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BITE user comments - Monkdawallydahonk

Comments by Monkdawallydahonk

Strawberry Gardens, Fleetwood

Visited to see the mighty U's narrowly lose 4-0! Lovely pub, great range of ales with a discount for CAMRA members, friendly helpful bar staff, decent pub food, and even better the great man himself came out to greet us and we had our photo taken with him.

23 Aug 2015 15:54

The Hillgrove Porter Stores, Bristol

Marvellous! My first ever visit to the Hillgrove accompanied by Mrs Monk and our friends who are extremely lucky to live 10 minutes away. My kind of pub. The beer was excellent as was the range. The Dawkins Bristol Best was superb, also tried the RCH Steam and the Goffs Dark Knight. All good but far and away the best was the Best! Even Mrs Monk liked it. Wish I lived 10 minutes away. 9/10

20 Aug 2015 12:48

Holborn Whippet, Camden

Given its location I was pleasantly surprised by this pub. Good selection of ales, reasonably priced for the area, £3.20 for the Redemption session pale for example. The 7 of us turned a corner of WC1 into Colchester. We mostly stuck to the Redemption, the Morhop?, hazy and floral, and the amber ale from Bristol. I can imagine it being horrendously packed and noisy on a wet, cold night when you can't spill out to the pavement, but for a summer evening it was pretty good. The stairs to the toilets as one reviewer commented are winding but no worse than those in the Harp, and the gents was reasonably clean and at least had soap in the dispensers even if the hand drier didn't work. Will definitely go again as it seemed very convenient for all of us, good range of ale, good pricing and pretty competent staff. Solid 7/10

3 Jul 2015 08:32

The Goose, Britwell Salome

Visited with Mrs Monk on 17 May, primarily I suspect an eating establishment, which is why we went, but the ales were superb. There did seem to be a small area set aside just to drink but this was lunchtime so might be different for a beer in the evening. Beers on were Mr Chubbs lunchtime ale and Loose Cannon Abingdon Bridge both great - the Mr Chubbs is one of the best session beers I've tasted in a long time. I restricted myself to 2 of those and 3 in total. Food was excellent as well, definitely visit again. 7.5/10

19 May 2014 11:27

The Black Country Arms, Walsall

Second port of call on 3 May to celebrate the mighty U’s remaining in league 1, and winning at Walsall to boot. Excellent pub, very tall building and with drinking/eating areas on three levels so it doesn’t feel crowded or like being in a vast open barn. Marvellous selection of ales but once I’d tasted the Black Beauty Cream Stout from Packinghouse brewery that was it, this wonderful stout joins the Colchester Cream stout and the Nottingham Sooty Stout as three incomparable ales. This ran out and so I was forced to have a different ale, which although I can’t remember the name it stood up well to the lingering taste of that black nectar. We also ate here, one of my mates had the curry special which was good, I had the burger and potato wedges which did the job and at £4.95 what more could you want to go with your pre match pints? Fantastic place and well worth the trip. 9/10

12 May 2014 12:00

Lyndon House Hotel, Walsall

First port of call on 3 May to celebrate the mighty U’s remaining in league 1, and winning at Walsall to boot. Had a couple in here, very pleasant interior, central island square bar and friendly local who corrected my pronunciation of Bathams a local ale, which was pleasantly bitter and a good start. Moved onto the Burton Bridge Golden Delicious which was fine. 5 or 6 ales on including a mild which my mate had and enjoyed, the other being the brewer from Suffolk that we don’t mention. That apart a very good place for a relaxing drink. 7/10

12 May 2014 11:59

The Wellington, Birmingham

Visited on 3 May after celebrating the mighty U’s remaining in league 1. Had a couple before catching the train home and had two marvellous ales one of which the Purity Saddle Black was superb, not a stout but a sort of sharp smoky taste – excellent stuff. Large pub with a very large selection of ales which you order by number from the informative screen which gives ABV and type of ale. Always well worth stopping off either before or after a game in and around Birmingham, as it’s only a couple of minute’s walk to New St station. Thoroughly recommended. 8/10

