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BITE user comments - iceinthecider

Comments by iceinthecider

The Woodbine, Highbury

This place could, and SHOULD, be so good. Enticing, characterful, great jukebox, decent beers. And yet... quite what has got those poor poor bar staff so mournfully miserable is anyone's guess. I've been in loads of times and it's always the same: you start to imagine that they have all just heard of an unexpected death in the family, or that their rent has been doubled, or that their wages have been halved. Or all three. Recently they even had a cosy little gathering of miserableness at the end of the bar at about 11pm, serving each other drinks whilst none-too-poiltely pointing out to remaining customers that the bar was closed. Nice work.

27 Jul 2010 14:02

Bar 38, Canary Wharf

At face value it seems like circumstances conspire to favour this place: probably the best of the bunch in an area as dominated by chain establishments as an out-of-town retail park - and also housed in a converted warehouse of real quality. And yet. It just doesn't work as a space. Dreadful half-baked chintz jars horribly with the exposed beams, somehow, amazingly, resulting in the feel of a bad club. In Romford. Po-faced staff shuttle around with hot plates of cold food (I'm surmising here) and even a moment of happiness at finding Budvar Dark on draught was swiftly crushed at the 8.20-for-two-drinks bill. I suppose independent places could never afford to gain a foothold in the Manhattan-lite setting of Canary Wharf, but I think I'll sup directly from the Thames next time I end up here.

29 Nov 2006 18:38

The Town of Ramsgate, Wapping

Couple of slightly harsh reviews there. I'll redress the balance somewhat by mentioning that on each of my visits the staff here have been excellent - a reassuringly no-nonsense approach that results in drinks swiftly served even when the busy (long) bar indicates a potential long wait. The place has real character, and - whilst I am certainly not a 'local', let alone 'local local' - it maintains a friendly feel. And I am not writing on behalf of management. And I do not work there.

The large mirror towards the front has historical value apparently.

14 Nov 2006 15:32

The Dog and Duck, Soho

Made a point of propping up the external wall of this place for an hour or two last week, on the strength of Stonch's ringing endorsement. Visits to the bar revealed a great looking place - we were highly envious of those merry drinkers ensconsed in the tiled area on the left, which was reminiscent of the best bits of The Crown Liqour Saloon in Belfast. The charm was sufficiently pervasive that we were happy to loiter outside, occasionally switching a pint from one hand to the other for thawing purposes in the wintry conditions. Safe to say that I WILL be going back for a proper, hopefully more sustained, and hopefully indoor visit.

14 Nov 2006 15:19

Walkabout, Shaftesbury Avenue

Gah! It's awful. Only went in as the church conversion suggested it might make a decent space for a beer en route to better places. But no. The sort of place where after a couple of minutes you find your feet are firmly stuck to the tacky floor. We extricated ourselves as soon as was possible, regretting our mistake.

16 Oct 2006 17:52

The Montagu Pyke, Charing Cross Road

This place - from both front and back - looks like Hell on Earth. Godawful. Noticed that they were charging an entry fee during the world cup, the miserable bustards. No, I haven't been in - but this place has spoiled my life just by featuring on my walk to work.

16 Oct 2006 17:46

The Crown And Two Chairmen, Soho

I feel compelled to post a positive review for the C and 2Cs. Notwithstanding those patrons who clearly preferred its previous incarnation - fine - the selection of lagers is great (though I'll stop short of mentioning Becks Vier in that bracket - a staggering triumph of marketing over content if ever there was - "Hello All Fools. We have a new version of our beer. It's simply weaker. But served via a bigger shinier tap. Enjoy."). Supplemented by the tremendous tongue-loosener known as Budvar Dark. Furthermore, the staff have been great every time I've required their services. There are far far worse ways of spending one's time and money than a few hours here.

16 Oct 2006 17:27

The Betsey Trotwood, Clerkenwell

Don't be so sure darloexile - was here on a recent Saturday night and far from being "rammed" the place was seriously underpopulated. However, we were here to see a band, speculatively, and our group formed the majority in a total audience of seven people. Two of whom, it transpired, were the parents of the singer. How sweet. By the end of the evening we were all friends and as a result I will plug them shamelessly - The Jack Stafford Foundation. Will certainly be going back for "live music in an intimate setting", if not for the pub itself, which isn't especially remarkable.

