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Albion Inn, Chester

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user reviews of the Albion Inn, Chester

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

A functioning pub or a tourist attraction for people who like WW1. Certainly unusual but after an initial visit, nothing would make me clamour to go back.

Food OK - but I would pass on the Oatcake with various stuffings... Overpriced.

Had black sheep on, but not on my side of the bar. Went for some seasonal xmassy beer which was decent.
Mappiman - 8 Dec 2014 17:08
It’s a mark of how the beer and pub scene has changed over the years, that this place, once regarded as a fabled mecca, nowadays just seems a quaint curiosity.

As previous posters have intimated, the whole interior of the pub is given over to period advertising – mainly around the period of the first world war. Furnishings also have a comfortable retro look about them. It certainly is an eye-opener for a casual visitor – one of the few places where people rightly want to take photos in the gents toilets !

Unfortunately, it is let down by the choice of beer. Or rather the lack of choice – just two unexciting national brands being available. I had the Bombardier Gold which, whilst reasonable wasn’t spectacular.

Food is available, at least at lunchtimes. I didn’t sample any, but judging ny all the plates I saw being cleared away being empty, I guess the quality is good !

My latest visit was on my own, so I didn’t come across the “no groups” ruling. I did however, notice that the indoor advert for bar staff was mirrored by one outside advertising for customers !

6/10 – 8 for pub interior, 4 for beer selection !

Martinsh - 16 Sep 2014 22:13
Agree with NottsHammer. Went to this pub in April, Harvest Pale was decent however, noticing the signage on the way out stating no groups aloud forces me to give a low score. What's wrong with having groups come in? If they get rowdy you can ask them to leave. It also reminded me of a scene from waiting for god
soco1982 - 11 Jul 2014 14:31
Closed yesterday afternoon which seems strange when every other Chester pub was welcoming racegoers.
wirraldrinker - 28 Jun 2014 15:09
As pubs go it has all the ingredients required to be a classic - proper old style interior split in to three rooms, serves proper ale, no music, or stag or hen parties. They do stipulate that groups are not allowed and for those wanting a quiet pint then that is a good thing. It is after all their pub and they can make their rules. It is a quiet 'community' local and the last thing you need in such an environment is a crowd of stag/hen/football/camra or other associated raucous groups imposing their din and racket on a quiet pub. Library atmosphere maybe but sometimes that is what you want to escape the madhouse that is Chester on a Friday or Saturday night.
What lets it down for me is that the ale quality wasn't so great.
Snarling_Mallard - 11 May 2014 10:43
This pub used to be decent but the fact they frown upon groups coming in makes me give it a low score. It feels like your in a classroom and not in a pub that has a wealth of history and heritage.
NottsHammer - 4 Apr 2014 20:03
Were refused entry to here a couple of weeks ago. The lady that came out to us said they were closed for the afternoon (a Saturday), despite the pub being full of customers. There was a group of 6 of us (all males) and a sign on the outside proclaimed "no stag parties" on a lengthy list of do's and don't's. I suspect she assumed we were a stag party. Will reduce my previous rating of 6/10 to 3/10. Funny roles or not, a pub that doesn't allow people to go in on a Saturday afternoon in a city centre doesn't deserve to survive in today's economic climate.
blue_scrumpy - 14 Jul 2013 21:16
Traditional pub, worth visiting for its unspoilt nature. Lots of world war one memorabilia on the walls, fascinating stuff. In terms of real ale, there was two offerings from the Adnan brewery and we couldn't complain about the quality.
anybody - 22 Jun 2013 19:31
A pub to visit more for the decor than the range of ales. The Robinsons Best was in good for this lunchtime. Friendly landlady and pub cats. Lots of WW 1 memorabilia everywhere.

