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BITE user comments - MarlingSnallard

Comments by MarlingSnallard

The Nag's Head, Macclesfield

In Macc last Saturday to watch Boreham Wood, who performed a more than passable impersonation of George Graham's Arsenal in despatching the high-flying Silkmen 2-0.
A short wait for the train back south, so I nipped in here. Ironic cheers as Ing-Ger-Lund eventually managed to breach the Maltese defence in a World Cup qualifier.
Just time for the one: a pint of Trooper's "Red & Black", which I hadn't had before. It might have been the best pint I've had this year.
Dizzy Blonde and Unicorn also on at the pumps nearest the door. Looked an OK pub.

15 Oct 2016 00:17

The Horseshoe Inn, Wellingborough

Having been unimpressed by a pre-match trawl through the town, I headed for this place, mainly as it's a darts pub, and I'm extremely glad I did. What a top-notch boozer.
The first five tracks playing after I walked-in were Paranoid, It Ain't What You Do by Bananarama, Sultans of Swing, Layla and the Jam's Start. Photos and music prints on the walls extremely interesting. Dartboards in good nick.
In the front of the bar area, the two ale pumps were Sharp's Atlantic and Black Sheep. I had a Black Sheep or three, which were excellent.
It's a large pub, with a biggish beer garden out the back. It's hardly off the beaten track, so it was disappointing that it was still sparsely populated when I had to dash for the football ground at 7:30.
Oh!...& one of the vending machines in the gents was stocked with inflatable sheep at £6 a pop. That's hard to beat. A bit like this pub.

30 Sep 2016 01:22

Gloster, Wellingborough

In town on a soccer scouting mission on Rushden & Diamonds, ahead of an FA Cup tie. Even though the exterior is a tasteful dark green, this pub is pretty hard to miss, with large windows and big screens.
I'd imagine it's Wellingborough's #1 place for watching televised soccer. It was a Champions League night (Borussia Dortmund v. Real Madrid; Spurs away to CSKA; Leicester at home to Porto) and there were twenty-odd punters in by about 6pm, with only one barmaid, who was pretty hot... in both senses of the word. More staff were due to arrive soon.
It's a big pub: somewhat palatial and it must have been refurbished fairly recently, with leather seating around the walls & the partitions for the punters wanting to watch the soccer. Has plenty of tables & chairs as well. It's vaguely compartmentalised, with four big screens - all showing highlights of the weekend's games at 6pm on a Tuesday. Has on outside beer terrace which is strangely enclosed by the rest of the pub: drinkers look as if they're sitting in a fish tank, or the sealed booth that the chosen contestant might go into on a TV quiz show. The area behind the bar for the staff to work in was huge: so large that I almost fancied applying for a job, though not as much as I fancied the barmaid.
Beer? Well, it's a football pub, so Foster's, Heineken, Strongbow and John Smith's were in the line-up. There were three ale pumps, but two of them were off. I opted for the other one: a beverage called Tetley's Gold. Interesting. I had a couple of pints of an of a satisfactory ale in the Feathers in Merstham a few seasons back that was advertised as having a grapefruit flavor, which it certainly did. This Tetley's Gold, however tasted as if it was about 40% grapefruit juice! Not unpleasant; just didn't taste like beer of any sort, never mind ale.
This is by no means a bad pub and is definitely the place for a Jolly Boys' night out watching the big game.