16 Oct 2006 17:17

The George, London Bridge

Got to agree with Hodsthorn and Albert_Campion here: The George is a let-down. And the comparison with a Wetherspoon is not far wide of the mark at all - JDW have occupied (in the invading army sense) numerous old buildings and routinely manage to suck the soul out of them. It's mildly diverting to think that Shakespeare perhaps maybe possibly reputedly chewed his quill here, but it's not enough to make you want to settle in for more than ten minutes. And the intricate interconnecting rooms arrangement is far less charming than it might sound. Hm.

25 Apr 2006 18:29

The Mudlark, London Bridge

Slightly perplexed by the warm reviews for this place, I think it merits lukewarm at best. Not particularly unpleasant, not particularly anything really. Had all the charm of a Yates pub in Bracknell, which is perhaps unsurprising since it sits at the foot of a thoroughly unprepossessing office block and Bracknell has more than its fair share of those. Having said that, other customers seemed happy, and two small boys were pulling faces at people as they ate their Yorkshire Puds. If I'd been hungrier I'd have been forced to order a "Steck Sandwich" (sic) from the menu.

24 Apr 2006 18:29

The Archway Tavern, Archway

Hard to summarise this place on the basis of one visit, but since I'm not sure when I'll next be in that neck of the woods I'll give it a go nonetheless. Pros: the barmaid - a sweet and smiling demonstration of the art of good service - and the fact that the NUFC game was being shown on what appeared to be Algerian TV. Cons: the unavailability of the Gents due to the beginnings of a fight on the other side of the door. Perhaps that's unfair: it was no more than a heated debate I'm sure. Can't really comment on the music aspect. In fact, this is about as inconclusive a review as I could have mustered. I'll go back, i'll pay more attention.

24 Apr 2006 18:15

The Woolpack, London Bridge

I hesitate to say what I want to say about The Woolpack for fear that it will somehow let out what could be described as a well-kept secret. That would, however, be miserly: spread the joy, and spread with Greaves. This pub has a cracking beer garden, it's truly idyllic. On a sunny afternoon take 2-3 friends, secure a picnic table, and settle down for a blissful hour or three to soak it all in. Also, the food is worth every penny, and I think represents much better value than you'll get at The Garrison over the road. Now I'm starting to sound like my Dad, better stop.

24 Apr 2006 16:49

The Hamilton Hall, Liverpool Street

The interior of HH should serve to redeem it from the obvious predictability of the Wetherspoons line-up, but it's simply not enough. Popping in here for a pint is about as relaxing as a chinese burn. I can only assume that the staff are not paid and are routinely kicked in the shins by management, such are their sullen expressions. Depressing.

24 Apr 2006 16:33

The George, Liverpool Street

Not bad, not bad. Somehow doesn't quite live up to its potential though - the building, inside and out, is splendid, and whilst loth to comment on the WCs I have to comment on the WCs, which are luxuriously smart. It's hard to get overly-excited about the place, until you suddenly remember that you are almost within touching distance of Hamilton Hall (Wetherspoons) and you are very clever and sensible and well informed not to be in there but to be in The George instead. Have been a couple of times and witnessed a real contrast in clientele: first time it seemed to be entirely populated by wealthy noisy sloanes enjoying some kind of school reunion, whereas the second time was notable for a couple of angry lesbian Boro fans.

24 Apr 2006 16:05

The Market Porter, Borough

This must be one of the most talked about boozers on BITE. I think its location next to / association with Borough Market add substantially to its charm, as do the consequent opening hours (although I am yet to test the early extremes of these). Amused to read some of the vitriolic previous comments - and have to record that we found the service to be excellent, to the extent that a quick visit happily evolved into a long one. Indeed, the barman was positively touting his service, calling out for customers. Happy to oblige. One angry punter was fuming at the quiz machine, which apparently was selecting all the wrong answers of its own accord. Whether this was down to one too many pints of Moondance, or dodgy touch screen technology, I simply cannot say.

24 Apr 2006 15:01

O'Neills, Newcastle

Should maybe have clarified that Sinead worked there many years ago, when it was still Durty Nelly's. And before the accurately described decline set in. Oh well....

