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BITE user comments - Millay

Comments by Millay

Druids, Rickmansworth

One of three, or maybe four, pubs owned by the Druid Pub Co. in Hertfordshire. Located at one end of the High Street next to an M&S food store with handy bus stops nearby. New looking clean building with a good outside seating area. Inside there are a number of TV screens showing sport - the Druid pubs generally have a rugby theme. A few real ales on offer and a good food menu. I suspect it becomes popular with the party crowd on a Friday and Saturday night.

23 Jan 2011 09:45

The Harefield, Harefield

I remember this pub as the Kings Head back in the 70's and 80's when I lived in Harefield. It was run by an eccentric old-school guvnor called Bernard who had a habit of not letting people in if they didn't have a tie on. It was then turned into a tacky place called Mad O'Rourke's Pie Shop, then I believe it was taken over again and had it's name changed to Disraelis. It was then the Picke Jar for a while until the current owners turned it back into a proper pub and called it The Harefield. That's the history lesson over but what's it like now. Well I've recently had cause to visit a few times and have been very impressed. It's a clean and tidy pub, well decorated and with efficient and friendly staff. Very much a community pub supporting local charities and residents campaigns. A good menu that includes typical pub grub without going to the extremes of some gastropubs. GBG listed and they have four handpumps. Landlord and Ringwood Bitter were on each time with changing guests that included White Horse Wayland Smithy and Old Hooky. Reasonable prices, especially on Wednesdays when ales are £2.50 all day. I was delighted to see what they have done wirth this oft changed pub and will definitely call in again if I have the chance.

22 Jan 2011 14:18

The Queens Head, Uxbridge

Pleasant low-ceilinged pub with an old feel to it and creaky floorboards. There are seating areas at the front with the bar a little further back and a small room to the left at the rear. An impressive range of guest beers were shown on a chalkboard with the presumed intention that this is ticked when they are available. However on both of my visits beers were restricted to Youngs Ordinary, Landlord, 6X and an Adnams. Ate there once and the menu is typical pub grub fayre, reasonably priced and good portions. One of the few remaining unspoilt pubs in the area.

22 Jan 2011 13:16

The Ostler, Uxbridge

I'm pretty sure this pub was called the White Horse back in the 70's and 80's when I used to vbisit Uxbridge regularly. Not sure when it changed but it is now called the Ostler and is well placed opposite Uxbridge bus and train stations. A fairly unremarkable pub to be honest, no real ale, comfortable seating, not particularly busy on my visit. Nice outside seating area but it is right on a busy main road.

22 Jan 2011 12:57

The Swan, Harefield

Still boarded up and it looks like it may be terminal. I guess there's a pub co out there somewhere wondering whether the pub is worth saving. I hope so as it's a nice looking historic old pub in a nice location opposite Harefield Common.

22 Jan 2011 11:36

Baraka, Watford

Used to be called Baraka and had a Moroccan theme to it. Now changed its name to Bed and it has some impressive dťcor with large stone urns all over the place and a couple of big tiger statues. Itís a large space that is split up well with columns, raised areas and bead curtains providing areas that I imagine they will reserve for groups. This does give it the feel of a lap dancing bar which, despite there being a couple in the area, it isnít. The main theme seems to be graffiti with most of the walls covered in murals and other daubings. Target market is clearly the late night revellers and it looks like a decent venue. I called in on a Saturday afternoon and they were showing the World Cup game on three TV screens. Standard lagers plus a Gaymers Cider and an impressive array of spirit bottles.

20 Jun 2010 06:52

The Aldgate Exchange, Aldgate

Close to Aldgate East Station, a bright and clean pub but a bit sterile with loads of white pine furniture. Deuchars and Pride plus a couple of others on. Four TVís showing two different channels which is useful for live sport. Also a 5th plasma screen with a music channel on mute whilst different music was playing over the speakers, which seemed a bit pointless. Got the impression that itís tried to go upmarket with a bit of a refurb but hasnít attracted any new clientele.

6 Mar 2010 13:52

The Ten Bells, Shoreditch

A famous stopping off point for the Jack the Ripper tours as it is rumoured that some of his victims used the pub before the gory events of 1888. It was actually called The Jack the Ripper in the 1970ís and 80ís until someone with a little more taste returned it to its old name. It looks a bit beaten up now but there is some magnificent tiling including a mural depicting a scene of a Weavers shop in old Spitalfields. There were a worrying number of CCTV cameras, at least five that we counted, which may well reflect its current target market and clientele. The only ale available was Bombardier but not wishing to trust that I went for a bottle of Anchor Steam Beer. Visit to view the tiling and take in the history but itís not one to stay at for too long.

6 Mar 2010 13:45

The Water Poet, Shoreditch

Iíve been in here a few times and itís an attractive pub with somewhat quirky dťcor in an old cobbled street just off Bishopsgate. It does seem to have become the Ďiní place to be seen and consequently it can get very packed. The layout isnít that conducive to vertical drinking and much of the space is taken up with those infuriating sofas that would be more suited to an Ikea showroom than a busy city pub. Thereís a side room with a pool table and a restaurant area at the back plus an outside patio that I imagine will be popular in Summer. Usual beers are Pride and ESB but on my last visit neither were on which is rather unforgivable on a Friday lunchtime. Worth a visit during the quieter days of the week but steer well clear on a Thursday or Friday.

6 Mar 2010 13:41

The Golden Heart, Shoreditch

Looks like a large corner pub from the outside but so much of the inside is given over to the bar that thereís not a great deal of room. For some bizarre reason the wall paper in this pub has a 3D effect which makes it look like the walls are covered in corrugated iron, Iím sure they have a book behind the bar with a note of the number of people who check whether it is or not. The only ale available was Adnams, which wasnít that good.

6 Mar 2010 13:36

The Mariner, Folkestone

There are two pubs on the Stade that are like chalk and cheese, this one and the Ship. The Mariner is run by an old school couple, at least I assumed they were a couple. On my first solo visit the guv'nor was engaging with his, mostly elderly, clientele by playing 40's and 50's music and encouraging a singalong. I came back the next lunchtime with some friends and we had a couple of relaxing pints of Summer Lightning, watching the tide come into the harbour with an easy listening sountrack playing in the background. Just what we needed after a heavy day on the lash the day before. This is the sort of place where time stands still, if you allow it to.

21 Feb 2010 18:01

Knights Templar, Bristol

Last pub on the BITE Bristol Pub Crawl and both the newer and better of the two JDWís. Finished off with the 6% Cwmni Bragdy Bleddyn 1075, which presumably I ordered by pointing. Handy for the train station, from where we were transported back to our temporary home in Bath.

11 Oct 2009 19:51

The Bridge Inn, Bristol

Another small pub, in which this part of the country seems to excel. Iíd had a few by the time we got here but still managed a good pint of the 5.5% Cheddar Goats Leap. Well I needed something strong with a_e_m spinning the vinyl.

11 Oct 2009 19:46

The Kings Head, Bristol

I believe this pub is on the National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors, largely due I imagine to the snug bar at the back with a serving hatch through to the main bar. Other than that it is largely one long corridor and therefore a standing drinkers pub. Very decorative throughout with glass panelling and old advertising. Friendly service and decent beer makes this a must visit pub.

11 Oct 2009 19:43

The Cornubia, Bristol

Thereís clearly some history to this attractive looking pub, much of which is included in previous reviews. Inside it seems a bit disorganised but that gives it a lived in feel and I imagine itís a decent place to spend a couple of hours on a quiet afternoon. Beer was mainly from the Hidden brewery and there were a number of bottled beers available. The Gents is tiny and Iím convinced that if you were able to get three people in there at the same time theyíd have to have the build of Olympic high-jumpers, and be very good friends.

11 Oct 2009 19:38

The Seven Stars, Bristol

A little off the beaten track so we were lucky to have a local guide with us as I would have hated to miss this place. A proper pub with a good range of beers in excellent condition, worth taking your CAMRA card as discounts may be available. Itís clearly run with a passion and it was good chatting with outgoing (in both senses) landlord Steve and interesting to hear about the influence of BITE from his perspective.

11 Oct 2009 19:29

The Commercial Rooms, Bristol

Strange building this, the front bar had a 70ís orange and yellow colour scheme a bit out of keeping with the usual JDW dťcor. It was only when we got to the back rooms that it felt like a Spoons, albeit a rather tired and beaten up one.

11 Oct 2009 19:22

The White Lion, Bristol

A tiny pub with large windows overlooking the junction of two busy roads, so ideal for any traffic-watchers out there. Had a decent pint of Wickwars Bankers Draft from which I think a charitable donation is made from the price of each pint, could probably have done without the landlord all but shoving a collecting box at us though. Gentlemen beware, this pub has perhaps the most precarious and narrow climb down to the Gents ever, and despite the encouragement of my drinking partners I do have to admit to refusing the 'stairway challenge' and waiting for the next pub.

11 Oct 2009 19:17

The Bank, Bristol

We started off the BITE Bristol Pub Crawl here a couple of weeks ago and an excellent choice it was. It has a bit of a trendy gastro look to it from the outside but inside youíll find a proper pub with a friendly welcome and some excellent beers. I think the Month of the Month on our visit was April.

11 Oct 2009 19:11

The Hare and Hounds, St Albans

From a real ale perspective this is maybe one of St Albansí Ďlesserí pubs, but one that should not be forgotten, I check every now and again to see how itís doing. Called in on a quiet Thursday afternoon and thought it as good as ever. The pub has a nice homely feel to it with complimentary newspapers, TV and comfortable seating. Had a decent pint of Oldershawís Mowbrayís Mash.

10 Oct 2009 10:47

The Kings Head, London Colney

Looks like Iíll be the first and probably last to leave a review of this place as it has closed down. Itís boarded up and looks to have been for some time. There are building site hoardings around it so I imagine it will be demolished soon for redevelopment.

9 Oct 2009 22:22

The Pear and Partridge, London Colney

This is a barn of a place and they manage to pack in four pool tables, a dartboard, TVís and a DJ/music stage. Thereís also an unused and rather hidden Inglenook fireplace. Cheap meal deals advertised including breakfast at £3.75. Beers were GK IPA and Pride with a handwritten pump clip so I decided not to risk it and went for a bottle.

9 Oct 2009 22:08

The White Lion, London Colney

Iím not surprised no-one has reviewed this pub yet, I donít imagine many people go in there. It was empty when I called in with a large screen TV playing for the benefit of the sole barman and his dog. No real ale and the whole place looks run down. Entertainment is provided by karaoke on Sundays and a fairground type boxing game. One to avoid Iím afraid.

9 Oct 2009 22:03

The Green Dragon, London Colney

Bills itself as a waterside restaurant and thatís really what it is rather then a pub. The restaurant is to the right hand side of the property with what is supposed to be the pub on the left. However on my visit on a weekday lunchtime the restaurant was closed off and meals were being taken in the bar. I felt a little uncomfortable as the sole drinker. Abbot, Pride and Adnams were available, £3.10 a pint, the Abbott was in decent condition and the sole barman did a good job of keeping everyone happy. There is an outside seating area although the picturesque views are somewhat spoiled by all the parked cars. The quiz machine here was particularly generous to me but thatís not going to get it any more than a 6/10.

9 Oct 2009 21:59

The Bull, London Colney

The epitome of a good village pub and Iíd imagine it is considered the best pub in London Colney. Two distinct bars have been retained, the main public bar and a smaller saloon/snug to the left of the property. The main bar has a juke box, Sky TV, fruit & quiz machines and a room with a pool table and dartboard leading off it. The saloon bar has some nice old photos of the pub and an attractive collection of miniature bottles in a lit display cabinet. There are some tables outside on a raised patio within some well kept gardens. They advertise special jazz, quiz, curry and bingo nights and have occasional live music. Food is served noon to 3pm midweek and until 6pm on Saturdays. Beers were GK IPA, Pride and Black Sheep, the latter in excellent condition and served in branded glasses. Interesting it was also drawn using a sparkler whereas the others werenít. The toilets were clean and the whole pub has a nice lived-in community feel to it. I donít normally give 9/10 to a pub with such a mainstream selection of beers but this pub does so many things right that it deserves it.

9 Oct 2009 21:51

The Colney Fox, St Albans

This is a multi-roomed bar that you really need to take a wander around to appreciate it fully. It has the feel of a rustic kitchen or an old lodge with a lot of exposed beams that look as if they may be original. Itís a bit smoky owing to the three log fires that burn throughout the day. Thereís plenty of seating inside and a large outside patio. Service was friendly and efficient although it was at a quiet time that I visited. They had leaflets announcing a cask ale festival from September to November but disappointingly I didnít see any of the beers that were advertised, just Adnams and Bombardier.

9 Oct 2009 21:41

The Litten Tree, Bath

Iím almost too embarrassed to admit I have been in this pub, although it was 10:45 on a Sunday night when we couldnít find anything else open. Thankfully they soon spotted that we werenít their sort of customer and told us they were also closed. Looking at previous comments it looks like we had a narrow escape.

8 Oct 2009 08:01

The Raven, Bath

One of my favourite Bath pubs mainly due to itís range of interesting beers, and I wasnít aware that there was an upstairs bar with more. I like the sparse dťcor and no-nonsense approach, youĎre not here to have a coke and milk the fruit machine, youíre not here to sit with a coffee watching daytime TV, youíre here to drink beer. CAMRA and local attraction leaflets available in a bookcase for browsing. Didnít try the food but the menu looked a bit pricey.

8 Oct 2009 07:55

The Salamander, Bath

Visited at a quiet time but was meeting old friends so it was ideal to sit and chat over a few decent beers. The whole Bath range, both draught and bottled, seemed to be available and in good condition. They also have an organic lager. I imagine it can get a bit claustrophobic when itís packed but for a long afternoon beer it was ideal.

8 Oct 2009 07:51

The Volunteer Riflemans Arms, Bath

Some small pubs can be a bit intimidating for a stranger walking in but we were welcomed in this one and space was made for us at the bar. Good selection of ales which were supplemented by the Bee Sting real cider, one of two or three they serve I think.

8 Oct 2009 07:50

The Circus Tavern, Manchester

You have to visit the Circus Tavern if you are in the area, even just so that you believe how tiny it is. They will often close the doors on busy nights though when it fills up. If you can get a spot in one of the two rooms you are lucky, if not then you are stuck in the corridor where the phrases, sorry, thanks mate, oops, no problem, can I just get, will all come in handy. Itís very friendly however and, out of necessity, one of the few places in Manchester where spilling someoneís beer isnít followed by a request to step outside.

7 Oct 2009 16:28

The Waterhouse, Manchester

My abiding memory of this place was of trying to get a lunchtime drink at the ridiculously small bar and having to queue up McDonalds style while all the girlies from the local offices decided what dressing they wanted on their avocado and rocket salads. Decent pint from what I can recall and a veritable labyrinth of rooms in which to drink it.

7 Oct 2009 16:17

The City Arms, Manchester

One of my favourite pubs in Manchester, although I will admit thereís a fairly long list of them. Iíve never been let down by the beer here, thereís always something interesting on and the service is good. A decent honest pub that hasnít changed much over the years and remains a good place to sink a few pints.

7 Oct 2009 16:06

The Plough, Tyttenhanger

A Free House I believe and well deserving of itís GBG entry. There are 8 hand pumps, 6 of which were working when I visited on a Monday lunchtime. Some interesting beers and I had the Brains Merlinís Oak and Rebellion Freefall. There is a Whatís On board with details of brewery, strength and price, plus a Coming Soon board. A decent menu with a specials board and I grabbed a quick Beef Stroganoff as sustenance. Nicely decorated (the pub not the stroganoff) with old advertising posters, beer clips and a large collection of old bottled beers. Itís not a pub you would just happen across, youíd need to know it was there. Itís a bit out of the way in a rural setting but has a reasonable catchment area of residents nearby. If going by public transport the number S7 bus from St Albans ends and starts itís journey just up the road from the pub. Buses are every hour midweek (no Sunday service) so just enough time for a couple of pints and a bit of food before catching the next one back. Do check out opening times though as they close in the afternoon. Current midweek times are 11am - 2.30pm and 6pm - 11pm. Food is served 12 Ďtil 2. A pub well worth a visit.

7 Oct 2009 09:59

The Spotted Dog, Flamstead

Currently closed for repairs following a fire I believe. Itís covered in scaffolding, half the roof is off and thereís a notice on the door advising that the site is unsafe to enter. There doesnít appear to be much structural damage so hopefully they can get it open again soon.

7 Oct 2009 09:37

The Three Blackbirds, Flamstead

Old looking oak-beamed pub in the little village of Flamstead with a convenient bus stop outside. Nice interior with horse related dťcor, indeed one punter turned up in his horse & cart and tethered it up outside whilst having a pint. There is a low ceilinged room to the right of the main bar for food and a pool table and dart board to the left. A couple of tables sit outside I the car park for smokers. Three beers on, Old Hookey, Rev. James and Jennings Cumberland. I got the end/start of a barrel and it wasnít pulled through that well, drinkable but not the best Old Hooky experience IĎve had. £2.90 a pint but I believe they have cheap deals during weekday afternoons. Nice friendly community pub which I imagine is getting more custom now that the only other pub in the vicinity, the Spotted Dog, is temporarily closed.

7 Oct 2009 09:34

The Jolly Sailor, St Albans

Sorry, that should have been Everards Equinox in the last review.

6 Oct 2009 20:36

Three Hammers, St Albans

A Ember Inn so it attracts a lot of diners. Sunday roast is quite cheap at £5.95 but is fast food type, at least they offered clue as to hoe tough the roast beef would be by providing a steak knife. Four ales on, Youngís Special, Henryís IPA, Pride and one other. Large car park and a few tables on the grass out front by the main road.

6 Oct 2009 20:30

The Jolly Sailor, St Albans

A Charles Wells pub with four hand pumps but a strange pricing policy. Eagle Equinox at 4.1% was a wallet busting £3.20 whilst the 3.8% Eagle IPA was £2.80. Perhaps like Fullers they charge a premium for ínon-houseí beers, either way it's an expensive place to drink. Itís a decent enough pub with a comfortable lounge bar to the right and a larger and livelier public bar with a number of TVís showing live sport. Quite a diverse clientele and a friendly place if you donít have a locals complex.

6 Oct 2009 20:04

The Black Boy, Bricket Wood

Paid a couple of visits and whilst itís not unfriendly it can get filled with boorish alpha males hogging the bar. I imagine they sell more lager than ale but they had Pride and Black Sheep plus Black Dog Rhatus as a guest. Sky Sports TV and a beer garden. A decent community pub that Iím sure serves itís purpose well.

6 Oct 2009 19:45

The Hollybush, Redbourn

The Hollybush is set in the attractive Church End area of Redbourn just down from the cricket ground. Itís well presented and has a nice friendly community feel to it. Real Ale served with changing guests. Large beer garden.

6 Oct 2009 18:31

The Cricketers, Redbourn

Nice pub in the middle of Redbournís Commons opposite the cricket ground as the name suggests. Located next door to Redbourn Museum. One of those places that looks as if it was once two separate buildings. Advertises itself as a Free House but that seems to mean they are free to serve as many Greene King ales as they want. Beer in reasonable condition. The back bar was being refurbished on my first visit and on my second it looked like they had turned it into a nice dining room. Has a community feel with many local clubs using it as their base. During a Summer visit they kindly let us take our glasses across the road to watch the cricket.

6 Oct 2009 18:25

The George Inn, Redbourn

Nice pub but you do wonder how it survives, there was only one other customer in when we visited on a Saturday afternoon. TV, quiz machine and juke box plus a pool table in its own room. Quite decorative with a number of knick-knack displays and an interesting snug room at the back. One cask beer Greene King IPA.

6 Oct 2009 18:16

The Bull Inn, Redbourn

An attractive 16th Century coaching inn with low beamed ceilings and plenty of old local prints on the walls. Sells local McMullen ales. Bit of a strange atmosphere, almost library like, with four locals sitting at the bar but not saying a word to each other except to say goodbye when one of them left. One claim to fame is that it was visited by poet John Keats and more recently it was used in the filming of TV series Auf Wiedersehen Pet.

6 Oct 2009 18:09

The Bell and Shears, Redbourn

Small front bar with plasma TV and juke box. Larger back bar that leads out into a nice garden with a gazebo for smokers plus a few tables dotted around a gravelled area. There is also a decorative water feature with a fountain and a grassed area along with a large car park. Usual if uninspiring range of beers including keg Flowers Bitter. By far the liveliest of the pubs on the High St.

6 Oct 2009 18:06

Silver Cup, Harpenden

I didnít think this was going to be any good from afar but glad I made the effort to get there. It offers a bit of everything really, thereís B&B accommodation (£75/£95 for single/double inc breakfast), a restaurant and a drinkers bar at the front with Sky Sports. The menu covers bar snacks to full meals. Ales are Eagle IPA, Bombardier and a changing guest which was Brains Merlinís Oak on my visit - Iídseen this in a few places locally. Service was excellent, the place seems well run and I got the impression they often try new ideas to improve their offering. Despite the small drinkers bar in relation to the restaurant area this is a pub that Iíd recommend.

4 Oct 2009 21:02

The Harpenden Arms, Harpenden

Well presented Fullers house, as most of them are, but most of it is given over to a Thai restaurant. They also serve Thai food in the bar so you canít get away from it. Not really a drinkers pub but a decent pint of Pride at £2.90.

4 Oct 2009 20:53

The Inn on the Green, Harpenden

Very quiet on my visit and I donít imagine it generates a lot of atmosphere even when busier. Itís set back from the main road partly behind a hedge and they donít do themselves any favours having the pub sign mostly concealed by foliage either. Greene King pub with only GK IPA on, served too warm in my opinion. Not really one to bother with.

4 Oct 2009 20:49

The George, Harpenden

If you are going to proclaim yourself as a Free House with Cask Marque accreditation then I expect more than two pumps and something more adventurous than London Pride and Bombardier. Their marketing material claims that they have teamed up with SIBA but I saw no evidence of this. Only the Pride was on and at £2.80 it was reasonably priced, the menu also looked decent value for such an establishment. Diamond Club membership gets over 50ís 25% off food on weekdays. A bit Ikea showroom like and a bit dark when you first walk in until your eyes accustom themselves to the low lighting and you spot the bar to the left hand side. A few TVís dotted around showing sports and some tables out front right on the main road.

4 Oct 2009 20:44

The Old Cock Inn, Harpenden

Very much a food orientated pub with every table laid out with place settings, even the tables outside had tablecloths or placemats. The outside area is effectively the car park but there are a few covered gazebos with comfortable seating that would make for good al fresco eating. The pub has an attractive well-kept interior with nice furnishings. Four ales available, possibly three regulars and a guest. Quiz Tuesday nights.

4 Oct 2009 20:37

The Cross Keys, Harpenden

An attractive cottage style pub set back from the main road that looks a little like a private residence rather than a pub. There are two distinct bars, one for drinking and a smaller one set out with four tables for food. Has the feel of an aging and affluent client base although it was quiet when I visited. Thereís an impressive array of pewter tankards hanging from the ceiling all on numbered hooks. An old looking document on the wall lists their owners, all 183 of them. Cask Marque accredited and there was London Pride, TT Landlord and Rebellion IPA on. I note that this was the same selection of beers from a review three years ago so perhaps they are not that adventurous. Decent place to call in to for a pint.

4 Oct 2009 20:33

The Carpenters Arms, Harpenden

Quite an attractive pub with a small gated beer garden out front. Friendly staff and customers, willing to have a chat. Four pumps with some changing guests if the clips behind the bar are anything to go by. Probably wouldnít make a special journey but I suspect it's one of the better pubs in the locality and it was a good place for a beer after missing my bus.

4 Oct 2009 09:45

The Rose and Crown, Harpenden

This is no longer a pub. It is still, rather misleadingly, called the Rose & Crown but it is an Indian restaurant that doesnít open until 5.30pm weekdays.

4 Oct 2009 09:42

The Plough and Harrow, Harpenden

Popular drinkers pub with plenty of room and TVís showing Sky Sports. Three ales including Directors, Spitfire and (I think) Adnams. Bus stops right outside for convenience.

4 Oct 2009 09:40

The Skew Bridge, Harpenden

It is indeed open and although it may well have had a bit of a paint job it does need a bit more. Itís in a residential/estate area and has loads of land surrounding it so you do fear that it might not last that long. I hope it does as itís a genuine pub doing what it can to survive. Friendly service and a couple of ales including Youngs Ordinary which was in good condition.

4 Oct 2009 09:37

Number Twelve, Bloomsbury

I think this is the bar and restaurant for the Ambassadors Hotel next door, but they serve beer, in the evening, and theyíre open to the public so I guess it deserves to be on BITE. The bar area is only very small and is essentially a waiting area for the restaurant. Itís quite comfortable for a quiet drink although I wouldnĎt really recommend it. A pint of Stella will set you back £3.90 (Jan 09) and even though I ordered and carried it from the bar they had the cheek to add 12.5% service charge. Plus it was served in a John Smithís Smooth branded glass.

3 Oct 2009 18:54

The Cafe London, Holborn

Lots of bare pine and wooden floors give this bar quite a new feel. There are dedicated eating and drinking areas so that neither interferes with the other. Large plasma screen showing Sky Sports News. Only GK IPA on draught but there were also bottles of Abbot and Leffe available. Prices were pretty good given the location and that itís attached to the Bedford Hotel.

3 Oct 2009 18:44

Tempus Bar, Russell Square

This is very much a hotel bar but is open to the public. Go in the main entrance, turn right and walk straight ahead to find it. Itís a real haven of calm and you have the feel of walking into a library. In fact the dťcor is a little reminiscent of an old library with lots of wood panelling, high ceilings, hanging gas-style lamps and weathered leather seating. Thereís a few bookcases around and a large decorative carriage clock and an oil painting sitting atop an open fireplace. I half expected Noel Coward to stroll through in a smoking jacket.
The drink selection wasnít much, just Petermen and Stella from the Artois stable on draught at £4 a pint plus a few bottles and a decent wine and spirit selection. Staff are attentive offering table service (although you can order at the bar) and bring around small bowls of snacks and peanuts. If you are looking for an escape from the crowded pubs and incessant noise of a London evening this is a good laid back place for a drink.

3 Oct 2009 18:40

The Green Man, Sandridge

The smaller of the three pubs in Sandridge but with mainly the same lunchtime clientele, Sandridgeís aged populace either dining out or meeting with friends. The pub does have quite a nice community feel to it and is well looked after. There are both covered and uncovered seating areas outside looking out across the fields. Strangely the car park appeared to have more cars than the pub had patrons. Beers were GK IPA. OSH and Black Sheep. There were posters and beermats advertising the St Albans Beer Festival and the landlord has a festival shirt on so I imagine they are supporters of the event.

2 Oct 2009 08:50

The Rose and Crown, Sandridge

The quieter of the three pubs in the Sandridge triangle with just a few diners in on a weekday lunchtime. Much better looking inside than out with pleasant dťcor and a cared for feel about it. There are a number of different rooms and the main bar has a massive Inglenook fireplace. Small beer garden with a gazebo offering some shade. Beer was a bit uninspiring, Old Speckled hen and Pride. Both the pub cat and pub dog were in evidence.

2 Oct 2009 08:41

The Queens Head, Sandridge

Nice low-ceilinged country pub in a pleasant setting beside the church. Small front bar that I suspect is used mainly by drinkers with the rest of the pub geared up for food. Called in on a weekday lunchtime and it seemed very popular with locals dining and there was a good buzz about the place. There is a small hard-standing patio area outside with views of the church. Four hand pumps, Pride, Deuchars, Landlord and Tribute on my visit, £3.10 a pint.

2 Oct 2009 08:33

Hogs Head, St Albans

This pub no longer exists as the Hogs Head, go to the entry for the Blacksmiths Arms.

2 Oct 2009 08:20

The Blacksmiths Arms, St Albans

Well, it seems that you can make a silk purse out of a sows ear. On my previous visit in June this pub was on itís last legs but itís clearly been taken over by someone else and what a transformation thereís been. The layout is essentially the same but the dťcor and furnishings are much improved. Whoever owns/runs it now has clearly understood St Albansí link to real ale and got some in. Not just some but 7 hand pumps, 6 of which were in operation. Although they were mostly at the top end, 4.6% plus, there was enough variety to make force a decision. Great idea about the loyalty scheme, they also have tasting notes for the current monthís beers and you can sign up to get an e-mail about upcoming beers. Thereís a large beer garden with 20 plus tables with pleasant views of the church. At present they have a small marquee with 8 ales on stillage, including the excellent Exmoor Beast, all at £2.40 a pint (which played havoc with my performance on the quiz machine!). There are at least three plasma TVís showing live sport or Sky Sports News. Opens at 10am for breakfast with food served up until 10pm. Youíve got to be a bit special to be considered a great real ale pub in St Albans but I reckon if this one keeps up itís standards itíll be in next years GBG.

2 Oct 2009 08:18

The Three Horseshoes, Letchmore Heath

Iíd not recommend walking here from the Three Compasses or the Roundbush, there are some nice country lanes but they are very narrow and drivers seem quite intolerant of pedestrians. The pub itself is in a nice setting and the interior, not unsurprisingly, has a horseshoe theme to the dťcor. The main bar has tables laid out for diners and at the back is a drinkers bar. An inquisitive boxer dog roams throughout.

12 Sep 2009 18:38

The Three Compasses, Aldenham

Part of the Druid Pub chain. Almost seems like an extension of the equestrian centre over the road as the clientele are mostly from the Ďhorsy setí. A large part of the pub is given over to diners and there is not a great deal of room to sit and have a beer. Adnams and Bombardier were on, in decent condition and priced at £3.00. There are a few rugby shirts and photos on the walls but the photos of the Aussies holding aloft the World Cup seemed a bit unnecessary. Far too many kids for my liking although there was a four generation birthday party going on so I suppose it was to be expected. Quite bizarrely there is a childrenís play area positioned right outside the toilets.

12 Sep 2009 18:27

The Roundbush, Aldenham

A pub that youíd need to either drive to or live nearby, mainly the former judging by the full car park. Bus no. 602 does however pass along the top of Round Bush Lane. This is a fairly typical country pub with very low ceilings, even to the extent that part of it above the dartboard has been cut away to allow for the trajectory of the darts. There were five hand pumps I think with Black Sheep and Tribute and it looks like they usually have one or two guests. Also had Addlestones Cider on draught. Itís quite a food orientated pub but not overly so. Child friendly, pleasant outside seating areas, one small unobtrusive TV.

12 Sep 2009 18:13

Swany's, Edinburgh

A decent locals corner pub that might seem a bit unwelcoming to strangers. Plenty of TVís showing sport, comfortable seating, keg beer. Close to Leslies Bar which should also be afforded a visit.

5 Jul 2009 08:09

The Andover Arms, Hammersmith

No need to apologise Esme, Iím sure the world outside of this interminable Ďdebateí can live with the mysterious disappearance of the video link. It has made me want to visit this pub and see first hand what has caused so much rancour amongst its erstwhile regulars.

3 Jul 2009 09:28

Cock, St Albans

I found this place clean and tidy and the service was OK. There were four hand pumps serving GK beers plus Batemans XXXB as a guest. The issue I have with this Ďpubí is that during busy times there is nowhere to stand and have a pint, almost every bit of space is taken over by tables for food. They have a restaurant area round one side but then this seems to overflow into what should be a drinkers bar. Consequently drinkers congregate at the small bar meaning itís difficult to get served.

28 Jun 2009 09:35

The Blacksmiths Arms, St Albans

This really is a pub that serves little purpose and looks to be struggling to survive. Cheap food deals, and no doubt cheap food, Fosters and John Smiths Smooth was on offer at £2.35, no cask beer and the Guinness I had was pretty poor. All rather depressing really.

28 Jun 2009 09:29

The Fountain, Islington

I wouldnít normally venture into a Fithy McNastyís pub as Iíve found they usually are, but called in here as I was passing, purely in the interests of research and under the influence of a few already. I found an interesting pub, very music orientated and advertising live music 4 days a week. Not that busy so difficult to judge the clientele , although the couple in the corner playing Jenga was somewhat mesmeric. Becks, Red Stripe, Guinness, Stella and Strongbow were on offer along with a single hand pump that produced a pretty poor pint of Black Sheep. An interesting pub that no doubt has a large fan base and serves it well.

28 Jun 2009 09:08

The Lexington, Kings Cross

I called in here some time ago, shortly after they opened as The Lexington, and it was quite busy on a Monday night. Bills itself as a Whiskey Bar and they do have an impressive range including some rare stuff like Hirsch and Weller 19. Donít go expecting Scotch Whisky though. Despite the impressive display of around 50 different bottles I didnít see anyone drinking them, it was all lager and trendy cider. Thre was no cask ale at that time although I did manage to get a bottle of London Pride for £3.90. The fact that I was asked if I wanted a glass with it probably highlighted the lack of experience throughout the bar staff.

28 Jun 2009 08:58

Founders Arms, Bankside

I've never particularly liked this place, it just doesn't look or feel like a pub to me. It is however a convenient stopping off point during a crawl along the river. On a Summer's day most people will head for the outside decking area but they fill it so full with tables that there's nowhere to stand and have a chat over a beer without feeling in the way.

27 Jun 2009 08:31

The Anchor, Southwark

Dropped in yesterday afternoon whilst on a crawl along the river and three of the four handpumps were turned around and the fourth announced that it was having it's pipes cleaned. I'd have stayed for a lager but the others wanted to move on. Called back later around 7pm and people were queuing three deep to get served. Bit of a rubbish pub but nice looking and gets by on it's location and the outside seating area.

