If you need a family friendly pub, you're on the right side of the tracks here
This large mock tudor facade pub is unmissable if you step out of Portslade station and turn towards Boundary Road. The Railway Inn, Portslade was built in 1860, by local brewers Vallance & Catt apparently, about 20 years after the station itself. So the moniker, while it might be uninspired, is original and has always been apt.
Stepping inside, a bright-green and well stocked bar calls to you loud and clear across a floor of tables and chairs. It’s a dominant feature and not to be ignored. As you head deeper into the pub, behind the central staircase there’s a more dusky raised seating area offering more low seating and a padded banquette bench. Beyond that room is the yarden set up with lots of individual tables and chairs, while there’s nothing exceptional about the space it is made cheerful and bright by the colour scheme of the painted pub and fences.
As well as the typical major brands, Guinness, Birra Moretti and some more, I was delighted to see a huge variety of both cask and keg beers, in fact cask options are impressively stocked with 4 options, yes 4, separate cask options to choose from. Local brewers such as Only With Love, 360, Bedlam and Hand Brew Co were available alongside more typical Harvey’s Best. Looking through their ‘gram I can see that Unbarred, Lakedown and Abyss have been on either keg and cask in the meantime.
As a local beer blog it’s great to see the support of Sussex breweries, with rotation and ‘air-time’ given to different excellent producers around. At the same time this keeps beer selection quite exciting for local craft beer fans.
For entertainment, the website mentions a weekly pub quiz, monthly art classes and live rootsy, acoustic music once a month, but perusal of the socials suggests there are more ad hoc and seasonal events happening all the time, with DJs, beer clubs and themed weekenders.
The Menu at The Railway Inn classes itself as ‘Street Fusion’, and the variety offered is frightening; fried chicken, nachos, tacos, loaded fries, burgers, and then a load of oriental Asian cuisine such as bao, bento, gyoza and noodles. A separate kids menu gives parents 6 simple £7 options to satisfy kid size appetites.
On Sunday there’s a whopping 5 different style meat roasts, plus veggie and vegan options. If this was still not enough food options for you, for good measure there is an Ice Cream outlet built into the bar stocked by Hove Gelato, which has as much ice cream on offer as you’d expect to find at your local Gelataria.
While here my wife and I had burgers and they were pretty decent and very filling, we were both well satisfied by the burgers and chip portion.
I was a bit off my normal stomping ground here in Portslade and was only here because a friend was holding their daughters 1st birthday party in the rear function room of the pub, and this brings me to 2 final but prominent features of this establishment; the hireable event room and the child friendliness factor. The function room is neutrally decorated, with high ceilings and really quite sizeable in it’s own right with it’s own bar. You could run a variety of events here, separated from the rest of the pub and with access to the garden space.
On the subject of kid friendliness, The Railway Inn Portslade pub could quite possibly be the most child friendly, and to that matter parent friendly pub on this blog. Between the ice cream cart, the £7 kids menu and the fact that they allowed my friend to book a 1 year-olds birthday party here, all this is screaming, ‘parents, we got you covered’. All they are missing is a slide into a ball pit.
With a great local beer selection, plenty of space and seating options, a diverse menu and even an ice cream counter, this pubs ticks a great many boxes. It perhaps lacks a special charm or characteristic, but as a friendly and easy destination for families it must be hard to beat in this area.