Southend-on-Sea can be busy when the sun's shining. It's therefore worth knowing the inside track on where to find the best places to have a drink which aren't likely to be full to bursting.
Pubs in Southend
One such pub is the Trading Room, which is within walking distance of the town centre and yet far enough away to be rarely overcrowded. As well as offering a frequently changing range of guest ales, the pub sometimes offers a tempting array of nibbles as a freebie. Talking of food, the Trading Room has an extensive menu if you fancy staying for more than just a drink. Its Sunday roasts are highly regarded by the locals but it also has an impressive selection for vegetarians. And if you're an early riser, why not make the most of a slap-up breakfast, served from 10am?
Another popular spot is The Alex, named after Alexandra Street where the pub is located, just behind Southend Cliff Gardens. This is much closer to the seafront, so be warned that you might find it extremely busy. In fact, one of the most common quibbles is that The Alex is sometimes a victim of its own success, particularly on a Saturday night when you could well have to queue at the bar. If you're feeling peckish, there's also pub grub on offer, with burgers and pulled pork among the popular choices. You'll also find there are open mic sessions, exhibitions of local artwork and quiz nights.
If you're looking for something slightly further afield, then the Peterboat in nearby Leigh-on-Sea is highly recommended – and it’s less than 15 minutes’ drive away from all three of our Southend hotels. This truly is a gastropub, which retains the charm of an English hostelry while serving up some sumptuous dining options. From chowder to calamari and cockles to fish pie, The Peterboat's menu draws deeply on the seafood heritage of the Essex coastline. There's been a pub on the site since 1757, so you can soak up the history of the area while admiring the fabulous views across the estuary.
There's a similar smattering of seafood specialities on the menu at the Crooked Billet, which is just a stone's throw away along the Leigh-on-Sea High Street. It's part of the Nicholson's chain of pubs, which prides itself on its selection of real ales, as well as traditional bar food such as fish and chips – and make sure you leave room for the salted caramel profiteroles for dessert. One of the few pubs in this part of the world that's seemingly not named after a fishing vessel of some kind, the Crooked Billet can trace its origins back to the 16th century. In the 1850s, the Billet Club was founded to help ailing fishermen and today, it provides the perfect watering hole for tourists and locals alike.