PoorBeerHater - 6 Nov 2012 16:56
we visited the Albion on a thursday lunchtime. we were made very welcome by a cheerful lady behind the bar. Only Adnams and Wadworthless cask on. Could have
done with a local beer on tap. Had a good lunch, not cheap but quality was good. Decor has to be seen to be believed, fantastic. Our dog was presented with a bowl of water and a small bowl of meat offcuts. Visit and enjoy this place when in Chester
ginestarboy - 16 Jul 2012 10:56
So dissapointed! Would not reccomend or return. No real ale on at all when we went pump clips just turend around (Wednesday 6pm) Tables mostly set up for food with place mats and cutlery left us shoved in a corner. Staff where both having there evening meal when we got there and not too happy about leaving it to serve us, don't know why they could of ate just before opening? Whole place smelt of food we asked was braised steak and onions to the barmaid she said no it wasn't we asked what it was she said dont know but its not that (Although it was on the menu!) Their hostile attitude made us hurry our drink and leave and at 10 for plate of corned beef hash we didnt miss out. I dont know if things like "Jamie Oliver loves us" and "these oat cakes are as seen on food programme" is supposed to impress us but it is not an actual award for food is it just some poor attempt at trying to impress, in fact I didnt see any awards up cask marque camra good beer guide The only signs of when it was good appear in old stickers in the window from 2002 (10 years ago now hardly relevant now!) It is sitting back on what used to be and If this pub doesnt pull its act together it will be like a dinosaur and become extinct as much better is to be found in Chester now.
realalelover2 - 29 Feb 2012 17:24
Closed when we turned up @ 6pm - we were following the original ale trail as it is 40th anniversary of CAMRA - dissapointed. We rang but were informed that they would not be opening that evening.
kernott1 - 30 Dec 2011 09:34
Visited again whilst working in Chester. I only went in for 1 but ended up chatting to a fellow drinker and the barman and stayed for 3. Top pub for a chat and beer. In Chester, you must visit.
rpf1955 - 20 Nov 2011 18:11
A back street boozer just a couple of minutes walk from one of the main strips, but due to its location on the corner of a row of terraced houses and some old alms houses it feels a million miles away from the noisy bars nearby. Its not obviously a pub from the outside, with no pub sign other than the name etched in to the window glass.

There are three rooms inside the largest on the left might be described as a lounge, and there is a small snug to the right. Behind this, a slightly larger room. Both the lounge and the snug have pianos, which made a change from the omnipresent plasma. The decor in the lounge gives it quite a busy feel, with red patterned carpet and green leafy wallpaper. There was some bench seating around the perimeter and plenty of small bar tables and stools plus a couple of old standard lamps. On the wall were numerous old product signs, such as those for Colmans Starch, Wills Star Cigarettes, Frys Chocolate and Rowntrees Chocolates and Pastilles. There were even a couple of illuminated Shell signs above the bar. In the snug I spotted a couple of vinyl records in a glass case.

