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BITE user comments - SilkTork

Comments by SilkTork

Old Farmhouse, Southampton

Friendly pub with great potential. Under new owners. The two pumps were off on our visit, but new owners are planning to extend the cask range. This used to be a student pub with bands playing in the back garden, though the quality and character of the building suggests a better use as a pub restaurant. The building dates from 1611, and has wood panelling, low ceilings, and a concealed minstrels gallery. The area is a little run down, and the pub is just outside the multi-ethnic St Mary's residential area, and just by the semi-industrial units of Imperial Road, so is not that attractive or inviting.

Be interesting to see how the new owners develop it.

9 Aug 2017 10:44

The Bridge, Southampton

Marston's have given the pub a make over. The back room is now closed to the public, but can be hired for functions. The name has been changed to The Cricketers Arms. After the refurbishment it did food. Then struggled with the kitchen so the food was on and off. They have now given up on food. Constant problems with the electrics have now led the company to decide to give the bar area another make over.

Mettricks in Centenary Wharf do local cask beers all day, plus food, and there's a great view and great ambiance, and everything works.

21 Jul 2017 11:13

The Frog and Frigate, Southampton

I love this place - but you have to go on the right night. I've been on a Friday with my son, and the band was playing golden oldies, and everyone was having a right ol' time. Good mix of ages. Good mix of men and women. Brilliant atmosphere. This is how all pubs should be.

I been here with Ian on a Saturday on the November Beer Crawl, and it was again a good atmosphere, though it was more crowded than on the Friday, and the average age of the customers was probably nearing 50. A woman asked me to give her a lift up onto a table, and I was somewhat concerned because of her size as I have a back injury, but we somehow managed it. Phew.

I have been here on a Thursday with my wife. And it was pretty dead and dull. All students. All listening earnestly to someone playing original folk music. Eyes all looked at us as we came in. Nobody smiled. And there was some sense of perplexity and irritation at our interruption.

I recommend going on a Friday or Saturday.

18 Jul 2017 18:17

Ship and Castle, Portsmouth

Decent place. Feels more like a Beefeater family restaurant than a proper pub - at busy times you are met at the door and guided to a table, but it does have character and charm, serves two proper beers, and has some history as a sailor's pub. We liked it. Great for a family looking for a good value lunch while visiting the Dockyards.

27 Apr 2017 08:57

The Robin Hood, Brighton

It's blue now.

It's an OK pub, but probably has more negatives than positives for me. The pub appears to be two rooms knocked together, with a bar counter straddling both, but the dividing wall comes very close to the bar. And that is where the cask pumps are. So if anyone sits there, it's really hard to see the pump clips.

The place has a nice vibe, but it's also quite dingy. I found it hard to see while in there. A mostly trendy middle aged clientèle on my Sunday afternoon visit. They seem to have a problem with ventilation because when I went to close the door because my daughter and I were sitting in a draught, she insisted that, even though it was cold, the door should be kept open. We moved to a different table.

The only food offered is pizza at £7.50 , or some hot chilli olives. I like that they offer food, and I prefer that a place specialise in one thing which they can make quickly and easily rather than fail to offer anything because they expect to have to offer a full menu. So full credit for that. But the pizzas are small. And they can come burnt or underdone (we had both, because we ordered again, not realising how small they would be).

Our barmaid was not very friendly or helpful. And there was a smell from the toilets.

Plus points is that they sell Harveys Bitter, plus a guest beer. And they have a large selection of board games, and while they don't offer any food for children, they do allow children into the pub.

The place is a mix of good and bad. It's not quite good enough for me to ever want to go back. But it's not quite bad enough for me to refuse to enter it if there is nothing else in the area.

26 Apr 2017 17:37

Old Rooms Inn, Weymouth

Great location. Four casks including Piddle Forest Bitter sold as the house beer. Pub menu, not too pricy. Service varies. Some staff are rude, others are friendly and helpful.

13 Apr 2017 13:03

The Two Brothers, West End

Decent pub. Large, clean, light and airy. Good value meals. Family friendly. Popular with a mixed clientele. Safe and relaxed. Limited beers, just IPA and Doom Bar. And uninspiring location. More functional than charming, but a damn good place to eat if you live in the Town Hill area of Southampton.

24 Mar 2017 12:53

The Park Inn, Southampton

Reopened after refurbishment. Pleasant place, and - as with the other Wadsworth pubs I've been to, there are lots of active pumps, and plenty of non-Wadsworth beers to choose from along with the decent Wadsworth beers. There are two distinct bar areas linked by the counter and a narrow opening. It's very much a locals' pub, and the drinkers greeted each other and chatted in a very familiar and friendly way,

I liked it. There's a cosy, homely feel.

22 Mar 2017 11:17

Osborne Inn, Southampton

The Osborne is a "Meet & Eat" Greene King pub. It's been cleanly refurbished, though in the process removing some of the original character. It's a pleasant enough pub offering Greene Kinbg beers and decent value food. Nothing special, but quite acceptable.

21 Mar 2017 11:47

The Bold Forester, Sarisbury Green

Large pub set back from the A27. This looks quite appealing from outside, so I have been curious to stop for a while. We popped in today, and the interior is pleasant, with wood all around. The bulk of the interior is dining area, though there is a pub corner to the right as you enter. Stained glass partitions and comfy leather armchairs give a cosy ambiance. Four casks on offer - main national brands, though a Ringwood and Gales HSB are among those, so there is some local feel.

We quite liked it, though felt it lacked authenticity and character. A wall consisting of book shelf wallpaper rather than real books gives the flavour of the place.

6 Mar 2017 16:33

The Big Cheese, Bitterne

Now closed.

We weren't impressed with our visit last year. The place was big, crowded and noisy, We wanted seats for the three of us so we could have a meal. We found a table, but it only had two seats. I sent into the second bar where I found a vacant seat. Out of politeness I asked if I could take the chair into the next bar, and the barman said no. I explained that we had a family of three, and only two chairs, so if we couldn't sit down we wouldn't be able to have a meal. The barman insisted that the chair stay in that bar. Obviously we had to leave.

Just passed it today and it is closed and boarded up. The place was always popular, just poorly managed, so Greene King would have been making money on it. Perhaps the company was concerned about its poor reputation reflecting badly on the Hungry Horse brand, but I would have though the better solution would have been to get a decent management team in. Anyway, I understand that it has been sold, though Greene King haven't said who bought it. I know that McDonald's wanted to buy The Bittern pub in order to build a drive through, so perhaps it is McDonalds who have bought it.

22 Feb 2017 08:23

Humble Plum, Bitterne

Wadworth's pub tucked away in a back street. I love this pub. Great beer, great atmosphere, great food. As well as Wadworth's beers they also do guests or "changing beer" as Camra now likes to call them. The original mid Victorian building (which appears to have been a residential house, has been extended to create versatile seating areas. Very pleasant. Child friendly. Only drawback is that they don't do food in the afternoons.

21 Feb 2017 11:06

The Elm Tree Inn, Swanwick

Proper old fashioned pub in a semi rural setting. Decent sized car park, though I can see it might get full at busy times, as the pub extends into the side beer garden to accommodate a dining area. Four pumps, three in use: Doom Bar and two beers from Flowerpots. The Flowerpots Bitter was in excellent condition.

I entered into a sparse public bar with the rugby on, but nobody watching. Moved through into the lounge, where the cask beers are kept, and where the locals were gathered round the bar. The dining area looks a little chintzy for my taste, but seems quite acceptable. As the pub is proper old fashioned, and I visited in the afternoon, the kitchen was closed, and menus had been removed. One couple, and one family turned up looking for food, and both left on being told food didn't start till 6pm.

I sat in a rocking chair which started to fall apart. On handing the pieces to the landlady it was clear this often happened. I had a feeling that the chair would be reassembled after I left, ready for the next customer to sit in and break it.

5 Feb 2017 10:59

The Star Inn, Romsey

Just on the outskirts of Romsey town centre, and a stones throw from where Strongs Brewery used to be, we found The Star. A solid, traditional looking pub from the outside, with a certain timeless quality, though looking a little tired. And awkwardly placed, on the corner of a busy road into the town centre.

Inside is a contrast to the outside, as it appears vibrant, modern, quirky, and very welcoming. The two main rooms have been rather successfully knocked through creating a versatile space. There is a huge fireplace on the right that is a delight to sit in front of on a crisp November afternoon. There were several well kept local beers on offer, and friendly advice from the landlady. Small backyard for smokers, and accommodation with breakfast is also offered, so this really does have the feel of a traditional inn.

28 Jan 2017 18:54

The Angel of the South, Southampton

Corner location pub somewhat isolated on the wrong side of Southampton's central parks. I dropped in here after doing the Southampton Half Marathon last year. The staff and customers were moaning about how the marathon was making things awkward to move around Southampton, until they noticed my medal, then they became quite positive about the event, and were asking me friendly questions.

The pub looks a little bit run down and scruffy, but it was friendly enough.

27 Jan 2017 12:15

Waggoners Arms, Southampton

Proper old man's pub. A little worn on the outside, but warm and cosy on the inside with some good friendly banter. Beer garden with trampoline for the kids out the back. Ringwood Fourty Niner on cask in good condition.

27 Jan 2017 11:55

The Station Hotel, Bitterne Park

Currently closed for refurbishment by new owners Greene King. Due to reopen sometime in February 2017

23 Jan 2017 14:33

The Richmond Inn, Portswood

A traditional two room pub, owned by Greene King. Three casks from the Greene King range, plus a guest (Longman on my visit). Standard pub meals around £6. Relaxed and friendly, with distinctly older clientèle on my afternoon visit. Place is clean and tidy. Fairly ordinary place, but quite acceptable, which is generally typical for Greene King. To say that it feels like the common room of an old people's home may sound harsh, but feels appropriate. Apart from the low volume rock music the place feels calm, relaxed and homely, though there was a vicious assault on the landlord a few years ago on a Saturday night.

22 Jan 2017 22:40

The Gordon Arms, Portswood

I like this place. Cool, relaxed, and a little bit quirky. It's like a traditional pub, with four cask beers, but it also serves Indian meals. They call them Indian tapas, but it's not really tapas, it's proper Indian food. Come here for the pub. Come here for the Indian food. Come here for both. Well liked by the local student population.

22 Jan 2017 22:15

The Red Shoot Inn, Linwood

I've been here at least three times, and I thought I had left a review at least once., but it appears I haven't.

My first visit was in 2004 during a holiday in the New Forest with Chrissie. We were both charmed by the place which seems to appear magically out of nowhere, surrounded by trees and moorland. Inside it was lively and buzzing with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. I had two of the pub's home brewed beers then, Tom's Tipple and Forest Gold. I recall that the pub had just recently been bought by Wadworth, and there was some speculation that the Red Shoot beers were being brewed at the Wadworth plant in Wiltshire. I checked, and the pub's brewery was still in place, and still brewing. I described the beers as "sweaty", "damp", and "oaky", yet found them quite delightful.

In 2015 my sister's family were planning a birthday party, and I suggested this pub, because our memories of it were so positive. My suggestion was turned down because of recent reviews in Trip Advisor. Chrissie and I, and one of my daughters, came back to check it out. Most of the charm had gone from the place. It looked worn out, uncared for, and disorganised. It appeared to have been refurbished in a rather ubiquitous "family pub" style, and gave the feel of a cheap holiday camp pub. The pub were aware of the issues, and said they were addressing them.

Yesterday after a delightful walk deer spotting in Bolderwood, we thought we'd check it out again to see if the management had sorted out their problems. Well, it's not as scruffy and disorganised as it was in 2015, but there's still no charm or character here. The walls have been painted magnolia, which simply gives an empty, characterless feel to the place. The food is in the style of a Green King Hungry Horse, lots of stodge, with no finesse. We weren't looking for much, just a warm me up veggie snack after the walk. We selected the pizza, onion rings, and cheesy chips. None of it was tasty as such, merely edible. It was served on wooden platters with no plates. On asking for plates we given three cold side plates. Not a big issue, but reflective of the lack of care, attention, and knowledge of the staff. I don't serve hot food onto cold plates at home, so I don't expect it when paying professionals to serve me food. On this visit and in 2015 I found the beers to be "musty", "crude", and "unattractive". I suspect the beers have been pretty much the same on each visit, but my enjoyment of them was a reflection of my enjoyment of the pub experience in general.

The building was originally a farm, and at various times has been a village shop, a post office, a private club, and a petrol station, before becoming a pub around 1964. Brewing in the pub started in 1998 by the then owner Paul Adams. Wadworth had acquired the pub by 2004, and brewing was being done by the neighbouring campsite owner John Sherwood by 2009.

It's an interesting pub with great potential, but with so many great pubs in the New Forest I'm not in a rush to try this one again until reviews start to become consistently more positive.

15 Jan 2017 09:39

The Crown Inn, Southampton

Surprisingly busy for a hidden away residential area pub. Its near the university, but customers are very mixed, and few appear to be students or lecturers, though there are some. Four standard cask beers on offer, and a limited lunch menu. I had the lunch special, which consisted of two fish cakes dressed with a few salad leaves for £5. To be fair, it was tasty, though I had expected a bit more food to accompany it. A solid and attractive pub which is clearly popular. It's a sort of timeless place - I can remember pubs like this from the 70s - back then they would offer a ploughman's lunch or scampi in a basket. I asked about children, but the barmaid didn't know if they were allowed, which suggests she's not seen any children there. Apparently they are allowed, but not particularly welcome.

1 Jan 2017 15:59

Fox and Hounds, Bursledon

This is a charming and atmospheric 16th century country pub hidden in a country lane in Hungerford in the Buseldon area on the fringes of Southampton. Service is quick, friendly and polite. Food is tasty. This is great just for a drink, quick lunch, slow romantic meal, or any special occasion. Owned by Greene King and run under the Chef and Brewer brand they acquired when they bought the Spirit Pub Company.

1 Jan 2017 13:42

Encore, Southampton

Built into the ground floor of a modern block on Commercial Road next door to the Mayflower Theatre, and close to the Central Station, this is a popular pub frequently packed with Saints supporters on match days and families on panto days. Acquired by Greene King during their purchase of the Spirit Pub Company from Punch Taverns, it serves two or three beers from the Greene King range, plus, on our visit, a Hogs Back keg lager. The pub works around the limitations of its awkward space, utilising separate areas to create a feeling of intimacy in places, though the need for supporting pillars in a narrow space does mean that moving around the central area can be awkward, and getting into the cubicle in the gent's toilet is not for those who are a little bit large.

There appeared to be a shortage of kitchen staff over the Christmas period, as the pub was operating a restricted menu, which meant that vegetarians wouldn't be able to eat, unless they were content with simply a bowl of chips. And, even then, there was a 40 minute wait. Customers were understandably frustrated as the next nearest pub is about a ten minute walk away.

Those who did decide to order and wait appeared to get a typical Greene King pub meal. Nothing fantastic - a bit stodgy, but generally cheap.

There is nothing here to attract a repeat visit. The pub has no charm or character, gets a bit crowded, and is unreliable for food, which when served is unremarkable. If planning to eat in a pub before the theatre it may make more sense to allow a little extra time to eat in a pub a little further away.

1 Jan 2017 10:58

Bright Water Inn, Southampton

There are currently four (soon to be five) Wetherspoons in Southampton. This is neither the worse nor the best. It is the typical long narrow set up, meaning the only natural light is right at the front near the front door where the smokers congregate. There's no atmosphere or character, but there are pillars in the main area which break up the view so it's not just a plain empty space. Generally does between 6 and 8 casks. Fairly average all round.

28 Nov 2016 10:17

Brasshouse, Bournemouth

Large, popular Mitchells & Butlers pub. A little rough and ready. Smokers at the front door. Cavernous place that has little natural light. Family friendly. Has the feel of a Wetherspoons, but beer selection is poor. To compensate, has games like table football. Will do at a pinch, but there's nothing here to recommend.

27 Nov 2016 21:42

The Peartree, Southampton

1950s pub built on the site on an older pub destroyed during the war, this a local pub which doesn't do food or cask beer. Beers are keg - Websters Bitter, Fosters, Carlsberg, and Guinness. Two distinct rooms. The Games Room has a pool table and is more down to earth. The other room is the lounge with attractive views on Peartree Green, a pleasant fireplace, and clean carpet and table.

I've popped in twice. First time everyone was in the lounge, the second time everyone was in the public bar/games room.

7 Nov 2016 18:20

Royal Oak, Southampton

Closed in February, and is currently being demolished.

2 Nov 2016 11:33

WAHOO, Southampton

This place is closed.

The Walkabout chain collapsed, and there was a management buyout of some of the branches. This branch was one, and it went under the name Wahoo. It then became Elements which closed in 2013.

29 Oct 2016 16:53

Walkabout, Southampton

This place is closed.

The Walkabout chain collapsed, and there was a management buyout of some of the branches. This branch was one, and it went under the name Wahoo. It then became Elements which closed in 2013.

29 Oct 2016 16:52

The Dancing Man, Southampton

Opened in Feb 2015, this was probably the most anticipated pub opening in the history of Southampton. It was selling out of beers in 40 minutes (while places like the anti-immigrant Ice House in Shirley Wood can't sell a beer in five days - perhaps being less racist will help them sell more beer, but they seem content in their own world of ignorance, resentment and conspiracy theories so probably best to leave them be) . It was originally built in 1415 as the Wool House, storing the wool that was Southampton's main trade and key to success.  Some of the wooden pillars in the building have been carbon dated back 1,000 years to a Spanish galleon. It's an awesome and impressive place. Imaginatively set up by the folks behind The Platform Tavern, this is the most characterful pub in Southampton. It melds together modern and staggeringly old in a stunning manner. The downstairs is quirky with all the twists and turns and changes in floor level. Seating is scattered all over the place, and the main complaint is that sometimes it can be hard to find somewhere to sit because the pub is so popular. Upstairs has the window view, and is more conventionally laid out as a large space. The upstairs in restaurant focused, while the downstairs is more hipster bar.

A curved bar made of reclaimed wood has eight handpumps - most will from the Dancing Man brewery whose kit can be seen through windows at the back of the bar. At night the brewery is lit up - sometimes in white light, and sometimes in blue light. It looks impressive in either colour.

This is a must visit pub. If you're in Southampton you have to come here. If you're not in Southampton you need to travel across the country to come here. Hell, if you're in a different country, get on a plane. Come here. This place is special.

29 Oct 2016 09:47

The Titanic, Southampton

Undergoing refurbishment during my visit, yet still open for drinks. Kitchen is closed. Just out of sight of the city centre shoppers, but right on the tourist trail. Used to be called The Queen, but changed name to attract the tourists. Two casks, and one is always by the Titanic brewery, of course.

28 Oct 2016 15:04

The Cricketers, Southampton

Traditional small corner pub in the Bedford Place heart of the Southampton Student Triangle. Two rooms. Walk through the front room to the slightly larger back room. Six casks available. Advertises that it does food (pies) on Thursdays and match days, though reviews indicate it does food all week - perhaps I misread the sign, but there were no menus out. New owner took over in April, buying it for £600,000, and saying he doesn't want to change anything, and isn't going to run it himself. Was very quiet on my afternoon visit, but apparently does get busy and loud in the evenings.

Pleasant enough place. Very pleasant and welcoming barmaid. I liked it, and can see myself coming back to check out the local beers, though there was something missing that I couldn't quite put my finger on. There was a lack of warmth, character and atmosphere, though that could be because the place was so quiet. Would be worth visiting when it's a bit busier to get a real feel for the place.

25 Oct 2016 11:23

The Four Horseshoes, Nursling

This is situated on the edge of Southampton (technically I think it's just outside) on a dead end road close by a motorway junction - well, actually a rare motorway roundabout with traffic lights, the M271 roundabout. There's no signpost pointing to the pub - indeed, where you have to turn off to drive to it, there are two pubs. So you have to know it is here, and you have to be determined to come here, and drive past two other pubs. It was a pub in 1893 when the road did continue somewhere before it was cut off by the building of the motorway. The present landlords have been here for just over three years.

It looks like a country pub. Despite the nearby motorway junction it is a rural spot, and there's plenty of parking space by the pub's own field which can be hired for special occasion. There are even horses looking over the fence at the car park. It's a Wadworth pub, which is generally a good sign.

But when you get inside the interior is rather plain and tired. And the menu is equally uninspired, though from the layout of the place it appears to get people willing to come and eat herfe on a regular basis. The prices are fairly average.

There are two Wadworth casks on. The IPA isn't fresh. There is not a lot here to encourage a repeat visit.

22 Oct 2016 18:24

The Anchor, Southampton

Only about 100 yards from The Ship Inn, just the other side of the flyover, but this Marstons pub seems a world away in terms of character. The place is clean and tidy in the main bars, though the corridor leading to the toilets tells a story of a pub struggling to stay afloat. There is a strong smell of damp, and there are holes in the wall. The bar staff are wonderful. Full of life, warmth, charm and character, who make this a pub to want to return to, but when sitting in the plain bar with the smell of the damp drifting into the room, and thinking back to the wooden beams and open fireplace of the Ship, I wonder how they can attract customers.

What they are doping is competing in terms of price. Beer and food are very cheap. Weekdays a pint of cask ale costs £2.25. This goes up to £3 on a Saturday. They do a Full English breakfast for £1.99 (veggie option for £2.99, with two Quorn sausages) , and Sunday roast is £3.95. They are proud of their food which is sourced locally and cooked fresh.

They do, however, only offer one cask - Ringwood Razorback.

Put the enthusiastic and charming staff anywhere else and that pub would be a success - here it seems a little unfair as they are struggling against a very charming historic pub just round the corner, while also dealing with the lacklustre charm and damp of their own building.

At one time The Anchor was placed strategically at the end of the old stone bridge leading into Southampton from the New Forest, and did good business both with local sailors and with drovers from the New Forest. But when that bridge was closed and replaced by the modern bridge the pub became isolated, and by 2011 the then landlord closed the doors, though continuing to pay rent to Marston's as it was running at such a loss that it wasn't worth keeping it open. In 2013 it was given a face lift and reopened under new landlords. Apparently there is a ghost of a Titanic steward who used to live in the pub.

15 Oct 2016 18:34

The Ice House, Southampton

No food and no cask beers. A large, clean and tidy locals pubs where they have arm wrestling competitions, and all the regulars support Brexit and don't like immigrants.

I liked the place, but things turned cold when I said I wasn't in favour of Brexit, and that my wife is French. Not a pub I'm ever likely to visit again.

13 Oct 2016 02:05

Talisman, Southampton

A former strawberry barn, this Badger pub is full of character and charm. Well kept and well run this is a restaurant pub that also has plenty of room for those who simply want a drink. I like that there is a formal restaurant area in conjunction with the large and welcoming family pub area. The choice is yours. You can also eat in the pub area, where you can have a simple dish of cheesy chips or other various sharers as well as a full meal with desert. The ambience is relaxed and refined, so may not suit those looking for something more upbeat or loud. The rooms appear to have themes, such as the racing car theme in the room in which we sat. In another room there is a large mural of women picking strawberries. The strawberry connection is found in various little things around the pub, like a mural of The Beatles on the outside ("Strawberry Fields Forever"). The pub itself is named after the talisman strawberry which grew in the area. Service is excellent - polite, professional and quick. There was a choice of three Badger ales. Large outdoors seating area at the back, and a very large car park. We liked this place. We liked the ambience, the beer, and the food. And it was good value.

8 Oct 2016 12:11

The Cobweb Inn, Boscastle

This is the nearest pub to the car park. It's a converted warehouse which used to store (and unofficially sell) alcohol - getting its "Cobweb" name from the state it was in when it was officially converted into a bar in 1947. It's an OK place. Fairly practical and laid back, with a reasonable and mostly successful attempt at creating an atmosphere. There is a useful outdoor space, and three indoor areas - the first being fairly plain and canteen like, the middle room being sparse, but fairly pub like, and the third being fairly cellar like, and the one that perhaps has the most atmosphere.

Local beers sold, and meals offered at restricted times (check first). It is the better of the two pubs in lower Boscastle, though the beers we had (from the Tintagel brewery) were not in top condition.

13 Aug 2016 18:53

The Old Custom House Hotel, Padstow

Large and professionally run inn on Padstow harbour. This is a pub, restaurant and hotel, so does serve as an old fashioned inn. Service is professional, and the place is clean and well run. The main building is a large stone built custom house right on the corner, with two buildings on one side, and one on the other side, knocked through to create even more space. There is a good atmosphere, and the place is attractively decorated and furnished. A decent range of St Austell beers on offer. An OK place - one of several St Austell pubs in Padstow.

13 Aug 2016 17:35

The Fox and Hounds, Lyndhurst

Excellent Fuller's pub. Great food. Great service. Decent beer. Highly recommended.

28 Jun 2016 17:16

London Hotel, Southampton

Decent sized corner location pub with two separate areas off a room with island bar. Slightly worn, but acceptable. Cheapest beer in the area, bar Wetherspoon. Does food. Gay bar with drag acts. Two casks. OK place. Fairly average during the day, but appears from photos to become more distinctive in the evening when acts are on.

31 Jan 2016 12:14

The Grapes, Southampton

Proper pub with a good atmosphere and genuine character. Front area is high stools and wooden floor. Back bar is carpet and comfy seats. Quirky wrought iron horns or vine tendrils over front bar. Four casks. Beer is over £4 a pint.

31 Jan 2016 11:47

The White Star Tavern, Southampton

Large and well built corner location building. It is and feels like a cross between a hotel and a pub so the name Tavern feels appropriate. Several distinct open areas around a central bar. A mix of flag stone and solid oak flooring. Fire places and leather sofas. Opens early and does food all day. Children accepted. A comfy and pleasant place; upmarket but relaxed and informal
Over £4 for a pint. Regular beer is Itchen Valley White Star. Also does a changing cask - on my visit it was Landlord. The White Star was tired and not fresh. Overall a pleasant pub worth checking out if in the area, but it's nothing special, and beer cost and condition prohibits a strong recommendation

31 Jan 2016 11:29

Leopold Tavern, Southsea

Large and comfortable pub with a good atmosphere. Lots of casks on offer. I liked it and would be happy to visit again, especially as its on the very attractive and hip Albert Road. There's a feel and atmosphere of Brighton about this part of Portsmouth.

24 Jan 2016 23:10

The Marmion Tavern, Southsea

Clean and respectable but rather bland. The walls are painted a cool grey, and that sums the place up. It's OK, and it offered two casks, DoomBar and Dartmoor's Jail Ale. It's acceptable, and is not offensive, but it's not a place I can see myself returning to or recommending.

24 Jan 2016 22:59

The Hole in The Wall, Southsea

Lovely little pub full of charm, and really well cared for. Four casks available, including one behind the bar on gravity. No food on Saturday unless booked in advance. Quiet relaxed atmosphere. I like the snug at the back. Appears to always have Hole Hearted available. A really lovely place worth seeking out if in the area.

24 Jan 2016 22:54

The White Swan, Portsmouth

Knew this place when it was briefly a Wetherspoon, now it's part of the Brewhouse & Kitchen chain. The brewing equipment is near the entrance, and is not behind glass as with other brewpubs, which is nice. The smell of beer brewing wafts through the pub. Four casks on offer - all brewed on the premises, plus some kegs which I didn't look at. Does food. Breakfast for £5, and meals appear to start around the £8 mark. Nice ambiance with lots of wood and little knick knacks. I like the place, and the beers, while nothing special, were enjoyable. Worth looking into if you're in the area. Is it better than when it was a Wetherspoon? Hard to say. The prices have gone up. The only cask beers are those brewed in the pub, but it's also a positive that it brews its own beers, so that's a swings and roundabouts thing. Both are chains. The building is as attractive as it was before. I think it has an edge as something you might recommend to people, but is perhaps less flexible and less family friendly.

24 Jan 2016 22:44

The Park Tavern, Portsmouth

Proper old fashioned bloke's pub. No women or children or young men. Bit dark and gloomy inside, and looks like the place might close at any time. Central bar, with a small raised seating area at the front. This is a corner location pub that is completely surrounded by the next door Wetherspoon. No food offered. No cask ales available. Loud music playing. In its own way I found the place likeable and with some character. There is such an old fashioned feel about the place. You can image sailors have been coming here for years. The contrast with the modern Wetherspoons that envelopes it is interesting. There is something somehow symbolic about the relationship.

24 Jan 2016 12:57

The Trafalgar, Portsmouth

Large and complex 'Spoon, which completely surrounds the Park Tavern pub next door. Seating is on several levels, and there are various nooks and crannies, with a range of seating options. Good mix of customers - young, middle aged and old, with families and couple, mothers and daughters, friends sharing a drink. Nice, laid back atmosphere, and the place clean, well kept, and with the appearance of being recently refurbished. Has something of a cocktail bar or nightclub about it. Lots of high stools, and bright colours, for example. A bit limited on the range of beers. Quite likeable.

24 Jan 2016 12:53

The Wagon Works, Eastleigh

One of those rare Wetherspoons, a conversion of a proper pub. There is still some sense of the original pub; the interior has been knocked through creating a decent sized L-shaped room. The bay windows have been partly blocked so only the sky is visible, which is a shame, but so be it. Eight casks on offer. Lacks character and charm, but is ok.

14 Jun 2015 14:20

The Hobbit, Southampton

Great fun. Hobbit themed pub with oodles of atmosphere. Enter on street level, and then descend three floors to a massive beer garden where live bands play and burgers are on sale. Hugely popular with students and the young at heart.

Attracted publicity when Stephen Fry and Ian McKellen offered to pay the costs when the pub was faced with a copyright infringement claim from the owner of marketing rights to Tolkien's works.

No proper food offered, and real ale selection not exciting (pub focuses on Hobbit themed cocktails), the pub's main charm is the great atmosphere. This is a rare gem, and well worth a visit.

15 Apr 2015 18:21

The Avenue, Southampton

Slightly rough and ready back street boozer. What would have been originally a small one or two room pub has been extended though to the back in a series of quirky rooms which offer interesting nooks and crannies. There is the option of sitting out the back or the front - neither are very attractive or pleasant options, but at least you can sit in the fresh air.

The rooms are fairly basic and it has the feel of a student pub with modest decor and furniture. The room right at the back, past the toilets, is the billiard table room. Three cask ales on offer. Doom Bar is the regular, with two or three guests from such as Sharps, Black Sheep, St. Austell and Purity. Prices are good - on my visit it was £3 a pint.

Food not offered - just as well, it's not a clean looking place. Good for crisps and a pint of beer, but little more than that. Barman very friendly and pleasant. Loud punk music played in the main bar on our visit. We sat out in the rear beer garden which does catch the sun.

15 Apr 2015 17:53

The Swan, Woolston

Black and off-putting from the outside, quite light, airy and friendly on the inside. Squashed onto a long narrow stretch of land between the main Southampton to Portsmouth road and the main Southampton to Portsmouth railway line, this is also nicely placed for ending a walk along the Itchen Way. Two cask ales from a local brewery available on our visit.

Clean and tidy; perhaps lacking a bit in atmosphere and character, but a decent pub with friendly locals.

10 Apr 2015 13:49

The Station Hotel, Bitterne Park

Large Victorian corner location pub which is claimed to have been built around 1880 to serve the nearby station which opened in 1866. The Cobden Bridge Brewery which appears to have first owned it, opened in 1890, and the first buildings in the area, other than the station, were built in 1890, so perhaps there was a mistake in the date?

The Cobden Bridge Brewery was bought by Fullers in 1898, who sold the pub to Courage in 1920. The Spirit Group acquired the pub in 2003, and currently run it under the John Barras brand.

It is a solid building, but the original brickwork has been covered in render, and rather ugly and distracting blue signs have been put up, so the sense of the pub's past has been lost. Inside all the downstairs rooms have been knocked into one, and extended into what appears to have been originally a separate building at a slightly lower level - this is now used as the family dining area, though children (and eating) are allowed in all areas. There is some sense of the original Victorian hotel left in little places - the large windows, the door entrances, etc, but mainly what is left is a large space. When there are not many customers this can feel a little hollow and lacking in atmosphere, but when people turn up, there's a warm buzz of conversation.

Board games are provided for children, but they are missing many parts, and most are due for replacement. Two cask ales: the regular Hobgoblin, and a guest, which on our visit would have been Speckled Hen, but it was off. Background music is not too loud, and on our visit was varied and pleasant, including music by Curtis Mayfield. Food is fairly standard pub grub, but we waited a disproportionate amount of time for our order on a quiet afternoon, and it had to be chased up. One plate was cold, and the food on it was rapidly cooling.

Overall an OK pub. There's nothing much to commend it, but nothing here to put people off. If waiting here for a train, be cautious about ordering food.

10 Apr 2015 11:26

The Bugle Inn Hotel, Botley

Standing opposite to the Dolphin, this is an older, more traditional looking coaching inn, built in the 1600s. It still retains the feel of a traditional pub inside. On the left is a dining room, and on the right is a pub room with a fireplace, and a gloomy interior. I found it quite charming, but also just a little depressing. On my visit there was only one other customer, whereas the other two pubs in the village were quite busy.

Four casks on offer, including one from the brewery in the village, Botley Berry. This was either poorly made, infected, badly kept, or off. It inclined more toward cider than beer. The barman had vanished out the back, and was taking his time to return, and I was in a hurry, so I left the beer, and left the pub. These things do happen from time to time in pubs, but it wasn't an encouraging experience. I think this place has much to offer, and I'd be happy to try again for lunch.

Botley is an interesting looking village, and the three pubs are all acceptable, and serve food. Being close to the Hedge End shopping complex, any of them would be OK for a quick lunch before shopping. But not for anything special. The Dolphin is probably the most down to earth and family friendly, the Bugle the most upmarket and characterful, and the Brewery Bar the freshest and cleanest looking.

29 Mar 2015 08:02

The Brewery Bar, Botley

A traditional pub that still has the memory of that inside, though is kitted out more like a cafe or restaurant, with small dining tables laid out, each ready with knives and forks. They don't look inviting to sit at to spend a relaxing few hours, and are geared up to be functional for eating a meal and then leaving. The pub does have live bands fairly frequently.

The area near the front door is more pub like, with locals sitting at the bar, and a table by the window which is more suited just for sitting at and drinking. A couple of guest ales on offer as well as a cask cider. An acceptable place for lunch, being clean and light, but does lack character and comfort.

Botley is an interesting looking village, and the three pubs are all acceptable, and serve food. Being close to the Hedge End shopping complex, any of them would be OK for a quick lunch before shopping. But not for anything special. The Dolphin is probably the most down to earth and family friendly, the Bugle the most upmarket and characterful, and the Brewery Bar the freshest and cleanest looking.

29 Mar 2015 07:49

Dolphin, Botley

Wonderful building - an imposing 3 storey Georgian (built sometime in the 1700s) edifice which has been listed. This was originally a coaching hotel. There's plenty of space inside providing comfortable seating, though much of it is a little worn and basic. The bar has been knocked through to create a long space extending almost to the back. The only windows are at the front, so the impression is more of an airless working men's club or holiday park entertainment's bar. This is compounded by the pub being a Greene King Hungry Horse serving value for money chips and stodge. It is difficult to tell what are original features, and what is fake. The exposed beams are fake, and are not in keeping with the age or style of the building. It is a pity the interior does not match the expectations of the exterior.

I found the pub to be the most comfortable and spacious of the three in Botley, but once inside, the least attractive. The beer is the cheapest in town. There were three cask pumps, but only two were on - Abbot and IPA. The IPA was drinkable, but wasn't cool and wasn't fresh. The pub says it has WiFi, but I couldn't find it on my phone during my visit.

Botley is an interesting looking village, and the three pubs are all acceptable, and serve food. Being close to the Hedge End shopping complex, any of them would be OK for a quick lunch before shopping. But not for anything special. The Dolphin is probably the most down to earth and family friendly, the Bugle the most upmarket and characterful, and the Brewery Bar the freshest looking.

28 Mar 2015 19:46

The Junction Inn, St Denys

Cracking pub. Good community pub full of life and character, and welcoming to all. 4 Greene King ales plus 4 changing local ales are on offer. Plus a large range of bottled beers, both Greene King and local. Great value for money meal deals. Great atmosphere and ambiance. The pub has a traditional feel, with original etched windows indicating the original rooms: Public, Bottle & Jug, Private, and Saloon. These have now been merged into one long horseshoe shaped space, which is like two large spaces joined by a curving, narrow banana shaped space. A recent fire has allowed the landlord to refurbish in a sympathetic but imaginative manner, keeping partitions and little nooks, but using a lighter wood, to give a cleaner, lighter look. There is a rare bar billiards table, and an excellent beer garden with children’s play area overlooking the railway line. There is much to like here. And almost next door is the South Western Arms with 10 casks on offer. Considered together these two make one of the best beer destinations in Southampton, second only to the Platform Tavern (which is a brewpub).

27 Mar 2015 17:58

The South Western, St Denys

Outside it looks like a traditional railway station pub, inside it’s a bit like a Hobgoblin pub - lots of wood, painted walls, leather sofas, and a modern student feel. There’s an upstairs room with pool and football tables. Lots of focus on the beers with around 10 on offer, including a house ale, Nellie’s Nob, which is a rebadge of Bowman’s Yumi. Holds beer festivals. Friendly customers, which on our Friday afternoon visit were mostly young males. This has a lot more life, character, and interest than the Guide Dog. As it’s almost next door to the Junction Inn, the two can be visited together. I am more inclined to the Junction Inn as it does food, is more family orientated, and has more of a traditional pub look and feel, but there will be those who prefer this place. Considered together these two make one of the best beer destinations in Southampton, second only to the Platform Tavern (which has its own brewpub).

27 Mar 2015 17:55

Linden Tree, Lowford, Bursledon

I'm new to the Southampton area, and still exploring the pubs. I'm finding that Wadworths pubs are pretty good. They tend to be well run, and with lots of character. The Wadworth's beers are to my taste, and sometimes there'll be guest ales. This is fairly typical. A very pleasant characterful place. Real fire in the corner, cats and a dog in the bar. Lots of wood. Everything clean and in good shape. No guest ales on my visit, but apparently they do sometimes put one on. However, there were four casks of Wadsworths ales available, which is plenty enough.

I like the place, and could see myself popping in here for Sunday lunch, or lunch before doing shopping in the nearby Tesco. But they no longer do food - not even rolls. The pub is apparently busy enough that they don't need the food trade, and they don't find it profitable enough. That's a real shame for me as it's too far to be my local, and without food on offer or a frequently changing guest ale or a nice location, or some other special draw, other than being pleasant, I doubt I'll be visiting again.

This is, essentially, a pleasant locals pub. If you're close by, it's worth a visit, but if you're more than a mile away, then the Cottage Inn in Butlocks Heath is also a Wadworths, and has a lot of character, and does food. Or go to Hamble-le-Rice, which is a pleasant village with a good selection of pubs to choose from.

25 Mar 2015 03:43

The Obelisk, Southampton

Traditional, large, corner location two bar pub with a conservatory addition. Traditional front lounge, with a games room at the side/back. Large beer garden with play equipment. Serves up to five cask ales. Three regulars and up to two guests.

Pub is in a quiet. well-to-do residential area of Woolston, and has great potential. It closed in 2011, and reopened a year later with great ambitions, and publicity regarding a revamped menu. Something happened somewhere along the line, as there is no longer any food served, and there's an air of neglect about the place. It could do with a lick of paint, and the ash trays emptied. The atmosphere is friendly enough, though the pub appears to no longer have ambitions to appeal to families. Loud music is played all day, with live bands in the evenings. Notices warn about searches for weapons. There are plus and minus points, though on the whole I don't feel the pub meets its potential.

8 Mar 2015 14:41

The Northcote, Clapham Junction

Popped in for a pee on my way home from the Royal Oak. Ireland v England game on, and the place is packed. Great atmosphere. Stayed for a beer and a bite, and watched the end of the match. Liked the place.

3 Mar 2015 14:34

The Chapel Arms, Southampton

Basic, slightly tatty pub in an unattractive area with no shops or housing, but close to the Saints stadium, so absolutely heaving on match days with home and away supporters. Normally no cask beer, but two gravity casks available on match days. I liked the atmosphere when visiting before the Saints v Liverpool game, but I can't see myself coming here at any other time.

22 Feb 2015 19:07

Royal Oak, Southampton

Large and functional pub. Plenty of seating. Horseshoe bar with plenty of staff. One cask on my visit (after a Saints v Liverpool match), and that was the dull Doombar, but at least there's something. Free wifi. TV screens. Quite basic, but does the job.

22 Feb 2015 18:59

The West End Brewery, West End

Family friendly Greene King pub. Fairly recent build, though interior has a traditional pub feel. Place appears very popular - on our Friday afternoon half term visit the place was packed. Has a holiday camp social club feel, with a solidly working class clientele. Three Greene King cask ales, and a range of meal deals on offer, including kids meals. Veggie options are very limited. Food is aimed at being filling rather than healthy or tasty, but it is what it is.

20 Feb 2015 13:58

Plough Inn, Southampton

Basic lower working class family pub. Be aware that the food is basic convenience grub, the sort of thing you warm up in the oven during the week when you haven't got time to cook. It is what it is, and while not being good value is cheap enough. There's a reasonable choice for vegetarians with veggie sausage and mash and all day veggie breakfast. Meals are around £7, but there are selected deals as low as £5 if two meals are bought. Geared to families, there is an attractive kids menu, with some choices available for 99p. But as the target clientele is working class families, expect plenty of sugar and stodge and sweeties on the menu. There is a kids play area outside.

