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Black Horse Inn, Lewes

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user reviews of the Black Horse Inn, Lewes

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

Second best of the Lewes pubs we visited on Saturday. As Lezford says, it's a Greene King pub, which you wouldn't initially guess. The front bar was light and airy. I believe there was another room beyond. But that appeared to be a dining area. Ales were Greene King Black Horse Bitter & Abbot, Morland Old Speckled Hen, Belhaven Smoke Stack Stout, Burning Sky Plateau, Kiln Session IPA & Gun Pale. The cider was Ascension Pilot.
blue_scrumpy - 31 Dec 2018 18:35
A trek up a hill and back towards the High Street brings us to our 3rd pub and by far the busiest we have visited.

7 ales on the hand pumps plus a real cider. I didn’t realise that this was a Greene King pub on my visit as most of the ales on were non GK ales, I had a very good pint of Gun Brewery Double Five, a well poured pint with a strong abv of 5.5%.

Lovely pub with wooden flooring in the front main bar area and carpeted through to the rear dining area. The walls are adorned with pictures of the local area, as well as having plenty of beer pump clips.

To the rear is a garden and smoking area.

Food served but no-one eating during my visit, I wonder how many people take on the paella for 4 at a cost of £50.00!

2 televisions in the front bar, one showing the cricket and the other one not on.

Not the best pub in Lewes in my option but still a very good one and worth the walk up the higher end of the High St.
lezford - 12 Jun 2016 14:20
Our first pub of the day was the Black Horse, one of our party only revived from the uphill climb after a lively pint of Plateau.If you like old style pubs with lots of wood than this is for you.The B.H. just oozes with pub games including Toad in the hole which was present in every pub we visited. Seven handpumps , three were Greene King beers and the other four were Locales.8/10
slerpy - 2 Dec 2015 18:49
A pint of Black Horse - as named after the pub.

Nice looking pub, but I cant be doing with kids running around at 10pm.

Supped up and moved on.
Mappiman - 13 Apr 2015 18:35
We were recommended to visit this pub by a local drinker but as I knew it before as a Greene King pub most of my party were a bit aprehensive. However, we made the walk from The Brewers Arms and it was most defintely worth it - what a change! It is still a GK house but is one of their "Local Heroes" bars which offers local brewers beers as well as a couple of GK products. An impressive array of pumps offered Turners/Long Man/Dark Star and Goldmark as well as 2 special GK beers which I reckon came from their new mini-brewery. The pub has had a facelift and is really a great addition to the Lewes drinking scene and it was a nice change to get some others beers apart from Harveys (which as we have said before is excellent beer anyway). There was a TV showing football and they have a local "toss-a-coin-into-a-hole-in-a-seat" game (which probably has a proper name) and had we not been heading off to footie we would most likely have had another beer here - but a return visit next season is definitely on the cards. Well worth the walk up from the town centre and a ppub we would readily recommend.
mcroyal - 9 Mar 2014 10:11
A great surprise. Just chanced into this pub without knowing much about it to find loads of good ales including some great Dark Star choices and by luck a new chef and menu. Me, my wife and son tried three starters first which were really lovely. I had the crispy mushroom dumplings. That is all we were going to eat before heading further into town but as it was so good we stayed a while and then had mains including venison meatballs, perfect gnocchi and the like. Then we even squeezed in some treacle pudding and plumb creme brulee with home-made Florentine. The staff were very pleasant as well, making us most welcome.

We are definitely going back as it was the best pub experience we've had for a long time and we were told they are about to light up there Two open fires.

Highly recommended - I'll see you by the fire for whisky.


pickledegg1982 - 14 Oct 2013 14:12
I've been here a few times and reviewed it before too, but returned again last week to see how it was now. Once you get past the smokers at the door you find that the bar has a good selection of ales. The refurb is still a bit too new so it looks like a pastiche, but it's not offensively so. I get the feeling it's a pub that needs to work out what it is. It could be thriving and challenge the Pelham Arms if it wants to go down the route of maximum success, or it can stay as it is with a few committed regulars and passing traffic but never be a "destination" pub on a night out for those who pick and choose as the mood takes them.
happychap - 6 Sep 2013 16:35
Excellent refurbishment, very light and airey, some of the customers leave a lot to be desired with language especially when you are trying to eat, beer good food is mediocre steak overcooked but will go back as vast improvement staff very friendly and polite overall good.
jgv1946 - 31 Jul 2012 19:52
We visited at the weekend and were impressed at the number, range and quality of the beers (there were 7 or 8 real ales and a couple of real ciders). The pub has clearly been refurbished recently - the pub was exceptionally clean and tidy. Staff and other punters were fiendly.

The food was, as others have said, competetively priced. However, we were slightly disappointed at the quality (tough steak and overcooked scampi) and quantity when compared to other places locally (e.g The Snowdrop in Lewes and The Green Man in Ringmer) , indeed we would have preferred to have paid another few to have had more generous and better cooked food.

We will definitely return as this is an excellent place to drink, though probably won't be eating there again.


gelksy - 9 Jul 2012 21:38
Visited on spec last Friday morning with keen interest, as besides having heard rumours of this pub's dramatic turnaround in fortunes, I am acquainted with the new licensee who also runs a pub in my home town of Redhill, so I was intrigued to see what he'd achieved with the somewhat freer hand he's got with this project.

