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Sandrock Hotel, Shirley

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user reviews of the Sandrock Hotel, Shirley

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

Corner pub that is currently closed. The furniture has been removed and most of the bar appears to have been stripped. There's no sign of it re-opening.
blue_scrumpy - 27 Jan 2019 16:10
Was deserted last time I went in. Beer was ok but pricey. Looks like it's under new management again?
terenced - 11 May 2015 16:17
I've just read today's Croydon Advertiser (28/11/2014) with the new Landlord saying how he's spent £30,000 pounds on a refurbishment. Interestingly enough, his previous job was a lawyer, so he's used to embellishment.
£30,000 !!!! More like 30 quid. That's what it costs for 3 x 10 litre tubs of contract emulsion down at B&Q. It's worth going in to have a look, as he's toshed all over the sockets and wires, and it's the old painters adage.....'If It Don't Move Paint It!'. What the slimy git should do is reduce the price of the beer. He thinks he's running a bloody 5 star joint in Mayfair. It's bloody outrageous in there. You'll be lucky to have change from a tenner for two drinks, no matter what the combination, unless it's tap water! I've been in there 3 times now, with three different people, just to show them the naffness of the refurb. There isn't a bloody referb!! Well worth a visit to see I'm telling the truth!
Plumpian - 29 Nov 2014 09:39
Basically a food pub. The food is good but the beer is is very poor. Just the one cask ale, Landlord, which was passed its prime and served at room temperature.
I wont rush back.
bob.the.wop - 2 Jun 2013 22:27
Having moved away from the area I decided to pop in the Sandrock to check if things had improved. I was the only one in the whole bar on a Tuesday evening at around six, and it stayed this way for a good hour. The barman was less than chatty, so it was a pretty miserable experience. It made me long for the time when the pub was frequented by this dreadful bore who would drone on about Arsenal to the extent that I would glaze over and lose the will to live. Even his monotonous conversation would have been a welcome distraction. It seems to me that they've priced themselves out of the market, as when I ventured to the Surprise later( a pub less than a stones throw away), a lot of the old faces were supping in there, and remarked that no one can afford to drink in there anymore. I must admit that I prefer the decor and cleanliness of the Sandrock to the Surprise, but at least the Surprise has some atmosphere, and most importantly, customers!
Plumpian - 7 Sep 2012 14:24
Home made hummus made without garlic, tahini and seasoning = wall paper paste. Dire selection for vegetarians. My risotto was cold and our table of 10 thought it was all cold, slow and bland. We virtually had to do a Mexican wave to get service & would have ordered more drinks had we been approached. We were surprised the place was so quiet for a good Friday until the food arrived. Requests for 2 lots of extra ice-cream ignored. We could have walked out without paying as the place was empty and the staff vanished.

Will never be going back.
Jo1000 - 9 Apr 2012 16:36
This pub has changed hands and is now run by a really nice couple, the prvious Paul and Shelly did try but they weren't cut out for it. The new managers (sorry don't know their names) will certainly always make you feel welcome beer is good garden is nice and its certainly got no black marks from me and my wife who have been there many times.
beerfool - 1 Aug 2011 20:32
I found The Sandrock on this website after I Googled it on Saturday afternoon. I wanted the phone number as my wife and I were going there for a bite to eat and thinking it may be very busy, that I might need to make a reservation.

Once I had read all the awful reviews, I was tempted to not go. But when I told my wife, she quite correctly said that we had been many times and never had a problem. We have taken our 2 year old son, who is quite lively and the staff have been excellent with him.

So we went and had a super meal (moules marinières, sea bass, homemade burger and a lovely lemon cheesecake for dessert). The service was good, polite, efficient and friendly. The whole meal came to £44 with drinks and as usual I left 10% service. The Sandrock's food is well above average pub fare; well cooked and presented, offering a good choice of fresh food and all at reasonable prices.

I could not fathom why so many people would take exception to this pub, we have been at least 10 times over the past 2 years and never had an issue. We are both discerning diners with high standards when it comes to cleanliness, service and quality.

I have drawn the conclusion that when the new/recent landlords took over this pub and gave it a long-overdue refurb and spruce, in doing so they upset a large group of "regulars". I know what the Sandrock was like years ago and it was a smoke filled regular’s pub. This sort of patronage is no good for new business. They make an establishment seem cliquey and unwelcoming. I am surmising here but I suspect that anyone taking over the pub would have put the prices up to drive out the "all night nursing a pint" crowd and bring in some new fresh custom, who would spend good money on quality food and wine in comfortable and relaxed surroundings.

