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Hoop, Stock

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user reviews of the Hoop, Stock

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

Went here early on a Sunday afternoon for a few pints and a meal with my wife. The food was superb and I drank the best Broadside I've ever had. It seemed heartier than previous experiences of this beer in other pubs. Our first visit as we had traveled about 15 miles, and we will be back.
DannyBoy2010 - 11 Sep 2013 14:51
I visited this pub recently with friends for a nice, easy relaxing Sunday afternoon meal with drinks. I'm suprised by a few of the negative comments as I found the place to be charming, good ale and plenty of choice, well served (the young barmaid knew what she was talking about), decent food if not excellent and well presented with great service from the staff. No complaints at all, I will go back and I never give 10/10s so this must have been good. Why not try it yourself?
Mcloj - 14 Dec 2012 12:12
Well, what can I say.

I used to go in this pub quite often and loved it. It was quirky with it's outside loos and had a fantastic array of high quality real ales.

I met up with a friend their today for a quick drink as we were looking for a decent pint of beer, we chose the wrong pub.

There was no good real ale, and what they did have was not in great condition, the place has been modernised and expanded but all the character and charm has been lost. The grass in the beer garden was nearly a foot high as well.

It was my last visit to the Hoop.
RealBeer4Me - 10 Oct 2010 18:27
Read the last few reviews about this pub and sympathise. However, my visit was very different and I can only comment on what I experienced. Friend and I stppoed here after cycling 25 miles and had no problem chaining our bikes up in the garden before entering the pub. Friendly welcome, great pint of Oscar Wilde and probably the best ham, egg and chips I've ever had! Did't sense any hostility or negative atmosphere from locals and would certainly visit again if in the area.
davewat - 31 Aug 2010 12:03
It's a shame to be reading what I have suspected for some time given reports I've received from friends who have visited The Hoop in the last year. I have to say that I have not visited for over 18 months having been out of the country but on my last few visits I had noticed a change for the worse.
Some of the natives have always had a reputation for being decidedly unfriendly towards those who are visiting 'their' village from the surrounding towns. They clearly have a truly unwarranted superiority complex. Much of this I could see rubbing off on the licensee and family- God knows why they would consider themselves great or good!
I can sympathise with Fran911 but perhaps this pub is the last place you would risk being 'naughty' (so you only have reserved sympathy Fran).
This used to be a great pub which I have used on occasions for over 30 years. I'll be giving it a visit in the spring but I suspect I'll be disappointed and that it might be my last visit. There are fewer and fewer good pubs around but the truly good will survive, this one, on evidence is no longer good enough.
stropmag - 24 Dec 2009 19:37
Never before have I visited such an openly hostile and rude establishment. It is my opinion that if they continue down this route, they won't have a business to run and good riddance! It started when we first walked in. I was with my brother and his friend who are both gay. The service that we got behind the bar was unhelpful and disheartening. The guy didn't crack a smile and was the moodiest and least jolly barman I've ever met...still, at least he was just bad at his job, as opposed to being vile and confrontational.

We sat down in the corner away from the majority of the people in the pub. One of my friends wanted some pudding. When he called over the waiter (again he was ridiculously moody) he turned round and said that the kitchen was now closed. To be honest, this was a load of rubbish. They were still taking food out, including puddings. Straight after he left, we asked a waitress who said that they were still serving and she'd bring the menu over. She was the pub's one saving grace. She was good humoured and friendly, which is exactly what all pub staff should be like!

The waiter then proceeded to glare at my table all night. My brother and his friend went out for a cigarette and they were locked out and had to be let in by customers sitting by the door.

When I went to order drinks, I was going to play a joke on my brother (seeing as he was making me buy all the drinks) and so I asked for the most disgusting pint they had. Then this bad natured woman who was at the bar said 'we don't have disgusting pints here', so I said I'd have a Guiness. I just thought this summed them up. I'm from London and if you'd said this in any bar or club, it would have opened up some banter. Not here. Apparently they only acknowledge scowling and grunts.

Also, the pudding that we ordered was eggy. I'm sure the other food they do is nice as it looked it but god, with service like that, why would you want to eat there? I'd rather eat my own arm off than go back.

Finally, we got chucked out. My brother is a bit naughty sometimes and wrote his mate's number to give to the waiter as we were leaving (the one who was horrid all night). The lady who said they didn't do any disgusting pints (who I later found to be the owner so she should know better!!) told us to leave. Bloody hell. I felt they were rude at best and incredibly homophobic at worst. If a straight girl or guy had gone to give their number to someone to be passed on, would she have asked them to leave? The simple answer is no.

In sum, go somewhere else. The food, not that great but passable....the staff were just appalling (apart from the lovely waitress I mentioned earlier). Rude, homophobic, unwelcoming, unsmiling and no banter to be had.

