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Picture of The Mermaid Inn
Image posted by paulof horsham
Submitted on Sunday, 19th September 2021
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The Mermaid Inn, Rye

Mermaid Street
TN31 7EY
Correct details

Served areas

Reviews of The Mermaid Inn (Average Rating: 7 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

John Bonser left this review about Mermaid Inn

In an attractive ancient cobbled street in the picturesque Cinque Port town of Rye is The Mermaid Inn, which, with some justification, refers to itself as “one of England’s oldest and loveliest inns”

The Mermaid Inn is a typical old style black and white building, dating back to 1156 but being rebuilt in 1420. It principally functions as a tourist orientated hotel / restaurant, for which the hotel has 3 AA stars and the restaurant has a Double AA Rosette.

At the rear of the hotel, accessed either directly through the hotel or through a cobbled archway at the side of the hotel, is an unspoilt cosy Lounge Bar open to non residents – The Giants Fireplace Bar – so called because of a large open log fireplace that virtually spans the whole width of the room and features one long vast beam that is supported on stone piers. This lounge bar features old settles, large black oak former ships beams across the ceiling adorned with hops, a grandfather clock and, reflecting its past history as a smugglers refuge, various rifles, cutlasses etc adorning the walls.

Whilst it’s undoubtedly a fine characterful and historic place for a pint, and some food, perhaps not surprisingly, the atmosphere is most certainly that of a hotel bar with, predictably, bar staff attired in dark waistcoats and ties and being suitably obsequious – “what would sir like ? ” … etc. As often appears to be the norm in a place like this, customers were virtually whispering to each other in quiet, almost reverential tones, as though they were in a church or chapel.

As a whole, the hotel certainly merits a bit of exploration with its ancient wood panelled corridors, rooms and furniture. By the hotel reception area, various signed framed photos show that most of the usual suspects appear to have called in at some stage over the years – eg Michael Caine, David Jason, Judi Dench etc.

In the bar, three pumps were serving Harveys Best, St Austell Proper Job and Tribute, which, I would suspect, doesn’t change much, if at all. Prominently displayed on the bar counter were bottles of cider from a local producer, Norman Hunt and Sons from nearby Battle. The Harveys - £ 3.90p – was pretty good, as was my food.

I enjoyed the visit and it should certainly be on the itinerary of the first time visitor to Rye, but, if you’re looking for a lads night out, or to let your hair down, this is not the place for you.

On 8th May 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve C left this review about Mermaid Inn

The Mermaid Inn is a large building that comprises thirty one bedrooms, a restaurant, two lounges, a terrace, a courtyard garden, parking and more interestingly a bar. The bar is called the Giant’s Fireplace Lounge and Bar, which is a very good name for it as there is a giant fireplace in the left hand wall and a bar on the right hand wall. Seating is found in between, but this is a very small bar which would best be described as cosy. There are lots of hops hanging around the bar that supports three hand pumps that were drawing Dark Star’s Hophead, Fullers’ London Pride and Harvey’s Best. There is also a limited draught selection, but I opted for a pint of Hophead which set me back £4.10. The other customers were all well-heeled and the barman was polite enough on during my recent Tuesday evening visit.

This is a pleasant enough place but the prices dictate that I would probably drink elsewhere when next in Rye.

On 19th April 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3948 recommendations about 3925 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Old Blue left this review about Mermaid Inn

The famous and delightfully preserved Mermaid Inn sits on the historic cobbled Mermaid Street. It was apparently rebuilt in 1420, with Norman cellars dating from 1156, and has lots of timbers, relics, medieval artworks, and smuggling history. It is primarily a high end hotel and restaurant nowadays, but was always at the high end (Queen Elizabeth I stayed here, and more recently the last Queen Mother and Prince Edward have visited) with a variety of ornate lounges in which to eat, drink, or just sit and admire. The bar is a room to the rear known as the Giant’s Fireplace, with a huge open log fireplace recessed into the wall right down one side and a priest hole in the chimneybreast.

The beer selection was pretty tedious, with three hand pulls offering Harveys, Pride or Old Speckled Hen alongside the usual other selections, and although the roaring fire was charming to see it made the room so hot that even non-smokers were going outside to cool down. This is a ‘must visit’ pub that you’d come to for its history and architecture, rather than because you particularly wanted a drinking session here.

On 13th March 2012 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 271 recommendations about 270 pubs]

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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Tony Jaglo
Rye, 0.22 miles, 4 min walk (show)
Winchelsea, 2.3 miles, 44 min walk (show)
Doleham, 7.67 miles, 2 hr 28 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for The Mermaid Inn, Rye
19th Sep 2021, 16:37
Picture submitted by paulof horsham approved
19th Sep 2021, 16:37
Picture submitted by paulof horsham approved

Pub Details

Pub details supplied by members of this site to the best of their knowledge. Please check with pub directly before making a special trip.

  • Accommodation : Yes last updated 19 April 2013 by Alan Winfield
  • Hot Food : Yes last updated 19 April 2013 by Alan Winfield
  • Real Ale : Yes last updated 19 April 2013 by Alan Winfield
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