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Spyglass and Kettle, Southbourne

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user reviews of the Spyglass and Kettle, Southbourne

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

Fairly predicted choice of ales: GK Abbot, IPA, Old Speckled Hen and best of the lot, Yardbird - which had just run out - typical.
Not many customers so not too long to wait for food.

The soup starter choice was either mushroom or spinach, I chose mushroom - it took nearly an hour to come.
The server did apologise for the delay. I asked him why was my mushroom soup green? Ah, he said, you have got spinach. I'll change it, be about five minutes. If it will only take five minutes, I said, why did the first soup take an hour? No answer.

I think the mains arrived the next day (not that I was still there to find out).
fugglehops - 6 Oct 2019 16:12
Glad I chose this pub rather than the Commodore down the road. It's not great but it is a damn sight better.
Fairly decent choice of ales; Old Thumper, 49er, Old Peculiar, GK IPA and Starry Night. Oh, and the ale that is in every pub.......Doombar.
Wetherspoon type food, okay but nothing too exciting.
Slightly annoyed that only one bar staff was on duty (Thursday 5pm). She worked very well but as I was seventh in the queue an 18 minute wait to get served does feel like an eternity.

Although Greene King owned (like the Commodore) this was a much better pub than I was expecting.
Quite a relaxing atmosphere and decent clientele.
fugglehops - 14 Jan 2018 14:54
Ate here Sunday (5 of us) chose the Roast Pork Belly which was paltry in size with two slices of pork, no crackling, peas were like bullets and the roast potatoes tasted like they had been deep fried.

No apple sauce available and I asked for French mustard and got english

We chose to have puddings and ordered two sticky toffee and 3 spotted dick which arrived with cold custard.

We sent it back at which the waitress seemed surprised! Very poor, i Know its cheap but I would rather spend a tenner in the Toby and get a decent roast.

Needless to say no tip was left. I have heard the manageress does not take kindly to complaints!

