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Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington

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user reviews of the Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington

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

This is a crap alternative to all the high price arty fatty, Tarquinette, I have more money than you pubs. It allows people who want to stay in Stoke Newington to be able to afford a beer and not pay a premium of £4 because you are surrounded by toffee nose, berry eating twats. It is a real pub for real people, nothing pretentious and is frequented by real, down to earth folk. Not the type who want balsamic vinegar with their carb oblongs or a saucer of milk for their in-bred, animal cruelty mouse-dog. The staff are friendly, can be a bit slow but the chain keeps workers pay low which is a major factor. Good space and fair pub.
Sernicki - 12 Nov 2016 20:15
If you want to see the real Hackney before it became all trendy and up itself come and drink here. But be warned, the service is very hit and miss and some of the characters drinking appear to have fallen on very hard times. Not for the faint hearted or those wanting to be around pretty faces when they go out for a drink, but this pub has some atmosphere which is more than can be said for quite a lot of the newer pubs in Stoke Newington.
mike25 - 4 Mar 2014 22:31
Not the best branch of Wetherspoons you'll ever find. It did have a few ales on and the conservatory at the rear was a fairly pleasant setting to relax for a while. There is also an area outside at the rear. Beers on were Ruddles Best, Belhaven Black, Good George Pacific Pearl, Kelham Island Pale Rider & Brewsters Belly Dancer. Ciders were Gwynt y Ddraig Black Dragon & Westons Wyld Wood.
blue_scrumpy - 9 Apr 2013 20:17
the ifrst impression that you get is that of a public convenience with the tiles on the walls. as you progress the smell cleanliness and standards do not improve cobwebs everywhere i dont think theyve taken them down sincs halloween the service at the bar was apalling i was verbally accosted at the bar by what can only be described as the rudest manager i have had the mispleasure to meet that was aftr 10 minutes to be acknowledged i was going to order food but decided against it all needless to say i will not be returning there ever
trogmaster - 1 Feb 2012 16:17
This pub used to be called the Rochester Castle but its layout was a lot different back then. You walked in and the bar was a curved affair that was on your right with seating around it along a back wall. Don't remember it being as large as it is now so I guess it did have a larger room at the rear for private functions/gigs etc?
Weatherspoons took it over around 83/84 and gutted the old interior and turned it into the pub we know now with lots of booths and a glass atrium at the rear. They also renamed it the Tanners Hall. They changed the name back to the Rochester Castle years later but I can't be sure when as I left my employment and Stokey around 85. I always remember this place as being one of the first Weatherspoons in London, not including the other Weatherspoon house The "Marlers Bar" across the road that predated the Rochester by a couple of years if memory serves me.
ganger - 31 Dec 2011 07:01
As far as I am aware Tim Martin opened his first pub sometime in 1979 so I would think that "The Rochester" fails in being one of the first opened.
wyndham - 5 May 2011 20:20
not a typical lookin spoons from outside this pub actually came up trumps!the ale selection was good and the quality was fine,we ordered food too that was served quickly and the bar maid was friendly,8/10 very happy
fat_beer_badger - 25 Apr 2011 21:09
An unreconstructed Wetherspooons shed with the usual high turnover of not-enough bar staff. But... I've never had a bad pint here nor paid more than 3 quid. If you come here with regulars, you'll feel welcome and safe enough. And I've been to rougher pubs (although not for very long). But, yes, it's not part of the New Stokey.
KathS - 5 Apr 2011 14:34
I like this pub. It has a good range of interesting, value-for-money ales, pleasant/helpful service from behind the bar, and a nice mixed clientele.
beermann - 5 Mar 2011 14:06
On a recent visit the staff (manager?) seemed to care about the quality of the ale. And about promoting ales from small independent breweries. Very friendly staff all round too. Unpretentious, well priced, and with interesting local characters.
dirtypj - 29 Jul 2010 12:35
Enjoyable W'spoons. Quite a few local revellers singing and dancing. A reasonable choice of beers on handpull. I left here giggling. What more can you ask for?
chick - 30 Apr 2010 21:26
Church Street. Sweeping gentrification in the last few years, has passed the Castle by. Multiple blonde graduates, whose working day amounts to contacting thousands of unseen third-parties via handheld telecommunication devices that spread information, like bubosis, via social networking sites.
But these blondes wisely fear to tread the Castle walls, for despite lack of social awareness, even they know, that women customers are punched in the face.
Punched in the face by brutal men, whose working day is equally as empty as the privilaged graduates on Church Street (but lo! these mens' lack of employment is due to a firm lack of qualification and civility); punched int he face for being the 'fairer sex', for being physically weaker yet emotionally stronger, punched for challenging their drunken male companion's paranoid accusations of infidelity.
The beer is good, but what is good beer if the taste in one's mouth is sour? How could any gentleman taste the beer when their palate is covered in waves of disgust, as they witness another woman get assaulted?
For the previous comments are most true! And I beg all women (even these blondes, whose relevance to humanity is minute) to avoid this public house, and go to one of the establishments on Church Street.
There you'll find gentlemen. Young gentlemen who know how to treat a lady; handsome, witty, charming young men. Handsome young men, who will charm you and then when their attention drifts... will contact thousands of unseen third-parties via handheld telecommunication devices, spreading information about their lives (like bubosis) via social networking sites.
DarlesChickens - 22 Mar 2010 18:25
Been to plenty of Weatherspoons pubs and well aware of the folk they attract but this one seems to be a magnet for those one step further removed from the average gene-pool. Saw a man hit a woman in the face when I was there too but it wasn't snowing outside so perhaps its a regular occurrance. In the end she took it well and eventually stopped crying, sat down and carried on drinking. Seems to be a beer festival on every other week but I very much doubt it matters to the regulars who can be seen queueing up from about 9.30 in the morning. Saying that, had many a pleasant one-way conversation in here and whilst it wouldn't be my first-choice destination in Stokey I wouldn't discount it either.
JCThunderbolt - 9 Dec 2009 16:41
Remember that day in February 2009 when it snowed so much that nobody went to work? I'd just moved to Stoke Newington and went on a bit of a pub crawl to get to know the area.