27 Jun 2009 08:23

The Old Thameside Inn, London Bridge

Called in yesterday afternoon whilst on a crawl along the river and we stayed for a few. There were plenty of staff and although none of them would have graduated from charm school they were pretty efficient. The pub got ridiculously busy around 6pm which I suppose is no surprise for a Friday evening when the sun is out. Nice if you can get a spot on the balcony but a bit difficult getting back and forth from the bar with a handful of drinks. Beer was OK and I had a few decent pints of Wainwrights.

27 Jun 2009 08:05

The Stockbridge Tap, Edinburgh

New looking pub both inside and out but has retained what perhaps was it's original layout, including a serving hatch at the rear of the bar. The light woods and cream decor give it a nice bright feel, perhaps too bright in the front bar when the sun shines. Walls are covered in old Edinburgh Brewery mirrors including a large one advertising Ushers Pale Ale. Deserving of its 'Tap' tag with 6 real ales on all displayed on a blackboard showing brewery strength and price, around £3.00 a pint.

21 Jun 2009 22:59

The Three Monkeys, Edinburgh

Low lighting bar with old traditional decor, stuffed animals, old clocks, sporting equipment etc. Aims itself at local business people with its After Work Club offering complimentary nibbles. Small stage area and they seem to have regular live music. Newspapers and board games available. Beers from the local Stewarts Brewery in good condition.

21 Jun 2009 22:55

The Lansdown Arms, Lewes

Dropped in quickly on the way back to the station. I found it a bit dreary and the poor ale selection told me not to trust the quality. Probably serves itís purpose as a station pub and to avoid the walk up that hill to the decent pubs.

14 Jun 2009 10:13

Dorset Arms, Lewes

You canít really get away from Harveyís in Lewes obviously, and the Dorset serves a decent pint in comfortable if unremarkable surroundings. You need to be a great pub to be a good pub in Lewes and this place probably just hangs on thanks to itís food offering.

14 Jun 2009 10:01

The Gardeners Arms, Lewes

Imagine you could realise that dream and own your own Ďlifestyleí pub that you could do whatever you wanted with. Well youíd probably come up with something like the Gardeners Arms. Small, intimate and friendly with character and characters built up over the years. Thereís not much Iíd change about it. The beer is the star of course, a free house with a diverse range of beers and cider, mainly from the South. I had the Whiteís Dark Mild and then an excellent Iceni Men of Norfolk, supplemented by the, often difficult to find these days, perfect gastronomic accompaniment, a pork pie. This was the seventh pub on a solo Lewes crawl, next time Iíll make it earlier and be a bit more selective.

14 Jun 2009 09:53

The John Harvey Tavern, Lewes

A must visit if in Lewes Iíd say, the problem is so does everyone else so it can get busy. They do have plenty of staff though and they all seem to want to be there serving you which makes for a nice experience. Three Harveyís beers on plus a line of the flagship Sussex Best on stillage. Does it taste better here? Well IĎm not a great fan but I thought so. Blokes - check out the Joe Kerr item in the Gents.

14 Jun 2009 09:33

The Volunteer, Lewes

Has a nouvelle look to it outside but is fairly traditional inside. There were four hand pumps but none were on. To be fair the guy behind the bar was very apologetic and said theyíd had a busy weekend and the new barrels were yet ready. Went for a bottle of Westons Cider.

13 Jun 2009 23:10

The Elephant and Castle, Lewes

Good down to earth pub that has done the whole refurb, oak table, pub menu thing without losing itís character and sense of community. 3 ales and a cider on draught and they seem to know how to look after them. Good place to stop off on a crawl.

13 Jun 2009 22:54

Lewes Arms, Lewes

Was a bit concerned that it might be closed when I went past early and saw all the scaffolding but came back later and it was thankfully opened. Iíd saved by first pint of Sussex Best on this trip for the Lewes Arms in homage to their battle with GK and wasnít disappointed with the quality. Definitely still a place to visit with itís interesting multi-room layout.

13 Jun 2009 22:49

Lamb, Lewes

Bit of a barn of a place with wooden floors, exposed brickworks and minimal dťcor. Minimal customers as well on my visit, I was the only person in on a Monday lunchtime, I suspect itís more of an evening venue. Two ales on, Olde Trip and Tom Woods.

13 Jun 2009 22:08

The Brewers Arms, Lewes

One of the better pubs in Lewes, a genuine free house with 6 changing beers, Bidenden Cider and a number of bottled beers. Everywhere you look there is something of interest, from the carved wooden fireplace, local prints and old bottles and trays on a shelf running around the front bar. There are reference books, newspapers and board games available plus maps and leaflets for local attractions. The back bar is more lively with a loud juke box, dartboard and pool table. Sporting prints adorn the walls including an interesting framed display of spent, or I assume they were, bullets and cartridges.

13 Jun 2009 22:00

The Royal Oak, Newick

A two minute walk from the Bull Inn and more of a locals pub buzzing with conversation. The area directly in front of the bar is a narrow corridor which can make it difficult to move around when itís busy. To the right is an eating area and thereís another seating area to the left with a pool table. Atractive exterior and outside seating for smokers. Ales available and a couple of ciders and perries.

13 Jun 2009 21:45

The Bull Inn, Newick

Nice 16th Century inn opposite the village green and ideal to sit outside on a Summerís day taking in your surroundings. Inside there is a main bar and a snug plus a restaurant area around the left hand side. Watch out for the very low ceilings in some places. Beers were from the Shepherd Neame range and in decent condition. Sky Sports showing. Accommodation also available.

13 Jun 2009 21:37

The Hope, Brighton

Still there, still called the Hope, still a bar rather than a pub. Seems to specialise in sofas and tapas. Quite an attractive looking bar that is well kept.

13 Jun 2009 09:26

The Great Eastern, Brighton

Quite liked this place, a proper pub in an area with so many bars. Nice laid back atmosphere, a bit of jazz playing and a large bookcase running along the back wall. Four ales on and service was attentive.

12 Jun 2009 08:06

The Basketmakers Arms, Brighton

Seems to have some history to it, if even just for the myriad of bric-a-brac nailed to the walls. Did seem to be a bit of a tourist attraction though on my visit which I suppose is not surprising given it's location. Service was friendly and efficient. Just Butcome Bitter on offer outside of the Fullers stable.

12 Jun 2009 07:57

The Gardeners Arms, Portslade

Doesn't open until 4pm on weekdays and there is little else around apart from residential areas.

12 Jun 2009 07:04

The Stanley Arms, Portslade

One thing to note if you intend searching this pub out is that it doesn't open until 3pm on weekdays. They are running a beer festival this weekend 12th - 14th June.

12 Jun 2009 07:02

The Queens Head, Brighton

Sells real ales but I don't think they are that committed to them. The quality wasn't great and it seems more like an evening lounge bar than a pub.

12 Jun 2009 00:05

The Royal Standard, Brighton

Fairly nondescript sort of place and should do better being so close to the station, although it does have a lot of competition. The exterior was having a bit of a paint job when I was there and it could certainly do with it, it needs brightening up.

12 Jun 2009 00:02

The Railway Bell, Brighton

Hardly threatening but a bit of a sad place really. Full of old boys and drop outs trying to make their pint last as long as half a dozen roll ups. Had a pretty poor half of Spitfire in here while waiting for a mate to arrive at the station, he was late which added to my discomfort.

11 Jun 2009 23:55

The Battle of Trafalgar, Brighton

Much more of a pub than the Sussex Yeoman over the road but still seems to be doing it's bit to pander to the eclectic populus of Brighton. Four hand pumps and the Sussex Best was in good nick. Lots of prints of naval ships and battles as you would expect, and a similar number of old cricketers, which you wouldn't.

11 Jun 2009 23:50

The Sussex Yeoman, Brighton

Proudly advertises cask ales outside but only delivers GK IPA and OSH, the latter of which was off. Was told they were in happy hour with £1 a pint off so my pint of Budvar was only £2.70!! Fosters, Krony, Strongbow, Guinness and Hoegaarden also on offer, plus a myriad of teas and coffees. I wouldn't recommend it and would struggle to call it a pub, more of a bar really. As for the reviewer below who thinks he'll get his dentist bill paid, caveat eater I think.

11 Jun 2009 23:46

The Exmouth Arms, Exmouth Market

Iíve been disappointed with the beer quality in this pub on both of my visits and frankly it was an unfriendly place that I wanted to get out of as quickly as possible. Hopefully the new management will have changed things so Iíll try to get back and see if itís for the better.

6 Jun 2009 14:42

Wilmington Arms, Exmouth Market

Quite a decent and well priced gastropub with a friendly and new feel to it. Had a good pint of Bath Gem and I think they also had Hare Flick on. The menu has a range of specialist pies at £8 and wine goes for around £12 - £15 a bottle.

6 Jun 2009 14:36

The White Bear, Farringdon

A minimalist, wooden floored, pseudo gastro pub. Just GK IPA. One plasma TV showing some sort of antiques roadshow rubbish that the landlord seemed to be enjoying. Just me and one other in. Toilets smaller and pokier than Just William with a sharp stick. Punch owned.

1 Jun 2009 23:04

The Perseverance, Holborn

Yes, this used to be a good real ale pub called The Sun. It would have been around 1995 when it was ruined and turned into the abomination that is Finnegans Wake. It was probably 5 or 6 years later that it took on it'e present name. It's not a bad place for a pint I find, especially when it's not busy and you're looking for a bit of peace and quiet. Would only give it 5/10.

29 May 2009 18:18

Three Mariners, Hythe

Visited here in March 09 and it was noticable that a bit of money had been spent on it since my last visit. There had been a change of livery from Shepherd Neame red & blue to what would probably be described as olive green. It's still a Shepherd Neame pub though and the welcome and atmosphere hasn't really changed. One of those pubs where the casual visitor(s) will soon be engaged in conversation by the regulars. A pub which is defined by it's clientele, and a welcome triumph for proper conversation over intrusive music.

27 May 2009 22:17

The Dagda Bar, Edinburgh

I didn't spend much time here but it's definitely a bar that I want to return to. There were three Scottish ales plus a big range of bottles including Duvel, Le Chouffe, De Konnick and Krusovice. It's a small one room bar with stools at the bar, seating around the outside and a stone floor with a large barrel acting as a table in the centre. The reason I didn't stay longer was a group of loud drunken students debating everything from, philosophy to creationism to sexual fetishes to absolute b*llocks. Normally this would entertain me but one of the girls had one of those loud whiney yank accents that can disturb dogs three streets away. It spoiled the experience a bit but I saw enough of the pub to appreciate how good it is and to make me want to return next time I'm in Edinburgh.

25 May 2009 10:29

The Auld Hoose, Edinburgh

Deserves it's GBG listing for the beers alone, four handpumps with one cider, one guest and Deuchars (of course) and Hobgoblin as regulars. The darkness of the latter possibly reflects the pubs target market. It's very much a down to earth music pub aimed at students. I could have done without the loud rock music playing on a quiet afternoon but service was good and friendly. I'd go back again if I was in the area but probably wouldn't make a special trip.

25 May 2009 09:47

William McEwans, Edinburgh

Quite a decent pub that is fairly to visitors. It bills itself as an Ale House but there was only the ubiquitous Deuchars available on my visit. Two TV's with the ability to show different channels, useful when there are two big games on.

25 May 2009 09:31

The Maltings, Edinburgh

An L shaped corner pub with minimal decor and, I found, rather grudging service. Had a decent pint of Deuchars at £2.70 and also saw Directors and Cally 80. Nothing remarkable about the place.

25 May 2009 09:18

Leslies Bar, Edinburgh

A wonderful pub that those with a liking for beautiful pub interiors should seek out. To the right of the entrance is a traditional bar counter whilst going to the left and through to the snug you'll find a wood and glass panelled bar with four serving hatches rather like train station ticket booths. There's a wonderfully decorative ceiling and hanging chandeliers provide low lighting. There are separate panelled rooms leading off each of the two bars decorated with old oil paintings. I believe the architect was the same one who designed the Abbotsford in Rose St. The seating is comfortable and the tables are small with inlaid brass/copper. Everything is clean and tidy and with four handpumps this place is a must visit. From the City Centre you can get there on bus numbers 42 or 67.

24 May 2009 22:42

The Guildford Arms, Edinburgh

Invariably very busy but it feels less touristy than the Cafe Royal. Always worth a visit for the diverse and excellent range of ales.

24 May 2009 22:18

Cafe Royal, Edinburgh

Clearly one of the best interiors around and the beer is normally good. Due to it's fame and popularity it can seem a bit like a tourist attraction at times.

24 May 2009 22:12

Rumba, Leith

Rumba is.....well it's a rum bar, or at least it's supposed to be, but I can't help feeling that it's clientele is much the same as it was when it was the Portland Bar. It's not a particularly looking exterior but inside it's clean and comfortable and has a looked after feeling. It's only a small bar with a few stools plus a raised seating area and a couple of sofas at the back. There's also a piano, that someone from a group on a crawl was playing on one of my visits, quite well as it happens. One cask ale available plus as many rums as you can think of. Very handy for the Holiday Inn opposite.

24 May 2009 21:16

The Harbour Inn, Leith

Pleasant, friendly, locals pub with a small standing bar and a seating & eating area up a few steps. The pub seems to have some age to it and it's on the waterfront opposite the old fishmarket which is now a Loch Fyne restaurant. Two real ales on offer in good condition.

24 May 2009 21:00

The Starbank Inn, Edinburgh

I like the Starbank, it's a genuine pub that people travel to for the atmosphere and conversation ( I went early evening). Right on the waterfront so it has good views. Wooden floors throughout with an uncluttered whilst attractive decor. All the tables are for drinkers and there is a covered patio area for diners at the back. Round the other side of the bar is an unobtrusive TV showing sports. Six real ales, four of which were Scottish brews plus two from the Mordue Brewery including the excellent Workie Ticket. An all round good pub and one that I'd recommend.

24 May 2009 20:57

The Oxford Bar, Edinburgh

Having walked along Rose Street and despaired at what has become of some of the pubs, I needed some reassurance that not the whole of the City Centre had sold out to the tourist $/Ä. I found that reassurance in the ever reliable Oxford Bar. Nothing changes here and even having to wait while the regulars were served first didnít bother me. A couple of pints of Lia Fail in familiar no nonsense surroundings restored my sanity. Long may the Oxford remain, it provides a welcome bolt hole for those looking for a proper pub.

24 May 2009 08:55

The Kenilworth, Edinburgh

A lot of pubs in Rose Street are changing but this one is much as I remembered from a few years ago, a good traditional and attractive pub. The only downside is that the large central bar doesnít leave much room for customers to move around during busy periods.

24 May 2009 08:39

Foot Of The Walk, Leith

Youíll be marked out as a Sassenach fairly early in most Scottish pubs but you can delay the ignominy here, at least until you open your mouth, by abiding by the local custom of queuing from the right hand side of the bar to get served. I observed this over a couple of pints and, whilst some people just jumped in, the convention was generally observed. It confuses the hell out of the irritating JDW zonal serving system. Small place by Spoons standards but plenty of tables and a decent bar.

24 May 2009 08:25

The Central Bar, Leith

Despite it looking a bit bland outside, this pub has an attractive interior. The walls are almost fully tiled with a decorative frieze, mirrors and some large sporting themed murals. He stained glass in the windows mentioned John Doig which may indicate an alternative or previous name. No cask beer available, two TVĎs showing racing. A fairly down to earth clientele of whom I felt the staff were a little wary. An over 25ís rule is in place but that didnít pose much of a challenge to those of us in there.

24 May 2009 08:16

The Caley Inn, Leith

Currently undergoing a refurbishment

23 May 2009 17:36

The Black Swan, Leith

The Black Swan closed down in 2007 and subsequently re-opened as a cafe/restaurant called Roseleaf.

23 May 2009 17:16

The Lighthouse, Leith

This has now been turned into a restaurant/bar/cafe/coffee shop type place and renamed The Granary

23 May 2009 17:03

Shakespeares, Edinburgh

I didnít hold out much hope for this place but I needed to shelter from the rain so popped in. Didnít see any hand pumps at first but then spotted a Trashy Blonde at the end of the bar (the Brew Dog Beer!!). It was pretty good and a decent diversion whilst waiting for the rain to stop. For some reason the price was £3.01. A decent sports pub with big screens and a typical JDW style menu.

17 May 2009 21:56

The Blue Blazer, Edinburgh

I had to call in to one of my favourite Edinburgh bars on my recent visit and the Blue Blazer is still deserving of itís GBG listing. An array of different beers were on offer and the Trade Winds was top notch.

17 May 2009 21:47

The Western Bar, Edinburgh

Just for the record I can confirm that this bar is still open. Didn't go in but judging by the bouncers on the door I imagine they still have dancing girls.

17 May 2009 21:40

Deacon Brodies, Edinburgh

This pub is on the Robert Burns Ale Trail and is right on the Royal Mile so as you expect itís full of tourists. It also has a kilted Ďgreeterí to welcome you in. I guess it serves a commercial purpose but, for the reasons stated above, itís not one of my favourite pubs.

17 May 2009 21:33

The Black Rose Tavern, Edinburgh

The Saltire was never a great pub but the current owners have taken it to another level. Itís now called the Black Rose Tavern but little else has changed. The toilets are still awful and the bar is still dark and dingy, as are most of the staff and customers coming from the great pierced unwashed. Service is somewhere between non-existent and grudging indifference. For pub historians out there the polo dancing stage is still there as well.

17 May 2009 21:21

Brecks, Edinburgh

Another of Rose Streetís famous old pubs bites the dust. Some will remember it as The Goblet, some as Brecks, but I wonder how many will remember the pseudo cocktail bar that it has now become in a few years time.

17 May 2009 21:00

Iglu, Edinburgh

Still open and still called Iglu, but looking very beaten up and a bit depressing.

17 May 2009 20:18

Raeburn House Hotel, Stockbridge

This place is now closed and boarded up with the back of the building having been demolished.

17 May 2009 20:12

Bert's Bar, Edinburgh

Bert's closed down around August 2008. It has now reinvented itself as the Stockbridge Tap which has been suggested as a new pub on BITE.

17 May 2009 19:57

The Ormelie Tavern, Portobello

A friendy locals pub with comfortable seating and a lot of old photos and trophies dotted around. Seems to be a golfing theme and looks to be home of the local golf society. There are two side rooms off the main bar, one of which holds a number of books. Four real ales, £2.75 a pint, and I had a couple of decent Northumbrian Gold's. There's also an impressive whisky gantry of 50+ bottles and a Malt of the Month sells at £1.80 for a 35ml measure. Good place for a beer and a chat.

17 May 2009 08:22

The Foresters Arms (Restaurant), Portobello

A drinkers pub typical of the area. No cask but usual range of keg beers, I might have to challenge the Best in Bellhaven Best, it wasn't that good and I had better elsewhere. The entrance has doors left and right that both lead to the same room with a horseshoe shaped bar. TV's on and racing seemed to be popular. Bus stop outside.

17 May 2009 08:14

The Portobello Bar, Portobello

Proper drinkers pub, an all male clientele, TV on, old blokes chatting, reading papers and writing out betting slips ready for Ladbrokes opposite. All keg beer, £2.50 for Tennents.

17 May 2009 08:09

Seahaven, Edinburgh

This bar is part of the Seahaven Hotel. Nice decor and all very new but it's difficult to see what their target market is. Very quiet on a Friday lunchtime. No cask ale but I spotted bottled Deuchars. Pool table and quiz machine in a raised area at the back. The menu suggests food is provided by outside caterers, not sure how that works.

17 May 2009 07:59

Dalriada, Edinburgh

Took a bus from Edinburgh to Portobello to search this place out. Having walked almost the entire length of the Promenade in the cold and rain I eventually found it....and it was closed. The gates to the grounds were locked but a sign outside said they open at 5pm Mon-Thur, 3pm Friday and Midday at the weekend. It inferred that Summer opening hours may be a little earlier. It's a very impressive building from the outside and at least I got a photo to upload. Combine a visit with Ormelie Tavern nearby.

17 May 2009 07:50

The Old Dock Bar, Leith

The Old Dock Bar is currently closed with the windows either painted over or blacked out with curtains. No indication of it's fate, hopefully a refurb is on the way. I think this is a GBG listed pub but I recall it was nothing special on my previous visit a few years ago.

16 May 2009 08:00

The Waterline, Leith

There are so many of these pub/restaurants along the Shore that they all start seeming like each oher. Again the Waterline has a small cramped bar with a larger restaurant area up a few stairs at the back. I saw a Cask Marque sign that I thought was a bit generous given they only had two handpumps, one with the ubiquitous Deuchars and the other showing nothing. One advantage the Waterline has over other bars in the area is a nice outside seating area that I imagine is very popular in Summer.

16 May 2009 07:49

The Malt and Hops, Leith

After making my way along from Ship to Shore and surrounding bars I had almost given up on finding a proper pub and was beginning to dread what might have happened to the Malt & Hops as a consequence of the new money that has moved into Leith. I need not have feared though, as in the the realms of proper pubs this is a King among paupers, and the sight of eight handpumps cheered me up no end. It's thankfully much as I remembered it from a few years ago. The 'library' is still there with its back catalogue of GBG's, there are pump clips on the walls, water jugs on the ceiling and the whole bar is festooned with hops interspersed with fairy lights. Atop the fireplace is a large oil painting that I recall my Kiwi mate insisting was Italian, probably a Canaletto, until I pointed out the Lothian bus making its way across the 'Ponte Vecchio' and that it was in fact a painting of the scene outside the pub. Two old copper lanterns still sit in the windows and an old sign announces that 'Motor Buses stop here 6, 9 and 34'. I'm not sure if the numbers are the same but most buses going to Ocean Terminal stop outside and you could do worse than stopping off for a pint in this wonderful unspoilt pub.

16 May 2009 07:40

Hectors, Edinburgh

Primarily an evening bar I think, loads of candles and low level lighting especially towards the back of the bar. The upholstery is a bit ragged so either they're going for the distressed look or think that people won't notice in the dark. Two handpumps and a decent selection of keg beers, I had the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale which you don't find in too many places. Not one for the pub purists but a decent chilled out bar that has regular DJ nights.

16 May 2009 07:23

Bailie Bar, Stockbridge

I'd highly recommend a visit to the Bailie if you get the chance. It's an underground bar with a low ceiling so has a cellar bar feel to it. There are a few windows that add some light and some outside bench seating for smokers and sun worshippers. Inside there is a small circular bar with the spirits on a central island. There's the usual Scottish offering, Tennents, McEwans and Bellhaven etc. Six real ale pumps which look to be split between three regulars, Deuchars, Directors and Cally 80 plus three changing guests. Prices were a bit steep at £3.25 a pint but I'm getting used to paying London prices around here. The bar has stools and comfortable seating surrounding it with an eating area at the back with a good pub menu. There are lots of old local memorabilia on the walls and what looks like some original fixtures and fittings including some old glass in the windows and door. Newspapers and local information leaflets are available. Sky Sports shows premiership games and whilst I was there they were also showing the test match. Nice laid back friendly bar that has a lot going for it.

16 May 2009 07:12

The Kings Wark, Leith

Another pub on the Shore where you don't think you should be sitting at a table if you're not eating. This has more of a pub feel than some others though. Four handpumps, two Cally's and two Harviestoun's, I had a decent pint of the Schiehallion.

14 May 2009 09:25

The Ship, Leith

Primarily a restaurant, and a fairly expensive one, with a bar area. No cask ales but they have Hoegaarden, Staropramen and Addlestones cider. Seems quite popular. Like the Shore a bit further along there is a massive mirror at one end of the bar making it look bigger, I wonder who copied who.

14 May 2009 09:23

The Shore, Leith

Primarily a restaurant with a bar/bistro area. The tables are a bit close together for comfort and they are clearly trying to cram in as many tables as they can. Small bar with a few stools. Good service. Deuchars and Abbot on air dispense. There is a large mirror at one end of the bar that makes it look bigger than it is, until you see yourself walking towards you.

13 May 2009 23:52

The Brief, Croydon

The Brief is one of the new style of upmarket Greene King bars. It has a nice laid back feel with some comfortable seating and plasma TV's showing sport. Raised area at the back for busy times. Beers included Hydes Jekylls Gold and Bath Gem.

10 May 2009 15:36

The Swan and Sugarloaf, South Croydon

I have to admit I'd had a few when I went in here so cannot really remember too much. It is an attractive pub both inside and out and had it's fair share of colourful characters. The London Pride at £1.50 was a bargain and in reasonable condition.

10 May 2009 11:44

The Gipsy Moth, Croydon

Any place where you trip over a 'Please Wait Here to be Seated' sign as you walk through the door doesn't qualify as a pub in my book. There is however a small lounge area for drinking which is quite reminiscent of a lounge bar in a cheap hotel. I suspect that's actually what it is as there is a Premier Inn next door. I wouldn't be surprised if the place was owned by Whitbread as you often find pub/restaurant places like this adjoining a Premier Inn to cater for their guests. The beer selection was rather poor and they've stopped serving Erdinger on draught although they did have some bottles.

10 May 2009 11:35

The Ship of Fools, Croydon

The main bar has a couple of raised seating areas and there's an eating/family area at the rear, much like the layout of a lot of JDW's really. Good selection of festival ales available plus loads of TV screens showing Sky Sports.

10 May 2009 11:14

The Old Fox and Hounds, Croydon

This pub has a fantastic interior with wooden, carpeted and tiled floors in different parts of the pub. There's a lot of wooden fittings and a nice marble fireplace. The whole pub is covered in old advertising signs for Hovis, milk, cigarettes, Brasso etc. The seating is both stury and comfortable and there is a small outside courtyard plus an upstairs pool room. A mainly elderly male clientele gave the impression they wouldn't stand for kids coming in causing trouble. Just GK IPA aqnd Abbot which was a bit of a letdown and the service left a bit to be desired. Good pub though and worth a visit. Right opposite West Croydon train station.

10 May 2009 11:12

Arkwrights Wheel, Croydon

Just up the road from the Old Fox & Hounds and has a similar clientele, older males. They do however have 6 shots for £5 and WKD offers so I guess they must be looking to attract the younger element as well. An attractive pub with lots of wood paneling and etched glass. Large windows on two sides make it very bright and ideal for people watching. Pool table, dartboard and a digital jukebox. Adnams is the only cask beer they serve and whilst my pint was drinkable it seemed on its way out, although to be fair the barman did warn me.

10 May 2009 11:03

The Gun Tavern, Croydon

Tired looking pub and the drab blue walls and lack of customers made it a bit depressing. Minimalist decor with a few traditional touches remaining. Four handpumps but only Youngs Ordinary showing, I was then told that was off and offered John Smiths Smooth - no thanks. I had a Guinness at a frankly obscene £3.40, no wonder the place was empty. They even had the cheek to put up a blackboard saying they were absorbing the recent tax rises. Two pool tables and a dartboard. I'm sure it serves the needs of its regulars but even if I lived next door I'd not be one of them.

10 May 2009 10:58

The Tamworth Arms, Croydon

Decent local boozer that probably relies on its regulars as I don't imagine there is much passing trade. The horseshoe shaped bar has a dartboard to one side and theres a small stage area in the corner. Sky has been a recently addition I believe. There was only one of four handpumps working on a Sunday lunchtime which I thought was strange but the Youngs Ordinary was in decent nick and the cheese & biscuits on the bar was a nice touch. Rather unusually there was a customer newsletter on the bar from the new landlord of six months addressing some of the issues raised by customers. It had a myriad of spelling mistakes and gramatical errors but it got the message across and was something I'd not seen before.

10 May 2009 10:53

The Dog and Bull, Croydon

Fantastic Youngs house that is difficult to fault. There was a nice quiet easy going atmosphere when I visited and a friendly vibe from both customers and staff. There is a main bar and small seating areas both to the right and at the back. Look out for the decorative stained glass on the front windows featuring, unsurprisingly, dogs and bulls. The beer was in good condition and the Special was £2.80 which I though was reasonable by comparison. The hidden gem with this place is the beer garden out the back. It should perhaps be termed a beer patio as it is paved rather than grassed however there's plenty of foliage, flowerbed features and plant pots around to give it a garden feel. It's a large area with more than 20 wooden benches, some basking in the sun and others with umbrellas for those who like a bit of shade. It also has a purpose built BBQ area. A great Summer pub.

10 May 2009 10:26

The Goose on the Market, Croydon

I normally don't trust any pub with Goose in the title especially one as tatty as this. However I ventured in, in the name of research and my fears were confirmed, it's an awful, depressing place. Two plus points, £2.49 for a large JD & Coke and no stairs to get to the Gents.

10 May 2009 10:07

The Spread Eagle, Croydon

Fullers pubs seem to be becoming clones of each other especially the Ale & Pie Houses. This one is no different, tiled floors, a couple of sofas, loads of dark wood and etched glass, a good range of beers and horrendously expensive.

10 May 2009 10:01

The Ship, Croydon

Any pub that bills itself as 'The last real pub in Croydon' has a bit of a challenge living up to the claim and, for me, the Ship fails. Dark and dingy with loud and inconsiderate customers who block the bar and steadfastly refuse to move. There was also the bizzare sight of a baby being passed around the bar staff. The Brakspears was pretty poor but I didn't think it was the sort of pub where a stranger takes back beer. Other reviews show this to be a much better place so I guess I caught it at a bad time.

10 May 2009 09:55

The Green Dragon, Croydon

Not much to look at from the outside but don't let that put you off. It's got most things that you'd want in a pub, attentive and plentiful staff, a good traditional and well-priced menu, plenty of TV screens for sport, pool tables, board games and even a book swap club. There's music most nights, often live. Of the six handpumps all were on and only one of the beers, Bombardier, I would consider as mainstream, perhaps also the Hophead given the neck of the woods. Well deserved of it's Cask Marque accreditation. I think I'd do a lot of drinking in here if I lived in Croydon.

10 May 2009 09:49

The Crown and Pepper, Croydon

Lots of comfortable leather look sofas and armchairs but they were all empty at 7pm on a Bank Holiday Sunday. I got the impression that this was not unusual and the place has an air of inevitable failure around it. Not a bad looking pub with some attractive screens and leaded glass, they just need a few more customers. Others have commented on the prices and this might well be a reason people are going elsewhere, my single (25ml) JD & Coke cost £3.40.

10 May 2009 09:06

The Bulls Head, Croydon

Old traditional rough and ready backstreet boozer, full of drunks getting drunker. Mainly a lager pub but my pint of Courage Best was OK. I suspect it serves it's regulars well but it has a fair amount of competition locally.

10 May 2009 08:55

Half and Half, Croydon

Site of the old Beer Circus but has had a lot of work done. It's now a small attractive laid back chilled out bar with a few sofas and stools. There's a downstairs area that can be hired for private functions. The guv'nor is clearly passionate about the venture and happy to chat, including about the possibility of another real ale pump if turnover justifies it. Just one real ale at present, Dark Star Hophead, but it was in excellent condition and just £2.70 a pint (20% off Monday-Thursday). Draught beers included Becks, Leffe, Staropramen, Budvar and Budvar Dark, plus there were some interesting bottles in the chiller cabinet. The front area is quite bright as the large windows face out onto the High Street, so you can watch the world go by as you're enjoying a drink. Good place for a beer and deserves to be a success.

10 May 2009 08:50

The Skylark, Croydon

Decent enough Wetherspoons in the lower part of the High St getting towards South Croydon station. The main bar has a couple of raised seating areas for families and there's more seating upstairs where they have another bar (keg only) that I imagine they only open during busy times.

10 May 2009 08:40

The George, Croydon

Split level pub with bars on both levels. A fair number of festivals ales were available including one I hadn't tried, the Wooden Hand Cornish Mutiny. The clientele, especially in the upper bar, seemed of a more elderly persuasion, plenty of couples dining or people popping in for a quick drink during a shopping trip. Decent place for a beer.

10 May 2009 08:37

The Tyburn, Marble Arch

Not one of the better Wetherspoons but they had a few beers on and I found one festival beer that I hadn't yet tried. It would have been better had the staff not insisted on pouring the ale like a lager, there must have been a good third of a pint that ended up in the drip tray. Festival ales £2.19. The bar itself is small by Wetherspoons standards and a bit of a goldfish bowl due to the wrap around windows, but it does mean it is good for people watrching on the busy streets outside. A small plasma, with an intermittent signal, was showing BBC Sport.

25 Apr 2009 16:54

Metropolitan Bar, Baker Street

Small frontage but large and cavernous inside like most Wetherspoons. My experience is that they generally have a good selection of beers in this one and this was the case on my recent visit during the festival. I managed to find a couple that I'd not had before including the smoked beer. Plenty of tables so you can usually find somewhere to sit. Service OK but you do get the impression they don't really want to be there.

25 Apr 2009 14:41

O'Neills, St Albans

Sorry the last comment was misposted. This is a branded O'Neills, a large cavernous place. The pub I intended to post on was what is the ex Peacock

19 Apr 2009 16:01

Harry Smiths, St Albans

Quirky sort of place, more like a members club than a pub. Decent enough beer though and a friendly atmosphere, you're more than likely be engaged in conversation by someone. Wouldn't rush back.