30 Sep 2016 01:07

Gloster, Wellingborough

In town on a soccer scouting mission on Rushden & Diamonds, ahead of an FA Cup tie. Even though the exterior is a tasteful dark green, this pub is pretty hard to miss, with large windows and big screens.
I'd imagine it's Wellingborough's #1 place for watching televised soccer. It was a Champions League night (Borussia Dortmund v. Real Madrid; Spurs away to CSKA; Leicester at home to Porto) and there were twenty-odd punters in by about 6pm, with only one barmaid, who was pretty hot... in both senses of the word. More staff were due to arrive soon.
It's a big pub: somewhat palatial and it must have been refurbished fairly recently, with leather seating around the walls & the partitions for the punters wanting to watch the soccer. Has plenty of tables & chairs as well. It's vaguely compartmentalised, with four big screens - all showing highlights of the weekend's games at 6pm on a Tuesday. Has on outside beer terrace which is strangely enclosed by the rest of the pub: drinkers look as if they're sitting in a fish tank, or the sealed booth that the chosen contestant might go into on a TV quiz show. The area behind the bar for the staff to work in was huge: so large that I almost fancied applying for a job, though not as much as I fancied the barmaid.
Beer? Well, it's a football pub, so Foster's, Heineken, Strongbow and John Smith's were in the line-up. There were three ale pumps, but two of them were off. I opted for the other one: a beverage called Tetley's Gold. Interesting. I had a couple of pints of an of a satisfactory ale in the Feathers in Merstham a few seasons back that was advertised as having a grapefruit flavor, which it certainly did. This Tetley's Gold, however tasted as if it was about 40% grapefruit juice! Not unpleasant; just didn't taste like beer of any sort, never mind ale.
This is by no means a bad pub and is definitely the place for a Jolly Boys' night out watching the big game.

30 Sep 2016 01:07

The Rising Sun, Wellingborough

In spite of the grim exterior, I decided to venture in. I didn't get far. At 6pm on a Tuesday, the door was locked. It now appears to be a "Members Only" establishment of some description, with a doorbell for access.

30 Sep 2016 00:41

The Cannon, Wellingborough

In town for a Rushden & Diamonds soccer match. After passing several dire-looking holes, I popped in here as my first port of call at around 5:30 on a Tuesday evening. A few regulars and other locals drifted in. They had "At The Races" on the TV, which is always a plus in my book.
Certainly no ales around nowadays. The Somersby cider pump wasn't on and I had a Strongbow. John Smith's was predictably the nearest thing to a proper pint on offer amongst the usual High Street brands.
Fairly Spartan decor. Raised seating area away from the bar and a fairly tidy little outside beer garden. Pool table in the low-rise bar.
Not a bad place for a quick pint and a brief study of form in the Racing Post, but not an establishment for the alcohol connoisseur, never mind the ale drinker!

30 Sep 2016 00:38

The Queens Head, Chelsea

Now closed, which is fairly depressing.
Yeah, it was "Gay", but we all have our cross to bear.
It wasn't the haunt of the type of "Right On!" Corbynistas, who pay more for a cup of coffee than the poor buggers who harvest it get paid in a week and buy stuff on Amazon but "self-identify" as "Gay" so they can portray themselves as "victims" of an oppressive system... and it certainly wasn't the place for former Coleherne regulars to frequent!
I hadn't been in for maybe 20 years until I worked on King's Road for a few months last year. It hadn't changed a lot. I still expected to see an ack-tor of a certain age eyeing-up the customers, in search of a strapping squaddie from the Duke of York Barracks across the street, who'd be willing to roughly roger his ringpiece for a ten-shilling note. Chelsea Queens still there, squaddies long gone, and so's the pub.
It was easily the best boozer in Chelsea, in my view. Decent beer - I normally stuck to Brain's - and the chicken kiev, sausage & mash and pies were excellent: never a hint of the gristle that often appeared halfway through a mouthful in the The Trafalgar and elsewhere on the manor. Good bar staff, interesting clientele and interesting conversation.
It's extremely depressing that there's no market for this type of establishment in Chelsea any more.
Note on the window says the leaseholders are trying to find a backer to reopen a pub on the site, but I doubt it'll be the same.

27 Sep 2016 10:42

The Hole I' The Wa', Dumfries

In town, along with 1,500 other Hibbys, for a Doonhamers v. Spoonburners game.
This is a fairly standard "tourist town" High Street boozer, with the entrance down an alley off the High Street. It must do OK, as it used to sponsor the clock on the big home terrace at Palmerston Park and it still has a prominent "stand alone" ad at that end of the ground.
It's ancient and fairly quaint, but the booze selection, spirits included, is from the ScotMid carry-out catalog. I had a John Smith's - a pint of John Smith's: something to savour, I just love that Yorkshire flavour... well, I don't really, but John Smith's is at least drinkable in the absence of owt better. At least there was room to stand up and peruse the form for Newmarket, Hamilton and elsewhere, unlike most other pubs that were packed with soccer fans.
Fruit machines and Man.U. v. Leicester on the box, though it was also showing one of the racing channels, which is a plus point.

