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BITE user comments - Grailhunter

Comments by Grailhunter

The Plough Inn, Abingdon

Has been closed for a couple of weeks with no indication of why.

13 Apr 2010 12:40

Hobgoblin, Oxford

Now re-opened. Pretty much unchanged from before.

12 Apr 2010 13:29

Hobgoblin, Oxford

Currently closed. Rumour is that the pub owning company have gone bust.

31 Dec 2009 15:34

Trafalgar Freehouse, South Wimbledon

As Maldenman says in his review from Aug 2008, this is not a pub you can pop into for one drink. That was my intention when I 'popped in' last night only to find an absolute gem of a pub and I stayed for nearly two hours just enjoying everything about the place.
As others have commented, the pub is in an unusual location hidden away next to a tower block of flats, but don't let that put you off. Once you open the door and enter you are transported into the most wonderful friendly welcoming pub. This really is what pubs used to be like and sadly there are so few of them left.
There was a choice of six ales available. I had Dark Star Hophead followed by Dark Star Critical Mass (at 7.8% a superb winter warmer). Then I spotted a bottle of Dark Star stout and thought I'd try that. It turned out to be a bottle conditioned Russian Imperial Stout and was nectar.
I really didn't want to leave but had to, however I will be back just as soon as I can. This really is an absolute delight of an establishment. Do not miss a chance to pay a visit. Just don't expect only the one drink !!

23 Dec 2009 13:03

Blithe Spirit, Balham

I found this a nice little boozer. Ales from Wychwood and Brakspears which for the area are unusual, and in fact was a better choice than in the Wetherspoons across the road. Sky sports available in the upper bar which means if you don;t want the sport in your face you can avoid it by sitting downstairs.
Handy for Balham station which is almost next door.

24 Sep 2009 16:58

The Moon Under Water, Balham

A very average Spoons. I was waiting patiently at the bar for my turn to be served and three young ladies walked in. The barman walked past me to serve them first. Yep, yet another graduate from the Wetherspoons academy of highly trained alert bar staff.
The choice of guest ales was not wide. Apart from the predictable Ruddles Best, Abbott, Directors and Pedigree there was just one 'guest' being Brewsters Decadence which, to be fair, was in excellent condition, and with 50p off with my CAMRA voucher was just 1.39.
Not a pub to dally in.

24 Sep 2009 16:52

The Regent, Balham

Large pub, emphasis on live sport and food. Real ale available and on my recent visit there was a large sign advertising 'special offer guest ales only 2.90'. I thought wow, I've struck it lucky here then !!! Hate to think what the usual price is.
I quite liked this place, plenty of space to spread out and find a corner to myself. Handy for Balham station which is just a one minute walk away.

24 Sep 2009 16:45

The Bow Bar, Edinburgh

This is a great place if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh. There's nothing flashy about the Bow bar, it's just a fine drinking establishment. Up to 8 real ales available. I had an excellent pint of Stewart's 80 shillings on my last visit at 3 a pint. A great place to unwind after a hard day.

11 Sep 2009 13:49

Greyfriars Bobby's Bar, Edinburgh

As mentioned by rpadam below, this pub is really aimed at the tourist trade. The focus is on food but if you just want a drink then you won't feel too out of place. Three real ales available on my visit, Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, Deuchars IPA (both 2.70 a pint) and Youngs Special (2.80). The Tenants lager was 2.65. I thought the prices very reasonable for Edinburgh. One of the better pubs in this part of the city.

11 Sep 2009 13:41

Biddy Mulligans, Edinburgh

Worst pub on the Grassmarket by a country mile. No atmosphere of any kind, just a place where those looking to get totally inebriated gather to chuck as much alcohol as they can down their necks as quickly as possible.
Prices here are way above those charged in the other pubs in the Grassmarket (3.30 for a pint of 3.8% Carlsberg - Tenants in the Last Drop nearby was only 2.65). No real ale available on my visit.
Absolutely no reason for anyone to put up with this awful place when there are other far better pubs so close.

