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Old Cross Tavern, Hertford

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user reviews of the Old Cross Tavern, Hertford

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

Third pub of my Hertford crawl and this was much busier than the Black Horse and the White Horse, despite it being a smaller pub. It has its own brewery, appropriately named Old Cross and was dispensing its Autumn Ale. In addition there was Raw Baby Ghost IPA, Wold Top Golden Summer, Timothy Taylor Landlord & Dark Star Espresso. This was the only pub I visited in Hertford not dispensing a real cider. But the Espresso was an adequate replacement for me. The barman (landlord?) was friendly. A beer festival was being advertised for October. The scotch eggs caught my eye too. But I'd already decided to try the nextdoor Chinese takeaway! Runs the Black Horse close as my favourite pub in Hertford.
blue_scrumpy - 18 Sep 2015 19:33
A superb pub with an outside courtyard area. The beer selection included a special house-brew called Eldorado, an elder flower flavoured pale ale at 3.6% which was absolutely delicious (previous reviewer 'dyyony' must have been unlucky). I also noticed a Mighty Oak and Green Jack beer. Locally-made pork pies, scotch eggs and pork scratchings were all very good too. Very friendly landlord. I just wish I lived nearer to it.
apologue73 - 18 Jul 2013 13:43
Excellent pub with a great selection of beers, though I didn't think much of the one they brew on site. Landlord was great, very friendly and helpful. Not much of an outside by the looks of it but inside it has plenty of character - great place, wish I had tried the scotch eggs - they looked great.
dyyony - 21 Aug 2012 22:17
Top pub. Small, but very good selection of ales, both te ones I tried were faultless. Service excellent. A very sociable place.
Wilson_MacDonald - 13 May 2012 17:50
Small,cosy and still with a good selection of ales. Went in with a group of geriatric delinquents who were quaffing Kwak (too early in the day for me to drink headbang stuff). Had best ales of the day here, which I rounded off with a nice (if strong) Church End brew. It may not have the history but it still is the best pub in Hertford by a good margin.
Snarling_Mallard - 1 Jan 2012 11:12
Small and cosy - two real fires - no music, TVs or fruit machines; all very civilised, but possibly too civilised. I agree with the Music Man that it does lack the feel of a pub, but still a good place to drink, if not to eat - only snacks available.

