During World War Two, a bunch of Free French sailors regularly wreaking havoc on German U-Boats sailed from the port at Cowes and frequented the Painter’s Arms when not at sea. (The Painter’s was a rough pub then as it is now or as the Editor of On the Wight put it “I missed some forking action Friday night“). They approached the landlord and asked if he could come up with some garlic as the English food was dreadful (in their humble opinions). The landlord arranged for a flight dropping off some covert agents on the mainland to return with a couple of bags of garlic which were the basis of what is now, arguably, the Isle of Wight’s most famous crop (they have a huge festival dedicated to the bulbs every summer).
It was this story of garlic that I put the Painter’s on my shortlist of pubs for this trip. I was not disappointed in what I found.
I needed some sugar for my leg cramps from the marathon and got a pint of Strongbow then settled in to listen to the guitarist playing for me and the bartender and a couple of guys shooting pool. He wasn’t half bad, either, but his set was soon finished and I went out to the smokers’ area and found about twenty locals discussing the legal merits of entrapping paedophiles.
I think this is one of my new favourite pubs.