12 May 2014 11:57

The Harp, Covent Garden

Visited on a Wednesday night just before Easter and it was pleasantly busy and we even managed to get a table! Fantastic selection of ales as usual, I had the Harvey's Best, something called Rebel Lion, Dark Star American Pale and a stout whose name I forget, all excellent and not overpriced considering the location. Not only is this a great pub for beer but the bar staff are excellent, you rarely have to wait long even when it's insanely packed as it normally is. For me it's the best pub in London and although on popular nights such as Thursday when it's a gigantic crush it's still the best place in London for real ale. 9.5/10

1 May 2014 14:33

The Victoria Inn, Colchester

Last port of call on Saturday 18 starting at the Odd One Out, New Inn, Purple Dog, Foresters and ending at the Victoria.
Last time I came here I was disappointed with the beer choice. This time for all of us there was no choice, we didn’t even look at the other options because they were serving the truly wonderful Colchester Brewery Double Drop Brown ale, ecstasy! I could have happily sat in here all day drinking this beer which along with the Colchester Cream Stout and the Nottingham Sooty Stout is in my top three best ever ales. If only we’d started off here! Though we wouldn’t have got much further. Had a relaxing pint in the comfy sofas before heading off reluctantly to the station back to the beer desert of Hemel Hempstead, where I’d happily transport any of Colchester’s real ale pubs to be my local. 8.5/10

25 Apr 2014 08:39

The Foresters Arms, Colchester

Fourth port of call on Saturday 18 starting at the Odd One Out, New Inn, Purple Dog and ending at the Victoria.
Haven’t been in the Foresters arms for I don’t know how long, good to see it selling the wonderful Colchester Brewery beers, my mates had the No1 I think and I had the Red Diesel, we were all pretty impressed with pub and beer. Good location near the Castle Park and East Hill and I’d definitely return. The beer quality was pretty good so a 7/10.

25 Apr 2014 08:35

The Purple Dog, Colchester

Third port of call on Saturday 18 after starting at the Odd One Out, New Inn, Foresters and ending at the Victoria.
This pub used to be the Clarence and I’m pretty sure I’ve not been in more than once in my lifetime, and can’t see myself returning. There was nothing wrong with the beer, mainly Adnams but also the ubiquitous and ghastly Doombar; we all plumped for the Woodforde’s Wherry which apart from being slightly cold was otherwise excellent. The building is clearly old yet the inside was curiously lacking in character and atmosphere, it was painted an off white (with a hint of purple?) and had a bare soulless feel to it. I suspect at night the clientele is a lot younger and livelier; hence not being my type of pub. Curious but interesting addition to the beer guide by CAMRA but not as odd as the stupid name. I’ll still give it 7/10 for the beer quality and choice.

25 Apr 2014 08:34

The New Inn, Colchester

Second port of call on Saturday 18 after starting at the Odd One Out, Purple Dog, Foresters and ending at the Victoria. Very good pub the New Inn, we all had the Grain Blackwood Stout at 5% which was excellent and went superbly with the all-day breakfast that we had around 13.30! I followed this up with a Grain 3.1.6 which was very light coloured dry and hoppy, it certainly stood up to the flavoursome stout. Sat in what I suppose is the saloon which is more comfortable and where you have to ring a bell for service. 8/10

25 Apr 2014 08:32

The Odd One Out, Colchester

Visited on Saturday 18th for the visit of Oldham, who actually beat the mighty U’s the day before so we sensibly decided to cut out the misery from 3pm to 4.45pm and go for a crawl of Colchester’s finest pubs starting at the Odd One Out, New Inn, Purple Dog, Foresters and saving the best beer until last in the Victoria.
Last time we visited the Oddy was January 2013 for a mate’s 40th and the obligatory U’s home defeat which we watched on teletext from the Alehouse. The Oddy is now on the wrong side of town for the football which is a shame, but I’m pleased to say nothing has changed, still the same character at the bar and the same barmaid. We had a relaxing couple to start our crawl in the sitting room like lounge bar; one was Skinners the other I can’t remember – it was cloudy but tasted fine. My mates eulogised about the coloured water masquerading as beer called Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde mild, I wasn’t having any of it but they said it was great, they followed up with a Brightlingsea Bladderwrack, which I had a taste of and was pretty good, but a touch too liquorice for me. The beer is always kept well; a dying breed this type of pub, a real old man’s respite from modern life and long may it flourish. 9/10

