I found the end of the world by the back door and had to walk through a seating area where most of the fag happy folk stared at me.

It wasn’t a particularly warm welcome to this London Road pub but once inside I hoped The World’s End would improve.

It was the final days of my dry October so I asked if they had ginger beer and found myself a seat. After much scratching around they decided they didn’t have ginger beer after all so I opted for a pint of lime and soda – oh to be back on the hard stuff.

Opposite the bar were four huge green-walled booths with people harnessed to the ceiling. People in the booths were wearing masks and pointing things at each other.

You could be forgiven for thinking this was some sort of special show but it was in fact the first night of a new craze and I was lucky enough to witness its birth in Brighton. This is gaming on steroids and the first such installation in the city.

Those taking part seemed to be having fun and big screens above the booths showed spectators exactly what they were seeing in their masks.

One guy in the end cubicle was loving it and I was told it was a special birthday treat. It must have been, because while he played his partner sat outside breastfeeding their baby – no greater love and all that.

Just about everyone coming in was understandably fascinated by this green booth spectacle but I tore myself away to assess the rest of the pub.

It’s basically just like a student union with slightly trendier decoration and it wasn’t surprising to bump into said students at every turn. There were several more shoot ’em up games, plus pinball for traditionalists, an air hockey game and even an enclosed ice hockey game.

As if this wasn’t enough there was an old-

fashioned table arcade game and boxes of board games piled high behind the bar.

But if you weren’t here for the games I’m not sure you’d actually bother diverting off the main road. It’s not that it’s bad but it’s definitely not great.

There’s a mix of furniture, some of which looks like it came straight out of your old school, dining hall. There are some big old lights and plenty of retro decoration but it’s just not that friendly or welcoming.

Apart from the guy who owned the company setting up the gaming booths and one of the three wise barmaids, speak no evil, no one else in the place was particularly friendly.

The pub is owned by Laine’s and following a tried and tested blueprint but unless you rock up with a gang of mates the World’s End probably isn’t for you.

On the wide staircase up to the loos I noticed a huge stack of Brighton and Hove Independent newspapers which just sat there untouched and unread (note to ed, if this is the best you’re up against, you should be fine).

For PubSpy fans who’ve written to me saying they’ve missed my comments on toilets, here’s a quick summary of facilities at The World’s End. Floor to ceiling they are done out in black tiles and stainless steel – my experienced eye tells me they’ve been done up recently – not too bad for a pub like this.

There’s an opening for a real fire at the front of the pub but it wasn’t in and looked dark and soulless – it is probably as good a metaphor as I have for this place. It could be bright, warm and welcoming, but somehow fails and isn’t.

I assume the vast number of games explains the geek/student mix – there’s even a table football screwed to the wall.

Some traditional touches are nice, I particularly like the red/white paper straws.

If you’re a gaming geek you’d better get along because you’ll love it, if not I think you’ll find other watering holes you’ll much prefer.

Unfortunately the grand exterior of this pub over promises and inside it under delivers.


Decor: ★★☆☆☆

A student union with big retro lights

Drink: ★★★☆☆

They hadn’t got what they promised but the alternative was fine

Price: ★★★☆☆

You get what you pay for

Atmosphere: ★★★☆☆

It felt like a fairly empty games room at a bowling alley

Staff: ★★☆☆☆

A trio of barmaids who slotted right into the age bracket