Meet the owners of the new Hastings town centre pub opening at Easter

A new pub The Seadog is set to open in the heart of Hastings town centre and hopes to open its doors on Good Friday (April 15).

The Seadog is close to Priory Meadow shopping centre and the main railway station on the corner of Station Road and Devonshire Road in what used to be the old Royal George pub.

It is being run by Joseph Ryan and Holly Murdoch who are aiming for it to be a welcoming boozer with a touch of Irish charm and a penchant for hoppy beers and quality wines.

The couple are advocates of championing the UK pub scene and intend to reinstate some of the pub’s original charm, innkeeping with the eclectic style of Hastings. The couple share a thirsty enthusiasm for good beer, and as such punters can expect 15 taps of rotating beers from the UK’s finest independent breweries.

The Seadog. New owners Joseph and Holly. SUS-220804-095516001

Beer lovers can session on fresh pints from hop-heavy-weights such as DEYA, Verdant, Drop Project, Pressure Drop, The Kernel, and Cloudwater. Local favourites include Beak Brewery, Burning Sky and Three Legs, to name a few.

Some more mainstream names will be on tap, not forgetting the black stuff - Guinness. Cask and draught will be available for takeout, alongside a huge selection of cans. Cocktails and the usual pub pours can be found alongside a solid wine list which will include some specialist natural wines, as well as highlighting the grapes from the local region of East Sussex.

Joseph said: “Vibes will be laid-back as you like, with an emphasis on the local community, live music, and great craic! The Seadog will be showing some of the major live sporting events – promising to be a great spot in town to watch the rugby over pints.”

Holly added: “It’s exciting. Lots of people passing by have shown an interest and want to know when it will be opening.”

The Seadog newly signwritten ahead of opening SUS-220804-095526001

People won’t go hungry at The Seadog. A food offering from kitchen resident Fatso’s Tacos will be churning out mouth-watering tacos with their modern take on classic Mexican street food. Customers can get stuck into tacos loaded with crispy pork belly and pomegranate, to pulled jackfruit with dukkah, or locally caught fish, ensuring that vegans and carnivores are catered for alike.

On Sundays, a traditional roast with all the trimmings is king and will be served from 12 – 7 pm.

The pub originally named The Royal George first opened its doors in 1853 and was, under the patronage of the historical brewery, Watney’s. It operated as a traditional beerhouse, serving the people of Hastings, and the railway station. The pub took on many guises over the years, including Grace’s Wine Bar, The Priory, The Bat and Ball, and Frank’s Front Room. In more recent years it had a close call with a planning application to convert it into flats.

The building has already been improved with traditional sign writing that includes a ‘welcome to Hastings’ message.

The Seadog's new signs ready to go up. SUS-220804-095536001

Originally from West Cork, Joseph (39) moved to London to pursue a career in banking before opening his first pub, Hoxton’s Howl at the Moon in 2011. The pub has forged a reputation as a lively place to enjoy live Irish music and sporting events.

Joseph went on to open craft beer trailblazers, the Fox in Dalston, The Bear in Camberwell, and The White Hart Beer House & Kitchen in New Cross. Joseph still operates Howl at the Moon, but the three latter pubs have subsequently closed, sadly due to housing redevelopment projects.

Holly (37) grew up locally in the village of Robertsbridge, her parents met and lived in Hastings old town in the 80s and as such, she has a huge connection to the town. Holly has had a successful career in PR and marketing for hospitality brands for over 12 years and is passionate about the pub industry. She has worked on an international level for brands such as Deliveroo, Zuma, and Five Guys as well as independent UK businesses, such as the Prince of Peckham, Mac Factory – and of course, Joseph’s London pubs.

The couple met in 2019 at Joseph’s London pub, Howl at the Moon, where Holly quickly became involved in supporting the marketing efforts of his pubs. They recently moved down from London to live in Hastings, spurred on by Holly’s childhood connection to the town. The couple had no intention of starting a business in Hastings but felt that exciting things were happening within the hospitality industry of the town and that there was potential to open a new pub in the area when they came across The Royal George.