9 Sep 2009 13:07

The Drapers Arms, Peterborough

Tried to buy a drink at 11.30 on a thursday morning but no chance. Customers were three deep at the bar and there were just two staff serving. Admittedly it was the week of the Peterborough beer festival and there were a lot of people stopping off here on their way from the station to the festival site (the festival didn't open until 12.00), but surely the Manager could have anticipated that there would be extra customers around and laid on a couple of extra staff. After all the pub was running its own beer festival to compliment the official one and had taken out adverts in the festival programme enticing people to come in and visit.
Yet again Wetherspoons lets itself down and loses customers and income for the want of a few pounds on staff wages.
The pub did look quite pleasant but that's all I can report.

4 Sep 2009 13:37

The Jolly Brewer, Stamford

This is a cracking pub. Five real ales predominantly from local breweries. I had Vale of Belvoir Dark Mild and it was quite exceptional. This is Peterborough CAMRAs' pub of the year for 2009 and it's easy to see why. There was a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We visited on a friday lunchtime and it was busy with most seats taken. I get the feeling this is a very popular pub.

4 Sep 2009 13:20

The Green Man, Stamford

Popular pub with a good half dozen or more ales available from local breweries. The pub has three letting rooms and the friend I was with stayed here for 25 a night. He reported the room was good value although not en-suite.
A good drinking pub which seems to attract more locals than tourists, probably because it is a little way out of the town centre.

3 Sep 2009 17:12

The Periwig, Stamford

Always busy and lively. Popular with younger clientele and feels more like a wine bar than a pub. However they usually have a couple of real ales available and kept in good condition. A popular place to eat for many.
I like it here but after a couple I feel the need to move on to somewhere a little less frantic.

3 Sep 2009 16:58

The Black Bull, Stamford

Was disappointed that only one real ale was available on our visit. Strangely for this part of the world it was Fullers London Pride. But it was ok. The pub is bright and clean and feels spacious. I guess on a friday / saturday night it probably gets quite packed but on friday afternoon it was fairly empty. There is a room with a pool table but it was obviously not a full size table so we just couldn't raise the enthusiasm to partake.
In a town packed with pubs, and a number of good pubs at that, this place doesn't really have anything special about it to attract.

3 Sep 2009 16:45

The Brewery Tap, Peterborough

A dozen real ales available on my visit. A good selection from the Oakham range (of course) plus some guests primarily from local microbrewers. I enjoyed pints of Elgoods Black Dog Mild and Oakham Bishops Farewell.

This is a large modern pub but even at busy times you can usually get a seat. Thai food is available. Handy for the rail and bus stations and a must visit when in Peterborough.

3 Sep 2009 14:12

The Tobie Norris, Stamford

Was in the area for the Peterborough beer festival and made sure not to miss this place having heard so much about it. It really is superb, full of nooks and crannies, exposed beams, etc. A great pub for conversation and good ale. We enjoyed an Isle of Skye beer (forgotten the name) which was in excellent condition. Highly recommend this pub.

1 Sep 2009 11:43

Brewery Tap, Abingdon

Referring to the previous review, the range of real ales should expand very soon as the manager from the Stocks bar has just become the licensee here. He is planning to install more hand pumps and introduce regular beer festivals as he did at the Stocks.

21 Aug 2009 12:52

The Mitre, Oxford

Griffo59 -

Erm....in my opinion it's a decent pub in a lovely historic building.
You happen to think it's ghastly and smelly (smells of what incidentally ?).
Guess you'll just have to remain baffled as to why people who know the area would choose to drink in here.

19 Aug 2009 13:13

Hobgoblin, Oxford

More popular with locals than tourists or students. No frills here, just a solid basic boozer opposite the Town Hall. Food served lunchtimes only. Usually five real ales available including Wychwood Hobgoblin and a couple from the Wizard brewery. They have recently installed Sky Sports making this one of the very few pubs in Oxford centre to have it.

14 Aug 2009 14:40

The Mitre, Oxford

I think most of the previous reviews for this place have been from people eating in the restuarant. Let me make it clear, this is a Beefeater. There are two distinct parts to this establishment, the full service restaurant and the pub. The pub is a fairly decent bar. You wouldn't really know you're in a Beefeater. There are two ales on handpump (London Pride and one other) and the usual choice of fizz stuff. Prices are quite good for central Oxford (2.70 ish a pint). They have a bar meals menu and you can eat in the pub area if you wish - far preferable to my mind than sitting in the restaurant and waiting to be served. It's a really old building and has loads of history - it used to be a coaching inn. Forget using it as a restaurant, treat it as a pub.