I think the beers I had one Sunday lunchtime were Maldon Gold and the Tavern's own brew Grin 'n' Titter both OK but unexceptional.
henrythenavigator - 20 Dec 2011 20:20
Yes, there are some excellent ales available here, from the great standards like London Pride and T.T. Landlord (though both were off on my last visit), to the unusual products of microbreweries, along with an impressive selection of bottled ales, but I'm not convinced by this place. It has an interesting range of customers, predominantly of a more mature generation than many of the pubs in the town but, when busy, negotiating the bar can be a nightmare and it somehow lacks the feel of a pub with a real history. Before its (relatively) recent conversion, it was an antiques shop.
The_Music_Man - 18 Nov 2011 17:40
This place is great - go there! Hertford has everything you'll need for a good night out and this place really is the cherry on the cake.
adgi - 3 Nov 2011 19:04
In the style of an old fashioned high street drinking establishment and I would not say 'arguably' as it IS Hertford's best real ale pub. Plenty of ales on. Had a Dark Star kind of morning as I went for their Old Chestnut here which was the best pint of the day. They also do a small range of pies to scoff. Not cheap but you get what you pay for.
Snarling_Mallard - 4 Sep 2011 11:26
Still arguably Hertford`s premier real ale free house. Yes, there's less Belgium beers than there was and Mighty Oak beers now seem to be in residence, Viper Ales Jake The Snake and Maldon Gold were on for my last visit, there's still at least three other ales and a real cider. My pint of Thornbridge Jaipur IPA was as good as it gets, and a quality homemade pork pie as well.....
Gann - 22 Aug 2011 22:40
Seems to be a heavy tie to Mighty Oak as there's always 3 of their beers on. They sometimes offer a good guest beer though.
They've been running down the Belgian beer stocks for years. I've been waiting for more Orval since 2007!!
meado - 3 Aug 2011 09:19
Continues to be a great pub serving good beers in tip top condition. My only negative is that the Belgium Beers are running low and the variety has all but gone. Come on Bev get a decent supplier, please !!!!
Hertfordshireboy - 17 Apr 2011 20:33
An excellent pub for people who enjoy their beer and conversation in a pleasant environment. The only criticism would be that the place is a little small and so quickly gets overcrowded. For that reason we tend to go over to the Old Barge.
realaleluva - 6 Feb 2011 17:28
I'll add the fact that this pub is still a fabulous oasis in a town full of dives. Strange that Hertford seems to be a peaceable well-heeled place, yet attracts knuckle-dragging mungwits around its streets. Praise be that after a few glasses of well-chilled Belgian or English porter, nothing else matters.
And their scotch eggs are historic...
pkrp - 22 Oct 2010 22:36
Foghorn (or should that be F***wit?), when you start writing reviews about PUBS and BEER (the purpose of this site) then just maybe I might believe you have a clue what you're talking about.
holbornboy - 21 Jul 2010 16:02
Foghorn, if you were there on Friday and found the beer to be drinkable then you are as clueless as I earlier surmised. It was my companion who put forward the opinion that the beers had been put on too soon, and believe me, he knows a lot more about beer than I do!
You have made over a hundred contributions to this site and two things stand out - you don't talk about beer ('I've drunk for Engerland' (sic) - my arse!!) and you're a foul mouthed yob. Hopefully the mediator will now see you for the troublemaker that you are and remove you from this site forever.
holbornboy - 11 Jun 2010 22:41
No he wasn't . My dad fought them in the war. The Germans do brew a good beer though and can take a good penalty. Are you a mate of Leghorn?
Henners - 11 Jun 2010 18:04
He is entitled to his opinion, his other reviews are not negative,like some miserable sods who slag of everything, so whats your problem. Ive normally had a excellent beer here, but fests can sometimes be a let down. Using the C word is low grade and should only be used against bar staff who offer you john Smiths Smoothflow when they have no ale on.
Henners - 11 Jun 2010 17:41
Foghorn (appropriate name that, a loud unpleasant noise) did you attend Friday's session at the Old Cross? I'm guessing that you didn't and even if you did I doubt you are capable of telling whether a beer was 'off' or not, seeing as your 'reviews' never mention beer (or anything else for that matter, one wonders if you actually understand the purpose of this site)
For your information, my companion made a return visit on the Sunday and found the beers to be good, confirming our view that perhaps they were not ready to be served on the Friday.
Why don't you stop making fatuous comments about other people's contributions to this site and start reviewing pubs and beer. Or is that beyond your capabilities?
holbornboy - 11 Jun 2010 16:39
The best pub in Hertford I missed the beer festival but in 4 years I have never had a dud beer I guess I have been lucky.
hogshead - 11 Jun 2010 15:51
Rubbish holbornboy. By Sunday they'd sold out, all bar a few gallons.
How do you sell 20+ tubs of "dud" beer in a day? Mystery to me boy.
foghorn - 10 Jun 2010 11:15
Paid a visit to the Old Cross on Friday, looking forward to it's annual beer festival. My friend and I were initially impressed with the breweries represented. Between us we sampled two Brewdog beers - The Physics and Trashy Blonde, Crouch Vale Apollo, two Castle Rock beers - Harvest Pale and Screech Owl, Dark Star IPA and Houston Blonde Bombshell. With the exception of the Apollo, they were all duds. Perhaps they had been put on too soon? Given that some of our favourite breweries were on show we were extremely disappointed. We cut our losses and moved on to the draught Hophead, which was excellent.
This is still a very good pub but sadly, the beer festival was a major letdown.
holbornboy - 30 May 2010 23:35
This is a tiny living room type pub with a small bar at one end with eight hand pumps. There is a covered courtyard out the back with lots of vines and hanging baskets, but it is no smoking.

My Landlord was in tip-top condition, but I think I would enjoy this place a lot more if I was twenty years older.
Strongers - 16 Oct 2009 23:44
Just superb.

Timely pilgrimage on 19/8/09 with friends in a very enjoyable Hertford crawl. Unchanged since 2007; very friendly staff. Dark Star Hophead and Oscar Wilde Mild were exquisite; OXT was tried but seemed to lack hop character. Very easy to simply settle in and enjoy relaxed conversation and equally difficult to leave. The best pub on our crawl and worthy of the high rating I awarded in 2007, which remains!

