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Friendly staff at The imperial ready to serve up beer and pizza

Discoveries on Queens Road

Queens Road is a part of Hastings that has been a long time in regeneration. Now it looks like the balance might be tipping in it’s favour, as new businesses begin to emerge. HOT’s Nick Weekes had a look around.

Queens Road has been a good destination for a cheap haircut and a mooch around the charity shops for some years and it’s close proximity to Morrisons makes it an easy place to combine these activities with a supermarket run and ample parking space.

That’s a good starting point – and to build upon it, there’s a new collection of ‘interesting’ shops appearing along the main road into Hastings. What’s more, most of the businesses I spoke to said they’re busy and feel things are picking up in the road.

A meander along Queen’s Road

I begin by walking under the iconic iron railway bridge and walk the length of the street as far as Bookbuster. On the way, I pass Stargasm Longboards, a pioneering new skateboard shop that sits on the corner of Stonefield Road. It was closed at that time, but looked really interesting inside.

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The Imperial

How about a first class pint of beer and a pizza (with vegan options available) at The Imperial? The beer is brewed on the premises and the pizza is made before your eyes. The atmosphere is warm, cosy and pizza fragrant. The brewing brothers, Ned, Charlie and Billy Braxton moved here in August 2016; the pub became almost instantly popular. “We’re from the country and Hastings is more country that you normally get in a town” says Charlie. Of his success he says: ‘We sell what we would want to buy”.

Tearing myself away from the temptation to drink ale for the next two hours, I head to the lively section near Morrisons filling station and work my way up the next few hundred yards with no shops, save for a couple of white goods refurbishing enterprises and a Chinese take-away.

Directly opposite the filling station is The Queens Road Emporium. Vicky Nagy’s boutique shop reminds me a bit of  ‘Mr. Ben’, the popular children’s tv series, a colourful array of curious furniture, ornaments, vivid china doorknobs, interesting cards, wooden puppets, unusual lamps, toys, mirrors and soft furnishings. The shop has a lot of work by local makers alongside the other pieces. It’s an inspiring and quirky properly little place and another good reason to come to Queens Road.

Cafe Grand Rue de Pera at 73–74 Queens Road is owned and run by Barbaros who has also started writing articles for Hastings Online Times. He makes a great cup of coffee and fellow HOT writer Esme Needham rates his hot chocolate as the best in town. Barbaros also sells a delicious range of healthy store cupboard treats like soba noodles, specialist teas and Turkish delight. The cafe is a venue for book groups and a philosophy club. And if  you come along this Sunday at 4pm you can meet some of the Hastings Online Times team and find out how to you can write articles for the website too.

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My next stop is Xochipilli Mexican Street Food. I ask the lovely Millie some questions about her experience of Queens Road, whilst watching her prepare the enticingly delicious food. Again vegan is an option on the menu and business is good. Xochipilli set up here in March 2017. “Queens road was the cheapest in the area to set up and a lively interesting place,” said Millie. “Good for fresh ideas”.

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Quesadillas in preparation at Xochipilli

If you need a specialist cookware shop, look no further than the middle of Queens Road. Chef’s Ware has it all and more… really, a LOT more. From the most high end knives and frying pans to several fancy chip cutters, it’s an emporium that does Hastings proud. It’s sure to be a great shop for serious chefs from miles around. I’m no expert, but the prices look quite competitive on a lot of the items.

printed-matter-signOnward past the St. Michaels Hospice Shop, I notice Printed Matter bookshop across the street and think about all the interesting new books inside. I recently bought Kurt Vonnegt’s The Sirens Of Titan in there. It’s a small shop, but with a very well chosen selection of books on the shelves. Well worth browsing. Also Lee Humphries is happy to order any title that he doen’t have in stock.

Queens Deli is impressive. Jez Smith cures his own salt beef on site and the shop feels as though it’s been there for many years. In fact it opened in November last year. Jez moved there because he wanted a location near the centre of town. “A lot of what we sell is unavailable this side of London,” he said. Having a shop like The Queens Road Oriental Supermarket nearby is helpful. “Some people come all the way from Cranbrook to get things there” and then of course they pay him a visit. Jez, like the other shop keepers in the road, feels like things are improving. All the same, he felt that the local council could take more of an interest.

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Jez Smith and an array of mustards at Queens Deli

It’s looking like a rather foody place down Queens Road these days. At another new supermarket, the proprietor said she likened it to “a Brick Lane in Hastings”… I felt this was definitely worth passing on. Arriving at Bookbuster, I browse for a while. Two independent booksellers in one local road, how lucky are we? I start chatting to Tim Barton about the shop and it being an early ‘alternative’ in the road. If only he had supplies of craft ales and fresh pizza…

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Don’t forget to visit Bookbuster!

Details of the businesses covered (and a few more):

Stargasm Longboards – 130 Queens road TN34 1RP

The Imperial – 119 Queens Road TN34 1RL

Queens road Emporium –  82 Queens Road TN34 1RL

Grand Rue De Pera Café – 73-74 Queens Road TN34 1RL

Xochipilli Mexican Street Food – 68 Queens Road TN34 1RE

Queens Bazaar supermarket – 182 Queens Road TN34 1RG

Printed Matter bookshop – 185 Queens Road TN34 1RG

Chef’s Ware – 61 Queens Road TN34 1RE

Queens Deli – 196 Queens Road TN34 1RG

Queens Road Oriental Supermarket – 42 Queens Road, Hastings TN34 1RE

Bookbuster – 39 Queens Road TN34 1RE

 

Posted 12:12 Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018 In: Shops & Things

1 Comment


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  1. Tim Barton

    Cheers Nick!

    Comment by Tim Barton — Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 @ 10:32

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