Badly in need of a refurb, bar area is dark and dingy.
Foodforthought - 15 Jan 2013 15:48
its a great location and potentialy a great pub but sadly the poor food and mediocre service lets it down.I also agree with many of the reviewers here I was left wasiting at the bar while to"regulars" were served before me,while I was quite blatantly being ignored.
heggy - 25 May 2012 15:01
Could do with a re-furb as it is grubby,Also why do they keep running OUT of beer etc ?,shame as location is great
blackjack - 15 Jul 2011 13:53
This pub has amazing potential which is under used. The location is superb, the beer is good, the food tolerable, but the place is let down by its general grubbiness and the apalling decor in varying shades of mud, sludge and beige. I advise a coat of paint and a good dusting session every few days. surprisingly, the loos were very clean and fragrant ... looked better than the kitchen, in fact. C'mon guys, pull yer socks up and turn this pub into the great place it should be!
ladymoth - 29 Jun 2011 13:34
Poor service if you aren't a "regular". Horrible, ludicrously overpriced food that looks like microwavable ready meals, but cooked in an oven and in smaller portions. Moody school-leavers as bar staff. Not a good place to go, but there are far worse places in Southbourne.
SouthbourneSocialist - 5 Nov 2010 01:41
Still serves a nice pint of beer with good live music, its got to be good!!
jonmartin - 5 Sep 2010 20:36
Visited the pub on a Friday night recently. Good selection of ales. Very mixed crowd. Including a few familiar faces from the now demolished Grange, just up the road. Excellent atmosphere. The place was definitely buzzing. And to top it all, live music from Firebird. The pub has a small slightly raised dancefloor and Firebird must have been doing something right because it wasn't too long before before bodies were gyrating. Look forward to the next appearence of this particular band. Nice to know that when they demolished the Grange they didn't manage to drive live music away from Southbourne Overcliff. I understand there will be live music every Friday and Saturday fom now on at the S & K. Nice one.
raymond_hunslett - 23 May 2010 14:43
As a someone one who once worked in the kitchen when I was a teenager a decade back, I have seen all sides of the Spyglass, and so I offer you my unique opinion. The Spyglass is a little out of the way for a restaurant pub, but is perfectly situated for the summer trade, only 30 seconds walk from the cliff edge. The drinks served are fairly standard for Dorset, although the inclusion of Ringwood brewery places it above many in Bournemouth, personally I have always prefered Ringwood 49er, which is the best local ale. The kitchen is small, but has a proper grill, and the steaks have always been nicely well-done. As its an East Southbourne pub, the staff are unfailingly polite, the regulars come from retirees or middle-class families, the standards are solid, everything is clean and neat and no-smoking. It seems most people have forgotten to mention the large windows, which can make dining in the summer very pleasant. Consensus among my friends is its a solid above average, no-one has had a bad meal, and while the food is not exquisite, it is not expensive. For comparisons, think of a Carvery, or a Harvester without the salad bar and the chavs.
DarranShort - 23 Mar 2010 18:24
Very nice mixed grill...and nice pint of cider to go with it......alll in all a class act!!
jonmartin - 9 Aug 2009 22:12
Waited with a friend at the bar for about 10 minutes. It was obvious that we were waiting to get served but we were totally ignored and the pub wasn't particularly busy at the time. Solution ... we went down the road a little to the "Commodore". The moment we walked in we were spotted by a young barmaid who approached us with a smile and asked what we would like. Now that's what I call service. The Abbot's real ale was superb, so we had two or three. Enough said ......
robertstanier - 29 Jul 2009 19:23
had drinks and lunch here today. All round quite reasonable, food basic but good, and not over expensive. It seems to have had a good scrub up since I last visted but still a little tired around the edges.
pioneer - 23 Jun 2009 22:00
Had a meal here yesterday. The pub wasn't busy, but it still took an hour and fifteen minutes to arrive.Both meals were stone cold and inedible. There are many good pubs in Bournemouth don't waste your time and money in this one.
Belair - 22 Mar 2009 17:25
I come to bmouth at the weekends for work. We often end up here as its nearby. omg theres a lot of personal comments on this place, lets keep our coments on the pubs we visit rather than the personal stuff i think..... I have to say it is a basic bub with basic food but the staff are really friendly and down to earth, not a bunch of robots walking around like in most food pubs... if you prefere real people serving real ales and basic good food come here.
randolf - 9 Dec 2008 10:04
We went for a meal at the Spyglass midweek recently.

I disagree with the previous comments about the barstaff,I have always found the drinks service prompt and friendly and the new "B&Q does New England" style bar hadn't changed that at all.

The four of us arrived at 18.10,there was a couple already eating and a table of six ordering food as we got our drinks.Rashly we decided to put our food order in a mere 10 minutes after the group of six had ordered,however the gamble paid off and our "meals" were rushed to our table a mere 40 minutes later.

The new signage outside states "Wholesome Food-served daily".I am not sure which part of the day they serve the wholesome stuff midweek but it is certainly not between 18.45 and 19.15.

Someone somewhere is missing a real trick with the Spyglass,it could and should be so much better.Perhaps the volume of holidaymaker business it generates in the summer means it just doesn't matter to the owners.Resplendant in it's new coat of strangely muted greens reminiscent of a derelict Naval gunboat,"The Rudderless Ship" might be a more appropriate name these days.

