Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Shore Inn, East Wittering

On the West Sussex coast, near Chichester Harbour, can be found East Wittering, where the aptly-named Shore Inn is just a stone’s throw from the beach. The Inn comprises both the first built part and the only surviving segment of the Shore Hotel, which was a much larger 1930s building with luxury accommodation, a cocktail bar and facilities for dinner dances. Another long-gone landmark, the Shore Club, stood to the north on what is now the Inn’s car park

The Shore Inn is bustling with customers on my Saturday afternoon summer visit: pool players, seated-at-the-bar locals, fishermen, beach-loving day trippers, those enjoying their retirement, groups of youthful males and females, both young and middle-aged couples, families with children, and fans of real ale such as myself. The Shore Inn is also dog-friendly with several friendly canines to pat including the pub’s own pooch, a Staffie by the name of Rosie (pictured).

The layout of the L-shaped interior cleverly caters for all these sections of the public. The pool table is tucked away unobtrusively behind the servery at the top entrance. Cushioned settles and seating run down the east side wall. There is another spacious seating area in front of the bar at the centre of the pub. A left-side conservatory extension houses a dining area. And beyond there, in the north-west corner, is a self-contained family room. The décor throughout is smart but creates a relaxed and friendly environment with adzed beams, much exposed brickwork and plentiful comfy seating.

There is a good, varied, competitively-priced pub menu using locally sourced ingredients, with a choice of light dishes to substantial mains and delectable puddings. Given its waterfront location the Shore Inn aptly specialises in seafood and fish dishes, freshly chalked up on a blackboard menu. There is a popular ‘Locals Night’ menu on Thursdays, from 5-8pm, followed by a pub quiz. Patrons wishing only to drink are equally well attended to by the very friendly and efficient bar staff. Six hand pumps are offering Sharp’s Cornish Coaster and Doom Bar, Palmers Copper Ale and Dorset Gold, and the LocAle choice, Dark Star Hophead and American Pale Ale.

I’ve a pint each of the last three of these. The prices are very fair (£3.30 a pint for the APA, £3.10 for the others), the quality excellent. It is always the mark of a good pub when, if a barrel needs changing – as it did at some point for the Dorset Gold – it is a situation immediately recognised and promptly attended to by the staff, with great care and consideration given to the condition and clarity of the freshly-poured pint, as it was here. I savoured my fourth and final pint of the day from the new barrel of Dorset Gold - a very satisfying conclusion to a most enjoyable visit.

The Shore Inn, Shore Road, East Wittering, West Sussex, PO20 8DZ, Tel. 01243 674454 Twitter:@TheShoreKitchen; Email: shorecatering@gmail.com

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