Popped in here. I have to say that the 99p IPA was ample compensation for witnessing a bloke punching a lady's face in in the corner. And the 2.99 ham, egg n chips rounded off the experience...nicely.

Good chance of scoring some puff outside if you've go the bollocks to ask the rudeboy geriatric potheads too, I reckon!


Parky.P - 1 Nov 2009 15:45
Not a bad 'Spoons. Nice to see some remaining original Victorian tiling. Draught beer was poor though, wrong temperature and lifeless, flat.
Disley - 8 Jan 2009 00:25
Typical huge Wetherspoons pub really. Bit grimy and dirty around the edges. Was there last night and the service was painfully slow. It would have been quicker to get a drink by raising the Titanic and seeing if there were any left in the saloon. Nice little suntrap of a beer garden though, although it's not particularly huge. Interesting mix of customers too, not just your stereotypical Wetherspoons regulars.
buster_gonads - 17 Jun 2008 15:05
I don't know why I like it, but I do. It's where joy lives. Bar staff are variable, however.
patrickjsm - 12 May 2008 19:57
I'd suggest any review dated before August 2005 is so far removed from the current effects of the two makeovers and change in customers as to be unhelpful.

Choice of beers and wines good, food good and its big pubby surroundings good. Apart from occasions when behind the bar appears to be like the Marie Celeste or a training ground for the terminally slow and bewildered, it's not bad.
alanco - 21 Nov 2007 11:17
You presume correctly, Glasbowboy.

It's good - for a Wetherspooons.
LemonGrass - 13 Jun 2007 16:05
Visited this pub last Thursday during the Spring Beer Festival. A very good selection of real ales on and in good condition. Haven't been in here for about 3 years and it had definitely changed. Very much lighter and airy and as far as I am concerned a step forward from the original gloomy atmosphere that used to prevail. Also the food portions were better than usual for a JDW.
wyndham - 5 May 2007 21:42
Presumably this is the same Rochester Castle which was part of the gig circuit in the heyday of punk. I saw Tubeway Army support The Lurkers there and also The Cortinas, The Subs and The Jolt (I think).
Glasgowboy - 30 Apr 2007 11:45
Alot different in there now all the smokers are up the back. Feels almost too clean, I was going to make a comparison (of the front bit) to the pembury down in Hackney but you will laugh and call me silly, but yeah, it's not got the atmosphere it once had.
anonymous - 24 Apr 2007 13:04
Not for the faint hearted the 'Roch', despite being a Wetherspoon, is about as close to a 'proper' Hackney pub as you'll get in the rarified atmosphere of Stoke Newington these days. Drawn by the cheap (even by Wetherspoon standards) ales and food, the old and weary, the disenfanchised and lost, plus the seriously skint flock to this house any night of the week. In the latter group are plenty of local musicians from punk to jazz, all stretching out meagre gig fees on the specials and guest ales. It's the place for meetings and discussion as there is no music though some of the regulars make up for it in sheer decibels.
A cultural experience and a must-visit for the discerning tourist with a taste for the 'Real London' this bar has been compared to those in Star Wars and Coogans Bluff.
Only the broadest minded of ladies tend to enjoy this place so cross it off your list of Valentine's venues. Mind you, the champagne's as cheap as chips!
Gibboski - 10 Feb 2006 09:16
As wetherspoon's goes,not a bad pub.Nice conservatory at the back and an outdoor seating area.8 guest beers on when I was there and the ones I tried were in very good order.Again,most unusual.Then again,am I still asleep?
apa - 23 Jan 2006 16:03
Good points: No music or TV, so you can talk. Good prices on food (not all fried), beer and wine. Roomy and comfortable. No smoking area. Attracts great local characters.
Bad points: Untrained staff means long wait at bar. Screaming kids often running round on Sat / Sun lunch and afternoons.
alanco - 26 Aug 2005 00:53
This pub is zen-like
People sit for entire evenings
Without moving once.

Haiku_Dave - 17 Aug 2005 15:14
Well it's a Weatherspoons so on the positive side it has cheap drinks. A reasonable selection of guest ales, inexpensive food (as long as you dont mind burger & chips). And, and... Well thats about it realy! So if your looking for a night out hanging with the local meths brigade or fancy an evening playing the fruit machines in a haze of roll-up baccy? Then this is the place for you.

ganger - 10 Mar 2005 15:18
A fantastic pub featuring some of the finest characters in north London. Anyone who has met Don will understand. Guidance...
J - 5 Nov 2004 13:52
Formely the tanners hall, now a jd wetherspoons, great for cheap drinks, drunks and 2 meals for 1 5. Does have a non-smoking area and 4 fruit machines on last count.
Jaysun - 8 Sep 2004 23:32
It must have changed a lot. In the 70s it was a music venue. I remember seeing The Lurkers (supported by Tubeway Army !) there.
George - 5 Jul 2004 15:38
Cheap drinks, full of old men, nice garden (although very little)
Siobhain - 18 Dec 2003 10:25
It's a Wetherspoons, so dead dead cheap, and about a dozen real ales on, and some bargain food. But unfortunately full of tramps.
Pauly - 21 Sep 2003 12:28

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