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BITE user comments - Gann

Comments by Gann

The Roscoe Head, Liverpool

This is a traditional pub that retains an excellent multiple room layout. As others have mentioned there are no juke boxed, gaming machines or televisions here, just six well-kept beers and three characterful spaces in which to drink them. There are two main rooms and a small snug and we chose the back room with its comfortable banquette seating, a few nice mirrors and small fireplace.
Alongside the usual TT Landlord and Tetley Bitter, Salopian Oracle, Peerless Brewery Langton Spin, Tweed Black Shire Stout and Faith Hope and Charity from the Rock the Boat Brewery were available on the other four.
We bagged a table in the back room and went through the four guests, all of which were in excellent nick.
The Roscoe Head is a Liverpool gem that is sadly under threat from Development. The people of Liverpool will be all the poorer if they lose this one to another student accommodation block.

15 Sep 2017 13:14

The White Star, Liverpool

A Victorian Gem in the Cavern quarter a short throw from the Cavern club itself. Behind its red tiled frontage is a feast of red leather, fancy tiling, elaborate wood carving and an impressive collection of White Star Line shipping memorabilia and some Beetles memorabilia due to the fact that Bob Wooler and Allan Williams used to pay their acts in the back room.
A smallish two room pub with a wooden semi-circular front bar, with red leather seat under the glass screens at the front, a quieter impressive backroom with its red leather upholstered benches and impressive collection of the historic ships of the White Star Fleet, then a small Beatles and Titanic mural-adorned beer garden out by the toilets.
Alongside the permanent Draft Bass there was Otter Brewery Poppy, The Oceanic Beer Co. Pier 59, and Robinsons Dizzy Blonde. The Blonde was a decent pint and we managed to bag space on one of the seats in the back room in which to enjoy it.
This pub really is a haven from all the tourist tat on Matthew Street and I could have stayed here for a lot longer than we did.

15 Sep 2017 13:11

The Crown, Ashley

Pleasantly surprised to find this one no longer under the Greedy King Empire but operating as a Free House. Something that happened during 2015 apparently.
Four hand pumps are now on the bar with three in operation with ales from local breweries in the form of Mighty Oak IPA, Mauldons Pickwick and one called the Cure from the Shortts Farm Micro brewery in Suffolk.
The IPA and Pickwick were tried and found in good nick..
The pub has been spruced up a bit internally since my last visit but its basically the same as described below and the external enclosed garden is a great spot when the sun is out..
Nice to find this one still functioning well as a village local and now with something decent to drink instead of the ubiquoutous brews that GK flood this part of the world with..

30 Mar 2017 14:47

Dean Swift, London Bridge

It’s taken a while to get round to visit this one but finally made it this week when doing a small crawl south of Tower Bridge and finished up spending most of the evening in here.
This reinvented upmarket craft and cask ale house has been well described by previous reviewers but it is quite impressive how many good beers they manage to cram into the small corner bar area. The four ale pumps had Roosters Weakender, Bedlam Brewery Benchmark,Five Points Brewing Railway Porter and Belleville Valley Blanche for our visit and although we didn’t try any the 10 keg pumps, these had a varied selection of decent craft offerings from the likes of Cronx, ELB, Five Points and Belleville. And then there were a lot more choice contained in cans and bottles in the fridges behind the bar.
A real Brucey bonus for our visit was that Belleville are the brewer of the month for the pub and they were in on our evening going around offering free tasters of their core beers. So we got free tasters of their Blonde and Pale Ales on top of decent pints from Bedlam and Five points..
I certainly won’t leave it so long to pay a return visit to here.

30 Mar 2017 14:33

The Earl of Lonsdale, Notting Hill

As usual Sams Smiths have done a very good job on restoring it to its former impressive interior after it had the guts ripped out of it in the 1960s. And as a consequence this is a very characterful place to have a beer and a bite to eat, especially in the side lounge room when the large open fireplace is going on a chilly winter lunchtime.
Sadly it's the rest of the package that is not up to the interior and spoils this as a truly enjoyable pub experience.
It's location on Portabello Road means most of the clientele are single visit foreign tourists who are very unlikely to ever return, so the pub doesn't really need to work to attract people back and consequently in this ones case SS doesn't bother to even try.
Firstly the Sam Smith beer range is poor at the best of times, and especially if the draught version of OBB is not available, as is the case here. Fortunately being Christmas there was a couple of stouts available and the extra stout when taken with food is usually passable.
Secondly, we did eat here and the food we experienced was edible but average at best. The Steak and Ale pies are now £9 plus and I was expecting something better than a clearly microwaved pie for that.
And thirdly the service left a lot to be desired. Nothing against the hard-working barmaid and the young lad running around trying to dispense the meals and clean up the carnage left by previous diners, but two young staff only in a busy pub like this just isn't enough to avoid the frustrating queues forming at the bar.
This pub could be a really great pub, if only the rest of the experience was up to the interior. Still worth a visit to see the interior if you are in the area.

25 Jan 2017 14:38

The Birdcage, Bethnal Green

Closed down last year but now reopened as the latest outlet of the small Draft House chain.
Now some will see this as the loss of another East End pub and whatever your personal view of the black ceiling and walls with inlaid wallpaper panels, stripped wood flooring, and the new mustard coloured bar stools, I’ve seen a lot worst travesties carried out in the name of modernisation. And the brass lighting fixtures and the impressive remaining ash wood canopy bar still tells you this is still very much a pub.
And although the tiled bar backdrop with its large optics of premade luminous e-numbered cocktails may be more Islington nite bar than east end boozer, what has clearly improved is the beer choice and where the usual run of the mill draft offerings once resided there are now several banks of craft beers from predominantly London brewers, two fully stocked bottle large fridges and three fully functioning ale pumps.
Craft beers from Beavertown, Camden Town and Siren were on the pumps including some American offerings from the Against the Grain Brewery. Sambrook’s Wandel is the house ale and then Moor Raw and Siren’s Love of Work was on the other pumps, all of which we tried and were well kept
And then a couple of impressive fridges with a wide choice of beers of different styles and breweries and I noticed a few from the Box Stream brewery and Pressure Drop.
We didn’t eat but I did like the nod to this pubs heritage with the Pie, Mash and liqueur menu albeit at a price level that would have my granddad cussing in his grave.
There are those that will not see the march of the Hoxton hipsters east as a good thing. But if this is what it takes to keep this wonderful old former Truman pub building as a place dispensing alcohol, bring it on I say.

3 May 2015 11:10

Woodman, Hatfield

Whilst studying at what was Hatfield Poly back in the late 70’s a drive from the halls of residence out to the Woodman and the now sadly closed Old Maypole on the North Mimms road was frequently preferred to a Sunday afternoon spent in the computer lab trying to get some coursework done.
So when re-visiting the old stomping ground last week it was great to find the Woodman still functioning and seemingly doing OK.
Still essentially a traditional two bar pub of some character, either side of a large stone double sided fireplace the lounge side to the right seems to have been extended from my remembrances and now supports a larger dining area with carvery. The public side is still small and cosy but now with large flat screen tele on the opposite wall.
It’s a GK house and only IPA and Abbott are available on the ale front, but at least the IPA was in good nick. We also tried the carvery and it was very good. So I certainly will not hesitate to look up again when interested in something to eat.

17 Apr 2015 15:10

Queens Larder, Bloomsbury

Very small corner pub which actually has considerably more seating provided by the bench seating outside under the canopys than is available inside the pub. Lively mixed crowd both inside and outside on this last Friday evening before Christmas and there were actually twice as many bar keeps working the small serving space than there was along the entire long bar of the Swan next door , so there was absolutely no queuing at the bar.
There are four ales available usually available but for our visit on entering one was reverse clipped, but fortunately it was the dreaded GK IPA (how we cheered ). This left Abbott Reserve from the GK stable, a bit too loopy at 6.5% for an extended session, and Redemption Hopspur and Woodforde's Wherry, the latter two being in excellent condition.
Small but lively pub with well-kept choice of ales and good service levels. You have to go a long way to find a better pub than this in Bloomsbury.

23 Dec 2014 15:08

The Birkbeck Tavern, Leyton

After seeing this one regularly appearing in the list of top 20 pubs on B.I.T.E I took the bus down the Leyton High Road to check this one out and found the Birkbeck still functioning as a solid community local under the new ownership.
A good ‘old school’ interior with two high ceilinged rooms either side of the central bar with plenty of original fittings inside the original Charringtons pub skin.
Four ales were available across the pumps and these were Junction and Wandle from Sambrook’s , Mighty Oak Maldon Gold and something badged as Rita’s Special which on enquiring was informed was actually Courage Best. I’m sorry but Courage best and ‘Special’ in the same sentence is definitely an Oxymoron in my book. Fortunately The Maldon Gold was in excellent condition.
Probably didn’t see this one at its best as there were very few in for my early Saturday evening visit and the beer choice was good enough but not inspiring. But still very good to find this traditional East End boozer functioning as one.
As for being one of the top 20 pubs in the county, not by a long chalk. But that says more about B.I.T.E as a credible pub review site than it does about the Birkbeck.

22 Dec 2014 15:05

The Nags Head, Walthamstow

When in the Walthamstow area I would definitely recommend a detour to the old Walthamstow village section with its decent restaurants and pubs, especially as the new Wild Card Brewery now complements these.
Of the three pubs in the Village, the slightly quirky Nags Head remains my favourite and every time I visit I feel more at home here. This time it was just for a quick one early afternoon before visiting the aforementioned new Microbrewery and it did not disappoint.
A congenial chilled Saturday afternoon crowd were in and a couple of good halves of Redemption Trinity and Colchester Brewery Double Brown Ale were enjoyed.
I know this pub isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it is mine and gets an extra mark for being consistently good on my visits.
And no offence to the "Yummy Mummys" of the village but to have rules such as “Children are not permitted inside the pub, but are welcome in our heated garden to the rear as long as they are long gone by 7:30pm" means the Nags Head remains a place to be enjoyed by adults. There are plenty of other places you can utilise as a creche in Walthamstow.

22 Dec 2014 13:31

The Happy Medium, Chichester

Another Chichester pub that was recommended that I pop in by the local CAMRA branch member I ran into earlier in the weekend. The Rainbow was for some years known as the Happy Medium, but has recently reopened after a period of closure as a Free House under its original Victorian name, and the new landlord is trying to make a go focussing on selling a changing range of Ales.
In style it is a suburban one bar local with a single part wood-panelled L-shaped bar with a coal fire at one end with comfortable seating and a pool table and conservatory at the other.
There isn’t an extensive food menu but homemade bar snacks in the form of burgers or Scottish pies with or without chips are available until 7pm each day and live acoustic music sessions are held on Friday evenings.
On the Beer front there are three ale pumps at the near end of the bar with Dark Star Hop Head as a regular beer and at least one of the others dispensing a local brewery beer. For my visit Adnams Bitter and Longman Brewery Copper Hop were alongside the HopHead. Between us we tried all three and they were all in good condition.
It’s always good to see a pub reopen and I really wish this one well and hope it finds a local following. Definitely worth doing as a double with the nearby Bell Inn if you find yourself north of the ring road.

20 Jun 2014 13:13

The Chichester Inn, Chichester

This two bar Free house at the end of West Street originally dates from 1785. Today it functions as a good town centre pub with a focus on real ale and live music. The high ceilinged front lounge bar is spacious and comfortable with comfy chars around the edge and wooden chairs and tables in the middle. And a log fire gives a distinct smell of wood smoke in winter months. The larger back bar to the rear has additional seating, but doubles as the live music venue on weekends when bands play on the stage area at the back. And then beyond this is a very pleasant outside courtyard garden area which stretches away from the pub some distance, providing several individual seating areas including some heated covered areas with large comfortable settees.
There are 5 Ale pumps on each of the bars and the landlord said that he usually has a minimum of three regional Sussex ales on at any time and increases this to five for the busy periods and at the weekend.
We chose to visit at the first weekend of the month long Cheltenham festival when the pub was holding its own mini beer festival over the weekend to tie in with the main event. For this the left hand section of the front lounge bar was taken up with an additional ten beers available on silage, mainly from smaller regional brewers from around the country. These included brews from Salopian , Blue Monkey, Redemption and Castle Rock amongst others.
A very enjoyable couple of visits were made to the Chi (as it is referred to by locals) , and I would classify this as a should visit pub when looking for a decent pint of Ale when in the City of Chichester.

19 Jun 2014 15:00

The Boathouse, Daventry

Large Marstons family orientated roadside restaurant equipped with an outside kids playground and large open car park that benefits from an above average location next to the Grand Union canal. A bit of an upmarket Wetherspoons with regards to the food menu, or “laminated card of grilled and deep fried delights” as my other half described it after seeing that even the salads come with large lumps of chicken or steak piled on top.
However you cannot use this description for the beer offering because although there are four ale pumps, four Marston group brews do not qualify as upmarket in any ones book, but fortunately Ringwood 49er was on and a decent pint to be enjoyed on the outside canal facing seating area.
We did not eat here, but in that respect it’s one of those Marstons outlets that uses the “DFS sales” approach to pull punters in, e.g. large banners outside advertising 2for1 deals and when you get in you find that most items on the menu are twice as expensive than the other pubs in Braunston, for example the Sunday Roast is on the menu at £13.10, but then the accompanying flyer offers two roasts and two puddings for £15. So the moral is make sure you come here as an even number of adults.
So to agree with the other reviews, much more family restaurant than pub and as usual you should look at Trip advisor for how it currently fares in that respect. And as, at time of writing, it is currently ranked middle of the 56 restaurant establishments to be enjoyed in Daventry, below the town Chinese take away and fish and chip shop, probably tells you all you need to know.

16 May 2014 12:18

The Bearded Man, St Albans

Have to say I get increasingly frustrated with the behaviour of some of the locals whenever I pop in nowadays..
When discussing some of the other great ale pubs to be enjoyed in the Hertfordshire area, its clearly obvious that some of them have fixed oppinions that they cannot be moved from and turn a complete blind ear to an establishment if it is not one of their personal favourites.
And god forbid you make the same mistake I made last time and mention that you quite liked one of the beer offerings coming from the craft brewers like Meantime.
This sent several of the gnome like creatures referred to below into a complete quandry with some spinning in a clockwise direction shouting yes yes !! and the others into a anti-clockwise frenzy shouting No No !! until they run off into the maze of rooms at the back of this establishment.
As Hopsucker says, this establishment is in danger of disappearing up its own arse with its self importance, which would be a great shame considering the bastion of choice it once was ...

22 Apr 2014 12:57

Ye Olde Cherry Tree, Southgate

A former coaching inn dating from the 1700’s Ye Olde Cherry Tree is now under the Vintage Inn umbrella and functions more as a restaurant nowadays than a pub. I remember it in former times when it used to be mainly a pub with a restaurant section at the back. But most of the internal space is now taken up with the dining area and just the smaller area around the bar at the back of the pub near the rear entrance is kept for drinking.
So in this respect it is best used just for a beer on a fine weather day when the pleasant outside patio area can be utilised.
There are usually four ales available which tend to come from the usual suspects and Pride, Doombar and Adnams Broadside were on for my visit last Sunday.
As a restaurant it’s a fairly pleasant place to eat as, although it is quite a large space, the interior is a collection of separate spaces with several atmospheric nooks and crannies.
The menu is the usual formulaic chain offerings and the quality tends to go up and down with the ability of the chefs employed, which like all chain pubs tend to change on a regular basis. Fortunately for the last year the quality has been quite good as they have managed to retain a couple of good ones.
Hopefully that will remain so and they won’t have to re-employ Benny the Meatball who, from the date of his one only posted rant on this site below, to be one of donut chefs they had to fire last January after proving to be singularly useless over the Xmas period.

12 Mar 2014 17:01

The Duke of Cambridge, Islington

Popped in to try the Organic beers a couple of weeks ago..
In our group we tried all four on offer, but I hope we caught them on a bad Saturday evening because they were all as flat as pancakes.
Very disappointing as I'd heard good things about the EcoWarrier. But worst of all was that Windsor and Eton Tree Tops Stout was available alongside the Pitfield beers, and this is usually an excellent beer. Sadly not in the Duke of Cambridge for our visit

26 Feb 2014 11:38

The Fox Inn, Ousden

First visit last weekend to the Ousden Fox after picking up that it is another in the trend of Suffolk village pubs to be rescued from the evil Greedy King Empire when it was bought by a local businessman in 2009 to save it from being closed down, and then turned into a Free House.
The pub takes its name from the original 15th Century flint and brick brew house, the remains of which can still be seen in the car park, which was linked to the fox cottage next door.
Clearly a former two room pub, it is now one open plan traditional décor space but with two bar sections at different levels separated by a few steps. One area remains a bar area and the other is now more aligned for dining, although food is only available Thursday to Saturday evenings and Friday to Sunday lunchtimes.
The bars support four hand pumps with GK IPA and Woodforde’s Wherry as permanent fixtures and then regularly rotating guest beers on the other two. For my visit Oakhams JHB and a brew called Strummers Ale from Shortts Farm Brewery, a local micro, which was a new one on me.
Strangely there are two large prominent barrel end clocks mounted on the brick wall sections and neither are set to the correct time. This apparently is in honour of a former landlord of the pub who changed the clocks to allow the local cricket team to drink out of hours and to confuse the village plod.
Sounds like my kind of publican.

31 Oct 2013 16:28

The Crown, Ashley

The Crown is a friendly village local located East of Newmarket in the village of Ashley. It is now the sole village pub after the Plough up the road shut down to reopen as a restaurant.
Externally it is an attractive red brick and flint building which dates back to pre-1700 when it was a farm building. Local records have it being sold in 1868 for £750 to a local merchant Samuel Turner who in turn sold it to Greene King in 1890 who then turned it into a pub..
Internally it is two bars separated by an open doorway. The front bar operates more as the public with a carpeted section in front of the bar and then a wood floor section with dart board and pool table to the side. And then the rear bar is more lounge like with more comfortable seating. Then at the rear of the pub is the car park and an enclosed garden and covered smoking area.
Have been in a few times over the years due to having relations in the village and it is a well run community pub which maintains darts, crib and petanque teams and hosts poker nights. The only thing that lets it down for me is that although there are a couple of hand pumps on the bar, it is tied to the evil Greedy King empire, thus the only offerings, although well kept, are usually GK IPA and Abbot.

29 Oct 2013 16:31

The New Wellington, Newmarket

The New Wellington is a fairly plain looking brick built pub on the Ashley Road just outside Newmarket close to the gallops.
It’s clearly undergone a makeover in recent years and the interior is clean and modern but still keeps a traditional local pub feel.
The bar area has a public and salon bar set up either side of the central serving area with three large screen TV’s dotted about for the sport (something that seems compulsory for pubs in Newmarket ). Then there is a separate area housing a pool table and then a separate restaurant room, for which there are several different meal menu’s available, but cannot comment on the food (see Trip Advisor for that) as we didn’t try it. There are a couple of benches to the front of the pub and then a small beer garden with a smoking shelter out back.
Four standard lager and Guinness options available as well as Aspalls Cider, There are three handpumps on either side of the bar which were dispensing the usual GK OSH and IPA and the other one was reversed for our visit, and although advertised as a guest beer it looked like another one from the GK stable.
The IPA was perfectly fine and the service was friendly. There were posters for forthcoming live bands as well as Karaoke and Pub Quiz nights so looks like its run as a good community pub.
So it’s nothing special, but I wouldn’t have an issue if it was my local, except for the GK beers. But frankly, if you are a resident of Newmarket, you have little other choice.

29 Oct 2013 16:29

The Duke of York, Ganwick Corner

I recently noticed that The Duke of York is now one of the Brunning & Price chain of Gastro pubs since April last year, when it underwent a comprehensive renovation, both inside and outside. And as I think they’ve done quite a good job of replacing or retaining a pub feel in their other Hertfordshire establishments, I decided to pop in and have a look.
Internally the pub feel has definitely been brought back and like their other establishments they have done a very good job at attaining a pub and a gastro restaurant inside the same skin.
There is now a central square bar, around which are several comfortable seating areas for eating or just drinking where lots of prints, old photographs, rugs and books, and two open fires have been used to give it a bit of a traditional pub feel. And then off to the left is a separate restaurant area laid for dining. The bar supports five handpumps four ales and a cider and the offers are displayed on a large chalk board above the bar as in their other pubs.
For my visit Adnams Lighthouse, Mole Brewery Barley Mole and Nethergate Growler Bitter were available with the house Ale Brunning & Price Original brewed by Phoenix Brewer being reverse clipped. My pint of Nethergate Growler was very good, but then it should have been at the eye watering and wallet hurting price of £3.90. This makes it one of the most expensive pints in the vicinity and although you can get a 60p discount between 5 and 7PM during the week, the place doesn’t justify that price level.
The same high priced gastro food fare is available as in other Brunning & Price locations, and although I can’t comment as we didn’t eat I strongly recommend you consult the reviews of Trip Advisor for those that have because currently, in line with the couple of comments below, the reports seem to be that the service levels and the quality of food being received does not match the high prices being charged.

15 Aug 2013 13:34

The Duke Of Wellington, East Horsley

Attractive stone clad former coaching Inn from the outside, tired dated pub from the inside
We utilised it for a late Saturday evening couple of pints whilst staying in one of the two large hotels within walking distance. At this time it more resembled a social club for the local East Horsley youth with several young barstaff and their mates collected around the bar jovially singing along to the loud music playing from the public bar side of the pub. However the service was swift and courteous and there were no complaints in that department. And although I am sure this place moves mostly draft lagers there were three ale taps on the bar with two functioning and I have to say the available Deuchars IPA and Caledonian Golden IPA were very drinkable.
OK enough for a beer, but not a place I would choose to return to. And when considering the expensive bit of Surrey it resides in and its position next door to two large business hotels, in one way I think its admirable that it remains as an entertainment spot for the local youth who can’t afford to travel into the bright lights of Guildford, but you can’t help thinking someone is missing a trick here and it is quite surprising and one wonders why this one has not been gastrofied.
However, on leaving by the side entrance to the garden I came across the information board which probably answered the question why, as this board detailed the history of the pub, which is much more interesting than the pub itself, and the fact that most of it is a Grade II listed structure and therefore difficult to change.

13 Aug 2013 17:22

The Bulls Head, West Clandon

Former 16th century Inn which retains several oak beams and a very traditional interior, ideally located for a drink or food stop when visiting the nearby Clandon House.
It is divided into three small areas, with two larger seating areas either side of the smaller central bar area. This bar area is quite tight which means it doesn’t take too many people queuing at the bar for this area to get very busy. But my experience was that the service is quite efficient so you didn’t have to queue too long.
As mentioned below a decent home made food menu, which is complemented by specials on a chalk board , with the house specialty being home-made pies.
Fortunately the beer choice has moved on a bit from when it was a courage house (as indicated by the prominent road side Courage pub sign) and there are three pumps dispensing Youngs Bitter, Doombar and Surrey Hills Brewery Shere Drop, all of which were well kept.
So a recommended traditional roadside pub for both food or beer.

12 Aug 2013 17:10

The Onslow Arms, West Clandon

Searched out the Onslow Arms for the first time on Saturday for a spot of late lunch (it would have been early lunch if the western section of the M25 hadn’t been goddam awful ) and were reasonably impressed.
We were aware it is a food led establishment as we had found it via the restaurant reports on trip advisor, but was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked as a comfortable pub as well. Several separate internal sections dotted around the central bar area and the ones closer to the bar are comfortable just for a beer. Was blessed with a fine weather day so could utilise the large back courtyard garden which is a very pleasant spot.
We had come here for both the beer and the food and were happy with the offerings on both accounts. There are two banks of three ale hand pumps on the large L shaped bar area which were dispensing Surrey Hills Shere Drop, Caledonian Flying Scotsman and Sharps Cornish Coaster. And then a solitary pump in the middle of these, which is easily missed, had The Source from the nearby Tillingbourne micro brewery. Both this and the Shere Drop were very well kept and the Shere drop was an excellent pint.
The main food menu is more gastro than traditional pub fare, but there is a decent selection of sandwiches and lighter meals on the lunch time menu and , although at Surrey price levels, the quality and quantity was very good.
Can see myself utilising this one again when back in the vicinity.

12 Aug 2013 16:58

Boot, Sarratt

The Boot is a Grade II listed 18th century freehouse located directly opposite the village green in the quaint Hertfordshire village of Sarratt.
Although, like the other pubs in the village, it has a bit of a focus on food, it does retain more of a traditional village pub feel that say the Cricketers up the road and has a cosy main bar area with horse-brasses adorning low beams and a large brick fireplace to the right of the main entrance which has real fire during winter months. Then to the back of the main bar there is a separate dining area which retains the traditional beams.
There is a small patio seating section to the front of the pub, which is separated from the main road by bushes and a couple of trees. And then outback there is a garden with a children’s play area. And the pub benefits from a large car park to the side.
This free house offers four Ales with a couple of regular changing local brewery option and on my visit Adnams Broadside, GK IPA were complemented by Buntingford Brewery Highwayman and Vale Brewery Helios and both the Highwayman and Helios were well kept pints.

12 Aug 2013 11:38

The Queens Head and Artichoke, Regents Park

I am glad other reviewers have had more favourable experiences than me here.
Against my will I was dragged back in here again last night, and to give credit where it is due my experience this time was better in certain aspects.
Firstly the French landlord has finally realised that on hot sultry days people want to stand outside in the air, and therefore the exterior wooden bench tables are now packed away to provide some space so that he no longer has to do his very annoying impression of a sheepdog on heat trying to get everyone to stand inside some imaginary white line that appears to be only drawn in his head.
And secondly , all five handpumps were functioning and the quality of the ale was quite good.
Unfortunately what hasn’t changed is the ability of the staff employed here. Frankly long gone members of the Guild of Barkeeps who were adept at serving several customers in parallel and keeping the charges in their head before taking the money to enter into the push key tills in the days before EPOS terminals, would be spinning in their graves when watching this lot.
Firstly , when you make it to the bar, be prepared for the lottery to be served as they still have no inclination to who arrived first or second and still serve whoever is closest to their eyeline when they turn back from the EPOS terminal
Secondly, when you do get served be prepared to have to ask for top ups as on three occasions last night I was the victim of woefully short pulling unless you like a good 2 centimetres of foam on the top of your pint.
And finally when you try and pay expect further delay whilst the complexity of pushing a few buttons on a state of the art EPOS terminal has a hypnotic effect on the user.
So an improvement , but the Queen & Artichoke still does not inspire me to return out of choice.

2 Aug 2013 11:30

The Old Orchard, Harefield

Although I do totally understand the sentiment of your comment renzarov, I think a fundamental point is being missed.
Yes, we all know it’s primarily a restaurant. But what the Brunning & Price Pub Co try to achieve with their chain of Gastro pubs, which locally includes the Cricketers in Sarratt, is both a pub and a gastro restaurant in the same skin. And having the experience of so many of my favourite countryside pub watering holes being ruined over the years by the PubCo sending in a group of interior design knob heads who plaster Farrow & Ball pastel paint colours over all surfaces including ancient timbers, replace all seating with something that is impossible to sit on, lay everywhere for dining and make the interior look like it’s something out of “Footballers wives go mad in Ikea”, then I think they have done a pretty good job. And the fact that the bar area and surrounding seating can be used by the locals as if it was their local pub, whilst diners and others wanting a bit of peace and quiet can find it in the seating away from the main bar.
So I am in the ‘rate this place highly’ camp in that I think it is a very good balance of decent pub and gastro restaurant, with a very good well-kept Ale offering, decent looking food (although I can’t really comment on this as I have never eaten here) and a view to die for.
The only niggle I do have is that it is very expensive, with most of the ales currently at a wallet hurting £3.90. But there is a 60p reduction on all beer and wine sold between 5pm and 7pm on weekdays, which explains why it was busy with the local middle aged blokes enjoying an after work ale on your early Friday evening visit.
And as for that view. The Old Orchard must have one of the finest views of any pub I have ever visited. It has superb views of the Colne Valley stretching across the pleasure lakes of Broadwater Park and Denham Country Park and taking in the River Colne and its tributaries and the Grand Union canal on which you can make out the moored canal boats and barges. In fact the scenery is so good and unspoilt that you cannot see another building in the whole of the panoramic view, which is amazing when you consider this all lies within the M25. But I guess you are a very hard person to please renzarov to consider this to be just a nice view of a pit..
I seem to be more easily pleased and once again yesterday evening, I rated the pub, the view from the terrace and my pint of Mighty Oak Oscar Wild very highly indeed..

31 Jul 2013 15:33

The Last Inn, Barmouth

Barmouth is a wonderful small Welsh seaside town with an excellent beach and a decent vibe harbour and main street. Unfortunately it is desperately short of pubs, and even more desperately lacking in decent pubs, which is a real shame, as it deserves better.
The few outlets in town are a collection of hotels with public bars and a couple of more traditional pubs in the shape of the Tal-Y-Dor and the The Last Inn, and of these The Last Inn is probably the best of a generally average bunch and we found it a comfortable place for a lunchtime snack and a couple of pints.
The pub was being well utilised for our lunchtime visit and now benefits from having three functioning handpumps on the back room bar top and these were dispensing Marstons Pedigree, Hobgobblin and Sunbeam from the Banks Brewery, and on a sweltering hot summers day the Sunbeam hit the spot, as did the traditional pub grub being served.
The Last Inn would be my watering hole of choice if I was staying in or near Barmouth

30 Jul 2013 13:23

The Spooner's Bar, Porthmadog

Real ale and steam trains. A holiday lunchtime pint doesn’t get much better than that. This interesting place isn’t your traditional pub experience and has already been well described by others so just to add that an additional two ale pumps have been added along the bar top to now make eight in total and these were dispensing Jennings Cumberland, Sharps Doombar, GK IPA, Banks Mild, Sadlers JPA and the house Spooners Ale alongside Snowdonia Ale and Dark Side of the Moose from the local Purple Moose brewery.
I tried both the Purple Moose brews as we had a brewery tour at this local microbrewery scheduled for the afternoon and I wanted to get acquainted with them beforehand and they were both very good beers, especially the dark bitter, and well kept.

25 Jul 2013 13:23

The Farmers Boy, Brickendon

The Farmers Boy is an attractive 150 year old village Inn with a wonderful setting on one corner of the large green that the village of Brickendon used to be named after, before the Green was dropped from the village name.
Like many other fairly isolated village pubs it has had to move more towards dry sales than wet sales to keep going and now the large area to the right and behind the bar is now permanently set for dining and functions as a restaurant section. But fortunately there remains two traditional beamed and half wood panelled and floored areas around the bar just for drinking, including the smaller section to the left which houses a flat screen tele and looks like it was probably the small public bar in the days when this was a multi roomed pub. And then there is a very pleasant patio and garden area out the back of the pub and the green verges opposite the pub also have many bench tables for al-fresco drinking.
The pub is now a free house and on the beer front the small bar section has three pumps and then there are four further ale pumps on the larger bar section. Four ales were available with GK IPA, TT Landlord, and St Austel’s Tribute being doubled up, and then the remaining pump had Old Seadog IPA from the Caledonian Brewery. The Tribute and Landlord were well kept pints on this very warm day , so no issues there.
Have not eaten here as we historically utilise the large green for family gatherings and it is traditional for the women of the clans to pack enough picnic scoff to feed a small third world country. And as this is usually at the detriment of the beers, again yesterday the Farmers boy was well utilised for a pint and a check on how Murray was doing in the tennis. At least in years to come when people say can you recall where you were when the first British man since Fred Perry won Wimbledon, I will have no problem remembering I was in the Farmers Boy with a very passable pint of Landlord.
As a place to eat I can’t pass judgement but as a pleasant village pub for a countryside pint, the Farmers Boy ticks all the boxes for me.

8 Jul 2013 11:18

Wheatsheaf, Southwark

Wrong Wheatsheaf Lezford..
Your description belongs to the re- opened Youngs owned 'old' Wheatsheaf in Stoney Street round the corner.
It's an easy mistake to make and life would be much simpler if Young's had not been so bloody minded over the name of the re-opened pub..
But at least it means you can do a crawl of just The Wheatsheafs...

20 Jun 2013 16:50

The Forresters, High Ongar

Nice looking traditional village pub in the small village of High Ongar. Also pleasant traditional décor internally with original blackened oak beams throughout and a large open fireplace taking centre stage in the main bar.
The pub offers a sensibly priced lunchtime and evening food menu , but we did not try this as we were only here for a pre wedding beer before moving up to the large church up the road.
And in this respect the bar supports four real ale pumps alongside the usual standard lager and Guinness offerings and although these were largely dispensing standard offerings in the shape of GK IPA and Abbott and Sheperd Neame Spitfire there was a very passable Brentwood Best.
Nice little village pub and certainly wouldn’t have an issue if I lived in the village and it was my local.

20 Jun 2013 11:03

The Ethorpe Hotel, Gerrards Cross

The exclusive Buckinghamshire village of Gerrards Cross is said to be one of England’s most desirable places to live and is often referred to as ‘mini Hollywood’ due to its celebrity residents.
This would go some way to explain why there is no traditional pubs left within miles of the village and it is now populated by high end Gastro restaurants which attract people with more money than sense..
And the Chef and Brewer owned Ethorpe Hotel is now the only remaining place in the Village where you can get a beer in anything resembling a pub atmosphere.
Marketed by C&B as a Pub Restaurant and Hotel its clear focus is on food, and the majority of the internal space is set for dining. But fortunately the area by and to the right of the bar is set aside as a comfortable seating drinking area, and then there is a very pleasant outside garden space to the front of the building with a couple of sheltered gazebos and metal tables and chairs.
Actually internally it is quite a nice traditional styled but clearly modern oaked beamed bricked walled décor with lots of heavy wood tables and the bar does support three real ale hand pumps which were dispensing GK IPA, London Pride and St Austell’s Tribute. So hardly exciting but at least my pint of Tribute was perfectly passable. And the standard C&B pub food menu was available.
So OK for my one visit, but god forbid if I was to live anywhere where the only pub offering within walking distance was one like this one.
But somehow I don’t think that bothers the populous of Gerrards Cross, and those that do like a beer would have filled up in a Central London boozer before commuting back to their beer desert residence.

19 Jun 2013 18:01

The Bull, Edmonton

Despite living within two miles of the Bull for the significant part of my legal drinking life I have never set foot across the threshold of this pub until the other evening, and this was only due to it being the closest pub to the North Middlesex Hospital and after being taxi for a friend who had caught a squash ball in the eye, a couple of hours spent over a pint and a paper here were infinitely preferable to spending a few hours in the hell hole that is the North Mid A&E department.
However my historical absence is probably more due to this area of Edmonton rather than the pub itself and it is for good reason that the pony tailed Tim has not blessed Edmonton with an outlet of his Wetherspoons empire (yes I know, before you lambast me, that technically the Gilpin Bell has an N18 postcode, but it is physically much closer to Tottenham than it is to Edmonton).
It is a fact that the area of Edmonton east of the A10 and north of the North Circular trench covered by the N9 and N18 post codes has suffered significant pub losses over the years and is now a bit of a pub desert and desperately cries out for a decent go to pub. Unfortunately this is not it.
I found it largely inoffensive. The service was good, the standard draft beer offering (there is no real ale here) was, well, standard. And the locals, the few that were in, seemed a friendly lot and in no way threatening.
However as Rex laments below, any character this pub may have had at one time has been removed by its opening up into one largely soleless space around the central serving bar, and the pubs main function seems to be to cater to the local sport watching, pool playing , lager drinking populous, which is perfectly fine and long may it continue to do so.
And I will continue to hope that the beloved Edmonton of my youth will at some stage undergo the gentrification and improvement that swept Islington and is currently happening in parts of Walthamstow and Hackney. But for the moment, anyone who enquires if there is a decent Edmonton pub east of the A10 will continue to be met with stony silence.

