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BITE user comments - Sandman

Comments by Sandman

The Hurlingham, Fulham

And so a few short months after the brewery handed the pub over to a decent manager (Geoff) they sell it out from under him for a mess of pottage, for redevelopment. Geoff and his team, lead by Fraulein Olga have worked hard and professionally and rewarded with the boot. Tonight, March 21st, was the last night, and they have gone out with charm and dignity. Best of luck to all of them - here's to the next life. Sandman says shame on the brewery...

21 Mar 2015 22:14

The Grapes, Wandsworth

An oasis of calm in the middle of the dreaded Wandsworth one-way system. A real pub with a real manager and properly behaved staff, not zombies locked to their Smartphones, afraid to look up in case a customer should want service. A few visits reveal the clientele to be loyal locals, by and large, returning time and again to what, for want of a better word, is a "proper" pub.

17 Mar 2014 16:21

The Brewery Tap, Brentford

And so it came to pass that the MacFarlanes finally escaped to the West, leaving behind decades of goodwill. Under new management, The Tap now looks to the future. After almost a month the Sandman breaks cover to pass judgement. Is there a future? Will the spirit of the local pub continue down Catherine Wheel Road, in an enclave reserved for those in the know? Have the lightbulbs been changed? Will Fingers still be there on a Saturday night with his inimitable "Name That Tune" competition?

Will things carry on in the spirit they always have?

Is everything all right?

Sandman says yes...

It's okay. Go.

22 May 2012 20:33

The Brewery Tap, Brentford

It recently came to light that the gents bog in The Brewery Tap is haunted by the ghost of Glenn Miller. Fact!

30 Mar 2010 11:50

The Magpie and Crown, Brentford

The Magpie is open. The old manager has gone, and with him the running total of how many guest ales he's served over the years. I miss the photos of Old Brentford as well, although the boat is still hanging from the rafters.

The current manager (relief?) seemed pleasant enough. The one thing that really walloped me in the face when I went in was that the place is now clean. It was so tatty before, now it's spick and span. And while the old grungy style had a certain charm (reflected in the fact that it was always busy) the place now has the feel of an authentic old unrenovated pub but without the danger of catching fleas. If only it wasn't down the skanky end of the High Street (well, frankly, the more skanky end of the High Street) it could become a real place to go to, second in Brentford only to the Brewery Tap. It still might get there regardless. Anyway, best of luck to the manager, who is clearly trying hard. What happened to the last guy wasn't the new guy's fault...

12 Mar 2010 10:30

Roebuck Tavern, Sheffield

This reasonably attractive pub was bustling at teatime on a workday afternoon, although the clientele did seem a little geriatric. Managed to find a nice, quiet corner, though, and watched the world go by.

12 Mar 2010 10:22

The Sportsman, Sheffield

Under new management, apparently, but since I didn't know the old management I can't comment as to whether that's a good or bad thing. Not a great range of bitters but plenty of choice otherwise. Seemed clean enough, I was there at a dead time all round, so can't comment on atmosphere. If I return to the city I'll give it another look.

12 Mar 2010 10:20

The Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield

Dropped by for lunch. Excellent food, welcoming service and a fine pint of Barnsley Bitter, for some reason only two quid (and the meal was only a fiver). Everything a pub should be, deserving of the recent CAMRA award. Even had a conversation with two gentlemen from Matlock about pork pies. If I'd been staying in Sheffield for more than one day this would have become my base, unquestionably.

12 Mar 2010 10:16

The Fleece, Coggeshall

Driving through Coggeshall en route to somewhere far away, we picked one of the several pubs on the main drag at random.

The Fleece has a nicely preserved old-style pub atmosphere. It was a bit quiet when I went in with three friends early doors Saturday evening, but people started drifting in.

After the four of us sat down, a bloke came over and put a bucket of popcorn on the table for us! How sweet! Anyway, we all went on about how we didn't really like popcorn, but we managed to eat most of it nonetheless.

We had to go, but were disinclined to leave, so a quick drink became two, then three, then four before we left town, probably forever.

We didn't try any of the other pubs in this small town/large village, but they all looked welcoming on a dark December night.

If ever you're out Essex way you could do a lot worse.

8 Dec 2008 09:49

The Brewery Tap, Brentford

The Monday night* pub quiz (starts 9pm, entry 1, winning team takes all, Guv'nor's tenner for randomly selected runners-up) is now a hotbed of loudly-voiced petty rivalries, sarcasm and bad sportsmanship. Grudges that have festered for decades rise to the surface, foolish answers are mercilessly derided and only the firm hand of Laura the barmaid (and the quizmaster's glamorous assistant) stops things spilling out onto the street and into the canal.