Cask ale is offered, such as Doom Bar, but it was all off on our visit. And the veggie sausages were also not available. But the place was clean and tidy with plenty of seating inside and out. Kids run around and music plays, so don't expect a quiet or intimate experience. It is what it is, and it does it reasonably well. My 5 year old daughter liked it, and I can see us returning, especially in the summer.

14 Feb 2015 14:02

The Tilly Shilling, Farnborough

Named after Beatrice (Tilly) Shilling, a female engineer who solved a defect in Spitfires which had caused them to cut out while diving. The pubs is in a modern building, and has a clean, no nonsense modern layout, with a particular focus on Spitfires. The feel is more hotel lobby than pub, with rather plush seating. The size and shape of the seating causes some problems moving around and getting in and out of tables. Beer range is slightly below average. Service is quick and friendly, and the food was above average.

An OK Wertherspoon, not too far from the M3 for a quick pit stop.

13 Feb 2015 17:05

The Victory, Hamble

Well run and well kept traditional pub. Flagstone floor and exposed beams, with an abundance of interesting marine knick knacks on the walls to look at. Four cask ales: Ringwood Best and FortyNiner, DoomBar, and Thwaites Bomber. Good selection of food at reasonable prices. We had the lunchtime jacket potatoes - nicely done and attractively served. Pub is on two levels and is pleasantly roomy. Nice ambiance. Great service. Recommended. As Hamble village is very attractive, this is a pub worth making a detour for.

12 Feb 2015 14:23

The Jubilee, Norwich

Awesome pub. Good range of Norfolk beers, with beer gift packs and t-shirts available. Does snacks. Mainly a locals pub, and a damn good one. If you only visit one pub in Norwich, try this one.

10 Feb 2015 11:24

The Coach and Horses, Norwich

Nice pub. Brews its own beers, but on my visit they were not very good. I've had one of the same beers at a beer festival, and it was OK. Perhaps it was dirty pipes, or just an off-day in the brewery. But there was a distinct feel of poor quality home brew about the beers.

10 Feb 2015 10:23

Duke of Wellington, Southampton

Corner location pub in the ancient part of Southampton. Exposed beams, yet high ceiling. Dark and characterful, yet with the atmosphere of a hotel lobby. Clean and tidy. Seven Wadworth casks on offer. An OK pub I'd be happy to visit again and again.

9 Feb 2015 19:14

The Platform Tavern, Southampton

This is my sort of pub. In my exploration of pubs in Southampton, this one so far best suits me. The place is full of charm and quirks. There's a range of seating, including a comfy sofa beside the open fire. Lots of quirky knick-knacks. African masks, etc. Children are welcome. Decent range of good value meals, including plentiful veggie options (all day veggie breakfast for £5.50) It has it's own microbrewery, the Dancing Man, and it offers local beers as well as something or other from the ex major Hampshire brewery Gales (brand now owned by Fullers). The pint of pretzels is also a great idea. Live music, free newspapers, and a good ambiance. Plenty of character, good beers, good food, free newspapers, live music, an open fire, it's own beers brewed on the premises, children welcome. Yep, this is my sort of place.

9 Feb 2015 18:05

The Barleycorn, Hedge End

The only pub in Hedge End, this is a Greene King pub which offers six casks, several of which are guest ales not from within the Greene King family.

It's a solid, well run pub. Food is limited - it's a Greene King menu which doesn't offer much if you don't like meat or chilli. though there is a haloumi sandwich. There would originally have been three rooms - these have now been knocked through to create a roughly horseshoe shape around the central bar. There is a beer garden, accessed through the well used covered smoking area. On a cold day sitting near the smoking area is not advised, as the door will frequently be opened, letting in the cold. The serving staff are keen to please and to encourage more custom, though it felt a little artificial and forced. Bar flies hang around the pump handles so it is difficult to see what is on offer - though they are friendly enough, and will make way.

All in all a decent pub. A good place to have a drink and some lunch when shopping in the Hedge End area.

27 Jan 2015 19:04

The Admiral Sir Lucius Curtis, Southampton

Solid high ceilinged Victorian building, formally dock offices. Slightly smaller inside than appears outside, and smaller than the average Spoon. The smallest and most characterful of the three cental Southampton Spoons. Clean and tidy, there's an intimate and pleasant atmosphere. Slightly less guest selection than the average Spoon on our visit. Quite likeable.

25 Jan 2015 13:08

Victoria, Southampton

Somewhat stranded on the boundary of the redevelopment of the old Thornycroft works, the Victoria is a down to earth locals pub. The pub business appears to have started at the same time as the Thornycroft works were built, though the building may have existed as two residential houses which were then converted into a pub. The entrance to the works were next to the pub, and the wall around the works indented inwards to accommodate the pub. Part of this wall still remains on the street to the left of the pub. The outside appearance is off-putting. There is little sign of activity, and the place often looks closed. Given that a number of shops opposite the pub are closed or struggling, and a cafe building has been part demolished and abandoned, the impression given is that this is a very rough area. The England flag painted on the outside of the pub may give the impression that this is a pub intolerant of those not English, and that coupled with the scruffy depressed state of the street and the uninviting exterior, may not encourage everyone to visit.

I was surprised when I entered by how packed the place was, how welcoming it is, and that a locally brewed cask ale was on offer. It is rough and ready, and on my visit was predominantly occupied by middle aged to older men loudly watching football. The place is well worn, and is in need of a refurbishment, so is not the place to come for a meal, or bring your wife or children. But it welcomes dogs. On my visit there were several dogs. And other visitors have remarked on that as well.

This is not a pretty pub, but it has a warm vibrancy and it has character. I don't know how welcoming it would be to everyone, and I prefer pubs that are open, liberal, and cosmopolitan, but I saw no evidence that this pub would be unwelcoming. It's a down to earth working class, mainly male orientated pub. It's walking distance from my house, so I may well find myself in here from time to time to check out what cask beer they have on.

15 Jan 2015 11:00

Yacht Tavern, Woolston

Two room pub - traditional public bar and lounge. Near to the river, yet also on a small industrial estate. There's a certain riverside charm about the pub and the location, but there's also the ugliness of the light industry. The pub itself is quite decent. The clientèle are normal folk - friendly and relaxed. There are live bands in the evening, and there is a sense of community about the pub. But there's a lack of charm and character about the place. It's OK - a solid pub. But there's nothing special enough to make it stand out. From what I've seen so far, it's the best pub in Woolston; though, to be fair, that's not a difficult achievement. There's food at lunch time and in the evening.Good prices and good value pub grub with veggie options. Two cask ales. Looks like Doom Bar is the regular with a guest ale as back up. The guest ale wasn't as crisp and fresh as it could be, so I suspect there may not be enough interest in cask to sustain two pumps. If you're in the Woolston area, this is the pub to head for, but if you're not in the area, then it's probably not worth making a detour for.

9 Jan 2015 06:46

The New Inn, Tadley

Recommended by a local, this is a pleasant, friendly and welcoming pub. Serves DoomBar plus a guest ale. Place is well kept and comfortable, with a genuine pub feel about it. Children welcome - indeed, the barmaid was very friendly and chatty with my five year old daughter. If I lived in the area, this would be my pub of choice.

9 Jan 2015 06:43

Cottage Inn, Southampton

Lovely country pub. Central bar serves several rooms full of nooks and crannies and redolent with character and atmosphere. Three cask ales from the very decent Wadworth brewery, with assorted rolls (£1 each) or hot meals depending on time of day. Good friendly, laid back ambiance. Child friendly Best pub I've yet come across in the Southampton area. This is going to be most people's idea of what a British country pub should be. Worth seeking out.

8 Jan 2015 18:27

The Mitre, Portswood

Large, dingy, and low standard Greene King "Meet & Eat" pub on the main shopping street of Portswood in Southampton. It's large, with mixed seating areas in a mainly open plan around a central bar. Service was grumpy and unpleasant, and there was a long wait for the veggie burger at a non busy time.
Two cask ales, IPA and the seasonal special, Rocking Rudolph. Quiet background music clientele on our visit was mothers and children and the older unemployed who talked loudly, often using the word fuck in all its variants. Dogs welcome. Not a pub I'll be likely to use again, and I struggle to find a reason to recommend it.

2 Jan 2015 14:37

The Red Lion, Bitterne

Prominently located in Bitterne shopping centre. A traditional pub that serves the older locals very well. Sign outcome says children not welcome, but on asking we were allowed in the back dining room. Typical pub/cafe food - quite edible, but don't expect posh grub. Service was a little frosty at start, but quickly warmed up. Ales are Courage Best and Directors. Nice looking sheltered beer garden at the rear. This is a busy and well run pub, though does lack a bit of character. I'm happy to come here again, though it's not a place to detour to.

1 Jan 2015 14:56

The Standing Order, Southampton

Large and busy. Unremarkable interior. Good staff. Selection rather disappointing. Giddy Bridge is better for beer range and ambiance.

1 Jan 2015 14:46

The Hop Inn, Southampton

Corner location 1930's red brick pub. Nice homely feel to this locals pub. Place is smaller inside than appears from outside. Decor is tired and rather like your nan's house. It has its charm, but will appeal mainly to the elderly - who are the only other customers on my visit. No food - just crisps, apart from Wednesday evening, when there is a curry night. Three casks - Doom, HSB, and a Bowman. Free wifi - password is behind the bar. I quite like the place, but its charms are limited, and - other than being an outlet for the excellent Bowman beers, I wouldn't recommend you to go out of your way to come here; but if you're in the area, then yes, drop in.

1 Dec 2014 13:25

The Guide Dog, Bevois Valley

Single room back street pub - rather plain, with some off-putting carpet, and lacking in charm, but homely enough. This place is all about the beer range. Seven to nine casks. It's not a place to bring the family or the kids or your wife or girlfriend. It's a place to come to sample a few beers, and perhaps have a chat with fellow men. It's friendly enough and quite harmless, but if you're not interested in ticking beers, then it's unlikely to be the pub for you. Simple rolls and bags of crisps for food.

19 Nov 2014 00:33

The Bellemoor, Southampton

The treacle pudding and custard is awesome. Worth coming here just for that.

I note that the pub normally does four cask ales, and has put on a few hundred different ones over the past couple of years. This is a pub that is worth coming back to.

16 Nov 2014 18:00

The Bellemoor, Southampton

Clean and pleasant family pub near Southampton Common. Relaxed atmosphere with music softly playing in the background. Staff friendly and helpful. Does a range of cask ales - the two on our visit were Ringwood Best Bitter and 49er. Four cheap Sunday roasts plus a veggie version which is a crispy bean burger plus veg and veggie gravy. It was edible and cheap. Pub is ok. I'd be happy to visit again. It's not a special pub, but if you're in the area and the Cowsherd is full, this is ok.

16 Nov 2014 13:56

The Bridge, Southampton

Large Marston's roadside pub near the roundabout leading to the Itchen Toll Bridge into Southampton. It's a little run down. It no longer does food, and there's an air of neglect about the large echoing back room, which has a stage and dance floor. Pool table and large TV screens in the front room. Two cask ales on offer - Pedigree and BoonDoggle. Decent condition. Children welcome. Smokers use the entrance lobby on damp days.

The place is not attractive, comfortable or charming, but it does serve beer, and is not offensive.

6 Nov 2014 02:54

The Prince of Wales, Chatham

My wife had a works party in here and reported back to me that cask ale was again being offered. So I popped in. The place was packed. Seven cask ales on offer, with a large clear list behind the bar showing beer name, abv and price. Very useful. There's the big name brands, plus offerings from small breweries, and the pub company's own beer Crawler, which is a rebadge of Tetley's Gold.

The pub is currently owned by Stonegate Pub Company - a pub company that emerged in 2010 when investment company TDR Capital bought 333 lower end pubs from M&B. In 2011 they merged with Town & City Pub Company, acquiring Yates and Slu and Lettuce.

There is an assured feel about the running of this pub. The place is in good condition, well organised, and very popular. The upatairs has been opened up, and even that was packed.

Food is typical pub chain grub at average pub chain prices - nothing special, and no great deals, and little for vegetarians, so not for me. But I do like the beer selection, and the condition was good.

Previously I had rated this place 3, but it's now worth a 6.

4 Oct 2014 16:30

Old Post Office, Chatham

This place has been closed for over a year.

4 Oct 2014 16:13

Talk of the Town, Leysdown on Sea

Low key, unpretentious, good time, working class pub. large and functional with lots of clear glass windows. Feels more like a caravan park club house than a pub, though here in Leysdown on a sunny afternoon on the beach, it fits perfectly. No cask ales, and cheap chip based meals only at lunchtimes; the outside is a concrete jungle; the slightly too loud music playing constantly; but if you're in the mood it's the right pub.

2 Sep 2014 10:09

Woodins Shades, Liverpool Street

Popular Nicholson's corner location pub with seven casks and some "craft" keg. Crowded. Was a wine bar from 1863 until converted to a pub. OK.

28 Aug 2014 10:34

The West Quay, Brighton

Oct/Nov 2012. Gothic styling. Good views. Reclaimed and carved wood. Interesting. Standard Wetherspoon food and beer selection.

28 Aug 2014 10:18

The Borough Arms, Wootton Bassett

Visited March 2012. Pub called Royal Inn. Great pub. I have fond memories of our visit, as I drank all the cask and keg beers on offer, and the landlord gave me a bottle of Arkells beer and branded beer glass. Good value food. And it was the only pub in Wootton Bassett that was doing food AND allowed in children during our lunchtime visit to the town. Shame to hear it has now closed.

27 Aug 2014 19:54

The Bloomsbury Tavern, Bloomsbury

Narrow corner location Sheps pub in that vague area between Bloomsbury and Covent Garden. Plenty of wood but somehow a bland, ordinary feel. Pipped music, no atmosphere, limited selection of indifferent quality pub grub. Three Sheps casks on offer. There's nothing downright bad about the place, but as there are better pubs in the area I see to reason to come back.

27 Aug 2014 19:39

The Wentworth Arms, Mile End

Great East End back street boozer that survived the blitz. No cask, but great atmosphere.

27 Aug 2014 19:32

The Blue Anchor, Hammersmith

Thames side pub near Hammersmith Bridge. The outside seating area is on the pavement. There are parasols, but even so it can get a little hot there. We sat inside in the back room. This was very pleasant on a hot day to sit in the cool and shade. The pub is quite small, and fairly ordinary, though offers four casks ales from smaller, less well known breweries. We tried three, and all were in excellent condition. They have lots of wood, and some comfy leather sofas, and there's a pleasant laid back atmosphere. We enjoyed being there, though it's not a pub that I would especially urge people to visit, it served us well enough. We last visited this area a year ago, and drank and ate in the Youngs pub, the Old Ship. That is a larger, more professional place. There's more seating, and more choice of seating, there's greenery around, the terrace is shaded and off the pavement and slightly elevated so you get a better view of the river. But the prices are higher, and the beer choice is limited to Youngs.. At the end of the day, we couldn't say which pub we preferred - both have their charms. For lower prices and better choice of beer, here. For better and more comfortable views of the river, the Old Ship.

23 Jun 2014 11:40

George Hotel, Romney Marsh

Large hotel building with a formal hotel entrance lobby with signs pointing to the lounge bar, which does have its own street entrance. It does feel more like a hotel bar than a pub, and that is made worse by some unfortunate 70s style mock Tudor decorations.

Four casks on offer from the main breweries. I had Bombardier, which was in good condition. Food is around £8 a meal. Nice relaxed atmosphere, and an engaging landlady who works hard to ensure everyone is happy.

23 May 2014 00:38

The Steam Coach, Boxmoor

A charming traditional pub overlooking the green. The cosy rooms have been knocked through but not completely, so there is still a sense of separate spaces while creating a light airy feel. It's a Greene King pub so there's Abbott, Hen and IPA, but there's also a guest - Hooky on my visit, which was fresh and cool. A decent little pub with a mixed clientèle.

23 May 2014 00:27

The Turf Tavern, Oxford

Returned to the Turf. Not quite so charmed this time. Still love it, and it's a must visit place in Oxford, but somehow the second visit is not so impressive as the first. The food menu is quite limited, but you can get a £5 off voucher from the pub's website.

18 Apr 2014 18:57

The Lion Inn, Winchcombe

Also: it does four casks, including from the hard to find local Winchcombe brewery Goffs, and from other local breweries, such as Stamway.

18 Apr 2014 17:05

The North End Vaults, Gloucester

Tidy pub. Clean. Nicely modernised. Bare brick walls, wood floors. Cool feel to the place. Almost too cool - edges toward a Seattle coffee bar in looks and ambiance - but just remains a pub. Does veggie pies and jacket potatoes.

Three casks: ESB, and - on my visit - Dartmoor Jail Ale and Wye Valley HPA. A good Sunday morning pub.

18 Apr 2014 16:55

The Lion Inn, Winchcombe

Good modernisation - keeps some of the flavour and character of the wood and stone of the original 17th c. pub, but cleans it up and makes it all lighter and modern. It does feel clean and trendy and upmarket. Food orientated, but not to the exclusion of basic beer drinkers (who might turn into diners). We liked this place.

18 Apr 2014 16:49

The Queens Head, Stow on the Wold

Decent pub. Wood and stone. Stone floor. Three Donnington beers (local and traditional and hard to find outside of Gloucester, but quite unremarkable). A nice beer garden. Relaxed atmosphere. Nice landlord.

In in all a decent place, though somehow it lacks something. There's pubs like this all over the place, and this has nothing to really make it stand out. However, I quite liked it. I wouldn't recommend it, and next time I'm in Stow I'd like to try some of the other pubs, but I would be quite happy to come back here.

18 Apr 2014 16:44

The Trout Inn, Wolvercote

Awesome location. Beer choice is limited: Brakspear Bitter and Doom Bar, but the setting is simply wonderful - just on the edge of Oxford's water meadows, with the dreaming spires in the distance. There's been a sympathetic modern extension which recreates the feel of the original 17th c. building so you are not jolted when you transfer from one to the other.

Spacious and over-staffed so even when busy (which appears to be most of the time) it has a relaxed feel. You would, however, need to book in advance or arrive early if you wanted a meal.

There are minor flaws regarding the beer selection, and the inconsistency of staff attentiveness, but this is a damn fine pub, and a must visit place.

18 Apr 2014 16:08

Walnut Tree, Great Waltham

A good local's pub. Three casks on offer. Morland Bitter, Leeds Best, and Greene King IPA. The Morland was nice. The pub was OK. very friendly, and the locals told us to go to the Pig and Whistle for a meal, as it was better than the Rose and Crown, and was the same distance to walk.

18 Apr 2014 14:56

Leather Bottle, Pleshey

Very quiet. The landlord was on his own reading the newspaper, and he said he'd had few customers all day. He had the best beer selection of the pubs in the area - four casks. We were very excited to see three non-standard beers, two Mighty Oak, and one Chelmsford, so we said we'd have them all. The fourth was Greene King IPA, and we didn't mean that (of course), but our instruction was "we'll have them all", so that is what we got. We sat in the pleasant but plain beer garden, and were shortly joined by two cyclists. The pub has bands in the evening. Coming up: WE B40. Wonderful! It was a nice pub, and had the best beer selection - but as it was so quiet I don't think we saw it at its best.

18 Apr 2014 14:44

Rose and Crown, Great Waltham

Roadside pub. Three casks. Nice. Loads of old people. Food all day. OK place. More popular and ever so slightly better than the Beehive, but only just.

18 Apr 2014 14:18

Fountain Inn, Gloucester

Naff place. Plus points is that it offers seven casks, many from local breweries, it has a wonderful fireplace, and it had a relaxed outside area. Minus points are lack of atmosphere, tasteless decor with working mens club carpet, piped music a tad too loud and of questionable choice, and naff staff.

13 Apr 2014 17:41

The Royal Victoria and Bull, Dartford

I love this place. Historic coaching inn where Treverick, no less, lived for two years. Indeed, he died here. The place had been sympathetically refurbished, keeping the original character, with various rooms and nooks and grannies, but also making good use of the courtyard by glassing it over and creating a central bar area. Only one cask on my visit. Broadside. But in good condition.

4 Apr 2014 13:08

The Flying Boat, Dartford

Large, clean, and bright JDW. Decent place.

4 Apr 2014 12:56

The Argyll Arms, Oxford Circus

I was rather off hand when I reviewed this place back in 2005. I have been back a few more times, and while it may not be the place to cuddle up in a corner and spend all day. having chatty and friendly conversations with other customers and staff, it is what it is: a busy and popular central London pub. It does have a somewhat spectacular interior. one this will impress friends and family. And the beer selection is quite decent - generally four or five interesting guests selected from a range of small breweries. On this visit - a family group having lunch after visiting Hamleys with my five year daughter for her to select her birthday presents - it served us very well. We went upstairs to the dinning room - a place I not previously seen. It is a cosy room - small, yet with the tables and chairs arranged comfortably. The most popular seats are by the window - but we were very happy on the middle tables - pulling them together to fit our party. It is waiter service in this room, though that appears to add nothing to price, which is as expected for pub food in central London. The meal was OK, though portions were a little small. The waiter didn't seem happy that we preferred to go downstairs to order our beer. Not quite sure why this was a bother to him. Nor, why he was concerned that we were picking up the menu ourselves rather than waiting for it to be brought over. He was nice enough, though, and brought our daughter some crayons and drawing paper. He forgot to bring a small plate for her, but no worries, we always carry one just in case.

Last time I rated this place a 4. That was rather mean. It is clearly an above average pub that you should visit. It does tasty pub food, and offers a good range of interesting beers. It is clean and comfortable. What it lacks is the right charm and ambiance, but the other factors more than compensate for that.

30 Mar 2014 23:05

The White Horse, Pleshey


30 Mar 2014 21:19

The Pig and Whistle, Chignal Smealey

Pig and Whistle is a very well run pub. No smelly carpet. Everything clean, sparkling, and in good order. Lots of interesting knick-knacks - mostly pig related. The pub feels old, and feels like a proper pub, though it has been opened up a bit, and has rather smart dining rooms. It's clearly aiming for the gasto-pub clientèle, and getting it. There is an air of sophistication about the place. Busy, but calm and relaxed. The food was very good, with decent sized portions. And they made me a special veggie option which wasn't on the menu. It's a Sheps pub, with only one cask available on the night - Spitfire. It was Zelie's favourite pub. But we both agreed the Beehive was the one where we had most fun. Zelie had been picking the presents at random from a bag - and she got the order just right - pulling out the chocolates at this, the last one!

30 Mar 2014 21:16

The Beehive, Great Waltham

Friendly, down to earth pub. A little scruffy and basic, but nice friendly landlord. Only two beers on offer, IPA and Abbott, but the beers were well kept, and the place has bar billiards, and it was the start of the day so we were excited. We had a good time here at the start of our five pub country walk.

30 Mar 2014 21:12

The Midland, Hemel Hempstead

Good local pub. Decent Thai food at reasonable prices (either £5 or £6 depending on your choice), all home cooked. There's also chips and pies and other pub grub. Beer selection is poor - all keg, but Guinness is always a satisfactory reserve in pubs like this. It's a solid Victorian railway hotel pub, so quite large, and with an additional room built on the side, with lots of car parking space, and an outside eating area, it's a flexible and roomy space. The atmosphere is laid back and friendly. Clientèle tend to be middle aged and older, and the feeling generated is like a working man's club or a large family house, with people wandering around chatting to each other, and occasionally swapping tables to chat with different groups.

While the pub is not in itself charming or interesting, and the beer selection is off-putting, and the food, while cheap and decent, is not for special occasions or romantic dates, the pub's general atmosphere and tidy appearance make it an acceptable stop for lunch if in the area.

27 Jan 2014 14:22

County Hotel, Ashford

Large roomy Wetherspoon with a pleasant back room. Limited range of guest ales considering the size. pleasant enough.

11 Jan 2014 14:13

The Red Lion, Leytonstone

Large pub serving decent range of cask and keg beers. Good place to come. Good atmosphere. Large space out the back. Worth coming to even if not in the area.

11 Jan 2014 13:10

The George, Bexley Village

Greene King pub - IPA, Hen, St Edmunds. Does OK food. Large, clean, recentky refurbished, and comfortable - but feels empty and hollow. No atmosphere or character. The Kings Head is the top pub in Bexley. The Tavern, though smelly and indifferent, has a range of cask ales - this has nothing much going for it, other than its inoffensive.

10 Jan 2014 17:42

The Kings Head, Bexley

Great old fashioned pub in listed building. Abbot, IPA and one guest. Good value food. Great pub.

10 Jan 2014 17:31

The Hogshead, South Woodford

Slug & Lettuce. Bland bar with above average food prices and a limited selection if you don't like curry. Mostly keg lager. Has London Pride, but it had run out on our visit.

10 Jan 2014 14:57

The New Flying Horse, Wye

Three Shepherd Neame ales. Stunning beer garden. Nice country pub.

10 Jan 2014 14:47

The Albion Taverna, Faversham

This is a pleasant Sheps pub by the creek and in sight of the brewery. Attractive white weather-boarding with black doors and windows. The inside is more restaurant than pub with tables laid our ready for diners.

24 Oct 2013 14:53

The Railway Hotel, Faversham

Another wonderful Faversham pub. A good solid roomy feel. Offers Sheps microbrews when available.

24 Oct 2013 14:50

The Saracens Head, Dunstable

Bass and Pride. Solid looking building - has undergone an interesting refurbishment inside which has removed all original character, but has created a modern yet atmosphere. The conversion has used bare brick and large stone tiles to create texture and an awareness of the past. OK.

24 Oct 2013 14:48

The Globe, Dunstable

11 casks and 2 ciders. Nice relaxed atmosphere. Bare wood floor. Corner location. Large room. Beer garden. No music. No games machines. Nice one.

24 Oct 2013 14:46

The Hole In The Wall, Waterloo

Two bars and a back yard with noisy trains overhead. Plain tables and a down to earth atmosphere. Seven cask ales. Simple pub grub. Good atmosphere. I like it. Been here several times. Probably the best pub in the area.

24 Oct 2013 14:38

The Napier Arms, Gillingham

Big pub. Two rooms. Corner location in back street. Tidy and clean. No cask.

24 Oct 2013 14:35

Queens Head, Ramsgate

Original tiles outside and in; a quirky place full of charm. Three casks - Hen, Pride and Best. Function room upstairs for hire. The pub goes back deep and dark - the only windows are at the front. Background music and TV. OK.

24 Oct 2013 14:32

Red Lion, Faversham

Scenic pub on a chocolate box village green. Charming wood interior. Large place with several sections and a wonderful beer garden. Loved it. Visited some years ago, and suggested the pub be added - only now getting round to putting in my review!

24 Oct 2013 14:12

The Old Ship, Hammersmith

Youngs pub. Great location on the river with plenty of outside seating - some under a sun terrace. We sat on the terrace overlooking the river, which provided plenty of entertainment.

Inside is also good - solid and attractive. This is a well run pub with everything clean and efficient. Food is tasty, though not cheap; and while it is tasty, it isn't cooked to order - so while service is quick, the food may have been sitting under light for a while. Our Yorkshire puds were dry and the veg limp. For the price I would expect better. Beers are ordinary, Special and Bombardier. We had the Ordinary and the Special; both were lifeless, and at nearly £4 a pint that is unacceptable.

So - great location, but expensive, not good quality, and poor value. Service is, however, very pleasant. And the high point is watching the boats on the river - especially the yachts.

12 Oct 2013 17:47

The Anchor Tap, Tower Bridge

I love this pub. I'm surprised I haven't rated it yet, as I have been here a good number of times. Great atmosphere. Historic. Great value beer and food. Plenty of rooms to explore. Tucked away in the back streets so it doesn't get too crowded. This is a must visit pub. Highly recommended.

12 Oct 2013 17:01

The Bridge House, Tower Bridge

It's useful to have an Adnams outlet in London - but this is more bar than pub, and they haven't made the best use of the space, particularly with the chunky furniture. You'd be better off nipping down the steps at the back to the Sam Smiths pub which is a proper pub with proper atmosphere. - great value food and drink.

The Bridge House cannot be recommended, but it's a clean, safe pub serving a range of Adnams beers.

12 Oct 2013 16:58

The Flower Pot, Maidstone

Damn good pub. Six ales on. Glasses are marked with pint, 1/2 and 1/3 levels. Plenty of info both about beer and local events. Good woody atmosphere. Good clientèle. Relaxed, warm and friendly. I want this to be my local.

21 Sep 2013 17:58

The Cock Horse Inn, Detling

Decent pub with excellent cheesy chips. Pub carpet spoils this otherwise attractive 14th century pub with a beautiful (if noisy, due to proximity of the A249) beer garden. Food is inclined to be pricey, but the cheesy chips are excellent value for money - served with plenty of cheese. Beer on offer on our visit was Greene King and York Brewery. OK place - friendly, informal and welcoming.

3 Aug 2013 18:35

The Black Horse, Thurnham

Attractive pub set on several levels. Mainly geared to set dining in what appear to be regimented and closely packed squares. The front area is the bar area. The packed and dark middle area is the food factory. The outside areas are a small terrace at the front on the road, and a cramped beer garden at the back. Ambiance is Conservative with officious rules about where to go, what to wear, etc. There isn't a relaxed, welcoming or informal atmosphere - just the sense of a place that wants to keep itself orderly and well run in order to maximise profits rather than the customer's enjoyment. Each to their own, and there are plenty who will enjoy this place.

3 Aug 2013 18:06

The White Horse, Bearsted Green

Owned by Mitchells & Butlers who acquired it as a Beefeater, during a series of purchases in July 2006, this has been rebranded from a cheap and cheerful family pub to an upmarket country pub and dining experience. The interior refurbishment from the old pub carpet, piped radio, and toilet cleaner fragrance days is impressive. This is a good looking interior that makes the most of the 16th century building while giving it a very modern look and feel. Beer selection is limited - London Pride or Spitfire , and the food selection is mainly pub chain pub grub, but with an up-market twist, so instead of a bowl of chips or cheesy chips, you get Belgian Frites for nearly £3 which is chips and mayonnaise. The chips, though, were very tasty.

The main attraction of the pub is the location. it's a large sprawling building on a prominent corner location overlooking Bearsted Green. Most rooms overlook the green, and an upper and upstairs dining area has been created which has a relaxed and upmarket atmosphere, combined with wonderful views of the green. There is also a terrace area and a grassed beer garden, again overlooking the green. It is a charming place to be, and the service is impeccable. The ambiance is relaxed, informal, welcoming; and the place is very well kept and clean, though my wife had complaints about conditions in the women's toilet.

There is a children's menu, though there are no facilities for them. So children are welcome, but are not targeted.

Though prices on the regular menu can be a little high for a country pub, there is a limited choice everyday fixed price menu of £11.95 for two courses, up to 7pm.

Though we liked the pub, the items on the fixed price menu: Gammon & Pineapple Hawaiian Pizza, Chicken Burger & Frites, Mushroom Tagliatelle, Cumberland Sausages & Mash, etc, didn't attract enough, and the prices on the regular menu put us off. The vegetarian menu is also very limited and dull.

All in all, a very nice looking pub which keeps the feel of a pub, while aiming for the mid-market dining crowd.

30 Jul 2013 16:31

Expectations, Rochester

Closed as a pub - re-opened as a fish and chip shop.

8 Jun 2013 17:03

The Weston Arms, Strood


8 Jun 2013 16:56

The See-Ho, Shorne

They don't accept children.

8 Jun 2013 16:48

White Horse, Borstal

Now closed and boarded up. I did review this place twice when it was open, but it appears old reviews have been lost.

It was a decent and friendly local. Greene King, with two casks on offer. On my last visit they had a Thai restaurant out the back, and were promoting it quite strongly. Not sure why the place closed down, as it always had customers, and didn't appear to be struggling. Perhaps the Thai restaurant became a financial burden. But I would have thought someone would want to buy it.

8 Jun 2013 16:30

The Canopus, Rochester

Now closed and bought by a developer who has put in planning application to build a house in the car park, and convert the pub to apartments.

8 Jun 2013 16:23

The Rose, 1-3 Catherine Street

Pub closed. It's now a supermarket.

8 Jun 2013 16:17

The Man of Kent Ale House, Rochester

I have been using the pub a fair bit recently, and have grown to like it a little more. It has been cleaned up a bit (at least in the back room - I haven't looked carefully at the seating in the main bar), and the outside is acceptable (if full of smokers - but that tends to be the case with most pubs that only have a small beer garden). There is still an edge about the owners, though, so it's not the place to raise issues about quality of beer or seating. You take what you get, and you keep quiet.

Beer quality, however, seemed to have improved - though that may have been due to my policy of sticking to one beer if it was OK, rather than playing the lottery of the pumps, and also mainly going in on busy nights, when the beer was flowing, and so hadn't sat around in the cellar for days.

I was about to write another review and be fairly positive. But went in recently on a quiet night, and sadly encountered an undrinkable beer. I didn't take it back, and that's the issue here. Even the best run place has an occasional bad beer - but in the best run places they encourage you to return beers, and will then apologise and give you a fresh one. Here, I don't feel comfortable doing that because of what I have been told happens to those who complain.

8 Jun 2013 16:13

Furnace Inn, Derby

Plain, simple and fairly dull pub in a grotty location. Has recently been refurbished - this means putting brushed nylon covers on the bench seats. Yes. Rather working men's club. Lack of imagination runs through the whole enterprise. Staff were quite stressed when we visited because they had eight other customers. It really seemed a bit of an effort for the owner to get it together to give me the names of the two Shiny beers. So - plain, uninteresting pub in a grotty location, with poor customer service. It serves a selection of beers plus their own. If you want to scoop Shiny beers, this is the place, but other than that I couldn't see the attraction. I probably caught the pub at the wrong moment.

6 Jun 2013 09:13

The Freemasons Arms, Covent Garden

Chose this pub after the London Marathon as we were struggling to find a pub in Covent Garden that had somewhere to sit, and I remembered the Freemason's Arms, and knew that it would be half empty. Sure enough, it was. Thank god for dull pubs! Shame they weren't doing food on a Sunday afternoon, and the snacks offered were fairly limited.

2 Jun 2013 14:00

The Pembroke, Gravesend

Bland Wetherspoons type family pub during the day - looks like it's a different animal during the evening. Limited choice of beers - three casks: Courage, Morland Original and Bombardier. Wetherspoons type food menu, including children's menu with crayons. OK, but not a place I'd recommend.

30 May 2013 23:09

The Old Mill, Plumstead

A rather tatty pub with an older slightly ramshackle clientèle matching the landlord and landlady. Pub and people are all rough and ready, very homely and friendly and real, and full of charm and character. Pub is in the remains of an old windmill, and the windmill tower can still be seen rising out from the pub. Best view is from the (overgrown and largely abandoned) beer garden.

The pub's slightly isolated position on Plumstead Common means there's insufficient passing traffic, so trade is mostly locals, and there's few enough of those.

Big draw, apart from the quirky charm, and the chance of drinking beer in an old windmill, is the selection of beers. Five guest ales in decent condition. No food on our visit, and snacks were limited to a few bags of crisps.

Overall, a pub that has limited appeal due to position, condition, cleanliness, and lack of food, but will be liked by those who like quirky, friendly pubs that sell a a range of beers.

30 May 2013 23:03

The Bull, Penenden Heath

Great family pub. Clean and well kept with plenty of room. Small but decent play area in the back garden. Front area overlooks the cricket green. Meals around £8 - standard stuff. Greene King chain - three casks in good condition.

Happy to come back. And happy to suggest to other families when in Maidstone.

30 May 2013 22:50

Howl at the Moon, Hackney

Great feel to this comfortable corner location pub. Great selection of cask ales, offering a range of small and local breweries. Bare, rough wooden tables with fat candles plonked on top. Good music not too loud. And an interesting "Challenge" - drink a pint of each of the draught beers and ciders (17 in all) and eat a burger for £50 within one day and you'll get your name on the wall. I don't think it's something anyone will want to do, but it's a good talking point.

I'll be quite happy to come back here. And I'd like this to be local to me - I'd pop in now and again for sure!

1 Apr 2013 15:59

The Golden Heart, Shoreditch

Large corner location ex-Truman's pub. Well kept, and with a good traditional feel inside. Attractive roaring hot open fire in the corner. Wallpaper that looks like corrugated iron. Adnams Broadside and a couple of other regular ales. Was crowded and noisy on our visit, but OK. An OK pub. not offensive but nothing special. The landlady, Sandra Esqulant, is popular with the media locals, and is a friend of Tracey Emin who drinks here.

1 Apr 2013 15:29

The Owl and the Pussycat, Shoreditch

Originally a Shoreditch back street boozer called The Crown, which may date back to the 17th century. The interior has been knocked through at some point in the ongoing trend to create large open spaces in pubs. Name changed to The Owl & The Pussycat in 1990, though still retaining its position as a local back street pub, with billiard table, pub snacks, and a limited beer range. Redchurch Street became trendy in Jan 2009 when Terence Conran opened his Boundary shop, and the crowd that celebrates itself began to drink in the pub, enjoying its vulgar and rustic feel. In 2010 it got a makeover by FiveEightZero who appear to manage it under the ownership of the Brakspear pub company, while selling the beers of the Marston brewery. Odd arrangement. The makeover involved stripping out many of the features, and painting it a dull (or trendy) grey inside. The result is a pub interior which in its emphasis on simplicity and clean lines ends up lacking character, but makes up for that by being jam packed with young advertising executives who would rather be in Indie bands or play rugby at the weekend. The desire to be "real" is potent, and is satisfied by sitting out in the back yard which is full of sewer pipes and pigeon shit. The extra prices charged for this privilege keeps away the real folk, so there is no chance of being shown up.

A boring pub, full of boring people. But, not offensive.

1 Apr 2013 09:25

The Bricklayers Arms, Shoreditch

Victorian corner location pub in a quiet back street between Hoxton and Shoreditch. The rooms have been knocked through, creating a long and narrow space that looks and feels awkward. The decor is standard Victorian, which is attractive, but sits uncomfortably with the modern open space which feels more bar than pub. We visited lunchtime on an Easter weekend Saturday and the place was empty except for two single men sitting as far apart from each other as possible. The barmaid looked fed up. There was five standard cask ales, some lagers and a few bottles of cider. I had an Adnams Bitter, and we sat in the cosy corner bench which overlooks the backstreet crossroads outside. A nice spot. The man nearest to us went to the juke box and selected Sixties guitar bands - Cream, Led Zeppelin, The Who, etc. He then stod close to us and proceed to sing his way through the songs. While we were there three people came in, and soon left, clearly put off by the singer. The barmaid by this point had vanished completely - seemingly aware that there would be no further custom while the man was standing there singing.

The pub is OK, just a little lifeless. Not one to go back to. The singing man made it both a little interesting, and a little awkward.

31 Mar 2013 19:38

Pommelers Rest, Tower Bridge

Solid Spoon in a handy location. It's the location that makes this place. Otherwise it's fairly standard. I quite like it.

16 Feb 2013 15:43

The Foundry, Canterbury

January 2012. Freshly converted pub, very pleasantly done. Seven casks. 10% discount for CAMRA members, including food. Polite, considerate service. Children welcome. Excellent veggie pie.

Small space downstairs, but more room upstairs. Bright and airy and modern feel in an old building.

16 Feb 2013 15:03

The Boot, St Albans

Daft name which gives the impression its a bar rather than the traditional beer focussed pub it is. Does food and has a good beer range of around 7 different casks . Great atmosphere - looks, feels, and sounds like a proper pub.

16 Feb 2013 14:54

The Lower Red Lion, St Albans

2 bars 6 casks and 2 cask ciders. Pub with considerable charm and character, though heavily given over to eating so it feels too much like a restaurant on my January 2012 Sunday lunchtime visit. There is space and a warm welcome just for drinkers, so that's fine, though you'll drink to the sound and smell of eating. Lovely big fireplace in the Ver bar, and a second room has been exposed to make a large space leaving exposed black painted oak beams. I like this place, and the service was very friendly and helpful, even if we did get our halves and pints mixed up.

11 Feb 2013 19:11

The Woodman, Battersea

Arty, trendy Badger pub offering up to 4 Badger cask ales a nd an an attractive and above average selection of reasonably priced meals. Bare wood, mismatched chairs, green leather sofas, and a trendy arty clientèle. On our visit there was an art and craft market taking place in the pub.

The food was delightful, but due to the cold weather the beers had not developed in the cold cellar and both had diacetyl. More care with conditioning the beers, and this would be a perfect pub.

6 Jan 2013 01:22

The Ten Bells, Shoreditch

Doh! "features on Jack the Ripper tours" - not "doors".

Again I wish this site had an edit feature.

