Locals left shocked as Dyke Road Tavern becomes furniture store

Posted On 10 Sep 2016 at 12:14 pm

A Brighton pub, once frequented by Only Fools and Horses and Doctor Who star Michael Jayston, has stopped serving beer.

The Dyke Road Tavern, on the corner of Dyke Road and Highcroft Villas, in Brighton, has become an upmarket furniture store almost overnight.

The pub was well over 100 years old and was a spit and sawdust” type hostelry until around 2008. Under new ownership, it became the Dyke Pub and Kitchen specialising in woodfire-cooked pizza.

Pubs such as the Chimney House and Brewery Tap are still trading in the local area, but anyone travelling north out of town along Dyke Road will not find another bar until they reach the Dyke itself.

No one was available for comment from the former pub, which was owned by Martin Webb, who also runs the Connaught in Hove Street, Hove, and the Stoneham, near by in Portland Road.

  1. bin diver Reply

    all rather odd.. end of pub lease? or not paid the rent?

  2. Rita Brophy Reply

    Can’t understand it. It was always reasonably busy when I was there especially at weekends when it was mobbed. It will be really missed in the community. It’s such a convenient pub for anyone who doesn’t want to go into seven dials or central Brighton yet has a great atmosphere.

  3. Victoria Reply

    They should be aloud to do with is as they please. Maybe if a few more people that are so shocked would have drunk in there when it was open the it wouldn’t be a furniture shop now!

    • Powis152 Reply

      Indeed Victoria. I am only surprised that they weren’t offered a few extra quid to turn it into an asbestos tip or a nuclear laboratory!

  4. Son Reply

    So many pubs in Brighton have gone! This week pub always seemed busy? There will be no pubs left at this rate!

  5. Simon Reply

    So many pubs have gone in Brighton! This pub always seemed busy? At this rate, there’ll be no pubs left in Brighton!

  6. Powis152 Reply

    Cynical businessmen have no interest in what is good for the community, they will just take their accountant’s advice and sell to the highest bidder. So long to another long standing Brighton pub…..

  7. Cecil gunhurst Reply

    None of us workers knew about what was happening we closed on sat as normal then arrived on Sunday to be told that the pub “has closed its doors for good” and turned away to be sent home… Very sad very very sad…

  8. Andrew Roach Reply

    He posted why on the Dyke’s Facebook page, 23K in business rates was too much and they had to close. Most staff were moved to the other pubs.

  9. Scott mcfarlane Reply

    They won’t be getting a drink at the dyke either. Apparently that’s gone to now also.

  10. Gem Reply

    Staff weren’t moved, they had no notice period and it could definitely have been dealt with better!

  11. PAUL FORREST Reply

    Slightly off topic, but mentioned in the article, would the author kindly inform us when Michael Jayston “starred” in Only Fools And Horses. I certainly don’t remember ever seeing him in any episodes.Nor is it listed on any of the online reference sites that I have consulted.

    Thank you

    • paul jones Reply

      one episode Time on Our Hands (1996) … James Turner

    • Rob Tully Reply

      Hi, Michael played James Turner (Raquels father), in the episode “Time on our hands” where he informs Delboy that the pocket watch he has is worth millions.

      I drank in the Dyke tavern, originally the Dyke Inn, all throughout the 80’s and 90’s. It was, as most pubs in that era, a very busy place with an amazing atmosphere and even more amazing regulars, including Micheal Jayston who in my opinion is one of the kindest, sweet, entertaining and funniest gentlemen I’ve ever had the pleasure to know.

    • Gordon Reply

      He played the role of Casandra’s father.
      Also was the judge in Corrie and sent Derdrie to prison.
      He was also in one of the Highlander films.
      Still is patron of Brighton Little Theatre
      I hope that answers your question.
      A true gent and always had time to chat

    • Tim Hodges Reply

      Hi Paul,

      MIcheal Jayston played Raquel’s father in the 1996 trilogy ‘Time on our hands’ Christmas Special.

