The response to my review of The Farmers was such I felt it was only fair to venture into Lancing again and try a few alternative watering holes.

The last time I was there I was looking for lunch and locals recommended two pubs for a bite to eat – The New Sussex Hotel and “the-only-mentioned-in-whispers” infamous Railway.

I headed first for the Sussex and was greeted by a bubbly barmaid and shortly afterwards a large ball of white fluff. The first informed me the chef had just left so once again I wasn’t going to get fed, the second kindly brought me his ball to throw. I immediately warmed to both.

And, talking of warm, this place must have the hottest pub fire in Lancing – it’s even fenced off with the initials of the pub marking out its presence. The chef might have gone, but if I’d brought my own pasty I could have cooked it in the log burner’s in-built grill. No one’s going cold here, hungry maybe, but not cold.

By now the fluff, a Samoyed called Rocky, had climbed up beside me on the green leather sofa and laid his head on my lap – you don’t get this sort of welcome everywhere.

Apart from the green sofa, the fire and Christmas tree on a stick just about everything else in here is mushroom in colour and it feels a bit like your aunt’s dining room, although outside, the multi-coloured picnic benches give it more of an ice cream parlour feel.

Rocky is clearly the star of the show and even sneaks into the photo of the pub’s pool team.

I’d have happily curled up on the sofa with my new best friend, but had a date on the other side of the tracks, literally.

Ever since I walked into the village I’d received cautionary advice about an ex-Merry Monk which changed its name a couple of years ago and became The Railway. Even the fearsome folk at The Farmers felt the need to pass on dire warnings.

One keen observer who loves my work, I’ll call her Karen, said: “My husband and I haven’t laughed so much on a dreary morning for a very long time. Your review is so spot on.

“We moved to Lancing, from out of area, and tried The Farmers. Once. Literally, almost an identical experience to yours. You must try The Railway. Take security. It’s been done up, but don’t be fooled. The atmosphere on entry, is as about as welcoming as a Thai prison.”

I crossed the tracks and peered in cautiously but was met with a friendly welcome by the nice lady behind the bar.

There were a couple of fellows dotted around the bar minding their own business, but they didn’t seem keen to chat, so I moved through to the far side, the bar with the pool table.

I ordered up a pint of Adnams Ghost Ship, a perfectly fine IPA which was well served and tasted just as I expected – not a bad pale ale at all. Mrs P tentatively ordered a large sauvignon blanc (she only knows one size) and again declared it a perfectly drinkable drop – and she’s got high standards, obviously.

Just as we settled on to bar stools and began wondering what all the fuss had been about, the family from hell moved in.

Mum grabbed a large Zinfandel and took two large slurps before an afterthought struck her and she ordered two full fat Cokes for her progeny. Weapons, two large pool cues, were put into their hands and they were let loose. She then sat by oblivious on her mobile phone while they pole-vaulted around the table on their cues.

There are plenty of screens around the bar and I imagine the place can get lively and raucous when the footy is showing or the real Friday and Saturday night drinkers are in.

All we had to contend with was a young lad twirling a cue like a baton and his equally uncontrolled sister while their mum sucked down Zinfandels.

At one point she made an impassioned plea around the pub, to anyone prepared to listen, and asked if someone could teach her kids to play the game – I was suddenly fascinated by the fruit machine and Mrs P in equal measure.

I know this one has the same owner as The Farmers, but it was clearly higher up the list for a revamp and the toilets, general furnishings, fixtures and fittings are all in much better nick than the place I reported on a couple of weeks ago. The service here was a good deal better too.

I realise the warnings had been well intentioned, but I always report as I find and won’t be swayed by others. I’m sure this one can get lively at times, but apart from the unruly kids’ club, I must say my time in The Railway passed uneventfully.

Ratings for The Railway
1 North Road, Lancing BN15 9AH

Decor: Three stars 
Unlike its sister pub, The Farmers, this one has had a major overhaul fairly recently
Drink: Three stars 
The vino passed Mrs P’s taste test and the Ghost Ship was well served    
Price: Four stars 
Maybe I’m lulled by Brighton prices, but £4 for a decent pint of IPA isn’t bad at all.
Atmosphere: Two stars 
Quiet and uneventful in bar #1, bar #2 had kids bouncing off the walls    
Staff: Three stars
Friendly enough and efficient, the barmaid remained professional throughout.

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The New Sussex Hotel is at 182 South Street, Lancing BN15 8AU