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Drovers Inn, Gussage all Saints

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user reviews of Drovers Inn, Gussage all Saints

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

Surprised that there is only one has review (1 year since the re-opening). This is an excellent community-owned pub with an extremely good range of local beers and one outstanding still cider. The (locally sourced) food is very good too and it isn't all that expensive. It's off the beaten track, most of its clientèle are locals. but it is a friendly place, well worth searching out.
HenPen - 24 Jul 2017 08:47
Pub has now been opened again under local community ownership - well done people. Visited last night for a quick pint to add my support and it was very welcoming, my pint was probably from the Ringwood Brewery (not sure) and was good. Reasonable amount of parking and a beer garden out front with new shades, tables & chairs. Looked at the food menu which wasn't extensive but we need to remember the pub has only just opened and will need time to build up the menu to what sells to keep the place viable. The pub is tucked away in a small village, and might be a good stopping point on walks as the countryside around is stunning.
addick - 24 Jul 2016 10:41
Boarded up for about a month now. Locals say that a "change of use" application is in, so probably Good-Bye to an excellent country pub.
HenPen - 3 Jan 2015 12:01
Went on a Saturday lunchtime, the bar to the left is furnished as described below, the other bar was full of parents and children and there were also a number in the left hand bar. More of a restaurant than a bar but a cosy atmosphere nevertheless. Four Ringwood ales on the handles, my 49er was in excellent condition. Unfortunately there was only one person serving, he also left the bar to serve food and collect dishes. I expect this pub is very popular in the summer and would need further staff to avoid long waits. My baguette was very good and good value, I felt prices for main courses to be rather high.
Feed - 18 Apr 2012 09:04
This is another pub that is punching well above it's current low Rating. I checked on line to make sure they served food on a Monday. 'Which they did'. On the Monday we visited the menu was somewhat reduced as the previous day was Mothering Sunday. Mind you what was left on was more than adequate.

O.K first impressions. Lovely old pub exterior. Bit disappointed with the interior, a little too modern with the black chairs but my wife added that they were very comfortable whilst I perched on an old pew. Very warming open fire 'always a plus point'.

The beer was excellent, we all enjoyed the Boondoggle.

Now to the food, Two of us had Guinea foul, which was perfect. Another had belly pork with a great side dish of crackling. No complaints from any of our party with regard to the food. Also I am pleased that all the veg is freshly prepped, no frozen rubbish and they have their own kitchen garden. The food is reasonably priced when you consider the quality you are getting.

So all in all we were impressed. My rating an 8.5 and we shall be going back.
John.T - 19 Mar 2012 20:01
Popped in on a Sunday afternoon breaking up a bike ride. Lovely pint of Ringwood Boondoggle. Lots of people still eating at 4pm. Young chap behind the bar seemingly unhurried despite people waiting to order and pay. Oh well, it's his Sunday too I suppose. Nice atmosphere, hazy summer afternoon in the garden. Could have happily drunk 3 or 4 more delicious pints (all Ringwood; think it was Thatchers cider) but may well have fallen off my bike or had collar felt by local plod.
michael_winner - 1 Aug 2011 12:18
So disappointing! Had been here for a drink about a year ago and thought the pub seemed great. Decided to go for lunch when the relatives came to visit last weekend and the whole experience was a total let down. We ordered food but waited over an hour to receive it. Not given any explanation, one of our party asked the bar staff how long we would have to wait and we were fobbed off with a weak reason. Lots of other customers were also waiting and getting restless. Finally the food came and it was OK, tasty but not spectacular. We felt the menu may be too big for the kitchen to cope with? The guy who served our food didn't give an apology which we felt was strange, considering the lengthy wait. Upon paying, a large queue had formed at the bar and the same guy was struggling to cope...more of a hinderance than a help to the poor girl behind the bar. My relative made a comment that we had waited a very long time for our food, but the guy just apology at all! In the end my partner forced an apology by suggesting, " Don't you think an apology is in order?" Reply finally came: "Well of course I'm sorry." -imagine a sarcastic tone! Nice attitude... Don't think we'll bother again. The Bull in Wimborne St.Giles looks much better if you're in the area.
gongapop - 31 May 2011 21:17
I personally think there are better pubs in the South of England, having sampled many, and its a very sweeping statement for someone to make that this pub is the best unless you have actually visited all of them. The Drovers is ok, I wouldn't go there for a special occasion to eat. Its not in my top 10 but not in my bottom 10 either.
boatlover1 - 3 Apr 2010 17:08
Let me get this straight lil_wine drinker and jamie_potty_mouth. I've written a few facts about my three visits to this pub in 2009 and they accurately describe my experiences.