25 Apr 2014 08:29

The Queens Head, St Pancras

Visited during lunchtime before the might U’s visit to Stevenage and a rare win. The challenge outside is to argue with them that this is the best pub in London – which it isn’t! I was first in at 12.00 and started with a pint of the 3.0 Trinity Redemption, which for its ABV packs a real flavour punch, I had two in all. On a blind tasting you’d never guess it was such a low strength beer. I was joined by 5 more U’s beer hunters and the only other customers were a group of Norwich fans on their way to defeat at Fulham. The other two beers were the Otley Oxymoron, a wonderful dark beer at over 5% and the Crouch Vale Amarillo 5% which was a bit too sweet for me, but all three were kept very well. But that sums up the problem for me with this pub, one beer at 3% and the other two at 5% or over, if they had a fourth pump and had a session bitter of around 4% that would be perfect. It had a pleasant relaxed feel in contrast to the busy buzz of a Thursday night; you could happily sit and read the Saturday Grauniad for a couple of hours in the sofa by the front window where we were. I’d be more than happy to have this as my local, given the paucity of real ale and decent pubs where I live. 7.5/10

16 Apr 2014 11:55

The Royal Oak, Borough

A visit to the RO after the Simon the Tanner. A pub much more to my liking, as it has a more traditional feel, the standard range of Harvey’s Ales, Best, Pale, Armada and Old. We had the best and the pale, and saw them poured out of the respective taps but they looked and tasted identical! Nothing wrong with them mind, but the pale definitely wasn’t pale. The one thing that militates against a speedy return here was the attitude of the bloke serving, he exemplified everything wrong with service industries in the UK, he was clearly above all this serving malarkey; sauntered about behind the bar studiously ignoring waiting customers and prioritising looking at his phone. When he did serve my mate it was clearly something we should have been grateful for, he made no eye contact, didn’t say thanks or anything just told us the price. If you are too good to be serving in a pub get a job somewhere else. I would say the women serving were fine. Beer 6/10; service from this guy 1/10

21 Mar 2014 13:39

Simon The Tanner, London

A two pub crawl of SE1 beginning with the STT and then the Royal Oak, Tabard St.
STT is the sister pub of the Queen’s Head off Gray’s Inn Rd and had a similar feel. Central bar, in a sort of t-shaped room. Got there at 5.20 on Thursday and had the pick of all bar two tables, which were adorned with a candle and the food and bottled beer menus. Rather like the Queen’s Head it just lacked pub atmosphere and I suppose this must be the intention, less like a traditional boozer. The beer was ok, there were three clips and one was turned round so the only two beers on were Adnam’s Lighthouse and Windsor & Eton Windsor knot. Plumped for the W&E which was ok but nothing remarkable, the other clip came on and it was an Amber Ale which looked and tasted almost the same as the W&E. Because of the lack of options we moved on. Can’t see us returning, nothing inherently wrong with it, and the service was quick, efficient and friendly, it’s just not my type of pub. 6.5/10

21 Mar 2014 13:38

The Pride of Spitalfields, Shoreditch

Belated reviews from the mighty U’s narrow defeat to Leyton Orient.
Started in the Pride at 10.40 before moving on the Cock Tavern in Hackney, Leyton Technical, before and after the game (sadly doesn’t have an entry on BITE – wonderful place well worth a visit) then back to the Pride.
Used to go to the Pride regularly in the 1990’s, might have been there in the 2000’s but can’t be sure, either way it was just as I remembered it down to Mary’s pantry next the bar. Started with a Maldon Gold – as it was not yet 11am and it’s from our fair county; moved onto the Truman Penguin which was a wonderful tasty nut brown coloured bitter. Had another pint of the same some hours later before making the traditional trail to a curry house. Great stuff and great to wander round an area I used to work in in the late 1970’s. 7/10

17 Mar 2014 15:39

The Cock Tavern, Hackney

Second port of call of the pre match preparation for the mighty U’s narrow defeat to Leyton Orient (before heading to the wonderful Leyton technical). Arrived with the boys to find a few more Col U fans and one non Col U punter! Aroma of beer and brewing, basic looking boozer providing a wonderful drinking ambience there were a couple of wonderful stouts (my personal favourite style) sampled both and they were truly superb, also had a dry something or other. Good to go back to another of my old stomping grounds from the 1990’s, the area has changed a lot but if it means pubs like this, then lucky Hackney. Could have stayed here all day, and will definitely have to plan a return visit. 8/10