6 Jan 2013 00:53

The Ten Bells, Shoreditch

Shabby chic combined with historic resonance, notable Victorian tiling and toilet graffiti. Two cask beers - Bombardier and Truman's Runner (made at Nethergate for two London businessmen who have bought the defunct Truman brand name). Leffe is served in standard straight half pint glasses - not sure if this is part of the pub's sloppy image or is a genuine mistake. Staff are unhappy and not well informed (our barman thought that Truman's Runner was made by the Truman brewery round the corner which closed in 1989 and is now a famous arts and event centre). Loud music. Echoing noise. Hustling, rough and unpleasant. I'd long wanted to visit the place, having driven past it many times and seeing the mass of customers spilling out on the street, and I'm pleased to have experienced it. I understand it features on Jack the Ripper doors because of dubious links to two of the victims - but there's little sense these days of the Victorian pub, despite retaining some original features. Feels, looks and sounds more like a Camden Market cafe.

6 Jan 2013 00:51

The Coach and Horses, Covent Garden

A proper old fashioned working class pub. A small one roomed place with only two standard casks - Pedigree and Courage Best. Does very good Salt Beef sandwiches for £5 and has over 70 whiskies. Great atmosphere. Only fault is the limited beer choice and limited seating. Brilliant place.

26 Nov 2012 22:28

The Globe, Covent Garden

There's been a pub on the site since 1682, though this building was erected in the early 1700s. The Globe is a traditional small Central London back street pub with a side bar. It is run by Nicholson's so there is a ever changing range of guests beers. Popular and friendly with a middle class, media type group of regulars.

26 Nov 2012 22:24

The Prince of Wales, Brixton

Now simply called The Prince, the old Prince of Wales has been revamped into a trendy pub with an emphasis on food and a sense of open space. There are two handpumps serving guest ales (both from Rebellion in Marlow on my visit). It's a large space, and the outside 1930s Streamline Moderne building doesn't quite match the interior, which appears to hold echoes of a grand Victorian hotel - which the original Prince of Wales indeed was.

The clientèle are mixed, though mostly young trendy, and there's a good buzz and a relaxed atmosphere. People are well behaved and queue at the bar (I've never seen that before), and the pub appears clean and tidy. A decent place.

26 Nov 2012 21:26

The Dog and Bear Hotel, Lenham

Large pub and restaurant. The pub side is on the right, the restaurant rooms on the left. There's some exposed beams, and the place is clean, tidy and well run. It's relaxed with a pleasant buzz on a Sunday lunchtime. Three cask ales - Masterbrew, Spitfire and on our visit the Autumn seasonal, Late Red. The beers were in good condition. Meals were from £8 to £10. There's nothing special about the place, but it's quite pleasant.

18 Nov 2012 21:25

The Giddy Bridge, Southampton

Typical Wetherspoon layout and appearance. Good range of seating, and everything in reasonable to good state of repair. Toilets very clean. Visited during the day, half term, and the place was very popular with families. Bar staff friendly and helpful. Food served quickly, and in decent condition.

2 Nov 2012 00:43

The Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Portsmouth

Doh! Target time of 30 minutes.

An edit or delete and replace function would be most useful!

2 Nov 2012 00:34

The Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Portsmouth

Very large building converted into a single hall. Very, very busy on our visit after the Great South Run, but our party of six plus child managed to find a table. One of the advantages of a large Wetherspoon is that even in busy periods a table can usually be found. Our order of meals and drinks for everyone came to under 30; we were served quickly (which surprised us), and the food was delivered within 20 minutes which was well within the target time of 20 minutes. While not the most inspiring of interiors, there was nothing wrong with the service, the food, the drinks, nor the surroundings. Everything was clean and tidy and in its place. Having said that, I prefer the smaller Wetherspoon just down the street.

2 Nov 2012 00:33

The White Swan, Portsmouth

Doh! Conversion not conversation.

Be useful to have either an edit function, or an option to delete and start again.

2 Nov 2012 00:23

The White Swan, Portsmouth

Attractive building, and unusual for a recent Wetherspoon, it's a proper pub rather than a conversation. This means that the room proportions and atmosphere is very pub like, and the toilets are on the same floor, and not a long walk away.

Though a large pub, it's smaller than the average Wetherspoon, and the beer range is not as extensive as normal, and fewer than the Spoon in the same street. However, good atmosphere, clean and tidy, and friendly staff. The only negative on our visit was that our breakfasts were a bit slow, and as we were taking part in the Great South Run that day, we would have liked them a bit quicker, and all at the same time. I suspect that two orders were initially forgotten, as one breakfast was delivered, and the next two took as long to arrive as it would have taken to cook. Other than that, an all round decent pub.

2 Nov 2012 00:20

Old Gaol House, Winchester

A fairly standard Wetherspoon. Quite large, with little nooks and crannies. Decently kept - clean and with most things in place. Food OK. Visited during the Autumn Beer Festival and the bar staff hadn't been advised on what to do so there was an attempt to charge me for three pints when I had the three thirds for a pint deal, but it was eventually resolved. Very busy at lunch time, and we struggled to find a table, but pleased to see that everything was cleaned away very quickly at the end of the rush period.

1 Nov 2012 19:56

The Hop and Berry, Islington

It's an OK pub, and I'd be happy to have it as my local. But it doesn't have enough character or charm or individuality to be worth a walk from the nearest station. There's tables and chairs and plenty of exposed wood. It's laid back and cool, and there's a range of beers. It's just lacking something....

12 Oct 2012 23:47

The Snooty Fox, Canonbury

Wonderful pub. Great atmosphere. Good beers (from small London brewers), and fresh food - about 9 main meals. Beers quickly changed. Good place.

12 Oct 2012 23:39

The Eight Bells, Canterbury

Went into the small front room bar straight off the road. It smelled of cigarette smoke, and was empty of people. A rather stern looking woman came from the back. She was probably the cause of the smell. Two casks on - Youngs Ordinary and Doom Bar. Some clips behind the bar show that they sometimes have other beers on, but nothing exciting or unusual.

As I was the only one there, the pub did lack atmosphere, so I was not seeing it at its best. But other pubs visited in the same area on the same day, did have customers and were more welcoming. With the lack of atmosphere, cigarette smoke, and the stern looking woman remaining vaguely in attendance, but not saying anything, I felt uncomfortable and finished my half of an indifferent Youngs quite quickly and moved on.

The pub sign outside says that they are listed in the Good Beer Guide. It has been my experience with that guide that it is fairly random, and while it can list decent pubs, it also has a tendency to list places like this which seem to have little to recommend them. It is possible that at a different time I would have had a better experience, but given that on my visit the place contained cigarette smoke, had no customers, was staffed by an unwelcoming person, and served an indifferent beer from an indifferent selection, it would need to offer something substantial in terms of bonhomie on the possible right occasions to justify inclusion in a pub guide.

28 Aug 2012 11:34

Hare and Hounds, Blean

Country pub on a busy road on the edge of Blean. Decent place. Proper pub area and a separate room for diners - though people can and do eat in the pub area if a less formal ambiance is preferred. Big and pleasant enough beer garden, though there's rather a lot of noise from the road. Thre casks - Doom, Master and Pride. The Master was a little flabby. Pleasant service and with enough customers to give the place some life, though not to feel overcrowded. All in all it's what you'd expect of a pub, and it ticks the boxes without being particularly special. Nothing really stands out, and with the indifferent quality of the beer, and traffic noise in the garden, it has some minus points, but it's a place I wouldn't object to stopping at again, and adds up to perhaps being just above average.

28 Aug 2012 11:11

The Britton Farm House, Gillingham

This is now a Papas Fish & Chip shop. It was always a low key local pub. Decent enough, but nothing especially good or bad.

6 Jul 2012 14:02

The Railway Tavern, Bexley

Plain single bar. No atmosphere. No character. No food. Slightly smelly. Sunday lunchtime it had one regular, the landlord and his wife and me - then a man with special needs came in. Triangular white bread sandwiches were offered. Edible. The focus is on the beer apparently.

The regular beer is Courage Best and there are three rotating quests chosen randomly. Neither of the two quest beers I was served were in top condition. The landlord is friendly and chatty, though doesn't understand beer or how to keep it. He hadn't vented one cask properly so it was overly foamy. Then we entered a bizarre conversation when he told me that Courage Best wasn't quite right when it was first brewed at Wells, because the water was too carbonated and made the beer too fizzy. I said that the carbonation comes from the yeast. He looked blank, and said, no, it came from the water. I said that I had not heard that the Eagle Brewery well contained carbonated water, but even if it did, the carbonation would be lost when the water was boiled to make the beer. He looked blank again, and then said that some might be lost, but most would remain. According to the landlord this sad and smelly little pub won a CAMRA award for the best pub in South London. Each to their own, but when you have a pub of the quality of the Kings Head across the road, serving beer in excellent condition, then giving this pub any sort of award is crazy. It's not even the best pub in Bexley High Street, let alone South London! I can't imagine ever wanting to come back here.

20 May 2012 23:21

Beaufort Arms, Kittle

Returned for a family meal. This place is very good. Stunning value for money meals. Fresh vegetables and local meats freshly cooked, with generous servings at very low prices. The staff are friendly and very helpful. The four Brains casks ales are kept in very good condition. There is the main pub building, with a busy bar room, and a more comfortable decent sized front room, a family room extension, bland but workable, a tidy upstairs parlour room, and a marquee added to the extension. Seating outside on our visit was in the shade or alongside the main road. Indeed, the sitting outside experience is not a high point for the pub.

There is a charm about the place, and it works very well for what it is. It is a popular place, and a drawback is that even with four staff behind the bar, queues form as people order drinks and meals and then return to pay for the meals at the same small bar. The women's toilet has a special seat for children, but the men's does not, and the men's toilet smells a bit salty. A positive experience, and certainly a place to recommend for those wanting good value, fresh food and decent cask ales in a warm, friendly and mostly characterful setting.

25 Mar 2012 21:33

The Greencoat Boy, Victoria

For kevmac: It's a family pub - that means it wants to encourage families. Families have children. Children need child seats. It's like promoting yourself as a nightclub, but not having any music; or promoting yourself as a sports bar, but not putting on any sports events or providing any pool tables. Every other family pub I've been to has child seats. It's a basic.

19 Mar 2012 22:24

Millers, Caledonian Road

Now called Millers. A single bar corner location bar/pub. Three casks - guest, Pride and Directors. Modern refurbishment of bare brick and pine. Big windows. Relaxed afternoon atmosphere. OK.

12 Mar 2012 23:42

The Betjeman Arms, St Pancras International Station

The pub is part of Geronimo Inns which was bought by the London pub chain Young & Co in December 2010. There are three cask beers, including the house beer, Betjeman Ale, which is Sharps Cornish Coaster. Serves food and snacks such as Wasabi Peas and a strange sounding black pudding scotch eggs. I was charged a reasonable 1.50 for a half pint of the Betjeman Ale in a jug. The barman topped it up without being asked, though it was still a short measure due to the head. Shrug. I'd rather be charged 1.50 for a short measure, than 2.00 for right to the top and the head slopping down the glass.

The bar is OK. Don't look at the ceiling and the place feels quite reasonable. Decent enough place that I'd be comfortable to visit again.

12 Mar 2012 22:49

Flying Horse, Gatwick Airport

One of the best things about British airports is you might get a Wetherspoon in one. The flight out to Marseille was very civilised with a good value meal and a couple of decent beers. The selection isn't as good as in Stansted, and they have an awkward policy of having a greeter at the entrance which confuses people into asking her which table they can sit at, but it's still the best way to wait for a plane. The flight back from Marseille was a bit more stressful as all that is available in that airport is expensive 1664 and cold cheese rolls or pizza eaten out in the public area rather than in a cosy pub like atmosphere.

4 Mar 2012 15:28

Stone Horse, Higham

An OK country pub, just north of Medway, and fairly isolated. Very small car park - parking on the lane. Three casks on our visit, but no food available. Casks were London Pride, Courage Best and Directors, which was changed to Millers Kentish Red. A fairly traditional two room pub. Nothing remarkable, but has a relaxed village local feel to it.

21 Feb 2012 15:40

The Farriers Arms, St Albans

When I said County, I meant Country. It would be helpful if BITE had an edit function.

22 Jan 2012 21:49

The Farriers Arms, St Albans

McMullen house. Camra wasn't formed here, but the first branch meeting was held here. It had to be held somewhere. Three casks: AK, Cask, and County. I like McMullens, and I loved the County - it's my sort of beer. Sweet malt and lovely fresh, dusty hops. Served in perfect condition by the surly barman. The locals shout at him, and sometimes he doesn't notice. He spends more time watching the TV than serving beer. It would be cute if there were not the air of someone with mental health issues about him. Slightly creepy really.

There are two rooms, each with their own TV. In the front - main bar - the TV was on the football. In the back room the TV was showing rugby. There was a sign saying "No food today".

It's a traditional pub. It has charm, and I liked it. Though I can see why people would not. I'd liked to have experienced it on a better day when people were not watching sport, when the food was on, and when the place was more relaxed and welcoming.

It's a must visit place, and it has history and quirky charm, and the beer is excellent, so it's going to get a decent score from me. Not top, because of the faults; but quite decent.

22 Jan 2012 21:47

The Cross Keys, St Albans

Clean and well kept. Plenty of beers on, plenty of information about beers that are coming. And special beer events organised - Battle of the Breweries coming up! The staff are relaxed, friendly, unstressed. Very positive signs of good management.

There are big clear glass windows giving a view of the world passing by. It's a small to medium size place, with lots of typical Wetherspoons dark stained pine, and lights turned down low. Nice relaxed atmosphere, if just a little too gloomy.

22 Jan 2012 21:07

Chiltern Hundreds, Maidstone

Food pub with a cramped bar area. Clean and acceptable. Mock beams and fake wood floor. On a busy roundabout with no proper beer garden. Offers Courage Best and three guests (all off on our visit). Family friendly but unremarkable. The Malta Inn is not far away, and that does everything this place does, but better.

20 Jan 2012 15:02

The Stag, Wainscott

Well kept, clean and tidy pub popular with locals. Two casks - Bombardier and Spitfire; Bombardier had run out, and the Spitfire was drinkable, but not fresh. Pub had a major make over a few years ago which gives the place a pleasant modern feel. An OK pub, but offers nothing special to draw people from outside the neighbourhood.

20 Jan 2012 14:57

The Drum, Walthamstow

Opened in 1986, this is one of the oldest Wetherspoons, and is - like most of the early Wetherspoons - simply a revamped pub rather than a converted bank or cinema. The pub feel is welcome, though, despite the small size, it is still recognisably a Wetherspoon with plenty of cheap pine and standard issue trimmings. The name comes from a reference to the drums that hung from the ceiling of the original pub. It's an OK place, but fairly standard.

18 Jan 2012 17:55

Sir John Ardene, Newark

Medium to small sized Wetherspoon in attractive corner location building with large clear glass windows overlooking the market square. A visit to the toilet is an adventure - take a map and a mobile in case you can't find your way back! Local ales served. Decent.

18 Jan 2012 00:36

Queens Head, Newbiggin by the Sea

Brilliant pub. Dropped in here after doing the Great North Run, and wanted to stay for ever. Great conversation and great beer. If this was my local I'd be in here every day. A changing line up of guest ales, and the house beer, Porter's, which is a rebadged Tetley served in good condition. This is what all pubs should be like - a place where you make friends and feel at home. Where the place is clean, well run, charming and friendly. And the beer is as cheap as chips! If you're anywhere around Newcastle, this place is actually worth driving out to for some decent beer, and more importantly, a good chat and a laugh.

18 Jan 2012 00:00

Harty Ferry Inn, Sheerness

Sorry, meant afternoons not lunchtimes. Wish BITE had an edit function!

17 Jan 2012 12:05

Harty Ferry Inn, Sheerness

Has erratic opening hours according to its website. Closed Mondays and most lunchtimes and closes early evening on a Sunday. Worth checking before driving out there.

17 Jan 2012 12:05

Harty Ferry Inn, Sheerness

Though referred to as Harty Ferry Inn, the pub is called Ferry House Inn, and is located in the remote hamlet of Harty. The ferry used to go across the Swale to Oare. The rights to the ferry are held by each Landlord of the Inn, and a few years ago the pub did have an amphibious vehicle which did trips across the water. The pub is wonderfully isolated with a very special wilderness feel. It is quite romantic and very memorable. You reach it via a very long, winding, and poorly maintained road.

Only one cask available - Spitfire, and the condition will depend on the amount of visitors. Busy days it will be fine - if the weather has been bad, then chances are it will be stale. But this pub isn't about the beer, it's about the location, the look, and the atmosphere. It is a place you will remember and recommend to others. It is a rather special place.

Food is OK, with typical pub prices.

17 Jan 2012 12:03

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

I'd heard good things about this place, so was looking forward to visiting as part of the RateBeer North London Line pub crawl. Unfortunately the pub was struggling to open as they hadn't cleared up from the previous night. The place was a bit of a mess, and we were told to wait outside in the cold until they were ready to open. The mess was clearly going to take a while to open so we tried to negotiate with the manager, pointing out that we couldn't wait outside for half an hour. He said, somewhat impatiently but understandably, that he would be able to open quicker if I stopped talking with him. I offered our assistance in cleaning up. He agreed, then changed his mind when he saw there were ten of us. So we went to the Wetherspoon. I'll likely be doing another crawl on the North London Line in the summer - hopefully the pub will be open and tidy on that occasion.

17 Jan 2012 09:34

Baxter's Court, Hackney

Standard Wetherspoon. Nothing remarkable, and nothing offensive. One beer was off, and it took a moment for the staff to accept this ("can't be off as it was fresh on last night"), but when they smelled the beer it was exchanged, and the cask was removed from sale.

17 Jan 2012 09:25

The Duke Of Wellington, Hackney

I meant Saturday afternoon, not morning! Wish BITE had an edit function!!!!

17 Jan 2012 09:18

The Duke Of Wellington, Hackney

It's a pub that sells beer and provides seating. It doesn't do much more than that. The place has been "done up" in an uninspired manner that leaves the place looking cold and unfinished and unremarkable. It can be seen that there is an attempt to make this a trendy modern pub with a focus on beer, but it has been done in a lacklustre manner, so the overall impression is indifference, which matches the service. Reviews have mentioned food and bar snacks, but there were none in evidence on our visit on a Saturday morning, and there was no attempt to let our party know of any snacks other than packets of crisps. Sigh - can't they really do any better than that? There were three dull casks on offer, but so dull that half our party elected for bottled beer. The Wandle ale I had was, like the service and the pub, somewhat indifferent and not in best condition. Best thing about the place was the music. Not a pub I warmed to, and with the Snooty Fox and Railway Tavern not far away, I don't see any reason why I would ever want to come back.

17 Jan 2012 09:16

Bobbing Apple, Bobbing

Dreadful place. 20 minute wait for a table, and you are expected to stand with your child all this time. I was rebuked by staff when I went past the barrier to find a table. And this resulted in a strong debate with my wife as to should we stay or not. When we were allowed through and I went to sit at a table of my choice this provoked more discussion as even though there were plenty of empty and ready laid table, we were directed to a corner where we didn't want to sit. Eventually the staff relented. 10 minute queue to be served. Another 20 minute wait for the main course - typical microwaved pub grub. Another 20 minute wait for the desert - typical pub desert. One "cask" (Spitfire), which tasted like keg, though came from a handpull. Place was popular, though not stretched, so why the long waits, I don't know. The reason for the popularity? It has a free children's soft play area. Is it worth enduring the long waits, mediocre food, indifferent service, dull environment, and poor choice choice for the play area? Some people clearly think so. My 2 1/2 year old daughter did. I don't. I would rather pay for a proper soft play area, and go to a decent pub afterwards.

2 Jan 2012 18:09

Victoria Hotel, Eastbourne

When people think of a traditional town pub this is the sort of place they have in mind. A large but intimate Victorian building with high ceilings and a central bar governed by a large and friendly old school landlord. The service is top class - warm, friendly, chatty, and customer focused. The people here really like their customers, really like their pub, and are clearly confident, proud and comfortable. There is a wonderful atmosphere throughout the pub. The customers are all relaxed and friendly. There are four handpumps - all Harvey's ales. I visited three times and the beers were in top class condition except for my first visit when the Old Ale was a bit vinegary.

The front room appears to be two or three rooms knocked together to form a horseshoe shape around the central bar. There are comfy armchairs and tables for drinking, eating and chatting, and some standing area near the bar to watch major sport events on TV. Walk either way round the bar to reach a small back room with a snooker table, and then through to a back yard beer garden which is a bit of a sun trap.

The pub is clean, in excellent condition, and has plenty of character. Look out for the Victorian pennies round the bar!

Food is excellent value, with a good range of home cooked and tasty meals, and veggies are well catered for. This is not only better quality, but better value than Wetherspoons. We had huge portions of veggie bangers and mash, with a big boat of veggie gravy from which to serve ourselves. 5.95 - which I think is the same price as Wetherspoons, and we got twice as much, and the mash was freshly made.

The beer is London prices - 3 for a pint of 4% Harvey's Best. But I'd rather pay a little bit more and have both my beer and my pub in good condition.

This is almost a perfect pub. One beer not being in good condition, lack of a sufficient quiet area, no decent views from the beer garden, etc, keep me from scoring 10. But by heck, this is close.

24 Oct 2011 11:47

George Inn, Alfriston

Fantastic pub. Full of old world charm - this has been a pub since the late 1300s. It's all exposed wood and beams, and a big fireplace burning logs. The atmosphere is wonderful. You could sit in here all day and let the world go by. The staff are friendly, polite and helpful, and there are free newspapers left around.

However the main point of a pub is the beer, and on our visit two beers were not available, so the only choice was GK IPA - not the most exciting of beers, and it was served in adequate, but not top condition.

These days food is also highly important in pubs. The pub seems to have ambitions in this area, and has been listed in Michelin since 2007, so it was unfortunate on our visit that several menu items were unavailable. Fair play to the chef, when pesto had run out for the child's spaghetti, he was prepared to improvise and make a tomato and cheese sauce on request. Though he forgot the cheese, so the meal was insipid. We ordered the Welsh rarebit and were as equally astonished as the couple last year to find that it mainly consisted of a door step of warmed brown bread. The sauce was smeared thinly on top with little cheese content (if any!) - it tasted mainly of flour and Worcester sauce. A shame.

We loved the pub itself. Loved the aroma of the wood fire. It felt good to be there. I would be more than willing to try it again, as I suspect we came at the wrong time on the wrong day. With a better beer and a better menu choice I'm sure we'd feel this was one of the best pubs on the planet!

21 Oct 2011 21:08

The Greencoat Boy, Victoria

A family food pub but no child seats and main seating is high stools. Small, cramped dining area with tiny tables. Limited food for veggies, but the veggie fish and chips are amazing! Prices OK for location - most meals under 10. 4 casks - Wherry, Pride, Bombardier, Youngs. Beer served in good condition. Rubber stamp mock Victorian interior. Pleasant background music. Nothing exciting, has flaws, but on the whole acceptable.

4 Jul 2011 22:25

The Fox on the Hill, Denmark Hill

Big Wetherspoon with a very large family orientated beer garden out the back in addition to seating out the front. Beer selection is the standards with limited guests - only two on offer during our visit. A solid respectable place with a wide clientle, mainly decent working class locals with some business people and older middle class couples. We didn't see any chavs or youngsters on our daytime visit. Maybe the chavs are only there when other chavs are around?

The family beer garden is the main draw, and for families it is highly recommended. The car park was full on our visit, and the pub was only 1/3 full, so I expect that on a sunny weekend it would be hard to find a space.

I liked the place.

4 Jul 2011 22:18

The Gunmakers, Clerkenwell

Small, tidy pub run by blogger Stonch. It has a relaxed, laid back, up-market feel. Quite pleasant, and while being fairly unremarkable, is also quite likeable. Hard to explain sometimes why a building has charm, but the size and layout and ambiance of this one gives it a certain charm, which people have remarked upon for several years, long before Stonch took over. Four casks, nothing special, but served in decent condition. Other than size there isn't a real lot of essential difference between this and the Yorkshire Grey around the corner, but this is quaint, while the Grey is simply useful.

1 Jul 2011 00:22

The Yorkshire Grey , Holborn

Bland, inoffensive modern bar space within an older corner pub building. Respectable and reasonable, but nothing to attract any interest. 3 casks available - Pride, IPA and London Pride which was flabby and unenjoyable.

30 Jun 2011 22:34

The Rose, 1-3 Catherine Street

Large neighbourhood corner pub just off a local shopping street. This pub has changed hands a number of times over the past few years ago. Ten years ago it was on its last legs as the long standing couple running it had lost interest. It was at that time possibly the most neglected pub in the south of England. The couple's old smelly dog owned the place, and you didn't want to sit down on the filthy, torn seats; also, you had to take care when buying a beer, to avoid the curling brown fly strip hanging above the bar.

When they gave up, the pub remained closed for about a year. Then a new owner gave the place a decent make over - a complete refurbishment, fresh cask beer, a positive and friendly attitude, and free bar snacks in the early evening to attract people coming home from work.

At some point young drinkers established themselves in the pub, and the cask ale went. There were problems with the police, and complaints from neighbours. The pub changed hands, and though the problem with young drinkers might have eased the pub has attracted even more negative attention with petitions, court cases, and local councillors getting involved due to disturbances from the clientle. A drunken death outside the pub, and a serious assault, have also impacted on its reputation.

The pub looks attractive, and has potential. But with the reputation it has acquired, it is a pub to enter with care.

23 Jun 2011 13:54

The Plough and Harrow, Hammersmith

Modern and fairly bland JDW. Long single room. Not much to say. Lacks character and atmosphere, but is inoffensive.

14 Jun 2011 13:15

Mechanical Elephant, Margate

An unremarkable Spoon. Rather plain, and with a dead atmosphere.

16 May 2011 20:39

City Wall Wine Bar, Rochester

Anonymous bar selling keg lager. Big windows. Has a bit of the old Rochester city wall inside. Working hard on promoting pub grub meal deals. Inoffensive.

13 May 2011 18:37

The Victoria Cross, Chatham

Large modern and characterless estate pub with a huge car park outside. Has a restaurant section. OK for locals to drink.

13 May 2011 13:10

Ship and Trades, Chatham

Shepherd Neame pub. Quite popular, and sometimes difficult to get a table. Feels more like a modern bar than a pub - and even though built in an old building in the old dockyard, lacks charm and atmosphere. It's OK, and the snug on the right is pleasant, but it's a little pricey, and not as good as you hope it will be.

13 May 2011 12:57

The Princes Park, Chatham

Pub which is part of the local shopping centre. Modern and bland.

13 May 2011 12:41

Los Amigos Bar, Chatham

OK bar. Was serving local beers and occasional guest ales for a while.

13 May 2011 12:11

Little Crown, Chatham

Pub opposite the now demolished cinema. This was our favourite of the three cinemas in the street, and it was great to come out of the cinema and walk straight into the pub. These days, the other two pubs have closed down, and this place is rather too casual for comfort.

13 May 2011 11:45

The Royal Oak, Strood

Acceptable little pub serving Adnams beers and with a handy beer garden in the summer. Garden is closed in the winter, and children are not welcome in the bar.

13 Apr 2011 20:36

Jubilee, Strood

Large locals pub in a street with a bad reputation. Plenty of room inside, and relaxed atmosphere in the middle of the afternoon. Nothing special, but nothing too scary either.

13 Apr 2011 20:28

The Alma, Strood

Shepherd Neame pub. This was a slightly scruffy and run down, but friendly enough locals pub that was closed for a long time, then refurbished and opened when a Morrisons supermarket opened opposite.

13 Apr 2011 20:18

The Crispin and Crispianus, Strood

Closed, then burned out by fire; now covered in scaffolding.

13 Apr 2011 20:13

The Bulls Head, Strood

Boarded up.

13 Apr 2011 20:12

The Horseshoe, Strood

This was a friendly, laid back local. People sitting out the front on the main road. Quite relaxed and care free. Nothing very special about the place, but it was the local pub for a handful of houses stuck in a sort of no man's area of Strood. Now closed and boarded up.

13 Apr 2011 19:59

The Trinity Arms, Brixton

A good old fashioned boozer, solid and well run with excellent Youngs beers. It's a quiet place, so not one where Academy gig revellers would be welcomed, but it's the place I like to come to first before a gig, then move on to the Wetherspoons to get in the mood.

22 Mar 2011 12:12

The Beehive, Brixton

Have had some memorable times in here eating and drinking before a gig at the Academy. The locals say that on non-gig nights the place is fairly quiet - but before gigs it is crowded, and you can feel the excitement. The place is poorly run and is not too clean. The bar staff struggle with most things - they are under stress and often out of their depth so check you are getting the right drinks, food and change.

22 Mar 2011 12:06

The Plough and Harrow, Eynsford

This used to be a decent pub, and was one that we were looking forward to drinking in after visiting Eagle Heights. It used to be a popular, family friendly pub that did meals and had a good atmosphere. It has been refurbished and has gone upmarket so it is now a restaurant with a bar area.

It is clean and tidy with excellent, if somewhat formal service. Two well kept beers (Harveys and Doom Bar), and very tasty crisps. No child seats, but a booster which our two year found a little small.

The bar felt more like a hotel lounge than a pub, but was OK.

We miss the old Plough. This place isn't bad, but it's not what we were expecting or looking for.

22 Mar 2011 11:18

The Dolphin Hotel, Lydd

It's called The Dophin, and it's a damn good pub. It's an old building that has been sympathetically opened up and expanded, giving a modern feel of light and air while retaining a lot of the original charm. Big back garden with a useful covered section. Three casks - Youngs, Old Dairy and Freeminer, with the Old Dairy Red Top in excellent condition.

My visit was on a Sunday after the Lydd half-marathon (I got a PB of 2.15), and there were free nibbles on the counter. The pub does Sunday roasts in a child friendly room - though these have to be booked in advance. Quiet background music, and a couple of game machines. Mixed clientle. A pleasant, friendly and relaxed place, clean and well looked after with some old world charm, yet light and airy and serving good beer in good condition.

22 Mar 2011 10:52

The Hastings Arms, Rainham

Standard locals pub on a now by-passed section of the Lower Rainham Road. Rough and ready. Used to have a petanque court out the back - not sure if it still does.

18 Mar 2011 22:17

The Alma, Sidcup

Well looked after traditional no frills local pub. Two casks - Courage Best and Youngs Ordinary - in very good condition. This is a solid argument for keeping your beer range to what you can handle, and having beers you know so you can keep them in good condition. As it was Sunday, and this is a traditional pub, there were nibbles on the bar. Plenty of room. Relaxed, secure, friendly atmosphere. People sitting at tables or at the bar chatting. Very long bar in three distinct sections means there is plenty of room for bar flys.

There's nothing really great about the place, but worth dropping in if you're in the area.

13 Feb 2011 16:16

The Bricklayers Arms, Bromley

Late Victorian corner location Shepherd Neame pub. Well kept, it is tidy inside and out. Though well decked out with wood inside, and containing some original features, it has had a modern refurbishment which has opened it up, though keeping some of the charm of old corners and fireplaces. There is a spacious, clean and bright modern feel, with a couple of leather armchairs and low tables here and there, but still retaining some of the sense of tradition that pub goers ,especially mature pub goers, appreciate.

The pub is large, with several sections. The right hand side has the biggest bar area. The left hand side contains three sections, including a Spitfire bar with old Shepherd Neame advertising on the wall. There's a a two level covered patio area at the back.

Three casks on. Beer in good condition. And food available. It's not a pub of great character, so not one to make a detour for, but if in Bromley, and if fancying a Sunday lunch, this would do nicely. A place you could bring the inlaws to.

Bonus is the Bitter End beer shop next door, which offers a very good range of bottled beers from UK, Belgium and America, plus cask ales to take away. Decent place.

16 Jan 2011 16:20

The Star, Gillingham

Family friendly pub during the day. The place is bland and plastic but quite comfortable and with plenty of space. Standard pub grub, with a 25% off voucher by the door. The main bar presents with a range of keg lagers, though at the side there are three casks, including Timothy Taylor's Landlord. The staff were friendly and helpful. This is not a top quality character pub, but is clean and tidy and serves a purpose. We felt comfortable bringing in our 18 month old, and found the child chairs at the entrance. An OK place during the day to stop with a child for a drink and simple food.

16 Oct 2010 18:24

The Samuel Peto, Folkestone

Love this pub, and tell people about it. Fantastic place. A cathedral to beer!

30 Sep 2010 12:45

The Magpie Tavern, Chatham

A slightly disreputable looking pub from the outside, in a neglected and poor area of Medway, and with little sign of activity. The place, despite the unpromising exterior, is open, and isn't that unpleasant. There are two external doors next to each other leading to two distinct bars. The left door leads to a small bar that contains an unused handpump. The other door leads to the main bar, which has been modernised, with several rooms knocked through in an attempt to create an open and modern interior. It almost works, though mainly creates a feeling of tangled and confused space with no identity. The immediate space into which you enter contains a modern lounge area with modern leather sofas and a low table - this is almost chic and pleasant. The remaining space is echoing and unwelcoming, and contains a long, narrow, corridor like space that is used at one end by the local dart team, while the other just appears to exists as empty space.

The beer selection on tap is keg lager -Stella, Kronenbourg and Fosters - and a keg ale - John Smiths smooth. There are tasty and good value filled rolls for 1.

The place is filled with TV screens which play in the background at the same time as occasional loud music. There are live music nights. Customers in the main bar are mainly young men. While the small bat attracts a few older people.

It's a clean enough place. While it has little to recommend it, there is nothing offensive, and it would work quite well as a locals local.

26 Sep 2010 23:26

The Southampton Arms, Gospel Oak

Good local pub with an attractive welcoming atmosphere. Nice mix of trendy bar and real ale pub. I'd be happy to have this as my local. Good to see a pub offering vegetarian Scotch eggs. Good selection of cask beers. Place is smallish, and seating can be a bit tight. Well worth visiting if in the area (and a decent pub crawl can be made out of pubs in and around Kentish Town), though not worth leaving the pubs in central London just to come here.

19 Sep 2010 12:03

The Bree Louise, Euston

Homely pub with a great friendly and welcoming feeling. A genuine pub atmosphere - relaxed, informal and down to earth with plenty of bare wood. Real nice feeling just being in here. Incredible value beer and food - even more so if you're a CAMRA member. Came here after visiting CASK in Pimlico, and the contrast was astonishing. Both places sell a good range of beers, but this place has genuine soul and character, and keeps in touch with its social and historical context. You know you're in the UK when you're in this place, while CASK could be anywhere and nowhere. When in France I want to feel I'm in a French bar, when in the UK I want to feel I'm in a UK pub. The only downside (but unfortunately it's a big downside) is the smell of toilet cleaner from the toilets. Sit as far away from the toilets as you can, and preferably outside.

19 Sep 2010 10:44

Royal Forest, Chingford

Massive pub built in 1890 in Tudorbethan style to exploit the expected visitors to the newly opened Epping Forest. A serious fire in 1912 allegedly killed a young woman called Mary trapped on the fourth floor. When the pub was rebuilt, the fourth floor was omitted, and Mary's spirit is trapped between this world and the next, and she haunts the building. Her ghostly presence might add a touch of atmosphere to what is otherwise a bland interior - a rubber stamp Brewers Fayre, which operates more like a works canteen than a pub. It is busy even on non busy days, and is set up for Essex and East London families with young, energetic children. The aroma of cool chips and warm Brut welcomes you as you approach the entrance.

The meals are good value rather than tasty, and the beer choice is very limited - one cask, London Pride served in indifferent condition.

The place serves as a refreshment stop for families on a day out to Epping Forest, and is very close to Connaught Water, and next door to Queens Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge, so is quite useful. There should be a special category for pubchains such as Brewers Fayre which are clearly family cafes which happen to serve alcohol rather than pubs. I doubt that many people come here just to drink beer, read the paper and have a chat.

15 Sep 2010 16:09

The Kings Oak, High Beech

I am going to Epping Forest today and I'm looking for a pub for lunch. I was considering this pub, but I am very put off by RichieCrook and caroil promoting the pub. In my experience on BITE, the pubs that pimp themselves in a deceptive manner are rarely good pubs. I am even more put off when other positive reviews appear by people who haven't rated any other pubs. The regular and real reviewers say this pub is bad - and the "new" owners (how do we know?) enter a series of deceptive reviews under different names. Hmmm

14 Sep 2010 10:40

Nell of Old Drury, Covent Garden

Friendly laid back pub. Good locals feel. Musicians from the Royal Opera House orchestra use the place to refresh between performances, checking the results of the horse races while they are there. Adnams and London Pride. OK place.

25 Jul 2010 11:41

The Punch And Judy, Covent Garden

Central Covent Garden location, so can be busy. At early lunchtime the balcony was full with no cask beer. There is a cellar bar which serves Bombardier. It's not a bad place, but the nearby Cove is better.

25 Jul 2010 11:26

The Chandos, Trafalgar Square

Typical Sam Smiths low price policy, though you tend to get what you pay for. The quality of the food and drinks is not high, especially now they have changed their menu. It was very crowded on my visit, both upstairs and down, and hard to find a seat, but we managed to get one of the window snugs. As typical of Sam Smiths the pub has a well cared for charm, with a clear intent to keep the place as authentic as possible - though since the refurbishment, the place does feel like a modern mock up, and has less of the woody charm one expects from a Sam Smiths. There are better pubs in Covent Garden, but this isn't that bad.

25 Jul 2010 10:29

The Station Tavern, Grosmont

A sturdy Yorkshire local. This is right by Grosmont railway station, It's an OK place - a local's pub, but also welcoming to the tourists travelling on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and the walkers on Wainwright's Coast to Coast walk. We drank here in 2005 when I had a nice pint of Camerons Strongarm. The pub wasn't listed on BITE back then, so I sent in details, and it took so long to get the pub on the site that I had forgotten all about it, until looking at my rating of Strongarm on RateBeer.

25 May 2010 21:08

The Carpenters Arms, Rochester

The pub no longer offers cask ales, and is struggling to attract non-smoking customers.

25 May 2010 20:46

The Hotel Continental, Whitstable

Spacious and comfortable, and welcoming to families. High chairs with wooden beads are available, and there are clean changing facilities in the corridor outside the toilet. Pushchairs are left in the reception area. The staff are polite and considerate.

The prices are a little high, though the food is very decent, and portions are adequate - the veggie burger was very good, thick and flavoursome and at 7, good value for money; the onion rings are excellent at 2; though the fish and chips at 15 was a tad expensive. There is one cask ale served (which at 2.80 is cheaper than the 3.20 kegged beer), and on my visit was in perfect condition - fresh and beautifully hoppy - fragrantly sweet and citric.

There are good views over the sea, and this is by far a more comfortable and pleasant experience than the brewery bar on the beach. Good atmosphere, and no loud music.

3 May 2010 22:15

The What the Dick Inns, Rochester

Back street local. Large single room with a horse-shoe bar in the centre. A beer garden was created a few years ago - quite small, but attractive. Serves two main brand casks which tend to change. It's a tidy place. The regulars are OK - decent people who know each other - not hostile to visitors. Staff tend to be quite friendly. It's an OK place - lacks character, and there's nothing significant or interesting to recommend, but it's a decent enough place to drink if you live in the area.

23 Feb 2010 10:54

Kings Arms, Upper Upnor

Decent pub. Does decent enough food. Good range of cask ales - the range has been growing over the years. Big, popular beer garden. And bar billiards. The dining room is separate from the rest of the pub, and has its own bar. There are two other bars.

29 Jan 2010 18:32

The Plume of Feathers, Greenwich

Good traditional pub. Well run. In good condition. Nice warm friendly atmosphere. Adnams, Pride, Tea and Harvey's on offer. Beer is in spanking condition. A solid pub.

7 Jan 2010 20:38

The Rake, London Bridge

Small pub with an attached outside area with patio heaters. The focus is on interesting beers, mainly bottled, though there are a couple of casks. It is one of the pubs that makes the Southwark area interesting, though by itself can be a bit disappointing. There are occasional beer events here. In a sense this is the East London rival of the White Horse on Parson's Green - though much smaller, and without the sloane rangers.

It hasn't quite worked its charm on me, but I am pleased it exists.

7 Jan 2010 17:40

The Vine (Bull & Bladder), Brierley Hill

Brierley Hill in the Black Country has an extra-ordinary reputation in the UK. Alongside the road is a famous stretch of canal with a series of nine locks allowing barges to climb (or descend) the hill. But it is the five pubs along the road that attract the interest of drinkers. And the one that has acquired an almost legendary status is the one named The Vine but always known as The Bull and Bladder. It carries an inscription from Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona across its exterior: "Blessings of Your Heart, You Brew Good Ale." This pub is the brew-tap for the Batham brewery - family owned since 1877 - and the best place (one of only 26) to sample Batham's Best Bitter. This is a refreshing and very smooth bitter - very much in the Northern England style of bitter. A crisp hop aroma and a good fruity body. Fresh and tasty though it is I am not a fan of smooth frothy bitters and so didn't rate it highly. However the old style pub with it's maze of small rooms had a wonderful atmosphere.

31 Dec 2009 18:14

Wheatsheaf, Southwark

Large cellar. Quite bright and clean. Good buzz in the place. Lots of cask ales on offer (though difficult to see them all as they are arranged in three different places, and though there is a blackboard, it's not kept up to date). Worth adding to a crawl. Gets a 7 for beer quality and range, space, ambiance and atmosphere.

