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Black Bull Hotel, Coniston

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user reviews of the Black Bull Hotel, Coniston

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

First time back in nearly 10 years.

Beer - as you would expect from a brewery - is first class.

The rooms have been spruced up to a very high standard too.

Everything was great about our Visit, Blogged at
Mappiman - 23 May 2017 20:39
After a short drive from Ambleside to Coniston the next stop is the Black Bull which is home to the Coniston Brewing Co.

An old fashioned interior with lots of dark wood tables and red velvet banquette seating set off with red carpet. The walls are adorned with pictures of Donald Campbell and he's ill fated Bluebird mission.

Food available and it looked pretty good.

Home of Coniston brewery so there were 4 of their ales on the hand pumps and 2 more on keg. I went for pints of Old Man Ale @ 4.2% and Infinity IPA @ 6.0%

This is a large pub that on my visit was fairly empty, there is a great seating area to the front, the ales are good and it's a perfect village location.

Another from the 2015 GBG ticked.
lezford - 6 Aug 2015 13:56
I liked this pub, although I agree the prices are high. It has Gwent y Draig Black Dragon real cider, which was nice to find far from traditional cider territory.

I only ate here once: it was a substantial and tasty Cumbrian sausage with plenty of gravy. Certainly dog-friendly - there were about 6 well-behaved mutts in the bar each night.
jgurney1 - 26 Apr 2014 23:00
Full choice of Coniston Beers. I enjoyed Oliver's Light Ale. Coniston is my fav village in the lakes and it's worth the effort to get here for the ale on offer.
anybody - 21 Aug 2013 21:18
Looks like The Black Bull will hit the £4 a pint average before a lot of places in London - where I drink quite often. £3.50 for a pint of Bluebird and XB is fine, but where do they get off on charging £3.80 for a pint of their Oatmeal Stout. It's a very nice pint, but come on - it's only 4.2% (same as the Bluebird XB) and brewed just round the corner! Go to any other brewpubs or places where the brewery is just up the road and you'll find the beers a lot cheaper than average for the area.

Anyway, apart from the above moan - well kept beers, friendly staff and a nice traditional Lakeland pub.
littledrummerboy - 13 Mar 2013 08:54
I last posted in Feb. 2010 my quote > "the fish and chips are always class" er well just forget that :( is not the same these days.
They had a menu re-haul a while back and since then the food has taken a turn for the worse, the lovely big fish with light Bluebird batter has been really over cooked the last two times i have had it, also the specials board is always the same things every time we go that is if there is anything left, so not good if like us you are in Coniston regularly.
It is going down hill imo, they must not be too bothered as they get passing trade which is very disappointing.
The beer is good but still way over priced! i mean waaaaay over!!! it truly is daylight robbery, they should be ashamed of them selves!
jueast - 30 Jun 2012 11:21
My favourite of the Coniston pubs. The beer range is superb. I had three of the Coniston Brewery beers - The Oatmeal Stout and Infinity IPA were excellent but I found the Winter Warmer rather bland. I thought the food was very good and reasonably priced. And it's a nice place to hang out of an evening.
Psi - 31 Oct 2011 10:10
This Pub seems to produce a range of opinions, and mine will no doubt raise a few more eyebrows. I have just returned from a short break where I stayed at the Black Bull. Very much a Pub for visitors than locals I found the service friendly and the food very good. It was expensive, but no more so than, say the Sun or the Churchouse Inn down the road in Torver. The beer is without doubt expensive compared to other Pubs but was superbly kept. I would even say that the Bluebird is one of the three best beers I've ever had and all their beers were beautifully kept. Others worth trying were Old Man and the tasty Oatmeal Stout. The accomodation was clean tidy and comfortable. In conclusion I feel that Coniston has an excellent Pub with award winning beers and i, for one would have no hesitation in returning and look forward to doing so.
ahscum - 6 Sep 2011 21:58
We have just been back to Coniston after a short break and how things have changed at the Blackbull !!!! We used to eat regularly there but never again ! My wife and I ordered half roast chicken one with chips, peas and gravy and the other with chips and salad, fairly straight forward I would have thought...what we got was chicken and chips with three lots of salad chips peas and gravy...not a great combo ! When we complained that the order was obviously wrong the waitress blamed us for ordering wrongly...they did give us our money back but it was the smallest piece of chicken on a very small oval plate more like a Childs portion but with a �10 price tag each !!!!! RUBBISH !!! Have had better in our local Morrisons for less than half that price ! Beer was very good though but again way over priced at above �3.00 a pint !!! We have a local real ale pub near us at home in Sheffield The Nags Head at Bradfield where all ales are �1.80 a pint and just as good if not better !!! THINK ON BLACKBULL !!!!
richnsue - 1 Jul 2011 20:40
It would be a very good idea for punters not to vsit this pub until the prices are more normal.