I've been a irregular visitor to this pub since 2005, going a few times a year. But because you presumably both know the tenants, you think it accepatable to take umbrage with my comments, because I've failed to gush about how great I think the place is?

This is a place for people to report their experiences in pubs not a fan-club.

I've always been happy with the drinks here, I've always been happy with the staff. I've had three poor meals in 2009, paying between £60 £90 each time and I'm reporting what I experienced.

I expect my food to come on plates that are hot. I expect the food to be hot and I expect all meals to arrive at the same time. You two might not, I do. Clear? Your personal abuse is unwarranted and slanderous.
rgb - 1 Feb 2010 16:51
rgb I don't think you know what you are talking about!!!

The beef (is actually water buffalo) and one of the best roast dinners I have EVER had!
The hot rock is amazing and when i'm there it seems very popular too.

I could go on but I think Jamie.dawson42 has already said everything for me and I agree with Jamesnichols when he says he "would challenge anyone to find a better all round pub in the south of england."

I think Jason and Jo do an amazing job running this traditional country pub! Keep up the good work guys!!!

lil_winedrinker_H - 25 Jan 2010 12:51
This pub has changed hands so often in the past and it is nice that it seems to have established itself once more on the map with locals and "outsiders" The food is good and well resented as is the beer and wines, although I have had a dirty glass here more than once.

Log fire and pleasant gardens int he summer make this a pleasant pub to visit: nice too that they support the local community and when I last visited it seemed to be doubling up as a shop.
Savapub - 9 Jan 2010 22:25
You arrogant c$%k!!

Read your user description, I cannot believe anyone would be so pompous to write that about themselves.

I wrote one of the previous reviews and you should believe it!! We eat at The Drovers regularly and we also would count ourselves as locals to the bar.

The Drovers IS NOT A RESTAURANT. It is however a bloody good pub which upholds traditional values, and serves very good and very local food.

The only time I have had a cold plate is when it has a salad on it (fair enough who wants cooked lettuce).

The wine has gone up in price over the last three years, so has food so has beer come to that. But it’s gone up in price everywhere do they not have inflation ‘In The Forest’?

We are very proud of our local. Jason, Jo & Staff work so hard to make everything as good as they possibly can, I should imagine that they find the odd rude comments on this site soul destroying! In an area and economic climate where pubs change hands (OR CLOSE) all too often perhaps we should be supporting the ones that have stood the test of time, where the landlords are villagers not just locals, and before we carelessly run them into the ground behind their backs on sites such as this, we should think of the impact that we could have on their business (which is generally their home and their children’s home!)

Please remember this site is called ‘Beer In The Evening’ not ‘Run A Pub Into The Ground’. If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.

Jason and Jo are always striving to make The Drovers a great place to be if you have a problem talk to them THEY WILL SORT IT!! I can honestly say that we have a couple here who are passionate and caring about their pub and customers!! (Please don’t listen to other reviews on this site which slag Jo off, I was there that evening and take my hat off to Jo for standing up to the woman who tried to bully her in the middle of her home!)

jamie.dawson42 - 2 Dec 2009 09:19
Thought I'd add another review, as my last was 3 years ago.

I like this pub, it has very good beer. All it lacks is someone in the kitchen who can cook. My last 3 visits in 2009 have all been spoiled by poor cooking.

I don't believe the reviews immediately prior to this one. There's no way that i could've been so unlucky, three times running. #

The hot-rock idea doesn't work, bin it.

If you don't know how how to cook venison or beef, then either remove it from the menu, or change your meat supplier.

When 4 people order food, it's important to know how long each dish takes to cook, in order to ensure all meals finish cooking at the same time.

Plates should be warmed, before food is put on them.