27 Nov 2009 11:37

The Wheatsheaf, Borough

I wasn't totally knocked out by this place. Two railway carriage rooms separated by the bar and a thin wall. It picked up a huge reputation when it was a freehouse - selling a good range of microbrewery stuff in excellent condition. Youngs are keeping up with that tradition by offering a changing guest, but - at least in the daytime - it lacked atmosphere for me. And the famous candles seemed pointless when light was flooding in from the new windows at the back! But, it was just above average, and it added to the general atmosphere of the area.

27 Nov 2009 11:34

The Brew Wharf, London Bridge

Busy place. Seemed clean and well run. The beer is a little expensive, and the one I had - a Pumpkin Ale - was a little bland, but quite clean and drinkable.

Southwark is an area I have long championed as a good area for pubs, and this place adds to the general interest. There are interesting pubs full of old fashioned charm and character, selling a wide range of excellently kept cask ales, there are small, beer geek pubs, a German beer cellar, the only coaching inn in London and the only Harvey's pub in London, and there is a Fullers pub and a Youngs pub - there is something for everyone, including this modern, clean brewpub.

Brew Wharf isn't a bad place - it's just that with a combination of being rather busy at the bar, the prices being higher than average, and the expectation that comes from a brewpub in this particular location, people will tend to be a bit disappointed.

Overall this gets a slightly higher than average rating (6/10) for what it does offer. But it's not a place I would recommend on its own - I would however say to people, "Southwark is a great place to go to, it has a great range of pubs, including a modern if rather average brewpub."

26 Nov 2009 19:05

The Gipsy Moth, Greenwich

Looks dull from the outside, and while the initial bar area is OK, it's not that great - but the place starts to impress as you go further in and it opens up like Dr Who's Tardis. It becomes more and more interesting with potted plants, and then you reach the wonderful beer garden. It is cool and Mediterranean, and a pleasant place to sit. The two casks were off, but the place also offers Leffe and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Franziskaner Weissbier.

I liked this place.

30 Sep 2009 17:41

The Coach, Greenwich

In the market itself. Bare wood and leather sofas. There's a modern stripped out look with clear glass windows looking out onto the market.

5 casks - IPA, Adnams, Sharps Own and Coaster, Adnams Kolsch.

There is a beer menu which says they do Slaters beers and Estaminet Pilsner (which I must go back for as I've never had it, and it's a rare find!)

Food is around 10.

It's an OK place. Just squeezes in above average.

30 Sep 2009 16:58

The British Oak, Kidbrooke

Two room pub. That is, two distinct bars with separate entrances. Four beers on: Directors, Best, Doom Bar and Coaster.

There's a front courtyard and a decent rear back garden.

It's a well kept place, refurbished in the last year or so, but it lacks character. The side bar is a featureless extension of sorts. Feels a bit like a school gym or village hall or something. The layout of the tables and chairs in neat rows didn't help the feel of lack of character and imagination.

The beer was served in good condition.

There is a folk club every Tuesday. Food is served lunchtimes until 3.00. Sunday lunch is advertised at 4.95. Bargain!

An OK place which I wouldn't mind drinking in, but would rather push on for somewhere more interesting.

30 Sep 2009 16:45

King's Arms, Greenwich

Greene King pub with four casks - IPA, and Hen and two specioals - Bonkers Conkers and Royal London. Pub grub is available for around 7 from 12 - 9pm.

The pub has been altered internally, and has a cookie cutter "trad pub" appearance that you find in many places. The pub feels a bit tired. An OK pub, but nothing special. The screens give a feel of intimacy, but the sauce bottles and heavy carpet are a bit down market.

Overall an average sort of place.

25 Sep 2009 01:22

Lord Hood, Greenwich

A rather scruffy but popular local - there's a Queen Viv feel to the place, and the people seem to all know each other (the barmaid didn't talk to me as she served, she chatted away all the time to one of the bar flies - not something that makes a new customer feel welcome!) The place is friendly and buzzing, though not welcoming. The clientelle are poor working class, 50+, and seem to spend a lot of their money on booze.

There's an island bar, a pool table, fruit machine, games machine, and flyers for jazz nights. Two casks - Courage Best and Bombardier (the Bombardier is at the far end of the bar, and may be missed by visitors).

There's a certain authentic working class seedy charm to the place, and the beer was in good condition. If the place were cleaned up a bit, then it would be a half-decent boozer.

25 Sep 2009 01:09

The North Pole, Greenwich

Small corner location pub on the main road that has been turned into a modern bar/nightclub with an upstairs restaurant. No cask, and lagers 4 a pint. Black painted floor and modern uncomfortable chairs. Not that large. Not my sort of place, and hardly a pub.

22 Sep 2009 22:49

The Morden Arms, Greenwich

Single room corner location back street local. Two casks - Directors and Best. Directors was slightly warm and a bit flabby. Pub has jazz evenings. Laid back atmosphere mixed with hard drinkers. Building work going on during my visit so place was dusty and shambolic.

Good feel to the place. Even though not much of an atmosphere during my visit, there was a sense of the potential of the place, and I can imagine it gets a good vibe at times.

22 Sep 2009 22:42

The Hill, Greenwich

Ex-Barley Mow. Still a pub, but only just. It's a restaurant with a large bar area that has been created from a pub, and somehow retains some of the feel of a pub, albeit a rather upmarket one. I think the pub feel comes from the decent amount of space allowed for the bar area, and that there is a proper bar counter with a cask ale (Adnams in decent condition) and some taps - one serving Leffe. There is a strong scent of lilies, art for sale on the wall, and various shades of pastel cream. The place offers an alternative drinking experience and as such enriches the Greenwich pub scene. It's not my sort of place, and it's not one where many people would be spending the evening unless having a meal, but it's decent enough to get an average score.

22 Sep 2009 22:37

The Royal George, Greenwich

Small single room Shepherd Neame local offering three Sheps - MasterBrew, Spitfire and a seasonal - on this visit, the Late Red which was served in perfect condition.

Friendly, with idle chit chat at the bar.

A decent sort of place that one may be tempted to use if living in the area. Nothing really outstanding, and much depends on who is in for the quality of the conversation, but there was nice atmosphere, so this is just above average.

22 Sep 2009 07:55

The Spanish Galleon, Greenwich

Most prominent pub in the tourist part of Greenwich - it has an attractive corner location. Inside it appears that the pub curves gently around the corner. Two (or three) connected bar areas, and an upstairs bar and restaurant. The bar area to the right feels more of a traditional pub, the bar area on the left feels more of a cafe/restaurant or Tapas bar. Plenty of wood.

Three Shepherd Neame casks on offer. Served in excellent condition.

Overall a sort of average place.

16 Sep 2009 17:18

The Mitre, Greenwich

Prominent high street location in the centre of Greenwich, next to the church. It has its own space on a street corner. Inside it is large with two small yards serving as beer gardens. There's a long l shaped bar. There have been some alterations to the interior, such as a wall being knocked through, and while the bar and bar mirror appear to be more recent than the rest of the pub, they are in keeping with the traditional feel of the place. There is an attractive conservatory at the back which is sometimes used for private functions.

There were four cask ales on offer - Hogs Back TEA. IPA, Adnams Bitter and Sharps Coaster (which is also on in the Prince Albert up the road). The TEA was in nice condition.

This is a decent place with a good traditional British pub feel.

16 Sep 2009 17:06

The Prince Albert, Greenwich

Traditional pub with solid feel. Clean, tidy and well run. Bare wood floor and leather pews. Largely original with sympathetic furnishings.

Three casks: Courage Best, Timothy Taylor Landlord, and Sharp's Cornish Coaster. The Coaster was served slightly warm, and in indifferent condition.

Nice enough place.

15 Sep 2009 22:34

Richard I, Greenwich

Good old fashioned, well kept and well run two bar local with a generous beer garden out the back. This right next door to the Union, and I've always walked past as the union is a decent pub. It's a pleasure to have the time to explore Greenwich and get to know these pubs. This is a right gem. A typical Youngs pub.

The place has genuine charm. Lots of solid wood. No Fuller's fake Victorian modern makeover - this is the real deal. A proper pub serving proper beer, in a great location. Makes an interesting contrast with the Union next door, as they have certain things in common - but enough difference to be able to select which one you want to spend the evening in.

If you want a choice of four cask ales in excellent condition, then this is the one.

If you want original features and a sense of the history and tradition of British pubs, then this is the one.

If you want decent pub grub at reasonable prices, then this is the one.

If you want a slightly larger beer garden, then this is the one.

If you want to be treated like a real person rather than a customer, then this is the one, as the bar staff will talk to you, and seem genuinely interested in having a conversation.

Damn fine pub.

14 Sep 2009 17:12

The Rose and Crown, Greenwich

Small corner location opposite what used to be the Spread Eagle coaching tavern, but is now a sedate restaurant.

The only cask, London Pride, was not on.

A clean and tidy pub with furnishings in reasonable condition. Pleasant laid back atmosphere - friendly bar man. Clear glass windows gives a feel of a French bar, and it's nice to look out on the world passing by. I have no idea of the sexuality of the other customers, but there was no camp behaviour on my lunchtime visit and no gay pride literature or pink feathers around the bar, so non-gay customers needn't feel awkward. It seemed an average, decent sort of local.

14 Sep 2009 16:58

The Lost Hour, Greenwich

Medium large featureless modern pub that feels like it has been removed from a franchise chain (Scream) and left to decay. it's in the language school area of Greenwich, so attracts a number of students. There are no casks ales. Standard pub fare at around 5 a meal. All keg lager and cider, plus Guinness.

Not a place to visit twice - really quite scruffy and dirty.

13 Sep 2009 23:52

The Greenwich Union, Greenwich

I like this place. Polite, middle class, liberal, arty, - with all that comes with such a mix. The place always feels like Sunday afternoon with The Sunday Times. Conversation is intelligent, urbane, and never loud or foul. The back beer garden is casual and understated - it feels like sitting in someone's back garden in a nice area.


The menu always tends to look interesting, but the food when it arrives doesn't live up to expectations. The prices average around 10 - which is slightly high for the quality and the setting (for this is most certainly a pub rather than a restaurant).

The service is always polite, though could involve a bit more human interaction. The politeness is just too cool and considered, and sometimes there is the feeling that the person serving you thinks of you as a customer rather than another person. The waitress was very attractive but never smiled all evening. The barman went out of his way to be very patient to a group of people going through various beer samples before selecting half a pint of the wheat beer. That was OK, but a queue had formed, and the group could have easily been left to think about each sample while somebody else was served. There seemed to be little awareness by the barman that other people were waiting. When we got served he was smooth and charming, so it was good service, but I'd have rather got served quicker with a bit less charm!

There are two casks on offer - Adnams and Meantime's British version of an American Pale Ale - the rest of the beers on tap are Meantime's well done but largely uninteresting pale lagers and wheat beers. The High Saison is good - but that is only available during the summer. The bottled beer list is good, but rather pricey. So, on the whole, the beer experience can be less than exciting. However, as this is Meantime's own pub, there is the attraction of being able to explore a number of Meantime's beers in one place - so people will come here just for that.

So, the beers are worth trying, but on the whole are not exciting, the food is not good value for money, and the service can be a little detached.

But it's still a must visit pub in Greenwich. And I like it.

13 Sep 2009 23:31

St Christopher's Inn, Greenwich

Appropriately named pub by the railway station (St Christopher - patron saint of travelers). Decent corner location allowing plenty of light. Modern styling. Clean and well run. No cask - Bombardier on keg. Counter is made of suitcases and packing cases (not real) behind glass, to tie in with the traveling theme. OK place.

11 Sep 2009 02:37

The Sun in the Sands, Kidbrooke

A man's pub. You have to walk past gangs of rough looking smokers to get in. Well, not walk past so much as walk through as they stand right in the doorway. Once inside it is large yet gloomy with an air of an abandoned and struggling local. There are menus on the tables offering food for around 6 which indicates some popularity, and a sense that more than just builders and dockers will come in here.

Two cask pumps - Bombardier and London Pride. The Bombardier was off, and the Pride was dull and soapy, even though - bless her - the barmaid pulled it through several times to make sure it was fresh.

There's a pool table area on the left, and a small backyard with chairs which serves as the beer garden (or alternative smoke room judging by the overflowing ash trays).

I have always been curious about this pub as it gives it's name to a prominent interchange on the A2, is regularly mentioned on traffic reports, and is on the route of the London Marathon. In addition the pub and the area around it was declared a special conservation area in 1995 (The Sun in the Sands Conservation Area). The first mention of a pub on the site is in 1790 with the name Sun Ale House, though there is evidence that a building existed on the site in 1745, and it is likely that it was a pub at that time, as the community grew up around the pub. The building has been much altered over the years, and there is a difference of thought as to if the pub was entirely rebuilt in 1842 or if it retains some of the original 18th century structure. The name developed into it's current form due to the sandpits in the area.

I have to say that while I didn't expect much, I was still rather disappointed that it was so lacking in character and appeared to be a little bit rough. The place is not exactly hideous, but is on the poor side of an average back-street local.

10 Sep 2009 18:32

The Whitstable Brewery Bar, Whitstable

Remote location at the end of East Quay, right on the shingle beach. There is a car park - but it is walkable, even though through some unattractive and soul destroying scenery. Keep going - the bar is there at the end! Well, rather than bar, it's a large wooden beach hut. The place has a cool, laid back student atmosphere, though during the day the customers were all solidly middle aged, and clearly put off by the young staff playing music VERY LOUD! Nobody sat inside, even though it was a cold, blustery day.

The beer garden is the beach itself - which actually sounds good in theory, but in reality means a wooden table on gravel overlooking the grey, miserable Thames estuary with highlights being the Isle of Sheppey, the wind farm, and the Maunsell Sea Forts. The location would probably be very nice on a warm, sunny day - but is less attractive at other times. We were particularly bothered by the prevailing wind, which blew over my plastic pint glass, and found some refuge in the glass shelter by the door.

A number of the Whitstable beers are served chilled under pressure, but there are others served from the cask behind the bar.

The place is certainly interesting and worth a visit, but your pleasure at the experience would depend on weather conditions and how you feel about VERY LOUD music.

6 Aug 2009 18:13

The Earls Court Tavern, Earls Court

Four casks, including Sharps Doom Bar which was on the turn. Pleasant corner location. Offers an all day veggie breakfast. Fairly average place. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing outstanding either.

The pub which impressed me most on the Earls Court Road is Fuller's Blackbird, and that's where I would eat - though the Courtfield has a wider selection of cask ales, so is worth a look in.

6 Aug 2009 16:19

The Prince of Teck, Earls Court

The Prince of Teck. Light & airy & modern. Corner location with lots of clear glass windows. Feels kinda continental. One of the people I was chatting with said he used to come here before it was refurbished, and it was full of character and Australians. It still serves VB in bottles, so I expect a few Aussies do pop in! Only two casks - London Pride and Spitfire. The Spitfire was sour, so I think they struggle with even just the two casks.

6 Aug 2009 16:02

The Ramsden Arms, Blackpool

Another great Blackpool pub - dark and smokey, with light cutting through in slopes - lots of wood panelling, brass, jugs and animal heads.

6 Aug 2009 15:55

The Courtfield, Earls Court

Six casks - including Landlord, Tetley Dark Mild, Fullers Summer. A typical solid, old fashioned, well run, clean and tidy pub. Does food and nibbles. OK. Above average due to the sum of the parts, but nothing special.

6 Aug 2009 15:48

The Darnley Arms, Cobham

A traditional local village pub which has been allowed to fester slightly. There's potential charm here, but it's lost under poor quality and ill advised decoration. It's in need of some TLC and a firm guiding hand. The outside area could be a decent beer garden, but is currently mostly made over to a car park. Has a brand new owner and landlord who seems willing to make something of the place. He has brought in Dark Star Hophead and Harveys Best beers, which are served in good condition, and has plans to improve the menu and the decoration. I would like to see the place improve as the owner is a genuinely nice person, and we have plans to come back and see how the place develops.

18 Jul 2009 18:43

Ye Old Stationmaster, Chislehurst

Large, average but pleasant enough pub with three nationally distributed ales.

16 Jul 2009 17:09

Lewes Arms, Lewes

Fullers pub with four fullers/Gales beers and two Harveys Best in stunning condition. Scaffolding outside doesn't diminish the charm inside. Three rooms - small front bar and two other rooms with tables. Veggie food. Good prices - around 5 - 6. Charming. Good feel to the place. Famous for the stand against then owners Greene King who wanted to (horrors!) remove Harveys Best from the pub!!!

16 Jul 2009 16:59

The Anchor, Sevenoaks

Decent pub in the town centre. Serves Harveys Best which always gets a pub extra points from me.

16 Jul 2009 16:45

The Elephant and Castle, Lewes

OK pub. Three casks of micro guests. TV in the corner. Yellow paint and green painted wood panelling. A bare bones local feel. One of the Bonfire groups was having a wake while we were in.

16 Jul 2009 16:36

The Brewers Arms, Lewes

Standard pub. Pub carpet. Range of bottled beers on a high shelf. Eight pumps - five on: one Harveys Best (of course), the others are micro guests. Average, but credit for the beer range.

16 Jul 2009 16:20

Dorset Arms, Lewes

Average sort of pub. Very ordinary - quite bland, cookie cutter pub fittings. Lacking a genuine atmosphere, but quite comfortable, clean and acceptable. Three Harveys beers - however, the condition was poorest of all the pubs visited in Lewes.

16 Jul 2009 16:10

The Gardeners Arms, Lewes

Narrow pub with bare wood floor. Five micro guest casks plus, of course, Harveys Best. Archers pump clips all over the bar. A pleasant, characterful place.

16 Jul 2009 15:51

The Shipwrights Arms, Faversham

I used to like this pub when I lived in Faversam, and have often raved about it to others. Because of its remote location it is tricky to get to, and two previous attempts over the past couple of years have not been successful as the pub was closed due to somewhat erratic opening hours. After doing the Mount Ephraim 10 K run, we thought we'd give it another go and have Sunday lunch here. Unfortunately we arrived to be confronted with a sign saying they would not be serving any more people. Along with a bunch of other unfriendly and scruffy signs informing people what they could not do. The pub is quirky, and should be a more pleasant experience, especially as the beer (all from Kent breweries) is served in excellent condition from gravity casks behind the bar.

I so want to still like this pub, but the unfriendly signs, inconsistent opening hours for such a remote pub, uncertainty of getting food, and general scruffy nature are somewhat off putting. Best phone first (either on the number above or on the pub's own number which can be found via google) if planning to visit for either a drink or a meal.

16 Jul 2009 14:10

Founders Arms, Bankside

Busy and popular Youngs pub on the Thames. Characterless late 20th century architecture, and one of the poorest views of the Thames from any of the London riverside pubs, this is nevertheless an acceptable stop during a walk, or for a meet up before going on to somewhere decent. Family friendly with meals served all day. Good number of staff behind the bar so no waiting, and the staff don't get stressed. Three casks offered, all Youngs - Ordinary, Special and the new Kews Gold.

16 Jul 2009 13:53

Bridge Hotel, Newcastle

Fantastic period pub right by the High Level Bridge. Amazing views of the Tyne Bridge, High Level and the Swing Bridge. Nice decor inside - lots of wood, stained glass and little nooks and corners. 7 cask ales - all Northern breweries. Great atmosphere. I really liked this place.

4 Jul 2009 20:43

Crown Posada, Newcastle

Small and thin, but a great atmosphere and a good crowd. Does a decent range of guest ales. One of must visit pubs in Newcastle.

4 Jul 2009 20:39

Postal Order, Crystal Palace

Smallest JDW I've encountered. Standard JDW fittings, though with a more intimate pub feel than normal.

4 Jul 2009 20:36

The Railway, Rainham

Cheap and scruffy local. Pit-bull terriers both sides of the bar. Loud juke-box. No cask.

27 Jun 2009 20:40

The John Harvey Tavern, Lewes

Well kept and tidy pub, converted from the stables of an old hotel. Exposed beams in the ceiling - but the place is a bit too clean for genuine character. Has the feel of a Fuller's pub conversion, where everything is done to a good standard, but nothing feels quite genuine, because nothing is quite genuine. It's all looks, but no substance. But it's a very decent place for all that. Service was pleasant. 3 handpumps and some gravity casks behind the bar - all Harvey's. Food in the 7 - 10 range. Decent enough. This is the place recommended to meet up and have something to eat before a brewery tour. But the kitchen doesn't open until 6.00 and the tour starts at 6.30. I pushed them to take my order before 6.00 and explained I was on the tour, so they rushed the meal so I could eat it on time, but inevitably it wasn't fully cooked. If doing the tour, eat before you come here.

17 Jun 2009 19:33

The Sun Inn, Bredgar

Well run and child friendly country pub. Quite a large place, extending back - giving a modern spacious feel to what is essentially a 300 year old pub. Serves Harvey's Bitter so gets extra points from me. Pub meals around 9. Restaurant meals a few quid more. Cheesy Chips are 2.50. Front bar has some charm with the open fire. Big car park and beer garden out back. OK place if visiting the steam railway nearby.

25 May 2009 19:41

The Two Sawyers, Brompton

Two rooms - one for pool. Main room has dirty worn carpet. Keg only despite lots of point of sale promotion for Cask Ale. The Courage Best was keg, and the lines were full of sour beer. Not good. Not good at all.

12 May 2009 00:07

Tilleys Bar, Newcastle

Pleasant bar with trendy plain pale green walls and pale wood floor. 5 casks. Decent food. Limited menu on Sundays.

11 May 2009 23:06

The Drift Inn, Newcastle

Local pub with a restaurant area. Good local feel. No cask. Newkie Brown in the bottle.

11 May 2009 21:42

The Johns Cross Inn, Robertsbridge

Stopped in here on my way back from the painful Hastings Marathon in December 2008. Two casks are normally offered, but only one on - but it's my favourite: Harvey's!

I've often considered stopping here as it looks like a traditional old pub from the outside. The inside, however, is not what one would expect, and it's a matter of personal taste as to how much one will enjoy the oddity of the place. There are two bars and a dining room. The bar on the right is modern with conservatory furniture, and the experience sits awkwardly in a 16th century Inn. Some people might appreciate the tackiness and bad taste, the dirt and neglect, and I do like to give credit for unusual and quirky places, but this one didn't work for me, and I felt uncomfortable. Through the bar one could see the more traditional and deserted lounge.

11 May 2009 21:38

Doctors Tonic, Welwyn Garden City

Greene King - 2 casks offered, though only the Christmas special - Rocking Rudolph - was on.

Clean, well kept and large Road House style pub. A comfy modern make over which is not too trendy - keeping a traditional feel. Sofas and leather armchairs make the place comfortable and inviting.

11 May 2009 21:21

The Green Lion, Rainham

Well established roadside pub on the old A2 in Rainham. Some attempt has been made it make it look and feel modern inside, which contrasts with the exterior. Popular with young lads. Nothing special, but a decent enough place.

11 May 2009 20:30

The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping

4 casks - IPA, Pride, Broadside and guest: Rosey Nosey.

Stunning pub - great atmosphere - drips with history. Wonderful setting - great views of the Thames. Standard pub grub at around 8. Great place - one of London's best pubs - a must visit place. Well run. Interior has been updated, and although fake, it fits in. Floor is original.

11 May 2009 20:22

Turners Old Star, Wapping

Solid East End local boozer - homely and friendly atmosphere - warm and full of character. Advertises guests and has two pumps, but only Pride available on our visit. Decent old fashioned boozer with a landlord firmly in charge with traditional values. Very good place.

11 May 2009 20:09

The Queens Arms, South Kensington

Upmarket corner pub in a quiet mews near the Albert Hall. Very busy as it was a pleasant evening just before the first of the two Van Morrison Astral Weeks concerts. The service was very slow (too slow), but the staff were pleasant enough. Two casks were on - IPA and Pride. Decent range of bottles and kegs including Sierra Nevada and Meantime on tap. Attractive place. Food around 7 - 10. People spill out into the mews. Good atmosphere.

11 May 2009 19:44

The Old Ash Tree, Chatham

Bland but acceptable John Barras pub. Nothing offensive - clean and decently run pub, aimed mainly at younger drinkers.

19 Mar 2009 21:09

The Botswain and Call, Chatham

Solid but dull pub with few customers. Now closed.

13 Mar 2009 18:54

The Fleur De Lis, Gillingham

Large blank locals pub. Looks more interesting and inviting from the outside than the reality of the inside. And, to be honest, the outside looks tired enough. There's nothing hugely wrong with the place except that it simply exists in a big lump without making any kind of effort. Old fashioned and passed it.

13 Mar 2009 18:45

The Cricketers, Gillingham

Large well kept Barras pub serving Best and Spitfire in excellent condition. Typical pub food at JDW prices. Big beer garden - pool table in room / area to right of the bar. Anonymous and characterless, but quite serviceable.

13 Mar 2009 18:40

The Three Horseshoes, Hernhill

Good old fashioned 17th c pub with no piped music and a policy of no mobile phones. A Sheps pub with 2 hand casks and at least one gravity behind the bar. Serves food. A splendid place.

28 Feb 2009 22:40

The Canopus, Rochester

New landlord moved in 18 months ago and has livened up the place. It's warm and friendly, and has four ever changing cask ales with at least one under 4% for session drinking, but the others may go up to 6%. The beer was in perfect condition, served at the ideal temperature.

As the pub is near the local recreation ground, the amateur football players will drop in for a drink after a match, with food laid on for them. Creates a great atmosphere.

There are two rooms, both are wood panelled. The saloon room has comfy sofas, while the public has darts board and a pool table.

Great place.

28 Feb 2009 20:22

Six Jolly Fellowship Porters, Chatham

Even though the full name is Six Jolly Fellowship Porters, it calls itself and is known locally simply as Porters.

During the day it's the refreshment centre for the Dickens World tourist attraction, and is only open to visitors to the attraction. But in the evening when the attraction is closed, the pub is open to the general public.

There are two main spaces divided by the central bar, and there's an "outside" seating area which overlooks the main courtyard of the attraction. It's not really outside, as the attraction is all indoors.

The pub offers one cask - a Nelson Brewery special: Noddy Boffin's Brew - The Golden Dustman. I didn't like it, but then I don't like most of Nelson's beers.

Sitting in the pub feels like sitting in a cartoon pub. It feels like what it is, a theme bar in a Theme Park.

Score 4.

7 Nov 2008 01:08

Britannia Bar Cafe, Rochester

I've always liked this pub, and I've never had a bad visit. Indeed, I'm always impressed each time I come. When asked which are among the best pubs in Medway, I always mention this one, and with very good reason. I arrived for my latest visit just after 5.30 on my way home from work. Already there are around 20 - 25 people here, all 40+, most are quietly talking in small groups or couples - there are almost as many women as men. There's a man on a table by himself reading his paper, drinking his pint and munching on a packet of nuts. There's a good mix of regulars who welcome each other as they come in, and occasional visitors like myself. One table is reserved for a party of diners.

There's a warm, relaxed atmosphere assisted by the low background music.

Three casks on offer - the regular Goachers, and two guests - Rev James and SA Gold. My beer was in excellent condition, as it always has been every time I come here.

The place is clean and tidy and decorated to a high standard. The brass lights in the window add character and a sense of class. The place is comfortable and feels safe and welcoming and well run.

It really is quite wonderful, and is possibly the best pub in Medway.

7 Nov 2008 00:40

The Golden Lion, Brompton

Currently closed and boarded up.

7 Nov 2008 00:11

The Royal Marine, Gillingham

Small single room pub in the catchment area of Brompton barracks. There's a pool table on the right, and a karaoke stand on the left. Keg lager only. Unremarkable place, but would be an acceptable week day bar for the local soldiers. Laid back atmosphere - quite friendly, but not homely or comfortable. A place to stand and drink (and sing) with your mates.

7 Nov 2008 00:10

The Man of Kent Ale House, Rochester

It was suggested by a few people that I check out this place again as I hadn't been for a while, and it had been getting good reviews. I was slightly dubious as I have tried this pub out at least 30 times over a five year period and had never really been satisfied with the beer quality, nor the cramped, scruffy and uncomfortable room. In the two or three years since I had last been I have noticed the pub declining from the outside, so it didn't seem to me to be likely that it had improved inside. But I was willing to try, because the building itself is very attractive, and in the right hands this could be a stunning pub. It has long had a policy of serving a range of beers from the smaller Kent breweries, and that deserves to be encouraged.

I had tried at 12.30 on Saturday, but the place appeared locked up.

I tried again this evening at 5.45 and found both the front doors firmly closed, a barricade by the cellar doors, which has been there for a long time now, indicating that the cellar doors are unsafe, and no indication that the pub was open, nor how to get in. I walked round to the back, and found a side door, boarded up, with a handwritten sign saying "This is the entrance". I pushed hard and entered what feels like an old hippy squat.

I like a bit of character and human warmth, but there's something just a bit unsettling about the squalor of this place. There's a feeling of a lack of respect for the building and for the people in the building. There's a feeling that nobody cares. Of course, that's a personal reaction, and others would be charmed by the lack of airs and graces. And I am aware that I have championed pubs which others have found rather messy, so it does often come down to each to their own. Some places appeal to us which repel others. This is going to be a pub that will divide opinion.

Anyway, there's hardly anyone in here (there rarely has been many people in whenever I've been here - but I've never been in during any of the sweeps festivals, which is when this pub is busiest - nor, to be fair, have I been in during any of the live gigs) - but there are three men chatting quietly at the bar. Friendly, relaxed and pleasant chaps.

There are 6 casks on offer. Rather a lot for any pub, but quite excessive for a quiet backstreet pub. To have 6 casks on offer you need to be shifting them quickly to keep them in good condition. I try the local Nelson beer. It's warm and rancid - but that could be as much a fault of the brewery as the pub (Nelson beers can be a bit too malty and greasy). I'm told the cask is fresh on, so I'm giving the pub the benefit of the doubt, though I'd like the beer to be served cooler. I ask the landlord about the doors, and I'm told that he only has the one door open because he can only keep an eye on one door. I don't follow up on this, but I do wonder why he needs to keep an eye on a door.

I finish my beer and, to be fair, look for a different one to see what the quality of that is like. But the landlord has gone. I ask the chaps at the bar where he's gone and they say that often happens - he's probably upstairs with his wife and family. I ask if there's a bell I can ring (after all, it's not uncommon for barstaff to sometimes be busy in some other part of the pub), but I'm told there is no bell. All I can do is wait - that he may be five seconds or five minutes. "That's one of the quirks of the place."

It's not a particular quirk I'm prepared to put up with. I leave.

I go the The Good Intent round the corner - as soon as I walk in there's a difference. A warm friendly buzz of about 12 people, a landlord who is attentive, beer in better condition (and 2 a pint compared to 2.80 in the man of Kent), and several of the customers in there are ex-customers of the Man in Kent who had got fed up with the poor service, bad beer quality and uncomfortable cramped surroundings. The Good Intent is not a smart pub, but it has something more going for it than the Man of Kent. The local CAMRA branch declared the Good Intent as their Pub of The Year this year. I think that's excessive, there are better pubs in Medway, but it's certainly an indication of what some of the locals think.

It's each to their own, but the Man of Kent is not for me. I have lowered my score from 5 to 1 because this pub has consistently served me bad beer, and because the landlord has so little desire to spend time with his customers that he keeps the front doors locked and vanishes upstairs for long periods of time.

I will need a lot of convincing to return here.

14 Oct 2008 23:29

The Cinque Port Arms, Hastings

Came in here in March after the Hastings Half. It's a woozy wood and brick ale house of considerable charm. ESB and Harvey's Best on offer. Sunday roast spuds on the counter as a free snack.

A good old fashioned boozer. Tables are heavy and a bit ugly. Score sort of hovered between 7 and 8. Settled on 7.

11 Oct 2008 02:45

The White Rose, Mumbles

A Mitchells & Butler pub - M&B (the new name for the old Bass Charington company) seems to own a good few Swansea pubs, including the popular Eli Jenkins in town. This one has a similar feel - the original character of the pub has been diminished by a modern conversion that has introduced fake "olde worlde" fittings. The feel is a bit cheap and plastic and rather lacking in individuality. However, the place is tidy and well run. It has an attractive corner location, and is quite comfortable. The food is cheap. The beer is Brains and Bass.

Rating 5

11 Oct 2008 02:31

The Junction Tavern, Kentish Town

Popped in today just before the Ting Tings gig at the Forum. Great pub. The beer festival was on - good selection of beers, and a good crowd, but not too packed. We managed to get a seat out in the beer garden.

The gastropub at the front looked quite chic, but not really my thing. I had checked the prices before hand, but felt they were just a tad high for a pub meal. The pub part at the back is more my thing. Good atmosphere - with a genuine feel for cask ale. The conservatory and beer garden are very attractive.

This is well worth seeking out if in the area. And I'm pleased there's more and more pubs in London offering a good range of cask ales.

Rating 8.

11 Oct 2008 02:19

Royal Harbour Brewhouse and Bakers, Ramsgate

When this was Eddie Gadd's brewery this was one of the most interesting pubs in the South East, and I brought many people here. It is always worth driving some distance for individuality and charm, and the old Royal Harbour certainly had that with the paintings on the walls, the brewery on display in the back room, the garden benches, old piano, lampposts and other quirky features. It was always interesting to walk through the bakers section in the front, with cakes and bread on display, and a cafe atmosphere, into the more interesting pub area beyond.

However, that has gone, and this is now. The pub is still interesting, but I won't be driving anyone down here to experience it any more. It's certainly worth popping in though as it's still got plenty of charm, and is above average in what it does offer. The beer selection is Sharps Doom bar, Ruddles Best and then some popular Belgians, such as Leff and Belle Vue on tap. There's some tasty food on offer at weekends only - mussels & fritte, and a Sunday roast.

The atmosphere is warm and friendly, and it does appear to be busier than when under Gadds. Though Gadds moving out is a genuine loss, this is a very decent replacement.

Rating 6.

10 Oct 2008 13:22

The Blackbird, Earls Court

Fullers pub. 9 casks on with 4 different Fullers ales between them - Chiswick, Discovery, Pride and ESB.

This is typical Fullers Ale 7 Pie bank conversion done in 1994. A solid, respectable pub - very British and very dignified. Great beers, great pies and very good prices!

Rating 7.

10 Oct 2008 13:02

The Dog and Bell, Deptford

This is not in the most pleasing of surroundings - the pub is dead opposite the old dock wall - a high and intimidating slab of bare brick. It's also in Deptford, not a place of great pubs or many outlets for good ale. However, it has had a reputation for serving good beer and good food, and for providing a haven for Guardian readers for some years now, so I was very keen on popping in.

The pub is very welcoming and has plenty of warm, woody character. 6 cask ales on offer - Pride, IPA and four guests. Free newspapers. Large plainly decorated rooms with wooden tables and pew benches. Bare wood floor.

There are three main rooms, the one on the right has a bar billiards table. There is a small, pleasant courtyard at the back.

Good place. Score 8.

10 Oct 2008 12:48

The Bear Inn, Faversham

Stunning unspoilt pub. 3 separate rooms - loads of nick nacks: brass horns, chamber pots, etc. Black beams, worn carpet, 3 Shepherd Neame beers available on cask. Civilised, mainly slightly bohemian, middle class clientele. I really like this place. Rating 8.

10 Oct 2008 12:40

Wetherspoons, Victoria Station

This place is OK. Always busy, but clean and tidy. Average score.

9 Oct 2008 21:09

The Dove, Dargate

Local country Shep's pub. Whitstable Bay and Master Brew on offer. Does Sunday lunches, but they should be booked in advance.

Plain, simple, unpretentious interior. Good, warm, friendly atmosphere.

Our food menu was 6 a head, but the regular menu when booked in advance is considerably more - the landlord's son does the cooking, and has trained in France.

9 Oct 2008 21:07

The Bell, Kemsing

Greene King pub of no character. Old people's wing chairs in clean and tidy but antiseptic front room create the only interesting feature in the place. It has been converted just too far. Very average.

9 Oct 2008 21:03

The Fox and Hounds, Romney Street

Came here with RogerB on our sunny Sunday country pub crawl. This is a typical Sunday lunch village pub. Nice enough with guest ales and Harvey's bitter, but is fairly standard, and so lacking in individual character.

However, even though you'll have drunk in a pub just like this in many parts of the country, it's certainly a decent pub, and justifiably popular. The food was reasonably priced and quite tasty, and the beer condition very good.

The carvings on the bar counter are worth pointing out.

9 Oct 2008 20:52

The Rising Sun, Kemsing

Revisited with RogerB after concerns had been raised about the negative comments.

I would agree with Roger in his excellent write up of the place. The pub still holds considerable charm and character for me, and the vintage tractors turning up as we were drinking in the splendid beer garden was a highlight and the sort of thing that seems to happen whenever I come here. I could drink here all day, and look forward to coming here again, as this is a rare and special place. However, the beer condition and the lack of food do mean I will bring down my original score a bit.

9 Oct 2008 20:42

The Wheatsheaf, Kemsing

Met with RogerB here at the start of a very pleasant Sunday country pub crawl.

This is a village pub with 70s bar decor - mock Tudor and swirly iron work, red pub carpet. There are two rooms - the one on the right is a games room. Three casks available - Courage, Pride and the ever splendid Harvey's. Free Sunday bar snacks were offered. This is a nice enough place worth returning to as the base for future walks in the area.

9 Oct 2008 20:31

The Capitol, Forest Hill

From the Wetherspoon site: "A rare survival of a 1920s cinema, The Capitol, on London Road, first opened its doors to the cinema-going public in 1929, with a screening of Man, Woman and Sin. Renamed the ABC in 1968, the cinema gave its last picture show in October 1973. There were plans to convert and even demolish the building. However, The Capitol opened as a bingo hall in February 1978, closing in the first week of December 1996. It opened as a Wetherspoon pub on 9 May 2001."

9 Oct 2008 20:22

The Capitol, Forest Hill

Interesting and attractive Wetherspoons conversion of a 1930s cinema. The space suffers slightly from its size - there's an empty echoing atmosphere - but is mainly comfortable and well lit. I've been in here several times over the years, and generally found the service reasonably quick and pleasant, though the meal portions are smaller than standard, and the beer range can be a bit limited, and sometimes the cask pump clips have been wrong.

However, I feel this is a slightly above average JDW due to the attractive building, and the usually clean tables and decent service.

9 Oct 2008 20:14

Old Cottage Tavern, Burton on Trent

A regular outlet for beers from the Burton Old Cottage brewery I was keen on visiting. The pub is not, however, one of the best in Burton, and is sadly a bit average. It has the attraction of several rooms, but none quite manage to offer any charm - the place simply feels scruffy and has a sort of Chatham chav, plastic feel to it. I was particularly put off by the intense chemical toilet cleaner smell which pervaded the place. Credit given though for offering the Old Cottage cask ales, and the place might be better on a different day when the toilets don't smell so much.

9 Oct 2008 19:49

The Star Inn, Rochester

Interesting looking red brick pub on Star Hill leading away from Rochester High Street. It used to be a scoopers pub serving seven or more different cask ales - but these days it's a keg only pub attracting building labourers and contractors. It has chalk signs outside advertising exotic dancers on Sunday evenings.

Shame, the memories of the old pub (which I never experienced) can still be detected by the beer memorabilia around the place - assorted bottles on the shelves and various pictures of ancient breweries and explanations of the brewing process.

On my afternoon visit I and an old geezer were the only customers - and he'd only come in for a pee!

7 Oct 2008 23:18

The Fox, Chatham

Popular estate pub run by an Indian. Mixed clientele - it all felt well run and safe. Clean and tidy, though a bit too anonymous for character and charm.

7 Oct 2008 22:56

Six Jolly Fellowship Porters, Chatham

This is a bar that is part of the Dickens World building in the Dockyard. It is a part of the "theme park" attraction during the day - the only catering outlet. And is also open to the public during the evening - especially on a Friday evening during the comedy nights in the Victorian theatre room.

It's a practical place rather than warm and full of character, and feels like what it is - a bar inside a theme park. It serves Shepherd Neame beers. Sitting outside you can look over the rather small Dickens World experience.

Forgettable, but not terrible.

7 Oct 2008 22:46

The Command House, Chatham

This used to be one of the best pubs in Medway, and was certainly the best pub in Chatham. It has a commanding view of the Medway, and is a fine old building. At one time it was well run, served cask ales, had a great atmosphere, good food, was well decorated, bare wooden floors, great juke box, great assortment of games machines, always buzzing with a mixed, relaxed clientele at all hours of the day. We spent more time in the Command House than any other pub, and had some great times here. But then there was a change of owner, and it became a keg bar for young men.

I popped in today and it seems to be struggling. It is very messy outside, and looks a bit tatty inside. The trendy conversion fights with the character of the building, and was cheaply done. There's a crude, cheap, chav feel to the place. Black leather sofas and red and black painted walls. Cheap nylon carpet on the floor. It was echoingly empty - just a handful of youngsters at one corner of the bar. I should imagine, however, that it gets busy on Friday and Saturday nights.

It serves food during the day from 12 to 4, and is currently promoting that with chalk boards outside - perhaps trying to pull in the council staff from the newly opened council HQ nearby. But they'd need to clean the place up a bit to compete with the already established Ship and Trades.

It was sad to be back. I truly loved the old Command House.