It is the Brewery Tap for Coniston Bluebird which is an excellent session beer. Sadly they grossly overcharge for their own product which is better kept and better priced at (say) The Manor Arms Broughton or The White Hart Bouth.

Tragic and silly.
pheon - 5 Mar 2011 21:27
Was looking forward to visiting this pub, as have admired the beers. But have to agree with previous comments. Pub doesn't seem supported by locals. It lacks atmosphere. The service is nothing special. The beers are in excellent condition and the full range of Coniston beers is a fine selection. The food was really poor. Had a lamb hotpot that was burnt and swimming in oil. Swiftly moved on to the Sun Hotel, much friendlier.
atty - 28 Dec 2010 18:51
Sadly this boozer has lost its way a little. I admit it is in a nice location on the road through Coniston and has space to sit outside. However this is no reason to overcharge for beers (it must be the delivery costs from the brewey 50yards away!), food (a small piece of fish with some stale bread), and a place that promises such character simply delivers a plane nothingness.

A pub with huge potential but due to a guarenteed passing trade it is more than dissapointing
elalaer9 - 14 Jul 2010 15:06
I came on here to say something about the prices only to find that several others have beaten me to it! �3.50 for the stout, and over �3 for the bitter!! Outrageous! I'm a Londoner and I have NEVER paid �3.50 before, and I wouldn't have here if I knew beforehand they were going to charge that. I have to say in fairness that the stout was excellent but for a beer brewed up the road with no transport costs this is a rip-off, pure and simple. i commented to the woman behind the bar and she said- 'it's not expensive for the quality of our beer'. Sorry madam, wrong. But as pete Townshend remarked: 'If you let them do it to you, you got yourself to blame'...
Beerwulf - 10 Jun 2010 22:17
I havent posted since June 07/ June 08 but this time unfortunately the regard i had for my favourite Coniston pub has taken a plunge!
The prices of drinks are just daylight robbery!, we always expect to pay a bit more in these popular places which is fair enough but there comes a time when you have to say whoa! this is just beyond a joke! getting near extortionate!
I guess i will always pay a visit but i refuse to be ripped off, so i guess our days of staying at The Black Bull are not looking as welcoming these days.

Had an episode with one of our meals this time, we sat waiting ages patiently for the vegetables to come, eventually i had to go to the bar, the bar man went to the kitchen then back out to look at the menu, obviously they didnt know the meal included veg, why a chef doesnt know what meals he makes i dunno?, anyway by the time the veg arrived our meal was cold, by this point we had just had enough so got our money back, it was very disappointing and i must say we never experienced this before, i guess just a blip in the system?
Hate to complain, but i think it helps for them to know whats we feel. are you reading Mr and Mrs Bradley?
The fish and chips are always class!

jueast - 16 Feb 2010 14:37
Used to be one of my favourite pubs anywhere in the country, and if it had normal prices it probably still would be. Fair enough, 3 quid a pint I would expect from somewhere like this (seems to be the norm in Coniston and surrounding area), but �4.25 for a 175ml glass of bog standard wine is a rip off. Therefore a round of bitter & wine for me & Mrs Clods came to �7.25. You can buy a whole bottle of wine in the Co-Op next door for �3.99 for christ's sake. Anyway, back to the beer. All well kept as you'd expect. I tried the Blacksmith's Stout (�3.40 a pint by the way) and it was fantastic, and of course the Bluebird Bitter was spot on. Unfortunately, I am now back home, skint and living on Asda's Own Best Bitter whilst Mrs Clods is on Lambrini until payday!
clodsthecat - 12 Nov 2009 15:55
Have to agree about prices - they only brew the stuff out the back, and �3 a pint for the bog-standard bitter is shameless over-charging. Had one here last weekend (Oct 2009) before finding better and cheaper beer (shipped in from faraway Stockport) served by friendlier staff at the Crown Inn round the corner.
Gerremin - 7 Oct 2009 12:54
Not a "local". Rather overpriced although the beers are good and well presented. More of an eating establishment with fine ale. Not the sort of place to go with a crowd of mates if you're looking for craic and liveliness. Cheaper than a big hotel, but only just. Not bad, just don't expect much fun. The sort of place your boss would like. Nice log fire if you're dripping wet after a cold miserable day on the fells.
paddystuart - 20 Sep 2009 21:46
I've always enjoyed the fish and chips here. After a 5 hour drive up from the South of England, it's worth the wait!
kennewam - 20 Jul 2009 20:37
The beer seemed ok in here at the weekend and we seemed to get served by a polite and friendly Barman , we did only stay for one as there was something missing just couldnt put my finger on it
Gunner1 - 14 Apr 2009 13:09
Cashing in on their popularity and they deserve to lose some of it because of that. Miserable staff.
Gerremin - 9 Apr 2009 16:22
�3.70 for a lager, �3-�3.30 for real ales. Much cheaper in the Sun Inn (including for Coniston Brewery's own beer!).
oftenscore6 - 3 Mar 2009 22:15
Lovely pub and brewery tap in the centre of Coniston. Visited last weekend and between us sampled six of their own house beers. All were in excellent condition. The beer is overpriced, however, especially when you consider it's brewed on the premises. Didn't try the food so can't comment on that.
LittleFamilyFish - 3 Mar 2009 13:46
Nice beer, but too expensive. We visited twice, but only had one drink each time due to the price. Food menu look expensive as well. As another reviewer remarked - this is a country pub, not a top restaurant.