19 Apr 2009 15:55

The Spotted Bull, St Albans

I sort of knew this place was here but wasn't sure if it had closed down and had never visited, then I came across it by chance. Always willing to go the extra mile for BITE I went in. It was a Sunday lunchtime and was incredibly quiet, just a couple drinking coffee and reading the Sunday papers, which hardly 'supports your local pub'. Two hanpumps, Pride and GK IPA, ordered a Pride and it wasn't right which I told the barman. Probably as it's the first out he told me then pulled through some more and offered it to me, it was still not right and I got a pint of IPA without any arguement. This was at 2.45pm Sunday afternoon so it probably shows how much beer they turn over. I drank it and ordered another as I felt it was a pub that should be supported. The star attractions are two dogs. one of which is a beautiful white hairy thing. A pub that I thought had closed, I'm glad it hasn't and will try to call again. It's a bit 'out of town, as far as St Albans is concerned but it is a proper pub.

19 Apr 2009 15:51

O'Neills, St Albans

Don't be fooled into thinking that this is an O'Neills pub, it's not, it's worse, which is saying something. Just pretty depressing really. If you want a good quality beer rather than a nitrokeg abomination go to the Mermaid just down the road.

19 Apr 2009 15:26

The Mermaid, St Albans

So many good beers, so few customers has usually been my experience, although I usually visit on a Sunday afternoon. Today there are two from local Alehouse Brewery and a couple I've not seen before. Always a cider on as well. Good place for a quiet beer and not too far a walk from St Peter's St (cut through via the Alban Arena).

19 Apr 2009 15:18

The Columbia Press, Watford

Well the last review tells you what itís like in the evenings. During the day itís usually the more refined of the two Wetherspoons but has an inferior beer selection - just one festival ale on yesterday during a busy Saturday afternoon. Having said that there is probably less call for it as the clientele is predominantly made up of lager boys and lunching girls. The presence of a large screen and a number of TVís for live sport attracts the former. I suppose itís possible that the former attracts the latter.

19 Apr 2009 07:04

Waterend Barn, St Albans

The main bar is a barn of a place, as the name would suggest. I've been here a couple of times in Winter when they've been trying to heat the place up with real fires only to fill the room with smoke. Away from the main bar there are a couple of smaller areas with comfortable seating and I believe, thankfully, where the screaming brats are confined to. There are a couple of plasma screens on mute and no piped music. By some Wetherspoons standards they don't have a big range of beers, today it's three plus Pedigree. A rather annoying occurence today is that although the three real ale pumps are located at one end of the bar the only real chance you have of getting served is to go to the other end where the bar person's 'personal till' is and order there. Not only that but they demand you pay up front, before deigning to saunter down the other end to get the beer. I've had to do this for my last last four pints of Rebellion Credit Crunch and am seriously thinking of going somewhere else now !!! On the plus side this place does have free WiFi that works fairly well so I can vent my spleen whilst having a pint....I may try just one more.

12 Apr 2009 14:07

The Calthorpe Arms, Holborn

Previous reviews have said it all really. When youíve almost given up on finding a traditional pub with good service and good beer just head for the Calthorpe Arms and spend an hour or so pretending that the last 25 years hasnít yet happened. The beer range is of course restricted to Youngs but they do have a lot of the bottled range as well for a bit of variety.

11 Apr 2009 12:59

The Apple Tree, Clerkenwell

Iíve only paid one visit, on a quiet weekday evening, but found it a fairly nondescript pub that was a bit depressing. Only GK IPA available ale wise.

11 Apr 2009 12:13

Blue Lion, Holborn

At first I thought this was going to be one of those pub to bar conversions that rip out the character and replace it with pretentiousness. However itís not, thereís clearly been a bit of money spent and itís been spent well. Itís now a clean, attractive pub with comfortable seating, i.e. they havenít rushed headlong for the sofa and low table concept and have some high tables with stools for drinkers. In fact none of the seating is laid out for food so the overall impression is of a pub rather than a bar. There are a few hand pumps and you can usually find something outside of the standard offering. Good place to stop off for a beer.

11 Apr 2009 10:19

The Duke (of York), Holborn

With not too many changes they could almost market this as a wartime theme pub. One dark Winterís evening I was in there around 7.30pm, the blinds were drawn, the lighting was low. Whispered conversation came from groups of people huddled around rickety tables or sitting in booths. In the background the Andrews Sisters were imploring me not to sit under the apple tree with anyone else but them and Glenn Miller was trying to get me in the mood. I felt a little out of place as I stood at the bar on my own with a pint of Black Sheep, and eventually took Duke Ellingtonís advice and took the A train out of there for fear of some sort of communal jitterbug session developing.

11 Apr 2009 10:09

The Kings Arms, Clerkenwell

The Kings Arms is a traditional pub that provides somewhere to run to if you get fed up with the bar/restaurant type places in the local area. It still has some original fixtures and fittings including some attractive etched glass windows. The beer selection is OK and the quality has always been good on my visits. Staff are very customer focussed and happy to chat. Nothing remarkable about the place but just a good honest pub.

11 Apr 2009 08:13

The Yorkshire Grey , Holborn

Provided you understand that this is a bar/restaurant rather then a pub, which should be evident from previous reviews, youíll not be disappointed. Itís very much one for after work doís and groups of friends wanting to dine out reasonably cheaply. Itís an attractive bar and has a good location at a major crossroad. Iíve found the beer selection to be limited and the fact that they probably donít turn over too much means itís rarely in top condition.

11 Apr 2009 08:05

Marquis of Cornwallis, Bloomsbury

For the array and diversity of beers you can't fault this place. There's 3-4 cask beers, Addlestones Cider, Fransiskaner, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and some premium lagers. The fact that most of the staff seem to know anything about them or how each needs pouring is a tad worrying. It's not cheap and can seem a bit pretentious but go at a quiet time and it's OK.

9 Apr 2009 16:54

The Lord John Russell, Russell Square

Good real ale pub with 6 handpumps and I've rarely had a bad pint. The location means that the ale side is often overshadowed by the designer lager and white wine set. Like many places in this area it's a good pub during the quieter times but a bit of a nightmare when it's busy.

9 Apr 2009 16:51

The Gunmakers, Clerkenwell

I waited until my third visit to post a review of this pub as I thought it only fair to make sure my first impressions were confirmed, well that and tardiness. It's a proper back street boozer, not very big, and with the emphasis firmly on ales. There are usually three or four real ales on plus Addlestones and, on my last visit, Westons Scrumpy. There is a good gastropub type menu but make no mistake, the raison díetre of this pub is the search for ebriety. The bar staff know their product well and are more than happy to engage in conversation. I suspect the location means it doesn't get a lot of passing trade but those that know it's there will keep returning.

8 Apr 2009 23:07

The Hat and Tun, Clerkenwell

Given Strongers failure to get a beer at the weekend (they close at the weekend except for private parties) I felt obliged to pay a visit, which I did last Monday. Thankfully there was no private party on and indeed not much else going on. I was the only customer in there at 5.30 although a couple more drifted in ready for the Monday night quiz. Fairly typical of a city wannabe gastropub but has retained some traditional characteristics. Itís a nice looking pub with wood floors, lots of wood panelling and some large mirrors and etched glass. Nice and bright due to the large windows and high ceilings. There are some rather macabre stuffed animals mounted either side of the bar, badgers, foxes, stags antlers, even a couple of boars heads. Service was good and the barman was very chatty. Three handpumps, London Pride and two Adnams, I had a couple of pints and both were OK but served far too cold.

As stated before the pub is now named the Hat & Tun. Bit of a shame as the old name Deux Beers was quite apt given itís location in the Hatton Garden diamond trade area.

8 Apr 2009 14:18

The Melton Mowbray, Holborn

Are Fullers trying to put this pub out of business? Prices have always been higher than average but I got charged £3.45 for a pint of 3.7% Batemans XB yesterday and the Kronenbourg is now £3.65 a pint. The pub has got noticeably quieter over the last six months or so and at those prices itís easy to see why. Iíll be encouraging my regular drinking partners to find somewhere else for a lunchtime pint, thereís plenty of choice.

8 Apr 2009 13:37

The Globe Inn, Hythe

Arrived here at 12.00 on the dot on after a long Sunday morning walk around Hythe only to find that every table in both bars had reserved signs. There was no real room to stand at the bar, due to 3-4 locals spread out along it, so rather than stand around in the middle of the room getting in the way we left. Judging by other pubs nearby it seemed unlikely that the tables had actually been reserved and more likely that they wanted to stop non-eaters using the tables. I'd have thought they could have left one or two tables free for those expecting a pub rather than a restaurant. Bit surprising really as it is certainly a pub and looks a fairly decent one. Didn't have a chance to try the beers but it's a Shepherd Neame pub. Based on a previous visit 3-4 years ago I've given it a 5/10 rating, had I seen Bishops Finger this time I might have increased this but it was only Spitfire and Earlybird.

5 Apr 2009 13:36

The Red Lion, Hythe

Has now reverted to it's original name of The Red Lion. The exterior could be a bit more welcoming but the welcome inside was excellent. It's clearly had a bit of cash spent on it since my last visit when I remember it as the Watersedge. There are now seperate eating and drinking areas with an overflow eating area out the back. There are sofas for those who like to drink in a prone position plus other more traditional seating. There's a bookcase with reference books which is handy for settling any bar room debates and fresh flowers on each table added another nice touch to go with the friendly and efficient service. Beers were Gadds No 3 & No 5 and Native from the Whitstable Brewery, all in good nick. This looks like a pub on the up.

5 Apr 2009 13:23

Lifeboat, Folkestone

It's not a place that you'd just happen across but if you are looking for a good real ale experience it's worth checking a map and searching it out. It's a small corner pub quite close to the harbour and the railway bridges. It doesn't open until 1pm on weekdays although I guess that could change in the Summer months. There were four handpumps on with London Pride, Doombar, Sharps Special and Harveys Sussex. We spent a pleasant afternoon in there drinking the Sharps Special and had the place to ourselves until about 4.30 when a couple of other customers came in. It must be one of the cleanest pubs in Folkestone as the staff spend almost every minute that they weren't serving us cleaning and polishing the bar. Friendly banter and good beer kept us amused as well as trying to find the worst song on the jukebox (my All Night Holiday by Russ Abbott was beaten a short head by Hands Up Hands Up by Zig and Zag, I was gutted). An afternoon lost but not wasted.

PS - we didn't get any free Spag Bol like MankyBadger but did get some complimentary bowls of peanuts to keep our thirst going.

5 Apr 2009 13:10

The Park Inn Hotel, Folkestone

Decent enough hotel bar and the only bar within reasonable walking distance of the train station. Clean and comfortable, one real ale served plus standard keg offering. One for a quick pint before getting the train but not much else. Live music on Saturday nights. Adjoining Radnor's Restaurant. Double rooms around £50.

5 Apr 2009 13:04

The Ship, Folkestone

There are two pubs on the Stade that are like chalk and cheese, this one and The Mariners. The Ship is full of noise, music and colourful characters and on both evening and lunchtimes visits was the more popular of the two. Superbly located right alongside the harbour with it's fishing boats and seafood stalls.

5 Apr 2009 09:20

The Royal George, Folkestone

Loud and packed when I looked in on a Sunday evening. Discovered that the Electric Beatles were playing. Looks to have regular live music at weekends. During the quiet of a Summer's day there's a nice outside patio area.

5 Apr 2009 09:03

The Guildhall, Folkestone

I'd always received a good welcome in this pub and did so again on both recent visits. Even when seven of us walked in together we were welcomed and given a taste of the guest beer, an excellent triple hopped offering, the name of which escapes me now. On our visit the next day the guest was Exmoor Hound Dog which was good again. The pub has a well-kept feel to it with comfortable seating inside and a bright modern exterior. One of Folkestones best pubs.

5 Apr 2009 08:53

The British Lion, Folkestone

An attractive exterior which shows the buildings age, it claims to be the oldest in Folkestone. Paid two visits recently, walking in on an 18th Birthday party on the first but we were still looked after. The second visit was quieter and we had time to sample the guest ales, I thinks it's a Greene King pub but they usually have two guests. The Double Maxim was drinkable but probbaly on it's way out but the Butcombe IPA was top class. A good pub and I'd recommend a visit, combined with the Guildhall just up the road.

5 Apr 2009 08:41

Mangos, Folkestone

Has now been renamed Mango's, with an awful purple colour scheme that assaults the senses like an AK47.

5 Apr 2009 08:35

The Chambers, Folkestone

My mates were a bit suspicious that I was leading them into a coffee shop, as that's what the upstairs actually is, but they settled down once we were downstairs and they saw the handpumps. It can feel a bit studenty, as most of the staff seem to be, but they do know their beer and provide a friendly service. There is always a good selection of beers and ciders and even when the pipes are being cleaned they'll draw the beer straight from the barrel. I recall Henry's IPA, Ramsgate Bitter, Dogbolter Porter and Skrimshanker IPA and we tried all of them during the three visits we made over as many days. There's a beer festival over the Easter weekend with some strong ales and ciders.

Rating gone from an 8 to a 9 as they've kept up their high standards.

5 Apr 2009 08:15

The Thistle and Shamrock, Folkestone

Went to search this place out as I remembered it from a few years ago but unfortunately it has closed and was boarded up. Shame, it was a decent old pub that had claims to be one of the oldest in Folkestone.

4 Apr 2009 17:55

The Samuel Peto, Folkestone

As previously stated this is a JDW built inside an old church so is a bit quirky. An impressive building which was unfortunately not matched by the beers on offer. Our hearts dropped to see just Abbot, Pedigree and Ruddles on but we did then find a Titanic White Star round the other side of the bar. Unfortunately that had gone by the next day when at one stage they were down to just Ruddles. I was pleased to see the 'Hymns' and 'Hyrs' hymn boards still sitting outside the toilets.

4 Apr 2009 17:53

The Clifton Hotel, Folkestone

I'd previously stayed here and enjoyed the Bass in the hotel bar so dragged my mates in for a late night snifter before going back to our own hotel. The consensus appeared to be that the Bass was very agreeable, certainly more so than the grumpy barmaid. To be fair she was perhaps looking forward to a quiet last hour of her shift, with a couple of aged guests drinking sherry and vimto, when seven noisy drunkards staggered in.

4 Apr 2009 17:46

The Happy Frenchman, Folkestone

Found what was the Happy Frenchman only to find that he wasn't that happy anymore and they have renamed it The Frenchman. It seems to have gone a bit upmarket since my last visit and whilst the basic layout is the same they've clearly spent a bit of money on the decor and it's now quite a decent pub. Pool table, dartboard, quiz and fruit machines and a jukebox. It looks like they still have live music events. Just Adnams Bitter on and was in good enough nick for our first two beers of a boozy weekend. Rating gone up from a 4 to a 5.

4 Apr 2009 17:43

The Amber Rooms, Watford

I donít know if it has slowly reverted to type in the two years since it re-opened but I called in recently and struggled to see much different to the old Mad George and before days. Putting some art for sale on the walls doesnít really make much difference. Beer was OK but I donít imagine they turn over too much. Prices seem to be based on what they want to be rather than what they are.

4 Apr 2009 13:59

Golden Lion, Watford

Sports orientated bar with the emphasis very much on rugby union with it being the (un)official home of Saracens supporters. Can get a bit lively at busy times but never threatening. Other times itís a haven of calm, almost to the extent that you wonder if itís OK to talk. Only a small bar, made smaller by the large tables they have installed. Fairly clean throughout and quite bright. Two hand pumps but only GK IPA and Bombardier on my last visit, Iíve also seen 6X on. Prices more expensive than average for the area.

4 Apr 2009 13:45

The Penderel's Oak, Holborn

From both quality of ale and speed of service perspectives this is probably the best JDW in the area. Can get very busy on a Thursday/Friday night but so does everywhere around here. I imagine it will benefit from some of my hard earned cash during the upcoming festival.

3 Apr 2009 10:51

The Tav Bar, Bloomsbury

Found myself staying here one night after getting stranded at Euston. The Tav Bar is OK but not particularly comfortable, you find yourself either sinking into one of the sofas, if they're not already bagged, or perching precariously on a high rickety stool. This situation is made worse by the fact that they won't allow you to take drinks through into the more comfortable hotel lobby. They do have cask beer Abbot, which was well kept and decently priced for a hotel bar. Service was friendly and efficient, even at 1am. The decor is unusual, they seem to be going for an Art Deco effect but have ended up with something more akin to 70's Kitsch.

3 Apr 2009 10:38

Callaghans, Russell Square

I use Callaghans now and again, usually when there's a test match on and I want to check progress. They almost always have the big screen on showing sport and it doesn't seem to get as packed as other places. Not a place you'd want to spend a lot of time in but a convenient bolthole if you're in the area - a little like The London Pub in that respect. There are no real ales here, standard keg offering and Staropramen. Haven't eaten there myself but it provides a good menu for guests and tourists.

3 Apr 2009 10:25

Coopers Arms, Reading

I walked past this place a few times on my visit to Reading earlier in the year and just felt it wasn't really the sort of place that a non-regular would be welcomed. I took the charming advice of bcfcdarren and effed off somewhere else. I'm glad I did and I suspect so is he.

28 Mar 2009 06:15

Eastway Bar, Moorgate

This bar is part of the Andaz Hotel (the old Great Eastern) and presumably thinks it has to add an extra layer of pretension because of it. I guess itís OK for the clandestine office assignation or for those City Boys who still have an expense account, but I donít envisage making a second visit myself. Itís more of a wine and cocktail bar really, there is no draught beer at all and the bottles are hidden away in fridges that you canít see into to see what theyíve got. Not that they have much, I asked if they had any Belgian beers and was told they hadnít so we ended up with two bottles of Guinness at £4 each.

27 Mar 2009 21:45

The Waldorf Hotel, Manchester

Well, the Gents weren't particularly pristine when I was in there this lunchtime, they were a bit of a mess. Landlord and Deuchars were on plus Shaws Best and something from the Cotleigh Bewery. I thought the beer was in decent nick. Two big screens for the football and the place was packed with everyone seeming to arrive 5 mins before kick-off. Had to leave just as Man U went one up against Liverpool, suspect it got a bit lively as the game went on, (final result 1-4)

14 Mar 2009 17:48

The Water Rats, St Pancras

Not the sort of place Iíd normally go but I hate seeing pubs that Iíve not been into so dropped in a couple of weeks ago. The small bar is a bit tatty but to be fair itís purpose is really as a waiting room for the music venue. There was no real ale on but I had a decent pint of Star. Rather amusingly whilst they have one of those all-singing all-dancing coffee machines behind the bar the barman put the kettle on to make himself a cup of instant.

14 Feb 2009 18:57

The Carpenters Arms, Kings Cross

Neither handpump had a clip on last night but I was told they haven't stopped serving real ale they just didn't have any. I hope that's right as this place doesn't strike me as a lager pub. Good down to earth boozer full of character and characters.

14 Feb 2009 18:50

The Golden Lion, Kings Cross

Everything securely boarded up and no indication of it re-opening.

14 Feb 2009 18:35

The Champions Bar, Watford

I also noticed the list of 4-5 real ales on the blackboard outside and have been in a few times to check them out. There does only seem to be two hand pumps and most of the time they only have one beer on, itís usually in good nick though. Service can be a bit indifferent and Iíve walked out before after being ignored by chatting bar staff.

7 Feb 2009 13:02

The Verulam Arms, Watford

Iíd say the atmosphere is more depressing than intimidating. Thereís hardly anybody in there most of the time and when it is busy it seems to be full of kids. It has all the hallmarks of a pub dying on itís arse and the lease has been up for sale for some time with no takers. Itís a shame because it has a decent location with a lot of space and there are not many decent pubs nearby.

7 Feb 2009 12:51

The Retreat, Reading

If the phrase hidden gem had been penned for a pub it would have been penned for this one. You have the feeling of having entered some eccentric Auntís parlour as you step through the door. The whole place has a delightfully disorganised feel to it. Eggs were on sale at one end of the bar and a pot for recycling batteries sat at the other. Itís clearly a Ďgreení bar and a campaigning one judging by the posters decrying beer duty and lambasting Alistair Darling.

Among the clutter of the back bar thereís an old piano, that we didnít try out, and a £1 a game pool table, which we did. Thereís a good jukebox with a lot of old jazz numbers as if to accentuate the step back in time. To round all of this off the beer selection is very good with 6 hand pumps. I had a couple of good Lodden Ferrymasterís whilst my mates raved over the Old Hooky. They also have an impressive range of bottled beers including Chimay, Rochefort and an interesting smoked German beer that I was tempted to try. Unfortunately, unlike time in The Retreat, we had to move on.

2 Feb 2009 22:20

The Three Guineas, Reading

Pretty good for a station pub and better than I remember it. I suspect itís one of those places that has a couple of goods years and a couple of bad ones, thankfully at present itís going through a good stage. I found it clean and comfortable although perhaps a tad depressing which I suppose is understandable given the transient nature of customers in station pubs. Four real ales were on in decent condition and they were supporting the LocAle initiative. Sky Sports with all the big football and rugby games are shown on a big screen and various others dotted around the pub, including one outside.

2 Feb 2009 22:02

The Lyndhurst, Reading

A decent pub to bar conversion that has got things just about right. Not exactly atmospheric and there werenít too many in on our visit but the Somerset & Devon Ale was OK.

2 Feb 2009 21:52

The Sun Inn, Reading

Nice old building and looked like a good Ďall things to all mení pub. Different seating and drinking areas, quiz, fruit and games machines and Sky Sports throughout. Had a decent pint of Deuchars.

2 Feb 2009 21:50

The Monks Retreat, Reading

Small fronted JDW that is a bit deceptive. Thereís a small bar to the left as you enter but if the beer choice there doesnít inspire you go up the steps and youíll find a much larger bar with more choice.

2 Feb 2009 21:47

The Alehouse, Reading

Has the feel of a grotto about it with the whole place festooned with pump clips and other advertisements. A small front bar with alcoves and cubby holes further back. Good selection of beer that I imagine turns over quickly. As others have said it's quite expensive, about 30p more than other pubs in Reading serving same beers. Definitely a place to put on a Reading crawl, provided thereís not too many of you.

2 Feb 2009 21:41

The Horn, Reading

Bit of a strange pub that has probably seen better years. Efficient and friendly staff and the bottled Black Sheep was good value at £2.15. There were a lot of oriental girls around beholden to older English blokes, all seemed a bit sad really.

2 Feb 2009 21:35

The Hope Tap, Reading

The best of the three Reading JDWís in my opinion, although it was a lot calmer on Sunday morning when I popped in for breakfast than it was late on Saturday night.

2 Feb 2009 21:29

The Orange House, Reading

Large pub with an island bar that I imagine gets full on a Friday and Saturday night. Not the most pleasant of places, a bit run down, no real ale and disinterested staff. Good prices though.

2 Feb 2009 21:23

Nags Head, Reading

I had to pay a visit to the famous Nags Head and wasnít disappointed. 12 hand pumps and the chalkboard running across the top of the bar with whatís on each pump now and whatís coming next was very useful. It was clear from this that they try to ensure a variety of different ales is always available. Quite a large room that can get busy on match days when a shuttle bus is available to and from the ground for a small fee. This service extends to visiting fans as well who are welcomed in the pub. Great real ale pub, put it on the list for a visit if you havenít been already.

2 Feb 2009 21:14

Polish Gospoda, Reading

Really a restaurant but it does have a large bar as well, being an ex-pub I think. Nicely done out in what I imagine is authentic Polish style. Guinness, Fosters, Stella and Strongbow along with Polish beers.

2 Feb 2009 21:09

The Butler, Reading

Fullers pub which, going by the enthusiasm of my Reading pub guides, has gone down hill a bit. Still a decent pub but was very quiet on both my visits and seemed a bit disorganised. Hasnít got a great location and donít imagine thereís much passing trade. Beer was decent enough and thereís a pool table (£1 a game) and a juke box.

2 Feb 2009 21:02

The Bugle, Reading

Cottage style pub with a small frontage and low ceilings. I imagine it is mainly frequented by regulars and it serves them well. Courage Best and Directors plus a keg mild that I donít often see.

2 Feb 2009 20:56

The Brewery Tap, Reading

A bit of an embarrassment to the name really. Three hand pumps but only London Pride on which was OK. Almost totally empty on a Friday night although that could be due to Reading playing at home and there being no Sky Sports. Further bar at the back with three pool tables.

2 Feb 2009 20:51

The Back of Beyond, Reading

Sorry, that should read ebriety not ebrity, I must still be in that state !!

2 Feb 2009 20:45

The Back of Beyond, Reading

One of three JDWís and being slightly íout of towní it seemed a bit more laid back than the two on Friar St. Good selection of beers and the Blackadder and Snowy were both excellent. The quiz machine failed miserably to reward our investment but that could have had more to do with our ebrity than any sinister plot.

2 Feb 2009 20:42

The Allied Arms, Reading

Traditional old pub with low ceilings and two separate bars. Three ales including a nice Loddon Hullabaloo. Friendly staff and customers, good place for a beer and a chat or to read the papers.

2 Feb 2009 20:36

The Fighting Cocks, St Albans

It was all locked up today with a simple notice on the doors saying they were closed for essential maintenance and refurbishment. There was no mention of how long it might take but it may be some sort of emergency repairs as the notices clearly havenít been there long and they are still displaying a menu dated 25th January outside.

1 Feb 2009 17:14

The Gateway, Reading

I almost gave this place a miss looking at the unremarkable exterior. However itís a fairly decent pub, friendly, well presented and with Sky Sports on a number of TVís dotted around. Thereís just one handpump with London Pride but it was in good nick and seemed popular. I also stayed for a Sunday roast which was good at £8.

31 Jan 2009 22:36

The Foresters Arms, Reading

A pleasant little ale house in a residential area about 15 minutes walk from the Town Centre. There a small quiet front bar, called Fridayís Bar I think, with a few tables, a fireplace and an unobtrusive jukebox, ideal for the Sunday papers. The back bar has a pool table and gaming machines. Two beers available on my visit, Brakspear and Harveyís Sussex.

31 Jan 2009 22:27

The Skinners Arms, Kings Cross

On my irregular visits to this pub it rarely fails to under whelm me and it was no different this time. Iím not sure what it is, the staff are efficient and friendly, the dťcor is nice and itís quite an attractive pub. It just seems to have no identity or soul. It doesnít seem very tourist friendly in my opinion but I guess if you have enough regulars you donít need to be. Three Greene King ales as usual with the ĎGuest Beerí being Olde Trip.

31 Jan 2009 20:59

The Boot, St Pancras

I love pubs like this, itís full of crap, but in a good way. Everywhere you look there are knick-knacks, plates, posters, mirrors, witty signs, ornaments and those tacky ĎIíve been toí or ĎGreetings fromí souvenirs that everyone bought back from Spain or Greece in the 70ís and 80ís. Thereís even a full size pair of skis and ski boots mounted above the bar. It might seem a disorganised mess but what it says to me is that this is a pub thatís been around a while, probably with the same owners. It has a nice locals feel to it without being unfriendly to visitors. No real ale unfortunately. £1.99 a pint offers on Carling and John Smiths Smooth. Good priced menu. Pool table. All too many pubs like this are closing down, this one deserves to survive.

31 Jan 2009 20:54

The Harrison, St Pancras / Kings Cross

One of thse bar conversions that that takes a run down building and puts modern fixtures in but leaves the bland decor untouched giving it a sort of warehouse feel. This one works quite well and they've got the balance between drinkers and diners about right. Thereís also a pretty good choice beer wise with one real ale, Fruili, Stowford Press, Staropramen, a weissbeer and some Belgian bottled beers. The menu looked typical of a gastrobar. There are a couple of sofas around for those that like to lounge and the rest of the seating is quite old school, literally. With the low tables and chairs scraping across the wooden floors you could be forgiven for thinking you were back in the old school hall. Service is a bit indifferent, on one visit I ordered a Duvel and was first asked if I wanted a glass, then given a half pint straight glass that had just come out of the washer. Itís located within a jungle of tower blocks and no doubt hoping to attract some of the new money to the area.

31 Jan 2009 20:44

The Bear and Staff, Leicester Square

I agree, if you want breakfast then you should not go into this pub, there are plenty of other places nearby. If however you want a decent pint of real ale then this is probably the best place in the immediate area. It can get a bit full of tourists but thatís only to be expected given the location and often adds to the entertainment. Iíve always found service to be friendly and efficient, it never takes too long to get served, unless of course a load of people come in ordering breakfast.

28 Jan 2009 12:14

Rose, Bedford

Decent enough bar but nothing to write home about, or even on here really. Standard keg offering although I did also see Friuli. Looks popular for live sports. A plaque outside says that the Rose Inn Tavern has been on the site since the 17th Century. I'm sure it's now a shadow of it's former self but I suppose we should be glad it's still a pub and they still serve beer.

18 Jan 2009 00:57

Yate's, Bedford

Recommended to me by a taxi driver as he dropped me off at the Wellington, which probably says a lot for Bedford's taxi drivers. Decent enough place and good for live football with the many TV screens dotted around. Drink selection was usual JS Smooth, Fosters, Strongbow etc. on draft with a myriad of multi coloured WKD and Reef bottles waiting for the night time crowd.

18 Jan 2009 00:43

The Bear, Bedford

Interesting pub with a pool table at the front entrance and a long narrow bar beyond which can also be reached via a side entrance. Friendly laid back sort of place where you're likely to be engaged in conversation by your fellow drinkers. Greene King beers, IPA and Olde Trip.

18 Jan 2009 00:40

The Bankers Draft, Bedford

Pleasant, clean barn-style Lloyds No 1 bar. Only two staff who struggled when it got busy but they were friendly and efficient nonetheless. If you can't get served pop across the road to the Bear and wait for the rush to die down.

18 Jan 2009 00:37

The Bedford Arms, Bedford

Deserted at 7.30 on a Saturday night and looks to be struggling as a going concern, maybe it gets busy later. They had a couple of real ales on and I found a local CAMRA newsletter kicking around.

18 Jan 2009 00:30

The Wellington Arms, Bedford

For the real ale drinker just walking into this place gives you the wow factor that young kids would get when first encountering Santa's grotto or a funfair. I think I counted 14 handpumps 3 of which were cider/perry. The choice was probably biased towards Banks & Taylor but as their ales are generally not available round my way I had plenty of new ones to choose from. In addition to the draught beers there are two stand up fridges in the pub with various bottled ciders and some offerings from Belgium and the Continent.

Many pubs have displays of pump clips but I cannot recall one as impressive and abundant as this one. Along with a plethora of brewery ephemera (try saying that after a few) and a low ceiling the pub takes on something of a mythical grotto look in the evening. The locals were friendly and welcoming, it gets busy after games when the local rugby team are at home. In short a fantastic pub that anyone with a liking for real pubs and real ale should try to visit. I may even give it one of my very rare 10/10 ratings.

18 Jan 2009 00:24

The Flower Pot, Bedford

Attractive cottage style pub a few minutes walk from the top of the High Street. The low ceiling, subdued lighting and quiet background music gave it a nice calm atmosphere. The clientele are mainly from the older generation and I found it a good place for a quiet beer and to write up some notes. Three handpumps although only Spitfire was available.

18 Jan 2009 00:15

The Barley Mow, Bedford

Proof that you can take a pub and screw it up. Weird place, a small bar, a small 'lounge' and a small room just big enough for a pool table. Looks to be trying to be a music venue. No real ale and beer served in plastic glasses.

18 Jan 2009 00:12

The Pilgrims Progress, Bedford

Large sprawling Wetherspoons with loads of seating in rooms either side of the main bar. On both my visits it has seemed to suffer the usual JDW understaffing problems. Generally aiming at the lower end of the market, and catching them.

18 Jan 2009 00:09

The Wheelwright Arms, Luton

A good locals pub that looks to be owner run. I think it is a relatively recent refurb of a previous incarnation. A small bar with a football theme including many photos etc. showing Luton Town FC. Pool table good value at 60p a game. The London Pride was also good value at £2.40 but was served a bit warm. Bed & Breakfast accommodation is advertised.

15 Dec 2008 20:17

The Viaduct Tavern, St Pauls

Attractive interior, only small but with high ceiling and mirrored walls. Usual Fullers beers served by efficient staff. Great lunchtime sandwiches if a bit expensive.

13 Dec 2008 09:19

The Duke, Sutton Coldfield

This is a proper old school drinkers pub. The sort of place where 'everyone knows your name' but is not unfriendly to the casual visitor. It has a nice community feel to it as well with a notice board showing local sporting fixtures and charitable activities. There is a small three sided bar with one side seemingly facing into a corridor with a few snob screens. Three hand pumps I think and I had a decent pint of Deuchars.

13 Dec 2008 08:59

The Three Tuns, Sutton Coldfield

Bit of a strange layout and you could easily lose your bearings if drunk, as I was. The beer selection was fairly uninspiring but you'll drink anything when you're drunk, as I was. There was an incredible cacophony of noise that would be disconcerting if you were sober, as I wasn't. The Three Tuns is a good, popular, late night venue, especially if you're drunk, as I was.

13 Dec 2008 08:53

The The Gate Inn, Sutton Coldfield

Looks an attractive pub from the outside with it's elevated position and leaded windows. Inside it has a bit of a reverse tardis effect. Most of the space is taken up by the bar and a stage area and there's very little seating. It's main attraction is the regular live music sessions but with poor acoustics and as everyone is so close to the band it can reach ear bleeding levels. The music was good though and we had an enjoyable evening. Just London Pride on draught I think.

13 Dec 2008 08:47

O'Neills, Sutton Coldfield

Itís a town centre OíNeills based in the shopping centre that has a need to employ bouncers on the doors, so you could probably guess what lies within. If you guessed a large cavernous underground hell-hole full of drunken kids youíd be spot on.