7 Oct 2008 22:36

The Coopers Tavern, Burton-Upon-Trent

This is the old Bass bottle store, now it's a charming pub of several individual rooms, and a small bar right at the back where beer is served directly from casks on benches, stools, shelves, old beds, the window sill and the bonnet of a Ford Prefect. Well, I do exaggerate a bit, but the place certainly does have charm and character. A good old fashioned pub atmosphere. Top class. Rate 8.

2 Oct 2008 19:20

The Brewery Tap, Burton-Upon-Trent

Corporate blandness. 3 casks made in the White Shield microbrewery, but served by modern chrome hand pumps. This place lacks soul. It's all about gleaming surface and no depth. Rate 3.

2 Oct 2008 19:07

The Cayo Arms Hotel, Cardiff

Great pub. Tomas Watkins beers and cider, and a selection of others. Great relaxed atmosphere for just lounging around in the big comfy chairs. I could sit here and drink all day. One of my favourite pubs.

29 Sep 2008 20:05

White Hart Inn, Caerleon

Wood panelled and well kept pub serving a nice drop of Everards Tiger as a regular. This pub along with the beer is in stunning condition - the brass is all shiney and polished. The pub is large and bright and conveys an impression of a conservative club. All in all, it's an ordinary pub, but is made a little better than average by being so well kept, and by the feel of the landlord's character in the interest in rugby as displayed by the signed picture of the Welsh team. Score 6

29 Sep 2008 17:52

Ye Olde Bull Inn, Caerleon

15th century pub in the centre of the village with the Roman baths in the carpark. No cask ales, just Tetley and lager on tap. Score 4.

29 Sep 2008 17:51

Joiners Arms, Gower

A pleasant and friendly village pub in Gower. It sits in the heart of Bishopston right opposite another pub, so that drinkers sitting outside can chat with the drinkers sitting outside the other pub. Does meals, but not during the afternoon. The main draw is that the pub brews their own beers as the Swansea Brewing Company, and three of their beers are always available, along with three others - Pedigree, Archers and Courage Best on my visit. The beer garden is the edge of the car park, and there isn't that much of a view, but it's a decent enough place. Score 8.

24 Sep 2008 17:49

Eli Jenkins, Swansea

Large bright corner location JDW type pub. 3 casks on during our visit. Promotes cheap food, such as a full breakfast for 1.99. Very popular, especially for the food. Handy for the town centre, and quite clean and tidy. Lacks atmosphere, but is quite acceptable. Average score.

21 Sep 2008 23:10

Beaufort Arms, Kittle

Stunning value for money home-cooked food. Fresh vegetables - not frozen. The portions are HUGE. They offer a small and a large - go for the small, that'll be enough for most people, and if not, you can fill up on the excellent puddings.
The menu is straightforward, and the food is simple and wholesome. Full of flavour and not overcooked.
The service was warm and friendly with just the right amount of attention. We were not hassled, yet not ignored either.
This is a Brains pub, and they offered 4 casks - all served through a tight sparkler which is not to my taste. The beers ended up tasting like keg beer rather than cask.

The pub claims to be one of the oldest in the area - but we saw little of that as we sat in the family dining area - a rather modest room which serves the purpose of sitting people down for food, but lacks any atmosphere.

The pub area we only saw when we first entered, but it seemed charming enough. We sat outside after the meal as it was a sunny day, but the grass was uncut, and the view was of the car park, so that wasn't a wonderful experience.

In summary: The food here is great value and very tasty, with a warm and friendly service. The beers are served through a tight sparkler which ruins the flavour. The outside area offers no decent views. The dining room is dull. The pub itself appears to be OK. I'm giving a score of 6 - 1 point above average for the excellent value food.

21 Sep 2008 22:38

The Elephant, Faversham

This has long been the best place in Faversham for getting a range of cask ales. There's a small space out front for tables which is quite popular on sunny days and during festivals. The Elephant attracts Morris Dancers on festival days!

There's a wonderful beer garden out the back, which is reached via a narrow passage at the back of the room to the right of the bar.

This is a good traditional pub with loads of character and great quality beer. On my last visit during the Hop Festival, Phil Goacher was in - and buying a pint of his own Goacher's Gold Star!

Great place - highly recommended

20 Sep 2008 10:09

Westgate Inn, Canterbury

Popped in again recently. This Spoon tends to have a poorer selection of guests than the average. It's an OK place, but it does lack character.

20 Sep 2008 10:02

The Elephant and Castle, Woolwich

Came here a couple of times in 2003 hunting for a pint of Brains Bitter as it's the only regular outlet in the SE of England. The E&C is a market traders pub so is allowed to open at 7 in the morning. Not much character (and no bar food) but the Brains is cheap. A plain and simple working class local.

19 Sep 2008 22:39

The Pump House, Swansea

Modern pub in a Victorian pump house. Modern decor and stainless steel pump handles. Nice enough. Brains house - but only offered one cask (SA Gold) on the six pumps on our visit.

Food is microwaved catering packs from a dull menu - Beer battered haddock with chips and peas and Three bean chilli, etc.

A little pricey for what it is. But it's a nice location in the renovated docks, and the only pub there.

19 Sep 2008 22:20

Hanbury Arms, Caerleon

Brains house - Brains Bitter, SA & Rev James plus Abbot Ale and two casks in a corner marked "Real Ale Bar" where it appears that the remnants of the guest casks are placed for regulars to sample for free.

The building is great - it has a round stone tower in one corner of uncertain origen (but certainly not Roman or Norman as claimed, as round towers are of more recent design). The walls are thick and rustic, and the place gives the feel of antiguity. The setting is right by the muddy bend of the tidal Usk, and would look more attractive when the tide is in.

There is seating outside by the river, though access is from the side doors as the bar level is one floor higher. There is also a beer garden out the front by the road - which is greener, but lacks the river view.

There are three main rooms - a plain dining room with windows overlooking the Usk, a main bar with stone fire place (surmounted by a plasma TV screen) and two bay windows - the larger one is where Tennyson wrote Morte D'Arthur, and a plaque marks the event, and the smaller bar room with sofas and the Real Ale corner.

The menu is interesting, and the food home-cooked rather than warmed in a microwave. Excellent value for money, though slightly over-cooked if arriving toward the end of lunch (2.30).

The history of the place, the location, the range of beers, the curiosity of the building itself, makes this a notable pub worth seeking out if travelling in the area. Certainly the village itself is worth stopping for with the Roman remains to view.

However it is a shame the current landlords lack the energy and imagination to make the most of what they have. Perhaps they are satisfied with the customers they get, drawn by the history and location, and don't bother to make the extra effort. The place is in need of refurbishment. The pub carpet smells old and damp, the furnishings are clearly overdue for replacement, and the varnished tables are scratched and graffitied. The beer was not in tip top condition (not sold quickly enough - perhaps sell fewer brands - five different casks is clearly too many to sell in two days), and the service was really not good enough. I had to correct the barmaid twice on the beer I wanted. The barmaid smelled strongly of body odour, and when asked how long the meal would be, replied: "Depends on how many are in front of you" - well, clearly! But how many is that, and how quickly can the cook deal with each order? Given that she was the only person serving in a pub which had a total of eight customers, I would have thought that would be within her capability. Later when my wife asked for a Rev James she came back with what was clearly the wrong beer even though I heard her clearly ask for the James. This is a shame. Given better management and keener staff this pub would be top marks. As it is, it's a must visit, but be aware of potential problems.

19 Sep 2008 10:16

The White Hart, Machen

Visited during a road trip with a university friend in 2004. Large, empty place on a dull afternoon - but the wood panels from the ocean liner make this worth a stop. I was drawn here by the notion of it being a brewpub, but none of the brewpub's beers were available. Has character. Worth a stop. Will try again this week on the way down to Swansea.

15 Sep 2008 14:38

The Wern Fawr Inn, Ystalyfera

I was here in 2004 on a road trip with a university friend. We walked into a chatty room, only to have silence fall and eyes turn in our direction. At least, that's how my friend remembers it. We ordered a couple of the beers brewed on the premises, both with a Buddy Holly theme, and settled down in a corner.

We dispute what happened next. My friend said that everyone in the pub waited until we had our first drink of our beers, and that when we gasped - "Wow! That's brilliant!" everyone smiled, and came over and sat at our table and the whole evening turned magic. My memory is that the people in the pub were drinking and chatting amongst themselves as normal, and - as is the friendly Welsh way - at some point we started talking with our neighbours, and things just took off from there.

However it started, we had a blinding evening. The landlord and brewer, Will Hopton, took us down to his celler to show us the brewery. An entire family came over and sat at our table, and a man called Ian Jones ran over to his house to burn me a live copy of Spunk Rock by Swansea band Man.

We came out of that place having made firm friends, and with big grins on our face. Magic. One of those special times!

I'll be back in Swansea this weekend and fully intend on revisiting Wern Fawr.

15 Sep 2008 13:31

The Lower Bell, Blue Bell Hill

Currently not doing food. But there are still live bands and four cask ales - 3 Greene King and a guest (Everards Tiger on our visit).

There's nothing especially wrong with the place - it's clean enough, but it's a bit faded and damp smelling. And it lacks character and charm.

6 Sep 2008 21:56

The Park Inn, Mumbles

The Park Inn is one of the pubs owned by the Swansea Brewing Company. A pleasant, relaxed and friendly pub in the back streets of Oystermouth. Serves good cask ales.

22 Aug 2008 14:47

Rutland Arms, Bakewell

Built on the site of the White Lion which was the birthplace (according to local legend) of the Bakewell Tart or Pudding, this has a commanding view of Bakewell and dominates the town. The lounge bar is a little run down - dirty carpet and unadventurous cheap furnishings - though the cabinet clocks are a nice touch. The hotel tries to hold onto its grander past, and there's a wonderful sense that Agatha Christie may be sitting in the corner working on one of her well mannered detective novels. It lays claim to a number of distinguished guests, including Jane Austin and Coleridge.

Serves three casks - two of them were the local and delicious Thornbridge beers on my visit. There is no cooling system, relying entirely on the cellar temperature. As it was a hot day on my visit, the beers were a little warm.

An acceptable place, and one that I wanted to visit because of the history, but not one that I would urge people to visit.

11 Aug 2008 22:04

Swim Inn, Sheffield

Ex public baths building, a section of which has been converted into a regular Spoon. There's a nice room on the corner with a fireplace. It's an OK place with a small selection of guests. Much cheaper than the Spoons in town. We quite liked it.

7 Aug 2008 22:50

Swim Inn, Sheffield

Ex public baths building, a section of which has been converted into a regular Spoon. There's a nice room on the corner with a fireplace. It's an OK place with a small selection of guests. Much cheaper than the Spoons in town. We quite liked it.

7 Aug 2008 22:50

Harlequin, Sheffield

Old fashioned coach party type of pub. Mildly amusing in a twee retro manner. 10 different cask ale compensate - almost - for the lack of atmosphere or self-awareness. This is like the lounge bar of an old people's home. Or one of those hotels used for cheap holidays. It's all the bad jokes about Northern Working Men's Clubs. Check to see if there's a pair of false teeth in your beer before you drink it!

There's some of the board games you'll find in a Blackpool guest house.

This is just off Kelham Island, but shares their situation of being poorly located.

7 Aug 2008 20:55

The Red Deer, Sheffield

A little dark and looking rather untidy and in need of a facelift. There were five casks - the usual suspects, so a bit of a let down in town known for its range of beers from the smaller, more interesting breweries.

An old man's pub. Pee stains and crisp crumbs.

7 Aug 2008 20:48

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

Pub with considerable charm and character. Two small rooms with a passage to the side yard beer garden with plenty of red brick and greenery - a bit narrow, but OK. About 10 casks, including Kelham Island's own. A very decent place - relaxed, friendly, bohemian and quirky. There are cat images everywhere.

I liked it here. The area is very run down - a broken industrial wasteland - but the pub has a sense of solidness and history about it that is quite appealing.

There is not a lot to differentiate between this place and the KIT around the corner. Some people will like them equally, and some will like one over the other. My preference was for this one, but it's not that huge a preference, and that could change on a visit on a different day.

7 Aug 2008 20:35

The Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield

The guys behind the bar at KIT are warm, friendly and witty, creating a nice club feel. The food is stunning value - very tasty and very cheap. There is a main room at the front with the bar - it's not very big, but it's an OK space. There's the back room, which is simply functional - a few tables and chairs. It's the space between the main bar and the beer garden, and it's OK for eating food. And there's a pleasant beer garden.

The beer range is the big draw here. The pub itself, while being pleasant enough, is nothing special - and the location is quite dire in the beaten up, weed infested, industrial dump of Kelham Island. But the beer range is very good, and that pulls in the groups of tickers and scoopers who create a clubby atmosphere.

The down to earth, humble surroundings seem to suit the scoopers. Most scoopers pubs tend to be plain and simple - the less pretension the better.

I like this place. I'd like it to be on my door step. I'd rave about it a bit more if it was on my door step.

But I guess I'm going to nit-pick about the lack of charm and character, and the poor surroundings maybe because I'm a little bit jealous.

If you're in Sheffield this is one of the pubs to visit - it's fame extends to the furthest corner of Britain, and it has frequently been acclaimed by the local CAMRA branches as the best pub in the area.

I preferred the Fat Cat, the Bath Hotel and the University Arms, and there are other pubs I've yet to see in Sheffield, but I can see why people like it, even if it isn't a big hit for me.

7 Aug 2008 19:15

University Arms, Sheffield

The Uni Arms is totally unexpected - youre walking down an ugly and noisy ring road with ugly modern buildings, when you bump into this large, sedate and charming Edwardian building. A little faded to be sure, and that adds to the rather splendid old British Empire / Oxbridge atmosphere which is totally at odds with the industrial heritage of Sheffield.

Five casks, two of them Thornbridge. The beer garden is an oasis of green, peace and charm in the wasteland of broken brick, concrete and weeds that makes up the forgotten battlefield of Sheffield. Unexpected and all the more delightful for that.

5 Aug 2008 21:05

The Bath Hotel, Sheffield

Laid back and friendly two room back street boozer with original tiling. 5 guest casks from small breweries and a cask of Tetley Bitter as a regular. Food served between 12 and 3, but not on a Sunday.

This is one of the pubs in Sheffield that most impressed me. The other was the University Arms. And it's difficult to say which impressed me most.

The Bath Hotel however, is more in keeping with a working class area. A back street gem. Stunning tiled floors and bar area, and a front snug where the wall benches are upholstered in a beautiful and stunning blue leather. Built at the Victorian height of pub building, when pubs were at the heart of the community, and people stayed in their local all night. This place has an old fashioned charm and character not seen in the corporate, anonymous rubber stamp of a JDW or All Bar One. A little treasure to be treasured.

5 Aug 2008 20:53

The Devonshire Cat, Sheffield

Modern JDW type pub, but lighter and fresher looking (more lights in the ceiling helps!). 14 casks plus kegs and bottles. The pub claims 100 different beers - though most are standard issue Belgian bottles.
Food is around 7.
OK, pleasant place with good choice of beers.
We visited in the afternoon when it had a calm, laid back atmosphere and plenty of seating. I'd be quite happy to come back here.

4 Aug 2008 00:04

The Bell, Bredhurst

Popular village pub that's been extended out the back in an anonymous standard issue pub fayre manner that pulls in families for meals in the pub garden overlooking the large car park.
The original bar is tidy, but original charm and character is hard to find.
4 casks including one from Nelson. Best, Directors, Spitfire.

3 Aug 2008 23:37

The Frog and Parrot, Sheffield

Scruffy down market rock/student pub with no cask ales available on my visit. Keg lagers rule here. Has live bands.

1 Aug 2008 00:00

The Harrow, Lenham

Restaurant & hotel but with a traditional pub bar at the front and a decent beer garden. Pleasant place. Two casks - MasterBrew and Landlord. First stop on the Shepherd Neame Charity Walk 2008.

31 Jul 2008 18:59

The Weston Arms, Strood

Medium sized corner location local pub which offers much for the community - TV, Juke Box, birthday parties, pool, food, and a football team. Slightly run down and poorly decorated, but clean and with an attempt at being modern. Normally serves IPA and Pride, though both pumps were off on our visit.

29 Jul 2008 19:54

The Rising Sun, Rochester

Neglected two room corner pub right by the road. Just outside the town, and just outside the residential area. Ex-Truman. Landlady has been there a while, and is from a pub family, having been brought up in the George Inn (now the George Vaults) in Rochester High Street. Pub was altered in the 70s, but still has some original Truman features, such as the engraved mirror in the pool room. It is sadly neglected these days, and the exterior is off-putting, but the landlady is friendly enough. Keg ale and lager, and small selection of bottles.

The sense of the old pub is still present like a ghost, while the weight of passing time lies heavy on the place. People come here to chat and drink while waiting to die, and the youngsters just pass through on their way to the nightclubs in town.

29 Jul 2008 19:50

Thomas Becket, Canterbury

Bare red brick walls. Bare wood tables. Wooden floor. Hops hanging from the ceiling. Attractive stained glass windows. Some false Tudor style wooden beams and a bit of standard issue "Olde Worlde" tat spoil the charm. 4 casks - Flowers original, Ordinary, Adnams and guest. No music (except in main restaurant area further into pub), no pool table and no games machines. Decent back street pub in central Canterbury, though a little more restaurant than pub.

29 Jul 2008 19:47

The Angel, Rainham

Friendly real ale pub at the bottom of Station Road in Rainham. Ever changing guest ales, and a nice atmosphere. A little bit quirky - and that always gets a plus from me!

27 Jun 2008 21:37

The Burton Bridge Inn, Burton-Upon-Trent

A wonderfully traditional Midlands pub of multiple room, chip butties, no music, tv or nonsense, and 6 cask ales brewed on the premises. Fireplaces, wall benches with assorted loose cushions, flock wallpaper and half wall wood paneling, and dogs! Great atmosphere.

Beer is served a little warm for modern taste.

27 Jun 2008 20:08

Pivovarsky dum, Prague

Pleasant brewpub with a relaxed atmosphere (we visited in the afternoon when the only other people were locals - some families, some businessmen). A sample tray can be bought. The beers taste OK - a light and a dark lager with various flavourings that either work for you or not. Not really adventurous - more of a quirky gimmick to attract attention. I liked the idea, though these were the least attractive beers to drink in Prague. I wouldnt say this is a must visit place as its a fairly standard modern brewpub, but its a pleasant place.

4 Jun 2008 20:43

Windmill, Stansted Airport

Always a pleasure to have a cooked breakfast and a pint of Abbot here - even at 5 in the morning. Excellent value for money. The cheapest food and drink of all the London airports. The holiday starts right here!

4 Jun 2008 20:40

The Leather Bottle, Hemel Hempstead

18th century roadside pub of considerable charm - overlooking the village green where cricket can be watched through the bottle glass windows. Five casks: IPA, Hen, Black Sheep, Bombardier and Adnams. Sunday lunches under 9.
Pleasant village atmosphere. This is a very nice place - well worth making a detour if in the area.

31 May 2008 18:46

The Plough, Stalisfield

Four casks - 2 Hopdaemon, Spitfire and one other which had finished on our visit.

We stopped here during the 2008 Shepherd Neame Charity Walk. It's a very pleasant rural pub. Well kept, and with some attractive ceiling beams. It's a decent sized place with a lot of bare wood. Moderately charming.

Meals around 9 - including veggie.

24 May 2008 19:17

The Sherwood Oak, Chatham

A modern managed Spirit Group pub offering very cheap meals which are edible rather than delightful. Two casks - the ever bland Greene King IPA, and a guest, which on our visit was the always tasty Youngs Bitter.

This is a popular pub and can get quite crowded and busy. Large full wall windows on one side means it can be uncomfortable on sunny days, but there is a darker back bar, and a very large beer garden out the back.

The place offers much on a modest and unassuming level, and the service is politely friendly and considerate. Some of the younger lads can get a bit loud, but the pub accommodates all sorts and appeals as much to families and office workers as to the loft converters.

Whilst being more functional than charming, it is not totally devoid of character and warmth, and the compensating ups and downs average out to an average score.

1 May 2008 23:26

The Kestrel, Chatham

A functional place that I have fond memories of from my time working in Lordswood. We would often eat and drink in here.

23 Apr 2008 23:26

The Clockwork Beer Co., Glasgow

Stunning place! Large, busy and buzzing. Great mixed clientle. Bags of atmosphere. This is the must visit pub in Glasgow, and that's what we did. We had a day in Glasgow and spent most of it searching for this place, finding this place, drinking in this place, eating in this place, and being shown round the small back room brewery by the brewer of the place. In addition to their own home brewed beers (served under pressure from the natural gas of the beer which is captured and stored in a large bag) they do a good range of micro-brewed beers as well. We went a little while ago - and I hear that it is now owned by Maclays, so things might have changed.

23 Apr 2008 20:13

Adam and Eve, Westminster

Tidy and well run pub. T&J Bernard. Good value food, range of casks with guests (Everard's Sunchaser and Caledonian 80/- on our visit), and while the refurbishment may be a bit mass produced Chas & Dave, it works for me.

23 Apr 2008 20:04

The Cutty Sark Tavern, Greenwich

5 casks. Pride, Bombardier, Tribute, Abbott and guest. Gorenwulf on tap. Sunday lunch was 10. Great view upstairs. Solid wood panelling. Stunning view of the Thames. One of the best beer gardens in London because it's right on the Thames with a breathtaking view. Interesting refurbishment which is modern yet quirky and retaining some old charm. Wonderful view up and down the river. Wood everywhere. Did I mention the view?

16 Apr 2008 20:42

The Greenwich Union, Greenwich

Polite, middle class, liberal, arty, woody, expensive. Echoing noise and loud banging front door. One cask, Adnams Bitter (a great beer), but the draw here is this pub is the main outlet for the Meantime brewery - eight kegs and a variety of bottles (nothing cask conditioned as Meantime is a lager rather than an ale brewery). Food is about 10 a main dish. I like the place.

16 Apr 2008 19:52

The Duke of Cornwall, Hammersmith

Nearest pub to the Apollo. Three rooms knocked through with the bar in the middle room. Pool table in the back section. Sparse decoration. Plain wooden floor. Music played at a decent level. Friendly staff - the woman are quite buxom. Serves two meals for 8 up till 8pm. Bombardier and Courage Best are the casks.

16 Apr 2008 19:27

The George Hotel, Bishop's Stortford

Long (or wide) single bar. Heavy pub carpet. Mix of original and fake Olde Worlde wood. 2 pumps - Tetleys and guest. OK town centre pub. Nothing special, but nothing bad. Bang on average.

16 Apr 2008 18:47

The Richard Cobden, Chatham

Small pub on fairly busy road. A locals pub with an Irish theme. Central bar with a horseshoe space around it. Keg and bottles only.

16 Apr 2008 18:00

The Gardeners Arms, Higham

A corner village pub with two bars. The main restaurant room is neat and the bar is where the majority of the locals sit at the bar. The lower bar is on the corner and so is an unusual shape. It's a quirky, interesting bar with assorted pub tables and benches. There's also a small enclosed beer garden. The landlord is very friendly and organises a popular annual trip to Brighton.

It's a Shep's pub offering 3 casks. Beer in very good condition.

11 Apr 2008 21:03

The Three Horseshoes, Cranleigh

Good old fashioned roadside pub with bare wood on the floor, ceiling and tables. Lovely inglenook fireplace and window seat. Something of a horse theme with toilets called Fillies and Colts. Adnams Broadside and Bitter, Best and Pride. Pub dog. Free bar snacks on Sundays. Great place.

11 Apr 2008 19:24

The Jam Factory, Oxford

Ex-Frank Coopers marmalade factory - now a trendy bar and arts centre. Serves the Cotswold lager range on tap. A buzzing place full of young students and arty types.

11 Apr 2008 19:08

The Gardener's Arms, Oxford

A relaxed back street local with a bohemian, student feel. Young and trendy with some arty types. Plenty of cool wood. Vegetarian food. A back bar has a bar billiards table and comfy leather seats, though as it is near the kitchen, that bar can smell of cooking. 4 cask ales. A very good pub.

11 Apr 2008 19:07

Medway Queen, Chatham

Modern workings mens club type pub with space in front for car parking. Seriously ugly and lacking in charm and character. This is in an area with a low Acorn rating (45 out of 56), and is simply a functional space for the locals who have a "low income" and "very low interest in current affairs" with "very low education". More details: "With so little spare money, spending is limited to a funeral plan, playing bingo and the lottery, betting and going to the pub. These people are unlikely to be frequent high street shoppers, preferring to buy from catalogues by mail order. Leisure activities are similarly limited."

The pub has a football team which raises money for charity.

Beers are all keg or limited selection of pasteurised bottle.

The place was ugly and cheap, but not dirty. And the locals were not aggressive.

11 Apr 2008 18:19

Rodboro Buildings, Guildford

Huge corner pub with acres of space on three levels. The building was originally built as a car factory for the company that now makes Dennis fire engines. The view from the upstairs window is of the concrete shopping centre and a dual carriageway, but the pub interior is stunning. Great choice of beers, excellent food, great seating, good atmosphere. It's a good place.

8 Apr 2008 23:55

The White House, Guildford

Fullers pub on the river by the town bridge. Good taste furnishings in the usual sedate Fuller's style. I like a more earthy feel to my pubs - this is like drinking in a department store tea room. Points for nice location, being clean and tidy, and for offering four different casks in good condition.

8 Apr 2008 19:48

The Cecil Arms, Strood

Large pub tucked away in a side road in Strood. In good tidy condition - recently refurbished. Loads of space. Two pool tables and three dart boards.

Three casks - Hen, Broadside and Spitfire.

An atmosphere of a well run pub where there's no trouble. A decent little boozer, probably just above average.

21 Mar 2008 09:07

The Three Gardeners, Strood

Currently closed.

21 Mar 2008 08:59

The Tug and Shovel, Strood

Currently closed and boarded up.

21 Mar 2008 08:58

The New Inn, Winchelsea

Very large corner pub - well kept and welcoming. The only one directly located in the town. Something of a 50/50 pub as it also has the feel of a restaurant, and there's hotel accommodation attached. Food and accommodation are historic accompaniments of inns, though the feel of the place is sliding just that little toward mainly hotel/restaurant.

Large open fire in a central pillar location. Pool table in the bar area at the far end. Bar snacks such as cheesy chips served alongside regular pub meals.

Greene King pub - offers IPA, Speckled Hen, Abbott and a guest (Old Hooky on my visit - just starting to taste tired).

Good view of the old church from the front bar, and interesting pictures of old British comedians add to the overall charm of a slightly above average pub.

20 Mar 2008 20:47

The Anchor, Hastings

A Sheps pub opposite the Pump House. A bohemian student pub with bare boards and central island bar. Quite ramshackle, but taking advantage of that and making it the main point of interest. The floors slope to the west. The small room at the back features graffiti on the walls, the bar and starting on the ceiling - it's not good quality, mainly unimaginative swear words and women declaring how inadequate men are.

Four Sheps ale - Master Brew, Spitfire, Bishops Finger and the spring seasonal, Early Bird.

Quirky, interesting, laid back with OK food.

Apparently there was no soap in the women's loo. But it's still an above above pub with character.

20 Mar 2008 19:50

De Bekeerde Suster, Amsterdam

We loved this place. A brewpub that has the beautiful brewing equipment on display. Great atmosphere. Good food, and the beer is OK.

28 Feb 2008 20:13

The Two Bridges, South Queensferry

Hotel bar overlooking the two Forth bridges. Large, clean and comfortable. The window seats give great views of the bridges. No casks, but a clean, well run place with a nice atmosphere.

Chrissie got very excited about this place and felt it deserved a perfect score. I wasn't quite there on that one, as it's just a comfy hotel lounge with a decent view - and it doesn't serve any decent beer!

20 Feb 2008 00:02

The Barony Bar, Edinburgh

Stunning interior. L-shaped room - the entrance and the bar are on the long side; the short side has a fire place and side window. There are three very large pub mirrors, and beautiful decorative tiling on the lower half of the walls. Veggie bangers and mash and veggie haggis, neeps and tatties. 7 casks - nothing unusual, but all solid stuff.

The beer range, the character, the atmosphere, the uniqueness of the place, and the veggie haggis lift this above the ordinary. It's a must visit place. Top pub.

19 Feb 2008 23:03

Hobgoblin, Oxford

Ex Hobgoblin pub and still has that scruffy student feel. Seven casks from Wychwood, White Horse and other breweries. Flags and pump clips on the ceiling. Good relaxed atmosphere. Nice place. Nothing really special - there's a pub like this in a number of towns - so not one to single out, but great as part of a crawl, or if you happen to be in this part of Oxford.

17 Feb 2008 15:23

The Bear, Oxford

Small two roomed pub with 5 casks - Fullers/Gales and Hooky Bitter. Smells of chips. Glass cases contain the clipped ends of club ties signed by the owners. Nice place.

17 Feb 2008 15:12

The Turf Tavern, Oxford

Large rambling pub with a paved beer garden front and back. The back is overlooked by a splendid church tower and has charcoal burners. It's down a side alley. Chalk boards tell of the famous incidents here, such as Clinton "not inhaling" and Bob Hawke downing a yard of ale in 11 seconds - a world record at the time. A Morse pub apparently. Certainly it's a pub packed with charm, atmosphere, good food, history, uniqueness and an amazing range of beers, including a house beer only available at the pub. Awesome. A top scoring pub.

17 Feb 2008 14:28

The White Horse, Oxford

Small pub. Has a solid atmosphere and plenty of bare wood. A Morse pub apparently. Great. 4 casks including Landlord, but all fairly standard.

17 Feb 2008 14:18

Far From the Madding Crowd, Oxford

Soulless modern cafe style place - corporate and anonymous. An empty cold feel - echoing and vaguely unpleasant. Imagine a Wetherspoon without the - erm - charm and character, and you get the idea. Most Spoons don't have much charm in the first place, but they have it in spades compared to this dentist's waiting room. The only redeeming quality is the beer range, but this is not the only pub in town offering guests, so that is not a big plus.

I did find the veggie sausage and mash to be quite unique and tasty.

17 Feb 2008 12:11

The Eagle and Child, Oxford

Wood panelled place bursting with charm and character. There is a middle bar for serving, and several small rooms in which to sit and sup. Four casks. Plenty of history. A really nice place.

17 Feb 2008 00:41

The Lamb and Flag, Oxford

7 different cask ales on offer in this rather tidy, upmarket two roomed pub. Palmers is the house ale. Great fireplace at the back. Above average in terms of the beer range, and a well run place, but lacking overall oomph for me.

17 Feb 2008 00:28

The Rose and Crown PH, Oxford

A 70s throwback - beer served in jugs, pickled eggs and onions on the bar. Genuine old fashioned back street boozer and great for it.

16 Feb 2008 22:56

The Gardeners Arms, Oxford

An old fashioned back street local. Greene King with a guest. OK. Nothing special.

The Gardeners Arms in Plantation road is the vegetarian place. Very different pub. If you went to a bohemian, woody, student place with young, good looking staff, that was Plantation Road. If you went to a 70s throwback run by an elderly couple with old folks in flat caps sitting with their whippets and doing their knitting, that was this place.

16 Feb 2008 20:13

The Sun Inn, Clun

Banks pub which also sells Jennings as they are both owned by Marstons. It's a fairly ordinary village pub. Two main bars - public and saloon, with a small rear beer garden and some smaller rooms at the back. It's a decent place, but lacks charm and character. The big draw for anyone passing through is the Victorian hand pumps in the saloon bar which are reputed to be among the oldest still in a pub. Pump clips are placed on them, but it's all for show, as the beer is pulled from modern hand pumps in the public bar.

16 Feb 2008 19:31

Cafe Belge, Canterbury

I enjoy Cafe Belge. My first was the one at Eastbourne. This one didn't thrill me in quite the same way - though that may be partly to do with first experience being the most impressive, or that this one is not in a large, airy and well-lit building near the sea-front. The service here, however, is excellent, and the automatic hand towel dispenser in the toilet is a cool plus. Beer range is the best in Canterbury, so - even if not a pub as people point out - it is a popular location for beer geeks in Canterbury. 10 for a huge portion of mussels, including chips and bread is excellent value for money.

16 Feb 2008 19:22

The Crown, Upchurch

Archetypal country pub. Warm and friendly - full of the village locals buzzing with relaxed and social conversation. Open fire. Horse brasses. Home made food (up till 2.00 on Sundays) at cheap prices. Three cask ales: Pride, Best and a guest - Kent Best on our visit. One of those ideal pubs that you think only exist in films and soap operas.

There are two rooms, with a central bar. The first is of moderate size, the second, smaller room, is tucked at the back and can only be approached through the first room. There is a car park out the back and a beer garden with children's swings.

28 Jan 2008 19:54

The Somerset Arms, Gravesend

I like coming here - it's a charming place with the records and guitars as decoration (and no, the cheap guitar saying Oasis with Liam and Noel's name on it wasn't really signed by the boys!) It's worth bearing in mind that, being a traditional pub, food finishes at 3.00. Always a good selection of guest ales in good condition, and the quirky nature of the place means this is one of the better places in the town to stop for a sup.

27 Jan 2008 19:44

The Foy Boat, Ramsgate

Pleasant hotel/restaurant/pub overlooking the harbour. Good value Sunday roast. Local beer served. The upstairs is the restaurant and has the nice view. Serves the local Gadds beer.

22 Jan 2008 23:21

Spaniards Inn, Hampstead Heath

Wood panelled 16th c building that despite its popularity retains a decent atmosphere. Good literary associations and a pleasant location with large attractive beer garden draws the crowds. A former home of the Spanish ambassador, it became a pub in the 18th century and forms party of the tollgate chicane. 5 cask ales on offer, plus German lagers on tap and bottled Belgian beers. Decent food menu which suggests which beers to drink, though the actual food is poorly presented and lacks interest.

22 Jan 2008 22:25

The Livingstone Arms, Gillingham

All keg pub with loud music and Friends on 2 TV screens all on at the same time. One long curving corridor room with a pool table at the far right. Gills shirts on the ceiling. Rough and ready feel to the place, but far from hostile. Barmaid was quite welcoming.

22 Jan 2008 19:19

The Royal George, Chatham

My mistake. This is the pub at the end of the road. I got the names mixed up. I popped in here on the other Saturday afternoon. No casks. Stella and Fosters on tap. Small, single room. The owner has just acquired a small dog who has the run of the place. She's cute, though perhaps over-friendly! The place is a bit tatty, but it's OK for having a chat with the locals.

20 Jan 2008 21:33

The Queens Head, Kingsnorth

Laid back traditional roadside village pub. Large rear car park. Rambling interior with several sections snaking round a central bar.
3 casks - Summer Lightning, Pride and Masterbrew.
Bar billiards in its own little room off the main bar.
The place offers standard pub meals - sausage and mash, prawn cocktail, etc - at standard prices.
There is some character here, but not much. It's a decent pub without being exceptional in any area. The music is slightly too loud for comfort, and the sound quality is very poor.
An average place that perhaps deserves an extra point for having three casks and a bar billiards table.

20 Jan 2008 19:27

A La Mort Subite, Brussels

Wonderful - if only visiting one bar in Brussels, this should be it! A long, narrow, high ceilinged bar of incredible charm and character. It grandly defies the smoking ban, and waiters keep customers waiting to the point of frustration before suddenly descending with attentive charm. The herb omelette is juicy and gorgeous, and the Mort Subite beer was first brewed for this very bar. The geuze is served at the perfect temperature, and the rare Blanche, which appears to only be available at this bar, is quite delightful. The cat in the basket by the toilet door adds to the overall charm.

For those who don't like caporal tobacco, the upstairs is smoke free.

A mixed clientelle - some locals, some tourists, some business people, some artists. It seems that everyone comes to Mort Subite.

16 Jan 2008 20:08

Delirium Cafe, Brussels

Huge list of bottled and keg beers. But the place is like a shabby 70s student bar, complete with dodgy tunes. It feels like a tourist trap, and - given that all the people in the bar are tourists - that's exactly what it is. It doesn't feel authentic, and was the least impressive of the bars we visited in Brussels. But..... it does have a huge beer list (even though not all the bottles in the menu are available!)

16 Jan 2008 19:54

Falstaff, Brussels

Wonderful art nouveau stained-glass windows at the back, designed by Victor Horta's assistant. This has been the most famous Brussels bar for many years, and is a must visit for many tourists - indeed, while we were there, two large groups were led in by tour guides to inspect the windows. The beer menu is today quite modest - only 7 different, quite common beers - but does include Kwak served in the special Kwak glass. The food is priced a bit higher than average, though servings are generous and come with salads, bread, etc. Beers are served with rice crackers. Our waitress gave perfect service. For the location, the uniqueness of the place, and the quality and size of the servings, the prices offer excellent value for money.

16 Jan 2008 19:44

The Prince Llewellyn, Beddgelert

I had this place down as Llewelyn Arms in my notebook - silly mistake. This place served Robinson's, as do many pubs in North Wales. It's right on the road, but there is some space for tables and chairs outside. The inside is rather too much like a hotel. Doesn't serve food during the day. The Tanronnen Inn on the other side of the bridge also does Robinson's, and is also a hotel, but is slightly more attractive.

27 Dec 2007 18:14

Sir Robert Peel, Chatham

A backstreet local. The people were very friendly and welcoming, though the place felt a little too casual. I remember the toilet was odd.

My original comments have been lost in the system.

8 Dec 2007 20:47

The Royal George, Chatham

Pub opposite the old cinema which is now a hostel. This was our favourite of the three cinemas in the street.

8 Dec 2007 20:44

Von Alten, Chatham

This was a small, dark but OK pub that had decent rolls at lunchtime. It served cask ales from local breweries. It struggled for a while with erratic opening hours/days, and is now up for sale.

My original comments have got mislaid in the system.

8 Dec 2007 20:39

The British Queen, Chatham

Small pub that we used to visit after the cinema. Not sure what happened to my original comments...

8 Dec 2007 20:30

The Ropemakers Arms, Chatham

This was a quiet pub slightly out of town with awkward opening hours - it's little wonder it closed eventually. It did serve cask ale from local breweries, and was large and comfortable, but I never saw it busy, and it never generated any sort of atmosphere. It's a shame, because Chatham is not well served with pubs that serve cask ales.

8 Dec 2007 20:25

Churchills, Chatham

Solid corner location Victorian pub which retains some splendid original tiling and other features, though has some 1970s alterations to make it more suitable as a modern functional drink and good times bars. It has a reputation as a pub that can get over lively in the evening with youngsters, especially those from the nearby barracks, though is very quiet in the daytime. It is away from the main shopping area, and doesn't get much passing trade. The staff have always been warm and friendly when I've been in, and there is a fire place in the front bar which blazes away in the winter. Pool table is available in the back room. No cask ales.

8 Dec 2007 20:06

The Engineers Mate, Gillingham

Formerly known as The Viscount Harding. Name change and new owner in Nov 2006 have improved the reputation of this large and friendly, rough and ready pub. Dirty bare floor boards and tired striped wall paper create a forlorn appearance - but the regulars are very friendly and the Courage Best was served in perfect condition. The Old Hen was off. Pool table. Small screen tvs on the ceiling and a big screen. Live music area. An OK pub.

3 Dec 2007 18:39

Lloyds No. 1, Bexleyheath

Large town centre JDW, recently refurbished, so in decent condition.

25 Nov 2007 22:39

The Robin Hood and Little John, Bexleyheath

A comfortable, clean, wood panelled pub with 7 ales.

25 Nov 2007 22:29

The Elgin, Ladbroke Grove

Large Gin Palace with high ceilings and an island bar. Some opening up has taken place, but one partition screen still remains. The function room with original wall tiles and fireplace is very attractive. Black painted floorboards and bare wooden tables create a relaxed atmosphere. Three cask ales offered - Pedigree, Bombardier and IPA. The Bombardier was served cellar cool, not chilled, and in nice condition.

23 Nov 2007 23:53

The Earl Percy, Ladbroke Grove

Victorian corner pub which has been given a paint job and had some original features removed, though the heated footrail remains. There are two rooms - one used as a bar, while the other is mainly used as a reasonably priced Thai restaurant. Seating is square pouffes. There's an interesting boar's head gun rack near the fire place. No cask ales offered. Stella Peeterman.

23 Nov 2007 21:57

The Woolpack Inn, Chilham

Large building with small bar area. More of a hotel and a restaurant than pub - the bar feels like a hotel bar. Masterbrew and Spitfire served in excellent condition.

19 Nov 2007 19:32

Marquis of Lorne, Stevenage

An old fashioned pub at the entrance to Stevenage Old Town on the ancient Great North Road. Sit inside fireplace. Front seating area watching the world go by. Friendly landlord. Serves Greene King Mild XX from the cask.

19 Nov 2007 19:26

The Admiral Benbow, Shrewsbury

Pub serves 6 casks and 3 ciders. Only open in the evenings. A pleasant, relaxed pub with a small, but attractive beer garden. Background 70s music. An all round decent place.

19 Nov 2007 19:20

The Kings Head, Shrewsbury

Nicely refurbished 15th century pub. Clean and well run. Some character has been lost in the refurbishment - the standard issue pub-chain upholstery is minus - but it's a pleasant enough place.

19 Nov 2007 19:18

The Bulls Head, Strood

Clean refurbishment of burned down corner pub. Good location with views of the passing traffic. Modern feel to the decoration. No cask ales. Small beer garden out the back. Two main areas in the pub - the corridor like front area and the back area dominated by the pool table.

