AS SOON I walk into The Victory, as a fan of pubs with character, I am impressed.

The nautical theme is not too cheesy, simply because the bar is so spectacular, made into the shape of a ship.

It is like standing at the foot of HMS Victory itself at Portsmouth’s historic dockyard, looking up at Nelson’s flagship, best known for her role in the Battle of Trafalgar.

To celebrate that victory against those flimsy French and Spanish, albeit 213 years late, I settled back with a lovely pint of the Laine Brew Company’s Source Pale Ale.

I enjoyed taking a look at the miniature ships on shelves and in glass cabinets.

The lights in the style of gas lamps were a nice touch too. In the back room maps adorn the walls and you can settle into one of the nice big red leather Chesterfield sofas.

I stayed in the front bar though, and it felt like Captain Jack Sparrow would walk in and order a rum at any given minute.

He didn’t appear but the barman was like a willing shipmate with his crinkled white t shirt and apron. Maybe a bit like Smee. But he had a big smile and looked happy to be there unlike so many dour faces behind bars sometimes. He was brilliant. Polite and friendly, he brightened my day.

The shy looking barmaid with that style of dyed grey hair looked really nice too and she was sporting some cool dungarees.

An old sea dog suddenly awoke me from my relaxed state as he appeared and growled ‘burger’. And when I said yes he dumped it on my Argus and was off to shiver someone’s timbers. Aaargh. Life on the ocean waves, I think he said as he went off.  I expected to see an eye patch and to hear his wooden leg banging against the deck - bar floor - as he headed back to the kitchen with his pieces of eight.

The beauty of The Victory as I sat there on my own was that I could sit there and watch the world go by.

It’s on the edge of The Lanes but also a stone’s throw from Churchill Square.

An assortment of Brighton characters came and went.

There was a  strikingly smart looking woman with a short blonde bob and leopard print coat.

Some tourists strayed in.

Then a random guy who wanted to leave some leaflets about martial arts was allowed to do so.

My favourite was the guy aged in his fifties with grey hair and a matching grey Nike tracksuit top and bottoms and Nike trainers.

Comfortable sportswear, ideal for a good session in The Victory.

He was followed by a geeky looking guy in a wax jacket and walking boots which looked like they’d never set foot on the South Downs Way.

The Victory is a pub which is the perfect spot for people watching.

But I have to mention the food.

It is vegetarian, which is not normally my thing, but the burgers really are very nice and as good as a meat burger.

It is made out of sweet potato, beetroot and polenta. I think it must be the fantastic crimson roasted beetroot ketchup that really sends it on its way.

Anyway, I don’t want to get all foodie on you, but the chips were really good too, you really will be surprised how nice a vegetarian burger might taste if you’ve not had a good one like this before.

So although it has a lot of traffic passing through, The Victory is a great pub with great food.

The Victory

Duke Street


Decor Five stars

Spectacular Drink Four stars A good choice of beers and lagers.

Price One star

£5.15 for my pint. Definitely the wrong side of a fiver, always a worry. The food was only £9.50 though.

Atmosphere Five stars

A buzzing with so many people passing through - good music including Going up the Country by Canned Heat.

Staff Four stars

Friendly and welcoming.

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