13 Dec 2008 08:25

The Three Blackbirds, Boxmoor

Large multi-area Spirit Group pub in a residential area of Boxmoor. Tidy, clean and well presented, seemed popular with most customers looking like locals. Good menu with a number of 2 for £7 offers. Juke box, fruit machines and a dartboard. No childrenís certificate so they are confined to the small garden area. Four hand pumps with standard beers and Tetleyís cask good value at £1.98. Cask Marque accredited.

23 Nov 2008 20:37

The Grapes, Boxmoor

Itís a shame to see traditional pubs like this struggling, it was very quiet on the Friday lunchtime I visited. I suspect the location is an issue as itís in a largely residential area. Nice dťcor, looks to have had some money spent on the interior recently. Low-ceilinged single bar with a pool table and dartboard in a back room. Unobtrusive music plus TVís for sports. Pride and Tetley on hand pump at £2.90 a pint.

23 Nov 2008 20:33

The Post Office Arms, Boxmoor

Traditional small two bar pub owned by Fullers, with prices to match (HSB, £3.10 a pint). Well decorated and comfortable lounge plus a nice garden area at the back. Be aware that it doesnít open until 2.30pm on weekdays.

23 Nov 2008 20:24

Fishery Inn, Boxmoor

Decent Ember Inns bar, plenty of room and a good canalside location. Friendly staff, decent range of beers and close to Hemel Hempstead train station.

23 Nov 2008 20:20

The Doric Arch, Euston

The Doric Arch seems to be fighting back with itís recent mini festival. The Abbeydale Moonshine was good, as was the Phoenix Wobbly Bob and there was even a cameo appearance from the popular Dark Star Hophead. It was noticeable that a couple of the Ďguestí pumps were turned around most of the time but the pub is at least showing willing in itís fight against the recent pretender The Bree Louise.

17 Nov 2008 06:35

The Overdraught, St Albans

Attractive looking pub, quite small inside with two distinct areas. Itís difficult to judge a pub in the midst of the Sunday lunch rush but it seemed to be accommodating both the over 40ís diners and the under 30ís drinkers fairly well. GK IPA and Abott that was served a bit colder than perhaps it should have been.

3 Nov 2008 20:38

The Falcon, St Albans

Wonderful little place, very much a locals pub given the location but they seemed a friendly bunch. Nice interior with comfortable seating, good dťcor and prints on the walls. A notice board shows evidence of the community nature of the pub. Three real ales, looks to be mainly GK but judging by the pump clips above the bar they go for some of the unusual ones, there was an excellent Ridleys Witchfinder Porter on when I visited. Itís not going to get a lot of passing trade but itís only 5 minutes walk from the station.

3 Nov 2008 20:36

The Gate, Bricket Wood

Seems very much a regulars pub but welcoming nonetheless. Has a couple of real ales including Youngs Ordinary. Log fire, dart board and a small eating area. Sunday lunch serves itís purpose but for what it was I thought it was a bit overpriced at £7.50.

2 Nov 2008 21:56

The Fox and Hounds, Bricket Wood

Been in twice over the past few weeks and itís been almost empty both times and has the air of a place thatís on its way out. On both occasions the two beer pumps were turned around, but then again I probably wouldnít trust the ale in a place so quiet. Not sure what the plans for the place are but with Guinness at £3.20 theyíre not going to attract too many customers. Itís a shame really as itís a decent building and could have some potential.

2 Nov 2008 21:53

Moor Mill, Bricket Wood

Donít get fooled into thinking this is just a short walk from Bricket Wood Station as the map suggests. Itís around 25 minutes walk and is located at Moor Mill Lane, a lot further down Smug Oak Lane than both Google Maps and Streetmap would have us believe. A pub of two sides really, on one it sits almost underneath the M25 Motorway whilst on the other is a picturesque river and garden scene. More a restaurant with a bar than a pub.

2 Nov 2008 21:21

The Bull, Bishopsgate

They must be doing something right, judging by the hoards of drinkers that pack the street outside of a Thursday and Friday night. Either that or it shows the shallowness of the City Boys laughing into their Peronis and squeezing the last couple of pints out of their expense accounts before they get taken away.

30 Oct 2008 23:00

Que Pasa, Watford

Itís had a few names this place. Before Que Pasa it was the Counting House, before that Cafe Maximo, previously the Old Westminster and long ago it was a branch of Nat West Bank. It now tries, but mostly fails, to be a trendy bar/restaurant. Service is rather lethargic and the beer range isnít that exciting. Student night on Mondays from 8pm with 2 for 1 and other offers. Has a decent outside drinking area at the back.

28 Sep 2008 18:14

Old Nick, Holborn

I've only recently discovered this place and whilst I'm not usually a fan of Badgers beers I've enjoyed a few good pints of Fursty Ferret. Seems popular with the local office crowd and as it isn't on a main road drinking often spills out onto the street

27 Sep 2008 12:49

The London Pub, Bloomsbury

It's tacky name and the location seem purposefully aimed at enticing the tourists. Whilst this means that anyone with taste knows to stay away, it does worry me that visitors to our shores may return home thinking that this is what all London pubs are like.

27 Sep 2008 12:09

The Malthouse, Stanmore

Was displaying a ĎTo Letí sign and was being refurbished when I passed the other day. There was no indication if it is going to remain as a bar.

21 Sep 2008 17:29

The Man in the Moon, Stanmore

A well kept and attractive Wetherspoons outlet with a decent selection of real ales. The pint of Duchy Originals Organic I ordered was clearly off and was replaced without question and with an apology with the pump clip being immediately turned around. Knowledgeable staff with a good customer focus. Bit of a dreary frontage and not a great deal of natural light inside.

21 Sep 2008 17:25

The Red Lion, Bushey

It had been quite a few years since my previous visit and I was pleasantly surprised when I dropped in recently. Theyíve clearly spent some money on it and the dťcor is now quite nice and theyíve gone a bit upmarket. I suspect the one thing that hasnít changed too much over the years is the clientele although they do seem to have grown up along with the pub. Pleasant place for a beer, cask ales available.

21 Sep 2008 16:22

Black Boy, Bushey Heath

With so many of Bushey Heathís pubs closing in recent years itís pleasing that this one remains, and deservedly so. Itís a bit off the beaten track, which can sometimes be an advantage, but itís worth making the effort to pay a visit. Youíll find a genuine community pub with some character and a sense of history. Itís nicely decorated with old prints of the local area and thereís a bookcase with a little reading matter including back copies of the Good Beer Guide. Three pumps were on when I visited and I had a couple of decent pints of Black Sheep, London Pride and Abbot were the others I believe. Beer garden with tables at the back which is partly covered.

21 Sep 2008 16:19

The One Crown, Watford

Still a bit too tolerant of kids and dogs in the bar for my liking but I was pleased to note recently that they have doubled their real ale range, albeit only to two. Theyíve had the local Tring Brewery Jack Oí Legs as a regular and have now supplemented it with Skinners Betty Stogs.

21 Sep 2008 15:44

The Flying Pig, Cambridge

Stopped by after a flying visit to Cambridge on business and glad I did. Itís an interesting place, a bit dark and unkempt but full of character. The dťcor is almost exclusively swine based and thereís an automaton pig at one end of the bar raising a glass to itís patrons. All a bit quirky but it works. Four real ale pumps but only two on, had a decent pint of Adnams. Reasonable bottled collection as well.

6 Sep 2008 14:16

The Osborne Arms, Cambridge

Proving the point that you should never judge a book by itís cover, the Osborne Arms has a bright welcoming exterior in contrast to the Flying Pig next door. However once inside it is a far inferior pub. Not sure if they are in the middle of a refurb but the horrible yellow colour scheme and minimalist dťcor hits you as soon as you enter. Had a decent pint of Adnams and a chat with the guvínor but left with the feeling that I wouldnít want to go back (other than to see if theyíve painted the walls a different colour).

6 Sep 2008 14:14

The Beaten Docket, Belfast

Decent pub with nice decor and, I believe, an upstairs dining room. Lives in the shadow of the Crown and Robinsons next door but can be a haven of calm if you are after a quiet pint. No real ale.

30 Aug 2008 08:03

The Great Northern, Luton

Gives the impression of being a social club for the local Irish community, and a pretty good one at that. Itís small size means that everyone has to get on together. A couple of large fans keep everyone cool. Unfortunately the Tribute was off but the Guinness was good, as youíd expect.

3 Aug 2008 23:14

The Brewery Tap, Luton

Attractive old pub that Greene King look to have invested a bit of money in. Nice outside beer garden at the rear and an interesting snug at the back of the pub. Just GK IPA and Sundance which was decent enough if served a little warm.

3 Aug 2008 23:12

Railway Tavern, Luton

A pub barely alive, it give the impression of being on itís last legs. There was an unsavoury smell on walking in which was even worse in the Ďbeer gardení, effectively the car park. It looks like it was once a good pub and itís sad to think what itís future might be. Right by Luton Train Station and near the much better Bricklayers Arms.

3 Aug 2008 23:10

The Bricklayers Arms, Luton

Thought Iíd go and see what all the fuss was about. What I found was a really nice old pub, well decorated, with old books and pub memorabilia adorning the walls and some large barrels that double up as tables. Good selection of beers including a couple of ciders and some continental draft stuff in addition to the real ales. A bit disappointing that although it was a good selection there were no real ales on over 4.3%. Good pub with a nice community feel to it and I can see why it is popular. Gets a good 7/10 from me which might raise to 8/10 if subsequent visits are as good.

3 Aug 2008 23:08

The Railwaymans Arms, Bridgnorth

It seems that nearly everyone getting off the Severn Valley Railway trains heads straight for this pub, and with good reason. Excellent selection of quality beers, just get in quick before the crowds.

2 Aug 2008 18:33

The Golden Lion Inn, Bridgnorth

Wonderful old coaching inn with an attractive exterior. I visited in October 2006 during a day out on the Severn Valley railway. It was a friendly pub serving an excellent pint of Jennings Snecklifter and delicious roast beef rolls. I spent a pleasant afternoon there chatting to the locals and watching the rugby on TV before heading off to get the train back.

2 Aug 2008 18:27

The Lillie Langtry, West Brompton

Visited Aug 07 after the GBBF and to be honest it's a pretty poor excuse for a pub. Little attention seems to have be paid to it for some time and it's just become a rather sad place that serves cheap beer to the locals. Decent outside seating area although it is right on a main road.

23 Jul 2008 00:14

The Fountain Bar, Belfast

Many pubs that have gone down the gastro route can learn from pubs such as this. The restaurant is a separate area upstairs whilst the downstairs retains itís public bar qualities serving simple bar food. On entering I thought they had some quirky policy about church music then realised Tommy Burnsí funeral was being shown on TV. Good pub for tourists and locals alike, look out for the revolving bar stools.

21 Jul 2008 21:10

Benedicts of Belfast, Belfast

Decorative in a contrived sort of way with loads of intricately carved wood furnishings. Very overprice and a little pretentious. Open until 1am most days.

21 Jul 2008 21:05

The Allsop Arms, Marylebone

Large pub that sells decent if uninspiring ales. Actually Ďdecent but uninspiringí probably sums the whole pub up as well. You can usually find a seat although it does get fairly busy, seems to be a large transient clientele, many I suspect keeping an eye on the Greenline bus stop outside waiting for their carriage home.

20 Jul 2008 22:36

The Cock Tavern, Euston

A proper drinkers pub that doesnít try to be anything else, a throwback to the type of place that perhaps we didnít value enough 20 years ago. A place to write out a 20p yankee and maybe pick up something for dinner from the estateís entrepreneurs.

20 Jul 2008 22:25

The Somerstown Coffee House, Euston

This place has changed since I was last there about 4 years ago, probably reflecting the changing affluence of itís catchment area. It has a pleasant frontage with tables outside and a restaurant area inside plus a heated patio out the back. Bit of a pretentious menu where after translation you find that itís actually just basic food. Excellent levels of service from bar staff who were both helpful and efficient. Youngs Special £2.80, Strongbow £3.00

20 Jul 2008 22:22

The Atlas, West Brompton

Attractive gastro pub where, whilst the emphasis is clearly on food, they do also accommodate those only wishing to have a drink. The 'beer garden' is a little cramped but does provide some extra seating during busy times.

20 Jul 2008 16:26

The Prince of Wales, West Brompton

Decent attractive looking (inside and out) pub with good service. Right on a main road but has a few seats outside in a covered area.

20 Jul 2008 16:12

The Capstan Lounge, Belfast

A hole in the wall bar that Iíd walked passed a few times before a local in Whites Tavern suggested I try it. A small nondescript entrance leads upstairs to a nice roomy haven of peace. Itís quite modern with comfortable seating, easy listening background music and good service. Serves food until 4pm. Located near the Victoria Shopping Arcade off Arthur Square.

13 Jul 2008 22:18

The Kitchen Bar, Belfast

Looks and sounds like a bit of a posy place, like the Ha Ha Canteen chain on the mainland. However as I heard it was one of the few places to get real ale I gave it a go. It is primarily a kitchen bar as the name suggests with the emphasis clearly on food. Only two hand pumps and only one in use serving Clarks Breweryís Take the Bait, which I did. It pulled up cloudy with a worrying floating sediment and was about to send it back but it smelled and tasted OK. The barman told me thatís the way itís supposed to be, or at least thatís what the guy who delivered it told him, and that all English ales were like that. I begged to differ but being a proud Englishman and wanting to support itís beer I even had another, neither cleared throughout and I suffered no ill effects. TVís showing the test match on Sky but was unceremoniously turned over for racing without any thought for what customers were watching.

13 Jul 2008 21:16

McHughs, Belfast

Two distinct frontages, one old one new, that lead to the same bar with restaurant upstairs. Has claims as one of Belfastís oldest but seems quite modern. Interesting display of two Belfast News front pages from 1994 reporting ceasefires from Republican and Unionist viewpoints. Two real ale pumps but only one in use, Mayflower.

13 Jul 2008 21:09

Queens Cafe Bar, Belfast

Convenient bolt hole for a quick drink, located in the Queens shopping arcade that runs between Fountain St and Donegall St. Main focus is on food but thereís a small bar with a few stools if you just want a drink. Looks popular with those who 'do lunch'.

7 Jul 2008 21:32

Laverys, Belfast

Sort of a cross between a Yates' and an It's A Scream. Busy when I called in and it's clearly popular and has it's own clientele.

6 Jul 2008 11:32

The Globe, Belfast

Can't say anything about this pub as I didn't go in, but as the last review was nearly four years ago I thought I'd post this to confirm that it's still open.

6 Jul 2008 11:27

The Harbour Bar, Belfast

I spent valuable drinking time walking up and down Ann St trying to find this place. Came to the conlusion that it must have closed and as I feared it has now turned into something called Mono (q.v.).

If you are looking for a decent pub in that area try Bittles Bar

6 Jul 2008 11:17

The Morning Star, Belfast

Tucked away down Pottingers Entry which, unlike some other Belfast alleyways, is signposted and easily spotted from the High St. I found it attractive but fairly unremarkable for an ďhistoricĒ pub, perhaps I had just seen too many. There is a dedicated area for food which looks popular. The staff seem to have mastered the art of perpetual motion, it made me tired just watching them.

6 Jul 2008 10:29

Robinsons, Belfast

Not the sort of place to go if you have an identity crisis but itís interesting to trawl around the different areas and see what they have to discover. The front of the saloon provides the tourist bit with Titanic artefacts on show whilst the rear is where the locals will hang out. The rear bar is a real spit and sawdust place and the dťcor and atmosphere invokes thoughts of days gone by. The bistro upstairs is very pleasant and laid back and has comfortable leather sofas and armchairs to relax in. Didnít make it to the nightclub. Next door to The Crown so you have to do them both.

6 Jul 2008 10:04

The Roost Lounge, Belfast

Called in during the day for a comfort break when walking around Belfast. Was quite empty although it had a locals feel to it. Plenty of staff, good value menu but nothing remarkable about the place.

6 Jul 2008 09:48

The Spaniard, Belfast

Small friendly bar which is typically Irish in itĎs culture, if that doesnít contradict the Spanish theme. Impressive range of spirits and the tapas looked popular. I suspect the Spaniard in question is Salvador Dali as IĎm sure it is he on the pub sign.

6 Jul 2008 09:40

The Bridge House, Belfast

The Bridge House follows the usual JDW business model, large sprawling premises, loads of seating, toilets (and a secondary bar) upstairs, and cheap prices - Guinness at £2.10. One of the few places in Belfast selling real ale although I got the impression they donít really promote it or sell much which can lead to quality problems. I had a pint of Tanglefoot which Iím sure was Abbot (which Iíd seen on an adjoining pump but was told was off) and then a cloudy but OK pint of Tawny Owl. Admittedly this wasnít the only cloudy but OK pint I had in Belfast, I wonder if itís something to do with transit. Handily the pub opens at 9am for breakfast and serves a good £1.99 Ulster Fry, or for £3.39 you can upgrade to the Farmhouse Breakfast if youĎre not on very good terms with your arteries.

6 Jul 2008 09:07

Whites Tavern, Belfast

As it proudly proclaims on it's outside wall, Whites Tavern is Belfastís oldest pub dating back to 1630. It has a rather more modern exterior but whilst it might not look like Belfastís oldest tavern I found it one of the friendliest with the famous Irish ďcraicď well in evidence. An impromptu guitar session was going on outside on my first visit and a young lady insisted, despite my protestations, on buying my pint because she had jumped in front of me at the bar (I could drink all night for free in London on that basis). On my second visit it was quieter as it was during the afternoon but I got chatting to a guy about local pubs and Belfast in general and we could easily have ended up sharing a few more beers if I hadnít had other plans.

6 Jul 2008 08:57

The John Hewitt, Belfast

An unremarkable exterior but I highly recommend a visit. During the day itís a place that prompts quiet contemplation and I wrote about a dozen pub reviews here over a couple of pints. Check out the small room to the right and have a look at the literary displays, some by the eponymous Belfast poet. There was an art exhibition on when I was there and they also have music and poetry readings. I heard it is owned and staffed by the Belfast Unemployment Office next door, not sure how true that is but it would certainly fit with Hewittís socialist ideals.

Itís also one of the few pubs in Belfast where I found real ale. There were two pumps, one with Hilden Ale and the other a nice Plain Stout from Dublinís Maguire brewery. They also have an impressive bottled range and I spotted Sierra Nevada, St. Peters, Innis & Gunn and Fransiskaner. If I had to choose just one Belfast bar to spend an afternoon in it would be this one.

1 Jun 2008 21:59

The Duke Of York, Belfast

Wins hands down in the ďhow much breweriana you can display in a pubĒ competition. There are old photos, beer trays, mirrors, adverts and a plethora of old Guinness and Watney Red Barrel promotional material. There is so much that items are even fixed flat to the ceiling to make more room. It looks like the interior has had some recent work done although it still has an aged look with lots of wooden fixtures, exposed brickwork and flagstone floors. Thereís a nice four person snug with closable doors at the back. Bit of a shame about the plasma TV but it wasnít that intrusive. The pub has a very attractive old looking exterior and is tucked away down one of Belfastís many difficult to find alleyways, Commercial Court that runs between Donegall St and Henry St in the Cathedral Quarter. Very close to the John Hewitt.

1 Jun 2008 21:53

Cosgroves, Belfast

Small locals bar on the corner of Castle St and King St. that didnít feel that welcoming to this visiting tourist. The bar has a sporting theme and it was apparent they were rooting for Man Utd in the upcoming Champions League final - they will have been happy on the night. One corner is given over to boxing photos many of which include who I assume is the landlord with famous fighters.

1 Jun 2008 21:44

Bittles, Belfast

A traditional Irish bar and on reflection one of my favourites in Belfast. Itís very small being at the tip of an iron shaped building but thereís plenty of character packed in. The landlord John was always buzzing around chatting to customers recommending beers and making sure everyone, locals and visitors, were OK. There is no cask ale but they do have a range of bottled beers including many from local breweries - try Mollyís Chocolate Stout or Headless Dog from the College Green Brewery. Also serves an excellent Irish Stew. The bar has an arty theme with paintings and drawings of famous Irishmen by local artists.

1 Jun 2008 21:40

The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast

Probably Belfastís best known pub and one that is owned by the National Trust. The restored Victorian interior is so extravagantly ornate that it is almost overpowering. The bar runs along the left hand side as you enter and around the rest of the pub are ten separate booths/snugs lettered from A to J. Each of them are beautifully panelled with dark wood and opaque glass with a lockable door. It seems to be first come first served to occupy them but I did see some reserved signs on one of my visits. It can get very busy and I imagine it occasionally has the air of a freakish tourist attraction, certainly rarely a minute goes by without another flash from a camera capturing the magnificent dťcor. Despite this itís a place that every pub lover should visit. They had three real ale hand pumps on when I was there, one of the few places in Belfast that serves good real ale.

1 Jun 2008 21:33

The Royal Oak, Clapham North

Difficult to assess really, seems like a pub trying to reinvent itself as a bar/restaurant, and failing miserably. There were two Adnams pumps but didnít feel I could trust them so had a Kronenbourg . The menu included oysters, calamari fritti, wild boar sausages, getting the idea? Good background music but clearly too loud for the size of the place and number of clientele - only a handful at 5pm on a Saturday. Finally, for a place looking to go upmarket the gents toilets were a disgrace.

11 May 2008 20:11

Charles Holden, Colliers Wood

Bills itself as ďSW19ís Premier Rugby PubĒ and it may well be so. There are a number of TVís including two large drop down screens. Thereís a large outside seating area that I imagine is popular in the Summer months. The disappointing thing was that although they have 6 hand pumps only two were in operation, two of them had signs saying ďavailable soonď, one said ďI just run outĒ and the other had an identity crisis. I had a not too good pint of Bitter & Twisted, and after being charged £3.10 I was.

11 May 2008 20:04

The Royal Standard, Colliers Wood

Bit of a tired looking pub and I decided only to stay for a quick half. Seems fairly well run with efficient staff and what appeared to be the guvínor keeping an eye on things.

11 May 2008 19:59

The Nelson Arms, South Wimbledon/Colliers Wood

Has an attractive Charringtons tiled exterior and I rather expected less than I got inside. It has clearly had some money spent on it recently and theyíve spent wisely and created a nice bar. Two hand pumps one of which was serving Black Sheep Bitter. A bit expensive but Iím sure it gets plenty of custom.

11 May 2008 19:53

The Princess Royal, South Wimbledon

Estate pub that is not particularly visitor friendly but no doubt serves its regulars well. It could do with a bit of brightening up and is quite attractively decorated on a bit of a naval theme.

11 May 2008 19:49

Trafalgar Freehouse, South Wimbledon

The Traflagar defines the subtle difference between an estate pub and a community pub. Itís a laid back friendly sort of place with no fruit/quiz machines or juke box to get in the way of idle conversation, although there are a couple of unobtrusive TVís. Itís welcoming to locals and visitors alike and I imagine that many make the pilgrimage from afar for the excellent range of beers. There are 6 hand pumps plus 2-3 ciders and some bottled beers. I had a Hippy High from Ventnor, a Moorhouse Black Cat and the Thrupenny Hop that I believe may be brewed on the premises - the name allegedly coming from an old nickname for the pub as it was the price of the bus fare from surrounding areas. Fantastic place, gets a 9/10 from me, not sure where it drops the one point, perhaps the fact that itís too far away from where I live.

11 May 2008 19:43

The Grid Inn, Southfields

The Grid Inn is a fairly standard JD Wetherspoons pub a couple of minutes walk from Southfields tube station. Not one of their best ale wise, only one guest, and the staff donít fill you with any great confidence. Attractive dťcor with loads of local photos and information.

11 May 2008 19:32

The Old Garage, Southfields

The Old Garage (as is I believe itís current name) is a newish looking Greene King bar serving IPA, Old Speckled Hen and a plethora of lagers. The dťcor is fairly minimalist with bare brick walls and a low ceiling. There are plenty of TVís but it was surprisingly not busy just as a Premiership game was about to start. Next door to a JD Wetherspoons so the £2.70 a pint for OSH might be a factor in this. Pleasant enough place for the Sunday papers.

11 May 2008 19:27

The Golden Lion, Kings Cross

I wasnít really expecting anything just because it happens to be a gay bar, and thatís not how I judge pubs even when I notice it. As I said I went in because itís a pub I remembered from many years ago. If I were to comment on the gay thing Iíd say that it is quite obviously gay (even without many customers) but they seemed not to be to precious about the tag and I imagine they are welcoming to all.

5 Apr 2008 09:55

The Bear and Staff, Leicester Square

Never seems to let me down this pub. Six handpumps and generally some interesting guests. Plenty of premium lagers, Heiniken Export, Stella, Kronenburg etc., Erdinger on draft and Erdinger Dark in bottles. Right in the heart of the tourist area so is always busy but the crowds are accommodated well by the efficient staff.

21 Mar 2008 14:22

Ben Crouch's Tavern, Fitzrovia

Quirky, weird, inventive, scary, strange, fantastic, just some of the words that came to mind when I walked into Ben Crouchís Tavern, although I was about 7 pints down by that stage so I could probably add confused as well. Despite its dark gothic theme it succeeds in not restricting itself to any particular clientele and is a place that everyone should visit if only out of curiosity. It reminded me of Frankensteins in Edinburgh (q.v.) which is a bar built inside an old church.

21 Mar 2008 14:19

The Kings Arms, Fitzrovia

Fairly large corner pub that was remarkably quiet on a Saturday afternoon despite the rugby being shown. Three handpumps serving Youngs, Blacksheep and Cumberland Ale. Looks to be trying to re-invent itself as an evening venue with the daytime trade seeming rather incidental judging by the effort they put into it.

21 Mar 2008 14:13

The Black Horse, Fitzrovia

Nicely presented pub, clean friendly and a decent selection of beers.

21 Mar 2008 14:07

The Bricklayers Arms, Fitzrovia

Tucked away off Rathbone Place and probably doesnít get much passing trade. There is a small front bar with bench seating around the sides and a few tables. The even smaller back bar has a few stools just one table and a dartboard, thereís also a serving hatch to the bar which looked as if it was still used. Upstairs is a pleasant lounge with sofas and armchairs that feels a bit like walking into someoneís front room. It does have itís own bar upstairs but I imagine this is only opened during busy times.

21 Mar 2008 14:03

The Wheatsheaf, Fitzrovia

Small, low-ceilinged, attractive old pub with plenty of stained glass and leaded windows. Two hand pumps and the London Pride was in good nick despite my being their first customer of the day. Donít imagine itís a big sports pub but they do have a couple of screens and were happy to put the rugby on when a group of guys dropped in on their way to Twickenham for the England v Ireland game.

21 Mar 2008 14:00

The Duke of York, Fitzrovia

A nice looking corner pub that I found a bit disappointing once inside. There is surprisingly little space, although to be honest there werenít many customers, and it lacked atmosphere. Standard GK beers served with a smile. Nicely decorated and one wall holds a large mirror advertising Hoopers Brighton Seltzer and Mineral Water.

21 Mar 2008 13:57

The Newman Arms, Fitzrovia

Strangely, given its location, it was closed last Saturday afternoon on Six Nations weekend.

21 Mar 2008 13:55

The Marquis of Granby, Fitzrovia

Standard Nicholsonís clone, a tad depressing, probably one best left for the tourists.

21 Mar 2008 13:50

Fitzroy Tavern, Fitzrovia

Some Sam Smiths pubs have a rather manufactured historic feel to them but this one just oozes its own past. The walls are adorned with old photos of the pub, many including its first licensee 'Pop' Kleinfeld and famous customers from the artistic fields in the 50ís. It is said that the pub existed before Fitzrovia itself and gave the area itís name. Itís worth visiting during quieter times just to stroll around the pub looking at the old photos and historic documents. As others have said there is no cask OBB and the service was indifferent, I was asked quite off-handedly if I knew the prices had gone up and was a bit undecided as to whether this was a pleasant courtesy or if I looked like a bloke who would walk out for the sake of 5p, or whatever the increase was.

21 Mar 2008 13:47

The Caleta Palace Hotel, Catalan Bay

I stayed at the Caleta Palace in 2004 and recall having a few late-night nightcaps in the cosy lounge. Itís also a pleasant place to sit in the early morning and watch the sun come up over the Med. Thereís a very peaceful garden patio area outside which is nice to sit in when the sun is out. One of the downsides to the Caleta is that itís on the ďwrong sideĒ of the Rock and itís quite a walk around to Main St and the tourist spots.

11 Mar 2008 19:05

Pavlov's Dog, Reading

Escaped from a nearby conference for an hour one evening with a few like minded individuals and went out intending to find a decent pub. We didnít, we ended up here. Strange place, bit dingy and definitely aimed at the student crowd. Seemed quite eager to get us out the door at 11pm. One thing worthy of note is the unusually high bar, must be at least a foot higher than a standard bar counter.

11 Mar 2008 13:19

The Bree Louise, Euston

Over the last 10 years Iíve usually called into this pub every three months or so and never been tempted to make it any more frequent. However my experiences over the past year have been getting better and better and Iím now preferring it to the Doric Arch. There are 5 hand pumps and 5 on gravity as others have mentioned and there always seems to be something interesting on. After a couple of chats with the landlord itís clear how passionate he is about is trade, his beer and providing a great customer experience. The beer is pricey at £2.90 but show a CAMRA card and youíll get 40p off. Although the last redesign made a bit more room, itís increasing popularity means it can get packed, especially on a Thursday/Friday night, but thereís plenty of outdoor seating for those balmy summer evenings that we all hope will be arriving soon. I've heard they will be getting some dark beers and stouts in for St Paddy's Day.

6 Mar 2008 13:07

The Boot, St Albans

Basic but homely drinkers pub with an excellent and diverse selection of real ales from the seven hand pumps. OK place for a pint or two.

24 Feb 2008 21:47

The Snug, St Albans

The Snug at the Fleur De Lys doesnít really work for me. Itís a decent enough refurb, theyíve left some of the original beams and thereís some exposed brickwork but the layout is very strange. They seem to have taken the new name literally and created a series of snugs which I guess is OK if there are 8-10 of you and you want to get there early and set up base camp for the evening. Staff are attentive and professional although the guy behind the bar had a ďdragged through a hedge backwardsĒ thing going on with his hair and reminded me of Edward Scissorhands. Three hand pumps but only one on, from the local Red Squirrel Brewery. Looks like they cater more for the cocktail set that the beer drinkers.

24 Feb 2008 21:36

The Vintry, St Albans

My previous rating for this pub was a poor 3 based on a couple of visits back in 2003, but hearing news of the refurb and seeing the positive comments here I called in today, not expecting too much. But it is in fact an amazing transformation and has gone markedly up market. The layout is much the same but the school canteen furniture has been replaced by some excellent reproduction furnishings and a plethora of old lampshades, one of which is the largest I have seen in a pub. There are some large decorative mirrors including two from Bass Charingtons Brewery. Outside is an attractive two-tier beer garden with loads of comfortable seating and prints on the walls. The drinks selection is excellent, there are three hand pumps (they are Cask Marque accredited) with Spitfire, GK IPA and a micro on offer on my visit. But it is their selection of lagers that really impresses, as well as the usuals like Star and Peroni there are two weisse beers, Budvar and Budvar Dark, plus Hoegaarden, Leffe and Fruili all on draught. Add to that some interesting bottles, including Duvel, and an extensive wine list and thereís something for everyone. Itís not cheap, the Franziskaner Weissbier was £3.80 and the Budvar Dark £3.20 and Sunday lunch comes at £8.90 although I didnĎt try the food. My 2003 rating of 3 has now been revised to a 7 and it may go up again if I have the same experience on further visits.

24 Feb 2008 21:15

The Lamb, Berkhamsted

A no nonsense old school boozer, low ceilinged, bench seating and well decorated with old photos of the town. Unobtrusive background music allows conversation. A nice locals pub that Iíd be glad to have nearby. Four real ales, Adnams, GK IPA, Pride and Ridgeway Bitter from the local Tring Brewery.

23 Feb 2008 14:52

Magoos, Berkhamsted

Friendly, comfortable bar on the high street. The low ceilings and lack of natural light give it a bit of a cellar bar feel. Was told they may be having a refurb soon, nothing major just a bit of freshening up. Standard range of drinks, no real ale.

23 Feb 2008 14:49

The Crystal Palace, Berkhamsted

An attractive two bar pub with a canal side location and a few tables out on the tow path. The bars have comfortable seating and the pub is well presented both inside and out. Pool table in public bar, games and books are available and the lounge bar is laid out with tables for the English or Chinese food which is available all day. Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen and one other. Friendly and efficient service.

23 Feb 2008 14:42

Kings Arms Hotel, Berkhamsted

This is primarily a hotel bar but itís quite large, very comfortable and they have a couple of real ales. Good place for a relaxing drink.

23 Feb 2008 14:38

The Bull, Berkhamsted

A proper old drinkers pub with an old school landlady, one of those pubs that tends to double as a community centre for local residents during the day. Bench seating and a few tables around edge of the room and a roaring real fire giving the pub a smoky atmosphere. Pool table, juke box and one real ale pump, Greene King IPA. They advertise a canal side beer garden but itís a bit of a stroll through the car park to get to there. If you get fed up with Spirit group and M&B cloned pubs and hanker after the charming independent pubs of the past this oneís worth a visit.

23 Feb 2008 14:32

The Unicorn, Great Malvern

Traditional nice looking old pub at the top of the hill leading from the station. Comfortable seating and three real ale pumps with some local beers, CAMRA newsletter available. Part of the pub is given over to an eating area. Worth a visit.

23 Feb 2008 14:23

The Cock and Magpie, Bewdley

A rather shabby pub in a good location on the banks of the River Severn. It's flanked by tea rooms but seems to make little effort to attract the tourist trade itself. Visited Oct 06

23 Feb 2008 14:16

Eagle Vaults, Worcester

Lively corner pub on Friar St just off the main shopping street. Popular for watching sports.

