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BITE user comments - BoehmBawerk

Comments by BoehmBawerk

The Bowling Green, Exeter

Pretty good – a large neighbourhood pub with pool table and great beers (Bristol Beer Factory was very well represented), a wisecracking barman, a pleasant tiered garden and a varied clientele (a good thing). Likely to become something of a haunt.

18 Apr 2022 20:59

The Horse and Farrier, Otley

A great community pub where the staff work like dogs. We stayed and were made to feel super welcome while the beers – from the likes of the Ilkley and Saltaire breweries – were superb. A platter of fried food was carried off well if in a decidedly unhealthy way. A really varied crowd too -a much busier on a Friday than a Saturday.

7 Mar 2022 09:40

The Fleece, Otley

Not as much of a must visit destination compared to other Otley watering holes – it’s a food joint first and foremost. But, they did have an Ossett Brewery offering on tap – and that’s never bad. A wonderful tiered beer garden runs down to the river.

7 Mar 2022 09:39

The Black Bull, Otley

Absolutely topnotch showcase for the Kirkstall brewery, replete with a full range of their selections and with links to the estimable Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. There is also a range of craft beers and a beautiful interior. The pub is also a handsome landmark on the outside. An outstanding pub conversion.

7 Mar 2022 09:37

The Duke Of Wellington, Shoreham by Sea

A great pub with a spectacular range of beers and all human life represented. We gathered there after a trip to see the local non-league team play and for February, the weather was clement enough to perch outside in the garden, even if we did come in eventually. Saltaire Triple Chocoholic was on tap – always a boon.

7 Mar 2022 07:48

The Ypres Castle Inn, Rye

Absolutely outstanding. The landlord, once of Clerkenwell’s estimable The Gunmakers, has breathed new life into a pub that sounds like it was good to start with. Beers were superb, including the unlikely, but very tasty Tzatziki Berliner Weisse from Orbit, the lighting and décor are pitch perfect and the local cheese plates on offer are terrific. This is really quite something and close to being perfect – I guess the only quibble might be that it represents gentrification writ large – but Rye has always been well heeled and if it’s this good, I'm happy to join for the ride.

8 Feb 2022 19:07

Mermaid Inn, Rye

Beautiful and historic pub with nooks and crannies aplenty, putting such London places to mind as The Cittie of Yorke. Ales were good if a trifle unimaginative and I guess the only issues surround the lighting which is a bit stark and the fact that it doubles up as a hotel, thus lending the place a certain transience.

8 Feb 2022 19:01

The Standard Inn, Rye

Possibly more of a restaurant than a pub although they had hood local ales on including an offering from the Three Legs Brewing Company. Food isn’t so cheap but we got round that by ordering starters and sides – great chips, cabbage, a crab hotpot and sourdough toast. The building, like almost everywhere in Rye, is pleasant indeed.

8 Feb 2022 18:58

Fir Tree Hotel, Woburn Sands

OK enough but doesn't stand out. We visited during the Omicron variant pandemic and one of the few uncancelled Christmas parties of the era was in full swing and quite noisy. Since Charles Wells took over Young's, the former have had a rebrand and standards have gone down with the latter - our halves of 'ordinary' had none of the woozy realness of the brewery's heyday. No sign of Winter warmer either.

16 Dec 2021 11:54

The Station Hotel, Woburn Sands

I have been meaning to drop in for years and this serves as a kind of unofficial station bar a bit like the kind you would get in Italy or France Quirky and many nods to the characterful Marston Vale line on which it lies. Phipps NBC IPA was on which went down well. Less than a minute's walk to catch one's train.

15 Dec 2021 17:13

The Gladstone Arms, Borough

Came for a Christmas dinner and the Anglo-Indian food hit the spot - especially a paneer pie. The South Asian family that run the place are lovely and they have good craft offerings including Kernel. Very busy come the evening which was slight queasiness-inducing as Covid's Omicron variant started to hit home.

15 Dec 2021 17:08

The Lord Nelson, Southwark

Enjoyable pub that reminds me of an American dive bar. Irony is laid on with a trowel- right down the Noel Edmonds mural that festoons the exterior. Decent superior lagers are on tap, including Brooklyn plus craft-style IPA offerings. The one bum note was surly service. Bemasked as I was, I put that down to an objection to what one might call 'virtue signalling' on my part.

15 Dec 2021 17:04

The Barley Mow, Cosgrove

We came for the monthly pub quiz which was great and very varied and not especially taxing which pleases most customers. Beers were good - three from the Everards stable while the food - pies in particular - looked hearty. The building is also pleasant while it's also possible to stop here on a Grand Union canal walk or boat trip. Overall, a winner.

26 Nov 2021 16:34

The Pied Cow, Sudbury

Now The Gainsborough and judging by the review above, much improved in the intervening 12 years. That said, it’s supposed to be a showcase for Mauldon ales and they only had a well kept Silver Adder on alongside an unimaginative choice in Hobgoblin. Very quiet of a November Saturday afternoon.

7 Nov 2021 18:39

The Bay Horse, Sudbury

A slightly disappointing ale selection was saved by the Adnams’ Ghost Ship being in very good nick. Quite a good atmosphere and pleasingly old fashioned although we detected some level of unfriendliness behind the bar (libertarian objections to mask wearers?)

7 Nov 2021 18:36

The Waggon and Horses, Sudbury

Now completely changed – including the name of the pub – it’s now The Wagon and quite food oriented. However, despite these modernising touches, the ales were kept better than any in town – all are from the Nethergate brewery – and service was also friendly and welcoming.

7 Nov 2021 18:34

The Brewery Tap, Sudbury

Fine but could probably do better. The ales are in good condition, especially the Silver Adder, but it is a slightly tired showcase for the Mauldon brewery - they didn’t have the firm’s blackberry porter on tap, an ale I have enjoyed previously at a beer festival. The place was very quiet of a Friday night and service quite brusque – a possible reaction to our wearing masks. AFC Sudbury’s FA Cup derby match against Colchester was on the telly so that may be a reason for the pub being quiet.

7 Nov 2021 18:32

The White Hart, Grafton Regis

Something of a throwback but just about in a good way. They are attentive to the Covid19 world and shower curtains bizarrely but reassuringly divide diners. Food was copious and generally bog standard while two gorgeous Boxer dogs occasionally pop their snouts above the bar. The pub doesn’t steer clear of innuendo in its signage and its pronouncements from staff – at times it seemed like a step back to a kind of 1970s Variety show. The garden is apparently gorgeous and overall, this is a good pit stop that does well to overcome its main road location.

16 Oct 2021 16:22

Lyme Regis Brewery Tap, Lyme Regis

An update on my review – this still does the great range of beers from the brewery but has the addition of a good many craft items (some home brewed, others from nationally known firms). Most are delicious although hoppy IPAs are dominant. They have ingeniously reinvented the premises in the Covid19 era with a beautifully constructed upstairs area lovingly put together by an artisan carpenter. It’s also possible to buy all the beers for takeout. Very well done indeed and with the sad demise of Cellar59, the best place to drink in Lyme.

26 Sep 2021 19:10

The Village Inn, Lynmouth

Old fashioned and pleasingly so although the garden, in keeping with the village as a whole, doesn’t have much sun. We didn’t drink alcohol but a cod and chips was decent enough while the lashings of garlic bread accompanying a veggie lasagne would have taken several days to consume had my partner not admitted defeat.

26 Sep 2021 19:06

The Cove House Inn, Portland

We visited during Covid19 and the pub did a decent job of keeping things going. The location in Chiswell is pleasant and there are sea views aplenty and a cool dude with a beard, piercings and tattoos served us well.

19 Jul 2021 18:51

The Pulpit Inn, Portland

Something of a shambles. We visited at the rough halfway point of a circular walk around Portland and were gagging for refreshment. Unfortunately, it took about half an hour to get served although they did let us have the drinks on the house. The waiting staff were clearly working very hard so no fault there.

19 Jul 2021 18:49

The Pear Tree Inn, Woodhouse Eaves

A very good meal – pizzas and top of the range fish and chips – was the highlight of this trip to a lovely village. The beer garden is a good retreat in Covid ravaged times and we were lucky that we were able to eat and drink less formally than on the somewhat packed together terrace.

6 Jun 2021 11:16

The Carpenters Arms, Cambridge

The pub has a strong advantage in that it is away from the centre of town and hence, the crowds while it is a bracing walk from the park and ride on Madingley Road. We visited during the pandemic era of apps, QR codes and masks but the feel of the place inside is a little akin to one of the old Firkin chain pubs. Beers were from Wells (file under ‘stolid’ in the brewery stakes) – our pizzas were tasty without hitting true heights.

6 Jun 2021 11:10

The Peasant, Clerkenwell

I returned to this pub, in a characterful part of Clerkenwell, after an 18 year gap, to find it unchanged Bath Ales' standard ale Gem was on tap and well kept and they have an unexciting range of craft offerings. Styled as gastro and they were quite early to the game but visiting during the coronavirus scare of winter 2020 meant that crowds were down.

11 Mar 2020 13:04

The Racehorse, Northampton

Now the Black prince and much improved judging by the previous comments. A decent range of mainly local beers and a lively gig venue out the back + a mixed crowd of goths, hipsters and ageing post-punk fans. A jukebox too although as per usual, the sound is a little down in the mix. We saw rising band Working Men's Club live here.

6 Feb 2020 09:12

The Coopers Cask, Brighton

Not a huge range of beers but very good in all other respects - the ales were well kept while a beautiful black Labrador came and snuggled up to us of a Monday afternoon in winter and the barman chose the greatest hits of The Cure to serenade us, getting a good thumbs up from us. He and his mate were, weirdly, scouring the internet for skiing holidays while on asking his pal if he could cover his shift for a couple of weeks, the response as an immediate, 'yeah - ok then'

4 Feb 2020 07:49

The Old Ale House, Woburn

A good range of beers, many of them local to the nth degree (the Bow Brickhill Brewery is well represented) mark this out as a good stopover in Woburn, a comically well-heeled Tory stronghold near the Bucks/Beds border. Good service and the building, while presumably quite old, isn't best highlighted by the decor which is like a hotel lobby.

4 Feb 2020 07:46

Plough, Worcester

Probably the best pub we visited on a day out to Worcester. Friendly service, excellent beers that are primarily local, luscious-looking rolls and a superior-looking ham, eggs and chips all enticed. Apparently there is a list of banned conversation topics which we didn’t catch sight off sadly.

20 Jan 2020 06:53

The Bull Baiters Inn, Worcester

Perhaps I am getting fussy because while this is superb in many ways – great beers, including ‘3’ from XT and lots of local efforts, a characterful bar area, a fun medieval theme and beers sold in measures called ‘sticks’ (akin to the craft beer world’s ‘schooners’) – the building, while containing some original features, is a little like a hotel lobby. Still, a minor quibble and another plus point is that this is located far from the madding crowd on the other side of the Severn from the town centre. I should imagine it is handy for the cricket although the pitch was underwater on the day of our visit.

20 Jan 2020 06:51

The Dragon Inn, Worcester

Is this where the revolution in beer in the UK has taken us? By most standards excellent and handy for the station, perhaps standards have risen so vertiginously in British pubs in recent times that this seemed no more than a good solid option. The much feted but, whisper it, slightly overrated Church End Brewery dominate the pumps, with their national champion brew Goat’s Milk taking pride of place. Lighting could be dimmer and the clientele is very classic CAMRA.

20 Jan 2020 06:46

The Cardinals Hat, Worcester

It has the feel of a family place but don't let that put you off. Lovely wood panelling and excellent beers - Batham's of course - were topped off by a splendid cheese plate where one can choose 4 from 12 primarily local offerings. They also do good pork pies.

20 Jan 2020 06:42

The Pot Kiln, Frilsham

Famed gastropub that I had been wanting to visit ever since Reading Football Club legend Marcus Hahnemann pronounced it to be his favourite a few years back. The accent is on game and timing a visit for the day after the General Election of 2019 was something I was dreading as I was in no mood to be greeted by right wing libertarian triumphalism. Thankfully, this wasn’t in evidence and we enjoyed a great meal involving a venison Scotch egg and a chestnut, spinach and Mushroom pie – a little heavy but lovingly crafted. Food is the priority here but the location is beautiful.

13 Dec 2019 15:26

The Horseshoe Inn, London Bridge

Sumptuous from the outside and a nice find slightly away from the main drag given how busy pubs in the London Bridge area tend to get, especially on the Saturday, this is let down by profoundly uninteresting beers - dull Brakspear efforts in not amazing condition and a total absence of craft ales (usually the saving grace of non-ale savvy London pubs).

8 Dec 2019 17:50

The Kings Arms, Wantage

Nice and cosy on a December evening, the beer selection was very good with Luna and Burning Sky both on for those of the hoppy persuasion + an intriguing bourbon milk stout - much less fierce than other whisky infused beers but perhaps the 'bourbon' bit refers to the biscuits rather than that famous liquor from the American South?

5 Dec 2019 07:50

The Shoulder of Mutton, Wantage

Enjoyably simple furnishings and characterful sections as well as one of those classic bars where the pumps are situated inside the bar area make this a good place to visit. Some very good offerings were on including a nice range of craft and cask (those purveyors of both forms Tiny Rebel are represented) although some were very much on the strong side and Wantage's position a fair way out of Oxford on the bus makes any visit here seem like a trek to see the Golden Fleece.

5 Dec 2019 07:46

The Royal Oak, Wantage

Excellent - Titanic Plum Porter and the Gran Reserve version were both on which was a welcome sight on entering this traditional boozer, replete with florid carpet. They also have some good West Berks' brews including Dr. Hexter's Healer while service was enthusiastic and friendly. As the previous commenter says, a class act.

5 Dec 2019 07:42

The Pear Tree Inn, Hook Norton

With Tim Gilkes, formerly landlord of the Chequers in Fenny Stratford, newly installed, this already excellent pub is surely going to be regarded as a classic. Tim's legendary cheese nights are in action as well as a quiz while the range of Hook Norton beers, delivered by dray horse from the nearby brewery are in sparkling condition. Essential.

11 Nov 2019 09:43

Sgt Peppers Disco Bar, Newcastle

The 80s cheese is still there - probably in both definitions - and while it is hard to fault a place that provides a home for lone drinkers of a certain age of a weekday lunchtime, this was truly dire. Help for Heroes and poppies very much in evidence.

1 Nov 2019 13:50

Durty Nelly's, Hull

Now the Lion & Key and thankfully, the service is now back in good order. They were doing a roaring trade of a late October Tuesday although the whole place does reek bit of cheap and plentiful British fried food. The ale selection and quality was everything to write home about though.

1 Nov 2019 13:48

The Whalebone, Hull

Terrific, historic pub with a magnificent sperm whale atop its sign, betraying the presumed interests of its former clientele. Isolated amid an industrial district, there is character aplenty with the ales in great condition. I sent a cribbage board flying when leaning back against the games shelf which caused no end of embarrassment.

1 Nov 2019 13:44

WM Hawkes, Hull

Only open since 2012 but seems much older - a great selection of superbly kept ales and a very friendly bar person. We managed to nab the little snug at the back and it proved to be a great spot for a powwow.

1 Nov 2019 13:41

The Hermits Cave, Camberwell

Really good overall in that it suits a wide range of people from gentrifying Dulwich hamlet fans to - errr - traditional Dulwich Hamlet fans. the beer as in excellent nick including a great Porter from Five Points - who seem to be ubiquitous in the Smoke these days.

7 Oct 2019 15:41

The Lions of Bledlow, Bledlow

Pretty tremendous - gorgeous dark wood interior and lots of nooks and crannies while it is set back from a lovely village green atop a hill. Nearish to the Ridgeway, it's a hard pub to have a pint at given the lack of public transport options nearby and, on this occasion, the ale selection was a little unimaginative and lacking in local options. Roast chicken and a halloumi salad went down well and the garden is also a quiet arbour.

2 Sep 2019 08:49

The Valiant Trooper, Aldbury

After walking along the Ridgeway from Tring to Ivinghoe Beacon and back, we were impressed with this place. At first glance, there appears to be no ale but there is a fine range of local offerings lined up diagonally to the bar including, appropriately, a couple from the Tring brewery. A path across fields leads from Tring station, making it closer to the railway than any pub in Tring itself. A varied clientele and a nice garden top things off.

25 Aug 2019 08:17

The Greyhound, Aldbury

A good discovery after a wander along the Ridgeway from Tring to Ivinghoe Beacon and back. Hall & Woodhouse ales were on and all of the choices, Badger and Fursty Ferret along them were in top condition. It’s a bit soullessly decorated out the back but we sat out the front on a warm bank holiday Saturday. Cars piled two abreast – and big ones – in front of the pub do no improve the view.

25 Aug 2019 08:13

The Foundry, Brighton

As one previous punter says, quite middle of the road. The ale selection is interesting and peppered with local offerings but the music was wallpaper jazz-funk played a little too loud and the clientele a little too cool for school in a monied way, unusual for the area.

22 Jul 2019 08:25

The Prince Albert, Brighton

Really decent music pub with a great mural of musical greats (I wonder if Morrissey was ever on there) and perhaps Banksy's most famous painting of two coppers kissing on the wall. Ludicrously well placed between the station and the North Laine area + 4 or 5 really interesting ales on tap and a lively atmosphere. Tindersticks' Tiny Tears came out on the tannoy at one point.

22 Jul 2019 08:22

The Abingdon Arms, Beckley

Saved in 2016 by a community share scheme, this didn't disappoint. We walked the 3 miles from Headington across the fields and it's a lovely stroll out from the city. Beers were generally local including Shotover while by chance, we ended up there for their annual 'Beckfest' which featured guest ales from Ramsbury, Cotswold and Vale among others. Veggie rolls were superb - normal food being suspended for this special occasion - while the garden is truly idyllic with amazing views. The only bum note was the slightly workaday music on offer in the shape of covers bands.

30 Jun 2019 09:57

On The Waterfront, Exeter

A restaurant not a pub - the pizzas were well below average. The location is nice but must do better

10 Jun 2019 12:02

Samuel Jones, Exeter

The St. Austell brewery in an attempt to hit the theme pub market and in the main, it doesn't work - the building is nice but it's all shiny shiny inside. Korev is the lager and while the beer choices are Ok - including some craft offerings - this is well down the list of any Exeter pub roster

10 Jun 2019 11:48

The Anchor Inn, Burton Bradstock

Thankfully free of the iron grip of boring old Palmers, this is decent enough, if a little stolid. A seafood platter sounded tempting but seemed extortionate at over £40 a head and while the ale selection is broad - 4 pumps were operational - all choices were mid range and unexciting. The village is beautiful but I'd save your hunger pangs for the Hive Beach cafe nearby.

10 Jun 2019 11:46

The Bull and Butcher, Turville

An upmarket and quite ridiculously beautiful village is served by a pretty pub and a nice garden. Yes, you should expect Hackett tops and people who voted Tory while the music – blaring dance tunes at full volume – in the bar was presumably chosen by the bored youths on the till. Food options looked good while the Brakspear offerings on tap were well kept. Only half a mile or so’s walk along a shaded path from Fingest where there is another lovely outside seating area.

26 May 2019 17:05

The Euston Flyer, Euston

Fine, as a chainy, slightly raucous pub will ever go and they did have Dark Star Hophead on tap - a merciful break from the colourless Fullers range (that said, Hophead already seems less tasty since the brewery was taken over). There are various levels and I suppose we should be grateful for this not being a worse place.

14 May 2019 08:20

Beer Emporium, Bristol

A great beer selection including craft and cask and offerings from the excellent Tap Social, friendly service and this was a good place to spend a few hours. Pizzas were OK - standards have crept up nationally so I would say that these ones were only so so - but the main worry was how empty the place was - surely the sums are not adding up financially.

3 May 2019 11:05

The Cornubia, Bristol

I was very interested to read the comments as for sure, in this Brexit Britain, the sight of a union jack and St. George's Flag festooned pub replete with pictures of Spitfires and God Save the Queen signs might be a too much for some - including me. Happily, the decor is so over the top as to render it probably benign and it's heartening to see a representative of the pub stress that they are far from anti-European and are welcoming to all. The beers selection was superb, there are pork pies and turtles in a tank while the building is characterful indeed. It was also a very mixed crowd with plenty of women and non-white people.

3 May 2019 11:02

The Somerset Cocktail Lounge, Marston

Now the Up In Arms and part of a trio of pubs in Oxford owned by the same people including the Rusty Bicycle and Rickety Press. In the main, it's good - ales are from Arkells (a thumbs down from me for that brewery's pretty lame range) but they did have a couple of good guests on. The food - pizza and burgers - are superior and there is a good garden replete with a ping pong. We visited on the opening weekend and the only low point was the decision to play wallpaper funk at earsplitting volume at 3.30 in the afternoon on a Sunday. The pub is back thanks to a superb campaign from locals which included fundraising events.

29 Apr 2019 07:39

The Hop, Leeds

Disappointing and a sign that a good range of beer alone - this time from the estimable Ossett brewery - is not always enough. The interior is cavernous and very much like a chain pub (which this is given that there is a similar joint in nearby Saltaire), the pizza toppings sound ill thought out and an attempt to add character by putting pics of local musicians on the walls give the place the feel of a temple to landfill indie (The Cribs, Kaiser Chiefs).

20 Apr 2019 07:30

The Vine, West Bromwich

A legendary pre-match watering hole and there is certainly bags of character. The shtick is Indian food of high quality (the Chicken Tikka kebabs are divine) and while the ale selection is very limited, the Batham's Gold was in great condition and went down well. The one snag is how ludicrously busy the place is while veggie options, usually available, were absent on this visit. Service can also be brusque but there is an irony in seeing punters some of whom will have voted Leave in their droves tucking into the fruits of multicultural Britain with gusto. Lord knows how many people come here away from match day.

15 Apr 2019 14:05

Saltaire Brewery Tap, Shipley

Ignore Google Maps and take the canal towpath to access this place within a 10 minute walk of Shipley station. Saltaire have a quality range and their typically divine Triple Chocoholic was as superb as you would expect. A Citra was also in great condition while you can buy wares too. The brewery has done something of a rebrand and this is akin to that undergone by Titanic. They appear to be aiming big so let's hope the character remains.

15 Apr 2019 13:59

North Bar Social, Otley

Terrific addition to the Otley scene and by all accounts a brand new entry at Number 1. This is based on the Leeds North Bar and has a nice range of both craft and cask including offerings from Hackney's Five Points Brewing Company - their porter has tremendous coffee notes. Music was loud but well chosen (The The's 'This is the Day' was among the songs blaring out)

15 Apr 2019 13:56

Old Cock, Otley

Really decent traditional boozer that is way newer than it actually looks, having been renovated as recently as 2010. The beer selection is very good and I guess the only criticism might be that it attracts the good and bad sides of real ale culture - so the bar can be ringed by old lags and seating is at a premium at times.

15 Apr 2019 13:53

Whitelocks, Leeds

Just by dint of the fact that you have to negotiate an obscure alleyway, this is a must visit and while modernisation has come, it's generally been of the sensitive variety - my slightly ridiculous fennel and orange imperial porter was tasty albeit a little off the scale. My partner enjoyed a robust IPA and for the most part, this remains a good place to come to.

15 Apr 2019 13:51

Tilt, Birmingham

A good selection of craft beers including some more unusual choices - peanut butter stout and a nice sour were represented - so a good stop off on any Brum pub crawl even if the pinball theme is a bit gimmicky and naturally leads to a very male atmosphere. The downstairs is surprisingly dungeon like.

24 Mar 2019 17:19

The Queens Arms, Birmingham

A beautiful exterior but the thumbs ups end there - mainly because of the fierceness of the competition in Birmingham these days. This is listless and compared to most city centre pubs, doesn't really cut the mustard. It is a staging post on the walk from the Jewellery Quarter back to th station but I'd save yourself for the Wellington.

24 Mar 2019 17:16

1000 Trades, Hockley

As much an eating place and definitely one for craft beer connoisseurs as it is for anything else. Lots of the usual suspects are there in can form including Tiny Rebel, Beavertown and the like. Wallpapery funk played on the sound system and so this is perhaps a bit designed by focus group but it's so much better than the equivalent place would have been ten years ago.

24 Mar 2019 17:13

Rose Villa Tavern, Birmingham

Like the previous interlocutor, I was wowed by the Cappuccino Stout from the ever reliable Titanic and this along with the extremely pleasing interior replete with gorgeous stained glass mark this out as a winner. Busy and slightly less relaxing than some of the other pubs we visited on this day but an essential stop off in any Jewellery Quarter pub crawl.

24 Mar 2019 17:11

The Gunmakers Arms, Birmingham

A terrific find. Scuzzy and a scruffy but none the worse for that while beers from the Two Towers brewery (the pub is that business's tap) were in good shape. Filled rolls were well presented and there is a relaxed spaciousness to the building. 'Complete Muppetry' is a great name for a beer too.

24 Mar 2019 17:08

The Sack of Potatoes, Gosta Green

A relatively soulless chain style pub close to Aston University which was saved by some of its beer choices - Pale Rider from Sheffield's Kelham Island brewery was in good nick. On a pub crawl that took in 10 of the second city's hostelries, this was well down the list in terms of quality, however.

24 Mar 2019 17:05

The Eagle and Tun, Birmingham

Apparently UB40's favourite pub but don't let that put you off. A friendly welcome and a well chosen selection of ales greeted us. A mountain of snacks line the bar while proper food is Anglo-Indian and intriguing. Close to the glorious Curzon Street terminal and may end up being swallowed by HS2, it's very close to another good pub in The Woodman.

24 Mar 2019 17:02

The White Star, Stoke-on-Trent

As excellent as you would expect of a Titanic Brewery pub with a full range of the classics – even if the divine Chocolate and Vanilla Stout wasn’t on tap on this occasion. In truth, the Plum Porter beats all other Titanic beers hands down still while they had the Gran Reserve version in very large bottles. A decent craft section was augmented by an offering from oxford’s up and coming Tap Social while the guest ales were also well chosen. Busy of a Saturday lunchtime in advance of a visit from Preston North End to Stoke City.

29 Jan 2019 08:23

The Swan, Hammersmith

Given the paucity of decent pubs in Shepherd's Bush, this has become a venue of choice before any visit to Queen's Park Rangers and it's a solid if unexciting choice. I was lured by the promise of Thornbridge's Jaipur but was instead met with the usual array of national chain beers - Doombar, Landlord etc. All were well kept and they had Adnams' winter 'sloe' offering too. Handsome in its Victoriana, the food just abut edged above the average in the shape of a sausage sandwich.

20 Jan 2019 18:01

The Island Queen, Islington

An old favourite but my comments here - breathtakingly lovely Victorian interior, good food, so so beer, indifferent service, too many posh people - could be used as a template for so many London pubs nowadays. Still, an important first or last staging post on any Regent's Canal pub crawl.

31 Dec 2018 16:49

The Palm Tree, Mile End

I've always enjoyed visits here as it is an unspoilt oasis amid the uncontrollable gentrification afoot in the area. The guy behind the bar was old time East End through and through and in possession of gentlemanly manners while the two ales on were in great condition. Quite between Christmas and New Year and I'm sure it attracts a few geezers needing excitement as well as possible extras from the Pulp song, 'Mile End' but for me, a good place.

31 Dec 2018 16:42

The Grapes, Limehouse

A natural starting point for a Regents Canal pub walk and still probably the best pub on the river in east London. The outside deck overlooking the Thames is an atmospheric spot and the dark brown interior is reminiscent of below quarters on a ship. Ales were decent enough if unexciting while roast lamb was accompanied by cut above the average vegetables. A little drafty and it does get busy.

31 Dec 2018 16:37

The Craufurd Arms, Maidenhead

A mixed review for this pub that was relaunched after the assertion of an asset of community value campaign. The beers, mainly from Marlow's Rebellion brewery, are very well kept and there is a degree of a community feel. Downsides were slightly unfriendly service and an interview of a darts player on Sky Sports being broadcast at full volume to the whole pub to the interest of nobody. So, work to be done in the town that voted in Theresa May, but a start.

31 Dec 2018 16:32

The Globe, Lisson Grove

Very much the flagship for the more mainstream side of craft beer with the very dull likes of Brewdog and Camden represented. They also have Beavertown’s Neck Oil and Gamma Ray on tap which were both decent but as unexciting as usual. It being Christmas, they were also serving mulled wine while the clientele was a curious mix of suits and top boys.

20 Dec 2018 13:34

The Larrik, Marylebone

I was there for a Christmas lunch and this was carried off with a degree of aplomb even if the starter (salmon) was something of an amuse-bouche. A drinkable enough ale from London brewery Sambrook was on tap. service was no nonsense.

20 Dec 2018 13:31

The Jerusalem Tavern, Clerkenwell

A classic even if its use as a pub is limited to only the last two or three decades. Convivial, the snug that sits opposite and looms over the bar is the place to get but all the pub's quarters are lovely. The St. Peter's beers are generally excellent too and it's a place full of atmosphere. The only quibble would be over how busy it gets but in summer, head indoors as people tend to spill out on to the pavement, leaving room inside.

17 Dec 2018 15:36

The Pelt trader, Cannon Street

Pretty good example of the Euston tap/Holborn Whippet chain with a great range of craft ales - plus a few real ones. We arrived when a bunch of fellas who looked like freemasons were in - so that created a bad first impression, polite though they were. Afterwards, the beers were of great quality and not as expensive as one might have feared given the location - the place is a lot cheaper than another craft beer joint in the Square Mile, the Arbitrager.

17 Dec 2018 15:28

The Lamb Tavern, Leadenhall Market

Beautiful location in Leadenhall market even if the market long ago ceased to be anything other than a tourist trap. Beers are from the Youngs and Wells range and not especially illuminating. There is a curiously bijou upstairs bar which has elements of cosiness. In warmer weather the suited denizens spill out into the market's communal areas.

17 Dec 2018 15:26

The Jamaica Wine House, Bank

Lovely, dark and Christmassy interior (it probably seems festive even in June). once an ancient coffee house but now very much a pub. Quite during the day but one suspects it's for standing customers in the main after a certain hour. Good service but unexciting ale choices.

17 Dec 2018 15:22

The Counting House, Bank

Undeniably impressive interior that once housed an old bank - not a surprise given the area. The usual Fullers range was augmented by Dark Star Hophead which was a relief. Sumptuous furnishings but as lamentable a clientele as you would expect in the City.

17 Dec 2018 15:21

The Queens Head, Lambeth

Famous as the pub where Fat White Family, Shame and other denizens of the Brixton music scene of the early 2010s started out and hang out at - it's a few years on now and was quiet on the occasion of our visit. Hard therefore to judge although service was friendly. We weren't expecting fireworks on the beer front but there's no getting around the fact that the selection was below par and two key tipples were off.

25 Nov 2018 13:57

Crown and Anchor, Brixton

Well this is gentrification writ large - and while I don't necessarily feel that's a totally bad thing - the ale selection proved to be excellent - it seems odd to emerge from a streetscape of fried chicken shops, places you can phone to Bangladesh and people of colour clearly having a tough time of it into this Mr. Benn style otherworld of well heeled white twentysomethings. Oddly, they boast about not accepting cash which seems like another ploy to sever any umbilical cord to community.

25 Nov 2018 13:50

The Priory Arms, Stockwell

A great find amid the backstreets of Stockwell. I very much enjoyed a Macchiato beer from the Wylam brewery and both cask and keg are well represented with imaginative choices. A good atmosphere that is welcoming to both established and newer members of the community while nachos and grilled halloumi proved to be excellent sharing plates.

25 Nov 2018 13:45

The Craft Beer Co, Brixton

A good option near to Brixton tube and possibly the best place in the immediate area for ales. They often have a tap takeover and the place can get very busy but as well as a lot of the usual suspects from the Craft Beer scene, they are not averse to something woozier and more sessionable. The space itself does lack character and the upstairs is cluttery-noisy.

25 Nov 2018 13:42

The Jubilee, Bourne

A converted garage and the memorabilia nods nicely to the town's motor racing heritage. Oakham JHB was good and at 3.5% one of the best session ales around.

1 Nov 2018 17:36

Smiths of Bourne, Bourne

A borderline 7 or 8 as it's good and the best place to drink in Bourne - Release the Chimps from the Nene Valley brewery and Oakham JHB were both in good fettle and my returning of an off pint of milk stout was fielded apologetically and without quibble. The food looks good too but it's perhaps a little too shiny with hair straighteners pressed into widespread service on late Saturday afternoons by the looks of it

1 Nov 2018 17:34

The Sun Inn, Wheatley

Now more of a cafe with an interesting selection of bric a brac in the back and a quasi village shop feel. people were largely there for scones, tea and cakes and all were good while Shotover beers are appropriately available albeit only in bottles. A goof attempt at a community hub but not really a boozer.

26 Oct 2018 06:54

Thomas Rigby's, Liverpool

One of those 'all human life' is here places albeit with a heavy bias towards the male of the species. Good ales from both sides of the Pennines and friendly punters, it sums up what Liverpool is, a hard drinking, sociable, non nonsense and characterful city.

26 Oct 2018 06:50

The Brunswick Inn, Derby

Superb. Great for beer and atmosphere but the real star is the building itself - a striking corner building amid a wonderful conservation area of Victorian terraces. Beers are brewed on site with the Porter a highlight while offerings from the Bude brewery, Timothy Taylor and others were also on tap. A pork pie was gargantuan.

25 Aug 2018 22:17

The Coopers Tavern, Burton-Upon-Trent

I had never set foot in Burton before today and while I'm aware it is the capital city of UK brewing, that reputation largely rests on a lot of bog standard beers so I was cynical to a degree. No such concerns with this pub though - a perfect way to spend an hour between rail replacement bus and train. The multi room layout is gorgeous with lots of nooks and crannies while the beer is served direct from the cask in most cases. A chocolate and orange porter from Wye Valley was tip top indeed.

25 Aug 2018 22:13

Lyme Regis Brewery Tap, Lyme Regis

Only open in the afternoon which is a pity but a simply gorgeous place to hang out in the courtyard and people watch while quaffing the enjoyably woozy range of ales on offer from the brewery about 10 feet away. The Lyme Gold is a good mid range choice while the Black Ven porter (sadly rarely on tap) an Granny's Teeth ( a wild wintry brew) are all good and named after local features.

6 Aug 2018 18:09

George Inn, Bath

A ludicrously beautiful building here the Tudor first floor beamery is matched only my the gnarled medieval stylings of the ground floor. Decent but unexciting Wadsworth beers and lovely nooks and crannies. The only quibble might be a parsimony with the bread when it comes to a couple of tasty but far from sizeable 'sharing' platters

6 Aug 2018 18:04

The Fleur De Lys, Norton St Philip

A good drinker's pub as a counterpart to the more foodie surrounds of The George (same owners) across the road. Quiet of a Saturday afternoon and presumably a great place to whole up of a winter's evening. Other beers beyond the Wadsworth range on tap and lovely cartoon reproductions from Punch on the wall.

6 Aug 2018 18:02

The Plough, Kelmscott

Screamingly posh as you would expect from this part of the country but the village is idyllic, Kelmscott House worth a gander and this pub very good indeed. Full marks for not hiking the prices up - which they could well have done and still attracted a sizeable clientele. The sandwiches and chips are good value for a tenner and while the beer selection - Old Hooky, Wherry - was bog standard, a pint of the former went down well. We visited on a Thames path walk from Radcot,

22 Jul 2018 06:56

Red Hart Inn, Wisbech

A punter with a massive black eye set the tone. Elgood's offerings are on tap and are ones to wallow in - flat as can be, warm (it was midsummer) and highly drinkable in a low percentage, unthreatening haze.

3 Jul 2018 05:56

The Jolly Gardeners, Vauxhall

Now relabeled Zeitgeist and we watched Germany's apocalyptic 2-0 defeat to South Korea here during the 2018 World Cup. Hence, it was full of Germans with replica shirts and facepaint all of whom took defeat in a sporting manner. Beers are many and all German so the variety is very much all about various spins on lager - Köstritzer and Krombacher are the dark options. Overall, very good and all the better for getting away from the bench tables and lederhosen template of Bavarian places.

3 Jul 2018 05:54

The Barfly Club, Chalk Farm

Now the Camden Assembly and was originally The Monarch back in the early 90s - this was where I first heard 'Little Fluffy Clouds' by the Orb. Still a music venue upstairs, the craft beer selection is decent including a dark porter but there isn't any real ale (it would have been dire back in the day if I remember correctly). With the Enterprise, never a great pub, now managing to be even worse and the Lock Tavern having all 4 ale pumps turned back to front, we had no option but to come here and were reasonably satisfied.

25 May 2018 11:16

The Five Bells, New Cross

A great mix of local boozer and comedy hipster den that was a hugely enjoyable place to see Scottish band Sweaty Palms one May weekday evening in 2018. Great for people watching with lots of half mast trouser and silly hats while tattoos are far from absent. The beer selection is so so - mainly the US likes of Lagunitas and Goose Island plus lots of lager and only Doombar on the traditional ale front.

16 May 2018 07:59

The Hobgoblin, New Cross

Pretty sure that this, now rebranded the Rose, is the sister pub of a boozer of the same name on Essex Road in Islington and while it's shiny and a vector of gentrification, it isn't half bad. Ales such as Southwark's London Pale Ale are well kept and the pizzas decent enough. The beer garden is also massive.

16 May 2018 07:56

Brel, Glasgow

Used to be one of the best places to drink in Glasgow but come the craft beer revolution, it's now a middling performer - although the Ashton Lane location is a good one. I had a can of Hire Wire Grapefruit ale from Magic Rock which was tasty but most punters come for the lager.

13 May 2018 18:27

The Captains Rest, Glasgow

Now Munro's Bar and a half of Stay Puft from Tiny Rebel went down well. Not a pub and even the craft selection is small but the food - chicken on Cajun rice - was very tasty. Friendly service makes this a good stop off on a Great Western Road crawl.

13 May 2018 18:24

The State Bar, Glasgow

A sumptuous central bar displays good range of beers including Oakham's Green Devil - a blow your head off 6% of a weekday afternoon in unseasonably hot weather. Interesting electronic music was another bonus. There is no craft beer - just cask and the usual motely lagers but this must be a contender for the crown of Glasgow's best boozer.

13 May 2018 18:22

The Three Judges, Partick Cross

OK but no more than that. The ale selection is good and largely Scottish but a preponderance of middle aged blokes on their own of a bank holiday Monday does not an exciting welcome make. A pint of Dark Moor Mild from the Kelburn Brewing Company was in good nick. One punter was 9/10ths of the way through Middlemarch.