17 Mar 2014 15:38

The Queens Head, St Pancras

Rather ambivalent about this pub. Superficially it’s well laid out, high ceilings, good number of tables well-spaced out, but it has the feeling of a café that serves beer. Seemed very popular for after work gathering but where isn’t on a Thursday? Not too many suits and the crowd, predominantly mid 30’s upwards looked like media or social workers to me. Beer – 3 hand pumps and I tried two the Moncada Notting Hill Porter at 5%; Redemption Trinity at 3%. The one I didn’t try was a 4.2% golden ale from Wales whose name escapes me, my mate had a pint and it was far too floral for my liking. The two I tried were well kept and the Porter was especially good. There is a good range of bottled beer and four traditional ciders as well. The beer was ok, the service I experienced was fine, though my mate had an unpleasant encounter over a short measure, but overall it didn’t really do it for me. It was noisy with chatter but no juke box thankfully, though there was a piano player at the front of the pub, but not really a traditional pub feel or atmosphere. They certainly try to create the atmosphere with the low lighting and candles, but that for me is why it felt like a café bar rather than a pub. The best pub in London slogan is mere hyperbole. Could do with another hand pump to add to the range of beers available. Worth a visit though. 6/10

21 Feb 2014 11:03

The Palmerston Arms, Peterborough

Visited on 1 February with Steve to see the mighty U’s postponed match at Peterborough and the third pub before returning to the Brewery Tap. Excellent pub, one side of which is rather like sitting in someone’s front room, the bar has only a couple of pumps the rest of the ales are in the back room behind a glass partition and served by gravity. A very helpful grid chart shows the beers on offer with a colour code guiding you to bitter, dark, light etc. I went for a Bateman’s stout which was pretty good though which unfortunately had to compete with the wonderful Sooty Stout in the Brewery Tap, I also had a pint of Bateman’s bitter from the handpump and though ok was way too warm. Steve had a half of the Amaretto stout which was pretty strong and I doubt a pint would have been feasible anyway given the strength and pronounced coffee taste. Great pub though. 7.5/10

7 Feb 2014 09:18

The Coalheavers Arms, Peterborough

Visited on 1 February with Steve to see the mighty U’s postponed match at Peterborough. Second stop after the Brewery tap. Just had the one pint in the Coalheavers, good basic boozer with discrete areas for drinking. I had the Justinian and Steve had the Bomber’s Drop which he said was ok but with an emphasis on the citrus and it looked like a real cider; I had the Justinian which again was ok but there seemed to be an over emphasis on the golden beers – having said that we did see a group of blokes with a proper bitter coloured beer but I’m pretty sure this was a pretty high ABV. Not bad though so 7/10

7 Feb 2014 09:16

The Brewery Tap, Peterborough

Visited on 1 February with Steve to see the mighty U’s postponed match at Peterborough. Well the train tickets were booked, the match ticket is going to be refunded so we cut out the worst part of any of days out watching the U’s. We visited the Brewery Tap twice, and the Coalheavers and the Palmerston.
Started at the Tap with a pint of JHB which was in excellent form followed by the beer of the day for both of us, the wonderful Nottingham Brewery Sooty Stout – a worthy but different rival to the Colchester Brewery Cream Stout as my favourite stout. Wonderful bitterness, toastiness and dare I say sootiness! Fantastic. The interior of the pub is most impressive with the brewing equipment and sofas and tables by the window and a variety of seating areas, reminds me of a couple of brewpubs on the west coast of the USA. We also ate here both had the beef lunchtime special from the excellent Thai restaurant, very tasty and good value. Good service considering it was busy with food and drinks being ordered. We returned here for the last pint before catching our trains home and again went for the Sooty Stout, a great way to round off the day. 8.5/10

7 Feb 2014 09:15

The Battle of Trafalgar, Brighton

First port of call on 24 January with Bill and Rog, and the obligatory last call along with Graeme when well clattered. We were going to eat here but the specials board either hadn't been updated or was genuinely missing lots of options at 12.03pm; the standard options looked ok but were served on bits of wood! What is this fad for serving food on slate or wood, what's wrong with a plate? I digress. Still the Harvey's best was excellent, or at least I thought so, Bill didn't like it but then he likes G***** King Abbot ale. Had 2 pints of best and had a tester of another and was glad I did as it is a style of beer I don't like, which I discussed with the very helpful and friendly woman behind the bar, who remembered us when we staggered in 6 hours later worse for wear. Very good pub, good atmosphere, friendly staff and I'm glad we came in for the first pint here. 7.5/10