23 Feb 2008 14:13

The Harbour Inn, Bewdley

The Harbour Inn is reputedly the only pub left in Arley itself and is located in a country lane between the village and the Severn Valley Railway station. Itís a nice old pub with low ceilings, old prints on the walls and some nasty looking animal traps hanging from the ceiling. There are a couple of armchairs in a cosy snug next to an old fireplace above which is a display of polished pre-decimalisation coins. It has a family room with a restaurant and a large beer garden with sheep roaming nearby. The pub serves two real ales and a real cider. If you are visiting Arley by train then I recommend you leave for the station a bit earlier and drop in for a pint.

23 Feb 2008 14:09

The Great Malvern Hotel, Great Malvern

Comfortable hotel bar that is also popular with local residents. Real ales available.

20 Feb 2008 20:16

Plough, Worcester

I visited this pub in October 2006 and think I recall being told that it had recently reopened after being under threat of redevelopment. Itís a wonderful old two roomed pub with outside toilets across a new patio area. Full of friendly and chatty locals it was clear that the owner was passionate about making a go of the business and keeping the character and characters in the pub. A good selection of real ales was available and, I believe, a real cider. I hope it is still doing well and has justified being rescued. Definitely worth a visit.

20 Feb 2008 18:48

Postal Order, Worcester

Not one of the gems of the Wetherspoonís estate in my opinion but has a decent location near to Foregate St train station. Standard JDW fayre with a decent range of guest beers and plenty of space to enjoy them

20 Feb 2008 14:50

The Dragon Inn, Worcester

One of the premier real ale pubs in Worcester and one that all enthusiasts will head for when visiting. A good ever changing range that usually includes a stout or porter and a real cider. Itís not a large bar but there are a few tables outside at the back that act as an overflow. Visit there if you get the chance, we need real pubs like this to survive. Only 5 minutes walk from Foregate St station

20 Feb 2008 14:47

The Scarbrough Hotel, Leeds

Iíve only been to the Scarbrough Hotel once about 3 years ago but the recent comments suggest it is as good as I remember it. Itís a nicely presented pub both inside and out with friendly staff who were happy to talk about the good range of ales on offer. I do recall that we decided to stay a while longer and get a later train, something that I imagine is a common occurrence with LeedsĎ thirsty commuters.

20 Feb 2008 13:50

King Of Diamonds, Camden

The King of Diamonds has a good location around Hatton Garden and they are also able to open up the frontage which is a big plus point in Summer. They donít seem to exploit these advantages enough though, the dťcor could do with freshening up and their disinterested and lethargic attitude to customer service that has been evident for a number of years still remains. They have a couple of hand pumps, a selection of continental lagers on draught, plus Fruli, and some decent bottled beers. Prices arenít too bad for the location

18 Feb 2008 22:08

The Underwriter, City of London

A decent underground celler bar with it's entrance near the "Gerkin" on St Mary Axe.

18 Feb 2008 22:03

The Albert Edward, Eccles

Nice old pub with multiple rooms worth exploring. It has a comfortable and laid back feel to it and the interior is well presented.

18 Feb 2008 21:56

Lamb Hotel, Eccles

Fantastic pub and easy to get to, near the tram, bus and train stops in Eccles just 20-30 minutes from Manchester. Old Holts multi-roomed pub that has a nice look and feel to it. Thereís the public bar, all bench seating, wobbly tables and betting slips on the bar. Then there are two comfortable and well decorated lounges and an incredible snooker room with spectator seating around the table. Full range of Holts draught and bottled beers. I recommend a visit

18 Feb 2008 21:47

Hare and Hounds, Eccles

Decent pub close to two others in a pedestrianised area. Handy for transport links as it is close to the train and tram stations. Worth a visit for one.

18 Feb 2008 21:45

Yates's, Watford

Typical Yatesís, cheap and tacky, but being located between two of Watford nightclubs there are no end of cheap and tacky clients flocking there on a weekend. Loads of fruit machines and a quiz machine. For some reason they only serve Extra Cold Guinness and not the regular stuff.

17 Feb 2008 12:48

Ye Old Mitre, Holborn

Itís difficult to know what to say about this fantastic place that hasnít already been said in the previous 168 reviews. I think Ye Old Mitre is one of those pubs that isnít just a pub, itís an experience, rather like the Jerusalem Tavern, the new Princess Louise or the Brunswick Inn Derby - IĎm sure youĎll all have others to add to the list.

17 Feb 2008 12:35

Ye Three Lords, Aldgate

Decent Youngs pub between Aldgate tube and Tower Hill. Nicely presented both inside and out and popular with local office workers. One of the areas unsung heroes as far as pubs go.

17 Feb 2008 12:19

The Sir John Oldcastle, Farringdon

OK for a stop off if you are on your way from/to Farringdon station but doesnít have much going for it, even for a Wetherspoons. It gets plenty of custom due to itís location so no doubt thinks it doesnít need to try too hard. Opens early for breakfast which is quite handy.

17 Feb 2008 12:05

The Melton Mowbray, Holborn

The Melton Mowbray has been a reliable pub for a number of years now. Usual Fullers beers and there is often something else interesting, whether itís a real guest or not Iím unsure. Expensive, but then again arenít all Fullers pubs. One of it's big plus points is the friendly and efficient service. Food is popular but doesnít stifle the drinking experience as it does in some pubs. This is a proper city drinking pub, and a pretty good one.

17 Feb 2008 11:58

Hog's Head, Bishopsgate

Large soulless place that remarkably attracts hoards of office workers both lunchtimes and evenings. Whenever I get dragged in Iíve always found it a bit uncomfortable and very expensive.

17 Feb 2008 11:48

The Six Bells, St Albans

The Six Bells is a wonderful looking building and clearly has some age and history to it. It claims to be the only pub within the walls of old Roman Verulamium and an old Roman Bath House was discovered during excavations in the 1970ís. Inside itís very well presented with a massive open fireplace being a focal point. I generally visit on a Sunday lunchtime when it gets very full so it can be difficult to find somewhere to sit and the service can be a bit fraught. There is a decent selection of real ales but for quality I think the nearby Rose & Crown is a little better.

17 Feb 2008 11:17

The Goat, Berkhamsted

Looks to be aimed primarily at the younger market but is welcoming to all. There is a dedicated stage area and they have regular live music. Had a decent pint of Old Speckled Hen on a quiet Friday afternoon.

16 Feb 2008 12:34

The Eccles Cross, Eccles

Decent selection of ales on my visit. Handy transport links with the tram and train stops close by.

16 Feb 2008 12:17

The Mad Bishop and Bear, Paddington

Youíve got to admire Fullers for the effort, it canít be easy trying to retain the principles of their brand in a station pub. They do it reasonable well in my opinion, the beer is fairly well-kept but you can never get away from the depressing fact that youíre in a dark rather shabby bar in a train station.

12 Feb 2008 12:37

The Dickens Tavern, Paddington

Small frontage but long bar, claims to be the longest pub in London. Itís split up well with a front part devoid of TVís and used for eating, the middle part is mainly a standing area and has one TV which is popular for sports. Then there is a conservatory type area further on with more TVís that can show different channels to the main one which is handy if there are two sporting events on at the same time. Three cask ales but only one of them was on when I visited, not very inspiring, a bit like the pub itself.

12 Feb 2008 12:28

The Royal Hotel, Bath

More of a hotel bar than a pub with a hotel attached. Canít really recommend it over Bathís other excellent pubs but handy for a last pint before getting the train if youíve got 15 minutes to spare.

10 Feb 2008 20:41

The Coeur de Lion, Bath

Possibly the smallest of Bathís small pubs but we still managed to get a seat when popping in at the end of a Bath crawl recently. Thatís the beauty of small pubs, people tend not to get precious about ďtheir spaceĒ and will always make room for others. Purportedly the only pub in England with this name.

10 Feb 2008 20:33

The Raven, Bath

Donít remember a great deal about this pub as we were coming towards the end of a Bath crawl in the New Year. I do however recall friendly service, a good range of beers being on offer and having an excellent pint of the 6% Stark Raven Xmas from the Blindmans Brewery (I think).

10 Feb 2008 20:26

The Old Green Tree, Bath

A small cosy locals pub where visitors are tolerated although itís not easy to get to the bar at busy times when the only free space is in the corridor that runs alongside the short bar. Decent selection of beers which are generally sourced locally.

10 Feb 2008 20:19

The Volunteer Riflemans Arms, Bath

Another of Bathís small pubs, this one has some outside seating and an upstairs bistro. Thereís a military theme to the dťcor and a large Abbey Ales mirror that dominates one wall. There was a good selection of ales on and I enjoyed an excellent pint of the wonderfully named Totty Pot Porter, the Winter ale offering from Cheddar Ales.

10 Feb 2008 20:17

The Pig and Fiddle, Bath

Strange building this, seems to be two properties, one in Broad St and one in Saracen St, that have been joined and converted into a two tier L shaped pub. The real ale offering was good by way of both choice and condition with many local Abbey Ales available. The place has a young, friendly vibe, a bit like an Itís A Scream pub without the students. There are some rather dangerous looking agricultural instruments adorning the walls that make you hope they are firmly affixed in case the local lads get feisty on a Saturday night.

10 Feb 2008 20:02

The Bell, Bath

Just around the corner from the Star Inn on Walcot St is The Bell, an old looking pub both inside and out with loads of character. It manages to combine the old with the modern quite well as they have internet access plus WiFi availability. The pub is well know for itís live music, predominantly Jazz, which features two or three times a week. They have a large range of real ales, specialising in those from local brewers, and service is efficient and friendly. Worth a visit.

10 Feb 2008 19:58

The Star Inn, Bath

Itís well worth the trek up the hill to visit this interesting multi-roomed pub which will take you back in time to when pubs were for drinking. There are 4-5 different rooms with loads of wood panelling and a real fire in at least one of the rooms. The whole place is well decorated with old photos and thereís an amusing portrait of the Queen holding a pint of Bellringer. It was almost deserted when we called in on a weekday afternoon but Iím sure it has it band of loyal followers. Itís certainly a must visit place if in search of interesting pubs in Bath.

10 Feb 2008 19:51

Lambrettas Bar, Bath

This is an interesting little bar with an unremarkable frontage that you might not think of visiting. However inside you will find a comfortable bar, a decently priced ďpubĒ menu and a couple of real ales, including Bellringer. The eponymous motorcycles have now been moved next door and the bar is part of the Parade Park Hotel if you are looking for somewhere to stay. If you are visiting for the day itís about 5 minutes walk straight up Manvers St from the train and bus stations.

10 Feb 2008 19:42

Millers, Caledonian Road

One of those pubs that probably hasnít changed much in the last 10 or 20 years. A real locals pub that is fairly tolerant of the occasional visitor who wanders in.

9 Feb 2008 22:08

The Baby Betjeman, Kings Cross

I heard about this temporary pub on the station concourse and thought Iíd pay a visit before it disappears. They advertise cask ales but I was a bit wary when I didnít see any pumps, until that was I spotted two barrels with Pride and Doom Bar on gravity dispense. The £3 a pint Doom Bar wasnít the best Iíve had recently but it was drinkable. Although the pub is technically inside, because itís in the aircraft hangar like St Pancras Station it can get cold, so they have patio heaters and travel rugs available for cold evenings. Food is served but it looks as if they stop at 7pm. Decent place to sit and people watch as everyone detrains (is that the right word?) and heads for the giant ďMeeting PlaceĒ statue with their cameras.

9 Feb 2008 21:34

Britannia, Euston Station

With so many decent pubs within rushing distance of Euston station you wont find many serious drinkers in here. Itís mainly families and student groups camping out over a coke or a coffee whilst waiting a couple of hours for their connecting train. Consequently it can resemble more of a waiting room or a left luggage centre than a pub. Doesnít have a great deal going for it unless you can get a seat on the balcony and want to do a bit of people watching.

9 Feb 2008 21:31

Prince Arthur, Euston

Iíve never really got on with this place, perhaps because I have tended to visit on my own and it has generally been packed with large groups and itís been difficult to find somewhere to stand and have a pint. Decided to give it another go on a recent Monday evening only to find it almost empty. There was an amusing little scene as I arrived and one of the waiting staff leapt to their feet and urged me to take a table. I was able to convince them that I was fully able to carry a pint glass myself and I suspect they realised that I was unlikely to leave a tip anyway. Nice laid back atmosphere when itís quiet but I imagine it can get quite hectic on a Thursday or Friday night. Four hand pumps, the Landlord I has was OK and reasonably priced at £2.80.

9 Feb 2008 21:20

The Royal George, Euston

You know when youíve had a few and you see a notice in a pub that you have an urge to add something to, well thereís one in the Gents of the Royal George. It helpfully informs you that ďTo turn off the cold water tap please pull it upwards and turn it to the leftĒ. I keep wanting to addĒ Alternatively you could get a plumber in and fix the bleeding cold water tapĒ. Itís a shame really as this pub has improved both itís service and itís beer offering in the last year, following the arrival of an Antipodean guvínor, but letís itself down with the state of the toilets.

9 Feb 2008 21:12

The George, Berkhamsted

The George has all the hallmarks of a pub that has tried to turn itself into a trendy bar and failed. Consequently itís now a pretty poor bar with, I suspect, all the characters and faults that made it fail as a pub. Not exactly dying on itís arse but I reckon itís fairly close. So much more could be made of the property with a little investment but I fear the only thing that would be viable would be a restaurant.

9 Feb 2008 09:28

The Crown, Berkhamsted

Itís a small frontage but can hardly be called a small pub, it goes back so far that you think youíre in the next county by the time you reach the extent of itís environs. The low ceilings, lack of natural light and a general lack of cleanliness give it a typical dreary JDW feel. There are two staircases that lead from either side of the bar up to the toilets that give a sense of going up to meet the hangmanís noose as you ascend them. What this pub really has going for it is the range of beer, there are about 10- 12 hand pumps with some interesting beers and also some from the local Tring Brewery. So, go for the beer but little else, Iíll visit again if in the area but I think if I saw half the pump clips turned around Iíd probably do the same.

9 Feb 2008 09:20

The Boat, Berkhamsted

Fullers House with a canal side location and a nice outside patio area. Inside is nicely decorated with comfortable furnishings. One corner of the pub is given over in memory of Berkhamstedís favourite son novelist Graham Greene. Friendly and efficient service, usual Fullers beers including bottled ESB and London Porter. They could be a bit more creative with the pub sign, itís a bit like Clarice Cliff trying her hand at boating scenes.

9 Feb 2008 04:55

The Jolly Crofter, Stockport

Unremarkable pub on the road that leads to Stockport County's ground. No real ale, just keg Boddies, Guinness and fizzy lager. It was the only pub we could find with its doors open as it was Saturday afternoon and the word was going around that a number of Hartlepool fans had been thrown out and were looking for a pub to drink in. Bit of a dreary pub, we didn't find the Crofter and I suspect that if we had he wouldn't have been very jolly.

9 Feb 2008 04:45

The Florist, Stockport

Great example of a multi-roomed pub on Shaw Heath, and one of the many Robinson's houses in the area. There are at least 5 rooms including a games room, a snug and a smoke room, in fact the whole pub seemed like a smoke room on my pre-ban visit last March. Central to all of these rooms is a small bar that has so little counter space that during busy times (like when County are playing at home) the punters have to queue up like at McDonalds. There is also an upstairs function room. About 10-15 mins away from the station and the football ground but far enough away so as not to attract too many away supporters (they'll be in the Armoury). Nice pub, friendly locals and decent beer (no Old Tom), worth a visit if you're in the area.

9 Feb 2008 04:31

The Armoury, Stockport

Robinson's pub on the roundabout at the top of the road leading to Stockport County FC. As it is the first pub you see when arriving by train it is also a meeting place for visiting supporters who seem to be welcomed by the landlord and tolerated by the locals. Standard Robinson's offering of Unicorn Bitter and Hatters Mild and they also have Old Tom at £1.30 a half. Rolls available from behind the bar. Friendly place for a beer, it was a bit packed when we were there as Hartlepool were in town. Bizarrely there was also a Japanese film crew wandering around the pub.

9 Feb 2008 04:22

The Crown and Sceptre, Kensington

This has the feel of a pub struggling not to be seen as a bar, which is unusual in Kensington, I hope it succeeds. There were only two ales on when I visited and they were 3.6% and 3.8% which was a bit disappointing. Iíll definitely go back and try it again though as it does seem to get good reviews for its beers.

3 Feb 2008 22:05

The Warwick Arms, Kensington

Maybe I visited at the wrong time but, even though it was Six Nations afternoon, there seemed to be very little atmosphere and it wasnĎt very busy. In the stakes of how many milk churns, sewing machines, musical instruments and assorted copper jugs you can get in one pub it comes second only to the Churchill Arms but it all seems a bit false. The beer was OK and Iíll probably pop in again if Iím in the area as itís a proper pub whereas so many nearby have been turned into wine bars serving Peroni and Pinot Grigio.

3 Feb 2008 21:56

The Britannia Tap, West Kensington

I quite liked this pub although Iíve only been once and it was almost empty. The beers are Youngs and they also have a bottled range, I had a nice bottle of Double Chocolate Stout. Itís only a small pub but does have a real fire and a heated outdoor patio area that is part covered. I wonder whether it struggles a bit because it doesnít really look like a pub, its next to a restaurant and with its adverts for Thai food and the shuttered windows it looks a bit like a restaurant itself. OK place for a beer though.

3 Feb 2008 21:43

The Scarsdale Tavern, Kensington

This is an estate pub but one with a difference, the estate in question is a secluded and select area off Kensington High Street. Whereas in most estate pubs one might expect shell-suits, baseball caps, cheeseburger & chips and people cashing giros, in this one youíll find pressed chinos, designer sunglasses, bruschetta & marinated olives and everyone paying with plastic. Previous comments concerning difficulty in getting a table seem well founded as it has always been busy when I have called in. They try to solve this by adding more tables but they are arranged so close together, both inside and out, that it seems difficult to sit anywhere comfortably. I have always found the service to be pretty good even when its busy. The pub has 4 cask beers, Everards Beacon, Pride, Youngs and Old Speckled Hen on my last visit and has Cask Marque accreditation (although I did see them pouring slops into a glass on my first visit). The menu is befitting of itís clientele including the prices. All this might seem a bit negative but it is certainly an interesting place to go and see how the other half drink. Just when I thought I couldnít find anything else that so stereotypically sums up the Kensington set I walked into the Gents to find not the latest pages from the Telegraph on the wall but those from Private Eye, priceless.

3 Feb 2008 21:30

The Hansom Cab, Kensington

It was only because I was looking for this pub that I spotted it, otherwise I would probably have walked past despite a couple of ďWe Are Still OpenĒ signs within all the scaffolding that surrounds the outside. I have to say they can do what they want with the outside I just hope they leave the interior as it is. Itís the sort of pub where wherever you walk you find creaking floorboards and signs of genuine age. Thereís a nice decorative front bar with a few tables and a traditional pub atmosphere. The back bar is a wonderful collection of old leather seating, etched mirrors and decorative screens. Add to that subdued lighting and the whole place has a sort of Moroccan feel to it. Food served 12-3 & 5-10 weekdays and all day weekends. There are two real ale pumps, serving Doom Bar and Hogs Back TEA on my visit, Japanese Kirin beer on draught and Fruili and Aspinalls cider in bottles. The gents toilet is tiny and I imagine this could cause problems on a busy night. Overall the Hansom Cab is a handsome pub and I recommend a visit.

3 Feb 2008 20:45

The Princess Victoria, Kensington

Kensington seems to excel in the field of pub to bar conversions and this is another good example. The smal bar space is nicely decorated with comfortable furnishings and welcomes all comers. Quiz machine plus three plasma screens showing sports so itís always possible to see one of them wherever you are sitting. There were two hand pumps both of which were disappointingly turned around and the Guinness came in at a pricey £3.15, although it did have a pretty good shamrock in the head.

3 Feb 2008 20:27

Kensington Arms, Kensington

The small but bright frontage gives the impression you are walking into a typical back street boozer but this just belies what you find inside. The high ceilings, abundance of light wood and regimented furniture layout meant my first impression was a bit like that of an Ikea showroom. However on closer inspection I found this was a really nice pub to bar conversion. There are a number of mirrors on one wall and the rest of the wall space is given over to sports photos or old railway advertisements. Thereís a couple of comfy sofas and a number pf plasma screens that show all the main sporting events. A number of skylights have been added to give the bar some natural light. Didnít try the food but the bar was well stocked. They had two hand pumps in operation, one with Sharps Doom Bar, continental lagers on draught, and some Belgian bottled beers. The bottle of Duvel I had was rather pricey at £3.90 but did come in a branded glass which I always feel is the sign of a good pub.

3 Feb 2008 20:16

Bar Naz, Watford


Used to be called Bar Nazdarovya but after the last revamp it reopened under the shortened name of Bar Naz, presumably because those who frequented it couldn't pronounce Nazdarovya.

3 Feb 2008 09:36

The Flag, Watford

Good news, they have a sign up saying they are now serving real ale. They've got one handpump, looks like Pride, but unfortunately no beer. Been in 3 times since I saw the notice but still no beer. Given the way the rest of the pub is run, I do worry about their ability to keep a decent real ale but Iíll give it a go, when it finally arrives.

3 Feb 2008 09:28

Porter's Bar, Covent Garden

More of a restaurant than a bar but there is a small bar area and they have got a good selection of bottled St Peters beersÖat a price

20 Jan 2008 19:11

Mabel's Tavern, Euston

Mable's is a fairly solid and reliable pub but prices are a bit expensive. Don't know if it's just me but the Shepherd Neame Porter seems a bit lacklustre recently.

20 Jan 2008 18:33

The Euston Flyer, Euston

Iím starting to visit more often recently as I like Fullers Winter beers and they usually have a full compliment. On my last visit they had both the Old Winter Ale and the London Porter, both of which were excellent. If recent reviewers complaining about the food service stay away Iíll not be disappointed, it should mean Iíll get served a pint quicker.

20 Jan 2008 18:22

O'Neills, Euston Road

There are some O'Neills where you think they may as well go the whole way and turn it into a restaurant, this is one of them. On the tourist trail so invariably busy.

20 Jan 2008 18:18

The Dolphin, Kings Cross

I give this one a go now and again but always feel uncomfortable walking in and invariably sink a quick pint and go somewhere a little more friendly. The sign to the ďRestaurantĒ is laughable, itís just another bar, perhaps The Dolphin thinks this is the way forward in KXís brave new world. I certainly wouldnít recommend this pub to anyone stepping off the Eurostar and I imagine neither would itís regulars.

20 Jan 2008 18:14

The Flying Scotsman, Caledonian Road

Ah, the Flying Scotsman, a Kings Cross institution and long may it remain so, however much the area is developed and sanitised for the hoards of tourists everyone seems to be expecting to arrive on Eurostar. Every couple of years I check it out expecting to see it closed and whilst it always looks boarded up the door to Londonís seedy side is always open. Itís a truly appalling pub of course but as so much of Kings Cross seems intent on rushing headlong into a brave new world the Flying Scotsman reminds us of itís ignoble past.

20 Jan 2008 18:10

The Golden Lion, Kings Cross

I was doing a few pubs in the area and sought this one out as I remembered a pub of the same name from the 80ís when I worked nearby for a couple of weeks. From the location Iím sure itís the same one but itís no longer a proper pub, more a pub trying to be a bar as so many do these days. Jennings Cumberland Ale was the cask offering on my visit. I went late afternoon and there were more staff than customers, no doubt they were waiting for the evening trade.

20 Jan 2008 12:07

The Carpenters Arms, Kings Cross

Large fronted corner pub that doesnít look too attractive, but I spotted a couple of hand pumps so ventured inside. They has Spitfire and Landlord on and I ordered the latter, at which point the real Landlord jumped in saying it was near the end of the barrel and offering me a taste first to make sure it was OK. I was quite impressed with that, I rarely get that sort of consideration in a pub where I am a regular let alone one where itís my first visit. As it turned out the beer was fine, and judging by the CAMRA newsletters available it usually is. This is more of a pub for a quiet lunchtime reading a newspaper or working out a 20p yankee than for a special night out but it has a nice local feel to it which you donít see too often these days.

20 Jan 2008 11:49

The Queens Head, St Pancras

The pub is quite small and narrow but the ornate mirrors that cover almost the entire wall on one side make it appear bigger. Thereís a pool table, a roulette gaming machine and a couple of plasmas that were showing Sky Sports. Adnams was the only hand pump I saw but it was not on so I went for a Guinness which was OK. I think they had a menu but itís not the sort of place where I would trust the food. The toilets were pretty poor which is always an indication of the overall running of the pub in my opinion.

20 Jan 2008 11:33

The Lucas Arms, Kings Cross

Nice traditional no-nonsense boozer. Thereís a split level bar with a big screen for sports, fruit and quiz machines and also an ATM. Greene King beers, only OSH was on but it was in good nick, the food looked good but I didnít eat, and service was friendly. Thereís a large and well presented outside patio area which I imagine is well used during the Summer months. For some reason the doors to the toilets have mirrors in them instead of glass which can lead to confusion after a couple of beers, I ended up opening the door for my reflection and wondering why I wasnít on the other side!!

20 Jan 2008 11:20

Smithy's Wine Bar, Kings Cross

The rather austere grey and brick exterior bellies the delights inside. There are cobbled floors and basic/original walls and ceilings but it has been fitted out very nicely. Thereís plenty of wood panelling, loads of comfortable seating and the whole bar is decorated with a plethora of old interesting prints and mirrors. They had one real ale on, Doom Bar, which was pulled through as it was the first of the day, Star and Peroni also on tap and an extensive wine list. Not my sort of place for an evening out but it was pleasant enough for a quiet lunchtime pint and I got a friendly welcome.

20 Jan 2008 11:11

6 St Chad's Place, Kings Cross

Did a little tour of the area on a Saturday afternoon and as this bar was on BITE I sought it out. It was closed but looking through the windows it looks to have a bit of a minimalist theme. Looks like itís in an old converted workshop and a bit out of keeping with itís surroundings. However itís in an area with a lot of development going on so I expect it will do reasonable business for a couple of years.

20 Jan 2008 10:59

The Old Grapes, Manchester

Was quiet when I passed yesterday afternoon but I imagine there were a few celebrations in the evening to mark the departure of Vera from Corrie.

19 Jan 2008 23:03

The Blackbird, Earls Court

I think the lack of depth and detail in any of the previous reports sums the Blackbird up quite nicely. Itís a fairly attractive but unremarkable Fullers pub serving Fullers beers and standard pub grub. Probably one of the better pubs in the immediate area.

13 Jan 2008 12:56

The Churchill Arms, Kensington

What a fantastic pub. In an area where so many pubs claim their place in history with faux props and 200 year old claims this place simply oozes history. Itís difficult to do justice to the eclectic and decorative items that adorn the walls and ceiling but Iíll list just a few. There are the usual copper kettles, jugs, coal scuttles etc. along with brass instruments, old radios, violin cases, an accordion, pressed butterflies, old manuscripts, lanterns, even an old parking meter. Thereís also an original wooden ďAlways Time for a GuinnessĒ sign complete with the toucan balancing a pint of Guinness. But the main theme is quite clearly the eponymous wartime leader and there are newspaper cuttings, photos, paintings etc. all over the bar. One wall holds photos of every British Prime Minister from Sir Robert Walpole through to Maggie. There is a large bar area although it is usually full so be prepared to compete with the friendly locals for some space . The well kept beers are from Fullers and there is a popular restaurant at the back. A little off the beaten track between Kensington and Notting Hill but this is one of Londonís gems and well worth the effort of finding.

13 Jan 2008 12:40

The Salisbury, Leicester Square

Iíve always found the beers here to be in decent condition. Itís also nice to walk in not knowing what might be on offer, something that is pretty rare in London with all the cloned Spirit pubs around.

Iíll add to everyone elseís gushing reviews about the interior, there are many decorative screens giving rise to the creation of booths and alcoves for couples or small groups. The lighting is subdued but this adds to the beauty of the etched and polished glass and mirrors that are spread throughout the pub. The walls on the steps down to the toilets are festooned with old theatre posters reminding you of the area that you are in. One tip here, just before you get to the stairs look upwards and you will see a spiral staircase that seemingly goes on as far as the eye can see.

13 Jan 2008 11:42

The Ship and Shovell, Charing Cross

The only pub in London built in two halves is itĎs claim but it did present us with a problem on a pub crawl a year or so ago. Much debate took place about pub crawl rules upon encountering such an establishment, does going into only one count, must we go in both or maybe splitting into two groups would be allowed. In the end we decided we would all go into the smaller pub where we all plumped for the Badgers beer. As if to emphasise the size of the pub, the snug at the rear is little more than a broom cupboard with just enough room for two chairs and two people, who have to be really close friends. Take care going down to the toilets, the stairs are a bit difficult to negotiate, especially after a few beers. I have subsequently been into the larger of the two bars which is well decorated with a lot of mirrors and etched glass. The two bars are connected by a cellar that runs under Craven Passage.

13 Jan 2008 11:21

The Skinners Arms, Kings Cross

Iíd not been in for a couple of years but stumbled across it the other day and went in as I thought I remembered it as a decent real ale pub. What a disappointment I found, only two pumps on , ordered an Abbot only to be told it was off so had to settle for a barely drinkable IPA. Maybe I caught them at a bad time so I will try it again as I really canít believe the Skinners Arms has gone this far down hill.

12 Jan 2008 19:50

The Norfolk Arms, Russell Square

This isnít a pub, I know it isnít a pub because if it was I wouldnít have spent so long at the bar without being served before walking out. As it was I was transfixed by how many people could mill about behind the bar, seemingly busy, but managing not to make any eye contact with those of us waiting to be served. I did get a couple of apologetic glances from the only bloke actually serving and I decided to hang on as they do have two hand pumps. He eventually served me with a pint of Theakstons XB which I sunk before heíd finished his next round of White Zinfandel and lime & coriander crab cakes with rocket salad and Peruvian vinaigrette.

12 Jan 2008 19:42

Marquis of Cornwallis, Bloomsbury

It seems that old habits die hard as this pub is slipping back into itís old Goose ways. If you are in the area and donít fancy it then the Holiday Inn right opposite has a decent bar.

12 Jan 2008 19:26

The Friend at Hand, Bloomsbury

Their Cask Marque accreditation flatters them a little. Three pumps, Pride, GK IPA and Bombardier and the first two had signs saying that the pipes were being cleaned when I went in Friday evening (could be they close weekends). The two pints of Bombardier that I saw being pulled were both woefully short on measure but I got the impression this is the sort of place where neither the staff nor the customers see this as an issue. On the plus side they have Hoegaarden, Star and Leffe on tap and there are plenty of attentive bar staff.

12 Jan 2008 19:14

The Victoria, Watford

Decent split level pub right on the main road at Bushy Arches. Havenít been in for a while but the beer was generally good and the welcome friendly.

10 Jan 2008 18:15

The Beehive, St Albans

This pub has had a number of management changes, revamps and renovations over the past few years with the result that it has no real identity. Decent and popular pub for watching sports, well kept real ales, even if they are not that inspiring, and a nice patio area outside which is poplar in the Summer. Used to be a real dive, itís an OK pub now but you need to have something special in St Albans with its many excellent pubs.

10 Jan 2008 18:02

The White Lion, St Albans

This pub really comes into its own in the Summer months due to the large garden with childrenís facilities and a petanqe piste (I think thatís the official term). Plenty of room inside with various seating areas, newspapers available and a dartboard. They pay a lot of attention to their real ales and there are generally 5 or 6 on at any one time that change regularly. Thereís an interesting old Watneys Red Barrel pump on the bar that looks as if it now dispenses lager. This pub has improved over the last year or so and is well worth a visit if in the area. Combine it with the Garibaldi which can be reached through the back of the beer garden.

10 Jan 2008 17:59

The Garibaldi, St Albans

Unusually for a Fullers House this is a local style laidback backstreet pub not a brash cavernous place on the high street. Nice friendly atmosphere, comfortable seating, unobtrusive TV and a good outside seating area. The ESB was in good condition but ridiculously expensive, Iíd had a few by the time we arrived but Iím sure I got charged more than £6 for two pints. Well located to pop in whilst on a crawl around St Albans excellent real ale pubs. Quite handily, right opposite the pub is the back entrance to the beer garden of the White Lion.

10 Jan 2008 17:55

Blue Anchor, St Albans

This place reinvented itself as a gastropub some time ago and now most of the premises is given over to a dining room. There is still a small bar area which is quite pleasant and they serve local McMullens ales, AK and Country. The AK was well kept and topped up without question.

10 Jan 2008 17:45

Red Herring, Bank

Compact and comfortable Fullers pub on the ground floor of an office block on Gresham St. The downstairs bar seems to be reserved purely as a reastaurant which seems a bit of a waste. Asked if they had a bottle of London Porter, they didn't, and the guy behind the bar reached for a bottle of port.

10 Jan 2008 17:32

The Green Man, Bank

Large sprawling two floored Wetherspoons that does what most Wetherspoons do. Not one of their better pubs despite the premium location.

10 Jan 2008 17:25

The Golden Fleece, Bank

I donít often frequent City pubs in the run up to Christmas but a friend persuaded me to meet up for a drink and I paid my first visit to the Golden Fleece. I found it a fairly typical City pub with a good atmosphere. There is a small lowered seating area by the main entrance with a few steps up to the main part of the pub and a 12-15 person snug area at the back which can be booked for private functions. The island bar is so big that it doesnít leave a great deal of room for punters, you can get one row standing at the bar, another round the edge of the room and just enough room to walk between the two. It looks as if they have a large downstairs area as well. The beers are Greene King and I had a few decent pints of Abbot served by the fairly efficient staff. A good City drinking pub.

