The Red Lion, Biddenden - pub details
Tel: 0871 951 1000 (ref 32525) - calls cost 10p per minute plus network extras
Headcorn (3.9 miles)
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5 most recent reviews of 10 shown - see all reviews
|Having found The Bull at Benenden packed out lunch-time my brother and I headed for Biddenden. Only one pub here now The Red Lion. What a contrast in popularity to The Bull as there was only one young couple at the bar ordering drinks, the rest of the pub was eerily empty. We wondered why it was completely devoid of regular customer when the up-market cafĂ© next door also with beer and wine on the menu was full of diners and whether we should move on but as it was quarter to two by this time so we decided to stay. The roomy eating area had a log fire and was well laid out with cutlery and napkins with a tall red candle burning on each table and that together with the plentiful hanging Christmas decorations gave the place a retro feel of some forty years ago.|
The large chalk-board (no menus on the tables) had a respectable choice of starters and main courses. My brother ordered from the old chap behind the bar in the small drinking part of the pub who offered to put it all 'on a piece of paper' for payment at the end. I was having liver and bacon with veg and my brother ordered bacon egg and chips instead of the ham egg and chips on the chalk board. That at first was refused as the meal came as a package of ham egg and chips but after an argument he offered to ask in the kitchen if that was possible. The young couple had meanwhile brought their drinks up from the bar past where we were sitting to a slightly separate part of the dining area at the back but a shouted instruction from behind the bar told them to come back and sit in the main part as where they'd chosen wasn't for eating (although the tables were set for meals). Meanwhile a couple of old regulars had arrived to a cheerful greeting and 'mine host' engaged in friendly conversation with them.
Judging by his demeanour with outsiders, just passing through, as if he was serving customers in a cycle shop but chatting away to his local buddies gave us the impression of someone who thought we should be treated in as customers who could have unpredictable demands and questions.
If you would like to experience the nearest I've come to Fawlty Towers, do try the Red Lion. After all the beer was good and the food reasonable pub nosh, so I guess we must have met the famous Bob of previous comments which could be the answer as to why the pub was almost empty.
redbarrel - 21 Nov 2015 02:17
|I had used this pub a few times before with no problems but last Friday Bob, the landlord showed why he has such a bad reputation. I am a 68 year old retired business man out for a pub lunch with my sister and wife. Not exactly your typical trouble maker!|
When we arrived I went to the bar but was asked to "bear with" him and he would see me asap. After 25 minutes in the pub during which time Bob served four local ladies with lunch, greeted a regular and served him, had a long conversation with another local man about how he had sweet talked a brewery rep into supplying a glass washer in exchange for "a drink on the side" he asked if we were ready to order lunch. I said that we'd prefer to have a drink first but he insisted that we order our food before ordering drinks. This is when I made my big mistake. I turned to my wife and joked "it's just as well this isn't a pub because you could die of thirst". Bob's reaction was immediate, he poked my shoulder and said "If that's the way you feel about it the best thing you can do is put your coat on and leave!" and refused to serve us.
He obviously needs help, firstly to greet his customers with a drink and secondly to address his attitude what he perceives as criticism.
Still it's making an interesting story with my friends. Being ejected from a pub for the first time at age 68!
riechip - 21 Mar 2012 18:06
|An average village pub that does a good food trade as the meals there are all freshly prepared. The atmosphere is cozy and a good mixture of friendly locals drink in there. For how quaint and olde worlde the pub is it has a pretty average selection of beers which is a shame. Bob the landlord can be a funny old sort from time to time- he is one of those landlords who likes to know who everyone is and is far more tolerant of locals than random 'outsiders' - the reason for this I have concluded is he must be fairly near retirement age and has made his money so just wants things his own way and doesnt need to impress anyone to drum up trade which seems an odd way to be if you are in the hospitality trade. Also being the only pub in the village he knows no one can go anywhere else. Saying that he has always seemed friendly to me but then again I am local!! All in all an average pub that with a few tweaks could be an excellent pub|
eagle23 - 12 Feb 2011 14:58
|Enjoyed the beer, food was good and reasonably priced (great selection of dishes to choose from) and the staff were friendly. Nice open fire on a bitterly cold evening. Bob the landlord seemed very pleasant; he saw that we were new faces and stopped twice for a chat. We felt very welcome and will be going back – hope we don't experience any of the unpleasantness outlined in earlier comments!|
pressforaction - 5 Dec 2010 06:03
|Abandon all ye hope who enter here! that should be the legend over the door of this place. |
If you don't hear it from the landlord himself that is..the clientele is probably quite indicative of the locals who drink there and haven't got anywhere else. We really couldn't imagine anyone coming out here for the priviliedge of this sort of banter..bit of a bad taste in the mouth for such a beautiful place.
brian_ales_in_uk - 7 Sep 2009 12:21
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