14 Aug 2009 14:30

The Berkshire House, Oxford

Re-opening today, 14th August 2009. The pub has been re-named The Crooked Pot.

14 Aug 2009 10:00

The Old Anchor Inn, Abingdon

Decent pub with a lovely view across the quiet road out onto the river Thames and Abingdon bridge. Unfortunately there is no beer garden by the river (just a small yard taken up by the smokers !), but this pub is in a lovely peaceful location next to St.Helens church.
Inside is a fairly traditional interior with plenty of comfortable seating. There were four real ales available when I visited, Batemans XXXB and Everards Tiger as guests and Morland Original and GK IPA as regulars. The IPA and Carlsberg are both available for 1.99 a pint as part of a 'credit crunch' promotion.
I noticed the pub closes during the afternoons (apart from saturday) and does not open until 6pm on a monday. Seems as though food is served most lunchtimes and evenings. They have a quiz evening every thursday and occasional live music.
This is a decent pub to relax in and have a conversation away from the boisterousness of many of Abingdon's other town centre pubs.

10 Aug 2009 11:55

The Port Mahon, Oxford

This pub is still closed but there is now evidence of work being carried out inside so hopefully it will be re-opening soon. There again, maybe they're converting it into a McDonalds !!

5 Aug 2009 12:42

The Wheatsheaf, Oxford

This is a straightforward town centre boozer. The emphasis is very much on drink and it attracts a largely local clientele. One of the few pubs in Oxford city centre with a pool table. Also has the usual quiz and fruitie machine. There is a juke box which is often playing rock music quite loud. Usually a couple of real ales available which tend to change fairly regularly and are sourced from the Greene King guest list. TV usually showing Sky sports news. The pub is well hidden down an alley leading off of the High Street. Service is normally quite efficient. The place is not everyone's cup of tea but it does what it says on the tin.

3 Aug 2009 17:00

The White Hart, Headington

Sorry mgt (previous reviewer) but I'm not a member of staff. I notice that Alfred Powder has reviewed a number of pubs as well so unlikely to be a staff member either. My review was based on a number of visits over a few months and not just the one visit which I suspect yours was. I've always found the quality and choice of ales (for the GK dominated area) to be very good. I stand by my view that this is one of the best pubs in Oxford. I've given no rating for this posting as it would be unfair so soon after my last post.

29 Jul 2009 17:21

Great Spoon of Ilford, Ilford

I pop in here quite often when staying nearby. I find it one of the worst of the JDW chain. Always have to wait for what seems ages to get served. There is a really long bar here and I have never seen more than two people serving at the same time. Yeah the prices are cheap but for me that doesn't make up for the interminable wait. At least they have a fairly good range of guest ales (more than some Wetherspoons). I normally tolerate it here for a couple then head off down to the excellent Jono's Bar nearby. That's a proper pub with atmosphere and friendly efficient service - just wish they would sell real ale !

21 Jul 2009 10:39

Jono's, Ilford

The signage outside states 'Jono's Bar and Restaurant' but this is basically a straightforward drinking establishment. I've never seen anyone eating food in here. I often stay at a hotel nearby and pop in here quite often for a couple. It's a good friendly place even though it doesn't look much from the outside. Bar staff are always efficient and the locals welcoming. They have sky sports and a large screen so it's a good place to watch football. No real ales unfortunately but that's the only negative thing about the place. Definitely the most comfortable place for a drink in Ilford town centre.

21 Jul 2009 10:33

Brewery Tap, Abingdon

One of the better pubs in Abingdon, and the only one in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. It generally seems to attract a more mature type of customer as it has just that little bit more class than most of the other town centre pubs. Usually a choice of four real ales, two or three from the Greene King stable (yawn!) and one or two guests. I had a very good pint of Batemans XXXB Tuesday evening at 2.95 a pint. A little expensive for the lagers (3.30 for an Amstel - ouch!). I haven't eaten here but the food has a good reputation although they don;t appear to do evening meals. The pub is always pretty busy however getting served is never much of a problem. There is a small garden patio area out the back. Couple of TVs' but often these are switched off and are never intrusive. They run a popular quiz night on a tuesday when you do well to get a seat. Basically a good pub for a relaxing drink.