13 May 2018 18:19

The Royal George, Charing Cross Road

A curious joint that is reminiscent of the album cover of Soft cell's 'Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret'. Now facing the hoardings for the Crossrail project, it is quite an interesting option were the beers slightly better. Meantime and Camden are run of the mill 'craft' choices as are Proper Job and Doom Bar on the ale side of things. cans of Cwtch's 'Clwb Tropicana' in the fridge saved the day.

24 Apr 2018 12:28

Crate, Hackney Wick

So much of a hipster joint that even Nathan Barley would blush, this is beyond parody in so many ways and it would be rude not to spend your time here debating the pros and cons of gentrification. However, it really is brilliant - a fabulous beer selection including the divine Triple Chocoholic from Saltaire, tasty looking pizzas, superb music (which I could not identify - often the best kind) and a pleasing canalside location. Carried off with aplomb as so much hipster stuff is.

16 Apr 2018 07:03

Fox Inn, Boars Hill

Recently transformed from a Chef and Brewer although the livery hasn't changed much - the location is smart (this is High Tory country) and the pub must once have been a half timbered gem - while it's far from unsympathetically done up, it's still a bit clinical. Butcombe and Bombardier are on tap which is just the right side of OK. The food sounds good but witnesses pronounce it to be over priced so this is probably another self-styled gastropub.

13 Apr 2018 14:58

The Hand and Flower, Kensington

Gets very busy with all the events at Olympia and was hopping at 11.30am on a weekday. It's a Fullers pub and therefore boring although they did have Dark Star Hophead as a guest. Gnocchi with various vegetables actually bordered on the dire though although my companion's chicken Caesar sarnie looked good.

12 Apr 2018 09:44

The Old Star, Westminster

Given it's a Greene King production, slightly better than expected - a pint of Lazarus went down well while there are pleasing nooks and crannies. Objectionable clientele though - suits, suits and more suits

12 Apr 2018 09:41

The Feathers, St James's

With this location, a pub like this is never not going to be full of suits while a bunch of people on the pavement outside is yet more evidence of how right The Fall were to title a song 'British People in Hot Weather'. A pint of Inferno from Oakham was most welcome though and meant having to avoid the other more humdrum offerings.

12 Apr 2018 09:38

The Grapes, Oxford

Reopened as The Grapes after a sorry few months as Beerd. Good and no sign of Bath Ales these days which would be a shame if it were not for the addition of some good ale choices - Magg's Magnificent Mild from West Berkshire is a fixture. One of central Oxford's better pubs.

3 Apr 2018 09:16

The Approach Tavern, Bethnal Green

With the nearby Camel and Florist not really having moved on, a superb beer selection including Dark Star hophead and lovely big ceilings and roomy relaxedness keeps The Approach at the top of the pile of any list of superior Bethnal Green pubs. Full of kids on a weekday, close as it is to the Museum of Childhood.

3 Apr 2018 09:13

Tapping the Admiral, Camden Town

Commandeered by one half of a pub landlord and landlady combo, the female representative of which is currently head honcho at the excellent Pineapple, this hits a lovely sweet spot between fun and painstaking care - the atmosphere was upbeat and welcoming of a Saturday night and the beer selection very good indeed.

25 Mar 2018 17:11

The Lion and Unicorn, Kentish Town

Got my pubs mixed up - this is actually pretty unexciting - might rank higher in a worse area for pubs but given such strong competition in Kentish Town, falls well down the list.

25 Mar 2018 17:07

The Torriano, Kentish Town

Now the Rose and Crown. A worthy representative of this most quickly gentrifying of neighbourhoods. The food borders on the fancy - tacos and nachos with a foodie twist - and the ale selection is bettered by the craft offerings - a pint of peanut butter stout was pretty divine. A good space and not too large.

25 Mar 2018 17:05

The Grafton Arms, Kentish Town

Cavernous and massively gentrified, service was nonetheless pleasant and a scotch egg to die for. Beer options were acceptably wide without being exciting.

25 Mar 2018 17:03

The Pineapple, Kentish Town

One of London's great pubs and recently featured in Kentish Towner magazine. A good range of real ales, friendly service, excellent Thai food, cheese nights and the occasional beer festival. I once did the Quiz here and Andrew Lincoln of 'This Life' fame was on an opposing team and very drink. This pub manages a real community feel and is welcome to all comers.

25 Mar 2018 16:55

The Lion and Unicorn, Kentish Town

A worthy representative of this most quickly gentrifying of neighbourhoods. The food borders on the fancy - tacos and machos with a foodie twist - and the ale selection is bettered by the craft offerings - a pint of peanut butter stout was pretty divine. A good space and not too large.

25 Mar 2018 16:52

Cellar 59, Lyme Regis

Effectively a brewery tap for the excellent and innovative Gyle 59 Brewery and several of their offerings on tap alongside ones from other 'craft' ale producers including the superb Siren from Berkshire. Their Viennese Whirlpool was especially good while Gyle's coffee flavoured dark effort also hit the spot.

25 Mar 2018 12:05

The Star Inn, Beeston

A traditional local that manages to make ever such a slight nod to hipsterdom by laying on a great range of local real ales, primarily of the light and hoppy variety - so Castle Rock are represented as well as various Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire breweries. Another noteworthy element is the presence of bread and dripping on the menu - a good half century after anyone has eaten it. I was tempted but opted for a burger which was bog standard but tasty.

14 Feb 2018 20:27

The Organ Grinder, Loughborough

An outlet for the Blue Monkey brewery and I have to say that a pint of their Infinity was divine and perfectly kept. There is a good range although some of their advertised offerings including their amaretto chocolate stout were absent which was slightly disappointing. It might also be good to see them make room for a guest. This is an essential stop off in this slightly tired market town..

14 Feb 2018 20:23

The Windmill, Loughborough

Traditional local with characters sitting around In silence - and old fella was pleasant with his service but pints of Bass and Pedigree were as uninteresting as you would expect. Seventies prog emanated from the juke box, confirming the time warp feel.

14 Feb 2018 20:20

The Flag, Crouch Hill

Now the Brave Sir Robin and a good selection of beers on cask and keg plus friendly service. a Siren session ale on cask was great as was a Frambuzi from Tiny Rebel. Downsides - a DJ playing faceless rubbish which nobody in the pub was clearly in the mood for and a frankly diabolical wiener schnitzel literally swimming in grease. OK but competition in the area is tough and work needs to be done.

11 Feb 2018 12:12

The Flying Scotsman, Caledonian Road

Interesting to have missed the legendary Snarling Mallard by a day - and interesting too that another cove had a similar complaint about a pint overturned by the barman. My own experience was much more positive with a smoked porter going down a treat and it was a decent stop off near to the main station and not too busy despite there being egg chasing on the telly.

11 Feb 2018 12:08

The Hour Glass Inn, Exeter

A classic in terms of decor , a stuffed otter apart - all distressed wood and tasteful real furnishings. The bar is small and cosy and at the heart of a fascinating area close to the docks. Food looked outstanding even if we did not partake - lentils, fennel and squid as a combo is very rarely not a winner. The beer selection is perhaps the one minor failing - Sharps are over represented and there was little to get the pulse racing.

5 Feb 2018 17:00

Beer Cellar, Exeter

Good, helpful service and a great range of cask and keg offerings - Hanlon's had a tap takeover while there was a good mix of representation for local breweries as well as more far flung craft operators. We went in the day when it was relatively unbusy - while the location at the end of the cathedral green is also very good.

5 Feb 2018 16:57

The Fat Pig, Exeter

Really very good indeed - a beautiful reconstruction or what was presumably a fine Victorian pub with modern touches and great beer from their own range. Yes, the choices tend to be hoppy but I like hoppy - while the location next to alternative Fore Street is also good. Hipster yes - but connoting all that label's association with authenticity and quality.

5 Feb 2018 16:55

The Village, Salisbury

A great find and a super place for wiling away a few hours deciding which train to get. There’s a community feel and local beers along with the odd great guest (this time, it was from Great Heck). Cranberries fans had raided the jukebox in the week of Dolores O’Riordan’s passing.

21 Jan 2018 10:08

The Wyndham Arms, Salisbury

Having for many years hoped to make a trip to this place having espied it from the car, it proved o be no disappointment. It’s where Hopback began and the full range is present and correct including the Winter Lightning which, contrary to expectation, is actually light of hue. A dog, Bundle, sat contendedly drying off in the fire on a very wet day.

21 Jan 2018 10:07

The Haunch of Venison, Salisbury

A classic pub that recalls London’s Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese with its nooks, crannies and snugs. The chief attraction is a cosy room with the severed skeletal hand of a card cheat in a glass case. Eerie indeed but otherwise, it’s a convivial establishment that reeks of Old England. Beers included Summer Lightning from Hopback and Courage Best – not that imaginative a choice but decent enough.

21 Jan 2018 10:06

The City Arms, Cardiff

With eight beers on tap, one might expect this to be a real winner and although it’s serviceably good, there were three bum notes. These are extremely ‘aromatic’ toilets, a guy warbling pointlessly with a guitar in the corner and a number of patrons more than a few sheet to the wind. OK, it’s a pub and all of those factors can come with the territory but the City Arms is currently being blown out of the water by the Tiny Rebel place across the street.

21 Jan 2018 10:04

The Colonel Fawcett, Camden

Amusingly hipster styled, the authenticity which is the watchword of this urban tribe does make for a good combination in all. The inside furnishings are pleasingly distressed in dark wood, the service is good and there are interesting beers including a green IPA from Dark Star. I was there for a Christmas lunch which aimed at gourmet status but was actually rather workaday.

21 Jan 2018 10:03

Tapped, Leeds

Perhaps a sign that the whole craft beer thing is going mainstream. A good choice of beers for sure including some from the reliable Thornbrdge but the interior is a bit like an airport bar and a pizza while gleefully gulped was so-so in truth.

21 Jan 2018 10:01

The London Apprentice, Old Isleworth

A real disappointment. A pub with a great location close to Syon House and amid tranquil Thameside surrounds but touristy. Beers are just the ride side of OK with the local Twickenham brewery represented in typically unexciting style as well as Greene King’s festive offering Rocking Rudolph. Service was brusque and impatient while a steak and kidney pie as very poor – overcooked pastry with congealed filling.

21 Jan 2018 10:00

The Castle Tavern, Oxford

Newly renovated and Hook Norton’s first dedicated outlet in Oxford, this is decent enough although perhaps suffers a little from the nearness of the barbaric new Westgate shopping centre across the street, leading to an inevitable atmosphere of transience. The beers are fine although Hook Norton is a solid mid ranking performer as breweries go and there is little exciting in their range.

21 Jan 2018 09:59

The Butchers Arms, Headington

I live a mile way but had never entered this backstreets pub. Fullers bore me to be honest these days but the range of their offerings here is bigger than normal and the Damson Porter, while a shameless attempt to match Titanic and not a patch on that brewery’s Plum Porter, was very drinkable of a wintry evening. Two cats too and perhaps the only quibble is the brightness of the lighting.

21 Jan 2018 09:58

The Chequers, Fenny Stratford

I did pop in here a few years back and enjoyed a surprisingly good pint in an empty pub but Vale Brewery’s new incarnation of this pub is something of a transformation. The brewery itself displays a fascinating range of its own wares alongside some great craft and cask offerings – most notably the excellent Stay Puft from Cwtch, once described as ‘chewy’ and a lovely IPA type brew from Beavertown. Vale’s own chocolate stout was also a knockout. The guy who runs it works tirelessly in cleaning, cooking and serving the beer.

21 Jan 2018 09:56

The Auld Brig Tavern, Musselburgh

Welcoming joint with free sausage rolls – how often do you see that these days? The beer selection was subprime if well kept – my half of Belhaven was uninteresting but not terrible. A handsome building and friendly locals very near to an ancient looking stone footbridge over the Esk rRver.

21 Jan 2018 09:54

Dukes Corner, Dundee

A vast and very typical example of the craft beer revolution, this is hard to fault and has presumably been a welcome addition to the Dundee scene in recent times. Some familiar names are present including Beavertown (Neck Oil was on tap). The challenge for the craft beer industry now will be to maintain the impression of interesting, independent pubs and ales which is being endangered by the new nationals such as Brewdog.

21 Jan 2018 09:53

The Stockbridge Tap, Edinburgh

Ace stopping off point in the wealthy Edinburgh suburb, we treated ourselves to a cornucopia of great beers including Sampo from Thornbridge, White Out from Cromarty and Island Hopping from the Swannay Brewery. Good Bombay mix too although the atmosphere was weird at times – an extra from the Carry On movies seemed to have wandered in and the boisterousness from a bunch of students might have attracted the attention of Paul Calf had he wandered in.

21 Jan 2018 09:52

Volunteers Arms, Musselburgh

Wonderful pub on the backstreets of Musselburgh that was unfortunately packed to the rafters on the day of our visit, necessitating standing in the corridor and continually having to move to get out of people’s way. Oakham Citra was on and as excellent as ever.

21 Jan 2018 09:51

The Abbotsford, Edinburgh

A great pub for whisky – I forked out £7.40 for an Ardmore fifteen year vintage – which given I know as much about whisky as pole dancing – was perhaps a bit silly. It tasted good though, as did the beers n another visit – dark Munro mild was especially impressive.

21 Jan 2018 09:49

The Kenilworth, Edinburgh

A glorious interior that is topped off by a ceiling that somehow manages to trump everything but this pub, despite a goodly selection of beers, attracts too many men of a certain age (mine, as it turns out) to be truly enjoyable. The stark lighting could also be dimmed. Fullers’ Red Fox was a decidedly Sassenach choice on our visit.

21 Jan 2018 09:48

The Oxford Bar, Edinburgh

The classic Edinburgh pub, tucked away in the new town and in possession of a small bar and a stark but atmospheric side room that one imagines is just how pubs in the eighteenth century would have been. A good range of Scottish ales that do something to offset the impression that beers north of the border are inferior – Trade Winds from Cairngorm is a mainstay while Harviestoun’s Bitter and Twisted also graced the pumps.

21 Jan 2018 09:47

The Old Buttermarket, Canterbury

His has something of the feel of an old fashioned London pub, all brass fittings and smart wooden panels – and the beers are decent – I enjoyed a very good porter from Shepherd Neame who are well represented in these parts. The location opposite the majestic cathedral get is unbeatable.

21 Jan 2018 09:44

The Two Brewers, Marlow

Pretty good - have been there twice - once before the fire and once after and it''s nice to see such a traditional building continue to hold sway. Beers, appropriateyl, are from the local outfit Rebellion, purveyors of one of the better standard nut brown ales in the country (not a genre I''m that keen on in these days of so much choice).

29 Aug 2017 06:50

The Prince of Wales, Marlow

A bit tired inside in a modernised pub gone to seed kind of way. Local brew Rebellion blonde was on and in good condition but oherwise, the beer selection is unimaginative. Very quiet of a saturday bank holiday afternoon.

29 Aug 2017 06:46

The Jolly Postboys, Oxford

Relatively recently opened and a spin off from the excellent Chester pub that has created waves with good food and beer about a kilometre or so away. The result is good with one caveat that the proprietors lease it from Greene King. Thankfully, the only evidence of that brewer''s mitts on this come by way of the pub sign - the beers on included Loose Cannon''s Abingdon Bridge and Mr. Chubb''s from West Berks while people seemed to be tucking in to luscious looking tasting plates. The garden is a bit concrete but spacious - as is the interior which is plainly but sensitively done. A good addition in the main and would get a higher mark were it not that some amount of the money must be making its way to Bury St. Edmunds.

25 Aug 2017 09:01

The Guild, Preston

A great new find in Preston which we visited on the way back to the station from Deepdale. A nice range of craft and real ale so something for everyone, an ever rotating list of wares and friendly service. Brews from Wishbone - the Gujira and the Table Porter proved to be imaginative choices both. There is also a nice upstairs room.

20 Aug 2017 18:05

The Narrows, Abingdon

Wetherspoons trump their choice of beer but it was unimaginative indeed in here - although I did enjoy a few pints of Lazarus from the Truman Brewery. As soulless as you would come to expect from the chain and as cheap - just as well really because their decision to back Brexit will leave us all the more penniless in years to come. Clearly a cunning ruse.

18 Aug 2017 20:02

Sandford Park Ale House, Cheltenham

I've always found Cheltenham to be one of Britain's most disappointing large towns so this chance to visit the 2015 national pub of the year was taken up with enthusiasm. It didn't disappoint. We visited the day after a cider and cheese festival and left over wares were being used ingeniously on the menu with many a perry and cider still on offer. Beer wise, I had a divine pint of Ramsbury Silver Pigs stout and dined on bratwurst roll and chips - also of high quality. Service as knowledgeable and impeccable. The beer garden looks like a good spot too.

14 Aug 2017 13:21

The Rotunda, Cheltenham

A pleasingly dark wood kind of place on a pleasant street amid Cheltenham's Regency finery. The ale selection is well kept but very uninspired - Doom Bar, Proper Job etc. but also Otter which was our choice on this occasion. A bevy of locals surround the bar leaving most of the rest establishment empty. Just fine - no more, no less.

14 Aug 2017 13:14

Wheatsheaf, Northleach

Some criticism on here and yes, more tables could be designated for drinkers - but overall, it's hard to be critical when the food hits as high a standard as this. I've paid more in far more unimpressive places that use and abuse the 'gastropub' name. This earns it (the twice baked souffle was to die for) while service is charming and unfussy. Very much a foodie heaven although the village is gorgeous and the building in which the pub is housed absolutely stunning.

9 Jul 2017 20:45

Timbrells Yard, Bradford on Avon

Stating the obvious in saying that this is a restaurant, not a pub even though it's in the Good Beer Guide. Given it was 11 am, nobody was drinking but the breakfast offerings looked excellent. One can stay.

9 Jul 2017 20:42

Lulworth Cove Inn, West Lulworth

Fine for a pint of orange juice and soda after a tiring walk to Durdle Door and back and the ales from Hall and Woodhouse are well above average among those peddled by the national chains. Detailed shipping maps of the glorious local coastline on the wall recall the Dolphin in Plymouth.

9 Jul 2017 20:33

The Angel Inn, Lyme Regis

Long closed so am taking the opportunity to review Cellar 59 in Lyme instead - a new place on Broad Street not yet on Beer in the Evening. It's effectively a brewery tap for the excellent and innovative Gyle 59 Brewery and several of their offerings on ta alongside ones from other 'craft' ale producers including the superb Siren from Berkshire. Their Viennese Whirlpool was especially goo while Gyle's coffee flavoured dark effort also hit the spot. As for the Angel, it seems to have been run into the ground by Palmers along side another pub in Lyme, the Three Cups.

9 Jul 2017 20:16

Just Ales, Wells

Ramshackle but rather glorious, the tables are packed together and CAMRA members are sozzled. The beers are saved from casks, Beer Festival style and are warm and woozy. The cider choice is also tiptop as you would expect from this part of the country.

9 Jul 2017 19:49

The Sun Inn, Wells

Unremarkable but saved by its jukebox - one punter in particular seemed to thoroughly enjoy our choices - 'Where's My Jumper?' by Sultans of Ping FC and The Primitives' 'Crash'. Friendly service too.

9 Jul 2017 19:48

The Crown Hotel, Wells

A classic coaching inn with a connection to the man who gave Pennsylvania its name. Unfortunately, more people seem to be interested in the connection with the movie Hot Fuzz and Nick Frost leering down from the wall is a reminder of how anyone - I mean anyone - can make it in showbiz. The exterior is lovely, the interior crassly modernised. Butcombe offerings were on tap, chicken nuggets available gratis on the bar top.

9 Jul 2017 19:44

The Rose and Crown, Wells

One of those small town, 'all life is in here' pubs which is a common thing for Wells. It's good to see a range of generations enjoying a Saturday night drink and the ale selection was local and well chosen.

9 Jul 2017 19:41

Maidenhead Conservative Club, Maidenhead

The Grenfell Arms on Oldfield Road isn't on BITE so I thought I'd leave my review here as surely post-Theresa May's snap decision to call an election, the thought of any right thinking person drinking in a Conservative Club is impossible - although this is Maidenhead.

Anyway, the Grenfell Arms is a new conversion which looks like a Greene King pub by stealth but isn't too bad for drinks - Summer Lightning and Loose Cannon was on tap. Food options are well delivered and capacious.

1 out of 10 for the Tory club; 7 out of 10 for the Grenfell Arms

25 Jun 2017 09:53

The Hopbunker, Cardiff

Excellent selection of real ales and craft offerings including a refreshing lemongrass scented brew. Stands out as there is so much dross in Cardiff but good on its own terms and a must-visit place. Only issue with this and the very good Tiny rebel outlet not far away is a real lack of female clientele.

23 Jun 2017 10:52

Urban Tap House, Cardiff

As zeitgeisty as they come as a purveyor of Tiny Rebel's wares - very much a brewery on the rise and multi-ward winning. Cardiff needs it too as there is a real proliferation of awful borderline nasty chain pubs in the city centre. Fubar and a 'tropical' beer both went down very well and the building is also stunning.

23 Jun 2017 10:50

The Bridge, Cambridge

A Chef & Brewer with Greene King IPA on tap so you know what to expect and avoid if you don't like muzak and middle of the road furnishings - but the location next to the Cam on a hot summer's day is pretty special and my sea bass with scallops over risotto was tasty.

16 Jun 2017 20:43

The Great Western Arms, Aynho

A welcome sight on a 13 mile canal walk between Heyford and Banbury and pretty much the only pub right on the canal throughout that stretch. Hook Norton ales are on tap which is pretty much how it should be given the area and we enjoyed a decent soup and sandwich combo each for £7.50. The rest of the food looked good but perhaps not as excellent as others on here are making out while it was enjoyable to toast Jeremy Corbyn in an area where he is unlikely to have too many supporters. The music in the pub was criminally poor.

11 Jun 2017 20:30

The Shakespeare, Birmingham

A lovely Victorian interior but otherwise, quite boring. The ale selection was especially uninspired - not surprising from NIcholson's whose wares tend to be humdrum in the extreme. Doom Bar also about as welcome as Donald Trump at a vegan march.

8 Jun 2017 13:28

The Barley Mow, Marylebone

A real find and the wooden snugs that abut the bar are a thing of wonder - reminding one of the Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast. Friendly service too on the day of Reading's play-off final encounter with Huddersfield - this is a great place slightly away from the main route to Wembley in which to enjoy a quieter pint. The hordes of visitors from Berkshire were delighted to see Good Old Boy on tap. The only bum note is the presence of slightly unimaginative beers apart from that - Doom Bar etc.

30 May 2017 09:53

The Midland Hotel, Hendon

I lived in Hendon for 11 years and somehow never visited this place until long after I departed this colourless suburb in 2011. I was pleasantly surprised - a good mx of ages and ethnicities, friendly service and Dark Star on tap - this was in good condition and the pub is a decent enough stop off. My only quibble is the extra large sixed England flag that festoons one wall - unnecessary.

23 Apr 2017 16:57

The King's Head, Huddersfield

My how station pubs in the UK have improved to be outstanding. Decorated or non-decorated in shabby chic style, it's a bare but pleasingly large space with a great number of excellent local ales on tap. The town's own Magic Rock brewery was represented as was Ilkley. Busy in advance of a Roses football fixture between the Terriers and Preston North End.

16 Apr 2017 06:21

The Pomfret Arms, Northampton

The final pub on a 10 pub crawl and middling to below average in quality compared to other stop offs. That's as much to do with the high standards being set elsewhere of course. Beers were good and a boisterous game of Northamptonshire skittles kept us entertained.

2 Apr 2017 15:18

Shipmans, Northampton

Now renamed the John Franklin's having been supposedly haunted by a former landlord of that name and we stoppoed off for food (terrific cheese) on a 10 pub crawl of this underrated town. The beer and atmosphere wasn't much cop though and i would rather use this space to highlight 3 super new places that haven't yet made it on to this site, clearly run by algorithms as it is. The Princess Alexandra, Garibaldi Hotel and St. Giles' Ale House are all brilliant additions to the south midlands drinking scene.

2 Apr 2017 15:14

Goose, Northampton

Judging by the identical postcode, this is now the Wig & Pen and while it sounds like it has improved a lot, such is the fierceness of the competition that it still doesn't really cut the mustard. Pie and chips was decent and service affable but both ales I tried were below par. There is a whiff of Green King about the place - IPA was on tap.

2 Apr 2017 14:50

The Victoria Inn, Peckham Rye

This would probably have been considered good a few years ago but nowadays, there's nothing to distinguish it and in fact, it was very similar to a host of pubs we saw on a stroll around Dulwich and Peckham - faux gastro (the food looked decent but no more than that), unexciting ale choices and a general blandness. The Cure's 'A Forest' did blare out at one point which is a good thing.

31 Mar 2017 11:09

The British Oak, Stirchley

A good find on an exploration of Birmingham's southern reaches. I peered through the window and was delighted to see Titanic Plum Porter on tap - so duly entered to indulge. Good service and lots of other fine ales on too while it seemed to do a good job of appealing old and young alike.

22 Mar 2017 13:08

The Lych Gate Tavern, Wolverhampton

In a town of QEII proportioned theme pubs and dire Wetherspoons, I'm told that this is where you should go on a visit to the city. Good - with a great range of interesting ales - I had a half of a raspberry wheat beer (this was ale and not anything like a Belgian Frambozen). Friendly service and a few old lags were propping up the bar of a Monday lunchtime.

22 Mar 2017 13:06

The Dew Drop Inn, Oxford

The only pub in Summertown - a screamingly posh area where it is unfathomable that there isn't a Magdalen Arms style gastropub. This was slightly better than expected even if the four beers on tap were generally an uninspiring selection. A perfectly acceptable place to down a couple of jars but a bit tepid in atmosphere.

19 Mar 2017 12:27

The White Horse, Parsons Green

A great range of ales including Oakham Scarlet Macaw and JHB and some good local ones. Rumour has it that they employ a professional cellar man and it shows. Service was also good and they also, interestingly, have Pilsner Urquell tank beer on tap. The issue is the clientele which is well heeled in the extreme and all the baggage that comes with that - rugby, jobs as brokers etc. - still if you get over your prejudice, those we sere sat next to were perfectly pleasant.

5 Mar 2017 12:39

The Bricklayers Arms, Putney

Really good and their approach to beer seems to be novel in that they'll showcase a brewery or an area of the country's ales. On our visit, it was Twickenham that was represented and a fine set of brews they provided too, with friendly service thrown in to boot. The interior is also very nice although one suspects the back door was left open to conceal the smell from the loos.

5 Mar 2017 12:32

The Lamb, Bloomsbury

One of London's classic pubs replete with its famous snob screens but Young's merging with Charles Wells has been a hammer blow to its reputation. Gone are the days when one could wallow here of an afternoon, slowly getting pleasantly sizzled with a few pints of their 'Ordinary' - rising standards across the UK in beer production - both craft and real ale - have seen Young's left on the side lines like a lapped runner. Still a good pub but the average standard of the beer and its general busy nature make it a less essential stop off than before.

5 Mar 2017 12:29

The Harp, Covent Garden

For real ale enthusiasts, as good as anywhere in central London. The capital's beers are well represented by Sambrook and others while Brighton's Dark Star brewery is also prominent via the excellent Hophead and American Pale Ales. The only snag is its bijou size - even of weekday afternoon it was getting crowded

19 Feb 2017 06:58

The Lyric, Soho

A defiantly unusual selection of beers for this part of central London , this is a good stop-off but that's probably the only selling point. We came mid afternoon on a weekday having been foiled in our attempts to cross the threshold a couple of weeks' previously because of how busy it is. The music was shocking - that may not be representative.

19 Feb 2017 06:55

The Earth and Stars, Brighton

A low key and central option, imaginatively chosen beer choices and an interesting food menu elevate this well above average - if it were in Milton Keynes, it would be a revelatory experience but in Brighton, it's probably an also-ran when it comes to the best places to grab a beer.

10 Feb 2017 06:50

The Lion And Lobster, Brighton

Excellent and manages to be unpretentious and top quality by turns. The burgers we consumed were all superb and a pint of the classic local beer Dark Star American Pale Ale went down a treat. Dim lighting makes for a cosy winter den and it's also one of the nearer goo pubs to the sea front.

10 Feb 2017 06:47

The Prince Arthur, Brighton

I was expecting something more glitzy and modern but this place, somewhat regretfully now called Brighton Beer Dispensary, is hard to fault. It's pokey which is probably a good thing but the range of craft and cask ales is well chosen and the service affable.

10 Feb 2017 06:44

Revolution, Milton Keynes

With the Wetherspoons closed - thankfully as we have a ban on the places now since the role the owner played in influencing the Brexit vote not to mention the awful, airport lobby, non-place interiors - we were forced to catch up with old friends here after a cinema trip. Metronomy on the sound system was a good but everything else is as dire as you would expect - little beer choice and no character - when are we going to start putting these places to bed?

4 Feb 2017 10:44

The Golden Ball, York

I was very pleased to stumble across this place having heard good things but not being quite sure where it was. It looks a little uninviting from the outside but inside is very welcoming. A musician was preparing to play and 4 ales were on including Yorkshire Sparke which I enjoyed. As it turns out, it is close to the station and town centre so easily reachable on any York trip.

4 Feb 2017 10:39

The Hop, York

Real ale and pizza - what's not to like and this is certainly a place to spend a few hours. Many of the beers are from the Ossett Brewery and are no doubt superb although I had a scintillating half of White Rat from Tadcaster's Rat Brewery - the best beer I tasted on this trip to the Minster city. LCD Soundsystem were on the stereo and portraits of Victorian worthies deck the walls. My only quibble was over the pizza which was just fine but no better than that.

4 Feb 2017 10:35

The Blue Bell, York

Exquisite, historic pub that reminds me of Holborn's Ye Olde Mitre and Preston's Black Horse. There are two bars and one has to stoop low to the serving hatch to be served at one of them. A half of a Rudgate Ruby Mild went down well as a I lounged comfily. There is a 'no groups' policy wildly emblazoned everywhere and which is a little heavy handed although the place is tiny.

4 Feb 2017 10:31

Rumours, York

Thankfully renamed The Falcon (Tap) although 'Rumours' is in 'such a bad name, it's good' territory. A craft place and more evidence of the inexorable rise of the genre - I had half a pint of Bad Kitty Vanilla Porter which was eminently quaffable. A slightly strange lay out but overall a good addition to the scene on Micklegate - a half hipster/half laddish oriented street

2 Feb 2017 07:03

York Tap, York

My how station pubs have changed - this is a super place to sit back and wait for a train and the selection of ales, many of them Yorkshire ones is impeccable. That railway side location is perhaps one disadvantage in that it makes for a transient crowd but it's a nonetheless a destination in its own right. Kama Citra from the Durham Brewery went down well.

2 Feb 2017 06:59

Cherry Reds, Birmingham

Cheating a bit by reviewing on here as we popped in for brunch of a Sunday morning. The beer selection - craft in the main - looks very good indeed. Our breakfast was just fine with a halloumi option for veggies (authenticists might not approve of halloumi with baked beans). Service was affable and there is plenty of literature about upcoming gigs and movies.

23 Jan 2017 06:34

The Old Contemptibles, Birmingham

The interior is magnificent as is the case with so many Birmingham pubs and the theme surrounding the pub's history as a meeting place for former members of the 1914-18 British Expeditionary Force is moving and well presented - but the uncomplicated nature of the place is a fault as it comes across as a bit sub-Wetherspoons. The beer selection is unremarkable and the food looked as bog standard as bog standard could be.

23 Jan 2017 06:29

The Bartons Arms, Aston

Hard to fault - the interior is sumptuous indeed - beautiful Victoriana with snob screens. It's also vast. We were here a busy Saturday lunchtime before a match between Aston Villa and Preston and fans of both teams mingled pleasantly. The Thai food is good and authentic and the ales - from Oakham - are as superb as usual - especially their classic Citra. I guess the only issue with Oakham is that the 'Oaka' branding may lead the brewery to become a victim of their success and we may all be sick of it come 2019.

23 Jan 2017 06:25

Pint Shop, Cambridge

The selection of beers is superb Dark Star Crème Brulee and Oakham Citra among the cask offerings plus loads of craft stuff including a Swedish barley wine at 11%. Snacks are also appealing and the food menu tempting indeed. The only issue is the space which is not very relaxed and feels like the public rooms of a hotel - the organisation's sister establishment in Oxford is a more straightforward 'bar; environment. Undoubtedly a great place for good beer in Cambridge though - in a city which for years punched below its weight in this regard but is improving.

19 Jan 2017 11:52

The Swan, Bloomsbury

Good location and a decent enough selection of ales including an oyster stout from the Hammerton brewery. Sadly, Greene King have their mitts on the corporate control so it's very workaday otherwise with bright lighting and an after work crowd.Bloomsbury is no mecca for pubs and is probably slightly above average for the area - although the Queen's Larder down the ginnel is superior.

15 Jan 2017 21:03

Queens Larder, Bloomsbury

Falls into that slim category of acceptable Greene King pubs, presumably because its attractions entice enough trade for the landlords to plough their own furrow and resist corporate control. Hence, two of the three ales were guests and a Redemption Hopspur went down very well. If a Dane were to visit, they'd be praising us for our understanding of the now ubiquitous 'Hygge' concept.

15 Jan 2017 21:01

The Cheshire Cheese Hotel, Buxton

As excellent as you would expect of any pub that plies Titanic ales. The Plum Porter was divine as usual and various others were on including Iceberg and Steerage - a very harsh quibble would be to highlight the lack of the brewery's Dark Cherry, Raspberry Wheat Beer and Chocolate and Vanilla Stout on the day we were there. Some great guest ales too and the full Titanic range is available to buy by the bottle along with Plum Porter chutney. To top it off, a steak and plum porter pie was carried off with brio - all human life is here and it's worth travelling half the length of the country to visit - which we did.

11 Dec 2016 19:10

The Queens Head, Buxton

We didn't linger long in the pub but the ale selection is decent enough without being scintillating. Serves very well as a place to stay though - rooms are out the back and nice and quiet and clean while service is friendly.

11 Dec 2016 19:05

The Swan, Buxton

A three room, cosy pub with a fairly predictable selection of ales, we took the opportunity to watch Preston v Blackburn on the box and it proved to be a good choice of venue. - but save your units for the Cheshire Cheese across the road.

11 Dec 2016 19:03

The New Inn, Buxton

A handsome, beautifully decorated pub that attracts a good contingent of locals. Beers are from Robinsons although our favourite, the Dizzy Blonde was not amongst them on the occasion of our visit.

11 Dec 2016 19:00

Bridge Hotel, Durham

Attended a quiz night and it proved to be very enjoyable - gettable questions in the main including a music round, clear enunciation from the quiz host and free food (meat stew) laid on. Ales are OK but unremarkable and the interior a little whitewashed. Close to a student area although where isn't in central Durham?.

9 Nov 2016 14:09

Encore, Southampton

Abysmal sub-Wetherspoons nonsense with the ubiquitous Doom Bar and Greene King IPA on tap. Inter Milan were in town on the night of my visit and what they must think of Britain on this evidence, Lord only knows. By the time you read this, it may be Inter Cable Tel who are in town.

5 Nov 2016 09:22

The Plough, Bloomsbury

Like so many London pubs, a lovely interior and superb location are utterly wasted by Greene King. The food didn't look at all great - typical British style School Dinners fayre I did have a guest ale from redemption but It only just passed muster in its keeping.

27 Oct 2016 08:52

The Fellow, Camden

Fine but pretty generic in this land of gastropubs. The beer selection - Doombar, Young's Ordinary and Ubu is unimaginative although the service was friendly and the canapés (for a friend's wedding party) looked decent enough. Noisy, busy and mainstream, reflecting the way Kings Cross is going - better than the old days but with a corporate sheen.

23 Oct 2016 11:46

The King William IV, Hailey

Wonderfully isolated so really only accessible by car or in the middle of a long walk, this place gets most things right. It's not overly 'gastro' so the empahsis is on pub standards such as roasts while It's good to see Brakspear Bitter and Oxford Gold on cask. Friendly service and the overall feel is a lack of pretension. The vast majority of customers are there to dine.

16 Oct 2016 18:37

The Trout Inn, Buckland Marsh

The only pub on along 10 mile walk from Newbridge to Radcot along a quiet stretch of the Thames and not a bad one. Wine glasses upon tables indicate a food-oriented place but the ale selection was good and a pint of Wayland's Smithy from White Horse went down well. Just by dint of NOT being a Greene King pub, that pestilence of this part of the country, receives high marks.

11 Oct 2016 13:43

The Whip Inn, Lacey Green

A great, unpretentious pub at a high point in the Chilterns. Six interesting real ales on tap met our gaze on entry including brews from Maldon and Saffron Walden outfits, the food was home made, of the pub grub variety and carried off well and the service friendly. The beer garden proved to be a perfect place for the two house Jack Russells to gambol.

29 Aug 2016 16:55

The Greyhound, Kew Green

Looks like it might be too much of a restaurant but in fact does pretty well with four admittedly unexciting ales on tap. The big winner though is a £5 lunch deal from Monday to Friday which is of decent quality and unsurprisingly popular - I had belly pork with potato wedges and coleslaw. The location abutting Kew Green is also lovely while service was impeccable.

22 Aug 2016 19:56

The Old Black Horse, Oxford

A resolute ignorer of gentrification. Jeff Stelling's voice booms out, there are absolutely no resl ales on tap and the clientele is of the hardened drinker variety. This is all the more surprising given the pub's location on a main drag in east Oxford and its origins ad a coaching inn (the building is gorgeous from the outside). The front garden features various characters in increasing states of inebriation as an evening wears on. Service was very affable but this is no place to linger.

21 Aug 2016 10:20

The Faversham, Leeds

The previous interlocutor from a decade ago bemoaned the lack of real ales, a problem that has been right royally revolved with an excellent choice of four from various Yorkshire breweries. The beers tend to be craft rather than cask but were in good condition including a session IPA. I had an excellent Ploughman's board while the decking remains a great place to drink in the sunshine. Only quibble is slightly soulless, modernised décor but it's a great option when visiting Leeds University

19 Aug 2016 15:53

The Pack Horse, Mapledurham

My first visit for 25 years and while it lacks the charm of its early 1990s incarnation, it's still not bad. A lovely building and what looked like excellent food and topped by a fine beer garden while local ales from Loddon were on the roster. A bit 'gastro' in its perhaps overly smart furnishings and overly dressed clientele though.

