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Pelham Arms, Lewes

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user reviews of the Pelham Arms, Lewes

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

This large open plan pub owned by Hall & Woodhouse has original oak beams, an inglenook fireplace & is full of age-old charm however it was too large and empty on my visit to experience or comment on atmosphere.

Large wooden bar with all of the regular European lagers, several ciders and 2 ales of which both were from the Hall & Woodhouse stable, my pint of Bouncing Bounder was okay, not the best pint of the day

The bar area is open plan with a tiled floor, grandfather clock & plenty of wooden pew type seating.

The garden was busy and looked inviting. The Pelham is a nice enough pub but apart from the building that’s not much to draw me back, oh and the lingering food smell wasn’t exactly welcoming.

There’s better pubs in Lewes but if you walk this far up the High St or are walking back from the Black Horse it’s worth a stop not least to see the interior.
lezford - 13 Jun 2016 15:06
Last of the night and yet, there was so much to discover in Lewes.

I liked this pub. The only other place I know that sells Badger Beer is the St Stephens Tavern, opposite Big Ben.

The pint was the best out of the 5 pubs I visited and there wasn't a bad one all night.

Liked the papers on the bar and dim lighting. Looked a good place to eat.

Possibly the best pub I found in Lewes.
Mappiman - 13 Apr 2015 18:37
Hall & Woodhouse tend to make everything seem a little bit like a middle class dinner party in Highgate village.

However, this pub has managed to retain some of its charm. Badger beers are always very good and the beer garden is a nice place to sit. It's just a shame the inside is so erm.... Hall & Woodhouse.
terenced - 1 Jul 2014 13:34
Badger beer and one nice lager, plus board games. Nice place to spend an evening, and the pork scratchings come in generous portion sizes.
CannyRogue - 3 Jul 2012 20:45
hall and woodhouse destroyed this great pub.when it was king and barnes it was brill.
neil10 - 28 Sep 2011 19:33
Really nice pub with great food. A hungry group of 8 of us popped in last Saturday evening for some well deserved food and it was really good.
Was served very quickly and was delicious. The beer went down well and was served by very attractive fillies behind the bar which made it even better!
Well worth a visit and I'm sure that we shall return again in the near future.
chunkypetersplat - 3 Jul 2010 19:45
Great place to kick back and relax after a walk on the Downs. It's a short stroll from the main part of the high street, but the food was great, the beer in good condition and a very friendly welcome. If the sun's out, it looks like you need to get there early to get a seat in the small, but well-kept garden. The highlight for me was the food - good value, generous portions and sourced locally - we'll be back
Tidy07 - 26 May 2010 11:43
I took my wife to the Pelham Arms for Valentines Day, and we had a fantastic meal. The home cured salmon was just about the best I've tasted, and the local fish stew was delicious. I finished with the sticky toffee pudding which was also excellent, but pretty much finished me off! My wife loved the south downs lamb she had. The service was attentive as well, and no complaints there. This pub went through a rocky patch after Jo left, but the new owners have done a great job putting it back on track. Maybe I'm just getting old, but I don't miss the wild party pub it used to be, and appreciate the warm family friendly feel to the place now.
Onthedowns - 15 Feb 2010 10:45
Great pub! Friendly staff, fantastic thoughtfully prepared food and good value. Check out the sticky toffee pudding! A legend in these parts! Nice atmosphere and very welcoming. Definitely the pub to go to if you're in the area, well recommended.
klouise - 31 Jan 2010 08:48
I was a fan of the Pelham for years. It was 'THE' place to go in Lewes. Live bands at weekends and the most fantastic juke box for during the week. There was a French chef in the kitchen who used to turn out endless fantasic meals every day. The staff always looked as though they were having the time of their lives behind the bar, all the while providing a service that was top notch. 2007 then came. The ownership changed and where they tried their hardest, if it wasn't for the girl behind the bar taking charge, the place would have been run into the ground. 2008 came by and more new people took over. They are still there now and just awful. They drove out that girl behind the bar and turned the fun, warm pub into a free-range restaurant. The live bands were stopped, the juke box was taken away and the only thing the customers were given in return was a gastro pub menu and some ridiculous 'world music' on a week night. Someone commented on the toilets before, I would like to add that the sign they talk of has been up since summer 2008! Are they really trying? They have driven away all the regulars and sent everyone down to the Brewers, which has now taken the title of 'THE' place to go! Congratulations on ruining a perfectly lovely, traditional public house.
LewesLandlady - 21 Dec 2009 13:02
Having been reccomended the Pelham Arms Sunday roast it was decided that after a long walk on the South Downs we would attend the pub and test out the acclaimed food as a celebration for a friends birthday.

