The heart of a local community – that’s what a thriving pub needs to be.

I walked into The Bevy Inn without knowing any of its history, any of the great things it’s achieved, any of the awards it’s won.

And I’m glad I didn’t because I must judge each pub on what I find when I walk through the door.

All of life was here in The Bevy, from young to old, from scruffy to dog’s dinner, from mates chatting to families enjoying each other’s company.

It was obvious this was a community hub long before I read its illustrious history – it screams at you that it cares about local people and they return the favour.

It’s a living, thriving thing – a perfect pub.

It can’t be five star in every department and wouldn’t want to be, it doesn’t need trendy decorations or to pretend to be something it’s not. But, for me, it was a pure joy to share The Bevy with its people, even if it was only for a short time.

In some ways its popularity is not surprising as there’s little else for miles around. Again I assume that’s why so many were so desperate to save it.

Of course it’s got its quirks, and everything is accepted into the melee, but that’s all part of the charm.

The cutest puppy in a pink collar was passed around the entire bar, two tykes arrived on scooters and threatened to crush everyone’s toes and the guy on the sofa, dressed in black with a green bandana, had definitely peaked early.

The timing of my visit was fortunate as I encountered the Bevy Beast and, better still, the perfect man to introduce it to me.

I’m currently off the booze for a month, but this particular beauty was brewed especially for the Bevy’s beer festival so I made a pact with my host that he wouldn’t tell if I didn’t.

I only had the merest taste, but it is absolute nectar and you must try it if you get the chance.

If it was Iain Chambers, the general manger, that I met and so proudly shared his precious brew, then they’ve hired the perfect guy for the job.

Enthusiastic, hard-working and polite he said: “I’m so lucky, it’s every man’s dream to brew his own beer”. He was full of praise for Holler Boys Brewery which has come up with this dark 4.2 per cent Bevendean gem.

There’s a wine list on the wall with six types of wine – I’m sure someone must drink the stuff, but somehow I just couldn’t picture anyone in here with a wine glass.

Although I did notice several tables had fresh cut flowers in vases – a nice touch.

A free minibus to the Albion is offered on match days and there’s a fair old collection of books and toys for anyone interested.

The main uniform in The Bevy is a T-shirt with Checkatrade advertising but there were a fair few school uniforms in too – all part of the family feel.

A sign on the noticeboard summed it up: There are no problems, only solutions. But even better than the noticeboard and all the great ten-word messages on the kitchen wall was one little Post-it note I spotted on the front window. It looked like an old-fashioned love note to me, though accompanying the heart-shape there were three names rather than two – Marina, Jo-Ann and Nick.

The pub has an excellent community kitchen but getting the food offering right has clearly been a struggle. I’m pleased to help promote the pub by announcing the Return of the Roast from this weekend, Sunday, October 15, (if you book before 11pm on Saturday it’s a bargain at £7.95). Veggie and vegan options are available.

Everyone who walked in was warmly welcomed and, when they left, they were fondly waved off.

The fact is The Bevy is fairly plain and functional, a bit like a traditional community centre, but that’s all to its credit.

If you really want to see what the place is about, read its blog. It is proud to declare more than 70 different groups have used this community centre (pub) over the last 12 months.

But places like The Bevy don’t happen by accident and they certainly don’t continue to exist without a mountain of hard work. Spend time here and you’ll realise what it must take to keep this place going. The Bevy is the people who use it and everything about it is a credit to them – I salute you one and all.


Decor: ★★★☆☆

It does what it says on the tin and is exactly as it should be

Drink: ★★★★★

I’m currently on Diet Coke but the Beast is a real beauty

Price: ★★★☆☆

Reasonable across the board

Atmosphere: ★★★★★

I can’t imagine finding anything better anywhere in the city

Staff: ★★★★★

Welcoming, friendly, fun and as for the main man, he is an absolute gent