16 Jul 2009 13:12

The Ealing Park Tavern, South Ealing

'Cocktails', 'Restaurant'. I thought a tavern was supposed to be a pub.
Nitronitro1 your review is totally opposite to the last few reviews for this place.
Maybe it's changed hands. Your not the licensee by any chance are you ?

14 Jul 2009 14:25

The Oxford Bar, Edinburgh

Beerslurper how can you complain about the plain decor ? That's the whole point of the Oxford bar. A plain and basic pub for drinking and conversation. Being featureless to me is the whole charm of the place. This is a gem of a pub and should be preserved for posterity exactly as it is.

10 Jul 2009 17:12

The Abbotsford, Edinburgh

Paid a couple of visits on a recent trip to Edinburgh. This is the best pub on Rose Street that I found (and I tried most although not all in one day !). Really nice interior and Island bar. Welcoming staff and good quality ales. I especially liked the Stewart ESB. Made use of the seats outside on Edinburgh's one hot day of the year. This is a nice pub don't miss it.

10 Jul 2009 17:02

The Abbotsford, Edinburgh

Best pub on Rose Street by far. Went in here a couple of times on my recent trip to Edinburgh. On both occasions it was welcoming and not too busy. Enjoyed ales from Stewart Brewing (the ESB was very nice). The decor and Island bar are terrific. Don't miss it.

10 Jul 2009 16:56

The Fox and Hounds, Oxford

Still closed and boarded up and last night was half destroyed by a fire supposedly started by squatters. Not long now methinks before this lovely building gets flattened.

10 Jul 2009 12:34

The Berkshire House, Oxford

Currently closed following a fire a few months ago.
Greene King claim they intend to refurbish and re-open in due course and some scaffolding has appeared outside so fingers crossed.

8 Jul 2009 16:58

The Punch Bowl, Abingdon

There's never a dull moment in the Punchbowl. The locals always seem to be having a whale of a time whenever I pop in. Everyone is always very friendly and chatty. The emphasis here is very much on drinking and enjoying yourself. There is a quieter snug bar at the rear for those wanting a little more peace and quiet.
The building itself is one of the oldest in Abingdon and faces directly onto the stunning County Hall in the Market Place.
Only one real ale usually available (GK brewed Morland Original). I understand from talking to the licensee that from next week he will be selling Carlsberg for 1.99 a pint as a Credit crunch special. I think the locals will be partying just that little bit louder as a result !

8 Jul 2009 16:42

Bennet's Bar, Edinburgh

This is my idea of what a pub should be like. Lovely Victorian interior. Friendly service and just an overall relaxing feeling about the place. To enter is like walking back in time. Pubs were meant to be like this. Only two ales available (Deuchars and Caledonian 80%) but somehow that doesn't matter. Just sitting in here sipping your pint is just heavenly. It's a little out of the city centre and not the easiest place to find but any lover of traditional pubs should most definitely not miss this one.

8 Jul 2009 16:28

The Old Bell Tavern, Harrogate

Have been in here a few times when in Harrogate. It is a super pub with a wonderful choice of ales and at reasonable prices. It always seems busy but I usually get served quite quickly and can normally find a seat. A good friendly atmosphere and in my opinion the best pub in Harrogate.

8 Jul 2009 15:55

Stone Horse Paper Cow, Liverpool Street

I work nearby and only realised today that this place had re-opened so gave it a go. Found it quite welcoming. The service was quick and efficient. There were two ales on, Youngs ordinary and a Pale ale from the Purity Brewing Co. in Warwickshire which was excellent and good to see something other than Pride, Bombardier or Adnams in a London pub.
Had a nice fish finger sandwich with chips and the price of 4.50 is not bad for a City pub.
I noticed they do 'Movie nights' with free popcorn once a week, a new one on me for sure.
This is a good comfortable pub and unusually for the City it wasn't crowded although I visited on a wednesday lunchtime so it may get busier in the evenings I guess.