hockey - 16 Feb 2009 21:03
Full of character and a lovely pub to relax with a pint in after a walk.
However feel the price of food is definitely taking the water, I order 2 cheese and ham toasties and 2 halves and was charged �13.58, absolutely disgusting, this is a county pub not the Ritz
propowertoolrepairs - 1 Jan 2009 14:49
Popped in to sample the Old Man and Bluebird beers on December 26th. Friendly staff, lovely warming fire to sit by and... fantastic beer!!
quietriot - 29 Dec 2008 09:24
Hello Black Bull, We are coming again in 5 weeks time , we are staying in the cottage again but staying with you in Feb for 3 nights (cant wait), please get us some stuffed chicken breasts ready , although I LOVE FISH CHIPS PEAS AND HOME MADE TARTAR , have it at least twice in my weeks stay, Helen if you managed to get yr pc to work (or managed to work yr pc) BIG HELLO from the WIGAN clan , yr a star, cya on the 1st dec.
netty - 31 Oct 2008 23:34
Great ale - you can see why it's an award winner. The Bluebird XB is a bit different, and recommended. If you don't want a sore head in the morning, try the Light/Pale ale at 3.not very much %.

Lovely pub, especially if it's warm enough to sit outside and there's not too much traffic.
Roodeye - 25 Sep 2008 13:27
Enjoyed a nice pint of Old Man at the home of Coniston's award-winning Bluebird bitter. This pub has a good ambience -- period charm and a friendly atmosphere -- and it serves honest, no-nonsense grub. I agree with others, the Haddock and chips is a good 'un.
priestleysj - 25 Aug 2008 19:09
I was there end of May beginning of June not to stay this time though, still great food i also missed the chicken but the haddock n chips are the best! i was gutted to have to wait for my Bluebird! Helen is a star always makes me laugh! (did anyone find a pack of special cookies?) if so dont eat them i'll be back sooooon!
jueast - 14 Jun 2008 00:54
oh forgot to say THEY RAN OUT OF BLUEBIRD BITTER !!!!!! had none from friday till the following thursday !!!! naughty ... and please do MORE stuffed chicken breasts esspes with cheese and cherry toms PLEASE , (no chicken for our full week ) sad !!!
netty - 14 Jun 2008 00:39
Just visited Coniston again , The Black Bull Inn, superb food , and the staff not bad , hahah sorry Helen (what a lovely person) , she makes our stay worth while , THANKS , the WIGAN clan
netty - 14 Jun 2008 00:33
Wonderful pub- fantastic Connision beers, excellent haddock and chips.
BlindTiger - 19 May 2008 16:59
Landed in here soaking wet after a hard day's being rained on on Coniston Old Man. The beer always tastes good when you're in that sort of state but it was especially good here. Picked it out because it's the brewery tap for Coniston Brewing Co. and had a fantastic couple of rounds of their Light Ale. It was packed so we didn't eat but seemed pleasant enough. Everyone was friendly, even the misguided eejit at the bar who claimed that Led Zeppelin's first album is "pretty terrible really". Honestly, some people.
angelus1981 - 6 May 2008 17:18
Rather odd layout, with the bar effectively being in a corridor between the front and rear lounges, ie more a servery rather than a bar. It doesn't help the 'pub feel' and I can't help thinking the old layout must have been better, but the ale (brewed on the premises) is good. The food was OK but there seems to be a tendency to go for quantity over quality.
Biggles - 15 Mar 2008 19:50
I had clocked the pub in the older CAMRA book 'Room at the Inn'. I have always been a big fan of the excellent 'Bluebird Bitter' and liked the idea of staying at the brew pub. We had never been to the Lake District before so planned to use the break to also discover a bit of the area.
The room which we stayed in was very comfortable but too hot we however noticed a sky light which made it better. The evening meals were ok but the waitress didn't seem too happy serving. The breakfast room seemed a bit embarrassing every morning as most couples seemed very quiet so every one stayed quite quiet not wanting to share their conversation with the whole room.
The main reason for staying was knowing the range of 'Coniston' ales would be available and I would not have to drive. The ales were as expected in excellent condition. The seating area at the front is a good place to sit and watch the world go by.

