, fab locataion on the seafront (just watch out for seagulls taking aim from above if you sit outside) I was recently taken to a very well known and prestigious restaurant for my birthday (in St Leonards, nr Hastings) which was very nice (expensive) however the following week came to the Dolphin Inn and the food was actually better and a fraction of the cost. I always take friends to the Dolphin Inn when they come to visit and everyone has loved it.
saffronrom - 8 Mar 2009 09:36
read a review in the independent, on less.. was in battle so decided to give it a go... had one of the BEST COD AND CHIPS i have ever tasted.
pub was ok no frills but the food is amazing. if you are anywhere nearby give it a go. wish it was my local.
ifyourbuying - 3 Jan 2009 21:25
A lovely, unpretentious boozer in a great seafront.. ish location. Good beer too.
adrianboult - 14 Sep 2008 17:14
Nice pub with a good terrace drinking area. Selection of well kept real ales.
Floyd - 16 Jul 2008 17:21
Really friendly pub great on a sunny day for sitting outside and watching the world go by.
Brilliant that it is now owned by a family who are doing a great job of making it all the things a pub should be. Beer is kept very well, reasonably priced with guest ales and intent to do more.
Serves food and has a bar billiard table (rare these days)hosts quizzes and meat raffles and has music.
Well Done!
exjennylinder - 17 Aug 2007 15:46
its in a great location been in to enjoy a few pints when im down that way but a bit far to walk back to hotel when had a few
wappinglad - 22 Apr 2007 21:45

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