8 Jul 2009 15:45

The Central Bar, Leith

As Millay comments it does look a bit bland from the outside. But what a gem once you are inside. The interior is just wonderful with the tiles and mirrors and high ceiling. I just sat there with my pint gazing around the bar drinking in the surroundings. It is a basic drinking house but it just oozes history and atmosphere. There are not many pubs like this left anymore and that is a great pity. The only negative comment I have is to ask whether it is really necessary to cover up some of the lovely tilework with gaudy Carling posters and adverts for the pub raffle. If you are in Edinburgh and you enjoy traditional drinking pubs do not on any account overlook this one.

7 Jul 2009 15:05

The Castle Hotel, Manchester

Popped in recently while I was in Manchester. Good to see that the pub still seems to be the same old wonderful drinking establishment. No visible changes other than the back bar remains closed while a new floor (or was it roof ?) is being fitted. The ale I tried (Unicorn and Old Tom) were both in excellent condition. My only gripe was that there was an incredibly loud and foul mouthed individual stood at the bar shouting (and I mean shouting) with another customer not 20 feet away discussing the merits of Manchester City over Manchester United. I cannot understand why bar staff permit such behaviour. It simply drives away custom as it did me.

2 Jul 2009 16:12

White Horse, Abingdon

A fairly large pub on the outskirts of Abingdon. Nice large garden to the front of the pub and a decent sized car park as well. Has anything up to 8 real ales available. Usually 4 from the Greene King stable and up to 4 guests. If only all Greene King pubs had such a choice !
The service can be a little slow sometimes but the staff are pleasant enough. This is a good place to start a pub crawl along Ock Street into the centre of Abingdon.
Noticed a big sign outside saying 'Price Drop, Fosters only 2.80' ! I hate to think what it was before !

22 Jun 2009 15:59

Royal Blenheim, Oxford

A stonking pub for people who like their real ales. I stopped by on saturday and found 8 of the 10 handpumps in use. The White Horse bitter was outstanding. Really fresh tasting and amazingly hoppy. And I couldn't believe only 2.30 a pint. Very good. There were guests from Tom Woods and Salopian amongst others. Such a refreshing choice in a Greene King dominated area.
Service was quick and efficient and the bar staff were all very friendly.
My only complaint is the TV is dominated by rugby. OK when there's a live game on, but to show repeats of rugby matches when there is other live sport on is annoying. Hey ho, it's not the end of the world.

22 Jun 2009 15:43

Rosie O'Gradys, Oxford

Now re-opened as 'The Duke's Cut'. It has been re-furbished and is as different from the old Rosie O'Grady's as chalk to cheese. In fact the only similarity is that it still sells Guinness. The pub proudly proclaimed outside Wychwood ales so I was a little disappointed when I got inside to find only Pedigree and Old Thumper available on draught. I got the impression though that 2 other ales are normally available so maybe they had just sold out. I can report that my pint of Old Thumper was in good condition. No machines and only one TV tucked away in the lounge bar. The bar staff were very keen, I was even asked if I wanted another drink when I still had some of the old one left !
I would say that this is a good pub for a group of friends to go to who just want to talk.
There was a notice in the Gents toilet stating that they welcomed feedback and that if I'd had a good time I should post a review on Beer in the Evening. Well guys I was going to post a review anyway without you soliciting.
I'm not sure if I like this pub or not. It's very similar to the Retreat nearby but just feels as though there's something missing. Just not sure what it is at the moment. I'll give it another couple of visits. Maybe they'll have Hobgoblin on next time.

22 Jun 2009 15:20

Milan Bar, Croydon

Very bland, uninspiring place. Limited choice of real ales which for a large JDW establishment is a disappointment. Managed to get served straightaway, but that was more because the place was practically empty, which at 8.30 on a thursday evening was a bit of a surprise. There again I figure it was because everyone else knew where the better pubs were and being a stranger in town I didn't.