You could argue that The Sandrock is just a pub but there's no denying that it's a good gastro pub, which I can say would be a real shame if you did not try it for yourself.

RoachRampino - 5 Jul 2010 12:29
grubby net curtains showing from the living quarters! look quite shabby from the outside, wouldnt waste my time eating there as the service is appalling! how can it take 20 mins to change a barrel of lager! been in 2 or 3 times now, never anymore than 5 or 6 "regular" customers. speaks for itself!
Tiffy - 15 Jun 2010 13:41
All the positive comments on this page are from the landlord and his miserable wife (she's the one who has an expression like her finger's gone through the toilet paper). Don't believe me? Well check out all the I.D.s who left good feedback. They've never left any for any other pub, and always leave nice words after a deserved dressing down from a customer. However the good news is that since last week, the pair of them have slung their hook. Hip hip bloody hooray! Woo Hoo. Happy days are here again!!!!!
Plumpian - 7 Jun 2010 17:21
This pub had slowly gone downhill for past 15 years, until the new landlord took it over and got hold of the situation by the scruff of the neck and turned it round.
Some of the not so regular customers complain about the lack of facilities for children, but I would like to point out that this is a Public House and not a Kindergarden. Children would prefer to be in a McDonalds, and it is the selfish attitued of the parents who want to go to a pub, and dont consider the kids.
I would be the last person to complain about noise in a McDonalds, but I dont go there anyway.
The Sandrock is a pleasant place to eat or just have a drink, but may well get spoil by the inconsiderate parents of unruly kids.
shirleydrinker - 19 May 2010 15:16
Bad, Bad, unwelcoming, unfriendly with very rude staff.

This has got to be the worst pub I have ever had the displeasure of visiting. We were greeted by two very rude, surely and unpleasant waiters – who clearly were most displeased that we were joined by our 2 year old son. My friends had called ahead with the booked and requested a high chair. The “restaurant” only supplies two high chairs, which were both in use. As such, keeping a toddler seated is nigh on impossible. So rather than leave I shadowed him at arms length as he wondered quietly and slowly to have a look around whilst waiting for our food. I was rudely ordered “to keep my kid seated at all times”!!! A complete lack of customer from this man, who was happy to take our money, for what was in fact a mediocre meal. He even snickered when telling us that they were out of a desert that we all requested. What?! Not even the client facing skills to apologies politely. If his delivery were a little better I could have accepted what he said. However, they knew whom our party consisted of when the reservation was mad. If you are unable to cater for the party that be clear from the start, rather that putting paying customers through such an ordeal

We live over 2 hours away and were visiting family friends who wanted to take us for a cosy Sunday lunch near to them. I had high expectations as our friends have impeccable taste and told us that the food was locally sourced and meat was of high quality, generated via Smithfields. After a long journey we were ready to be welcomed, watered and fed. However, what I experienced was highly unpleasant and most disappointing
As it happens, my husband is a journalist for The Publican and will be paying this establishment a visit in his professional capacity. They would do well to remember the importance of reputation, referral and recommendation as by the looks of some of the previous reviews things are consistently bad.

publicanjournalist - 18 May 2010 17:11
bad, bad, bad - 0.10
oasis - 11 Mar 2010 19:50
This pub has the potential to be the best in the area, if it wasn't for the people who run it and the staff they employ. Sadly the landlord and landlady are SO RUDE and lack any hospitality skills, they clearly dislike their job, they are unaccommodating and do not believe in good hosting or customer service. The other waiting staff clearly lack any morale from the boss. On the plus side the food is great, if only the landlord and landlady stayed at the back then it would be great. I would not recommend anyone spend their hard earned money here.
oasis - 10 Mar 2010 18:39
I'm not really sure that this place really qualifies as a pub, but as a place to go for a good meal, it's probably the best option in the area.
I headed here for a Sunday Roast, with minimal expectations, but was shocked to find a well kept pub with an excellent menu and helpful friendly staff. The meat for the roast was fresh from Smithfield market and came with a homemade yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and fresh veg. It was so good that we agreed to return in the near future to sample some of the food from the week-day menu.
The beer on offer was Harveys and Adnams, with a third handpump not in use. There was also an extensive range of lagers on tap. There isn't much seating at the front of the pub for drinkers, just a few high tables alongside the bar. Most of the space is occupied by the restaurant. Anyone who has been to the 'Glamorgan' in Addiscombe will know what to expect, as the two pubs are very similar.
All in all, very enjoyable and I look forward to returning again soon.
Pubsignman - 27 Oct 2009 22:13
Having just read the most recent reivew below I have to say that I fail to recognise the Sandrock that I know. Having said that I have only ever been there for lunch rather than dinner. My only guess is that the staff on duty of an evening are less able than those during the day.

