The Old Lifeboat House, Clacton

39 Marine Parade E, Clacton-on-Sea CO15 6AD

I was going to say that The Old Lifeboat House brought real ale to a largely desert-like Clacton a couple of years ago, but for an old lifeboat house, I’m not sure that’s a metaphor that works.

It’s a stone’s throw from the sea, and it’s a throwback – it feels like a Northern Working Man’s Club (I’ve never been in a Southern Working Man’s Club so I wouldn’t know if it’s like one of those). It’s spartan – formica tables and basic chairs. But it’s clean, and it serves an ever-change range of ales from across the country, testified by the pump clips steadily taking over the walls. It has an over-25s policy (at least part of the time), which is more about keeping out the lager-drinking youth, rather than the young craft ale fraternity.