There looked to be a decent selection of food chalked up on a board, although we didnt sample it ourselves. The beers on tap were Mardue Brewerys Radgie Gadgie and Black Sheep. The solitary cider was Scrumpy Jack.
Blackthorn - 15 Jul 2011 00:08
odd feeling with this pub...we were the only people in here on a Weds evening and the barmaid looked bored senseless...only one ale on.
burns20 - 31 May 2011 19:26
A lovely, quaint bit of Old England - a pub as pubs ought to be . Only visited at lunchtime so it was a bit quiet, but still stayed for three pints. The sign proclaiming "This is a family hostile pub" ought to be compulsory for every boozer in the country! Long may The Albion continue the good work!
scoobybooze - 23 Mar 2011 19:15
Quirky back street boozer that is like a living museum of wartime memorabilia. 2 rooms with a central bar. Adnams - Broadside & Black Sheep Bitter. I can see the novelty value but it wasn't really my kind of thing.
happytyskie - 18 Mar 2011 14:12
This pub has quite a warm and welcoming atmosphere with its fine wallpaper and the old signs lining the walls. There are 2 bars, one on either side as you enter. Beers were Greene King IPA, Deuchars IPA and Titanic Lifeboat. Quieter than some of the other pubs I tried. But then it's slightly off the main drag.
blue_scrumpy - 23 Jan 2011 13:39
Just one real ale on when I visited, can't remember what it was but I wasn't that enamoured with it. The food was excellent and the interior is interesting, but the WWI memorabilia was somewhat oppressive. It was an early Friday evening so perhaps this pub comes into it's own later in the evening but I have to say the atmosphere was a little bit like a waiting room and I felt strangely self conscious sitting on my own. Couldn't fault the service though which was pleasant, civil and efficient.
ILooklikeme - 27 Jun 2010 12:27
Got in here on a Tuesday night at approx 7pm. Black sheep bitter was good once it had settled. Had the Turkey dinner, also very good and everything home cooked not your processed rubbish. Great war memorabilia and old metal signs throughout.
rpf1955 - 5 May 2010 19:50
The reviewer who went on 22 March must have gone before 6pm as The Albion was alive and well when we visted on 3rd April. Fantastic interior with William Morris wallpaper and it feels like war-time britain! We didn't eat but the food looked good. There were 3 good beers on but the beer was a bit cold. The no children policy is brilliant - if only more pubs were like the Albion.
Deb1 - 4 Apr 2010 14:57
We heard glowing reports about this pub and heard the food was very good it took us a while to find it and when we did it had closed down.
GILHIL66 - 22 Mar 2010 04:31
Popped in for a quick pint, the atmosphere didn't do much for me! Staff were reasonably friendly, beer was well kept, although selection was not inspiring. Didn't try the food, although the menu looked interesting. Will have to go again to make my mind up properly!
lill1971 - 11 Mar 2010 17:29
This place is a hidden gem and the food and beer ares great. I agree with the other reviewers, from my own experience, that erratic opening hours are frustrating and lose custom at a time when pubs can ill afford to. Apart from that great place and well worth seeking out.
WildNWindy - 8 Feb 2010 22:31
I've never knowingly come across the landlord but the landlady seems very friendly and always gives our dog something to eat. The beer is excellent and the Staffordshire Oatcakes are wonderful. The opening hours are, however, very, very silly.
mousefan - 25 Oct 2009 19:16
This is certainly a rather odd place but it is unquestionably atmospheric in a 1940s way. The beer is excellent but the variable opening hours are an obvious downside.
tbennett54 - 26 Aug 2009 17:38
I can't add a lot to the recent reviews, both in terms of the positives and negatives of this place. It is very idiosyncratic, and I like the place for it, given Chester hasn't got as many top class pubs as you'd expect compared to what it probably should have.

Food is very good, beer is always well kept with a decent range, but undoubtedly the landlord is full of himself, the pub is living off it's reputation somewhat and the opening hours are very erratic indeed. Can often go and it's shut.

7/10 on balance the good points outweigh the bad, but the reviews sum it up well and it's definitely not for everybody.
mps77 - 18 Mar 2009 13:36
The last 4 times I have been to Chester, this pub has been closed. If thats how the manager thinks this is the way to run a pub, he is very much mistaken. I will not be back.
grizzlygus - 23 Feb 2009 15:20
If a lanlord sees fit to put up these in-your-face proclamations of who he will and won't serve then he sets high standards for himself.
A) Although the menu looked good it was expensive. It may have been excellent but we couldn't afford it because:
B) We had just paid 7.20 for a pint of ale and a gin and tonic.
Suggest he adds the following line to his many notices "Only enter if you're prepared to be ripped-off".
The interior is nice enough if a bit overdone with the WW1 stuff - but 7.20 - for heaven's sake.

Ihateclubmans - 20 Jan 2009 19:47
called a while ago on a trip to chester.
a unique pub with the courage of its convictions to stick to its own individual character and standards.
okay while ever the demand is there, I suppose.
its well described previously.
I would also say its one to visit, if just for the novelty and good beer.
a 7 from me.

reynard - 21 Dec 2008 22:10
Splendid Victorian back street local close to the river and just inside the City Walls ( which are well worth walking incidentally, while waiting for opening time ) .

There's 2 interconnecting rooms either side of a central bar.

The evidently idiosyncratic landlord - not sighted during my visit - is a keen collector of World War One memorabilia which is displayed throughout the pub, with Kitchener posters - " put the Hun on Iron Rations" - and enamelled posters etc advertising such delights as Colmans Starch and Frys Chocolate. Note also the splendid wallpaper and period furniture.There's also a piano.

The landlord makes no effort to attract customers who don't fit in to the pub's character. Note the blackboard outside with messages such as " Don't bring your stag, hen or pub crawl here. We don't need you. We don't want you. We won't serve you."and also " no designer drinks, shots". The pub prides itself as being family-hostile.

