Pub Quiz! Which pub is this?
"order a drink in the magnum glass and you better be prepared for a long session - if only these glasses were available in London it would save the old codgers in Wetherspoons pubs twenty-three extra trips to the bar, and would make an interesting drinking game for the youngsters, especially once you start your second magnum after breaking the seal."
The Fortune of War is shaped to resemble the upside down keel of a ship, which is ironic given that if you were to find yourself in the upside down keel of a ship during a war, you probably wouldn't consider it particularly fortunate. Those who like their pubs to be aesthetically pleasing will be glad to hear that it isn't modelled on the grey metal walls of a modern ship, but rather the old fashioned wooden hull of a 19th Century Ship of the Line. These warships were originally called Wooden Walls; floating gun platforms with wooden walls sufficiently thick enough to provide some protection to the sailors. They never would have got that name if the walls were anything like those in the Fortune of War; they don't look thick enough to stop a fast moving haddock, let alone a shell from a 28 pound cannon.
Aside from the name and the shape of the pub there are plenty of other touches that give the place that nautical feel, including a ship's wheel on the wall at the back of the pub, rope handrails on all of the stairs, and walls covered with photographs and paintings of ships and sea battles. The army is represented along with the navy in the various paintings, but the only place the Airforce gets a look in is, presumably unintentionally, in the male toilets with the 'Airforce' hand dryer. Given the rivalry and the reputations between the Armed Forces the RAF would argue that it's the Navy Boys that are more likely to be found in the male toilets…
The best thing about the Fortune of War isn't its themed nature but its position, right on the beachfront. The pub is split over three levels, the bottom floor acts as the bar to serve the sun worshipping drinkers who wish to sit at the outside tables, the middle floor is the main bar and there is a small area above the main bar that has tables and chairs facing windows looking out over the beach and out to sea; an excellent location for those who wish to stare whimsically out to sea and dream of a life on the open waves or alternatively an equally good location to watch the totty on the beach. Given such a view it's hardly surprising that the Fortune of War doesn't bother providing much in the way of entertainment such as Sky Sports; even The Beautiful Game would be hard pressed to wrest people's gaze from the Beautiful People passing by outside. Given the prime location you can guarantee a busy bar and a lively atmosphere on a sunny summer afternoon, go join the crowds.
Review by AJS