This was the taproom of the Sussex Hotel on the corner of Marina and Sussex Street. It opened in the early 1830s and had a dance hall with excellent acoustics, popular with middle-class customers. The St Leonards Quadrille Band played here regularly until about 1840, when the tap and dance hall were integrated into the hotel.
The Sussex Tap was one of the pubs involved in the ‘treating scandal’ of 1837. During the 1837 general election the Conservative candidate Joseph Planta was accused of spending thousands of pounds to bribe voters. In a subsequent court case in 1840 Jemima French, the landlady, was called as a witness and described large gatherings of ‘pink voters’ at the Sussex Tap drinking free punch with funds provided by the Conservative candidate. ‘Pink voters’ were conservative voters who believed in reform and the extension of the franchise.
The hotel was probably re-licensed in the 1860s.