Whilst not everyone will agree, I have to say that I applaud a pub that is prepared to buck the trend and not pander to the alcopops/ loud music/chain-pub drinker types, even if his motives are doing so are probably largely commercial.

Suffice it to say that at 6.30pm on a windy and damp Thursday evening, the pub was packed with a wide range of discerning customers enjoying the fine atmosphere.

Food - known as "rations" here - is from the old school - eg minced beef, mashed potato and greens etc and is a major draw.

Real ales on were Black Sheep, Landlord and Bombardier.

Not everyone will agree that's for sure, but I regard this as a "must visit" pub.

Long may it flourish and prosper !
JohnBonser - 8 Oct 2008 13:38
Twee pub with unpleasantly right wing landlord
ericthered - 19 Aug 2008 14:36
This is a superb pub. It isn't difficult to conform to the standards expected by the management here. Indeed, this pub harks back to the days when we were rather more civilised, and such behaviour is expected here. If this is beyond you, then don't bother. The decor, service, food and drink are all exemplary. Well done.
Carlurmston - 17 Aug 2008 22:24
as someone else wrote before......... This is a VERY fine pub with good ale and excellent food in generous portions. It gives an impression of doing things very much on its own terms. If you don't like that approach, don't go. e.g. today my wife wanted soup at lunchtime, barman said "If it's not on the menu, we dont serve it"
merrymac - 15 Apr 2008 19:28
I saw this pub while walking along the city wall and it looked most inviting and I wasn't disappointed. There are two bars - the one I was in was festooned with first world war memorabelia. I dont remember too much about the drinks available, but the bar got pleasantly busy as workers leftr their offices after their days work. No music, no games, just a nice place to relax and chat and drink. Well worth a visit.
flagship - 15 Apr 2008 11:11
I visited with friends while staying in Chester for Easter and enjoyed wandering round this interesting pub while drinking the excellent real ale. Yes - there were a lot of rules on an outside board as to who was welcome, and the pub did close shortly after we left, but it is one to visit while in the area.
gillhalfpint - 26 Mar 2008 22:33
well kept ale, and plenty of memorabilia to brouse in this interesting little pub.
we found it easily during a walk round the city walls.
a visit recommended.
reynard - 16 May 2007 13:48
Perfect for history buffs as the entire pub is lined with First World War memorabilia (a particular favourite is an advert imploring us "to put the Hun on iron rations"). The staff are perfectly friendly - even to young non-regulars such as myself. Excellent and affordable food, certainly the best food I've had in Chester's pubs - the haggis tortilla is especially tasty.
drewsy_uk - 14 Apr 2007 20:36
It is undoubtedly the worse for its foibles. If, as I do, you travel a considerable distance for excellent food and drink - make no mistake, that's what you get - only to find that it is shut, or that Basil Barmstick is strutting up and down the pavement in an apparent attempt to drive away custom you do tend to lose patience. And I don't understand his problem with racegoers: they get grown-ups at the Albion on race days, so far as I've seen. The yahs seem to go elsewhere. Mad as a mongoose.
joegreen - 14 Nov 2006 13:46
Well it was open on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.! The best pint of Black Sheep I've had in ages. Yes, the pub has its foibles, but it's none the worse for that. The fact that it is family hostile makes it worth the effort to find it open. It's so nice to be able to enjoy a pint in peace and quiet.
southdown12jack - 11 Sep 2006 17:01
It's a funny old place, the Albion. It's an undeniably well preserved traditional pub, serving good food and beer. Unfortunately, they open it when they feel like it, and make no apologies for doing so. There's only so many times you can walk up to the place, find the door shut and read the "We're open when we're open" sign in good humour. They do a very good job of looking after the locals, (while treating anybody under 40 with suspicion) which is very commendable, I suppose. I wonder what they'll do when the last of the "locals" has died off and everyone else is sick of being turned away? On one memorable night, I walked up to the door with two friends, one of whom was talking in a loud voice. I said "Shhh! They won't let us in if you don't keep your voice down!" only to round the corner to the door to find some battleaxe standing there with her arms folded, saying "Who's doing all that shushing?! Eh? Whoever's making a racket, doing a lot of silly shushing can't come in!". I'm not kidding.
A good pub spoilt by the misguided attempts to keep it unspoilt.
weav - 12 Aug 2006 12:21
A beautifully preserved three-roomed backstreet local just inside the city walls. WWI & 1920's memorabilia are fascinating to look at, and there's a pianola which the landlord occasionally cranks into action.