You will NOT be disappointed.
lad_newton - 28 Aug 2009 01:33
On a recent visit I had a pint of OXT at 200p a pint and a pint of Jake the Snake at 280p and the place was packed out due to a funeral whoever he was he must have been popular.
hogshead - 24 Aug 2009 14:01
In on a Sunday evening and again on a quiet Monday night. Oxt Ale on sale at £2 a pint and the Lemon Dream was superb, that with a couple of Belgium Beers and good company and the world is a better place.
Hertfordshireboy - 8 Jul 2009 19:50
Read the reviews, so called last Monday lunch time. Guess what?. It was SHUT. O well try gain another time.
chiefknut - 4 Jun 2009 01:22
Much deserved winner of CAMRA South Herts Pub of the Year,wonderfully relaxed boozer serving tip top ale.Maldon Gold was great and they usually carry a brew from the Red Squirrel Brewery which is turning out high quality ale.The Red Squirrel bitter was excellent and the small brewery in the back now produces Oxt' Ale which was pleasant and only costs £2 per pint at lunchtime and early doors.Best pub in Hertford,one of the best anywhere in the country.A real gem.
Bucking_Fastard - 29 May 2009 11:11
The pub's motto is 'Pubs the way they used to be' and following two visits at the weekend, I am inclined to agree. No TV, no jukebox, this is an excellent old-fashioned boozer with a slightly 'country' air to it - hard to believe, then, that the pub is only ten years old. In fact it was celebrating it's tenth anniversary last weekend with a four-day beer festival. They had a large number of gravity ales in the beer garden, of which I sampled several. From the Oakham brewery, I tried Bishop's Farewell, Oblivion and Endless Summer. All were good, but I was particularly impressed with Endless Summer, which at 3.4% would make an excellent session ale. I also sampled two beers from Dark Star, the IPA and the Ruby Mild - both were delicious.
Luckily, my companion and I had arrived early enough to secure one of the two snugs as the place was heaving from about six o'clock onwards
On our return visit the following day we sampled another Oakham beer, Inferno, a light, refreshing ale, Harviestounís Bitter & Twisted which has a complex flavour Iím still not sure about, and Inveralmondís Ossian, a thirst-quenching golden ale.
Well deserving of the CAMRA award, this is a superb pub that I shall visit again.

holbornboy - 26 May 2009 17:01
Just won CAMRA South Herts Pub of the Year - what more can you say? I've been going here for years (It's celebrating its 10th Anniversary in 2009)
Go and enjoy a great night out with decent beer or two!
leffe4me - 5 May 2009 12:41
This is what all pubs should strive to be - friendly, community, beer, friendly, beer, scotch eggs, pork scratchings, beer, character, beer and smiles. Bloody hell - London Porter was just incredible...smoky,dark,sassy and perfectly chilled. Ascension, a floral Pale Ale was so tasty it positively shone in the glass.....and they sell Belgian beers....Corsendonk in it's proper glass - real beer served with grace. Basic snacks confirm the attention to beer detail, exactly how it should be. No poncey lamb shanks with redcurrant jus and no rows of neon light pumps serving chav fighting juice....Turn up and smile the night away....
paulio1966 - 3 May 2009 23:26
Visited The Old Cross Tavern lat Friday with ten friends. About my third visit and for some of my mates there first. Excellent atmosphere very busy, bar staff were very quick at serving and knowlegable, but most importantl all the beers were in superb condition. A must visit when in Hertford for Real Ale drinkers.
Quirkey - 27 Apr 2009 09:43
Great city-centre boozer with a fine selection of ales making a welcome break from the McMullen ales in most of the other Hertford pubs. Also better than the over-priced White Horse. Hertford's essential visit.
baxterfish - 20 Apr 2009 18:32
Pub Of The Year, as voted by the South Herts branch of CAMRA. Well deserved!
timkholman - 10 Apr 2009 14:20
I love this pub, there again Saturday lunchtime. Five real ales on, two ciders plus a small but safe range of Belgium beers. The pubs own brew "Laugh and Titter" is good. Also serving ale from the local Red Squirrel brewery and the Morehouse Bitter was excellent.
Hertfordshireboy - 23 Feb 2009 19:42
Lively and friendly town pub, the best of the Hertford selection tried yesterday. Eight handpumps, serving six at the time. Mainstreams Pride and Landlord, Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde, Red Squirrel Natural Blonde, Laugh and Titter...barman claims this is a house brew?, plus something else I seemingly didn't record. A good selection of Belgian beers too although it was amusing to see the guy drinking Kwak with the glass in a wooden holder. I'm sure its supposed to be the proper way. Fairly traditional town style interior, a mix of exposed brickwork and wooden panelling in the single bar. Decoration consists of cases of beer bottles and jugs and tankards suspended from the ceiling beams. A big old log fire for the colder months. Recommended.
Maldenman - 14 Sep 2008 10:36
Great little pub with a good selection of beers including London Pride and a few porter type beers.Staff very helpful and the customers are chatty too .I bring my dog in and have a relaxed time talking to other dog owners.