My wife and I have lunched there at least a dozen times and have always had the most excellent food, drink and service. My only criticism is that the menu is a little limited and vegetarian options are virtually nil (although it is not something that worries me).

Don't be put off by the negative reviews shown here. Try this place out. If it fails to please you then that's fine but you don't want to miss out on a place purely based on someone else's negative experience. Every pub/restaurant has got at least one person out there who wasn't happy with it.

norwoodeyes - 2 Sep 2009 11:12
Until yesterday, I w ould have agreed with the glowing comments below. Having wined and dined at Sandrock on at least half a dozen occasions, we were very impressed by the food, service and selection of Real Ales. Unfortunately, that came to an end yesterday. We visitied the Sandrock for dinner, and when my friend's wife complained that her wine did not taste quite right, the manageress did not agree and refused to change the wine. When we asked her to ask the landlord, she came back with the bill for our drinks and said "we don't think we're going to be able to please you tonight, so we think you'll have a better time elsewhere"!!! We were politely kicked out over a £5 glass of wine, even though the situation did not warrant it. We were absolutely disgusted by this as the manageress and landlord did not event try to rectify the situation. It bemuses me that they would forfeit a £70 dinner bill over a £5 glass of wine. Interestingly, one of the comments below mentions the landlord listens into the restaurant area by microphones. We had spoken between ourselves that the pub had a funny smell yesterday, which for some reason, the landlord took great offence to and used it as a reason for throwing us out. Hmm, I wonder how he heard our conversation. Having been there a few times, I must be fair and say it has never smelt before, but it did yesterday. Finally, a previous comment mentions the manageress/landlady having no customer service skills, and I must agree, she was, rude and about as useful as a fork in soup. Bottomline, good for a pint, waste of time for food or service. They're quite happy to send you elsewhere, so you may as well take your money where it's valued. I'll give it 1 point because it had Old Hooky on tap. Nice beer.
generalledge - 1 Sep 2009 10:28
Finally! A pub in Shirley with fantastic food, great beers and a fantastic atmosphere. We have eaten there on Christmas day, in Winter and Summer (weekdays and weekends) and it never fails - the service is friendly and the quality always there. I would highly recommend it - it's our go to place!
melissa001 - 18 Aug 2009 19:25
What an oasis amongst the usual pub fare around the area. We went as a party of 6 on a Friday night and found the food and hospitality of a high standard. In fact the Landlady in particular went out of her way to prepare an off menu dish for the vegetarian in our party - and no it wasn't an omlette or salad! The decor is an engaging mix of Bistro Pub but doesn't look contrived or from an episode of the antiques road show. The food isn't the usual boil in a bag fayre and easily rivals that of some of the so called local restaurants. The choice of beer is wide enough for every taste and the dress code and prices would only put off the chavs who are served ably by the suprise down the road and no doubt accounts for some of the unflattering reviews posted here as previously it was an absoloute dive catering to a handful of locals. If you are looking for good food, friendly service and a civilised atmosphere you can do no better.
roperdope - 18 Aug 2009 16:01
Visited last weekend and found home made food which was well appreciated after a long walk.Quick freindly service could do with a pub like this near me.Will call again next time I'm down.
tastier - 17 Aug 2009 12:58
Popped in last night (a Thursday) at about 7.00 and found I was the only one in the bar area. There was one table in the restaurant area with 3 people on it which says mountains about the pricing structure, of what is basically 'pub grub'. Even the bar staff will not engage in converstion, as the landlord moniters them through a complex video system which records their every move and sound. (I know this because I was told by a member of staff who I met in the local supermarket.) Needless to say, I drank up my £3.00 + pint rather sharpishly, and proceded down to the 'Surprise', which was really busy. Nothing surprising as it was one of the hottest nights of the year, and if you can't get people to drink when it's that hot, you may as well chuck in the towel.
Plumpian - 14 Aug 2009 08:52
I've used this pub over the last 30 years, and have seen many changes. Some for the good, but mainly for the bad. The new owner has made vast changes to the interior and also to the food and drink which is served. There is also a new dress code and children are not allowed in the bar area. Overall the changes are good, but the landlord's wife should learn to smile, and adopt some everyday social skills,as she has none. The price of drinks is also extortinate,and need to be lowered.This I think might encourage more people to visit the pub on a regular basis instead of just an occasional visit, and would create a better atmosphere, as this is also lacking.
Plumpian - 10 Aug 2009 14:05
Went in for Saturday lunch mid-way through a London Loop walk. Very impressed with the service and the food. A real find. Will definitely return.
Keen_Walker - 16 Feb 2009 21:50
I used this pub on regular bases up till about a year ago when Steve was at the helm, now taken over by new landlord trying to move up market as a restaurant. No longer a pub atmosphere, I understand food reasonable.
mrcolinpalmer - 7 Dec 2008 15:35
A smart and clean hostelry serving decent Harveys and good food.