*First Monday of the month is a music quiz. Slightly more refined behaviour is the norm.

17 Oct 2008 15:18

The Horse and Groom, Hatfield

Situated on the right side of the tracks, this old-fashioned pub is small but nicely laid out. A slight "local pub for local people" air pervades at first but wears off very quickly. Above average.

13 Nov 2007 15:24

Novellos, Parsons Green

Now being refurbished. Closed down early in 2007, re-opened for a couple of months in the summer, now gone again.

4 Sep 2007 10:28

The Hurlingham, Fulham

A change of name and an immediate leap in quality. New management committed to service rather than laziness. Quick refurb probably a taste of things to come rather than the finished job, but a vast improvement nonetheless. And at least the outside isn't black any more.

The Wandsworth Bridge Tavern is dead - long live The Hurlingham!

Oh, the quizzes are now on Mondays rather than Thursdays, but it's still the same bloke. Still, he's harmless enough, and has a loyal following (although teams seem to consist of five, six, or seven people, which is too many by any rational standards).

The shouting people from the estate still frequent the place, but they've got the message and have smartened up, and are bellowing less.

Dithering between a 7 and an 8 rating. Will go for 8 for the sake of encouragement.

4 Sep 2007 10:26

The Hurlingham, Fulham

Painted black on the outside, there's little jolly or welcoming about this pub. Clientele seems to be a mixture of middle class youth who are a bit lost, and older folk from the nearby council estate who get drunk and start shouting at each other. The quizzes on Thursdays are frightening - the question master thinks shouting and projection are the same thing. Trouble is, you have to cross the river to get to the next pub...

9 Jan 2007 15:14

The Fox and Hounds, Belgravia

Until eight or nine years ago this pub had been run for decades by Diane Pearce-Harvey, with the help of her father Lionel "Tunbridge" Wells. Both are still with us, as is Lionel's wife Julie, who did the books, and Diane's husband Roger,, anyway, was an abiding presence. All have moved to the West Country, and time has moved on. After a couple of false starts, the pub has settled down. It's been subtly refurbished, and is reasonably comfortable. It's not the same, but then, it couldn't be. I would say that in Diane's day it was very much a local pub for local people, but the atmosphere was friendly - strangers were spoken to, and made welcome. They could even come back years later and be remembered. That that may not be the case now may be more down to the changes the area has undergone rather than the capable landlady.

The Sandman doesn't get in as often as he used to, having moved on himself, but when he does go, he often bumps into old friends. And even though the bar staff don't know him from Adam, he still has no problem getting served. Perhaps bar-staff hostility is in the eye of the beholder...

22 May 2006 16:23

The Plough, Cobham

A slightly pretentious pub, as befits the area. Talked to some chap called Salter, who seemed nice enough, if perhaps a little other-wordly...

5 Apr 2006 17:06

The Turks Head, Penzance

Proper pub. Popular and unthreatening.

5 Aug 2005 10:25

The Admiral Benbow, Penzance

A slight artificiality doesn't detract from good service and good product. Dinner in the restaurant was very good.

5 Aug 2005 10:24

Ye Olde Cock Tavern, Fleet Street

The landlady is a gem, but the pub itself a nightmare. Badly laid out, badly decorated, and a machine that turns the music up at 6.18 PM just as the clientele are trying to talk to each other.

Mark pulled up over average only through efforts of aforementioned landlady.

7 Mar 2005 16:37

The Beehive, Brentford

Nice building. Locals pub (i.e. unaccompanied middle-class women might prefer to look elsewhere). Basically good-hearted, but not one's first choice of boozer in Brentford.

7 Mar 2005 16:34

The Magpie and Crown, Brentford

Wide range of beer (inc guests), lager and cider. Staff nice enough, but a lot of the punters seem a bit depressed, and, as others have observed, a once-over with the steam cleaner wouldn't go amiss.

7 Mar 2005 16:32

The Brewery Tap, Brentford

A splendid old-fashioned pub, with no pretension. Well kept beer, a wide variety of food; live music of varying quality (the Saturday evening pianist, Fingers, is a living legend: Well, we think he's living); quiz night on Mondays.

Staff generally friendly. Pork scratchings.

7 Mar 2005 16:27

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