14 Aug 2016 07:57

The Barge Inn, Milton Keynes

By the admittedly lamentable standards of Milton Keynes, this pub isn't too bad - a bucolic setting and an old building, canal photos adorning the walls, a half decent ale in Black Sheep on tap (the less said about two taps devoted to the ubiquitous and stunningly average Doom Bar the better) and family friendly food - the pizzas were enjoyable. It's bland of décor and like many pubs you'll have visited though.

22 Jul 2016 15:57

The British Lion, Devizes

Very good even if we just missed our favourite beer, Titanic Plum Porter - only recently taken off the taps. The range that met our gaze was difficult to fault nonetheless. As this was a half way stop off to the west country, driving curtailed our enjoyment but a pint of Popham's Pride was very good and the barman a real professional.

10 Jul 2016 15:48

The Rusty Bike, Exeter

Along with a decent range of cask ales and friendly service, actually being open at all must be the most important indicator of a good pub so finding this place closed at the far from ungodly hour of 4pm of a Thursday afternoon (along with sister pub the Fat Pig) was a profound disappointment. We did wait and were glad we did as the service - from an inevitable bearded hipster - was affable and the beers very good - Tiny from the pub's own range was especially good. The food menu promised many scrumptious things - so, totally excellent, just put in a little more of a shift please.

10 Jul 2016 15:43

The Well House, Exeter

Halves of Ashridge Devon Blush cider and Salcombe Seahorse went down well enough but this is a pretty unexciting place that wastes a great location in the cathedral close. An old building.

10 Jul 2016 15:38

The Old Fire House, Exeter

A good selection of real ales and all on cask behind the bar while the range of ciders is also top notch - close to the back entrance of Exeter Central station and therefore ideally placed. It also manages to appeal to hipsters and ale heads alike.

10 Jul 2016 15:31

The Gerrard Arms, Colyton

An ideal stopover after a charming journey on the tramway from Seaton. Spacious and classy with good local ales on tap from Otter and Branscombe. Could have done without the West Ham memorabilia though.

10 Jul 2016 15:25

The Rose and Crown, Huish Episcopi

This pub is a permanent fixture in the top 10 pubs in the UK so we thought it would be well worth a detour of 20 miles or so on the way down to Dorset from Oxford. Very good and chiefly notable for not having a bar (locals would appear to linger all day just to derive satisfaction from pointing unwitting customers like me in the direction of the serving hatch). Lots of nooks and crannies and very friendly indeed. A gem albeit a tricky one to get to if you aren't driving.

10 Jul 2016 15:22

The Harrow, West Ilsley

A bucolic location across the road from a cricket pitch and duck pond and close to the Ridgeway, this pub's interior is old fashioned and unspoilt in just the right way. The only downside is common to these parts in that Green King's takeover of Morland has left the pub with an uninteresting selection of beers in the extreme. Not especially friendly either - the landlord and staff displaying the level of neighbourliness one would expect given the recent Brexit vote.

25 Jun 2016 13:36

Eurobar, Oxford

My first visit to this notorious waste of a prime location and it wasn't quite as bad as I thought. That said, now that decent pubs such as the St. Aldate's Tavern are wont to show the football, the point of coming here has disappeared completely. No ale, surely service and no atmosphere.

15 Jun 2016 08:35

Liberty Belle, Ely

More of the feel of a shop than a pub and as others have noted, now called the Drayman's Son. Eight beers were marked up on chalk boards and the cheese and meat platters + pork pies etc. are good features. My pint of Mild did, I'm afraid, taste only just the right side of OK but I'll give the landlord the benefit of the doubt as I'm sure I was just unlucky and did manage to drink it all without feeling unwell. Seems to be a good community joint.

6 Jun 2016 13:34

The Town House, Ely

I was disappointed that no Oakham ales were on given that a review I had read somewhere led me to believe they would be. Nevertheless, a good beer selection was to be had including the tasty 'Half Wit' from local firm Three Blind Mice. Otherwise though, a tad disappointing and I'd echo a previous interlocutor in that the pub has a feel of a chain and the 'garden' is scruffy.

6 Jun 2016 13:31

Treaty of Commerce, Lincoln

A decent enough but slightly tired option near the station in Lincoln so a logical place to wait for a train. Britpop hits were playing in the bar including the Fratellis' 'Chelsea Dagger' (unfortunately). Very old fashioned at the back where diners are treated to paper tablecloths, doilies and napkins. The ales - from local heroes Bateman's - are well kept though.

30 May 2016 11:44

Strugglers Inn, Lincoln

Three words greeted us on entry - Titanic Plum Porter - which was enough to afford this pub at least a 9. Utterly superb pub next to its rival, The Victoria in the shadow of the Castle Walls and hence, tremendously well located while the range of ales beyond the sublime TPP was outstandingly well chosen too. Supposedly haunted by a dog, the stuffed version of which can be seen in the castle (once used as a prison) while the pub was once a good vantage point to view a hanging. It was also once owned by Britain's last hangman, Albert Pierrepoint, played by Timothy Spall in the eponymous film.

30 May 2016 11:40

The Victoria, Lincoln

Lincoln's most storied pub but behind the Strugglers these days. Nonetheless very good and one of the best places in town to sample the enjoyable Bateman's range including Pilgrim Fathers which was fruit-scented indeed. The interior is uncomplicated and traditional and the location beneath the castle walls pleasant to a high degree.

30 May 2016 11:33

The Cardinals Hat, Lincoln

It's always great to hear that a building that hasn't been used as a pub for 200 years has once again become part of the hospitality trade and the selection of beers on offer here - from Oakham and other UK breweries as well as the American likes of Lagunitas IPA is really very good indeed. Having been talked up in Impale, the local CAMRA branch's magazine, we were hopeful but overall, this was a big disappointment showing that CAMRA would be quite happy to give an endorsement to the Black Hole of Calcutta if there were a real ale available. Bland, utterly shocking, too loud music, people dressed in white clothes and light pine made one expect Simon Le Bon to walk into the pub.

30 May 2016 11:28

The Vine Inn, Lincoln

Now the West End Tap and very well thought out it is too. The beer selection included 2015's champion ale of Britain, the vowel-dodging Cwtch in Wales while a pint of Tiny Rebel had us singing The Fall's 'Littlest Rebel' as we left the pub. Located a way away from the main tourist drag and commercial centre in, with chilling logic, the west end of Lincoln.

30 May 2016 11:23

The Dog and Bone, Lincoln

It's always great to come across an uncomplicated backstreet boozer in a tourist town and this is the archetype albeit with a well above average range of ales (mainly from Lincolnshire's Bateman's Brewery and impeccably kept). Activities advertised above the bar include pub walks, barbecues and quizzes - all adding up to a super community pub. Apart from my Bateman's Gold, my partner in crime enjoyed a half of Oakham's JHB.

30 May 2016 11:18

The Tap and Spile, Lincoln

Fine and in most towns would be deemed great but not in the teeth of the very stiff competition locally. Unfortunately, my half of Beerdo was undrinkable which is a blot on the pub's reputation although I'm sure I was just unlucky as service was affable and attentive. My partner's Whitstable Bay was much better and the place was gearing up for a live music night.

30 May 2016 11:14

Brew Haus, Lincoln

Having already downed a skinful at the Lincoln Beer Festival, food was the aim and the pizza proved to be satisfying albeit even more so the next day as a cold breakfast. The beer selection is good and veers towards the 'craft' style and the service was really excellent. The décor is very much that of the Football League Show circa 2011 - all exposed brick - one almost expects Manish Bhasin and Steve Claridge to be hanging out here drowning their sorrows after the switch of the highlights to Channel 5.

30 May 2016 11:11

The Jolly Brewer, Lincoln

One of those Brueghelsque pubs in which all human life is present and busy despite the fact that the Lincoln Beer Festival was running a hundred yards away. The juke box was engaged but looked very good indeed and people were enjoying bank holiday sunshine in the garden.

30 May 2016 11:07

The Pride of Spitalfields, Shoreditch

A proper East End boozer that miraculously survives mid the gentrification of Brick Lane. I very much enjoyed a pint of Brewer's Gold and the atmosphere was relaxed of a Saturday afternoon. Norwich v Man United was on TV with the sound turned down when the winner takes all, Middlesbrough v Brighton match might have been a better choice but overall, an essential stop off amid the hipster magnets of the neighbourhood.

8 May 2016 13:10

The Falkland Arms, Great Tew

A fabled pub and it does live up to the hype - the interior is unspoilt and charming in the extreme and the village exceptionally pretty with its row of thatched cottages. We didn't try the food but service was very friendly and the range of beers - the full gamut of Wadworth beers + a couple of well chosen guests. Overall splendid but hard to get to without a designated driver while it probably provides a great excuse to escape the Cornbury festival when it's on - especially given the customarily shocking bill that event tends to encourage.

2 May 2016 10:06

Sportsman, Huddersfield

As Hard-Fi once sang, 'hard to beat'. A great location en route from station to football ground and in the town centre. An impeccable, ever rotating range of beers on tap and reputedly a great pub quiz. As pubs should be - a gem.

29 Apr 2016 17:01

Vox Bar, Huddersfield

A really characterful place that recalls the kind of bar you might come across in France or the US. Beers are good quality and of the continental variety (Belgian etc.). A welcome presence on the Huddersfield drinking scene.

29 Apr 2016 16:59

Herbert's Bar, Huddersfield

Friendly bar in the middle of town with a couple of ales on tap (of the lighter variety). Not outstanding but a hundred times better than Revolution next door and quite close to the university.

29 Apr 2016 16:57

The Zephyr, Huddersfield

Good split level place with some decent 'craft' (obligatory to do the most theatrical quote marks ever at this point) with a relaxed, pretty cool atmosphere and a nice pizza menu. Essential stop off on any Huddersfield bar crawl and does occasionally have Magic Rock beers on.

29 Apr 2016 16:56

The Cumberland Arms, West Kensington

A no nonsense gastro pub if there is such a thing - friendly service, ter5rific but not overly fussy food and good ales (sadly, the lunchtime nature of my visit midweek prevented me from indulging). West Kensington is a fascinating area - a bit in between and quite mixed in income. Less scuzzy than 20 years ago but still not completely gentrified. This is a great option if you are attending anything at Olympia.

14 Apr 2016 16:17

Red Squirrel Brewery Shop, Berkhamsted

It will be interesting to see if we as a nation have tired of such places in a year or two from now as this is very reminiscent of the Craft Beer Co's various premises in London but for now, it was sublime indeed. A fabulous selection of drinks - both 'craft' and 'cask', knowledgeable service, a nice stripped down interior, a decent sized room upstairs and a pleasant landing for the summer. A coffee stout, Holy Cow, was bursting with flavour and Hopfest was also terrific. A real rival to the excellent Rising Sun.

3 Apr 2016 20:33

The Old Mill, Berkhamsted

Food envy prejudices my view as a seriously underwhelming fish platter was nowhere near as good as a super food salad with chicken enjoyed by my dining neighbour. Service was friendly even if the demand for menu choices a few days in advance a little OTT - message to the owners: CHRISTMAS WAS 3 MONTHS AGO. The ale choice was fine and the building pretty lovely.

3 Apr 2016 20:29

The Lamb, Berkhamsted

If not up to the standard of the Rising Sun or the Red Squirrel Brewery Shop, this was probably the third best pub visited on our 12 pub crawl of Berko. It rounded the evening off nicely with a full range of Tring beers and there was space to spread out. Worth a visit.

3 Apr 2016 20:26

Kings Arms Hotel, Berkhamsted

Mea culpa, it's possible that my review of the Highwayman was meant for this but really, both merge into one, especially given they were pubs 9 and 10 on a 12 pub crawl of Berkhamsted. Utter blandness, muzak, more fake tan that a Phil Brown fancy dress party.

3 Apr 2016 20:23

The Highwayman, Berkhamsted

The food looked good and the building is lovely but the plus points end there - could not be more bland if it tried and wallpaper funk provided the perfect soundtrack to the kind of overdressed, over made up locals that so many British towns see flock to their boozers. Scarcely a pub at all in truth and with Doom Bar and Pride on tap, there is about as much imagination as you would expect going on here.

3 Apr 2016 20:18

The Goat, Berkhamsted

As the previous interlocutor asserts, important as a place where live music can thrive. Nor is it a bad pub for watching the football (others in the town should take note given the class snobbery behind their rugby fixation). Posters commemorating The Who and Hendrix are another nice touch but the looks were grim and the clientele overwhelmingly masculine.

3 Apr 2016 20:14

The George, Berkhamsted

Saturday night doesn't show this pub in the best light I'm sure but it was still pretty poor. As in almost every pub we visited this day, Tring beers were on tap but the plus points pretty much end there. A testosterone fuelled crowd and a bad reaction to our Czech companion's complaint that a half of Budvar wasn't up to scratch hardly complies with a 'customer is always right' mentality.

3 Apr 2016 20:11

The Crystal Palace, Berkhamsted

Much better than its rating suggests although who knows what the future will bring as the current landlords will be gone come late 2017. Side Pocket for a Toad from the Tring brewery was impeccable and the best draught of the many that we had across several Berkhamsted pubs that day. Only seems more appealing now that the nearby Boat has been refashioned in a corporate style.

3 Apr 2016 20:07

The Crown, Berkhamsted

Better than most Wetherspoons even if nothing truly interesting on tap - decent enough ales but all much of a muchness. The building is a half timbered gem and the location on Berkhamsted's main street is good - but only go if you want you money to help fund the senseless Brexit campaign via the company founder's political funding peccadilloes.

3 Apr 2016 20:04

The Bull, Berkhamsted

Utterly remarkable one room pub with a tatty beer garden and less than clean glasses presided over by a friendly lady from Wallsend, Tyne & Wear. Completely at odds with every other establishment in this well heeled town and no ale on tap. So, hardly a winner but definitely a contender for the 'so poor, it's good' category. Pretentious it ain't.

3 Apr 2016 20:00

The Boat, Berkhamsted

Recently revamped in the corporate style that Fullers have come to favour in recent times and which is evident in some of their waterside pubs in London. It's Ok but lacks the earthiness of the nearby Crystal Palace, let alone the incomparable Rising Sun, both also on the Grand Union canal. That guest ales including the excellent Side Pocket for a Toad were on is a plus point and the food looked good but it's one for the Hackett shirts and sunglasses perched on heads brigade.

3 Apr 2016 19:56

The Prince Edward, Bayswater

Good to see Blandford Forum's Badger maintain a redoubt in the Smoke and this isn't a bad stopping off point - the ales such as Thirsty Ferret and Hopping Hare may be quite common in supermarkets these days, less so outside Dorset's pubs. That said, it seems to have been refurbished a little too clinically as the pub bears little resemblance to a book on London's Best Pubs that had provoked our visit.

30 Mar 2016 17:55

The Library, Oxford

Perhaps a tad over-rated as it featured in a 'Oxford Craft Ale Scene' article in the Guardian. That said, the craft brews are decent (albeit mainly shipped in in cans) and the downstairs is shaping itself as a good music venue albeit not one you should practice any moggy swinging in.

22 Feb 2016 14:57

The Hobgoblin, Oxford

Now the Cowley Retreat and despite being the second closest pub to where I live, somewhere I've always avoided. Doombar and various Greene King offerings on tap signalled a few sighs but they do have Old Hooky on and the décor is unpretrentious. Considerably better than expected overall although far from a gem.

22 Feb 2016 14:55

The Pembroke Castle, Primrose Hill

As a pre-gig venue, this isn't a bad shout if going to see a band at the nearby Roundhouse. The closer Enterprise is a good rock and roll pub but can get unpleasantly busy while this is tucked away just the other side of a railway bridge from Chalk Farm tube. That said, the presence of Doom Bar on tap immediately signals a pub where the beer isn't a priority while London Pride is a serviceable but uninspired choice. It's a well heeled neighbourhood and the other Primrose Hill hostelries tend to be Gastro with a capital G.

14 Feb 2016 10:23

The Wild Card Brewery, Walthamstow

Excellent and hits the spot for effortlessly attracting a hipster clientele without any compromise on the real ale front. The house brewed beers are very good - especially the Ace of Spades porter and the lighting nicely dim. The surrounds are Nathan Barleyesque. A great place to hole up.

31 Jan 2016 19:40

The Nags Head, Walthamstow

With Oscar Wilde Mild on tap, I was always going to be happy and while we did not try the food, it looked to provide a more than reliable Italian take on things. paper images of the Colosseum and Leaning Tower dangle from the ceiling while the beer garden is lit by fair lights. Enjoyable overall.

31 Jan 2016 19:38

The Rose and Crown, Walthamstow

A cavernous joint that has hallmarks of a good community pub and mixes some of the old and new Walthamstow. A beer festival was on for our visit and was surprisingly thinly attended - really enjoyed my pint of the mighty Kelham from Sheffield.

31 Jan 2016 19:35

Charters Bar, Peterborough

Probably one of the best pre-football drinking venues in the country, this is characterful indeed and provides a winning combination of Oakham ales and Thai food. JHB and Citra went down well and there was also a great range of guest ales. The barge on which the pub resides is over a hundred years old.

10 Jan 2016 14:27

The Talbot Arms, Uplyme

An easy walk from Lyme Regis, especially via the riverside route and probably up there with the best pubs the town has to offer. As ever, this being the Devonshire side of the border, the beers are from Otter rather than Palmers and the ale went down well even if a guest of the local Town Mill brewery would have been welcome. A tortoise sits in silence in a pen in the corner.

3 Jan 2016 20:01

The Anchor Inn, Beer

A beautiful location at the foot of a pretty Devonshire high street and above a beach peppered with small fishing craft is predictably wasted by Greene King. The usual, depressing suspects are present on the beer front alongside the local Otter – we did not stop for a drink at the nearby Dolphin Hotel but a mere glance told us that the rival pub is in possession of a trawlerful more character.

3 Jan 2016 20:00

The Spread Eagle, Reading

Oddly,despite watching Reading Football Club at the previously adjacent Elm Park for 22 years, I had never set foot in this pub. Bigger than expected, the barmaid offered to replace a dodgy pint without quibble an was very affable. The only issue is the mediocre beer selection which has our friends from Gruner Koenig written all over it.

15 Dec 2015 08:58

The Fishes, North Hinksey Village

An idyllic setting, this place is more of a restaurant than a pub although I've heard the food can disappoint. we popped in for a coffee which while hardly rock and roll behaviour, did go down well on a winter's day. Only Ols Speckled Hen was on on the. Ale front which is obviously lamentable.

13 Dec 2015 09:24

Moorbrook, Preston

A brilliant pub and probably Prestoń's best in the teeth of stiff competition. Decorated William Morris style, the ales are exemplary and wide ranging in choice, the match day burgers delectable and the service welcoming in the extreme. A must visit before any trip to Preston North End's Deepdale stadium.

13 Dec 2015 09:20

The Pheasant Inn, Brill

Brill is a real find, perched as it is atop a hill and in possession of a Windmill from the year the Glorious Revolution broke. This pub, while modernised in an unappealing way, still manages to be good because the ales from the very local Vale brewery are so well looked after. There is a locals' feel too which is a plus point in a region that could have seen Tories from far and wide flock for £22 venison. Take your muddy boots off before entering.

6 Dec 2015 07:20

Farrs School of Dancing, Dalston

A great find and pulls off that impressive trick of appealing to both a hipster and real ale clientele. The beer selection is good and very well kept while the burger menu shows imagination and sausage rolls and cheese sticks atop the bar looked to die for. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! and The Stone Roses completed the mood on the tannoy and there is a kind of enchanted garden next door. slightly less grimy successor to Hoxton's Foundry which is sadly missed.

6 Dec 2015 07:10

The Pub on the Park, London Fields

A tale of declining standards and wastes a tremendous location cheek by jowl to London Fields. The ales were poorly kept and mediocre and after taking back a half of porter to the bar, the initial reaction was mistrust (always a no, no). The music was the kind of wallpaper funk that was the scourge of bars in the mid nineties and it's attempting to attract a youthful, hipster clientele for whom other places do it better. Not terrible but a shadow of what it was.

6 Dec 2015 07:07

The Dove, Bethnal Green

An old favourite that is well located in the heart of Broadway Market and an essential stop off on any canal walk. The beer selection, both Belgian and English, is very good and the interior is a handsome one indeed of dark wood. Filling fare from the kitchen and a range of board games make this a real winner.

6 Dec 2015 07:03

The Castle, Camberwell

Nor rechristened the Camberwell Arms and a gastropub from the same owners of the Anchor and Hope in Waterloo and the Magdalen Arms in Oxford. Octopus on a bed of chickpeas was tasty even if the mollusc could have spent a little less time being seared. A pint of Bermondsey ale went down well of a Friday lunchtime - it was quiet but apparently is anything but most of the time.

29 Nov 2015 10:48

The Shacklewell Arms, Dalston

Re-opened since I left London in 2011 and a major new addition to the capital's nightlife. Ramshackle and not a little grubby but it features a pleasing mix of old men and hipsters, some decent ales, battered furnishings (in a good, artless way) and a super music venue out the back that attracts some quality names - the Horrors (for a 'secret' gig and The Earlies have both played while The Telescopes soldier on in a semi-permanent residency. Despite association with the new Dalston and Nathan Barley tendencies, it succeeds in also evoking the old Hackney of squatters and a true counter culture.

29 Nov 2015 10:40

The Railway Tavern Ale House, Dalston

Excellent establishment a few hundred metres away from Dalston Junction that’s serves a great many real ales, the bulk of which hail from the Redemption Brewery. Of course there is a hipster element but this is offset by a local feel. The people next to us displayed a nice sense of irony when deciding whether to move on for ‘street food’ – the Thai victuals served in house looked less ersatz.

29 Nov 2015 10:35

The Rowbarge, Woolhampton

A great option beside the Kennet and Avon canal, the downsides are an overly modernised but faux-old interior and that it gets super busy. Still, with 6 ales on tap including Red Kite from the Vale Brewery and Timothy Taylor landlord and food that looked scrumptious, it would make for a good mid point in a round walk from Thatcham or Aldermaston and as it abuts a train line, access is straightforward from anywhere.

16 Nov 2015 08:28

The Craft Beer Co, Holborn

Hard to fault on the beer front with a brilliant, wide ranging and reliably tasty range. Too many good ones to mention and it's rare to come across a pub that keeps so many beers so well. The downsides are awful acoustics in the lower bar (something that is also a problem in the upstairs bar in their Brixton outlet) where you can't hear yourself speak, the location (anyone who regularly makes a habit of drinking in the tourist trap of Covent Garden needs their head testing) and the fact that we will, in two years time, hate them with a passion as they take over the world - as with Pizza Express, Wagamama, JD Wetherspoons, Nando's and all the rest, we need less of the entrepreneurship and expansionism.

13 Nov 2015 14:00

The Red Deer, Sheffield

Something of a blessing in an area infested with chains of the acceptable (Brew Dog) and unacceptable (Revolucion de Cuba) variety. No nonsense with four ales on tap and a friendly barman who was happy to chat about which teams are the favourites for Euro 2016.

30 Oct 2015 21:55

Horatio's Bar, Brighton Pier

The only reason to come is to visit a pub not on dry land. Otherwise, as mediocre as one would expect although that is slightly better than poor I guess. John Smith's Smooth is the only 'ale' on tap while football (the Manchester derby) was on the big screen. Transient indeed - although hard not to expect that given that the pier has no permanent population.

27 Oct 2015 14:15

Masons Arms, Headington

Tucked away in the Headington Quarry area, this is a gem. Rebellion IPA, Dark Star Hophead and an old Hooky offering were all kept to perfection while crowds of people were in for a poker night - all ages were represented in what seems to be a real community pub. If they were to run a bus to Oxford United home games, it might be a good idea (not sure if they do).

16 Oct 2015 09:25

The Crown Inn, Church Enstone

A decent pub with a slightly sterile eating area at the back in a lovely village near to the monstrous Heythrop Park resort which is used for corporate training events. A platter of pork belly, black pudding and scallops was tasty but far from voluminous although bread was not charged for and Old Hooky was on tap (as you would expect in these parts). Comedic locals wearing ties and jackets confirms that this place is in the orbit of the Chipping Norton set - tempted to scrawl 'Corbyn is coming to get you' on the toilet wall.

1 Oct 2015 15:18

The Greyhound Inn, Newcastle Under Lyme

Excellent - and how could it not be with Titanic's majestic Plum Porter on tap? - as wonderful as you would expect and there is a indeed a great range of offerings from that magnificent local brewery + Everard's Tiger. Not right in the centre of Newcastle-under-Lyme but well worth seeking out.

28 Sep 2015 08:22

The Craft Beer Co, Brixton

A decent option in Brixton although disappointing to see that this is a branded chain - why not name all the branches individually as proper pubs? The beer was good and represented a nice range - more real ale than 'craft' really (which is good. Prices are according to strength which is good for a session bitter man like me - the upstairs room was cacophonous and outside, 'British people in hot weather' were in evidence on an actually quite chilly night.

28 Sep 2015 08:19

Fraktal, Prague

To say there is a degree of randomness about Beer in the Evening's overseas listings is an understatement and suffice to say, this wasn't the only bar we visited on a trip to the Czech capital. I'd say it's noteworthy more for its food than its beer which is the standard, good quality, Czech fizzy stuff. A burger was pretty divine.

28 Sep 2015 08:16

The Golden Ball, Pinkneys Green

This place has received endless makeovers but retains its fine pub sign. The latest is pleasing in an albeit crisp shirted Tory kind of way - food was exemplary and some choices even verged on the affordable. Three beers on tap from local heroes Rebellion was also a sign of good decision making, the kitsch art on the walls and muzak less so.

5 Sep 2015 21:17

The Horse and Groom, Twyford

Pretty good given its location by the A4 and its previous incarnation as part of the Blubeckers chain. I very much enjoyed a good Ploughman's with pork pie, ham, cheese and a delectable apple chutney while ales - from Ringwood and others - were good. The public transport unfriendly location mitigates against getting trolleyed.

21 Aug 2015 21:55

The Bacchus, Newcastle

A slightly older clientele and the lights were too high in the mix, but decent enough in a beer lover pleasing sort of way - a Hazelnut milk stout was excellent but came at the end of a long day of imbibing so probably wasn't as enjoyed as much as it could have been.

21 Aug 2015 21:49

The Quayside, Newcastle

Who will rid us of this turbulent pub chain? Enough is enough.

21 Aug 2015 21:45

The Newcastle Arms, Newcastle

Not sure this is the same place as the Bridge Tavern - probably not - but a trip to the Toon was notable for a ridiculously unusual chilli smoked beer - a brew that went down very well indeed despite most of my pals being disgusted by it. The brewers are Hand Drawn Monkey while the Wylam Brewery was also well represented.

21 Aug 2015 21:43

The Red House, Newcastle

Despite a premium of £24 for a bottle of wine and a location amid the mainstream hubbub of the Quayside, this is pretty good. Cloudwater and 3 Bridges ales were enjoyed as well as an excellent smoked porter.

21 Aug 2015 21:35

The Anchor, Seatown

Although its dishes are perhaps a little overpriced, the seafood is fresh as you would like at this gorgeous pub located on the beach at Seatown and a welcome sight after a hefty trek over the cliffs from West Bay. A crab sandwich was simply executed while a pint of a special hoppy ale from local big wigs Palmer’s also hit the spot – a better brew than most that slightly average brewery purveys. What impresses most is that this pub looks like it would also be a great place to hole up in the winter.

10 Aug 2015 17:45

The Digby Tap, Sherborne

A local punter informed us that this was comfortably Sherborne’s best pub and his judgement looked highly believable. A good range of ales from around the Southwest are on tap along with a lovely stone clad floor – surprisingly only five years old and a ‘monstrosity’ of a fire place that lend the institution a ramshackle charm. Pool is available to indulge in out the back and service was amiable.

10 Aug 2015 17:44

The Rock Point Inn, Lyme Regis

A dire waste of a great building and great location. Supposedly a freehouse, two ales were off on a busy summer Saturday and only the egregious Doom Bar on. The furnishings are as awful as those in the nearby Pilot Boat Inn and if the terrace is a nice spot, slow service and mediocre food complete the picture.

10 Aug 2015 17:43

The Railway Tavern, Hackney

I couldn't find the pub pictured (actually on St. Jude's Street) so am plonking this review here. Excellent establishment a few hundred metres away from Dalston Junction that’s serves a great many real ales, the bulk of which hail from the Redemption Brewery. Of course there is a hipster element but this is offset by a local feel. The people next to us displayed a nice sense of irony when deciding whether to move on for ‘street food’ – the Thai victuals served in house looked less ersatz.

10 Aug 2015 17:39

The Pub With No Name, Brighton

Truly excellent pub now renamed the Southover. Excellent, hoppy beers including a superb pint of South Coast and enticing looking Thai food. The atmosphere has that laid back vibe that Brightron does so well.

26 Jul 2015 19:31

The Walmer Castle, Kemptown

A good beer selection and appealing looking food, the makeover of this pub as the Independent is generally a winner if perhaps slightly sanitized in a light pine kind of way. Beers from the Langham brewery are welcome and the semi circular alcove at the front a nice spot to wile away an afternoon.

26 Jul 2015 19:27

The Hand In Hand, Brighton

Lovely corner pub in Kemptown if very bijou - seats were at a premium of an afternoon so Lord knows what it's like of an evening. Outstandingly kept ales and the Kemptown Brewery is on site. Newspaper cuttings dating back to the Watergate affair provide extra colour.

26 Jul 2015 19:23

The William Cobbett, Farnham

An excellent pub in a lovely Surrey town. Tucked away in a quiet area but not at all far from the station. Ales weren't the most imaginative selection but were well kept nonetheless. The oeuvre of what was presumably the barman's mate's indie band provided the musical backdrop.

22 Jul 2015 16:21

Ship Ashore, Milton Keynes

Friendly but below par food and not very well kept ale - I was delighted to see Woodforde's Norfolk on tap but the result did not meet expectation. The music quiz was also byzantine in its complexity in what is basically just a theme pub - in a town full of them.

22 Jul 2015 16:19

The Czech Bar, West Hampstead

A classic London place and a distant cousin of the Bohemian Beer Hall in Queens, New York. This is more catering for the post-2004 community but is nonetheless nicely traditional. Lots of Pilsner Urquell on tap plus Budvar dark in bottles (take note: premium lager is still very much just lager so this is needed) and the food has those pallid dumplings and knuckles that visitors to the CR will be familiar with.

19 Jul 2015 10:21

The Old Eagle, Camden

A lively visit which saw the pub cat catch a mouse and trail around the floor in triumph, a tail hanging from its mouth - others might be appalled but I found this to be en enjoyable slice of Camden verite. Beers were somewhat disconcertingly named after Tory Prime Ministers and from the Greene King stable but the place does have a nice local feel and is a world away from the touristy end of Camden.

19 Jul 2015 10:14

The Sir Richard Steele, Belsize Park

Mixed feelings about this place - used to love it for its still characterful interior and location in a very pleasant part of North London. A trip to see a Manchester United v Arsenal game on the telly sullied it as jabbering yobbos howled at the screen as Ruud van Nistelrooy and Martin Keown clashed and some years later, the ale situation was imperfect both in choice and execution. Still more than OK but wastes its chances to be excellent.

19 Jul 2015 10:11

The Great Western, Cardiff

The exterior of the building is glorious but put together JD Wetherspoon, alcopops, a cavernous interior and all the other issues one associates with that chain and it was never going to be good was it? The ale selection was also more limited than normal.

11 Jul 2015 11:51

The George and Dragon, Upton

A lovely half timbered, low roofed interior unfortunately in the hands of Greene King. Still, food of a weekday lunchtime was tasty enough - curries are out of jars and the nans a little rubbery but one wouldn't expect the standards of the Red Fort or Tayyabs.

2 Jun 2015 14:09

The Talbot Inn, Eynsham

The best pub we visited on a pleasant walk from Newbridge to Eynsham along the Thames - it's an Arkells joint which is usually a good thing while a couple of guest ales were on - I forget the name of the one I had but it was something like ginger ninja. Very handily placed on the regular S1 bus route between Witney and Oxford so little excuse not to pay it a visit.

30 May 2015 21:39

Rose Revived, Newbridge

Newbridge is an utterly glorious location - a fourteenth century bridge surrounded by gorgeous meadows - but it is wasted on those jokers from Bury St. Edmunds and their Simply Red and Lighthouse Family on the sound system tendencies. The food was passable and the service friendly while Dr. Hexter's Healer was a good choice as a guest ale but this could be so much better.

30 May 2015 21:33

The Ferryman Inn, Bablock Hythe

Surprisingly down at heel for its riverside location and next to an unwelcoming trailer park that informs visitors that the Thames Path does NOT cross its premises. So what you get is a very tired establishment indeed with an undefinable odour, Egyptian geese in the garden and passable ales from the Wadsworth range.

30 May 2015 21:29

The Chequers Inn, Fingest

A classic country pub in a stunning village situated opposite an eleventh century church. It is a Brakspear's establishment but a guest pint of Boondoggle from Ringwood was perfectly kept and our burger and fish and chips of excellent quality. A capacious beer garden and good service rounded off our lunch stop on a 10 mile round walk from West Wycombe.

23 May 2015 21:12

The Dashwood Arms, Piddington

On first sight, nothing special but exceptionally affable service including an unprompted offer to fill our water bottle near the end of a 10 mile walk lightened our mood. Three beers from Rebellion graced the pumps while two lads on a London to Wales walk (!) were also being treated like kings.

23 May 2015 21:07

The Pump House, Brighton

A no nonsense boozer in the centre of town with a good range of beers including a pretty spectacular porter. Harvey's was on tap but wasn't the best offering which is something of a plus point. Food looked fine and only the sign written notices from central casting jarred.

22 May 2015 15:26

The Corner House, Headington

A friendly welcome signalled a slightly b etter pub than expected and the only slightly emasculated 1930s interior is pleasing - all faux stained glass and wood fittings. It's the kind of typical pub that you would find near a ring road although thankfully without the 'theme' elements that blight its successors. The ale selection - 3 on pump - wasn't bad.

13 May 2015 08:03

The White Hart, Sherington

We were fortunate enough to stumble across this place on a cross country round walk from Olney on a glorious bank holiday weekend - the pub's famed beer and sausage festival was taking place. The sausage element is perhaps overplayed as these are dispatched from a kebab van style vehicle and the choice is limited but Elgood's Cambridge ale and a Jennings offering on tap were great choices.

4 May 2015 20:26

Hare and Hounds, Leavenheath

A really good find on a drive across country from Colchester to Milton Keynes, a route devised to avoid the M25 at all costs. A great selection of ales festooned the bar - we had been nervous given how close this was to enemy territory aka Greene King country - while the food was excellent - a German twist was provided via bratwurst and other mitteleuropa sundries.

4 May 2015 20:22

The Font, Fallowfield

A Good Beer Guide entry which is a nice showcase for some excellent craft beers. That said, the two of the three on offer weighed in above 7% so be careful. A nice atmosphere, friendly service and good looking food make this a very good stop off in this candidate for student capital of the UK. Only bum note was the music - something better than the Bee Gees next time please.

1 May 2015 16:41

Sandbar, Manchester

How a bar should be and now something of an old favourite having been on the scene for a decade and a half now. Like a previous interlocutor, I was impressed with the Clwyd Gold and they do have a nice mix of real ales and craft beers. Distressed brick interiors makes you half expect Adrian Sherwood to be on the soundsystem and the location is good between university and city centre.

1 May 2015 16:38

The Olde England, Northampton

Excellent and at the time of writing, afforded a mystifying 4 out of 10. A good pub quiz in the basement is one feature along with a spectacular range of ales (Beijing Black, Resurrection), good mead and no nonsense, enjoyable food. Also very friendly indeed and a good community hub near a fine park that started out as a planned racecourse. An essential stop off on any Northampton pub crawl.

16 Apr 2015 06:38

The Fox, Hanwell

Having now walked the entire length of the Grand Union Canal, I'm not sure there are many betters pub than this, the presence of West Berkshire Brewery's Mr. Swift's Pale Ale sealing my approval. It looks like a great community local in an albeit pretty middle class area (there is a craft shop in the back garden for goodness's sake) - the food including looked excellent and the light stunning on a lovely April day. Berkhamsted's Rising Sun and Fenny Stratford's the Red Lion probably rival it in the Grand Union canal stakes.

13 Apr 2015 09:07

The Rock of Gibraltar, Enslow

Quiet when we visited on Easter Saturday early on in a mammoth trek from Tackley to Oxford along the canal but still quite impressive. Diners are clearly well catered for with no nonsense pub grub, the ale selection was imaginative and local and there is a pool table. Canal paraphernalia and literature also feature. Promising.

4 Apr 2015 22:07

The Anchor Inn, Oxford

A really impressive building in the northern reaches of Jericho and by all repute, an excellent gastropub. That said, the bar, while perhaps a bit smart, was well populated on a Good Friday with hot cross buns atop the counter. So busy was it, that we were forced to decamp to the dining area with our drinks. One can imagine that in some places, this would be frowned upon - not here, where a friendly waiter made us feel welcome.

4 Apr 2015 22:01

The Horse Bar, Waterloo

Not bad at all and the presence of 4 more than decent ales on tap was a winner alongside the very good food and a nice 'bar' feel - Horace's Odes in Oxford paperback was a surprise presence in the books section. The clientele is transient and the fact that it was far from busy on a saturday night and is in far from a destination area means that it is hard to imagine that the sums add up. Sadly, the suffix [CLOSED] may well appear next to its entry in the coming months.

4 Apr 2015 10:24

The Anchor and Hope, Waterloo

A sister pub to the excellent Magdalen Arms in Oxford. A gastropub half of which is dedicated to drinkers although we are nonetheless pressurised into having food. That didn't take much persuasion and the seasonal, British menu that changes daily is of the best quality. That said, £15 for a chicory and parmesan tart borders on the criminal ( a superb cheese plate and divine pear and almond tart were more fairly priced albeit still expensive) and the ale choice is unexceptional.

