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Griffin, Caversham

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user reviews of the Griffin, Caversham

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Excellent pub for eating or for drinking. Easy to find, as the rear of the pub is visible from the Thames. First impression on entering is that this is a restaurant as all the tables seem to be laid for eating (and several courses at that!) but the friendly, welcoming and flexible staff will actually let you sit anywhere within reason and introduce you to their range of beers and their extensive food menus - which we tried, and which were very good indeed.
Trev - 2 Jun 2018 15:09
We thought we might eat in the Griffin. But we took a look at the number of cars in the car park and guessed it might be full. Sure enough it was. This is a Chef & Brewer establishment and the focus is on meals. Although there were plenty of people just in for the drink. Ales were Brains SA & The Rev James, Hook Norton Lion & Old Hooky & Courage Best & Directors. Having seen the size of the portions, we were glad we didn't eat here. We sat near the kitchen and couldn't smell any of the food coming out. This generally means only one thing - everything is cooked with a ping! The pub has a terrace area at the rear and beyond that is the Thames, with plenty of boats to watch.
blue_scrumpy - 7 Mar 2015 22:05
Beer quality has improved; but food portions are obviously set by accountants.

The thing that struck me, though, was the mood of the staff: you might as well be in a MuckDonalds. They looked as though they'd all been beaten by the boss (who looked like he was in a bad enough mood to have done it.)
theeternalwheel - 20 Apr 2012 09:22
Although the Griffin is part of the Chef and Brewer chain it does offer its own menu as well as the standard fare of the group. There are now usually 5 beers on tap with 2 regularly changing guest ales (the latest being a German-style beer from Marstons). Brains SA and Adnams Broadside appear to be favourites alongside the Courage beers. It is ofcourse mainly a restaurant but there is enough room for diners and drinkers to mix happily which they do. Large car park at the rear with a garden area which leads down to the Thames by Caversham bridge. There's also a covered smoking/drinking area outside the back door which is very pleasant on a nice day. Yes it is part of a nationwide chain but it's not bad at all.
mcroyal - 5 Apr 2012 21:57
Oh dear, this pub is not half as good as it used to be. Food is mass produced rubbish. Brains IPA not very well kept.
rossroad1 - 1 Apr 2012 18:37
After a muddy walk from Pangbourne the Ramble Then Lunch team searched for a lunch stop in Caversham and settled on The Griffin.

And a pretty good choice it was too. 3 days before Christmas the pub was understandably busy but we found a table and settled down. 5 real ales;- Greene King IPA, Howells Frosty Bells, Courage Directors, Adnams Broadside and Christmas Cheer. We tried a fair selection and they were all fine.

The Griffin is a Chef and Brewer so food forms a major part of their offer. Menu is extensive, service was very good and the food itself was absolutely fine. We had Gourmet Burger, Boar Burger and CTM and we had nothing left on the plates.

The only complaint was that the pub is quite full of tables and where we were sitting we constantly had to keep moving to let pushchairs and babyseats to go passed. Probably not so much of a problem away from Christmas.

The Griffin is well worth a visit.
ramblethenlunch - 23 Dec 2011 15:54
Visited for Christmas lunch with a party of >30. Exceptionally efficient and friendly service. Good beer too.
micksimm - 11 Dec 2011 17:43
Very comfortable welcoming pub with about 7 ales on - impressive. Decent pint of Courage Directors. Worth another visit.
Booze_Allen - 13 Nov 2011 17:02
Nice cosy pub. 6 to 8 real ales on, my pint of Poppy Otter was in fine form. Friendly attentive staff although I did have to ask for a top up. Interesting menu, 13 for Pheasant, Venison or Partridge anyone?
Abteilung - 12 Nov 2011 13:22
This pub was busy last night probably with people trying to avoid the firework displays. food seemed expensive for pub fare but the beer was OK, service on the food was very slow tho. New to the area and finding the pubs, I will come back to the griffin.
rogerwin - 6 Nov 2011 11:27
Just visited this pub this evening and have to disagree with other comments.
Arrived @ 7:00pm - Pub was packed (got the last free table) So we understandably had to wait 35mins. for our 2 excellent 1/2 chicken Sunday roasts (2for1 after 6:30pm) with good wine and Courage Best.
I use this pub about once a month, it has a good atmosphere with normally a large group of regular early evening drinkers .
The food and beer are of a good standard - although you do have to watch the amount of head on the beers! I find the staff normally helpful and attentive.
They must be doing something right to be this busy on a Sunday evening!
Flying_Nelly - 4 Sep 2011 22:21
Oh dear - Mr.Lord has been let out of his cage again!!
mcroyal - 18 Jun 2011 19:09
Mediocre food, iffy beer and poor staff (got our food order wrong) last time. Like many other Chef & Brewers - OK if you like that sort of thing.
theeternalwheel - 16 May 2011 11:58
Much Brighter and cleaner after their refurbishment as cheshirecat points out. And they did have a good choice of beers from the major brewery, some local ales would not have gone a miss.

The food and service were not much better. The service I could let them off at it was a busy lunchtime period, however they could have avoided being rude.

The fairly expensive pub food was way below par. A fish and chips that appeared reheated. Soggy shop bought Yorkshire puds, overcooked veggies, clumpy whitebait and lemons that had been cut in half quite a while ago: the ends were becoming quite hard.
simonr82 - 7 Nov 2010 23:11
Much brighter and cleaner since it's refurbishment earlier this year.

Regular beers are still Couarge Best & Directors, Adnams Broadside and Wells Bombadier. Guest beer yesterday was Coach House Dick Turpin which was disgusting!