Highly recommended for those first dates you really don't want to go any further or for punishing the inlaws if they have been irritating.
atticus - 11 May 2008 09:19
I had the most disjusting meal at this pub tonight, ranging across the table from undercooked to overcooked with the quality or meat being that of pedigree chum. The staff are rude and only serve the ones they obviously have relationships with. There was an obscene act in the toilets which greatly upset me. I feel this is a very poor quality restaurant with poor quality supplies, understaffed and unfriendly unless you have a Southbourne postcode. PS Im still hungry as I had no food 3 plates of food out of 6 were edible.
steakwannabee - 3 May 2008 22:28
Went there last Sunday for a Roast after a long day at work. Parked to the sounds of very loud music coming from the kitchen. Were served at the Bar eventually, with no Stella and a WARM glass of white wine. Ordered Beef Sunday Roasts - what came out looked awful. Deep fried roast potatoes, baby carrots and peas - the peas were the best bit of the meal, and slices of beef coated in a thick gravy. Think it must have come out of a bag, and dreaded to think what would have happened if we'd wanted the gravy separately! All in all, a very poor experience and total waste of money. We would have been better having a cheese sandwich at home. Dread to think what the neighbours in the flats across the road have to put up with all that loud music. Will definitely give this a miss in the future.
dorsetknob - 13 Apr 2008 12:16
I agree with the last review. If you're not a regular here you never get served. Only ever been here twice and both times was left standing at the bar waiting to be served. The staff were hopeless. I've heard the food is below average too.
TTTT - 12 Apr 2008 19:22
It is good that there is team spirit here - however, I have found it only to be for their benefit and not for the (non-regular) customers who are invariably ignored and wait patiently for service while the 'social whirl' continues at the end of the bar (reserved for staff?).
There is a golden opportunity to practice good impartial innkeeping after the forthcoming refit - I fear it will not be taken. Are the staff managing the manager? - the chef's radio is still at full volume, god help the poor sods that live opposite.
dorsetknob - 11 Feb 2008 10:59
A Great Pub, brilliant atmosphere with really friendly staff and management. The drinks are great value and The food is excellent and really good value. We found the atmosphere to be welcoming and friendly and there is a great music and live quiz night every Wednesday. And on each first Thursday of the month there is a racing night where you can win money. There are theme nights on Halloween and new year where you can dance to the live DJ. All in all a really fab pub. Thanks spindizzi
spindizzy - 24 Jan 2008 17:07
oh yer nd we love all u people out there that love us - keep on cummin in!! xxx
princesstarn - 18 Jan 2008 21:26
right... as a waitress at the good old spyglass and kettle pub i do not like to hear this as i think the staff are very welcoming and nice to our regulars as well as newcomers...i love rays music (the chef) i think its different peoples taste ey! u cnt hear it in the restaurant so i dnt know wot u r all crying about...the pub is havin a refurb in feb so maybe that will satify all u people hoo jus sit there and diss pubs all day u not hav jobs??...US RUDE STAFF love to go to the spyglass on our days off we just cant keep away, thats how good it is in there! us staff would appreciate it if u did not slag the pub off we r nice to customers, they are always right ey ;) xxx love u all - tarnia xxx
princesstarn - 18 Jan 2008 21:24
Bar staff very good and always make you itself quite tired inside,almost victorian in appearance.However nice fire in winter and good outside patio.lager always seem flat which is a shame.but food very good value.All in all though a great family pub with a warm welcome.
longtail - 5 Dec 2007 19:04
A proper pub,great value food,and lovely bar staff.
Keep it up guys!
mmmvodka - 7 Oct 2007 17:28
I went to this pub on friday night with a mate and my family. There were several parties and the pub was full. At the bar there was a party of people celabrating one of the managers being there for 10 years. It was richard as mentioned in preveous reviews. What a grate place, everyone - especially the staff were really friendly and made us all feel welcome. I couldnt believe a pub in sleepy southbourne could be so lively - whilst at the same time not having the normal undesirables you can get in busy pubs. I was happy for my kids to be there. The food was basic but really good value 2x 10" ribeye steaks for 10! The place does need a refurb though. ref preveous comments about the managers. Whilst I was drinking at the bar i spoke to Sam, Richard and Gary. They all spoke to us like real people which is rare for pubs these days. I am happy to recomend this place to anyone.
badsmurph1 - 10 Feb 2007 23:06
It looks as if Dorset Knob's wish may have come true as there was a fire here the other day so perhaps the chef's radio perished.