4 Apr 2015 10:19

Maltsters Arms, Bletchley

1.2 out of ten must see this pub ranked as lowly as any in the country but it's better than that. It's a home for Glasgow Celtic fans with the hurling on the telly and we received friendly hellos on arrival. No ale but the Guinness was fine. Gets very tasty late on a Saturday night mind while the scenes on St. Patrick's Day resemble an Hieronymus Bosch painting..

2 Apr 2015 17:35

The Countryman, Bradwell Common

Cluelessly executed - the stubs where ale pumps presumably once resided stare out at you like the open month of an ageing drunkard. Supposedly does Thai food but not at 7pm on a Saturday which is far from being the graveyard slot while you can't even get a ginger beer. Friendly locals but really pretty dire as a pub.

2 Apr 2015 17:29

The Barn, Milton Keynes

Perhaps worrying that the local branch of CAMRA have been forced to rely on a Beefeater to hold meetings and this is another charmlessly modern affair. The beer is reasonably well kept, however - certainly better than in most nearby establishments. A family of 4 were playing Rummikub and were truly engrossed which was nice to see.

2 Apr 2015 17:27

The Cricketers, Milton Keynes

An identikit pub that sums up modern Britain. That one of my drinking partners had ventured in 3 times over a 15 year period says it all. Utterly anodyne and uninteresting and fully representative of the drinking opportunities on offer in the UK's most successful new town.

2 Apr 2015 17:25

The Eagle, Milton Keynes

A little better than expected especially when you consider that this might have been a place not to venture in a few years ago. It's a classic estate pub in a town that is full of them although its eagle friezes and portraits of Hollywood stars add a nice touch (Dick Van Dyke anyone?). The beer - Doombar - was not up to scratch however.

2 Apr 2015 17:23

Peartree Bridge Inn, Milton Keynes

A diabolically kept pint of London Pride and a couldn't care less barmaid made this a loser from the start, only partly salvaged by a half-decent and stunningly cheap carvery. The canalside location is good but it was an inauspicious start to a Milton Keynes pub crawl.

2 Apr 2015 17:20

The Mansion House, Kennington

As a keen student of Oakham ales, I was keen to try this place and the Citra was as good as I'd come to expect. Other than that, it's something of a curiosity, however - a pan -Asian restaurant area looks to deliver good, albeit over priced, food but the fact that takes over half the pub along with a needless big screen TV and some overly modern furnishing makes this something of a missed opportunity. That said, with drinks like this, still well worth a visit.

2 Apr 2015 17:18

The Prince Regent, Herne Hill

Arrived here on a quiet Thursday afternoon and it's a handsome place indeed with some beautiful Victorian fittings. The ale selection was good and the food menu looked appealing. A good stop off after a stroll around Brockwell Park or a visit to the Lido.

2 Apr 2015 17:15

The Castle Inn, Bedford

Decent enough but unspectacular, CAMRA conferring a 'most improved pub' award on them sounds like a back handed compliment. Beers are from the glocal Wells/Youngs brewery and are just fine albeit unexciting (Proper Job was a welcome guest). The coffee machine had been turned off.

22 Mar 2015 07:59

The Embankment, Bedford

More of a restaurant than a pub and housed in a glorious mock tudor building, this is decent enough in a happy families way. The food is good barring a very odd apple parfait of a dessert and drinks are from the local Wells brewery and well kept.

22 Mar 2015 07:57

The Honey Pot, Oxford

Now rechristened as The Adventurer and probably more of a bar than a pub. Quite decent but only Deuchars on tap on the ale front - we ended up with Brooklyn Lager which it was good to see on tap. As in its incarnation as the Honey Pot, better than most pubs near stations. That said, £7.50 for a pint and a half isn't going to encourage custom.

22 Feb 2015 09:26

The Swan, West Green

An enjoyable option before a visit to Crawley Town's out of town football stadium - the highlight here is the beers - not Dark Star ones as we had been led to believe but a good range nonetheless including a smoked red - I'm partial to a rauchbier and this English variant on the theme was welcome. Friendly too.

1 Feb 2015 17:21

The Old Red Lion, Great Brickhill

Halfway through a walk between Bow Brickhill and Leighton Buzzard, this pub came as a welcome sight down in its dell. The beer choice is unimaginative but a pint of Tribute was very well kept while a game pie and mushroom risotto were pleasingly home made. The public bar is diminutive so arrive early while the lounge bar has tables set for diners which is a bit off putting. Overall, a good, unpretentious local.

25 Jan 2015 16:42

The Bell Hotel, Faringdon

An old coaching inn and pleasingly unreconstructed although it does seem to attract some forlorn characters. Beers were from Wadsworth's and there is a rambling feel to the rooms, with an old fashioned restaurant and hotel part of the complex. Only a quarter of a mile from Faringdon's magnificent folly.

17 Jan 2015 15:54

O'Neills, Oxford

As with all O'Neills pubs, recommended only because it was the only place in the vicinity to be showing a lower division football match on the telly. Otherwise, all 3 ales were off and it's as soulless as one would expect. Also, a band spent an age coming in and out of the back door with their equipment and leaving icy blasts from outside to pepper all and sundry. I'm also trying to get my head round the idea of Help for Heroes branded wine in an 'Irish' pub.

17 Jan 2015 15:52

The Farmers Boy, St Albans

Decided to drop off in here after having visited 8 other pubs in the town on the way back to the station and am glad we did. It has more of an alternative feel (Free copies of NME were available to read) than many of its rivals and we loved the olde worlde map wallpaper. A pint of Verulam got a mixed response (unsurprisingly at a mere 2.8%) but Oakham's Scarlet Macaw was superb.

11 Jan 2015 12:33

The White Hart Tap, St Albans

The proprietors were readying this boozer for a fiftieth birthday party on our visit, ruling out any chance to sit after 7pm on a Saturday so a black mark there but Tring redshank went down well amid a range of decent ales. On the Good Beer Guide cover soon after Berkhamsted's Rising Sun which might give a hint as to where the compilers of that book live.

11 Jan 2015 12:28

The White Lion, St Albans

Highly rated Snorbans pub but not our favourite on this visit even though we still very much enjoyed it. Sidepocket for a Toad from the Tring brewery and Adnam's Lighthouse were are choices and a rambling garden provides access to the nearby Garibaldi. Still, 9 pubs visited in St Albans and not a single one rated less than 7 out of 10.

11 Jan 2015 12:25

The Fighting Cocks, St Albans

Most commentators seem to give short shrift to the 'oldest pub in the country' thesis - what about Lloyd's Number 1 bar in Milton Keynes for a start. It's beautifully located in a park near to St Albans' magnificent cathedral and reminds one of pubs like Hampstead's The Flask. Our beer choices were a) Russian Winter from the Itchington brewery (replete with communist livery) and Bitter & Twisted. Oliver Cromwell apparently stayed here - no mention if Enter Shikari are regulars.

11 Jan 2015 12:20

The Six Bells, St Albans

Excellent, cosy pub near the queasily named 'Romeland'. The fire is magnificent and the ceilings low. Tring's Ridgeway bitter went down well.

11 Jan 2015 12:16

The Lower Red Lion, St Albans

Fishpool Street has to be one of my favourite streets for a pub crawl in the country and the Lower Red Lion is a key part of it even if the 'front room' nature of the atmosphere deters one from singing ditties like 'Luton 'til I die'. Dark Star Hophead was as good as always while Tring Brewery's Redshank was also great and the beam, both horizontal and vertical, are pleasingly gnarled.

11 Jan 2015 12:12

The Boot, St Albans

Classic market town pub with low beams and a mixed clientele - disappointed not to come across the 'barfly' referred to by the previous two posters. I risked half an Anarchy Smoke Bomb as I occasionally like to dabble in rauchbier while Red Squirrel's Redwood American IPA was also good. Gets very crowded and has a roaring fire.

11 Jan 2015 12:10

The Blacksmiths Arms, St Albans

Busy pub in the town centre which nonetheless left us hunting for tell tale signs of 'Wetherspoonage', so akin to that chain did it seem to be. A burger with smoked mozzarella and bacon was excellent and the beer selection good - there is a good craft selection and my partner opted for Brew Dog Dead Pony Pale Ale while I went more trad with my Bishop's Farewell from Oakham.

11 Jan 2015 12:06

The Mermaid, St Albans

After a 9 pub crawl of this excellent town for drinking, the Mermaid just about clung on to top spot as our favourite. Pie MInister pies and scotch eggs will always please this reviewer (although we regretfully did not partake) but Oakham Citra and York Brewery's Guzzler were both excellent and the place has slightly more of a hipster feel than its rivals.

11 Jan 2015 12:02

The Talbot, Leamington Spa

This pub looked seriously unprepossessing from the outside near the culmination of a canal stroll from Long Itchington into Leamington but turned out to be convivial and enjoyable - Leamington FC paraphernalia festoons the walls while a pint of Oakham JHB was good. 4 or 5 other ales of good reputation were on tap while the barmaid sang Christmas tunes with a local drinker whose image is immortalised in paint and plaster behind the bar.

7 Dec 2014 13:34

The Jug and Jester, Leamington Spa

Reasonably OK for a Wetherspoons as it's housed in an old theatre and there is a nice touch in featuring local heroes such as Randolph Turpin on the walls. The beer went down pretty well as did some ribs but the atmosphere is as non-existent as usual even if the train station is but a couple of hundred yards away.

7 Dec 2014 13:31

The Arrow, Yeovil

A godsend tucked away behind the roundabouts and retail parks that ring Yeovil Town's stadium, this is an estate pub and hence nothing special but was elevated by good beer including a broad selection from Ringwood and a very enjoyable offering from the Yeovil brewery, itself situated in a nearby industrial unit.

2 Dec 2014 07:30

The Harbour Inn, Lyme Regis

The light pine furnishings are ore befitting a restaurant and the food did look good, albeit on the pricey side. Beers are from Otter and were very well kept although I continue to hope that one of the area's pubs will take the plunge and order in the superb beers from relative newcomer, the Town Mill Brewery.

2 Dec 2014 07:26

The Kings Head, Woodstock

Outstanding food and pleasant service. I enjoyed pheasant with red cabbage and bread sauce plus a decent bottle of Malbec. Highly gastro in feel so not somewhere to cpme just for a drink although they appeared to have Oxford Gold on tap. More light pine and muzak than a branch of Ikea (the neraby Star has done a better job with the furnishings).

11 Nov 2014 09:23

The Punch Bowl, Woodstock

Disappointed not to be there when Stevenage v Torquay was being shown (see Snarling Mallard's post below), this is serviceable when waiting for a bus and a half of Arkell's 3B was probably the best beer we had on a night out in Woodstock. A bit too modern in design but less gastro than its neighbours

11 Nov 2014 09:21

Flying Horse, Rochdale

Character aplenty in an historic building across the way from Rochdale's magnificent town hall, we arrived after 10pm on a Saturday night so what seemed to be a divorcees' extended night out was in full swing and wasn't for the feint hearted. The beer selection was good but an avoidable band were about to strike up.

3 Nov 2014 13:19

The Cemetery Hotel, Rochdale

Decked out in Hallowe'en gear which detracted somewhat from the traditional, multi-roomed interior, the walls of this pub are festooned with Rochdale Association Football Club memorabilia. Pubs were from Jennings (not my favourite) and other breweries and Barcelona v Celta Vigo was on the TV, with sound up and nobody watching. So - could be better and perahsp lies in the over rated camp.

3 Nov 2014 13:17

The Healey, Rochdale

Quite a schlep up to the Shawclough suburb of Rochdale but just about worth it. It's a sister pub to the excellent hostelry, The Baum and has the same superb menu, a good range of beers and a 'petanque pit'. Lighting of a Saturday night was perhaps a little too bright and the whole a shade too dining oriented.

3 Nov 2014 13:14

The Baum, Rochdale

CAMRA pub of the year in 2012 and a great stopping off point before a trip to Rochdale AFC's Spotland ground. The ale selection was excellent and changing and a porterhouse steak and chips immense and impressive. The sandwiches packed full of goodies also looked great and the atmosphere has something of a community buzz about it.

3 Nov 2014 13:10

The Lamplighter, Northampton

Really impressed - we expected a good locals' pub with great beer but got a really enjoyable community establishment too. Amid characterful streets which betray the town's shoemaking roots, a lot of care goes into how this pub is run. Ales are primarily local but did include a divine Inferno from Oakham.

25 Oct 2014 17:23

Chester Arms, Oxford

Newly reopened after a saga of an attempt to get it up and running again. The results, on first viewing, are impressive and the ale selection was superb - with Abingdon Bridge represented and a luscious sounding porter. The food menu also looks cracking with roasts of a sunday and breakfasts and coffees on the menu as an alternative. Hipster oriented like other local institutions such as Oxfork, the Magdalen Arms, Oli's Thai and Truck records' Keen Bean coffee - but it's none the worse for that. A highly welcome addition to the local scene.

19 Oct 2014 17:53

The Allied Arms, Reading

Lovely old building and plenty of grizzled punters amid the half-timbered surrounds. A beer garden does the trick when the weather is clement but the place is pokey otherwise. Local ales from Loddon are frequently and the Hullaballoo went down well on the occasion of our visit.

19 Oct 2014 17:49

The Kings Head and Bell, Abingdon

Really good even if it is slightly more veered towards diners than drinkers - the food was superb - a haddock burger served on a meltingly soft brioche bun with great fries and coleslaw. Good ale too including Abingdon Bridge as you would expect and a couple of decent guests. A nice alternative option to the Brewery Tap in downtown Abingdon

15 Oct 2014 08:39

The City Arms, Oxford

Finally stopped off for a half in here despite living a quarter of a mile away for 3 years. West ham v QPR was on the box so if you are being generous, the provision for TV sport is good (a proper judgement would be reserved when I discover if they will willingly show Football League games) while the beers are standard Greene King style rubbish. The food menu is American-style and it's part of the deeply horrific It's a Scream chain.

8 Oct 2014 10:37

The Eagle Tavern, Witney

Well kept ales are the main draw here with perfectly drawn delights from the Old Hooky range. Otherwise, the place is pleasingly decorated in keeping with tradition and the service one saturday lunchtime was uncommonly helpful and affable. A very good place to wile away a few hours and an easy bus ride to and from Oxford if you, like me, are not especially impressed with the prospect of living in David Cameron's constituency with its appalling new shopping centre.

5 Oct 2014 08:07

The New Inn, Witney

A spacious locals' pub with some great beers: Huh, Sidepocket, Black Sheep, friendly service, a dozy pooch and an old fashioned bagatelle board. Superior to anywhere else we went in Witney and located a little away from the market square although still on the S1 bus route to and from Oxford.

5 Oct 2014 08:05

The Quadrant, Brighton

A bit of a daytime drinker's den and we were no exception. The music was excellent and of a retro style while a pint of Laine's was serviceable. Scruffy and not especially engaging but did the trick as a stop off.

1 Oct 2014 21:08

The Evening Star, Brighton

An old favourite and alehouse nirvana - a wonderful range of ales is topped by the brilliant Dark Star offerings from just down the road. I was pleasantly served by a bloke who looks like Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip. Only quibble would be the maleness of it all.

1 Oct 2014 21:04

The North Laine, Brighton

I had an excellent pint of porter but the kitchen had closed when it was not yet late on a Sunday evening and it's simply too big. The beers are tasty but of the 'craft' variety so expect them to be cold and varying levels of fizzy. Nowt wrong with that and I'd certainly return again.

1 Oct 2014 21:02

The Great Eastern, Brighton

Very hard to be served in a Brighton pub by someone without dyed hair and multiple piercings and that's why I like the town. This is excellent and more evidence that hipsterdom need not preclude taking care of the ales. Highly impressive.

1 Oct 2014 21:00

The Prince Albert, Brighton

Despite the Jagermeister flag in the picture above, a great choice for a pint near Brighton station with lost of events literature to keep you interested plus a range of well kept ales. Has a trendy youngsters' feel and is none the worse for that as it's not in a crass way.

1 Oct 2014 20:58

The Albion, Ampthill

An excellent local in the diverting Georgian town of Ampthill, its winningest feature is the 'bats' which allow you to try a third of a pint of each of the ales on tap - usually 12 in all. The selection was also also excellent with a range from local outfit Banks and Taylor prominent as well as the Oxfordshire Brewery's Marshmellow. Good beer paraphernalia and literature too - including a CAMRA guide to Prague and the Czech Republic.

31 Aug 2014 13:52

The Crown and Horns Inn, East Ilsley

A while since the last review and pleasing to note that this is a pretty decent rabbit warren of a gastropub with good service. A crab and prawn spaghetti dish was exemplary even if is now more of a restaurant. Good to also note that Good Old Boy is on tap as it should be given the nearness of the West Berkshire brewery.

21 Aug 2014 15:32

The Centurion, Newcastle

A gorgeous space that used to be the waiting room for the upper classes, the beer selection is great with Black Sheep and the local Black Gate on tap. The music was rubbish and intrusive though. A few tweaks to up its game and this place could join the ranks of the Sheffield and York Tap as peerless northern station boozers.

12 Aug 2014 08:00

The Cluny, Ouseburn

A great location next to railway arches and a river and a venue for great new music that Newcastle should be oroud of. Perhaps the closest thing the city gets to a hipster hangout, the range of beers is also excellent.

12 Aug 2014 07:58

The Cittie of Yorke, Holborn

An essential stop off and unlike most pubs in the City of London, it is open on a Saturday. The drawback is the choice which is limited to Sam Smith's - decent enough and cheap - but supremely uninteresting. The interior is magnificent albieit not as old as it looks and it would have been regarded as a theme pub in its day

4 Aug 2014 14:01

The Seven Stars, Chancery Lane

A London classic presided over by the gregarious Roxy Beaujolais, this is tucked away enough to be unknown to the city boy crowd that pollutes other nearby establishments while the ale selection - Darkstar Hophead included - is always well judged. Food on the evidence of previous visits is very good and the film posters make for a nice sense of decoration. I also don't mind the cat.

4 Aug 2014 13:58

The Albany, Great Portland Street

This was once the venue for the legendary Heavenly Social club night run by Heavenly Records in the nineties and so has a storied history, Much changed now though and smart in a gastro pub kind of way. I enjoyed my beers - Summer Lightning and Harbour while they also have Doom Bar and a few continental lagers of the premium variety. Otherwise, a little unremarkable.

30 Jul 2014 08:14

The Boat Inn, Birdingbury

A 'Help for Heroe's' (sic) collecting box atop the bar greeted us as we entered and this is something of a ramshackle place with kids running about everywhere and a very mediocre choice of ales (crosses himself as he mentions 'Greene King IPA'). The garden is pleasant although cars infringe upon the nicer bit along the Grand Union Canal. All this sais, a majestic hand painted map of the Canal runs along the top of the bar and is a thing of true wonder.

27 Jul 2014 11:39

The Blue Lias, Stockton

Not as good as it could be given the amazing location along a particularly gorgeous stretch of the Grand Union Canal. Mind you, the dinosaur sign and scattered ammonites provide a nice 'Lyme Regis' theme and it is a place of pleasing nooks and crannies. Ales are in abundance although the choice is unimaginative - Hook Norton's Lion did go down well.

27 Jul 2014 11:31

Buck and Bell, Long Itchington

A smarter option in a village that is blessed with a number of Good Beer Guide pubs none of which really scale the heights. A local beer from Rugby went down well and the restoration is lovingly done if veering on the soulless. Judo from the Commonwealth Games was on the telly with none of us any wiser as to the rules.

27 Jul 2014 11:28

Green Man, Long Itchington

Tucked away in a residential part of the village of Long Itchington, this place was quiet of a Saturday lunchtime, presumably because no food is on offer. Good ales though and although these all came from the bigger national breweries, all were well kept - Black Sheep was my choice on the day. There is a excellent outdoor seating at the front of the pub to watch the world go by.

27 Jul 2014 11:24

The Harvester, Long Itchington

Might just edge out the other pubs in Long Itchington as it has a proper locals' feel and the publican family are friendly and welcoming. Also, they sell a glorious range of pickled items (as mentioned in the Good Beer Guide) and there were 3 interesting ales on tap. Not much choice for vegetarians on the food front and the dining room does look a bit old fashioned though.

27 Jul 2014 11:20

Two Boats Inn, Long Itchington

Superb location on the Grand Union Canal and affable service aided by well kept beer from the now ubiquitous Young's range. The outdoor seating is idyllic although a Ploughman's was patchy - excellent ham but bread that was on the turn and no pickle (the latter probably an oversight and nothing more). One of 6 pubs in a small village.

27 Jul 2014 11:17

The Dublin Castle, Camden

We were there for an excellent triple header from Dallas Don't, We Aeronauts and Be Like Pablo and this remains one of the UK's classic music venues - I unsurprisingly saw Steve Lamacq in here once. Service was also superb along with some great Madness memorabilia festooning the walls. the only bum note was two pretty poorly kept pints - Flying Scotsman and Young's - although I'm sure the Guinness is exemplary.

22 Jul 2014 07:37

The Doric Arch, Euston

Nothing you would expect of a station pub and actually more than decent in the face of tough competition from the nearby Euston Tap. Indeed, this places bests that one when it comes to loo quality and less tendency for city boys to push in at the bar even if there isn't quite such a good range of beer. Not that it doesn't score highly on that front - tipples from the Windsor and Eton and Butcombe breweries supplemented the Fullers regulars. The only quibble would be a lack of atmosphere because the crowd is transient.

22 Jul 2014 07:35

The Star Inn, Woodstock

Nicely done with lots of dark wood and a stone fireplace, it's a Young's/Wells house but did have Director's as a guest while 'English Tapas' - scotch eggs, garlic mushrooms etc sounded pretty decent. It's quite a smart place and one can imagine an infestation of Hackett and Thomas Pink shirts of s summer evening while Woodstock is beautiful indeed. Looked to be the best oub in toen although we did not see the Black Prince.

20 Jul 2014 16:58

Craven Arms Inn, Cheltenham

A decent option for lunch about 4 miles off the A40 in the lovely village of Brockhampton. An elderflower beer went down well as did a pie with chips (technically a casserole with a pastry lid, mind) and the premises are housed in a lovely building. Probably a little more geared up for diners than drinkers.

20 Jul 2014 16:53

The Market Porter, Borough

A regular haunt which I returned to after a few years, this continues to be a must-visit London pub with historic associations adjacent to gorgeous (but horrifically pricey) Borough Market and with a superb selection of well kept ales. Harveys is always on while I very much enjoyed selections from the Otley Brewery on this visit. Only snag is how busy it gets - it's lovely to stand outside of a summer evening but the crowd is very male and sometimes a bit boorish. There are enough bar staff to offset the clamour at the bar so in all, excellent.

18 Jul 2014 09:04

Canal 125, Caledonian Road

I remember it as Babushka's and although it was a little poncey in its previous incarnation, it was better. Like a lot of London bars, the owners think they can apply fake rococo stucco to the walls as an excuse to drive up the price. Service was also a bit 'cheeky chappy' but in far from a genuine way although the food looked Ok. Doombar and Tribute formed a duo of Cornish ales and both were pretty well kept. There is a pleasant terrace overlooking the canal.

17 Jul 2014 14:05

The West Bay, West Bay

We didn't try the food but it looked excellent and this is a good place to stop off in the enjoyably unspoilt town of West Bay although it's inevitably a little touristy. Also a good place to break a walk along the sadly eroded South West Coast path.

6 Jul 2014 20:19

Tiger Inn, Bridport

Probably the best pub I've visited in Bridport, thus edging out the Ropemakers (although if you want a cider, don't ignore the Stables restaurant). It was enjoyably woozy on a week day afternoon and a front garden area is a good place to enjoy some rays. A really good range of beers.

6 Jul 2014 20:15

The Ropemakers, Bridport

Very quiet when we visited of a midweek afternoon but impressive - it has the air of a pub that represents a town (see also the Barrels in Hereford). Beers are from local bigwigs Palmers of course and Dorset skittles are present and correct.

6 Jul 2014 20:14

Ship Inn, Lyme Regis

A reasonably enjoyable boozer which serves as an antidote to the enjoyable albeit very middle class charms of the nearby Town Mill. We watched the World Cup quarter final between Holland and Costa Rica here and it proved to be an enjoyable experience. Beers are from Palmers who do reek a little of the local (presumably Tory) establishment so they are just fine but not scintillating.

6 Jul 2014 20:11

The Sportsman, Elm

Beautiful pub in a lovely village not far outside Wisbech, the one drawback is the ale which is kept to a very disappointing standard. We had to return a pint of Wherry after my friend - a local - had warned of previous experiences. A shame also to see Elgood's unrepresented while Greene King IPA is sadly on the roster. Still, a pub quiz was enjoyably delivered and the locals are friendly.

25 Jun 2014 16:32

The Old Angel Inn, Nottingham

The bogs are apparently not as grim as they used to be. Great pub from a dying breed (cf. the Gloucester Arms in Oxford) which is highly suitable for Goths, metallers, punks and other misfits while pints of Elsie Mo from the Castle Rock brewery and Blue Monkey Infinity went down very well. Britain needs these kinds of places to survive.

7 Jun 2014 17:33

The Vat and Fiddle, Nottingham

Tucked away around the corner from the station and consequently a good away fans' pub. A good selection of ales although woe be tied if you don't like Castle Rock brewery beers. Happily I do so was quite content and the place was busy and full of life of a Friday evening in summer.

7 Jun 2014 17:30

Fellows Morton & Clayton Ltd, Nottingham

Quite soulless but good beer including Black Sheep and a local brew called Truck. We decided to treat our fellow drinkers to a medley of World in Motion, Three Lions, Vindaloo and England's Irie after the juke box proved to be obliging. If you were there - sorry about that!

7 Jun 2014 17:27

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham

One does come across the occasional decent Greene King pub and it would indeed be hard to mess up this - one of the world's most historic and storied establishments. Built into the rock on which the castle perches, it is wonderfully atmospheric and the upper rooms were a real find on this visit. A pint of Cock a doodle do meant that one could easily avoid the IPA.

7 Jun 2014 17:25

The Salutation Inn, Nottingham

Good city centre pub and pints of Ruby Mild and Oakham JHB proved to be good choices. Something of a rock pub but not as wholeheartedly so as the Old Angel across town. We visited late afternoon so only confirmed drinkers were present. A back snug featured portraits of Oliver Cromwell in action.

7 Jun 2014 17:21

The Hand and Heart, Nottingham

Very good indeed and the best pub that we encountered on a mini pub crawl in Nottingham in advance of a triumphant hometown show from Tindersticks in June 2014. Lavish furnishings in dark red suit a pleasant front bar before the pub dwindles into the shade of a back cave while service was friendly. Little Weed and Voodoo Mild were both excellent - the latter part of a Mild season involving the local branch of CAMRA.

7 Jun 2014 17:19

The Fox Inn, Lutterworth

Ridiculously close to the M1 and a home made carbonara went down well. Shropshire Gold was on tap although the need to drive the motor prevented us from indulging. The garden in June is like a mini Chelsea flower show.

7 Jun 2014 17:16

The Cricketers Arms, Oxford

Now the Mad Hatter. You have to ring on a bell and answer a (very easy) riddle to gain entrance and inside, there is something of the atmsophere of a New Orleans speakeasy. Quite fun overall although the music wasn't great and a FJ worsened it still. A group of women out for a birthday do were treated to a bubbling cauldron of a cocktail with 12 straws. Old Hooky in bottles is as far as the ale conversation can go.

25 May 2014 12:13

Plough, Wolvercote

Despite being despoiled by the mitts of Greene King, this is a good alternative to the nearby Trout and you won't see any Hackett shirts. The menu is pub grub and unpretentious and while the ale selection won't set the world on fire, the location near to the Oxford canal is superb.

4 May 2014 21:48

The Trout Inn, Wolvercote

Good points? The location is gorgeous as are the buildings while a peacock was sounding off on the roof. Minuses? Terrible upholstering by fans of eighties' dramas, awful music and the fact it's too busy. Still, they do have the decency of leaving a lot of seats outside open for just drinkers thus preserving the place's status as a pub rather than a restaurant. A chain pub by stealth as I have seen the same menu in Cookham, Golders Green and Warwick.

4 May 2014 19:34

The Black Swan, Oxford

Irish pub in Oxford's Cowley Road district which has a good community feel but lacks a decent ale (the guinness was excellent). Fittings are of the light pine variety and the racing is on the telly.

2 May 2014 21:01

The Magpie and Crown, Brentford

Decent pub but not as good as billed even amid Brentford FC's 2014 promotion celebrations. The chief problem is a pongy loo that looks beyond help although the ale selection was excellent and the clientele and atmosphere friendly. My partner in crime enjoyed a pint of the wonderfully named 'The Stooge'.

19 Apr 2014 10:00

The Griffin, Brentford

A really characterful pub which we visited the day Brentford were promoted to the Championship in April 2014. Three or for deep at the bar but the beers, mainly from Fullers, were superb and there is a decent garden to spread out in as well as an upstairs. Only snag were toilets straight out of the Bible - the bit with Noah in unfortunately.

19 Apr 2014 09:54

The Angel and Crown, Leicester Square

I hadn't been here since the 1995 Rugby World Cup Final but popped in for a late, swift one. Actually not bad and a pint of Jugged Hare, in a handled glass, was excellent. Expensive as you would expect of the location but that's more the fault of George Osborne than the proprietors.

11 Apr 2014 08:30

The George On The Green, Holyport

Some great low beams and pictures of the Minor Counties clash with the touring Australian cricket team in days of yore are plus points while there is more of a locals' feel than at the nearby Belgian Arms in its current incarnation. Ales were also good with the Rebellion brewery represented twice. Too many shiny hand pumps for the likes of Peroni however and some shocking music.

6 Apr 2014 20:10

The Belgian Arms, Holyport

A high standard of offerings on the gastro front including a selection of magnificent roasts and superb service make this a great stop off. Sadly, the slightly unctuous eulogies on the walls to the likes of TV's Michael Parkinson, David Beckham and others do lend it an air of naffness while it's certainly more restaurant than pub. Ales were decent including Brakspear and it has a fascinating history - it was once the Eagle but the locals demanded a change during World War I.

6 Apr 2014 20:03

The Brewery Tap, Leeds

A nice thing to see in that it does a good job of pleasing everyone - it's close to the station, has a super selection of ales and yet is fashionable enough for it to be not too male a haunt. A great effort and a must stop on any visit to Leeds.

31 Mar 2014 13:33

The White Hart, Thatcham

Not remotely in Thatcham and actually a real disappointment given the character of the village it lies in, nestled in a valley amid the Berkshire downs. Greene King are once again the culprits, conveying their usual listlessness over the scene and a guest pint of the usually mighty Betty Stoggs' didn't seem very well kept. Light years worse than the Bell in nearby Aldworth.

23 Mar 2014 15:41

The Boat Inn, Catherine De Barnes

A Chef & Brewer establishment so you know what you are going to get - very middle of the range, a good choice of decent but unexciting food and a surprisingly good couple of ales on when we visited - Bath Ales' Dark Side went down well. Absoutely packed to the gills of an early Spring sunday and welcome as we negotiated the distance between Olton and Lapworth on the Grand Union Canal.

17 Mar 2014 11:51

The Elm Tree, Oxford

Now the Big Society which has become a major smash on Cowley Road thanks to a combination of craft American style ales, good diner style food and table tennis. The crowd is young and it's very busy but not a bad effort if it were not for the nam which evokes David Cameron era Britain.

9 Mar 2014 10:54

The Cellar Bar, Oxford

Visited for a cracking triple bill of local acts - Big Tropics, Maiians and Listing Ships and the atmosphere was very good. Friendly bar staff but a pretty poor selection of drinks - competitor The Wheatsheaf does have ales. Used to be called The Dolly which is a much better name quite frankly.

9 Mar 2014 10:39

The White Hart, Headington

I have visited many times but never reviewed it until now and it remains an important part of the local fabric due to its ales (Elgood's Warrior was on tap), food and community buzz - there was a great atmosphere on a Friday night. Only bum note is the amount of rugby memorabilia which is a little disrespectful when one considers how close it is to Oxford United's old Manor Ground - pictures of Maurice Evans, Jim Smith and Malcolm Shotton would be more appropriate than that yawn provoking image of Fran Cotton emerging from the mud.

2 Mar 2014 19:09

The New Inn, Buckby Wharf

Quite a decent local and the canal memorabilia and skittles are nice touches. Ales were just fine if a little well travelled (Pedigree etc.) but it's s suitable stopping off point on a canal walk amid very unspoilt middle English countryside. A characterful tunnel takes you under the main road on the opposite side of the waterway.

2 Mar 2014 19:05

The Admiral Nelson, Daventry

Not really in Daventry at all, but just outside canal capital Braunston, this proved to be an enjoyable enough pit stop on a canal walk from Napton to Long Buckby. A roast (pork) and fish and chips were excellent and pints of Hooky went down well but it's probably a bit too gastro. Good to see Northamptonshire skittles in place though.

2 Mar 2014 19:02

The Black Boy, Headington

One of those gastropubs which overdoes the eating at the expense of the drinking and really, the burgers on offer, while appearing to be perfectly decent, don't justify all the white furnishings and flashiness. A pint from Wisbech's Elgood's stable did go down well and our sitting at the bar without eating was tolerated without quibble.

2 Mar 2014 18:58

The Malthouse, Reading

Now reincarnated as the Grey Friar and spectacularly good on a first visit. The ale range was great including the mighty Darkstar and London Porter while quality 'craft' lagers from Belgium and the United States were also present. Quite blokey as you might expect and it's very close to where the buses leave for the Madejski Stadium so that won't change on match days. Quite a nice stripped down feel floorboards-wise so a quality addition to the Reading drinking scene.

28 Feb 2014 13:50

Fleur de Lys, East Hagbourne

I don't mind a gastropub but it is a pleasure to come across a no nonsense boozer with uncomplicated but hearty food amid England's countryside, especially when the village is as nice a one as this. A brie and bacon baguette was gratefully received and the surroundings are traditional. It's also walkable from Didcot should the weather be fine.

24 Feb 2014 15:38

The Railway Arms, West Drayton

A real element of character here with sausage rolls and other snacks lining the bar when we arrived one Sunday lunchtime. Roasts were also on offer while the crowd was exceedingly local in a good way. I had a pint of St.James which went down well and this is a good option if conducting a Grand Union Canal walk. Pubs like this are a dying breed although the presence of a dog's jobbie at the threshold of the ladies' loo was a little startling. Lots of anti-drug notices too.

24 Feb 2014 08:23

The Botwell Inn, Hayes

You know what you are going to get with Wetherspoons and given that Hayes is in many ways the land that time forgot, its wares were welcome after a long Grand Union Canal walk from Denham. I enjoyed a superb pint of chocolatey Bruery beer from the chain's American joint venture while buffalo wings were passable. No character at all of course but that's like complaining about a lack of personality in your local Tesco Metro.

24 Feb 2014 08:19

The Ship, Bristol

We popped in to here in order to shelter from a rainshower and it proved to be a reasonably convivial student/young professional dive. I enjoyed a half of Butcombe - an always welcome beverage. Much emphasis on the egg chasing but as it's the West Country, I'll let them off I suppose.

24 Feb 2014 08:15

The Three Tuns, Hotwells

More low key than I expected although the range of ales was as good as billed, leaning towards the darker end of the spectrum. We enjoyed a truncated game of dominoes given the small number of pieces in the box while Friday afternoon is not perhaps going to be the busiest time. Worth a stop and conveniently located.

24 Feb 2014 08:12

Cowpers Oak, Weston Underwood

The toothsome village of Weston Underwood is home to this cracking village local and my partner in crime enjoyed a couple of fine pints of Woodforde's Wherry while we sat down to a copious repast one Sunday lunchtime. Service was friendly and the weather spectacular - a classic English country pub experience.

16 Feb 2014 19:24

Pink and Lily, Princes Risborough

A fine gastropub in a gorgeous bit of the high Chilterns, we stumbled across it after finding the King William IV in Speen was shut on a Friday lunchtime amid the 2014 winter deluge. Rump steak and chips with a pink peppercorn sauce was terrific as was my Dad's haddock and chips and a couple of ales were on for the non-drivers. The only bum note was the middle of the road music.

14 Feb 2014 14:53

The Swan and Castle, Oxford

Even by the standards of Wetherspoons, very poor indeed. Grim, aircraft hangar like and with the hint of an unpleasant smell pervading. The only + point is the beer but a pint of Wayland's Smithy came nowhere near that of the standard at the White Rabbit a couple of hundred yards away. CAMRA's continued indulgence of the xenophobic, Tesco-emulating chain continues to be a blot on the organisation's make up.

9 Feb 2014 07:29

The Yorkshire Grey , Holborn

Very average indeed, I visited on a Saturday for a friend's birthday and they had actually closed the bar, so quiet does this part of Clerkenwell become of an weekend evening. Previous visits have revealed the food to be passable and there were some interesting ales on. Prices are high although it wasn't the pub's fault that my pal ordered jaegerbombs all round. Sadly, this immediate area is now bereft of really good pubs when you factor in the demise of the King's Arms and the snottiness of the place on Roger Street I can't remember the name of.

29 Jan 2014 06:53

The Reef Bar, Waterloo

I think this is the place I visited as a Sports Bar and Grill and as such places goe, it's probably better than you would expect, especially compared to those unlamented chains of British pubbery, Sloe and Reef. 3 ales were on, including Brakspear and the food was American style. We kept half an eye on Borussia Moenchengladback versus Bayern Munich on the telly. No great shakes but it could be worse.

29 Jan 2014 06:48

The Kings Arms, Waterloo

An old favourite and a blessing given the paucity of decent areas within striking distance of Waterloo station although The Cut, from memory, does house a couple. I was pleased to see the tasty Thai food still in evidencw ehile the ale selection was flawless beyond the high prices for the Notting Hill ales (the barmaid did warn us). The only drawback is that it is crowded - horrendous on a Friday night and not a whole lot better on a Saturday. Still a must-visit pub though.

29 Jan 2014 06:45

Victoria, Birmingham

A great option not far from New Street and for peddling the majestic Titanic plum porter alone, this pub might deserve pretty near to full marks. We enjoyed the steampunk flourishings and the 'ole South' dominated menu looked interesting although we did not partake. There is a hint of a hipster den about it which is a rarity in Birmingham and a theatre nearby is always good for a pub leading as it does to a mixed clientele. A semi jokey ban on various things including wearers of football shirts could be conceived as a classist though - and service was woefully slow (someone was ordering coffees and playing by card God Forbid!)

