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My Local Pub

The Swan, 1 Horsham Road, West Green, Crawley, West Sussex

Swan Picture

The Swan is a Whitbread managed house; in their parlance it's called a 'Beer Engine' - I guess that means the emphasis is supposed to be on beer (debatable). It's widely thought that there has been a pub on this site for about a hundred years although the current building is not the original one. Prior to being accquired by Whitbreads it belonged to Brickwoods Brewery.
Lounge Bar With charity it could be described as a no-frills, locals pub - in reality it's a run down dive. Although we have a lovely new manager(ess), Joe, who works very hard, it's obvious that everyone from the area manger upwards doesn't give a toss about the place as long as the money keeps rolling in. And why should they, you may ask, as long as dumb punters like me keep coming back.
There are two bars. The divide between the two is as much social as it is physical - in fact it's almost like two separate pubs, each with it's own set of customers. People tend drink in one bar or the other. There aren't many "cross-benchers". Public Bar
garden At the rear of the pub is a paved area with tables generally called the "herb garden" - put it this way, a lot of people smoke out there. Children are welcome, but dogs are preferred.
When the pub was renovated (ie they hung sacks on the ceiling) and convertred a few years ago to a "beer engine" it was explained to the punters that there would be a vast array of ever changing beers - a sort of real ale heaven. Sadly it didn't work like that.

Firstly, the previous manager fell out with the main wholesaler and stopped ordering beer from them. Secondly, because the pub has a large body of regular customers, there is no incentive for any one in the management chain to make more than the bare minimum effort. So we exist on a limited diet of the same beers - perm from one to six from the following list - Flowers Original, Flowers IPA, Wadworth 6X, Greene King Abbot, Fullers London Pride, Fuggles IPA and King and Barnes Sussex. Others crop up less frequently or on a one-off basis eg Tanglefoot, Bombardier, Old Speckled Hen. Boddingtons Mild is nearly always available direct from the cask.

There is however is small light it the dakness in the shape (ahem!) of our new manageress. Joe at least seems interested in serving her customers and taking an interest in what they want. We can only hope for the best.
Joe - sex goddess turned pub manager

Sadly, with food, it's already a different story. Five years ago the pub opened early for breakfasts and did a steady lunchtime trade with local business types. The previous management team killed that off entirely with a combination of general disinterest and a menu that demonstrated the culinary imagination of a 13 year old. Now the area manager has shut the kitchen entirely, citing lack of business as the reason. . Well, what do you expect when you dish up a load of c**p that no one wants.

Into all this gloom the customers try and inject a little fun by organising typically pubby activities. Regular weekly events include:-

I run a quiz on the first Wednesday of each month.

Around about Burn's Night and St. Andrews day the hospitable Scotsmen (that's me and another John) prepare and serve haggis, neeps and tatties for anyone who wants to partake.

You should avoid this pub if you are :-

Now a few words for dogs. This is one of the few pubs in Crawley where you can bring your owner. Be nice. Don't pee on the wall or fight with the other dogs. Someone will give you a biscuit.

Why would anyone want to drink in a place like this? Well, it's not for the decor for sure. The beer is ok but nothing special. Although it may seem like a cliche, it's the people that make it special. People from all walks of life. The rich and the not so rich. All political shades from Marxist to somewhere right of Attila The Hun. People with mobile phones and those without. Rather like a downmarket version of "Cheers".

If you ever come to Crawley and need a beer, don't be put off by the semi-derilect appearance - come in and find out what a real pub is all about.

Click here to visit the Rogues Gallery.