Regarding the question of anonymous postings, I'm not sure what 'bournemouthlovers' point is. Surely your entry is equally as anonymous as the aforementioned anonymous posting (as is mine) unless you have changed your name by deedpoll to bournemouthlover.

As far as the pub goes, not much has changed. I've had better pints of Ringwood 49er in my time and you still feel like an interloper if you don't order food.
johnkn7 - 5 Jan 2007 23:25
Busier as a restaurant this year (it seems)compared to previous years. More drinking punters too. Am I right? I wish the manager had the guts to turn the chef's radio off - it's horrible music and too loud.
dorsetknob - 5 Jan 2007 20:47
An 'honest' pub serving reasonable food, good access (wheelchair-friendly) and relatively child friendly too. Which in Bournemouth is a rare combination. Sure it's not a perfect pub, but its family orientation serves a purpose. And the food is good value. Better than the usual chain food/pub outlets
madras1234 - 26 Oct 2006 11:56
If your dying for a drink,don't go there.The bar service is lousy.Bring back the old days when it was the Ocean Hotel
nigegil - 30 Aug 2006 12:52
My wife and i stayed at this pub for 3 nights, it is small and we had a room on the second floor which is reached by a winding staircase from the bar, great fun to haul the suitecases
I was very happy to stay there, most of the staff were very friendly and the food was very good, there were a few real ales on offer too, overall a very nice stay.
bournemouthlover - 10 Aug 2006 00:17
i found the pub lacked personality, and the staff were dull and unprofessional. my pint was drinkable, although a little expensive and my food was NOTHING exceptional, in fact tastless. the service was satasfactory.
anonymous - 15 May 2006 01:14
We decided to go to the Spyglass & Kettle for a meal and a drink. The staff were very friendly and my husband was pleased to see several real ales. The meal was substantial, nicely cooked and presented. In fact a very friendly family pub, offering good value food and drinks.
On returning home I have read the various anonymous comments and think these peoply visited a different pub, they seem to have a vendetta against the staff. Is it right that anon can make such comments without the bottle to disclose their names!
HAZEL_B - 24 Mar 2006 16:06
I have been bringing my family and friends here for several months and can say that not only is the food very good value (2 meals for 10 Mon-Fri)but the staff are the friendliest I have come across. And that is all staff all of the time. No mean feat!!!
I had to laugh the night when I saw the Manageress lift the "No Smoking at the Bar" sign, 2" from a customers nose (and ciggy in mouth) to help him read it. See they even cater for the very short sighted.
Intrepid - 12 Mar 2006 07:04
Used to be known as the ocean hotel.Then it was cosy.Now owned by a chain the atmosphere of the pub ha changed
nigegil - 9 Mar 2006 15:49
Dark and stale inside- urgently needs a redecoration.
Only adequate for the drinker - food is king here. Ringwood Old Thumper should be sold instead of 49er.
Cut down the hedges at the front of the lawn area and give the drinkers a view - move all the food trade to the back of the pub. Tell the cook to turn his radio off and ban off duty staff from using the bar!
Good Sparrow population in nearby gardens.
dorsetknob - 6 Mar 2006 13:50
This pub in no way deserves the criticism that it has had from past reviewers. This is a great pub for food and drink alike. They have an extensive selection of two meals for 10 and the drinks are reasonably priced. Staff are incredibly friendly and particularly the management, Samantha and Richard, who have developed a good base for a growing number of regulars. Everyone is made to feel welcome. What do people expect for these prices, its not exactly going to be a la carte but it's excellent value for money.
Richard is an excellent Deputy Manager and i wholeheartedly disagree with the comments made by a previous reviewer!
Bagpuss - 6 Mar 2006 13:05
Splendid pub, and was made to feel very welcome by staff.
The atmosphere is good, catering for both smoking and non-smoking customers.
The food, especially the desserts, are generously sized and tasty.
To the "anonymous" chicken who slagged off Richard as an "alcoholic", this site is not for picking on staff members personally, and quite frankly your comments are overtly exaggerated.
numb15 - 6 Mar 2006 12:59
If you like a long wait then this is your pub.