19 Jun 2013 15:27

Willow, Winchmore Hill

Still closed, and now the steel shutters have gone up on all the windows and door..
Things do not look good for this one..

7 Jun 2013 23:28

Tailors, Cheltenham

Despite its full name, Taylors Eating House is now a Wadsworths pub, being taken over some time in 2012 i believe. It is situated on the very pleasant pedestrianised area in the heart of Cheltenham town centre. It has a fantastic creeper clad exterior, but the interior, although pleasant enough, being dark wood with comfortable seating areas with sofa’s and chairs and several screens for the sport, just didn’t live up to the exterior for me.
What didn’t help also was that on arriving at the bar, the four real ale hand pumps were all reverse clipped apart from a solitary 6X which was all that was available. And as the harassed staff were run off their feet with food orders I didn’t bother to enquire why the Henrys IPA, Swordfish and Horizon Golden Ale were not replaced on the mid-afternoon of the first bank holiday in May, which was a glorious day and they should have been shifting tons of the stuff.
There is also apparently a downstairs bar which is popular with students. But on a fine weather day like the one we were blessed with the big advantage of this pub is the outside seating area which protrudes out into the pedestrian walkway. The first section inside the iron railings has large umbrellas equipped with heaters for the evenings, and then the section beyond in the pedestrian area has wicker tables and chairs under standard pub umbrellas.
And according to a blue plaque on the pub wall, Sir Benjamin Baker a famous local civil engineer lived in a farm cottage on the site.
Food menu is mainly fried stuff with burgers and chips dominating. And amusingly the non-fried items seemed to just be salads which were on the menu under a section called Healthy options, which seemed to be recognition that most of the other options were unhealthy.
This was actually a very pleasant place to sit and have an alfresco pint. I just caught it on a day when it was suffering from poor bar management.

31 May 2013 15:03

The Strickland Arms, Ducklington

The Strickland Arms is a solid village pub situated in Ducklington, one of the first Saxon parishes in Oxfordshire. Over the years the building has been the main meeting place, the local auction house and formerly the principle public house since 1839 in the village and it takes its name from the Strickland family who lived nearby.
It’s a very solid brick built pub which is slightly let down by a non-descript entrance from the roadside, but is very pleasant once inside. Internally there is a main stone flagged floor and stone walled bar area with seating on the left side and two dart boards built into the alcoves of the large stone fireplaces. Then there is a separate carpeted dining room round to the right.
Then beyond is a small garden area with bench seating, small smoking area and an Aunt Sally game board. According to the friendly landlady the pub maintains 2 Aunt Sally teams, 4 darts teams, 2 football teams and a golf society for the local villagers.
It is a Wadsworth House and there are four Ale handpumps on the bar with Henrys IPA, 6X, Horizon (gone for my visit), and the seasonal St George & The Dragon. But we struck lucky with the timing as the pub was holding a bit of a mini beer festival for the first May Day Bank Holiday Weekend and there were a further seven regional ales being served from Polypins in the dining room, all at £3 a pint.
There is a good home cooked food menu and the two mains we had were spot on as well as the beer.
The village of Ducklington is a small detour off the A40 from the Witney By-Pass and I will certainly be utilising it again for a stop off when on this route again.

14 May 2013 15:20

The Bell Inn, Ducklington

Well, what can I say!?
A raving review from Smiler below and the experience must have affected them so much that they have not been able to bring themselves to review any other establishment since their only review.
Somehow I would be inclined to find Stanleys contribution more believable as he obviously visits several pubs locally.
As it was we visited before reading any reviews when diverting from the nearby A40 to find somewhere for lunch and a beer.
What I can say is that the good bergers of Ducklington are very fortunate to have two such good pubs in their village
We visited The Bell Inn first and no problem with the welcome for us and a very good exposed Cotswold stone wall interior.
The only thing that let it down for me was the beer choice as its a GK house and only the bland Bury St Edmunds brews were available with no guests.
In this respect the Strickland Arms was the preferred pub for us, especially as we caught them when they had a mini beer festival on.

14 May 2013 15:18

The Black Boy, Winchester

This idiosyncratic free house, taking its name from the coal heavers who worked the Navigation Wharf nearby qualified as the best pub visit during our stay in Winchester.
Many other have well described the main attraction of this pub and it is true to say that it would take several visits to discover all the eclectic collections this pubs four separate room spaces contain.
One that I can add, along with the red fire buckets is the collection of dolls eyes with eyelashes that stare down at you from the ceiling of the ladies toilets (thanks to Mrs S for that one, before you ask.)
All this and a keen Ale policy with five beers to choose from. Flowerpots Bitter, Ringwood Best Bitter and Summer Lightning are regularly available and Goddards Scrumdiggity was one of the two micro brewery beers available for our visit.
A must do pub when visiting Winchester.

10 May 2013 13:30

The Bishop On The Bridge, Winchester

The Bishop on the Bridge is a large building well situated on the bridge over the River Itchen with a great outdoor terrace space next to the river.
It was decent enough but somehow I too was left a little flat by the experience. The beers are OK and four Fullers beers were available in the shape of Pride, ESB, HSB and seasonal Spring Sprinter.
But I left thinking that this place with its room and good outside space should be utilised much better, and when compared to some of Fullers prime London locations, this one feels like not a lot of thought has been put into it.
A more extensive range of Fullers Ales including a couple of guests would help for a start.

10 May 2013 13:27

The Crown and Anchor, Winchester

Visited this pub a few years ago when last in Winchester when it was clearly a tired but solid locals corner pub.
Back in Winchester again and decided to pop in when seeing the chalk boards outside.
Not sure this place knows what it wants to be now. It seems to have Gastro restaurant intentions but want's to be a traditional pub at the same time, and is in danger of doing neither particularly well.
To be fair we didn't try the food as we were just visiting for a pint.
And word to davegooner, who I assume is the same davec507, Manager at The Crown and Anchor on Trip Advisor who tries to defend all the one post wonders that are bigging up this pub on Trip Advisor, if you are going to shout about having three well kept beers
A) Make sure they are all on, only IPA and Olde Trip were on for my visit.
B)Try and make sure you have something better than the insipid brews from Bury St Edmunds.
And a word to the wise, bigging up your own place on any social media site is not big and not clever.

10 May 2013 13:25

The Garibaldi, Bourne End

And they have done !
They managed to raise most of the £400K needed and have now purchased the pub from Punch Taverns.
Saves another one from becoming a private house.

1 May 2013 09:52

The Windmill, Chipperfield

One of four pubs that serve the Hertfordshire village of Chipperfiield. Internally it is a traditional pub interior having an L shaped section around the main serving area and then a dining room beyond.
It appeared to be food led as all the tables in the bar area had condiments on them as well.
Nice wood panelled walls with lots of local information around and a photo board for the darts team which showed that Martin ‘Wolfman’Adams must have visited for an exhibition match at some stage.
But I was buggered if I could find the dart board until I found it housed behind the dining table I was sitting at. So fair to say a Dartboard is available when food is not being served, which from what I saw is usually always.
Three Real Ale Hand pumps on the bar dispensing Doombar GK IPA and Fullers London Pride so sadly, like the Royal Oak on the other side of the village, not a very exciting choice but the couple I tried were very well kept.

29 Apr 2013 17:18

The Blackwood Arms, Littleworth Common

Indeed they did and alongside the usual Brakspears and Wychwood Ales on the pumps in the bar we were able to enjoy Crouch Vale Brewers gold extra, Blue Monkey Sanctuary and Elgoods Golden Newt from the barrels on silage out back. And surprise of surprise the weather was good as well..
It’s great to have the Blackwood Arms back and functioning as a solid real ale pub. It may not be back to its former glory in the dark days of the keg domination in the early 80’s when I used to have the misfortune of having to work near Slough, but I’d settle for this rather than having a closed pub and another private house. It’s unrealistic to dream of the days in the 80’s when it got in the Guinness Book of records for dispensing over 1000 different ales in a year, but along with the nearby Jolly Woodman and Royal Standard this still makes a wonderful beer stroll through the country lanes.
And as the Woodman is criminally not on this site I have loaded the crawl onto Pubs Galore for others to enjoy.

29 Apr 2013 16:00

The Volunteer Riflemans Arms, Bath

Sadly, for reasons better known to themselves, the owners or bar staff constantly try to big this place up and get its score up as the last 15 odd posts from someone who clearly has Multi Personality Syndrome proves.
And even more sadly, the admin of this site is inept and useless at sorting out problems like this and removing false reviews.
So you are better off looking at better pub review sites than this one to get a fair review of the Volunteer.
Ironically they don't need to do it because this traditional small single room pub tucked away in a side street in the centre of town is actually a decent pub.
It will never rank as a great pub (despite the trolls efforts to achieve that status on here ), but as a friendly enough pub to grab a pint it is perfectly acceptable.
Usually four ales from regional breweries on an the Exmoor Gold was fine on my last visit.

21 Dec 2012 15:04

The Black Horse, Barnet

Wow, and what a transformation they have done here.
Now much bigger with a modern decor and plenty of comfortable seating areas.
But the real selling point is the additional of a sea of Real ale hand pumps on the bar, 11 of them on total. 8 of them were functioning for my inaugural visit with mainly smaller brewery beers and the others seemed to be lined up for future use for the Barnet Brewery which will start brewing from Feb next year.
A couple from the XT Brewery Co in Thame and from the Raw Brewery in Derbyshire , but went for the Higsons Stout which was spot on.
The decor is now more aligned to a modern gastro pub, but the beer choice, if its kept going, means the good bergers of Barnet now have an alternative to the two Ye Oldes Mitre and Monken Holt for a decent beer evening.

9 Dec 2012 21:40

The Woodman, Southgate

Well, Mr Smiley got his wish and the pub was indeed closed soon after his visit.
And it has remained closed until it reopened under new Management on December 1st. Whether its under new ownership and those helpful people from Marstons have given the freehold to someone else to run it to its true potential remains to be seen.

3 Dec 2012 17:03

The Old Sergeant, Chase End

The Old Sergeant is no more..
Now boarded up and will be soon demolished to make way for a development of new flats.
Will miss it as a piece of Enfield history but the fact that I was prepared to frequent the Wetherspoons round the corner rather than go in here gives you a clue to what I thought of it as a pub.

30 Nov 2012 12:55

The Jolly Farmers, Enfield

First visit to the Jolly Farmers since it reopened in July after its major makeover. Once again Mac’s have brought in the design team who were trained by following ‘footballers wives’ around Ikea, as it takes a special touch to come up with animal skin print wallpaper, hanging wine bottles for lampshades and settee seating with no backs that are practically impossible to sit comfortably on.
Now primarily a restaurant with the majority of the pub laid out for dining tables with a small bar lounge area at the front section. So it now has the feel of being an upmarket Harvester and is more aligned to families for dinner than for vertical drinking.
However the positives are, a large outside decking area for alfresco drinking, although you will have to share this with the smokers, the four McMullen beers are retained and it still remains one of the few places you can reliably find the AK Mild, and if you do go for the food the menu is reasonably priced and of decent quality, if the ones we tried are to go by.

12 Nov 2012 15:58

The West Quay, Brighton

This is probably one of the best situated Spoons I have visited in my travels having as it does, a commanding position overlooking the length of Brighton Marina.
Formerly a pub called Jackson's Wharf, which opened in 1998, it converted to a Wetherspoons in 2004.
On two levels, both having an excellent outside veranda area to sit on and stare at the boats, seagulls and people walking the boardwalk of this part of the marina. Inside its the usual plastic chain pub design with the usual cheap but very cheerful plastic spoons menu. But good on it for that, because when sitting on the Veranda in bright sunshine, staring at the view a pint of real ale at under 2.00 is a positive steal for the location.
I think I counted the usual 12 handpumps in two banks of 6 along the separated bar services and the usual Wetherspoons house beers were complemented by a couple of local real ales.
Visited twice, once at lunchtime and then again late evening during my visit to the Marina and the service was OK on this midweek day, but cannot comment to what it may be like at the weekend. However I did get the impression when back in the evening that, due to the fact that it is some way out of town and you have to drive to it, it doesnt convert to a nightclub for the Brighton Youf like the other spoons situated in the town centre and the evening crowd seemed to be more mature and no bouncers required on the doors of this one.

13 Oct 2012 11:17

The Red Lion, Oxford

From the outside the Red Lion is a fine looking building situated on the corner of Gloucester Street and George Street in OX1. It's had various previous guises including a stint as part of the Firkin chain and then a stint as one of the truly awful 'Goose' brand of hostelries.
Having undergone a major refurbishment in early 2011 this is now one of those places that is advertised as Pub and dining which basically gives you a big enough of a clue that this is now a gastro pub more aligned to being a restaurant with an interior remodelled and designed by those that think a place is made more attractive by putting lumps of dead wood and vases full of dead twigs around the place.
One gushing foodie writer penned the following in a local Oxford rag just after it opened in its current guise.
The Red Lion is a typical pub by name, but by no means a typical pub by nature. Hoping for pork-scratchings, beer-mat pyramids and belching contests? Then you're better off heading to your local Wetherspoon's. This is an establishment that adheres to the new-era laws of The Gastropub - 'cosy cappuccino' paint, contemporary art and oh-so-trendy driftwood sculptures., which just about tells you all you need to know, which is probably to steer clear if youre just after a pint..
Well almost. There is a very decent outside drinking area at the back of the pub and on a fine day its a good spot to escape the foodie interior and worth investing in a pint to sup on the outside terrace.
As mentioned very much a modern gastro pub in a fine external building skin, but there are three handpumps dispensing two Brakespears beers and a decent pint of Everards Sunchaser.

4 Oct 2012 13:17

The Kings Arms, Oxford

Didnt have a lot of hope for this one when approaching along Broad Street and was expecting the usual Youngs inner city type sterile gastro food orientated pub, but found a much better pub than I was expecting.
This was possibly helped by the fact that we did get some table space in one of the very pleasant smaller snug rooms towards the back of the pub.
As mentioned by previous reviewers, its quite a large pub internally, but divided into several distinct spaces , with two serving bar spaces and additional separate rooms. The front bar is comfortable but not the best space in this pub and the smaller rooms at the back have much more atmosphere and house a display of pictures of old customers who have visited down the years, including of course, Morse and Lewis.
Named after King James 1, who was closely involved with the adjacent Wadham College, at various times over the years its been a coaching inn and a hotel, and the back bar, known as "The Office" was a male only bar until the fairer sex were allowed in after a redecoration after a fire in 1973.
A decent beer choice for a Youngs pub with seven beers available, which were four Youngs with the usual protagonists and three guest ales. The couple we had were well kept and I could not fault my St Austells Tribute, except for the fact that it was bloody expensive and this must be one of the most expensive pubs in OX1.

30 Aug 2012 13:55

The Firefly, Bourne End

Was taken over about a year ago and underwent a bit of a refurbishment, during which the place was smartened up, a space opened up at the back as a dining room and the beer and food offerings greatly improved.
A big improvement especially on the beer front, where three new hand pumps were added and at least 4 ales were on offer..
Sadly, don't know if it is due to the location, or former reputation or what, but unfortunately the new incumbents couldn't make a go of it and the place has now closed and is currently boarded up.
And in the current economic climate I guess this place has a very uncertain future and is destined to become more housing, especially as there is a sizeable garden space out back..
Will no doubt be good news to the BITE trolls that took a dislike to this one before the admin finally got round to cleaning them off..

23 Aug 2012 13:39

Walnut Tree, Bourne End

The Walnut Tree was taken over by new owners in November 2011 who shut the place down whilst it underwent a major redecoration.
This basically consisted of smartening the place up and aiming more at the gastro pub market. The old carpet has gone in place of a shiny new wooden floor. The interior is now a lot brighter with everything painted light grey including all the old period beams . The fireplaces remain, but the real fires have gone in place of a small fish tank in one and a big glowing orange vase in the other .
People who Dulux over 200 year old plus beams and replace real fires with vases should be shot in my opinion. But if that what it takes to keep this place going , then so be it.
The dining room section has also been improved and moved upmarket. You can tell this because they have decorated it with twigs, ( why interior decorators think we will be attracted to places because they decorate them with vases full of bits of old dead tree continues to be a mystery to me), and the menu has moved suitably upmarket and more expensive. Fortunately for us working locally they still have a reasonable lunchtime sandwich menu.
Unfortunately though the guest ale policy has disappeared and GK, IPA, Abbott and OSH are now the constant choices although they seem to be well kept and the quality remains high.

23 Jul 2012 17:00

The Thirsty Bear, London

Was dragged in here last week when close to Blackfriars.
I wont review it because, as a real ale drinking traditional pub enthusiast I am clearly not the target demographic for this concept.
But, also being of an age where I've experienced IT consultants coming into the companies I've worked for, selling us the concept of the next best computing system for an extortionate fee for us only to find later that it does not deliver the efficiencies promised, its at least good to see them risking their own money for once.

19 Jul 2012 14:20

The Orange Tree, Winchmore Hill

Since my last review over three years ago this has now become my most frequented local, primarily because the Orange tree now offers a true rotating guest ale policy.
As well as the house ales (GK IPA and OSH), kept because a lot of the locals drink them, John the Guvnor keeps two rotating guest ales, which due to the throughput change regularily (as now seen by the building pub clip collection on the wooden bar supports), and are always well kept.
So much so that I have now forgiven him for being a Gooner.

15 Jul 2012 12:45

The Red Lion, Chenies

The Red Lion is well renowned locally for its good pub food and decent range of beers and is a former winner of the Chiltern Food Pub of the Year in 2008, and has been a frequent entry in Camra's GBBG.
Can vouch for the food as we took the opportunity to eat here and it was very decent quality and certainly seemed to be home cooked fare.
There are four handpumps on the bar which included Vale's Best Bitter, Hook Norton Double Stout, and the pubs own Lion Pride, which is supposedly brewed especially for the pub by the Rebellion brewery, but tasted spookily similar to Rebellion Red to me. But not bemoaning that as the Red is one of my favourite brews from the Marlow brewery.
All in all a solid village pub and well worth the small detour from J18 of the M25.

12 Apr 2012 14:50

Mariners Tavern, Great Yarmouth

The Mariners Tavern was probably the best pub we visited whilst in Great Yarmouth if what you are after is a traditional old style pub serving a very good range of cask ales and ciders.
Unassuming but pleasant enough red brick and flint exterior, which hides a very pleasant two room interior either side of the central serving area .
Twelve hand pumps on the bar, six either side of the central pillar. These dispense a constantly changing range of local and regional brewery beers and all the local brewery beers we tried were in good nick.
All in all, a top notch traditional ale pub, and not to be missed when visiting Great Yarmouth.

30 Mar 2012 11:44

The St. John's Head, Great Yarmouth

Situated on North Bank of the Quay the St Johns Head Real Ale House, to give its full name from the large name plate on the front of the pub, advertises itself as having been in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide longer than any other pub in Great Yarmouth. However, from our brief visit to Yarmouth there doesnt seem to be a vast amount of competition to make this an astounding feat.
The bar supports five handpumps with Elgood Cambridge Bitter and Addlestones Cider always available and then a regularly changing ale choice on the rest. Damson Porter from the Burton Bridge Brewery and Cottage Brewing Tornado were on for our visit.
A decent friendly pub with well kept beers.

30 Mar 2012 11:41

The Kings Arms, Great Yarmouth

The Kings Arms is an old hostelry set in the conservation area of lower Northgate Street situated close to the Market Place and adjacent to St Nicholas Church. The original building is estimated to date back to the sixteenth century and allegedly once had a significant amount of stables out the back.
It looks like it was formerly a multi roomed pub, but it is now one internal space with two main sections either side of the central bar area.
The left hand side and behind the bar is an area mainly set to tables for dining and then the right hand side is more pub lounge with a large screen TV, Wurlitzer Jukebox and some comfy leather seating
Then outback is a large beer garden with a sheltered patio area.
There are three handpumps on the bar and it is extensively an outlet for Woodfordes ales with Wherry and Nelsons Revenge on when we visited and is included on the Woodfordes Ale Trail. But the third pump now provides a regularly rotating guest beer according to the landlord, which was one of the Elgood brews on our visit.
The beers we tried were well kept and this is overall a nice pub for a decent pint.

30 Mar 2012 11:39

The Pavilion End, Mansion House

Never used to bother with this place when it was a Marstons outlet as it was always well inferior to the nearby Ye Old Wattling and Williamson Tavern. But having seen that Fullers have taken it over, decided to pop by and take a look.
Glad we did , as we can continue to confine the Pavillion End to the pile not to bother with again.
Im not sure Fullers will concern themselves over the loss of my custom from this one, as by the way the place was rammed at 6.00PM with the after work City crowd when I walked past and was still rammed some three hours later with the same crowd when I walked in I dont think I am the target demographic for this conversion.
As mentioned below, its a modern, but largely soulless and characterless space and when busy , an extremely noisy environment. I couldnt quite work out if the noise was caused by this open soulless space with high ceilings having bad acoustics which made people have to shout at their neighbours, or was due to the fact that it attracted those City workers for whom shouting loudly so that others could enjoy their opinions, was a normal mode of communication.
But the biggest disappointment was to come when we did eventually make it to the bar, in that the Fullers Ales served were shocking and mine was probably the worst pint of Fullers I have been served in London.

29 Mar 2012 21:56

The Red Lion, Thetford

Just been purchased by Wetherspoons , so expect a new Tim Palace soon.

21 Mar 2012 19:57

The Cock Tavern, Edmonton

The Cock Tavern is a large Victorian drinking house situated on the corner of Houndsfield Road and Hertford Road.
Had a bit of a rough house reputation in the 80s as referred to below, but then went through a period in the 2000s when successive landlords tried to remove and increase the turnover and it went through a couple of guises such as 'The North London Venue Bar' and then the Pitch & Pint.
Fortunately though it is now back as the Cock Tavern and being run as a proper community pub.
Internally it is two large rooms with a connecting central bar. But essentially the right hand bar, with separate areas and a large games area at the back with pool table, bar football table, and fruit machines is the pub, and then the square room on the left is more a function room for music nights, large sporting occasions and private functions.
On the drinks side there is only the usual row of chrome fiz taps, and I get the impression that Carlsberg, Strongbow and spirits are the main things moved here. The Guinness I was therefore forced to drink was passable, but not obviously a common runner due to the way it was poured in one go by the staff on this busy Saturday evening.
So in conclusion, a decent community pub for those that may live within this area of Fore street, but not one to trouble an ale drinker.

20 Nov 2011 12:15

The Kings Arms, Sandy

It looks like this pub has had its fair few problems with transient landlords and managers in the past. And, although I can only comment from our one visit to utilise it for an evening food and beer stop on the way home after seeing the mighty Saracens trounce Leicester on their patch, the current staff team seem to be making a decent crack at running a good pub. The welcome and service we received were top notch , being treated more like locals rather than transient passers by. And the efforts of both the bar staff and the chef who paid close attention to those ordering from the reasonable traditional pub menu could not be faulted.
I will certainly be utilising it again when travelling south down the A1 through Bedfordshire.
Only personal downside was that it's a Green King house, so only the usual suspects of IPA, Abbott and OSH on. But we tried the IPA and OSH and both were in good condition.

6 Oct 2011 15:29

The Jekyll and Hyde, Turgis Green

After having the opportunity to utilise the Jekyll and Hyde again the other week for the first time in some 15 years I can see where Nofanofbritain is coming from, as it has certainly changed from the rural country pub I used to frequent.
However, as Darwin correctly stated, it is not the strongest who survive but those that are able to change and evolve in response to the changing environment around them. And in that respect I thought the Jekyll and Hyde has done this quite well. Probably a lot better than Nofanofbritain who has disappeared since 2008 after posting several disparaging comments about anywhere that dared to move away from what he wanted.
As a large roadside pub, basically in the middle of nowhere between two largish population centres, it has to try and provide something that will entice people to get in their cars and drive out to, so its no great surprise that it focuses on food and has been given a modern makeover that provides a clean comfortable environment, mainly for dining.
But in my opinion they have avoided the trap of making it completely a gastro restaurant and there is enough of a pub feel still about it, especially the front two areas which are more aligned to just sitting and drinking. And a lot of the original features, the large stone fireplaces, most of the oak beams e.t.c. have been retained.
And the beer is good, very good in fact, but then I do like Hall and Woodhouse beers. There are four pumps lined up on the bar, two dispensing Badger and Tanglefoot and then the other two dispensing the seasonal brew. At the moment that is Fursty Ferret, which I thought was a bit thin and lacking in taste for 4.4% ale, but fortunately the Badger and Tanglefoot were on good form.

28 Aug 2011 08:25

The Old Cross Tavern, Hertford

Still arguably Hertford`s premier real ale free house. Yes, there's less Belgium beers than there was and Mighty Oak beers now seem to be in residence, Viper Ales Jake The Snake and Maldon Gold were on for my last visit, there's still at least three other ales and a real cider. My pint of Thornbridge Jaipur IPA was as good as it gets, and a quality homemade pork pie as well.....

22 Aug 2011 22:40

The Crooked Billet, Little Marlow

I think the Mungo Jerry fan below has captured this pub rather well.
A fantastic 400 year old traditional country pub with a wonderful outside space for summer which rightly wins this place several plaudits from 'Britain in Bloom'. And then a great traditional oak beam interior for other times.
Four ales pumps but they are doubled up, so only Youngs Special and Brakspears Bitter available, but both are well kept.
And good solid traditional pub food, but at lunch time only.
However to concur, the clientele on the times I have visited at lunchtime has been, lets say politely, mature.
Im not ashamed to admit that I now have 10 more years than David Gowers first-class cricket average under my belt and I feel reassuringly young drinking here. So suffice to say if its excitement youre after, best look elsewhere, but if you are after a good pint of ale in a traditional old country pub, you can do a lot worse than a drive out to the Crooked Billet.

16 Aug 2011 14:10

The Red Lion, Welwyn

Usual gastro pub interior design set up of wooden and stone floors throughout, large central exposed brick fireplace accessible from both sides, plain walls in pastel colours, designer spot lighting, sofas in the bar area and wicker furniture in the restaurant. The restaurant room is wood cladded and painted white and presumably to try and give it a bit of character, there is a dead animal theme going on with Stags antlers on the fireplace and assorted animal skins on the floor and on the long seats. Seemed a bit naff to me, but then I am no expert to what passes as creative interior design nowadays.
We didnt eat here, but one look at the menu was enough to confirm the usual pretentious gastro nonsense, where chips are referred to as frites, and a classic burger will set you back the wrong side of 11.00. Apparently you can get a jus served with your gammon.
At least they should be praised for keeping a lounge bar area separate from the restaurant. And there were three ales on. These were Doombar, London Pride and Brakspears Gold and the Doombar and Gold we tried were well kept pints. But wet sales are clearly secondary to the food here and despite several branded staff in black pub polos, only one was working the bar area, so expect to wait if you get stuck behind a big group like I did.
So will concur, definately more of a restaurant than a pub. Is OK for a beer on a good day when you can use the garden, otherwise go elsewhere for that traditional pub experience.

15 Aug 2011 17:25

Derehams Inn, Loudwater

The Derehams Inn is housed in a building that began life as two farm workers cottages in the 18th century, and keeps a very traditional English pub feeling with low ceilings, open fires in winter and, from the exposed ceiling beams, a collection of pewter jugs and horse brasses, and for this alone it is worth seeking out.
The internal one room L shaped space is quite small around a central bar serving area and is organised into a couple of comfortable and intimate areas and out back there is a very pleasant largely secluded beer garden.
On the ale front this is a Free house and there are three pumps on the bar. The regular ales are London Pride, Brakspear and Youngs bitter which are usually on two of the pumps , and then there is a rotating guest beer on the other. For my visit last week the Pride and Brakespears were supported by a Bitter from the Binghams brewery in Twyford.
Solid pub for a decent pint and well worth finding if you want to avoid going into High Wycombe (and no-one will blame you for that).

8 Aug 2011 13:22

The General Havelock, Wycombe Marsh

This continues to be a very solid pub.
A Fullers house, with six hand pumps lined up on the main bar. Five are fullers ales ( Pride and ESP and currently Summer Ale are complemented by HSB and Seafarers and then the sixth is a rotating guest beer which was Wye Valley Bitter during my last visit.
Very traditional decor with pub mirrors and lots of interesting things around the walls as described below, and also a few old muskets to keep the General Havelock theme.
Plenty of internal seating but also a very nice garde space out back.
Only issue is that its a bit out the way outside Wycombe on the Kingsmead Road, but it is certainly worth the short trip out of town for good beer and good food.

2 Aug 2011 17:37

The Axe and Compass, Heath and Reach

Heath and Reach is a small village near the Chiltern Hills in Bedfordshire, about two miles north of Leighton Buzzard and three miles south of Woburn. It used to boast five pubs back in the day, but the Red Lion has been turned into flats, the Dukes Head into an Indian restaurant and The Cock Horse into a hotel.
But the Axe and Compass remains, and although I am well aware that the pub ratings on BITE are easily manipulated and not maintained by what laughingly passes as admin on this site, having seen it become the top scoring pub in the land, I took the opportunity when having to work from Milton Keynes to detour and see if I had been missing a rural gem of some character dispensing excellent ales straight from the wood, which somehow had been overlooked by the many Best Pubs in Britain guides.
And in this aim I can save everyone else the time and trouble.
The Axe and Compass is a fairly unremarkable village inn which retains a two room set up either side of a central serving bar.
The larger Public bar is dominated by a central pool table, two large plazmas running music videos, a dart board and several fruit machines and has a well worn feel and seating that has certainly seen some life. There were quite a few locals in on this early Monday evening, which as always a good sign.
It opens out onto a small patio area with seating which seems to be mainly utilised by smokers and beyond this is a decent garden section with kids play area.
The smaller front Lounge / Dining room is smarter and mainly laid to tables for eating. The food menu is honest pub grub fare at reasonable prices and there is a good range of home made pies at around the 7 mark.
Standard drinks offering with the usual chrome pumps. But at least there are three hand pumps although alarmingly for my visit these were dominated by the poor imitation that masquerades as Courage Best and Directors nowadays. Fortunately there does seem to be guest ales from the Concrete Cow microbrewery in Milton Keynes and the Courage Best pump was reverse clipped and a acme style homemade clip in crayon announced the availability of Watling gold, which was a decent pint and probably justified the petrol spent taking the detour from the A5.
So in conclusion, a solid, although largely unremarkable village pub that probably does qualify as being the best pub in Heath and Reach, and I would have no problem with it being my local if I lived in the village. But I dont so I cant see myself rushing back.

26 Jul 2011 13:43

The Bald Faced Stag, East Finchley

Yes I can fully apprecuiate some of the reviews below, but if you are going to do a gastro make over on an old run down Victorian boozer to keep it alive as a pub/restaurant, this is the way to do it.
Like most I am very quick to moan and bitch when a traditional pub is lost by the Ikea internal designers moving in , ripping out all its character and turning it into a restaurant.
But the Bald Faced Stag is run by the Realpubs group who now own about 14 well positioned, mostly Victorian boozers in North and West London and they are doing a very good job at finding the balance between traditional pub and gastro restaurant in my honest opinion.
Yes, its the usual clean characterless modern gastro interior but this is still better than the old incarnation and at least there is a dedicated bar section where the multiple bar staff do focus on wet sales and I've had no problem getting served within a decent period. And no-one can deny that the external elevated garden is not a really good spot for an alfresco pint on a decent evening.
And whats the alternative, another closed boozer, and then East Finchley really would be a pub desert.
The bar now supports three operating hand pumps and these were dispensing something more interesting that the usual London stock ales of Pride, OSH, IPA e.t.c. Last night the beers were Sambrook's Wandle, Alton Pride and Caledonian Nectar and the brews from the Alton and Caledonian brewery were well kept.
And another positive is that it has a late licence on a Saturday night so if you come out of the Phoenix Theatre opposite (yes without contradiction the finest Cinema in London) post 11.00PM, you can still catch an after film pint.

26 Jun 2011 09:56

The Cock, Henham

The Cock Inn is a fine example of a well run country pub, although I believe this was not always the case as there were issues with the previous incumbents which almost led to the pub being closed by Punch taverns. But fortunately it was taken over by one of the locals (the daughter of a local farmer I believe) and it is now back to being a solid country pub serving the local village community and it was being well supported by the locals when I visited on Saturday evening.
There are three handpumps on the bar. Two of these were the ubiquitous GK IPA and Sharps Doombar. But the third usually dispenses a beer from the Villages own Microbrewery, The Saffron Brewery, which is a one man band of an operation housed in old farm buildings almost opposite the pub. And on my visit this was Saffron Blond, a very pleasant golden ale.
The pub is also dog and walker friendly, although for the benefit of the earlier posting canine phobes, dogs are not allowed in the restaurant area (I believe walkers are!).

12 Jun 2011 20:58

The Hoops Inn, Much Hadham

This used to be a decent , if a small bit tatty in later years, traditional country pub.
But last summer it underwent a major refurbishment which turned it into a Gastro restaurant and any pretence of it being a country pub disappeared.
Internally it is completely laid to dining tables , which have to be booked in advance usually, and there is no longer any area for just drinking. I've eaten here once , and although the quality was fine the quantity was insultingly pretentious for what you had to pay and I certainly won't be rushing back.
Externally there is a smart terrace area to the front and gardens and large terraced area to the back by the car park.
The Hoops is probably OK for an outside beer when the sun is shining and it offers a limited selection of beers including Guinness and Bitburger, and draught cider, and there is a solitary hand pump which dispenses Adnams bitter.
OK if you want to splash the cash and treat someone who doesn't have a big appetite, but if you are visiting the Henry Moore Foundation and you just want a pint and a sandwich, then I am afraid it is back in the car for a short drive to one of the many superior traditional pubs in the surrounding villages.

10 May 2011 23:33

Maze Inn Bar, Oakwood

Well , no one will be going back now as it's currently being bulldozed to the ground...

Floods of tears....... anyone ??

29 Apr 2011 08:05

The Fox and Hounds, Barley

For the record the new owner is one Adrian Parkes whose track record is as owner of the Falstaff Microbrewery housed in the Falstaff pub in Derby, which is currently Derby City CAMRA pub of the year.
So things look very rosy , and they certainly did when I popped in on Bank Holiday Monday.
Three hand pumps on the bar and as well as two brews from the Falstaff brewery (3 Faze and Smiling Assasin) there was Dark Star Hop Head and the two we tried were in excellent condition.
As mentioned below the pub has been tastefully refurbished and with its large stone fireplace an wooden beams and now a focus on real beer, is how a real country pub should be.
I wish the new team well and hope they are succesful. I will certainly be popping in again when I have the time luxuary to avoid the M11 and A10.

