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George Staples, Blackfen

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user reviews of the George Staples, Blackfen

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

I’m sure I visited this pub around 20 years ago on a random and very drunk night out, that’s when the pub was known as the Woodman. It’s been renamed George Staples for several years & has appeared in the 2014 & now the 2016 good beer guide.

Being only a few steps from the Broken Drum it would of been wrong not to have visited here while in the area.

Me and a pal got here at about 8.30pm and stayed for 2 pints each. The pub is really not the type I expect to find in the GBG as it’s quite family orientated and serves cheap meals, on this visit food was very popular and there were quite a few families with kids aged around 7 years old, a bit too young in my opinion to be in a pub at 8.30 on a Saturday night! The place was packed but the young bar staff served everyone in a timely and orderly manner.

Now to the reason of my visit and the reason this pub is in the GBG and that’s because of its ales. The 5 hand pumps had a varied selection of 5 ales with IPA’s, mild’s and best bitter on offer. I opted for the Brentwood Marvellous Maple Mild with an abv of 3.7% and it was excellent. If you are a Camra member and card holder you get a discount, which I think was 15%, 2 pints for £5.40…not even I can argue with what.

The ales are great and the choice was surprising but it’s a strange pub, the place is huge and there was a singer on round the other side of the bar…he wasn’t bad but he did clear the bar a bit when he was singing with a large chunk of the punters going outside to the smoking area while he performed!

If you like your ale and visit the Broken Drum take half an hour and pop in here as well, ignore the food and kids and concentrate on the ales…you won’t be disappointed.

lezford - 11 Mar 2016 13:28
Friendly staff and a passable pint (Brains seasonal) in what looks like a recent children's fun pub but now a cheap and cheerful eateries, definitely not gastro.
mtaylor40 - 23 Dec 2013 23:30
Two of us went there for lunch and a pint on 3rd June 2013. Service was pretty good although some of the girls should learn how to smile.
Had a pint of Adnam's Ghost Ship which wasn't the best pint I've had but just about drinkable.
Ordered steak and kidney pud which was very nice and some Italian chicken dish which was also nice. Didn't have to wait long but it was 2:30PM so not busy.
This is more of a gastro pub now and fine for a meal. Prices weren't too bad and overall I'd probably go again.
zapsincl - 4 Jun 2013 10:09
Went to the pub for lunch yesterday, haven't been for years but had heard the pub had sorted itself out. Was served by a nice young man who I think was the assistant manager. He was very polite and welcoming. The food arrived and was lovely, I will definitely be coming back here again.
Jojo27 - 25 Oct 2012 10:18
Very nice pub! Wonderful atmosphere and clean! The food is lovely would definitely recommend it
Kelly1992 - 12 Oct 2012 20:19
last comment about this pub was on 25 Oct 2011 and WOW has it changed. Went there Sunday 07 October 2012 and I was astonished. The place was lively with atmosphere a busy, family friendly, clearly well run local pub. The food was a reasonable price and an excellent standard, Also I was quite picky with a few minor menu changes and the Kitchen were happy to help. From the moment I walked through the doors I felt I was looked after until the moment I left. Definitely give it a try! Forget the old reputation and believe me it has changed for the better. Will be going again!
blackfenpubs91 - 9 Oct 2012 18:33
And the name itself now seems to be swamped by advertisements for the cheap and cheerful menu, so perhaps we can surmise the managerial strategy. Not that's in unusual!
pub_aficianado - 25 Oct 2011 19:04
Oh, and I meant to mention - not sure that 'George Staples' is anything but a spurious so-called local connection. Did the previous 'The Woodman' have a particularly unacceptable connotation?
pub_aficianado - 18 Dec 2010 16:36
Anonymous premises these days, indistinguishable from so many others, coupled with equally anonymous surroundings and beer and even the food.

A cheap menu, these days, is hardly unique, but at least it's offered.

