The PubSpy has spent more hours than he cares to remember in various Brighton and Hove watering holes but in recent weeks he has ventured further afield to Portslade, which has several pubs well worth investigation. The latest visit was to the Battle of Trafalgar which has an army of faithful regulars

THE Battle of Trafalgar is one of the country’s proudest victories, inspiring heroism and patriotism in equal measure.

It is also an unassuming pub in Trafalgar Road, Portslade.

So it had a lot to live up to if it was to evoke its namesake on my recent visit.

I’ve said it before, it is not always fair to review a pub when taking a midweek tipple, and the Trafalgar is no different.

It was a quiet and pleasantly warm evening when I crossed the threshold with Mrs PubSpy.

Immediately I was greeted by a sign that read “Hiding from wife bar rates: £1 no not here, £2 just missed him, £3 just had one drink and left, £4 hasn’t been in all day, £5 never heard of him”.

Maybe I’d missed a trick there.

However, there was also a very cute sign in a heart shape which read: “You are the gin to my tonic.”

Who said romance is dead?

There were only a small number of people in the bar, and for a short while no sign of any bar staff either.

Not great on a warm evening when one is in need of a drink.

But after a few minutes we were served by the friendly Lisa.

There was no sign of any one-armed bandits which would have been extremely handy for Lord Nelson, but there were plenty of other pub games to enjoy.

Meanwhile there was also an array of medals and trophies on display.

So at least the pub’s darts teams have achieved some heroic deeds.

The decor is quite modern, and doesn’t feel like being in a pub at all, with black tables and smart chairs, plus faux candles made out of plastic.

While it is clear it is a recent refurbishment, it feels a bit too clinical, perhaps stripping away the soft furnishings with their beer stains also takes away the gritty charm to drinking holes like this.

Curiously, there is an old copy of the Evening Argus lying by itself in a newspaper rack.

I’m not sure how it has survived, but hopefully it is an omen for our industry.

The Trafalgar is divided into two rooms to either side of the bar, with a pool table and darts board in the main area, and a larger drinking area, with table football in the other side.

To the rear, there is a generous beer garden, with hungry seagulls trampling over the plastic roof, and a terracotta pot labelled Ciggy Fagdust.

If you’re hungry, you might be disappointed, there used to be a food service available, but this appears to have gone.

Home cooked meals are still advertised on the board outside, but the best you can expect is a butty, some crisps, or nuts.

I ordered a Marston’s Pedigree, which set me back £3.70, while Mrs PubSpy opted for a white wine, at £5.

The Pedigree tasted hoppy with its spice blend.

But in hindsight I wish I’d had something lighter in the middle of a roasting-hot pub.

We took our seats in one corner, near to a bookshelf packed with well-thumbed James Patterson novels.

The Margaret Dickinson novels were untouched, but I could tell Mrs PubSpy was interested.

So a quick distraction was needed, and it is there in the form of a pool table.

After a few tidy games, we agreed Mrs PubSpy was the winner.

I sneaked off to the gents, and had a final surprise.

Decked out on the wall is a collage of old newspaper articles, comic strips, and even Scooby Doo cartoons.


As I stood to relieve myself I was greeted by the sight of a knight in armour called Norman Wisdom. “Always go to the toilet before you put your chain-mail on,” he said.

There was Dennis the Menace turning the tables on Walter, and some scantily clad ladies baring all. So very much a man’s escape from domestic bliss.

The Battle of Trafalgar

Trafalgar Road


Decor ***

Modern, light and airy, but something is missing

Drink ***

Decent selection but a bit short on ales

Price ****

Reasonably priced

Atmosphere ****

Plenty to keep you entertained

Staff ****

Friendly staff