23 Apr 2011 21:45

The Barge Inn, Woolstone

It may not be a tacky theme/chain pub but this is still a chain pub and is one of the Vintage Inn pub chain group. And in the usual Vintage Inn way it has been thoroughly restored and made over internally to be a very clean and almost sterile environment focussing on the food trade with the wet trade secondary. Internally it is very pleasant with lots of exposed beams and brickwork and several carpeted areas laid for dining. However, except for a few original remaining wooden beams nearly all of the original early 19th Century pub which was built to service the workers on the nearby canal has gone and although I agree it does have some character, it is larhgely manufactured.
One big plus is the outside eaqting and drinking areas and there are three pleasant garden areas around the pub with plenty of bench seating.
The food menu is the same as Ive seen and experienced in other members of the chain around Beds and Herts, so Ive no reason to believe this one will not be up to scratch, but I didnt take the opportunity to try it as I was here for the beer.
And on that front I was surprised not to find the usual Pride/CW Bombardier or Wadsworth 6X, which are the Vintage Inn house ales, but instead on the three pumps were Marstons Pedigree, Doombar (off) and Thornbridge Kipling and the Kipling was a very nice pint when I finally got it.
And thus we come to the recurring problem with this type of chain pub focussed on food sales, the emphasis is on serving the tables and they never have enough staff managing the bar. When I first arrived there was one guy on the bar and as there is no separate food ordering area, a large queue was forming whilst he struggled to enter the food orders into his electronic POS system. Finally a second lad turned up, which improved things, but it still took me over 10 minutes just to get a beer.
Thus I would say this is a decent enough place for a pub meal and I may well return for that purpose, but for a beer I will be giving this place a miss as there are plenty of more traditional beer focussed pubs hidden in the lanes of MK and surrounds

22 Apr 2011 22:01

Cross Keys, Milton Keynes

Now that I am having to spend more time working in the MK area., Im at least taking the opportunity to search out some decent ale pubs and came across the Cross Keys on a more beer oriented review site I utilise.
In this respect I was not disappointed. And the Cross Keys is one of the very few establishments I have come across where the hand pumps have been trebled clipped. This is probably due to the fact that there are groups of three hand pumps only on two sections of the bar and there were 9 beers and ciders available. Being a CW branded pub these included Bombadier and Eagle IPA, but these were supplemented by Wadsworths 6X, Youngs London Gold, Directors, and two brews from the Potton brewery, namely the Shannon IPA and ShamblesBitter and the latter was a very well kept pint.
Internally it is a nice layout with a bit of character and with the ample outside seating area and a very large car park this is a very good pub for a drink.
But I too was not overly enamoured with some of the locals, although my experience was nowhere near as serious as the reviewer below.
Now I do not begrudge locals giving you the once over when a stranger ventures into their pub, thats just human nature. But I do take exception when popping back to my car to retrieve my forgotten wallet, to be eyeballed again by morons as I both left and came back and then to be given the treatment again when I finally left.
Look, its a single bloke in a suit who has chosen your pub to have a quick evening beer before making the journey home--- Get Over It !!

22 Apr 2011 09:39

Whole Hog, Palmers Green

Now opened again, but not as a pub. It is now a Turkish restaurant , which will no doubt be a welcome addition to all the other Greek and Turkish restaurants in the Palmers Green area...

3 Apr 2011 10:14

The Golden Lion, Hoddesdon

This is a former 16th century coaching Inn which is believed to have been in existence since 1535 so there is plenty of olde worlde character with lots of what look like original beams and several separate pub areas at different floor levels, and has a ramshackle feel befitting its age.
Bit of a locals pub, who can be a bit clique and tend to dominate the bar stools. But I wont begrudge them this as they spend a lot more money here than me on my infrequent visits.
Plenty of the usual chrome Lager and Guinness pumps and these are complemented by three hand pumps, which usually dispense GK IPA, Fullers London Pride and then the third alternates between Adnams Bitter and GK Abbott. As I tend to visit on a weekend evening when the pub has live bands and there is a few in (being one of the LemonRock Local Music venues, when the band tucks itself in the right hand end of the pub), the ale quality tends to be OK and the Pride and IPA have always been drinkable, as it was again last Friday evening.

29 Mar 2011 14:18

The Old Wellington Inn, Manchester

I liked this place and its neighbour the Oyster bar. Any pub that has been saved by moving it brick for brick appeals to me for starters and these pubs have been moved twice in their history, the first time in the 70s to be actually inside the old Arndale shopping centre, were then moved again in 1998 to their present location when the Millennium area of the City centre was redeveloped.
Now part of the Nicholsons group and the beer quality and quantity has now improved from the M&B days.
The downstairs bar now supports 8 hand pumps and seven were going at the time of our visit. These included Twaites Nutty Black, Acorn Barnsley Bitter, Jennings Cumberland and Lancaster Red all of which were good.
The two upstairs rooms are reserved for dining, so a disadvantage is that only the small downstairs bar is for drinking only and there is very limited seating and standing room in here. But it does benefit from the large outside benched drinking area, which wasnt that much in use as it was freezing outside, and another disadvantage is that you have to drink out of plastic if you are going outside.

16 Feb 2011 15:07

The Waterhouse, Manchester

I thought this is one of the better spoons conversions and was fit for purpose when we needed to find somewhere comfortable for Sunday lunch and a decent pint.
It wasnt overly busy, so had no problem getting served. I did not realise at first that the bar was in two parts in separate rooms and was under the impression that there were only five beers on offer, before I discovered the second section. Fortunately Thornbridge Chiron and Jailpur IPA were on in the right hand bar and both these were well kept pints to complement the usual paint by numbers spoons Sunday roast.
I also thought the multi room layout worked well and gave several areas of differing character, where you could sit and have a civilised conversation without shouting, which is the norm in most of the Wetherspoon drinking barns. And the upstairs toilets were some of the best I have come across for this chain.
So all in all, one of the better spoons experiences for me...

16 Feb 2011 15:00

The Edgar Wallace, Temple

First visit to the Edgar Wallace since the new Gaffer took over early last year. Was a bit concerned that the ale choice and quality may be down on previous experiences, but fortunately I need not have worried and I could find no discernable change and the pub still continues as a top class Real Ale establishment.
Still 8 hand pumps on the go dispensing mainly beers from smaller regional and micro breweries. These included Tirrill Barmans Massive Baubles, Salopian Firkin Freezin, Brewsters Summer down Under, Ascot Brewery Single Hop Summit, Oxfordshire Marshead, Harveys Sussex Best and Dark Star HopHead, most of which our group tried and all pints were well served and in top form, especially the Sussex Best and Hop Head

10 Jan 2011 21:37

The Fox And Duck, Therfield

The Fox and Duck is a decent Hertfordshire country pub utilised by locals, walkers and dog owners alike.
Has suffered from constantly changing Landlords over the last few years but the current emcumbent (of about 6 months) does seem to be making a go if it to make it a community pub and It's not so much a restaurant as the previous reviewer infers.
Internally it is one open-plan space with the front section with the bar area being mainly for drinking, being a plain wooden floor area encompassing two bow-windowed sections with chairs and largish stripped-top dark wood tables. And then the section at the back is carpeted and laid mainly to tables for dining.
The pub benefits from a large garden which stretches back behind the pub and although it includes play equipment, it backs onto a new Village Play area with even bigger and better swings and roundabouts.
There is a decent pub grub menu but cannot pass comment on that as I have only ever utilised The Fox and Duck for a mid walk pint when doing one of the many decent village walks connecting to Therfield.
Its a Green King pub and the beers on offer are the usual GK brands and were GK IPA, Abbot and St Edmunds on my last visit just after new year. And although the St Edmunds was a very well kept pint the pub would certainly benefit if one of the three hand pumps was dispensing a true guest beer.
Yhe new landlord is a folk musician and there is now a small stage area on the right hand side of the main bar area and I believe the plan is to have music evenings on a Sunday.

10 Jan 2011 13:39

The Windmill Inn, Luton

Unpretentious corner boozer which, as mentioned is handy for a stop if you are picking up from the nearby Parkway station.
Deuchars IPA and Pride on Friday night and both were very well kept.
Good friendly service from the Thai family who obviously run this pub well, and although I did not eat, plenty of people were.
Will definately use again when meeting someone from the station.

5 Dec 2010 11:45

The Kings Head, Little Marlow

Fine 16th Century coaching Inn with lots of retained period features.
Usually a decent menu of home cooked food, and the Steak and Kidney pie is definately a recommendation.
But the primary reason to visit the Kings Head is because the small bar area supports six handpumps which dispense five beers in total, a couple of house beers (pride and TT Landlord ) supplemented by rotating guests, which were Adnams Broadside and IPA and Smuggler from the nearby Rebellion Brewery in Marlow on my recent visit last week. The Rebellion beers were in great nick, but then they dont have far to travel..

1 Nov 2010 13:39

The Old Bell, Enfield

Bit of a glowing review from the single poster below.
But I will concur that the Old Bell is a good local Enfield pub for a music night on Fridays and Saturdays when it is generally a welcoming place with a good crowd in to see the largely cover bands performing on the small stage.
What I wont agree with is that the beer is excellent. There are two handpumps on the bar, but Ive rarely seen anything coming out of these, which tends to leaves the Keg version of Flowers, and excellent is not an adjective that can be used for this. Which is why we usually jump out at the interval for a quick one in the real ale dispensing pubs just down the road.
Forthcoming acts can be found on the Lemonrock listing pages and the pub has a good collection of 60s, 70s and 80s album covers and vinyl decorating the walls.

24 Oct 2010 18:53

The Jolly Anglers, Reading

Cannot concur with the comments of the reviewers below. On our visit this weekend whilst cycling the Kennet and Avon canal, the three ales available were Youngs Bitter, Lodden Russett and Kennet Side Jolly Good Bodge, and the ones we tried were in very good condition albeit served a tad on the cold side. There were also 4 Cider polypins on the bar, and talking to the landlord (who I guess is the Jon referred to below), he will be focussing more on Ciders and Perrys to try and differentiate from some of the other offerings in the area.
The landlord is trying to rebuild the trade after the enforced shut down and trying to get it back to a solid community pub. He currently offers price discounts on both beer and food to card carrying CAMRA members and a guest (which is a nice touch), runs open mic night twice a week for budding musicians and has a student night with discounted prices to NUS members on Wednesdays. And anything which tries to drag the RU students out of the chrome bars in the town centre for a real pub experience should be applauded.
The Landlord still has some work to do to make this one of the best pubs in Reading, but I wish him well in his endeavours and he will certainly have my support the next time I am in reading

12 Oct 2010 21:24

The Seven Stars, Bristol

Searched this place out whilst visiting Bristol a couple of weeks ago.
No surprise really that this is the local CAMRA branch pub of the year. 8 ales on hand pump, another three on gravity out the back along with an offering of Ciders and Perrys. Mainly regional and Micro brewery ales on which included Budding from the Stroud Brewery, Vale Ale and Cotswold Spa Old English Rose and Apricot Ale. The couple I tried were very well kept, but I think I will be sticking to brews that dont have real fruit as ingredients in the future.

1 Sep 2010 23:04

The Galleon Inn, Broad Haven

A pleasant enough stone walled Brains pub at the Little Haven end of the village in a good position on the sea front. Internally two sections, a decent enough lounge area then an area set for dining.
There are three hand pumps on the bar including the usual SA and Brains and a third guest which I cannot remember what it was.

31 Aug 2010 21:10

The Swan Inn, Little Haven

The Swan Inn is a 200 year old seaside Inn which probably makes it the oldest of the three pubs in the small village surrounding the coastal cove of Little Haven. Although primarily focussing on food, as it has a ground floor restaurant and a dining room on the first floor, it still manages to retain the charm of a traditional pub and the bar area has plenty of polished oak tables, leather armchairs and a decent stone fireplace. And if you can get it the bay window seat is probably the best place internally for a view over the cove. The bar itself is a decent lump of solid pewter on which there are three hand pumps dispensing Draught Bass, Worthington Cask and Brains SA at the time of our visit. So not the most inspiring choice but good enough and the SA was a decent pint.

31 Aug 2010 21:09

The Sloop Inn, Porthgain

I liked this pub.
It's in the tourist trap village of Porthgain in the Pembrokeshire National Park, so you shouldn't be surprised that it focusses on taking the tourist dollar with an extensive food menu and fairly high priced ales.
However I would certainly recommend it for a visit if you are in the area because it is a pub of some character. Internally it is in four sections with two dining areas , an area more for just having a beer in front of the bar and thena separate games room with darts and pool table off to the side. But it is one of those pubs where you could spend a fair bit of time looking at whats on the walls and ceiling. The walls are packed with pictures and information of nearby shipwrecks and details of the Sloops that used to work the harbour including a collection of the name plates from the said Sloops. And the ceiling is festooned with all sorts of nautical memorabilia.
The harbour is less than 100 metres from the door and there is a village green to the front and a large south-facing patio for a outside beer when the sun is out.
The beers were Brains Reverend James , Felinfowl Double Dragon and GK IPA and despite the pint of Reverend James being one of the most expensive I had during my trip to Pembrokeshire, it was also one o the best.

19 Aug 2010 20:41

The Sekforde Arms, Clerkenwell

There's a good reason this pub has a locals feel to it, in that its superb position hidden amongst the Georian terraces of Clerkenwell mean it's off the radar of office workers and tourists, so the majority of punters at any one time are locals.
It was looking slendidly inviting festooned with hanging baskets when I searched it out again last week.
Yes the decor is a bit worn inside, but its an unspoilt back street local that Youngs have so far decreed to leave alone and not bugger about with, and for that we should be thankful.
Usually adecent fint and the London Gold lived up to that last week.

2 Aug 2010 08:20

The Clarence, Mayfair

Fairly run of the mill Nicholsons offering with the usual plenty of dark wood and mirrors offering although a bit it of a strange shape internally.
But it is another Nicholsons house which has an improved beer range and now has eight ale hand pumps which as well as offering the usual house ales, included Harviestoun Schiehallion and Wolf Brewery Straw dogs amongst the guests and the latter was a well kept pint.

25 Jul 2010 12:17

Kings Head, Mayfair

10 real ale hand pumps at various points on the bar and on my recent visit during last week, there was no duplication of clips, with the usual Nicholson house ales being complemented by several off the Summer 2010 guest ale list. These included Morrissey FOX Aussie IPA and Thornbridge White Swan and the latter was a very nice pint and well kept.

25 Jul 2010 12:14

The Coach and Horses, Mayfair

A strange mock Tudor decor wedge of a building that you dont get the full effect of if you are walking to it from either direction along Bruton Street on the same side of the road. SO it is actually worth the extra effort to step over to the other side and get the view from there.
The upstairs area was being laid out for a private function at the time of my visit, which meant the ground floor bar area was busy and consequently quite noisy.
Fourhand pumps supported which had the usual suspects of Fullers Pride, TT Landlord and Youngs Ordinary. But then the forth was dispensing OHanlons Goldblade which, as I didnt bother read the small print on the pump clip, I didnt realise until after ordering is a wheat beer.
Made a pleasant change as did this strange different to the run of the mill pub.

25 Jul 2010 12:12

The Queens Head and Artichoke, Regents Park

After meeting up for a bit of sport in the park we decided to go in here for a few postexercise pints as it looked like a decent pub from the outside and there was a fair crowd on the pavement on this warm evening.
We wont be making that mistake again.
On entering only the Pedigree of the three hand pumps was on and the Adnams and TT Landlord had gone. And , despite there being five staff dressed in the black pub uniform, only one seemed to be involved in serving people at the bar. I guess the others were all concentrating on the restaurant upstairs.
And then that persons inability to recognise who was next to be served was only matched by their inability to pull a full pint.
Despite this we decided to stay for a few rounds, but even this was almost thwarted by them running out of glasses because no one was bothering to collect the empties now covering every table surface.
So looking at some of the reviews below with regards to the upstairs restaurant, I suggest this place sorts out if it wants to be a restaurant or a pub. Because at the moment its making a piss poor attempt of trying to be both.
Conclusion. Very poor.

23 Jul 2010 12:39

Queen and Albert, High Wycombe

The Queen and Albert is on my drive home but haven't been into 'The Steps' (as it used to be known by the Woburn Industrial Estate crowd when I worked there) for over 20 years.
But spotted the Rebellion Brewery plaque now resident on the exterior wall and ventured in for a quick one last night.
And as mentioned below 4 Rebellion beers available on the bar and the Rebellion Blond was an excellent pint.
So will concur, a fine traditional pub, now with fine beers. Well done.

22 Jul 2010 10:09

The Arkley Hotel, Barnet

Was driving past last night and noticed that the old tired Ember Inn had been made over so decided to stop and try the place out for a quick one.
Oh dear, another Gastro restaurant makeover where Footballers wives meets Ikea, firmly aimed at the well heeled residents of Arkley and Barnet who have more money than common sense, and I didnt know whether to laugh or cry.
For the record the beers available were TT Landlord, Doombar and a third pump which was unclipped. The TT Landlord was fine, but be prepared to remortgage first.
Felt duly bound to peruse the menu, because I got the feeling that I may be ejected if I didnt commit to spending more than a pint. At that point I decided to laugh.
If the local Chelsea tractor crowd are suckered in to paying that much for a plate of pretentious nosh, just to be seen, then who am I to begrudge them and they are welcome to it.
I will continue to drive past to the real pubs remaining in Barnet.

14 Jul 2010 21:58

The Roundhouse, Covent Garden

Ooops !
I had the review below written after a couple of recent visits to the Roundhouse but hadn't got round to posting them before Paul shared his negative experience.
My experience was better and i can concur this smallish pub does benefit when the doors are all open and its good enough for Alfresco drinking.

I have utilised The Roundhouse a couple of times during the last month as a location to meet up, as the beer quality is usually good and its location equidistant from Leicester Square and Covent garden make it fairly easy to find but far away from both not to be swamped by tourist hoards.
Its a bit of a strange layout and can get cramped, especially in the winter months. However on a hot summer day all the double doors are opened and then the large exterior pavement space is utilised to expand the available vertical drinking area.
The pub has three flat screen teles and limited seating inside.
Usual fullers beer on which included the seasonal Gales Festival Mild which was in good condition on this particularly warm Saturday afternoon.

12 Jul 2010 13:02

The Queens Head, Winchmore Hill

Now reopened again after another refit. Not a lot different that I can see, except that the place has been given a good lick of paint and is a lot smarter than previously. The lighting has been upgraded and it now appears a lot brighter, to the extent that with the clear glass frontage you get the feeling that you are living exhibits in an aquarium.
One positive note is that there are now two ale hand pumps on the bar. Unfortunately on my first visit since it reopened, there was nothing coming out of them, and then yesterday one of them was dispensing London Pride.
I suppose this is a step forward from the solitary infrequently functioning GK IPA pump of the previous incarnation, but hardly a great one.

27 Jun 2010 10:07

The Cambridge, Soho

All seven hand pumps were on the go during my vist this week and as well as the usual house ale suspects, there was Daleside Blonde, Jaipur IPA and Amber from the Devon Otter Brewery. And the Amber Otter was in good nick..
Fortunately no problem getting close to the bar and getting served on my evening visit as everyone was drinking outside , enjoying the sunshine.

26 Jun 2010 14:11

The Three Greyhounds, Soho

Only tried the Daleside Blonde and it was a good pint. But only stayed for one before making my way down to The Cambridge as I prefer the Cambridge to this one as it's usually got a better beer selection.
But no problem , every one to their own wrt the previous reviewers preference..

26 Jun 2010 14:06

The Crown and Anchor, Covent Garden

A decent enough, but nothing special corner pub on the cobbled back streets just of Shelton Street in Covent Garden.
Internally the street level bar is a fairly plain, but there is a more comfortable upstairs room which is used as a restaurant during the day and as a bar in the evening.
Three handpumps and the usual beers as mentioned by Mr Bonser of Harveys Sussex Best, Deuchars IPA, and Spitfire.
The pub has no official outside drinking area, but in summer the cobbled pavements are utilised and its a fairly decent place for an outside pint, as it was last week.

25 Jun 2010 21:14

The Two Brewers, Covent Garden

A nice, more traditional pub with a decent comfortable traditional interior with lots of pictures, mainly related to the local theatres.
Three handpumps on the bar , which were Youngs London Gold, Doombar and Abbotts during my vist and the London Gold was a well kept pint.

25 Jun 2010 21:11

The Black Horse, South Mimms

The Black Horse is a smallish two bar pub tucked away down the narrow Black Horse Lane in South Mimms, just off the main rat run between Junctions 22 and 23 of the M25.
Its a Greene King pub, so the beer choice is not stunning, with usually IPA and Speckled Hen on offer and the IPA has been well kept on the couple of times I have dropped in. The internal decor is traditional with wooden beams, brass plaques and old photos on the walls and an open fire in the more public of the two bars. But the Lounge section, which is mainly used as the dining section, is still fairly plain and homely and has a feeling more like your Grans front room.
The pub also benefits from a decent sized outsize back garden, equipped with a Gazebo with benches to accommodate the smokers.
Customers tend to be locals and passing ramblers, exploring the many woodland walks in the area.
So, in conclusion a decent enough, no frills back street local boozer and if I lived in the village, Id certainly be in here at regular intervals.

23 Jun 2010 18:00

Black Horse, Leicester

After my disappointing visit late last year I have been back a couple of times when back in Leicester, including this Sunday when I convinced the youth to take me for a Fathers Day pint and am happy to report that all six hand pumps in the back lounge bar have been operating and the beers tried have been in good condition. This Sunday there were Beacon, Tiger and Sunchaser from the Everards brewery, plus CW Waggledance, Anchor from the Titanic Brewery and a Scrumpy Cider.

21 Jun 2010 21:48

The Forest Gate Inn, Epping

Have to say Gasperoos experience is the opposite to mine also.
Was back in the area at lunchtime and took the opportunity to drop in for a pint and a sarnie.
As I remember it being, well worth a visit on a sunny day with the bench seating outside the two entrances and then a sizeable green garden space further out to the front of the pub. And my pint of Nethergate IPA was spot on.
So in conclusion the Forest Gate Inn is a traditional old style country pub with a bit of character and if youre in the Epping Forest area and after a stop for a relaxing decent pint of Ale, then this place would tick all the boxes in my experience.

3 Jun 2010 14:56

Railway Arms, Theydon Bois

Now shut down and reopened as a posh restaurant called Carriages.
But no need to worry, The Bull is still next door and that was always a better pub anyway.

3 Jun 2010 14:12

The Shakespeare's Head, Soho

Yes its a tourists trap, but the beers always been OK for me and took the opportunity again on Sunday for a quick one when the wife got lost in the Carnaby Street shoe shops.
The referred to small bar does support four hand pumps, two of which had Youngs Ordinary and the others were Pride and Spitfire. The Youngs were perfectly fine and I got a seat outside so that I could people watch.
But definately only stay for one as there are much better pubs in the area.

26 May 2010 16:57

The White Horse, Soho

Visited Sunday afternoon. Reasonably busy, but plenty of people drinking outside in the sunshine so had room to move around inside.
I do like the way this pub retains two separate rooms, although connected at the back.
Six real ales on and repectable pints of Tribute and RCH Pitchfork.

26 May 2010 16:52

The Clachan, Soho

The bar now supports 8 hand pumps which I am sure is an increase from my last visit.
As well as the house TT Landlord and Pride there was Deuchars IPA, Sharps Doombar, Thornbridge Jaipur IPA, Moorhouse Black Cat and RCH Pitchfork on during last Sundays visit and the Jaipur IPA was an excellent pint.

25 May 2010 12:18

The Hill, Primrose Hill

Visited again during the week to avoid the scrum in the pubs and bars closer to The Round House and was also pleased to find that it has become a bit more pubby. The ridiculous Tapas bar snacks have been replaced with bowls of chips (wedges twice fried and in some coating but still generally chips). The more pretentious menu items have disappeared for dishes you can actually recognise, but the Steak is still an eye watering 20.00, and one of the girls is now working the bar to serve those who only want to drink. And low and behold there is now a large plazma tele installed from the ceiling by the entrance for the forthcoming world cup matches.
This is also a much more pleasant place for a social drink on a pleasant evening, as the front panels of the pub are opened making it much more light and airy and the two part secluded courtyard garden comes into its own.
But still only a single ale handpump dispensing Adnams, which was decent enough. But if its vertical beer drinking you are after then the nearby Sir Richard Steele is still a much better bet.

22 May 2010 08:12

The Green Man, Royston

Very decent one bar pub on the Market Hill one way system at the end of Royston High Street. The bar area is directly in front of you as you walk in from the street, and as well as the usually fizzy lagers and cold Guinness there are three handpumps, which were dispensing Adnams Best, Youngs Ordinary and a real cider at the time of my visit.
The Adnams and Youngs were well kept, and a lively crowd were in on this particular Saturday night to watch a very decent covers band.

16 May 2010 09:30

The Barracuda Bar, Bishopsgate

Large sports bar on The Houndsditch off Bishopsgate. Several plazma screens including a 3-D one and a big pull down screen which is used for the major sporting occassions, and a couple of pool tables on the far side for those not interested in the screens.
Gets very busy when a key evening game is on, but is an excellent location to watch a footy game with fellow supporters.
And when your team wins to get into the Champions League 4th spot you almost forget about the sticky floors, crap gassy beer and 20 minutes fighting in the scrum up the bar to get served.

7 May 2010 16:47

The Rose and Crown, Enfield

As mentioned by the reviewer below, a superb former coaching Inn with bits of the building dating from the 1700s with some historical connections to Dick Turpin.
Its an OK pub and as mentioned the beer choice is a bit limited, Fullers London Pride and Deuchars IPA on my last visit if I remember correctly. Has an extensive food menu, and although I have not eaten here, plenty of people do.
There is a decent garden area round the back and its location opposite Hilly Fields makes it an ideal place for a mid walk stop if you are doing the Hilly Fields / Whitewebbs crawl.
And to answer Staligrad , not it is not 1.3mile from Gordon Hill station, its well under a mile by road and less if you walk straight across Hilly Fields. Its because B.I.T.E have got the post code wrong.
The correct one is EN2 9AJ.

19 Apr 2010 12:33

The Barrowboy and Banker, London Bridge

Ditto the poster below that this place continues to attract and I also found myself back in The BB&B the other night.
Despite the few negatives referred to, its location is ideal when emerging fromLondon Bridge station for a quick couple before moving off further into Borough for the evening. And despite the prices, the beers are usually top notch and well kept.

15 Apr 2010 16:51

The Bell and Buck, New Barnet

Looks like another one lost to the tough times for pubs at the moment.
All borded up when I went past the other night and no great signs of it being temporary either..

12 Apr 2010 20:08

The Ship, Borough

Will concur with the posters below that this is a very decent Fullers pub and is a sight for sore eyes when escaping from the E&C heading north. Good traditional pub decor as described well below and the full range of Fullers Ales on pump.
And the two screens at either end of the bar were showing the two Europa League games with Fulham and Liverpool with the sound muted, so you could enjoy the footy but not have it intrude into your conversation.
Only issue I had with the Ship was with the service. There seemed to be three people working the bar, but only one was ever serving and any particular time. Firstly the guy who served us on entering seemed to think that as he was pulling seven pints he could get away with outrageously short pulls. A mistake he did not make subsequently after reminding him that we had asked for pints and not halves.
And then when the bar area got busy with waiting thirsty punters, one of the bar staff who was obviously carrying out a stock check seemed to consider it more important to count the number of bags of peanuts, rather than serve waiting customers.
But a small moan and all in all The Ship is a good solid traditional pub and long may it remain so.

3 Apr 2010 08:56

The Unicorn, Kings Langley

Not sure I'd concur with topPints comment about the beer. Yes, the bar only supports two handspumps so the choice may not be brilliant. But these were dispensing Adnams Bitter and Fullers London Pride on during my visit and both were very good.
And as we had come across it by chance when diverting off the M25 to find a decent boozer, the roaring log fire and reasonably priced traditional pub food menu were spot on.
So thought The Unicorn was a decent welcoming pub and wouldn't have an issue if it was my local.

2 Apr 2010 16:33

Prince Arthur, Old Street

Visited back in October last year when in the area and will post my experience now it has finally made it onto BITE.
Pleasant looking pub and it stands out amongst the surrounding sterile housing blocks.
Theres not a lot of floor space internally and a fair bit of it is given over to the dart board. But worth searching out for the Shep Beers and the couple I tried were in excellent nick.
Worth searching out.

2 Apr 2010 16:21

The Steam Packet Inn, Totnes

The Steam Packet benefits from a superb location situated right on the banks of the River Dart & just five minutes walk from the centre of the town of Totnes. The pub is named after the steam packet boats that used to bring mail up to Totnes, which is the furthest in land you can go up the Dart by boat due to weirs above the town.
The hostelry dates back to at least the mid-nineteenth century and the main bar area is an excellent place for a pint, with two stone walled rooms each with large fireplaces, which I guess they have going on winter nights. There is now a large conservatory style dining room built on the back which, if you are staying in one of the four B&B rooms as we were, also provides great views of the river and the Vire Island opposite whilst you are having breakfast.
I cannot pass comment on the evening food menu as we did not try it, due to it being aimed at the more expensive higher end, and reviews on other accommodation web sites had intimated that the quality and service were not representative of the high prices. This was a sentiment echoed by other guests we met at breakfast, but I will say the breakfasts were excellent and the conservatory was always full with locals dining in the evening during our stay.
But I can comment on the beer as I made sure I sampled all the ales. They have Courage Best Bitter, Dartmoor Jail ale, and an Otter ale as house beers and then a guest ale which was Sharps Doombar at this time. The Otter on during our week was Otter Bright and although I had better kept beers in other pubs in Totnes during the week, these on offer at The Steam Packet were perfectly acceptable.
But finally, a real positive feature of the Steam Packet is the huge outdoor area equipped with several large Jumbrellas which provides an excellent place on a sunny day to have a relaxing beer whist watching all the boaty types mucking about on the River.
And finally, if you stay here in a room on the first floor, make sure you shut the window at night, unless you dont mind the very large pub cat kipping down with you.
(P.S. Review is from a visit in August 09. Yes that's right, it really has taken that long for BITE admin to load this pub. )

2 Apr 2010 15:53

The Dolphin Hotel, Swindon

Will definitely concur with the rough and ready theme of previous posters. The Dolphin Hotel is a no frills locals pub close to the McArthur Glen Outlet Village.
Internally a single long room with a central bar serving area. The whole place has a public bar feel with a wooden floor and wooden tables and chairs. There are three plazma screens for the sport (only two in operation on my visit,) a couple of fruit machines and a pool table at one end.
Its an Arkells house as mentioned, with three handpumps on the bar, but only one was in operation dispensing 3B.
Definitely a bit of a working mens club feel on this particular Saturday lunchtime with the locals bringing in the tots in pushchairs whilst they have a pint. So not a smart pub, but as I had escaped the nearby Outlet Village to find a pub showing the early live Spurs game on Sky, the pub met this task perfectly.
Also a decent pint of 3B to boot and despite the locals matching the dcor of the pub, they were perfectly friendly enough, even choosing to turn a blind eye when I got all excited at Spurs banging in 3..

14 Mar 2010 20:02

Kings Stores, Bishopsgate

Usual GK fair but the IPA was OK. The bland sterile interior is not my cup of tea but packed with after work City workers who obviously didn't mind.
The open set up makes it very noisy when busy , so only stayed for the one.
OK pub, but there are better in the close vicinity in my humble opinion.

10 Mar 2010 15:13

The Oxford, Manchester

Yes sorry, let me quantify my comment.
The bar does indeed support three , possibly four handpumps, but only one was on during my visit.
I'm not sure I would use the adjective, tasty, for the one that was, but I fully appreciate that I may not have caught The Oxford at its best on my mid week afternoon visit, and therefore bow to the greater knowledge of the poster below.
And I wont bore you about my views on a Cask Marque accreditation.

27 Feb 2010 13:22

Bel and The Dragon, Cookham

Was in again this week, and apparently its just been taken over by new owners the week before. Hasnt affected the food service , which was still top notch but requiring a second mortgage.
Unfortunately only one of the two hand pumps was going and this was dispensing GK IPA. So still a great place for a quiet drink by one of the three open fires in the front pub section, and would be even better if they reliably served decent beer.

26 Feb 2010 15:20

The Oxford, Manchester

I thought this place was a Wetherspoons when I walked in, fairly big expanse of a building that looked like it was formerly something else other than a pub, plastic food menus on every table, lots of cheap drinks offers everywhere, and a chain pub feel. But the lack of real ales gives it away as being some other chain.
I guess this place is very good if you are a student (especially one in the close by halls) or a worker at the MRI.
But I am neither, so probably wont bother to come back. But for the rest of you, enjoy, especially the cheap drink offers

26 Feb 2010 14:01

Fishery Inn, Elstree

Another example of a modern wood dcor McMullens house with more of a focus on food .No its certainly not at typical friendly local because its not particularly local to anyone being stuck on the middle of the Watford Road half way between Elstree and Bushey.
So it has to try and attract people, which it does by being a clean, comfortable place with a decent food menu and generally good service. And by making the most of its location and I can think of a lot worse places to sit and have a pint, than the outside benches overlooking the Aldenham Reservoir.
No the beer in not particularly inspiring being the usual McMullens fare but couldnt complain about my pint of AK which was in good condition.

22 Feb 2010 17:45

Whole Hog, Palmers Green

Unfortunately they did not.
Its now shut again with a for sale sign outside...

6 Feb 2010 15:04

Woodins Shades, Liverpool Street

Glad to find the Shades open on a late Sunday afternoon as I fancied something other than GK, Youngs and Fullers and you can usually find something different in this Nicholsons House.
Ironically the house ales of Pride and TT Landlord were off, but there were four seasonal guests on. Tried the Thwaites Nutty Black, Elgoods Thin Ice and Lancaster Blonde, all of which were OK.
No problem with the service either, but wasnt particularly busy as wed probably missed most of the Petticoat Lane market lunchtime crowd.

1 Feb 2010 17:04

The Water Poet, Shoreditch

Made a first visit on Sunday afternoon when wed finally had enough of calculating how much people in the Truman brewery markets were asking for all the old 60s and 70s tat that I had long taken down the local dump a long time ago.
Interesting place, and certainly wasnt what I was expecting a stones throw from the glass towers of the Broadgate development.
Multi roomed with the front bar area decorated in the style of a baroque bordello as mentioned by murgatroyd below. A further seating area with the mural shown in the photo as the centrepiece, and then two more traditional styled dining areas the further you go in. And then as previously mentioned, an impressive outside courtyard area sporting several large jumbreallas. Very, very busy on this Sunday afternoon and although we didnt try it, several people were queuing for a table in the dining area so guess the food is as good as previous reviewers have intimated.
The beers are Fullers and London Pride and ESB were on. Not the best pint of Pride Ive ever had but more than drinkable.
Not sure if this place is a bit too Bohemian for an old traditionalist like myself but was certainly warming to it by the end. Will probably try and get back for an early weekday evening visit to see how the Water Poet stacks up when full with the city workers instead of the weekend Shoreditch crowd.

1 Feb 2010 16:48

The Gun, Shoreditch

One of the better pubs close to the east side entrance of Spitalfields market, but thats not saying too much when considering the other local hostelries. However the Gun is a reasonable sized corner pub, interesting dcor, and the same four real ales as described by Rex below. Again the Deuchars was not the best pint of IPA Ive had but perfectly drinkable. And no problem being served, although it was quite busy with the Sunday market crowd.