    • Bob Pendlebury Reply

      Paul…correct. He was one of the lead actors in the TV series “a bit of a do” alongside David (Del boy) Jason and famously starred as the Russian Tsar Nicholas in the film Nicholas & Alexandra along with leading roles in many other films.

      Bumped into him once in the DykeRoad Tavern…what a thoroughly nice bloke…he did his bit in ensuring the ale flowed there!

    • Gloria Reply

      Thought that too!

  12. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    One of the problems for some Hove pubs is that Ukip bores hold forth.


  13. phil Reply

    My wife and I run it in the mid 80s as relief managers when it was owned by chef and brewer and it made a hell of a lot of money

  14. Tony Binns Reply

    The loss of our local- both a shame and a scandal. The Dyke Pub was such an important element in the local community. Can someone explain what has happened? Let us hope that someone comes forward and re-opens this great pub before Christmas.

  15. Gavin Reply

    Paul Forrest: “Slightly off topic …”
    Perhaps not starred in OF&H but could excuse him being referred to as a star. Wikipedia abstract:
    “… Jayston played Neville Badger in the 1989 television adaptation of David Nobbs’s comedy of manners A Bit of a Do. He portrayed James Bond in a radio adaptation of You Only Live Twice in 1990. In 1991 he appeared as Colonel Mustard in the television series Cluedo and a year later made a guest appearance in the Press Gang episode “UnXpected”. Other TV appearances include in EastEnders, Coronation Street, Only Fools and Horses, The Darling Buds of May, Tales of the Unexpected, The Bill and the character of Donald De Souza in Emmerdale. He also appeared in Holby City and Tracy Beaker Returns as Mr Spooner.

    Jayston reads all of John le Carre’s novels in audiobook format, providing a link with his role as Peter Guillam in the 1979 TV series Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. …”
    Wikipedia doesn’t mention him drinking or anything in the pub (ex-pub) in question. Pull up a chair rather than a pint.

  16. Chris Palmer Reply

    I’ve been in there a few times recently around 4pm and have been the only customer. Bar staff told me was dead Monday to Thursday and only slightly better at weekends. It doesn’t help that people can pick up cut price booze just across the street in Tesco.

  17. Marc Bonaldi Reply

    Pubs are a tad on the old fashioned side. Who really goes out regularly drinking during the week. Perhaps you pop down a pub at the weekend – very occasionally. In this day and age most people don’t go to pubs and clubs anymore as the culture has changed which has resulted in many pubs and clubs closing their doors. A business will survive if they get people through the door as it can’t survive on sentiment alone. Yes it’s sad but it’s reality. Only the strong will survive.

  18. 5411y8 Reply

    Cheap supermarket booze, smoking in public, drink driving, high rents and rates, etc, etc. All have been the demise of the local. In 2015 29 pubs a week closed in the UK. Be grateful it is being used and cared for and not one of the derelict “holes” you so often see in other parts.

  19. Dave Boyle Reply

    A pub wishing to be converted into flats is subject to council planning policy HO20, which states that facilities like pubs are important, and should only be converted into residences etc in the event of them being unviable. It was this which protected the Rosehill Tavern (along with the ACV).

    However, a furniture store isn’t subject to the same requirement, and isn’t classed as a facility that needs special treatment. A furniture store is likelier to be converted into flats than a pub.

    The blind spot in the law is that pubs have what are called ‘permitted development’ rights – they can be converted from a pub to a shop without planning permission being needed. That’s something the Council can address through removing permitted development rights as Wandsworth Council have done.

  20. Stephanie madders Reply

    It was our local and we did use it regularly and will so miss it. Such a shame as it was a lovely clean friendly pub . I reckon the exorbitant business rates cannot of helped but that is typical in this day and age where councils just don’t care about businesses struggling to survive and would rather have empty premises. End of an era .