Love_good_ale - 5 Oct 2007 13:54
Yeah i agree netty the sausage were real cumberland type sausage and the only thing bad about the breakfast yuk! (more than sufficient of everything else though) I love my visits there the fish and chips are great! its the only time i drink a pint of bitter ie Bluebird, i like to try them all out and that Fruli is very refreshing after a long walk! Helen the waitress is great fun and very helpful see you in August Helen! Sue the owner is also very welcoming, luv it!
jueast - 15 Jul 2007 23:19
This has got to be my favourite pub/eating house in the lake district, a very warm welcome, from helen the waitress,Great food, Fish, chips, mushy peas and homemade tartar sauce, THE BEST I HAVE EVER TASTED. A welcome for the dog also. Rooms are excellent, very clean and well maintained. Breakfast very good (but sorry have to say the sausage is on my favourite)Will be coming again this august, i visit this pub about 3/4 times a year, WELL worth a vist.
netty - 15 Jul 2007 22:16
A great place to drink but only a good place to eat. Nothing wrong as such, just not brilliant & quite pricey. Fab spot to sit outside & drink Bluebird though.
malgrey - 2 Jul 2007 16:25
nice pub. most of my experiences are good here but one time when it was pouring down with rain i decided to go in for a pint and the barman had a look of being more worried about me dripping on the floor than welcoming a customer.
donnajunkie - 17 Jan 2007 15:26
The Bluebird ale is Excelent, and you can purchase a mini barrel of the stuff to take home with you. I ate there once and the food was ok but nothing to shout about. I will be going back there very soon - watch this space.
riggwelter - 5 Jan 2007 16:42
Have to disagree with the comments regarding food. We had fish and chips in here a few weeks ago and they were very well presented and beautifully fresh - decent sized portions, too.

There is a full range of the excellent Coniston ales, and sitting outside the front of the pub watching the world go by is a pleasure (does get rather busy though).

Jude_The_Obscure - 13 Jul 2006 17:46
Beer was excellent, food was average (not as bad as some comments below but not great), place was packed even in April
jimatgp - 10 Apr 2006 12:28
I was staggered to read the comment posted by phantomdrinker regarding the quality of food at the Black Bull Inn. I had no issue with the beer but the food was APPALLING! The lunch menu was so over priced it was truely laughable, for example the veggy soup was tinned Heinz (unmistakable) served with a manky little stale roll all for approx �5. I guess I was paying for the expert flick of the chefs wrist as he flipped the lid ("God you should see him, opens a tin like Herbert Von Karian"). Note: drink the beer bring your own packed lunch.
gillyweed - 20 Aug 2005 14:42
While the beer is excellent, the same cannot be said for the food. 3 meals requested: (1) Soup of the day - was out of a tin, with a 200% mark-up, (2)Cheddar Ploughmans - Nearly �7 for a rustic peasants dish made with bulk catering cheese (local produce? What?), also served with rotting lettuce leaves. (3)Jacket Potatoe - Microwaved and served dripping in grease (see previous note on cheese).
Over all - overpriced crap. Just drink the beer.
Scarey_biscuits - 17 Aug 2005 17:02
Good pub and home of the supremely good Coniston Bluebird ale. Nice little place and they serve amazing beer!
Muzthing - 7 Mar 2005 13:43
One of the greatest pubs in the universe. Solid food, faultless beer, friendly staff and even its own micro-brewery. Its Old Man bitter - brewed onsite - is worth a three hundred mile round trip on its own.
phantomdrinker - 19 Feb 2005 21:09

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