12 Jan 2014 11:22

The Woodman, Birmingham

A good find two thirds of the way through a Grand Union canal pub walk from Olton to Gas Street Basin, the ale selection was very good, food enjoyable and a book recounting the tale of this boozer's resurrection is an interesting flick through (vandals struck half way through 2013 and so the achievement is all the more marked). A little quite perhaps and only the presence of an audition for teenagers nearby on the day of our visit swelled the attendance. A potential option en route to St Andrews too.

12 Jan 2014 11:18

Dean Swift, London Bridge

A good alternative to the chain coffee places when ambling around the Dickensian streets of the Shad Thames area, this was the venue for a works' Christmas lunch and the food and service were superb - I especially enjoyed my turkey. Downstairs, it hovers between excellence and averageness but the ale selection is good, albeit more of the fizzy, microbrew variety than traditional English ale. Prices aren't cheap as you would expect for how the neighbourhood has changed.

26 Dec 2013 09:33

The Cross Keys, Pangbourne

Reviewing this again after a quite different experience in two years. Two words of woe - GREENE and KING and an example of how they should never be allowed to run another pub. Simply diabolical on Christmas Eve with hordes of aggressive geezers, ales with no taste and average food. The pub's name is almost an anagram of 'cheeky to**er' which is apt given how it is being run. Pangbourne, despite being a lovely Thameside village, currently has no decent pubs at all. Shocking.

26 Dec 2013 09:28

The Rickety Press, Oxford

The Rickety Press for some time now and a sister pub to the Rusty Bicycle on Magdalen Road, the food is good and the Arkells ales exemplary but the seating for non diners is at a premium and prices higher than at its fellow establishment. An essential part of an Jericho pub crawl but lacks the true community feel of the Rusty BIke.

6 Dec 2013 06:12

The Gowlett Arms, Peckham

A really good London local which runs a seven inch singles night, has a super array of thin and crispy pizzas and an ale selection which, although not perhaps the most imaginative in the world, is still more than decent (Landlord, Abbot, Adnams). Add in a mix of people - yummy mummies, hipsters, old lags - and you have a pretty fecund combination. The place does reflect the gentrification of the area and Mickey Pierce and Boycey probably wouldn't have been at home.

1 Dec 2013 09:18

The Boars Head, Ardington

Six years on from my last review and I'm providing an opinion again as there have been a number of changes. The olde worlde village pub feel has gone sadly to be replaced by light pine reminscent of somene's living room. It's less gastro too - so the food is a lot less adventurous but it's cheaper and there were more punters in than in the past including a good selection of ales. Service was uber friendly so is it a change for the better? - on balance, probably not because of the havic wreaked on the decor. Still worth a stop though.

27 Nov 2013 15:48

Seven Stars, Rugby

This looks to have quietly assumed a position as Rugby's number one pub with its range of ales rivalling that of the Merchant's Inn and the decorations festooning the walls all very well judged. They had a pint from the Loddon brewery - a mild, as well as a cornucopia of excellent beers.

24 Nov 2013 22:17

Raglan Arms, Rugby

Across the road from where William Webb Ellis cheated and hence invented a sport we could all do without, this is a really enjoyable local with a fine selection of ales, a couple of which were from the impeccable Oakham range. Friendly service too.

24 Nov 2013 22:14

The Merchants Inn, Rugby

A superb selection of ales including a treacle porter and a chocolate and vanilla stout so one for losing your head in an alcoholic haze. As a real rugby football pub, I suspect they don't show football although we'll let them off given the town the pub is in. A pub that could almost be a twin of the Malt Shovel in Northampton, our food was a little below par and humdrum.

24 Nov 2013 22:12

The Alexandra Arms, Rugby

Perhaps suffering from the revitalization of the nearby Seven Stars, this place didn't quite live up to its billing although the ales were exceedingly well kept and a local punter helpfully pointed us in the direction of the railway station. There is pool out the back. Dropped from the Good Beer Guide recently.

24 Nov 2013 22:09

The Old Vic, Preston

A pretty ideal stopping off point and a better option by far than the station bar which is combined with an Upper Crust. Several rotating handpumps make up for the slightlly sour faced service and the transitory feel although a game of arrows was in full swing.

23 Nov 2013 22:14

Marquis of Cornwallis, Bloomsbury

A great burger and fries and a nice pint of Yorkshire ale went down well on a Friday afternoon while a curiosity of this pub is the range of American ales on tap. It was once part of the egregious Goose chain so it's a massive improvement and at least has some singularity when viewed in relation to the chains of the Brunswick Centre. A good option for a post film pint after a trip to the Renoir cinema.

22 Nov 2013 18:25

Leyton Orient Supporter's Club, Leyton

A blueprint for how all football club bars should be and yet few are not. The ale selection was sensational including Oscar Wilde Mild, Privateer and Captain Bob while the pumps are well manned on a match day and classic moments from Orient history past are displayed on the walls. Essential visiting whether you are going to a match or not.

17 Nov 2013 09:55

The Admiral Benbow, Milton

Now open again under a new guise as the Plum Pudding and considerably improved. Baguettes are rustic and tasty and a seafood risotto special was very good. Eager to please staff made up for a slight level of cluelessness on the tills that reminded one of the bad old days. Still work to do but a free house with 4 local ales on tap is exactly what this place needed to be. Good to see the back of Greene KIng.

15 Nov 2013 18:39

Wetherspoons, Milton Keynes

A pint of Citra from Oakham Ales was simply perfect but a Wetherspoon's is a Wetherspoon's and it's the usual aircraft hangar of a place no atmosphere thanks to the no music policy. The chain is CAMRA's Achilles heel with the organisation hoodwinked into cahoots with the group as pubs merrily shut down up and down our high streets - just as small shops find it impossible to compete with Tesco's. All that said, probably a better place to drink in central MK than any other.

15 Nov 2013 18:36

The Gullivers, Manchester

Really enjoyable music pub and we were treated to a selection of mighty fine tunes indeed on a quiet weekday night. Ales came from Lees in Middleton (including Supernova) and the bar staff were very friendly and helpful. A moustachioed customer could have been a trendster or an adherent to Movember. Yet another very good option in the Northern Quarter.

15 Nov 2013 18:29

The Castle Hotel, Manchester

Terrific blend of hipster hangout and traditional local with a back room for events and a splendid array of ales on tap, many of them from Robinson's. Interesting literature with an artistic bent layers the shelves while the atmosphere is convivial. If I lived here, I'd be here all the time.

15 Nov 2013 18:26

The Jolly Angler, Manchester

There are some great beer bars in the trendy Northern Quarter (it was never called that when I was at university in the Eighties) so this unspoilt traditional pub makes a lovely change around the corner from all the hipsterdom. Hydes Original bitter was on tap on two pumps and we were treated to some entertaining stories by a grizzled regular.

15 Nov 2013 18:23

The Malt Shovel, Northampton

A really good, vast pub with a terrific selection of ales and some wonderful beer and local history paraphernalia festooning the walls. We only had a twenty minute opportunity to hole up in here but I'll be back - and preferably for a whole afternoon and evening. Popular with rugby fans which is the only drawback. Come on You Cobblers!

11 Nov 2013 11:38

The Black Lion, Northampton

A decent atmosphere although one feels a few wrong moves have been made - most notably via the introduction of anodyne creme seat coverings. Service was good although one has to lean between hordes of egg chaser fans to collect one's pints and the second one I received was on the turn (not badly enough to take it back). A previous pint of mild was very good though.

11 Nov 2013 11:36

The Illicit Still, Aberdeen

A cavernous downstairs pub and probably an OK place to watch the fitba but really nothing special and only Thrappledouser among ales on tap. Friendly service and anice enough crowd in a pleasing city while the building has its merits.

4 Nov 2013 13:09

The Old School House, Aberdeen

Poor and lightened only by the presence of huge gangs of Hallowe'en revellers, albeit none of them wearing proper Hallowe'en costume. It's Greene King run and a sign that the tentacles of those despoilers of Britain's pubdown are stretching very far north now. A lovely building from the outside mind.

4 Nov 2013 13:07

The Grill, Aberdeen

I wonder if the name of this place was designed to put people off as it's nothing like the American sports bar one would expect. Wood panelled and cosy, it's overwhelmingly male and apparently the women's toilets are a recent innovation. The beer selection was extensive and as Plymouth Pirate mentions, the Bitter n Twisted was excellent.

4 Nov 2013 13:01

The Prince of Wales, Aberdeen

A decent option and a really good range of beers even if one or two Greene King brews were among them - I enjoyed a pint of Thrappledouser, its taste heightened by a long journey and the predictably blustery weather. Modern tinges to the menu suggest a non nonsense, no pretence policy.

4 Nov 2013 12:59

Aragon Bar, Glasgow

I had an hour to kill on the wonderful Byres Road and this did nicely as I settled down to a couple of pints of Deuchars - a pint which I had always thought of as unremarkable before now but which went dwon very well on this occasion. A party of Hallowe'en revellers were in place and the welcome friendly. Nothing out of the ordinary but a decent stop off before a meal at the superb Hanoi Bike Cafe up the road

4 Nov 2013 12:55

The White Hart, Bicester

Some level of community feel and the odd decent ale including the local-ish White Horse but it was probably only packed because Arsenal were playing Chelsea on the TV. Very run of the mill albeit busy for a Tuesday night. Bicester appears to lack any really decent pubs.

30 Oct 2013 21:58

The Three Horseshoes, Madingley

Clearly a restaurant rather than a pub as seats for mere drinkers are at a premium, the food was good if perhaps a little overly ambitious - a cake of arroz negro topped with octopus was only a distant cousin of the Spanish delicacy and didn't really work while a main course of monkfish and parsnips was good. Very accommodating service was a boon but the food is pricey - perhaps reflecting third spot in the Uk best gastropub list published by a national paper - an overinflated assessment.

24 Oct 2013 16:57

The Dog and Bell, Deptford

Whisper it - but I was actually slightly disappointed. For sure, the ales are kept very well and there is a fine selection on rotation while the place is friendly, has backgammon and bar billiards.

But Deptford is on the up and whereas before, this will have seemed like a veritable oasis, it no longer stands out as the only decent place to go. A really good pub but not one of London's top 20 as many guides would seem to have it.

13 Oct 2013 12:01

The Old Swan, Bletchley

Little to say beyond the fact that this is as archetypal a pub as you'll find in Great Britain in 2013 - Greene King ales, microwaved food, southern football fans cheering on Manchester United on the big screens and Ikea-style furnishings. That said, we were greeted in friendly fashion and they did have Tribute as a guest ale on tap. Not terrible - that it's reputedly the best pub in Bletchley says more about Bletchley.

14 Sep 2013 16:32

The Prince Of Wales, Iffley

Another winner in Iffley after the Isis Farm House and the range of Wadworth's beers was exemplary. The atmosphere was local and friendly and the pub quiz is apparently a good 'un. It's within suburban Oxford but retains the feel of the village pub it once was.

7 Sep 2013 18:59

The Isis Tavern, Iffley Lock

Appleford Brewery's Power Station from a barrel went down superbly at this well judged spot on the towpath near to Iffley Lock and after a few miles' trek from Abingdon. The food options also looked great and the beer garden is a marvellously bucolic spot. Inside, wood aplenty was piled up in readiness for the winter. An extremeley good pub that is shapping up to be a truly outstanding one.

7 Sep 2013 18:57

White Hart Inn, Stockbridge

A roadside pub and given it's slightly easier to park here than on the high street down the road, a popular one. We enjoyed pasta and a tomato & vegetable soup respectively and ales are from Fullers. Stockbridge is a pleasant town which was was probably even nicer when horses' hooves resounded.

1 Sep 2013 18:09

Old Ox Inn, Blandford Forum

An effective pit stop on the journey west, no nonsense pub grub is the order of the day and a simple menu of jacket potatoes and various items with chips functions well. Two of the ales on were Cornish - curiously while the atmosphere was low key of a Friday lunchtime.

1 Sep 2013 18:07

The Pack Horse, Milton Hill

Faux style at the hands of our old friends, Greene King of Suffolk, the interior of this place is horrebdous, the atmosphere non-existent. Food was OK including some passable sweet potato chips and a luxurious chicken liver pate but why rename a pub The Eating Inn when The Pack Horse is a perfectly good name? Eminently avoidable.

28 Aug 2013 13:49

Lowndes Arms, Whaddon

A decent option amid rolling countryside on the outskirts of Milton Keynes, we enjoyed a vegetarian lasagne and a roast beef sandwich although travelling by car denied us the chance to sample several real ales on tap including 6X and Deuchars. A curious whiff from the beer garden proved to be down to a flock of slightly bedraggled sheep grazing nearby and the path crosses a field where one is told be be aware of the bull. The pub perhaps doesn't makes quite as much as it could of its decent location but is a suitable pit stop nevertheless.

26 Aug 2013 15:15

The Champion of the Thames, Cambridge

We entered with trepidation given it's a Greene King joint, but it's a superior example of that breed thanks to a friendly old time atmosphere and the classic surroundings and we were greeted affably. The ales were just fine - if another brewery got its hands on it, it could approach legendary status.

22 Aug 2013 18:04

The St Radegund, Cambridge

An excellent find with a host of real ales, many from the Saffron Walden brewery. We perched ourselves at an unfeasibly narrow table and chomped on some suoerb chili nuts while supping our pints. Central and yet away from the teeth of the tourist trail, one of Cambridge's best.

22 Aug 2013 18:01

The Royal Oak, Blisworth

O dear - a lovely building spoiled by the diffident service, Greene King IPA, banging commercial dance music and big screens of Theme Park Britain. The interior is also fine and there is plenty of room to drink outside too but the locals were oiled and chanting when we arrived at the culmination of a 13 mile stroll along the Grand Union Canal. A pint of Black Sheep was OK though. Changed ownership required.

18 Aug 2013 20:12

The Heart of England, Weedon

A welcome sight about a third of the way in to a mammoth Grand Union Canal walk from Long Buckby to Blisworth, the meal deals emblazoned on the posters give you a fair idea of what to expect and you'll have been to practically the same pub a thousand times before. Steak and Chips came minus the promised peppercorn sauce but I was far too British to complain. A pint of Banks's was serviceable. Undeniably soulless despite a nice beer garden.

18 Aug 2013 20:06

The Cannon, Newport Pagnell

Probably Newport Pagnell's best pub and the ales would be the main reason although pictures depicting military actions from the First World War era are also a nice touch - a fabulous poster shop across the road has perhaps been plundered? A good bevy of locals were quaffing although the distaff fraternity were not well represented.

17 Aug 2013 20:37

The Crown, South Moreton

Not a bad option to the east of Didcot and cheaper and less pretentious than its rivals the Bear at Home and the Red Lion in neighbouring villages. A whopping great goose eggs, ham and chips was home made and went down well with my dining partner while Wadworth's beers are on tap. Family run with a gigantic pooch guarding the threshold, this is the kind of pub Milton's Admiral Benbow could be.

14 Aug 2013 13:56

The Mousetrap Inn, Bourton on the Water

'Keggers can't be choosers' proclaimed the T-shirt of one punter and he'll have been happy with Old Hooky, a Hereford brewery offering and a lesser known beverage from Stroud on tap. We were too late for food, arriving just after 2 and the position of the pub away from the centre of this criminally overrun village would seem to support the opinion of an earlier commenter that this is the best Bourton has to offer.

10 Aug 2013 21:31

The Red Lion, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell

Another cracking village pub that goes some way to offsetting the diabolical standard of the pubs in Didcot itself. Cholsey sausages, egg and chips went down well as purveyed by the amiable landlady and there is a great selection of ales including the wonderful Good Old Boy. Idyllic in aspect.

8 Aug 2013 14:24

The Swan Hotel, Fenny Stratford

I'd heard a rumour that this is where a very sinister Far Right grouping hold their get togethers and so was pretty relieved to come across a normal enough joint with people of various races, classes and background present. With only Adnams on tap and not especially well kept, the TV screens make it a decent option for watching the football in although it's not a patch on the Red Lion just along the canal.

6 Aug 2013 13:18

The Bear Inn, North Moreton

Everything a country pub should be - a spectacular selection of ales, terrific, home made food, a shaggy retriever lying across the welcome mat and genuine olde worlde decor. The only pity is having to drive there, leaving me unable to partake of the alcohol. Good service rounds things off and it's a real find - Didcot really is a hellhole leavened by satellite pubs of top quality.

5 Aug 2013 14:29

The North Star, Steventon

An outstanding find on the weekend of the 2013 Truck Festival, this is handily placed en route from the public transport options and indeed, we decided to escape the site periodically to quaff some most excellent pintery - Loddon's Ferryman's Gold, beautifully kept and served from a hatch included. The interior features some historic 'settles' and although no food is served beyond snacks and picked eggs, this is everything a village pub should be.

21 Jul 2013 12:55

The Mitre, Shaftesbury

Near perfect and that includes the beer garden which must have one of the best beers in England. Veggie and chicken burgers were superb, service friendly and the interior smartly decorated while the exterior is pure, gaze in ecstasy traditional. The one quibble - the Youngs ales - I'm usually a fan but prefer to drink them in Southfields, not Shaftesbury - especially now that Charles Wells havae taken over.

14 Jul 2013 20:07

The Royal Lion Hotel, Lyme Regis

About all you can expect of a hotel bar on a main street (one can imagine the coaches rolling up in days of yore) and the mess that is Oxford's Mitre should take note. Mind you, it's nothing scintillating and a preponderance of holidaying senior citizens means it is never going to rival Hackney's Pembury Tavern for hipsterism. Competent and worth stopping off at.

14 Jul 2013 20:05

The Volunteer Inn, Lyme Regis

Lyme Regis has a few decent pubs but no particular stand out and this is no exception although it might just be the best. I don't think the blazing July day on which we visited in July 2013 was the best as the cosiness of the right hand bar seemed tailor made for sea dogs wearing sou'westers and chunky jumpers. A pint of Otter negotiated my gullet without problems and the food in the left hand, more restauranty bar looked good.

14 Jul 2013 20:01

The Woodman Inn, Bridport

Our only pub stop off in this handsome market town of wide streets before taking in The Wedding Present at the nearby Electric Palace, a hugely atmospheric venue. A magnificent skittle alley has unfortunately been covered over by extra seating although this thankfully appeared to be a temporary arrangement while the front bar and garden are a little listless and my pint didn’t go down that smoothly. Punching below its weight.

14 Jul 2013 19:58

The George, Charmouth

A pleasing interior and garden which both felt welcome after a trek in blazing heat from Chideock via Seatown and the lofty Golden Cap – the woman behind the bar was unhesitating when we asked if our water bottles could be filled – indeed offering gin as an option. Family oriented and a veritable adventure playground of activities bears that out. The main road location makes it hard to imagine Charmouth as Jane Austen’s favourite resort.

14 Jul 2013 19:57

The Nags Head, Lyme Regis

Seemingly Lyme’s best boozer for ale and the selection was exemplary while the feel is very much that of a local – it’s on the main road but far enough up the hill to deter passing foot traffic. A darts match was in full swing while we supped and a couple of canines proved to be affable company. Personally, I’d prefer slightly less of the Help for Heroes hard sell though.

14 Jul 2013 19:56

The Pilot Boat Inn, Lyme Regis

This pub betrays its origins as a hotel as the main lounge area has a transitory, beige feel. Ales were from the Palmers and a pint of 200 was especially well kept. A good location at the foot of the hill and near to the museum and guildhall and historically significant but could probably do with livening up a bit – restoring a more traditional feel might work.

14 Jul 2013 19:55

The Cobb Arms, Lyme Regis

The porthole full of fish atop the bar background is a nice touch in this place that presumably once welcomed grizzled old fisherfolk and perhaps still does – rumour has it that any surplus fish from the daily catch finds its way here. Food looked serviceable apart from scallops in a kind of mornay sauce and the word ‘fresh’ peppers the menu. A pint of gold from the Palmers stable was good.

14 Jul 2013 19:54

Anvil Inn, Pimpern

A bucolic front beer garden replete with fish pond proved to be a good place to stop, heading on a southwesterly trip. Ales were from the local Palmers range and starters of Dorset meat pate and whitebait went down well. Possibly more of a hotel in reality though.

14 Jul 2013 19:54

The Lamb Inn, Stoke Goldington

Impressively unaffected by the rise of gastropubbery despite its location in an idyllic village, this friendly local has nonetheless garnered CAMRA garlands for an excellent ale selection - Tring brewery offerings are very much to the fore. We enjoyed a relaxing Saturday lunch in the garden - a great Mediterranean platter and Beef stroganoff that was wonderfully home made. On a bus route between Newport Pagnell and Olney so theoretically visitable without a car.

6 Jul 2013 20:22

The Bree Louise, Euston

This only came on to my radar recently but is a great option around the corner from Euston - the ale casks behind the bar rotate regularly and for special events - we were informed of US Independence and British Lions-themed selections on our July 2013 visit. A few complaints as to the quality of the ale here but ours was excellent and we did not opt for the pies - a) it was 11.45am and b) we opted for the buffet at the Diwani Bhel Poori house around the corner.

6 Jul 2013 12:16

The Freemasons Arms, Hampstead

Transformed by focus group since my last visit a few years ago and now replete with trendy food menu (we didn't eat but the victuals did looks very good) and dire music, this nouveau riche hang out seems out of place in knowing Hampstead - Erno Goldfinger would have turned in his grave. We visited on a weekday afternoon in blazing sunshine and the outside areas are toothsome. I can well believe the comments of other reviewers that service falls apart of a weekend.

6 Jul 2013 12:11

The Angel, Soho

A Sam Smiths house so the prices might even have been affordable for the former inhabitants of this part of London when it was a notorious rookery in the nineteenth century. Hence, choice isn't always what it could be but if is a more genuine offering than many central London offerings. Upstairs rooms are an addition of recent years and provide calm while I once saw all 3 members of the band Saint Etienne in here.

29 Jun 2013 19:53

The Red Lion, Wisbech

Friendly local that paled a little bit into insignificance on this trip as its fellow North Brink pub the Rose Tavern was running a beer festival. Great ales nonetheless and another good drinking landmark in a town which I appreciate more and more for its unspoilt nature with every visit.

29 Jun 2013 19:47

Penny Black, Bicester

Has somehow made it on to Beer in the Evening twice which is twice too many. Like all Wetherspoons, it's cheap but that's where the advantages end because again, like all Wetherspoons, it's an aircraft hangar of a place, full of geezers (young and old), full of day-glo adverts for its wares, owned by a UKIP sympathiser and joint responsible with Costa Coffee and others for the uniformity of Britain's high streets. All wrong then and even the beer selection and taste on this visit was rubbish.

5 Jun 2013 08:12

Penny Black, Bicester

Has somehow made it on to Beer in the Evening twice which is twice too many. Like all Wetherspoons, it's cheap but that's where the advantages end because again, like all Wetherspoons, it's an aircraft hangar of a place, full of geezers (young and old), full of day-glo adverts for its wares, owned by a UKIP sympathiser and joint responsible with Costa Coffee and others for the uniformity of Britain's high streets. All wrong then and even the beer selection and taste on this visit was rubbish.

5 Jun 2013 08:11

The Eagle Tavern, Oxford

Now the Rusty Bicycle and it has been for a few years (this site is suffering from a failure to not update pub names changes - see also The Gloucester Arms which is now the White Rabbit). Anyway, it's utterly terrific and has wisely avoided the high price policy of its sister pub in Jericho, the Rickety Press. Superior burgers, platters etc are served on boards and the chips are excellent while Arkells ales are well kept and snacks such as sausage rolls and pork pies can also be enjoyed. Friendly service and one of Oxford's best pubs - largely because it manages to tread that tightrope between community local and hipster hang out - bravo.

5 Jun 2013 08:05

The Hobgoblin, Bicester

On arriving, some fairly fearsome thrash metal (Anthrax? Napalm Death?) was playing on the jukebox although later, Vampire Weekend, the Stone Roses and some solid punk tunes rang out. I need to explore Bicester a bit more but if this is the best the town has to offer, it's not saying much. Not that's it's terrible but Beer in the Evening really need to get on top of the change of pub names - as previous punters have pointed out, this is The Bell now although a pint of Hobgoblin can still be enjoyed.

5 Jun 2013 08:01

The Navigation Inn, Lapworth

An idyllic beer garden proved to be a great setting for a sumptuous fish platter and a pint of Lapworth Gold while my companion's brie and veggies sandwich also slid down well. Lots of ale choice too although the interior has been slightly crassly modernised. Books on Britain's waterways are there to be thumbed through.

2 Jun 2013 10:21

The Marsh Harrier, Oxford

A decent local although I'll admit to being a bit baffled by the purring nature of the reviews. There's a good dartboard (and space for it), Fullers Ales (although no Seafarers nor Discovery on our visit and a pint of London Pride was approaching the turn) and a smashing beer garden. The lighting could be turned down a notch and it was expensive to do New Year's Eve here - but the staff were friendly. So, a curate's egg of a pub really.

1 Jun 2013 09:02

Jolly Butchers, Stoke Newington

Highly rated and no wonder, comparisons have been made to the Southampton Arms in Kentish Town and the range of ales and ciders make this apposite - a ginger and apple cider was superb and here was a strong Berkshire tinge to the beer selection on our visit - the Windsor & Eton and Ascot breweries were represented. Our visit came on a glorious sunny day so the pub as quite, sleepy and relaxing inside although I am in little doubt that this is unusual. The food looked good - no nonsense versions of pub staples.

28 May 2013 09:05

The Louisiana, Bristol

A pub with a great musical heritage, well located and possessing some impressive New Orleans-style balustrades so a good stopping off point near to the docks - but it's a little soulless in its decoration and a pint of Bath Ales Gem wasn't as tiptop as one would expect of that fine brew.

27 May 2013 10:01

The Jeremy Bentham, Bloomsbury

Named after the famous utilitarian whose cadaver can still be viewed in the main building of University College London nearby) this is also pretty utilitarian in nature despite a billed range of ales (Harvey's among others was actually absent and a pint of Young's lacked care in the keeping). I'd agree with the previous interlocutor in that it exposes CAMRA's weakness in judging pubs on the beer and nowt else.

18 May 2013 10:51

The Goat Tavern, Piccadilly

Granted Friday night in early summer isn't the best time to visit but I found this to be pretty listless and unremarkable in truth. Upstairs tables were reserved (a golden rule of avoidance if ever there was one). Nice that it hasn't been overly modernised but there is little reason to come here.

18 May 2013 10:47

The Oxford Blue, Oxford

Pretty good and a pint of shotover went down a treat on a summer evening - it's very studenty and hence, very Oxford - there was a science talk going on on the night of our visit, so the pub was full of wispy haired boffins. The beer garden doesn't look like it gets much sun but was a nice spot all the same.

16 May 2013 21:14

The Wellington Arms, Bedford

A fabulous range of ales enlightened a visit to this backstreet boozer which is nonetheless situated handily for the town centre of this curious county town, part grim shopping precincts, part rich history. Great service and superb interior decoration fitted well with the Dragon Slayer and Mary Jane beers from the Banks and Taylor brewery. Convivial in the extreme and worth the train or bus journey to visit in itself.

12 May 2013 10:38

The Bedford Arms, Bedford

I was interested to read previous reviews of this pub in the light of Wells takeover of Youngs and although Wells tendency to move towards Greene KIng territory is worrying, they are a local outfit, so hard to properly criticize in the Bedford context. This pub is quite decent with a range of ales, music (albeit jazz) and other nice touches.

12 May 2013 10:35

The Chequers, Fenny Stratford

Despite what the previous punter says, not really a gay pub although it does attract clientele en route to Pink Punters down the road. Low key but a pint of Checkmate from the Brill brewery was absolutely superb. Not as good as the Red Lion but a likely contender for the second best pub in Fenny Stratford.

11 May 2013 09:17

The Kings Head, Islington

Long a favourite pub in my London days, the part way understandable decision to cut down on the number of places to sit has wreaked minor havoc on this place's character. Theatre pubs benefit from a varied clientele and it's still a good pit stop + a pint of Youngs slid down well, but the competition on and around Upper Street is better these days and so it no longer stands out.Must try harder.

4 May 2013 08:09

The Lamb and Flag, Oxford

A candidate for the best pub in Oxford city centre (in the teeth of tough competition) and certainly knocks the disappointing Eagle and Child into a cocked hat. The back room is darker and better with a couple of cosy crannies and the ale selection exemplary - Betty Stoggs is a regular and the house golden ale another treat. Barring snacks, it doesn't really do food which leaves it free to concentrate on the important things - a ginnel is named after it.

27 Apr 2013 22:31

Jude The Obscure, Oxford

Okay - and I can see where some are coming from when they say they prefer it to the virtually neighbouring Jericho Tavern, but a listlessness brought on by an over reliance on the Greene King range, half-assed devotion to TV sports and other details let it down. By no means a bad pub but is considerably worse than most of its rivals in the area.

27 Apr 2013 22:26

The White Bear, Rickmansworth

Terrible - cursory service was just one crime in this temple of the Greene King ethos - from the outside, the building is comely despite the presence of roundabout but the beer garden makes no use of its size and location while the default attitude of the young British male - to never allow others to think one is not cool, hard and in control - shines through as it does so often amid our grubby suburbs.

20 Apr 2013 20:36

The Kings Head, Kings Langley

A black pudding stack with poached egg and bacon proved to be a fine accompaniment to a pint of London Pride and my drinking companion's nachos were also good but three quarters of a mile in to a mammoth canal walk from Kings Langley to Denham. A good beer garden is a plus and there are some nice traditional touches although the main bar area is a bit unsympathetically modernised.

20 Apr 2013 20:32

The Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater

We arrived after a six mile hike around Loweswater that saw us stranded up a mountain and having been forced to climb over numerous gates and fences to escape private land - a stray lamb had also mistaken us for its parents. Hence, having time for only a brief visit to this excellent village pub was frustrating while its location limits the amount of beer one can consume without breaking the law. A half of Loweswater pale ale was enjoyed though - and the menu looked utterly scrumptious. We'll be back.

20 Apr 2013 09:20

The Bridge Hotel, Buttermere

An inferior range of ale to the nearby Fish although Coniston Bluebird and Aurora were still happily quaffed, this place is superior for food with a sticky toffee pudding special going down well after a fish platter (not including any inhabitants from nearby Buttermere however). As the evening wore on, locals descended with one herdsman complaining of the 2013 sheep blight and the unseasonal cold, while the European barman from the nearby Fish was showing little employer loyalty by taking a night off in here.

20 Apr 2013 09:15

Fish Hotel, Buttermere

On first glance, this looks like a nightmare out of a Marty Feldman bus tour sitcom with old fashioned decor and empty to character but the ales were kept very well indeed - Thirst Blossom from the Keswick Brewing Co. and Ale Mary from Jennings were both lipsmackingly good. The food looks utilitarian and hence, we opted for the nearby Bridge, but the Fish wins for ale as well as for tradition given that the famous Maid of Buttermere served here. A glorious view up to the High Stile Range and mercifully bereft of mobile phone reception.

20 Apr 2013 09:11

Dog and Gun, Keswick

Good, traditional pub if perhaps not quite as glorious as it makes itself out to be. Busy on a Sunday evening, Loweswater Gold went down exceedingly well but we missed trying the glorious looking house special goulash because of a lack of seats. Oddly, pub policies are displayed on rotation on a big screen including a warm welcome for the canine fraternity. Some cute mutts were hence in attendance.

20 Apr 2013 09:04

The Kings Head Inn, Carlisle

The ales elevate this place which is full of local character (and characters), tucked as it is around the corner from the gorgeous Guildhall. Yates bitter and Youngers Scotch bitter were on and we enjoyed putting britpop and indie kitsch on the jukebox - EMF's 'Unbelievable' should really have seen us thrown out of the pub.

20 Apr 2013 08:40

The Howard Arms, Carlisle

A wondrously gorgeous exterior in green and yellow compliments a comely interior with a real range of Carlisle folks enjoying beers from the Theakston's range. A Cumberland sausage baguette was passable and the atmosphere friendly. With well kept beer and a characterful atmosphere, this was probably the best pub we came across in Carlisle.

20 Apr 2013 08:36

The Holly Bush Inn, Salt

Mystifyingly busy of a weekday lunchtime given how isolated it is, this pub is a good stop off point if travelling north on a long journey. A pork, apple and cider pie's filling was superb although given it featured one of those puffy lids, a pie is really wasn't while a pint of Firkin' Freezing recalls a now defunct pub chain.

20 Apr 2013 08:33

The Vaults Bar, Stony Stratford

The best pub I've visited in Stony and along with The Red Lion in Fenny Stratford, quite possibly the best in the whole Milton Keynes area - which is I know a bit like nominating the best player for Queen's Park Rangers for season 2012-13, but still. This had a good vibe on a Friday night and a pint of Black Sheep went down well after an excellent cuzza at the Calcutta Brasserie down the road. Locals were friendly if very off their faces.

8 Apr 2013 07:55

The Crown, Stony Stratford

Smarter than other options in Stony and tucked away from the throbbing main drag of the High Street, this is a more comfortable option for families (ankle biters were much in evidence) than other pubs in the area and plates of food looked delicious indeed - I did not partake given that a curry was on our agenda later on. By the standards of Stony, a second division pub, but worth a look.

8 Apr 2013 07:52

The White Horse, Stony Stratford

A reasonable option early evening on a Friday with a couple of decent ales on tap and a few nice examples of pub insignia and memorabilia . I would say though, that I once wandered past during the football on a Sunday afternoon and there was a lot of whooping going on. Relentlessly male but unspoilt nonetheless.

8 Apr 2013 07:48

Caldecotte Arms, Milton Keynes

Anyone who is surprised on entering this place and coming across what they find should get out more. It's on a nice lake and is built around a windmill but it's part of a Premier Inn and it's in Milton Keynes, so it's not going to be a rural idyll is it? Hence, taken on its own terms - the location, the availability of a pretty good pint of Hobgoblin and pictures on the wall that evoke the area's history (Bletchley Park, the Grand Union Canal) as well as a pretty respectable pasta bolognese and you have an OK place to take the kids on a Sunday afternoon. Soulless, yes; utterly terrible, no.

1 Apr 2013 21:06

The Boat Inn, Stoke Bruerne

Blackthorn's review is spot on - an excellent pub at the back (actually the front when approaching from the canal) and a fairly soulless room at the back. There is great canal memorabilia (as is fitting in such a toothsome location) and Northamptonshire skittles is a real curiosity - presumably designed for those without bad backs as the 'alley' is raised. Excellent ales although the food was a bit disappointing. Very friendly so overall a cracking pit stop before the 7 mile walk to Cosgrove.

1 Apr 2013 11:01

Star of Bethnal Green, Bethnal Green

A good option on Bethnal Green Road and a nice watering hole to visit to in advance of a trip to Sichuan eatery Gourmet San or other decent pubs in the area like the Carpenters Arms. I actually found the staff to be friendly, the pizzas looked delectable and a pint or three of Caledonian 90 went down well. Sure, it's a hipster place, but live with it.

31 Mar 2013 08:56

The Black Horse Hotel, Preston

The classic Victorian pub with all the etched glass and wood panelling you could wish for - truly evocative of the nineteenth century on a sloping mill town street. Ales, from Stockport's Robinson's, are good too and the wall hangings add to the atmosphere. Quiet on the occasion of our visit on a Good Friday and no idea if it fills up with geezers needing excitement of an evening but looks to be about as good an option as Preston has.

30 Mar 2013 12:19

The Continental Pub, Preston

Lots of good things including encouragement of the arts (Vic Godard & the Subway Sect and The Monochrome Set are upcoming) and a terrific range of beers are on rotation while the conservatory area was toasty on a bitter March day.

The food was nice too - bream with a seafood risotto was nicely concocted but a problem is the shambolic service - one party of 8 including kids turned up and had to wait 20 minutes to be seated despite having booked while general chaos ensued all around. Wallpaperish music is another disappointment but only a few tweaks are needed to make this a real winner.

30 Mar 2013 12:15

The Old Black Bull, Preston

Exposes CAMRA;s weakness in that they'll tend to judge a pub on beer alone and ignore other, less healthy aspects - a wide standing area seems there to encourage geezertastic behaviour and so it proved when a Blackpool fan idiotically nailed his colours to the mast on our visit. A gang of youths started having a pop and this resulted in fisticuffs before the landlord evicted the lot of them. The irony was that one of the assailants was decked out in tangerine while an older fellow in Stone Island should have known better. Good beers but not much else.

30 Mar 2013 12:08

The Green Man, Fitzrovia

Decent given the part of London it's in - tunes from Phoenix and the Rolling Stones assailed us although the hubbub of a Thursday night crowd (likely average earnings in excess of £50,000 a year) did detract from the experience. Food looked good (including well presented burgers) and fries of varying width while the ale selection was excellent - Proper Job went down particularly well. Likely to be a nice place to hole up of a weekend afternoon although prices are steep - the £5 a pint threshold no longer looks like the Rubicon.

22 Mar 2013 08:38

The Pillars of Hercules, Soho

A nice exterior but that's where it ends as it is, like so many Soho pubs, rather rubbish. We found the tip of a straw floating in one of our pints although the barman was suitably apologetic and did furnish us with a new one (accidents happen - at least it wasn't a condom). Too crowded by half although the ale selection is decent.

16 Mar 2013 07:15

The Coach and Horses, Soho

I've always had a sense of disappointment about this place despite many visits (it's handily located for a host of great eateries in Soho and Chinatown as well as numerous bookshops and cinemas) - service was always a unfriendly and the historic media linkages just didn't seem to elevate it. Perhaps the cleaning up of Soho has contributed to the increasingly anodyne nature of the Coach, although most of the clientele are stull grizzled and at least they don't serve halves of lager only like the French House.

16 Mar 2013 07:12

The Lamb and Flag, Covent Garden

A regular stopping off point for years now, this pub is a handy fall back due to the sheer appallingness of most Covent Garden pubs and although it gets crowded, still oozes tradition, There is a contrast between the mainly standing room only downstairs bar and the airiness of the upstairs. Fascinating etchings and other examples of draughtmanship pepper the walls.

16 Mar 2013 07:07

Fishery Inn, Boxmoor

Tomato soup and half a mediterranean chicken were exemplary in this canalside pub a short walk from Hemel Hempstead station just before a gloomy stretch of the Grand Union. Shambolic beer keeping was exposed though - attempts to provide us with Navigation and Oxford Gold fell on stony ground after my partner in crime nabbed the last pint of Youngs. Theme park decor aside from some nice photos of old Hemel. Serviceable if you are content with the typical tenets of modern Britain.