In the week before the Pelham Arms were called and a table was booked for the Sunday at 3pm for eight. The booking was taken by a very pleasant young lady who explained that as the food was locally produced and it was often busy on Sunday she would have to take a deposit of 5 per head to ensure they ordered enough food! This was duly paid and all the group had to do was wait for Sunday to come along.

This is great looking pub in a great location, but what happend next showed that customer service ticked the "Could do alot better" box.

In summary, 10 mile ramble, much of which was taken up talking up the Roast we were about to consume - arrival at the Pelham Arms to be told; "All we have left is three chicken roasts and a nut roast". Eight extremely dissapointed but reasonable folk were now, wet hungry and left bemused that having paid a deposit the food we had been guaranteed had been consumed by other customers.

At this point what could be done on the customer service side to save the reputation of a pub that is clearly still learning? An offer of a free drink? Alternative menu? Deposit back and an apology? a discount on an alternative? - None of the above!, we were offerred Ham Eggs and Chips, a Burger or some Fishcakes....

So ...we shared the left over roasts which were unquestionably great roasts! and managed to persuade the chef to lay on Pie with chips for the rest...

Yes, it had clearly been a busy day but to treat a group that had pre booked and paid a deposit with low grade customer service was a disaster for PR. Maybe this does not matter to them, and if not good luck, but we felt hard done by and the customer is always right.

We tried to love this pub but there will be no valuable word of mouth publicity coming from eight hungry ramblers!!


terrymendez - 28 Nov 2009 10:10
Further to my negative review below it's about time I updated it and said that Andrew and Romy have totally reversed the pub back to being a pleasant place to have a pint, meet friends and read the paper or play pool. The staff are fantastic and friendly, the food good and the atmosphere is always great. It's definitely far and away the best pub up that part of town.

All they need to do is have some more - and non-Badger - ales on tap and it would quickly be one of the best pubs in Lewes. Give us some more ale options and my friends and I will never need to go to the Brewers Arms again.

The only concern then is that it'd be too popular a pub and we'd never get in!
happychap - 14 May 2009 08:55
We love visiting this pub for a Sunday roast - the service is friendly and the menu choice very good. You can retire to the sofas for coffee, delicious desserts and the Sunday papers afterwards too. Definitely worth a look if you appreciate home-cooked food and don't want to pay through the nose for it.
bagabee - 29 Apr 2009 09:10
Wonderful little pub, sadly still suffering from it's past ownership. Fantastic live music, very good, locally-sourced food and a good crowd. Only let down by the very disappointing toilets (though a notice from the management does apologise for this!) - visit this pub and the Volunteer and help get their ratings back up to where they belong - at the top of Lewes's establishments
nickjstamp - 16 Apr 2009 16:57
I met friends here last Thursday to listen to the flamenco music. There was a warm welcome at the bar, the beer was good and the pub was busy. We ordered food in the restaurant and waited for more than an hour before it arrived, only to find that the Pelham pork bangers were very overdone and dry and the mash was lumpy and without any flavour or character, as well as looking like a wigwam! My friends steak and ale pie was without the puff pastry, flat and un-appetising and appeared to have been re-heated in the microwave. I understand that new people have recently taken over this pub, which previously had a very good reputation for its pies. Unless they take steps to improve the quality of the food and presentation, they will find less and less customers visiting their restaurant, which will be sad as there is much else to offer.
Oakie - 22 Feb 2009 12:58
quite baffeld by the negative comments above. This is a lovely pub. Very friendly staff. We went for food and had the steak and ale pie which was delicious. This is a very comfortable friendly pub. What more would you want?
ilikeapples - 13 Feb 2009 13:27
We love this place.

Okay my partner and I have friends in Lewes who we visit every now and again, the first time a few years ago we visited this pub before it was taken over by the current management. It was a dump, the worst decor i've ever seen, the food was rubbish it was a stinking old man pub.

We went back recently and our friends suggested visiting again, we thought they were kidding, but the place has been transformed, it looks amazing, the staff are friendly and pay attention to everyone now ( not just the 'regulars'), the food is excellent, great range of drinks and a really lovely atmosphere.