24 Apr 2006 14:17

The Oakdale Arms, Harringay

Yep, safe to say that this is one place I would not have happened across under normal circumstances. But TMG is no normal character and the TMGC was no normal circumstance. Quite a find, and probably the most diverse clientele I have ever drunk alongside. Even the potentially polarising Arsenal-Spurs match on TV wasn't enough to upset the happy balance it seemed. Did somebody steal the original 'O' of the sign? And is there consequently another pub missing a golden 'O'? Must find out.

24 Apr 2006 14:02

The Thornhill Arms, Islington

Armed only with one previous review - "Arsenal pub" - we approached The T.H. with some trepidation. To find the doors firmly locked brought a mixture of relief and frustration, although returning after midday saw the doors thrown open in welcoming fashion. Yes, it's most certainly an Arsenal pub, but this is expressed in a variety of tasteful ways and the centrally located square bar is a winner. I think even Arsene Whinger might like it in here (and the dated WCs would presumably not trouble him so much as remind him of his homeland).

24 Apr 2006 13:53

The Royal Oak, Borough

The consistent appearance of this place in the BITE top 10 made it worth seeking out (which wasn't hard since I live about a mile away). And I can only endorse previous comments, this place had a good atmosphere with happy and earnest service. Sampled both sides of the bar to get a proper perspective. And although I'm not a CAMRA devotee like so many BITE users, I will certainly be going back. Whilst the pale ale wasn't exactly a taste sensation, it was just the job in terms of a gentle introduction to a casual Sunday session.

24 Apr 2006 13:46

The Swimmer at The Grafton Arms, Holloway

Had a very enjoyable visit here, soundtracked by good music. Not quite sure about the tarpaulin 'extension' to the front, but inside the pub proper you will find a grandly proportioned long bar and a busy open plan little kitchen where - if you chose to do so - you could watch a mighty plate of chips and cheese being prepared by a singularly pretty chef-ess. Merits another, more sustained visit I think. Not sure where the name originates from (though for all I know there is a large explantory plaque somewhere that I missed). Litovel is alright at premium level - better than what so many pubs serve under the name of Staropramen-on-draft these days. It shouldn't be allowed.

24 Apr 2006 13:26

Mollie Malone's, Crouch End

Thankfully this place does not adhere too strictly to the oirish "a-stranger-is-a-friend-you-haven't-met-yet" formula, and neither does it reek of disinfectant as most Durty Nelly Scruffy O Murphy Neills places are prone to do. In fact, MMs could almost be described as eclectic - Moroccan-style straw chests for example (empty unfortunately). Good, semi-boisterous atmosphere, wish we could have stayed to watch the Weather Men who were due on stage at 9pm.

24 Apr 2006 12:22

Canal 125, Caledonian Road

Popped in here for a warm-up pint on Saturday morning, and was fortunate enough to be joining a very lively and noisy set of Gooners - their pre-match chants and singalongs fuelled by a suitably minded DJ. The terrace offered some breathing space, and evidence of some kind of bacon-butty-breakfast-bonanza. As kick-off approached the pub emptied completely leaving only the barmaid and us. So a stark contrast in atmospheres, but overall not a bad place. Crucially, it was open pre-midday.

24 Apr 2006 10:44

The Nellie Dean of Soho, Soho

I wouldn't normally dream of being at a computer at this hour on a Friday night but feel compelled to register a P.S. to my previous review of the Nellie D. The pub remains great: the Gents (assuming you have survived the perilous descent) are nothing short of foul, and let this place down badly. Please, guys, sort it out. Otherwise we'll all have to pop to the nearest sewerage works for a more refreshing p!ss....

13 Apr 2006 23:10

The Ship, Soho

A quick scan of some of the previous reviews of The Ship might lead you to believe it's the ideal London public house. A traditional, "lovely old pub", a "great little pub" the "best little pub in Soho". What? Stonch is nearer to the mark - "grim". Why go here when there infiteley happier, unpretentious, 'traditional' equivalents barely a welly throw away? It's not even especially "little", in case any fans of broom-cupboard boozers are enticed by this prospect. Maybe Friday afternoon doesn't suit this pub well - it felt like a grey Monday morning. The most pleasant part of our visit was stepping outside into the rain.

