02 June 2016

Hastings Old Town

Hastings Pier view east towards West Hill and East Hill
Hastings Old Town, just east of Hastings, is distinctive but in a different way than St Leonards-on-Sea, just west of Hastings. Hastings Old Town and St Leonards on Sea both have indistinct borders to separate them and are within easy walking distance along the seafront.
East Hill Lift, Hastings Old Town
Walking east from Hastings, after passing the amusement arcades and the West Hill lift (for Hastings Castle) on George Street, but before reaching the East Hill lift (for Hastings Country Park) you reach the narrow High Street which is the setting for both the Jenny Lind and the First In Last Out (FILO).
St Clement's Church

The Jenny Lind Inn

After passing St Clement's Church, set back from the High Street on Swan Terrace, you reach the Jenny Lind on the left as you walk further up the High Street.
Jenny Lind Inn 'Famously Hastings' Hastings Old Town
Named after a Swedish opera singer, the Jenny Line free house and hotel has a brick frontage with large windows and two entrances. The front bar has wooden floorboards, both low and high tables and some quirky decor including an old petrol pump topped with an illuminated sign.

The Jenny Lind

Ten cask ales on handpump are mainly sourced nationally, eg Courage, Theakston, Wadworth, JW Lees, Caledonian, Butcombe, McMullen with typically two local beers. Traditional ciders are supplied by Orchard Pig.

On our visit in April 2016, Long Man Long Blonde and Franklins Mama Knows Best were the East Sussex ales. Franklins Brewing Co are based about five miles away near Bexhill and other Franklins beers include English Garden.

Blackboards above and behind the bar give details of music events at the pub including Sea Shanties on Thursdays (9pm) and live music on Fridays (8.30pm) and Sundays (4pm).


The First In Last Out

Further up the High Street, after passing near St Clement's church, you will find the First In Last Out (FILO) on the right. It has been a free house since 1976 and the building dates back to the sixteenth century.
Café de Paris at the First In Last Out
There may be a fire burning in an open grate giving the pub a cosy feel. When we turned up on Tuesday 26 April, Café de Paris had just started playing delightful 1930's Parisian Café Jazz and Swing Musette.
Cask ales from the FILO Brewery including Crofters (3.8% ABV Best Bitter), Gold (4.8% Premium Ale) and Cardinal (4.6% ABV Sussex Porter) are among six avalable from the bar. The St Clements Brewery was originally situated at the back of the pub. In 2000 the brewery was overhauled and renamed the FILO brewery and in 2011 the brewery moved up the road to Torfield Cottage.
Regular music events are held at the FILO. Tuesday and Thursday events start at 9pm and when there is jazz on Sundays it starts at 6.30pm. 

The Crown

The Crown
The Crown lies two streets east of the High Street on All Saints' Street and can be easily approached from the Jenny Lind along Courthouse Street. Instead of a traditional pub sign, it can be recognised by the crown over the corner doorway. We visited the pub / restaurant on a Tuesday and a Wednesday and no tables were free on either evening.

With good beer, food and service it is easy to understand the popularity of the pub. The efficient staff keep track of customers waiting for tables and we could sit at the bar knowing that we would be informed when a table became available.

At the Crown, four cask ales are supplemented by craft beers and Rothaus Pils from Germany's Black Forest. On our visit cask ales were from Franklins (Bexhill, Sussex), Caveman Brewery (Swanscombe, Kent) and Three Legs Brewery (Broad Oak / Brede, East Sussex).
Cabin by Josh Ross at The Crown
There are changing art exhibitions at the pub with artworks available for sale. Art by illustrator Josh Ross was on display during our visit. Special events like book launches also take place at the Crown. Emmanuel Hadjiandreou launched his book 'How to make Sourdough' there in April. There is a monthly quiz, capably hosted by Jim on the last Wednesday of the month. There are also music events especially during Hastings Folk Festival in early May.
Good food lovers will appreciate the changing 'simple, honest, tasty' menu that includes bar snacks, smaller plates, bigger plates, sweets and cheeseboard sections.

One more thing to like about the Crown is finding simple fresh flowers on the bar, tables and windowsills.

The Albion

The Albion, is situated on George Street at the junction with Albion Lane and almost opposite the West Hill lift entrance. It was once a hotel and named the Royal Albion. We had noticed a sign outside previously.
The opportunity to see a string quarted performing in a decent pub was not to be missed so we ended up here on 27 April after a meal at the Crown.
After getting beers from the bar which has six handpumps, we found seats with a clear view of the Albion String Quartet and enjoyed hearing them perform some popular classical music.
The furnishings of the pub included solid oak tables that may have been there for as long as the wooden panelling on the walls featuring various tartans from the days when the pub served beers brewed by William Younger & Co..
The Albion regularly hosts live music and DJ events catering for all musical interests.

We were particularly impressed to find a high quality of free music events in Hastings Old Town pubs on a Tuesday and a Wednesday night when in most towns you would be lucky to find anything going on at all. Based on our experience, Hastings Old Town can definitely be recommended for a midweek visit for music loving beer drinkers!

NB There are other good pubs in Hastings Old Town, Hastings and St Leonards-on-Sea not featured in this post.

For further details of all the pubs featured follow the links in the text above.


  1. Lovely post! I've wanted to visit Hastings for the longest time but your post makes me realise I'll just love all the old buildings and establishments.

    1. If ever you find yourself in the area and looking for somewhere to stay, do keep us in mind. www.thesanctuaryreteat.co.uk