we also heard someone in the kitchen telling his mate to "lick" the steak
anonymous - 19 Aug 2005 15:13
Reasonably priced food, and lots of it for your money. Decor ok, tired grubby looking carpets could use an overhall. Nice mid week lunch time to sit at the front windows for drink/food. Too busy Sunday for food.
pioneer - 7 Aug 2005 20:21
Yeah, more of a restaurant really but a nice atmosphere and good snacks and proper meals.
princess_kaz - 26 Mar 2005 16:41
Was in there for a drink on Sunday - it really is more of a restaurant than a pub.

The RINGWOOD Beer was nice though.
seasiderMM - 25 Jan 2005 14:16
went there a few years ago, and swore i'd never go back - got dragged in there recently and it was worse! have to agree with the other comments, the staff are rude and should really look for other jobs as they are clearly not bar staff material. A fine example of what a bad chain pub is like.
anonymous - 12 Jan 2005 11:00
I celebrated my birthday here with 16 friends and was very dubious about there being so many of us but the service and the food were excellent. We all had a really good evening.
J Selby - 8 Nov 2004 20:32
I think by now that anybody reading this, must feel that the Spyglass and Kettle is a bad place. There are those who like a cold unfriendly atmosphere, and they will probably like it. The staff hate the customers - and locals avoid it. The only reason that the Spyglass and Kettle keeps going is because of the holiday trade with the countless grockes. Anyway avoid this place, and go instead to either the Grange or the Commodore.
Peter Froude - [email protected] - 29 Oct 2004 13:39
after being a regular patron of the spyglass for the last six years or so. It pains me to have have to make the following statement, in that i have noticed a marked deterioration in the quality of the food, but even more painfuly the attitude of the staff. This has become at best rude and condecending to downrite ignorant.The management seem totally absent and not in anyway concerned at the ground level of the business or how their staff conduct themselves.
I would therefore conclude that
if you like a quick drink after work then the Ringwood best is good, but if you need to eat look elsewhere.

simon durrant - 18 Sep 2004 16:00
Good if want to take someone with a big appetite as they do hungry man challenges.
R McMillan - 16 Sep 2004 12:54
I went to the SPYGLASS&KETTLE a couple of weeks ago and i was discusted by the amount of respect we were shown we went in there and the food took 1 and a half hours to be served and to say the response we got from the waitress was terrible she completly dissrespected the whole party we asked for some sause for the kids meals and she said you know where they are ! i was commpletly outraged by the whole situation . it was my sons 4th birthday and the food was under cooked . what more can i say this is a terrible pub and i wouldnt recomend it to anyone not even a cockroach what bleddy ignorant swinse . thanks for your time MR Tanner

peter tanner - 4 Jun 2004 18:34
The Spyglass and Kettle is a hotel conversion, and so it is not a genuine pub. The decor is fine however, and it has some good ales. I cannot help but wonder what genius thought up the name. A spyglass yes because it is on the top of a cliff - but where did the kettle come in? Anyway it is very foody as that is where the profit is. The trouble is that one gammon steak with a fried egg on the top is exactly the same as all the others. The staff are not very friendly, but at closing time they can turn nasty. A person could easily have a glass taken from their hand. By the way I have seen the manager from the next establishment (the Commodore) relaxing there at lunchtime. I bet his boss does not know.
Peter Froude - [email protected] - 11 Nov 2003 22:28
Another one of these places that is more like a restaurant with a licence. You are made to feel uncomfortable if you don't order any food. The food is excellent however and so is the Ringwood Best
John - [email protected] - 16 Apr 2003 15:03

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