Dark Star opens new site with top London gastropub owner

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

The Lockhart Tavern: second venture from Sussex brewer and GBPA winner Heath Ball
The Lockhart Tavern: second venture from Sussex brewer and GBPA winner Heath Ball

Related tags Great british pub Best wine pub Bar

Sussex brewer Dark Star has opened its new pub, the Lockhart Tavern, in Haywards Heath.

The pub, which previously traded as a cocktail bar, marks the brewer’s second venture with Heath Ball, owner of award-winning London gastropub the Red Lion & Sun, Highgate​.

It underwent an extensive renovation and refurbishment before opening to the public last week.

Ball said: “It’s taken longer than we’d originally envisaged to get this site together, but I think the result is stunning.”


“It was clear from when we started looking at the site that we needed to both extend the building as well as completely rip-out and refurbish the original shell.”

The Lockhart Tavern will offer a range of cask and keg beers as well as spirits and a wine list similar to that of the Red Lion & Sun, which was named Best Wine Pub​ at this year’s Great British Pub Awards.

Heath Ball: pub estate progression "going strong"

Dishes on offer include pan-fried minute steak with hand-cut chips and peppercorn sauce; 24-hour slow-cooked shoulder of lamb with masala and rice; and butternut squash risotto with gremolata.

Desserts include lemon posset with thyme syrup and shortbread; chocolate mousse with hazelnut praline; and cheese boards.


Dark Star plans to open approximately 20 sites across the south-east over the next five years.

Ball added: “The progression of the pub estate is going really well and it’s looking like we have a healthy pipeline of sites to come on line in 2017.

“There have been challenges along the way, not least getting staff of the standard we demand – the amount of good people wanting to get into our sector is still pretty dire and is holding back faster growth.”


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