It is over a year now since I first got together with Nick Little to discuss micropubs and our desire to set one up. We had both been working in IT for about 25 years and we were both sick of it and we both loved the concept of the micropub. Nick's plans were more advanced than mine and indeed he left his job at the end of 2013 to work towards his goal. It took longer than he anticipated but last week his plans finally came to fruition when he and his wife Paula proudly opened the Brooksteed Alehouse in Worthing. Naturally, I had to pop over there to enjoy a beer or three.
The micropub is located in a neat row of shops on the outskirts of Worthing but conveniently located just a few hundred yards from the train station. South Farm Road was called Brooksteed Road many years ago I am told so this is where the name was conjured up from. The signage looks impressive and stands out nicely to entice the passing trade.
Upon entering the first thing you notice is the size. For a micropub it is actually quite large. By the door there is a table in front of you with seating for about five. To the left is a small table made from a beer barrel with stools. Then all down the left side we have four high tables with a long bench along the wall serving all of them. At the far end there is a low table with sofa and next to the stillage room there is a shelf with a few high stools. All in all there is seating for about forty at a guess and when I was there on Tuesday evening all tables were in use for much of the time. There is no bar and Nick and Paula serve you at your table and are constantly kept busy by the customers when they are thirsty for more.
The decor is modern with lighting that has an industrial look which works best in the evening when it is extremely effective. The walls are a mix of light blue-grey and orange which I think works really well too with yellow the chosen colour at the rear.
The previous occupancy of the shop unit was as a ladies hairdressers and there are reminders of that with a humorous picture at the far end of ladies under the hair-dryer sharing a bottle of beer.
They have even reclaimed a couple of hair-dryers that were left lying around by converting them into lighting over the table at the far end. It is feature of many micropubs to still have some indication of the former use so these touches are excellent.
The stillage area holds eight casks and is tightly packed into a temperature controlled room so it must be nice for Nick and Paula to pop in there when they need to cool down. The beer was certainly served at a perfect temperature and I particularly loved the Goldmark Ebony Mild (3.5% ABV). Four beers should be on at any one time although there were three on my first visit as they were getting through them at a cracking rate in the first few days of opening. There are also real ciders and perry for those inclined along with wine and a good range of local and foreign bottled beers. The beers were all from local micros but there are plans for national microbrewed beers too. The emphasis here will be to bring the best microbrewed beers from all parts of the UK alongside a local selection.
Currently the food selection consists of (real) crisps and nuts but these will soon be joined by traditional snacks such as local pork pies sourced from local butchers.
As with all micropubs there are no distractions such as TVs or music with the emphasis very much on the long lost art of conversation. For those who can only chat through social media there is wifi available. Children are welcome to bring their parents along at lunchtimes and dogs are welcome at all times.
The Brooksteed Alehouse is the 65th micropub to open up in the UK and the third in West Sussex following on from Anchored (also in Worthing) and the Old Star in Shoreham. Nick and Paula have put it a lot of effort and I'm sure they will be rewarded with a very solid customer base. I know that due to the close proximity of the station it is a place that will also be frequented by ale lovers from all along the Sussex coast too. I have already enjoyed a couple of visits and I'm sure I will enjoy many more. If you are in the area then pay it a visit and see for yourself why micropubs are becoming so popular. The Brooksteed Alehouse is a first class example of one and it is open Tuesday-Saturday (11.30-2.00, 5.00-9.30) and Sundays and bank holidays (11.30-2.00). You won't be disappointed.