1 Feb 2010 14:22

The Ten Bells, Shoreditch

Living proof that if you throw in some old sofas and wooden tables, then the pretentious Shoreditchites will park their bums anywhere and put up will all kind of dross, just to be seen. Packed out on this Sunday afternoon, but I wonder what its like when the market isnt on.
As a pub, this place is very poor. Average and expensive drinks choice and slumdog dcor and toilets. But as a bit of London history its brilliant, and worth visiting (once) for the Victorian tiles alone.

1 Feb 2010 12:49

The Crosse Keys, Bank

Another good night in the Crosse Keys and this probably still remains as my favourite Spoons, mainly because its more like a mini regional beer festival with comfy seats.
And as mentioned by other reviewers, experience is that the bar staff are hard working and know how to pull a pint, which is something you cant say of most provincial spoons.
Can appear cavernous when not busy, but its huge size is definitely a benefit on a weekday evening when it can accommodate several 100 of the City after work crowd but still be comfortable. 22 ales on last night, all from the January guest list of smaller breweries and micro breweries and without the ubiquitous JDW house beers anywhere in sight.
The ale listings on the plazma screens around the bar are a definite benefit. Tried a few and the Skinners Figgys brew was a nice pint, and the Tring Brewery Tring side pocket for a toad was worth ordering for the name alone.

31 Jan 2010 22:54

Rose and Crown, Tewin

Not sure I can give a true view of what this pub is like as there was only one other punter in when we visited on this freezing cold late January afternoon. So couldnt fault the service as it was virtually personal and obviously there wasnt much atmosphere.
But this should be a decent village pub as it has all the right ingredients. Its a kind of two room set up with spacious drinking areas either side of the central bar serving area. Both has large fireplaces and although the right hand area had a gas wood effect fire, the large brick fireplace in the left bar supported a roaring open fire, which was very welcome on this bitterly cold afternoon. There is a dining room at the back of the left hand area. We didnt eat but the menu looked reasonable. And a large garden out the back for woarmer days than this one.
Its a GK house and had IPA and Abbot on pump. So not the most inspiring choice, but my pint of IPA was OK.

31 Jan 2010 22:51

The White Horse, Burnham Green

Took the opportunity to utilise this place for a mid way stop when doing a circular walk in the area. I can see the point of some of the previous comments. Looked like any standard traditional village pub as we approached across the Green, but then closer resembles an Islington Gastro pub inside. However, for me, this is one of the better all wood McMullen makeovers Ive been in. The multi split level (with the main dining area below the bar ) works well and the two spacious drinking areas either side of the central bar are pleasant enough with all the light wood beans and comfy seating.
Usual range of McMullen Cask Ales and couldnt fault the couple we tried. Yes I guess the beer and food are pricey for a Hertfordshire Village and were more in keeping with an establishment in N1.
However they had a lunchtime soup and sandwich deal for a fiver and couldnt fault that for quality.
So in conclusion, a smart , food orientated pub which we found perfectly fine. Not sure Id choose to use it as a local if I lived in the village, but a good one for a drive out from North London.

31 Jan 2010 22:36

The Peahen, St Albans

Large Corner pub with a commanding position on the London Road traffic light junction in the middle of St Albans. Its a McMullens house which has undergone one of the modern wood dcor makeovers which many McMullen pubs have fallen foul of. But this one works better than most with plenty of seating areas either end of a large standing area in front of the main bar. Quite lively on the early Friday evening of my visit, two McMullen ales on which were perfectly fine, and no problems encountered with service as there several uniformed bar staff in action. There was also door staff in operation checking ages, I think for over 21, but as it is a long time since that sort of thing affected me cannot confirm exactly.
Found it a decent enough place to meet up and have a few beers before moving on, but not enough character or soul to motivate me to spend an entire evening here.

22 Jan 2010 12:52

The Antelope, High Wycombe

Wow ! Now my reviews sometimes have a habit of being overly long and detailed. But I have to take my hat off to adams1104 below.
What a piece of work !
And as it is the only review ever posted and I cannot believe this is the only pub they have visited, I can only assume that the energy taken to complete this masterpiece led to a mild trauma caused by exhaustion.
What is there to possibly add, with the exception that its location in Church Square makes it a good , more traditional option to the chain pubs and bars on the High Street.
Oh, and being a pub, it does serve beer, but in keeping with all the other reviewers, who seem to have a pact to completely ignore the main premise behind B.I.T.E, I also am not going to tell you what it is and what the qualitys like. You will just have to visit and find out for yourself.

26 Dec 2009 17:06

Falcon, High Wycombe

This is one of the few Wetherspoons that was an original pub before being spoonified. There has been an Inn on this site since the 17th Century and if my memory serves me correctly was called the Falcon when I worked in Wycombe in the late 80s.
This means that it has a bit more character than the traditional barn conversions or new stainless steel and glass builds that a lot of the spoons are, and benefits from a wooden interior with plenty of alcove seating areas.
However have to concur with the reviewers below that it is a bit grubby and in need of a bit of TLC and there was definitely a stale odour apparent on entering on Saturday lunchtime.
But the beers were good, 9 handpumps dispensing a real cider as well as Loddon Beers from the Oxford Brewer, and the couple of Loddon Ales I tried were very good.

23 Dec 2009 22:15

The Rose and Crown, High Wycombe

I worked in High Wycombe for 5 years in the late 80s and it is an experience that I relate to a daily journey into the pit of Hades, and I have not been back since the day I discovered the escape tunnel.
Local folklore had it that High Wycombe was formed when Beelzebub cast his sperm on high ground and it flowed down what is now Marlow Hill, before finally coming to rest at the bottom of the valley.
And I have more than suspicion that this may in fact be true, especially as my office was based at the wrong end of Denmark Street perilously close to Desperate Avenue.
However, residents of HW who I now work with have implored me to revisit on the grounds that the town has changed beyond recognition in recent years, especially with the introduction of the Eden centre.
So it was on Saturday, after a local overnight stay that I decided to venture in for somewhere for the wife to shop. Yes , I have to say the Eden Centre is a great improvement. Especially as you can park almost in it and then look round the shops without knowing that you are in HW town centre. And it was only when I inadvertently went out the exit onto the high street that the nightmares began to return.
It took me a while to find my bearings but eventually I found Denmark Street to discover that most of it from my remembrances has been flattened to accommodate the new shops and restaurants. But I had an ironic smile to discover that my old building ( a square red brick office block of no architectural merit what so ever) was still standing although current use unclear.
However I had a much bigger smile when I turned the corner of Bridge Street to discover The Rose and Crown still standing. The Rose was my work local for those five years and was an oasis in the badlands where I spent many lunchtimes and early evenings. It was always a solid corner backstreet no frills local with good ale and good custom.
And I was more than happy to find that not a lot has changed in the intervening 20 years. The interior has been done up a bit but it is still a solid one bar back street local with separate distinct drinking and seating areas around the L shaped bar. Three handpumps on the bar and two were going at the time of my visit dispensing Fullers London Pride and Courage Best. It still has a bit of an indulgence on fruit machines, but as my time as a local here coincided with the emergence of video pub games and I spent an absolute fortune homing my gaming skills on Donkey Kong, I will forgive it that.
So, to put it in perspective, The Rose and Crown is a solid pub and although a long way from being the best pub in the world, on this freezing cold Saturday before Xmas with the snow all around, for me at that moment, it probably was.

23 Dec 2009 21:58

The Counting House, Bank

Now the week before Christmas is never a good time to see a City pub at its best because the Christmas celebrating throngs will put a demand on the service levels and beer quality of even the best run pubs.
And the Counting House was packed to the rafters (or rather the spectacular ceiling) on the evening of our visit.
But happy to report that we experienced good service levels from the hard working staff who were on in sufficient quantity. And the multiple dispensing points around the circular bar meant the Pride kept coming all evening , even when the pumps nearest to our position had to be changed.

23 Dec 2009 19:21

City Tavern, City Of London

The City Tavern is located on Lawrence Lane, just of Cheepside, half way between Bank and St Pauls. Architecturally its not much to look at outside, but inside is better with are more traditional pub feel with wood panelled walls and a wooden floor. I didnt realise it had a roof terrace at the time of my visit so cannot comment on whether this is as good as it looks in the photo. Its a GK house with only two handpumps, which were dispensing GKs Royal London Beer, and IPA when I was there and the London Brew was pleasant. Its a solid pub in a small area of the city which is largely void of traditional boozers and in only slightly let down by a weak ale choice.

23 Dec 2009 18:18

The Ship and Shovell, Charing Cross

Another good visit to this fine establishment. Very busy on this pre Christmas evening with standing room only. But did not mind that as the well kept Badger beers are worth it and the Tanglefoot was particularly fine.

23 Dec 2009 18:15

The Sherlock Holmes, Charing Cross

Very attractive pub on a fine summers day, but as previous reviewers have mentioned this attracts the tourists in swarms. Its not so attractive on a cold , wet December evening, but then has the advantage of no tourists and only the after-work crowd.
Its an OK pub dispensing the usual GK fair, and my pint of Sherlock Holmes ale was perfectly passable, but hardly memorable. But the main purpose in life of this pub is to filter out the tourists before they discover the far superior Ship and Shovel further up Craven Passage.

22 Dec 2009 18:39

The Clarence, Whitehall

First visit to the Clarence the other evening, so cannot compare and contrast the new dcor. But if the photo is of the previous interior and was as good as it looks in the photo, then I too am struggling to see how this is progress. I guess they want to be more of a restaurant for the tourists rather than a pub.
Cannot fault the beer though, as these included Sharp Ales and Sambrooks Wandel from the Battersea Micro brewer, and the Wandel I tried was perfectly fine. Although the price levels did appear to be on a higher level than the Shades up the road.
But as for the dcor, sorry but I am a traditionalist, and if you are lucky enough to have large wooden beams, dont coat them in Dulux duck egg blue, or what ever that colour is.

21 Dec 2009 13:40

The Old Shades, Whitehall

The Old Shades is the middle of three pubs in a line down Whitehall. The Silver Cross is right next door and The Clarence is a few doors further down from Trafalgar Square. Only had time to do two of them so decided to skip the Silver Cross on the basis that its a GK house and in theory , this place being a Nicholson house should have a better choice of Ale.
And in this respect The Old Shades did not disappoint, having six hand pumps dispensing TT Landlord and Golden Best, Fullers Pride, Bateman's Rosey Nosey and two other Xmas Ales.
Its also a bit more traditional dcor than the other two having leaded windows, what looked like original interior wood paneling and leather bench seating.
So of the three, if you only have time for one, Id go for the Old Shades.

21 Dec 2009 13:22

The Lord Moon Of The Mall, Whitehall

Dam !, Should have had a quick look at B.I.T.E. before embarking on my mini Charing X crawl as I decided to miss out the GK dispensing Silver Cross in favor of the Old Shades next door on the premise that it was bound to have better beer. So am unable to give an honest rating of the Cross against the Lord Moon
But for the Lord Moon I found it one of the better Wetherspoons establishments. 12 handpumps dispensing something different to the usual spoons stable beers, including several of the guest Xmas ales. The couple I tried were perfectly fine and also couldnt fault the service on this rainy December evening.
But its still a spoons and therefore comes equipped with the ubiquitous soaks these establishments attract and this one was in residence in the door way sheltering from the rain and seemed to think that it was his duty to inform everyone entering and leaving that it was summer in Australia. A piece of information that I do not think I would have survived the rest of the evening without.

21 Dec 2009 12:48

The Red Lion, Pall Mall

No bad service experiences at the time of my visit, as it was early evening and there were a few of the after work crowd in, keeping the two staff on their toes. Older style interior and downstairs gents that you really need to keep your wits when descending. The Adnams was off , but fortunately the Tribute was a very nice pint. And I imagine that the hidden location means not too many tourists.

20 Dec 2009 14:15

The Green Man, Bank

Cannot answer the question from The_Final_Arbiter , I asked at the bar and they said he wasnt in on the pre Christmas evening of my visit.
Who was in was an interesting mix of salty builder types, students and suited city types. Some of which may have been intelligent, but quite a few in packs were braying loudly and trying their hardest to prove that the expression used by twineyboy below is an oxymoron.
Yes its a very large spoons on two levels, a large and sprawling underground bar area and then a smaller bar at ground level.
Its housed in the small shopping area underneath the James Stirling designed eyesore at 1 Poultry, a building which was voted the fifth ugliest building in the City by Time Out readers. A stunning fact, when you consider that Time Out readers think there are four uglier buildings than this one.
And as for The Green Man, a typical Spoons dcor and a bar with 12 handpumps dispensing the usual house ales and a fair choice of Christmas specials. Ive been it a lot better Spoons, but then Ive also been in a lot worse

20 Dec 2009 11:39

The Golden Lion, St James's

As previously stated a very attractive pub from the outside with exquisite lead lined windows with the large bow front being the centre piece. Then a dark wood panelled interior which, although probably not original, still gives the place a very traditional feel. Not very big inside but benefits from the covered passage way outside for outside drinking.
Beers on during my visit were Sharps Doombar and Red Ale, Admans Green beer and one other I cannot now remember, and the Adnams green Ale made a pleasant change.
All in all liked this place and probably preferred it to the other Lion in the nearby Crown passage, but its a very close thing..

17 Dec 2009 14:05

The Chequers, St James's

Really nice little pub just off Piccadilly. For detailed description see first posting from RogerB below. The three ales on at the time of my visit were Sharps Doombar, Deuchars IPA and Fullers Pride and the Doombar I tried was perfectly fine.
Not a place to spend the evening with a crowd, but if you want a place for a quiet decent pint just of Piccadilly, then the Chequers hits the spot.

17 Dec 2009 13:42

The Blue Posts, St James's

Decent looking old fashioned pub just of Piccadilly behind the Ritz. Wooden floored ground floor bar with a dining room on the first floor. Also has a large awning on the Arlington Street side for outside drinking. Busy with the after work crowd at the time of my visit so a decent atmosphere. Only Pride and Adnams Broadside on and the Adnams was perfectly fine. Will agree with Rex below that this is a decent enough but largely unremarkable city pub. And more than OK if you do not venture far from Piccadilly but cannot see myself bothering again, especially with the more superior pair of Lions and The Chequers a short stroll around the corner.

17 Dec 2009 12:59

The Oakwood Tavern, Oakwood

Havent bothered with this place in the past as I am usually put off by the nicotine bouncers who linger in the doorway. But noticed that they were showing the Spurs v Wolves game on a Setanta feed, so decided to venture in for a quick one and leave the wife to buy up the Tesco Express next door.
Was pleasantly surprised to find a better pub than I was expecting. Yes it is an odd layout due to the square rectangular shape of the former retail premises, and has a bit of an Irish dcor theme going on, but not to the extent to make it a plastic Paddy pub, and I can imagine the drinking experience in here has improved immensely since the smoking ban.
Bar in the middle and seating along other side and at both the large ends for the satellite teles.
A mature male dominated clientele on this Saturday afternoon and its a long time since I felt one of the youngest people in a pub.
Only one handpump and this was Courage Best. But my pint was congenially pulled by the Irish governor referred to below, and although not brilliant, was in far better form than the performance I was watching by the Lillywhites on the big screen.

13 Dec 2009 14:42

The Jolly Farmers, Enfield

The Jolly Farmers is an expansive pub situated in the valley which houses Salmon's Brook on the border of Enfield and Oakwood, in an area known locally as Frog's Bottom, a fact that used to be shown by a name plaque on the frame of the pub sign.
I used to live opposite the Farmers a few moons back and although not anything special in the way of dcor or beer choice (being a Mcmullens tied house) , Ialways found it a comfortable and functional pub which did the basic things right and the traditional pub grub was usually OK.
Had the opportunity to pop in again the other night on route to The Ridgeway. Its been redecorated since the last time I was in and although the dcor is more modern and cleaner than the old lived-in flock wallpaper, I actually didnt think it was such as bland a job as done in The Robin Hood at Botany Bay. Perhaps thats because there were quite a few in on the Friday night and as there are still the separate dining and drinking areas, it still retains a bit of the traditional pub atmosphere.
Standard McMullen fair and the AK was perfectly fine. And as previously stated by other reviewers, there are bench tables outside and this pub does make an effort with the floral displays in summer.

13 Dec 2009 14:27

The Pride of Spitalfields, Shoreditch

Will concur with previous users, this is an excellent little pub and stands out in an area which is largely void of decent establishments. Last visit was on Sunday after following the wife round the local markets and enjoying a decent curry down the Lane.
There was a lively post-market goers crowd in, and the Brewers Gold was superb. Caught the end of the football, for which there is a pull down screen for the ceiling projector, which goes back up as soon as the final whistle goes. And if Spurs had managed to hold onto a two goal lead it would have been a perfect day.

8 Dec 2009 14:03

The Hamilton Hall, Liverpool Street

In a previous view of another hostelry on Bishopsgate I made the comment that I dont understand why anyone would bother with the Hamilton Hall when much better establishments exist so close by.
And I kind of answered my own question when, emerging from the train with 15 mins to kill before an arranged meet and the wife desperate for a coffee and to use the loo, and you can do both of these in the HH at reasonable cost. And as I refuse to pass over any of my hard earned pennies to the bland corporation that is Starbucks , in we went.
Now I really want to like this place, as it is a fine old building with superb ceilings, but for some reason I never feel comfortable here.
It may be that due to its size and high ceilings that it never seems to have any atmosphere, irrespective of the size of the throng. Or perhaps that the beer quality and choice is usually average at best, or perhaps the usual laissez-faire service which seems to be the norm.
But there were plenty of people in on this Sunday lunchtime munching on the roasts and I couldnt fault the pint of Ringwood Fortyniner I had.

8 Dec 2009 13:38

Kings Arms, Cookham

Havent been in for a couple of years but decided to visit again the other evening as there were 14 of us, and the banks were already shut, meaning we couldnt raise the second mortgage needed to eat in the Bell & Dragon or any of the Curry Houses on Cookham High Street..
Its been done up again, and will concur with previous posters, its a million miles from a traditional pub interior which it used to be many moons ago.
Had to chuckle at a couple of the previous comments though. I think Argos meets Footballers Wives is a little harsh. I would put it more like Ikea meets footballers wives. The majority of the pub area is set up for dining, but there is still a decent size area either side of the rectangular central bar if you just fancy a beer.
Not sure if we were lucky or the place has improved since some of the more negative comments from last year. But could not fault our evening visit. The food menu is wide a varied and reasonably priced (which is a rarity in Cookham). The service was very good, as was the quality and quantity of the various meals we had round the table.
And improtantly, there were three real ales on, Adnams Bitter, TT Landlord and Rebellion IPA from the Marlow brewery, and certainly could not fault the Rebellion, which was in fine nick.
So all in all, a pleasant visit.

5 Dec 2009 13:08

The Magpie, Bishopsgate

One of the better Nicholson's offerings in the area. A proper city pub tucked away down a side road opposite Liverpool Street station. Outside is usually void of traffic so OK for outside drinking, which helps as this is not a big pub and can get rammed with the early evening after work crowd.
Usually good and varied beer choice at reasonable pricing levels . For our visit this week there were ten ales on which included the usual TT Landlord and Golden Best, and Fullers London Pride, but several seasonal ales from smaller brewers (Davenports The Fall ) and some Micros such as Springhead Polar Bear.
All the beers we tried were in good condition and the only gripe was that there was some serious short pulling going on during the early evening busy period, and tops ups had to be requested more times than you should have to. Fortunately this improved as the pub quietened down.
But in conclusion a decent city boozer close to Liverpool Street station. And to concur with other comments below, why you would choose to go in The Hamilton Hall , unless you only had 10 minutes before your train, when this place exists across the road, is a complete mystery.

28 Nov 2009 18:05

The Flying Horse, Broadgate

Cannot really add anything to the previous few reviews. Just to agree that this is a very good unpretentious traditional corner pub, close enough to be a decent alternative to the sterile bars in the Broadgate centre.
Comfortable interior as described by the Bonser below, and am in agreement with other posters that the only real thing missing is a better and more extensive choice of Ales. At the time of my visit the six handpumps were only dispensing GK IPA, Courage Best and Ringwood Best, but the Ringwoods was a very nice pint.
And for the benefit of Strongers I can confirm that the pool table and dartboard are in the function room upstairs

28 Nov 2009 17:39

The Old Kings Head, Hoxton

Largely concur with murgatroyd below. A smallish traditional Victorian corner boozer with a green tiled exterior situated in the wasteland between Hoxton and Liverpool street, but benefiting from the quietness of the area, as you can drink outside without being bothered by passing traffic. Very comfortable interior and well-priced beers considering the area.
Its a bit difficult to track down but worth it and was very busy with the after work crowd at the time of my visit.

28 Nov 2009 17:19

The Griffin, Shoreditch

As the reviews below have described accurately, a old style corner boozer with a dark brown Victorian tiled exterior, inside which is a thoroughly run down interior with everything falling apart or giving the impression that it is just about to. And how the over zealous City health and safety wallas have missed the opportunity to shut this place down, just for the floor alone, is a mystery.
However, Im not sure what it was, perhaps the dark orange lighting, which really shouldnt go with a green wood interior, or a half-decent pint of Doombar, but I actually found myself beginning to not dislike this place on a cold November evening.
I would even consider visiting again if I was back around Old Street. But word of advice, certainly not the place to bring a first date if you are trying to impress..

28 Nov 2009 16:28

Cafe Bruxelles, Leicester

The first born brought me in here on Wednesday evening to close our small crawl with a Belgium Beer. Probably didnt see the place at its best as it was very empty and seemed to have been recently taken over by new management who were still sorting the place out. And an 8.5% Belgium Honey Beer is probably not the best way to end an evening on top of what we had already imbibed.
But worth a visit just for the building and the interior and I could sit back and admire the ceiling whilst chewing through the Honey treacle..
Great to see these old places kept alive as places to drink in, and long may it remain so.

28 Nov 2009 15:47

The Criterion, Leicester

First visit to the Criterion on Wednesday evening just before 8.00PM and unlike the other hostelries we had visited before, surprised to find it extremely busy, with the back bar completely full. But then transpired that there was a band on in the front bar (which was taking a break) and a pub quiz was about to start in the back bar.
First time to try the Rugby Beers , and both the 1823 Mild and the Webb Ellis on were in good condition and enjoyable pints. And at 2.10 a pint, were the cheapest beers we had all night.
So top marks for initiatives to get the punters in on a mid week and top marks on very reasonably priced decent ales. I will be back when next in Leicester.

28 Nov 2009 15:16

The Rutland and Derby, Leicester

The old Victorian brick exterior hides what is an ultra modern, bright clean interior more aligned to a cocktail bar than a pub. Now I cant work out from the previous reviews if this place has been recently refurb, but it certainly looked like it, with comfortable big spongey sofas, lots of abstract art on the walls and modern lighting, and a wooden pristine wooden floor that looked like it hadnt had a drop of drink spilt on it yet.
Lots of shiney lager taps but also a couple of hand pumps supporting GK Abbott and Yorkshire terrier from the York brewery.
Now Im sure this place is or will be very popular with the 20 - 30 somethings, but I prefer my pubs with a bit more character than an uber modern bar more in the style of an Ikea showroom.
And as excellent as our pints of Terrier were, I didnt feel comfortable and thought I should have been drinking a large pinot grigio or something with an umbrella and a sparkler.
Fortunately the Criterion is a short walk down the road and I was much more comfortable here and Ill leave The Rutland and Derby to you young trendy things

28 Nov 2009 13:09

Swan and Rushes, Leicester

The Swan and Rushes is probably the best traditional real ale pub I have visited so far on my jaunts up to Leicester. Two bars either side of a central serving area, both with an assortment of comfortable wooden seating and one bar sporting an array of posters of previous Jazz events.
Very good ales and seven hand pumps on the go during our mid week visit. As well as the usual Oakham JHB and Bishops Farewell, and Batemans XXB, these included Microbrewery beers from Potbelly Brewery in Kettering and Crouch Vales Brewers Gold.
All beers tried were in excellent nick and although fairly early evening and not particularly busy, the barmaid was courteous and efficient and we encountered none of the service issues referred to below.

28 Nov 2009 12:43

Black Horse, Leicester

Having a business appointment nearby the following day, I took the opportunity to have an overnight in Leicester and take the first born around a few of the more traditional drinking places, rather than the shiny chromed student bars he usually frequents. After coming up with a list of four venues, he wasnt enamoured to find he hadnt previously visited any and the first port of call was to drag him across the River Sour to an Everards pub.
Mmmh Everards pubs are usually rubbish round here , but I wasnt listening as I was determined to start the evening off with a decent pint of Tiger, so off we went to find The Black Horse.
This proved to be a task made doubly difficult due to the Western Boulevard being blocked due to building work. But eventually we found it and I was pleased to find that The Black Horse is a traditional, two-bar back street drinking house with a front bar entered from the main street and then a further snug room at the back. What I wasnt pleased to find was four real ale hand pumps, all with their clips turned round.
Now there probably was a good explanation why a pub in the GBG for its quality of ale manifests to have no ale on during a mid week evening. But after having it confirmed by the barman that there was no real ales on, I didnt bother to find out why and just turned round and headed for the door..
See, we dont bother with Everards pubs because theyre all crap !, and unfortunately on this particular evening, the Black Horse did not provide me with any ammunition to argue the generalisation put forward by the youth..

28 Nov 2009 12:11

The Fortescue Inn, Salcombe

The Fortesque Inn is a nice white fronted pub tucked away in a quieter back street of Salcombe but still only a short distance from the sea. Fairly old place dating back allegedly to the early 18th century and one of the two aforementioned bars used to be stables apparently. I chose the olde style original bar with all its memorabilia and photographs and found it a very pleasant place for a pint , which was a very decent pint of Otter Ale.

30 Oct 2009 23:46

The Ferry Inn, Salcombe

Bit of a tatty pub , poor service and rushed off their feet staff, but fortunately a beer garden with a view to die for across the Salcombe estuary
My pint of Palmers Copper Ale was decent enough, but take away the location and the view and Im not sure youd bother.

30 Oct 2009 23:43

Victoria Inn, Salcombe

Im not sure The Victoria is easily the best pub in town as I thought all of the Sea front pubs with the exception of The Ferry, were decent boozers on my visit to Salcombe. But it probably shades it due to its location on the main Fore street opposite the harbour area, the well-kept St Austells ales and most of all the excellent multi tiered beer garden and play area, from which you can see over the top of the pub to the sea.
Had an outside BBQ going on the evening of my visit, which was good quality and quantity for the 10.00 charge
Inside there is a fairly decent bar area and then two dining rooms, one off to the left of the bar and one upstairs.
The real ales on were IPA, Tribute and Proper Job and the couple I tried were perfectly fine.

30 Oct 2009 23:35

The Seven Stars, Kingsbridge

Will agree with the below comments that The Seven Stars is one of the better pub alternatives situated near to the Kingsbridge quayside. What was originally a square stone walled pub has been sympathetically extended with a modern conservatory providing a larger dining area in modern dcor to the primary one in the main pub building. There is a pleasant bar area with comfortable seating, and a decent outside drinking area, which catches the afternoon sun. The beers on at the time of my visit were the usual Devon / Cornwall offerings of Otter Bitter, Sharps Doombar and St Austells Tribute and all seemed well kept.

30 Oct 2009 23:33

The Dolphin, Dartmouth

Strange looking place from the outside. Very interesting lower Victorian tiled frontage, especially as it has a beer and I guess a long defunct Brewery in the shape of Star Ales from the Plymouth Breweries patterned into the tiles. Then above this it all goes wrong and looks like someones stuck a bloody ugly grey box straight on top.
I guess this is the restaurant, but didnt try this as I only popped in for a pint. The interior is a one bar pub with two seating areas either side of a fireplace. Beers were Sharps Doombar and Bays Devon Dumpling during my visit.
Probably didnt see it at its best, as it was strangely quiet the mid-afternoon I visited, especially when considering that the market was on. Couldnt get a squawk out of the pub parrot either.

30 Oct 2009 20:11

The Seale Arms, Dartmouth

Wasnt noisy or busy when I visited around lunch time during a trip to Dartmouth. But then again all the pubs I tried back from the tourist area were fairly quiet.
Anyway found the Seale to be a comfortable enough but fairly plain one bar pub. Did have Wadsworths 6X along with a couple of local ales like Sharps Doombar, so that was a bit of a bonus.

30 Oct 2009 20:10

The Windjammer, Dartmouth

Very nice pint of Dartmoor IPA but didnt stay long as unfortunately the red leather seating dcor is not to my taste. Shame, because the beer was.

30 Oct 2009 19:24

The Cherub Inn, Dartmouth

Definitely the best pub I experienced during my visit to Dartmouth. A grade II listed building allegedly dating from 1380 and still retaining some of its original features, including some old ships timbers.
Small but perfectly formed one bar pub with a restaurant accessible by a tricky spiral staircase as mentioned below. Oak beamed period featured bar with wooden floor set around a large stone fireplace.
The six handpumps during my visit were Otter Amber, Sharps Doombar, Dartmoor Best Bitter, St Austells Proper job, and then nice to see real cider in the shape of Addlestones Cider. And what I guess was the guest beer was surprisingly The Physics from Brew Dog of Frazerburg, those brewing nutters in Scotland who brew Britains strongest beer at 18%. I steered clear of The Physics at 5% but the other beers I tried were well kept.
So in conclusion , an excellent pub, well worth hunting out.

30 Oct 2009 19:22

Royal Castle Hotel, Dartmouth

As mentioned below a very nice looking Regency hotel on the front by the gardens. Seemed a bit of a tourist trap when I popped in at a lunchtime , but then it was high season. Two bars as mentioned and the lounge is very pleasant with a few nautical themed bits of dcor. Didnt eat here although plenty of people were.
Beers on offer at the time of my visit were Sharps Doombar, Dartmoor Jail Ale and Bays Gold, although only tried the Bays and it was OK.

28 Oct 2009 21:26

The Bay Horse Inn, Totnes

The Bay Horse Inn is another former coaching house situated at the very end of The Narrows up from Totnes High Street. Its a bit of a trek uphill but is well worth it.
As mentioned below the interior is comfortable and functional rather than being traditional. The stone floored main bar area has bench seating in the bar section and comfortable leather seating area to the side. Then behind this is the second, snug type area with wooden tables and chairs.
Then through to a very large outside drinking area which stretches back on two levels for a fair distance from the pub. The first section being crazy paved and the second being a grass area , both with Jumbrellas.
But its not the dcor but the beers that has got this place into the GBG09. Four real ales on offer which at the time of my visit were Dartmoor Summer Ale and Jail Ale, Bays Devon Dumpling, and Otter Amber. Tried the Devon dumpling and the Dartmoor Summer Ale and both were excellent.
Not sure when seeing the comment below if the couple behind the bar are the previous Landlord and Landlady or new incumbents, but whoever they are theyre still running a good ship as far as the beer is concerned and it is well worth its entry in the GBG09.

28 Oct 2009 21:24

The Bull Inn, Totnes

Good looking corner pub at the top of the Narrows. However inside it looks like it could do with a bit of TLC as it has that worn in feel . Main central bar area with a double sided bar, and a separate games room. Seemed to be very much a locals drinking venue and it was very lively for the Monday evening we visited. But this was primarily due to some live musical entertainment from a couple who I guess were also locals as most of the pub seemed to be on first name terms.
Very pleasant pint of Bays Best, but also had hobgoblin and O'Hanlons Yellowhammer from the local Devon Microbrewery.
Not a place for a posh night out , but a decent local boozer all the same.

28 Oct 2009 20:22

Royal Seven Stars Hotel, Totnes

The Royal Seven Stars Hotel is a charming 18 bedroom old world 17th-century former coaching inn, which sits in a commanding position overlooking the main roundabout in Totnes town center, near the banks of the River Dart. The former courtyard, now decorated with antiques, paintings, and the hotel's own heraldic shield, forms an inviting entrance to the pub. There are two main bars, one either side of the courtyard, and then a posh nosh gastro restaurant at the back, which I imagine is primarily utilised by hotel guests.
The right hand bar is more in the style of a wine bar and seems to focus more on wines and cocktails. Whereas the left hand bar is the more traditional welcoming pub lounge bar having a central bar area, a large fireplace to one side and seating all round. More traditional pub food menu available in this bar and the couple of times we utilised this the meals were very good.
Four handpumps providing Dartmoor Jail Ale, Bays Gold, Courage Best and Sharps Doombar. First time for me for the Bays Beers and I thought the Bays Gold was an excellent pint.
And finally, there is a very comfortable outside seating area underneath large white Jumbrellas and lined with planted troughs which gives you some isolation from the road traffic, which as mentioned by Paris below is an excellent spot to sit and watch the world and his wife go by.

28 Oct 2009 19:45

The Albert Inn, Totnes

Excellent small pub which I guess is largely overlooked by tourists, as it is half way up a hill across the bridge to the other side of the Totnes town centre. Part of me says thats a shame as pubs need all the income they can get nowadays. But then the other part says thats fine as it keeps The Albert for its eclectic bunch of locals and those of us who go out of our way to visit gems like this.
The Albert (which is named after Albert Einstein for some local reason that my wife did explain to me but I have now forgotten) is home to the Bridgetown Brewery, which opened about a year ago and is resident out back of the pub. It brews two ales - Albert Ale at 3.8% and Real Ale Activity, which is 4.8%, and a Stout (Rockfish Oyster Stout) at 4.6%. Tried them all and the Albert Ale was more to my taste. As mentioned it also has Dartmoor Jail Ale.
Its a two bar pub but you could easily miss this fact as the lounge bar mentioned below is tucked away with its own door around the back. This would be a real shame as this back bar is a superb snug and is full of dusty old stuff like the back bars used to be. For example there is an extensive collection of old snuffboxes displayed on the beam above the jump.
Also found a bar billiards table in the alley way to the garden and toilets and had to relive my youth, even though the Landlord explained that someone had walked off with two of the mushrooms.
Knowledgeable and friendly Landlord and an interesting mix of colourful locals who were more than happy for you to join in with their conversations.
So to conclude, as mentioned below The Albert is a throwback to the days when pubs were social drinking houses for the local community. Its a gem. If you visit Totnes, dont miss it.

28 Oct 2009 19:05

The Lord Nelson, Totnes

Fairly plain locals pub on the main street in Totnes. Looks good from the outside with its leaded windows but fairly uninspiring inside. One bar , but long and thin with the top section being dominated by a pool table and small stage area. The front area has two flat screen teles on the wall opposite the bar and as most of the locals sit staring at these you feel like your interrupting someones private TV viewing as you enter and make your way up the bar.
Three hand pumps but only two were on during my visit, which were Courage best and Dartmoor Jail ale. The Jail ale was perfectly fine when I managed to break away from the Wifes detailed examination of the shoe shops opposite and get an update on the final ashes test, but I didnt bother to return during my stay in Totnes as there are far better pubs in town in my humble opinion.