Beer is still excellent, wine range has increased in price and decreased in choice.

I've moved my rating down to a 7, for the pub and it's a 1 for food. I really don't want to pay for food, that I could cook better at home.
rgb - 25 Nov 2009 19:38
This pub is a must for locals and people visiting the area alike, offering a great selection of well maintained and rotated beers (the full ringwood selection + 1 guest ale) and the best value food in the area. highlights include the homemade steak and kidney pie and the daily updated specials board which always offers seasonal treats such as roast pheasant, local venison and homemade dorset pate, as well as sunday specials that you wont find anywhere else (roast topside of water-buffalo springs to mind! steaks are served on 'hot rocks' which are a put-off for some but trust me try them for yourself! great experience and the best quality local steaks.
all of this combined with friendly and accommodating staff and management, a big open log fire during winter and large peaceful beer garden ensure that whether im looking for a quick drink on my way through on a summers day or a cosy meal out with the family, this is my port of call.
what are you waiting for?
VFR2009 - 22 Nov 2009 10:32
Have been to the Drovers quite a few times. Always welcomed by a warm log fire im winter and a friendly barman who serves some of the best ale I have had in a long time . I particularly recomend the sunday lunch. I had the belly pork the other day which was cooked to perfection. Potatoes were perfect and it was lovely to go to a pub which does not give soggy microwaved vegetables. The specials board seems to be changed regularly and always has a delicious selection of food. Finally, I would particularly recomend the pies which are delicious and would challenge anyone to find a better all round pub in the south of england.
Jamesnichols - 16 Nov 2009 19:19
Been visiting the Drovers for the past year, and can’t speak badly off it.

From the moment you pull up in the car park with its beautiful orchard and wild animals meeting and greeting you, and the well kept vegetable patches, were the chef picks there produce from, and uses on the menu. The pub itself inside its buzzing with character, front of house is spot on, always greeted with a fantastic welcome and service is second to none. As a beer man myself I can say there is not a better pint in the area, 5 choices of real ales, 4 ringwoods and one guest ale, which recently was the "hobgoblin" which I enjoyed tremendously. The beer is very well kept, and all staff are very knowledgeable. The menu is changed with regards to the season and the specials board seems to change daily, the food is FANTASTIC, really good value and you are sure to get hit with flavour, you are always sure to find game on the specials board, from pheasant to rabbit, or pigeon to Venison, which pleases me.

I saw below someone criticising the hot rocks, but I urge you to try them, because they are fantastic, I go for the steak on the rock, as it’s always delightful, but I saw on the new menu, there were other interesting items on there such as swordfish and pri pri pork, must try that soon. The menu itself is very readable, and there is always something different I want to try, you can tell the chef is using the freshest ingredients, and its cooked respectfully.

Overall I think this pub is brilliant and must be supported. The weekends get very busy so make sure you book though! my rating is 9/10

peter.robers77 - 15 Nov 2009 16:54
We went to the Drovers for a relaxing meal. A very nice pub, clean and lots of character. However the hospitality and service were diabolical. The pub was not crowded and most people were there to eat. We ordered and settled down to wait. After an hour we enquired what had happened to our order. It took an hour and ten minutes to be served, without any apology or comment from the waiter. We had only ordered small portions as we had decided to follow with deserts. The desert menu was for some reason not available and our only choices were brownies or ice-cream. Again no explanation. We felt that the owner of the pub just couldn't care less. Most disappointed we left. If there were problems about the length of wait for the meal we could have been warned when ordering.
SuzanneH - 5 Sep 2009 22:34
Won't be going here again which is a shame as the quality of the ingredients and the beer were good. What spoilt if for us was the ridiculous hot tiles the food was served on to cook yourself at the table. We chose homemade burgers which are cooked by the chef! but these were sold out. We there fore resorted to steak and chicken both served on a hot tile. My daughter asked for bread and butter but they had sold out of butter!!!! As expected the steak and chicken was awful. No way could you cook the steak properly and my chicken towards the end was tough and exceedingly crispy. A waste of good ingredients! The menu was very restricted if you wanted to avoid the DIY dinner. Ditch the tiles and get the chef to do the cooking. The tacky posters on the walls advertising the hot tiles and the house music did not enhance this country pub. Shame!
galriad - 16 Aug 2009 23:37
A truly awful experience. Starters were not as described on the menu (e.g. beef and venison carpaccio with no venison) and no explanation of this was given by staff. Mains were okay, but £12.5 for a chicken breast and undercooked chips is a bit steep. The side of vegetables for the other two mains to share was pitiful. Staff and Management were both unwelcoming and rude - giving very insincere apologies when we tried to point out our dissatisfaction.