2 pints of Peroni will knock you back more sterling than it probably should.

But the Sandrock remains a contender.

Stop by for half a Harveys and wait for the traffic to clear on the approach to Gravel Hill whilst work on the national grid increases your journey times.
terenced - 31 Oct 2008 17:39
Under new management this pub has been transformed. Our family are now regular visitors and we have recommended several friends who have been very impressed with what is on offer. Cask conditioned beers are well kept and the standard of cooking is excellent and we consider it to be terrific value for money. If you are looking for 'boil in the bag' style of cooking or 'two couses for a fiver' then go somewhere else. We have visited on different days and times and there is usually a good number of tables taken adding to what is a pleasant, civilised drinking and eating establishment.

TimTaylor - 14 Sep 2008 21:41
This pub has been refurbed and is tastefully decorate now.

Decent selection of food and wine. Fresh Fish and chips on a friday evening is yummy. Well worth a visit.

Adequate garden and hut for smokers and adequate parking. A hidden oasis in shirley hills.
JillyGouldon - 10 Aug 2008 22:14
Aspall's cider. We got a friendly reception.
jgurney1 - 2 Aug 2008 11:39
Visited this pub recently and was disgusted by the owner, what a rude, arrogant person. No wonder there wasn't that many people there! Will never go back and will inform everyone I know.
thejeffs - 9 Jul 2008 18:53
Discovered this pub by chance after failing to get a table elsewhere. Bit quiet as it was a Tuesday night, but decent folk in there, IPA was fresh and dinner and service were excellent. Looks like it has been recently renovated/decorated. Worth a visit.
generalledge - 11 Jun 2008 10:17
Recently redecorated. The outside livery is that of Harvey's or St Austell, black and white with gold lettering.It is empty at all times as the beer and food are absolute rubbish, my elderly mum used to rely on this place for food ( she is strictly teetotal ) but not any longer.
slerpy - 9 May 2008 20:03
I found the landlord rather indifferent, although the food and the Breakspears bitter were both good. The background pop music seemed a bit out of place.
john_the_jester - 5 Jan 2008 10:11
Still better than that shit hole 'The Crown' down the road!
Walk up a bit to this pub and enjoy a real pint, without the fear of being attacked, which is what you feel in 'the Chav' oops i meant 'the crown'.
anonymous - 2 Aug 2007 00:56
Go here quite a bit for lunch with the folks. Nice pub with friendly staff. The food is pretty good too. Unless I'm confusing it with another nearby pub, they do the sizzling steaky/meaty/plattery things which are awesome.

Not a place to come for a banging Friday night on the town though. Difficult to get to unless you've got a car as well.
steve5312 - 23 Apr 2007 19:40
A decent enough place serving Young's Ordinary Bitter (without the "benefit" of sparklers) and some tasty-looking lunches being served to the noontide customers today.

The 3 or 4 other people in the place had plenty of room, and were eating in sepulchral near silence or whispering.

I'd like to try and visit again one evening with a couple of pals to see if the slight gloom disappears when the light go on...

All in all,this is either a superb venue for a quiet, contemplative pint with peace enough to undertake an Aurucaria crossword, or, a lifeless graveyard with geriatric customers sipping halves. You choose...


Alph_river - 8 Mar 2007 14:29
whatever happened to the Sandrock??!! It used to be a really lively place full of young poeple with a good armosphere. It must have just died when that generation moved on in the late 90s. Good food saves it though.
SIMONCHAPMAN1979 - 18 Jul 2006 17:40
Went on my first 'date' with my Wife in here. Blimey, that was in 1982 - you get less for murder !!

Been back once since - pub has been enlarged, but was nothing special.
FattusBlokus - 12 Feb 2006 12:49
A run of the mill pub menu is livened up by the swearing of the local bar regulars.
Mark - 3 Oct 2004 18:00
Fairly large corner pub near edge of woods but outside drinking is confined to patio near busy road and car park. Menu reasonable despite having a chain look about it. Although in my latest good beer guide (2003) the first pint of London Pride was undrinkable and the replacement Bass was only just drinkable. The second pint (from the new barrel of Pride) was however very good. Perhaps I timed it badly getting the end of two barrels.
lout_from_the_lane - 4 May 2004 13:40

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