26 Sep 2016 11:09

The Globe Inn, Dumfries

Strewth! The great Snarling Mallard's been in here!
Sounds like he's reviewed the wrong Globe, which is very unlike him, but there was no sign of a proper ale in here and it's not a "nice" pub.
That said, there's not a lot wrong with it as a boozer's boozer. In town for a Queen of the South v. Hibernian game. With 1,500 Hibs fans about, the more popular pubs were packed. The Spread Eagle next door was rammed, so we nipped in here. At first glance, it looks as if it's the public bar of the Spread Eagle. It's compact. Wrexham v. Chester was on the box, rather than Man.U. v. Leicester, which might tell you something about the class of the establishment. The "real" walls have been hidden behind more practical coverings of plasterboard-type of stuff - albeit top-of-the-range plasterboard-type stuff. The seating is at low tables with low bar stools - exactly the size that's convenient to pick-up with one hand if any Franco Begbie action is necessary - but the bastard things have the cross-pieces so low on the legs that it would be hard to get a firm enough grip to take a proper swing with one. I'd imagine a square go in here on Friday or Saturday nights - or most other nights - is common.
There's a pool room somewhere beyond the toilets, presumably upstairs.
Nothing wrong with the Belhaven, but the selection of booze was strictly for the Tesco carry-out brigade.

26 Sep 2016 10:53

Robert The Bruce, Dumfries

This used to be an OK 'Spoons, though I'd not been in since about 2008! In a brief visit for a Queen of the South v. Hibs game it still looked fair enough. Typical large 'Spoons with an upstairs balcony. With 1,500 Hibs fans in town, it was very crowded and we only stayed for the one before looking for somewhere less popular. I had a standard plebs' cider, as I wasn't arsed struggling to the bar to view the selection of ales. The member of our party charged with getting the round in returned from the bar impressively quickly. Doesn't seem to be a lot wrong with the place.

26 Sep 2016 10:39

The Cavens Arms, Dumfries

In town for a Queen of the South v. Hibernian fixture.
This was going to be the first point of call. As it happens, it was the second. On a miserable day, many of the 1,500 thirsty Spoonburners in town made for this establishment. It's the reigning CAMRA Dumfries & Galloway area champeen and there looked to be a good selection. However, it was far too crowded to even think of a pint, so we reluctantly went elsewhere. The dining area is far larger than the drinking area and that was just about full as well. From the brief glimpses of the plates, the food looked good. I'll definitely give it a go when Hibs are next in town, in January... when the Cup-winning bubble might have burst and there may be fewer fans.

26 Sep 2016 10:32

Kings Head, Brightlingsea

On the manor for a spying mission ahead of an FA Cup tie next weekend.
There certainly were a few lager boys playing darts and pool and watching Spurs v. Liverpool in the lunchtime game. They departed at the final whistle.
Settled for a perfectly acceptable pint of Old Speckled Hen pre-match for £3.25. Post-match choice was L'il Red Rooster, which was tasty and a bargain at £2.50 a pint. Also on were Ale Fresco and London Pride. Aspall's cider was available as well. So was a free bowl of water for what looked a young St.Bernard on a warm day.
Dart board and pool table in good nick. Food looked fair enough, as did the tables outside.

27 Aug 2016 23:46

Brewers Arms, Brightlingsea

In town today for a football match.
The pub is a mite pokey with a few punters in on a sunny Bank Holiday weekend.
Had a pint of Woodforde's Wherry, for 3.30, which was its usual relatively tasteless but inoffensive self. I also noticed East Coast IPA, standard Greene King IPA and a concoction called "Bobby Celebration 66", which confirms the "Oooh-Arrrh!" folk of North Essex are being over-run by the "Oo Are Yer?" folk from the Saaf Essix Estuary. Bleedin' Chirpy L'il Cockney 'Ammers! The standard pub fare at that end of the bar was Guinness, Stella, Carlsberg, Foster's, Strongbow and John Smith's.

