Under snow-white cliffs at the far end of Lewes is a charming, craft beer gem
The Snowdrop Inn Lewes’ moniker, and in fact the pub’s whole existence, owes itself to a deadly avalanche that fell from the cliffs above a couple of days after Christmas in 1836. 4 years later the pub was built in commemoration of the event and those that perished, and almost 200 years on the pub is still serving drinks to punters whilst the cliffs loom innocently above.
As you enter the pub from the central front door, the jocosely painted red and green bar is dead ahead of you spreading out left and right.
The large central bar dominates the room and takes up a lot of floor space. You can’t really see past the bar from one corner of the pub to other and that probably makes the pub feel deceptively smaller than it actually is, as there are plenty of tables and chairs surrounding the bar.
The pub is decorated with a colourful combination of themes: wood cladding, ropes which inject a nautical vibe, dog themed artwork and various sculptures made of hubcaps. It gives the pub a busy, friendly and slightly eccentric feel, but it suits the space well. I recognise the hubcap pieces from other pubs and there used to be some in the Hop Poles in Brighton, so I’m guessing this is a local artists work.
The pub is very dog friendly, our dog was offered a treat while visiting, and someone connected with the pub must have 2 large white dogs as they are regularly appearing on the socials as well as in the pictures on the walls.
Opening times currently are Thursday to Sunday, and at the time of writing.
There are 2 garden different spaces. To the left is a faux-grass yarden with a few benches and parasols to shade you. To the right up some steps is a larger gravel yard with a nice view of the cliffs and plenty more benches and tables nicely spaced out. It’s a shame about the traffic noise, but if you can put that out of your mind then this is a pleasant place to sit.
Attached to the bar is an incredible selection of taps, 13 if we counted correctly, which offer beer seekers a vast selection. On this visit beers included: German lager from Rothaus, Belgian fruit beer by Fruli, and local craft beer options such as Burning Sky‘s Saison and Gun Brewery‘s Extra Pale. There’s Harveys Best and a local craft Pale on the cask pumps and also 2 types of cider, neither of which are mass market brands.
Bizarrely for a popular pub there is no Sunday roast option, but there are loads of the usual pub fayre options and alternative things available, all described as home cooked. The variation of the menu makes things interesting each visit and we like to think that this suggests the chef adapts to ingredients available locally. I’ve seen and tasted great food here, but I’ll be honest, I was disappointed with the service and value for money that I got last time I ate here and haven’t risked it since. For the price of a main, my Mexican wrap with an apology of nachos (which they forgot at first) seemed more of a lunchtime item. And when I told the bartender she told acted like she didn’t even hear me.
For a pub on a far flung outskirt of Lewes, the Snowdrop has a lot going for it. They have made the pub a destination by being warm and inviting with a great natural character and incredible beer selection. With Beak Brewery and Taproom now the furthest beery destination down this end of Lewes, I hope that the the Snowdrop Inn finds itself discovered by more people heading through Cliffe, rather than displaced by them.