“ Marlborough Place, Brighton, Tel: 607207. „
When I was last in Brighton I enjoyed a pint in the King & Queen Pub having been enticed in there by its black and white timber structure and its charming medieval design.
Having settled down in the beer garden however and reading about the history of this place from a plaque that hangs on the wall there, I did feel somewhat cheated to discover that this building was only actually constructed between 1931-32.
I have always had a bit of a fascination with old pubs and from the outer appearance there was nothing to suggest that this was a relatively new building. The building as we see it today was designed by the Architects Clayton & Black and based on a Tudor style design with black carved timber framing, herring-bone brickwork, impressive stained glass windows and fancy tapestries. The interior of the place was fitted out by a well-known business of the day called Heaton, Tabb & Company.
As the weather was hot we chose to sit outside in the beer garden, which is set within a rectangular courtyard, which is in keeping with the general layout and design of the pub.
The inside of the pub is very large and spacious with two main rooms served by a single long bar along the back wall. The décor inside is fairly old fashioned and up to this point I had no idea that this was anything other than a building from the 16th or 17th century period.
There is a sculpture inside the pub of King Henry V111 and one of his wives but this is where the deception begins. One could quite easily be fooled at this point into believing that this is the basis on which the name of this public house is derived. The truth is however that the true origin of the name belongs to a later King and Queen, King George 111 and his wife Charlotte, who are depicted on the sign that hangs outside.
The deception of this place is however not quite as devious as I may have implied and the pub is built on the site of an old pub, also called the King & Queen which was a bow-fronted, two-storey building that gained a licence to sell alcohol in 1779. This was during the reign of King George 111 and Queen Charlotte. Although there was no direct connection between this pub and the Royal couple, both the King and his Wife were regular visitors to Brighton. Queen Charlotte even donated £50,000 of her own money to help fund the Brighton Pavilion.
The original King & Queen Pub was demolished in 1868 and this location then became the Corn Exchange. Following the demise of the Corn Exchange the land had various uses including a garage during the 1920's until the present day pub was built.
The modern day pub is very large and spacious and has been turned into a sort of sports bar with lots of TV Screens on the walls. Strangely this does not however seem to distract from the general feel of the place, which is that of a medieval pub. The crowd that this place tends to attract is generally fairly young (18-40) with lots of football supporters on match days. I understand that it can also attract a few rather dubious characters, although when I visited on a Saturday afternoon the atmosphere was very laid back and quite chilled out.
The pub has plenty of facilities for the younger crowd including pool tables, a dartboard, and fruit machines, as well as Sky TV and big screens.
My first impressions of this place were quite good, the service at the bar was a little on the slow side, but the prices were average.
There is a food Menu, which looked to be quite limited, but this was probably adequate for the type of clientele that it is trying to attract. However for reasons described in the paragraph below I do not think that this is a place that I would consider eating in.
Sitting outside in the beer garden I was rather enjoying my drink in the sunshine, but then I decided to pay a visit to the toilets. I can only comment on the condition of the Gents but what I found was pretty disgusting. The toilets are accessed via a wooden door, which leads to the top of some very steep steps, that in turn led down into the toilets. The walls are tiled from floor to ceiling in white ceramic tiles and even before I was halfway down the stairs I could stench the smell of stale urine seeping upwards from the toilets below.
The toilets themselves were not only flooded with what I hope was a couple of inches of water, but also they were completely full of flies buzzing around. The worst thing however, and my greatest cause for concern was that there was only one sink which was completely smashed to pieces and the soap dispenser was broken in pieces on the floor. I know that this was not an act of recent vandalism and I dread to think how long these toilets had been in such a condition. I returned back to the Beer Garden and relayed my findings to my friend who had to check them out for himself. We both agreed that these were probably the worst pub toilets that we have ever seen.
So to the summarise I would say that the King & Queen is an interesting place and probably worth a visit just as long as do not need to go the toilet.
The King & Queen
13 Marlborough Place
Telephone - 0844 999 6196
The King and Queen, Grand Parade From the kitsch effigies of Henry VIII and one of his wives over the main door of this mock Tudor boozer to the pennants and standards, enormous royal portraits and the lifeless life-size guard in Norman garb this boozer attempts to presume historical heritage by sheer weight of artefacts. That said, it has a charm derived from its size: it is enormous. Downstairs offers large tables, pews and the galleries that look over are often packed too. Most pleasing, however, is the courtyard complete with portcullis that heaves on a summer evening. During the day the pub seems lifeless but when packed with the young clubbing crowd, and in summer by the flocks of language students enjoying their freedom and perhaps searching for a bit of olde englande, there are few places that offer the kind of atmoshere up for grabs at the King and Queen. Not a place for a quiet pint, but Henry VIII would have approved, I think.