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The Ragged is a natural home for creative souls and independent spirits. We were in our early 20s when we founded the pub and wanted to make it the sort of place we wanted to go to, so it has a young spirit, and this continues even as we get older…

The Forum Who we are, and where it all began

In 2006, a group of friends, all of us connected through the Tunbridge Wells Forum, had a vision. We wanted to create a relaxed, casual space where people could gather for drinks before and after gigs. 

But that was just the beginning…

Located just a stone’s throw away from the Forum, The Ragged Trousers sits in the heart of the Pantiles – a pedestrianised urban oasis surrounded by buildings and featuring a bandstand, mainly used for brass bands at the time.

We saw an area brimming with potential. Underused and underappreciated, the Pantiles was a sleepy shopping destination that we envisioned could one day become a bustling and vibrant hub where culture, music, food, drinks, and arts could thrive. Our mission was to help bring it to life.

A taste of Paris

We were lucky to be joined by our chef, Bastien, after a chance conversation. Trained in the traditional French style, Bastien has worked as a chef since he was just 14 years old. 

Many of the dishes on our menu reflect his Parisian background, with specials like our Cassoulet – a winter regular – providing a rustic and authentic taste of France. At the same time, Bastien was quick to realise that The Ragged was in essence a pub, and that our menu should reflect that as well.

The Pantiles Community

We understand that a great pub isn’t just about what’s on the inside but also about its surroundings. That’s why we’re passionate about contributing positively to our community through partnerships with local charities, musicians, and organisations.

Eager to breathe life into our vision of a bustling Pantiles, we began supporting and organising events soon after opening. From sponsoring Jazz on the Pantiles and working closely with Local and Live, to helping to organise farmers markets, food festivals, and fairs, we helped to kickstart the ‘Pantiles Renaissance’, which transformed the historic walkway into the vibrant food and drink destination it is today.

Present Day

People who come here feel part of something…

Almost two decades since opening, The Ragged is still run by three of its founders. Bastien has been with us from the very beginning, and his food continues to be the heart and soul of The Ragged, while Jason and Rich are often here, on the other side of the bar, as they continue to run the Forum, Fonthill microbrewery, and two other local pubs – The George, and The Sussex Arms.

Over the years, we have seen many people come and go, and watched as they have moved on to great things, but they almost always return – and we always look forward to welcoming them again.

Why “The Ragged Trousers”?

The Ragged Takes its name from Robert Tressell’s semi-biographical novel, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. Based on some of his own experiences of poverty and exploitation, Tressell’s book describes the life of the working class in the early 1900s in nearby Hastings.

The Ragged Trousers is a truly original pub name. Albeit something of a mouthful, it is a constant source of amusement to passersby. Affectionately known to its friends as ‘the Ragged’, we are proud of our pub’s links to the book and its argument for a kinder society.