27 Aug 2016 23:40

The Last Post, Paisley

In town with the Spoonburners' for their visit to St.Mirren yesterday.
I'd wanted to check out The Alamo, a boozer which scores highly on here but which made the average 1980s Kilburn High Road boozer look like a Henley-on-Thames gastropub when I was last in. That was a while back, though.
Sadly, as it was a typical West of Scotland summer's day (about 15c and lashing it down) I decided to go no further than The Last Post. As stated, it's a large 'Spoons with a huge variety of beers and a fair selection of slot machines. Surprisingly few punters in for a Saturday lunchtime, considering Hibs brought 1,600 to the match, so service was swift for everyone. I somehow opted for Magner's on draught at two quid and nine pennies. With a few Hibs shirts on display, it was hard not to get visions of Franco Begbie casually tossing a glass from the large but almost empty upstairs gallery. I'm sure there are lots of Paisley boozers more likely to attract Franco Begbies than this one.

21 Aug 2016 16:09

The Rampant Horse, Needham Market

As the traveller exits the railway station he is drawn towards to frontage of The Swan, staring at him on the other side of the high street. However, before the traveller reaches those premises, he might notice the Rampant Horse on his left.
As stated below, the establishment is run by the local Calvors Brewery.
I dived in before a Needham Market v. Burgess Hill Town football match last Saturday. The dozen Burgess Hill fans on my train dived in as well, making things cosy on a moderately busy afternoon, so I ordered a pint of Smooth Hoperator for a reasonable three quid and adjourned to the beer garden. This has a some cover, in what seems the remains of an old barn, and has some furniture in pleasingly rustic state of decay, though it also has more modern seats & tables for those in posh strides and frocks.
The Smooth Hoperator was, in the words of the Hitch-hikers' Guide, "mostly harmless" - not much of a hoppy taste; not much of a flavour of anything in particular - but a refreshing enough pale ale. I nipped over the road to The Swan after one pint, solely because it's more spacious inside and wasn't accommodating a dozen football fans.
The bog was impressively clean. Nowt to do with the beer, but I felt the need to "sneak a cheek" after a rumbling gut and wasn't confident I could do so in earnest without following through. The bar area was a mite cramped and was over-lit for an old pub but the food I saw looked good.

21 Aug 2016 15:41

The Swan Inn, Needham Market

Nipped in before and after a football match at Needham Market FC last Saturday.
I can't see much wrong with the place.
I chose it post-match, ahead of the perfectly adequate Rampant Horse, because it has a dartboard and because the visiting Burgess Hill fans (all 10 or 12 of 'em) had picked the Rampant Horse and both pubs were relatively busy at lunchtime. It was a more comfortably spacious venue to glance at Leicester commencing their title defence with a defeat at Hull City.
Seemed to have a good selection of ales and other alcoholic beverages for a Greene King establishment but I stuck with Old Speckled Hen on draught, which was fair enough. (Chippie next door was excellent)
A few kids playing pool, but they weren't lairy. It was still moderately busy after the game.

21 Aug 2016 15:05

The Snakecatcher, Brockenhurst

In the village for a football match. Hard to see what was on the casks, stacked directly behind the bar, but the Ringwood Best was good. My comrade had something slightly darker - I don't recall what, but it was also a Ringwood job - and it also met with approval.
Nice pub. Slightly pokey upstairs bit around the bar; more spacious bit half a flight of stairs down and to the rear, with tables more suited to eating, a pool table round the corner and a dartboard that was out of commission as it was above the seating. Fair beer garden outside the lower section.