3 Mar 2013 17:48

The Three Horseshoes, Bourne End

A cracking location by the Grand Union canal, this roomy pub has been elegantly refurbished, perhaps overly so - little plates encircling the walls were a tad too 'ye olde Engeland' for our tastes. The menu looked enticing even if prices could be lower and it seems primarily a destination for the denizens of Hemel to descend upon in their 4x4s. Charles Wells ales.

3 Mar 2013 17:45

Rummers, Aberystwyth

Really friendly lasses behind the bar and the suspicion that this was a student den was confirmed by the presence of a set of masked youths - the sorts you find in party shops and not military supply stores thankfully. 'They don't know how to keep ale there' warned one witness but our pints went down well enough. Atmospheric location near a bridge and an entrance that you'll have trouble finding.

1 Mar 2013 13:32

The Ship and Castle, Aberystwyth

We were assured by two different interlocutors that this is the best pub in Aberystwyth and the ale selection and general cosiness were certainly winners - even if the presence of Herefordshire tipples among other English brews seemed a little unpatriotic. The barman's very drawing of the pint smacked of experience and the pub is located on a pleasantly undulating street.

1 Mar 2013 13:29

The Castle Hotel, Aberystwyth

We didn't get to partake of the jukebox because the TV was on loud (a common problem on this trip to Wales) but the ornate exterior of the pub is pleasing and the pool table a welcome feature. Very quiet of a Tuesday evening but a decent enough stopver on an Aber crawl.

1 Mar 2013 13:25

Downies Vaults, Aberystwyth

Decent beer and a relatively pleasant Victorian interior wasted by listless attention to detail - we did have free rein on the juke box though and the barman and barmaid had no problems with that. Nobody in there of an evening so hard to work out how it keeps going. Could be great and is actually a lot less than that.

1 Mar 2013 13:23

The Tap and Spile, Bangor

A student pub and yet the real ale selection pleased a grizzled oldie like me too. The barman is a Leeds United devotee, proudly displaying an item of the Yorkshire club's leisurewear and local events are proudly advertised on the pub walls. Not out of the ordinary but an important staging post on any Bangor pub crawl.

1 Mar 2013 06:46

The Ship Launch, Bangor

We enjoyed a frame of pool whilst on the easiest pub crawl in the world along Bangor's Garth Road but decided not to indulge in the good looking jukebox (Red Hot Chilli Peppers apart) because the pub's proprietors were engrossed in an episode of Most Haunted on the telly. Well kept ales but competition is quite tough nearby.

1 Mar 2013 06:44

Boatyard Inn, BANGOR

A friendly option in the pleasant Garth Road area near the marina in Bangor, maritime paraphernalia is very much to the fore and a seafood pasta in a rich tomato sauce hit the spot well. We came back with our tails between our legs after finding other nearby pubs to be less good and received a warm welcome. Good ales too - those from the Ringwood range were on as guests.

1 Mar 2013 06:41

The Talbot Inn, Ruyton Xi Towns

A pint of Shropshire Gold went down a treat after a long drive from Oxford en route to Bangor and a lentil and chorizo stew accompanied by succulent duck breast slices also hit the spot. My travelling companion also enjoyed his chicken in a basket with chips although the basket was a plastic one. A great option not too far off a key driving route to North Wales from the South and Midlands.

27 Feb 2013 21:50

Fox and Hounds, Caversham

The North Bank's answer to the wonderful Nag's Head and a burgeoning success story since the arrival of a local brewer. There were about six ales on tap in the occasion of my visit as well as four ciders/perries. Unpretentious too - and the public bar has a pool table. A good local and they run a bus to matches at the Madejski Stadium.

25 Feb 2013 08:39

Great Expectations, Reading

I used to live nearby so was intrigued to try this place out - I'm also something of a Dickens fan. It's Ok - beers were in good condition and some of the nooks and crannies are enjoyable - but it's a bit themey.

20 Feb 2013 09:16

Red Lion, Marsworth

Boy were we grateful to finally reach this place after 7 long innless miles from the southern outskirts of Leighton Buzzard (we had been unable to find a pub called the Duke of Wellington supposedly about a mile upstream). The ale range is great and a couple of Brains bitters were on tap on our visit - a plate of fish and chips each was enjoyable and no pub with a bar billiards table can be bad. The village is toothsome too.

16 Feb 2013 21:59

The Victoria Inn, Colchester

A really welcoming local and another good option if you are on your way to and from Colchester United Football Club. No food of a Saturday though -- perhaps this Essex tiown has the slimmest people in Britain? A wide selection of ales and some good CAMRA literature are accompanied by a crazily piled set of board games. A cosy den indeed.

10 Feb 2013 11:57

The Purple Dog, Colchester

It;s hard not to be at least mildly approving of any pub that has wherry on tap but this did prove to be something of a disappointment. The atmsophere is a bit clinical and Britain's Brightest beaming down from the big screens was a superfluous addition. A cut above other modernly furnished pubs but only by a whisker.

10 Feb 2013 11:51

The Hole in the Wall, Colchester

Good ales yes - but what makes this pub a winner is the fact that it's not simply a crusty old boozer for CAMRA devotees. It is a young person's pub - but not for spiky haired, Superdry clad mainstreamers - no, this is a msuic pub with a lovely black pool table and sections of the old town wall thrusting their way through the plasterwork. The ales complete a happy picture.

10 Feb 2013 11:48

The Bricklayers, Colchester

Handily placed for the decidedly un-handily placed Colchester North station, this pub is but a stone's throw from the buses that proceed to the Weston Homes Community Stadium. Good it is too although we were feintly distressed by a bemusing 'no food on saturdays' policy. The house pint was quaffable though and the atmsophere unpretentious.

10 Feb 2013 09:49

The Bull and Butcher, Fenny Stratford

I have to disagree with the last interlocutor as this is not a patch on the Red Lion. Relatively unpretentious but still nothing special - I do however concede that it looks a lot better than the very iffy Swan and other Aylesbury Street pubs. As for away fans, they shouldn't even be in Milton Keynes in the first place.

27 Jan 2013 21:10

The Kings Arms, Tring

Outstanding local with six real ales rotating on tap and friendly welcome. It was packed of a Saturday night despite - strangely - only being open from an extremely tardy 7pm. Wall notices indicate that quizzery and darts are both taken very seriously here. A long, long way from public transport and Tring's almost invisible bus service but well worth seeking out.

27 Jan 2013 21:03

Robin Hood, Tring

Another warm welcome after a long walk from Berkhamsted, a gambolling pooch improved the mood after we had been left speechless by the decidedly inconvenient location of Tring railway station. It's a Fullers flagship affair and a pint of Seafarer's went down well. The food menu sounded excellent with a nice line in seafood but the music could have been better chosen and the lighting could also be turned down a notch.

27 Jan 2013 20:59

The Cow Roast Inn, Wigginton

Handily placed and almost equidistant between Berkhamsted and Tring on the Grand Union canal, I'm afraid this place seemed a little tired to us. A proliferation of Help for Heroes collection boxes signifies a mood of weary patriotism but this isn't really matched by a cavernous interior which was presumably once characterful but has been eroded by Theme Park Britain. Not terrible but not that good either.

27 Jan 2013 20:56

The Rising Sun, Berkhamsted

We were given a warm welcome in this pub after somewhat riskily using some wobbly stepping stones and an icy pair of lock gates to negotiate passage across the canal. There are lots of nice touches - great ales, a cigar bar and a good colletion of ciders and one can browse the papers. A Thursday night quiz provides temptation too.

27 Jan 2013 20:52

The Gloucester Arms, Oxford

Now renamed and reopened as The White Rabbit, the result is pleasing enough with White Horse bitters on tap and a pizza kitchen but do we need another pub like this? At least the previous incarnation as rockers' pub provided something different and the new name must have taken very little imagination to conjure up.

27 Jan 2013 20:49

Gordon's Wine Bar, Charing Cross

An absolutely superb bar for sure but the one drawback is that it's only marginally less busy than the Black Hole of Calcutta. Right up until 11pm on a weekday night it was packed to the rafters with punters enjoying a superb range of wines and ports as well as the odd delectable cheese plate one - an Italian variant included a delicious dolcelatte. Not quite quintessentially Brittish because little of the food or drink is from these isles, but an institution nevertheless.

26 Jan 2013 09:46

The Bell, Maidenhead

A passable option in a town that sorely needs it - Maidenhead is ringed by appealing villages and suburbs but its commercial core is diabolically soulless. Pizzas and burgers make up the acceptable food options and Marseille against Saint Etienne was showing on the big screens. Rocking Rudolph proved to be a reasonable guest ale and will presumably be replaced come January.

25 Dec 2012 07:19

The Magdalen Arms, Oxford

Re-reviewing this and surprised to see that my previous comments are still the most recent ones. I was unfair and several trips back have revealed this to be superb - the food is nothing short of sensational and sets very high standards in the world of gastropubdom. Sunday lunchtime is an especially enjoyable time to visit and a venison shank with spicy pear and celeriac mash was sublime. Ales are good and the garden provides an opportunity to wile away a summer evening. Topnotch.

22 Dec 2012 21:08

The Gatehouse Tavern, Coventry

The Spon Street area of Coventry is a curious ensemble, consisting as it does of the buildings which escaped the attentions of the Luftwaffe all gathered together in one place on the western edge of the city centre. I regretted that time allowed us only to visit the Gatehouse and a good boozer it is too, with a great selection of real ales (the local Coventry Bitter was heralded as a session beer) and uber-friendly service behind the bar. Well worth a visit.

22 Dec 2012 20:53

The Angel and Greyhound, Oxford

The easiest option if you are in the Cowley Road/St. Clement's Area and don't fancy the crowds overly - the sheer quaffability of Youngs ordinary helps one settle in for a good session. Previously called The Oranges and Lemons (or something like that), a large picture in the pub depicts it when it was a hub of the local music scene. Those days have gone but it remains a decent option.

21 Dec 2012 07:28

The Bullingdon Arms, Oxford

The main room is sparse indeed having previously enjoyed something of the air of a theme pub and this is a wise move as the main event is the music in a decent sized back room. The owners do a good job with this and Darren Hayman and Bonnie Prince Billy count among recent visitors while local Oxford fans such as the superb Dallas Don't have been known to play. Still, the drink seledction is half-assed in the extreme and the pub bit of the premises is no place to linger.

15 Dec 2012 10:03

The Cock, Oxford Circus

One of the better options in a woeful part of London to get a drink, this is of course plagued by tourists and office workers but has a grand Victorian interior and a large bar upstairs to accompany the ground floor one. It'sa Sam Smiths pub so has the benefit of being inexpensive while the ales are pretty much what you expect - Old Brewery and Sovereign are nowt special really but eminently quaffable.

15 Dec 2012 10:00

, Digbeth

I've somehow missed this on previous trips to see Birmingham City play and it's a super option close to the bus station and market albeit on a bleak stretch of road. The ale selection is first class and a Hobson's Mild went down well while the juke box had two Tindersticks' tracks as well as Sheriff Fatman by Carter USM. Pool costs 70p to play.

12 Dec 2012 08:33

The Kings Arms, Sandford on Thames

Part of a chain, there is a resemblance to the Plough in Clifton Hampden ten miles or so downstream and around the corner from the comically Partridgesque Four Pillars Hotel, this ain't nowt special but was saved somewhat by a special pre-Christmas 'game menu' - no, not Djenga and Backgammon, more pheasant and rabbit. Wastes a prime location though.

15 Nov 2012 19:01

The Mucky Pup, Angel, Islington

Redecorated a few years back, the bar is now smaller with a less impressive selection of beers but an astonishingly good jukebox is a plus as is the warming red colour scheme and the quietness of a non-Upper Street location. That said, making a juke box free can create issues to do with hogging although a DJ belied the usually unwelcome reputation of such personages with a cracking set comprising The Fall, Veruca Salt and Sonic Youth.

15 Nov 2012 18:57

The Wheatsheaf, East Hendred

Has changed hands and is not the better for it as the food is standardized and the atmosphere deadened. Guess what? Yes - Greene King are in town. It's about time they got their grubby mitts off our pubs - apparently the perfectly good publicans who ran it before were driven out by corporate demands.

15 Nov 2012 14:14

The Green Dragon, Borehamwood

The location amid those swathes of mediocre North London suburbs isn't promising and one wonders if the building once housed a Chinese restaurant given the name but this turned out to be a passable locals pub albeit very focused on the sport and the lads. Situated close to Boreham Wood's ground, one could mistake the interior for that of a non league clubhouse. A pint of the ubiquitous Doom Bar was well kept.

4 Nov 2012 09:52

The Bell Inn, Aldworth

Utterly outstanding village pub that provides a superb selection of West Berkshire ales, rolls filled with intriguing fillings (the ox tongue and the pork & wild mushroom pate were both superb), this book has all the nooks and crannies you could want and is utterly unspoilt. So - a drinker's pub in the main, but also a walkers' one - it's a real hike from amywhere (we negotiated the three and a half miles from Goring & Streatley station) and is also ridiculously busy of a Sunday lunchtime (seats are at a premium but this somehow adds to the conviviality, as does the strong canine contingent.

29 Oct 2012 08:36

The Globe Inn, Linslade

A great location on a particularly toothsome stretch of the Grand Union canal, this place serves food that is less impressive than the upstream Grand Union at Three Locks but at least avoids that establishment's tendency to overdo the muzak. Still, it's what was presumably once a traditional pub now gutted inside for the sake of (admittedly pleasant) colour schemes dictated by focus groups. Greene King ales offer the punter scant choice.

21 Oct 2012 14:30

Duke's Cut, Oxford

A better option for watching the football than nearby Eurobar but we were still evicted for having the temerity to watch Preston North End when the rival activity of egg chasing was to be endured. Luckily, the rugby fan coves who dispatched us were affable and the game finished 0-0 anyway. Decent beers and food that looks passable, the Duke's Cut has metamorphosed on several occasions in recent years but one highlight was an appearance from local post rockers Dallas Don't.

21 Oct 2012 14:25

The Post Office Vaults, Birmingham

I suspect that previous commenter MCRoyal was in town for the same reasons as me and I can only echo his comments as this place is a fabulous alternative to the always jammed Wellington. That said, the Vaults was also very busy on the occasion of our visit. The Hobsons Mild was described by the West Bromwich Albion fan who introduced me to the place as 'world class' and he wasn't wrong for tasty it was - as was a curious ginger and chilli ale. A terrific pub and a witty sign on the outside that lambasted Carlsberg also produced a thumbs up.

24 Sep 2012 21:58

The Star of Kings, Islington

Some plus points - it's spacious and they were playing Bristol band F**k Buttons on the soundsystem on my arrival. Plus, a Lamb burger infused with chorizo was hearty and tasty. Then Queen made an apeparance with that godawful bicycle song and I remembered the other negatives - no ale and no signs on the taps to indicate what beers were on offer (mercifully, guinness does make an appearance). Change being returned on a little metal tray broke a third of the golden rules of pubs. Well worth including on a York Way pub crawl for all this.

21 Sep 2012 14:31

Hobgoblin, Oxford

Recently reopened under its former name, The St. Aldate's Tavern and early signs fro this free house are hugely encouraging. Friendly service and an excellent range of food are supplemented by a well chosen selection of ales (Black Sheep, White Horse, Old Hooky). The duck egg blue colour scheme might be a bit tooo tasteful for some but care has been put in and let's hope the location of this pub doesn't encourage too much of a transient following.

21 Sep 2012 09:23

The Mayflower, Rotherhithe

A must stop on any visit to east London and yet it doesn't do everything as well as it could do. Ales are exemplary and rotating and the service is friendly but the food is bogger than bog standard and the grimy mitts of Greene King do enact a pernicious effect, albeit a subtler one than at many of their gin palaces. Of London's glorious Thameside boozers, this falls well behind Limehouse's The Grapes but is probably better than most of the others.

19 Sep 2012 11:14

Prince Of Wales, Didcot

Reviewing this place again because standards have regressed albeit not quite to the level of the mid noughties. having been told that a pint of coke filled not quite to the brim nonetheless constituted a full pint because no ice was included, our barman proceeded to jettison empty bottles across the bar into the bin, all making for a series of horrendous crashes. The crimes don't end there - the beer is kept appallingly and presumably gunge infested pipes could be the reason for the always icky flavours. A vegetarian tart also burned a friend's mouth. Dire and representative of the terrible influence Greene King is wreaking on British pubdom.

13 Sep 2012 13:44

The Bull, Streatley

A pleasant enough option and caps lovely walks from all directions, be your originating point at Goring & Streatley station or from atop the Ridgeway. Rat run traffic does spoil the approach somewhat but we were greeted in friendly fashion and the ale range was exemplary - slightly making up for the weirdly beige upholstery.

13 Sep 2012 13:39

Dolphin, Newport Pagnell

The atmosphere provided by a hatted youth getting very annoyed with a passing driver and a young couple fighting with their kids was unbelievably alleviated by the harmless rantings of a Northampton Town fan, even if his utterances were complete cobblers. Very average indeed and wastes a good building. Much competition in a town that does quite well for pubs.

10 Sep 2012 13:27

The Coachmakers Arms, Newport Pagnell

Not perhaps that appropriate to include a picture of rival pub The Cannon on the entry for this pub and in all this perhaps reflects a slight lack of attention to detail. The timbered interior is gorgeous and gains nothing from the addition of metallic silver pumps for lager and fruit machines. The garden is a decent enough spot for the canines to romp in but this could do with restoration from more sympathetic hands.

10 Sep 2012 13:24

The Barley Mow, Clifton Hampden

Could be better but nevertheless proved to be a welcome pit stop seven and a half miles in to a half marathon length walk from Wallingford to Abingdon along the river. Food was actually decent, even if the staff were mystifyingly sporting Christmas themed costumes in early September. Shades of theme pubbery although not the whole hog - and a mixed grill enjoyed on a previous visit would have truly satisfied one of the Roman legions that likely once marched this way.

7 Sep 2012 08:08

The Admiral Benbow, Milton

Re-reviewing this due to it changing hands a while back (a cat as old as the ark and prone to leaping atop the benches to get at your burger remains though). Sadly, it's feeling tired now, doubtless due to the lack of effort Greene King put in to their 3,000 or so British pubs. Surprise was the reaction we got on turning up wanting food at 12.30 although service is quicker than it used to be. The garden is a calm oasis.

5 Sep 2012 12:56

The Grapes, Oxford

A recent makeover has been relatively tastefully done although London Welsh's arrival in Oxford could lead to a worrying influx of hoorays (as if the city didn't have enough already). The triumph on our visit was the ales - really quaffable and well kept and food looked no nonsense and gargantuan. Oxford's city centre pubs are a mixed bag and hampered by crowds but this looks to have elevated itself to an option amid the better of them.

4 Sep 2012 11:13

The Jam Factory, Oxford

I've broken protocol by reviewing this again so will be brief - in short, no excuse for these prices - both beers and mixers were criminally expensive. Needs a rethink in these straitened times.

4 Sep 2012 11:09

Sports Bar and Grill, Victoria

Perhaps slightly better than one would expect of a station 'pub' but nothing special for sure although the location is convenient. Perhaps the most irritating thing about the place is the prices - pints start at above 4 a pop although they do have Ringwood and another ale on tap (both were exhausted by the time a long Friday evening had ended). Don't come if you don't like sport - even something as insignificant as the European Super Cup was blaring out across the floor of the place on our visit. A plate of nachos was carried off with competence.

4 Sep 2012 11:07

The Merry Miller, Cothill

This place really emphasizes its food and portions are certainly copious. A pie was, as so often these days, nothing of the sort but a casserole with a pastry lid although the interior of chicken and tarragon was pleasing. It's a Greene King joint so the ales are a predictable range and the location is on a remote lane to the west of Abingdon. Other dishes including a butternut squash risotto and chicken pasta looked enough to feed an army.

4 Sep 2012 11:04

The Old George, Stony Stratford

An historic building in surprisingly toothsome Stony Stratford, this place had a real locals' feel with parties of all ages occupying the tables in the traditional interior. It's just across the way from the location where King Richard III stole away the princes to the tower but there was no such evidence of knavery on the occasion of our visit. Friendly service accompanied a range of ales one would expect from a freehouse.

28 Aug 2012 10:38

The Plough, Simpson

A more than reasonable option on an urban stretch of the Grand Union canal in Milton Keynes, the building is old and was presumably part of a village. Food options looked decent and the garden rambles pleasingly down from the canal itself although the interior is perhaps a tad more modern that an old fogey like me would like. Ale options were fine, this being a Charles Wells concern.

28 Aug 2012 10:35

The James Street Tavern, Oxford

A pub that has apparently undergone a few makeovers but I was favourably impressed when I popped in for a quick pint after a night out at venerable Oxford institution Atomic Burger. The crowd is varied, perhaps attracted by the folky music, a mixture of covers and not - and thankfully not too dominant. The ale selection is also exemplary and the impression is very much of a proper drinker's pub.

22 Aug 2012 19:24

Duke Of Monmouth, Oxford

Of course we've all been in this pub scores of times - the primary coloured sofas, orange food, offers on buckets of shots and general distaste of our age are all there - but I've probably been in worse pubs of this ilk - the service is friendly and the beers reasonably tasty even if they do generally belong to those globalizing tyros, Greene King. A TV framed in cowhide is a touch I've never seen before, I'll admit.

16 Aug 2012 08:15

Mitre, Buckingham

A really good find and well worth the trek out from the centre of the town (it's still relatively central and is positioned underneath the old railway line). There is a selection of excellent ales from around the country included their own Mitre brew and both staff and regulars were friendly. Seem to bear the same relation to other pubs in Buckingham that Citizen Kane does to Sex in the City II.

13 Aug 2012 12:53

The Kings Head, Buckingham

Having decamped from the nearby Whale amid a rendition of Elvis's 'Suspicious Minds' from its denizens, we were surprised to find a lone male caterwauling 'Return to Sender' in this establishment, eulogised by various posters on BITE for it's cheap deals (2.95 for a full English does indeed sound a real bargain).

There 'The King' theme ends thankfully, especially as next up on the juke box was 'U Can't Touch This' by MC Hammer. Blaring out into the garden it was and sadly this is another case of an excellent location wasted - the pub is smack bang on the the High Street of a handsome county town near to the atmospheric old gaol. Listless indeed.

13 Aug 2012 10:52

The Whale, Buckingham

Geezers need excitement as Mike Skinner of The Streets once proclaimed and given that the atmosphere in this place was quite lairy enough on a summer sunday afternoon, I wonder how 'lively' it becomes of a Friday night. Too loud music permeates the two floor bar although there is a good cubby hole for the arrows and the garden has a trampoline for the kids. A pint of London Pride was tasty and the local boyz were treating us to a singalong of Elvis's 'Suspicious Minds' blaring out of the juke box (the only good song aired on this visit and weirdly replicated in the Nearby King's Head where a solitary gent was providing 'Return to Sender' with the impromptu karaoke treatment).

13 Aug 2012 08:45

The Queens Head, St Pancras

Subtly improved since my last visit about 5 years ago, the pub now seems more spacious (it used to have a pool table) and the ales are exemplary - particularly a superb pint of Dark Star. Cheese and charcuterie boards also constituted fine accompaniments and it is the only pub to challenge the King Charles in this betwixt and between neighbourhood. The only issue are the - ahem - facilities - regrettably pongtastic and Mums up and down the land would bemoan their lack of cleanliness.

9 Aug 2012 10:13

The Red Lion, Oxford

This place isn't really a gastropub, more a 'nouveau riche' gastropub for townies doing Loadesmoney impressions. Sure, the food looked good and the cocktails were tasty but the service is supercilious and the atmosphere seemingly recreated by a denizen of that most suspect of 90s phenomena - the DJ bar. It's had various guises including a stint as part of the not wholly awful 'Firkin' chain and the in no way acceptable 'Goose' brand of hostelries. The garden is big and a blissful refuge from the interior - if only one were able to use it for more than one night a year.

7 Aug 2012 18:07

The Fifield Inn, Fifield

That some relatives of mine were once here for a wake perhaps coloured their negative recommendation and the Greene King livery emblazoned across the pub along with a gloomy interior (why lay out place mats in a pub?) didn't bode well. But, on a Summer Friday in 2012, a plate of ham, egg and chips went down well and the garden constitutes a nice spot even if the ale range is as limited as you'd expect from GK and the service didn't quite have enough 'pleases' and 'thank yous' for my liking - that's no reflection on the gent who appeared to be the landlord - a seemingly affable cove.

7 Aug 2012 17:16

The Mitre, Oxford

This was no doubt a wonderful pub once - albeit in 1780. The building is atmospheric and there is a great upstairs room for functions (now criminally under used and without a working bar). One can almost imagine the cries of the stagecoachmen and whinnying of the horses as well as the tankards of frothing beer and enormous sides of beef in the pleasingly rambling interior.

Now, however, it's a Beefeater and has all the fruit machines, nobby's nuts and listlessness you could wish for. Great raw materials sadly wasted by the current owners - almost badly enough for legal charges to be pressed. Nonetheless, worth a visit.

2 Aug 2012 08:25

The Black Horse, Woburn

Woburn has a lot to recommend it, situated as it is on the edge of the magnificent estate and containing some pretty buildings of ancient hue. On a mammoth walk from Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands, we stopped off here and the rambling, long beer garden is a pleasant place to wile away a few hours. Inside though, it's a bland reconversion and just too in thrall to contemporary mores as to what good interior design is deemed to be. The ale slection is fine and the food looked good (although we did not partake)

29 Jul 2012 20:58

The Birch at Woburn, Woburn

A tasty plate involving a succulent chicken breast on pasta only really confirms the opinion of one of the reviewer's below - this place is more of a restaurant than a pub now. A conservatory area reveals a host of the well heeled denizens of this pretty Bedfordshire town but what was presumably once a fairly traditional interior has been gutted and redesigned by a Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen wannabe. London Pride and Adnams on tap - come here for food though, not to drink.

29 Jul 2012 20:53

The Red Lion, Bletchley

Excellent locals' pub and on our visit, we were regaled with tales of pre- and post- new town life - hunting, pies and discotheques - by an Uncle Junior Soprano lookalike. A few frames of pool became shabbier in quality as each successive pint of the superb Hopfest went down - and these folks certainly know how to keep an ale. Friendly and welcoming and a great location beside the Grand Union canal as it trickles its way northward to Braunston.

22 Jul 2012 16:57

The Three Locks, Stoke Hammond

This place maximizes its location well, situated as it is beside a dramatic sweep of locks on a pretty section of the Grand Union canal. It's fun to chill out while watching bargemen professional and amateur negotiate the waterway and the pub has a sweep of ales to enjoy - a special from Young's was on tap on the occasion of our visit, although it was perhaps served a mite cold. Food was good - a cracking chicken and chorizo sandwich hit the spot. Impossible not to hole up here on any canalside walk.

22 Jul 2012 16:52

The Dolphin, Stoke Hammond

Simply diabolical although a friendly welcome from the bar tender and the presence of Chesterfield and Preston North End shirts on the roof of the pub (amid the usual suspects) elevates it from a 2 to a 3. What's really disappointing though is the location in a pleasant enough village with a fine cricket pitch and proximity to the Grand Union canal. The one ale was off on our visit - no doubt a regular occurrence and the garden is as tatty a plot of land as you'll find.

22 Jul 2012 16:48

The Stag and Huntsman, Hambleden

Made a return visit after only a year and as other reports suggest, it has changed. The local ales are still present and a new menu in place but the main alterations are to the decor - there is a new sleekness to the presentation and window sills have been finished off in a fetching shade of dark green. Definitely more clinical now and the garden has been levelled by some Inigo Jones wannabe - someone who clearly wasn't impressed with its undulations. No sign of a barbecue but still a good stop off amid great walking country.

15 Jul 2012 18:48

The Southampton Arms, Gospel Oak

Outstanding in that it achieves that rare trick of appealing to old men and hipsters - the crowd on my visit was an exceedingly fashionable one replete with ridiculous hats and skinny trousers - and yet a couple of old gents were also quietly supping in the corner. No wonder too - a great selection of ales is supplemented by 4 or 5 ciders of obscure origin. The no nonsense British bar snacks - pies, Scotch eggs etc are also home made and delectable looking.

3 Jul 2012 08:58

The Holly Bush, Hampstead

Hampstead's best pub, a rambling place with all the nooks and crannies you could wish for. Slightly touristed although the locae up a steep hill is picture postcard perfect and the environs pleasant indeed. Harveys has been on tap here ever since I can remember - which is never bad.

3 Jul 2012 08:53

Spaniards Inn, Hampstead Heath

A glorious location, garden and building but the Spaniard's doesn't make whole use of its natural endowments due to the lucrative tourist trade that leads to dropped standards (see also Oxford's Turf Tavern). The food is OK but uttrely bog standard and although a couple of good ales are always on tap, the Hackett shirted denizens of North London can lead to a slightly annoying atmsophere - wtach out on the road too - very dicey negotiating passage to this boozer on foot.

3 Jul 2012 08:49

The Rose and Crown PH, Oxford

Exemplary and the landlord's offer to talk me through the beers was a lovely touch - Old Hooky, Adnams and a couple of other good ones the names of which escape me were on offer on the occasion of my visit. There is a cosiness, even on a damp Monday evening - although the covered garden is missable and sees the pub's score drop from a 9 to an 8. Yet another excellent Oxford pub.

3 Jul 2012 08:46

The Gardeners Arms, Oxford

A good counterpart to the Rose and Crown across the road and its namesake pub, The Gardeners Arms nearby in Jericho. Oxford probably needs more of this - a no nonsense, unspoilt, boozer that's welcoming and solidly working class with its comfortable fawn sofas, Sahara nuts machines and general air of 'we don't care about trendies'.

3 Jul 2012 08:42

The Hart of Harwell, Harwell

Not too bad at all as an option tucked away between Didcot and the back end of nowhere, close to an atomic research facility and a few miles from the fabled power station. Greene King are in charge and that's partly reflected in the ales (although guests are run). The food is decent pub standard grub albeit perhaps a tad more expensive than the average. Service from a friendly duo of barmaids was exemplary.

26 Jun 2012 14:45

The Bowyer Arms, Radley

I found myself with half an hour to kill in this sleepy village where the one shop closes unfeasibly early and had the misfortune to spend them in this mediocre establishment - a pretty quintessential representation of the Greene King oeuvre. I don't really need to describe it as you'll all have been to the same pub a million times.

25 Jun 2012 20:39

The Cape of Good Hope, Oxford

Gets a bad rap because it's student infested at peak times - and these are the kinds of students who attended Radley and Stow to boot - but it's not too bad in an 'if you are an avid fan of Cold Feet' sort of way - so, tasteful with a couple of decent but predictable beers on tap - Brakspear's and London Pride on this occasion and the food - I once tried a pie - more than passes muster in a city where pub food generally outstrips that on offer at restaurants.

24 Jun 2012 09:19

The Moon Under Water, Milton Keynes

An example of why real ale, while important, isn't everything. Some good choices on tap and there is a rotation scheme but it's an aircraft hanger of a place tacked on to the admittedly astounding Snowdome. Little choice elsewhere in a Kingdom of chains and concrete.

17 Jun 2012 09:10

The Giffard Park, Giffard Park

An excellent canalside location not far upstream from the sadly neglected brick kilns is this epitome of all things Great Britain in the second decade of the twenty first century. Part of the 'Sizzler' chain (quite), it's a 'family friendly' kind of place that one is surprised to not see a Travelodge attached. The food was below average in truth although at least the pie was a proper one and not a casserole with a pastry lid. Avoidable if it were not for the prime location as the nearest pub up the canal from the centre of Milton Keynes.

17 Jun 2012 09:07

The Mill, Cambridge

The entire cast of Brideshead Revisited descended on my visit which is a shame as this pub does appear to have improved a little down the years (although I do recall a wonderfully cloudy cider they were serving about a decade ago now). Posh people in red trousers are a Cantab hazard of course and the wondrousness of a stotch egg (as bar snack) did confirm that quite a lot is being done right. Seems to have had a makeover although how recently this took place, I am not sure.

15 Jun 2012 07:42

The Granta, Cambridge

Punches below its weight and comes close to wasting its prime riverside location (not unlike a similar pub in Oxford, The Head of the River. Still, the introduction of guinea fowl and ceps and a duck egg blue coat of paint might have an adverse effect - at least for the moment it's welcoming to all.

14 Jun 2012 15:02

The Red Bull, Cambridge

We stumbled across this pub while looking for somewhere to watch the Germany v Holland match in the 2012 European Championships and it fitted the bill perfectly. A capacious floor allows one plenty of room and the pizzas that are a cornerstone of the menu were an enjoyable accompaniment to a pint of Black Sheep. Good, and service is affable.

14 Jun 2012 15:00

The Chequers, Oxford

Conversely improved despite the ditching of a couple of pool tables a few years back, this alleyway stop off isn't all that bad although it can feel listless due to it primarily featuring as a place for weary shoppers. The heraldry recalls 'merrie England' in a generally naff, but inoffensive way and the food looks passable. Ales come in few hues but were perhaps slightly cooler than necessary - possibly due to atmospheric conditions.

6 Jun 2012 13:01

Victoria, Oxford

I was too full elsewhere to sample the pies but was quite impressed. The chief attraction beyond the pastry is a rather grand balcony that is decorated lavishly and gives the pub an appealing interior aspect. A gang of good natured lads were being qute noisy on our visit but this should be on any Jericho pub crawl itinerary.

3 Jun 2012 10:48

The Harcourt Arms, Oxford

Another excellent stop off in Jericho which truly is a great neighborhood for a pub crawl. The redecoration of a couple of years back and the lack of choice on tap are slight drawbacks. I like Fullers ales, but this is Oxford, not Acton.

3 Jun 2012 10:45

The Gardener's Arms, Oxford

An absolute gem. As a carnivore I can say I wasn't in the least bit bothered by the all-vegetarian menu - and indeed, it's about as good a menu as you'll find in all of pubdom. Good real ales, a super garden and a lovely touch that sees the walls festooned with classic album sleeves all add to a place of a high appeal. Marvellous.

3 Jun 2012 10:41

Ye Olde White Harte, Hull

A rambling place accessible via an atmospheric alleyway, this provided yet another surprise and yet another two fingers to the idiots who awarded Hull the number 1 spot in the 'Crap Towns' book of a few years ago. Wood panelling and a rather marvellous tapestry style affair depicting local scenes of yore are nice touches and any trip to the East Riding would be incomplete without a visit.

25 May 2012 07:16

Crown Posada, Newcastle

An essential stop off on any visit to the Toon, the network of alcoves and corners recalls London's Princess Louise and Belfast's Crown Liquor Saloon. Ales are good and it's as traditional a place as you would like beneath the Victorian viaducts and bridges. My one quibble - not a single female present therein apart fom the bar staff so it's not the most varied of crowds.

25 May 2012 07:12

Old Grey Mare, Hull

A student pub that appears to have something of a captive market pitched as it is dead opposite the rather pleasant campus of Hull University. It's a solid representative of themed Britain but my sizzling rump steak and chips was decent enough. Probably transmogrifies into a hell hole of a Friday night but on a weekday lunchtime, it did the trick.

25 May 2012 07:09

George Hotel, Hull

A lovely exterior on one of Hull's most comely streets, this one room bar ia a pleasant place to kickstart a crawl of the East Riding city. Friendly service and a well preserved pint of golden ale added to the mood. A good antidote to a particularly horrendous looking Wetherspoon's down the street.

25 May 2012 07:05

George Hotel, Pangbourne

Not a bad stop off point but the clinical way the bar has been redecorated does the appealing building no favours. Service was friendly and food passable - a BLT was actually above average and well executed. Contrary to the previous poster's comment, they do show live football - we took in the Cheltenham v Torquay play off game from May 2012 in here and there were no objections to our esoteric request to put the game on. Not perhaps as good as the Cross Keys but a pint of Courage Best went down well.

14 May 2012 12:36

Three Goats Heads, Oxford

The Three Goats has a few over riding advantages, notably centrality, a relaxed attitude to bringing in food in from elsewhere (including the ace Mission Burrito just across the street) and low prices. But it's a pretty average place nonetheless with two fairly glum rooms and a low key mood. Of course the Sam Smith's beer cartel suits some bit not others - even the brewery's adherents would wish for some variety on occasion.

11 May 2012 16:20

The Honey Pot, Oxford

Has had its ups and downs but really about as good as it gets so near to the station in Oxford. One evening in April 2012, it seemed remarkably chilled - the blinds across the windows helping to bathe the premises in a comforting golden light. There is always at least one good ale on and the grub is superior of the pub kind. The music selection was also well chosen and the barman affable. For a lightweight like me, the Cotswold ales on sale across the road at the Jam factory can be a little fearsome in strength so the mellower surrounds of the Honey Pot lead to a more relaxed evening

2 May 2012 15:49

The White Horse, Oxford

A classic pub for sure with good ale and a real cosiness - it's also perfectly placed if you want to break a trip to the two halves of Blackwell's bookshop - although this wouldn't feature the most demanding walk ever. Minor drawbacks are the hordes of tourists (red trousered poshos and our Transatlantic cousins are particularly well represented) but the provision of superb mulled wine and free mince pies on a Christmastime visit was a lovely touch.

23 Apr 2012 21:49

Oxford Retreat, Oxford

With London Pride the only ale on tap and separated from the other beverages by yards of bar top, little finger lifting is being done here - although balance sheets, SWOT analyses, calculations of amortization etc. will all have been carried out efficiently by the accountants who masterminded the makeover since my first visit back in 2005. Bland but not horrifically so.

12 Apr 2012 14:16

The Old Dispensary, Whitechapel

This highlights, Beer in the Evening's main drawback as a site - that a cracking selection of ales will provoke punters into covering for a multitude of sins. My friends and I have now organised 13 annual Brick Lane curry nights each Easter and this venue is comfortably the least impressive pre-meal venue we have chosen in the vicinity of Banglatown. Of course Aldgate East is a non-place seemingly there to please lovers of complicated traffic systems and nor can the owners be blamed for the presence of White's Gentleman's Club over the road but Harvey's Sussex bitter does not save a place from being a city boy's haven pure and simple.

