Good news indeed for diners and drinkers in the Rye area. Go back one calendar year when The Standard Inn closed, the Union was empty, and the Ypres was in a management tail-spin. As I write, the Standard is a month off reopening as a boutique hotel with pub on the main floor, expertly rejigged under the guidance of local Scott Brotherton, while the Union is sailing firm as a cheerful and busy steak-house, with father and son duo Simon and Toby Aylett sharing management duties with the Plough in Udimore.
The Tuscan Kitchen has reopened after hefty backstage renovation (a new bar, a new kitchen, and a private room at the back that can cater for about 20; oh, and new toilets), while the cosy bar at the Hope Anchor has been refurbed tastefully and with no serious personality change.
Luckily, Gary Dowling bought the Ypres, and his friends and relatives gave it a fresh bright feel. As summer approaches they will be making full use of the splendid garden, live music on stage, with Pete still in charge of the kitchen. The Queens Head in the Landgate has the same team at the helm that moved from the Standard, and transplanted the ambiance there. It hosts many meetings, live music and a “local feel” with its large eccentric premises and staff to match.
Of course, the major hotels and licensed restaurants in Rye service the needs of their guests faultlessly, with locals filling the bars stools and cosy nooks as much as possible. For sports TV fans, the Bedford, Cinque Ports, Crown and Pipemakers fill their needs with appropriate gusto, and The Ship, Simply Italian and Carey’s give The Strand a lively feel with the Riverside Café due for a refit.
Playden now gets back a beautifully decorated Kings Head Inn (for a long while named the Top o’ the Hill) kick-started by Steve and Lisa Tindale from the Leaford Place Hotel, Whatlington. The food is reasonably priced, with local bitter on tap and the comforting support of refurbished suites.
However, the brightest star is the swiftly revamped Globe in the Marsh, Military Road. Sensational is the only word to describe it, the décor, wrought iron work, range of chairs and benches and cushions, indoor clapboard and vertical corrugated iron walls, masses of displays and collectibles, chunky woodwork, all has to be seen to be believed. It is so visually busy that the punter is at first bewildered. Yours truly absorbed the symphony, spotted the twinkle of beer taps and stood as near to them as possible and lo, was swiftly rewarded. Serving of meals from the large hand-written menu is settling down as staff learn the ropes. But steel yourself, gentle reader, for the adventure that is the bisexual toilet.
John Rogers and Alison, also owners of the multi-award winning Five Bells Inn at Brabourne, are on hand to welcome you and soon one realises that all is well in Rye.
John Izod is an illustrator and cartoonist who enjoys good food and, perhaps, a drink with it