Ian Rose and Jason Vaughan-Philips made me feel most welcome when I paid my recent visit to The L.A. Bar as its new owners, having bought it from Mike Gullen some two months ago after his retirement. The bar was called Gullen’s Bar and was a well-known landmark in Saltdean for some decades.
Jason kindly showed me round. I couldn’t help notice the term ‘IMAGINE’ presented boldly above the bar. Jason told me they believe this to be the most powerful word in the world, and I guess you can’t argue with that. Above that you can see the phrase: ‘Be good or be gone.’ Jason explained this captured the culture of their establishment perfectly: it aims to be, above all, a friendly community bar. If you don’t want to be good then you can leave. It sounded reasonable to me.
During my visit they were about to fit a smart dispenser that provides a perfect pint every time at 2 degrees centigrade. They will be going from 4 drafts to 8 just in time for the summer. They also serve a wide variety of quality wines, and do a good trade in gin, all carefully sourced.
Naturally with a name like The L.A. Bar, some confusion can occur. The old picture of New York, still with the imposing twin towers, pulls you away from the obvious conclusion. You will be told if you ask that L.A. stands for Longridge Avenue, of course. A name inspired by the previous owner.
Art Decor images surround the bar, with a gold lustre used in logos and decorations to absorb and present the best of the morning sun. Customers have been consulted in the design decisions in the bar, assisting with the retention of the oak flooring, for example. They have a beer garden out the back, with more tables and chairs out front. Dogs are most welcome. The friendly, fun atmosphere encourages people from across the generations. Popular playlists are complemented by live music on a regular basis.
Future plans include an extra sitting area to allow people to sit at the main front window – to allow customers to watch the world go by. The garden area will also be expanded. During my visit it was a glorious evening, as Jason and I sat out in the garden chatting about their ambitious plans.
WEDNESDAY - PUB QUIZ NIGHT
To celebrate the coming together of their vision, this week, they will be holding their first quiz on Wednesday 29th May from 8 pm. Teams will be able to compete for the prize at £2 per person. The winning team takes all during the evening.
The matching proceeds will be donated to the Rottingdean and Saltdean Lions a Club that supports local charities, individuals in need, and community/Lions projects. It should be a fun evening for a great cause.
REAL ITALIAN FOOD
The LA Bar is now served by The Crocodile Café that is also located in Longridge Avenue. While at the LA Bar you can order from a provided menu, and the order is phoned across and delivered by a member of staff from The Crocodile. The LA Bar has a lunch menu of sandwiches, pizza and three fresh pasta dishes. They also have light bites and two specials every day.
As Jason told me, ‘We are not a cocktail bar, bistro pub or wine bar, although we do serve great wine and cocktails. We are a community pub for the local residents to come and relax, have a good time and make some memories.’
Sitting in the beer garden, there is a fine view of the apartments that have been developed from the old Art Décor Butlins Hotel. The L.A. Bar is situated in a building that was constructed at the same time in the 1930’s. This era has now been sensational brought back to life in this fine community venue that is The L.A. Bar. An early visit is highly recommended.
Reporting for ZoneZine
67 Longridge Ave,
Bank Holidays Hours may differ
Saltdean and Rottingdean Lions