10 Jan 2008 17:21

The Bedford Arms, Watford

I paid a couple of rare visits to the Bedford Arms over the Christmas period and found it almost empty on both occasions. In fact it seems to be one of Watfordís forgotten pubs as it is usually just as quiet when I go in and I can never work out why. It could have something to do with the prices, £2.80 for an Old Speckled Hen was a bit steep and more akin to central London prices. The exterior doesnít look particularly welcoming but once you get inside itís quite nice. The walls are adorned with signed sporting photos including one of the famous Vinny Jones ďtackleĒ on Paul Gascoigne. There are three large plasma screens that can show different channels and most big sporting fixtures are shown. The pub seems to be Irish run, canít say much about the clientele there are never many of them around. Only one of the three hand pumps were working on both my visits but I may well try again soon and see what the overall quality of the beer is like, if itís any good I might go a bit more regularly.

10 Jan 2008 17:02

The Verulam Arms, St Albans

Thereís a bit of a reverse TARDIS effect with this pub, it looks quite big from the outside but when you get inside you wonder where all the space has gone. Mainly itís taken up with a large horseshoe shaped bar around which there are tables and comfortable chairs plus some bar stools. Thereís a small ďsnugĒ area to the left of the bar which holds a single large table. Thereís a small outside area that they call a patio but it is clearly an old storage area that they now use as a smoking area, they do have a large patio heater though. I think I remember seeing Hoegaarden on tap and they have three cask ales, although the Black Sheep bitter I tried was a bit dull and flat.

1 Jan 2008 20:37

The Fighting Cocks, St Albans

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks may or may not be the oldest in Britain but for all the 500 odd years it claims to have been around, those in the 21st Century are surely not itís finest. Admittedly it was a Sunday afternoon but of the dozen or so staff I spotted milling around most were cooking, delivering food, taking food orders, explaining why the sea bass was off, organising seating plans and generally doing anything except what I expect in a pub, serving me beer. I suppose I shouldnít complain, there are plenty of proper pubs in St Albans serving a good beer, I really should leave this to the hoards who for some reason find it so fascinating. Iíll probably leave it another year before calling in again, for research purposes only you understand.

1 Jan 2008 20:23

The Duke of Marlborough, St Albans

The DOM seemed to be going places on my previous visit when it had just been taken over. There was a new large outside patio area and plans for the bars. However nothing much seems to have changed since, itís still a decent enough pub for a beer but nothing special. It may come into its own in the Summer months when I suspect the outside area will attract some punters.

1 Jan 2008 20:20

The Portland Arms, St Albans

Iíd heard that the Portland had acquired a new guvínor earlier in the year so popped in recently to see whether it was in danger of relinquishing its current spot in the BITE Top 40. The answer is that not much seems to have changed and the pub is still worthy of its high rating. Chiswick, Pride and ESB from the Fullers stable all served with efficiency and friendliness. I went in on a Sunday lunchtime and most of the tables had been reserved which is a sign of its continuing popularity.

1 Jan 2008 20:13

The Rose and Crown, St Albans

The larger low ceilinged left hand bar is almost entirely given over to diners where a large black dog wanders between the tables delighting the children and no doubt prompting health & safety concerns in some. There is a more traditional pub atmosphere in the smaller right hand bar. There are four real ales available and I found the service to be friendly and efficient.

1 Jan 2008 20:10

Savanna @ The Black Lion Inn , St Albans

Wow, I totally agree with timkholman, if you havenít been to the Black Lion for a while you wonít recognise it now, I didnít. It was always more of a hotel with a bar than a pub with accommodation but the bar was very much a traditional pub. Now it is definitely a hotel with a restaurant attached. The bar area is much smaller and reminiscent of a hotel lobby bar and they seem to have gone for a retro theme with plush cubed seating and beaded curtains, not particularly easy on the eye. Becks and Star on draught along with Addlestones cider. Bottles of London Pride and Leffe were also available although the latter was not served in a Leffe glass which surprised me a little.

1 Jan 2008 19:58

Old Red Lion, Holborn

Nice traditional boozer in what looks like a Victorian building on High Holborn. They generally have a full range from the Greene King stable and I have always found the beer to be in good condition. Friendly, chatty and English bar staff come as a pleasant surprise. There is no defined seating areas but there are a few bar stools dotted about and there are ledges below the windows, both inside and out I think, so itís easy to stand, drink and watch the world go by. There is also an upstairs bar for busy times. Good place for a beer if you are on your way between Holborn and Chancery Lane tubes.

25 Dec 2007 22:57

Bung Hole Cellars and Wine Room, Holborn

Iíve often walked past this place and wondered what it was like but called in for the first time recently during an afternoon pub crawl. It is essentially a wine bar and restaurant but has a downstairs bar with a pub style seating area. Itís a really nice looking place with a bit of an olde worlde feel to it and the odd bit of sawdust strewn around the floors, a tradition of the DavyĎs chain I was told. There is an extensive wine list which includes their own label wines. But we were there for the beer, Davyís Old Wallop, which is served in pewter tankards and also available in half gallon copper jugs. A good drinking experience and one that Iím sure Iíll repeat at some stage.

25 Dec 2007 22:53

The Market Trader, Aldgate

Good pub for a beer, but as it is quite a narrow bar you always seem to be in someones way during busy times. The Thai restaurant upstairs has a good reputation

25 Dec 2007 22:38

Gate, Northwood

I'm with most other people on this one, I remember the Gate as a decent old proper pub but since being taken over by Ember Inns it's been turned into a rather souless gastropub.

25 Dec 2007 22:21

The Peacock Inn, Derby

A nice looking Marston's house on the old Nottingham Road. Worth a visit.

25 Dec 2007 22:08

The Merry Widows, Derby

ďIíve sold a lot of this todayĒ says the barman as he pulls me an Old Speckled Hen. ďThatís probably because itís the only proper beer youíve got onĒ, I thought. Decent enough quality though and in a nice friendly atmosphere. Despite the fact that it is directly opposite the train station, and probably the closest pub, it doesnít have that anonymous rather depressing station bar feel that some others have. A big Derby County FC pub judging by the memorabilia.

25 Dec 2007 22:05

Seven Stars, Derby

This pub looks a bit run down from the outside but I'm pleased it's still open, we need to retain old character filled pubs like this one. A plaque on the wall dates the pub at 1680.

25 Dec 2007 22:01

Jorrocks, Derby

Decent pub in the main shopping street that has some history to it. It dates back to the 17th Century when it was an coaching inn and is now allegedly haunted.

25 Dec 2007 21:57

The Florence Nightingale, Derby

A rather garishly decorated exterior with posters and banners extolling the virtues of upcoming events and attractions. Normally a place that I would stay away from but it did claim to be a Free House so I thought Iíd give it a go. They had two or three beers on but not of the type that I would say justified the Free House claim. It was around lunchtime when I went in and the focus was clearly on food, it looks as if they get a lot of business from the Derby Royal Infirmary next door (hence the name I guess). Bar staff polite and friendly and overall excellent customer service.

25 Dec 2007 21:04

Woods at Borehamwood, Borehamwood

Another pub that I remember from the late 80ís when I used to work in Borehamwood. It was quite convenient for me as there was a bus stop right outside so you could have a pint and keep an eye out for your bus coming down the hill. Having revisited I am pleased to report that the pub is still there, as is the bus stop. It hasnít changed much, the pub not the bus stop, it was always a bit minimalist and they now seem to have taken this to an extreme, either that or they canít be arsed to spend any money on decor or furnishings. They have a pool table maybe two, cocktails, fizzy lagers and alcopops, no real ale.

25 Dec 2007 09:22

Quinn's, Camden

One of the better pubs in Camden but thankfully not on the Friday night alcopop circuit. Donít get put off by the garish exterior, once inside youíll find a real gem. Itís an Irish pub as the name suggests and decorated in the traditional style with itís fair share of bric-a-brac around the walls and some nice old screens with etched glass. There are usually 4 or 5 real ales on but they are best known for their range of bottled beers that are shown on a menu above the bar. There are around 70-80 listed from Germany, Holland and of course Belgium including some interesting looking ones that I had never heard of. Outside patio at the back and a couple of tables on the pavement, food available and two TV screens that I imagine are often split between football and racing. Good pub and worth a visit, especially if you are a fan of continental beer.

23 Dec 2007 21:36

The Black Heart, Camden

Quieter than some of Camdenís pubs and clearly trying to attract a ďbetter classĒ of clientele based on the menu and their prices, Bombardier £3 a pint. Decent pub for watching sports, big screen, lots of pine furniture and wooden floors. Apparently I had just missed ďTup IdolĒ some crass Karaoke competition running across the chain when I visited earlier in the year - what a shame!

23 Dec 2007 21:29

The Hope and Anchor, Camden

Interesting two tier layout, the bar is at street level with a larger area reached by stairs either side of it. Nice looking traditional back street boozer, etched glass, brewery mirrors, pool table, no tourists, locals chatting, that sort of thing. We need proper pubs like this to survive, so many are disappearing and being sold for development. It is opposite the disgusting looking Purple Turtle.

23 Dec 2007 21:07

The Worlds End, Camden

It was about 5 years ago last time I was in the Worlds End, and I thought it was about to. Itís really one for the younger crowd and admittedly not my sort of place so perhaps I am a little biased. Popped in again recently for research purposes and was delighted to see six real ales advertised on a painted board on the wall. Strange given that there were only two pumps and one of those was turned around. Decided not to risk either the Directors or a trip to the gents toilets which I recall was always underwater. I hate to think of overseas tourists flocking to the famous Worlds End in Camden and coming away thinking this is typical of our pubs. Itís one for the younger backpacker crowd, and those strange followers of obscure rock bands who always seem to be in black t-shirts. Iím sure thereís some excellent nights to be had in here but suspect the moneyed, more subdued locals are more likely to be in the Camden Tup nearby.

23 Dec 2007 20:47

The Cobden Arms, Camden

A fairly basic and non-descript drinkers pub on Camden High Street. Couple of real ale pumps, only one in use (GK IPA of course!!). A number of well placed TVís for sports. Two raised areas at the rear that could be used for private functions.

23 Dec 2007 20:09

Tommy Flynn's, Camden

Itís clearly an Irish pub by name and this is also noticeable when you walk in. Nicely decorated, lots of exposed brickwork, an open fireplace and the type of bric-a-brac that typifies Irish run pubs. However Iím not sure this is Irish run judging by the bar staff. I might be wrong but I donít see a proper Irish guvínor employing the acne kid and the wannabee more interested in her mobile than her customers who were serving when I went in. Thai menu, couple of TVís, eclectic clientele, keg beer, larger than it looks from the outside. Might go back again if Iím in the area but only in the hope that my first impressions were wrong.

23 Dec 2007 20:07

The Sarsen Stone, Wealdstone

Used to be a Wetherspoon pub and still bears similar signage. I guess it was even too rough and depressing for them. Not a pub to search out, if you do note that it has a very small frontage - maybe another reason JDW ditched it.

23 Dec 2007 19:59

The Robert Browning, Maida Vale

Looks like it could be an old hotel. Now a Sam Smithís house that seems to promote organic beer and cider fairly heavily. No cask OBB but the Extra Stout was on good form. The food is Thai like so many pubs these days. The building is nice looking with plenty of stained glass, ornate mirrors, wood panelling and old prints. Upstairs lounge, beer garden and tables out on the main road. Mainly old locals who seem to tolerate the newly moneyed Maida Vale/St Johnís Wood crowd.

23 Dec 2007 19:46

The Windsor Castle, Maida Vale

It had been a while since Iíd last been in the Windsor Castle when I visited earlier this year but itís still a bit like walking into someoneís living room. Bit of a strange set up with three small rooms. The front room holds the bar and has two sofas and a few bar stools, a couple more sofaís sit in the back room. Then thereís an interesting almost hidden snug with a chaise longe that conjures up all sort of decadent thoughts. Looked like they were extending into yet another room as there was a new and rather sterile looking drinking den at the back which was in contrast to the rest of the pub. There are two hand pumps but only one was in use serving Courage Best. Bitburger on draught as well as Steinlager which reminded me of my previous visit. It used to be a Kiwi pub and I recall a map of New Zealand on the wall alongside the words, and actions, of the Maori Haka. Theyíve now gone and have been replaced with ornate mirrors and some quasi erotic prints. An interesting pub.

23 Dec 2007 19:38

The Cumberland Arms, West Kensington

You have to admire places like this, itís clearly an old style boozer that has tried to re-invent itself to fit in with the Kensington & Chelsea crowd. Generally it succeeds, or at least judging by the Sotherbys private party going on when I was there it does. Two cask ales including Timothy Taylors Landlord , a large wine list, good background music and a lively atmosphere. One criticism, the Gents is ridiculously small for the size of the pub, why do so many places spend thousands on refurbishing the bar and a couple of quid on the toilet facilities. Within handy walking distance of Olympia and Kensington High St.

23 Dec 2007 19:25

The Stanhope Arms, Kensington

Nice looking old corner pub opposite Gloucester Road tube that also has a bus stop outside. Usual Spirit Group ale offering, Pride, Bombardier and the revamped Speckled Hen, in decent condition. Good selection of wines and full menu. Couple of well placed plasma screens with Sky Sports. On my visit during the Cricket World Cup earlier this year I encountered for real the often apocryphal situation of meeting an American who wanted me to explain the game to him. Luckily I know the rudiments of baseball so was able to equate runs to base hits, the wicket keeper to a catcher, a six to a home run etc. An interesting little encounter until his wife came back from shopping and dragged him away. Decent pub.

23 Dec 2007 19:22

Royal Oak, Bushey

Traditional, friendly pub with real ales and Cask Marque accreditation. A few wooden tables out front and a beer garden at the rear. Restaurant area that specialises in Thai food I think.

23 Dec 2007 15:09

The Great Northern, St Albans

A fine example of an old traditional locals boozer. Very welcoming, good prices, one or two real ales, good conversation and an old school guvínor. Although itís on the main London Road it hasnít got the best location being opposite a petrol station and right next door to a large old cinema building that has been boarded up for years and looks ripe for development. Hopefully the Great Northern will be around for a good few years yet.

22 Dec 2007 20:10

The Cross Keys, St Albans

Decent location at the top of Holywell Hill where London Rd meets the High Street. You can normally rely on the quality of the real ales in this Wetherspoons and they usually have a good selection. The cheaper JDW prices means it can hold itís own in the real ale mecca of St Albans.

22 Dec 2007 20:01

The White Hart Tap, St Albans

Good place to stop off if you are on a crawl of St Albansí real ale pubs as it is on the route from the Farmers Boy to the Garibaldi/White Lion. They have a good selection of real ales that is changed regularly, but I have always found the pub a bit sterile and the clientele a bit insular for my liking. Has a large beer garden out the back and a few tables out front.

22 Dec 2007 19:56

The Waterfall, Derby

A rather soulless attempt to create an American bar inside a large cavernous building with minimal dťcor and an atmosphere to match. One cask beer available Everards Tiger which was drinkable but nothing special. Large room out the back with half a dozen pool tables. Sky Sports on a couple of plasmaís which was what lured me in, to check the scores in the test match. Canít really see me repeating the experience should I be in Derby again, especially as the excellent Brunswick is only a couple of minutes away.

16 Dec 2007 21:57

The Smithfield, Derby

You wouldnít stumble across this pub, it takes a bit of finding being tucked away on the edge of an industrial estate. The property looks a bit tired and I expect not a lot of money has been spent on it recently. But thatís part of the charm for those who like traditional old boozers. You do wonder how long it might last which seems a good excuse to search it out now. There are three rooms, the main bar, an Offilers room and a nice well-decorated snug. There is a small outside yard with a couple of tables that overlook the river. It has a good reputation for real ales and the CAMRA stalwarts will definitely have it on their itinerary for a Derby pub crawl

16 Dec 2007 21:49

Ryans Bar, Derby

Tucked away off St Peters St between Nat West Bank and the Church. Itís a genuine Irish bar, wooden floors, furniture, fittings etc., newspapers available, no cask ale but a good pint of Guinness as you would expect. Thereís a split level bar with the upstairs part being used for families and food and downstairs for drinking. Probably not one for the tourist but it seems to have a good local following and the decently priced menu is popular with local office staff. The barís claim to fame is that James Morrison was discovered there on an open mic night.

16 Dec 2007 21:43

The Brunswick Inn, Derby

This place came with a recommendation from a friend and is definitely a must visit for real ale enthusiasts, or indeed anyone interested in historic pubs. It was originally built in the 1840ís as part of a railway community and was known as the Brunswick Railway & Commercial Inn. In the mid 20th C it fell into disrepair but finally re-opened in 1987 after extensive renovation of the whole area by the local historical trust. Itís a real gem with lots of rooms to explore, the main bar, a snug, a smoke room and an attractive family parlour. A flagstone corridor runs through the pub leading to the on-site brewery which brews 6 Brunswick ales. Another 4-5 ales are also available and the food menu is quite popular. Itís only a few minutes walk from the train station and certainly worth a visit.

16 Dec 2007 21:29

The Alexandra Hotel, Derby

A new and rather boring looking faÁade leads to a nice two roomed pub concentrating on real ales and continental beers. There is a friendly, enthusiastic and, some might say, eccentric landlord who certainly knows his beers. The sort of place where you are bound to get into conversation if you are on your own. Try the large filled rolls to soak up some of the beer. Handily placed quite close to the train station and just up the road from the Brunswick Inn.

16 Dec 2007 21:21

The Babington Arms, Derby

One of the better Wetherspoons I have come across, especially for their real ale selection. They have a massive 18 hand pumps with details of the brewery, strength price etc. shown on an electronic ďblackboardĒ, like the Wellington in Birmingham (q.v.). Unfortunately they also ask you to order your beer by pump number instead of name which makes me feel as if Iím in a Chinese takeaway. The pub has a nice frontage with a few outside tables. Opens at 9am and with breakfast and a pint for around £4 you canít go wrong.

16 Dec 2007 21:16

The Cittie of Yorke, Holborn

Hadnít been into the Cittie of Yorke for some time so I popped in before meeting some friends yesterday. As it was 12.30 on a Friday lunchtime I expected it to be busy but the main bar was very quiet. Just two or three groups eating, a probable clandestine lunchtime assignation and what looked like the start of a pub crawl with all the blokes in Santa outfits (some people have no shame). Still, the pub is still well worth a visit, the OBB was on good form and at £1.78 a pint in the City you canít go wrong.

15 Dec 2007 11:34

The Freakin' Frog, Las Vegas

One of the many things I was looking forward to on my recent trip to Vegas was revisiting the Freakin' Frog to see how it might have changed over the two and a half years since I was last there. Then, I remember it as a fledgling bar that was quickly establishing a good reputation and had ambitious plans for the future. Those plans seemed to be built around the enthusiasm of the people involved for their product and their passion to drive the business forward. I remember thinking I hope they survive and achieve those goals and what I found was that they had, or at least they were well on their way.

The Whisky Attic that was being built in May 05 is now fully operational and has the air of a London Gentlemenís club. In fact to preserve exclusivity they do charge a small membership fee and if I lived a little closer than 5,000 miles away I would certainly put my name forward. I can imagine, after a hard day at work, reclining in a comfortable chair amid the dark wooden furnishings sampling a few exclusive single malts whilst putting the world to rights or watching a movie on one of the large screens.

The bar itself is much as I remember it although there may have been a small extension to make way for a larger stage for the regular live music evenings that feature. The range of beers is just as impressive, if not more, and the list of bottled beers available runs to over 700 from all around the world. There are 15 beers on tap including Chimay Trippel, Lindemans Framboise, a pumpkin spiced ale and two from local microbreweries on our visit. But pride of place goes to the iconic pink elephant that sits atop the Delirium Tremens tap which must be one of the few outside Europe. We were told that the guys at DT are fiercely protective of their brand, with good reason, and the Freakin' Frog had to negotiate long and hard and prove their credentials to be allowed to serve it on tap. That in itself tells you something about this bar.

But just like last time it was the people who made the Freakin' experience special. We went in the afternoon so there werenít too many other customers initially but we were made very welcome by Nick who kindly gave us a tour of the Whisky Attic and provided some recommendations for beers. When his shift ended we were ďhanded overĒ to Lisa who was just as enthusiastic about tipping unusual beers down our throats. It was an afternoon lost but certainly not an afternoon wasted and this second great Freakin' experience puts this bar firmly in my top 10 worldwide favourites.

9 Dec 2007 15:14

The Shooting Star, Liverpool Street

A Fullers Ale & Pie house located just off Bishopsgate so it is popular with City workers both lunchtimes and evenings. Nice interior with plush furnishings. High prices which seems to be a feature of Fullers pubs in the City.

8 Dec 2007 21:12

The Lamb Tavern, Leadenhall Market

Renowned City pub in the heart of Leadenhall Market. Itís a Youngs House that has an upstairs restaurant a main bar at street level and an interestingly tiled cellar bar. Gets packed most lunchtimes with drinkers spilling out into the market.

8 Dec 2007 21:06

The Chandos, Trafalgar Square

Nice looking pub on the corner of St Martins Lane just off Trafalgar Square, with the attractive Opera Bar upstairs. Itís a Sam Smiths pub with their usual fayre and the OBB was in good condition. Be aware that they have a policy of not running tabs against credit cards, which may not endear them to local business clientele looking to entertain clients or give the corporate card a hammering. When we queried this we were told that it was company policy and that they didnít want credit cards hanging around behind the bar and that it would get busy later in the evening and they might not be able to find us. Both logical I guess but if that is the rationale for the company policy it infers that they trust neither their staff nor their customers. It sits between the Harp and the Salisbury so ideal for including in a crawl.

8 Dec 2007 21:00

The Jerusalem Tavern, Clerkenwell

A little difficult to find but well worth the effort. Definitely a pub for standing outside, mainly because there is only really enough room inside for those waiting at the bar. Wonderful old building, a bit like walking into someoneís front parlour. Friendly service and of course they serve the full range of St Peters beers both bottled and on draught.

8 Dec 2007 20:55

The Old Bank of England, Fleet Street

Fullers do the whole grandiose refit thing really well and this beautiful high ceilinged pub is evidence of that. It made me think of the Counting House on Cornhill. Fullers range of beers and friendly service but a bit of a strange shape and nothing that makes the pub stand out in the crowd.

8 Dec 2007 20:51

The Green Man and French Horn, Covent Garden

Decent enough pub with a small frontage but a long deep bar inside. Three real ales on including Old Peculiar which you donít see too much these days. Right in the heart of the tourist area but appalling customer service, at least when I was there it was bad. I saw a guy come in and sit at a table, look at the menu and look around a few times. After 5 minutes he left presumably thinking his business wasnít welcome. I then heard the bar staff joking about it. I guess I could have told him myself that he needed to approach the bar to get served but I think he was probably better off somewhere a bit more tourist tolerant. Location wise the pub is opposite the Salisbury which is much more geared up for the tourist trade.

8 Dec 2007 20:41

The Royal George, Charing Cross Road

Looks a bit bland and not particularly welcoming from the outside but inside itís OK and has some decent beers. Located just off the Charing Cross Road at the end of Goslett Yard.

8 Dec 2007 20:28

The Gun, Shoreditch

Back street boozer with high street prices, but it is in the City so I suppose we have to live with that. Bit of a tired looking pub and the service can be unpredictable, depends what part of Europe the bar staff comes from.

8 Dec 2007 20:24

Wetherspoons, Birmingham

Small JDW outlet in the Paradise Forum walkthrough. Well they have a McDonalds, I suppose they thought they should have a Wetherspoons.

8 Dec 2007 20:15

Yard Of Ale, Birmingham

An underground pub in the bustle of New Street near the train station. Donít be fooled by the name, they donít serve any ale never mind yards of it, itís all keg. Nice looking bar though that concentrates quite heavily on food. They advertise live sports on Sky and there are about 6-8 TV screens dotted around so you should always be able to see one. They could probably do with having the ability to split coverage between two channels though, we went in to watch the Eng v West Indies cricket and every screen was showing Aus v SA tri-nations rugby. Not one to make a special visit for but handy for the train station.

8 Dec 2007 20:08

The Figure of Eight, Birmingham

Large JD Wetherspoon pub right in the middle of Broad St, so I expect it gets packed with local chavs of an evening, getting tanked up cheaply before trying to blag their way into the many bars and clubs in the area.

8 Dec 2007 20:05

The One Crown, Watford

A small pub of the traditional kind with a fairly open plan layout. Thereís a horseshoe shaped bar with a snug on one side and an area with a pool table on the other. Doing away with the pool table would provide a lot more space but there is usually enough for the regulars. It does get busy when Watford are at home as it is used by many home fans. One real ale on usually from the local Tring Brewery. Close to the bottom of the High Street and well away from the WKD and shots bars in the Parade so it retains a traditional feel.

8 Dec 2007 19:50

The Estcourt Tavern, Watford

Large corner pub tucked out of the way between the town centre and the station. Pool table, eating area, GK IPA but sadly little else ale wise.

8 Dec 2007 19:45

The Champions Bar, Watford

When I first knew this pub it had the magnificent name of The Leviathan with an impressive pub sign to match. It then got sold to some philistines who took down the signage, replaced it with a tacky banner and renamed it Champions. Clearly they had no idea how to run a pub and it went down hill quickly. A new guvínor arrived called John who instilled a bit of discipline, and a lot of professionalism, adding a couple of hand pumps along the way. He has now left but the pub continues to flourish, serves a decent pint and is a good place to watch sports or have a game of pool.

8 Dec 2007 18:41

O'Neills, Watford

Iím not generally a fan of OíNeills pubs but I quite like this one. The stone floor and dark wood furnishings create a nice old world effect and the layout means there is plenty of room to move around without weaving in and out of tables. Service can be a bit hit and miss but is generally friendly. They do seem to have an obsession with serving the coldest beer in Watford, but I guess that is what punters want these days, or are told thatĎs what they want and believe it.

8 Dec 2007 18:25

The Nascot Arms, Watford

There arenít many decent real ale pubs in Watford but the Nascot Arms is one of them. Although all the beers are from the Greene King stable they usually have a good selection. Itís a fairly small pub and has a number of regulars who, along with the bar staff, are very welcoming to the casual visitor.

8 Dec 2007 18:06

Mangans, Watford

Has a bit of a working mens club feel about it. Seems to had a bit of money spent on it recently and is now quite a nice looking bar. Uninspiring choice of keg beers and the Guinness didnít taste quite right to me.

8 Dec 2007 17:58

The Oddfellows, Watford

Macís Bar has now been renamed The Oddfellows which I think is one of its previous names. The layout reminds me of some old pubs in Northern England in that just inside the main entrance there are two separate doors that lead to different sides of the same bar. There is a square bar with service on three sides and an island in the middle holding optics etc. There's a pool room out the back and a decent amount of covered outside seating. Very much a locals pub and a decent enough place for a pint in an area that doesnĎt have many pubs.

8 Dec 2007 17:53

The Columbia Press, Watford

Decent pub for a beer and to watch sport on a weekend afternoon but wouldn't even go near it in the evening when the younger crowd take over. The beer choice can be limited but I like it better than the main Wetherspoons in Watford.

8 Dec 2007 17:38

Bar Naz, Watford

Now still open although the name has been shortened to just Bar Naz, presumably because those who frequent it couldn't pronounce Nazdarovya

8 Dec 2007 17:22

McMullans Irish Pub, Las Vegas

Irish themed pubs seem to be getting more popular in Las Vegas and this one is a fairly good reproduction with lots of dark wood and knick-knacks around the place. There was a bit of diddly diddly music playing and the toilet doors are marked Fir and Mir for some extra authenticity. Guinness, Murphyís and Smithwicks are available on draught as you would imagine, along with US beers Pyramid Hefeweized and Fat Tire Amber Ale (an interesting Belgian inspired earthy beer). The bar is open 24 hours with the extensive menu, which includes a couple of vegetarian options, available from 11am to 11pm.

A slight downside is the location as it is a fair way from the Strip, however it is next to the Orleans on Tropicana so can be combined with a visit there. One benefit of the location is that the 201 bus stops outside and goes up Tropicana to Sth Maryland Parkway where you can find the Crown & Anchor (q.v.) and the Freakiní Frog (q.v.) so itís ideal if youíre on a Vegas pub crawl.

21 Nov 2007 13:18

The Saloon Bar and Grill, Las Vegas

On my November 2007 visit this place was looking more like the Last Chance Saloon. The signage has been removed as have most of the interior furnishings. There was no indication as to whether it is closing completely or is to be refurbished but if anyone finds out, please post an update.

21 Nov 2007 12:22

Village Inn, Gatwick Airport

This is quite a nice looking Wetherspoons outlet on the land side of Gatwickís south terminal. Staff were friendly and polite on a recent visit and itís a good place to while away the time that the airport authorities deem you have to waste before a flight. From the check in desk area you can find it by going up the escalators to the next level.

16 Nov 2007 20:55

The Prince of Wales, Birmingham

The Prince of Wales had been recommended to me previously but it was only on my recent visit to Birmingham that I was able to search it out. It is close to the Broad St area but didnít seem to have the chav like clientele that abounds there most evenings. The National Indoor Arena is also close by. The pub itself is an uncomplicated traditional boozer that has moved with the times but managed to retain its charm. One of those pubs where its character comes from its regulars not the dťcor. Excellent choice and quality of real ales, I believe it is GBG listed. Great pub and Iíll go there again.

27 Oct 2007 14:41

Night and Day, Russell Square

Horrible, soul destroying and overpriced place in the middle of the tourist area around Russell Square. I really hate to think that overseas visitors go in here and think it is typical of an English pub.

27 Oct 2007 09:44

Hart & Spool, Borehamwood

I last drank in this pub around 15 years ago when I worked in Borehamwood and went back to see how it had changed. The answer was not a lot, there are now a couple of TVís but everything else seems to be in a bit of a timewarp. Same layout, same furnishings, same dťcor and same clientele. Far from one of the best Wetherspoons, they had a good selection of ales on but it didnít look the sort of place where youíd trust either the beer or the food. Having said that I did have a decent pint of Butcombe Blonde. "

10 Sep 2007 18:06

The Hollybush, Elstree

Itís such a shame to see what has become of this pub. From the outside it clearly a bit beaten up but that is a mark of its age. The interior also has some historic features including a large open fireplace and a low beamed ceiling. However it seems to have been taken over by a bunch of ďcouldnít care lessĒ chavs and the atmosphere is more akin to a kids playground or a crŤche than a pub. Shame.

28 Jul 2007 13:07

The Wellington, Borehamwood

They advertise cask ales on the outside signage but disappointingly there are none. Itís a pleasant enough pub though, quite friendly with a community pub feel to it. I do like pubs that have reference books on hand to settle those bar room arguments, either that or the guy studiously flicking through one was some pedantic smartarse who carries his own encyclopaedia around with him.

The L shaped interior is quite nicely decorated with wrought iron light fittings and various nick-knacks behind the bar that say ďweíve been here some timeĒ. Even despite the lack of real ale, if I lived in the area I would probably choose this place as my local, which is a fairly sad indictment of the quality of Borehamwood pubs in general.

28 Jul 2007 12:48

The Crown, Borehamwood

Its current name is the Crown, before that it was Enigma and before thatÖ.well this is one of those pubs that changes its name more often than Michael Jackson changes his nose. I first drank in here in the late 80ís when I started working in Borehamwood and it certainly wasnít the sort of place you felt comfortable in with a suit and tie on. I remember they used to have strippers at lunchtime and they even set up a sumo wrestling night. From what I gather each subsequent incarnation has both attracted and accommodated similar clientele.....up until now that is.

It seems the local chavs will now have to find somewhere else to have a scrap on a Friday night as theyíre unlikely to even get a foot in the door of the new Crown. Even on a Saturday afternoon I saw one bloke refused service, two 20 something young ladies carded quite aggressively, and one guy made to step away from the bar so that they could check if he was wearing tracksuit bottoms. All this while I was waiting for them to do what they should be doing Ė selling me beer!! Still I suppose I canít blame them, when you take over a pub with this sort of reputation you need to be strong from the outset.

The refurb into a gastro pub by current owners Juniper Inns is fairly extensive and the space has been used well. The eating area is at the front of the pub leading up to the bar and round to a raised area with a couple of pool tables and a dartboard. A large beer garden completes the picture. Iíll probably drop in again in a couple of months time to see if the strippers have returned.

28 Jul 2007 12:44

The Wishing Well, Borehamwood

The Wishing Well chain must go out of their way to ensure all their pubs look the same. This one is a spooky clone of the one I sometimes frequent in Watford. There are the same hanging baskets outside, same furnishings, stained glass, boothed layout, beer offering (no real ale), gaming machines and strangely the same awful smell from the Gents toilets. I almost expected to see the same staff. Decent for sports as they have a number of TVís and probably get their fair share of custom in an area with a dearth of good pubs.

28 Jul 2007 12:41

The Three Crowns, Bushey Heath

An attractive 18th Century coaching inn with low ceilings, wooden floors and timber beams, that I suspect arenít original. There are two large rooms including a restaurant section and a few sofas dotted around. Attractive garden at the rear that has nice views. There are two real ales pumps and service is friendly and attentive. I only spent around 10 minutes there, whilst waiting for a bus, but I liked it and imagine it is very popular, being in an area that has lost a number of pubs in recent years.