Had lunch here on a Sunday afternoon (cottage pie) and it was as good a "traditional" pub meal as I've had.

Real ale is Cain's Bitter plus two guests.

Current Good Beer Guide gives the opening hours as 12-3 & 5-11 Mon-Thur; 11-11 Fri; 12-3 & 6-11 Sat; 12-3 & 7-10.30 Sun.
Rich66 - 10 Aug 2006 21:33
Well worth a visit. I've lived in Chester for over 50 years and this is the best pub in the city - just read the reviews of this place in the national press. The meals are the best pub meals I've had, anywhere in the UK. The landlord knows his stuff and the beers are always in top condition. Highly recommended.
electrophotic - 19 Jul 2006 21:02
I withdraw my earlier suggestion that you find the opening hours in the GPG - this place appears to open when it bloody well suits. But if you find it open, and if Captain Mustardgas is not in evidence, you will find an exceptional pub.
joegreen - 26 May 2006 13:09
Of the 3 visits made to the Albion its only been open once! Whilst one might forgive (but should you) being closed during Chester races, not being open at 10.20pm(not Sunday)seems to me to be playing at running a pub. "we're open when we're open, closed when we're closed" sign by the door isn't helpful when away from home using the Good Beer Guide.
When it was open the 2 ales on were fine. The welcome was friendly, can't speak for the food.
Doing things on its own terms is one thing but listing it for others to fall foul is another. CAMRA members please note. There are an array of Chester pubs offering good ale not listed. As said before in the Albion reviews avoid if you don't like the approach! Can't say fairer.

kennyM - 20 May 2006 21:35
Great food. The portions are epic in size! The beer is a little on the expensive side but you are always guaranteed a good pint.

A very traditional pub. Certainly worth a lunch-time visit.
gjs34 - 31 Oct 2005 15:57
This really is a superb example of what all back street pubs should be.

It is the perfect place to enjoy BEER in the EVENING.

They serve their ales in fine condition and by the look on the faces of people who were eating on my visit, the food must be great as well, it cetrtainly smelt nice!!!

cobbo - 31 May 2005 11:04
This is a fine pub with good ale and excellent food in generous portions. It gives an impression of doing things very much on its own terms. If you don't like that approach, don't go. Otherwise, find its opening hours - the Good Pub Guide is available online - and enjoy.
joegreen - 21 Apr 2005 13:56
Can only echo what has been said - also the food is great "pub food".

A true gem - worth preserving, although the landlord could do himself (and us) a favour and lighten up on occasion.
Bob - 27 Sep 2004 17:08
Great pub, the other reviews ring true.
simon - 7 Sep 2004 15:11
Mike Mercer is a gem of a landlord. The pub serves very well kept beer, the food is wonderful (unless you're veggie), and the people drinking there are a friendly bunch.

The best pub in Chester by a country mile.
Pl Curley - 22 Jul 2004 15:24
This place is a little gem, use it wisely and protect it dearly, there are not many this good left !!
IB - 7 May 2004 09:29
Although I never managed to get into this pub (it seemed closed when I was passing on Saturday afternoon), I thought it well worth mentioning...

The signs outside the pub proclaim it to be one of Britain's only remaining truly original pubs - and from what I could see, this would certainly seem to be true. "No play areas, no children, family hostile" proclaim the notices, while inside I could see lovely open fires, cast iron tables and William Morris wallpaper. There is also an array of Great War (1914-1918) memorabilia, whilst four real ales and a large malt whisky selection seems to be the style behind the bar. The cat lounging on the wall completed the picture nicely.

The owner seemed to be having lunch upstairs at the time, and I'm not sure that an interruption from a 'young 'un' like me would have been entirely appreciated... Maybe next time I'm passing...
Andy - 22 Feb 2004 14:23

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