In early 2019, Hastings-born Matt and his wife Trisala Tassell-Dawson were looking for a new challenge. But then, travelling down Queens Road one day, he spotted the ‘for sale’ sign on the front of the Prince Albert. They put an offer in, only to find that the property was already under offer. Fortunately for them, this original offer fell through, and the couple were able to complete in June 2019.

The interior needed some refurbishing, mostly overseen by Trisala, before they could launch their revamped vision. They finally opened again on their 10th wedding anniversary, just before Matt spent two months away as a music tour manager. Trisala kept the business running smoothly in his absence, cementing the philosophy that they both agreed for the pub. The intention was not just to provide a source of income for them, but also to be supportive of the community as a whole. They have only ever offered cask beers from local breweries. They have also taken steps to keep down waste overall, refusing plastic pump clips and sourcing all of their supplies as locally as possible, with even the most distant supplies being from no further than mainland Europe.

Matt and Trisala Tassell-Dawson
PICTURE: Steve Brown

The coronavirus pandemic has put plenty of challenges their way, but has also provided unexpected opportunities as well. They had to switch from offering drinks on the premises to providing a takeaway service instead. Keeping with their aim to reduce needless waste, this has been offered in returnable glass bottles instead of disposable containers. A small hatchway in the side of the building leading straight into the area behind the bar has made this possible. As the lockdown has eased, they have kept this open to provide easy service to outside drinkers.

They have also been supported by other local businesses. Brewing Brothers (brewingbrothers.org) have provided them with a regular supply of a TPA/IPA to sell to their thirsty customers. This has been especially satisfying as the brothers’ success in their redevelopment of The Imperial provided inspiration for the Prince Albert project. Closer to home the mortgage and financial advice firm T J Oliver (tjoliver.co.uk), situated opposite the pub, have provided free use of an outside seating area behind their offices. In return the Prince Albert simply needs to keep the area in good order.

But the unexpected benefit of the coronavirus was how it enabled them to fulfill a future plan earlier than expected. As with many other small businesses, they received a rates grant as part of the government’s support schemes. This allowed them to bring the pub’s kitchen up to scratch, allowing them to offer food as well as drink.

 The intention was not just to provide a source of income for them, but also be supportive of the community as a whole

To provide food they have teamed up with the No Bones business of another Hastings native, Dave Brady, agreeing a split of the profits between them. No Bones is an entirely vegan food offering, with a focus on the under-served area of providing vegan junk food. Dave himself has been vegan for about 6 years, and had been running pop-up kitchens in pubs and other venues for some time beforehand. The food offered is all based on recipes Dave has created himself, including the spicy Chickn, a pseudo-fried chicken made with mushrooms.

The original intention was that the food would be offered from when the pub reopened, but the cost of fixing up the kitchen made that impossible at the time. By thus providing support for not one but two businesses, the coronavirus grant appears to have been especially effective in this case. The food business has followed the same ‘no waste’ ideal as the pub. The trays and napkins the food is served in are both from recycled material and are recyclable themselves. Even the crisp packets are compostable.

If you want to sample the fine craft beers and excellent vegan food at the
Prince Albert, you can find it at 28 Cornwallis Street, TN34 1SS just off Queens Road.


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