It’s all about the style, the look, creating a trendy space and trying to be chic with a stack of heftily priced craft beers, but where’s the real substance?

The Hare and Hounds on London Road is certainly trying very hard to be impressive, but for me it flatters to deceive and fails in too many important areas.

Forget for a minute that it’s ridiculously expensive and the different staff members just dream up individual drink prices on the spot, the whole place feels as if it’s been refitted and designed purely to cash in on anyone who walks through the door.

There are a stack of different brews available to the true beer connoisseur and you will always be encouraged to taste before you buy, but you’re certainly not going to pay under a fiver for the privilege of a pint here, it’s far more likely to cost you north of £6 or, in some cases, even more.

I certainly don’t have anything against Greene King pubs per se and I completely understand the desire to create trendy spaces, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of atmosphere and the customer experience.

The pub proudly displays the fact it was established more than a century ago in 1905 and despite the introduction of rugged looking scaffolding boards, metal piping and industrial fittings this is clearly a place with serious history.

The wooden floors have been stripped back and there are some nice tiles round the bar, the obligatory church chairs, which crop up in all such trendy places these days, are present in good numbers and the artwork is interesting but it isn’t enough.

The beer, to be fair, is top notch. I sampled the Marshmallow Porter which was rich and sweet with a powerful coffee taste and I although I didn’t go for a full pint it was very pleasant in small measure. Likewise, I decided against Crossing The Rubicon, on offer from Glasgow brewery Drygate.

I opted for Neck Oil from the Beavertown Brewery – an easy-drinking IPA, crisp and light enough for you to manage a few, it still has sharp elements which hit your tongue halfway back.

Like the beer and the prices, the music generally proved a little too heavy for my taste. I wasn’t ready for Sonic Youth with Teenage Riot at this stage of the evening, but by 8.30pm we’d switched to tunes from The Smiths and The Stranglers – though again, it felt like everything was designed around the wishes of the bartenders rather than the customers. I don’t think it would matter who was in, you’d still be treated to the musical taste of the staff.

As I was in with a group we made our own entertainment and the non-welcoming, couldn’t care less attitude from behind the bar didn’t really matter but if you wandered in alone or as a couple I don’t think you’d enjoy the atmosphere.

This is bang in middle of student land but the prices and the frosty, jobsworth attitudes must put the vast majority off.

There is an extensive outside seating area which is definitely worthy of mention and with heated wooden shack-like cubicles divided by bamboo screens is usable all year round.

If I visited again this is definitely where I’d base myself, particularly if I could persuade someone else to trek to the bar and maybe even pay. There’s wire mesh at the front to stop people wandering in off the street and there’s clearly been a good deal of thought put into making this area welcoming.

I didn’t eat but others in my group did and they said while it wasn’t great, the food coming out of The Little Blue Smokehouse was tasty enough and arrived without too much delay.

The whole place is fairly dark but the selection of particularly dark booths on the far wall are brightened up a little with red fairy lights. I was going to claim one of these areas before noticing, through the gloom, that it was taken. In this case the area was being used by two friendly black dogs sitting on the benches. I don’t think it would be unfair to suggest dogs get a better welcome than people. It is certainly a dog-friendly place.

It is frustrating the Hare and Hounds is not better as the location is good and it has obviously had money spent on it which the owners are keen to recoup. However, particularly given the high prices, it is reasonable to expect much, much better service. Friendlier staff who just took the trouble to notice who was next in line to be served would be a good starting point.

Currently, despite having good beer, reasonable food and an attractive outdoor seating area this pub is missing something – sadly it seems to have lost its soul.

Hare and Hounds

75 London Road, Brighton BN1 4JF

Decor: Three stars

It’s a bit red shoes, no knickers, too much style, not enough substance.

Drink: Four stars

An extensive variety, with something for everyone.

Price: One star

We sampled many different brews, they were all over-priced.

Atmosphere: Two stars

Ultimately the staff and punters make a pub, not the building.

Staff: Two stars

Far happier talking to each other than the customers.

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