Not somewhere, I think, though, to make any special effort to patronise.
pub_aficianado - 18 Dec 2010 16:34
What a shame.. The pub is done out lovely BUT we were so fed up with the loud boring music tapes played on the TV's over and over again, that we were finally driven out to find other pubs.. Used to eat in here a few times a week but the music really put me off!!!!
katyoxo - 27 May 2010 13:59
Salsa gone or going, as with cheese night and keep fit. Quiz night moved or gone, Rock & Roll Bingo gone Karoake moved. Children out earley. Not sure if changing almost every thing that made it a place you wanted to be is the right move. when the community wanted it like that and supported it why change it??? Bands back, never worked before or the time before that. Lets hope these new girls can keep the louts out and the beer up to standard. Time will tell but so far looks like a big mistake. Last manager was worth weight in gold.
tryme - 18 Mar 2010 07:33
Something has happened.
It seems TCG has lost the plot and wants to return this community hub, which has been returned to the residents of Blackfen by the efforts of the govnor since 2008, to the local low life. Perhaps we locals should have seen this coming, as TCG are an investment company, not a brewery and, therefore not the least bit interested in the local community rather than the return from the bottom line.

oldblackfener - 12 Feb 2010 23:46
I know it is nothing to do with the pub, but there are a lot of young mums drinking at the tables outside, with their kids running around, what a mess they make leaving crisp wrappers etc. How come these mums can afford to do this in the afternoon, perhaps a visit from social services.
middenmaker - 30 Sep 2009 21:16
Oh my golly gosh, Well what a differance 2 years makes.
September (24th) sees the 2nd year of the new poeple (outsiders from North of the water) at what use to be The Woodman.
Who ever said may change the name will never change the pub????
By the time the 2 years rolls round there will be something happening 7 days a week. you really MUST log on to face book and sign in to threr sight.
And if you aint into whats going on you could just people watch,(now theres something you can't do in some pubs i could mention.)
for those that cast a web of doubt, i challange you to visit.
see face book first so you know what your going to expect, or take my recomdations, Tuesday or Friday night to start with.
tryme - 25 Aug 2009 17:08
Went in here first time today, well impressed. Glass of wine and a beer, 5. 1 hour later, went into the Jolly Fenman, same drinks nearly 7, oh and I wonder why it was empty, the Fenman that is.
middenmaker - 15 Jun 2009 21:49
good friendly pub
londondrinker2008 - 4 Dec 2008 14:32
What ever next????
Now Salsa dance classes, Free Cheese board night and all the other stuff going on and now theres the great 10 pin vidio bowling challange. never short of some thing to do. I know where i'll be for newyears eve!!!
tryme - 21 Nov 2008 16:04
Fantastic well run family pub- now the heart of the community.
What a winner !
mark.nield - 15 Oct 2008 19:12
This is a friends local pub, two minutes from his house. I've visited him for the last 36 years but have only been in the pub in its former guise, The Woodman, on one occasion. It was not the most welcoming of places in the past. It is now the George Staples and under new management. The pub has an open plan layout and is now very light and airy. It does have a pool table and the usual fruit machines, none of which are of interest to me but these are cleverly located at one end of what is basically and "L" shaped room. They are close to the Karaoke area. Inspite of the open nature of the pub, any noise from the younger drinkers is easy to avoid (I'm 64),having said that, there is apparently no "Segregation" by age. The new Landlord seems to have created an atmosphere where everyone mixes well yet each age group can still have its own part of the pub if they want. Taking this further, mixng of diverse ages seems to happen at the "George" more succesfully thsn in most places.
On my visit in July we were in the pub on a daily basis, one day we were there twice - unheard of in the old days.
The decor is very up to date, but homely and relaxing. The food is excellent, and the service friendly. I'd not normally visit a city pub ona Friday or Saturday night but on my visit the atmosphere was relaxed throughout.
If you're in the area, don't miss it!
fourteen - 12 Sep 2008 09:43
As the resident karaoke dj of this pub i would just like to say how good it is to play in a pub that has a good atmosphere, i have only been at the pub for the last 9 months but have felt welcome from the first time i played there, There are people ready to sing before i have finished setting my equipment up, lots of familys come to sing before 9pm and the only hard part of working there is trying to hide when the landlord wants to sing (or try too). i only play the pub once before 2 years ago and i must say its a houndred time more inviting now and long may i work in such an happy enviroment.
jayjay73 - 10 Sep 2008 00:17
At last, and Ive been waiting for 60 years, Blackfen has a proper local. Somewhere you can go with friends or on your own. You can have a quiet drink or something to eat in a comfortable corner or alternatively you can watch or even join in with the fun. You can talk for the first time to the people that have been your neighbours for decades.
A revelation for us oldies is that young people having a drink can actually be good company rather than how the media likes to tell us they are.
All this and some very nice real-ale makes this customer a very happy bunny.