A shining example of what a proper pub should be in every respect.
hogshead - 18 Jun 2008 13:25
Had a couple of very well kept pints in here. Was an airy, comfortable place to while away the time on a hot afternoon. Am considering working out a way to get there (without a car) for their Beer Festival at the end of May.
Martin_R - 12 May 2008 13:58
Friendly, traditional old pub in the medieval town centre. Carpeted and small, like an uncle's living room, there is a warm, cosy feeling. There were 6 ales on tap when I was there, and other stuff besides. Gets very crowded with ale-supping locals at peak times.
Greshon - 25 Mar 2008 09:47
Small but quite cosy pub selling a good range of changing ales from microbreweries including some you will rarely find in Herts. Staff are friendly and the beer is well kept. I have heard some comment on it getting very crowded but when I have visited (afternoons admittedly) it has had enough people for atmosphere but not been overly crowded. If in Hertford you should try to vist.
Brewshed - 18 Dec 2007 11:13
A classic pub. Very well maintained beers, constantly changing guest beers and a good selection of belgium beers (though not cheap).

Only down side is the place could be bigger but thats not their fault. Great interior (feels like a pub from a bygone age) run by people who know and care about beer and their customers.

Friday and Saturday nights can get VERY busy but the atmosphere is great.

I would vote this as the best pub between Hertford and Cambridge from a strictly drinking aspect.
leffe4me - 24 Oct 2007 16:24
Fantastic pub with ever changing beer selection along with regulars being Landlord and London Pride.Always good beers from Hertford`s Red Squirrel brewery.Nice relaxed atmosphere and a fine selection of pies!
captainblah - 9 Aug 2007 18:48
A gem.

I visited on Wed 01/08/07 with a friend who had not been since the refurbishment a few years back and was thrilled with the interior and atmosphere.

Superb Dark Star and other microbrewery beers, including an exquisite 6.6% stout. We were offered tasters, and succumbed to temptation.

Excellent pub, Recommended!
lad_newton - 3 Aug 2007 11:14
One of the best pubs in Hertfordshire for real ale.
ooermissus - 30 Jul 2007 10:00
Went there a couple of weeks ago with Pidley2547,fantastic as ever.
Staff always friendly and well informed.
Exellent selection normally with a quality dark ale.
uerige58 - 24 May 2007 23:18
Great pub with five or six handpumps and a few well covered outside seats. Tried a few beers, all were excellent. My personal favorite was the Oscar Wilde Mild, fantastic pint. Very friendly atmosphere as well. Sure I'll be back in the next holidays.
Pidley2547 - 22 May 2007 01:27
Great pub, very friendly, five handpumps, real ale in superb condition, I recommend Church end.
tophatter64 - 8 May 2007 21:32
superb pint of hophead on my last visit and i am sure i saw old rosie cider on offer but i had to rush, otherwise!!!!!! local buses in the evening leave a lot to be desired alas..
blackrat - 11 Mar 2007 01:28
Smashing pub. Good selection of ales - all in splendid nick. Knowledgable bar staff and for you fatboys, the food's very good too.
ADM - 26 Feb 2007 11:43
really nice little pub, good beer and nice atmosphere.. highly recommended


mralistair - 18 Feb 2007 16:25
Best pub in S.E. Herts for Real Ale . Brewers Gold , Hophead ,Maldon Gold all first class . Friendly atmosphere.
martinfrancis - 24 Dec 2006 19:50
Good food, good beer, and glad they moved the bar to the end of the room!
Hoyus - 10 Dec 2006 08:16
Good beer, good service and no gimmicks.
One of the top 3 pubs in Hertford.
Andrew_Smith - 5 Dec 2006 11:39
superb pint of hophead downed the other day , am told the landlord was just as good, IT IS hertfords best pub ,, it does hold beer festivals occasionally , a nd well worth a visit .. about 15 minute walk from train stations -- bit longer on return no doubt..
blackrat - 4 Sep 2006 01:44
Really cosy - seemingly always busy, but some of best quality beer tasted anywhere
mtaylor40 - 30 Aug 2006 21:32
we found the staff and customers to be a bit frosty, beer is good tho
olivefairy - 18 Aug 2006 18:06
Absolutely classic. Easily one of Hertford's best pubs. Visited with a friend last night during a "crawl", Intended to have one pint and move on, but for all the best reasons that did not happen.

The Mighty Oak "Left Back At The Bar", 3.9% was wholly exquisite. One pint was simply not enough.