12 Apr 2006 12:03

The Reliance, Old Street

Recommended. Happy atmosphere, the result of an unpretentious but characterful place populated by seemingly happy people. Could quite happily have settled down in the couch at the back and commenced a spontaneous Leo Sayer. My companion had other ideas. This can't have been to do with the pub, so I can only blame my company. Nadgers. (Unusual Czech lager on tap, mild and strong versions).

25 Mar 2006 16:39

Bradleys, Fitzrovia

Relax bethm. We won't let it happen. We'll stage a protest, chain ourselves to the bar. We'll cling to the jukebox like tree huggers in the face of an axeman hugging a threatened tree. Oxford Street and its surrounds need another fast food joint like Egyptians need snow shoes.

16 Mar 2006 14:22

Eye on the Tyne, Newcastle

Reviews so far sum up this place pretty well. Despite being within a pea roll of the Quayside it always feels underpopulated and apart from the pool table has precious little to write home about. Nothing, I mean. The sort of place that leaves a group of previously happy friends staring into their pints and contemplating their debt. But this is all nothing as compared to the adjacent Wig and Pen. What a strange, lifeless place that is. I have to assume that someone was once shot dead in here and it is trying (failing) to shake off its reputation as a pub of death.

24 Feb 2006 18:24

The Granta, Cambridge

Haven't been for a while but this pub is host to many fond memories. As described, a seat by the milpond in summertime is a treat of the kind that makes you realise life can be blissful after all. Once watched a man dressed as a giant piece of fusili pasta attempting to lure people into the naff restaurant across the water. He seemed to have the opposite effective, everyone noticeably quickened their stride. When you leave the pub look carefully at the trees across the road: some intriguing bark formations.

24 Feb 2006 17:45

The Bath House, Soho

I'm not sure what this place will do once the smoking ban comes into force because when I went the fug was so thick it was effectively part of the furniture, and will take some removing. Nonetheless, we ordered food, and it was as bland as Steve Davis before he had his personality overhaul. Perhaps it was a bad day. I'm surprised the dog has lived as long as it has.

24 Feb 2006 17:31

The Nellie Dean of Soho, Soho

Glad to see the plethora of warm reviews for this place - it deserves them. Dependable. Often busy and yet somehow you often mangage to bag a seat. Happy drinkers spill out onto the pavement in summer, a great spot to watch the freakshow of Soho. Without wishing to repeat previous comments, the stairs down to the gents are unbelievable. Hilarious in fact.

24 Feb 2006 17:25

O'Neills, Newcastle

What is it with O Neills pubs and the ever-present whiff of disinfectant? Do they hose them down nightly with the stuff? Anyway, this is exactly what you'd expect from an o'Neills, so you'll be neither disappointed nor pleasantly surprised. Its merits lie in its location - walk in a straight line out of the railway station and you'll find yourself at the bar in seconds - and its atmosphere when there's big sport on the big screen. My mate Mark went out with the barmaid Sinead for a while. He was subsequently barred from the place.

24 Feb 2006 16:31

Revolution, Newcastle

Once I was in here and a group of pissed primates came in and ordered champagne. It was served to them in an ice bucket. One lad decided to give his ape mate an ice bucket for a hat. Ice and water everywhere, the nervous staff offered one of gibbons a mop and bucket. It responded by throwing the mop over the bar at another member of staff, like a spear. And here's the thing: whilst they were spoiling my day somewhat, they had captured my feelings towards the bar staff perfectly. Rubbish. Fabulous building though.

24 Feb 2006 16:05

Sgt Peppers Disco Bar, Newcastle

Best sampled after visiting nearby Collectables and Primark on a Saturday afternoon. In a world of chain pubs and anonymity, this is something of a treasure. Just be careful who you wink at.

24 Feb 2006 15:58

Hancock, Newcastle

Imagine being deposited in a giant kids play area that happened to serve alcohol and greaseburgers. Imagine everything from the furniture to the customers being in primary colours only. Imagine the student union from the University of Huntingdonshire. Imagine going somewhere for a quick pint and coming away feeling like you've just woken from a bad dream. Do this and then you will have no need to ever visit this establishment. For those of us that remember the heady days of Bierrex and the Crosbys, to see the spectacular transformation of this place was like watching St Pauls being converted into a Travelodge. Brushes away a solitary tear.