20 Oct 2015 20:59

Rose and Crown, Brockenhurst

Impressed with this. In town for a soccer match - unusually the second invasion of Brockenhurst by 200 visiting football fans this season. Most piled into the Forester's and the Snakecatcher, so I unsociably walked up to the Rose & Crown. I stuck to the standard Ringwood Best, which was excellent. They had other beers on. I noticed the first two pumps were for a couple of Flack's products - "Double Drop" and "Catcher" - and "Forty-Niner" was also available.
I returned after the game for a bite to eat and couldn't fault the Cumberland sausages with mash & gravy, garnished with a rasher of bacon. A mite pricier than 'Spoons charge for a similar meal, but the bangers and rasher were top quality here. I wouldn't grumble at £9 - this is the New Forest, not Erith, Easterhouse or Merthyr.
The place was filling up quite well towards 8pm.
Huge beer garden - a good 50 yards by 25 or so, divided into sections and with covered seating on a patio section close to the sit-down / eat-in bar door.

20 Oct 2015 15:08

The Kings Arms, Lymington

Popped in on a Saturday just after noon t get away from the zoo of a market in the High Street just up the road.
Just had a quiet pint of Doom Bar, which was good. Scarcely anyone in. Comfortable seating and a pleasant enough beer garden.

20 Oct 2015 14:50

The White Hart, Biggleswade

Popped in for a fairly quick pint. Opted for Brain's SA, which tasted a bit off to be honest. I've tasted worse pints of Brain's - though maybe only in England.
The pint of Twickenham Naked Ladies to follow up was far better. No complaints at all, though the graphic on the pump looks nowt like Erika Roe. (Rugby World Cup was on)
Was a mite peckish but nothing on the menu I fancied.
Pub filled-up fairly well and didn't look to be many ne'er-do-wells or rapscallions amongst them, but the meaningless Rugby World Cup game on TV wouldn't be as likely to draw them in as a soccer match.

9 Oct 2015 21:13

Golden Pheasant, Biggleswade

Being honest, I nipped in for a pony as much as anything else. Good pub. Yes, the locals do hog the bar, but there's not a lot of space inside. The beer garden outside is a tad spartan but a fair size and is pleasant enough. Locals seemed friendly, with a couple of comedians amongst them and a dog, which was chasing a ball around.
Pint of Eagle IPA was good. Also had Newton's Drop, Try Time, Autumn Red, Purser's Pussy and a Young's "Special" (Not sure what exactly that was.) on. Hedgelayer & Dunton on the cider front.
The dunny was clean and had paper and it flushed. Needed that more than the pint, good though the pint was.

9 Oct 2015 21:05

The Prince of Wales, Sudbury

Looks a lairy lager lout pub. Youngish clientele. Football and big screens prominent. Pool table. Signed Diego Maradona shirt framed on a pillar. Guinness OK. Far better places to drink in Sudbury.

9 Oct 2015 20:47

The White Horse Hotel, Sudbury

As below, it keeps opening and closing. Reopened in August as "The Gainsborough." Usual selection of GK ales. A mite overlit for an ancient coaching inn. There is a section of the bar stocked with beverages that bring to mind Bryan Brown training-up Tom Cruise or Lorraine Chase saying "Well it ain't the Balls Pond Road, is it?"
Not many punters in at 6pm on a weekday evening. Opted for a Guinness, which was good. They'll doubtless be trying a few things to get punters in and make the place viable. Worth a visit.

9 Oct 2015 20:43

The Black Boy Hotel, Sudbury

Pleasant enough. Went for a pint of Abbot. Barrel just about empty. Changed quite promptly. Czech staff. Seem to know what they're doing. First pint very cloudy & didn't settle, but I was thirsty and gingerly took a mouthful. Surprisingly tasted perfectly OK. Nothing wrong with second pint of Abbot, which came out looking good.
Seems they're about to have a complete overhaul of the range supplied, from proper ales down to lagers. The imminent demise of Foster's appeared to be of grave concern to some natives, but it doesn't seem a lager-lout pub. There are a few of those in Sudbury.

9 Oct 2015 20:32

The Morrison Bar and Lounge, Fulham

Errrrrr.... this has been closed for four years.

