Visited January 20th, 2009 by Raymond & Malcolm


The Xmas festivities are over, I’ve celebrated my birthday so now it’s back to the grindstone of visiting pubs(tough but someone’s gotta do it).
The first post-Xmas pub is the Smugglers Return which used to be called the Ham.
“It’s my 30 year wedding anniversary this year so I know that I’ve not been to this place in more than 30 years” I said to Ray.
“What’s the connection” said Ray, his eyebrows raised to the heavens.
“Well, when I first met my wife to be, she shared a house with 3 other women which was next door to the Ham. We used to go to this pub regularly. It was a real rough place” said I.
“What the pub or the house?” chirped Ray, giving me that, I’ve just cracked a joke, look.
“Both,” I said.

Location:
This is a large pub that underwent an extensive redevelopment back in 2004. Sits on a busy crossroads on the edge of a small industrial estate,
about five minutes south of East Worthing station – us old gits remember it as “The Ham”, where you got a punch up whether you wanted one or not!
 
Drink: Loads of different lagers, we settled for Harveys Best bitter – keeping a selection of real ales doesn’t appear to be their forte!
 
Food: “Do you sell food here?” asked Malcolm. “No” was the abrupt reply. We weren’t surprised, so after finishing our pints – we legged it back to Muldoons in Broadwater for our salmon sandwiches!
 
Staff: The barman/manager was on his own, dressed in a T-shirt and worn jeans. Looked a grumpy old sod, he was on his mobile phone the whole time we were at the bar – what’s more important than serving us!
 
Service: We didn’t feel welcomed here, so we awarded him 2/10 – and that was generous!
 
Clientele: Only three regulars in, plus us old gits. As we were leaving “Billy no mates” complained to me, that he was pissed off having to stand out here to have a fag – “Give up then, problem solved” I said. “Not bloody likely” he replied.
 
Atmosphere/
Ambiance:
Thought we’d walked into a library, it was so quiet, a good place to read a book on your own – the silence was deafening, broken only by a small child running around creating havoc!
 
Decor: Salmon and pale green walls, with the original varnished wood floors. Various ship pictures and artifacts adorn the walls. Large tropical plants doted around, has a separate games room – we remember how this pub use to look, still prefer the dingy/seedy approach!  
 
Music: Has a designated area for live bands. Terrific music playing including “Let’s Go Round Again” Average White Band – Malcolm just couldn’t resist saying “That’s, Without You” Harry Nilsson 1972!
 
Beer Garden/
Childrens Play Area:
You could mistake this pub for a crèche, judging by the amount of toys around. There’s a raised decking area out front, roped off like a boxing ring. Plenty of picnic tables and seating – lovely to be so close to the traffic and be able to breathe in all that toxic fume!
 
Parking: The pub has little or no parking facilities, double yellow lines everywhere – don’t leave your car near here unless you want it up on bricks!
 
Toilets: Reasonable standard, black/white tiles throughout and a vanity sink unit (how posh) – a bit of “day-ja-vou” here, the catch on the cubical door was broken!
 
Disabled Accessibility: All on one level, has a separate toilet for disabled people. This is a sizeable pub – if you’re reliant on a stick, you could wear yourself out just getting to the bar and back!
 
Kerb-side Appeal: The outside is crying out for a coat of wood varnish. Above the bay window on the ledge, stands a “smuggler”, as we approached, we shouted up to him –“Don’t jump, it cannot be all bad inside!”
 
Overall Rating: 5/10
 
Would We Return?: No – there are not enough “happy pills” on this planet to sustain us for another visit!

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