LIFE can sometimes be more fun when you take a walk on the “wrong side” of the tracks.

That thought went through my mind when I was walking through Portslade in need of a tipple on the way home from work this week.

Some residents in the area have told me that Boundary Road is up and coming, with a diverse mix of shops and fast food establishments.

There’s even a Wimpy.

But across the level crossing into Carlton Terrace it seems to quieten down and that’s where you can find The Victoria.

From the outside, it looks a bit forbidding, with a pebbledash wall clad in locomotive green.

It brings to mind the great days of steam engines.

Think British Rail on a bad day.

But stepping over the threshold the pub blends a mix of modern comfort with a traditional and ornate wooden top bar.

It looks like the £100,000 or so revamp several years ago was money well spent.

A blackboard tells us that it is a “great pub” with “great music” and a “great atmosphere”.

I’m told the music scene is very impressive at the weekends.

So it was probably going to be hard for it to live up to this reputation on a weeknight, as it was a little subdued on the evening we dropped in.

In fairness, it sometimes gives me the chance to have a good nosey about.

Giant screens show football and horse racing, and punters can enjoy a game of pool or a game of darts.

There are black and white pictures of Portslade from the 1950s and pictures of former soccer stars – though perhaps this is a decade the pub should be trying to leave behind.

This is a place that has kept its standing as a drinking pub, and I could see no sign of a food offering, save for some nuts and crisps at the bar.

Drinks are reasonably priced, with a selection of all the lagers you’d expect.

I opted for a Doombar at £3.90 which seemed reasonable, though Mrs Pubspy had a bit of a struggle getting a glass of dry rose.

She was told a bottle would cost £28.

Fortunately the problem was easily solved when she opted for a gin and tonic.

Later I went for a Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter, which is slightly more pleasing to the senses than the Doombar with both a bitter and sweet taste.

Stepping to the gents to relieve myself, I found it was clean, but with the same locomotive pea-green paint.

They must have had a few tins spare from when they did the outside.

There is no doubt the pub, like many that do not offer food, will struggle with competition, especially in Portslade where there is another pub nearby selling Sunday roasts.

The Vic’s rival used to be known as the Whistlestop Inn, so it was a surprise to see a picture showing hundreds of patrons of that establishment hanging inside.

But from other decorations inside the pub, my guess is that the Whistlestop Racing

Club has found its home at The Vic.

It is certainly not a gastro pub but, for PubSpy, this only adds to its charm.

For punters The Victoria still provides a home to live musicians, to darts players chalking up their scores, and those with an interest in horse racing or football.

Hanging on the wall there is memorabilia of former patrons, including one from the Whistlestop Racing Club, and a framed Newcastle United shirt for their pal Dan “Geordie” Longstaff.

Meanwhile pride of place at the bar is a picture of a group of regulars happily enjoying a tipple in “old gits corner”.

I’m certainly tempted to return to see the pub in all its pomp.

You get the feeling that this place celebrates its patrons and the community it serves.

Long may it continue.

The Victoria

Carlton Terrace


Decor: four stars

Mix of modern and traditional

Drink: four stars

Tasty ales, wines, lager, and cocktails are available

Price: four stars

Reasonable priced across the board

Atmosphere: three stars

A bit quiet, but probably improves massively at the weekend

Staff: four stars

Friendly bar worker served us promptly

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