28 Oct 2009 19:04

The King and Tinker, Enfield

Parts of this pub apparently date from the 16th century and its name comes from the story of King James I meeting a tinker in an alehouse and the tinker not knowing who hes drinking with, and this is allegedly the pub where it happened.
Could be true as Stag hunting by the royals of the local forests does go back to Tudor times and this is a nice old periodic building with large stone fireplace and dark oak wooden beams internally. Its laid out in two distinct areas, one for drinking and one for eating.
The beers nothing to write home about, being GK IPA and CW Bombadier on my last visit if I remember correctly, but this is a nice out the way spot for a drink, especially if you have traipsed through WhiteWebbs from Forty Hall or Hilly Fields to get here. It benefits from a decent sized outside garden and if you are drinking or eating inside the curious medieval style porch on the front door is a good place to leave your muddy walking boots.

28 Oct 2009 14:39

The Old Fountain, Old Street

A previous one line review said, An excellent and extensive range of real ales served by people who know what they're doing in an un-spoilt pub
Couldnt agree more.
8 Real Ales on, which included Test Brew 2 and White Mountain IPA from the Red Squirrel brewery in Hertford, Ascot Ales Posh Pooch and Alligator Ale, Whitstable Brewery East India pale Ale and Adnams Old Ale, all dispensed by three hard working bar keeps who knew what they were doing.
Decent looking traditional interior and its two distinct areas support enough seating and standing areas to enjoy the ale, and something you dont see in pubs very much now, a tropical fish tank bubbling away on one of the walls.

27 Oct 2009 15:50

The Artillery Arms, Old Street

Decided to try this place out as I was in the area and very glad I did. Its a very decent, albeit smallish corner pub which is a sight for sore eyes when you emerge from the path through the Burnhill Cemetery from City Road. Full range of well kept Fullers ales and despite being fairly busy on my evening visit had no problem getting served. So agree with several other posters, The Artillery Arms scores well as a decent pub in the Old Street area.

27 Oct 2009 15:22

The Angel, Old Street

I actually counted four flat screen teles and my only gripe with this place was that I couldnt actually find an area where I could sit and not be in full view of a bright blazing plazma. But that apart I found this to be a decent corner pub. Ale choice was as described by Strongers below and seemed to be well kept.
There is a few limited outside tables on the Leonard Street side, but the density of the traffic on the City road doesnt make this place conducive to enjoying an outside pint.

23 Oct 2009 15:34

Nelson's Retreat, Old Street

Concur with Strongers, an unremarkable single bar pub convenient for Old Street station. But another example where the number of flat screen teles available outnumber the number of real ale handpumps.
For the record these were London Pride and Deuchars IPA on the evening of my visit and initially I wasnt going to bother trying, as you can catch these in most other local places, and I wasnt interested in watching the Mancs in the Champions league.
But then I noticed that this pub must be in some dire straights financially, because the Landlord has to resort to covering blemishes and stains on the walls with old used football shirts that have been scribbled on by foreign mercenary footballers who now ply their trade in North London for large salaries without contributing to the winning any trophies by the club for the last five years.
Therefore I felt obliged to stay for one and hope that my contribution to the pub profits, however small, may enable the Landlord to get rid of those old rags and decorate the walls with something more tasteful.

23 Oct 2009 13:37

Marie Lloyd, Hoxton

Woo! The second to rate this place!
A smallish one bar corner back street pub tucked away in the Hoxton back streets just north of Old Street.
The pub is named after the Victorian Music hall singer who was born round the corner in Hoxton in 1870, which may explain why the interior dcor is dark leather seats and heavy Victorian style flock wallpaper.
To be honest the dcor wasnt to my taste and I only lingered long enough to try an Adnams from the solitary real ale hand pump on the bar.
It was very quiet on the early evening I visited, probably due to its out the way location and I agree with planner, you need to know it's there.
And now that I do, Im not sure Ill be rushing back , especially as I have now discovered the Prince Arthur around the corner in Brunswick Place, which is a tidy back street Sheps pub which is much more aligned to my taste.
And if the BITE admin get around to the inputted request and add the pub, Ill post a review for that as well..

22 Oct 2009 14:00

The Firefly, Bourne End

Have only visited at lunchtimes due to its locality close to my office, and only usually tend to visit when the nearby Bounty is shut for winter and we fancy a change from the Walnut Tree.
Its a fairly traditional two bar layout, one being a saloon bar for drinking and the other is laid to tables for the pub food.
Standard beer choice and , despite their being three handpumps , only one has ever been operational during my visits and earlier this week that was London Pride, which was OK.
As mentioned below theres usually only a few regulars in of a lunchtime and I cannot comment to what this place is like in the evening.
Its handy for Bourne End rail station, so OK for a quick pint if you are waiting to escape BE on one of the infrequent train services, otherwise I wouldnt bother.

20 Oct 2009 13:44

The Bear Inn, Street

Now although I understand the sentiment of some of the comments below, I would like to state that not every one who goes to Clarks Village is a Chav. There are those of us who have no option but to visit as were married to professional shoppers.
And once youve worked out what these places are about, (offload centres for last years fashions or models that the main shops have not been able to sell), then you can usually pick up some excellent bargains and after a fair bit of practice I now achieve this regularly at Street.
But I will concur that the best way to visit Clarks Village is get there when it opens and be gone by late lunchtime, before the local estate hoards have fed and dressed their broods of snotty nose kids in their replica football shirts and shell suits and are entering.
Anyway lets move onto the pub before I open myself to abuse and advice to f*** off to a shopping review site..
The Bear Inn is a large Marstons Inn with a traditional pub dcor. It has one central bar, but then several distinct dining and drinking areas designed around it. Some of these do not have any natural light, but the good use of copious amounts of mirrors in all areas (both plain and brewery mirror types) still give the place a bright and airy feel. It also benefits from a large outside terrace and garden area ideal for the warmer days.
The beers are, as you would expect from the Marstons stable, but they usually complement the Pedigree with seasonal ales as well as guests from the Ringwood Brewery. For example there was Ringwood Best and Marstons Ashes Ale on during my last visit.
The food menu is a bit spoons like supporting several mains at under a fiver, but theyve always been reasonable when Ive tried them in the past.
All in all, this has always been a decent place for a pint and a quick bite to eat for me., and has the advantage of location opposite a back entrance to the Clarks Village, so that you sneak here for a quick pint whilst waiting to be summonsed back by text message.

18 Oct 2009 20:01

Lantokay, Street

Oh Dear! I feel compelled to concur with several of the previous postings with regards to this place. Now youre not expecting an architectural gem when you visit a spoons (with the possible exception of those few built into historical buildings and retaining period features, Harrogate and Tunbridge Wells for example). But this place takes the art of dullness to another level.
I am not surprised to see below that it was a former shoe shop, as it is completely void of any ambience and character and gives you the experience of drinking in a large plain shoebox.
Most other high street Spoons at least try to brighten the place up with a few photos and information of surrounding points of interest, but not here. Perhaps that says something about Street.
And although there is a temporary rush of excitement when you approach the bar to see 10 real ale handpumps , this is quickly crushed when you realise that they only support the standard house ales found in most other spoons, namely Ruddles, Pedigree and Abbots. And although there was a token regional beer on at the time of my visit, Contleigh Golden Seahawk, which is usually a decent golden beer from the Somerset Brewer, unfortunately its not when its served in the Lantokay.
Oh Dear

18 Oct 2009 19:47

The Half Moon Inn, Stoke St Mary

I guess I qualify in the diners from out of town category, well certainly outside of Somerset. Was taken to The Half Moon by a friend now residing in these parts and was not disappointed. The pub is the sole survivor of three pubs, which Stoke St. Mary possessed at the turn of the century. As mentioned below its a fairly large country pub obviously quite extended from its original stone building. But it is well laid out for both drinking and dining, having two central stone floored room areas in front of the bar and then three decent sized dining areas either side of these. The bar supports four real ale hand pumps but only three were going at the time of my visit and these were GK Abbott, Fullers London Pride and Butcombe Bitter. Tried the pride and the Butcombe Bitter and both were in excellent nick.
The evening meals were decent quality and substantial so no fault there neither
Would return if in the area again.

18 Oct 2009 19:37

The Three Bells, Heathrow Airport

Considering how many times I have to go through Heathrow I take satisfaction in avoiding these plastic airport pubs. But have now found myself in a second one in two weeks after being pulled in by some guests from the Orient who wanted a last taste of British Ale before heading off East.
And I wasn't expecting much after my experience in T1 last week, but initially pleased to see both Pride and Adnams on and even more surprised when they both turned out to be really good.
Still not a place I would choose to drink , but would have no hesitation to return if I found myself with time to kill in T3 again.

12 Oct 2009 21:58

The Royal Oak, Chingford

Havent been to the Royal Oak for many a moon, but when I found myself travelling through Chingford last Saturday and in need of a pint and pub grub, thought Id look the old place up.
And was pleasantly surprised that it seems to have survived modernisation by the IKEA interior designers that have removed the traditional pub feel from so many other McMullen pubs, and still retains its more traditional oak beamed interior.
It is still a two bar pub with a separate smaller public bar and then a much larger saloon, laid out in three sections, and a decent outside drinking patio to the side.
The full range of McMullen cask ales were on, including the current seasonal beer Sweet Spot, and the two I tried were well kept. The food is traditional pub grub, that wouldnt have them salivating on Master Chef , but with BOGOF offers which meant our two meals were under 8.00 they hit the spot for what we wanted.

12 Oct 2009 21:48

The Tin Goose, Heathrow Airport

Mmmh.. Suffered this place last week when my plane was delayed for 90 mins...
Can concur with rpadam, that it lacks any discernable character.
Cannot concur that the beer was any good.
Only Pride on and my pint was discernably poor..

9 Oct 2009 13:18

The Anchor, Henley-On-Thames

Didnt come across any miserable landlady during our visit, but instead was served by who I assume was the landlord. Mainly because he was jovial and friendly whist serving us a large round of Brakespears ales at 3.30 a pint, (not sure Id use only and 3.30 in the same sentence as Father Jack below) , but instantly turned into a grumpy old sod when we had to return one of the Bitters for not being right.
Ignoring this lapse of service skills by the proprietor, the Anchor is an excellent traditional style pub in a side road from the river. It comprises of two smallish bar areas either side of the service area, a back dining room which is like being back in your Nans pantry and then beyond this, a very nice secluded courtyard garden area. And Im not sure if its the same farting chocolate Labrador from the original review in 2003, but there is one still here who commands his own chair in the left hand bar.

8 Oct 2009 22:53

The Catherine Wheel, Henley-On-Thames

Soulless Spoons by day, and due to the 2.AM weekend licence a haven for the spotty youth of Henley and surrounds by night. Would not recommend venturing in here after 10.00PM unless you are under 21 or you have a morbid fascination to witness first hand why the government is trying to stamp out binge drinking by raising prices. Of course that would have no effect here due to the well heeled parents of most of those collapsing on the pavement outside at chucking out time.

8 Oct 2009 22:51

The Queens Head, Henley-On-Thames

Pleasant end to the evening was had at The Queens Head. Its got a licence to 1.AM on a Saturday night and is aligned to a more mature crowd due to the over 21 age rule (more mature than that inhabiting the crche at the Catherine Wheel up the road. ).
Personally, the copious amounts of Harley Davidson decoration makes it more like an American diner than a pub, but still a decent bar for a late night drink and although the Brakespears wasnt the best wed had during the weekend, couldnt fault the service or the ambience.

8 Oct 2009 22:43

The Argyll, Henley-On-Thames

Been done up since our last visit a few years ago and now definitely aiming more at the food crowd. But that was us on this particular evening so The Argyll fitted the bill with slightly pricey but not outrageous decent pub food and although only GK, the ales were well kept. Yes, the IPA is pricey at over 3 a pint, but that seemed to be the going rate for central Henley.

8 Oct 2009 22:25

Three Horseshoes, Henley-on-Thames

We actually started our weekend trip to Henley in this pub so, unlike Quinno, were sober when visiting and therefore can fill in the gaps.
Yes this is a generic local a little way out of Henley on the Reading Road. I presume it was once a two bar pub but now knocked through into one large roomed place. It still keeps separate areas with there being a public type section supporting a pool table to the left of the bar as you walk in, and then a larger carpeted lounge area to the right which supports a wood floored dining area right at the end. And yes, there is indeed a flat screen tele in the lounge section.
Its a fairly standard back street boozer with no great redeeming features, but the lunchtime food we had could not be faulted and although we didnt appreciate it at the time, the Brakespears Beers we had here were probably the best kept of the weekend.

8 Oct 2009 22:14

The Walrus and Carpenter, Monument

My experience of the Walrus last week was also that it is not as bad as some of the reviews below would indicate. Seven real ales on which, as well as the house TT Landlord and Pride, included five guests from regional brewers. These included seasonal beers, Davenports Fall, Cairngorm Autumn Nuts and Cameron's Autumn drop, along with Wolvers Ale from the Newmans brewery in Wales and Brunette from the Morrisey Fox partnership.
Despite the pub ,(or to be precise the pavement outside) heaving with after work suits on this fine autumnal evening, we didnt experience any real problems getting served and between us we tried most of the ales with the favourites being the Cairngorn and surprisingly Neil Morriseys Brunette, which indicates he could finish up to be a better brewer than he was an actor.
Another plus point in this pubs favour was that we struck lucky on the evening, as it was a promotion night due to them changing the menu for the upstairs Lewis Carroll dining room. This meant that the bar staff appeared at regular intervals with large platters of food tasters for the assemble drinkers. And as normal, any boozer where I get free scoff scores an extra point.

28 Sep 2009 23:13

The Hung, Drawn and Quartered, Tower Hill

Interesting pub name taken from the chosen method of execution of traitors of the realm practiced on nearby Tower Hill in days gone past.
As early posters have commented this place is a bit of a Tardis in reverse in that what looks like a large pub from the outside turns into a much smaller bar than you were expecting when you enter. Fortunately, although it is situated on the corner of Lower Thames Street it benefits from having its own pedestrian area out front thus allowing a large area for outside drinking, which was being fully utilised by local office workers on the early evening of my visit. Although how all these suits fit into the pub on a cold winters day is a bit of a mystery.
Inside theres a smallish corner bar area dispensing the full range of Fullers ales and the dcor benefits, as aforementioned, from having several reproductions of famous paintings of British Kings and Queens adorning the walls, including Holbein's famous portrait of the Henry VIII during his bloater period.
This could easily have been made into a tourist trap, but I think Fullers have largely managed to steer away from this and although not one of the best Fullers emporiums Ive been in I found it a perfectly acceptable pub all the same.

28 Sep 2009 11:20

The Ship, Tower Hill

Only a fleeting visit to The Ship as I was already late for a meet. Liked this place and will return when I have more time.
Small , thin traditional style pub sandwiched between more modern office buildings, and very good to see this type of establishment still existing. Has Doombar as the house ale as mentioned below but I tried the Butcombe Gold, which was excellent. Has a very large collection of ties hanging from the ceiling but as the place was heaving with after work suits I didnt have the opportunity to enquire what all that is about

27 Sep 2009 21:02

The Crutched Friar, Tower Hill

Previous posters have described this place pretty well, so not a lot to add except to concur that it has that Nicholsons chain pub aura, but with a bright and airy feel to it. As mentioned below it does have an outside drinking area at the back of the pub, which is quite a rarity in these parts and does mean that you dont have to stand on the pavement for an alfresco pint. Perhaps Im being a bit too picky but referring to it as a Courtyard Garden could paint images above the smallish concrete courtyard for smokers, which was my experience.
Back inside there is a spacious bar area supporting 5 real ale handpumps which to memory included GK IPA, Brakespears Bitter, TT Landlord and Jennings Cumberland Ale, and the Brakespears I tried was perfectly passable.

27 Sep 2009 19:59

The Cheshire Cheese, Tower Hill

I would also say The-Pub_Inspectors comment is a bit harsh. Yes, the Cheshire Cheese is not a brilliant pub and there are far better examples even close by. But I found it to be a solid enough place and the beers I tried were decent.
Yes, its location underneath the Fenchurch Street railway arches does make it a bit of a dark and dingy location, and there are no redeeming architectural features to please the eye. But if what you are after is a decent pint, and these were London Pride, Adnams Bitter and Jennings Cumberland Ale at the time of my visit, and perhaps a game of pool, (there are two pool tables in the upstairs room and a decent seating area which is quite separate from the pool tables so that you are not interrupted by them), then this pub is OK. But I will concur with HTM69, OK if you work around the corner but there also wasnt anything here that would drag me back for a second visit.

27 Sep 2009 19:57

The Albion, Barnet

Yep, can confirm the Albion has gone. All boarded up and looking like it's ready for the wrecking ball.
Personally this is a shame as I have a soft spot for The Albion.
I used to drink here for a couple of seasons in the late 80's when a friend of mine was barmaiding here.
And my remeberances are more in line with stwutter's comments below, in that if I fancied a walk on the wierd side, I used to pop down to the Albion.

23 Sep 2009 15:43

The Alexandra, Barnet

A largely inoffensive smallish single bar pub on the main Wood Street road into Barnet. A couple of window alcoves and then a collection of wooden tables and chairs throughout the rest of the bar. Also a decent size garden out the back and a couple of tele's for watching the sport.
Its a GK house with Abbott and IPA on the last time I was in.

20 Sep 2009 11:50

The Dover Castle, Marylebone

Yep can concur with the postings below. Excellent period pub hidden away in a cobbled mews between Oxford Circus and Regents Park with period features as described by Mr Bonser below.
Full range of SS bottle beers, lagers and ciders available and OBB on handpump. Which , at the price level described below , meant we managed to squeeze an extra round out of our 10 whip.
Overall experience was very good beer, very good service and therefore overall very good pub.

29 Aug 2009 09:23

The Masons Arms, Fitzrovia

Very pleasant small one bar corner pub sitting in a turning between Great Portland Street and Portland Place. Welcoming from the outside as it is usually bedecked with flower troughs and hanging baskets which makes it stand out from the surrounding office buildings. Three real ale hand pumps which on our visit included Deuchars IPA , and Fullers London Pride. The third was off but think it had been OSH.
Interior as described by Rex below and we also experienced the teles on for the sport by muted.
Very nice pint of Deuchars and if you can get a place on one of the five outside wooden benches, this is a very decent spot for an alfresco pint.

29 Aug 2009 09:21

The Green Man, Great Portland Street

Decent enough inoffensive pub on the Euston Road side of Great Portland Street tube Station. Similar beers as mentioned by Strongers below and the Pride and OSH were OK. But have to agree with Strongers final sentiment below.
As it was a decent summers evening we took our beers outside onto the pavement, but the Green Mans location on a busy road junction doesnt make it ideal for alfresco drinking and it wasnt long before we moved on to the nearby Masons Arms which is more suited for that sort of thing.

29 Aug 2009 09:20

The Albany, Great Portland Street

Large corner pub round the back of Great Portland Street tube Station. Not sure if its just a bad photo or they have given it a lick of point since it was taken, as it is a quite shocking purple colour from the outside and from that point of view not very welcoming. But it improves when you move inside and has plenty of comfortable seating and an OK space for standing round the bar.
But the single area inside and high ceiling does make it quite cavernous and when busy, as it was went I popped in early evening, it was like drinking in a noisy barn. So will concur with the comment below that it is not an ideal place for a relaxing beer.
Beer was OK though. Plenty of foreign lagers for those who like that sort of thing and a decent pint of St Austells Tribute for me.
Good enough place for a meeting point around the GPS area, but I wouldnt like to spend an evening here ..

29 Aug 2009 09:18

The Prince of Wales Feathers, Warren Street

As described below OK, but largely unassuming one bar pub handy for Warren Street tube. Bar area to the front with a seating area to the back. There is a small area for sitting outside on the pavement, but Warren Street is quite a busy cut through so cant imagine its pleasant to do so. Beers were GK IPA, OSH and Fullers Pride. Pride was good enough but not much here to drag me back again.

28 Aug 2009 14:38

Robin Hood, Botany Bay

I am of an age to remember The Robin Hood as a multi bar country pub with a bit of personality. Yes it was dark and shabby but it had some character for those days when it wasnt good enough to drink in the garden. But that was back then and now is after the Gastro pub designers and architects moved in and ripped all that out.
But for some this will not be a bad thing.
The Robin Hood is now a large one bar pub focussed on food service, with three large areas around a central bar area with virtually all of it set for dining. The dcor is clean, bright and modern but largely sterile and void of any character.
The food menu is reasonable and borders on being a bit pricey but is not outrageous, and has been decent quantity and quality on the couple of times I have tried it
A key positive remains the outside drinking area, with the old concrete terrace now replaced by a decking area underneath two large Jumbrellas, and beyond this the very large garden remains unchanged and unspoilt.
It is a McMullens house and as such usually has well kept McMullen Cask ale and Country Bitters on hand pump. But I imagine they shift more white wine now than they do cask ale.
So if youre after eating and want somewhere decent to take your mum, wife, girlfriend partner where they wont find much to bemoan, then the Robin Hood fits this bill.
But if your after a cosy country pub with a bit of character in which to have an evening beer, then probably best to drive a bit further out into Herts, to the pubs in Northaw for example.

13 Aug 2009 09:51

The Oddfellows, Watford

Uninspiring back street local pub with only standard keg beers and lagers. Handy place for a quick pint of Guiness if you are on your way from the town centre to the football stadium to see the Saracens or the Hornets, but that's about it.

9 Aug 2009 07:52

The One Crown, Watford

Comfortable traditional pub that doesnt look very welcoming from the outside but is very pleasant when you venture in. As Millay describes below the pub has a public / saloon set up either side of a central horseshoe bar. The public area supports a pool table and dartboard towards the back and the saloon side is in two parts, a frontal area with a flat screen tele for the sport and a quieter snug area behind. The pub also benefits from a decent garden area outback equipped with a smoking hut.
The Tring Brewery Jack O Legs was complemented by Davenports Summer Storm at the time of my visit and both were in good condition.
This is not a great pub, but it is by miles the best traditional boozer within the Watford Town Centre ring road.

9 Aug 2009 07:48

Mangans, Watford

I used this place frequently in the early 90s when my firms building used to be located round the corner, when it was called Shakers Bar (or something similar). Not that it was any good but as there was no real choice in Watford Town centre in those days. The Guinness was the only thing you could reliably drink and the only thing the landlady could cook that was edible was the chile con carne , due to the fact that she used so much chile powder, it was guaranteed to kill anything living in it. And it could attract some hard drinking roughish local clientele.
And my experience from a quick visit yesterday was that the dcor might have improved but not a lot else.

9 Aug 2009 07:46

The One Bell, Watford

Cant help thinking this place is missing a trick. The only traditional looking boozer on the high street with a great corner location dead handy for the Harlequin centre, and with the Church and grounds behind as a backdrop. But unfortunately nothing worth drinking with regards to ale. Shame, otherwise could be a nice pub.

9 Aug 2009 07:44

The Moon Under Water, Watford

Yes I agree its a fairly typical large Wetherspoons , which means its got about as much charisma as any other Moon Under Water around the country. However, when I worked in Watford some 20 years back, the high street and surrounding area inside the ring road was completely void of pubs and bars serving real ale. And actually, although the town centre has been reformed with many drinking establishments since then, it still remains a desert for real ale. Therefore the difference with this spoons is that it stands out as a beacon of light for those who want to find a decent pint whilst on the high street.
As RogerB describes below, there are 18 Real Ale hand pumps along the length of the bar, which usually support in excess of 12 different ales, and several from regional smaller breweries. Including, as also mentioned at least two from one of my favourite smaller breweries, The Rebellion Beer Co in Marlow.
It is a very very big spoons , and as a consequence does tend to get very busy. But I have usually managed to get served in a reasonable time and find a clean empty table. So decided to visit again yesterday lunchtime when the wife finally extracted herself from The Harlequin Centre.
And even though Id cocked up by completely forgetting that it was the first day of the new championship football season and the place was packed with football fans, once again we managed to find a clean empty table in one of the back room areas, was served within 3 minutes of appearing at the bar and our two meals turned up within 15 minutes of that. So in this respect I cant complain.
And also I cant complain about the pints of Rebellion IPA and Butcombe Blond I had. In fact the only things I could gripe about was having to drink out of plastic due to it being a match day and I experienced the beers not available but clips not reversed described by Roger below.

9 Aug 2009 07:42

The Jolly Cricketers, Seer Green

I too had noticed the award from Chiltern District Council and as Seer Green is on my rat run through the Chalfonts from office to home when the western section of the M25 is misbehaving, I decided to pop in and have a look.
The Jolly Cricketers is a decent enough looking two bar pub on the main Chalfont Road through the village of Seer Green, with a small but pleasant garden area out the back supporting several umbrella bench seats.
It looks like it used to be the standard Public / Saloon bar set up , but now the smaller bar to the right is set up as a dining area , and the larger left side bar is the more standard pub drinking area. It is cleanly decorated to a wood floor with wooden bench seating either side of a large central fire place. It still retains some of the public bar feel with cricketing paraphernalia on the walls and a dart board in the corner, although this appeared to be more for decoration rather than use.
It is now a Free House and advertised weekly changing real ales from local breweries. It has four handpumps, three for local brewery ales as advertise and a fourth for Cider. The beers on during my visit were Rebellion IPA, Vale Brewery VPA, and Chiltern Ale from the Chiltern Brewery. I tried the Chiltern ale and the Vale Brewery VPA, both of which were very well kept. Wasnt too enamoured with the Chiltern Ale but the VPA was an excellent hoppy golden ale for a summers evening.
I found the Jolly Cricketers to be a very good pub. Looking below I do feel that some of the locals have probably been dazzled by the transformation from shit hole to decent boozer which appears to have taken place here and are mightily relieved to have a good pub serving their manor. But for me theres not enough here to support the eulogising for a very top BITE rating.
But I totally agree that this is a very good above average village pub and is now batting well above its current BITE rating of 5, and if it was my local, I would be only too pleased as well

6 Aug 2009 11:22

The Banker, Cannon Street

This was my first visit to The Banker and I have to say it made me annoyed. Annoyed in respect of all the years Ive walked along the South Bank Thames Pathway and suffered indifferent service and indifferent beer in the Anchor, just to have a pint by the river, I was not aware of this much better boozer opposite, a short detour across Southwark Bridge. Well, Ill know next time.
As mentioned previously it is a bit difficult to find but well worth searching out for its design (the way theyve made full use of the Railway station brick arches) and for the riverside location. The outside terrace is an excellent place to enjoy a beer and even though they had a BBQ in full swing in the corner, it is still large enough to accommodate several groups.
Also experienced some of the short measures mentioned by RogerB below, but as the bar was quite busy I put this down more to an attempt to deliver our round of nine pints quickly rather than any underlying tactic to rip us off. Especially as they were topped up without problem when requested.
The Fullers ales were decent quality and as mentioned below, nice to see them served in the correct glasses with The ESB coming in the large goblet style glass.
So in conclusion , a very decent example of a large Fullers pub in the City, and I will be back.

2 Aug 2009 20:21

The Hatchet, Mansion House

I have frequented most of the decent pubs around Mansion House but have never bothered with The Hatchet before. As I fall into the category of people described by John Bonser below who do consider GK pubs that only offer IPA and Abbot to be a major drawback in an area where there is so much more choice.
But after seeing some of the positive reviews for this place I decided to drop in and give it a go the other evening whilst on my way down to the Banker at Cannon Street.
Have to say I was impressed. Its a small two-room pub, with the bar in the front room mainly for standing with a tele for the sport, and a back room with a fireplace and tables.
Nice congenial atmosphere and although quite busy on this early evening the main barman (not sure if it was the Landlord) was making sure people got served in the order they approached the bar. And have to say the pint of IPA was one of the best kept Ive had.

2 Aug 2009 19:37

The Golden Fleece, Bank

Agree with several of the previous postings. This is a good City drinking pub. Cant really improve on the description given by Millay below except to say that there is a decent downstairs seating area with quite a few tables. Although on my early evening visit this was empty as most people were taking advantage of the decent weather to have an outside pint.
Seven real ale hand pumps dotted around the central bar which on my visit included IPA, Abbot, Ruddles, Old Speckled Hen from the GK stable and Everards Tiger as the guest.

2 Aug 2009 19:20

The Telegraph, Moorgate

If I worked in Moorgate then I wouldnt have a problem with The Telegraph as a close by lunchtime or early evening venue for a decent pint of Fullers. But as a pub to search out when visiting the City, I wouldnt bother.
To carry on the theme of the previous postings, its a fairly dull and character less example of the Fullers Food & Ale establishments with a clean, but fairly boring standard modern dcor interior.
The positive is that its tucked away down an alley way off Moorgate and benefits from a large outside drinking area and on a warm evening like last Thursday, with the big windows open, then its a decent place for an outside pint.
But there are a lot better pubs in the area and a lot better examples of close by large Fullers establishments that are worth walking a bit further to, The Counting House in Bank and The Banker under the arches at Cannon Street for example.

1 Aug 2009 08:57

Whole Hog, Palmers Green

As committed below, revisited to try it out now that they have got going properly. Now got two ales on in the shape of Fullers Pride and Youngs Special at an introductory offer of 1.80 a pint. Not the best pint of pride ever, but drinkable.
The dcor doesnt seem to have altered much from the previous incarnation except that it is pitching firmly now as a family pub. The bar is in front of you as you enter, the area to the left is set up as alcove seating but the area to the right is more for dining and as mentioned below has a play area. This is set quite some way back from the main bar area, which hopefully means that the little darlings are contained down this end and the pub doesnt resemble a creche at lunchtime.
Few people in on yesterday Friday evening so not a lot of atmosphere. But hopefully that will improve as people get to realise its open again.
Unfortunately it still suffers from not having an outside drinking area, so smokers still have to congregate outside on the High Road which is not the greatest welcome when you pitch up to go in.
But at a time when pubs are closing by the bucket load I hope this new Whole Hog can make a go of it.

4 Jul 2009 08:05

Cart Overthrown, Edmonton

Now I havent been in this pub for well over 20 years and my remembrances are of a fairly rough estate type pub. So when I passed by on Sunday afternoon after cycling the River Lee navigation I was very surprised to find something completely different and decided to pop in. I believe it was completely refurbished some time in late 2006 and first opened as a Hungry Horse. Its not one now but I still think its under the GK stable going by the lack of any decent beers, and it leads on the cheap food offers (2 for 1 , that type of thing)
Its a fairly roomy interior with a central bar and plenty of seating areas for eating and the large outdoor facilities and kids play areas are very good and were being fully utilised by families on this particular Sunday.
Im usually not a great fan of these pubco chain type eating places, but knowing what this place used to be like I think this incarnation is an improvement.

30 Jun 2009 16:15

The Anchor and Hope, Clapton

I added to the mix on Sunday afternoon as I was cycling back up the River Lee Navigation to Edmonton. For me this is a compulsory stop when cycling this route and Ive always had a solid pint of Pride and Sunday was no different.
Cant really add to the previous postings except to concur, if you are ever in the area , its worth a visit.

30 Jun 2009 16:14

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

After seeing this place attract positive reviews I took the opportunity to divert whilst cycling the Regents Canal yesterday lunchtime to see what all the fuss was about. And after I eventually found it the initial reaction was, dodgy looking pub, in a dodgy location, with some dodgy characters standing outside having a fag, I wonder what people see in this place ?
And then I walked through the front door to be greeted with the row of nine hand pumps with several from far flung micro breweries. Ah, thatll be it then.
Excellent pint of Mighty Oak Malden Gold , and a shame I didnt have the opportunity to stay to try more.
I can see why people rave about this place, however lucky I was on my tod and not cycling with the misses or I would have got the full Were not bloody well going in there ! and would have missed the experience.

29 Jun 2009 18:17

The Three Kings, Clerkenwell

Normally I would refuse to drink in a pub that displayed a signed photograph of Dennis Bergkamp in his Arse.. kit , but I made an exception for this one as I quite liked the Three Kings and the framed photo fitted in quite well with the rest of the tat hanging from the pub walls. I will also make an exception, as Im led to believe a previous landlords (or could even be the present ones) old man used to run The Hope and Anchor in Islington in its punk heyday.
On this balmy summers evening with all four doors open , The Three Kings was a really good place for a few beers. Lots of people drinking outside and the steps and the St James church steps were fully utilised. And even inside it was airy enough to for a decent al fresco feeling.
The three handpumps this evening were TT Landlord, Pride and Deuchars IPA. Unfortunately the Deuchars was off but the Landlord and the pride were in good nick.
Yes the dcor is quirky and I can appreciate the comments about it being a bit like a student bar, and if you venture up the stairs to the two rooms and associated small kitchen you could well be forgiven in thinking youd stepped into an 80s student bedsit..
In conclusion, enjoyed my evening at The Three Kings

27 Jun 2009 15:18

The Horseshoe, Clerkenwell

First time to try some pubs in Clerkenwell and came across The Horseshoe whilst trying to find the nearby Three Kings. Deceptive place in that what looks like a very small corner pub from the outside is a much bigger one room pub stretching back under the building its attached to.
Personally I wouldnt describe the Horseshoe as extraordinary. In fact I can think of a lot of reasons not to go there, limited beer choice, plain and uninspiring dcor (yes OK its got a couple of pictures of L&H to liven it up), and a male dominated clientele.
But to come across an unpretentious old style back street boozer, which has avoided being turned into another modernist gastro restaurant is perhaps a bit more extraordinary.
There wasnt enough here for me to consider rushing back, but it was a very decent pint of Sharps Cornish Coaster, the staff and locals were very friendly , and I was impressed with the traditional darts set up. And for these reasons I would frequent if I lived locally and I to wish it well.

27 Jun 2009 08:33

The Alfred Herring, Palmers Green

This is my local spoons, but I wouldnt dream of drinking in here of an evening, as I would be 30 years above the average age of the clientele and would probably bump into my teenage kids and embarrass them.
However lunchtime and mid afternoon is a different issue and Ive always found the beer, food and service to be what you would expect of a big spoons.
And yesterday, when myself and no1 son were doing a bit of male bonding on fathers day and were thinking where we could go in Palmers Green that would be showing the grand prix , have reliable beer and would definitely be serving food, the Alfred Herring ticked the boxes.
Suffice to say it was heaving with extended families treating the place as if it was a restaurant, but I still managed to get served quickly up the bar and the food was on our table within 15 minutes, so I cant grumble with that.
So in conclusion, as a spoons for a lunchtime pint and a reliable bite to eat I have always found it OK. But as soon as the Grand Prix had ended we were on our way to The Woodman for a real pub experience.

22 Jun 2009 13:15

The Dog and Duck, Winchmore Hill

Visited again yesterday lunchtime with no1 Son who was treating me to a fathers day pint.
The Hopback Summer lightning was top notch and a good job they do not do food on Sundays or that would have been me in for the rest of the day.

22 Jun 2009 11:57

Whole Hog, Palmers Green

Funny, when I popped in today to try it out on the way down to the Alfred Herring, I thought it said it opened yesterday and they will not start the food service until next Sunday (the 28th), but what do I know....
Anyway there was no food on today and no beer to talk of , so didn't stay and no rating left.
I'll probably try again in a couple of weeks when they have got going properly..