16 Jun 2009 14:54

The Dog and Bull, Croydon

I recently stayed in Croydon for a couple of days and this was the best pub I found by a long margin. A 'proper' pub as i call it with the focus on good beer in a welcoming and relaxing environment. Very comfortable seating and everything clean and well maintained. The beer patio at the back is actually about twice the size of the interior of the pub and is really quite exceptional. A really super pub.

16 Jun 2009 14:39

Saints and Sinners, Croydon

I was staying in a hotel just up the road and found this a nice welcoming clean pub, although from the outside it does not look anything special. Was impressed with the menu and what appeared to be very reasonable prices for London. Their choice of draught beers was surprisingly small (just a couple of lagers and no real ales) but that apart this is a decent pub.

16 Jun 2009 14:17

The Stocks Bar (Crown and Thistle Hotel), Abingdon

This is a lively bar with a predominantly young local clientele. There are three large screen TVs' showing all major sporting events. Although invariably busy and noisy this is a welcoming and friendly place where everyone just seems to be enjoying themselves. There are 8 handpumps with usually a choice of 6 ales and 2 ciders (with another 5 ciders available direct from barrels behind the bar). They always seem to have a Dark Mild available and there is usually a selection of ales from local microbreweries. The bar is set at the back of the courtyard of the Crown and Thistle hotel which is a lovely rambling old building. I only wish that when I stay at a hotel I could find one with a bar half as good as this one.

16 Jun 2009 14:08

Arkwrights Wheel, Croydon

I found this quite a depressing pub. About 15 customers at 9.00pm on a Thursday evening but because the pub interior is quite large it felt very empty. Karaoke going on in one corner with a customer dancing away on his own in the middle of the pub to the horrendous imitation of Mariah Carey. Only one ale on (Adnams) despite four handpumps. One customer who was having trouble standing up asked for another drink and got served straight away by the barman who either didn't realise he was drunk or just didn't care. I did notice though that they were still doing food - well, put it this way, the menus were still left on the tables. I was tempted to order the sausage and chips from the 'Healthy Options' section but then I came to my senses. If I lived in Croydon this place would see very little of my money.

16 Jun 2009 13:41

The Plough Inn, Abingdon

This is a good little community pub which doesn't pretend to be anything it isn't. Has darts and a pool table, juke box and a couple of plasma TVs'. They do basic food (sandwiches, soup, etc) weekday lunchtimes. The karaoke nights are not to my taste but they seem to bring in the punters so I can understand why they do them. 1.99 for pints of Greene King IPA and Carlsberg is a very good price for the area. Staff generally friendly and I agree with the previous reviewer that you are always made to feel welcome here.

11 Jun 2009 16:30

The White Hart, Headington

This is a superb pub in so many ways. Lovely old building in a quiet tucked away corner of Oxford. It feels like you're in a village pub. Excellent choice of ales from Everards with one or two guests usually available. The garden is magnificent. I was there recently for their beer festival which was well organised and very popular. The staff have always been friendly and welcoming whenever I have been there. This is most definitely one of the best pubs in Oxford.

11 Jun 2009 16:14

The Kings Head and Bell, Abingdon

This pub is closed and has been for quite some time.
Shame because it's a nice old building and was a good boozer in it's time.

11 Jun 2009 13:11

The Blue Boar, Abingdon

This pub is such a lovely old building from the outside. Unfortunately it is such a let down once you get inside. As I was waiting for my pint of Carlsberg to be poured (they don't sell any real ale), I noticed the sign to staff on the blackboard behind the open door to the private quarters ''We have never known the pub to be so dirty, when it's quiet CLEAN''. Admirable sentiments from the boss I thought, but not what I want to see as a customer. The best thing you can say about this pub is that it's handy for the chinese takeaway across the road.

11 Jun 2009 13:03

The Old Fox and Hounds, Croydon

Very handy for West Croydon station. I was surprised at how big the pub is inside. Despite the space I did notice as soon as I walked in the unmistakeable smell of cigarette smoke. I then realised that this was probably being caused by the smokers using the outside courtyard who were blowing their smoke back into the pub through the open door as they watched the football on the TV. Other than that little niggle this is a decent comfortable pub with a good (if smoky) atmosphere. Unlike Millay's experience the service was quick but then there were only about a dozen other customers in.

11 Jun 2009 12:37

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