Management seemed more interested in clearing out the dining customers to make way for the band who began setting up around us. We were not the only table to experience problems - the table opposite were brought their mains before their starters and were left sitting amongst the amplifiers until they requested to move.

You order food at the bar, which is fair enough, but when we had finished our mains we were not presented with a desert menu or given an opportunity to request the bill. You have to queue at the bar to pay the food bill. When I asked for a small deduction to our bill by way of a good will gesture for the problems we had encountered, the Manager (Jo) wanted to argue about every point I raised. Ironic given that on every table and around the bar are 'Komment' cards asking for customer feedback.

The whole experience left a very unpleasant taste; suffice to say, we won't be returning or recommending.
Dorsetdweller - 29 Jun 2009 12:36
Outstanding country pub that I like to call my 'spiritual' local. I've never come across anther quite like. Standing on the chalk hills of the Craborne Chase it looks as if it has been there forever.
First things first, you find, it you shouldn't have any trouble parking. The beer is good, usually four Ringwood ales and a Marston's guest. Marstons purchase of Ringwood Brewery hasn't harmed the beer one little bit but it has reduced the choice of the guest beers. There's cider, lager, a selection of wines and sprits and all the usual bottles. The drinks aren't cheap but the prices are unexceptional for the area.
The true glory of this place is however the food. Middle of the road prices for oustanding quality, all prepared on the premises. The choice is varied, often quirky and surprising, always worth a try.
I can't say too much about the staff, I know them all, and that clouds my judgement. To me they always they seem friendly and helpful. Dogs are welcome as are kids but bad behaviour is not tolerated from either.
A couple of tips, at weekends and BH's the Drover's can get very busy. The beer can suffer a little at time like that and the menu can look a little sparse Mondays and Tuesdays.
My rating 9. For what it is the Drover's is damn nigh perfect.
Runningdog - 18 May 2009 11:08
17th cent part thatched formerly known as Earl Haig and rescued from closure by Ringwood Brewery in 2005. Beers are well kept and legend says a Highwayman haunts the cellar. Flag floors huge inglenook, good beer garden. Good unspoilt country pub with a village shop counter too. 5 hand pulls give 4 Ringwood beers + guest mainly from Marstons – shame. Live music 4th Fri.
Menu a bit odd & over expensive.

Reviewed 13/02/09 by SADCATS on Tour! SCORE- 7.

Saxon_Scooper - 17 Feb 2009 21:01
This is probably the best pub in Dorset! It has a warm friendly atmosphere and is what you would expect from a true country pub.
All the food is freshly prepared and cooked my the landlord and his kitchen staff and there is always something nice on the menu. No prepacked defrosted rubbish like other pubs. Even the peas are nice. Everything is fresh and organic..
It Has a large beer garden out the front so children are welcome. Jason and Jo always give you a warm welcome and all the staff are very helpful. Good beer too! All in all a lovely family freindly country pub - one of which Jason and Jo can be very proud of..
GSX14man - 6 Nov 2008 13:13
I love this Pub the food is fab and the ale always good! I love the fact dogs are welcome and it has a lovely garden for the summer!! A really Friendly atmosphere from the staff and locals, always a pleasure!
The only thing i could say is why don't they stock White Zinfandel? My favorite wine would make my favorite pub even better .
lil_winedrinker_H - 5 Nov 2008 15:46
Just read the comment below from "thelatedoctor"......
there is nothing wrong with the roof....
The dark patches on the roof in the picture is Moss..not missing tiles...we get that in the country.