24 Feb 2006 15:54

Gotham Town, Newcastle

There are a couple of elaborately carved wooden thrones here. You can sit on 'em. And wonder why your spending time in a place like this.

24 Feb 2006 15:19

The Bodega, Newcastle

This place is good at about 11.30am. It's always good actually, and a good bet if you're struggling to find a seat, or even a space, to watch a match. At risk of sounding like a great big girl, the toilets are spotless. To prove this point, last time I was there I ate a steak pie and mash off the floor. Someone once told me that the building used to be a synagogue, but that may well be a lie. Be sure not to miss the Spice of Punjab if you're in this part of town.

24 Feb 2006 15:16

Squares, Norwich

Went to Norwich once. Spent two nights there. Went to this place twice. Don't ask me why. Though the quayside renaissance is a pleasure to behold, it's good to see that not all architects think pastiche is a bad thing. Squares, what can you say? The lighting made Greaves look like a demi-god, and the female clientele spotted this. Poor guy, he was swatting them off like flies. Unless those actually were flies.

24 Feb 2006 15:09

The Free Trade Inn, Byker

As Newcastle's quayside heaves under the heavy tread of stags and hens, the venerable Free Trade looks down from its wondrous seat, weary of the noise. Make a mini crawl of this place, The Tyne, The Cumberland Arms and The Cluny and you'll probably never bother with the main drag again. Endearingly faded and unprepossessing, the FT is like a pair of your most comfortable old shoes. Never let it be reheeled.

24 Feb 2006 13:21

The Cumberland Arms, Ouseburn

This is unique, and please lord don't let it ever be knocked down to make way for "luxury" apartments. When I was last there with Redshot there was a terminally ill man who had been given permission to bash at the piano. He was grateful. When he paused the loud ticking of a loud clock could be heard. I'm not sure, but I think time actually goes backwards here, and that means you can stay as long as you want. And then go to The Tyne for a toastie.

24 Feb 2006 13:13

The Eagle, Cambridge

Famous and deservedly so, though if the RAF bar wartime graffiti hasn't been embellished then my name is The Red Baron. They barred Greaves, purportedly on account of his drunkenness, but in fact I think he was scaring the tourists unused to seeing such an unusual driniking style. Grab a seat in the courtyard on a summer afternoon and seethe with envy at the Corpus Christi students who can call this 'home'.

24 Feb 2006 13:03

Bradleys, Fitzrovia

Sticks in the memory, this place. Friendly feel, and previous comments re the jukebox must be reiterated, it's tremendous (although can be choosy as to whether it accepts your coinage). Amazing that you can take just a few steps from the squalor of Oxford Street and find yourself in a pub with this much character. You'll feel right at home with a pint of San Miguel in your hand. Watch out for the bloke in the leather jacket and cowboy boots though.

24 Feb 2006 12:55

Crobar, Soho

There's something special about the moment when, having ordered a bottle of Budvar, a 500ml kingsize is plonked in front of you, instead of your standard 330ml baby bottle. Though you should really be drinking Bourbon at this place. I have never seen a jukebox with so many AC/DC albums on it. Memorable.

24 Feb 2006 12:47

The Head of Steam, Newcastle

The Head of Steam is like a weary band playing live, doing what they do best but in a manner that suggests past glories rather than exciting new material. But punters want to hear the hits, and the HoS duly serves them up. You'll struggle to find a better selection of draft continental lagers (they stocked Staropramen before most pubs had even heard of the Velvet Revolution) and you can usually summon a bottle of something strong with a black label from the fridge. My friend tried to get a job here once, and that they didn't take him on makes me sad to this day. In its own way, an institution.

24 Feb 2006 12:38

The Porcupine, Leicester Square

Strange place, this. Seeks to attract theatregoers, but makes no attempt to reward them appropriately. Fortunately I do not go to the theatre. The pub would suit the hard of hearing since the music is extremely loud - and sign language is required to communicate your order at the bar. Good place to meet an old friend arriving at Leicester Square tube.

24 Feb 2006 12:32

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