Fran911 - 24 Dec 2009 10:51
This is one of my locals so I am quite a regular visitor. Beers at The Hoop can be a little touch and go (see previous reviews about the variety available).

The beer festival in May always has a good selection of beers, however barrels are being changed all the time so it's often difficult to get the same one twice. Beer festival used to be great, but has become a bit over-commercialised now - absolutely packed out with non-locals and people who don't seem to be able to handle their drink, and the pub really seems to take advantage of this. Barbecue prices at Beerr festival time can also be ridiculous - they were so bad a couple of years ago, everyone started to sneak in their own food!

Food in the pub is ok but it can be a bit hit and miss - had a risotto last time, and it was TINY. Good atmosphere in the pub during non-festival times, and most of the staff are friendly.

polarbear - 23 Sep 2009 16:41
Must agree with drinker999.
What was once a rare survival is now another desperate attempt to part the gullible and aspirational from their money. See also South Weald's Tower Arms, Mill Green's The Cricketers, too painful to go on.

steppedup - 31 Jul 2009 16:43
Sadly. what was once one of Essex's great beer houses has now almost completely sold out to being a foodie place. The range of real ales changes little now and the choices are nothing to get excited about - Youngs (hardly a country village beer), Might Oak (unimpressive beers even well kept well), Adnams (yawn) and Brentwood Brewery (pretty average stuff). The beer garden always used to have people in it in the summer, even midweek, but it's now usually deserted. Food's good, though, if a little overpriced, and the beer festival still worth going to.

drinker999 - 28 Jul 2009 20:38
Excellent pub . Ive mainly visited this for the beer festival which is fantastic with huge selection of ales under cover in the garden with good BBQ type food. On other occasions beer is good and there is a good atmosphere. Well worth a visit.
Hornchurchpaul - 1 Oct 2008 17:33
Worth visiting for the beer festival in May held in the back garden when it gets very busy.
hogshead - 20 Sep 2008 15:55
A lovely pub with a great selection of beer and good food. Gets a bit hectic when the festival is on in late May. That's when the 'Hooray Henrys' and 'Horses and Hounds' set turn up. I had the pleasure of missing the last bus back to Billericay one year, but did not care!
HornchurchJohn - 11 Sep 2008 21:15
Discovered this pub on a walk from nearby Ingatestone. Just had a pint then, and was impressed by the selection of bitters. Took a few friends for lunch at the weekend; the food is very good quality and reasonably priced, and the changing range of beers exceptional. It's a great building and we got a nice welcome, despite out-of-towners. It's well worth a big detour for.
drinkeroo - 24 Jul 2008 18:12
Lovely village pub. Good ale. Friendly welcome. Nice atmosphere. - 7 Feb 2008 16:11
Friendly landlady ensures a warm welcome for all.Good range of ales with lots of interesting guests plus house beer brewed at Brentwood Brewery by "head girl"
Friendly landlady ensures a warm welcome for all.
Good range of ales with lots of interesting guests plus house beer brewed at Brentwood Brewery by "head girl" bar manager Sophie,all served in tip top condition.

Landlord usually in the kitchen rustling up posh nosh for the Oak Room restaurant upstairs or more modest fayre for the locals.

Well worth a visit.
tommytoper - 23 Dec 2007 09:17
Stopped in here about a month ago and enjoyed several fine ales, in particular the Crouch Vale Gold.It's a cosy little spot and the stroll from Ingatestone station certainly helps to stoke up a thirst,if you're in a walking mood you can head on to the equally top notch White Hart a couple of miles distant,both pubs are well worth the effort.
virginiaplain - 24 Oct 2007 17:30
A lovely little village pub only a ten minute bus ride from Billericay station on route 100, which has a frequent service and stops directly opposite.