16 Feb 2015 19:20

The Dulwich Woodhouse, Sydenham

I'd say a few reviewers are being slightly unfair here.
I've been past this interesting looking establishment as a motorbike courier many a time, but never been in as I'm a NW London man.
Popped in yesterday when cycling. Solo visit. Very warm day. Opted for a bottle of Bulmer's (Yes, sacrilege. Wrong site, etc. - I am normally a "proper" beer drinker) and was a mite peeved that the ice machine had packed up, so no ice! You don't primarily quaff Bulmer's fruit cider for the taste - I could have bought a chilled cherryade at a Mr. Patel's somewhere.
Five pounds and three shillings was very steep. I bought a different Bulmer's fruit cider in the yuppified Clapham North boozer on the corner of Bedford Road and for 55p less earlier in the week.
Fair selection of Young's ales and it is a nice pub. Spacious and well-tended beer garden, though there were quite a few kids running around: not out of control; just being five-year-olds.
The food looked OK.
Not really my cup of tea, but this is a very affluent area. If Young's can get away with charging these prices for a pleasant atmosphere and a relaxing setting, I can't see that we can complain. It was busy but there were plenty of staff on.
I wouldn't rule out a return visit. Hopefully in beer weather... or when the ice machine's fixed.

9 Jun 2014 15:40

The Dolphin Inn, Shrewsbury

Must endorse the last review. Nipped in early Saturday evening. Not a large pub. A mite cosy and minimalist and the beer terrace has a fairly close-up view of the railway line, but this looks a fair effort by the new licensees.
As stated by k100rsblack, Joule's Pale Ale, Joules Blonde and Slumbering Monk are on tap and at £2.70 a pint it's hard to complain. Other beverages available included Wren's Nest and the lethal Old Rosie cider - strengths clearly marked in large letters on a chalk board.
The look to be recruiting for darts and dominoes teams. Door to the beer terrace is in the line of fire for the dartboard though.

29 Sep 2013 00:14

Kings Arms, Church Stretton

Unpretentious pub to put it mildly, but not necessarily a lot wrong with that. Certainly far fewer punters in here on a warm Saturday than at the Buck's Head over the road. Several of the few drinkers were out the back in the small but tidy beer garden. Dart board a shade close to the beer garden door.
The Buck's Head beer garden was well-populated.
Top notch couple of pints of Timmy Taylor's Landlord. Bombardier also on tap, but nothing exotic. Nobody eating while I was in there, but there is a great cafe just over the road.
Gents bog was very clean.

29 Sep 2013 00:05

The Craven Arms, Craven Arms

Nipped in here on a Saturday lunchtime. I've driven through Craven Arms - the town: it's hardly a village any more - very slowly on numerous occasions (traffic always appalling) but had never stopped off.
Have to say The Craven Arms was a pleasant surprise. I'd expected it to be dark & dreary, but it was quite bright, though it was admittedly a warm and sunny late summer day.
It doesn't have a regular landlord at the minute, but the landlady temporarily in charge has been around the traps and knows her onions.
Excellent drop of Shropshire Gold. Also had Lemon Dream on tap, as well as Theakston's Dark Extra Cool and Symond's Cider. The usual lagers, cider and stout were also available. Not a large wine selection for a fair class eaterie, as it must be said the carvery was good value at £4.95 or £6.95 with a dessert.
Has a pool table in good nick and a dartboard sadly in a similar state to the great Jocky Wilson circa 2008.
I'll give the boozer an 8/10.

28 Sep 2013 23:50

The Pelican, Fulham

I used to live 100 yards from this establishment. With a 15 minutes to kill, I nipped in for a quick pint of Harvey's (There are a few boozers in this neck of the woods that sell Harvey's) at 10pm on a weekday evening after a wet day. A couple of bob under four quid.
First time I've been in for over a year. Hasn't changed. Fairly quiet. A few punters sitting outside. Less than 10 inside.
The Pelican is somewhat off the beaten track of the Fulham Road - & King's Road - and still tends to attract affluent locals.
Obviously this doesn't apply when the Neanderthals are worshipping at the Roman Temple of Mammon 250 yards away.
Still a civilised boozer.

