Pubs and cider bars
In the 1950s, most of the pubs used by teenagers (18 and over) were in the centre of the town. All the big Edlins pubs, which are no more, such as the King and Queen, the Arlington and Jimmy’s were considered too fuddy duddy for the young person. On Sunday, if you went into an Edlins pub, all you’d see was elderly people sitting in armchairs and reading papers and the weekdays were not much different. But having said that, Edlins pubs were never empty. The Sussex in East Street was entirely different as it is today. There were two football tables in the main bar against the front window and, like pool tables today, people put their money on them to book the next game. The Bath Arms in The Lanes had a wonderful sports room with two dartboards, two table tennis tables and a half size billiard table.
During the week it was easy to get a game, but not at the weekend. Most big pubs had a football table as that was the ‘in thing’ at the time, and of course the juke box.
The Feathers in Queens Road was a good pub, as was the Quadrant, also in Queens Road . My friend’s mum, Primrose Taylor, used to run the Royal Standard and it had a great dance hall at the back. That pub was always packed. Down West Street there was the Half Moon and the Full Moon both in Boyce’s Street. They were very lively pubs, but there was always a fight or two there. At the bottom of West Street you had Chatfield’s, another good pub with live music, but a hive of trouble. On the corner of West Street, where the Kingwest is, was The George another live music pub. Along Kings Road you had Harrison ‘s Bar with Bill’s Dive underneath. You got two lots of live music there, up and down stairs.
There were two cider bars in Brighton, Applejohns in New Road, which only sold Merrydown vintage ciders, and the ciders bar just along from the old Town Hall. Scrumpy, or Brain as we called it, was 5d (21/2p) a pint and it was horrible, but two made you drunk. The Colonnade in New Road was a very select pub in those days and they sold a drink called Russian Stout. It slid out of the glass like the white of an egg!
There was another dance hall called the Palais. It was where the Sea Life Centre entrance is. It wasn’t as big as The Regent, and it was more jazz than rock and roll. There were some great pyjama parties there. Later on in the 60s The Who used to play there until they became famous. Other local Brighton groups played there too, including my friend Laurie Poore with The Web.