8 Apr 2012 09:03

Britannia Inn, Hereford

The one reason to come out of your way is the ales - a good selection of Wye Valley brews and all well kept. Apart from that, it's unremarkable - a bright local's local and a standard stopping off point after a visit to Edgar Street. Conservatory style windows look out over a decent sized beer garden.

8 Apr 2012 08:58

The Lichfield Vaults, Hereford

Good city centre pub down a lovely alleyway and very friendly. An oddity is the Greek food - but it's done very well - a meze was carried off with some flair and the vine leaves tasted home made. The ales are well kept although it's a mite disappointing that no local brewery is represented (unlike the cider). Doombar, Flying Scotsman etc were the decidedly non-Engish choices. Still an essential part of any Hereford pub crawl.

8 Apr 2012 08:55

The Barrels, Hereford

An excellent pub although one suspects that it dominates Hereford drinking too much - nowhere else we visited came close. The clientele is varied indeed and the neanderthal element of a Saturday night seemed less in evidence than in other towns. Good ale from the local Wye Valley brewery, good cider (both cloudy and fizzy), friendly bar staff, a capacious beer garden and a pool table mak this a winner all round. At the heart of a community.

7 Apr 2012 13:28

The Queens, Upton Park

Looks enjoyably fearsome from the outside but will admit I did not venture in.

31 Mar 2012 21:55

The Old Tom, Oxford

For sure, not Oxford's most toothesome pub but a tad under rated all the same. Decent beers and superior Thai food are complemented by acceptable decor and beer garden that is a good spot for a chinwag, even if it is largely sheltered from the sun. If this were in Didcot, we'd be waxing lyrical.

27 Mar 2012 20:50

Brewery Tap, Abingdon

Pints of Proper Job and Abingdon Bridge went down well on a saturday night one February. The building used to be part of the new sadly defunct Morland's brewery and has pleasing nooks and crannies as well as reputedly good food. The one problem is Abingdon's tendency to attract aggression and the pub's location - a little too near to a notoriously absymal nightclub.

19 Feb 2012 13:03

The Salutation, Doncaster

By repute, the best pub Doncaster has to offer and no wonder - an array of wonderfully well kept ales left me satisfied after a 3 hour train trip one winter Saturday. I also sampled the chicken pie - home made and accompanied by excellent chips and mushy peas. Good service rounded off the day and a wedding party that had taken over the pub on my arrival also seemed in tremendous spirits.

5 Feb 2012 15:36

Far From the Madding Crowd, Oxford

A curious place indeed as it has the feel of a local's bar and yet is tucked in behind a branch of Debenham's in Oxford city centre. The room is characterless, with indeterminate seventies carpeting and much beige and fawn. Thankfully, the beers - also beige and fawn - are startlingly good - so getting one major thing right elevates this pub to decent status - nice home made pizzas on the night of our visit too + friendly service.

3 Feb 2012 12:56

Spread Eagle, Abingdon

A serviceably enjoyable local that is just down the road from Abingdon United's teeming arena, this place has friendly service and a good range of beers and ciders. Abingdon itself is a slightly disappointing town that probably punches below its weight given its natural advantages - nearness to Didcot cannot help - but this is one of a cluster of highly acceptable locations in which to wile away your time.

2 Feb 2012 11:59

The Red Lion, Islip

Given the ample delights on offer in other towns and villages in the Oxford area, Islip is perhaps a little under served. This place has a reasonably friendly, local feel but rests on its laurels a little given its location in such a pleasant and historic village. Branded food items and dire tunes from the juke box were a problem (the latter is the fault of a punter and not the pub of course).

1 Jan 2012 16:47

The Eagle and Child, Oxford

If someone with a more serious literary reputation than that old bore JRR Tolkien like - say, Jordan or Piers Morgan - had once drunk here, I might be impressed but it's still an essential stop off on any Christminster pub crawl.

Which makes the series of open goals they miss all the more annoying. Not the beer, mind. That's good and varied. No, more the absurd conservatory area out the back that is chillier than a Highland Glen + the lack of seating + the dismal food. Could be a real gem.

31 Dec 2011 22:10

Stephan Langton Inn, Abinger Common

For me to notice the price of the food in a pub, it's gotta be pretty darn expensive and so it is here - although the food being wheeled out did look delectable - that is, from the glimpses I gained of it when standing on tip toe to peer above the belly of a gruff old gent complaining about his 4 by 4 being hemmed in. Best thing about the place? Unquestionably the pub sign that depicts the eponymous bishop. It's also in the midst of great walking country.

30 Dec 2011 20:29

The Wotton Hatch, Wotton

Three quarters of the way through a monstrously tiring walk from Holmwood to Gomshall, this pub came as a welcome relief after the rigours of climbing Leith Hill - South East England's highest peak, especially after the faffing at the nearby Stephen Langton pub in Friday Street had denied me a square meal.

It's got one of those supsicious 'chain by stealth' menus with pizzas on it - come on now, at least you knew where you were with a Firkin - and to say the portions were measly is something of an understatement. Clearly devised with the help of focus groups.

30 Dec 2011 20:25

The Magdalen Arms, Oxford

What they do, they do pretty well - good ales and food that looked well worth ordering - it's just all a bit safe - focus groups have obviously been all over it like a rash and although care has gone into it all, the result is a bit clinical. They must be raking it in.

25 Dec 2011 08:55

The Corridor, Oxford

Appalling and even more so given an earlier commenter's informing us that this used to be a decent pub called The New Inn. In a prime position on a road full of character, this is an absymal blot.

25 Dec 2011 08:52

The Fir Tree, Oxford

A Greene King pub but not slavish to that brewery in its range of ales, this seems to be a decent student pub and I shall return. They advertise an indie night although Europe's 'Final Countdown' was blaring out on the day of our visit. A good neighbourhood option.

25 Dec 2011 08:50

The Port Mahon, Oxford

Because it's mildly offensive to use the word schizophrenic out of context, I'll use the round ball game term coinage 'of two halves' to describe this pub. One section is convivial indeed - cosy and with low level lighting, we enjoyed a good time at the Sunday pub quiz. The other is probably an OK place to watch a game on the big screen but it's lighting and general averageness recalls the hideous bar on nearby Cowley Road. Occasional live bands do enhance matters and the genial service is a winner.

25 Dec 2011 08:47

The Garden Gate, Aldershot

I wasn't expecting much from a drink in Aldershot in advance of the 2011 FA Cup tie that saw the Shots take on Maidenhead United at home but this proved to be an eminently enjoyable stopping off point - friendly service and a couple of decent ales on tap + a fearsomely strong cider out of a barrel all made for a convivial atmosphere - relaxed and far from busy on a match night.

23 Nov 2011 13:09

The Star Royal, Oxford

I chose this place to meet up on moving to the city and it's a decent local, although hordes of students did arrive later on in the evening - I'm no Paul Calf so don't necessarily see this as a problem. The meagre ale selection is a problem - although they did have Old Hooky on tap on the occasion of my visit. A sizeable beer garden and pool tables makes this a key part of any Cowley Road/St. Clement's pub crawl.

24 Oct 2011 12:03

The Red Lion, Blewbury

A lovely village is enhanced by this excellent stop off point with the welcoming staff a real bonus. We treated ourselves to two platters - seafood and antipasti - and both were superb - although don't order the former unless you like rollmops! The whitebait was of top order and the atmsophere convivial in the extreme.

19 Oct 2011 13:42

The Catherine Wheel, Goring

A great option as it's a country village pub close to a train station so there is real ease of access - well worth thinking of if deciding on a convenient meeting point between London and Oxford. It's low beamed and dark inside and you should go to the hidden gents before you have had your fourth pint, but the beer garden is spacious and it avoids the pretensions of the nouveau riche Miller of Mansfield. Goring is also a pretty spectacular village. Go!

9 Oct 2011 15:15

The Cross Keys, Pangbourne

Probably Pangbourne's best pub as the ratings at my time of writing suggest. A very enjoyable chicken kiev was polished off two thirds of the way through a riverside walk from Reading to Goring and a friendly atmosphere pervaded the bar. The one drawback is that scourge of Beer in the evening, a lack of choice on the ale front due to the globalizing mitts of Greene King.

9 Oct 2011 15:11

The Hand In Hand, Wimbledon Common

A really good example of a Young's pub set on the edge of Wimbledon Common . The Ordinary went down a treat on the visit I paid in the Summer of 2011 and pints of the pub's home brew were available too. I also tucked into a chicken and ham pie - although breaking one of the golden rules of pies by not including sides and a base, the dish was deep enough with luscious filling to satisfy most comers. Outside seating and a relaxed attitide towards allowing drinkers to strew themselves across the neigbouring grass are additional plus points.

22 Aug 2011 13:01

The Bull, Sonning

A wonderful low beamed interior is a high point of this classic village pub, up the hill through an idyllic churchyard from Sonning's pretty eighteenth century brick bridge. Minor quibbles would concern the expensive cars in the car park that encroach upon the beer garden and the choice of ales which are restricted to Fullers - I'm a fan, but was hoping for something more resonant of the countryside.

The food we nejoyed was excellent including a mammoth slice of steak and venison pie and a house platter containing home made scotch eggs and sausage rolls flecked with black pudding: rich, but welcome after a long tramp from Henley. It verges on being more of a restaurant and might not be that welcoming to those who want to live on beer alone, but is still an appealing stop off.

15 Aug 2011 13:02

The White House, Guildford

Classic Fullers right down to the smart, townhouse style exterior in brilliant white (it's not named as it is for nothing), this pub's riverside location would be lovely were it not for the encroachment of roundabouts and multi-storeys - a once smart county town really did suffer from the vagaries of late twentieth century planning. Inside is predictable with nitrokegs and bar staff wielding those weird key on a string type contraptions to open the tills.

7 Aug 2011 19:56

The Three Pigeons, Guildford

Spectacularly lovely exterior but not such a good interior - the beams are good but those boxy high tables and stools don't work and there's too much attempt to appeal to the continental lager set - no doubt heaves of a Friday night, although it was friendly and inoffensive on the weekday afternoon I visited.

7 Aug 2011 19:48

The Stoke, Guildford

A cavernous affair that probably serves as an inhabitable local and no doubt does all that modern stuff - quizzes, wasabi peas, woodfire pizza- quite well. A beer garden and the way the light plays off the walls of the interior if sunny also makes it a winner to an extent although it's a 7 out of 10 rather than a higher. A little way from the town centre but probably as good as anywhere the city has to offer.

7 Aug 2011 19:44

The Keep, Guildford

A decent enough option not far from Guildford's surprisingly appealing high street, although judging by the very inviting interior, it was probably once a much better pub. It's gone a bit bistro now and could be mistaken for a wine bar. All that said, a small but attractive beer garden makes it a sensible stop off in a town not overly blessed with quality boozers.

7 Aug 2011 19:41

The Stag and Huntsman, Hambleden

A classic country pub in a quite beatiful village near the border of three counties; perhaps the only pain is the mile + walk from the river (difficult, however, to blame those who presumably founded the place prior to the publication of the Domesday Book).

The ales are good and nod to local tastes - Oxfordshire's Brakspear and Buckinghamshire's Rebellion are both on tap and the food is superior pub grub, but not pretending to "gastro" - the haddock and chips was mammoth and succulent. On the summer afternoon of our visit, an excellent barbecue was also in operation and pleasingly, for an area infested with hoorays, a full range of classes was represented, including not a few ramblers.

1 Aug 2011 06:29

The Waggon and Horses, Twyford

I didn't sample the food which looked bog standard but this pub is a winner on several levels. The interior is appealingly rickety and beamtastic and the garden is capacious indeed. Although the skeins of flying geese that flew over our heads were unlikely to have been organised by the estsblishment's proprietors, the aviary in the garden itself is clearly their work - and being gazed upon by a bevy of fowl, albeit of the tiny variety, is an enjoyable experience. A cornucopia of canines completed the menagerie vibe.

28 Jul 2011 13:00

The Duke of Wellington, Twyford

A decent pub that would fit in well with any Great Western train line pub crawl. Homely and friendly with a locals feel despite being situated on Twyford's sleepy high street. Brakspear's is King here as you would expect just a few stops on the branch line from Henley.

28 Jul 2011 12:56

The Ferry, Cookham

An undeniably wondrous location that I took in on a long walk from Windsor to Marlow, a route peppered with mansions, Egyptian ducks and serenity. The pleasant wooden terrace overlooks the river and the food is generally of a decent quality.

The only problem is that I have been to the same pub about 5 times now - in Warwick, Golders Green, Wolvercote and elsewhere- because this is what I call a "chain by stealth" - no explicit labelling like a Wetherspoon's or a Hogshead (remember them? No? You didn't miss much). It's a welcoming enough place but the light pine and light jazz feel deployed indoors grates and the continuing construction of an identikit United Kingdom is epitomised therein.

27 Jul 2011 08:29

Charlie Wright's International Bar, Hoxton

If you want to drink late but are too inebriated to gain access to a more reputable establishment and are not that bothered about the quality of the music, this place is for you. Any alternative history of London nightlife would have a chunky chapter on this place - a legendary venue and the probable successor to the gin palaces of Victorian times. Uncomplicated and fun, you won't have anyone sneering at you for your behaviour or what you are wearing in here.

3 Jul 2011 12:09

Euston Tap, Euston

I have been continually thwarted in my efforts to find a truly great pub in the Euston area by the inevitably transience of the neighbourhood's populace. Imagine my surprise then, when this former private member's bar (boo) was transformed into a real marvel, despite being located in the very maw of this ugly monstrosity of the station.

The beer selection is world class - with stunning microbews from abroad and warming ales of the homegrown variety, and the upstairs area is a real hideaway that remains not too busy throughout the evening - for now. A really innovative venture that deesrves to succeed.

3 Jul 2011 12:04

Lyttelton Arms, Camden

A big improvement on previous occupants of this corner including the execrable <i> Edward's </i>, the Lyttelton ticks most boxes if you are young and metropolitan, even to the extent of airing an obscure, but good Fujiya and Miyagi album on a recent visit. No longer in the first flush of youth, however, I found its combination of pleasing factors (food/ale/pretty people/tasteful furnishings) perhaps a little too smooth.

7 Jun 2011 18:15

Royal Blenheim, Oxford

A good place for a quiet pint near to Oxford City centre and near enough to its far flung station not to be too inconvenient. The one slight drawback is the favouring of rugby over football - either don't show sport at all (my preference) or everything. Still, I shouldn't be surprised in such a hoity toity town. Quality ales. On balance: way above average.

7 Jun 2011 18:09

The Mochyn Du, Cardiff

A good option if you are ever in the Welsh capital, the capacious beer garden always pleases in good weather as does the proximity to a verdant park. The ales are part of a good range and the Welsh language touches are welcome in a city where other establishments sadly trade on pan-European modernity.

6 Jun 2011 07:55

The Retreat, Reading

A decent local with a great frontage and situated in a smart conservation area that could be in Oxford or Bath - the beer selection is enjoyably catholic. Unfortunately, the ramshackle nature of the pub is both a blessing and a curse - the back room seemed forlorn on our visit and discarded newspapers were strewn across the tables. Gets a 7 on the quality of the beer

4 Jun 2011 12:26

The Castle, Harrow On The Hill

Disappointingly the only truly decent pub in Harrow, this is a reasonably welcoming place with a comely raised beer garden; down the hill from the famous school. It could make a very enjoyable base from which to ransack the institution next door come the revolution - the Fullers Ales and superior but unpretetentious pub grub hit the spot

4 Jun 2011 12:21

The Narrow Boat, Islington

My firm organised a work Christmas lunch here in 2010 and I must say we were very impressed on every level. The canalside location is idyllic and the staff were friendly and very attentive to our needs. The food and ales on tap were also admirable. A very good example of how to modernise a pub well.

16 Dec 2010 15:46

The Master Gunner, Moorgate

I seem to always end up here as it's on the way to Moorgate from where I work, but it ain't great, that's for sure. My New Year's resolution is to stick to the north of Old Street. The Youngs ales are pleasing but otherwise, there is a real lack of character to the place.

16 Jan 2010 10:38

Nags Head, Reading

I'm not quite sure how I have never visited this pub before, but have now put this right - and what a great place it is. OK, there's the ale, a pub feature that can often skew ratings on this site (see the superbly stocked but otherwise average Wenlock Arms in London) but the pub also gets it right on other levels. The board games are a nice touch, as are the unintrusive screens and the opportunity to chow down on pies from the cross town Sweeney and Todd. It's a real ale paradise for sure, but a lot more as well.

25 Oct 2009 12:53

The Queens Arms, Didcot

Tucked away from the main drag and hence a decent looking alternative to the over populated Prince of Wales of a Friday, this proved to be something of a disappointment on a visit back in the Summer. The Greene King livery is present and correct and there is a locals feel, although friendliness was kept to a minimum until we left and received a friendly goodbye. Unlikely to become an essential destination anytime soon but does compete for thecrown of best pub in Didcot.

24 Oct 2009 12:21

The Old Bull and Bush, North Hampstead

A shameful gutting of a once great pub in a beautiful location, the extensive menu betrays what its corporate owners are hoping to achieve and it's so 1990s, one half expects Morcheeba to be emanating from the piped sound system. The makeover is vandalism - pure and simple - and almost a criminal offence.

28 Aug 2009 10:53

The Kilvert's Hotel, Hay on Wye

An idyllic and spacious beer garden is a major plus of this spectacular hotel/pub in one of Wales' loveliest towns. The interior gets a little busy and there is a good selection of ales. Food is serviceable but unmemorable - slghtly more effort in this department could elevate the pub in the national standings.

2 Jun 2009 13:03

The Royal Hotel, Ross-on-Wye

Stunning views don't save this place from the impressions engendered by a theme pub style makeover, with turquoise sofas and a carpet straight out of Alan Partridge's travelodge. Slow, albeit patient service due to the number of Hackett shirted people paying with cards also provokes irritation.

2 Jun 2009 12:59

The Crown and Sceptre, Ross-on-Wye

A pretty shameful waste of a presumably historic building on the marketplace in Ross. The decently inclined staff do their best to save it but to have all bitters off at 5pm on a Friday night is bad form. The pool table is a bonus but a free juke box can provide mixed blessings if the wrong people get to it first

2 Jun 2009 12:56

Sheephaven Bay, Camden

The estimable Pat Logue, probably the best landlord any pub anywhere has ever enjoyed having, is back from the wilderness and applying many of the principles that made the mid nineties Oxford Arms such a success to this no nonsense local boozer. Forget O'Neill's, this is a real Irish pub and a brilliant one for watching the sport in. Add to this, a great little beer garden and the usual excellent hospitality, and you have a hidden gem in Camden.

26 May 2009 15:48

Windmill, Stansted Airport

A typical welcome to Britain, orange permatans, basic decor even by the standards of the chain and big screen telly. As shocking as one would expect but at least it's not taking over existing historic premises like most of its brethren.

14 May 2009 14:49

Lanivet Inn, Lanivet

A friendly locals place in one of those small Cornish towns that could be in the Appalachians. The food seemed home made but a bit ham fisted with classic British boiled veggies and a disappointingly sloppy "pie" minus base and sides. All was redeemed by the friendly environment and a superb pint of Tribute.

9 May 2009 15:28

The George and Vulture, Hoxton

Far enough away from Hoxton's main drag to have seating free before 6pm on a Friday, this is a reasonable mid range addition to the scene. Very good food including creative pizza combinations is a welcome change from the usual gastropub standards and the Easter Island style statuette atop the old joanna is a nice touch, but it's a little bit too light pine for me.

9 May 2009 15:22

The Hare, Bethnal Green

A decent pub that manages to be welcoming to all sections of Hackney life - from winkle picking trendies to East End barrow boys. Leyton Orient and Millwall shirts festoon the walls and the juke box is sufficiently packed with tunes. A good pint of Landlord on my visit too.

7 May 2009 12:25

The Victory, Bethnal Green

On first glance unglamorous, Vyner Street is now one of the most fashionable throroughfares in London, thanks for its clutch of art galleries. This pub is a traditional alternative to the more zeitgeisty Bistrotheque round the corner on Wadeson Street and it's pretty average in truth. Maybe it is destined to follow in the footsteps of Camden's Good Mixer and Hoxton's Bricklayer's Arms, but there isn't a whole lot of sign of this for the moment. The jukebox is traditional and decent.

7 May 2009 12:23

The Blagrave Arms, Reading

A once great pub that has seen its classic town boozer status infringed upon by the diabolical Friar Street quartet of O'Neill's, Yates's, Wetherspoon's and Walkabout. In an unwise bid to match those sorry establishments, big screen TV has been installed for some years now but they could yet revamp it with the introduction of a better range of ales and an appeal to a more discerning crowd. Has a pool table which is a bonus and the bar staff have always been friendly on my visits. The Victorian interior is also noteworthy.

30 Apr 2009 14:01

The Walkabout, Reading

Watched the Norwich v Reading game here live on the box in April 2009 after other pubs in the vicinity that are usually packed out for big screen sport shamefully failed to show the game - an embarrassment to the town. It's what you expect from a Walkabout - totally dire and symptomatic of all that is wrong with Britain today. The place scores an undeservedly high 2 out of 10 simply because it hasn't taken over existing historic premises. The pub is housed in a wannabe nuclear bunker.

30 Apr 2009 13:57

O'Neills, Reading

It's an O'Neill's, so you pretty much know what you are going to get. Large, with OK-ish food - the Irish breakfast is hearty, the drinks selection is mediocre in the extreme, with just Smithwicks as a proper ale on tap. The place is relatively inoffensive when quiet but when busy for a match, can be wild westish. The amount of "Big Four" supporters in a town like this with its own club is truly upsetting - we visited when Reading clinched the Championship title and were told to keep the noise down. Would that happen in any other town that had waited over a hundred years for Premier League football?

19 Apr 2009 09:04

The Rosemary Branch, Islington

A great backstreet canalside local that could be under threat from the continued trustafarian invasion of Hackney, were it not for the blessed Credit Crunch. Used to, and may still, run a tough but enjoyable music quiz on monday nights and has a theatre above - always a sign of a varied clientele and a pub worth making the trip to.

14 Apr 2009 22:09

The Northgate, Islington

Below average revamp of a pub that blotted its already unremarkable copybook by airing the entire Scouting for Girls album on our visit. Its owners are now scouring their drawers for the receipts relating to the hiring of the focus group - money back please. Saved by the barmy scenario of a full scale paint job being carried out on the loos on my visit - I know most would find this irksome, I saw it more as performance art.

14 Apr 2009 22:06

The Talbot, Kingsland

Just down from the house made famous by the Mole Man of Mortimer Road, some previous reviewers might have hoped one of his tunnels would lay waste to the foundations of this unapologetic, borderline-poncey gastro affair, but I actually appreciated its cosiness on a Good Friday De Beauvoir town pub crawl. Four plump, herby sausages atop mash and a pint of Harvey's and it's hard to be unhappy.

14 Apr 2009 22:03

The Scolt Head, Islington

On a Good Friday visit, we were treated to an astonishing display of prog rock over the tannoy starting with Led Zeppelin and the Floyd and regressing (if that seems possible) to Phil Collins - maybe Steven Gerrard was in that day? It seems that some severely hungover minor bar staff had hijacked the music policy and normal service was restored once the head barwoman had appeared. Not bad at all - somewhere between a gastropub (albiet only in clientele rather than culinary terms) and a proper drinking den, housed in a grand building on a corner. I wouldn't say this was in Islington though: this is a De Beauvoir Town boozer.

14 Apr 2009 21:59

The Red Lion, Fernhurst

A classic village local although as it is situated on the Sussex border, one might have expected the beer of choice to have been Harvey's rather than metropolitan Fuller's. After a heavy trudge across the superb walking country round and about, this comfortable nook is well worth the stop.

14 Apr 2009 21:54

The Selkirk, Tooting

The green shoots of recovery are definable in Tooting: that most nondescript of south London neighbourhoods. This is a pretty good backstreet boozer, making good use of its capaciousness, both inside and out. The bar staff are friendly and they had a couple of good beers on tap. The slightly quirky, curved benches are ideal seating if there is a big group of you. Bar billiards in a pub should always gain it an extra point.

8 Apr 2009 11:06

The Landor, Clapham

As with many pubs with theatres above or below them, this place is a winner because of the mixed crowd that attracts. A great local on the fringes of Clapham - a diabolical part of London for the discerning drinker that is full of braying Henrys and Henriettas. This place is far from a working class bastion but is far enough afield from the main "action" to be acceptable.

5 Apr 2009 19:59

The Dogstar, Brixton

If you like bars as opposed to pubs, come here. A spectacular array of spirits greets the eye over the barman's shoulder, the surroundings are scruffy trendy and the clientele representative of every race and creed - in that, it sums up one of London's most exciting quarters.

5 Apr 2009 19:54

The Prince Albert, Brixton

This used to be the standard stopping off point before a gig at the Academy or after a film at the Ritzy, but has become frayed around the edges. Its varied clientele intent on the business of drinking was always a strong plus point, but too little care is now taken over detail like the drinks and decor.

5 Apr 2009 19:52

The Rose and Crown, Wivenhoe

I stopped off here while waiting for the quaint ferry that plies the river at high tide and was very pleased to be charged only 20p for an orange and lemonade - as opposed to the 3.50 you would get in most establishments. I also tucked into a pretty superb pie and chips. This pub does a good job of living up to a glorious location.

5 Apr 2009 19:49

Spice Island, Rotherhithe

If the rumours of this place having closed are true, it would be a shame if only because the worst pub in London crown would once again be up for grabs.

5 Apr 2009 14:04

The New Rose, Islington

Gets a lot of things right and confirms the feeling that the further you trek from Angel station in Islington, the better the bars and pubs generally become. The skill here has been to tread that wafer thin line between the traditional plus points of an English pub (dark wood, a range of rooms, good ales and a convivial atmosphere) and the more pleasing aspects of trendy De Beauvoir Town artiness (unpretentious 'gastro' food, a fashionable and good looking clientele and a decent juke box) without straying too far into either and thus upsetting nobody. It gets rammedly busy later in the evening but is one of the better recent conversions in London.

5 Apr 2009 11:04

The Oakford Social Club, Reading

This ex-Firkin is better than one would expect given its proximity to the railway station. Cleverly, the Reading planning authorities have funnelled the less well behaved members of society towards the containing pen that is the Three Guineas, leaving places like these to the rest of us. A brave attempt to lay on half decent live music wins it extra brownie points and it's possible to avoid this if it's not your bag given the pub's size. It might have the potential to hoover up remnants of a Reading alternative scene that has been dying a slow death since its early Nineties hey day.

5 Apr 2009 10:56

The Two Brewers, Barbican

The denizens of Whitecross Street are rightly proud of their little slice of old working class London, miraculously intact despite the encroachment of the nearby Barbican and middle class playpen of Hoxton. This boozer does a great job of serving the traditional community (although many of them probably now live in Chingford or Potter's Bar), whilst remaining very welcoming to a range of outsiders - city boys, media types and social climbers keepng it real. The dartboard takes centre stage which can never be a bad thing.

5 Apr 2009 09:38

The Saxon Mill, Warwick

With a delightful location in a converted water mill next to a weir, a pool of canoodling ducks and swans and a sunblushed terrace, this place ticks a lot of boxes. The food, served either in the friendly restaurant or bar, is of very high standard and the choice is admirably broad. There are also a couple of good ales on tap.

So, the quibbles would concentrate on the makeover of the bar - primary colours as if Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen had been let loose - a notion of what's "trendy" that you would expect from someone living in a Warwickshire village - the decor isn't dramatically offensive, just reminscent of a theme bar. Added to that, the piped music is the worst kind of soft jazzy stuff that one associates with that Noughties phenomenon, Mondeo Man. All this said, well above average.

5 Apr 2009 09:34

The Prince George, Hackney

Perhaps problematic as the gentrification of Hackey ain't to everyone's taste. This is probably the inner sanctum of that process - very white, very middle class and they are kidding nobody with the jars of cockles - luckily the brine ensures longevity in this case. All this said, an undeniably pleasant pub that combines the relaxed feel of a traditional boozer with the artistic leanings of a young, upwardly mobile community. Excellent.

25 Mar 2009 17:42

George and Dragon, Sutton Courtenay

Pretty good but can be a little drafty and the pooch that patrols the premises may not be to everyone's taste, amiable as it is. The food is standard pub fare but is slightly above average and the service is absolutely fine. The pub is backgrounded by an idyllic church and the graveyard in whcih George Orwell is interred.

25 Mar 2009 17:35

Admiral Hardy, Greenwich

Better than one would dare hope given the location slap bang in the middle of Greenwich market. Thankfully, most tourists are there for the organic polenta and tie dye silks, tending to ecshew the drinking. This leaves the place to an understated mix of locals and out of towners. It's a relatively relaxing place for a pint on a sunday after exploring this chi-chi borough.

25 Mar 2009 17:28

The Minerva Inn, Plymouth

A nook of a pub with exposed beams and wobbly tables, this is a convivial hostelry indeed. I was unlucky on my visit to witness the preparations for what promised to be a sub-Phoenix Nights crooning session and after shivering by the open door to wait for the man's van to be unloaded, decided to beat a hasty retreat. Don't let this put you off.

9 Mar 2009 13:51

The Dolphin, Plymouth

Miraculously spared by the Luftwaffe, this wonderfully unpretentious fishermen's pub attracts clientele from all sections of society. Its location is also excellent, in the heart of the characterful Barbican district. An essential stopover on any visit to this proud maritime city.

9 Mar 2009 13:48

Anam, Islington

Brutally expensive at four quid for a squat bottle of the kind of Franco-Belgian stuff you can get reduced at Morrisons. A focus group's idea of what a "trendy" bar is.

4 Mar 2009 18:15

Elbowroom, Islington

Why come here to play pool when you can do it the perfectly good British way in a normal pub. Loud and boring - a bottled lager throwback to 1997 when Dave Pearce ruled the airwaves and it was all about the Bedford Massive hanging out in Ayia Napa.

4 Mar 2009 18:12

The Showroom Bar and Cafe, Sheffield

Immortalized in song by Arctic Monkeys copyists Milburn, this is Sheffield's attempt to match Manchester's Cornerhouse arts complex. A little too sterile for pure drinking, it nonetheless does some decent gastro food and the place also shows a few good films - I was lucky enough to see the brilliant Georgian film Tzameti on a visit.

4 Mar 2009 18:10

The Villagers Inn, Blackheath

Coming across this place in a forest glade, one could forgive the weary traveller for feeling s/he had reached nirvana: a picture postcard establishment in a beautiful part of Surrey. However, as noted by others here, the pub eschews this favourable locale by being very average, not to say a little grimy and unwelcoming.

4 Mar 2009 18:06

The Jam Factory, Oxford

A pleasant option near to Oxford train station although it's a cafe really. The draw is some crisp bottled beers, reminiscent of yer US stylee microbrews. Occasional discrimination towards pure drinkers is an extremely bad habit. I'm sure the focaccia is good, but discouraging those willing enough to pay well over the odds for fancy ales is a little bit silly.

4 Mar 2009 18:01

The George, London Bridge

Very famous and rightly so. Close to the mainline train station and tube, a wonderful frontage that is every inch the classic English coaching inn, complete with sagging floors, and yet somehow this place doesn't quite live up to expectations. The crowded nature of the nearby Market Porter means that this is still a great option and the outside seating area is copious but the slightly half assed food and mediocre beer policy, as well as the gangs of tourists means it avoids top ten status in any London pub inventory.

4 Mar 2009 17:56

The Guildford Arms, Edinburgh

This pub gets a relatively high mark because of its ales, which are a fine selection indeed. The xterior is also very beautiful in a proud, Scottish kind of way. Friendly service is another bonus and the bar and ceiling our wonderful examples of Victoriana. The clientele is too male though.

26 Jan 2009 17:41

The Blue Posts, Fitzrovia

Fitzrovia underperforms in pub terms and the Blue Posts (one of two with that name in the vicinity - there used to be three) is as average as average can be. So profoundly unremarkable that it contains not a single noteworthy feature.

5 Jan 2009 02:07

Crown and Goose, Camden

A decent option in Camden on a nice street and the place has a simple Mediterranean feel to it. Superior pub grub attracts a varied clientele and the only real quibble is the use of saucers to return your change at the bar.

5 Jan 2009 01:50

Crown and Goose, Camden

A decent option in Camden on a nice street and the place has a simple Mediterranean feel to it. Superior pub grub attracts a varied clientele and the only real quibble is the use of saucers to return your change at the bar.

5 Jan 2009 01:50

Garlic and Shots, Soho

A good Soho bar with great character. The twist manages not to be too annoying and garlic vodka goes down a treat. The only problem is that the Goth music of today - Marilyn Manson etc. - is way inferior to the Eighties variety and that's saying something given that the original stuff was fairly ropey (the Cure may have had the haircuts but the music was bever properly Goth). This place is rare in that it's an acceptable place to spend an evening in Soho - the Thorpe Park of London drinking.

3 Jan 2009 07:44

Vesuvio, San Francisco

Home of the Beats and still an iconic San Franciscan location, practically adjacent to the superlative City Lights Bookstore in the Italian neighbourhood of North Beach. A slightly unimpressive beer selection is a downside, but the place still has bags of character despite the tourists. The upper level has the house's best seats.

3 Jan 2009 07:40

The Purple Turtle, Reading

Like its Camden sibling, this original branch of the Purple Turtle mini chain (the Islington branch has disappeared) has largely abandoned its goth roots to become a flashing lights kind of place for the football boys. A well above average juke box is its saving grace.

3 Jan 2009 01:56

The Purple Turtle, Camden

A curious place indeed. We visited after heading back to the Smoke after a match between Reading and West Brom and a visit to the other branch of the chain in the Berkshire town. Has evolved beyond the original Turtle goth blueprint to become ever so slightly clubby. An air of fetish hung heavy but I'm not going to criticize a place that has individuality on this level.

3 Jan 2009 01:53

The Duke Of Cambridge, Oxford

Poor and despite the comments here, the cocktails are actually so devoid of alcohol as to render them impotent. A bar for people who don't like drinking and get tipsy on a packet of wine gums or a sniff of the brewer's apron. The long drinks are tasty and refreshing, but so are Innocent and Crussh smoothies.

3 Jan 2009 01:45

The Doric Arch, Euston

Breaks one of the golden rules of pubs in being half way decent despite being in a station. We await the first good pub with a flat roof, the first good pub with a lock on the toilet door, the first good pub you have to descend a staircase to enter, the first good pub in west London, the first good pub with alcopops behind the bar, the first good chain pub and the first good pub with posters of drinks deals displayed outside.

3 Jan 2009 01:41

The North Bar, Leeds

A good place in that it draws on the urban modernity of the kinds of bars you get in London, Berlin and New York, but steadfastly avoids pretentiousness and is thus quite homespun. Whisper it, but this bar would not be out of place across the Pennines in the Manchester of a few years ago before the Corporate people got their hands on the urban planning blueprints for the city.

2 Jan 2009 18:04

Carpenters Arms, Bethnal Green

As Brick Lane's new army of loft dwellers fan out operations from the eponymous thoroughfare, this renovation is a prime example of their new reach. It's pretty classy, lots of black and dark wood, friendly service and a tiptop range of beers. Prices, however, are not very credit crunch friendly and the picture of former patrons the Kray Twins on the wall, although discussable, is perhaps in questionable taste.

2 Jan 2009 17:47

Cargo, Shoreditch

With Cantaloupe, this place provides an interesting sociological case study of what happens when the alternative is transforming itself into the mainstream. A brilliant location underneath the arches on Rivington Street is efficiently exploited by excellent bar staff (although please check the bouncers), good drinks and superb Latino-themed food. It's nevertheless quite shiny and wouldn't be out of place in a more boring area like Soho or even Notting Hill.

2 Jan 2009 17:14

The George and Dragon, Shoreditch

Maybe the point at which the concept of "Hoxton" was taken too far. Still contains lost of the prime features of this area - the fins, a scrappy DJ table taking up far too much room in a tiny space, toilets of shocking dirtiness, cooler than thou bar staff and ironic wall hangings. The Bricklayers did it all better in 1993 and this place is in no danger of knocking the Foundry off its perch quality wise. It's as if Nathan Barley never happened.

2 Jan 2009 17:09

The Red Cow, Slough

A decent pub in a town that gets an unfairly bad press - largely perpetrated by people who object to multiculturalism. Excellent snacks on the bar and a good place to watch the football.

29 Dec 2008 18:55

Baa Bar, Liverpool

Came here in the early nineties and thought it was a cracking good place, a nice antidote to poncier venues and very friendly, if in a laddish kind of way. A return visit recently revealed walls festooned with day-glo alcopops and 2 for 1 deals on fruit and nut flavoured vodka etc. Lowest common denominator stuff.

29 Dec 2008 18:53

Caf Kick, Exmouth Market

Now as we know, table football is a game for people who don't really like football, just the lifestyle connotations of supporting Arsenal and vaguely knowing that Brazil won the 1970 World Cup passing the ball about a bit. That said, we'll let Spaniards, Frenchmen and the Portuguese off - and this bar succeeds well because it approximates nicely the kind of bar to be found in those countries. Good snacks and nice beers (if you like lager) as well as a superb set of pennants and memorabilia. Much better than its Hoxton sibling Bar Kick but the clientele have certainly never been to Oakwell.

29 Dec 2008 18:47

The Cantaloupe, Shoreditch

With the Bricklayer's, a pioneer of the Hoxton scene and still does a super plate of tapas. However, it's only if you have a lily-livered pal with you who won't stand for the proper Hoxton experience - grimy, pretentious and initially unappealing bars that turn out to be a nice change. Becoming standard - an ale on tap would maybe turn things round.

29 Dec 2008 18:43

The Puzzle, Clerkenwell

The only possible reason to visit this pub is the early evening quiz with a 6.30 start - which is ideally timed for office workers (most pub quizzes start too late and are designed for people who need to go home to have their tea: i.e. not proper drinkers). Apart from that, hovers between unremarkable and downright poor on most fronts.

29 Dec 2008 18:39

The Horseshoe, Clerkenwell

In the teeth of competition from some of the capital's best pubs - the Jerusalem Tavern, Three Kings and the Eagle - this place adopts the perfect strategy - unpretentious, no-nonsense boozerdom. In that, it can be a very welcome relief and some indication of what Clerkenwell had to offer before the loft dwellers and Janet Street Porter arrived. The landlord Richard and his son are affable hosts and there is a decent sized beer garden - a real boon in the concrete city.

