five bells & fair 024 (Small)

Hooray, Gastro Pubs have finally reached Sussex! What’s a Gastro Pub I hear you asking, Dear Readers. It’s a pub that serves good food, made with fresh ingredients.

Local lad Andy Wiles, aged 31, studied in Thanet as a Chef (where Gary Rhodes went) and worked for other Companies, building up his experience and knowledge. But his dream was to run his own business in the area where he was brought up. Just under a year ago, the leasehold of the Five Bells came up, and Andy and his partner Catherine went for it.

It was a bold move. Although it’s built on a main road which was originally a busy stagecoach route, The Five Bells is nevertheless pretty isolated from residential areas. It’s not a pub where Locals can just stroll along the road for a quick pint. Most of the customers have to drive there. So they need a good reason to do it!


Could Andy give them a good reason? He works seven days a week and he’s the only one in the kitchen. He prepares everything himself – and I mean everything! Not only does he make his own burgers, he makes the buns too, plus a selection of breads, including Foccacio.

Most of the vegetables, meat, cheese and other ingredients are from local producers. It costs him more, but the flavours are worth it!

I met Webitor Mel there for a lunchtime catch-up on the magazine.

When we arrived, I asked Limahl the barman/manager if they had any non-alcoholic cocktails, and with a grin, Limahl said, ‘Yes. Try my Special. It doesn’t have a name yet.’

He mixed pineapple juice with a dash of lime and Grenadine, and topped it up with lemonade. It was delicious, and very pretty too!

Any suggestions for a name would be gratefully received by the pub!

For starters, Mel ordered the Crabcakes and I had Serrano Ham with a toasted peach and local goats’ cheese, served with a rocket salad.

Apart from the menu, Andy manages the time to have a daily choice of Specials!

Mel chose Stuffed Guinea Fowl from the Specials, and, on Andy’s recommendation, I had an aged T-Bone Steak from the menu, which I could have cut with a spoon, it was so tender!

It was served with a jacket potato with the potato scooped out, mashed with butter, and stuffed back in again.

Finally, Mel had a dream of a Cheesecake, and I had the Plum Tart.

Of course we both sampled each other’s food, every course!

Alexandra the Hungarian waitress/barmaid was perfect, never interrupting our conversation with my pet hate, ‘Everything awlriiiiiiiiiiight?’ But she was within eyeshot all the time, even while serving other customers.

Mel had to rush back to work, and I stayed a bit longer to talk to Andy.

Part of the pub was originally a yeoman’s cottage in the 14th Century.

In 1752, the pub was called The Five Bells, although it had been a pub long before that. It had been extended. The bar end was originally an adjacent Coach House.

Apart from that, there’s not much known about the pub’s history. Most local people would have been illiterate.

If any of you, Dear Readers, can find anything out, or have any old photos, Andy would be very grateful. You might even be treated to one of Limahl’s unnamed cocktails!

The Five Bells holds an Open Mic Night every other Thursday, which has proved very popular.

Open Mic Nights are when local musicians come along and play or sing live.

I was amazed at the local talent, often hidden away, unseen or heard!

There is live music on the last Friday of every month.

For a wedding or special event, the dining room, separate from the main bar/restaurant, is ideal, with room for 50 people. And there’s a marquee outside, with almost limitless space!

So is The Five Bells worth driving to?

A big YES! It ticks nearly all the boxes.

But as you know, Dear Regular Readers, I like to add a Negative so you don’t think that I’ve been bribed with free unnamed cocktails, etc!

I think the big dining room, (which is at the other end of the pub, separate to the pub restaurant,) needs some changes.  I do love the old, uneven brick floor though. That must stay the same, except maybe with a rug or two on it.

Of course, Andy’s finances are limited and these things take time. But it shouldn’t have the tables laid up. It puts the drinkers off from using it. And it needs revamping, with new, or new old furniture in it.

It will look better in the Winter, when the big fireplace has a nice log fire crackling a welcome!


The Five Bells

East Grinstead Road,

Chailey Green,

Nr Lewes,

East Sussex.


Tel 01825 722259


About Lyn

LYN FUNNELL CV (well, sort of!) Lyn had very successful careers as an Air Hostess, Sales Rep, (she was one of only a couple of women. She beat all the men regularly, becoming the Top Rep in the UK, and 2nd in the world.) And then Catering took over. She did everything from the washing-up, to Silver Service Waitress, and Chef. A few times, she had to cook the meal, dash round the other side and Silver Serve it! In between all this, she wrote as often as she could, building up a reputation as a published short story writer, (Horror and a twist in the tale,) and a Poet. She has appeared as a Performing Poet, and a Demo Chef. Then she discovered the world of the Food & Travel Writer. And that’s what she has continued doing to this day. Her main hobbies are Cookery and entering Competitions. She has won many prizes, including holidays and a moped. She enjoys entering Competitions, submitting her original recipes. She was first in many Competitions, including the Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu, Fruits of France, Bernard Matthews Turkey Recipe, and appeared on BBC’s The One Show Spag Bol contest. She was one of three Finalists, coming 2nd, which makes her Britain’s Spag Bol Queen! Now she runs B-C-ing-U! and loves it! After several years of being messed around by Editors, and having loads of contacts, Lyn formed her own online Magazine, vowing to treat her writers fairly, and to do everything possible to further their careers, publicise their books, etc. She now has a band of excellent regular writers, and the Magazine’s going from strength to strength! Lyn’s online published books; Adverse Camber A collection of my published poems. The First Book of Short Stories The Second Book of Short Stories The Third Book of Short Stories. Many of these stories have been previously published. St Anthony of Padua. The Patron St of the Old. A story of one woman’s terrible ordeal in a Home, and her family’s rescue of her. The Girl Who Watched. A Cuban girl is attacked by an English journalist & what follows! Willy the Whizz & the Wormhole. Suitable for Young Adults, aged 15-95! Get Out Of Debt And Stay Out – Forever! Unsympathetic, hard-hitting, realistic solutions to your problems. All these books are published by Andrews UK Ltd No, I didn’t pay them to Vanity Publish! They’re all available from Amazon, and many other online publishers. LYN FUNNELL.