oldblackfener - 9 Sep 2008 12:25
being a regular at the pub for some time now i have to say, what a differance a year makes. a complete turn around, it's now a nice comfortable place to go. a mixed bunch from 18 to 80 and not all blokes. theres always some one there that will have a chat and the karoke is brill. I hear more entertainment is on the way. hope so. we have needed this for a long time.
tryme - 7 Sep 2008 15:34
And i forgot to say that it is no longer The Woodman, It is now called THE GEORGE STAPLES.
dragar - 7 Sep 2008 13:22
Well what more can i say about this pub. I have been in the Pub when it was bad. and again since it has been done out. What a big improvement. You would not believe it is the same place. But the good thing of all is there is no trouble. well none that i know of. And i go there 3-4 times a week. Loads of family's, All age groups go in now. It's nice to have a Good Community Pub back that you can go to and relax and have a good time. So if you don't believe the place has changed then go and see for yourself.You rely will be surprised
dragar - 7 Sep 2008 13:18
Now reopened with name change, looks very posh, shall I risk it, will let you know later.
middenmaker - 30 Jan 2008 20:37
I have been living in spain for some time now, i have heard this place has changed its name,is it a restaurate now? the woody was the nuts it catered for every age groupe, from the oldies playing cards and dominoes to the youngsters selling drungs and brawling outside, a bit of everything for every one! i spent many weekends in this place and met a very large comunity of the underworld, hope its not now a weatherspoon boozer as they are really poo, when i return from spain do i go there? or do i go strait to the fenman? can someone point me in the right direction thankyou
sephryder - 13 Dec 2007 15:51
Its being refurbished, lets hope the drug dealing scum do not return, you know who you are, me will be watching you.
middenmaker - 29 Nov 2007 19:42
After living in spain for 3 months i have realised how much i miss that place, I love nothing more than the smell echoing from the gents and the puddles of water and urine that wreck my classics week in week out, I also love the hard wood flooring around the bar area, great for sliding on knees providing lots of fun for myself and my friends!
Dont let anyone put you off this boozer, its fun for everyone. To be honest its situated in the best town, I try not to leave blackfen if i can!
sephryder - 11 May 2006 17:48
A fantastic pub , situated in one of the finest parts of the garden of England, however over the last few years there has been a small problem with theft in the pub. Many due to a notorious gang of females who frequent the woodman. Their usual technique is for a couple of these harlots to distract punters by screeching out karaoke songs while the rest of the gang go through the handbags and pockets of unsuspecting victims.

Be on your guard tho and the Woodman guarantees a great night.
Bulla - 10 May 2006 11:08
i used to work there and we alway had fun,but after the temporary managers started comin it become realy shit.but mayby now it will change....could someone tell me who boughted it now?
blondee - 1 Dec 2005 11:36
Live near there, always fighting and yelling after hours. Blackfen is swarming with dolled up tarts and bruisers in pink shirts with frosted hair most evenings. It's a pub for the young and the dim I suppose, I prefer it before it was done up, at least they had live music.

Been in there during the day though, service was good but not over friendly. Ok place for a pint in the day although I didn't really feel at home.

chubbykipper - 20 Oct 2005 14:20
this use to be a really good pub but not anymore stay away!!
jess1979 - 1 Sep 2005 18:35
I remember the Woodman from the 1950's when I was a boy. Then it had a gang of boozers - just like now. They were Georgey Boy (my dad), Echo the Sweep, Harry Manners, and Monty Smith. I bet nobody remebers any of them - and that must be a lesson for the Woodman's younger drinkers. Anyway! I now live in retirement in Bournemouth - and leaving Blackfen in 1961 was the best thing we ever did.
Peter Froude - pfroude@cwctv.net - 6 Oct 2004 14:58
Decent wednsday night out, never been any other night. Mostly a young crowd, fair amount of fit birds. Never seen any agro in there, but u do get a few idiots in there that think there something they aint, but i suppose you get them everywhere.
Fairly decent service, sometimes u have to wait a while but not too sad overall. Decent beer.


rushy - 15 Aug 2004 13:07
we just started going back there use to be alot of trouble seems to have gone now good karaoke weds nights good dj fridays great night on the tiles
brook m - 20 Mar 2004 00:34
Got done up last year and looks great!! Karaoke great on Weds great Dj Fridays and Sundays good night out!
Emma B - 28 Oct 2003 10:30
Not too sad as a pub, but ruined about the nasty clientele. But then this is Blackfen, remember...
Darryl - 21 Jun 2003 21:06
Nice place. Recently refurbished and well... nice. Great pool tables. And ask for the button at the top of the Kronenberg pumps!!! WICKED!!!!
David Beckham - 30 Oct 2002 13:57

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