In the past, I’ve made the point is that the GBG isn’t aimed at hardcore beer obsessives, but at people who enjoy a drop of real ale and want to find decent pubs when away from home, in particular nice places to eat when on holiday. I’ve recently spent a few days in the North-East, where the GBG took me to the King’s Arms at Seaton Sluice. If I search WhatPub for Tynemouth, which is where I had been, it comes up as #95 out of 118 pubs, so it’s unlikely I would have found it. But a quick look at the map in the GBG indicated that there were pub(s) in Seaton Sluice, a few miles up the coast, and flicking the page led me to the King’s Arms. It’s described as follows:
Traditional pub dating from the 1700s, sitting majestically next to the man-made harbour, constructed by the famous Delaval family.The pub is set back from the road, with extensive views of the beautiful beach at Seaton Sluice. It has an excellent reputation for good food using local ingredients (booking is advised). There are five handpulls dispensing a range of nationally sourced ales. Live bands play on Sunday evening.While often dismissed as an uncompromisingly industrial area, the North-East actually has a surprisingly scenic coast. The King’s Arms is a substantial, four-square pub situated on a headland overlooking the small harbour at Seaton Sluice, with a magnificent view to the north towards Blyth. It’s essentially a food-led pub, but certainly isn’t somewhere you’d feel uncomfortable just having a drink. The L-shaped interior comprises a congenial bar area along the front of the pub, with extensive bench seating, and a more contemporary dining area to the rear with views over the coast. There are no TVs or piped music.
There’s a wide-ranging food menu of fairly standard pub grub, stretching from sandwiches to steaks, at pretty reasonable prices. A welcome feature is offering smaller portions for many dishes, which must appeal to pensioners and others who are overfaced by big meals. It’s a Star Pubs & Bars leasehold, which may somewhat restrict the available beer range. On my visit it was Greene King Abbot Ale, Ruddles County, Bombardier Burning Gold and Caledonian Deuchars IPA and Autumn Red. Not the most enterprising range in the world, and it would be nice to see at least one local beer, but my pint of Burning Gold was fine.
It’s by no means an ideal pub – the prominent, officious notice banning vaping particularly jarred. But it’s obvious that the family running it have a huge amount of commitment and attention to detail. For example, the menu folder includes a list of local food suppliers they use, a potted history of their involvement with the pub, and an update on recent developments. I was also served by a notably friendly and polite barmaid. And I probably wouldn’t have found it at all without the Good Beer Guide.