Let's start by affirming that I wasn't disappointed. I don't have a comparison point as I never made it to the Black Horse in its previous incarnation; Lewes locals elsewhere did advise me the previous incumbent was well-liked and will be missed, but that people were generally pleased with the changes made since his departure.
A range of up to 9 cask ales now feature. Some remain Greene King-affiliated, and despite John's claim to be entirely free of ties, I'm not entirely persuaded, as there remains an accent on their output. Nevertheless, more local offerings feature frequently, with 1648, King and Dark Star all having prominence on the bar. The DS Hophead was fresh from cask and was simply superb; better condition even than the pumped ales I tried.
Mention must be made of cider too; alongside keg offerings we now have a cask - Biddenden's Bushels on handpump last week and it was on song. A series of more mass-produced and ubiquitous lagers are also available, which despite the accent clearly focusing on ale (and it being somewhat cheaper!), still retain popularity with many punters. The most interesting of these is probably Estrella Damm.
Food-wise, things appear to have got off to a flying start, with a broad menu and surprisingly competitive pricing - many mains are in the 7-9 bracket with few items reaching into double figures. Naturally I was advised that it was good quality, though I observed for myself as meals began to appear from the kitchen that they looked inviting and certainly would try it if hunger strikes on my next visit.
Punter-wise, we had a very jolly mix of folk - bar staff were approachable and chatty and freely conversed with customers, which helped create a healthy buzz about the bar atmopshere which I loved. Convivial banter was struck up within minutes of the doors being flung open at 12. People of different ages and backgrounds emerged, though being Lewes everyone was civil; no sign of anti-social leanings here.

All told, I think John has clearly achieved what he set out to do, and it looks like locals are catching on. There is multiple competition here but so far it appears that he has found an edge to keep the pub on the radar of discerning drinkers and eaters. Early days, but best of luck and I hope the momentum is sustained.
TWG - 9 Jul 2012 18:14
Now completely, and tastefully, refurbished. Bar billiards table retained. Choice of 6 or 7 ales from a variety of brewers (local and nationwide, no harveys though), and excellent reasonable food. Well worth a visit. 9/10
steve_on_tour - 21 Jun 2012 12:53
Paid a visit this Saturday and discovered that the Black Horse now sells Dark Star Beers. I was told this would be a permanent arrangement following an agreement reached locally with Greene King, the current owners. Great news for beer lovers. On offer were Hophead (3.8%) and Partridge Best (4.0%). Both were in tip top condition and the price at 3.30 a pint compares with most other places locally. Greene King London Glory (4.2%) was also available together with several lagers, Guinness and a draft cider.

As mentioned in the previous post, this one of the few pubs in Lewes that still has a Bar Billiards table. the lack of video screens, gaming machines or loud music were all a definite plus to me. I'll definitely be returning soon
downsman64 - 25 Sep 2011 11:45
Pub has a quaint atmosphere and the people are pleasant enough. Occasionally have to come here for an away bar billiards match - and the table is one of the most difficult ones to score on that I've ever known - and I've been playing 40 years !
tommo5 - 3 Aug 2011 15:52
Funny old boozer with a mix of locals and staff from the nearby prison. Expensive bar menu and a cost of 7 for a bitter and lager and lime. Not encouraging.
cthitchens - 8 Feb 2011 09:42
What has happened to this pub?! They don't seem to entice people in, or entice them to stay. Saturday night music often consists of anything from Rolf Harris to classical! Beer is very very pricey. At least they've now removed the cat litter tray from under the front window. This is not a bad, or unfriendly pub, it just needs its welcoming and lively old self to come back.
Hogarth - 30 Sep 2009 21:22
I have managed 4 days and 20 pubs on the ale trail plus a few others, and managed not to drink either Fullers or Greene King, and I enjoyed my Brains Rev James here. Staff were friendly but it was quiet for a Saturday.
gillhalfpint - 5 Jun 2007 11:59

I've only ever been a very occasional visitor to the Black Horse but I always liked it. Disappointed to find, on my last visit in January, that it it's been "Greened" (that'll probably indicate how long it's been since I was last in there).

The Guinness was okay.

Hancock - 1 Mar 2007 16:07
It looks like the management of this place didn't like me pointing out it was a Greene King pub and thus telling people not to go there. Fine - I'll just suggest people shouldn't go here as the beers are average at best and there is no atmosphere at all.
Get_me_some_Old_Tom - 14 Feb 2007 13:17
I've been reliably informed that this pub is nowhere near as good as it used to be, but then it has been taken over by Greene King. I did enjoy a nice pint of the special world cup brewed beer though and found the staff very friendly. Much better pubs in Lewes though
giantelf - 10 Jul 2006 21:36
This is a Greene King pub in Harveys home town - despite this the staff are friendly, the food is good and the beer is kept well. I usually enjoy the guest ales which are usually from Ridleys (now part of the GK empire) or Brains of Cardiff. Could do with more variety of guest beers but this goes for GK pubs in general. Worth a visit to enjoy the old phots of Lewes pubs past and present and a better pub than its two neighbours (Meridian and Pelham Arms).
Highbury - 6 Jun 2006 13:11
A beer lover's pub where the staff know how to pour a proper pint of whatever you order (no over-flowing Guinness, etc). Interior is small, with nicely traditional feel (decent tables and chairs and no sofas). Darts board and billiard table are provided for idiots. A bit expensive for Guinness, but a good range of real ales. Relaxed, welcoming atmosphere, despite being a locals' pub.
anonymous - 24 Jan 2006 04:52

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