28 Jul 2007 12:33

Mokoko, St Albans

Vastly different to the old Harrow pub, all chrome and cocktails, piped music and subdued lighting, a tad pretentious and unwelcoming. I quite liked the old Harrow, for all itís drabness, and normally the passing of such a pub would lead to feelings of outrage and sadness. However St Albans has so many good pubs, some in the immediate area, that I guess this is more a case of natural selection. It balances the pub/bar ratio up a bit more and the Mokoko no doubt has its band of dedicated patrons. Iíll not be one of them though, and I expect theyíll be grateful for it

21 Jul 2007 08:52

The Crown, Borehamwood

No this isn't the pub you are thinking of pint.taken, the Red Lion was at the other end of Shenley Road by the roundabout opposite the studios. It was closed down in the late 80's and turned into a McDonalds, which I assume it still is.

13 Jul 2007 17:37

Solomon Cutler, Birmingham

Lloyds No.1 bar and a fairly decent one although only a couple of real ales were on as I remember, the Pedigree was pretty good though. Standard good value JDW menu with plenty of tables laid out in a regimented way in the large bar. I imagine it is popular with local office workers for lunchtime food. Plenty of efficient bar staff which was good and something that JDW donít always do well. Thereís also a smaller upstairs area that I guess is used mainly in the evenings. At the quieter end of Broad St.

8 Jul 2007 17:32

The Brasshouse, Birmingham


Nice looking pub both inside and out with a canal side location near Brindley Place. Serves decent real ales and has a good menu and comfortable seating. I normally drop in for a pint when I am in Birmingham on business but gave it a miss last time (6th July) as the Ozzy Osbourne tribute band was not really conducive to conversation. The Prince of Darkness himself was around later to witness the laying of a paving stone in his honour in the Walk of Stars in Broad St.

8 Jul 2007 17:27

Pitcher and Piano, Birmingham

Iím not a great fan of the Pitcher & Piano chain but visited here for a work do recently and was pleasantly surprised. It has the usual pretentious P&P atmosphere but a big plus point is the location. Itís split on two floors with the upper floor having a balcony overlooking the canal and downstairs having outside decking right on the canal side. Very pleasant on a Summerís evening. One gripe I always have with P&Pís is that the beer taps all look the same and you have to look closely to see what is on offer, although I suspect their offering doesnít change much. Interesting notice behind the bar said ďAll spirits will be served as doubles as standard, singles available on requestĒ. Is that a P&P thing?

8 Jul 2007 17:24

The Westminster Arms, Westminster

I donít do much drinking in this area but we had come out of a drinks reception nearby (red or white wine only) and someone recommended it for a ďproper beerĒ. Spent a pleasant evening there although it was very busy with people spilling out onto the street. Good selection of beers with 4-5 Han pumps if I remember correctly. I think I was drinking Thwaits Double Century which was I good condition. Quite reminiscent of a City pub which is probably no surprise give its location in the heat of Westminster.

1 Jul 2007 18:13

Station Inn, Derby

An interesting old school boozer with an interesting old school guvínor. I just had to try the Bass poured from a jug bought from the cellar, havenít seen that in years, damn good it was too. Front bar has a pool table plus fruit and quiz machines for the office crowd and I think there is a rear lounge.

16 Jun 2007 09:59

The Flag, Watford

Can this place get anymore unpopular? Passing tonight (Friday) at 10.00pm I saw a familiar sight of the side door closed and a doorman on the main door. As they werenít charging an entrance fee, as they sometimes do, I decided to go in expecting, given the hour, to have to fight my way to the bar. But no, getting served was remarkably easy and there werenít many more people in than I have experienced on say a Tuesday evening at 7pm. The music seemed to be on a loop and in direct contrast to what the plasma screens were showing (a less than appealing advertisement for the latest menu and cheap drinks offers). I found later that they had actually employed a DJ to play this stuff to a largely empty room. Canít help thinking theyíd be better off with MTV. I know the place gets rammed when there is live music on but the rest of the time they just donít seem to give a damn.

8 Jun 2007 23:51

The Ship Tavern, Holborn

My first experience of this pub was a bit unsatisfactory due to the just about acceptable quality of my pint. Despite the Cask Marque accreditation notices I got the impression from the staff that a request for a replacement wouldn't be welcomed so I drunk up and left after one. However I always like to give pubs a second chance before posting a negative review so I called in again last week. I still got a bit of a suspect feeling about the staff's knowledge of their product but this time the beer was excellent.

One thing that cannot be doubted is the attractiveness of the pub and its dťcor. As you would expect it has a nautical theme with loads of wrought iron fittings, leaded windows and old naval memorabilia. There's a pleasant snug area to the right of the bar and what looks like an upstairs function room. It's only a small place and is very popular but being tucked down an alleyway away from the main road there's plenty of opportunity to go al fresco. Another thing to note is that they have pint jugs hanging up at the bar, don't see that too often these days.

2 Jun 2007 11:07

The Northumberland Arms, Fitzrovia

Has the feel of an old pub that they've tried to turn into a trendy bar/bistro but run out of money half way through. It's a bit bare, perhaps they would claim minimalist, but there is a nice big brewery mirror on one wall. Didn't expect much in the real ale line but they had TT Landlord and a rather pleasant Cornish Coaster from Sharps as a guest.

2 Jun 2007 10:57

The Old Silk Mill, Derby

This is a nice looking pub with a large mural painted on one of the side walls. It is located opposite Ye Olde Dolphin and near the Old Silk Mill tourist attraction. The Flowerpot, another good real ale pub, is nearby so itĎs ideal for a mini crawl. On my visit in mid May 07 I met the new management team, Phil, Louise and bar manager Pip who had only been there about a week. They seem committed to upholding the tradition of good real ale pubs in Derby and are currently trying to get Enterprise to agree that they can source their ales from SIBA members.

The Derby Triple Hop, a nice creamy caramel ale, was certainly on good form and from memory there were 6-8 hand pumps. The kitchen was closed for a refurb when I visited but should be operational now. Live music is likely to be a feature concentrating on local bands. This is a more genuine pub than Ye Olde Dolphin opposite which is where the tourists will go, the ďbeer touristsĒ should go to the Old Silk Mill.

27 May 2007 16:56

Ye Olde Dolphin Inn, Derby

All the signage points to this being the oldest pub in Derby dating back to 1530 and the cobbled corridors and low wooden doorways back up the claim. Itís a nice looking pub with some decent beers and a cheap menu. It does come across as a bit touristy though, with the eating area being named the ď1530 AD RestaurantĒ and various advertisements for ghost walks and the like. There was also a notice about a spiritual medium appearing every Wednesday, I was there on a Wednesday and the next event was advertised as two weeks later, unforeseen circumstances maybe!! Itís definitely worth visiting though as it oozes history. The serious ďbeer touristĒ will also visit the Old Silk Mill across the road and the nearby Flowerpot.

27 May 2007 16:54

The Flowerpot, Derby

One of the premier real ale pubs in Derby. There were 11 handpumps on including a number of local brews plus three more available from the cellar. The selection was excellent with a mixture of hoppy ales, session bitters, a dark mild and strong beers plus a couple of ciders. The pub is a traditional old boozer with a basic but comfortable main bar at the front. There's a Derby County FC fixture poster above the fireplace from the 1914-1915 season which includes an advert for the "New Flowerpot". Towards the rear is a "library room" which is used for eating and also a function room and beer garden. The pub is well known locally as a music venue and they also have occasional beer festivals. Good place for a beer and anyone on the trail of real ale in Derby should make the pilgrimage.

27 May 2007 16:28

The Jack Horner, Tottenham Court Road

Nice looking and well kept Fullers Ale & Pie House located on Tottenham Court Rd opposite the Odeon cinema and close to the Dominion Theatre. London prices of course so itĎs not cheap, the famous pies are around £8-£9 but the quality of both beer and food is good.

14 Apr 2007 12:47

The Goat Tavern, Kensington

Another of Londonís historic pubs, the Goat Tavern claims to have stood on the site for over 300 years and be the oldest in Kensington. Itís an old Watneyís house but thankfully I didnít spot a red barrel. Standard selection of real ales available. It is a long low ceilinged bar split into three. An eating area at the rear, the main bar and a bright circular front room that looks out on to Kensington High St. Bus stop right outside for buses towards Notting Hill or Olympia/Hammersmith. No under 18ís rule in place even during the day.

14 Apr 2007 12:41

The Devonshire Arms, Kensington

Difficult to describe this place, itís clearly a typical old style local boozer and you can still see ďPublic BarĒ etched on the glass doors. It no doubt suffered when the local clientele changed - itís right opposite a massive gated mews development - and has had to change itself. They seem to have added a number of ad hoc things they think will fit in and it is now an assortment of high rustic tables, chrome framed stools, exposed ventilation pipes and some garish art deco orange lighting hanging over the bar. They do get away with it though, itís more eccentric that pretentious.

Three cask ales and six continental lagers on draught, a selection of bottled beers and a good wine list. Tapas style menu with prices befitting of its new found clientele. Sunday is quiz night. Nice outside patio for smokers that looks as if it would be a sun trap in the Summer. Interesting place, couldnít tell you how to get there as I was lost when I stumbled across it.

14 Apr 2007 12:37

The Prince of Wales, Kensington

Located opposite the church on the corner of the High St and Kensington Church St. A small but decorative frontage leads into a long narrow pub with comfortable seating and a no smoking area. Five cask beers available of the standard Broadside, Youngs variety and I had a nice pint of Landlord. Two continental lagers also on draught. Itís not been that busy on either of my visits but I suspect it is quite a popular pub.

14 Apr 2007 12:27

Southern Cross, Watford

Large gastro pub with a great selection of real ales with regularly changing guests. Outside drinking patio at both the front and the back make for even more room. Accommodation available. Easy wheelchair access. 10 minute walk from Watford Junction Station.

14 Apr 2007 12:22

The Horns, Watford

Located next to the Town Hall and opposite the Library reached via the underpass from the High St. Popular with students from the local college at lunchtimes but at the evening and weekends itís claim to fame is regular live music. Although entrance is free they do have an annoying habit of increasing prices when live music is on. Separate eating area and a pleasant beer garden.

14 Apr 2007 12:19

The Walkabout, Watford

Large cavernous bar that follows the Walkabout theme. Popular for watching sport due to the numerous TV and massive screen. Interesting and good value menu.

14 Apr 2007 12:16

Bar Bodega, Watford

Up market bar at the top of the Parade near the Town Hall. Low lighting comfortable seating and smart dťcor make for a nice atmosphere. Roving waiting staff, good menu that specialises in pizzas, various beers including one cask beer, Pedigree. Expensive but presumably so to keep out Watfordís low life. I donít frequent it much but visit now and again for nostalgic reasons as I used to work there when it was a branch of Nat West Bank.

14 Apr 2007 12:05

The Old Wellington Inn, Manchester

This is the better looking of two adjoining historic pubs, the other being Sinclairs Oyster Bar, that are collectively known as The Shambles. An alternative name is The Great Survivors given that the pubs have both been moved twice, the first time in the 1970ís when the Arndale Centre was built and again in the late 1990ís to allow for regeneration of the area after the IRA bomb blast.

It has a nice old feel to it with leaded windows, aged timbers and stone floors. They had posters advertising an upcoming beer festival, hope there will be something more interesting than the GK IPA, Broadside and Boddies that we were faced with. Theyíre happy to take off the sparklers for us southerners.

14 Apr 2007 12:03

Sinclairs Oyster Bar, Manchester

Nice looking Sam Smiths pub that along with the Old Wellington Inn are collectively known as The Shambles. An alternative name is The Great Survivors given that the pubs have both been moved twice, the first time in the 1970ís when the Arndale Centre was built and again in the late 1990ís to allow for regeneration of the area after the IRA bomb blast.

There is a small bar downstairs along with a low ceiling snug. Thereís more room upstairs where food is served. Usual Sam Smiths beers served by friendly staff.

14 Apr 2007 12:01

Fab Cafe, Manchester

Bit of a posy bar with a student feel to it. Minimalist dťcor with psychedelic murals and weird props including a Dalek, or so Iím told as I didnít see it. Rather pretentious door policy. Itís probably mostly used for pre-club drinks.

14 Apr 2007 11:58

The Waldorf Hotel, Manchester

Located close enough to Piccadilly station to be a good alternative to the awful bar on the station concourse. Youíll find it down a side street on the left hand side near the Malmaison Hotel. Large bar with separate areas including a raised ďsnugĒ. Lots of wood panelling and comfortable seating. Function room upstairs. Real ales available including Taylors Landlord and Cally XPA when we were there. Large screen for sports.

14 Apr 2007 11:56

Woodins Shades, Liverpool Street

Sorry to report that the Woodins Shades has gone downhill recently. Hamish has moved to the White Hart, the bar staff have little idea what they are doing and the bar manager is rarely to be seen. Itís unusual for more than two of the four advertised real ales to be available and on occasions theyíve run out of lager and cider. The downstairs toilets have been out of action for the last couple of months meaning that everyone has to try to use the miniscule ones in the upstairs bar.

26 Mar 2007 22:48

The Euston Flyer, Euston

You know how pubs go up and down in your estimation , well after a visit the other night this one is certainly going up in mine. The range of bottled Belgian beers has been expanded and there are some interesting ones available. Fullers ESB and the excellent London Porter were also available so I was spoilt for choice. Add to this a range of lagers, an extensive wine list and a good menu and thereís something for everyone.

Fullers seem to have a policy in London of trying to price the flotsam and jetsam out of their pubs and it does seem to work in an area where it is much needed. But if youíre not bothered by £3.00 a pint and can pay £15 for a bottle of Pinot Grigio or Merlot without flinching then youíll be fine.

Up to 8/10

10 Mar 2007 14:58

Elixir Bar, Euston

Happy to report it has not closed. I went there last week and it looks to be thriving if not particularly busy.

28 Jan 2007 12:50

The Wellington Arms, Watford

A better pub than it used to be and the interior is now quite pleasant. Have not had a proper meal in here but the meals look good and plentiful. The bar snacks on the other hand I found to be microwaved and decidedly uninspiring.

They could do with paying a bit more attention to the real ales, like making sure the first one of the day is pulled through properly and adding a notch or two to the temperature.

The pub certainly looks after its sports fans with a number of plasma screens showing different channels but this investment doesnít seem to be reciprocated. The last time I was there the pub miraculously filled up with ďregularsĒ 10 minutes before a big game kicked off. Admittedly many had probably been dragged out Christmas shopping with the missus.

23 Dec 2006 12:19

The White Lion, Watford

If there's a pub in Watford with more Christmas decorations than the White Lion I am grateful for not having been subjected to it. Not a criticism, just an observation.

23 Dec 2006 12:02

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

After reading all the positive comments on BITE I eventually visited the Pembury yesterday after a visit to the Pigís Ear beer festival. After being spoiled by the vast range of dark beers at the festival I was delighted to be able to continue with the excellent Nero stout, moving up to the powerful Marcus Aurelius. Decided to do the sensible thing and ďdowngradeĒ to the Minotaur mild but unfortunately it was not on. This did however allow me to explore the Belgian bottle range as a palate cleanser before making my way home.

We arrived around half past four and it was remarkably quiet, especially with the festival nearby, but it picked up during the evening and there was quite a buzz going on by 7.30pm. Iíll not repeat previous comments, suffice to say I was greatly impressed by the pub and its beers and will certainly plan further visits.

Rated 8/10 but that will rise to 9 if my next visit is as enjoyable.

9 Dec 2006 13:02

The Golden Lion, Dover

Having been to a number of pubs in Dover I suppose I can understand why its drinkers,

a) believe the Golden Lion is a great pub and
b) get excited about London Pride

29 Nov 2006 22:38

Ye Olde Talbot, Worcester

Went in this place a few weeks ago. The first barman walked past me and went to collect some glasses, another stood at the other end of the bar. So I can't tell you what the beer was like as I walked out and went to the much more welcoming Cardinal's Hat.

12 Nov 2006 22:01

The Cardinals Hat, Worcester

A must visit place for any fans of continental beer as there are a number of imported Austrian beers on offer including a Dunkel, a Pils and a Weissbier. Back in 2002 the bureaucrats at the Weights & Measures department stopped the Austrian landlady from selling in half and full litre earthenware steins insisting that pints and half pints were used. That must have confused the hell out of the ďmetric martyrsĒ. There are newspaper cuttings about the story in the corridor.

The pub itself is an absolute gem with a roaring log fire in the small main bar for those long winter evenings and two other small cosy rooms including a beautiful panelled snug at the back. I think there may also be an adjoining restaurant. The building clearly has some age to it, 15th Century maybe, and probably gets itís name from sheltering Cardinals and others when on pilgrimage to the nearby Cathedral. It was believed to be known as the Cardinalís Hat back in the mid 18th Century since when, for religious and political reasons, it underwent a number of name changes before being restored to itís present name in the 1950ís.

30 Oct 2006 20:34

The Swan With Two Nicks, Worcester

Youíll no doubt be drawn into this place because of the interesting name and youíll also find an interesting pub. Difficult to describe the atmosphere, there seems to be a bit of a student/Manc/gay/couples/Irish/whatever thing going on, eclectic is probably the word IĎm grasping for. I wasnít totally sure I was going into the right place as there is also a restaurant and a nightclub in the same building with connecting doors and staircase.

It seems a bit of a regulars pub but itís friendly enough and the sort of place I imagine gets busy on a Fri/Sat evening as it is close to the area where most of the nightlife is. I was a bit disappointed with the real ale, they have a large number of pump clips on the ceiling but London Pride and Old Speckled Hen didnít really inspire me and the quality was below par.

Go for the name, and to say youíve been there.

30 Oct 2006 20:29

The Wishing Well, Watford

Agree with previous comments that itís a decent Irish pub but tonight was a disappointment. The gents toilets smelled awful and there was certainly something wrong, with the smell even emanating into the bar. I saw the guvínor, albeit probably off duty, heading for the gents after me and thought he might sort it out, only to see him go into the disabled toilet to avoid the experience to which he seemed happy to expose his clients. Hopefully it is a short term problem and it gets sorted soon.

25 Sep 2006 22:51

The Flag, Watford

The reason why no one was sitting outside Johnny was probably less to do with vampires and more to do with rats. Was sitting outside recently and saw a number of rats quite confidently running around the railway side which made me wonder if they had infiltrated the kitchens.

Tonight was strange, the Guinness, Carlsberg and Fosters pumps were all off so I plumped for a Carling which was flatter than an anorexic catwalk model. The subsequent Stella (OK 3 pints of it) was more lively but the temperature made me think they had problems with the coolers as well as the gas.

Now I know they do most business at the weekends but they should not ignore those who prefer to frequent the pub when they havenít got to pay to get in, donít want to deal with jobsworth bouncers or have no desire to queue at the bar for 20 mins to purchase an overpriced strangely named shooter.

25 Sep 2006 22:37

The Euston Flyer, Euston

The Euston Flyer is now open again but despite having closed for about a week little seems to have been done. The wooden floor looks like it has been polished and there may be a new carpet but other than that nothing seems to have changed. Youíd think theyíd spend some of the £2.95 a pint they charge on something a bit more adventurous. On a more positive note the ESB was on good form.

22 Aug 2006 23:29

The Bull, Bishopsgate

Youíre right Dave it closed down about four weeks ago and the rumours are that it is not going to be a pub anymore - perhaps another Starbucks, we need more of them don't we??? When Punch took over the Spirit Group and immediately announced the closure of 300 odd pubs this was one of them.

Bit of a shame as things were looking up, the new guvnor Charlie was getting a few thing done and some good bar staff arrived. Dougie is I think looking for another bar job nearby and Emma is working at the Orangery in Cutlers Gardens.

There has been a Bull Inn in Devonshire Row from the early 16th Century and now for the sake of a few quid Punch have sold out - shame on them

7 Aug 2006 22:01

De Garre, Bruges

Wonderful little bar, I paid a visit earlier this year but only because one of my mates had been there before and knew where it was. Otherwise I don't think we would have found it. We arrived just as they were opening up and the cheeses were stacked by the door waiting to be taken in. A few minutes later the cheese was sitting on our table accompanying the gorgeous house beer, which is served in goldfish bowl size glasses.

Service is friendly and efficient and the atmosphere is an amalgam of local brasserie, illicit drinking den, cosy parlour and church crypt.

Search it out and go there. I know I'll be back some day.

27 Jun 2006 17:24

The Buffet Bar, Stalybridge

Recently made the pilgrimage on the advice of a friend whilst staying in Manchester. The sort of place where you know your train is due, but think "what the hell, I'll get the next one".

21 May 2006 18:34

The Briton's Protection Hotel, Castlefield

Great looking pub both externally and inside with a well stocked bar. The layout isnít very practical for the area in which it now finds itself and once all the suits arrive after work it can get a bit uncomfortable. Good beer good service and definitely worth a visit.

22 Apr 2006 18:59

The Peveril Of The Peak, Castlefield

Took a chance and sought out this place and thankfully it was open. Has a bit of a gaudy and quirky exterior and an interesting interior with good beer.

22 Apr 2006 18:55

The Grey Horse Inn, Manchester

Friendly pub with a good atmosphere and decent beer. The only problem is that once youíve got the grey horse in you canít get anyone else in. Probably gets away with it because itís bigger than the Circus Tavern nearby.

22 Apr 2006 18:48

The Seven Oaks, Manchester

When St Paddy's Day and the Cheltenham Gold Cup coincide you know the Seven Oaks is going to be packed - and it was. Still a favourite of mine when in the centre.

22 Apr 2006 18:40

The Castle Hotel, Manchester

OK itís a bit shabby but the fact that nothing seems to have changed in this pub for a number of years adds something to the charm. Run by an old style landlady with a rod of iron, so donít ask for a pint of Old Tom or you are likely to be thrown out. Thereís a full range of Robinsons beers and the bar is packed with knick knacks, souvenirs and brewerania. Despite the failings of the toilets it is a breath of fresh air in these days of Wetherspoons, Yatesís and the like. If you like good beer and have fond memories of what pubs used to be like, pay a visit to the Castle.

22 Apr 2006 18:30

Bar Fringe, Manchester

Looking at the outside Iíd walk past this place every day of the week without giving it a second glance, so I was grateful to the mate who suggested a visit. Itís not much to look at inside either but the real action is behind the bar. Although there were some interesting beers on, even the hardened real ale drinker that I was with eschewed these and opted for the Belgian experience. All the old favourites were available plus some I hadnít seen this side of the channel.

22 Apr 2006 18:17

The Beer House, Manchester

If you donít get put off by the gaudy exterior youíll find that inside they do exactly what the sign outside says. Itís a beer house and a pretty good one with a great range of ales on offer. It could probably do with a bit of a facelift but is a good stop off point on a crawl around the Northern quarter.

22 Apr 2006 18:08

The Marble Arch, Manchester

Iíve only been to this place once but it is now on my list of favourite Manchester pubs. The high vaulted ceiling, the sloping mosaic floor and the solid wooden furniture give it a bit of a beer hall feel. The beer was excellent on our visit and had we not been on our third day of drinking, with another three pubs still to find, we would have stayed longer. Will definitely pay another visit next time I am in Manchester.

22 Apr 2006 18:01

The Harp, Covent Garden

Mmmmmm.... St Peter's Golden Ale and Jennings Sneck Lifter on today, both in excellent condition.

16 Apr 2006 21:28

The Horseshoe, Hampstead

Went there yesterday on a mini crawl but it's closed for refurbishment. A sign says that it will be open early Spring 2006.....which should be about now. Doesn't look ready though.

24 Mar 2006 15:56

The Scarborough Arms, Whitechapel

It's probably stretching things a bit to call it a hidden gem but I'm glad that Sue and Tracy are still there to keep the Scabs going. This place has certainly had some interesting characters running it over the years.

15 Mar 2006 21:41

The Pickle Jar, Harefield

The correct name of the pub is the Pickle Jar, as evidenced by the photo I have just uploaded. It has had a few names over the years and has always been a bit of a strange pub. I recall back to when it was run by Bernard who at times went beyond the no t-shirts rule and wouldn't let people in without a tie.

27 Dec 2005 20:58

The Peahen, St Albans

Wow, this place has changed a bit since my last visit. Still a McMullens house but they have gone big time for the gastro pub experience. Structurally it is still the same but there is now more wood in the furnishings than youíd find in a small rain forest. With it all being fairly new it has the feel of an Ikea showroom about it. Two cask beer pumps remain one with McMullens County and the other possibly a guest. Whilst you can get a beer at the bar the intention is quite clearly that you avail yourself of the ďfull table serviceĒ, something I find unnecessary in a pub. Non smoking throughout. Prices donít look cheap with the Sunday roast at £7.95 but it is a decent place and I suspect they will get plenty of custom.

10 Dec 2005 07:31

The Golden Lion, Dover

This is a decent pub but I wasn't as impressed as others seem to have been. It may well be the best pub in Dover but only since they closed the Mogul.

10 Nov 2005 00:56

The Doric Arch, Euston

Didn't actually know they offered a student discount but delighted they have stopped it. Maybe the price of beer will reflect the fact that we no longer have to subsidise the work-shy (not that I see many tree huggers in here anyway). If anyone is looking for a student discount go to the abomination that is The Rocket (qv) just down the road. I agree about the state of the toilets, they are dreadful, and let's hope the Fullers influence does something about it.

28 Sep 2005 17:53

Fat Bobs, Glasgow

An unremarkable but fairly friendly corner pub in a bit of an unsavoury area at the back of St Enoch's Square. Big screen TV for sports, quiz & fruit machines.

22 Sep 2005 22:19

The Blackfriars, Glasgow

A tired looking corner pub with live entertainment and a weekend comedy club. There is a decent selection of real ales all advertised on a chalkboard above the bar. There is an interesting stained glass window above the door and a "Quote of the Day" board. A proper pub, and a good place for a beer or two.

22 Sep 2005 21:55

The Guildford Arms, Edinburgh

Just had to pop into the Guildford again on a recent flying visit to Edinburgh, and the usual selection of Scottish ales were on good form. Only problem was England were getting stuffed in the cricket (ODI not the proper Ashes) and not only did we have to put up with the gloating Scots but there was also a group of Aussies to contend with.

19 Sep 2005 20:47

The Black Rose Tavern, Edinburgh

Despite the name there seems to be more Yanks than Scots in there, including behind the bar. Food looks a bit better than my last visit but it won't make this a decent pub. Anyone remember the "polo" dancing in here years ago?

19 Sep 2005 20:31

Scott's, Edinburgh

Had a much better experience in here on my most recent visit. Good atmosphere, friendly and knowledgable staff and good beer. A good drinking pub.

19 Sep 2005 20:26

The Kenilworth, Edinburgh

Don't know how I missed this gem of a pub on previous visits to Edinburgh, perhaps it was as it is among the many dotted along Rose Street. A fairly unremarkable exterior is followed by a really impressive interior. It is a small square room, with an equally square bar in the middle that seems to almost reach the high decorative ceiling (a bit like the ornate ceiling at the Abbotsford). There are wonderful high stained glass windows and a large Drybrough Pale Ale brewery mirror dominates one wall. Much of the walls are decorated with small colourful tiles that add a bit of a Moroccan feel. There is a good range of both draught and bottled beers available and a small eating area out the back.

19 Sep 2005 20:23

Frenchies, Edinburgh

A local historian told me that this tiny hole-in-the-wall bar used to be like a waiting room for and maybe an extension of the executive sauna located upstairs. Indeed it still retains a small stage and a pole where no doubt a little dancing may have taken place. However things could not now be any more different, it is an overtly in your face gay bar, which is obvious the moment you walk in. In fact the first thing that hits you is the dark, dingy atmosphere and the downright filthiness of the place, from the threadbare carpets to the peeling wallpaper. Which is probably why these two straight blokes had reached the bar before realising it was full of geezers gayer than the gayest Hussar. However we stayed and had a pint whilst the queens camped it up as much as they could to take the piss out of us. Having looked at the outside, the only thing more surprising than why anyone would want to go in is why they would stay there for any length of time once they had.

19 Sep 2005 19:49

test 16, Manchester

Good place for a lunchtime pint. Whilst the girlies are queuing up to order food at the McDonalds like Wetherspoons next door the serious drinkers will be sampling the excellent ales on offer in the City Arms.

16 Sep 2005 20:59

The Rising Sun, Manchester

Great little City pub in a developing area. On a recent business trip to Manchester I spent a pleasant afternoon in here during an Ďoff-site strategic planning meetingĒ. Very welcoming and decent beer.

16 Sep 2005 20:46

The Bull, Bishopsgate

Regrettably this place has gone massively downhill over the past 4-5 weeks. The gents toilets have been blocked for ages with the only action that seems to have been taken being the provision of a plunger for customers use. The C4 reception on the TV is so poor that one wonders how they had the front to advertise that they were showing the Ashes.

Suzanne has now left and, despite being told he will not be taking over, Dean has been left to hold the fort until a new Manager is appointed. Very worrying I saw GGB in there lunchtime, thankfully he wasnít behind the bar but if he reappears weíll certainly be changing our local.

15 Sep 2005 19:30

The Saloon Bar and Grill, Las Vegas

Located in the Neonopolis area on Freemont St just at the end of the canopy, the Saloon has distinct eating and drinking areas and both seem popular. With a long curved frontage and outside seating it is ideal for people watching and there is plenty of opportunity on the vibrant Freemont St, especially in the evenings when the laser show is on. They have regular special offers and music at weekends. Allegedly this is one of Mayor Oscar Goodman's favourite bars.

Service is friendly and efficient although watching an American barman trying to pour a Guinness is normally enough to make me want to cry 'Havoc' and let slip the dogs of war. What is it about these guys, ask them for any ridiculously named cocktail, medium tending towards dry, on the rocks, over easy, lightly shaken with a double twist and backward pike, hold all the crap that usually goes on top, and they'll set to work with the type of flowing efficient artistry not seen since Torvill & Dean performed Bolero in the 1984 Olympics. But can they pour a Guinness? can they fairycakes!! That 'tick follows tock' advert should be compulsory viewing at every American Bar School.

Anyway, off my soapbox, the food is fairly good, I can recommend the tuna melt and overall the Saloon is a good place to spend some time if you are looking for a friendly bar with a local feel in what is overtly a tourist area. Just don't ask for Guinness !!

7 Jun 2005 17:50

The Tilted Kilt, Las Vegas

This is a large pub type bar in the main casino area of the Rio. It seems to be aimed at the UK market with a decidedly Celtic feel to it, tiled and wood floors, pool tables, dartboard, old wooden casks as tables, the usual sort of thing. TV's show British sports and there is Karaoke on weekends, you could almost be at home. Decent selection of draught beers including Boddingtons, Bass, Stella and of course Guinness. As the name suggests the waitresses are adorned in very short (tilted?) kilts. The location has the added advantage of being right by the stage where the free Masquerade in the Sky show is performed so you can sneak in for a beer while the family watch the show, just don't let the wife catch you ogling the waitresses.

6 Jun 2005 17:24

The Crown and Anchor, Las Vegas

The Crown & Anchor proudly proclaims itself as a British pub and it could easily be one but for the 24 hour opening and the ubiquitous video poker machines set in the bar. Whilst it might seem rather ironic to be searching out British pubs when abroad there is a sense of wondering what the Americans might think passes for a typical British hostelry. Well they've got this one just about right. The dťcor is stereotypically nautical but unlike some over the top attempts I have seen this side of the pond they get away with it. A large T-shaped bar dominates with separate eating areas on two levels. There are a couple of dartboards and the 24 hour opening allows them to show English football live, whatever the kick-off time (one of the few places in Vegas where I saw this advertised).

There is a range of 30 beers on tap with around 10 from the UK including Bass, Old Speckled Hen and Boddingtons, also Fosters and Kronenbourg all served in proper pint glasses which was a welcome touch. There are also a number of bottled beers available including the full range of Samuel Smiths and some from Youngs. The food menu is typically and somewhat blatantly British with fish & chips, bangers & mash, scotch eggs, and even chip butties, I can recommend the home-made pies.

During my visit I was delighted to find they had a special offer on which meant that as I was playing the video poker machines not only were the three pints free but so was my meal. Ok, so I dropped about $30 on the VP machines but as any desperate gambler will tell you, I could have won!

Sufficiently close to the Freakin' Frog (qv) for a joint visit.

6 Jun 2005 17:16

The Chicago Brewing Co. and Cigar Lounge, Las Vegas

Presumably allied to the main premises on S Fort Apache Rd, this branch is located in the corner of the Four Queens Casino on Freemont St. Downtown. It is a small but comfortable lounge overlooking the main casino floor with video poker machines inset into the small bar which, if you are playing, allow you to get free drinks. Service is friendly (thanks Lisa) although I didn't find many places where it wasn't. As I was staying fairly close by it became a regular late night stop off, closes 1.30am, and I found the beers in good shape each time. Standard microbrews are available, Red, Amber, Wheat, Stout and my particular favourite the IPA. There is a small eatery next door that seems to do a good trade in pizzas and ribs. It's a bit of a hidden gem but worth seeking out if you are on Freemont St. for the light show and fancy a decent beer.