11 Oct 2007 09:16

The Sportsman, Strood

Friendly and clean single room pub with three cask ales, including Sharps Doom Bar, and a back garden with bat and trap.

30 Jul 2007 20:33

The Prince Of Wales, Strood

Large single room pub with an Irish feel. Drank Guinness as there was no cask ales. Is better on the inside than it appears from the outside. Friendly enough, if a little tired.

30 Jul 2007 20:31

The Britannia, Gillingham

I drank here and I didn't like the place. My comments have been deleted twice. I would like to give a fair and truthful account to give potential visitors some idea of what to expect, but that appears to be tricky. I paid a visit during the period mentioned by tomnlucy1, and my experience didn't match theirs.

17 Jul 2007 20:44

The Rose and Crown, Old Romney

Pleasant country pub overlooking fields of sheep. Range of beers is mainly main regionals.

15 Jul 2007 08:32

The Cock and Bottle, Notting Hill

Old fashioned corner local. Two casks. Limited soft drinks. Little effort made. Laid back. There are features in the bar that are of note, but on the whole it feels small, cluttered and unremarkable. On a different occasion it could appear quite charming.

13 Jul 2007 21:33

The Alexandra Arms, Rugby

Friendly pub just off the town centre, mainly for older men. 5 casks - 2 Greene King, 3 guests. An old fashioned place, still retaining some individual rooms. There's a pool table in the pool room. No music. No tv. Food. I liked the place.

28 Jun 2007 20:05

Bull, Ditchling

Harvey's and guest beers. Charming country pub. Awesome food! Beautiful village. I loved it. Full of character. Well run. Great for walkers - there's even a hot rail in the toilets to dry out damp clothing!

27 May 2007 19:32

The Mitre, Cambridge

Good, clean open place with lots of light from the large front windows. A warm, buzzing, relaxed place. Play cards at the back or drink and chat at the front. Attractive music, not too loud, adds to the general ambiance. Beer is good, with a choice of Bass, Bombardier and Deuchars - though perhaps lacking in coolness. Overall, simply a pleasant place.

27 May 2007 12:38

The Eagle, Cambridge

O yes. Big history. Big character. Sympathetic refit keeps the layout of the rooms and retains much of the original charm. Lots of stuff to see. The ceiling in the RAF room, the original painted walls from 1500s, the many fire-places - so much to entertain. Greene King beers served in good condition, and a rotating guest (Rev James on our visit). Highly recommended. A must visit pub due to the significant history - most important of which, of course, is that the first public announcement of the discovery of DNA was made here.

27 May 2007 11:16

The Regal, Cambridge

Stunning art deco cinema conversion creating intimate and quirky spaces in a very large pub. Excellent choice of local beers. Well worth a visit while in Cambridge. Rather dark in the older Wetherspoon lighting style.

27 May 2007 10:03

The Prince Regent, Cambridge

Average pub. Greene King beers - Abbot, Speckled Hen & IPA. Clean and tidy. OK, but perhaps lacking in character.

27 May 2007 09:59

The Bell and Crown, Chiswick

Great riverside pub serving Fullers and cheesey chips. Time sails by. I loved the place. Great to relax after the Thames Towpath Ten.

29 Apr 2007 10:19

The Bear Inn, Wincanton

Male dominated bar hoggers. This has the feel of an old man's pub. It's smokey and slightly unpleasant. We went for food but changed our minds once inside because of the smell and general grubbyness. Other people who came for food after us and were accepting of the conditions seemed to have problems ordering food or even establishing if food was being served.

There were three cask ales on offer, Abbot, Bombardier and Ringwood Best. The Best was served cool, but not in peak condition.

Shame, because this place has an atmosphere and could be so much better.

11 Apr 2007 11:48

The Clarendon, Gillingham

The Clarendon was closed for several years, but opened again a few years ago. I was surprised at just how scruffy the place is inside, as I had expected a refurbishment to have taken place. Perhaps it had reopened mush longer ago than I had realised. This is really a filthy smokers place. Dirty carpets and damp stained walls add to the depressing atmosphere. The staff and regulars are friendly enough, but there's little here to recommend, unless you are a smoking builder with dirty clothes who wants to feel comfortable. No cask ales.

3 Apr 2007 20:48

The Full House, Hemel Hempstead

Converted cinema Spoon. As with other Spoons the mood varies with the clientle and the time of day. Sunday lunchtime is usually a relaxed, family orientated time in most Spoons, with a tendency to dirty tables later in the afternoon. Friday and Saturday nights tend to be busy with young drinkers. The decoration here is still bearing up, though the dark lighting is against the modern trend of lighter pubs. OK.

26 Mar 2007 08:25

The Jenny Lind, Hastings

Large wood panelled front bar with a more intimate, yet still wood panelled, backroom. Good value food from cheesey chips to Sunday lunch with a good range of veggie options. Safe atmosphere with mainly Hasting locals rather than the tourists in the sea front bars. More character inside than appears from the outside. Casks are: Best, Directors, Hen, Bombardier and Guest.

23 Mar 2007 21:57

The Morden Arms, Rochester

Modern two room estate pub. Well kept with a safe atmosphere in clean surroundings. Parrot in a corner cage. Second room is for games and juke box. Relaxed friendly staff and customers. No cask ales sadly.

18 Mar 2007 05:47

Ye Olde Kings Head, Battle

Furthest pub in Battle away from the Abbey, yet the nicest and most authentic. A proper old fashioned lath and plaster and exposed beam pub which, despite some opening up, still retains a distinct awareness of the multi rooms with different flooring and partial walls still standing. Casks are Courage Best, Hen and Harvey's Best served in excellent condition. Large fireplace in front room with red and black floor tiles. Great. This is a real pub.

16 Mar 2007 00:15

The John Logie Baird, Hastings

A rather dark Spoon with a low ceiling and deep purple walls. In need of refurbishment. Not a pleasing environment.

13 Mar 2007 19:01

The Filo (First In Last Out), Hastings

Annual visit after the Hastings Half. Still love it. Food appears to be served on a Sunday now - or at least some form of nibbles. There was a meat raffle taking place which just adds to the eclectic charm. The old cat is still alive, and still ignoring the dogs. The pub brewed porter is glorious.

13 Mar 2007 18:48

Sans Pareil, Strood

A pub and pub restaurant. Though a decent amount of space is given to the pub area on the right, the smell of chips permeates everywhere giving the distinct impression this is more of an eatery than a place to drink. The Best was tired, though drinkable. The ship's gun ports above the bar are a nice touch in an otherwise fairly characterless pub.

13 Mar 2007 18:33

The Steam Packet, Strood

Popular but smokey L-shaped local. Bar area congested, yet relaxed non-intimidating atmosphere and bar-maid who keeps aware of customers means getting served isn't too difficult. Pool table in area by toilets, and games machine by front entrance. Two cask offered, though only one available on my visit - the guest: London Pride. Good view of Medway Valley Line trains.

3 Mar 2007 19:55

The Malt Shovel Inn, Eynsford

Pleasant country pub with black beams and coppers in a 1930s Mock Tudor style. Relaxed local, family atmosphere and a single flower on each table make for a pleasing drinking experience. Three casks - London Pride, and two guests: Westerham Grass Hopper and Black Sheep Bitter. Very good condition. Parking across the road. Food served.

3 Mar 2007 19:50

The London Pub, Bloomsbury

Large anonymous Greene King bar on the ground floor of the huge Royal International Hotel. Mix of tourists and business people. It serves beer and food, and there are places to sit. There's little else to say about it.

18 Feb 2007 11:56

The Jack Horner, Tottenham Court Road

Corner location Fuller's Ale & Pie pub. Solidly refurbished in Central London deep wood panelling. A popular place that feels quite safe - though some people were loud. Serves good food and beer. Five different Fullers/Gales beers on offer in good condition.
Mostly, though, the pub just lacks individual charm, and the music is very loud.

18 Feb 2007 11:48

The Duke (of York), Holborn

1930s pub with original features and a charming and cute atmosphere. The back room is particularly attractive, but is for diners only. Two casks on offer -IPA and Broadside in decent condition. 1.45 a half. Main downside is that the place is slightly tatty with a feel more of a village hall than a pub. Barman wasn't rude, but he was socially awkward. The place is quirky enough to be worth a visit if in the area.

18 Feb 2007 11:24

The Duke of Cambridge, Battersea

Upmarket and trendy food bar which just about clings to the memory of a pub. Chunky wood tables with assorted chairs, leather sofas, high stools and palms with a light and bright atmosphere gives a continental feel. A large and charming painting in the back room shows some of the quaint but aging regulars who still frequent the place among the thirty-something upwardly mobiles. When they turn up people glance at them at though they are film stars (which some of them may be!). The pub is Youngs, which is now separate from the Wells & Young's beers which are sold side by side. The Ordinary was acceptable. The food is pretentious and pricey, though tasty enough. I would, however, have preferred to pay a bit less and not to have paprika sprinkled on the edges of my plate for heaven's sake. The service was pleasant enough, though bland and painfully slow.
This is not an objectionable place at all, and we spent a pleasant afternoon here, but it doesn't have much to recommend it.

10 Feb 2007 22:45

Viscount Harding, Gillingham

Now called The Engineers Mate. Name change and new owner in Nov 2006 have improved the reputation of this large and friendly, rough and ready pub. Dirty bare floor boards and tired striped wall paper create a forlorn appearance - but the regulars are very friendly and the Courage Best was served in perfect condition. The Old Hen was off. Pool table. Small screen tvs on the ceiling and a big screen. Live music area. An OK pub.

4 Feb 2007 19:38

Ice Wharf, Camden

Big modern curved building alongside Camden Lock. A little dark - though the candles help create a relaxed atmosphere. Indeed, apart from a Buddhist monk begging for money, there was a genuinely calm, family friendly atmosphere among the very mixed clientle. The place is just a little tatty - some holes in the seating, and a general feeling of being tired and in need of spruce up, but is really not bad. It has a feel of a seedy run down cinema foyer. The staff were all very friendly and polite. The service was very quick. Food, good value, and the beer was in good condition. A decent enough place, if lacking in charm and atmosphere.

4 Feb 2007 19:06

The Worlds End, Camden

Huge, rambling place with loud rock music filling the spaces, and a very upbeat, lively and positive atmosphere on a busy Saturday afternoon. The pub is Victorian - built around the time of Camden's general development in the early 1800s - but is built on the site of the famous Mother Redcap coaching inn which existed on the crossroad from at least the early 1600s. Remnants of the Victorian pub at the front (complete with open fire) lead into a large atrium decked out with false shop fronts, and an upper level bar - rather like wandering around a theme park. The general feel and atmosphere is like being in the back bar of some large rock venue. Two casks offered - Bombardier and Directors. The beer was served in excellent condition and just the right temperature. Prices average 3.00 a pint - with halves costing proportionally more.
The place is an experience and a must visit if in Camden.

4 Feb 2007 09:09

The Partridge, Bromley

An excellent Fullers pub converted from a bank in 1995. Solid, well refurbished and well kept. Good quality decor and wood paneling. Five different Fullers casks on offer. Tasty and excellent value food. Relaxed, comfortable and secure atmosphere.

28 Jan 2007 13:34

The Falcon Inn, Gillingham

A small run down pub of little interest. This used to serve guests ales in lovely condition, but it has gone to seed. It's rather tatty and in need of refurbishment - either that or closing down. One cask ale - Bombardier. Not pulled through - tasted of vinegar.

19 Jan 2007 00:55

Wagon At Hale, Chatham

Decent sized road house style pub. Used to have warmth and character with guest ales, but an edge has crept in over the past couple of years. On my last visit the place was dominated by games machines and large tv screens. No atmosphere. No welcome from the staff. Karaoke is the main attraction. They do mussells and chips - but I wouldn't feel comfortable eating in the cold atmosphere. Owned by SR Leisure (Veena Leisure). No guests ales - Best and Pride. The Pride was in good condition.

19 Jan 2007 00:53

The Watermans Arms, Wouldham

Largem friendly, well kept village local built in the early 20th century. Originally four rooms, they have been knocked into one generous L-shaped space with two separate sections at each end - one used for dining, the other for pool. Large sport screen and several corner TVs make this popular for football matches. The dining room was full with families eating Sunday lunch, yet the TV was a bit loud with the football match. However, there is a good, friendly buzz of conversation. A secure, well run feel to the place, and the Shepherd Neame beers are well kept.

14 Jan 2007 20:06

The Southwark Tavern, London Bridge

A gloomy, indifferent corner location pub with a curved wall on the corner. Three casks and twelve kegs including Leffe, Franziskaner, Kirrin, Budvar & Belle Vue. The place is a bit run down and dingy. It's more down to earth than rough, though it does attract noisy customers. It's a smoky, packed, unpretentious place. One of the least attractive pubs in the area.

7 Jan 2007 14:51

The Coal Hole, Strand

An outstanding pub. 5 cask ales in good condition, though served just a little cold. Stunning interior dating from 1904 of wooden beams, stone frieze above the lattice windows and a glorious stone fireplace and tapestry in the rear. Warm, relaxed atmosphere. Typical good value Nicholson's food.

7 Jan 2007 14:39

The Three Gardeners, Strood

Very laid back and welcoming locals pub. The pub cat has her own stool - but beware, she bites!

The pub looks like it's on its last knees. There's only one beer available from 8 taps. The fridge contains a few bottles of out of date J20. The ashtrays haven't been cleaned for a while, even though there's only 3 customers. Loud TV booms in the spacious single room, emphasising the emptiness of the place. But the people are friendly.

7 Jan 2007 14:08

The Hen And Chickens, Chatham

An old Trumans pub, and a place for the locals. There's a pool table for the kids, and bar billiards for the men. 3 keg ales - Courage Dark Mild, Courage Best and Websters Green Label - solid old men beers! No cask. The walls between the Saloon, Public and Private bars have been knocked through into one space, though the names are still etched on the windows. It's an OK place - nothing special, nothing bad.

28 Dec 2006 18:49

The Bird In Hand, Henley-On-Thames

Quiet, old fashioned pub with five cask guests in good condition. Pump clips of past beers are on display - always a good sign. A small back room leads to a charming, quaint beer garden complete with tinkling fountain in a small pond. Exotics birds twitter in a birdhouse on the left. The whole place is very peaceful, though surprisingly lacking in distinct character.

28 Dec 2006 18:45

The Catherine Wheel, Henley-On-Thames

An ex-coaching inn of some size, though there is little indication left inside of the history of the place. Rather dark and anonymous. Lacking in character. There are two bars - one on each side of the sprawling interior. The bar on the side offers the regular Pride, Pedigree and IPA; the bar on the left is the one with the guests.

28 Dec 2006 18:41

The Beacon Court Tavern, Gillingham

Large multi-sectioned pub. The bar area on the right hand side merges into a large room in which tribute bands can be heard thrashing away. The bar area on the left leads into a games area. It's a good time pub, safe and well run.

28 Dec 2006 18:20

The White Lion, Chatham

Awesomely bad pub. Looks bad on the outside - but it's worse on the inside. We didn't want to drink, we didn't want to sit down, we didn't want to touch anything, and we didn't want to stay. We got caught in conversation by a smelly old lady. The regulars here may be rough and lacking in self-esteem, and a little bit odd, but they're not violent. Just sad.

28 Dec 2006 18:10

O'Connells Bar, Chatham

The back area has been tidied up and the benches have been reupholstered.

27 Dec 2006 23:13

The George Inn, Gravesend

Good, traditional solid working class pub. No music. Age 50 and up. Brains and Flowers Original. Clean, friendly market traders pub. Seating outside. Central bar. Lack of personal pieces and pictures gives the place a "just moved in" feel. Pool table in rear room. The Brains was slightly flabby, but I liked the pub.

26 Dec 2006 20:47

The Hungry Fox, Hempstead

Modern and well kept Greene King pub isolated on the edge of Hempstead Valley Shopping Centre. Beer garden, nooks and crannies, wood, brick, and an orderly clean feel throughout. A family pub with attractive meal deals. No cask ales. No real charm or atmosphere.

26 Dec 2006 20:34

The Bell, Strood

Keg only local. An active and well used pub on a busy road with shops and take-aways. Two rooms. The decent sized main room, and the Laurel & Hardy bar at the back. Main feature is the life-sized statues of the Blues Brothers dancing. Sells Carling draught.

26 Dec 2006 20:05

The Swan Inn, Monks Eleigh

Sorry. I haven't rated. I just wanted to make the comment about the possible use of fake accounts, and support bzylzy's view that this place is more restaurant than pub. Do they actually serve beer? I'm making a trip to Lavenham on boxing day, and I'm looking for pubs. I won't be coming to this place because the owners are showing me pictures of food rather than talking about which beers they sell. I agree that this place is probably better off on a good food site than a pub site.

24 Dec 2006 15:23

The Olde Kings Arms, Hemel Hempstead

Charles Wells pub in the attractive old High Street. The pub looks and feels "olde" - there's a homely dark atmosphere with exposed beams. The pub has been expanded - the Off Sales section has been removed, giving more seating room inside. Gets crowded and noisy on a Saturday night, and the music is played very loud, but can be more relaxing midweek. Has always been a popular and well run pub.

24 Dec 2006 11:41

The Opera Tavern, Covent Garden

Small one room Nicholsons pub. Lacking in atmosphere and character due to stripping out of all original features then decorating with a bland cream and burgundy.
Five cask ales, including Coach House Squires Gold, which was off. Replaced without any problems by Wychwood XXX in OK condition.

26 Nov 2006 01:56

The Buccaneer, Eastbourne

Large, open pub with plenty of wood and a solid feel of permanence and character. 6 casks, 3 of them guests; bar billiards; sky light; view of the sports field; warm, laid back atmosphere. Liked it.

8 Nov 2006 18:47

Cafe Belge, Eastbourne

This is the Eastbourne branch of the successful and very popular Cafe Belge chain. As the British become more aware of the myriad delights of Belgian beer, as well as the sensual joy of moules et frite, so more such places as Beer Circus and Cafe Belge open up. There is a good atmosphere inside - friendly, relaxed and happy. The Tin Tin cartoons and the arched mirrors create a magical and joyful room. There are over 100 Belgian beers - each served in its own special glass - and 50 different mussel recipes to try. Prices are standard for Belgian beers bought in a bar and served in the appropriate glass. And, given the quality of the food, the prices for the moules et frite at mostly under a tenner is excellent - especially when compared to the price of a McDonalds meal. I especially loved all the Belgian beer posters down the stairs and in the loo. Great fun.

29 Oct 2006 22:37

The Will Adams, Gillingham

Back street pub near the High Street that changed its name from the Anglo Saxon 13 years ago when the new landlord arrived. Place is painted to look like the inside of a wooden house. Rather odd, and sort of dated, but adds interest. The pub is long and narrow, but decently kept, and quite comfortable. There's a pool table. Place is open weekends and evenings. The main interest here is the beer. Summer Lightning is a regular. And there are usually two, sometimes three, guests on offer. Nice.

22 Oct 2006 00:39

The Elephant and Castle, Woolwich

Pub in the market. Sells Brains Bitter. Cheap and cheerful.

1 Oct 2006 18:23

The Shipwrights Arms, Chatham

Large, traditional back street boozer. A little out of its time, but still serving the local community as best it can. Struggling a bit, especially with its spare, empty rooms, but doing the best it can. No cask ales.

21 Sep 2006 22:45

The Shipwrights Arms, Chatham

Closed. And the impressive tiles have been painted over.

21 Sep 2006 22:40

The Poachers Pocket, Chatham

Greene King pub. Cheap. Cheap meals - everything under 2.50. Used to have a bowling alley, but has undergone refurbishment, and the space has been used for meal tables. No cask ales. Nitrokeg IPA. No atmosphere.

13 Sep 2006 18:10

The George, Beckenham

Ye George Inn is a charming Olde Worlde wood panelled pub at least 300 years old. It has a popular beer garden drenched in green yet overlooking Beckenham's High Street. Four different cask ales available from six pumps: Pride, IPA, Youngs & Harvey's Bitter. Condition wasn't totally fresh, but the beers were certainly drinkable. An enjoyable pub with a great atmosphere inside and out.

10 Sep 2006 20:22

The Barge, Gillingham

Excellent pub converted from pony stables in a Gillingham back street. It has character, it has a friendly landlord, it has a variety of events, it has a changing selection of well kept beers, it has a great beer garden with views across the Medway, it has a good crowd of people. And for those who like folk music, it has regular folk evenings. There is a genuine sense of community about the place. One of the best pubs in Medway, and arguably the best. It's only drawback is lack of food.

26 Aug 2006 20:38

The Kestrel, Chatham

Greene King pub in an early 70s housing estate shopping precinct. Bland, but acceptable. It has untorn seats and tables, and the place doesn't smell. It serves food and beer. A standard issue "family" pub.

25 Aug 2006 19:38

The Plough Inn, Henfield

Four cask ales - Kings Horsham Best, London Pride, Harvey's Best & Websters Cask Yorkshire Bitter. The pub has a restaurant section and a pub section. Olives & cheese on the bar on Sundays. A pleasant place, but lacking distinctive character. The choice of beers, however, lifts this place just above the average.

20 Aug 2006 18:13

White Hart, Henfield

Wonderful timber framed old world pub. One half is a restaurant, the other is a traditional half-light village bar. Very relaxed yet warm and busy with local village life. It's a roomy place with a long bar served by three charming, intelligent and attractive bar maids. Everywhere you look in this pub you see an atmospheric photo opportunity. The pub is an ex-King & Barnes run by Hall & Woodhouse so the beers are all Badger. Four pumps are on the counter, three are active - First Gold, Tanglefoot and K&B's Sussex. My First Gold was in perfect condition. Cool, sweet and delicious with healthy smack of hops in the finish. A splendid place!

20 Aug 2006 18:05

Style & Winch, Maidstone

Backstreet local in a specialised shopping area: there's a shop selling polish food, a colonic irrigation shop, a dress designer and a jewelry repairer among the take-aways and other local shops. The couple running the pub are cheerful and friendly; they have a nice terrier who scampers around the bar, and three plump rabbits in the peaceful and attractive beer garden. Two casks - Courage Best and London Pride - served at the traditional temperature which allows the flavour to come through, though is less refreshing than we are used to these Cask Marque days. All in all a very nice pub.

19 Aug 2006 21:37

The Royal Albion, Maidstone

Splendid old building near the new Fremlins Walk shopping development. The pub has recently undergone one of Shepherd Neame's extensive and invasive refurbishments which has somehow cleaned away most of the genuine character and charm, though the remaining cleaned wood and scrubbed brick has a fresh from the bath feel that is light, attractive and certainly very trendy. Two casks on - Spitfire and MasterBrew. The Spitfire was in stunning condition. The atmosphere in the pub is relaxed and pleasant with 70s and 80s background music. The small bar cluttered with bar flies and stools is one complaint, and the poor quality imitation J2O is another. However, this is certainly an above average pub in a useful central location.

19 Aug 2006 21:23

The Walnut Tree, Eccles

Large three room village pub. Main room is echoing, loud and lacking in character. Cheaply decorated with no attempt to make the place more than a basic functional village hut. Cheap and nasty A4 posters advertise Meat Raffles and Karaoke. There is a back room with two pool tables; and a function room / saloon to the right. An open brick fireplace with two logs and an oval mirror is the main feature. There are three hand pumps, but no cask ale. Carling, Fosters, 1664, Strongbow and Websters are the keg beers. The Websters was served in a Websters glass.

18 Aug 2006 19:49

The Hope and Anchor, Islington

I used to live just a couple of hundred yards from this pub during the height of the punk era when The Clash and The Damned used to play here in the cellar bar. The downstairs was were it all all happened. Bands still play here - but its now a pay to play place, and the bands are not that interesting. The pub itself is the familiar stripped wood Islington pub which is striving for a character that it lost long ago. However, it does have a relaxed charm.

18 Aug 2006 00:03

The Queen Charlotte, Rochester

Single room corner pub on the High Street. Has always been a take it as you find it, down to earth sort of place with an edgy feel. Attracts young lads and girls in the evening and old tossers and beggars in the afternoon. Serves one cask ale right at the end of the bar. This used to be a guest, but as you need to go right into the pub to find out what is on, and the place tends to be full of thugs who stare as you enter, and it's practically next door to Wetherpoons, it's not something I have checked on much over the years. Went in today to find the one cask ale was off. Fosters, Carling, Strongbow, Stella and Courage Best on offer at the kegs. Has been refurbished recently and now has the name "Charlotte's Bar" on the windows. The "refurbishment" seems to have consisted of wiping the place over with a dirty rag and getting Murphy in to knock down a wall in two minutes, no problem. This has now created enough space for a pool table and some leather sofas for the lads to sprawl in.

Uninspiring and expensive. But suits some folk.

12 Aug 2006 18:48

The Cricketers, Canterbury

Shepherd Neame pub. 3 Casks. Keg beers include Leffe, and the Sheps lagers. A long, narrow pub with a student barmaid. Corner location on High Street and pleasant open alley provides natural light in rear room. Shove half-penny table in rear room. Some walls removed to make pub more open and lighter. An accetable place of little character but some modest charm. The chairs are made from beer crates.

11 Aug 2006 22:29

The Little Gem, Aylesford

Small. Charming. Wood. Up to 6 casks in excellent condition. Smallest pub in Kent. Utterly charming. Perfect atmosphere. Great beer. Small. Charming. Great beer. Say it over and over again. This is a perfect pub.

11 Aug 2006 22:09

The Kings Head, Rochester

Prominent corner pub with a solid and attractive exterior. This pub is sandwiched between two other pubs, making for a a very interesting corner indeed. Pub is currently part of the local Veena Leisure chain. It has attempted to carry on the Hogshead tradition of good ales and good food in a relaxed bare wood atmosphere. The beers, though, are a little indifferent, and the food tends to stop being served earlier and earlier each time we visit. Bar manageress can be a bit rough and ready. Sometimes offers live folk bands who play VERY LOUDLY. I used to like this place quite a lot, but I'm loosing interest.

6 Aug 2006 23:40

The Huntsman, Rochester

I meant "roadhouse" not "roundhouse".

6 Aug 2006 23:32

The White Horse, Parsons Green

An upmarket and expensive Wetherspoon. Lacks genuine atmosphere. Very popular. Beers are served too cold. Bottle list is rather eccentric. Has a reputation among international beer tourists due to long association with Michael Jackson, and careful marketing. But is not the London location of choice among British beer enthusiasts.

31 Jul 2006 23:50

The Swan on the Green, West Peckham

Attractive looking village pub on the village green. Relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
The focus on the meals tends to put a bit of a squeeze on those just drinking, but the food is really quite tasty. The menu is prepared daily depending on the fresh ingredients that are available.
The pub also sells some homebrew. It's drinkable, but it's the sort of stuff that your mate makes rather than the quality stuff that you might expect a "brewpub" to make.
Make sure you know what male and female swans are called if you don't want to wander into the wrong toilet by mistake.

27 Jul 2006 20:02

Au General La Fayette, Paris

Pleasant centrally located bar not far from the big department stores on the road to the Gare du Nord. Not a large range of beers, but it does offer a draught beer or two from the smaller French breweries which is very rare in France. The art nouveau decoration is rather attractive.

18 Jul 2006 10:29

The Frog and Rosbif, Paris

British style pub with a crude brewery in the basement. Loud rock music. Good atmosphere. Relaxed. Cool. Sport on the TV. British with a French flair. Don't come here for French culture - this is a curious oddity. If I lived in Paris I might find myself in here rather more often than I should. I love Paris culture, and would prefer to think of myself in a French bar, but this place feels so much like home, it's too seductive. And everyone speaks English.

18 Jul 2006 09:32

The Canterbury Tales, Gillingham

Medium large l-shaped single room with two raised areas, one for the pool table, the other just for fun. The bench seating is torn and tatty, but the rest of the room is tidy. Two casks - Pedigree and Youngs Bitter - in decent condition. Music quite loud, even during daytime.

17 Jul 2006 21:54

The King George V, Brompton

Run by the landlord of the Frog & Toad. This is one of the best pubs in Medway. Relaxed and secure atmosphere. Good cask ales kept in very good condition. Usually two or three. Selection changes.

17 Jul 2006 19:02

The Three Crutches, Strood

Remote place on a dead end lane at the very edge of town, yet very popular. Huge beer garden and two meals for 10. Only one cask - Ruddles Country - kept in half-decent condition (could do with some temperature control in the cellar). Relaxed, low key place, lacking in charm and character and a sense of pride, but OK. The small front room is the best part.

17 Jul 2006 18:51

White Hart, Cuxton

Shepherd Neame pub. The only pub in the village. Large echoing space, like a church hall - filled with the Cuxton lads having a few lagers and a laugh. TV, games machine, pool table, darts board and a pleasant view.

17 Jul 2006 18:39

Saxon Shore, Herne Bay

Comfortable and relaxed JDW. Green painted wood in back room is soothing. Decent enough place.

17 Jul 2006 16:07

The Cricketers, Greenwich

This was a fairly average, but acceptable boozer with three cask ales ales offered in decent condition, including Brains Bitter. Gentle buzz of comfortable conversation. Sad to hear it has closed.

17 Jul 2006 15:14

The Barrowboy and Banker, London Bridge

A grand building nicely converted by Fuller's in their Ale & Pie style of a Wetherspoon; located just by London Bridge. Film fans would be interested to know that the steps about 100 yards to the right of the pub are Nancy's Steps which featured in the opening sequence of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Pub is clean and tidy and is mostly used by well off trendies and bankers. Beer is in good condition.

17 Jul 2006 15:08

The Ship Inn, Lower Upnor

Five cask ales in a Sunday lunch pub. Almost all tables are for eating, but there are three tables by the door and stools around the crowded bar. Menu is awkwardly placed on a blackboard round the back, though there are table top menus for evening meals. Clean and tidy though lacks distinctive charm and character. Yacht varnish and blue paint creates a semi-trendy cafe ambiance. It's pleasant, and popular for meals - booking seems to be required. We were lucky to given the table of a cancellation. Beer (Millis and Speckled Hen) was in good condition. Food was very tasty.

10 Jul 2006 09:30

The Ship Inn, Rochester

A solid, old fashioned four room pub on the historial Rochester/Chatham High Street. Relaxed gay community are well supplied with live events, newsletters and a plunge pool in the beer garden for hot days. Limited selection of cask ales available - only Youngs Bitter on our visit, and that was served warm. A nice pub.

5 Jul 2006 18:43

Expectations, Rochester

The green pub! Green is everywhere. It's a light. airy pub with attractive green tiled tables inside and out. The outside tables are popular in the summer. The hot chocolates here are very good. I don't know about the cask ales as they have never been on when I've visited - but they do serve Courage Best and Flowers IPA (not an attractive selection). Service is morose, and the regulars can also look a bit grumpy at times. Not a pub I use much, but it's tidy enough.

20 Jun 2006 14:27

The Bell Inn, Rochester

Unexciting looking pub that was until recently a Shepherd Neame place. I have often passed by, but was put off by dreary appearance. Went in today and found a decent sized interior reasonably well kept. Central bar serving two rooms, and a large, though plain, beer garden. No cask ales. A typical back street boozer on its last legs, but refusing to give up. Relaxed and homely atmosphere with an old tattoed granny sitting at a corner table watching the football on the TV.

12 Jun 2006 23:34

The Windmill, Burham

A surprisingly well kept, modern and decently decorated pub in this remote village between Rochester and Maidstone. The central bar is surounded by three distinct rooms, all decorated in a fresh, clean and modern style - not the sort of thing one expects in a country pub, and all the more pleasing and refreshing for that. A well turned out beer garden with good quality furniture and the friendly pub Doberman - Dylan. Four cask ales - GK IPA, Ruddles Country, MasterBrew and the seasonal Shep's Early Bird. Beer was in good condition, but served a bit warm. Some temperature control would be appreciated. Overall a very pleasant experience.

8 Jun 2006 23:01

The George, Rochester

Large red brick 1930's road house style pub on its last legs. Everything is just a little bit tatty and worn. The games room is too smelly to sit in. The place does food, but there was none on our visit. Two cask ales - Spitfire and Courage Best. The Spitfire was in a dull, but acceptable condition. Big plus point in an otherwise dreary pub is the friendliness of the two barmaids.

6 Jun 2006 20:09

The Wellington, Strand

Four casks, including Pride of Pendle, served in good condition. Victorian Grand Hotel feel about the long narrow bars, especially upstairs, which has a pleasant view over Waterloo Bridge. The corner window seat with views along The Strand is the best place to sit. The original Art Nouveau stained glass windows are attractive. A nice place, though there is nothing especially unique or special to lift it above the average.

1 Jun 2006 20:07

The Maple Leaf, Covent Garden

Plastic-log cabin with bad taste carpet. What a groove. Baseball on the big screen. Plastic, but relaxed. Not that interesting, but worth checking out.

1 Jun 2006 20:02

The Old Buttermarket, Canterbury

The 1908 building was built on the site of the 17th century Black Boy coaching inn which closed in 1908. It reopened as a pub, with the name The Olive Branch, in 1927. It was taken over by the Firkin pub chain in the 1980s, from where the current bare wood appearance comes from. It is clearly in need of some refurbishment, but has a sort of down at heel charm. The comfy leather armchairs by the fireplace give a good viewpoint of the comings and goings. Sells two cask ales - Bombardier and Spitfire - in good condition. The service was curiously indifferent, slow and full of mistakes. The price, after two queries, came down from 4.85 to 2.25. My partner was given the promoted chocolate in a half-empty and chipped mug with no cream. There was a soft background music. The large TV by the window lurches at a drunken angle on its broken support. The atmosphere is very relaxed and casual. Despite all the faults I quite liked the place, and - under good management - it could be a decent pub.

28 May 2006 17:17

Ye Arrow, Rochester

A traditional single room l-shaped pub that is currently undergoing some needed refurbishment. Like its sister pub The Jolly Knight, the large range of standard cask ales can be served in reasonable as well as in poor condition. Weekends tend to be noisy with either live entertainment or loud music. Both are unwelcome in what can often be a pleasant environment during the midweek. There's a solid and comfortable feel about Ye Arrow, apart from during the rugby scrum of one of Rochester's event weekends. During events the pub spreads out into the patio beer garden with various food stalls - the most popular of which is the seafood stall. A pub of varying moods. I mostly like the place.

25 May 2006 23:55

The Jolly Knight, Rochester

Traditional single room pub with a downstairs nightclub at the weekend. Can be quite empty most nights, but gets full and noisy on a Friday. Music is played very loud all the time, but the barmaid manages to make her voice heard no matter how loud it is. Large range of standard cask ales kept in reasonable to dodgy condition. Perhaps too many casks kept on at the same time, especially during mid week when business is slow. The outside appearance, and the great pub sign make this appear a more attractive pub than it really is. However, the unusual situation of three pubs together on one corner, with this one and Ye Arrow linked by the beer garden and the shared cellar, makes it a curiosity too tempting to miss.

25 May 2006 23:40

The Huntsman, Rochester

Large redbrick 1930s roundhouse style pub serving good value pub grub. Seperate non-smoking room at the back is mainly a dining area. There's a large, child friendly beer garden. Only one cask ale - Courage Best in reasonable condition. Drink related promotional posters dominate the decoration. What it lacks in charm, it makes up for in a clear effort to please the punters.

25 May 2006 23:30

The Drunken Sailor, Chatham

Quite a roomy and atmospheric student pub on the Chatham university campus. As well as students there are staff from the Medway council building and the assorted other businesses in the area. A good range of veggie food is offered. Beer is all keg - Carling, Coors, Grolsch and Worthington Creamflow. Music is a bit loud, but the building is interesting with various nooks and assorted seating. If the music was a little quieter, and the beer was cask this would be a great place.

20 May 2006 11:06

The Goat Inn, Codicote

Situated on the old stage coach road from Welwyn to Hitchen, this is a popular ancient inn with a number of attractive features. There are various paper money notes pinned to the beams and pewter tankards hanging from the ceiling. The place has a distinct local feel, quite down to earth, almost like a working men's club. It certainly is as smokey as a working men's club. The cask ales are the standards: Abbot, Spitfire, Adnams & Greene King IPA. The Abbot was not quite fresh enough.

14 May 2006 14:54

O'Connells Bar, Chatham

An Irish pub in a decent corner location near Chatham railway station, and usefully near the Catholic church. A friendly and relaxed atmosphere inside with darts, pool, games machine and a juke box. The darts team appear to be quite successful - the front window is packed with trophies. The space has been knocked through to create one large room, though there is a separate raised section at the back with cushioned benches. This section, though, is in a bad state of repair and the benches need upholstering.
The music is played just a bit too loud, but will be turned down on request, and becomes less noticable when the place starts to fill up.
No cask ales - the kegs are Strongbow, Fosters, John Smiths, Courage Best and Guinness.
There's an unpleasant musty smell, combined with antiseptic, and not much natural light penetrates to the central area.
However, it's an OK local.

14 May 2006 14:02

The Medway Inn, Wouldham

One of three pubs in Wouldham village. It's a casual local in which the village kids and babies are welcome. The walls have been knocked down to create a large single room with a minor partition near the back door, and a raised balcony area near the front. There is an attractive fireplace right at the back, and some of the walls have been stripped back to the bare brick. I wouldn't say the place is attractive, but it's acceptable, and in decent condition. The atmosphere was relaxed enough, with some lads playing pool while test match cricket was blaring away unwatched on the big screen. There's a trendy leather sofa and low coffee table near the balcony area. Two casks are normally served - Pride and Bass. The Pride was acceptable, though could have been better. A cooler in the cellar would be welcome. I never fully warmed to the place, but we were quite happy to be there.

12 May 2006 14:52

The Honourable Pilot, Gillingham

Brewers Fayre. A modern grub-pub. Large, clean and well managed. Typically anonymous, characterless rubber stamp fittings, but pleasant enough. One cask - Spitfire - in very good condition, though perhaps just a bit too cold. Quiet background music. Standard pub-grub food. A few flashing game machines scattered around. Acceptable, but not exciting.

9 May 2006 23:52

The Porterhouse, Covent Garden

Noisy industrial zone night club and American style brewpub, though the beers are brewed in Ireland and then filtered and shipped over here. This place is dark and trendy and full of NOISE. The first time I came here they had a band playing behind the bar, so it was impossible to be heard - my order had to be given in sign language. They have a beer list of bottled beers and they sometimes do guest casks. It's a place that beer hunters come in order to sample the Irish brewed porter and stout - there is a sample tray of nine beers available. Other than beer hunters the place attracts tourists and young people. It's on several levels - all are noisy. And there are televisions sets blaring away in the toilets if you think you can escape the noise in there. The beers are not that great, but - to be fair - they're not that bad either. They might be better tasted fresh in Ireland.

9 May 2006 23:24

The See-Ho, Shorne

Isolated country pub near Gad's Hill. Does 2 course pub lunches for under 5.00 Very popular with the old folk. It's an OK place serving London Pride in acceptable condition, but it does feel a bit like an old people's home.

9 May 2006 19:52

The Robin Hood, Chatham

Isolated pub with huge beer garden. Popular with walkers and families. There are bird cages in the garden. Food is honest and good value. Three popular cask ales including London Pride and Youngs Special, served in very good condition.

8 May 2006 19:23

The Green Man and French Horn, Covent Garden

Slightly seedy and unattractive long & narrow pub. The bow windows at the entrance makes the place look more interesting than it is. Five standard cask ales on offer, but my Old Peculier had passed its best. A dreary place.

8 May 2006 19:06

The Angel and Crown, Leicester Square

A fairly ordinary and dull corner location Nicholson's pub.

8 May 2006 19:04

The Nell Gwynne, Covent Garden

Up an alley off The Strand, this dark little pub has acquired a reputation as a place of honest warmth and character. I've never been that impressed, yet it does have a tendency to linger in the memory - which does suggest it does have more appealing character than most pubs. It offers four standard cask ales - Courage Best, the Hen, Bombardier and Directors - in an indifferent and warm style, so don't come here for the beer. The raised wooden platform on the right creates a saloon area from where those seated can look down on the bar flies chatting with the intelligent and interesting bar staff. Some odd nik-naks and pictures on the peeling Victorian wallpaper, along with the general damp gloom create the feel of an abandoned old person's house. This is, to be honest, a fairly indifferent and tatty back street pub which every town has, and which most people avoid. But its appearance here in central London in a dark alley, and its associations with murder, Royalty and sex, give it a valuable character. As estate agents keep saying, it's all about location, location, location.

8 May 2006 18:58

Ye Olde Pump House, Hastings

A Shepherd Neame pub. Ancient black beamed interior. Dark, low ceilinged and utterly charming. Assorted small and large windows upstairs provide plenty of light. Pleasant buzz of conversation. Good value food. Child friendly. And a seagull's nest by the window. I loved the place.

7 May 2006 22:50

The Filo (First In Last Out), Hastings

Charming ancient pub in Hasting old High Street. Church pew seating, brewery visible through a window at the back, pub cat curled up on a bar stool, open fire in the middle of the room, a relaxed friendly atmosphere with the warm buzz of conversation all add up to a great pub. Beer is fresh and tasty and unique to the pub. Three own beers and a guest. The downside is the decor. The bar is a huge embarrassment - like something from Abigail's party. And there's artex and fake beam's and other hideous things. Don't even think of looking at the carpet. All in all, this is a must visit pub if you're in the area- and is so good it is worth planning a visit to Hastings just to see this place and drink the home-brewed beer.