21 Jun 2009 19:14

The White Hart, Welwyn

The White Hart is a Former 17th Century Coaching Inn now converted into a Hotel, restaurant and bar.
I couldnt quite work out what it was actually trying to be ( Hotel, restaurant or pub ?), but I think it probably leads with the food and is mainly there to for the Michelin listed restaurant. The bar area was pleasant enough, on two levels, a front section by the street with comfy seating and large light windows and then a slightly smaller back section overlooking the even lower silver service restaurant. A couple of handpumps serving CW fair, namely Eagle IPA and Bombardier. A very nice dcor and a bit of an upmarket feel , which makes it a nice place for a drink with the misses, but not suitable for a session with the lads.
So pleasant enough place and the only negative I can say is that it suffers from not having an outside drinking area, which means the smokers stand outside on the narrow pavement congesting the front door like a load of nicotine bouncers.

21 Jun 2009 19:09

The Old Kings Head, Borough

I like the Kings Head, squeezed down a narrow side street off Borough High Street. Its no frills, slightly worn bar gives an excellent, lived-in feel. Usually a good atmosphere with a mixture of earthy locals, seasoned drinkers and tourists (although these usually stick to the cobbled street outside.) Six hand pumps which last Thursday night included Woodfordes Wherry, London Pride, St Austells Tribute and CW Bombadier.
We made this the last stop on our crawl as, as well as good ales there are three TVs for the sport, two smaller ones and as previously mentioned large plasma screen which is fuzzy at the best of times, even before youve had a few sherberts. And turned up earlier than planned after being told at the nearby Borough Market, that if we wanted to have a beer outside the pub we had to drink it out of Polyethylene or someother type of plastic crap
Anway finished off in The Old Kings Head with a very nice couple of pints of Tribute and Wherry whilst watching our brave lads beat the Spaniards in the European I was under 21 one once honest football championship.

21 Jun 2009 18:52

The Southwark Tavern, London Bridge

Ive never bothered to go into this pub before as on the previous winter evenings Ive gone past the lacklustre brown-tiled Victorian faade has never appealed. But on this warm summer evening the double doors were open and there was a large crowd drinking outside, so I decided to venture in.
Its a two bar pub although I didnt make it down to the lower bar. The ground floor has a central bar serving a decent enough wide range of drinks including continental lagers and a decent array of handpumps including London Pride and Hook Nortons Old Hooky. I can relate to the previous comments on service as, of all the pubs I tried on this crawl I had to wait the longest to be served in the Southwark Tavern.
Bat, although not very rapid, the bar staff were serving in order, so all in all, a decent enough stop close to Borough Market.

21 Jun 2009 18:51

The Royal Oak, Borough

Sorry konarob, having been attracted by the positive reviews, this North London lad got his passport out and went Deep South Thursday evening to visit.
Excellent back street traditional corner boozer which is a little difficult to search out but well worth the hunt.
I know I am repeating a lot of what has gone before but here goes.
Traditional old style public and saloon bar layout either side of a central serving area. The public is plain but lighter and airier than the saloon bar, having light coloured walls above wood panelling and wooden seating. Whereas the saloon has the more comfy chairs but with dark burgundy flock wall paper.
The full range of Harveys ales with both Light and dark Milds, Pale Ale and Sussex best through to the Porter and Armanda. So as you can see the budget effect when comparing to love_good_aless posting from a year ago, these are now 2.80 for the Milds , through to 3.40 for the Porter and 3.50 for the Armada.
I tried both milds and they were excellent, and at 3% the Dark Mild proves you dont need a high abv to get flavour.
The deal with Fuller still appears to be in place, and there was a lone Chiswick hand pump hidden away , almost in shame, around the saloon side.
Also full range of Harveys Ciders seemed to be available as well

21 Jun 2009 12:58

Kings Arms, Borough

Cant really add to RogerBs description below. Only the Doombar and Harveys Sussex Best were on during my visit, but being Nobby_no_Mates during this part of my early evening crawl I managed to bag one of the comfy single seater arm chairs which festoon three of the corners of the L-Shaped pub, and chill out.
The pub was relatively quite on this early evening, but this was relaxing compared to the early evening scrum in the pubs nearer London Bridge. Concur with RogerB that its not really a place for an evening session but perfectly fine for visit whist on your way to somewhere with a better beer choice.

21 Jun 2009 12:56

The George, London Bridge

I do like the George and usually pop in for one when Im in the area. Its worth it just for the building and its history, as it is London's only surviving galleried coaching inn and Dickens allegedly drank here. The ground floor is divided into several connecting rooms with a wealth of lattice windows and oak beams. But the best bit is the courtyard, which really comes into its own on a decent sunny evening like last Thursday.
Its a great historical pub only marginally let down by the boring beer choice and sometimes-iffy service. Although this evening, despite the fact that the outside area was rammed without a spare seat to be taken, I had no problem being served as there was only one in front of me at the outside serving hatch.
Beers available were the usual GK fair (IPA, Abbott, Speckled Hen), but I went for their own George Inn Ale. Yes I know its just another GK brew in disguise and I really shouldnt pander to this tourist nonsense but Hey Ho, at least its not IPA

21 Jun 2009 12:54

The Bunch of Grapes, London Bridge

Now I can only report what I find, and I found no problem when I visited for the first time at 5.30PM last Thursday evening to start my mini crawl of the local vicinity.
In fact I walked straight up the bar and was provided with a well served pint of Youngs Special almost instantaneously, which was kept well and a good way to start the evening off.
But I appreciate that one swallow does not make a summer, so I bow to the greater knowledge of the previous posters who have more experience of this establishment than I do, and consider that perhaps I was lucky on the service front.
If there is a problem then I hope they sort it out because I really liked this pub.
Although quite modern in dcor internally, its a grade II listed building and was apparently a pair of Victorian houses converted into a Freehouse and you can still see some signs of this which survived the 07 refurb throughout dark wood panelled ground floor bar.
The homely upstairs bar area is like sitting in a cosy large front room, but I really liked the out back split level patio area which is a great way of providing a decent outside drinking area in a limited space.
Usual Youngs Ordinary, Special, and Waggledance on and CW Bombardier as guest.

21 Jun 2009 12:52

The Gryphon, Grange Park

There is a train of thought that Harvesters should not be included on this site because they are more restaurant than pub.
However I think it is important The Gryphon is included here because
A) It is an establishment in the N21 area which serves beer , just not very good beer.
B) One day the good people at Mitchells & Butlers may turn it back into a decent local pub like it used to be in my early drinking days.
As well as the large partitioned Harvester style dining area, there is a small bar area equipped with comfortable sofa style seating and even a fruit machine to try and recreate that real pub effect. Unfortunately it comes up short in that, like most other types of this chain, there is no real ale and Tetleys and Speckled Hen on Keg is as good as it gets, and it is a place to be avoided on a Saturday and Sunday as it then becomes overrun with families waiting for a table in the restaurant section.
As a Harvester restaurant, its actually quite a good one as far as food quality and service goes and I used it several times before the kids became old enough to realise that a trip to a Harvester really wasnt the exotic treat we made it out to be when they were little.
But as a pub, the local residents of Grange Park really do deserve something better, like they had in the early 80s before some Brewery twonk decided to change the solid local pub which was The Gryphon into a Harvester.

15 Jun 2009 22:11

Pied Bull, Enfield

The Pied Bull has just reopened after being shut for a couple of months for a refurb.
It remains ostensibly a one bar pub with a conservatory at the back and very pleasant benched outside drinking areas to the front by the roadside and to the back on a raised concrete patio area.
The dark wood interior has been replaced by a much more modern lighter wood effect dcor, and from what I can make out much of the money has been spent on lowering the floor in the bar area by a good few inches , so that a normal height bloke can approach and stand at the bar area without clocking your head on the beam ceiling.
Nearly all the seating is now laid out for dining and it now has more the feel of a restaurant than a pub.
Its a Greene King house and had the usual range of IPA, Abbot and Speckled Hen including a GK stable guest of a Ruddles seasonal ale. Unfortunately the Ruddles pint I was poured was the end of the barrel, but this was quickly replaced with a Speckled Hen which was fine and the pump clip turned around on the Ruddles.
The menu is not extensive and a bit pricey compared to my remembrances of the previous food offering .
Although the club sandwich and ploughmans we ordered were perfectly fine, we did have to wait over half an our for them, and other tables nearby seem to be having trouble with correct orders as well as a long wait. Couldnt fault the service and attitude of the bar and food staff, but looks like theres problems in the kitchen after the refurb that let them down.
Now I used to like the Pied Bull because the low ceiling and wood beamed dcor gave it the feeling of a rustic country pub as previous reviews have mentioned. And Im sure those that are going to like the new clean modern overhaul. But I just felt the makeover has largely now lost this character and The Pied Bull is just the same as many other modern dcor pub/restaurant you now find in abundance. Still a nice place for an outside beer when the sun shines though. They havent managed to loose that.

13 Jun 2009 19:52

Boulters Lock Inn, Maidenhead

The Boulters Lock Inn used to be a hotel with attached bar and restaurant and wasnt particularly good at any of these activities. And I can talk from experience having had the misfortune to stay there several times on business.
But was told by a work colleague that it has all changed, so therefore dropped in to see for myself when back in the Maidenhead area the other day.
Now the only saving grace of the old Boulters Lock hotel was the fabulous location sitting almost above the lock on the River Thames and this remains one of the key features.
Its now no longer a hotel, as they have sold off all the annex guest rooms for private flats, but now a bar and restaurant which have had a major refurb.
The downstairs is a fairly posh restaurant which befits is Maidenhead riverside location with fairly posh prices. But we went upstairs to the bar area.
This now has a very modern style, a plush bar area and a lot of comfortable lounging and dining seating area and a couple of large flat screen teles which were showing news channels on our visit. But the piecederesistance is the excellent outside decking area, now improved and extended, which virtually means you can have a beer whist sitting on top of the River Thames. Pleased to find two real ales on offer, St. Austell Brewery Tribute and Brakspears Bitter, and both were good. We ate off the bar menu which is not vast in its choice, but were impressed with what we had with regards to quantity and quality. The Fish and Three Times cooked chips (Blumenthals got a lot to answer for round here) was a bit pricy at 10.00 but is still cheeper than the pubs and bars in Cookham further down the river.
So all in all a pleasant experience and I hope it works for the new owners.
One small word of warning is that there is virtually no parking by the Inn, so the best option is to park in the public car park a little bit further up the Lower Cookham Road and walk back over the Lock bridge to the Inn.

11 Jun 2009 15:00

The Woodman, Southgate

Ive been in the Woodman a few times for an evening beer as it is close to my gaff, but have never got round to posting a review. So feel I should do now to support the previous review as Strongers has done a crawl of my N21 patch and has covered it quite well.
The Woodman is a solid little pub in the Winchmore Hill area which usually serves a decent pint, and was actually quite famous several years ago for being one of the smallest watering holes with a London post code, until commercial forces made them stick the large conservatory on the side for a dining area.
Cant really comment on the food as, although I have had a couple of decent Sunday roasts in the conservatory, that was a few years ago. And as a previous reviewer surmised below the Woodman will always be for me at its strongest on a cold Winters evening, when you can tuck yourself into the back bar with a decent pint of Youngs..

11 Jun 2009 14:31

Merlins Cave, Chalfont St Giles

The Merlins Cave benefits from a superb location overlooking the Green at Chalfont St Giles. The Mock Tudor exterior is welcoming but unfortunately the inside does not live up to the welcome. It is a fairly bland small, two bar pub internally. The saloon bar into which you enter is comfortable enough albeit with two large plasma screens which gives it a bit of a public bar feel, but then the public bar behind is no more than a room for a Pool table. But what saves this pub is what then lies behind this.
Step outside and you step onto a large decking area covered by two enormous gazebo type umbrellas, and equipped with a purpose build large BBQ cooking area. And then beyond this is a large garden area stretching down to the River Misbourne. The sun was out during our visit in early May and it was very pleasant to sit outside. And I imagine in high summer this is a fantastic spot for an outside pint. The beers at the time of my visit were GK IPA, Fullers London Pride and Guest Ale, which was unfortunately off. Not the best pint of pride Ive ever had but passable all the same.
They do advertise it as having a riverside location, but dont get too excited by this as The River Misbourne is at best a small stream at this point and well hidden from view.
One tip is that there is an associated Barn the other side of the car park which houses Sunday LunchTime Jazz sessions featuring local Jazz artists. It will cost 5.00 to get in, but if you sit in the pub garden with a pint you can hear it perfectly well. So bit of a Brucey Bonus to go along with the beer.

10 Jun 2009 19:29

White Lion Hotel, Heptonstall

This is the second pub in the village of Heptonstall a little walk up the hill from the Cross Inn. It is a comfortable traditional dcor three roomed Thwaites house with a public bar with flat screen tele off to the left and more comfortable lounge area off to the right. And then through the lounge is a third room laid out as a dining area. Then out the back is a fairly small but pleasant paved garden area. We didnt eat but several people were and the steak sandwiches and burgers were substantial and looked pretty good.
Three Thwaites ales were on at the time of my visit, Original , Wainrights and Bomber. All very passable and the Wainrights was particularly pleasant. All in all, a solid pub if you are visiting or walking in the vicinity of this picturesque village.

4 Jun 2009 12:49

Flores Bar, Leicester

Interesting place. Its definitely a Tapas Bar and thats how it advertises itself from the outside. But once inside you are greeted by three real ale handpumps in the bar area and there were two on during my visit with Micro Brewery beers. And can support the comment below that the bar also supported several bottled beers from around the world with quite a few German and Belgium ones from what I could see. So someone here does know their beer.
I didnt find the dcor too bad and has been done in a modern Spanish feel, the type you find in the trendy bars and restaurants of Barcelona.
In fact the only complaint I can make is that the Tapas we tried didnt come up to the level of the beer or the prices and were a bit average. Now I may be being a bit picky, as I am blessed to have some top notch Tapas bars a short distance from my North London home, one in particular which is run by Catalans. But after seeing the beer range exceeding the usual San Miguel offering for Spanish restaurants and an average price of 5 to 6 a dish I was expecting something special , and it came in more to average.
But top marks for the drinks on offer, so will give this place a decent score because of that.

31 May 2009 14:36

Sloanes, Leicester

Can concur with the recent comments below, this is an excellent no frills pub focussing on the Ale.. Its not very welcoming from the outside, but have the courage of your convictions to enter to find a rectangular bar supporting 12 real ale hand pumps. Unfortunately no frills also means no food, and as the wife was starving and didnt take too kindly to my suggestion for a liquid lunch, we could only stay for the one Oakham JHB. But next time were up in Leicester I will give her free reign in the HighCross and then I will return on my terms.

31 May 2009 14:10

The Phoenix, City Of London

Large Green King establishment sitting at the junction of Old Broad Street with Throgmorton Street with entrances from both sides. Fairly modern dcor and the large glass windows make it quite light and because of its size plenty of places to sit. Wasnt overly busy when I visited , so got served without problem. Fairly standard GK ale offering and although the Moorlands Original was very nice there was nothing here that would me drag me back in if I was passing again.

30 May 2009 08:12

The Railway Tavern, Liverpool Street

Cant really add a lot to the flavour of the previous reviews, in that this is a so so pub whose main redeeming feature is its close proximity to Liverpool St. Station. Standard GK Ales were on offer and as previous reviewers have commented plenty of plasma screens in both upstairs and downstairs bars and when it gets warm the large glass windows get fully opened, so the pub is fairly airy at ground level even when packed.
So in conclusion an OK pub for a pint close to Liverpool St. Station if you cant be arsed to walk a little bit further to find something better.

30 May 2009 07:43

The Lord Aberconway, Liverpool Street

Have popped into The Lord Aberconway for an evening beer a couple of times over the last month which is situated on Old Broad Street just across the road from Liverpool St. Station (the McDonalds entrance). The name is a reference to the last chairman of the Metropolitan Railway, and has a bit of a Victorian character to it which becomes evident when you adjust your eyes to the fairly dark interior, although Im not sure how much of it is genuine. I particularly like the few small covered booths in the ground floor bar which, if you are lucky enough to be able to occupy one, is like your own personal space in which to enjoy a beer whilst the hustle and bustle of the city carries on outside your small alcove.
The beers on my visits have been GK IPA and Abbot, TT Landlord and Fullers London Pride. So as commented below, unfortunately nothing special, but the Landlord and Pride have been well kept and served well. And I have been served quickly on both visits , which is always a bonus for this part of town.
So in conclusion, although I cannot comment on what its like at a lunchtime or what the grubs like, in my experience its a solid pub for a decent evening pint within close proximity of Liverpool Street Station.

30 May 2009 07:03

The Swan, Bank

Popped in for a first visit and a quick pint yesterday evening whilst on the way to Leadenhall Market. Not kidding about the narrowness of the downstairs bar. There was a couple of suits in who were obviously expert on the expense lunches and that was it virtually full. But fortunately, as it was a pleasant evening weather wise, plenty of room to stand outside in the alley way. Only had time for the one and the pride was excellent, so I can see why the Swan attracts glowing reviews.

29 May 2009 15:45

The New Moon, Bank

One of our number decided that we would make a change from the Lamb Tavern and try the New Moon last night for a session.
Its an OK pub but I think well be back at the Lamb next time. Its a standard Greene King pub with IPA, Abbot, Old Speckled Hen and Moorland Original. The Moorland was off on our arrival but to their credit it was back on in time for our second round, which was lucky because the IPA wasnt all that good.
Fortunately it was the closest thing to a barmy summers evening so far this year last night and most people were outside in the market area and the pub itself was almost empty. So no problems getting up the bar to be served and then being spotted but the bar staff.
So in conclusion, great location, but not that great a pub and there are better in the area, including the other one in Leadenhall Market itself.

29 May 2009 15:43

The Beehive, Edmonton

Over a year since my last review, so will update as I have been back in a few times over recent weeks.
Beer choice remains as mentioned below and the Pride and Bass have always been good on my visits.
Tried the food for the first time in the middle of last week and was impressed. The quality and quantity were very good, albeit slightly more expensive than the meal deals you can get in the Stag opposite.
Found out yesterday that it's been awarded the Enfield and Barnet CAMRA branch pub of the year for 2009, and due to my historical affinity for this boozer, its good to see it on the up.

27 May 2009 14:16

Plume of Feathers, Gilston

The Plume and Feathers is an attractive roadside pub, situated in the village of Gilston just north of Harlow. Internally it has three connected bar areas mainly aligned for dining, two larger ones at the front of the pub and a smaller section to the back of the bar on the way out to the outside area.
Its comfortable if not a bit dark internally but this pub scores from having a really nice outside patio area. This is in two sections with an upper part providing several round metallic tables and chairs and then a lower larger section of bench seats covered by two jumbo umbrellas with the additional feature of an aviary containing budgies.
And then also there is a separate larger grassed area behind the car park with several additional bench seats.
It has an extensive menu and looks like a bit of a foodie pub. However we visited at lunchtime and only tried the sandwich menu, which was very good in quantity and quality.
I think its a Free House as I couldnt see any brewery branding but not totally sure . There were four Real ales during my visit, Adnams Broadside, Courage Best, and then a couple I havent come across before, The Rev. James , a dark beer from The Brains Brewery and a blonde beer, Buntingford Polar Star from the local Royston based Micro brewery. The Polar Star was a nice pint for a sunny lunchtime.
So in conclusion I found The Plume and Feathers to be a decent pub with good ales and good food.

22 May 2009 12:48

The Black Horse, Barnet

Fairly standard plain one bar locals pub. Also I appeared to be the only non regular when I popped in for a quick pint whilst making my way home through Barnet. Agree with the comment about the friendly barmaid and the locals. Unfortunately the Pride went off as my pint was being poured which left the GK IPA as the only real ale on which was.. GK IPA !. Pleasant enough place and I also probably wouldnt have an issue if this was my local, but also there wasnt anything special to motivate me for return visits as its not.

19 May 2009 21:31

Lamb Inn, Edmonton

Have popped into the Lamb Inn a couple of times over the past few months for a quick pint when emerging from Edmonton green station. I can also confirm that I also know this used to be a spoons and is now owned by Smith & Jones PubCo. But to avoid ridicule from the single posters I will confirm that this is not from any insider knowledge, just from the fact that I frequented a couple of times when it was a spoons and you cant miss the S&J branding when you visit now.
I found it to be a comfortable OK pub with a usually friendly crowd and drinkable, but not great beers. So to concur an OK pub but nothing special. There are a lot better the other side of the A10.
However I will agree with oliver1 (or starshine or jollygiant, or youngsie, or bigfanmoris or whatever handle you are going by next), that The Lamb is by far the best pub close to Edmonton Green Station. But thats because the others are dire and they knocked down The Cross Keys many moons ago.

18 May 2009 17:11

The Old Cock Inn, Harpenden

Popped in here by chance on a Thursday evening when the M25 and M1 were behaving themselves (dont say that too often) and I found myself with tons of time before meeting No 1 Son from his train at Luton. So in search of beer and food diverted to Harpenden as I remember it having several pubs the last time I came through (when the M1 was blocked) and tried here as it looked quite inviting from the outside.
Nice open pub which you enter from either end. The main bar area is laid out more like a restaurant section with candlelit tables. Then off to the side is a couple of more relaxed seating sections with lounge type furniture. Decent food menu with good selection of snacks, starters and mains. The mains are around 8.00 and the one I had was value for this. Three real ales last night, Black Sheep Best, Deuchars IPA and St Austells Tribute. Only tried the Tribute as I was in the wheels and it was excellent. And the lady behind the bar (who I presume was the Landlady) could not have been more helpful. So if you are after decent beer and decent bar food then I cant fault this pub
My only problem was sitting on my own at a table for two with a tall candle burning away, I must have looked like NobbyNoMates whose date had stood him up

16 May 2009 14:16

The Kings Arms, Waterloo

Mmmh! Im always a bit miffed that Ive frequented a boozer just after RogerB (see three postings below) , as its always difficult to add value on top of his usual accurate and detailed scrawings.
Fantastically situated amongst the Victorian back to backs to the east of Waterloo station, a very decent small two bar Victorian corner boozer which has benefited from a sympathetically done large extension out the back.
Had the same 4 ales on as mentioned below on our visit and the Adnams and Pride were very well kept all be it on the pricey side as previously referred to. This is a good pub, but also agree that the beer choice stops if from being one of the best pubs in London. If it could benefit from a couple of guests from Micros or from Brewers outside of the usual South of England fair , then it would be on its way up there..

16 May 2009 13:27

The Fire Station, Waterloo

Any building that has been converted from a previous use into a pub has to be commended and this is a good conversion from its previous use. Located on Waterloo Road, and you can virtually fall into it from Waterloo Station. Its a large cavernous place with high ceilings. As mentioned below its more of a trendy bar than a pub and was very busy and noisy on this particular Friday night. It does benefit from a decent range of real ales but Im a bit of an old codger and do prefer my pubs a bit more traditional

16 May 2009 12:59

The Windmill Tavern, Waterloo

Yep, liked this one. Again like the Ring further down the Cut, the Windmill Tavern has a modern dcor but not too modern and is festooned with black and white photos, this time of actors due to its proximity to the Old & Young Vics. Its a two room pub either side of a central serving area, with the back room being reached by an archway to the left of the bar. The enormous hanging wall mirror gives the front bar a light and airy feel and there is an outside bench area under an awning to the front of the pub. As mentioned below the beer choice is not brilliant, but there was Speckled Hen and Sharps Doombar on yesterday which were perfectly pleasant.

16 May 2009 12:34

The Anchor and Hope, Waterloo

Can Concur that this is a gastro pub more aimed at foodies than drinkers. Although there is a bar area to the front its not really set up for a large group on the crawl. However the Windmill Tavern just along the road is much more aligned to this sort if thing so we went along there. No rating left.

16 May 2009 12:32

The Ring, Southwark

I dont usually get this far south of the river , so when it was recommended to do a crawl of The Cut and to meet here due to its proximity to Southwark Tube Station I wasnt expecting much.
But I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by The Ring. As mentioned below clean modern dcor but not too modern, and all walls festooned with Black and White photos of sluggers from time gone by. Beers were not that inspiring being just Courage Best and London Pride but the Pride was well kept and a good start for the evening. And there were plenty of poncey foreign lagers for those of our group who were of that persuasion.
Cant fault the service with the two guys being fast and efficient considering the pub was very busy on this early Friday evening. Yes, the girl who joined them later did wear a permanent scowl and seemed to suffer for her profession, but again the pints were pulled efficiently so Im certainly not going to be all curmudgeonly over the lack of a smile.
The pub does have some outside bench seating underneath awnings , but probably not the most pleasant place for an outside pint considering the pubs corner setting on the junction of The Cut and Blackfriars road.
But in conclusion a decent pub for a decent pint close to Southwark Tube Station.

16 May 2009 12:31

The White Hart, Beaconsfield

The wife booked us in here (the attached Inn Keepers Lodge to be more precise) for an overnight stop last night as it was the nearest reasonably priced accommodation close to the location of a family party. On reading the last posting below I thought shed booked us into the Spoons of Beaconsfield, but fortunately our experience was different.
We didnt eat here, so cannot comment on the meals, but found the White Hart to be a pleasant period pub with a bit of Character. Most of the pub is laid out for dining but there is a comfortable bar area towards the back . The Ales were London Pride, CW Bombardier and Sharps Doombar, and the Pride and Doombar I tried were well kept. The three ales were priced between 2.40 and 2.80, which I consider to be reasonable. When we entered at 6.00PM yesterday Saturday evening I had a good look round the bar area but couldnt find anything resembling the old men and alcoholics referred to below. Perhaps they dont come in at the weekends. If this is the cheapest pint in town, then I think this says more about the other pretentious rip off joints of Beaconsfield Old Town than it does about the White Hart.
So to conclude, as a place for a decent beer in comfortable surroundings, the White Hart is perfectly fine.

10 May 2009 19:11

The Greyhound Bar, Beaconsfield

Oh Good. I wasn't alone on the confusing bit then.. Is it a bar ?, it is a pub?, is it a club ?
Nice pint of pride, but I usually like pubs of a more traditional nature, so not one for me I'm afraid. I'll leave this one for the youngsters..

10 May 2009 18:21

Royal Saracens Head, Beaconsfield

Remember this place as a Beefeater a few years back. This is definately a better incarnation than back then. But still can't help feeling that it is still a bit of a waste of a superb 18th Century Coaching Inn.
As reported below now more of a modern bistro restaurant with a 'posh nosh' menu for the well heeled of Beaconsfield. Did have TT Landlord but felt totally out of place supping that amongst all the Pinot Grigio chuggers..

10 May 2009 17:32

The Running Horse, Leatherhead

Nice pub, ideally situated for a relaxing beer if youve walked up and down the Mole Valley as we had done. Decent two bar pub with garden area out back. Beers as described below and the Pride and Tribute were kept well. They were getting ready for a May Day Hog Roast when we visited yesterday and any pub that goes out of its way to do that gets my vote, although shame we couldnt stay another day for it..

4 May 2009 13:52

Penny Black, Leatherhead

Popped in here on Sunday as we were overnighting in the Leatherhead Travel Lodge and it was the nearest pub.
Have to say I found it OK on our visit. Well decorated, two flat screens for the sport, and with the full range of Youngs Ales, of which both the bitter and special were perfectly fine. The paved outside seating area (you cant call it a garden as this would imply something green) was quite busy as the sun was out, and has the novelty of an outside pool table. I wonder if the balls get slippery when it rains. Also has an outside speaker, which annoyingly blared out the commentary from the footy which was being shown.
All in all I thought the Penny Black was a decent enough boozer based on our one fleeting visit.

4 May 2009 13:40

The Castle Inn, Ottershaw

Duckstein below almost had this pub summed up in a single sentence. I would modify to say.

Good ale, good food, good location, good dcor, good atmosphere, empty wallet.

To elaborate more, The Castle Inn is tucked away down a leafy lane off the A320, in the stockbroker belt area of Surrey. It is a two bar pub with a dining conservatory bolted on the back. The bars are comfortable and festooned with farming and horse implements giving it that country pub feel. There is no garden, but benches out the front of the pub. There were four real ales on at the time of my visit. London Pride, TT Landlord, Harveys Sussex Best and a fourth one I can t remember. The Sussex Best was excellent and the Landlord was good.
Now the primary reason for us searching this place out was as a stop en-route for Sunday Lunch. These were pricey at 8.99, but I will not quibble at that as both the quantity and quality were excellent and worth the charge.
What I will quibble with is the beer pricing. All four ales were priced the same at 3.40!
Come On !!! I pay significantly less for Pride and Landlord in City pubs with iconic views of London.
But I suppose if your local clientele are mainly retired bankers and stockbrokers who dont bat an eyelid at paying those prices, then you can get away with it. And as always you do have a choice of a pint of Keg and plastic food in the Harvester down the road.
So in summary, a really nice pub, slightly spoilt by a drinks pricing policy bordering on extortionate.

4 May 2009 13:22

Bush Hill Park Hotel, Enfield

I have a certain affinity with the Bush Hill Park Hotel as it was the location of my first ever pint, after being sneaked into the garden by my dad and uncle at the tender age of 14. Fortunately that first pint of Whitbred Trophy didnt put me off for life.
Its a late Victorian train station hotel, built in 1897, which wasnt the smartest pub in my early youth and it still isnt. The Edwardian central wooden bar service area (similar to the one in the now sadly closed Kings Head in the Enfield Town market square) has long since disappeared, ripped out in some previous less than sympathetic refurb , which has left the BHP Hotel a fairly soulless and character less one bar pub.
The beer choice has also not improved and John Smiths on Keg is as good as it gets. So if your in BHP and fancy a quick drink, then probably OK , otherwise not worth going out of your way for.

3 May 2009 10:16

Walnut Tree, Bourne End

Small update to my previous posting. The food menu is now back on for Monday to Friday evenings and the seasonal Ale from GK has change to Hare Raiser, which is a decent pint and better than the IPA in my humble opinion.

30 Apr 2009 14:46

The Blue Posts, Fitzrovia

Surprisingly empty when I popped in just before closing on Saturday night, so unfortunately void of atmosphere. But did have cask SS OBB. Oh what I would have given for that ten minutes earlier in The Champion.

26 Apr 2009 22:42

The Champion, Fitzrovia

Cannot disagree with any of the previous postings below, brilliant pub , shame about the beer.
Fantastic stained glass windows, wonderful dark wood interior , superb period lighting and a really good lively and jovial saturday night crowd.
And like Chris below, I just sat there taking it all in.
But unfortunately Keg OBB just doesn't cut it

26 Apr 2009 22:32

Ben Crouch's Tavern, Fitzrovia

Popped in here with the wife on Saturday night as she has never been before. Good collection of Goffs and Rockers in so she got the full Ben Crouch Tavern experience. Unfortunately the only handpump on was GK IPA so wasn't so good for me. But suffered a pint of Suffolks supposed finest as the atmosphere and decor was worth staying for one.
Oh, and if you've never been before and want to know what's all the fuss about the decor see the posting from RogerB below for a full description.

26 Apr 2009 22:25

The Wishing Well, Southgate

Definately gone..
It's now a Mediteranian Sea food Restaurant

17 Apr 2009 13:09

The Orange Tree, Winchmore Hill

Over two years since my last report, so to confirm remains a great back street boozer. Good place to watch sport on a saturday and is usually very busy when one of the North London Clubs is being shown on the satellite feed, and then a brilliant place for a social drink when the sport goes off.
As previous reviewer mentions well kept ales but are from the GK stable so not too inspiring. However there is usually one guest ale on, which last night was Red Rooster Farmhouse Ale from the Yorkshire Rooster Micro berwery, which was an excellent tipple.

17 Apr 2009 09:34

The Maybush Inn, Waldringfield

The previous reviewers have already captured most of the key points about The Maybush. But Ill try to embellish a little.
Excellent location with spectacular views across the Deben River. Nice interior decor with a lot of boat related ornaments, pictures , artefacts about the place. At least three large bay windows with window seats which give a good view of the river, but this is best enjoyed from the plentiful tables outside by the riverside.
It has an extensive food menu which is served quickly and efficiently to a decent quality and as they have a kids menu its attracts families.
Its an Adnams house and had all three standard ales (Adnams Bitter, Explorer and Broadside) on today when we visited.
The downside is that it gets rammed, especially in summer and isnt always a place for a relaxing pint.

16 Apr 2009 20:19

The Winter Gardens, Harrogate

Have to say I liked this spoons. As mentioned below a really good sympathetic conversion of a building with character. I particularly liked the top section after you come in the main door with its almost private side room sections before you move to the balcony to look down on the cavernous main bar area. Yes the bar itself is huge and you have to walk the length of it to find out what beers are on as the groups of hand pumps are spaced some distance apart along it. I believe there are 15 in total and there was at least 8 different ales on during my fleeting visit. I didnt experience any problem getting served, but then we only stayed for the one and it wasnt overly busy on the early Saturday evening of the Easter bank holiday weekend.

16 Apr 2009 20:02

Hales Bar, Harrogate

Came across this gem after emerging from walking the Valley Gardens. Can concur with all the comments below. A truly splendid pub with a great interior. TT Landlord, Bass, Tetley and Copper Dragon Best were on during my visit.

16 Apr 2009 20:01

The Scarbrough Hotel, Leeds

Probably didn't see the Scarbrough at its best when I visited as there wern't many in and it was quite quiet. Also unfortunately I only had time available to stay for the one. Six hand pumps on the go and I resisted to see how well the London Pride had travelled from my home town and went for the Dale Side Old Leg Over instead, which was in excellent nick.

16 Apr 2009 19:57

Whitelocks, Leeds

The Whitelocks was my favourite of the pubs I managed to take in during a visit to Leeds over the Easter bank holiday. Fantastic Victorian interior virtually unchanged since 1895, great stained glass windows and collection of brewery mirrors. Slightly surprised by the previous few comments on the beer choice. Perhaps I struck lucky by visiting during the CAMRA cask ale week, because as well as the house ales of Theastons and Deuchars IPA, there was Moorehouse Pride of Pendale, Davenports Spring Fever , Black Sheep Best, Golden Pippin from the Copper Dragon Brewery, Lees Hopping Mad and Lancashire Amber.
And another big plus is its hidden location down an alleyway in the middle of the department stores. So if you have to accompany the wife shopping, take my tip and give her as long as she wants in Harvey Nicks whilst you sneak off for a couple of pints.

15 Apr 2009 22:52

Templar Hotel, Leeds

Another solid corner pub on the north side of Leeds City centre. Only slight issue when I visited was that it doesn't appear to have a smoking area , so the smokers collect outside the two doors on the pavement and can be a bit off putting. But my advice is to not be put off and go inside for a decent pint of Tetleys and the traditional boothed interior.

15 Apr 2009 21:36

The Wrens, Leeds

Solid victrorian corner pub / hotel on the North side of the City centre. Cannot improve on the description given by aleandhearty below and same three regular ales were on during my visit. Only tried the Deuchars IPA and it was perfectly fine

15 Apr 2009 21:02

The Brewery Tap, Leeds

The Brewery Tap Leeds
This is the third of The Leeds Brewery own pubs opened in November 2008. Its handily placed close to the train station and round the corner from the Scarbrough Hotel.
Very modern clean dcor and design with bar at the back and wooden tables along the side and by three large windows which run along the slight curvature of the pub. These windows make it quite bright inside and have an interesting decorative design showing the component parts of the brewery process.
I was informed by the barstaff that the pubs policy is to have six real ale hand pumps on the go, namely the three permanent Leeds ales (Best, Pale and Midnight Bell), a seasonal one, which was New Moon on my visit, and two guests. I didnt note these down but seem to remember one being called Copper Fox ?
Good food menu also, but didnt eat as we werent here for the food. Between us we tried all the Leeds Ales and they were excellent, especially the dark mild.
Service was good but not really tested as there werent many in on a wet Good Friday afternoon. However, I didnt see anything that would not lead me to believe that the Brewery tap is another solid addition to the Leeds city centre real ale outlets.