29 Dec 2008 18:36

Yates Wine Lodge, Blackpool

Unfathomably awful and as massive as a pub can be - it's like entering the QEII. Indeed, it looks a bit like the QEII. Everything that is wrong with Britain today summed up within four walls.

29 Dec 2008 13:37

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street

Take your parents here when they come to visit you in London. They will be charmed by one of Britain's oldest pubs, tucked away down an alley way near Fleet Street and near the statue of Dr. Johnson's cats. Many levels and it is de rigueur to plunge as low as possible down the rickety stairways to the rather forbidding stone clad rooms, deep in the earth.

29 Dec 2008 13:35

The Morpeth Arms, Pimlico

As bog standard as a London pub can be and utterly wasteful of the prime location just along the river shore from Tate Britain. Listless and uninteresting - an injection of enthusiasm is needed badly to convert this into what could be a great boozer.

29 Dec 2008 13:29

Monkey Chews, Chalk Farm

A good place to go for pre-theatre or gig drinks if visiting nearby attractions such as the Roundhouse or restaurants such as Vanilla Ices. Tucked away enough to be invisible to the hordes visiting Bartok or the Enterprise, there is something of a goth feel - both in the Castle of Otranto and Fields of the Nephilim senses.

29 Dec 2008 13:22

The Prospect of Whitby, Wapping

An essential stop off in Wapping and Limehouse - one of the best neighbourhoods for a pub crawl in London - but resting on its laurels in a very sorry way. It is knocked into a cocked hat by the nearby Grapes. A below par realization of a magnificent location. Still gets a mark of 7 due to past glories.

29 Dec 2008 13:19

The Grapes, Southampton

Not a bad pub for watching the football in, although judging by the other reviews here, it may once have been much better. The sign (see the picture above) is a thing of wonder and gets the place a couple of extra points on the strength of this alone.

28 Dec 2008 21:41

The Grapes, Limehouse

The best pub on this historic stretch of the river. It's hard to enjoy the dinky garden without getting a splashing but that's all part of the fun. The no nonsense food and good beers add to a super atmosphere

28 Dec 2008 21:39

The White Star Tavern, Southampton

Decent and not especially expensive food is the high point here and there is nothing to complain about with the service. Located on a pleasant street in a city not overly blessed by urban planning, this is worth a stopover, but the light wood and jazz (nice) is all a bit too much like a David Brent music video for my liking. A good pint of Ringwood though.

28 Dec 2008 21:37

The Moderation, Reading

This pub was a good local a few years' back but judging by the comments, had declined. A brave effort to revitalize the place has fallen foul of the tenets of focus group Britain, with lots of anodyne light wood, men in checked shirts and plenty of fake tan. Why didn't they go a step further and provide a hair straightening service for free?

28 Dec 2008 10:01

The Corn Stores, Reading

Mystifyingly albeit mercifully deserted on most of my recent visits, this unassuming pub with an Italian menu (a rare combination and achieved with better results here than elsewhere) is a good stop off when waiting for a train although it can be said to lack character.

27 Dec 2008 17:44

Woodins Shades, Liverpool Street

As poor as one would expect from a pub near a station - and a station that sends trains to Shoeburyness, Basildon and Southend at that. At least it's not a chain but my mood was only soured by a tales of a seven goal mauling for my team relayed to me by Jeff Stelling and the boys on Sky.

27 Dec 2008 17:41

The Eagle, Hoxton

The food has improved in recent times and they still have some decent ales on tap, including seasonal guests - a turgid pint of Christmas beer was replaced without quibble, but this place is so so heavingly busy that only skivers who leave the office early can properly enjoy it. A Hoxton pub for people who don't really like Hoxton - and hence, very popular.

27 Dec 2008 17:37

The Broad Face, Abingdon

This place somewhat wastes a prime location close to the Thames in this market town, once in Berkshire, now sadly relegated to inferior Oxfordshire. It is above average in most respects although one suspects that it will have been much better in days gone by. Morland and other ales are on tap and the food is passable. The friendly staff are the chief reason to pay a visit however.

17 Dec 2008 15:14

The Three Fishes, Shrewsbury

Its proud declaration of itself as a non smoking pub is now a littleredundant and given its wonderful location on an ancient street, one might expect a slightly better establishment but this is still as solid a crowd pleasing, traditional pub as they come, with no nonsense ales and no nonsense food.

2 Oct 2008 17:03

The Kings Arms, Oxford

An Oxford institution, this bustling den is always convivial and packed with students and an unpretentious crowd of locals. It has a beautiful location round the corner from Blackwell's bookshop.

20 Sep 2008 22:02

Ladygrove, Didcot

How social commentators in the 1950s would react should they teleport into the twenty first century and be met with the sight of a gargantuan saloon bar full of Didcot's finest, all eating beef madras, one cannot imagine. The latter day, downmarket successor to the Berni Inns of the seventies, this place sums up the UK of today. We were there for the monumental Croatia v England world cup tie in 2008 - Didcot was once in Berkshire and the locals did not hold back in acclaiming that county's superstar, Theo Walcott.

11 Sep 2008 08:56

The Miller of Mansfield, Borough

Challenges one of the golden rules of pubs in overcoming the drawback of a flat roof to come up with a certain acceptability. The strains of 2008 Brooklyn wunderkids Vampire Weekend on the tannoy were apt for the studenty atmosphere.

9 Sep 2008 21:10

The Gun, Coldharbour

Plus points for the wonderfully out of the way location and stunning views; down points for the number of lazy individuals who choose to make their way there by cab. This place puts the "gastro" into "gastropub" with gusto and concocts an expensive but delectable take on fish and chips. Too many table cloths relegate the few less heralded seats to secondary status, but they are happy to serve food at either. The back room and balcony were being used for a private party on our Friday night visit, leaving too few tables open for casual punters - rain fittingly intervened.

9 Sep 2008 21:07

The Duke Of Cumberland Hotel, Whitstable

Decent enough, with a prime location that could attract more in the way of unwelcome elements. The cavernous back room is pure holiday resort pub cum restaurant territory. Friendly bar staff and decent Shepherd Neame brews including the appropriate Whitstable Bay make for an above average combo.

9 Sep 2008 21:01

The Fox, Steventon

Pretty average even if its clinging on to tradition is refreshing. Friendly service and decent decor - especially on the outside, and yet, just a little too much of a throwback to be considered half decent.

28 Aug 2008 17:18

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham

Nottingham's saving grace in terms of pubs. A rabbit warren and rightly feted.

25 Aug 2008 18:26

Via Bar and Restaurant, Nottingham

A scandalous colonization of a prime, sympathetic waterfront development. Luckily, Via Fossas are now thinner on the ground after their eighties heyday. The service behind the bar was clueless despite it being a quiet sunday afternoon and the locals had no sense of their proper place in the queue: a reflection of the pent up aggression to be found on the streets of this Stag Do capital of the UK.

25 Aug 2008 18:25

The Bar Aquarium, Old Street

Sadly, a bit of a blight on Hoxton which would leave most wondering what all the fuss is about. This pub's location in an obvious place near Old Street tube, above a dire looking club of the same name, and presided over by a staggering blue-tinged building caters for the lazy amongst us. The multi-tiered roof gardens save it from utter terribleness.

25 Aug 2008 18:15

The Defector's Weld, Shepherds Bush

"We don't serve pints of soft drinks" - well, you stock soft drinks and you stock pint glasses, so why and earth not? Add to that, unnecessary security on the door and the cheerless gutting of a traditional pub to bring it into line with the hallmarks of Theme Park Britain, and you have a mediocre pub indeed. THe upstairs room is pleasant enough and helps the pub avoid a lower mark

24 Aug 2008 15:39

Bell, Ingatestone

A friendly place in a pleasant Essex town - a good place to put your feet up after a tramp across the fields to Mountnessing and back. The only deficit on our visit was the music - although that may have been down to the most recent visitor to the juke box: Billy Joel anyone?

4 Aug 2008 12:52

The Tobie Norris, Stamford

Near perfect - a very sensitive conversion with lots of beautiful half timbered rooms and a decent garden. A revolving choice of beers adds to the experience and this pub really lives up to the Stamford idyll. Any visitor to Britain would be enthralled to be brought here.

29 Jul 2008 12:12

Prince Of Wales, Didcot

A Damascene conversion, albeit at the hands of Green King. Once diabolical, this pub has emerged, butterfly-like to claim an easy win in any best pub in Didcot competition. The boards denoting train times are very useful and allow for a quick getaway, the food is slightly above avarege pub grub and the friendly service, previously the only plus point, has been by and large retained. OK, it's not scintillating but the improvement should be applauded.

23 Jul 2008 13:56

The Ship Inn, Dunwich

Probably still a couple of centuries or so away from slipping into the sea, the Adnams is first class and the beer garden an idyllic reason among many for visiting this atmospheric village - once Britain's sixth biggest town and a major port. Pride of the rotten borough.

23 Jul 2008 13:52

The Saracens Head Hotel, Dunmow

A very large burger was a highlight of a midweek daytime visit. Presumably an old coaching inn, the pub is situated along the main high street of this pleasant Essex town. Attached to a hotel, the presence of a diminutive coffee counter next to the main bar is a slightly unwelcome addition, as is the proliferation of light wood. That Dunmow legend - the Flitch - is commemorated on the wayside wall.

23 Jul 2008 13:48

The White Hart, Aldeburgh

A very lively pub with a mixed clientele but closing dead on 11 on a summer friday is a bemusing decision - maybe it's because the fish and chip shop opposite is also an early to bed affair.

The Tally Ho beer from Adnams is expensive and a bit treacly but has to be sampled. On my visit, a gargantuan Irish Wolfhound was propping up the bar. Characterful.

23 Jul 2008 13:45

The Mill Inn, Aldeburgh

This pub looks great from the outside and is situated opposite the oldest building in town, the Moot Hall. It's still good once you get inside but possibly not as good as it could be. The place is packed full of locals who are friendly but it would be hard to spend an evening here if you happened to be in an introspective mood as mixing in is clearly expected.

23 Jul 2008 13:37

The Eels Foot Inn, Eastbridge

A bit tricky to find and only possible to enjoy the ales if you are ready for a long walk, but a friendly country pub with its super stilton ploughman's and silky smooth pints of Adnams.

23 Jul 2008 12:01

The Two Brewers, Marlow

A cosy pub with pleasant service, excellent local beer Rebellion on tap, a location near to the waterside and above avarege bar snacks. Idyllic of a country evening.

9 Jul 2008 12:57

The Rake, London Bridge

A good antidote to declining standards at the nearby Market Porter, this is a clever enterprise in making available a wide array of continental and American beers, plus a real ale and cider on tap. Friendly staff and an enjoyable outside seating area make up for the lack of opportunities for cat swinging in the interior. Without sounding like my Mum, the one black mark at the moment is a serious one: filthy toilets that remind one of what Southwark must have been like in Shakespearean times.

6 Jul 2008 20:34

The Devonshire Arms, Camden

A classic pub of the nineties. Always Goth oriented, the Cure and All About Eve adorned the jukebox, but so did the Prodigy and the Wolfhounds. Then, the management opted for a bit of ethnic cleansing just as all the decent Goth music died a death. So, the music of johnny come latelys like Marilyn Manson was deemed superior to the eclecticism of yesteryear. Other reviews here indicate that the policy has been relaxed - back to open mindedness for one of the capital's more singular pubs.

1 Jul 2008 22:17

Laverys, Belfast

An absolute den of nooks and crannies, each room possessing its own distinct character, though united by seediness. Pool upstairs is accompanied by alcopops and banging tunes from the juke box, downstairs is a haven for the dispossessed - we were rightly ticked off for taking too much about work. The back room...well, that's something else. Not bfor the lily-livered.

1 Jul 2008 22:06

The Monarch, Chalk Farm

I was a regular in the early nineties before I knew better. About the best thing you can say now is that you could probably pop in to use the loo when shopping in the area without being molested...probably. The most scandalous aspect is the appropriation of a nearby, much better pub's name.

1 Jul 2008 22:03

Cherry Tree, Steventon

A middling performer on the pub circuit serving the monstrous Milton Park industrial estate. This pub lacks the gastro pretensions of the pubs in East and West Hendred and yet is more spruced up than Milton's Admiral Benbow. It is inexpensive and hence well placed to corner passing trade.

1 Jul 2008 22:00

The Hand and Shears, Barbican

A totally no nonsense traditional London pub, in a quiet back street near to Charterhouse Square. The barman on one visit was recognised from behind the bar at a late, lamented New Fetter Lane pub, the White Hart, now a Pizza Express. The Hand and Shears is a friendly local with a simple interior and a good range of beers.

1 Jul 2008 21:57

The Enterprise, Chalk Farm

I suppose it still retains some of its Camden "szene" cachet, particularly since the re-opening of the Roundhouse, but that's about all one can say. Deterioration on a huge scale - my last visit revealed it to be a shabby shadow of its former self. Best to opt for the less obvious Monkey Chews for a pre-event drink.

25 Jun 2008 18:14

The Footage, Manchester

First of all, why "It's a Scream"? Why couldn't it have been "Broadway Boogie-Woogie" or "Las Meninas". Did the marketing focus group responsible for these dens have a fixation on the colour yellow and hence the result? Surely "Sunflowers" would have been better if that were the aim - or, Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights" because that's a better approximation of what it's like to be in here on a friday night only even more tortuous than being set upon by devils with red hot lances. Chokingly dire.

25 Jun 2008 18:11

The Free Trade Inn, Byker

Terrific - an absolute gem and possessing a super view over the Tyne. A great range of real ales and a mixed crowd of drinkers who are keen to uphold the UK's pub culture. A bit too blokey? Perhaps, but that would be my only quibble.

17 Jun 2008 18:15

The Narrow Street Pub & Dining Room, Limehouse

A restaurant, not a pub. As the former, it functions very well indeed - and in spite of the stamp of Sir Gordon, is actually reasonably priced. The herring roe on toast is a winner. My pint of Deuchars also slipped down nicely.

Faux jazz reflects the owner's Desert Island disc choices and the pub bit is as bland as bland can be with a powdery blue colour scheme denoting mediocrity. Go for the food though and you will be content.

17 Jun 2008 18:09

The Regal, Cambridge

So diabolical in some ways that it could be remarketed as an exercise in irony: in the same way that the originally straight faced film "Showgirls" was restyled as a spoof. Reputation has it that this is one of the biggest pubs in the UK and cavernous doesn't even begin to describe it. There can be surprises - I once overheard an extremely philosophical conversation about "critical realism in economics".

17 Jun 2008 18:05

The Island Queen, Islington

A pint of Harvey's, a gorgeous Victorian interior and a lovely backstreet location make this a real winner. The only slight problem is the inevitable trustafarian invasion and the fact that it's a lot busier than the oasis it used to be. The Island Queen remains one of Islington's best options.

17 Jun 2008 17:58

Max Fish, Manhattan

An excellent jukebox although not always audible enough to be enjoyed, this classic lower east side bar was probably there at the start of it all. Hipster city as you would expect from the locale.

30 May 2008 22:00

The Shakespeare, Clerkenwell

This pub would have been better had it remaine part of the Firkin chain - which is saying something. Utterly soul-less, indifferent bar service and only manufactured pies to eat on my visit. The curse of the flat roof strikes again.

1 May 2008 13:55

The Lamb Tavern, Leadenhall Market

One of London's great pubs but not as good as it could be due to inattention to smaller details. The lack of seating downstairs I can live with as it is clearly a practical solution to the bustle of the locale. The canopy of Leadenhall Market is drop dead gorgeous and the upstairs area is pleasant indeed. However, on the night of my visit, a plasma screen was blaring out Clive Tyldesley banging on about "that night in Barcelona". True, it was a big match but it does tend to intrude on the mood of such a characterful place.

30 Apr 2008 08:23

The Counting House, Bank

As the picture depicts - desrvedly famous for its glorious decor, a sister pub to Fleet Street's Olde Bank of England pub and probably even more glamorous. Even the suited clientele seemed inoffensive and the place is lacking the braying city boys who tend to plague the Square Mile.

30 Apr 2008 08:18

Anvil, Wigan

The best option I have so far found for drinking in Wigan. A spectacular array of ever changing ales is supplemented by good, no-nonsense hospitality. Convivial indeed and an atmospheric place to watch a lunchtime kick off before hot footing it to the JJB. The one snag? - no pies on sales on my visit.

28 Apr 2008 17:33

The Crown, Islington

Very "Islington", but neverthless very good. The interior is sympathetically designed and retains some of the etched glass of its previous incarnation. The location is beautiful on the edge of one of London's nicest small squares. I also enjoyed a wondrous dish of Duke of Berkshire belly pork with fennel and the best carrots I have ever tasted. Jovial service and these poepel are clearly on to a winner.

21 Apr 2008 13:35

The Hop and Berry, Islington

Actually better than most other pubs in the area thanks to its dimmed lighting sculpted from upturned wine glasses. The staff were pleasant, albeit clearly put out that we were not there to eat. There were also people wearing suits in the pub on a sunday which struck me as a little odd, although each to their own.

21 Apr 2008 13:30

The Hemingford Arms, Barnsbury

A very good antitdote to the cream walled pubs elsewhere in Barnsbury. A proper boozer with knick knacks aplenty dangling from the ceiling and ivy clad walls. A little far from the tube, but one of the few pubs that has its name emblazoned in the destination panel on a London bus.

21 Apr 2008 13:26

The Albion, Barnsbury

No soul indeed. A pointless refurbishment that has spoiled a once welcoming pub. There is little sign of the oncoming recession in Islington if this place is anything to go by - designed by focus group. A scandalous disrespect for tradition.

21 Apr 2008 13:22

The Dovetail, Clerkenwell

This pub provides a very good option in the teeth of tough competition in the Clerkenwell Green area. The Belgian beers are superb and a very wide range is provided. They have two Kwak glasses (chemistry sets) and the range of beers on tap has been enlarged in recent years. Good continental food and burgers with the classic Belgian frites complete the experience. Knowledgeable bar staff are also on hand to recommend different brews. I think the Dovetail is inferior to its Hackney sibling but is still excellent.

16 Apr 2008 14:41

The George Tavern, Stepney

A half decent try to bring a bohemian vibe to a benighted corner of Stepney and at least it's not another gastropub. A sign proclaiming free wi-fi ain't necessarily a good thing: computers are for Starbucks, not pubs. It's also very lazy not to make at least one real ale available - contrast with the excellent Pitfield beers peddled by that other palace of squatdom, the Foundry a few kilometres west. My friend also remarked that he felt out of place by not sporting a pork pie hat. However, probably better than it could have been and on balance, I'm a fan of uncompromising pretentiousness, so let's give it a chance.

13 Apr 2008 17:22

Sweeney and Todd, Reading

This place, along with the university film theatre and the plucky football team elevates Reading to decent large town status when it could have ended up like Luton or Swindon. A marvellous array of pies and lovely beers on tap: a throwback to a different era and knocks the likes of the Square Pier company into a cocked hat.

13 Apr 2008 12:50

The Padarn Lake Hotel, Llanberis

Just about saved from a worse review by it's amiable bar staff, this outpost provides every reason to get out into the mountains an spend as much time outdoors as possible. They do have a pool table and you can
watch the football, but gangs of bored youths are a predictable feature in a small North Wales town.

13 Apr 2008 12:43

The William IV, Islington

Creamy stucco walls, various stuffed fowl paraded in glass cases, decent ales on tap, including a divine pint of Black Sheep - all in all, this pub gets a lot of things right. My quibbles involve slightly below average food (one usually expect better from a pub with gastro pretensions like this) and an alarming clientele of Hoxton lookalikes, almost all of whom are clearly aiming to look "different" and yet achieving nothing of the sort.

13 Apr 2008 12:39

The Neeld Arms, Maida Vale

I had forgotten what a good non nonsense genuine Irish London pub (if that makes sense) was like and this smart, unpretentious boozer does the trick on most counts. True, there are no real ales, although they serve a mean pint of guinness. Having finally given up on the search for a pub to watch the football in which also happens to be an intrinsically good pub, this is the next best thing. We watched the classic 2008 Liverpool v Arsenal champions league quarter final here and the atmosphere was terrific with a cross section of the local community and frinedly service behind the bar. Enjoyable.

9 Apr 2008 09:33

The Evening Star, Brighton

Ludicrously good given that it breaks one of the major rules of pubs: close vicinity to a station. Great ales including Harvey's, a convivial atmosphere and a great stopping off point for away fans bound for the Withdean Stadium.

3 Apr 2008 18:37

The Rose Tavern, Wisbech

A good pub for beer which isn't as obvious a statement as it should be. The ales are very well kept and an excellent pint of Wherry was enjoyed to the full. The landlord's pronouncements on the subject of Greene KIng IPA were also hard to disagree with.

3 Apr 2008 17:42

The Case, Wisbech

Despite affable service, reasonable prices and surprisingly edible food, this cavern of a pub probably represents where the pub industry has gone wrong in recent years. Clearly devised by a focus group, the Case's inevitable domination of Wisbech is assured.

Surely some concession could have been made to the proud local brewery Elgood's? As my friend pointed out, the irony is that the pub's designers probably live in Kensington and would never be seen dead in a place like this themselves. The faux Jacobean fireplace is a particular monstrosity.

3 Apr 2008 17:39

The Bald Faced Stag, East Finchley

What is it with East Finchley and pubs? The area possesses many attributes including possibly the best cinema in London, a young, open-minded population and house prices that come in well under those of its monied neighbours to the south.

So why no decent pubs? It seems that at every opportunity, the local populace scurry off to Hamsptead, Highgate and Camden for their drinking, and thus consign East Finchley to status as a suburban ghetto. The place is crying out for a decent boozer and entrepreneurs are really misisng an opportunity. Suffice to say that The Bald-Faced Stag is unspeakable.

29 Mar 2008 12:19

The Griffin, Shoreditch

A rambunctious pub full of Shoreditch types - on a recent visit, a guy resembling the kid from Yellow Pages' "French Polishers" advert was seen talking to a fellow aiming for that "Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs" look. The ironically bequiffed aside, the place revels in its alarmingly threadbare carpet and would be bemusing to anyone not familiar with the way of life that is Hoxton.

29 Mar 2008 12:09

The Kite Inn, Oxford

Tucked away the wrong side of the railway tracks, this is probably the best option close to the awkwardly located Oxford station. A bevy of canines patrol the place and are partial to the odd pork scratching. Delicious pints of Hooky are on tap and there is a cosy pool room. A dramatic roll on the pool table is the only black mark against this no nonsense establishment.

13 Feb 2008 17:08

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

An excellent backstreet local that looks unpromising with its curtains which haven't been washed since the 1940s. It is also surrounded by forbidding estates a world away from the excesses of main street Shoreditch half a mile to the south west.

The draw is the ale selection which is probably as good as any in the capital. A relaxing and traditional place to spend an evening.

25 Jan 2008 17:10

The Red Lion, Mayfair

A great find this. A regular at the Curzon Mayfair cinema, the usual post-film drinks venue has tended to be the good, but overcrowded Ye Grapes pub in Shepherd Market. This alternative, tucked away at the end of an alleyway, is a lovely option.

The facade is promising and the interior does not disappoint, with well kept ales and a decent range of wines. The food looks hearty and warming. A super place to wile away a winter evening.

25 Jan 2008 09:41

The Turf Tavern, Oxford

The Turf gets a little busy but is wondrous in so many ways, not least its terrific ales and lovely beer gardens. The idea of winter braziers is superb and most of the interior is nicely "olde-worlde" Tucked away down an alley way, this is one of the city's classic pubs.

21 Dec 2007 12:22

The Eagle, Clerkenwell

The food is as good as it is in any pub anywhere, anytime - Roast Guinea Fowl, arroz negro, ham hock
and some beautiful vegetable soups. A shame, therefore, about the snooty service and Francoesque attitude towards anybody who dares to have a good time. It's a pub, not a restaurant and a big dose of relaxed attitudes would not go amiss. Good food and drink still gets it 7 stars though.

21 Dec 2007 12:18

The Three Kings, Clerkenwell

A classic amongst London pubs in that it expertly treads the line between old-fashioned boozer and trendy bar with slightly distressed furnishings. Everything is well judged including the papier mache ornamentation and one of the best pub signs in the world - the 3 Kings are Henry VIII, King Kong and Elvis.

8 Oct 2007 13:29

The Bookbinders Ale House, Oxford

One of the pubs competing for the title of best pub in Jericho. A vaguely literary atmosphere lends this pub a conviviality which makes it perfect of a winter evening.

8 Oct 2007 13:26

The Foundry, Shoreditch

The closest thing that London has to a Berlin-style bar. One could almost be in Kreuzberg or the Scheunenviertel. The place defies all expectations by having friendly staff and an atmosphere that is trendy without trying too hard. Marvellous and how bars should be.

8 Oct 2007 13:24

Bar Music Hall, Shoreditch

Reputedly the centre of the nu-rave scene (you know, the one that doesn't actually involve any "rave" music, just bog standard indie like the Klaxons), this pub divides punters in the same way that it exercises a velvet rope door policy after about 9pm.

However, I think this joint might just be a little underrated. Yes, it's poncey, but this is Shoreditch, not Ludlow. I found the nu-romantic staff to be charming and the presence of a killer Belgian beer in Maredsous to be quite welcome. I even found my toes tapping to the music. Cutting edge in a way cities like Manchester can only dream about these days.

14 Sep 2007 12:07

The Lass O'Gowrie, Manchester

This is still one of the best options on the border between city and university in Manchester. Not what it was, creeping elements of chaindom having blunted its edges, the location still makes it an excellent stopping off point before a chicken kebab at legendary Abdul's south along Oxford Road.

13 Aug 2007 22:14

The Watermans Arms, Oxford

An enjoyable hideaway that one would only come across by venturing in the opposite direction from the station to the city centre. The canalside location is lovely, even if risky in the flood-ridden Britain of the mid noughties.

13 Aug 2007 22:09

The Artillery Arms, Old Street

Close to Bunhill Fields, the final resting place of William Blake and Daniel Defoe, this pub is a brilliant traditional option close to the fashionable excesses of nearby Hoxton. The variegated light on a summer's evening helps the pub bask in a warm glow indeed.

13 Aug 2007 22:06

The Duke (of York), Holborn

Shocking. On a recent visit, we turned up with 30 people with the intention of spending literally hundreds of pounds - at 4pm. The owner berated us for not warning him and told us that the tables were "booked" from 6. So, with two hours to go, you wouldn't think this was a problem - but oh no. We were treated to utterly vile service and looked down upon in every way. A shameful place that should be wiped off the map. Avoid.

10 Aug 2007 16:47

The Ferryboat Inn, Whitchurch on Thames

Nondescript decor is saved by decent ale (the Black Sheep especially), excellent food and extremely affable service. Its opening hours also give the pub a major advanatge over the Greyhound down the road.

18 Jul 2007 13:05

The Kings Arms, Clerkenwell

This pub serves surprisingly excellent Thai food, is very friendly and hugely popular of a lunchtime and early evening. It's not all that hard to see why - there is nothing remarkable about it - and the recent refurbishment has altered its character very little - its simply a welcoming place with the feel of a proper local on a beautiful Bloomsbury street.

15 Jun 2007 16:20

The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast

Probably one of the best pubs in Belfast and very atmospheric with its ornate nineteenth century interior and wonderfully private partitioned booths. Perhaps like stepping back a few generations, but none the worse for that.

15 Jun 2007 16:14

The Duke of York, Clerkenwell

A great pub, despite being on the main road and a mecca for cycle couriers - you know, the ones who always wait their turn at the bar, because they are in no rush at all.

A convivial landlord, pleasant, slightly scruffed-up decor, a pool table and decent Thai food (although possibly inferior to the nearby King's Arms) make for a pleasing combination.

14 Jun 2007 17:05

The Leicester Arms, Penshurst

A beautiful village with gorgeous half timbered Tudor houses and an ancient churchyard - but this pub ever so slightly wastes these natural advantages with its kaleidoscopic carpet and general air of worn fatigue. The tables out front would be well placed if people were disallowed from stationing their people carriers right in front of them.

Overdue a revamp - but when it comes, I hope they don't overdo it.

12 Jun 2007 17:27

The County Arms, Wandsworth Common

Pretty average in most respects - a great location near to Wandsworth Common is spoilt by a thundering highway twixt the pub and the grass. The beer garden is pleasant enough and is complemented by a Buddha-decorated conservatory at the back.

12 Jun 2007 17:22

The Hendon, Hendon

Britain in microcosm - and thus a very sad indictment of where we stand as a country today. Truly grim - a riot of primary colours, teenagers trying to look cool and orange food - and all of it on one of the most unpleasant stretches of highway in the UK. This pub doesn't even have the decency to be small given that it has approximately the equivalent floorspace to Wembley Stadium. Someone please come and save Hendon.

1 Jun 2007 13:24

The Dovetail, Clerkenwell

The beers are brilliant of course and one could spend a few days on a virtual tour of Belgium's finest. The Florisgaarden Passion is a remarkable fruit beer and there are all the super favourites.

This pub could achieve greatness but lets itself down through a) not being a patch on its sibling in Hackney and b) allowing almost all the tables to be reserved of a Friday night - message to the owners: it's a pub, not a restaurant.

1 Jun 2007 13:15

Ye Old Mitre, Holborn

Tucked away down a narrow passageway that was officially once part of Cambridgeshire due to its lying on land owned by the Bishop of Ely, this pub is a must-visit on any trip to the Capital. The bar food - toasties , scotch eggs and pork pies - is wonderfully simple, the service friendly and the layout utterly charming. The Mitre edges out other nearby historic pubs such as Ye Olde Cheshite Cheese and Cittie of York by virtue of its comparative lack of tourists.

31 May 2007 18:00

Pond House, Maidenhead

Lacking all pretensions, this is a decent local boozer and surprisingly convivial given it lies on the very busy Bath Road.

My friend's request for a "a pint of David Mellor" was met with a sigh.

31 May 2007 17:52

The Castle Inn, Cambridge

On first glance, an unremarkable modern pub renovation, but closer inspection reveals a cracking beer garden, decent-looking grub (I confess to not having indulged) and a fabulous selection of yer old britneys (including the magical Woodforde's Wherry).

The one quibble is cluelessness at the bar - not the staff, but the clientele - Bucks Fizz's "making Your Mind Up" should be forcibly played to these people.

30 May 2007 17:11

Nordic, Fitzrovia

One for a saturday this one. The place is infested with suits on a weekday and men trying to score with Scandinavian women.

Some imagination has gone into the place - some good cocktails (especially the berry ones), friendly bar staff and the approximate feel of a country cabin in Lapland.

So - as bars in this most diabolical of areas go, this is superior.

29 May 2007 13:25

The Oxford Arms, Camden

On the face of it, there is nothing noteworthy about this place, but having worked in the area for many years, I can say that it makes a brilliant effort to capture the feel of a local in a neighbourhood that does everything it can do to conspire against this.

The landlord is everything a landlord should be and a splendid bloke. The pub quiz is perfectly judged and the free sausage, beans and chips a brilliant touch after a hard night's drinking.

The pub retains its slightly bohemian character and attracts all manner of Camden types. I have given it a 9 only because of the disappointing decision to axe the juke box a few years' back.

17 May 2007 14:07

The Garrison, London Bridge

Like its predecessor, the Honest Cabbage, this place makes a cursory nod to the world of pubs, but is really nothing of the sort. As a previous reviewer points out on these pages, just having a pint seemed to be frowned upon.

And yet, on caving in to sample the food, my fried egg and smoked salmon sandwich was spoilt by the needless addition of avocado (and not very ripe avocado at that). The one saving grace was the service which was amiable.

17 May 2007 14:02

The Eyston Arms, East Hendred

A foodie pub and a good one. This place even confounded all the rules of pies by serving a terrific tasting pie in a dish (and thus without a bottom or sides). The food masterfully treads that careful line between pub favourites and over-poncey fare and also serves some decent real ales.

Service is excellent and it's a good stop off point for lunch - my only quibble is that the wood could be darker - it's all light pine and thus very 1998.

17 May 2007 13:58

The Philharmonic, Liverpool

Obviously one of the country's great pubs with gorgeous doorways and the best toilets around in terms of decor. This is an essential stop off on any visit to the city. Therein lies the sole caveat - this place is well touristed.

14 May 2007 18:45

The Fat Cat, Norwich

A brilliant haunt for real ale with all manner of weird and wonderful brews, and yet, possessing a bohemian feel that pleases on every level - despite being situated in a far flung housing estate. Bravo.

11 May 2007 13:35

Prince Of Wales, Didcot

After the demise of the Great Western next door (now a car park), this pub - renamed the Three Lions for the duration of the 2006 World Cup - has a monopoly on visitors who fancy a pint on being inevitably delayed at Didcot Parkway station.

On a recent visit, we were harangued in monosyllables by a man sporting full Reading Football Club leisurewear. The staff do their best and are the only bright spark since the demise of the perfectly decent jukebox back in 2005.

10 May 2007 13:26

The Uxbridge Arms, Notting Hill

Tucked away and I suspect overlooked due to the proximity of the more storied Churchill and Windsor Castle, this is a cosy little pub with some marvellous posters charting family trees of beers and the odd obscure nineteenth century cricketer.

8 May 2007 16:32

The Windsor Castle, Kensington

Truly excellent - the only thing that prevents a higher score is the Hackett-shirted hordes who tend to invade the garden the minute the weather rises above about 11 degrees. Very cosy indeed, with some wonderful alcoves, the garden itself is a lovely and the pub is picture perfect from the outside. One of London's best traditional ale houses.

8 May 2007 16:29

The Bullnose Morris, Cowley

On a summer's evening, this forbidding looking establishment proved to be a handy stop off before a trip to the local dog track. Pumping early 90s techno greeted us as we walked in - in keeping with the pub's location amidst that most unlikely of riot venues, Blackbird Leys. Menus with the word "GIANT" plastered all over them add to a feel that simply screams "theme pub".

4 May 2007 13:33

Jericho, Oxford

I like the Word Search above the bar, the decent garden and the ace snacks (including wasabi peas). This is one of Oxford's better pubs with live music upstairs and a decent atmosphere. Minor quibbles include the overrated burgers with salad-cream infested 'slaw and a smugness (although not behind the bar) which has more to do with the town than the pub.

3 May 2007 14:01

The Jerusalem Tavern, Clerkenwell

This pub would stand a fighting chance of being nominated in any "Best Pub in Britain" award. It's not as old as it looks, but never fails to impress with its range of tasty beers (including an ale without hops that is supposed to be an approximation of the tipple drunk in the Middle Ages) and some excellent fruit varieties - elderflower, anyone? Being as big as a shoebox is the pub's only drawback - the elevated snug which overlooks the compact bar is the best seat in the house.

2 May 2007 13:53

The Stags Head, Fitzrovia

Despite breaking one of the golden rules of pubs by having a flat roof, this place thrives because its averageness makes it a perfect place to watch the football. We attended for the Spring 2007 Champions League semi final between Chelsea and Liverpool and were spared the usual gangs of loadsamoney type characters with foghorn voices. Then, the staff applied the coup de grace by providing free food - nuggets, sausages and chips. Friendly service makes it a decent, uncontroversial venue.

2 May 2007 11:46

The Admiral Benbow, Milton

A no nonsense country local that is within walking distance of the immense Milton park industrial estate and comfortably better than any etablishment within the confines of that sorry mess of warehouses and call centres. Run by an ex boxer, the atmosphere is very friendly and the garden pleasant. The home made food varies from decent to brilliant (especially the home made chilli).

1 May 2007 13:34

The Water Poet, Shoreditch

On a sunday, this place approached perfection. A real find away ftom the hubbub of renovated Spitalfields Market, it has a decent jukebox (although the selection is all a bit "2001" - maybe they inherited it and haven't been bothered to change the CDs), two pool tables, a discrete room for watching the football and a spacious, shady beer garden. Lots of the right buttons are pressed and its has that scruffy chic more common a few hundred metres to the north in Hoxton. I will need to pay a return visit midweek to make a proper judgement, however, as the hulk of Liverpool Street station probably isn't far enough away for this pub to remain unspoilt - maybe a twist on the traditional "no soiled clothing" along the lines of "no suits" would do the trick?

30 Apr 2007 16:18

The Camel, Bethnal Green

A great find this - approached from the north on a pub crawl from the famous Approach Travern, this place provides a superb link in the chain that is a very good "backstreets of Bethnal Green" tour. The atmosphere is very relaxed and there is outside seating on a street that sees little in the way of traffic.

30 Apr 2007 15:20

The Boars Head, Ardington

A good gastropub in a beautiful Oxfordshire village, this pub serves high quality food (although my carbonara was filling even by the standards of that most filling of dishes) and the odd good ale. One criticism would be the lightness of the wood interior and its clientele of a weekday lunchtime reflects the anonymous business parks that lie close by.

26 Apr 2007 13:53

The Tickled Trout, Wye

The inventors of the word "idyllic" will surely have had this puhb's beer garden in mind when they coined the term. Across the bubbling River Stour from one of Britian's most perfect little railway stations, this is a lovely place to spend a summer afternoon. Inside is less wonderful but still a perfectly functional boozer.

23 Apr 2007 17:42

The Isambard, Paddington

The only possible reason to visit this pub is if one were wheelchair bound and hence unable to climb the escalators to the Reef Bar and Mad Bishop and Bear - not the best pubs in the world themselves. The lock on the toilet door is only the worst of a litany of crimes against pubdom - truly, truly horrible and should be converted back into a Boots or a Superdrug as soon as possible.

23 Apr 2007 17:39

The Mad Bishop and Bear, Paddington

Possibly better than one could ever hope from a station pub and a quantum leap from the simply terrible Isambard's. Serves ale, isn't a chain (as far as I am aware) and has toilets one can patronise without stumping up 20p - but, on balance, still a place one would frequent only if one had no alternative.

23 Apr 2007 17:37

The Slaughtered Lamb, Clerkenwell

Despite being the size of a minor aircraft hangar, this is a reasonable addition to the burgeoning Great Sutton Street scene and preferable to the nearby 19:20 (which is ridiculous) and Sutton Arms (which defines the word "average). The detail helps - stained glass lower windows and chunky pint glasses for the ales, as well as fans inexplicably mounted on the walls - but somehow adding to the feel. It's probably all been decided upon by focus group but the result is pleasant indeed.

20 Apr 2007 13:42

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