We sat in the comfortable beer garden, and were afforded friendly welcome and conversation by a local named Martin, who was on the Timothy Taylors "Landlord" also perfectly kept. There were at least four beers on at the bar.

This pub remains a MUST when crawling Hertford, and I am very sure we'll be returning in the near future.

Excellent.
lad_newton - 8 Jun 2006 12:48
Pub won another CAMRA award.
Angela - 5 May 2006 23:23
I'm pretty new to Hertford and I love this pub. The range of ales is great and think it's a pretty friendly place. I'd encourage all to get down there for a pint.
kevh - 3 Apr 2006 23:50
Great beers - always changing. Good food too. Unfortunately pub is very smokey and has an almost unfriendly atmosphere. Can't get near the bar at times. Change of staff seems to have upset some of the old regulars who are now departing for pastures new. Great shame.
Korky - 26 Nov 2005 16:47
One of my favourites! Always friendly staff serving a decent, very well kept, selection of real ales. I think the small size helps to keep the friendly atmosphere. The beer festival's always worth checking out, as long as you get there early! Especially like the no big screen, no music (except the live stuff on the odd occasion) and no disco!
Keir - 27 Jul 2005 22:40
A football free zone!
No big screen. No Karaoke. No Disco. Bliss.
Angela - 17 Jun 2005 19:17
Pub has won an award, runner up, South Herts CAMRA. Has already won Pub of the Year, South Herts CAMRA, 1999, 2000. Good Beer!
anonymous - 29 Apr 2005 01:33
Pub does get busy. This means it is a very popular place. Good service, even though busy. Locals are friendly. Beer is always good, lots of choice of ales. 4 regular beers, always good. 4 guests always changing including one a dark beer, e.g., milds, porters, stouts. Best ales choice in Hertordshire.
Angela - 31 Jan 2005 21:13
I agree the pub is small and yes it does get crowded at times, but I love the atmosphere and the beer is always excellent - its great that there is always different guest ales available each week.
bigaledrinker - 31 Dec 2004 10:54
The beer has always been good for me. There's usually a newspaper or two to read. I agree the bar is hard to get to with all the regulars standing along it. The pub is too small to be really comfortable.
Malcolm - 14 Oct 2004 18:46
Went in on Friday bar hard to get to, not very friendly, beer quality has gone down hill since they moved the bar. Why did they do that?
vivian - 4 Oct 2004 15:32
It looks like the regulars (bar hoggers) have just discovered this site. True the beer is good and there's actually 4 guests on. The food is good too. It isn't like pubs used to be though and regulars still crowd the bar intimidating outsiders.
anonymous - 15 Sep 2004 09:30
Always an excellent selection of well kept ales. Delicious home cooked food and a very warm and friendly welcome from both staff and locals.
Tara Iles - 15 Sep 2004 08:22
Always interesting ales, traditional atmosphere
Angela - 13 Sep 2004 20:21
Just discovered the pub, very friendly, easy to meet people, have conversations. Beers are in excellent condition - genuine freehouse
John - 13 Sep 2004 20:09
Well kept beers but a bit on the dull side. Should be called The Old Cornish Tea Rooms... and why did they move the bar????
Stan - 5 Aug 2004 09:07
The beers are good but the atmosphere is very depressing, it is labeled pubs as they used to be. It is more like a tea room on an old fashioned railway station.
Alan - 18 Jul 2004 17:28
The lunchtime food is very good but this pub still has an old tea room feel about it rather than a pub. The locals are as friendly as the ones in the White Horse and are normally hogging the serving area. Also in keeping with the White Horse this pub has about 2 guests ales and six regulars. The guest ales are more varied than the Horse though.
anonymous - 14 Apr 2004 14:52
Have used this pub as my local and cannot fault it. House beers and regular changes of guest ales makes every visit a different experience
Yvon Dumont - 1 Mar 2004 22:00
Can it be called a pub? There is no music, no fruit machines. But good traditonal ales, the famous Bevs Fish pie made fresh that day. If you want to just relax this is the place to go
charlie - 6 Oct 2003 13:04
fabulous pub in the heart of Hertford! Great lunchtime foods and good selection of drinks. Nice and quiet. Good real ales.
(No sports big screen TVs!)
anon - 5 Oct 2003 17:59
A little gem.
One of the best pubs in Hertford, this hostelry MUST be visited!
lad_newton - 16 May 2003 13:08
Excellent Real Ale Pub. No intrusive music/TV Sport. Apparently good lunchtime food.
MrX - 15 May 2003 16:43

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