7 May 2006 22:34

The Lemon Tree, Covent Garden

Yellow coloured, bright, scruffy, vegetarian cafe style pub which would have appealed to Van Gogh. The single room gives an airy spacious feel due to the large windows, but it's difficult to feel comfortable or relaxed. There is a smaller room up the poster lined stairs, but that's rather dull and remote. Two Adnams, a Youngs and London Pride on offer. I didn't warm to this place at all.

7 May 2006 22:26

The Marquis of Granby, Covent Garden

Nicholson's. Odd triangular shape. Church arch. London fittings. Open fire. Five standard cask ales:- Pride, Youngs, Landlord, Deuchars & Black Sheep. Good conversation buzz. Good ambiance. A pleasant pub. A little history note tells that the dashing highwayman Claude Duval was captured here in 1607 when the place was known as the Hole In The Wall or Mother Maberley's tavern. A little quirkier than its neighbour The Harp, but would appeal to the same crowd.

7 May 2006 22:21

The Harp, Covent Garden

Landlord, Black Sheep, Thoroughbred, Greyhound & Harvey's Best on offer in a crowded typical central London long and narrow single room pub. Genuine woody and wholesome atmosphere with a well heeled and relaxed clientelle. A conversation pub. Has a definate appeal. Upstairs room is quiet and smoke-free, but lacks the character of the main room.

7 May 2006 22:05

The Cross Keys, Covent Garden

Awesome, cluttered long single room bar, every inch packed with nik-naks and kookie memorabilia. Very British. Quaint and eccentric. A napkin signed by Elvis is above the bar. Dripping with atmosphere, this is without a doubt the best pub in Covent Garden. Sadly the casks are standard:- Bombardier, Youngs Bitter, Courage Best.

7 May 2006 21:58

The Crown, Bloomsbury

Quiet Sam Smiths wood paneled & partitioned pub in odd area between Theatre-land and British Museum. New Oxford Street one side, and a deserted sun-less concrete piazza on the other. Acceptable, and not without charm, but difficult to recommend.

7 May 2006 21:54

Bunker, Covent Garden

Industrial style basement bar with glowing copper brewing equipment behind glass at the end of the canteen style room. Not an attractive place, and no atmosphere, so the beer is the draw. So, it's a shame then that the beer is badly brewed lager. This place is a big miss.

7 May 2006 19:47

Tiger Moth, Chatham

A Steak and Ale chain pub, part of the Punch Taverns group. Built in 1959 in an anonymous style it looks like every other pub chain pub, but does work hard to please the local Chatham clients and any passing family trade. Serves a guest ale from a regional or big micro. Not a bad pub, but has little to commend it.

7 May 2006 19:40

The North Foreland, Rochester

Interesting and decent enough place with several sections including a lower level. Warm and interesting decoration with books, pictures and oddments. The building dates from 1567 and is one of the few remaining pubs and breweries along the Rochester/Chatham High Street that were part of the many that once served the thirsty sailors of the British Navy. This pub used to, appropriately, serve Nelson beers brewed in the old dockyard, but it was bought up by the local pub company who put in IPA and Spitfire. The pub is once again independent, but the beers are still industry standard, and the quality of the IPA was rather warm and vinegary.

7 May 2006 19:24

The Anchor, Faversham

Out of Faversham town centre, near the Creek, this feels like an abandoned pub. It seemed to have been taken over by a folksy, scruffy-bohemian, babba-cool crowd who welcome the scruffy-bohemian faded wood feel of the place. Drenched in church wax and incense with softly played AOR, this is a pub I warmed to the longer I remained. The four Sheps cask ales were in exceptional condition. A warm, atmospheric, scruffy pub. I loved it.

7 May 2006 16:18

The Sussex, Covent Garden

A plain, rubber stamped pub-chain pub on the corner of Long Acre. The place is loud and trendy and anonymous. Serves three standard ales: Youngs, Pride and Bombardier. Dull.

7 May 2006 16:13

The Round Table, Leicester Square

IPA, Old P., Landlord. Medium sized wood and bare brick single room with obvious but not over loud music. Curious mix of dark interior and bright glaring lights. Place lacks atmosphere and character - feels cold, noisy and awkward. A dull place.

7 May 2006 16:07

The White Lion, Covent Garden

Pleasant, small, single room Nicholson's pub opposite McMullen's Nags Head. GK IPA, Landlord, Pride & Youngs Bitter on offer. Simple and clean, typical central London cramped space with modest character but well kept. The wooden partitions appear to be part of a modern refit, yet add to the charm. A gentle relaxed place with the quiet buzz of happy conversation mixed with background music. Nothing special.

7 May 2006 15:58

The Bok Bar, Covent Garden

Slightly tatty downstairs room decorated with an African safari theme. The place has a hollow, empty feel and needs to generate an atmosphere from the clientelle, which can be variable. Sells bottled South African ciders, which are not to my taste, but are quite rare in Britain. There is a babyfoot footbal table which is fun. I didn't dislike the place, but it does have limited appeal.

7 May 2006 13:41

Belushis, Covent Garden

Keg only - Fosters, San Miquel and Kronenberg Blanc. Trendy, modern cafe style. Quite cool and relaxed.

7 May 2006 13:23

The White Hart, Holborn

Pub is softly decorated in a light green and gold. End room extention is like an Edwardian dolls house drawing room. Not the White Hart of my City Lit days - all character has been removed. London Pride the only cask on offer.

30 Apr 2006 22:13

St Stephens Tavern, Westminster

Hall & Woodhouse pub refurbished in the currently very fashionable traditional Victorian style. Well kept and with a decent atmosphere. Can get very crowded with drinkers spilling out into the alley. Decent selection of the Badger, K&B and Gribble range of cask beers served in good condition. Nice pub.

29 Apr 2006 14:06

The Red Lion, Lenham

Tidy well kept traditional country pub on the village square. Pub has a plain, smokey public bar plus a more comfortable saloon where the cask pumps are kept - Old Speckled Hen, London Pride, MasterBrew and K&B's Sussex. The Sussex was in very good condition.
The pub serves food and is popular at lunchtime.
Exposed, ancient wood with a scattering of horse brasses and some modest pictures on the wall. The deep red carpet is a bit like an old ladies tea-room, but good old fashioned virtues of the landlord welcoming and farewelling compensates for such slips of taste. A very decent pub.

29 Apr 2006 13:56

The Humphrey Bean, Tonbridge

Modern, light pub with a long chic black metal and pale wood extension at the back of the post office conversion with lots of sky lights to let in natural light. Relaxed and sunny atmosphere. The beer garden is very special with well laid out plants and splendid views of Tonbridge Castle. Beers in good condition. Food pleasantly and quickly served. A very good pub.

29 Apr 2006 13:25

The Evening Star, Brighton

Famous as the Dark Star brewery's pub. The brewery was originally on the premises, but a few years ago was moved out of Brighton. As well as Dark Star's excellent and highly acclaimed beers, there are guest ales and a small range of European bottled beers.
The fame of this pub makes it a must visit place, but be aware that a modernisation has taken place to open up the pub to create a modern atmosphere. The place is sunny and relaxed, but can feel more like a left wing vegetarian cafe than a traditional British pub. It's each to their own, and I could see myself enjoying the place, but the surroundings surprised me at first.

29 Apr 2006 13:15

The Opera House, Tunbridge Wells

Grand theatre conversion. Pub is on three levels - stage, orchestra pit and stalls. Has a large TV screen in one of the boxes. It is a beautiful building, though there is a sense of sadness that nobody is walking the boards any longer, declaiming thunderous lines from Shakespeare or singing, cracking jokes or just generally entertaining and stimulating people.
The pub is currently poorly managed and organised, and can get very packed. Beer quality is variable and can be served too warm. The atmosphere and acoustics don't generate a good atmosphere. The building itself is worth looking at, but as a JDW pub it falls below average.

29 Apr 2006 13:04

The Fleur De Lys, Burham

A relaxed and well kept village local. Two rooms - a traditional public and saloon set up. The public is basic and informal with darts, big screen and a pool table. Saloon is slightly more formal, with a distinct dining room feel. There's a large beer garden, which has the feel of a council recreation ground, but is more than servicable. There are three pumps, but only one was on - serving Hancock's HB in a decent condition.

This is a very likable and friendly pub with lots of facilities. The guest ale policy makes it even more attractive.

29 Apr 2006 00:32

The Saddle Inn, Blackpool

Great - an ancient inn with individual rooms complete with bells to push for service. But the bells don't work any more. The bar is in the main room only. Plenty of atmosphere and character. Relaxed and friendly. Guest beers served in good condition. It has a reputation as the most interesting pub in Blackpool, and is a required stop if in the area.

28 Apr 2006 17:40

The Cannon, Old Brompton

Three roomed pub - public, saloon and games room - served by a double sided central bar. One cask on offer - London pride in poor condition: warm and slightly sour. The place does have some charm - like an old railway station waiting room with little added features of interest, such as the cats on the roof over the saloon bar. Used by the soldiers from the local barracks so can be noisy and playful. The saloon bar is the quietest room. The pub organises several active clubs: football, darts and a popular and successful golfing club. It does well for the locals.

28 Apr 2006 17:27

The Rising Sun, Kemsing

400 year old farm building or hunting lodge that was converted to a great country pub serving a genuine rural community at some point in its history. Very hard to find and easy to miss, the pub lies not too far from the ancient walking route to Canterbury, the Pilgrims Way. The pub sign hasn't been painted for years, and at this stage is simply a piece of scruffy wood with the remains of some red and yellow paint peeling off. The building itself looks like what it is - an old, scruffy farm building - rather than a pub; you often have to make your way through a clutch of chickens to get to the low door. Once inside you'll find five ever changing cask ales arranged according to strength - the regulars will often just ask for a "Number 3" or "Number 4". The interior is cosy and informal and seeped in character with a huge double sided fireplace with its own built in noisy parrot. There are odd bits here and there, such as hot cross buns nailed to one of the ancient ceiling beams. The family mix farming with running the pub. One feature of the place used to be that the food served would be their own produce, including the beef. But since the death last year of the landlord, Peter, this side of things is uncertain. Michelle, however,is still firmly in charge of the beers and gives the casks plenty of time to settle before tapping. The quality and range of beers, plus the warm, laid back rural atmosphere make this pub well worth the effort of seeking out. There's no public transport, so if you want to over-indulge then you either have to walk or get a taxi. One of my favourite pubs.

22 Apr 2006 08:52

The Freemasons Arms, Covent Garden

Notable as the pub where in 1863 the first meeting of the Football Association took place. It's a Shepherd Neame pub serving three casks in good condition, at around 2.80 a pint. The place is large, pleasant and comfortable with cosy corners, leather armchairs, wood, mirrors, embossed wallpaper, high ceilings and all the trimmings of a standard central London large company pub refurbishment. There is a lack of individual character, but everything is clean and tidy. Good value pub grub with bangers and mash under 6. A decent enough, average pub.

20 Apr 2006 23:54

The Yacht, Bexleyheath

Pub chain fittings and layout. Family food. Anonymous, but large and comfortable. Youngs Special on cask. Decent condition.

20 Apr 2006 22:47

The Canopus, Rochester

A prominent corner location pub which tends to look more interesting than it is. To be fair it's a decent, large, friendly local with lots of activities for the regulars. The only cask ale on offer was IPA, but it was served in decent enough condition. Not my place, but OK.

20 Apr 2006 22:36

The Druids Arms, Maidstone

Pleasant woody sort of pub with the feel of an old Hogshead. Casual, slightly edgy atmosphere. Popular with students. Beer in decent condition.

20 Apr 2006 22:23

The Sherlock Holmes, Charing Cross

A homely old fashioned style corner pub with a local feel to the place, which is quite surprising for the area. Usual pub knick-knacks along with the inevitable Sherlock Holmes material. A relaxed and reasonably atmospheric pub - one of the better Greene King places I've visited. There are twelve pumps working, but only four different beers. The house special - Sherlock Holmes Ale - is Greene King's Morland Original. The food is typical pub grub, with bangers and mash at under 6. Beer condition is decent. All in all a pub which is slightly above average.

20 Apr 2006 19:54

The Good Intent, West Farleigh

Decent sized pub on the village green. Serves Harveys beers and has a bar billiards table. Music is played perhaps too loud, and the place is popular with noisy barflies. Has a plain dining room over-looking the car park. The pub in general is poorly decorated with dark pine cladding and cheap cord carpet. Could be nicer with a bit of thought. Beer served in very good condition (though three of the four casks were sold out and not replaced). There's enough of a friendly, homely feel to mark this as above average.

17 Apr 2006 09:55

The Tickled Trout, West Farleigh

Roadside gastropub specialising in seafood. Has a large, well groomed beer garden with a children's play area in good condition. Pub was over-warm and stuffy, but neatly kept. Three casks - Pride, Flowers and Spitfire - served in OK condition. Beer and overall tidiness are the main plus points. Overfussy interior is the main negative point. Overall an average sort of place.

17 Apr 2006 09:20

The Sun, Faversham

A Shepherd Neame pub in the brewery's home town. The building dates from the last year of Richard the Lionheart's crusades, and is known to have been an Inn since 1608. There is a list of landlords since that time on the wall inside. This used to be my favourite Faversham pub, and - in fact - the model for my perfect pub. My favourite room was the wood paneled raised area on the right of the main entrance. This has a huge fire place. It used to be a great place to sit and relax, have a long conversation, or play a game or two of chess.

But the pub has become a victim of its popularity. Over the years it has become more and more crowded, and food has become more and more important. The expansion into a hotel restaurant, especially creating a passageway through the atmospheric wood paneled room, has rather reduced the character of the place.

Even though just slightly away from the market centre my loyalty has shifted to The Anchor at the end of Abbey Street.

16 Apr 2006 11:00

The Bull Inn, Faversham

Charming old Shepherd Neame pub in a prominent spot on the edge of the old town, near the duck pond. I'd often driven past and thought it would be a nice place for a drink. It has loads of ancient exposed wood beams, and should be awesome.

Sadly the place is geared up as a lad's local and any hope of making the most of the pub's character is lost underneath the fruit machines, electronic darts board, pool table and general working men's club atmosphere. It's an OK pub, quite friendly and comfortable, it's just not what I had hoped it would be.

This place does offer a rare chance of drinking the Shepherd Neame Mild, but it clearly is not a popular drink as the beer was stale and vinegary.

16 Apr 2006 09:35

Summoner, Sittingbourne

Bland, featureless, orange box 'Spoon. Acceptable, but below average for the chain.

13 Apr 2006 13:03

The Alexandra Hotel, Chatham

Pleasant large single bar Shepherd Neame pub on a traffic island near Chatham station. This was built in Victorian times as the railway hotel, and still has some of that minor grandeur of provincial railway hotels. Attractive background music (The Doors) played at a gentle volume. Good value pub grub (sausage & mash, English breakfast) served at lunchtime. A light, airy and relaxed place. Nice.

5 Apr 2006 16:57

The General At Sea, Chatham

Decent sized back street Shepherd Neame local. Corner location with beer garden. Clean and tidy and well run. Lacks character, but is quite acceptable. Your average local.

4 Apr 2006 19:16

The Portland Vase, Chatham

A friendly but rather tatty back street boozer which is just for the locals. The toilet was noteworthy.

3 Apr 2006 17:20

The Prince of Wales, Chatham

Large, popular pub in Chatham town centre, almost opposite the Old Post Office pub. Like the Old Post Office, this place used to serve a range of cask ales, but is now a keg only sports bar. It used to have a quirky but comfortable atmosphere, but now the space seems hollow and cold. Food is good value however, and a pool table has recently appeared. Place is a bit tatty round the edges, but is reasonably well kept.

3 Apr 2006 17:17

The Carpenters Arms, Rochester

Visited again. Sampled Camerons Strongarm. Excellent condition. Place is friendly and informal and has a pool table and bar billiard table in the back room. Juke box music wasn't too loud, but did tend to echo in the awkward space. A decent enough backstreet local.

31 Mar 2006 21:23

The Star, Godalming

Quirky and homely ancient inn in the quaint part of Godalming. It's a little tatty, but very welcoming. The regulars look a bit strange and/or rough, but are friendly and chatty. The juke box claims to have 2 million tracks, which must make choosing a nightmare. There is a bar billiards table and three guest ales in decent condition. A down-to-earth pub with character. I liked it.

28 Mar 2006 20:47

The Kings Arms Royal Hotel, Godalming

Large and interesting multi-roomed pub with a neglected feel that adds to the genial charm, though the damp, musty smell is a bit off-putting. Claims to serve several cask ales from local breweries, but on our Sunday afternoon visit the pump clips were all turned round and the barmaid explained that the pipes needed washing but she was unable to do it. I'm intrigued enough to visit again.

27 Mar 2006 19:57

Jack George Phillips, Godalming

Plain and characterless Wetherspoon in harsh modern building with higher than average prices. Very popular for Sunday lunches but limited table space and over-long wait (one hour +) for meals to be served. Beer in good condition and food very tasty. Below average but not too bad.

27 Mar 2006 19:50

The Coach and Horses, Strood

Looks larger from the outside than it actually is. The Coach & Horses by it's name and position on the old Great Dover Road leading into Rochester, is a Victorian pub that may have been built on the site of an old coaching inn. The Saloon bar is long and narrow with a raised area at the end for a pool table. Public bar is more of a square shape. Decorated in Barret showhome style the place is clean and tidy but lacks character. Customers on my visit were all working men, builders, drivers, etc of varying ages. Decent, well behaved crowd. Cask ales were decent condition Spitfire and Courage Best @ 2.50 a pint.

24 Mar 2006 16:09

The Chandos, Trafalgar Square

Currently closed for refurbishment.

16 Mar 2006 22:17

The Two Brewers, Covent Garden

A comfortable, solid and genuine pub with a cosy theatrical feel. Two genuine fireplaces, oodles of wood paneling, illuminated glass cabinets, a stained glass sky-light at the rear, and three cask ales: Pride, 6 Nations and Saracen. Soft background music. Nice. It doesn't say so, but the menu and beer range was typical T&J Bernard.

15 Mar 2006 18:34

Millstream, Hitchin

Typical family pub - like a Beefeater or Hungry Horse. Large, pleasant, relaxed and tidy. Fittings and layout have come from the standard pub mould so the place does lack distinguishing character, but it's clean, comfortable and inoffensive. McMullens are one of the better regional breweries, but are sadly under-appreciated. The beer here has always been of very good quality. The food is typical good value pub grub.

15 Mar 2006 18:16

The Lord Raglan, St Pauls

Sad looking and small from the outside, but large and attractive inside. Lots of dark wood and leather. The assorted pub issue oddments on the wall have a characterless, non-organic feel of having been bought by the yard with the intention of creating an atmosphere. Despite that, the pub has a homely enough feel. At least four cask ales on offer - mostly the regular suspects, but a few less common beers do pop up now and again.

14 Mar 2006 22:44

Prince Of Wales, Covent Garden

Black painted floorboards, flickering candles, varied seating, good corner location and a selection of six different cask ales; this pub has the assorted ingredients to create a good pub, yet somehow fails. The ingredients lack cohesive character, charm and atmosphere. The beers on offer: London Pride, Youngs, Bombardier, Deuchars, Broadside and Old Hen.

14 Mar 2006 20:13

The Bag O' Nails, Victoria

Typical T&J Bernard offering Old Peculier as a regular, a guest ale, and good value food in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere. The fittings are faux olde worlde, but there's no harm in that. This was my first experience of a Bernard pub, and I've been pleasantly impressed with the chain ever since. Nothing out-standing, but it does the job.

11 Mar 2006 19:37

The Roundhouse, Covent Garden

A pleasant and relaxing T&J Bernard pub. Old Peculier is a popular and well kept regular, and there is always a guest ale. The room is shaped like a ship's stern. Warm, friendly buzz of conversation. A decent, inoffensive pub.

11 Mar 2006 19:24

The Lamb and Flag, Covent Garden

The Lamb & Flag is one of the more famous pubs in London. Many people, Brits and tourists alike, have heard of this place and are keen to check it out. It's literary association as a drinking spot for various poets and dramatists gives it a certain charm, and when coupled with its association with violence and bare-knuckle boxing, that charm acquires a fascinating edge. When the literary and violent are brought together as with the story of John Dryden being beaten up in 1679 in the alleyway which runs alongside the pub which was known in those days as The Bucket Of Blood, then it becomes an irresistible draw. That the pub manages to live up to its reputation as a place of character is remarkable in itself. This is not a modern pub kitted out in fake olde worlde charm - this is the real thing. The toilets are a modern imposition on the building and, as such, can crop up in odd places like half-way up the stairs.
Nothing is obvious and dramatic - the pub works its charm gradually and quietly. It is nearly always crowded, but that becomes part of the ambiance. The pub has served Youngs beers for as long as I can remember. It is advisable to order cask beers from the downstairs bar as the beers upstairs are often warm.
The drawbacks are that beer condition can be variable, especially in summer, that the place is often crowded and hot and noisy, but despite all this, the Lanb & Flag is a must visit pub.

11 Mar 2006 10:44

The Angel, Soho

Neglected Sam Smith's pub in neglected wedge of London between Soho, Bloomsbury and Covent Garden. Pub is ugly and boring enough from the outside to dissuade people from investigating, yet has a forlorn appeal inside. It has been refitted in typical Sam Smith trad-pub style with plenty of dark wood and Victorian trimmings. In the main bar there is an open coal fire and a deeply ornate ceiling. To the right a tiled coach house has been fitted out with chairs and tables, but no heating. This stable area leads back into a one table snug, which is simply a partioned off section of the main bar, and doubles as the corridor to the toilet. A seperate entrance outside on the left leads into the public bar with darts board.

The Angel has the typical Sam Smith's virtues of unfussy, good value food (veggie bangers and mash!) warmed in the microwave, and a relaxed conversational atmosphere. A pleasant and quiet if rather bedraggled place.

9 Mar 2006 13:24

Lowlander, Covent Garden

Dutch theme bar. Expensive, uncomfortable, very loud and with slow service even for just a beer. People come here out of curiousity, as part of a "around the world in one night" pub crawl round the theme bars of Covent Garden, or because of the beer range. There is a large beer list, and a number of the beers are not commonly seen in British pubs. But the ambiance is uncomfortable - like being in a doss house kitchen on giro night when everyone is tanked up. A better way of exploring unusual beers would be to visit a specialist beer shop.

4 Mar 2006 22:15

The Bierodrome, Kingsway

Large and trendy. A range of Belgian beers on keg and in the bottle, though most can now be found in a range of outlets around Britain a lot cheaper. Still popular, though often seen as over-rated and over-priced. This is a place that people now come to out of curiosity to check out the beer list, then leave for somewhere cheaper with a better atmosphere. De Koninck, Leff and Stella are all available at the Wetherspoons across the road for less money - and at least the De Koninck is unfiltered.

4 Mar 2006 21:55

The Walkabout, Covent Garden

Scruffy place serving bottled Aussie beers. Lacks atmosphere. But a Walkabout bar has to be checked out at some point.

4 Mar 2006 21:48

Old Post Office, Chatham

This used to be a Firkin pub and served good cask ales and decent food. It was always busy, attracting a wide range of people. Now it is a keg only bar and no longer serves food. Pictures, plants and all other forms of decoration have been removed to be replaced with promotional posters and something like twenty tv screens. The place is dirty, loud and uncomfortable. Yet it is still very popular. The age of the customers is mainly teenage, though several older males like to hang around. The brown leather sofas are popular.

22 Feb 2006 18:22

Britannia Bar Cafe, Rochester

Very attractive and well run pub. The interior has a warm glow, and is full of charm - always clean and tidy. Serves two cask ales, a Youngs and a guest. Beer is always in good condition. Atmosphere is friendly and relaxed. Good quality food served during the day. Interesting and attractive narrow beer garden out the back. One of the best pubs in Medway.

22 Feb 2006 18:13

The Carpenters Arms, Rochester

Typical Victorian backstreet boozer. For a long while this was a keg only pub, but from the end of 2005 cask ales have been offered. Adnams Broadside as a regular, and then up to three guests. It's warm and friendly and quite relaxed. Beer quality not impressive, but that may improve.

22 Feb 2006 18:07

The Spotted Cow, Larkfield

Large single room pub in need of a lot of TLC and a spot of decorating. Heavy smoking, loud music, tattoos and gaming machines are popular with the locals of all ages who dominate the place. No cask ales.

11 Feb 2006 19:38

Bridge Warden, Rochester

Large single room featureless and tatty pub that looks like it's on its last legs. No cask ales. Keg bitters and keg largers and a bottle of Newkie Brown are the beers of choice. Relaxed and friendly, but a squat filled with old tramps and winos would be just as relaxed and friendly - there's really not much difference. The seats are so torn and dirty it is best to remain standing. Well, to be fair, it would be best to just pass this place by.

10 Feb 2006 17:28

The Hogs Head, Stirling

This old Whitbread's Hogs Head student pub has been taken over by Greene King who clearly aim to follow the same student pub approach of sofas and bare wood, open mike nights and a good selection of cask ales. Sadly the beer range is almost all Greene King - five Greene King and only one Scottish cask ale, though there are a couple of Scottish brewed keg beers. The beer condition was very poor on the day we were there, indicating that six casks was probably about five too many.

1 Feb 2006 14:19

The Dering Arms, Pluckley

Charming pub - a converted lodge house with flagstone floors - like drinking in a castle.<br> The Dering Ale house beer is Goacher's Special.

21 Jan 2006 20:02

The White Horse, Bearsted Green

A typically rambling Beefeater with loads of nooks and corners and fireplaces. The piped radio, the corner TVs, the pub carpet, the regulation issue pub chain wood fittings and an odd lemon toilet cleaner fragrance are all off-putting. However the cheap and cheerful laid back local pub atmosphere, the wonderful view over the most attractive village green in Kent, and the good value food provide a marked contrast to the revamped Royal Oak on the other side of the green which has been renamed Oak On The Green and is now more restaurant than pub. This is better than would be expected from a pub in the Beefeater chain.

21 Jan 2006 19:54

The Oak On The Green, Bearsted

Upmarket bistro style pub with wood and hops and french jazz. More eatery than pub, but quite cool - generates an attractive Sunday afternoon atmosphere. Sells Goachers Special as the house ale - WAC, and Flowers IPA. Also offers the occasional guest.

21 Jan 2006 19:37

The Printers Devil, Holborn

A clean and characterless hotel lobby. The upstairs is no better, but feels more like a department store caf. The only interesting room is the one on the left and that is dominated by a pool table. Serves a lacklustre Greene King IPA.

17 Jan 2006 18:24

The Red Lion, Sittingbourne

I want this pub to be great. It is an ancient coaching inn on the ancient Great Dover Road. Henry V drank ale here on his way home from Agincourt. Henry VIII stopped here, as did Pepys. The pub serves several cask ales in good condition. The staff are friendly and helpful. There's bare brickwork and ancient oak beams and a curious great fireplace. It should be cosy and gloomy and charming and redolent with British history. But instead it feels like you're sitting in a corridor in a workingman's club. The bar is long and large and dominates the pub. It is a wood bar, but it feels wrong. It looks wrong. It is wrong. There are walls missing. The place has been poorly drerssed up. There's a lack of the little pieces here and there that make a great pub a wonderful place to be in. I mean, this is not a bad place. Far from it. It's just that with a skillful and sympathetic touch this could be a wonderful place famous throughout Kent. Instead, it's just another pub, albeit with a bit of history and some bare oak beams.

15 Jan 2006 00:23

The Edgar Wallace, Temple

Bland, large roomed corner pub. The main interest here is the six different cask ales and the British Tapas of mini pork pies and fish finger sandwiches. A sort of pub version of a Happy Meal. Worth nipping in to see what ales they have on, but the Devereux next door is a more pub like place and also does guest ales.

13 Jan 2006 13:09

The Devereux, Temple

Moderately attractive pub with some nooks and crannies giving a cosy feel. Outside blackboard claims seven different cask ales - two of those in the upstairs bar - but this is only during certain periods; mostly they have four. It's an acceptable pub in a cute area. Of the four possible scooping pubs around Fleet Street this probably the most intimate and comfortable.

13 Jan 2006 13:01

The Doric Arch, Euston

This pub created a buzz when it first opened. And for a couple of years it was kind of exciting to go to a clean, modern and buzzing real ale pub, rather than a tired, run down and scruffy real ale pub. But it gradually started to look a little tired and scruffy, and there was a sense of the inevitable about the news that Fullers had acquired it. Still sad though...

6 Jan 2006 21:14

The Good Intent, Rochester

Soulless 60's working men's pub in the middle of a tidy, but characterless housing estate. Recent facelift has made the exterior less of a scruffy nuclear bunker, but little can be done to change the brutal architecture. Interior has also been given a slap of paint, but - like the exterior - a coat of paint can't improve the echoing empty atmosphere.
Calling it The Ugly Pub does turn the place's worse feature into something almost cute, warm and human. And warm and human the place certainly is. The people on both sides of the bar are friendly, happy and relaxed. The beer is excellent value, and has been in top condition every time I have visited. There is an ever changing selection of ales, mostly concentrating on Kent brewers. Nice policy is having up to three beers from the same brewer, giving a customer a chance to really get to know a new brewery.
If something could be done about the cold, echoing atmosphere and the dark dreary ceiling then this could become one of the best pubs in Rochester.

1 Jan 2006 23:18

The Two Brewers, Rochester

Small Shepherd Neame pub built in late 1600's using material from Rochester castle. The facade was updated in the 1700's. Pub has a cosy, old fashioned and cared for interior. There's nothing flashy or vulgar or unusual or tasteful or special about the place. It's tight, clean and tidy. A nice place to go for a drink. I like it.

30 Dec 2005 16:31

The Milton Ale Shades, Gravesend

Locally known as The Clean Pot House. An average scruffy local. Courage Best and very cold Guinness.

28 Dec 2005 12:10

The New Cross Turnpike, Welling

A comfortable and interesting JDW on three levels. Well, four levels actually. Circular iron staircase at the front leads up to a light and airy space overlooking the pub and ancient Watling Street. A raised level at the back is mainly used by non-smoking families for eating - and this area also has the beer garden. But this is a dark and gloomy area, and is one of the passageways to the far distant toilets. Always has a good selection of guest ales in decent condition. A slightly above average Spoon.

28 Dec 2005 10:47

The London and Rye, Catford

A flat supermarket type JDW conversion. Lacks character and atmosphere. Often quite busy without being too packed. Most popular tables are those near the window as the interior can be depressingly gloomy.

28 Dec 2005 10:34

The Somerset Arms, Gravesend

Sprawling, atmospherically gloomy pub with lots of nooks and crannies, and a laid back ambiance. Always at least two guest ales served in good condition, and good value food. A solid and decent pub.

25 Dec 2005 11:33

The Cricketers, Rainham

Large Green King pub. Popular with the young. Has felt rather untidy and run down for some years now. Sprawling space inside is functional rather than attractive or cosy.

24 Dec 2005 16:03

The Old Doctor Butler's Head, Moorgate

The history attached to this pub makes it a temptingly attractive destination in the concrete wasteland of this area of the City. That it is difficult to find down an alleyway off one of the lesser used thoroughfares makes it all the more appealing. But be aware that other people feel the same way, so the pub is often very busy and very smokey.
The hustle and smoke add to the stained wood character of the place. Originally built in 1610 it was damaged in the Great Fire of 1666 and rebuilt and refurbished many times since, including a complete makeover when Shep's acquired it in 2002. Whatever Shep's did in 2002, the pub still retains an authentic feel of an ancient tavern.
We ate in here toward the end of lunch time so our experience may not be typical. The menu was restricted to three items, all of which were unpleasantly over-cooked. Portions were very generous. I would have preferred paying less for smaller portions.
The beer was in excellent condition, and we stayed until very late getting quite jolly on the Porter, then the Bishops Finger, then the Spitfire, the Masterbrew, the Oranjeboom, the Hurlimann and finally the bottles of Light Ale!
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

20 Dec 2005 11:32

Mabel's Tavern, Euston

Shepherd Neame acquired this haunted pub from Laurel Pub Company in 2002. Dublin born Mabel Macinelly and her cat Buster ran the Tavern until her death in 1972. Her ghost has been heard many times over the years. That story is the most interesting aspect of this otherwise quite ordinary but comfortable and pleasant pub.

20 Dec 2005 11:05

Westgate Inn, Canterbury

Pleasant Wetherspoon with little nooks and wotnot. On a JDW scale this place is a little above average. But on the downside, this is a popular pub with a wide clientle and getting a seat here is harder than in most 'Spoons.

8 Nov 2005 13:36

The Frog And Toad, Gillingham

One of the best pubs in Medway. Serves an ever changing range of guest ales plus a decent stable of the main bottled Belgian beers. The regular beer festivals are always well organised and fun. Relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Only negative point is that the beer quality is not always top notch.

8 Nov 2005 12:17

The Eagle, Hoxton

This is a must visit pub for the history - the famous music hall, and the referencing in the nursery rhyme - Up and down the City Road / In and out The Eagle / That's the way the money goes / Pop goes the weasel. The pub itself is large and comfortable and cheerful. Good seats. Good bar staff. Good food. Decent enough.

4 Nov 2005 14:20

The Courthouse, Dartford

Large, attractive conversion from the town courthouse. Has the anonymous modern slick of a Wetherspoon, but slightly trendier. Quite a decent pub.

4 Nov 2005 13:52

The Lamb and Flag, Covent Garden

Big reputation pub serving poor condition beer - especially in the upstairs bar where it's usually warm and nasty. Has a certain woody charm even when packed, but it's more famous for being famous than for being a great pub.

4 Nov 2005 13:44

The Lamb, Bloomsbury

I've never quite got the reason for the excitement generated by this rather dull and ordinary Youngs pub. Youngs beers are good, and this place does the seasonals, but the condition is not great. And the pub itself is so ordinary as to be very dull. Walk into any pub at random and you'll find as good as or better than this place.

4 Nov 2005 13:39

The Rifle Volunteers, Maidstone

Small and curiously bland old man's one room pub with a quiet atmosphere. Feels a bit like an old British Rail waiting room. There's a small collection of old beer bottles behind the bar to provide some interest. Despite the unpromising appearance this is a good place to drink Goacher's beers in perfect condition, and to have a decent conversation.

3 Nov 2005 10:14

The Red Lion, Snargate

Charming ramshackle country pub with a delightful beer garden. Sells Goachers's Imperial Stout from gravity cask in a tiny, crowded bar. Very old fashioned and full of character. A special place.

3 Nov 2005 09:56

The Rai D'Or, Salisbury

Stonehenge beers and excellent Thai food. Nice atmosphere. Cosy pub.

31 Oct 2005 10:10

The Sunrunner, Hitchin

A clean, bright trendy cafe feel in the front area with large bay windows, lots of pale wood, tables and chairs on the pavement, and some old fashioned tea-room arched nooks for displaying vases. A selection of eight casks (six on the front bar, two on the back bar) and two cask ciders. The blackboard in the corridor joining the front and back bars displays the beers on offer. The food is imaginative, fresh and tasty - and good value. Beer condition was good, but never shone on any of the four beers we had. The place appears very popular with a healthy mix of customers. Very enjoyable.

31 Oct 2005 09:59

The Wat Tyler, Dartford

Rough and ready old mans pub. An old style local in which the hand-written sign behind the bar proclaiming that filled rolls are available on request doesn't inspire confidence. The place is long, narrow, cramped and has as much character as a builder's damp crack. But, fair play, four cask ales, two of which are guests, and the condition is very good.

22 Oct 2005 20:35

Bradleys, Fitzrovia

Charming place. Feels like you've been transported to the set of some cheesey TV soap from the 70's set in a Spanish bar. Of particular note is the orange formica table tops in the downstairs bar. If you enjoy cheap, tacky, slightly strange, hugely atmospheric, warm, laid back and unique bars then this is the place for you. No cask ales, but the Cruzcampo on tap is inoffensive and drinkable.

16 Oct 2005 11:27

The Pillars of Hercules, Soho

Small, somewhat cosy TJ Bernard pub that suffers from poor quality fittings and dreary decoration giving it a somewhat transient feel. But does have one of the best ranges of guest ales in Soho.

16 Oct 2005 11:17

The Dog and Duck, Soho

Went to the upstairs Orwell Bar this weekend. Great place. Cosy, intimate, relaxing with soft background music, cushions on the comfortable curved benches, light and airy with views of people bustling around on the streets outside. Noticed that it is now part of the ever growing and decent Nicholson chain so beer choice has expanded. Probably the best pub in Soho.

16 Oct 2005 11:04

The Moon Under Water, Leicester Square

Long narrow and intimate Wetherspoon. Probably the cosiest Wetherspoon I've visited. We went on a Saturday morning when it was cool and relaxed. I wouldn't dream of coming here on a Friday evening - that way madness lies.

16 Oct 2005 10:56

The Lord Moon Of The Mall, Whitehall

High ceilinged bank conversion which offers the visual impact and physical feel of drinking in a railway station; this is an experience uncommon in a traditional pub and many will not like it, but others will find it an interesting diversion and will note that such conversions are increasingly popular, especially when done with sympathy for the original building, as is the case here.
The pub has the usual Wetherspoon features and flaws and there shouldn't be any surprises for anyone familiar with the chain.

16 Oct 2005 10:45

The Royal Oak Inn, Gillamoor

Uncomfortably neat and painfully tidy country pub. Well, the way it has been set up, this is now a restaurant in which drinkers are allowed a little space near the fireplace - as long as they are not too messy and don't put the diners off their meal.

11 Oct 2005 19:39

The Spa, Scarborough

Large hotel style bar on the waterfront right by the old spa that made Scarborough famous. Guest ales served in good condition. Comfortable with a faded charm.

11 Oct 2005 19:18

The Garland, Redhill

Excellent gloomy Harvey's pub. 10 casks available (8 pump and two strong 'uns in the cellar). Mostly very good condition, though at least one of the pumps on the left was pulling through warm beer, and one of the strong beers in the cellar had developed a slight vinegar tang. Nothing bad enough to really spoil enjoyment, but worth noting. The atmosphere in the pub was gently relaxed and friendly. Easy to start up a conversation. A good, old fashioned pub. Without a doubt the best I have been to in the area around Gatwick.

11 Oct 2005 11:24

The Sun, Redhill

A rubber stamped JDW. Wide open space. Long bar. Bookcase in one corner to add character. It's not great, but it serves food and beer.

11 Oct 2005 10:37

The Gatwick, Horley

Ex-King & Barnes, now Hall & Woodhouse. Standard issue pub - stripped pine tables, dark floral carpets, faux olde worlde wood fittings... but a good local feel: the amateur dramatic society practising in the corner, the farmer chatting with the football supporter, the old man calling out cheerfully to the youngster just coming in... Four Badger cask and 2 Badger keg lagers. I had the Sussex - fresh and lively. A decent enough pub. Probably the best in what appears to be a pub starved town.

10 Oct 2005 17:59

The Foresters, Horley

All keg weatherboaded multi-roomed pub. Comfortable but anonymous. Boring.

10 Oct 2005 17:46

The Tap and Spile, Whitby

A 1930's mock tudor road house sort of pub. Several rooms. Choice of casks was limited on our visit. Pleasant enough.

9 Oct 2005 19:58

The Dolphin, Robin Hood's Bay

A rambling multi-level pub of huge compelling charm. We went in slightly wet after a walk along the cliffs and were made very welcome. The Theakstons beers were in spanking condition. The people were warm and lively, and soon we were chatting away to everyone and it seemed like The Bay had been our home for years. David, the mad white elephant, was a very entertaining character. Great place.

9 Oct 2005 19:44

The Last Drop Inn, York

A quiet and relaxing Sunday afternoon sort of pub. Light and airy. Very pleasant. The York Brewery beers are always very good.

9 Oct 2005 19:34

The Maltings, York

Great pub. Good selection of beers. Quirky and laid back. Lovely atmosphere. One of my favourite places.

9 Oct 2005 18:38

The Golden Ball, Scarborough

Wood panelled traditional Sam Smiths pub over-looking the harbour. Calm, relaxed, dignified atmosphere of gentle murmering conversation and the savoury tang of tobacco. The front room can get a bit squashed, but also has a comfortable back room. Excellent value food and beer.

9 Oct 2005 18:29

Cricketers, Scarborough

CAMRA recommended pub away from the town centre. A very scruffy and well worn Northern working man's club type of place. Attracts drunks, scroungers and Andy Caps of all ages. Piss on the floor and nobody would care or notice. The room with a view that is the highpoint of the place appears to be closed most of the time.

9 Oct 2005 18:09

The Still, Lincoln

Warm glowing Mansfield pub serving keg and one dreary cask. Nice relaxed atmosphere. Shame about the beer.

9 Oct 2005 17:34

The Magna Carta, Lincoln

Two historical old buildings in the centre of Lincoln, right between the castle and the cathedral, were unsympathetically knocked together by Mansfield Breweries in the 1990's to create a hideous mock tudor interior resembling a 1970's Beefeater. The achitect who designed this conversion should get a special visit from the man with a baseball bat.