Pretty busy for a Sunday evening. More a food place than a drinkers pub.
cheshirecat - 18 Oct 2010 09:42
This used to be good but has gone terribly downhill over the last year or so. Apparently they are closed for a refit (now / soon) so will see what it's like after that.

The beer is usually good. Hopefully they fix the food after the refit as it's become very bad. Service could be better too.

beerchap - 7 May 2010 15:57
Large Chef & Brewer pub with a beer garden and car park stretching down to the Thames.

4 beers on yesterday - Courage Best & Directors, Wells Bombadier and Adnams Broadside. More a food pub than one for the drinkers and is frequently very busy with families. Holds regular "special" events celebrating, for example, St George's Day, Valentine's Day etc. Extensive, but not cheap, menu.

Yesterday lunchtime there were about 5 staff working but it still took an age to get served at the bar. They all seem interchangeable between the bar, waiting on tables and hiding in the kitchen! And yet, still, the Chef had to keep coming out of the kitchen and shouting to the bar that meals were waiting to be taken out. We were sat near to the kitchen and, in about 90 minutes, saw 3 meals taken back. Maybe it was just a bad day.

This wouldn't usually be my first choice of pubs in Caversham but I wasn't in charge yesterday!
cheshirecat - 21 Apr 2010 08:41
I too have experienced bad service from the fore mentioned Irish person but i'm pretty sure it was his wife?
She slammed the food down after I complained my steak was under cooked, she then preceded to shout at a young waitress who was bringing our condiments out! I love the place and have been eating there for the last 6 months, but maybe now I and alot of my friends might try the pub up the road. Time for a change Griffin!
Royalsman - 3 Apr 2008 22:49
I eat here regularly i have had a range of foods from the extensive list. I have only had one bad experience there and that was with the (hopefully ex) Bar manager or owner, an aging Irish man. Who when i complained that he had given my girlfriend a dessert wine rather than a dry white wine, told me to Sush holding his index finger to his lips. Rude!! Apart from him good food, good ambience and good service. 8/10
fine_eater_24 - 2 Mar 2008 17:08
Still a decent selection of ale and plenty busy with diners. You could do a lot worse than get a pint in here.
Quinno - 3 Feb 2008 20:45
Nice atmosphere, good selcetion of drinks, awful customer service. The manager should be fired for spoiling such a good pub.
Steamed_Coot - 3 Feb 2008 19:18
Crowded with families but hey.. we all have the right to go out! Otherwise allways had a good meal from the very extensive menu and no real complaints.
raylee - 29 Jul 2007 10:21
The pint of Black Tom was a decent opener for a long session. Food appeared to go down well with the hoi polloi. Beer garden was packed.
londinieres - 11 Jun 2007 10:56
A bit characterless inside. It has a nice beer yard though.
spiky_mikey - 8 Jun 2007 11:52
A lovely little pub. Good selection of ale. Sunday roast looks good, but didn't have any cos I'd already eaten. Pleasant staff.
mad_mullah - 15 May 2007 04:35
great pub
Riggers - 2 Apr 2007 15:18
Visited this pub two days after christmas and it was packed! I soon understood why - the service was fast and the food was packed with flavour - extremely generous portions. My main course was so large and so tasty that, although I wanted a dessert, I couldn't leave any of the dinner - it was too delicious. I can't wait to visit this pub again.
anonymous - 16 Mar 2007 20:39
Nice food and the menu is always a treat to read, nice atmosphere, whatever you do DON'T smoke in the non smoking section as I did by mistake, I got shouted at and a blackboard sign saying No Smoking slammed on the table. For christ's sake if I SEEN the sign I have known....nice spot though. And yes, ditch the carpark and use the space as a garden.
Nero - 14 Mar 2007 13:42
Nice little pub, with a good selection of real ale, and often quite busy as a consequence.

A good place to start in Reading before moving onto to the After Dark!
Quinno - 13 Jul 2006 19:11
my fave caversham pub - by the river.

(although you cant really see it - shame - missed opportunity there poss!?! !- perhaps the staff dont want to walk to the river from pub to fish out drunken clientel!?!?)
its now a chef and brewer so usual standards apply there - but food is indeed good and beer and the outside beer garden is lovely and quite buzzing at times.
nice interior, atractive attendees and you can always brush up on yr antipodean lingo with the bar staff.
nice! ..
Nosowner - 18 May 2006 16:22
Nice. No problems with the speed of service when I visited last - and that was on a Saturday! Haven't sampled to food, but hope to be back to do so in the future.
burnsy - 3 Apr 2006 10:45
Good pubs, good food, the beers are well kept and it's a great building. Well worth a visit.

I agree with the previous comment, ditch the car park at the back and get a proper riverside beer garden in. Lets use the river in Reading not ignore it.
posterpoet - 3 Feb 2006 10:35
great pub, service is slow as it's always heaving, food is good, but get there early or you'llhave tio eat off your knees as they say.

I do wish they'd get rid of the car park at the back and make use of their great river side location for a proper beer garden.
Hedgehog - 19 Jan 2006 15:40
Always had a little bit of a problem with this pub, nothing really wrong with it just doesn't really deserve to be as packed as it always is! Yes the food is good and the beer is fine, just never understood why it has always taken so long to get served? I suppose I just feel other pubs near by are better so I wouldn't come here that regularly.
Madcap - 10 Jan 2006 17:09
This is a pub for estate agents and snobs, very snooty clientele and rather aloof staff however the beer is good and the food excellent so I guess it all evens out. Lovely decor. A very classy place all in all.
ownedbycats - 17 Nov 2005 03:17
Guest ale is normally a pretty good bet.
nomerac - 21 Jul 2005 12:50
Smashing food.A good pub to go to during the festive period.Not to keen on the dodgey jazz music though.
Daf - 1 Nov 2004 14:42

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