Half a dozen or so ales from small Eassex brewers to choose from, the Mighty Oak Maldon Gold was outstanding.
Rich66 - 14 Oct 2007 23:28
A friendly welcome and a fine real ale selection make this pub well worth a bus trip out from Chelmsford.
knottyathome - 19 Mar 2007 08:53
The "landlord" mentioned in the last review was'nt,and
has since moved on. The new landlady is the complete
opposite and has restored decent bar service, and a
cheery atmosphere to the place. The food and beer are
still excellent, and those of us who live locally and
who stopped going there last year, have since been
enticed back. Still cramped in the right hand side
though..roll on summer..
stockpot - 7 Feb 2007 06:21
This pub should have a warning on the front door about the incredibly unfriendly landlord & frosty atmosphere. A large (& civilised) family group of us met there for a celebratory meal & fortunately we were upstairs in the recently extended restaurant. The ground floor is a different matter altogther as we were made to feel incredibly unwelcome & uncomfortable by the speechless stone-faceed landlord. If your idea of a night out includes sitting in a busy but silent pub where the customers speak in whispers & approach the bar in fear this is the place to go. Truly an experience to remember & one that we've been driven to share online rather than cause a scene at the time. The chefs obvious talents & the cost of the refurb are wasted & ruined by the landlord & bar staffs complete lack of cheer, welcome & politeness. The only sound you'll hear is the landlord hurling empty bottles in the bin & the murmers of petrified customers. You have been warned - Stock is full of friendlier pubs so go elsewhere.
anonymous - 1 Oct 2006 13:46
First class real ales and food including proper chips. Outside bar and extensive seating, restaurant lacked atmosphere but the service was good.For the real ale lover the Hoop is a must with a good choice of beers kept in tip top condition and in some cases served from the barrel.I do not feel that the refurbishment has altered the character of the place to much and certainly the menu has improved but why no steaks on a Saturday night?
leggless - 30 Jul 2006 17:28
Inside is wonderful now, the building works were worth the wait I think. The food just gets better and better and I love the Hoop Classics! Thank god they have recently refurbished the beer cellar and store areas as the beer is always at the perfect temperature and I have not had a bad one yet.

Keep it up!
anonymous - 21 Jul 2006 14:26
I don't mind the refurb - at least it creates extra space which is very useful when weather stops you going outside. However, I think the place has gone slightly but steadily downhill over the years. The range of beers usually available has decreased and not only that but whereas they used to sell lots of (excellent) beers you'd never heard of, now it tends to be same old locals Crouch Vale, Mighty Oak, Adnams etc. All are OK but nothing exceptional. The food's still pretty good but the menu is sometimes a bit limited and a bit too "foodie". And like many people I'm fed up with the miserable, stone-faced "welcome" by the landlord. Still well worth a visit, though.
anonymous - 29 May 2006 13:48
I have to agree with other recent reviews, though the re-furbishment doesn't bother me quite so much - it's the fact that the last couple of times the beer has been awful - don't know why, maybe it's been hanging around or kept too long or just been sitting in the pipes, but we decided we're not going back except for the beer festival either which is sad as I can get the 100 bus from Chelmsford :-(
anonymous - 24 Apr 2006 11:29
Bitterly disappointed! This has been for years one of my all-time favourite pubs, but I went there recently and it was awful. The refurbishment has destroyed a lot of the character (the part by the stairs up to the new restaurant is like sitting in a barn) and the pint of Mighty Oak I was served was so sour I couldn't drink it. The atmosphere was grim too. I'll probably be back for the beer festival (haven't missed one for many years) but won't be going back otherwise, and that makes me sad.
Dave25 - 24 Mar 2006 15:08
Only just (just) 3 guest beers on??? There is always 5 guest ales on and at least one scrumpy. Got nothing to do with the time of year as ales are not weather permitting!!
anonymous - 3 Mar 2006 01:42
My first time here since the refurbishment and can't say I'm impressed. The larger interior and reshaped bar means it has lost a lot of its character, though the menu has improved thank goodness. Just (just!) 3 guest beers, but maybe that's due to the time of year more than anything else.

Reducing my scroe from 8/10 to 6/10.
Darren_in_the_City - 22 Jan 2006 22:05
Nothing to add but this, a great pub to go and get gently hammered in.
mrmoover12 - 23 Oct 2005 15:00
The Hoop continues to be a partial building site as they decided to continue to work through the summer instead of stopping and doing the work in 2 phases as first planned. The work will be completed at the begining of November.
Leeann - 22 Aug 2005 18:33
Last time I went here on Good Friday they had just embarked on their 10-week rebuilding plan. Well, 4 months later the difference is, non-existent!! Anyhone know why The Hoop continues to be a partial building site?

Oh, yes. Beer excellent as usual. Food not bad either. Remains one of the best pubs in the whole of Essex.

Darren_in_the_City - 17 Aug 2005 17:01
Without doubt the best pub for miles around if you're after real ale. The scrumpy, which was on offer when I last visited, was excellent. There were a couple of 'hoity toity ate a potata' types at the bar but I suppose one has to expect that in Stock. In any case it did not prevent my friends and I enjoying a wonderfull evening out at affordable prices. There is also a regular bus service into Billericay or Chelmsford. The bus stop is right outside the pub !
Muffindamule - 20 Jan 2005 22:15
This is the one pub in the area worth visiting; noted for the real ale festivals.
Just up the road you'd find Billericay pubs in abundance if you didn't have the presense of mind to stay in Stock.
Matthew Reddy - 7 Oct 2004 12:54
A pleasant low-ceilinged country pub at the approach to Stock Village. The beer quality is absolutely excellent and the food *looked* good (was on a crawl and did not stop in the pub long enough to try any).

I saw three handpumps and had the Mighty Oak beer which was in superb condition.
Lee - [email protected] - 15 Mar 2004 15:56

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