31 May 2005 17:42

Nine Fine Irishmen, Las Vegas

I was a bit disappointed by this place especially as it is advertised as a pub, and an Irish one at that. It is largely geared to food and there is a table-booking desk outside, although you can walk in if you only want a drink. The actual bar is fairly small given the overall size of the place and it can be a fight to find somewhere to sit. There are six beers on tap but nothing special, Guinness costs $6.50 for about 0.5l but at least it was poured correctly which is unusual in the US. There are high ceilings and many alcoves, archways and stairs leading off the main bar to eating areas. It is stereotypically decorated with various things hanging from the ceiling and bric-a-brac laden dressers, plus there's some rather annoying faux diddley-diddley music. It does not seem overtly Irish but then again I've never been into an Irish bar in New York. The food menu looks good and the service friendly and efficient, so the faint but insistent rumbling you can hear is not the stomachs of hungry diners waiting for their food, it's the roller coaster outside.

31 May 2005 17:02

The Ellis Island Casino and Brewery, Las Vegas

A reasonable walk from the strip if you are close to the Flamingo. Walk up East Flamingo and turn right at Koval Lane and you should see Ellis Island next to a Super 8 Motel. Seems to be aimed more at the locals rather than the tourist although it's a good place for low minimum tables if money is a bit tight. The beer is cheap as well at just $1 for a 20oz (pint) measure. This price applies 24/7. Quality of beer is OK but nothing special, a number of microbrews are on offer that are brewed on site. A bit small and dingy but I'm sure it serves a purpose, the correlation with nearby properties on the strip is probably that akin to that between a working men's club and a large pub chain.

31 May 2005 16:43

The Freakin' Frog, Las Vegas

OK, so you've done a few casino bars along the Strip, got fed up drinking Bud Light or badly poured Guinness, and are wondering if there is anywhere you can get a decent beer in a proper bar with people whose attention isn't transfixed on a video poker machine. Fear not, there is an antidote to the noise and neon, just jump in a cab and ask for the Freakin' Frog. The easiest way if you are at the bottom end of the Strip is straight up E. Tropicana Avenue and do a left at Maryland Parkway. The Freakin' Frog is on the right hand side in a strip mall (a sort of mini retail park) set back from the road - just behind Moose's Beach House which may be more familiar to cab drivers.

At first glance it looks a bit like a warehouse but don't let that put you off. On entering it might take your eyes a couple of minutes to adjust to the dark interior, as there are no windows. The flash of sunlight whenever anyone enters seems an almost unwelcome interruption once you have been there a while.

A bar with stools runs along the left-hand side of the room and the right has booths and tables with inlaid brewery adverts. There are two dartboards on a small raised stage, a jukebox where music can be downloaded and a big screen showing sports, news and the occasional film. The bar is mercifully free of video poker machines with the only semblance of gaming being an old Ms Pacman machine in the corner. Someone told me they also had a piano but I couldn't see it - too dark when I arrived and too drunk when I left. Open Mon-Sat with hours proudly proclaimed on the door as "11am until the freakin' fun is done".

They also claim to have the largest selection of beers in Nevada and beer is really what this place is all about. There were 10 beers on tap including Chimay, Old Speckled Hen, Alaskan Smoked Porter, a Belgian fruit beer, plus beers from Sierra Nevada, Rogue and local brewery Big Dog. There is a small chilled cabinet behind the bar with specialist bottled beers from around the world, plus cans of Strongbow which for some strange reason seemed fairly popular. At 3pm each day the cabinet is lit up and for the next three hours all the beers are on a 2 for 1 offer.

However don't make the mistake of thinking that this - or the overflow racking near the toilets - is the extent of the range. Out back there is a whole room full of 300+ beers that are listed in folders that can be found on the bar. I found a Youngs Double Chocolate Stout although it did come in a can; the bottle of Rogue Mocha Porter I followed it up with was far superior.

The food menu is fairly basic and functional being of the "chuck it in the fryer and chuck it on a plate" variety. As such it complements the drinking experience perfectly rather than interfering with it. My tip is to try the Mac 'n' Cheese triangles, or Crack 'n' Cheese as they are known locally for their addictiveness.

Apart from the excellent selection of beers, the best thing about this bar is the people. The staff are all friendly (thanks Trish and Rhonda) and along with owner Adam, who you are likely to be introduced to, they are all knowledgeable about the beers on offer and passionate about building the business. An upstairs level is currently being developed into a specialist whisky bar.

Although I suspect people travel some way to visit this bar, much of the clientele comes from the nearby University. But don't worry, you wont find the annoying, high-fiving, whooping it up, reality game show hopeful, baseball cap wearing chavs here. The study topics of choice are clearly alcohol and the pursuit of ebriety, and they seem to take it very seriously. Certainly the three mature criminal law students who "adopted" me for the afternoon did. There was the delightfully entertaining Marie, the entertainingly drunk Morag, who arrived in Vegas from the Isle of Wight via Birmingham and social philosopher and linguist Bannister with whom I enjoyed some excellent conversation. Then there was Eddie who insisted that we all drank Rogues Old Crustacean Barley Wine at 11.2% ABV. which was probably around the time I decided the rest of the evening would be a bit of a write off and that it wouldn't be a great idea to head for the blackjack tables in this state.

Thanks to everyone for a great freakin' experience.

It's probably not a place for the typical Vegas tourist but if you want a break from all the hype & neon, and staying sober is not high on your agenda, give it a visit, you wont be disappointed.

31 May 2005 13:58

The Bar at Times Square, Las Vegas

A far more 'honest' bar than the Nine Fine Irishmen' which is close by. It has a double sided horseshoe shaped bar, the outside of which sits in the casino itself. A Guinness style Bare Knuckle Stout was available at $5.50. There is unusual evening entertainment courtesy of a pair of duelling pianos.

30 May 2005 15:38

The Monte Carlo Brewpub, Las Vegas

Not easy to find in the casino but there are a few signs. Interesting decor and surroundings with the usual skeletal structure for a micro brewery. Possibly too big to be a really good bar. Friendly staff including the highly entertaining Richie from New York (think Coach from Cheers). Usual range of beers of decent quality.

30 May 2005 15:31

The Doric Arch, Euston

I'd agree about the atmosphere, it can get very smoky but I guess that adds to the real pub feel that is evident throughout. I think you probably were unlucky with the quality of the beer, whilst the service and enthusiasm of the staff can be a bit variable, I have rarely had a bad pint. Hope you'll give it another chance soon.

5 May 2005 16:51

The Wellington, Birmingham

Logged in to suggest this pub and I see someone has just beaten me to it. It's an excellent specialist real ale pub that claims to have served 120 different beers within about six weeks of opening.

There's no signage to speak of yet so make sure you don't miss it. I wasn't looking for it but went in on the off chance, glad I did. I highly recommend a visit.

It has a real friendly atmosphere and is destined to become a must go to pub for tickers in the West Midlands and further afield.

20 Jan 2005 17:34

Southern Cross, Watford

A large friendly and comfortable bar which earns it's Cask Marque accreditation with a good range of well kept ales.

11 Dec 2004 17:06

The Sir Paul Pindar, Bishopsgate

Not sure how they got their CaskMarque accreditation. They have only two handpumps and both were turned around on a Friday lunchtime. Otherwise it's a pretty good city pub, plenty of room and they'll reserve an area if there is a group of you.

11 Dec 2004 16:39

The Fox and Hounds, Rickmansworth

Tomorrow we are about to embark on our annual pub crawl around Ricky. We usually end up at the F&H but will take note of your comments Mister five bellies. Cheers

2 Dec 2004 18:32

Pivovarsky dum, Prague

Definitely the best brew pub we visited. As well as their own light & dark brews there was a whole range of speciality beers which on our visit included wheat, cocoa, banana, sour cherry, nettle and chilli. Samples can be purchased for around 30p, take-outs are available and tours of the brewery can be arranged by appointment. There is a good menu based on Czech cuisine with a quaintly named "Little things that go well with Beer" section. It has the feel of a boisterous German beer hall to it with a regimented layout of tables. However the drinking areas are separated so the effect is one of a lively bar rather than it being overpowering. Fairly easy to find and like Lee I recommend a visit.

24 Nov 2004 13:39

Novomestsky Pivobar, Prague

Rather disappointingly we were turned away two evenings running as they were full, not sure if they take bookings but it might be advisable to phone ahead especially if you are in a large group. It does seem very popular and could probably do with a drinking area for those not wishing to eat. If you find yourselves unable to get in, and you want to eat, try the U Ceskych Panu Restaurant (q.v.) a few doors down Vodickova towards Wenceslas Square.

24 Nov 2004 13:35

Klasterni Pivovar Strahov, Prague

An excellent brewpub in the grounds of the Strahov Abbey which is difficult to find but definitely worth the effort. We broke off from a tour of the castle to find it and after a long walk through the wind and rain, the sight of and aroma from the two large copper brewing tanks just inside the door made it all worthwhile. Recharged with coffee and brandy we set about the main event, the beer. Both the light and dark were excellent and brewed under the name Svaty (Saint) Norbert. Bottled take-outs are also available. There is a good menu and I was intrigued by the Sword of Charles IV, which turned out to be generous portions of different meats skewered onto an eighteen inch silver sword, excellent presentation.

As well as the copper brew tanks there is an impressive looking bar and the walls are adorned with old photos and posters giving a real sense of the building's history. The staff are friendly and all in all it's a great place to spend a few hours, we actually spent six hours there. Take my advice and go thereÖ. but get a cab!

24 Nov 2004 13:32

The Sylvan Moon, Northwood

Nice looking corner pub, quite small for a Wetherspoons, which gives it a nice local feel

30 Oct 2004 12:50

The Bull, Bishopsgate

Much better than it used to be after they got rid of that miserable little git behind the bar. Quality of ale is now good and there is a regular guest. Only problem is if they have a busy week everything runs out on a Thursday/Friday and they refuse to put another barrel on as they don't open weekends. Worst smelling gents toilet in the City.

9 Oct 2004 11:34

The Seagull, Boscombe

Sorry to read about the demise of the Seagull, it held some good memories albeit distant ones.

9 Oct 2004 11:28

Mangos, Folkestone

Visited this place just after the East Kent Arms and initially thought I might be in for a similarly unpleasant experience. However I'm pleased to say it was much better. A nice open plan pub with comfy sofa's and a DJ/dance floor area. A good pint of Old Hookey in a branded glass, which I always think is a mark of good customer service, clean toilets which is another.

14 Jul 2004 14:32

The Mogul, Dover

This is by far the best of Dover's entries in the 2004 GBG. A little out of the way, located up an incline giving views of the Channel ferries and the docks. A proper community pub with a small front "drinkers" bar and larger saloon bar and garden at the rear for families and food.

My initial concern at seeing both beer pumps turned around was assuaged when I realised that there were three beers on, drawn direct from the cask. Definitely a place to go if you want a decent pint in an old world atmosphere with friendly locals.

14 Jul 2004 14:29

The Samuel Peto, Folkestone

I almost didn't find this pub but when I did I was glad I persevered as it's a really impressive church conversion. On entering you are faced with a double iron staircase which leads up to a galleried area with drinking booths looking down on the main bar. In each corner of the main bar are raised areas with armchairs and bookcases for a comfortable homely feel. There is a small horseshoe bar, above which the old church organ can be seen. Original statues and features of the church have been retained and the whole thing is rounded off by "Hymns" and "Hyrs" hymn boards outside the toilets. Bit of a shame they couldn't come up with a more original name for the pub. Has to be the best church/pub conversion I have seen since Frankensteins in Edinburgh (q.v.).

5 Jul 2004 17:15

Kalala Bar and Restaurant, Folkestone

Not really a bar although there is a small seating area. The main business is an excellent "all-you-can-eat" Chinese buffet and it is worth a mention just for that. No "all boiled rice and hunt the crispy duck" here, as attentive staff keep the varied and plentiful dishes well stocked. It's not cheap and you probably have to ask yourself if you are able to eat £13 worth of Chinese food but it is cheaper midweek and lunchtimes and is well worth a visit if you're hungry.

5 Jul 2004 17:09

The British Lion, Folkestone

A real old pub which is hidden away near the churchyard. Serves Green King ales and guests and has a separate area for food. Nice old building, a library "snug" and some intriguing doors that you imagine could once have lead to secret passages. Closes in the afternoons.

5 Jul 2004 17:04

The Chambers, Folkestone

From outside it looks more of a club or a wine bar than a pub and not the sort of place I would normally choose to visit. However I was drawn in by the list of real ales advertised and was pleasantly surprised, where else can you find Theakstons Old Peculiar and Wadsworth 6X on adjacent pumps, and the quality was excellent. There are two bars with plenty of room and the place has an underground cavern feel to it. An eclectic clientele mixes well with the trendy young beautiful people drinking harmoniously alongside the real ale enthusiasts. CAMRA newsletters and local information leaflets are available and there's an unusual little alcove near the main bar where the telephone sits. A good place for a beer.

25 Jun 2004 17:43

The Happy Frenchman, Folkestone

A large high ceilinged pub which looks a bit rough but is quite friendly. It has a good atmosphere with lots going on and seems to attract a mixed age clientele. Only visited twice but the real ales weren't that good either time.

25 Jun 2004 17:32

Skuba Bar (Portland Hotel), Folkestone

Being the wrong (or maybe right) side of 25 this is not really my sort of place, all chrome and leatherette and fizzy beer. Looks popular though and has a large outside area for those balmy summer evenings. Didn't notice the gay thing, but then again I wasn't looking.

25 Jun 2004 17:28

The Harveys Wine Bar, Folkestone

Definitely not a wine bar, it's a pub and a bit of a dingy one at that, perhaps made to look worse due to the fact that it is underground. Beer quality was indifferent and I wouldn't choose to spend too much time there.

25 Jun 2004 17:17

Timothy's Wine Bar, Folkestone

I don't frequent too many wine bars but as this one appeared on the BITE site I decided to pay a visit whilst on a recent trip to Folkestone. It is a little difficult to spot with the entrance being below street level but anyone making the effort is assured of a warm welcome. Handily located between the bus station and the Leas promenade. Seems like a well stocked bar and a wide ranging menu. A luxury chocolate shop is shortly to open above the wine bar so you can indulge two vices at the same time.

25 Jun 2004 17:14

The East Kent Arms, Folkestone

This place is rather like one of my local pubs and unfortunately there's one in every town. Sticky carpets, sticky tables and dodgy furniture. You know the type of place, one that seems to be run more as a social club for the staff and their friends rather than a pub. Maybe I went at the wrong time but apathy certainly seemed to be the order of the day. Bit of a shame really as it's in a good location and there's plenty of room, just needs a bit of attention and some money spent on it.

25 Jun 2004 17:06

The Clifton Hotel, Folkestone

I read somewhere that this bar serves the best pint of Bass in Folkestone. I wouldn't disagree with that and the price was certainly good for a hotel bar. Wouldn't recommend the hotel to stay at though, like many similar places the public areas are nice but the rooms disappoint.

25 Jun 2004 17:01

The George and Dragon, Prague

Be prepared for a loud and rowdy atmosphere. It seems that every stag party in Prague either starts here or passes through at some stage. An ideal meeting point in the old town square.Friendly and efficient service and a good reasonably priced menu.

31 May 2004 12:31

The Barracuda Bar, Bishopsgate

Turned up midweek lunchtime and all the real ales were off and we were told they had no intention of putting them on. Big screen TV's are a plus for sporting events and the place seems popular with the girlies for lunchtime tucker and gossip sessions.

27 Mar 2004 16:06

Dirty Dick's, Bishopsgate

Good range of Youngs beers both draught and bottles. Good atmosphere and one of the better City pubs.

1 Feb 2004 13:11

The Pitcher and Piano, Bishopsgate

Closed for refurbishment, until April apparently. It will take at least that long to turn this place into a decent pub.

1 Feb 2004 13:08

Maggie Dickson's, Edinburgh

This is a long narrow bar, which opens up into a more roomy seating area at the far end. Definitely one of the tourist pubs and like most has a story behind the name. The eponymous Maggie was hanged outside the pub and allegedly came back to life on the way to the funeral and was pardoned. Like others in the area sells pub merchandise and when I was there an American walked in, declared that he was "just looking", bought a baseball cap and walked out. No doubt even now he's boasting to the guys back home about the wonderful time he had in Maggie Dicksons pub. I on the other hand didn't, I found it a bit soulless and expensive. There are better pubs nearby, but don't try Biddy Mulligans next door.

27 Nov 2003 17:29

Cafe Royal, Edinburgh

Just around the corner from the Guildford Arms and decorated in a similarly impressive fashion, worth a visit if you are in the area.

27 Nov 2003 17:26

Greyfriars Bobby's Bar, Edinburgh

Nice looking Georgian building, plenty of wood panelling and flooring. Seems very much a student pub, no real ale but a good pint of Tennents, big screen for sports. Tourists by day and students by night.

27 Nov 2003 17:23

The Frankenstain Pub, Edinburgh

Not sure what to say about the Frankenstein pub, it probably won't make the CAMRA National Inventory of Pub Interiors but if you like wacky refurbishments and strange theme pubs this is a place not to miss. It is basically a church with a pub based on a Frankenstein theme built inside it. One can only imagine the thought process by which they arrived at this juxtaposition between good and evil, but it works perfectly.

Based on three levels, the crypt, the main bar and the gallery, it is quite obviously a church with the pulpit visible behind the main bar where the DJ performs in the evenings. The lower bar has a lifesize display of Frankenstein's monster and the toilets have spooky sounds piped into them.

The signage says that it was established in 1818 but those in the know will realise that that was the year that Mary Shelley wrote the novel of the same name. Frankenstein movies are shown on TV's dotted around the bars and there are two big screens used for sports. The food is good and service is attentive and friendly. Very popular Friday and Saturday evenings.

If you are visiting Edinburgh, search it out and go there, if only for curiosity value.

25 Nov 2003 17:58

The Guildford Arms, Edinburgh

Located at the East end of Princes St in the town centre, and an ideal place to start or end a pub crawl along the infamous Rose Street. The first thing you notice is the revolving doors you have to get through to enter the pub and once inside the wonderful decorative ceiling. A wide range of beers from Scottish breweries was available plus some foreign lagers. The food is very good and there is a gallery restaurant open in the evenings. Don't forget to visit the Cafť Royal just around the corner, which has an equally impressive interior.

25 Nov 2003 17:48

Revolution, Watford

Unfortunately this pub has now re-opened again after a "refurbishment". Now named Revolution it is a dark and dreary goth magnet that looks as if it has come straight out of Dante's Inferno.

2 Nov 2003 14:23

The Chamberlain Hotel, Aldgate

Good range of Fullers beers, reliable quality, nice comfortable surroundings, polite staff. A good place to drink.

14 Oct 2003 19:08

The Fine Line, Tower Hill

Imagine you have just been overcharged for a bottle of wine at Threshers,you've picked up your limp boxed salad from Pret-a-Mangy and you settle down in your local Ikea warehouse for lunch. You've just discovered the Fine Line experience.

14 Oct 2003 19:05

Stone Horse Paper Cow, Liverpool Street

Gave this place one last chance. Only one out of four ales were on, Directors, and they refused to turn the clips round saying it was against company policy (Puzzle Pub Co). They then ran out of Directors, found a barrel of Bombardier that was absolutely awful, had no John Smiths, then ran out of cider. At 4.00pm they stopped serving without any notice and threw us out because they had a private party to prepare for. This place is a joke and has had it's last chance for my custom. Now re rated as a 2.

8 Oct 2003 19:06

The Lower Red Lion, St Albans

I recently stayed overnight during the St Albans beer festival and can now recommend the accomodation as well as the food and beer. Comfortable, friendly and reasonably priced.

8 Oct 2003 18:32

Baraka, Watford

Seems to be closed on a Sunday afternoon now, which is a shame.

8 Oct 2003 18:25

The Magpie, Bishopsgate

One of the few places in the area where you can be confident about the quality of the beer. Unfortunately some of my mates drink Strongbow, which they don't serve, so we end up going elsewhere.

28 Sep 2003 13:17

The Hanover Arms, Kennington

Near the Oval cricket ground and opens up early on big match days so is an ideal meeting point. Nice looking pub and decent beer.

26 Sep 2003 08:08

The Beehive, Vauxhall

Located near the Oval cricket ground and the only times Iíve been here is during lunchtimes at the test match. Always amazes me that they insist on still serving food even when thereís a test match on and the place is packed to the rafters. Thereís always the same old boy fighting his way through the crowds with a plate of egg and chips without a clue who ordered it. Get real guys, forget the food during big games and give people what they want, three quick pints before they go back to the Oval for the afternoon session.

26 Sep 2003 08:05

The Wellington Arms, Watford

Looking a bit tired now, although the saloon bar area is nicely laid out with the emphasis on food. Not a great deal of atmosphere, standard uninspired beer offering of basic quality. To sum the pub up in one word, bland. My advice is, gaze out of the window at the Estcourt ArmsÖ.drink upÖ.. and go there.

26 Sep 2003 07:08

The Star Tavern, Belgravia

Found this pub while looking for somewhere for a quick beer before a meeting in Belgrave Square. So impressed I dragged everyone back afterwards and we spent the entire evening there. Really good pub, well kept beers and good food. Looking forward to the next meeting.

22 Sep 2003 23:19

The Vintry, St Albans

Large cavernous place with a warehouse feel to it. Tables and chairs from a school canteen. Staff friendly enough. Absolutely empty on the Sunday afternoon I dropped in. Better pubs around if it's a proper pub you want.

22 Sep 2003 23:07

The Twelve Pins, Finsbury Park

Took me a while to find this pub, probably because I was pissed, how many exits does Finsbury Park Station have for heavenís sake. Large, loud, dark, popular, unimaginative fayre. Probably one of the better pubs in the area but donít make a special trip.

22 Sep 2003 22:56

The Lower Red Lion, St Albans

Following Leeís recommendations usually results in a nice find and this is definitely one of them. A small friendly pub dedicated to real ales which is well worth travelling to. The JHB is still a regular although the landlord may be looking to replace this soon. There is also London Pride.

The real treats await you in the left hand bar which is often referred to as the ďLower Lower Red LionĒ. Here I found Blewitts Head Off, a strong, smoky ale, Golden Phoenix and Luscious Lisa from the Wissey Brewery, and beers from Bartrams and Church End breweries, the latter being an interesting pear based ale. On my second visit just a week later there was a whole new range of beers to try. I can also recommend the Sunday roast.

The walk back up the hill into St. Albans can be a little challenging after a visit, but donít let that put you off.

22 Sep 2003 22:52

The Black Heart, Camden

The phrase ďOves Optimae SuntĒ forms part of the logo for the Camden Tup which I think means something like ďSheep are BestĒ. Along with the Tup connection this may also have something to do with the antipodean leanings of the place. Nicely laid out and furnished on a minimalist theme with wooden floors and comfortable sofas. Nice pub which because of itís location in a narrow alleyway has the feel of an underground bar to it.

5 Sep 2003 12:31

Quinn's, Camden

If you donít let the garish exterior put you off, inside you will find a nicely decorated and well furnished pub. Specialises in Belgian draft and bottled beers and serves a reasonable GK IPA. There is a small garden patio at the rear and TVís for sports. Decent pub, barmaid is still struggling with the English language.

5 Sep 2003 12:23

The Spread Eagle, Camden

One of the few pubs in the Camden area where you feel confident ordering cask beer. This is another good Youngs pub, with their usual range of lagers and bitters. Also a full range of Youngs bottled beers including the wonderful Double Chocolate Stout. Not that well laid out but there is a nice bright seating area and the food is good. Attentive and friendly staff, only criticism is the gents toilets (both of them) which could do with some attention.

5 Sep 2003 12:13

The Victoria, Camden

This is an OK pub, but is basically a back street boozer with the pretensions and prices of a central London pub, £2.70 for a pint of Carlsburg, which strangely was also the price of Guinness and Stella. £4.30 for a large glass of wine and the food menu followed suit. There is a pleasant garden patio at the rear with an amusing notice asking patrons to keep the noise down and think of the local residents, quite ironic given that the house next door resembles a building site. I suspect that, in this area, the pub has its own set of wannabe devotees but for a better pub nearby try the Spread Eagle.

5 Sep 2003 11:57

Elixir Bar, Euston

My second visit, this time during the day when it seems popular with local office workers lunching. Looks to be good portions of food and reasonable prices. Special offer on at present, bottles of Carlsburg for £1 up to mid evening.

5 Sep 2003 11:36

The Burke and Hare, Edinburgh

By far the best strip pub of the three in the triangle. Itís small but has a friendly atmosphere with good music. Entrance fee varies depending on time of day, drinks £3. Circular stage in middle with good two-song dances. Usually 6-8 girls, private dances are £10 and generally good value. Agree with Andy, Nikki from LA got my vote for the sexiest dance in Edinburgh.

5 Sep 2003 07:09

The Beehive, St Albans

Suffers from its design and positioning which means that the few low windows attract almost no sunlight. A dull and dreary pub, might well get busy in the evenings, but for me it's the sort of pub that I decide only to have a half in as soon as I walk through the door.

18 Aug 2003 21:26

The Farmers Boy, St Albans

The brewery on the premises is a definite attraction with four local brews available at reasonable prices. The food is good and the pub has a nice friendly atmosphere. Right on a junction of a main road so can get a bit noisy from the traffic but also good for people watching. The best of many good pubs in the area.

18 Aug 2003 21:20

The Goat, St Albans

What a gem of a pub, located down a narrow residential lane, the unassuming exterior just does not prepare you for the delights inside. There are around six different seating areas plus a large and well- furnished patio outside. The interior is a mass of oak beams, pillars and exposed brickwork, and the furnishings add to the authentic feel. It could have been an old coaching inn many years ago. Food is available from a rather pricey menu and there is a selection of board games available behind the bar. Serving Adnams bitter plus Spitfire and Goldings from Shepherd Neame when I visited. In this world full of All-Bar-One's and Pitcher & Piano's it is comforting to know that proper pubs like this are still around and flourishing.

18 Aug 2003 21:13

Elixir Bar, Euston

If you have the time, walk a little further down Eversholt Street, past the Prince Arthur and find Rowleys. Unashamedly Irish dťcor with the ceiling strewn with pots and pans, a fishing net and even a rusty old penny farthing. It has probably had a recent refit and comes across as a bit new and sterile. However the eclectic and disorganised collection of hats, banknotes and pub merchandise to be found behind the bar give a reassuring feeling that the place has some history.

A hyperactive and somewhat eccentric barman kept me entertained whilst supping a few pints of Stella, my drink of choice for the evening, from ice cold glasses direct from the freezer, perfect. Not cheap, but an interesting pub and one that I would visit again.

18 Aug 2003 20:57

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

A really good real ale pub and if you didnít know it by reputation you would realise it as soon as you walked in. A large, well kept range of ales including a mild and real cider. The food looks appetising and guaranteed to keep your thirst going. There is loads going on in this pub and the best thing I can say is give it a visit. Thanks to Lee for pointing me towards this place.

9 Aug 2003 10:26

The Exmouth Arms, Euston

A nice looking pub which seems to be the social club for station workers. It lacks a bit of atmosphere and could do with some decent air conditioning. Plenty of seating outside which is popular with the "shorts below the knee" poser set. Courage Best and Spitfire plus usual lagers.

They need to have a rule which says no vests behind the bar. Is there anything more off putting that the sight of a sweaty armpit as the barman reaches up for your pint glass. There is a small food bar but as the chef turned out to be the unshaven vest wearing barman I decided not to bother.

Not a bad pub but there are better ones in the area, try the Crown & Anchor around the corner for atmosphere or the Head of Steam for great beer

9 Aug 2003 10:08

The Crown and Anchor, Euston

A nice bright pub with decent air conditioning makes it an ideal retreat when there's trouble on the trains at Euston. Large open frontage and outside seating in the Summer. Efficient and friendly service.

9 Aug 2003 09:50

The Flask, Hampstead

This place was a real find, tucked away down a charming side street right by Hampstead tube it has a perfect location. It is a really nice looking pub and well laid out with plenty of bar space and a nice conservatory for food out back. A good range of Youngís beers including Waggledance, one of my favourite thirst quenchers on a summerís day. Didnít stay long but Iím sure Iíll visit again.

3 Aug 2003 06:37

The Duke of Hamilton, Hampstead

Noting that the Duke of Hamilton had recently been awarded the CAMRA North London pub of the year award I set out to pay it a visit. Initially I was disappointed as it had a bit of a tourist trap feel to it, but it grew on me the longer I was there. The ESB was spot on and large single malts were selling for £3.30.

There is a reasonable range of beers, especially bottled, with friendly and (mostly) knowledgeable staff. It is well located on a quiet side street off Heath St. and the raised seating area outside makes the pub very welcoming. A good choice CAMRA.

3 Aug 2003 06:17

The Nags Head, Islington

Nice pub that is bigger inside than it looks from the outside. Has an old feel to it with ornate mirrors, chandeliers and clocks for decoration. They advertise traditional ales but it was disappointing to find two of the three pumps not working, only Courage Best was on. Very much a lager and white wine pub in keeping with the area. A pleasant visit.

31 Jul 2003 21:27

The Rocket, Euston

Paid another visit purely for research purposes, an Itís a Scream pub but itís not. I always get irritated in this place by having to pay 50p a pint more than the students it tries to attract. I guess you can look at this in two ways, either i) you are subsidising the work-shy, tax-dodging generation with cheap beer, or ii) you are investing in Britainís future leaders and statesmen. Either way it always hacks me off, so on a matter of principle, or pedantry, I ended up drinking Hoegaarden at £3.45 a pint as that was the only beer that was not discounted for the tree-huggers. You know you are in a student pub when the menu includes fish fingers, chips and beans for £2, presumably served on an ash tray sized plate. If I needed any more proof, it was the young female on the next table justifying to her friend why she might hypothetically dump her boyfriend using cause and effect methodology. So entertaining I stayed longer than I intended. Anyway this place does have some plus points, there are two pool tables, a jukebox, a bigscreen TV, a cashpoint and a webpoint. Horses for courses I guess but for a decent pint go to the Euston Flyer across the road.

30 Jul 2003 21:52

The Oakdale Arms, Harringay

After reading previous comments I decided to hunt this place down. Not an easy task as it is in the middle of a residential/industrial area a fair walk from any train or tube station. But it is well worth the walk and the location makes what they are trying to achieve all the more laudable. This is a pub that really wants to be a pub and give its customers what they want. The beers are mainly from the Milton Brewery and when I visited, there were two bitters, a mild and a stout on, all very good. Add to that a guest beer, a real cider and continental draft/bottled beers & lagers and thereís something for everyone. This is the sort of place youíd love to have next door but itís certainly worth travelling to, if you can get a mate to drive you there then so much the better. I really hope this place succeeds, it certainly deserves to.

28 Jul 2003 21:53

The Salisbury, Harringay

This pub is on the ďhistoric pub interiorsĒ section of the CAMRA website and it is easy to see why as soon as you enter the place. There are three separate areas around a large central ornate bar, a bright and airy bar fronts onto the main road, a nice wooden floored area which seems the most popular and a quieter, more intimate area with a wonderful mosaic floor. If that wasnít enough there is also a comfortably furnished lounge at the back. Ridleys Old Bob and IPA were on plus London Pride and Czech beer Litovel. The pub has a nice friendly laid back feel to it and deserves a visit if only for the dťcor.

28 Jul 2003 21:26

The Connaught Tavern, Seven Sisters

I obviously picked the wrong time to visit as I found myself in the middle of Joshuaís christening party. My senses were therefore accosted by Whigfield and Village People courtesy of someoneís sister whoíd been put in charge of the music. Difficult to judge the pub really, no real ales and I canít imagine it gets too busy, donít think Iíll be going back.

28 Jul 2003 20:46

The Doric Arch, Euston

Made another visit to the Head of Steam recently and it's still a pretty good place to drink. If you can put up with having to ask for the code for the toilets and the sometimes indifference of the bar staff you'll be rewarded with some excellent and decently priced ales.

27 Jul 2003 08:41

The Manchester and County, Manchester

Probably the roughest of the Wetherspoons in Manchester (the newer one on Deansgate is much better). Can be rowdy but that's often part of the entertainment. Last time I was in here the police were called and half a dozen poured out the back of a van and rushed up to the pub, only to stand outside looking through the windows. The landlord eventually went out and spoke to them and they left - wierd!!

26 Jul 2003 14:59

The Old Monkey, Manchester

A tip for the management, if you're going to serve decent beer, don't employ young lager drinkers behind the bar who haven't got a clue what it should taste like. Our bad pints of mild were changed for a good bitter but people were still complaining about the mild an hour later.

26 Jul 2003 14:52

Baraka, Watford

A good addition to Watford's bars and so much better than the other soulless "chrome and leatherette" places that have recently opened around it. Excellent use has been made of the large space with pillars and arches separating smaller well furnished areas. Well stocked bar and attentive staff. Perfect for lazing on a summerís afternoon listening to the resident ďmusic manĒ but itís really an any time of day bar and well worth a visit.

26 Jul 2003 06:47

The Seagull, Boscombe

From previous comments this place seems to have gone downhill (no pun intended). Used to drink there around ten years ago, especially for the Pompey Royal.

12 Jul 2003 18:29

The Angry Friar, Gibraltar

Ideally placed in an open square on Main St. Popular with tourists and nice to sit outside watching the world go by.

12 Jul 2003 14:11

The Magpie, Bishopsgate

One of the best places in the area for a drink on a summer evening. The fact that most people stand outside means there is room to move inside and you can generally get to the bar OK. Good selection of beers with Timothy Taylors Landlord an everpresent

12 Jul 2003 08:10

The Barracuda Bar, Bishopsgate

Large pub with good atmosphere and loads of TV screens for sporting events. Bar prices at the top end, even for the City.

10 Jul 2003 21:17

The Hoop and Grapes, Aldgate

Typical city pub, overpriced beer and fast (ish) food. Don't bother

9 Jul 2003 22:24

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