There’s the Dark Star ‘home’ pub (The Partridge) not too far from the Downs Link where it passes through Partridge Green.
Fine for fresh Dark Star beer but ALSO a chiller cabinet of cans of creme brulée and bottles of espresso stout to take away.
The Wellington is (or was...) a Dark Star pub just by Ham Rd green. I’ve only ever eaten crisps there -post skate session- so can’t vouch for any food. The beer’s always good tho.
The Welly is at the Brighton end of town. Pubs further into Shoreham (which means they’re nearer to the end of the Downs Link) are all pretty good.
Other places I’ve tried:
The Bridge Inn and Crown & Anchor are riverside, pretty standard stuff (London Pride, lager, Guinness). The Marlipins is in the High Street (Harveys, Gales, Timothy Taylor) is decent, but kind of swing-a-cat awkward if I recall. There was also an odd real ale place opposite the Ropetackle which might be what’s called Piston Broke now. ‘lol’ geddit.
Basically, even the fussiest real-ale beardsman can find something to drink in a very short stretch between the Ropetackle and McDonalds : )
Then there’s the cycle route to Brighton that mostly runs along the beach, so a bit more scope for beachside drinks with bikes and assorted tat.
I guess it depends what the plans are for the return journey?