IT seems amour is in the air at the recently opened New Port Arms in Southwick.

Upon arrival, a pair of loved-up swans glided serenely across the idyllic setting of the marina with boats of all shapes and sizes moored up, while a couple canoodled on a bench on the decking outside while nursing a glass of wine each.

PubSpy, on the other hand, has no time for such public displays of affection. There is serious work to be done. I’ve been indisposed for a couple of weeks but rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated – and I’m back.

My latest port of call is, indeed a port. Or at least in one.

The New Port Arms has clearly gone for a “New England” kind of vibe. Inside it is awash with pastel colours with pine tables and chairs.

It is chic, freshly painted and welcoming and the Irish barman deserves a special mention.

Having booked a table under a pseudonym, he ushered my companion and I to a table in the corner and, having just taken our coats off, he returned to ask what we would like to drink.

It was only just past noon, so my companion opted for a large cappuccino (£2.90), but what the hell, I dived straight in with a large glass of pinot grigio rose (£6.45)

For this visit, beer was off the menu due to an expanding waistline and a heavy session the previous night.

As a result, my tummy was rumbling and it was time for food. A Sunday roast would have been perfect but we turned up on Saturday, so sadly no roast.

Instead I went for the cheese ploughmans (£12) which, despite the fact that I am about as far removed from being a vegetarian as it is possible to be, was wonderful with an array of cheese, salad, slices of artisan bread and homemade butter. Yum, in a word.

My companion went for the fish burger and chips (£10) which she described as “excellent” before asking for the dessert menu.

There were no desserts. This didn’t bother me as I don’t have a sweet tooth, but she was not impressed.

Instead we opted for another drink and the barman was again friendly and efficient as I went for a Sipsmith London Dry gin and tonic (£4.30) which certainly quenched my thirst while my companion opted for half a dark fruit cider (£2.10).

I was intrigued to know why the upstairs area of the pub wasn’t open and was surprised when he replied that it was only going to be used occasionally for functions and private events.

That, in my opinion, is a misjudgement. With the downstairs area not having a huge amount of space plus it being relatively busy on a Saturday lunchtime in March (all the tables were occupied), I suspect it will be absolutely rammed in late spring and summer.

I nipped out just in time to see a large trawler chugging seawards before returning to check out the toilets.

I’m pleased to report that the gents was immaculate and was reliably informed that the ladies was too.

There is no doubt that the New Port Arms has got off to a flying start.

It has friendly and attentive staff, it is in a wonderful setting and despite being tucked out of sight and away from the road, it is easily accessible with adequate parking.

Earwigging conversations at two adjacent tables, it is clear that initial impressions from first-time visitors are extremely good.

An elderly couple complemented on the decor and the barman, while a group of twenty-somethings said they would be making it “their regular haunt.”

It is also clearly both dog and child friendly, which is an added bonus for families and mutt lovers. All in all, it was a very pleasant 90-minute visit to this new drinking destination and is within easy reach from both Hove and Portslade.

Like others, we will be back. In stark contrast it seems the swans are there for the long haul.

New Port Arms

Lady Bee Marina


Decor: five stars

Extremely impressive. Everything is spick and span.

Drink: four stars

All tastes appear to be catered for, the wine was dry and crisp and the cappuccino (I had a sip) was sensational.

Price: four stars

What you would expect from a pub in such a lovely setting?

Atmosphere: four stars

It was busy but civilised, the television was switched off and there was no loud music. A real bonus.

Staff: five stars

The barman deserved five stars. friendly, courteous and a lovely Irish accent to boot.

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