Come visit the pub and see for yourself... it's worth the trip.

the_wandering_barman - 21 Jul 2008 16:21
Is this pub really OK? There seem to be loads of tiles missing from the roof!
thelatedoctor - 14 Jul 2008 09:29
locally sourced, freshly prepared food and one of the best kept cellars around, along with friendly staff means that the drovers is always a joy to visit. good value traditional pub food and an increasingly inventive specials board means that there is something there for everyone...if you are in the area it is a must that you visit!
honestbill - 29 Jun 2008 16:24
A few miles from me but a lovely run up Cranborne Chase on a nice evening. And the Ringwood beer is always excellent. Haven't yet tried the food, but it looks good so will do. Good beer and friendly service, real fire in the winter, nice garden in the summer. Quiet location with great views. And with no smokers polluting it now, it's just how a pub should be. I'll rate it further when I try the food.
camranelly - 8 May 2008 12:49
great is fantastic..

try their homemade produce...
local produce (local =10 miles)

check out the village shop!
dorset_pub_traveller - 28 Apr 2008 23:14
A very enjoyable lunch. Nice atmosphere. Would recommend it.
skibum - 25 Jan 2008 11:29
Thank you ‘alehouse’ for your observations, firstly we would like to assure you that our fryers are cleaned out once a week (Every Friday morning). We have found that one of the negative side effects of the smoking ban is that smells that would have previously have been masked by tobacco smoke are now a lot more noticeable and we are trying to get round this problem with scented candles etc. Please could we ask everyone to let us know your comments before you leave the pub, we really want to make this place as enjoyable as possible for you guys using traditional pub values, and the quicker you tell us things like ‘alehouse’ has noticed the quicker we can address these issues and make The Drovers a great place for everyone.’

Jason & Jo

The_Drovers - 18 Jan 2008 00:41
probably the best kept and served Ringwood ales for miles around........but, the horrible smell of old, used, food frying oil pervades the whole place when the kitchen is in action...shame.
alehouses - 7 Jan 2008 15:18
Just a note to tell Jason, Jo and the rest of their team, thanks for a great Chrismas lunch.As for the rest of you, you get a chance, do yourself a favour, go there.
Runningdog - 27 Dec 2007 11:47

Christmas is over for another year! But even over the next few Month's there is plenty going on at the Drovers.
New Years Eve....Enjoy a New Years Eve with a difference. International ghost hunters gather on the eve of the new year in the hope of detecting the spirit of a long deceased highwayman said to haunt the cellar. As the party gets into full swing it all becomes apparent that not everyone is who they seem to be.......
With a 3 course meal and all the trappings of New Year wrapped into a murder ghost mystery, this is set to be a night to remember well past the bongs of Big Ben!
Tickets for the murder mystery and meal: £54.95
just come long and enjoy a drink and celebrate New Year with friends

everyone is welcome..

Tuesday 15th January...Gurkha Curry Night

They are back, once again by popular demand..

Enjoy a Buffet style evening, of traditional Nepalese curries and vegetable dishes cooked up by the Gurkhas themselves!!
£10 per person

this night is always very popular, so, booking is advised.

Thursday 24th January...Burns Night

Come a celebrate Burns Night with the traditional Haggis, Neeps, Tatties and of course ...The Piper!

Price and Menu to follow soon, or ring Jason or Jo at the Drovers.

Thursday 31st January.....Chinese New Year
Come and enjoy a Buffet style evening, of traditional Chinese dishes
£10 per person

Again bookiing is advised

keep a look out for more events in February. Including a fantastic Valentines Meal and Evening.


The return of Red Dog..a local Folk and Blues Band playing a collection of covers and their own music.

Also the Landlord, Jason has decided to do two Beer festivals this year!!! one in the Spring and one in the Autumn..Dates to follow soon..

Thats all folks...
any queries give Jason or Jo a ring at the pub..

all the best for the New Year..