30 May 2013 21:37

The Sun Inn, Hungerford

This is on the main drag of the A4 and I couldn't believe it was virtually empty on a Bank Holiday Monday lunchtime, when 5 coachloads of Merthyr Town soccer fans had driven past, en route to a game at the Hungerford Town FC ground, which is admittedly at the other side of town.
Certainly less pretentious than all but one of the other Hungerford town centre pubs. (Though not as unpretentious as the Borough Arms in the High Street. Could almost have been in Reading. I'm amazed there isn't a bylaw against pool tables in Hungerford.)
This isn't exactly a dive. In most towns it would be seen as a moderately upmarket establishment. Hungerford isn't most towns, though. There's a newish Italian pub/pizzeria, La Primavera, just the other (eastern) side of the mini roundabout on the A4, from The Sun Inn but that wasn't exactly rammed either. The Bear Hotel across the street, with its riverside garden, was well populated.
Anyhow, in The Sun Inn a pint of Greene King IPA was decent enough, as was a pint of Hardy & Hanson's Kimberley. The establishment also had Old Speckled Hen on tap, though the Old Golden Hen badge on that pump was turned around.
What little food I saw being served looked OK.
This is an official England Rugby pub, so the barman going on about soccer is poor form. However, there's very little wrong with this as pubs on main drags go and it's worth a quick pint if you're passing through.

6 May 2013 23:23

The John O'Gaunt Inn, Hungerford

Probably a good pub, but I can't say, as I popped in here at lunchtime on a Bank Holiday... and popped straight out again. The place was very busy - in contrast to all the other pubs in Hungerford - and the selection of ales was impressive, but it's an over-lit restaurant with seemingly almost nowhere to drink unless you're dining at one of the large tables or in the overcrowded seats outside. The lighting was a bit incongruous in a building as old as this. Food looked and smelled excellent... but the scent of smoked halibut doesn't do a lot for one's appreciation of a pint of ale.

6 May 2013 22:58

The Railway Tavern, Hungerford

This appears to have reopened. I'd intended nipping in after a soccer match, as I was likely to have 45 minutes to kill. However, the train I should've missed by 15 minutes was late and was just pulling in as I approached the station (What? A train late in England? On a Bank Holiday? Well I Never!) so I didn't go in.

6 May 2013 22:49

The Plume of Feathers, Hungerford

In Hungerford for a soccer match on a Bank Holiday.
Slightly disappointed that this establishment seems to be edging towards being a restaurant that sells beer. Quite a few diners in at lunchtime and the food looked good. Only two drinkers inside and another ten in the beer garden, most of whom were visiting Merthyr soccer fans. They had a laptop on a barside table for free Internet access.
Barmaids quite attractive and not especially aloof, despite previous reviews to the contrary.
I stuck with a pint of Ruddles County for three pounds and ten shillings. Very good pint. They also had Greene King Caritas, not something I'm familiar with. The "landlord's choice" pump wasn't on.
Had Stowford Press cider on draught as well. This is a Weston's cider, but more your standard apple drink than a connoisseur's tipple and not in the same potency league as their infamous Old Rosie.
Fair enough pub, but I was on a bit of a crawl and had just the one pint.

6 May 2013 22:43

The Downgate, Hungerford

I was in Hungerford for a Southern League soccer play-off between Hungerford Town & Merthyr Town on a Bank Holiday afternoon. Nipped in here after visiting the pubs on the major roads. The few football fans who'd visited had gone and the few drinkers were seemingly regulars. Very impressed and not a little relieved to find an establishment that's still a pub. The other hostelries in Hungerford seem to concentrate either mainly or entirely on food these days. I can't blame them, as that's what the diminishing pool of punters with money seem to want these days... though I should think the pool of punters with money in Hungerford is still more a large lake of punters than a pool and I doubt if it's diminishing. This isn't Merthyr Tydfil.
The external photo doesn't do the place justice, as the seats outside look out over a verdant valley and it was idyllic on a warm early summer day.
You could call the place a mite pokey or you might say it has character. I'd go for the latter. Banknotes, football memorabilia & aircraft pics on the walls, together with a few interesting artefacts.
Dart board generally out of commission, though: sited above a wall seat & I'd assume only used when there's a match on.
Friendly and entertaining bar staff and local drinkers seemed sociable.
Beer? As mentioned, plenty of Arkell's staples on offer and were excellent. Would definitely be my first point of call on a return visit to Hungerford.


6 May 2013 22:24

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