LOTS of pubs these days are ditching the dank interiors in favour of chic modern fittings.

This was very obvious on my most recent visit to The Palmeira in Cromwell Road, Hove.

It feels like a pub on the edge of a bleak industrial estate, and the weather was equally bleak on my approach with Mrs PubSpy for an evening tipple.

Outside, there was a sign advertising the forthcoming rugby world cup, and the bar itself is just a stone’s throw from the cricket ground.

So predictably, sport has pride of place in The Palmeira.

Inside there are four screens, each showing a dreary match from football’s lower divisions.

Immediately I’m struck by two cardinal sins being committed against hostelry.

The first is the outrageous use of an apostrophe to tell customers: “Non gluten menu’s available.”

The second is an advertisement urging me to book my Christmas party – in August.

From these faux pas, I felt the pub had some way to recover its reputation, only 30 seconds into my visit.

There were a fair few people in the pub when we arrived, and we took a seat by the window.

But without any soft furnishings, noise travels across the stone floor, and the non-absorbent wooden seating does nothing to mitigate the cacophony.

A gaggle of office workers were enjoying their night next to us, but their cackles were piercing our eardrums.

Mrs PubSpy demanded we move on to a new table.

Still, it was a sign that there is some life to the place, it’s just a shame you could hear all of it, including the clink of glasses and the plonk of balls into pockets on the pool table.

At the bar we were served by Dani, and Mrs PubSpy plumped for a Gris des Seigner rose, at £7 for a large glass.

It had been a long day, and with the weather being as bad as it was, we knew were in it for the long haul.

I opted for the Long Man Brewery Best Bitter, which was on the guest ale pump, very reasonably priced at £4.

It was, as ever, a deep and tasty tipple, with a hint of sweetness offset against the bitterness of the hops.

A good, solid choice.

Meanwhile Mrs PubSpy was peckish, and there is a full menu available with or without an unnecessary apostrophe.

The baked camembert comes with a selection of carrots and vegetables to dip in, and is reasonable at £4.59.

But the “fiery top fries” – cheesy chips – were a disappointment at £2.99.

I took a little wander around the place, and live music is advertised on the wall.

With its acoustics I imagine it is quite a lively live music venue, so it was a shame to miss out on that.

There is an events board for people to tell the pub about their forthcoming events, but mostly the listings are limited to Sky Sports’ selection of live soccer matches, and the pub quiz.

Meanwhile, one small portion of the pub seems set aside for the rugby, with a signed England shirt by former England captains Martin Johnson and Lawrence Dallaglio.

It is a remarkable piece in the otherwise insipid surroundings.

Later for my second drink, I opted for a Greene King IPA.

A terrible mistake – it tasted off and I had to swap it immediately for a more expensive IPA brand at £5.40.

It was only later that I spotted I had probably missed out on one of the few charming things about the pub – the wide selection of cider offerings by Lilley’s, including peach, mango, cherry and even rhubarb.

My night may have been a trifle better had I spotted them and given one or two a try.

Sadly I fear that when pubs strip out old interiors, something of the old character is stripped away too.

Perhaps patrons felt the same way, as the place was half empty at about 10pm.

The Palmeira

Cromwell Road,


Decor three stars

Modern, but lacks warmth

Drink three stars

There are some interesting tipples, particularly the ciders

Price three stars

Reasonable prices

Atmosphere two stars

A bit lacking, for a weekend

Staff four stars

Pleasant and helpful