(the old bugger behind the bar)
The_Drovers - 26 Dec 2007 00:33
I live some six and a half miles away but this my local pub of choice. The beer varies from seriously drikable to absolutely great, both for choice and quality, and, according to Jason, the choice is about to get better. Never thought that Marstons taking over Ringwood Brewery would have a silver lining but Old Thumper rotating with Sneck Lifter and Old Empire sure looks like one to me.
As for food, generally speaking it is pretty good to excellent, on occassion, even better, and the term local supplier doe not always come close. I've got a photo of my Christmas dinner, more free car-park turkey than free-range.
Pubs don't come a lot better tahn this.
Runningdog - 15 Dec 2007 21:47
Very good, with a fairly wide selection of beers and v. good locally sourced foods (and a sort of mini-farmers market).
HenPen - 1 Nov 2007 22:20
will the Landlord please put his menu of the day board
where it can be seen,was given a menu,only 2 steaks available and one of those at to be cut in half, two other parties had the same problem, they just left, no
steaks.or curry, we would have all been satisfied if
we had known and seen the board. the beer was 10/10
staff cheerful,entered the pub at 1.35pm left 3.45, that was for 4 adult meals & 1 boys meal,but for all that we
had a good fathers day, and will go again,cost £100.would
like to meet the landlord,YES please.
BOXER - 19 Jun 2007 22:59
Excellent pub warm and welcoming, good food and service. Five well kept real ales all of the Ringwood ales ( Its nice to see Old Thumper ) and changing guest ale lst week was Timothy Taylors Landord. Good food from local suppliers at a reasonable price I had rump steak which was superb, 28 day hung White Park Beef from Cranborne estate, my wife had ovenbaked Gilt Head Bream topped with a chilli and lime butter ( lots of very good fresh fish). Nice to see a country pub with traditional values easy to see why it was awarded Dorset Country Pub Of The Year
anonymous - 21 May 2007 14:10
A very nice pub. I have visited the pub when out cycling and have eaten there several times over the past couple of years. They have a good range of Ringwood Beers and good sensibly priced food.
JJCW - 10 Mar 2007 00:38
Always a good selection of Ringwood beers. Food is good and service as well. Still a pub not a restaraunt thank goodness. Very pleasant pub for a lunchtime or evening pint, or for a meal.
sundaywalker - 4 Mar 2007 11:03
Oh dear, how, what could be a great country pub can get it so wrong.

Handsome, welcoming pub with classic simple yet tasteful interior - mis matched furniture, good though ill tended log fire and pleasing decor.

Beers big range, what a pity that 3 out of 6 on tap were well past their best and tasted vinagery. Real ale has a shelf life and needs good cellar management.

Food left a bad taste in the mouth and a hole in the pocket. Sea bass so overcooked the tail was a brittle blackened crisp - flesh as dry as an old carpet.
Tart tatin someone thinks is a French Normandy tart - Apples with custard infill.
Real shame, I like pubs to succeed when they seem to have all the right ingredients.
broobeer - 3 Feb 2007 23:04
good atmosphere, nice log fire, if a bit small and neglected. Very dog friendly, and nice walks outside the village. Cider was good. Food was very disappointing, and very over-priced for what we got. Perhaps there is an inexperienced chef in the kitchen who hasn't tasted his own 'creations'. really must do better if the pub wants to maintain a reasonable reputation.
anonymous - 3 Feb 2007 22:36
I like this pub. Excellent beer (good range of Ringwood, 4 off) food is good, lots of it and reasonably priced; ask for olives from the big jars behind the bar, very good and reasonably priced.

It's a little austere perhaps, although I'd call it no-nonsense and unfussy.

Never seen it too busy but the staff are always friendly and polite.

Carpark at rear, dogs welcome, garden in front.

Well worth a visit.
rgb - 25 Nov 2006 17:47
This pub is certainly spartan, but with beer this good, who cares? They had the Ringwoods Porter on when I went in. Superb. The food was OK, portions large! It was reasonably busy at 1pm on Sunday, but not packed to the rafters.
MonkeyHanger1968 - 5 Feb 2006 20:10
I am happy to go along with the comments in the previous entry. Very enjoyable in its spartan way.
anonymous - 5 Oct 2005 21:55
Excellent Ringwood tied house with the usual range of ales such as Best, 49er and Old Thumper. The furnishings are pretty spartan but nothing wrong with that. Considering the somewhat remote location, there was a good crowd of people in for a Thursday lunchtime and they seemed to be enjoying the food although I can't personally vouch for its quality. Staff were friendly and efficient and basically this is a top place and I'll certainly be making a return visit.
John - 23 Aug 2004 13:37

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