9 Oct 2005 17:23

Moon Under Water, Boston

Large, segmented riverside Wetherspoon with the ability to hide away in intimate corners or to gather in large groups. Interesting circular central staircase. Food was acceptable and service was decent enough.

9 Oct 2005 16:37

The Indian Queen, Boston

Casual slightly bohemian backstreet local, down to earth and friendly with kids enjoying themselves. The sort of pub where out of work circus performers and fairground workers would hang out.

9 Oct 2005 16:24

The Penderel's Oak, Holborn

Another good meeting-up pub. I mostly prefer the other Holborn Wetherspoon, Shakespeare's Head, because of the more lively location, the greater mix of customers, and a more down to earth feel, but really there's nothing much to split them, and there are days when I am happier in this one.

9 Oct 2005 10:38

The Shakespeare's Head, Holborn

A comfortable and relaxed lounge bar. Can feel like a refurbished underground car park with the dim lighting and low ceiling, but is great for meeting up with friends. Most pubs in this part of London either lack genuine atmosphere or are packed so full it's hard to breathe that it's good to come somewhere where you can get a seat, a drink and a meal without too much fuss. Still does guest ales, though - like other central London Wetherspoons - this feature is in decline, being replaced by bottles of pasteurised and fizzy global lagers. The other Wetherspoon in the area - Penderels Oak - is similar, but with a different layout, a manager who puts out candles, and fewer single men in macs, that pub can appear to be a more sophisticated choice. Personally I like the more honest simplicity of this one, but really there is little to choose between them. My happiest experience in this pub was walking in at the moment it was announced that London had got the Olympics. As the news spread there was a wave of delayed cheering that rippled toward the back, getting quieter as it moved away from me. There was such an overwhelming feeling of optimism and joy that I walked back to work feeling ten foot tall.
Then the next day we had the suicide bombs.....

9 Oct 2005 10:14

The Royal Oak, Borough

A proper old fashioned pub - well run with a landlord who welcomes you in and says goodnight as you leave. This is the only London outlet for the outstanding Harvey's beers, and the condition is always excellent. The pub has been lovingly restored to its Victorian splendour so there is a genuine warmth and character in the place. There is a modestly decorated public bar on the front corner, and a smaller but more richly decorated lounge bar at the back. In between is a small off-sales area. A superb pub, well worth the effort of seeking out.

9 Oct 2005 09:23

The Railway Bell, South Woodford

Decent enough pub. Down to earth and friendly. Bustling, yet with a relaxed laid back atmosphere. An assortment of working class entertainment - pool table, two games machines and two sports screens. A big working class local with excellent value meals for under 4.00

9 Oct 2005 01:27

The Spice of Life, Cambridge Circus

Triangular shaped pub with chandeliers. Very open. Like a mini Wetherspoon. Echoing and noisy with thumping music and humming conversation. Light, clean and happy. A McMullens pub so serves interesting beer that is normally difficult to find in London. If it wasn't for the beer I wouldn't come here.

8 Oct 2005 20:47

The Montagu Pyke, Charing Cross Road

Lloyds No. 1 - like a cinema bar. Limited casks and those on offer are the usual suspects - no small breweries. But, for those that like night clubs rather than pubs this is cool and snazzy. Not my thing.

8 Oct 2005 20:41

The Star and Garter, Soho

Typical small one room Soho pub serving beer in excellent condition at average central London prices (2.80 for a pint). Floor to ceiling (inclusive) wood panelling. Little knick-knacks give a homely feel. Good lighting, solid leather benched seating, weathered but clean and wholesome all round. Sitting on the back bench gives a good perspective on a very pleasant and cosy place to while away a few hours. The sort of place both Dylan Thomas and Patrick Moore would love.

8 Oct 2005 19:01

The Blue Posts, Soho

Single room corner location pub with a splendid ship's bridge of a bar from where Captain Landlord can steer the drunks into harbour.... Never mind the romance, this is the sort of dingy run down squalid pub that every town has in the back streets. Only tramps and scruffy locals with no self-esteem come here - people with self-respect and a desire not to catch TB will avoid this place. You know the pub in Men Behaving Badly? And the landlord? Based on this place. But, fairs fair, the place does serve beautifully conditioned beer, and it does have an old fashioned dirty old man charm.

7 Oct 2005 22:08

The Shaston Arms, Soho

Small and trendy Hall & Woodhouse pub lacking in character, but crowded anyway. Serving bar is in the right half of the building in a narrow corridor which is separated from the pub itself by a thick wall into which passageways have been hacked. Feels like an abandoned BR waiting room. Nice crowd of ordinary lower middle class 30 somethings.

7 Oct 2005 21:52

The Three Greyhounds, Soho

Single room corner site mock Tudor pub. Five cask ales including a chance of a scoop. Laid back, relaxed, bare floorboards place lacking in genuine charm or character but inoffensive in a Wetherspoons sort of way. A pub to pop in for a quick one rather than spend the evening.

7 Oct 2005 00:35

The Glasshouse Stores, Piccadilly Circus

Another wonderful Sam Smiths pub. This is a small Soho establishment that manages to make the most of the awkward available space to create cosy leather bound nooks and crannies rich with 1930's detail. The Singing Detective would love this place. All wood and mirrors. Carry on going and you find the space expands at the back, dropping down to a small alcove in one corner and a charming cellar bar in another. All the beers are keg and lacking in character, but they are cheap and drinkable. Typical pub food, but they do offer a good value veggie sausage and mash for under 7.00

6 Oct 2005 23:32

The Walnut Tree, Leytonstone

Average Wetherspoon. Mixed clientle. Mostly clean and efficient. Feel quite comfortable here. Good for a cheap meal with a drink.

2 Oct 2005 17:53

The George, Wanstead

Large, clean and well organised Wetherspoon. The upstairs provides a light and pleasant environment for a cheap and tasty meal. Sometimes understaffed so patience needed at the bar.

2 Oct 2005 17:50

The William IV, Leyton

Large (seemingly endless) pub with a long winding bar. Big plants in the window, plus odd knick-knacks scattered around, create a cosy atmosphere. Guest ales, decent, good value Thai food, relaxed friendly atmosphere from very mixed, slightly bohemian customers, and free newspapers make this one of my favourite pubs in London. Great. If the Sweet William brewery was running (whenever I ask they always say they intend to start it up again soon) this would be THE best pub in London.

29 Sep 2005 18:00

The Southern Belle, Gillingham

High Street corner location opposite Gillingham Railway Station. A very tired looking pub - the only customers appeared to be tramps and winos. The beer here is very cheap - the last act of a very desperate landlord. There would be no loss to the world if this place closed.

29 Sep 2005 17:52

The Oakdale Arms, Harringay

Like The Wenlock this suffers from being a bit out of the way, especially as regards public transport. Also, like The Wenlock, this is a pub for lovers of cask beer. There the similarities end. Oakdale is bigger, cleaner, brighter and can offer much for even the non beer geek. Food is more interesting - with the option of having a proper hot meal. Even though this is the London outlet for Milton's beers, other beers are available, and the pub does good beer festivals. An excellent pub.

29 Sep 2005 17:43

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

A down to earth single room pub with an island bar that hits you as soon as you enter with a regular six different cask ales. The character of the place is its back street, scruffy, fogotten air, and the old codgers, and the trad jazz band, and the afters, and the door step sandwiches and that decent selection of beers. It's laid back and friendly and I've had many a great long evening here and a good few lunchtime sessions as well. Main drawbacks are that it is a bit off the beaten track in a rather boring area, that the food is very limited, that the house beer - Pitfields EKG - is nearly always in bad condition, that the decor is dull, and that unless you are a beer geek you will wonder what the fuss is about. I'm a beer geek. I've always had fun here.

29 Sep 2005 17:26

The Tudor Rose, Upper Upnor

This used to be a very popular and well run pub with a good selection of guest ales and good value food in a rambling and fascinating maze of a building. It is now a Shepherd Neame pub and attracts loud customers. The Kings Arms up the road, which used to be the second choice pub for when the Rose was too crowded, is now the first choice pub.

27 Sep 2005 20:25

The Jolly Caukers, Chatham

No cask ales. Keg lager and bitter. A very run down and scruffy place. Needs a wash and brush up.

27 Sep 2005 20:13

The Riverside Tavern, Strood

No cask ales. A keg lager place. Situated at the end of a scruffy, broken road opposite a builders yard, and on the ugliest stretch of the River Medway. Large and characterless, but offering a variety of games and machines to keep the punters amused. The giant chess set is fun.

27 Sep 2005 20:07

The Dog and Bone, Gillingham

I used to come here quite often. It was a cosy, friendly, well run and popular pub which served a range of guest ales in decent condition. It has slowly gone downhill. It was refurbished a few years ago which ripped out the character and lost it a good few customers. A very loud juke-box was introduced which altered the type of customer. The beer quality has also declined. The beer here is more often bad than good. I pop in every 6 months or so to see how things are going. Place just gets more and more tatty, and the beer quality remains bad. Still sells guests, but so does the Frog & Toad a short walk away.

27 Sep 2005 19:56

The Rose and Crown, Hartlip

Country pub just outside the village of Hartlip on the outskirts of Rainham (Medway), though the postal address is Sittingbourne. Has a boules pitch in the beer garden, and a space for tying up your horse in the car park. Popular for unpretentious Sunday lunches. There's nothing grand, special or unique about the pub, but it's quietly pleasant, relaxed and informal.

25 Sep 2005 18:03

Wetherspoons, Victoria Station

A lifeless pub, but useful for a cheap scoop on the way home.

22 Sep 2005 19:58

Bounty, Strood

Large 1960's Veena Leisure pub in a large 1960's council estate. Hollow and tatty with rough council tenants perched on stools with their caps on backwards, fags dangling from their dumb mouths, nodding their heads monotonously to the overloud rock music. The music is so loud the bass is distorted and almost ripping the speakers, and this is only 3.30 in tye afternoon. The ceiling is "decorated" with old copies of newspapers. John Smiths on cask, otherwise all keg. Dreadful place.

21 Sep 2005 18:57

The Crispin and Crispianus, Strood

Ancient weather-boarded pub on the Great Dover Road leading into Rochester, mentioned by Dickens in "The Uncommercial Traveller". Scruffy and off-putting from the outside, the inside isn't that bad. Sadly though, most of the character has been destroyed by unsympathetic wall removal and tasteless decoration, such as wood-chip paper on the ceiling and crazy paving on the floor. There is a chair by the fire which is labelled as Dicken's favourite spot - though I doubt if he would appreciate the pool table and games machine so close to his elbow. To be fair the place is friendly enough to the regular customers, and the occasional music isn't too loud.

21 Sep 2005 18:29

The Roseneath, Gillingham

I want this pub to be good. It has a lovely long beer garden and it serves guest cask ales. But... It's a very rough and ready conversion from two terraced houses and has been badly decorated (nylon carpet on the bar, fake beams sunk into ancient artex) and very poorly maintained so it just looks dirty and tired. Worse still the beer condition here is never good. And the lighting is dingy, and the atmosphere is always just a little off... Shame.

20 Sep 2005 21:06

The Ship, Gillingham

Beer garden with a distant view of the Medway, a duck pond and two pets' corners. A cramped "restaurant" in a conservatory. Exposed beams and character fireplace complete with Christmas lights as substitute fire. Sofas and assorted chairs. Pool table. Inappropriate rock records complete with novelty swearing. Two standard cask ales and one guest. Interesting place, but it doesn't quite work for me.

20 Sep 2005 20:55

The Coronet, Holloway

Fascinating place to visit, though not to have as a regular. The sympathetic and award winning Wetherspoon conversion may have succeeded only too well in recreating the feel of the original 1940's cinema. Famously (and for some, unfortunately) the clientle are old people who no doubt were around when the ABC was at its height. The old folk are content to spend their twilight days sipping beer in the place where they first discovered love and excitement. The place is redolent with sadness, enhanced by the drab 1940's colour scheme, the dim lighting, the anonymous feel created by the vast space, and the tired (in some cases quite distressed) state of the furniture. With a modern refurbishment this place could be quite cool and buzzing, but then London would have lost something unique and memorable. Go there before that refurbishment takes place.

18 Sep 2005 20:38

The Dog and Duck, Soho

Small, cramped but charming pub with little decorative details adding character. Beer (Landlord) was not in best of conditions, but drinkable. Value for money platter of chips and dips. Has, obviously, gained a wider audience since Madonna revealed on the Ross show that she likes to wear a flat cap and order "A pint and a half of Landlord please."

13 Sep 2005 10:59

The Smugglers Tavern, Warren Street

It's been a hot thirsty day, but even so when a pub runs out of cask beer and is totally unable to put on another barrel you kind of know the place is no good. Add to that the gloomy ugliness and appalling poor taste of the hot and stuffy single room and you can see why most people choose to stand outside. Well, it's either the dreary decor or the hideous noise of the office yobs bawling to be heard above the thudding and screeching rock music that drives people to stand out on the road. Adding to the general mayhem are two tv screens showing The Simpsons. It can only be desperation that drives people to buy their beer here. Or a spineless apathy that prevents them from wandering in any direction to find something better.

8 Sep 2005 23:44

The George And Dragon, Fitzrovia

Narrow one room Green King pub which, despite two walls of clear glass windows on a sunny day, contrives to be rather dingy. The attempt at creating a homely pub atmosphere with the leather armchairs and a fireplace at one end only serve to emphasis the pub's lack of charm. I popped in to check on the Ashes. The TV is awkwardly placed near the golf games machine which is a source of some distraction. The Abbott was served in good condition.

8 Sep 2005 21:19

The Market Porter, Borough

The changes have been mostly very positive. Bigger, cleaner, cooler, more bar staff, more beers (12 casks), more seating. But some character and charm has been lost. The trendy waxed oak floor, Wetherspoon flat pack fittings and modern eating area in the old toilets give off an anonymous atmosphere. But perhaps that's just my shock at the change. I've been back twice now and I do like it. But I also miss the old place. I also miss the old menu - the new prices are a little high. Having said all that - this is one of the best pubs in London.

7 Sep 2005 22:49

The One Tun, Goodge Street

Decent sized one room Youngs pub with large island bar that dominates the room. Partitions form various sized alcoves which create a cosy atmosphere. Background music, small TV and a dart board provide diversions. A genial well worn feel adds to the general laid back atmosphere. Ordinary, Special and a seasonal (Waggledance on my visit) on offer. The Special was in good, fresh condition and served pleasantly cool. All in all a decent pub.

7 Sep 2005 22:12

The Tottenham, Soho

Highly decorated gin palace style small one room pub selling an average of four standard cask ales at fairly average West End prices. The stained glass dome at the back is quite attractive. Relaxed atmosphere and a mixed clientelle. Beer was in acceptable condition.

7 Sep 2005 21:56

The Hope, Tottenham Court Road

Small one room corner bar with an upstairs lounge. 6 pumps with four different (standard) ales. Outside seating. Music. Casual, no nonsense and popular (as are most of the pubs in this corner of Fitzrovia). Sausage menu. Next door to Pollocks Toy Museum. The Adnams Bitter was OK but rather dull and lifeless. All in all, it's a pub, and it works, but don't expect anything special.

6 Sep 2005 22:13

The Green Man, Fitzrovia

Medium sized room surrounding the central bar. A semi-partitioned section round the back forms a cosy and comfortable snug. Staff are friendly. Music is OK. 3 small TV screens. One cask - London Pride which was in so-so condition. No character. No style. No charm. No atmosphere. A "why bother" sort of pub.

6 Sep 2005 22:03

The Lower Bell, Blue Bell Hill

Typical run of the mill Greene King pub. Lack of character and atmosphere. Four cask ales - IPA, Abbot, Ale Fresco and Ruddles County. The Ruddles was served in very good condition.

1 Sep 2005 22:25

The Sun, Maidstone

Tired, scruffy pub stinking of dog ends and cheap roll ups. The floor in the main room is a mix of carpet, floorboards and stone. All greasy. A builder's pub. Serves cask ales (Harvey's) but nothing was available on my visit. The keg Caffrey's tasted clean enough.

1 Sep 2005 19:41

The Wheatsheaf, Fitzrovia

Small and narrow non-music pub with some stained glass bits dotted around. The public bar area is bare floorboards while the saloon area has a fireplace and carpets, though the wall dividing the two bars has been knocked down. Beer is served traditionally cellar cool. This was Orwell's favourite pub, and is one of the Literary Three of Fitzrovia in which Dylan Thomas spent much time. Two cask ales on offer. I tried the Brakspear Bitter which was in good condition. In general a quiet and old fashioned boozer.

31 Aug 2005 18:37

The Marquis of Granby, Fitzrovia

One of the true Fitzrovia literary pubs. Dylan Thomas spent boozy lunchtimes here writing Death of the King's Canary with John Davenport, later to be joined by TS Eliot for a few pints. It was also the pub where Orwell would finish the evening as, being in a different borough to the other pubs in Fitzrovia, it would stay open half-an-hour later. Today it's an ordinary one room pub with a horse-shoe bar and plenty of wood, including panelling half way up the wall. It's low key and modestly attractive with two walls of windows to give some views of the passing world. It has piped music, but not too loud or intrusive, even if the music itself is a bit middle-aged bland. It had two casks ales on my visit -Pride and Landlord. I tried the Landlord (2.60) which was served traditionally cellar cool. It was quite dry and dusty as it should be, but it lacked the fresh delicacy that gives this beer it's true reputation. All in all not a bad place, but not a lot to recommend, other than for the literary connections.

30 Aug 2005 22:25

Hoy & Helmet, South Benfleet

Delightful old ramshackle inn built on the site of the Battle of Benfleet. Served Landlord in very tasty condition.

30 Aug 2005 20:14

The Museum Tavern, Bloomsbury

Long, narrow, street corner pub decorated like an ex-gin palace. Does a small range of popular guest ales. Tidy, nonthreatening atmosphere. The Old Peculier was a bit tired, but the chips were tasty.

25 Aug 2005 22:31

The Malta Inn, Sandling

Very large and very popular Beefeater pub on the river Medway. Serves 6x and Flowers cask ales plus a range of the usual keg lagers. Cute alcove seating upstairs for those eating. But the real attraction is the splendid location on the river watching the boats go by. However hard you try to hate it for being a Beefeater pub the location will win you over. A sneaky favourite of mine.

25 Aug 2005 19:41

The Claret Free House, Addiscombe

Small, dark, one room pub with two small tv screens. Very much a small local boozer. Lacks character and charm, but is comfortable enough. Always has a nice crowd - never too noisey, friendly enough without being intrusive. The main attraction here is the range of real ales. Always changing, but at least one beer from one of Britain's smallest and least known family regionals - Palmers. In fact this is the only London outlet for Palmers beers. Every time I come here there is a choice of something like 6 different cask ales and four cask ciders. Turnover is quick so condition is always good. Nice.

25 Aug 2005 12:36

The Farmers Boy, St Albans

Cosy and attractive pub full of quirky charm. Sadly on our visit in March all four of the homebrewed beers tasted like homebrewed beers rather than professional products. Diactyl was evident in all the beers; while they all had a general undeveloped taste and flaccid hops - as though the yeast were underperforming. The Yorkshire was pulled through a sparkler in the Yorkshire style and that didn't help the flavour. The most interesting of the four beers was the Farmers Joy - a fruity beer with blackcurrant flavours undercut with chocolate and coffee. I should imagine this would be nice in good condition. The Clipper was too drowned in the butterscotch flavour of diactyl, while the Best had a rubber band taste in the finish.
I'd be keen on a re-visit to taste those beers in good condition.

25 Aug 2005 11:47

The Crown and Sceptre, Fitzrovia

Large high-ceilinged single room pub with a horse-shoe bar thrusting urgently through the centre. Large windows and corner location give a light, airy and modern feel despite the many remaining Victorian features such as the heavy patterned ceiling (unhelpfully painted in dark 1970's green). Discrete touches such as the mixed seating, plant-life and (maybe not so discrete) jazzy world music attract the media trendy. The Victorian wrought-iron public convenience converted into an artist's studio adds to the general media-tastic feel. It's cool. It's OK.
Black Sheep & Spitfire were the cask offerings. I opted for the Beer Of The Week - Sleeman's Honey Brown Lager on tap. This is a lager with honey. The honey did lift an otherwise ordinary fizz driven glass of stale lager into something drinkable if not totally endearing.

23 Aug 2005 20:58

The Gate Clock, Greenwich

One of the least pleasant Spoons. The floor at the bar is very sticky.

23 Aug 2005 10:53

The Horse and Groom, Great Portland Street

High ceilinged 3 room old style pub. The middle, very small, room is the games room with a babyfoot table. The whole place has a certain Sam Smith's charm, though the lacks the impact of The Champion. No cask available. The Ayinger weise was 2.50 and drinkable. The sweet toffee flavours compensated for the off wheat flavours and the dull and intrusive fizz.

23 Aug 2005 10:43

The Green Man, Great Portland Street

Large anonymous one room sprawl in the turned wood and floral carpet style much favoured by Wetherspoons. But with the piped music and patterned menus it becomes clear that this is owned by the Spirit Group who also own The Fitzrovia.
The place is more functional and utilitarian than cosy and interesting, though is pleasant enough for a short stop. I was very impressed by the cask range. 6 different casks, three of which I'd never tried. This is the closest to a scooping pub in the whole of Fitzrovia. Beer condition wasn't exceptional, but was decent enough. I selected Ridley's Spectacular - a premium bitter. Apple flavours confused an already muddled ale that never clearly or harmoniously delivered the toffee or the ragged hops. A complete mess.

23 Aug 2005 10:18

The Horseshoe and Castle, Cooling

Tired and dull local in an out of the way hamlet on the Thames marshes. Our visit was clearly poorly timed as the landlady was on the wrong side of the bar having a quiet and slow chat with a couple of the regulars. After some time she got up and moved slowly round to serve us. She managed this without making eye-contact, without smiling and without actually speaking to us - though she did manage to keep up a conversation with everyone else present in the pub and a few who were just passing through. When she had finished pulling our beers she waited for me to pay. I asked how much. She tossed a comment in my direction without breaking her conversation with the regulars. When I asked her to repeat how much, I was allowed a stare of disgust as though I had just dropped my pants and spayed diarrhoea over her pub. Clearly this was a day and time for locals only.
This, incidentally, is Jools Holland's local.
The beer on offer was Larkin's Chiddingston, Shep's Master Brew and GK's IPA. We went for Larkin's and it was a splendid beer - soft and fruity with a gentle cleansing tang - and managed to impress even though served slightly warm and slightly tired.

21 Aug 2005 20:10

The Who'd Ha Thought It, Rochester

Damn good local. Good beer, good atmosphere. Everyone is well behaved. Good facilities. Great for watching major sports events.

20 Aug 2005 22:20

The Coopers Arms, Rochester

A tidy and well run pub with a popular and attractive beer garden. Beer is always in good condition. Director's was delightful - good soft toffee followed by a late but lasting dusty hop bite.

20 Aug 2005 18:22

Robert Pocock, Gravesend

Wetherspoon's pub. Darker and less characterful than the average 'Spoon. Clientle tend to be quiet and well behaved. The older, shabbier crowd gather in the main bar area. The upstairs balcony area is the best place to be.
A slightly below average 'Spoon.

18 Aug 2005 11:47

The Crown and Thistle, Gravesend

A good scooping pub. There's always a good range of about five interesting beers to sample. Friendly place. Beer related newspapers and literature are available near the back. The downside is that it's rather like a crowded train carriage. The pub is long and narrow. Most of the regulars hang around the bar. At busy times (most evenings and Sundays) you have to manoeuvre your drinks carefully over and through the bar flies. The seating in the main bar area is cramped and uncomfortable. There is a non-smoking eating area near the back where Billy No-Mates can sit. Even at the most crowded times this is rarely used. The sun-trap beer garden is pleasant enough - but is rarely used because it feels like what it is - a very small back patio in a narrow Victorian terraced house.
However, the pub is famous for one thing - the beer range and the quality of the beer condition. Sadly the condition of the beer has gone down over the past couple of years. The condition of the beer used to be quite excellent. The temperature of the cellar was kept just right; the beer lines were kept clean; the beer was always pulled through thoroughly every morning (free drinks for anyone who got there early enough as samples were laid out to test); and the beer never hung around long enough to go off - it was always fresh. I don't know if the landlord has changed, or that single-minded obsession to win Pub Of The Year has vanished now that the award has been won, but the beer is certainly not as good as it used to be.
And without that top-quality beer condition, this is not one of the best pubs in Gravesend.

18 Aug 2005 11:25

The Jolly Drayman, Gravesend

Curious pub that doesn't quite know what it's about. Modern hotel entrance leads into a vague part anonymous hotel bar, part atmospheric ancient country pub setting with low beams. Indeed, part of the pub area is a modern extension, while part is an old building that once belonged to Walker's brewery. The old office building of the brewery still survives on the opposite side of the road. It's a relaxed and friendly pub which serves good value meals and generally has two or three casks from a variety of regionals or bigger micros. Condition is usually quite decent.
There's nothing special about the place, but I like coming here because it is relaxed and friendly, and I can usually sample a new beer or two.

18 Aug 2005 11:06

The Three Daws, Gravesend

Rambling and atmospheric 500 year old Thames-side pub with sloping floors, odd shaped rooms, great views of the maritime life on this part of the river, and many rumours of smuggling (at one time the building had seven staircases - and there are stories of tunnels leading off in all directions). Serves Kent beers, usually Nelson and Milton, in varying condition. Does cheap and cheerful pub food. Has a bar billiard table (with multiple objects under three of the legs in order to keep it level). The pub is not posh, but neither is it rough. I like it.

18 Aug 2005 10:44

The Albany, Great Portland Street

Was here a few years ago when a friend was managing a band who were playing downstairs. It was warm, comfortable yet lively - sport on the big screen, food on the table and lots of good conversation. On a recent afternoon visit the place was quiet and empty and there was no cask ales on. The actual atmosphere obviously depends on the time of day and your own mood. The pub itself is OK, but fairly average.

17 Aug 2005 13:47

The Masons Arms, Fitzrovia

Soho style pub - small yet packed with character. Tables on the pavement. Good value Thai menu. Serves an exceptionally good Landlord traditionally luke warm allowing lots of dusty hop flavour to burst on the palate above a gentle sweet toffee base.

17 Aug 2005 09:52

Fitzroy Tavern, Fitzrovia

Famous literary pub used by Dylan Thomas and others in the 1930's - gave its name to the Fitzrovia area. Photos of the pub's history are on the walls - including the "Pennies From Heaven" charity fund-raising when people would pin bank notes on the pub ceiling. The atmospheric and cosy downstairs bar has photos of Dylan Thomas drinking at the pub. A traditional Sam Smith's pub, though lacking much of the charm and original features of some of the other Sam Smith pubs. A suitable gloomy atmosphere which with imagination could evoke romantic associations with the intellectual and artistic crowd from the 1930's, but, to be honest, is mostly quite ordinary. If you don't know the pub's history then this is just another pub - nice, but nothing special. However, given the pub's history, this is an essential stop if you're in the area. The keg stout was served with too much nitro, making it over foamy, but it had a pleasant dry bitterness and was quite acceptable.

17 Aug 2005 09:33

The Blue Posts, Fitzrovia

Fitzrovia must have the highest concentration of Sam Smiths pubs in the world. This is a typical old fashioned, laid back pub with wood panelling, bare floor-boards and stained glass windows. The main bar is suitably gloomy with lamps as dim as gas. The cask Old Brewery wasn't fresh. The place is OK, but unless you're collecting all the Sam Smiths pubs in London this place can be walked past in favour of The Champion down the road.

17 Aug 2005 00:04

The Tower Tavern, Fitzrovia

A dull, modern Greene King pub.

16 Aug 2005 23:37

The George And Dragon, Fitzrovia

A dull Greene King pub.

16 Aug 2005 23:36

Ben Crouch's Tavern, Fitzrovia

Gothic horror theme pub with Radio 2 as background music - shudder! Actually, it's all very tongue in cheek and great fun. The food is Wetherspoon's menu, but with gothic gimmicks. London Pride at 2.50 a pint was in reasonable condition, but I doubt if people come here for the beer.

16 Aug 2005 23:33

The George, Great Portland Street

Tidy and popular wood panelled one room Greene King pub with a cosy alcove. The Abbott was pricey for the area (2.96) but well kept.

16 Aug 2005 23:22

The Cock, Oxford Circus

Another Sam Smiths Fitzrovia pub. Tiled floor, wood panelling, sculpted ceiling. Single downstairs room with partial partitioning. Upstairs lounge bar. Cask Old Brewery served through a sparkler - fresh and tasty, though a bit creamy from the tight head. Pub is OK, but there's nothing here that really stands out.

16 Aug 2005 23:13

The Stags Head, Fitzrovia

Plain and characterless bar with an austere 1930's feel. Wood panelling is thin and nasty like tea chests pinned to the wall; while the carpet is a pale pink floral mess as if a poodle on a period had rolled around on the floor. The cask beers are Courage Best and London Pride. The Best was in decent condition, but is a boring beer anyway - thin fruit and minimal hops.

16 Aug 2005 23:01

The Kings Arms, Fitzrovia

Long bar with a room partially partitioned off at the east end. A dull pub without character and in need of decorating. Layout is cramped and is not helped by bar flies hanging around the bar. Has a faded and tired early 60's feel. 3 casks on offer - Pride, Youngs Bitter and Green King IPA. The Pride was in decent condition with a noticeable balance of malt and hops.

16 Aug 2005 21:05

The Northumberland Arms, Fitzrovia

Pub has been stripped of charm and character and feels like a Victorian house that's been abandoned partway through a trendy modernisation, leaving the place with a serious identity crisis. Two casks on offer - Spitfire and Pride. The London Pride was in very poor condition without being actually off. I couldn't drink it and returned it to the bar. The barmaid simply shrugged.

16 Aug 2005 20:57

The Fitzrovia, Goodge Street

While it is not known for certain (Orwell, Dylan Thomas, Wyndham Lewis?) who first used the term Fitzrovia, it is certainly well documented that it was based on the artists and writers who met in the Fitzroy Tavern. The earliest record in print of the use of the name is Tom Driberg's column in the Daily Express in 1940 which references the Fitzroy Tavern. This pub has simply appropriated the name. Not that it matters. The Fitzrovia is a light, pleasant and spacious single room pub with no definable character, but certainly not without some charm. There is plenty of seating both inside and out. There is a choice of three cask ales from a rotating list of nine. The London Pride is dry hopped in the cask and, even though served a little too cold, is possibly the best Pride in London.

16 Aug 2005 20:38

The Prince of Wales Feathers, Warren Street

Homely local in the mainly residential part of Fitzrovia near Warren Street tube. Cricket on two screens and Capital Radio on the speakers. Lots of assorted seating going quite deep into what appears to be a converted home. London Pride and Landlord in good condition. Nothing special, but an honest, unpretentious pub.

16 Aug 2005 20:06

The Royal Standard, Greenwich

No cask ale. Plastic plants. Dingy. Looks good outside with a vivid plant display. Inside is dark and unpleasant. Had the Stella which was fizzy but acceptable.

15 Aug 2005 22:17

The Argyll Arms, Oxford Circus

"Famous for our snugs" is the proud claim for another central London pub which has managed to retain original features. Most of the others in this area are owned by Sam Smiths, while this is owned by Nicholson's so has a broader, if not very exciting, selection of common or garden cask ales kept in just about acceptable condition. The "snugs" are the main attraction here; but while the glass, marble and mahogany is interesting, the service is off-hand, the music unsympathetic to the surroundings, and the atmosphere indifferent, so this is not a place that would attract a return visit, other than as a piece of historical curiosity to show a friend.

15 Aug 2005 22:08

The Cambridge Arms, Fitzrovia

Airy single room pub with a tall ceiling, interesting interior pargetting and three TV sets for sports events. Two casks on offer - London Pride & Youngs Bitter in reasonable condition. Relaxed atmosphere, but quite ordinary and anonymous.

15 Aug 2005 21:13

The Northumberland Arms, Goodge Street

Slightly cramped single room Nicholson's pub with one end partially partitioned. The wooden bar is nicely carved, and there are four cask ales on offer (Pride, Bombardier, Greene King IPA & Duechars IPA) which are kept in just about acceptable condition. Nothing much to commend this place.

15 Aug 2005 21:01

The Mash Bar, Oxford Circus

The place is bar rather than pub. It is modern, light and very Ikea. It could be a cafe or a hairdressers or an airport lounge. It so lacks character you don't even notice. However, the infinity toilet is amusing - shame the staff are not. Be aware that there is a charge of 40p per transaction if the waitress takes your order rather than the barman.
A sample tray of all four of the beers brewed on the premises can be bought for 3.20.
The Mash is a blond beer. Initially clean and crisp, some diacetyl soon comes through - leading into a mildly hopped finish. Mostly bland - the flavour is just a bit too greasy caramel.
The Belgian Wheat ia very limp, lacking body and flavour. Sam Smiths do a better wheat. This is muggy and muddled - some caramel, some wheat - touch of band-aid, hint of warm, woody spice, some strange decay. Not good.
The Festival Golden is their attempt at an ale. Residual sweetness gives this more body than the lagers, but that sweetness does tip over into mould and rot, like a honey left in the cupboard too long. However it's the most pleasant so far.
The Vienna style lager (a dark lager) tastes surprising old for a beer made on the premises. As with the other beers there is too much belching and bloating gas. rough caramel and cardboard flavours both clash and add interest.
Mash mix - add the Vienna and the Festival together for a splendid drink. The other two beers don't improve even when mixed.
Brewpubs are rare in London - Zero Degrees being the only other true one - so this is worth checking out for that. But don't expect much. Prices are slightly high for the area.

28 Jul 2005 21:10

The Champion, Fitzrovia

Another Sam Smiths glory. This is near the Blue Posts and is much better because of the stunning stained glass window displays of champion sportsmen from the late 1800's. It is more of a gin palace (or even a chapel) than an English pub, but is worth visiting to experience the uplifting effect of these Victorian heroes in glowing glass. I had the "man in a box" Ayingerbrau Lager at 1.98 for a pint because this pub doesn't do any cask ales. There's just enough hops to suggest dried grass, and the fizz isn't too aggressive. It's a fairly typical keg lager - slightly better than Fosters, perhaps? A sad beer for such a glorious setting.

27 Jul 2005 22:01

The King and Queen, Fitzrovia

Tatty single room pub serving Adnams, Bombardier and St Austell's Tribute. I had the Tribute at 2.80 a pint. The beer was tired and just slightly unpleasant - same as the pub.

27 Jul 2005 21:34

The Queens Head, Limehouse

An obvious attraction here is that York Square/Flamborough Street is in a conservation area, and that York Square is the basis for Albert Square in Eastenders. The Queen's Head is the model for the Queen Vic. - and sure enough there is a bust of Victoria above the bar.
It's a Young's pub, and is a good no nonsense local with three separate rooms and a solid, unpretentious atmosphere. We enjoyed our time there and the beer - Young's Bitter - was pleasant enough without being remarkable.

24 Jul 2005 20:08

All Bar One, Canary Wharf

Long trendy bar with 10 European beers on keg and one cask ale - London Pride. Prices are high - 3.80 for an Erdinger Weisbeer which tasted like fanta and savlon fermented and allowed to go stale and then fizzed up with co2.

21 Jul 2005 21:01

The Grafton Arms, Fitzrovia

Greene King pub of little merit. The heated roof garden appears to be the main attraction, though there is no decent view. Offers the usual limited and dull Greene King range.
I tried their new summer product - Ale Fresco - at 2.80 a pint. It's a pleasant honey, melon and white grape flavoured beer, though it falls behind other summer ales.

21 Jul 2005 20:40

The Yorkshire Grey, Fitzrovia

Typical low priced Sam Smith's pub with original features and traditional charm. BBC broadcasters use this one. I think the nearby Dover Castle is a slightly more quirky and atmospheric Sam Smith's - but some people will prefer this one.
I had the Sovereign Best at 1.70 a pint. It's an inoffensively typical keg bitter of no merit. The cask Old Brewery is a better choice for ale drinkers.

20 Jul 2005 19:37

Admiral Hardy, Greenwich

This has become quite a trendy student bar. Like the Trafalgar this place usually sells Nelson beers. Can become uncomfortably crowded.

19 Jul 2005 20:04

The Pelton Arms, Greenwich

Clean and attractive slightly upmarket local. There was a vase of fresh lillies on the bar when I visited. The landlord is friendly and intelligent. Bombardier and IPA are the regulars. Large open plan bar with bare floors; one end is made more cosy with some leather sofas.
I had a Bombardier which was served traditionally warm. It was pleasant enough, but had maybe hung around a day too long. 2.46 a pint.

19 Jul 2005 19:19

The Cutty Sark Tavern, Greenwich

Ancient pub, originally called The Union Tavern, that has been much altered over the years, but still retains some charm, even if much of that charm comes from factory issue faux "olde worlde" furniture and grand staircase. There is a sad Berni Inn/Beefeater feel about the place, but the pleasant location on the Thames and in the heart of the industrial working class area of Greenwich compensates. I had an Addlestones Cloudy Cider which while not exciting was pleasant enough. This is probably the best of the three riverside pubs in Greenwich.

16 Jul 2005 10:15

The Yacht, Greenwich

A more homely and down-market pub than its immediate neighbour the Trafalgar. This is like a working class seaside pub - something left over from a run-down Butlins camp. It has the same view of the Thames as the Trafalgar, but the scene is less impressive when seen from such humble surroundings and through such dilapidated and dirty windows. As a bonus the pub does a range of guest ales - though mostly from the regionals or larger independents. My London Pride was very tasty.

16 Jul 2005 10:00

The Spinnaker, Docklands

Large, noisy, characterless Greene King pub perched in the waters of Millwall Dock like a concrete boat. Full of stressed office yobs. The ale was served slightly too warm on my visit, and the atmosphere was one of desperate relaxation.

16 Jul 2005 09:27

Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich

Large popular pub on the Thames with great river views. The window in the main bar is quite stunning. Beers are offered by the Chatham brewery, Nelson, which doesn't have a great reputation. The place can be quite oppressive during busy periods, but can be reasonably relaxing, if not exactly homely, during weekdays.

13 Jul 2005 23:45

The Crown, Rochester

The Crown is the first pub in Rochester after crossing the bridge, and was used in the film Last Orders. It had, for a while, changed its name to The Norman Conquest, with a themed interior, but has now been returned to its original name and the original quiet and dignified interior. Sadly the policy of having at least one guest ale has been dropped. It's a large and open pub - solid, well kept and largely unremarkable. Unpretentious clientle which tend to the younger end of the spectrum. Many of the chairs are actually high stools, but there are proper chairs tucked away in the two side wings. A clean and tidy and well run pub.

10 May 2005 10:35

Eagle Tavern, Rochester

This pub has changed a lot over the past five years. When I first went here it was a two bar pub - a bit rough and ready but with plenty of atmosphere. Then it went through a complete and expensive make-over to transform it into an open and airy pub with a delightful beer garden over looking a section of the medieval town wall and ditch. It had regular live musicians, and the beer was served in excellent condition. It was then bought up by the local pub chain - Veena Leisure. All the features of the make over have been retained, but somehow the atmosphere has slipped, as has the quality of the beer. The clientle are gradually slipping back to the old rough and ready days.
This is still one of the better pubs in the High Street, but I find the naked openness of the layout, combined with the assertiveness of the customers and the crude hand-written signs offering cheap burgers and cups of tea somewhat off-putting.

10 May 2005 10:24

Golden Lion, Rochester

A JD Wetherspoon pub. Often dirty and untidy. A no-go area on a Friday or Saturday evening because of the noisy lager drinkers who stand ten deep at the bar. Slow service. Fewer and less interesting guests ales than the average JDW. Poorer cooked and served meals than the average JDW. The only plus points are that the beer is cheap and - to be fair - is served in decent condition. If you want a local JDW, the ones in Gravesend and Maidstone are better.

10 May 2005 10:11

The Man of Kent Ale House, Rochester

One of the few older buildings to survive in the Troy Town area of Rochester. This now stands in splendid and quirky isolation in one of the ugliest post-war developments in Kent. The solid Style & Winch tiling is a compelling invite to investigate the building further, as is the well known feature that this pub serves an average of five different Kentish beers. I want this pub to be a good pub. The regulars are down to earth and friendly. The interior may be slightly cramped and run down; but what it lacks in charm and atmosphere, it makes up for in a lack of pretension, and that impressive spread of Kent beers and ciders. A regular outlet for Larkin, Hopdaemon, Millis and Nelson beers. This should be a great pub. But the condition of the beer has always let this place down. Often warm. Often stale. The cellar needs modern refrigeration equipment, and the pub needs a greater turnover for the amount of beers on offer. I often go in with the hope that this time - please God, this time - the beer will be served in good condition. I have used this pub for three years and - despite two different landlords - have not yet had a beer served cool, fresh and enjoyable. I have taken scooper friends to this pub so they could pick up a few ticks, and all have agreed that the beer has been served in poor condition. Even the regulars themselves agree that the condition of the beers leaves a lot to be desired. Come here if you want to sample beers from at least three different Kent breweries in the one place - but don't expect the beers to be served in the same condition as the excellent George V in Brompton, The Barge in Gillingham or the Britannia in Chatham.

10 May 2005 09:50

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