14 Apr 2009 14:43

The Grove Inn, Holbeck

Wow, wasnt prepared for The Grove Inn, as its the last thing you expect to find in the middle of the office tower blocks on the canal side developments. Its like walking into a time warp and finding yourself back in the days when pubs were there to dispense good ale and be a social meeting point for the local community. A no frills social drinking house.
Cant really add to the previous descriptions given except that the wife spotted that the iron legs of the tables in the larger back music room were from Singer sowing machine stands. And the smaller of the two rooms off the corridor was a ringer for my old nans front room.
Several beers on and the ones at the serving hatch were Moorhouse Black Cat and Witches Brew, Deuchars IPA, and Salamander Scatterbrain, which I believe is a local Microbrewery.
I didnt get to see the beers in the front bar as when me and the misses moved from the back room to one of side rooms, some of the locals picked up on the non Yorkshire accents and after establishing that we were in Leeds for the bank holiday weekend, were very concerned about us having a good time and discussed plenty of suggestions for our enjoyment whilst in Yorkshire. Suffice to say we didnt leave the pub till gone midnight.

13 Apr 2009 22:43

The Cross Keys, Holbeck

Now its not often (if at all), that I walk into a pub to find four real ale handpumps , and I dont recognise any of them. But then its not every day that you find a pub that takes its Beers from local Micro breweries as I now understand from the previous postings below. For the record the beers on offer this bank holiday weekend were Roosters IPA, Acorn Old Moor Porter, Silverback from the Brass Monkey Brewery and Doctor Mortons Famous Ancient Greece from Abbeydale brewery, all from Yorkshire I believe. Really liked the Roosters IPA but wasnt so keen on the Silverback.
As for the pub its of a high standard of traditional dcor laid out as one bar but in two sections, a main and larger one to the right and then smaller section to the left which has large wooden tables mainly for dining. There is a function room upstairs which is reached by use of a metal spiral staircase, which somehow seems to become a feature of the bar area instead of an intrusion.
Agree with the food menu as it was more in line with what I would describe as posh nosh and priced accordingly. For example the chalk board offered for Sunday lunch a whole Roast Rib of Beef, served whole at the table so that you can carve it yourself. Has to be pre-ordered and serves 5 and will set you back 75.00. I guess a great idea for a special occasion, but I still have the feeling that if I were shelling out 15.00 for Roast Beef Id be looking for someone else to do the donkeywork.
So in conclusion, a really nice comfortable pub where Id definitely come back for the beer.

13 Apr 2009 22:40

The Boathouse, Putney

Was out with the wife walking round Fulham today. Got to lunchtime and she wanted to find somewhere nice to eat a sandwich with a view of the river. Whereas all I wanted was a decent pint. Then came across The Boat House and it looked like it might satisfy both.
And as we managed to get a table on the upstairs balcony with the river view, and they had Deuchars IPA on, we were both happy. The upstairs area had two hardworking staff running around providing table service although they were slightly let down by the kitchen, as it took over 30 minutes to come up with two sandwich platters and I wouldnt have said the pub was that busy. However when they did turn up I cannot fault the quality.
Can also confer with the comment that it attracts Rahs. Braying loudly seemed to be the standard method of communication for one group of young ladies. Dont they teach the art of gentle conversation at Finishing School now?
Anyway in conclusion, not a pub I would choose to have a session in, but for a place to have a break and a decent snack and a pint, the experience was good.

8 Apr 2009 20:46

The Temperance, Putney Bridge

Walked past this place after coming out of Putney Bridge Tube station. Then had to turn round and go in because the chance to have a pint in an Old Temperance Hall with the thought that members of the Temperance society would be spinning in their graves if they knew one of their former halls was now in the GBBG 09, was too good to pass over.
Can't really post a subjective review as I was virtually the first one in this lunchtime, so no problem with the service, and only had the one and didn't eat. But cannot complain about the TT Golden Best. Very nice.

8 Apr 2009 20:21

The Two Brewers, Northaw

I love it when you take a week off work but have no particular place to go. Mainly because if the sun comes out, you can drop what you were doing and head out for a lunchtime pint. It did, and so did I, to Northaw to see if the Two Brewers is still as good as it was when I was a regular visitor a few years ago.
And I am pleased to report that it is still a very solid picturesque village pub. Its whitewashed front is very welcoming and even at this early stage of the growing season was well festooned with hanging baskets and window boxes. There are seating benches out front and as mentioned by the previous poster, a very spacious split level sun trap of a garden out back which has a great view of the village church.
But it is inside where this pub really scores. It is divided into four distinct areas divided by period wooden beams, each with its own section of the bar. This gives plenty of room for groups to stand and socialise over a beer. And for those interested in dining there is a purpose built conservatory restaurant added the far left.
The beers were Adnams Bitter Marstons Pedigree and GK IPA. Tried both the Adnams and the IPA and they were well kept. So in conclusion, still a top class pub, well recommend for a drive out for a pint in the Hertfordshire countryside

7 Apr 2009 16:17

Local Hero, Leicester

Bit of a plastic chain pub built in 1997 on the Freemans Leisure Park site next to the Odeon cinema and Mecca Bingo and across the way from Morrisons. That makes it equi-distant between the Walkers Ground and the Leicester Tigers ground.
Its very much in the mould of a spoons (except for any decent ale) in that it tries to drag people in with food and drink deals (Two for one on main meals, that sort of thing). Unfortunately the beer is only John Smith Keg which is usually just bearably drinkable and the foods not up to much either.
So why bother? Well its handy for a pre or post pictures pint and as its pretty big (can seat over 200) so you can usually get a table.
However, as they run a system where you have to order food at a designated till at the end of the bar that seems to need the IQ of a Mensa member to operate, the service can be patchy.
And dont make the mistake I did to visit when both Leicester City and the Tigers were playing at home. Now you would have thought that any landlord of a large drinking establishment so close to two sporting stadiums would check the fixture lists and staff accordingly. Apparently not this landlord.

6 Apr 2009 21:44

King Rufus, Chandlers Ford

When looking at the previous reviews, looks like we struck lucky today. On the way back from a weekend in Bournemouth, turned off the M3 to find a lunchtime pint and stopped at the King Rufus on the basis that it was the first decent looking pub we came across. Yes, the beer choice is not inspiring as it is a GK house, but it did have Ringwood Best and both this and the IPA we had were perfectly fine. Didnt eat as they do not do sandwiches on a Sunday and we were too stuffed from the mornings full English to be up for the 7.95 carvery. But plenty of people were and it looked half-decent to me. Also its a pretty big place with lots of separate seating areas, so when it is busy, like it was today you could find somewhere to sit. So on our flying visit I have to rate it higher than the current average at 6/10. Also it is blessed with outside bench areas to the front and one side and a large beer garden to the other side. So I can image in summer this would be a good place to have a pint in the sun. So I hope the management turn it round from the experience of the previous couple of postings.

5 Apr 2009 21:08

The Litten Tree, Bournemouth

Only went in here as it was the nearest pub to our hotel that was showing the Blackburn v Spurs game on Saturday. Im not sure what pissed me off the most. The lack of any decent beer, the lack of any decent atmosphere, or the fact that Spurs dominated the game and somehow still conspired to get beat. Thinking about it, it was definitely the last one. But all in all, a thoroughly depressing experience.

5 Apr 2009 20:50

Yates's, Bournemouth

Now, if your idea of a good Friday night out is to packed in with large amounts of raucous students, hen parties and stag parties, with hardly enough room to lift your overpriced alcopop to your lips, then Yates in Bournemouth is the place for you. I dont drink alcopops and have an aversion to beer from plastic glasses, so I left.

5 Apr 2009 20:35

O'Neills, Bournemouth

This is one of the better O'Neills I've been dragged into, but mainly because there was a band on who were half decent and the crowd were up for the craic (which in common with all the other ONeills, was about the only thing vaguely Irish about the place)

5 Apr 2009 20:28

The Hunters Inn, Woodley

Whilst travelling down to Bournemouth for the weekend, came off the M3 in search of a lunchtime pint and plumped for the Hunters Inn just outside Romsey, as it looked OK from the outside.
Traditional 2-bar pub with gaming machines, darts and a pool table in the public, and a beamed saloon split in two sections. A lower bit based around a brick fireplace and an upper section laid out for food.
The food menu was quite extensive with a good range of sandwiches and Baguettes and mains. There was also a lunch time offer of 2 meals for 6.00 from a reduced menu. We have two of the Baguettes and both were good. The beers were Ringwoods Best and Wadsworths 6X, both of which were served in good condition. The one barmaid was cheerful and the service was good, although it wasnt particularly busy considering it was a Friday lunchtime.
So in conclusion a decent traditional pub, and a good place to stop for beers and a bite to eat.

5 Apr 2009 20:16

Rose and Crown Hotel, Wensleydale

Now Ill state up front that I havent visited The Rose and Crown for a couple of years having not had the chance to visit Bainbridge last year, and hopefully others will be able to update my posting if circumstances have changed.
When last there The Rose and Crown remained a really pleasant pub/hotel with a great location overlooking the large village green at Bainbridge. Allegedly theres been an Inn on this site since the 15th Century. The Rose and Crown is a hotel (with 11 rooms doing B&B) but both the restaurant and the bars are open to the public. The restaurant setting is very good as its large glass windows overlook the village green and if I remember correctly has two bars set out like a public and a saloon and last time the public had a pool table and tele for the football. The beers are usually the Black Sheep and Theakston local brews. Its white painted front means that on a sunny day the tables out front become sun traps and theres nothing better after spending the morning walking round Semerwater or the nearby Wether fell than to sit out here with a pint of Black Sheep and let time go by.

1 Apr 2009 12:14

The White Rose Hotel, Askrigg

The White Rose Hotel is not strictly a pub, being a 19th century residence, which has been refurbished into a family-run hotel. But both the restaurant and bar are open to non residents. Have stayed here many times over the last few years and the accommodation is comfortable with the character you would expect from a multi roomed 19th century house. The restaurant is housed in a large conservatory at the back of the building and usually provides good meals at a reasonable price. One key aspect is the main bar which as mentioned is open to non residents and as well as serving the usual Theakston and Black Sheep ales is also an outlet for the beers from the Yorkshire Dales Brewing Co, which is a micro brewery located in a shed behind the Hotel. So as the barrels only have to travel over the dry stone wall of the car park at the back they tend to be fresh. But the main advantage of the White Rose Hotel is that it is equidistant between the two Askrigg village pubs, so if you come out the Kings Arms and are struggling with climbing the hill to the Crown , then a quick one in the White Rose Hotel usually suffices.

31 Mar 2009 17:59

The Crown Inn, Askrigg

Have been coming to Askrigg on and off over the last 20 years for a beery weekend thinly disguised as an end of season football tour against two of the local village teams. We usually get a tonking in the Sunday game but mainly because of a complete skinfull in the Crown, the night before. I have to say The Crown is my favourite of the drinking locations in the village of Askrigg If all you're after is a pint, then the Crown is a better bet than the Kings Arms. Its definitely more of a local drinkers pub and provides a friendly welcome. Its mainly a one bar pub but with two slightly separate areas either side of the main bar, one of which has an open fire and the other one a dart board. Now as the village of Askrigg is built on a steep hill no surprises for guessing the location of The Crown when , in contrast to the Kings Head which is known as the bottom pub, this is known by the locals as the top pub.
It went for many years under the other pseudonym of Owens after one Owen Metcalfe who was the owner and landlord from 1979 to when he retired in 2006. For us Londoners Owen was the archetypal Yorkshire man, in that irrespective of the copious amounts of cash we spent across the bar we never bloody saw him smile once. Theres now a lad called James who is the current landlord and from the experience of our last visit is keeping up the tradition of The Crown as a great watering hole for the Dale walkers, tourists and London pub teams who want a good pint. Which is usually Theakstons Best and Old Peculiar and sometimes XB, and Black Sheep Bitter. Oh and there is a food menu more aligned to Sausage or Gammon and Chips which is much more aligned to soaking up beer than the posh fair at the Kings Arms.

31 Mar 2009 17:16

The Kings Arms, Leyburn

Have been coming to Askrigg on and off over the last 20 years for a beery weekend thinly disguised as an end of season football tour against two of the local village teams. The claim to fame for the village of Askrigg is that it was used in the 70s TV series of James Herriot 'All Creatures Great and Small'
And the Kings Arms is a former stables, which was converted into a public house in the early nineteenth century and featured as 'The Drovers Arms in the said TV series.
It has a cosy multi roomed interior but one of these is usually laid out as restaurant as it does focus on an upmarket food menu to capture the tourist trade in summer.
However usually has at least two beers on the go from the Theakstons and Black Sheep stables, and although does not have a garden there is a passageway between the pub and the building next door which allows outside drinking on barmy Yorkshire evenings. For reasons I will explain in my reviews for the other places in Askrigg, the Kings Head is usually referred to as the bottom pub by the locals.

31 Mar 2009 17:14

The Star and Garter, Metheringham

Visited here back in November when it was the location for a wake, being the local of a recently departed family member.
The Star and Garter is a two bar corner pub in the village of Metheringham, a medium sized village, 10 miles south east of Lincoln.
There is a central bar serving area to which the public bar is to the front of the pub and the saloon is to the back and from each when standing at the bar, you can see through to the other one.
There is also a third room which may be used as a dining room in normal use but was in use for the buffet for our party on this occasion.
The public bar is a good layout in that it has a pool table , darts board an open fire place with real fire as well as a large standing area in front of the bar and all are in their own defined area which does not intrude onto the others. So we could huddle round the open fire and be well out of the way of the people standing up the bar and those playing pool. The saloon bar was again laid out around a fireplace, but if I remember correctly, this one had a gas fire and the room had more the feel of someones front room. Two real ales were on , but memory fades and I cannot remember what they were, except for the fact that both were kept well. I cannot comment on the pub food on offer, but if it is anything like the buffet we had (which contained first experience of Lincolnshire Plum Loaf), then it will be top notch.

31 Mar 2009 15:46

Walnut Tree, Bourne End

The Walnut Tree is a traditional wooden beamed pub with character sitting on the Hedsor road half way between Cookham Bridge and Bourne End. It is a one bar pub which still keeps all the original beams from when it was presumably a multi room cottage and the beam just before the bar means anyone over 5ft 8 has to duck to reach the bar area. The pub has a couple of bay window seating areas and seats in front of the two original fire places on either side of the bar area. It has the benefit of a decent garden area out the back which is ideal for summer and a few years ago they added a wooden clad dining room onto the side and extended the kitchen. The food menu is extensive with a wide choice of baguettes and sandwiches and several main meals displayed on the chalk board. They used to do food at lunch time and in the evenings, but they now seem to have stopped the evening service.
It is a great place for a relaxing pint and a sandwich at lunchtime and the only slight negative is that the beer choice is not very inspiring being the usual GK IPA and Abbott fair. But the quality and service is always good and they did have Flankers Tackle on from the GK stable today, which provided a bit of variety.

31 Mar 2009 15:44

The Tattershall Castle, Embankment

On a quest to go somewhere we hadnt been on our regular drink ups in the city, a group of us visited the Tattershall Castle for the first time last night and I have to say was quite impressed. Dont understand the comment below about being in need of a refurb as the bar area was well done up and modern in appearance. The big flat screens at the ends of the bar area displaying a marine aquarium set up was a nice touch. And the large glass windows provide a great view of the South bank and the river whether youre sitting or standing. As the property programs say location is everything and thats what this place has. As the smokers in our group commented, where else can you have an large outside smoking area which gives fantastic views of the London Eye, Westminster Palace and the Thames.
The downside is that the beer choice is limited, but at least they have real ale on. Although as said below there is only Pride and it is 3.05 a pint. But what youre paying for is location. And for the blokes, you even get a view of Big Ben from the port hole in the gents. And thats got to be work 3 quid a pint of anyones money..

27 Mar 2009 14:01

The Wishing Well, Southgate

Not sure it's closed for a refurb. When I went past last night there was a big sign saying reopening soon as a restaurant.
So another pub lost in these troubled times, but as I've never seen more than half a dozen ever in and have always walked past to The 'Spoons a few doors up I don't think anyone's going to miss it.

26 Mar 2009 11:48

The Stag and Hounds, Edmonton

Now the concept behind B.I.T.E. is a brilliant one in that it provides a vehicle for the beer drinking Joe Public to share their experiences with the great unwashed on those wonderful institutions, the British Pub. And thus provide guidance on those which are good and those which are not so good.
However, as it is free to all it is sometimes open to abuse.
Primarily from A) Owners or Publicans who register to big up their own establishments, usually under multiple personalities or B) disgruntled former employees/locals who have been sacked/barred for general incompetence/unsocial behaviour and register to leave vitriolic and personal comment sometimes bordering on libellous.
Fortunately these are usually very easy to spot as in the case below, where exlocal (a clue in the handle chosen me thinks) has only ever posted the comments to this one pub on the day that they first registered on B.I.T.E. and clearly falls into the second category and therefore should be totally ignored. It is a sad fact that human nature, being what it is, leads people to act in this moronic way.
I can state that I do not fall into either of the categories above and can therefore leave a more balanced comment which may be more useful for those who are unfamiliar with the Stag and Hounds.
I visited on a mid week lunchtime a couple of weeks ago to meet with a bunch of OAPs I know and who visit the Stag and Hounds on a weekly basis for lunch and a few beers. Now these gentleman are firmly in the Victor Meldew on a state pension mould and if there had been anything perceivably wrong with the varied meals and beers these gentlemen consumed during this session, then they would have been straight up the bar giving the bar staff the full I Dont Believe It ! experience. There wasnt and they werent. And also the couple of pints of the guest ale that I tried on the day were perfectly fine.
So I can report that, whilst the Stag and Hounds is not a brilliant pub, it remains as a solid public house providing a good service to the deserving clientele of Bush Hill Park and Edmonton.

18 Mar 2009 10:15

The Red Lion, St James

Many Apologies malo66. I meant Piccadilli. Sorry for the confusion. It had been a long extended weekend and probably one Skinners Ginger tosser too far...

24 Feb 2009 16:41

The Bull, Theydon Bois

Yep, e17fletch must have been tired and emotional after his gastro experience. Its quite easy to get The Bull mixed up with The Railway Arms, a not too dissimmilar looking non-BITE listed pub a few doors further up Coppice Row nearer the Tube Station. But mixed up with the much different Queen Victoria the other side of Forest Drive does take some doing.

24 Feb 2009 16:30

The Blue Posts, Soho

Unremarkable corner boozer with unremarkable GK ales which were particularily average. There are a lot better pubs in Soho than this one and, come to think of it there is better Blue Posts in Soho as well

20 Feb 2009 09:26

The Shooting Star, Liverpool Street

Popped in again last night for one last quick one before catching the train home, and to check that my previous experience had not been misleading.
Nope, Excellent pint of pride..........

19 Feb 2009 12:29

The Cock and Woolpack, City Of London

Nice small pub hidden behind the Royal Exchange serving a very pleasant range of Shep Ales. Wood panelled dcor with inlaid Shep Neame branded mirrors that give the place a feeling of being bigger than it actually is. I can imagine that it would be busy at 18.30PM as mentioned below with city workers, but its hidden location probably means its not on the route of the evening crowd. So when we got in there at 8.30PM last night it was quiet enough to grab the bar stools and for the bar staff to spend time reading their current novel whilst waiting for the next punter to appear.
Between us tried the Spitfire, Bishops finger and Master Brew, all good.

19 Feb 2009 12:22

The Old Doctor Butler's Head, Moorgate

Very pleasant establishment for drinking a very pleasant array of Shep ales and worth hunting down in the alley ways off Moorgate. Cannot better Trainmans description below expect for the point that one of the two small flat screen plasmas he describes is actually bloody huge and out of place in this pub. Although last night the England v WI cricket was on and managed to see graphic close ups of two Windies wickets whilst supping a very respectable Spitfire. Almost close to heaven that

19 Feb 2009 11:52

The Globe, Moorgate

Slightly surprised by the scores for this place, but then again I only visit when emerging from Moorgate Station for an evening crawl, which I did last night. And as it was around 7.45PM managed to walk straight up the bar and get served straight away. I like the way that with the Keats Bar to the side of the main Globe section its like having two pubs in one. And there was a good range of beers on. So OK for me, but then again I have never been there during city troughing hours have never eaten there and have never stayed too long before moving on.

19 Feb 2009 10:09

The Three Wishes, Winchmore Hill

Now renamed as The Three Wishes. Saw this place described in local Enfield listings as a traditional pub with an older crowd, which just about sums it up.
It was a poor spoons before and this is definitely a better incarnation.
Whereas the On Broadway a couple of doors away is set up for the younger demographic the Three Wishes is aligned to their parents and grand parents.
More traditional type dcor and surprised to read below that the carpet was new for the refurb as I would have thought Axminster would have lost the pattern for this one a long time ago.
I am assured by friends of mine who have visited on a few occasions that it is now run by a landlord and landlady who care about their clientele. And I can say that when I visited on Saturday night for the first time, the service and friendliness of the bar staff (which included the landlady I believe) was very good. The ale choice of Courage Best and London Pride wasnt the most inspiring but both were kept well. Theres usually some form of musical entertainment on a Saturday night and Im reliably informed that the Elvis Impersonator evening is a good one to go to, if youre into that sort of thing..

16 Feb 2009 11:56

The Bricklayers Arms, Luton

Excellent traditional pub tucked away in a back street behind Luton Rail station that I wouldnt have been able to find without the help of BITE. Yes, as mentioned the front door is very solid and unless you are 7 ft tall and can see over the curtains, no chance to see inside. Because of this it is not very welcoming to the stranger, but fortunately I had the courage of my convictions and ventured in.
Previous posts have described the pub well so Ill just add that it is a no nonsense, no frills wooden table and chairs interior set up for socialising and drinking. And this is what you should do with five hand pumps dispensing the Everards Tiger and Beacon and three guest ales, one of which last night was Batemans XXXB. It also has continental lagers on tap for those who are of that persuasion and I recognised Leffe and Hoegaden. But I stuck to the Tiger, which was very good.
So if you are catching or meeting a train at the Station I can thoroughly recommend the Bricklayers as a place to pass the time.

6 Feb 2009 18:09

The Harpenden Arms, Harpenden

Popped in here by chance last night when the M25 and M1 were behaving themselves (dont say that too often) and I found myself with tons of time before meeting No 1 Son from his train at Luton. So in search of beer and food diverted to Harpenden as I remember it having several pubs the last time I came through (when the M1 was blocked) and tried here.
Nice enough pub and a decent drop of pride. But as said below , at 7.00PM last night the bar area was quite busy whereas the restaurant area was empty. Didnt fancy Thai so went up the high Street to the Old Cock Inn.

6 Feb 2009 17:30

The Snug Bar, Hertford

Er, not sure whats going on here but The Duncombe Arms still exists and is basically almost next door. So if your coming down Station Road from the station end go past the Snug and the Duncombe Arms is about 50 yards up on the left. So this place was obviously something else..

1 Feb 2009 14:57

The Duncombe Arms, Hertford

Visited the Duncombe Arms last night as a relation was playing in the band that was on.
Most of the previous posts are quite dated but can confirm that not a lot seems to have changed and on this particular Saturday night this was a lively good town centre pub to be in.
Attracts a fairly young crowd, but not too young and I was held up at the bar a couple of times as the bar staff diligently checked the ID of anyone who didnt look like they were old enough to have short and curlies.
The demographic changed a bit during the evening as the young party crowd moved on and others interested in the live music and the extended (till 12.) licensing hours moved in.
Got quite rowdy during the second set but was only locals and the band followers intent on having a good time and as mentioned below was never serious.
The only slight negative was that the only cask ale was the usual Green King fair of IPA and Abbot. So not very inspiring, but well kept all the same.

1 Feb 2009 14:54

The Red Lion, St James

Another success with BITE as I would never have found this wonderful back street Victorian treasure otherwise, even though it was only 300 meters from my hotel on Paddington. Fantastic dcor and fantastic beer and as previously mentioned, the only downside being its small size with two narrow areas either side of the horseshoe bar. Two girls behind the bar last night so service was fine.
I hope the rumour of Fullers buying this place is incorrect. Again, not because I have anything against Fullers as I regularly drink Pride and will vigorously defend the Chiswick brewery, especially against my Northern work colleagues who think beer needs to come with half inch of foam on top. But because you can pick up Fullers in a multitude of establishments and you have to go a long way to find the line-up that was in The Red Lion last night.
I dont understand why Fullers would want this postage stamp pub anyway, when they have their Steak and Ale emporiums in the City, which must turn over more in a lunchtime in The Counting House or The Shooting Star for example that they would in a month from here.
Yes, my heart swells when I see five Fullers handpumps in a row, but when I see London Pride, TT Landlord, Adnams Carbon Green, Springhead Polar Bear and Skinners Ginger Tosser, well Brilliant. And the last three were all good !

27 Jan 2009 21:35

Browns Restaurant and Bar, Leicester Square

Surprised to find Browns on this site as I can concur it definitely is a restaurant with a bar, but I think they do let you in just to have drinks up at the bar, so probably qualifies on that account.
Anyway cannot comment on the drinks offering, as I was not paying attention and believe it is the standard bottled lagers, wine and champagnes at West End prices. But I can review the food, as we tried the pre-theatre menu last night and both our meals were excellent in both quality and price at 14 for two courses. And we had an attentive young South African waiter who was worth the service charge. Then we were back in this afternoon for afternoon tea, when the trouble threw a hissy fit and refused to go in any more characterful London pubs, even if it has got Old Scrotum Scratchings on which is very difficult to find this side of Birmingham. And I consoled myself that afternoon tea in Browns was very reasonable, especially when compared to what some of the local hotels were expecting me to fork out for a few sandwiches with the crust taken off, a scone and a pot of Earl Grey.

27 Jan 2009 21:04

The Tom Cribb, Piccadilly

Many thanks to all the previous postings as I was staying in Piccadilly for a couple of nights and the BITE score highlighted The Tom Cribb. Cannot disagree with any of the comments below. A really nice back street pub oozing with character and very good Bishops Finger and Spitfire from the Sheps stable. Yes it is a bit small, but wasnt a problem when we visited yesterday on a mid Monday afternoon. Was also good to see it much more lively with the after work crowd when we passed again a few hours later on the way to the theatre.

27 Jan 2009 20:22

The Salisbury, Leicester Square

Visited yesterday lunchtime and no doorman to be seen, but probably not needed for a Monday lunchtime. Can only concur with the posting below that I found the Salisbury warm, comfortable, relaxed, and friendly, and best of all sporting six handpumps. These included those mentioned by the poster below and also January Sale, which I believe is a Wychwood seasonal ale. Tried the Deuchars IPA and the Doombar and both were very good. Also cant fault the service , especially one chirpy barman who had the patience to assist an American tourist who came in and requested to try an English Beer bless him

27 Jan 2009 20:09

The Imperial, Soho

Dropped in here by chance on Sunday lunchtime when the rain began to come down hard enough to be annoying. Pleasant enough comfortable one-bar pub just off the north side of the main Leicester Square. London Pride, Green King IPA and CW Bombardier were on. The Pride was fine and the two Club sandwiches we had were fine also, and reasonably priced considering where you were. It was very quiet when we entered so no problem with the service, but the two girls on the afternoon shift had to work a bit harder as the place filled up as the rain persisted. One of these was a voice double for Harry Enfields Magda, which made me have an overriding urge to order a cappuccino.
So to conclude, can concur with the posting below, there are many worse places to drink in this area, though its not really worth going out of your way to visit The Imperial. Especially as I later visited the Salisbury in St Martins Lane and The Red Lion in Piccadilly, and I would describe these as worth going out of your way for.

27 Jan 2009 19:48

The Duke of Wellington, Aldgate

9 of us dropped in here last night for a swift couple on our way to Brick Lane for a rubi. Bit of a culture shock after the high dcor of the Bishopgate pubs. The Duke of Wellington is a basic back street boozer where the dcor continues to wear out as in the report a year ago. There are two bar areas one main one with a big flat screen tele and a smaller one to the side. Both are equipped with dart boards and the only people in last night seemed to be involved in a couple of darts league games. In saying that the IPA and London Pride were perfectly fine. And the high point was that the game in the main bar had just finished and a buffet of sandwiches, sausages and chips appeared in quantity far too great for the participating players to make a dent in. And sensing us drooling over the chips we were invited to help them out by the home captain. So any pub where we achieve free scoff achieves an extra point.

23 Jan 2009 14:20

The Shooting Star, Liverpool Street

Visited for the first time last night and was impressed. A very good example of a Fullers Ale & Pie house, just round the corner from Dirty Dicks. Full Fullers range available on both hand pump and bottled. L shaped layout with plenty of seating at both ends and a spacious bar area in the middle. Liked this one..

23 Jan 2009 13:47

Ye Olde Monken Holt, Barnet

Havent been to Ye Olde Monken Holt for many years, but used to drink here a long time ago due to its good beers and congenial atmosphere. After a bit of a disappointment at the Orange tree in Totteridge, chanced my arm that the Holt was still a good boozer..
Was not disappointed. Still a pub of character with an L shaped front bar and a further seating area at the back of the square serving area.
Four real ale handpumps, three of which were the usual Green King fair. But the forth must have been the guest beer which started out as the Sharps Doombar (first time Ive drunk this outside of its base in Cornwall, so top marks for that) and then changed to CW Bombardier when that ran out, both of which were excellent. And served efficiently by the three bar staff.
Also, being a Saturday night, there was a band on, who wedged themselves in the corridor to the back seating area. Would probably explain why there was a colourful lively crowd in last night as well.

18 Jan 2009 15:23

The Orange Tree, Totteridge

Due to organisational incompetence managed to miss the start time of the chosen film at the Barnet Odeon last night. Never mind. Lets just go for a drink was the comment of the misses. Good idea, lets go to the Orange Tree in Totteridge. We havent been there for a couple of years and that used to be a great pub with great beer.
Oops Should have read the recent reviews in BITE first.
Can concur with previous reviews, now more a restaurant for the well heeled of Totteridge rather than a pub. Large seated dining areas at both ends with a thin bar area in the middle. Unfortunately as reported below that has sparse seating, so if you miss one of the 4 available tables you have to stand up the bar and block the through traffic.
Lots of foreign lagers on draft, but only two ale handpumps , one of which was off and The London Pride wasnt brilliant either.
Nice makeover with lots of wood and an open modern metallic fireplace at one end of the bar area before you enter the dining seating. Must have cost them a pretty penny, but I usually prefer to drink somewhere that has a bit more character than an Ikea showroom.
So it is with a heavy heart that I have to report that the Orange Tree is no longer a great pub for a short drive from North London but now more a restaurant whose target clientele are those for whom the credit crunch is something that happens to other people.

18 Jan 2009 14:58

The Three Horseshoes, Marlow

And again this week. The seasonal ale Roasted Nuts was back on, being a winter ale. As good as I remember it from last year.
The Rebellion Brewery are brewing a beer for each month in 2009 called their Monthly Ales 2009: The Financial Crisis Range.
The one for January is called The Weary Banker, and ignoring the obvious set up for spoonerisms was a very nice light pint.

14 Jan 2009 14:43

Elms, Lutterworth

Visited again today whilst travelling up the M1. Again food very good and service excellent. Now worked out that the Banks Original and Marstons Pedigree are permanent fixtures and the third beer rotates amonst the W&D brands so called guest beers. Today it was a beer called Marstons 175 Not Out at 4.2%, which is supposedly being brewed during January to celebrate 175 years of brewing history at Marston's. Very nice pint..

11 Jan 2009 22:38

The Salisbury Arms, Winchmore Hill

Popped into the Salisbury for a sly quick one on the Saturday lunchtime following Xmas day after being sent down the local Sainsburys for provisions. Were serving Bateman's Christmas Beer, Rosey Nosey. Very nice..

6 Jan 2009 14:22

The Feathers Inn, Wadesmill

Has also been an infrequent visitor to The Feathers over several years driving up from North London to sample the carvery. But stopped coming a few years back when the quality dropped below what you would expect for the price level.
However was back in the pub during a recent lunchtime after a Christmas Ramble around the Hertfordshire countryside. Did not eat in the restaurant and kept to the bar section for beer and bar food, so will report on that.
Cannot fault the Feathers for providing a warm welcome on a cold winters day. It provides a large bar area with several comfortable sofa like seats and tables and chairs. In the middle is a large open fireplace (open to both sides) which today was roaring away nicely. And by the look of the amount of logs that were pilled up in several places around the bar area, they were well prepared for the unlikely event of being snowed in.
The beers are nothing special being the usual Green King fair, but both the IPA and Speckled Hen were pleasant and seemed to be kept well. Have to agree with below that the drinks are slightly pricey and over 12 for 4 drinks is more akin to the west end. The main food menu was extensive but as I remember, also expensive. But they were advertising two main meals for 8.95, although from a separate smaller menu. We tried these and I cannot fault our two meals of Vegetable Biryani and Fish in Beer batter with mushy peas which were good and also good value at under a fiver.
So with regards to beer and bar food, The Feathers was pleasant enough, and I can think of a lot worse places to be after traipsing 10 miles around the Hertfordshire countryside.

3 Jan 2009 19:09

The Red Lion, Preston

Have to be honest and say I have not been to this pub, but I am posting this review on behalf of a work colleague who lives in the next village and rates it very highly.
The background to The Red Lion in Preston is that when Whitbread threatened to close it back in 1982 it became the first pub in the country to be acquired by the locals to keep as a pub.
This explains why it is looked after so well and kept as a top notch village hostelry. And therefore the previous posters who refer to 'The Green Welly brigade' below should make allowances because, without them, there would be no Red Lion in Preston.

22 Dec 2008 12:12

The Dog and Duck, Winchmore Hill

Wonderful back street local boozer for local people. (local, because you have to walk to it as there's no chance of parking anywhere near it in its residential setting of Hoppers road. )
One bar pub with a nice beer garden out the back, which has now found a new lease of life post smoking ban.
I stopped going here because for a non-smoker I used to find the pub got too foggy due to its small size.
But now there's nothing to stop the enjoyment of the excellently kept ales, which on this evening were Timothy Taylor's landlord, Green King IPA, and Wadsworth 6X.
A small piece of heaven in N21...

22 Dec 2008 10:17

On Broadway, Winchmore Hill

Please don't knock the On Broadway...
It performs a very important community service by providing a location for the WMH Mockney youth, leaving the rest of the pubs on Winchmore Hill green free for us too old to go in the On Broadway.

22 Dec 2008 10:00

The Kings Head, Winchmore Hill

Visited the Sunday evening before Xmas. Two real ale hand pumps on and the London pride was drinkable. Only stayed for one round though before moving on, because I would have had to remortgage to get a second one in. This place remains an enigma to me, expensive beer and well pricey food which gives you the 'How much' factor when reading the menu. But on this evening, at 8.30PM on a Sunday it was the liveliest pub of the three on 'The Green', and every table in the restaurant was taken.
So I suppose whilst people are prepared to pay EC4 price levels in N21 , then there's no reason to stop charging them.