  21. Tim Hodges Reply

    Well I am local and I was shocked. Hence my headline

  22. Mark L Reply

    Once it stopped catering for parents and kids from 3.30 – 6pm it was doomed. Noticeable drop in food quality, failed effort at coffee shop and shift away from pizza and burger. Run as a good pub it would have been just fine. But like any any business they lost focus and lost customers

    • Casbah Reply

      Exactly. We used it regularly for years and it was mobbed every day from 3 ish till 8 with large numbers of families – they used to do cut price pizza for kids to get adults in. This worked – it’s what made us aware of the pub when our kids started at a local school 9 years ago, and we used to eat and drink there on weekend nights at least twice a months with groups of adults too, separately to our family forays. It was always busy – with families on weekdays and early weekends, and adults at weekends and most week nights. The pizzas were good and good value, they had bands etc. But a year or two ago this changed. They stupidly stopped doing food for families and out a few slightly hostile ‘control children’ type notes up. The result: instantly empty pub for most of the day/evening. Coffee shop was a waste of time as it never lived up to its billing – the coffee and cakes were limited and not good enough ( they just got untrained bar staff to make the coffee and bought in a few cakes). Food quality plunged and prices went up. Was this new management? It was a ghastly strategy. Not surprised it closed but mourn the loss of the local of two years ago

      • Casbah Reply

        I don’t mean the bar staff were untrained as bar staff by the way – just as baristas! Bar service was great. But Many down seem to know how to produce a consistently good cup of coffee.

      • Tim Reply

        On the contrary to the hostile ‘control’ notices for the kids, kids being left to run and scream around the beer garden put off a lot of my friends and I from going there any more. I was only allowed in pubs when I was younger if I was quiet and well behaved, and didn’t disturb others. I don’t see why this should change today. Sad to see it has gone, considering my local is The Railway.

  23. Chloe Reply

    I can confirm that the staff weren’t given ANY notice! A couple of them were “offered” work in their other pubs but it wouldn’t be near as many shifts needed to even cover the rent.

    On the same day as it’s closure it had been turned into this “Emporium” they had signs made and people on hand ready to to sell all of their ugly, old furniture, basically! Just to squeeze out a little more money for themselves. The staff are still absolutely baffled.

    The owner kept it from the staff and the punters. Maybe if he had informed them they could have done something about the imminent decline of The Dyke but instead he did it in secret. I’m sure the regulars would have enjoyed a good send off or something?

    It was a good family of staff and regulars. It was all handled very insincerely indeed.

  24. Emma Alexander Reply

    I’m very sad indeed – this pub was run by my great great grandparents, then my great grand parents, then my grand parents until my grandfather died. My mum was born there. She recently took some distant relatives from Canada there for lunch, so they could get a feel of some family history. I remember playing in the dumb waiter as a little kid. I’m devasted. And it wasn’t a “spit and sawdust” pub then, by the way!

    • Ian Smith Reply

      Please join the Save The Brighton Dyke Pub facebook group and add these comments to the discussion there. We already have over 300 members.

  25. MyLocalFor30Years Reply

    As per Dave Boyle’s comment, anticipate the residential development planning application.

    A real loss to the area. And evidently the way planned closure was handled leaves a lot to be desired

  26. Jamie Reply

    I cant fine the Facebook group, can you please send a link?

  27. dingram Reply

    Save the Dyke Facebook page link:

  28. karen Lippitt Reply

    I can’t find the Facebook page either??

  29. Sue Weait (nee Stanwix) Reply

    This is terrible. Three generations of my family lived and worked there. After my father died in 1973 it was put under very poor management, and so I was delighted when the new owners smartened it up and made it into the pub/restaurant which is so much needed and appreciated in this residential area. A terrible way to treat staff and customers.

  30. Bob Pendlebury Reply

    What a shame…was a great frequenter of this lovely pub when returning from London after a hard day’s graft…just cannot believe it’s gone…a light has gone out in Hove!

  31. T PIPER Reply


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