Great British Pub Awards

Pub Awards: Best Newcomer finalist - The Better Half, Hove, East Sussex

By MA

- Last updated on GMT

L-R: Andy Keir, GM Renata Dubrowska and owner Simon Stern of the Better Half, Hove
L-R: Andy Keir, GM Renata Dubrowska and owner Simon Stern of the Better Half, Hove

Related tags: Sussex

A City trader for 25 years, Hove resident Simon Stern decided he’d like to give something back to the local area – in the shape of a great pub. 

After training with Enterprise Inns he took the lease on one of the pubco’s houses, the Red Lion, in January 2015.

Following a £100,000 refurbishment, the tired backstreet local reopened as a bright and quirky venue renamed the Better Half – and quickly become a favourite with locals.

To Stern’s credit, most of the pub’s staff stayed on, including Renata Dabrowska, who is now its general manager. Most of the regulars stayed, too, while a strong relaunch and marketing strategy, in particular the pub’s own smartphone app, made sure the pub has attracted and retained a much broader customer base.

Food has been key to success, too, and Stern has devised a menu that he describes as “pub food done really, really well”. Ingredients are locally sourced where possible and the kitchen minces its own beef for the best-selling burgers and hand-cuts its chips.

A busy programme of events include charity quizzes; Watch Nights, at which customers have the opportunity to get their heirlooms valued and bid for antique timepieces in an auction; and comedy nights – titled, of course, ‘The Better Laugh’.

Related topics: Events & Occasions

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