22 Dec 2008 09:50

Elms, Lutterworth

Found this place by chance whilst travelling down the M1 and couldn't face the thought of eating at 'Watford Gap'. The Elms is very handily situated on the Luttleworth road just off J20 of the M1.
This is a Wolverhampton and Dudley family orientated pub. I didn't realise it is a new build as Andylk explains below, but not surprised as it has that brand new feel to it.
Its a large pub but designed in sections around the central bar , so there is plenty of quiet seating areas dotted around. A really good feature was a large real open fire place , which on this chilly December lunch time had a real open fire blazing away in the hearth.
Also good were the beers from the W&D range, which today was Banks Original, Marstons Pedigree and Jennings Redbrest. Only tried the Jennings which was perfectly fine.
Food menu was good and varied and as mentioned aimed at families with a kiddies menu as well. This does mean that you do get families with multiple pushchairs in, but the pub is big enough that you could avoid these if you wanted to.
Another major plus point was the service. We sat down at a table and started perusing the food menu. Before I 'd had a chance to get up and go to the bar a young lady appeared ready to take our order for drinks and food, both of which appeared promptly and efficiently. A nice touch was a small complementary plate of Tortilla Crisps and Salsa dip which was delivered with the drinks. In the end, a round of drinks, 3 mains, 3 coffee's..35.00
So next time you're coming down the M1 through Leicetsershire, you can either pull off into The Watford Gap Services, or pull off at J20 and go to The Elms for a Pie and a Pint. I know what I will be doing.

21 Dec 2008 15:30

Ye Olde Watling, Mansion House

Was back in Ye Olde Wattling last night for our Xmas session and a lively evening was had.
Good to see pub managers open to comments, so here's my honest feedback.
Positive:- Great work by your bar staff. despite the fact that the place was rammed when I arrived around 6.30PM, never had a problem getting served several times over the 4hrs we were there.
Negative:- the Pride was off when I got there and the hand pumps keeled over at regular intervals during the evening. Fortunately the Landlord lasted out till 10.00ish and when it pegged out the Pride was just about back on..
May be slightly unfair leaving this neg, as I appreciate the 'Mad' Xmas evenings may be atypical, but 3hours to change a barrel did infer that there may still be issues in this area.

18 Dec 2008 13:23

The Railway Tavern, Edmonton

Am I surprised that no-one has reviewed this pub in 3 1/2 years.. Not really.
I haven't been to Edmonton Green for over 10 years and only found myself here at 9.30AM on a Saturday morning because I had dropped my car off to be serviced at a local garage and needed to kill three hours. And as i'd seen in the paper that they had opened a brand new Asda and spent loads of money on doing up the Tower Blocks I thought I'd go down the Green as it must have improved a lot since I was last there. Oh Dear no... Lets just say the pound shops are the height of the shopping experience around the market square. And you can imagine my relief when the Railway Tavern opened at 10.00AM and I could hide away with the morning paper and a pint . So in 3 1/2 years nothing has changed. The beers average, the ambiance is less than average but the best bit remains that you can escape here and forget you are in Edmonton Green.

2 Dec 2008 18:09

The Picture Palace, Ponders End

This is a strange 'Spoons, more like a library than a pub as mentioned below.
But for somewhere to get a decent pint and decent grub amongst all the fast food chicken shacks of the Hertford Road then it isn't too bad.
And as I remember with fondness going to the Howard Hall for non-alcoholic pre-teen discos when it was a Dance Hall , it scores as another historic building that Wetherspoons has saved from the wrecking ball by turning it into a pub

2 Dec 2008 17:36

Lloyds No 1, Leicester

Not surprised at all that this place has mixed reviews below. Wetherspoons tend to do that, and especially ones in High Streets or Town Squares, which can attract a real mixed bag of clientele.
Ive been to many Wetherspoons up and down the country, and as they go I liked the Corn Exchange. Firstly its a fine old building, which has probably been saved from the wrecking ball by making it a pub, so full marks to Mr Wetherspoon for that. This one is bloody big with a central bar area and lots of seating to left and right, and then a very impressive mezzanine floor with lots of seating. The only downside was the strange Purple colour chosen for the dcor as mentioned below.
And secondly the food and beer were reasonable quality and cheep. Four Sunday roast and beer deals for 22.00, served promptly and efficiently, and you cant say fairer than that.
The downside ?. well , as usual the cheep beer and spirit prices attract those that would be better off attending The Priory. Even with it being 1.30PM on a Sunday Lunchtime I managed to be swore at by a bar fly who took umbrage at me trying to place my order too close to his pint. Although in fairness his mate later apologised to me and explained he was in the middle of a domestic argument by mobile and there were mitigating circumstances

26 Oct 2008 21:49

Richard III, Leicester

A basic ,locals boozer behind the High Cross shopping centre.
Strange kind of layout. You enter via the public bar area which is dominated by a large pool table, flat screen tele and copious amounts of football club pendants hanging from the ceiling and no seating.
Keep going and then you get to the slightly separate bar area which has a bench seating area, and again the bar being festooned with more football paraphanalia. Keep going again and you enter another area with a few tables and chairs and dartboard and then keep going again for the toilets.
Front bar was very busy with locals at 5.30ish last Saturday when me and no 1 son sought solace from John Lewis and Debenhams. But we ploughed our way through to the bar and seating area behind and were rewarded by a very nice pint of Tiger and fast and firendly service by the bustling Land Lady and Land Lord. Not a smart pub, but if you are after a decent pint of Everards served couteously with a smile, then you can't go wrong with The Richard III. And being cockneys, we did have a good laugh at the name.

26 Oct 2008 21:18

The Boat, Berkhamsted

As said below modern style Fullers House with a canal side location with a nice outside patio area to watch the passing boats from. One bar pub inside with a central bar area, pleasant seating at one end and a flat screen for the sport at the other. Nicely decorated in wood paneling style. Usual range of fullers ales on offer of which I tried the Pride.
Ate here as well, although I thought the menu was a bit pricey (was like being back in North London). Wife was disappointed with her mussels which were a bit bland but I couldn't fault the Steak and Ale pie which had the biggest puff pastry crust on it I have ever seen and cemented my view that food is only truly edible when cooked with beer... :-)

13 Oct 2008 14:08

The Crystal Palace, Berkhamsted

Came across the Crystal palace yesterday Sunday evening whilst strolling along the canal tow path enjoying what will probably be the last sunny day of the year. Not sure I would describe the Crystal palace as a well presented attractive pub, especially when comparing it to modern pub makeovers like the Boat further along the Tow Path. I found it more a locals two bar pub with an earthy feel to it. The public bar, which is dominated by the pool table, seemed to double as a crche when I popped in. (Although to be fair I think Dad and Granddad were also on the table with the 10 year olds..). The decor improved in the Lounge bar , but not to what I would have categorised as well presented.
However in saying that, at a time when pubcos are turning most of their stock into identical plastic palaces, Im all for traditional 2 bar local pubs as long as the beer and service are good.
And the beer was good ( I tried the Old Speckled Hen and the guest ale which I hadnt seen before and now cant remember the name of ), and the landlady was very friendly and chirpy. But the top thing about this pub is the location next to the canal. Great place for sitting outside and watching the wildlife float by.
Suffice to say I loved it and would have stayed for an IPA, but the wife wanted to eat and she prefers the modern dcor, so along the tow path to the Boat we went

13 Oct 2008 13:51

The Victoria, Victoria

Four of us popped into the Victoria at around 6.00PM the other Monday evening to get out of the rain and catch a couple of pints before hitting the train home.
Difficult to improve on the previous reviews, and can support the comments previously given.
Decent enough spacious pub. Quite busy with office workers when we arrived but no problems getting served, and managed to get one of the cubbyholes referred to earlier , so able to have a decent area for conversation whilst trying the beers. Youngs Bitter and London Pride were on, both of which were very drinkable.

13 Oct 2008 13:16

The Three Horseshoes, Marlow

Back in again this week, with American and Japanese visitors this time.
Again did not disappoint. Six beers on. The usual IPA, Smuggler and Mutiny, were joined by two seasonal Ales Blonde and Revolution. Can recommend the Blonde, very nice pint. A nice touch is that they now do tasters in small egg cup size glasses, so you can try before you buy.

3 Oct 2008 13:14

The Duke of York, Kings Cross station

Just missed my train and had 30 mins to kill before the next one so went along for a quick pint only to find it borded up.

Not sure if it's closed for good or just being done up.
Perhaps they are going to improve the Toilets ?

30 Sep 2008 12:32

Jolly Fisherman, Stanstead St Margarets

The best thing about this pub is the superb location on the side of the River Lee and is an excellent stop off if cycling or walking along the River side to Ware. As stated below it is a McMullens pub with two clean and airy bars. There is an undercover garden section out the back by the car park but then a large green area which goes down to the river side. I'm not sure if this is part of the pub grounds or not, but there doesn't seem any problems taking your drinks over to sit by the river to watch the world and his wife go by. The Ales were the normal Country and AK. The Country was off during my visit this weekend but the AK was in good shape. We didn't eat but plenty of people were taking the Sunday roast on offer

29 Sep 2008 20:29

The Old Tea Warehouse, Aldgate

This pub was the latest chosen for our bi-monthly London outing. A new venue for most of us. On arrival at 5.30PM the place was completely jammed with city suits, both inside and outside. However saying that we managed to get served quite quickly by the efficient bar staff, who seemed up to the early evening challenge. As said below standard Greene King fair with the ubiquitous IPA and Speckled Hen. However last night there was a hand pump for something called Bonkers Conkers ( which this morning Ive managed to establish is Greene Kings new seasonal brew, launched this month after it went down well at the Great British Beer Festival. ).
Pleasant enough pint with a slight nutty flavour that the name implies. But at 4.1% probably not the ideal session beer, going by the thickness of my head this morning. But as the IPA ran out halfway through the evening there was no choice but to stay on the Bonkers Conkers. This lead to some surreal conversations on the subject of if you only want a half, do you ask for a Bonkers or a Conkers ?.
Anyway back to the pub. Kind of three room set up with a small central bar area and then a larger lounge room off to the side, and then a large area downstairs where the bogs are, which now has leather seats in instead of the once pool tables mentioned by previous reviewers. I guess the additional seating area downstairs was put in because the lounge area is rented out for private functions (as it was last night) and when this happens the very nice outside courtyard area, ( especially when you have a pleasant autumnal evening ) has to take the strain.
All in all pleasant enough pub and the beer was kept well.

26 Sep 2008 12:28

The Ship and Shovell, Charing Cross

Have been here a few times and stopped off again the other night before embarking on a small crawl up to The Harp via The Nell Gwynne. Can't fault the beer here. Had a different one in each half of the pub (so that we could claim two stops on the Crawl ) and the Sussex and Tanglefoot were on top form.

24 Sep 2008 16:15

The Lucas Arms, Kings Cross

Popped in for a quick pint on the basis that it was the nearest pub to the office I'd visited that was open at 4.00PM on a Monday afternoon.

So cant review it very accurately because, as you can imagine, there wasn't a lot going on at 4.00PM on a Monday afternoon.
But can concur that it is a nice traditional no-nonsense boozer and the OSH was very drinkable.

2 Sep 2008 12:55

McGlynns, Kings Cross

Found myself in KK yesterday afternoon with a couple of hours to kill before meeting the 'trouble' at the station.
Most times when I'm here I don't get much further than The Euston Flyer, but thought I'd be a bit more adventurous and look away from the madness that is Euston Road.
Came across McGlynns and have to say I was impressed.
Nice location tucked away in a quiet area round the back of the Camden town hall, bench seats to sit outside, welcoming to the stray visitor and a great pint of Deuchars IPA to boot.
In fact, when the wife arrived I dragged her across The Euston road to McGlynns for another one

2 Sep 2008 12:42

The Stag and Hounds, Edmonton

Have popped in a couple of times over this summer (or lack of summer to be more accurate ).
Can report that the beer and food remain good. Have had a nice pint of pride on all occasions.
I believe the current landlady is fairly recent (within the last six months), but seems to be running a good ship and the service and staff were friendly and efficient.

31 Aug 2008 17:30

Willow, Winchmore Hill

Seems like the owners may have read the recent reviews as the pub is currently closed and seems to be undergoing a major refurbishment. Let's hope they turn it back into a decent Inn to complement the Salisbury and kings Head up the road, and renaing it back to 'The Chase Side Tavern' would be nice. However with the current trend I wouldn't be surprised if another 'Maze In ' style makeover is the result.

23 Mar 2008 09:57

The Beehive, Edmonton

Have popped into the Beehive for a lunchtime pint a couple of times over the last weekends. Can concur with some of the comments below that the recent redecoration has left The Beehive looking like its being cared for again, like it was when it represented my local back in the late 70s and through the 80s when Pat and John used to reign behind the bar.
The whole place is now brighter and more welcoming with the pre smoking ban ceiling of indeterminate colour (Dulux would have it as something like Dark Nicotine Browny Orange), being replaced by something closer to Brilliant White, as well as doing up the rest of the tired decor and opening up the large front glass windows by loosing the old tired curtains.
Although still a one bar pub, the makeover has made a lounge / public bar feel to the two ends. The South end of the pub is now reserved for food and although I have not tried it, the available menu and specials chalk board seem to provide a reasonable choice. The patch of green grass attached to the south end has also been turned into a decent garden area. The long middle of the bar still provides a decent space for those who prefer to stand whilst drinking and the pool table and dartboard remain to give the north end a more public bar appeal.
But I came in for the beer and I can happily report that there were four real ales on during my visit, IPA, Speckled Hen, Draft Bass and London Pride. Tried the Bass and the Pride and both were in good condition.
Well done then to the new management.

23 Mar 2008 09:42

The Whip and Collar, Mill End

I will add my comments for The Whip and Collar , although I have to say they are only based on popping in on an early Friday evening for a quick pint after playing sport at the local sports centre.
I can concur that this is a traditional old-fashioned pub still keeping a connected Public and Saloon bar with the serving area stretching between them. Its always fairly busy with the after work crowd when I am in on a Friday and I can guess this is due to the fast and friendly service and the decent well kept beers. For example last Friday, as well as the standard Green King IPA, the guest real ale was the Dartmoor Best Bitter from the St Austell Brewery, which had travelled well from Cornwall.
I wonder if John below is thinking of the right pub as Im not sure you would describe this as being a riverside location as it sits on the Uxbridge road between Ricky and J17 of the M25. I believe the River Colne flows behind the pub, so there may be something beyond the end of the fairly small square car park that I have not discovered yet.

3 Feb 2008 13:09

The Boater, Bath

Was down in Bath for the weekend and as it was a surprise weekend arranged by the wife and she did not tell me where we were going, was unable to utilise beerintheevening to research decent watering holes before coming down.
So after a Sunday morning of walking around the Royal Crescent and the Assembly rooms and then back across town to the Grand Parade to ogle at Pulteney Bridge I was about ready for a beer and had spotted the Rummer. Unfortunately the wife spotted the Girlie boutique shops on Pulteney Bridge so across we went. However, the great Beer God was smiling and next to one particular boutique was the Boater. Not only that, but on the TV , plainly visible from outside, was the Saracens v Bath game just about to start and the realisation that I could overcome the disappointment us not being back home to watch the game live at Vicarage Road , by being able to watch it on the box at the home of the opposition and surrounded by the opposition.
So after some negotiation with the other half, which involved me funding the purchase of another top to go along with the other 3000 blouses she has already, in we went.
As for the pub itself Mr_Knowsits report is fairly spot on. It is on three levels, pool room upstairs which I did not venture into, nice wooden locals style mid level with traditional bar area with alcoves and lots of Bath Rugby memorabilia ( and on this occasion lots of Bath supporters ) and now since the smoking ban, not smoky at all. And then a downstairs cellar bar , which was quite the opposite dcor, being very bright and a bit sterile, more resembling a wine bar rather than a pub bar. I can understand why this is popular with the students.
Being Sunday, the food on offer was traditional Sunday Roast which all looked really good and large. Unfortunately, but the time we had concluded that the Sarries were up for this encounter and we would stay to watch it , they had run out of roasts, probably not accounting for the 1.30PM rugby kick off when they were calculating the number of spuds needed.. .
This meant we just had to drink more bitters, which were Wadsworths 6X, CW Bombardier and a local brew which I have now forgotten the name of. All were good and very drinkable, and the two ladies behind the bar were polite and efficient.
And all this rounded off by a hard fought Saracens victory. Have to say we didnt experience and animosity from the local Bath supporters, even when getting excited when Sarries crossed the try line. But then again this is the Gentlemans game, and we werent from Bristol.

28 Jan 2008 17:03

The Crystal Palace Tavern, Bath

Was down in Bath for the weekend and as it was a surprise weekend arranged by the wife and she did not tell me where we were going, was unable to utilise beerintheevening to research decent watering holes before coming down.
After spending an exhausting 3 hours walking around the Roman Baths found the Crystal Palace Tavern and went in to try the local Brewery Ale. Have to say Im slightly surprised by the previous comments as I found this to be a half decent pub. Great location in a quiet square, spitting distance from the Abbey and the Roman Baths. Two good bars either side of a central serving area, and a large patio area out the back where the smokers are protected by a jumbrella (as it was known in the retrospective planning permission notice pinned to the lamp post outside). Service was fast and efficient, despite being crowded, and I found the Abbey Brewery Bellringer to be very drinkable, but as this was the first time I have had it you cannot take this as an expert view.
As for it being an expensive tourist trap, yes there were a few of us tourists in, but at 6.00PM on a Saturday it was very busy with every table taken, so I guess several locals as well. It may well be expensive when considered against other pubs in Bath, but for a tourist from London it didnt seem too bad. If you want to experience a real expensive tourist trap make sure you visit the Punch and Judy in Covent garden when next in the Smoke..

28 Jan 2008 14:15

The King of Wessex, Bath

Was down in Bath for the weekend and as it was a surprise weekend arranged by the wife and she did not tell me where we were going, was unable to utilise beerinthe evening to research decent watering holes before coming down. Popped into this Wetherspoons as it was one of the first pubs we came across from the direction of our Hotel.
The beer was OK , but also have to say not one of the best JDW's I've been in and it's design and location gave it a strange ambiance that I could not put my finger on at the time and a feeling that I had been in a JDW that had been very similar in feeling.
Now on reading the reports below , Haggisbasher has put it in place for me, as that will be the same ambiance as the one at Heathrow airport then...

28 Jan 2008 13:49

Williamson's Tavern, Mansion House

Went here last Thursday night whilst attempting the Cask marque pub crawl (see previous entry for Ye Old Watling).
I like this pub. The two bars separated by the narrow corridor gives you the chance to move from one to the other and they both have a slightly different atmosphere.
We were not eating but I can understand the previous comment that the larger back room is probably more focussed on food at lunchtime.
But in the evening it is more beer drinking and we contributed by trying the Landlord, Speckled Hen and Pride, all of which were good. And unlike the previous entry 75% was Pride. But this may have been due to there being none in Ye Old Watling.

28 Jan 2008 13:33

Ye Olde Watling, Mansion House

Started here on last Thursday night with the intention of visiting the four Cask Marque pubs North of the river on the recommended Cask Marque pub crawl.
Also concur that this is not a bad pub. The London Pride and Black Sheep were OK and we did not experience the short measures mentioned below. Service was brisk, even though it was quite busy with City workers when we first entered. only down side was that they run out of Pride fairly early so we moved on to the Willaimsons.

28 Jan 2008 13:22

The Three Horseshoes, Marlow

I will add my review although I will repeat most of what has gone before.
We go to this pub for both the BEER and the FOOD.
A group of us was in the other night (with some overseas visitors) and we went through most of the Rebellion hand pumps. The IPA and Smuggler were on top form. We also tried the seasonal 'Roasted Nuts' which I found excellent, but wasn't to the taste of some of our lager drinking continental visitors.
As for the food, gmlatic has got it spot on. The chalk board menu is enormous but is usually mostly something that was formerly living and isn't now. But we always find it well cooked and the portions are enormous (on this occasion 'half a roasted duck, half a roasted chicken, and the chicken and ribs combo was not for the faint hearted. In fact the only person who was disappointed was the veggi.
So should you go to this pub ?.
If you want an excellent pint of cask ale and can consume half a cow... Yes.
If you are vegetarian and drinking orange juice... no

17 Jan 2008 10:48

British Queen, Tottenham

Ah The British Queen.. Unfortunately my experience of visits to this establishment started in the mid 70s when I bragged to a family member that I had sneaked in for a quick pint before a Spurs game. The said same uncle then considered that he would continue the education of a young nave 16 year old by a visit to the Sunday lunchtime stripper sessions that used to take place in this era. To say that the experience had a scarring effect on one so young is an understatement and I did not visit for several years after. After a delay of many many seasons where I switched allegiance to the Olive Branch in Park Lane (not sure why, but it seemed a good idea at the time) and latterly the Gilpin Bell in the high road, have now revisited the British Queen on match days several times over the last few months when meeting colleagues at White Hart Lane station.
For my recent experiences I cannot actually better the description given by Roger B below. And frankly if it wasnt the closest pub to the station and for the reasons given below one of the few places you can guarantee to get served reasonably quickly on a match day, I see no reason to go here.
Except for the fact that on Saturdays I do feel at home here as, I am on day release and after a few plastic pints it doesnt get any better than a Chaz N Dave medley.

19 Dec 2007 13:52

The Foresters Arms, Brockenhurst

Can report that I had a very pleasant visit to The Foresters this Saturday. Whilst on a cycling weekend in the New Forest we were caught out in a rain storn and decided to see it out in the Foresters. Can support the comments of the friendly bar staff who were more that acoomodating to six soggy bikers who burst into the public bar. Firstly , as well as the usual Ringwoods for this area, they also had Fullers London Pride ! and it had travelled well. Secondly the public bar has everything you want of a public bar, small screens for the footy, a quiz machine, a cracking juke box with plenty of tunes for rock heads and the afore mentioned pool table (although the red baise with blue and yellow balls took a bit of getting used to.). And thirdly a very comfortable lounge at the back with a wide and varied food menue which we decided to try as it was still raining an hour after we entered. Can report that all the meals we had were up to scratch, especially the steak and kidney pudding.
Now they may put the prices up for the high season, but our experience in mid November was that it was not unduly expensive. If you want to experience unduly expensive , try drinking Pride in Central London..

18 Nov 2007 21:16

The Queens Head, Burley

Have just spent the weekend using Burley as a base to cycle around the New Forest. We were actually staying in the Burley Arms across the road and, although I believe it is recently under new management and they are trying hard, the place hasn't got much of an ambience in the evening. So we walked across the road to try the Queens Head. Can report that our experience was the same as the entry below. The Queens Head is a bright and airy pub with three distinct areas in which to sit and eat /drink as well as a central bar area (with real log fire) to stand by. I know November is 'off season' and our experience may not be indicative of Friday and Saturday's in high season, but we found the service to be quick and friendly. All the meals we tried were very good and the range of beers was enough to satisfy five thirsty bikers. On our visits these included two Ringwoods (Best and fortyniner ) and Green King Abbots and IPA. They did not have Ringwood Porter but this was actually on back in the Burley Arms

18 Nov 2007 20:51

The Edinboro Castle, Camden

Popped in here for another pint (see my earlier review for the Victoria ) on my way to a function at London Zoo.
As said before , pleasant bright bar area and a large beer garden out the back. I didn't have any problem getting served, but that was largely because at 5.30PM on a wednesday evening, apart from a few die hards in the garden, I was the only bloke in.
Didn't try the food but the beer range and quality of the two I tried was good.

9 Nov 2007 13:49

The Victoria, Camden

Popped in for a quick pint whilst on my way to a function at London Zoo.
Although it was early (5.00PM) on a Wednesday evening, there was still a few in. The Pride was good and the comfy settees were difficult to force myself out of when I had to leave. Took a little while to get used to the subdued lighting, but appart from that a great little pub away from the madding crowd. I can understand why it has scored healthily from other reviewers.

9 Nov 2007 13:44

The George, Enfield

It's over two years since I last visited this establishment. So in the art of fairness I thought I'd pop in whilst being in the Town the other evening to see if things have chaged for the better.
They haven't...

30 Oct 2007 13:22

The Swan, Pangbourne

2.30PM last Friday, due to local motorway traffic problems found myself experiencing the virginal event of driving through Pangbourne for the first time. When, suddenly I was attracted by the Thames riverside location of the Swan and immediately swung into the car park to find that it was the size of a postage stamp, and not helped by some Hooray who had succeeded in almost occupying 3 spaces with his Land Rover.
Beer was OK and both the Speckled Hen and IPA were passable. Did not eat, which looks like a result after now seeing the previous comments. But the best thing about this pub is the location. It has a large outside table area adjacent to the Thames, which we braved despite it being Autumnal and can imagine this being very pleasant in summer. Although god knows where you park, especially if Chelsea Tractor Man is in

29 Oct 2007 17:48

Duke of Wellington, Southampton

Whilst spending a few days in Southampton popped in here for a couple of pints in the evening before heading down to the Spanish restaurant on the Quay side. Welcoming atmosphere and the couple of beers we tried (one being a different Ringwoods to the others I have tried on this trip) were more than drinkable. Obviously didnt try the food, but the large pies a group of American tourists were tucking into looked pretty good.

29 Oct 2007 17:29

The Royal Oak, Lasham

Decided to stop off here on our way down to Southampton for a few days. Took the decision based on the previous reviews and the main aim was a decent pint and decent pub food for a lunchtime.
Cannot say I was disappointed. The Ringwoods was very drinkable and our party had a mixture of sandwiched, baguettes and main meals from the specials board, all of which were very good.
So if your aim is for a decent pint and decent pub food for a lunchtime, cant fault the Royal Oak in that respect.

29 Oct 2007 17:15

The Standing Order, Southampton

Like the previous entrant had been on the road for a while and arrived late into Southampton and was in need of a place where I could get a decent pint of Ale and edible food at 10.00PM at night
What can I say, its a Wetherspoons ! , almost like any other. And the only way I could tell I was not back in the one in Watford high street was different beers on the hand pumps.
But to be fair, the Ringwoods was more than passable, the service was quick and efficient, and food was served till 11.00PM and also passable. In fact the Lorry drivers with rigs down by the dock gates who were occupying most of the single tables towards the back of the pub looked more than healthy on the 6.99 mixed grills. .
However , to support jcrafs comment below, it was a bit surreal to go past said same establishment at 10 past 10 the following morning whilst being dragged to the West Quays shopping centre by her who must be obeyed to see the Standing Order open and accommodating several of the coffin dodgers jcraf refers to.

29 Oct 2007 17:01

The Sea Horse, Mansion House

Strange one bar semicircular pub on Cannon Street.
Whilst wearing out shoe leather on Saturday during the recent 'Open House Weekend' and Red Ken's Thames festival found myself in here on the grounds that it was the first place we came to that was open.

26 Sep 2007 12:49

Gilpins Bell, Edmonton

As said below large Wetherspoon's pub with lots of small alcoves to escape the madding crowd. Is now not smokey after July 1st so you can now taste the food which is standard Wetherspoon's fair. Also has a decent size paved area out the back for good summer evenings. Beer fluctuates, but is usually more than drinkable.

26 Sep 2007 12:43

The Bull, Theydon Bois

Have only been in here of a lunchtime when visiting nearby customers. But both the Beer and food have always been acceptable, even on a busy Friday.

22 Sep 2007 13:00

The Westminster Arms, Westminster

Visited the Westminter Arm for the first time last Wednesday Evening. Wasn't sure what to expect after reading previous reports about the Landlord.
Firstly it had seven real ale hand pumps on the bar but only three were on. Fortunately of those that were, the Adnams Bitter and Broadside were very drinkable. The Moustachioed Irish one was busy socialising with regulars all night so cannot confirm or deny the reports below. But the rest of his staff were efficient and courteous and also dished out till receipts, so you were well aware you were paying 3.00 for a pint of Broadside.
Did not go downstairs , so cannot comment on that or the food, but the upstairs bar was a very plesant location for a few beers. One comment is be aware of the push tap on the basin in the gents. Its very 'efficient' and it takes some skill to use it and come out not looking like you've had a major accident in the trouser area

22 Sep 2007 12:52

The Blue Boar Hotel, Maldon

Its not often I have to have an overnight so close to my North London base, but for reasons I wont bore you with here I found myself in deepest Essex last night.
So, as usual I utilised BeerintheEvening to find a suitable watering hole.
I was attracted to the Blue Boar due to the rating and the comments. Especially the references to the atmosphere, good beer and particularly Fredwoods comment that it caters for the more mature (ie geriatric) as I am fast moving in that direction and wanted to avoid the local Maldon Mockney youth and not socialise with them.
Many thanks to the previous contributors, as this is a gem of a pub. For someone who is more use to the Pubco theme pubs of north London, this is a really great atmospheric old pub.
The beer was great and as mentioned by apa below the Pucks folly is very drinkable. However it would have been good if he had commented also on the Nelsons Blood, which is an excellent tipple if you like your pint tasting like it has been dragged through a charcoal fire backwards.
And then to cap it all I struck lucky with some very good entertainment. After watching several people disappear up a winding staircase I discovered that there is a function room above the bars and last night they had a showcase for local singer songwriters.
Apparently this is held on the first Tuesday of every month in the Oak Room above the bars, and for a mere 3.50 I enjoyed four very competent local singer /songwriters strumming away on acoustic guitars. Not only that, but the function room closer resembled a small mediaeval banqueting hall, with low slung beams and fully equipped with period portraits and full suit of armour Cracking.
Excellent place, excellent evening. Cannot recommend it highly enough.

5 Sep 2007 11:41

The Chicken Shed Theatre Bar, Southgate

Not really a pub, more a theatre with a bar.
Beers generally ok if you venture in here to enjoy one of Bernie Stringle's Jazz Evenings.
I have done several times , and thoroughly recommend if you are into jazz. Especially thoses evenings when Bernies first born Julian, is blowing the clarinet.

31 Jan 2007 21:28

The Counting House, Bank

Revisited the Counting house last week. Been here a few times now. As zakman says, not the best pint of Pride around but usually good all the same and the service was fast and efficient.
There are several function rooms at the back and were in full use tonight. These can be a source of entertainment if you have enough front to try and blag your way in to one to lift a bit of buffet. But best tried in the run up to christmas when the occupants are usually too p**sed to know if you are with them or not.

31 Jan 2007 21:06

The Salisbury Arms, Winchmore Hill

My decision last year not to move out of N21 but to pay for a big extension instead has been rewarded by my local being done up again, and this time what a make over ! Cannot disagree with any of the comments below. Good decor, good food, good beer ...good heavens another great pub for the Green.

9 Jan 2007 13:08

The Ship, Soho

Went to the Ship for the first time for our pre christmas bash and had a great evening.
The Fullers was spot on, the music was loud and rocking and the atmosphere was lively.
Not sure if it was the stroppy landlady or Charlotte referred to in earlier postings, but the lady who seemed to be in charge of the strange assortment of totally black clad , rock Tee shirt wearing bar staff was far from stroppy and very lively and talkative, adding to the overall ambience. Definately will return

9 Jan 2007 12:44

The Ferry, Cookham

Totally agree with the review below.
It was tired and worn out as a Harvester. But I have been back a couple of times recently after the referb. The beer has been good and great to sit outside on the decking and watch the Thames go by when it is warm enough.

14 Jan 2006 22:27

Kings Arms, Cookham

This pub had a make over a couple of years ago to make it more of a trendy eating place to compete with all the other venues in Cookham High Street.

This included a large decking area out the back leading to a very large garden. This makes it an excellent place for a hot summers day.

Beers are usually OK.

14 Jan 2006 22:23

Bel and The Dragon, Cookham

As said below, this is more of a restaurant than a pub.
But there is a couple of small bar areas in front of the restaurant section where you can enjoy the usually very good London pride.
The food menu is very good but remember to take out a second mortgage before entering.

14 Jan 2006 22:20

The Orange Tree, Winchmore Hill

Great back street local. Ideal if what you are after is a quiet social drink. Beer always in good condition.
Does get busy when there's footy on SKY as it has a large projection TV at one end.

14 Jan 2006 22:01

The Goose, Holborn

Went in here because the Old Mitre shut early.
All the real ale hand pumps had signs saying the barrel was being changed.
So we went over to the Melton Mobrey for a reliable pint of Fullers.
However thought we would try again a couple of hours later, because surely they had the barrels back on now.
But NO. Same label hanging on the pumps. Fortunately on questioning one of the bar staff to how you achieved to get a pint of beer they pointed us to a nice little pub just up the road.
So my advice with the Goose is. Stand outside facing the pub. Then turn to the left and walk up the road 200 yards. That is what we will be doing next time.

11 Jan 2006 19:32

The Melton Mowbray, Holborn

Visited here again over christmas when the nearby Old Mitre shut early.
Once again reliable pint of Fullers and a joeval atmosphere.

11 Jan 2006 19:23

The Barmy Arms, Twickenham

Usually head for the Barmy Arms when in Twickenham.
It's always been alright for me and the food has been OK on the few lunchtimes I have eaten there.
But best of all is match days after the game, especially if the weather is decent and you stand outside and enjoy the buzz.

27 Oct 2005 17:45

The Euston Flyer, Euston

Cannot better the descriptions given below.
Just to say that have used the Flyer several times as a rendezvous when meeting up in the Kings X area and never had a bad pint of Pride or ESB.
One of our crowd (who will be nameless- you know who you are Tony) drinks the Chiswick, but we do not like to talk about him.

20 Oct 2005 13:14

The George, Enfield

Used to frequent the George in my student days when it was a 2 bar pub. Made the mistake of popping in whist back in Enfield the other evening.
Immediately realised I was 25 years too old and my vocabulary of over 100 words was out of place.
Some benefit to this place now though, as it can be used to show every Pubco thinking of doing a pub refurbishment on how to make a once half decent pub s**t.
No reason to go here unless you enjoy passive smoking, watching Chav's make t*ts of themselves, or you are under 18.

19 Oct 2005 21:14

The Nell Gwynne, Covent Garden

Another great night in the Gwynne, or I should say out in the Alley Way. Good Beer as usual and when it got too cold and we had to move inside, what a Juke Box for an old Rock head

19 Oct 2005 20:20

The Salisbury Arms, Winchmore Hill

The Old dark interior of the Salisbury has now been replaced by a bright comfortable Ember Inns makeover ( lots of Alcoves and large sofa's and arm chairs )
Food menu is good for a lunchtime visit, especially in Summer when you can take advantage of the outside seating area. Do agree that the young crowd moves in for the evening. So with the nearby Kings Head and Queens Head also having make overs, that's all three pubs round Winchmore Hill Green modernised from being old and tired.

19 Oct 2005 20:09

The Beehive, Edmonton

One Bar and bit of a locals pub. Beer is usually good and friendly landlord and bar staff.
Currently a bit of a sports pub. Has large plazma screens at both ends of the long central bar, showing most Sky games. Due to its North London location, one end is dedicated to The Spurs and the other end to the A**e. Therefore its usually a lively venue to watch the North London derby.
It's got a low ceiling so tends to get a bit smokey when busy.

17 Oct 2005 22:29

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