I get the impression from the few negative reviews below that some of the 'regulars' have had their nose pushed out of joint by change, which is a shame because this is a truely great pub, and we'll be back again.
alexmenace - 1 Feb 2009 15:52
this place used to be a great food pub but now is a busy nondescript boozer .... shame .
9ooner - 20 Dec 2008 21:53
Since Feb 4th 2008 The Pelham Arms has been under NEW! ownership. Romy and I (Andrew) are welcoming all customers new and old to the new feel Pelham, we are keen to right the wrongs of the last 18 months and bring you a pub with great Badger beers, proper local sourced pub food, a relaxed atmosphere and live music. We have an interior refurbishment planned for the coming months including the toilets. Please pop in and say hello, if you have any questions or comments Romy and I are always all Ears! as feedback is the best way to help us make the Pelham the best possible pub for all. Thank you.

palandlord - 9 Apr 2008 14:10
Great pub now it has recently changed hands. very good Sunday roast, friendly staff, fab music and pool table. what more could you want, apart from free booze!
pezzer11 - 7 Apr 2008 22:04
Totally agree with the last comment. Used to go in there a lot, but now there is no warm welcome. Haven't seen a single smile from the bar staff, or the landlord, since it was taken over. What a shame as the Pelham was a lively, friendly place with familiar faces and a cheery atmosphere. Not anymore though.
Hogarth - 19 Feb 2008 23:30
This has been my local for nearly 3 years now. Previous management (before Dec 2006) were friendly, easy going and kept the pub with a vibrant atmosphere and a friendly crowd. Even though it didn't serve Harvey's we'd go there because it was a nice place to sit and have a pint. If anyone knows where they've moved on to please post it here.

The now not-so-new management have changed it though - the atmosphere is gone, and it's less of a "local" pub and more the kind of place you'd expect in the middle of a larger town or next to a railway station - not friendly, regulars (the old ones no longer drink there) and bar staff don't recognise you even if you drink in there every week etc. I'm not asking for a cheery welcome but a friendly smile doesn't hurt. It's a shame when this happens to a pub and I have no doubt some of the people who go there now like it but it's lost something.
happychap - 25 Jan 2008 14:25
i have to say this is by far one of the worst run establishments i have had the misfortune to go into. i went last month and the welcome or lack of it was astonishing. it was as if you were invisible to the staff. eventually got served my pint of badger, which was o.k. apparently you can't get harveys in this pub.....in lewes the home of harveys!! had a sandwich which was over priced and average. there are several other pubs in lewes that are a ton on this one.
neil10 - 16 Nov 2007 20:21
New to the area so didn't know the previous management, but the current incumbents seem to be doing a good job.

A large single bar pub, spread over several "rooms" with a pool table and dart board at one end, tables and space at the other. Decent Jukebox played at a "not too loud" volume so conversation is not overpowered.

A great pub. No pretences, just an honest boozer. Good beer, friendly staff, friendly locals, good live bands and a Wednesday evening Poker night that is very popular!


bonxie - 4 Feb 2007 21:17
Under keen new management from beginning of December. watch this space.
sussexbeerdrinker - 20 Dec 2006 11:43
Nice people (locals and staff) A bit dark, but very alive.
expa - 29 Nov 2006 13:53
A 2 year old does not belong in the pub, if you cant afford a babysitter then go to a restaurant.

This is a great pub, lovely locals and friendly but no nonsense staff.

anonymous - 28 Nov 2006 17:15
NO FOOD IN THE EVENING? NO UNDER 18'S NOT EVEN MY 2YEAR OLD DAUGHTER!! STRANGE PUB, FULL OF PARROTS!! SMELLY THINGS....
anonymous - 11 Oct 2006 12:26
The only unwelcoming pub on our, otherwise, fantastic Lewes crawl. For the other 9 pubs visted I could wax lyrical about the astonishingly high standard of Lewes beer (mostly the superb Harveys, obviously)coupled with friendly greetings, but for the Pelham, alas, I cannot, since the morose and intransigent landlady refused to serve us (us being four 45-60yr olds looking only to enjoy good beer in peace!). I'll give it 1/10 for a cleanish looking bar, but I won't be putting the place on the list next time I'm in Lewes - too many great pubs to waste time at the Pelham.
trainman - 5 Oct 2006 18:44
Excellent pub, although food is now somewhat limited.
Despite the description, children (under 18)!! are not permitted in the pub, restaurant area, nor even the delightful patio garden. Such a shame, as it used to be very much a family orientated pub. (I have used it, as a local, for the past 44 years)!! As I now have 4 grand-children, I find the total ban on children most vexatious.
peebee2 - 15 Jul 2006 18:02
Just what a pub should be..friendly with first class staff..lots of entertainment..good prices..landlady is alway there..not tried food but hear is fine..it even has parking!!
rogerph - 19 Mar 2006 17:37
A beautiful 17th century building this pub is full of character and charm. Currently run by a tireless landlady that ensures all of her customers are catered for in both quality drinks and very high quality food. I can find no fault with this pub. If you find yourself in Lewes 'The Pelham Arms' is a must.
D3clan - 27 May 2005 15:36
Decent pint of Tangle foot, and a very friendly barmaid. Great first stop after a 10 mile walk across the downs.
michael - 12 Jul 2004 15:24

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