31 Jan 2014 13:38

The Lord Nelson, Brighton

Visited on Friday 24 January with Bill and Rog. Overpowering smell of paint as the inside and out are being done up. There was drying paint in the left hand bar where we sat and quite a few people in the lower bar and the ghastly excrescence at the rear, presumably to get away from the paint! Beer was ok I had the Hadlow/Pale/IPA or whatever it's called this week and the Old which was much better than last time, and we ate here as well and soon got used to the paint smell. Unfortunately with the bare walls now devoid of any decoration there was an acoustic effect which made our bad language resonate rather loudly! Friendly and chatty barman who answered our questions about the redecoration with cheerfulness. I hope the food menu is more extensive than the good but limited fare currently on offer. It'll be interesting to see what happens when the refurb is complete.

31 Jan 2014 13:31

The Boot, St Albans

A rare visit to a pub in St.Albans, despite living only 7 miles away in the beer and cultural desert that is Hemel Hempstead, and being a regular visitor to the market. Very pleasant experience, Mrs Monk went off to do some Christmas shopping and I went to the pub! Decent range of ales on and most welcome was the number of dark/seasonal ales – I stuck solely to the Bateman’s Rosey Nosey which was superbly kept and very drinkable on a cold drizzly day. Even got chatting to similar aged football fan and we recollected the halcyon days of 1970’s soccer violence. Just as well the beer was excellent and served in a lined glass as it was a staggering £3.90 a pint – even more than the Harp just off Trafalgar Square. Mrs Monk joined me later and concurred on the quality of the ale, we also had some food which was excellent quality and good value. Will definitely return in the near future. The one awkward note was the fact that a lot of tables were booked and I hope this was only due to the nearness of Christmas, as it did cause a bit of a kerfuffle with a few would be customers. 8/10

15 Jan 2014 11:52

The Victoria Inn, Colchester

A disappointing trip to see the mighty U’s humbled 4-0 by rock bottom Notts Co., though it was the beer that was surprisingly disappointing, the 0-4 was not. Two pubs visited the Victoria and the Bricklayers. Our first drink was the Victoria, which on my previous visit had the wonderful Colchester brewery cream stout, heaven in a glass. The beer range this time was for me a big let-down, two milds (my mates love them so they were happy), personally I’m not a fan of 99% of milds (apart from one or two notable exceptions, Maple Mild for one) for me it’s a homeopathic ale, a pint of water with some colouring and a memory of beer; the other beer was a golden ale, a Belgian type fruit beer, and something else which was calling itself an American red beer. I did actually have the Voodoo Mild which while served well was a typical mild, almost tasteless and with no depth or lasting taste – my mates had both, the other being Captain Oates mild and they thought they were fantastic. I also had the American red, which was perfectly served but did have a strong fruity, sharp linger so I couldn’t drink more than 1 pint. I’ll definitely go again, but will hope to see a wider selection of ales. My mates would have stayed there and drunk the mild dry, but sorry I can only give 6/10 for the choice.

18 Dec 2013 09:14

The Bricklayers, Colchester

Second port of call the Bricklayers before seeing the mighty U’s put in their usual abysmal home display against Notts Co., 0-4. Very popular pre and post football pub, and we visited prior to the game for anaesthetic and post-match to lament another rotten display. I had the Adnam’s Old from the range of Adnam’s and I had a not very nice pint of Clark’s of Wakefield. I like Adnam’s Old and I guess this is the beauty of real ale; this batch had a pronounced, lingering and quite overpowering liquorice aftertaste, so I hope the recipe hasn’t been changed permanently. An irritation was that after checking their website for the opening times (Saturday 11.00) I arrived at 11.20 to find that on football days the opening time is 12.00, cheers! 6/10

18 Dec 2013 09:12

Smiths Tavern, Ashbourne

Popped into the Smiths Taverns after noticing the sign in the window saying CAMRA town pub of the year – it is the only pub in the guide for 2013/14, and named after my favourite Manchester band we (Mrs Monk and me) had to patronise. Lovely pub, very friendly landlord, there are three separate areas in a traditional style but not run down or tatty. Good range of Marstons ales and a guest or two. Following our visit to the USA and developing a liking for their very strong (7-9%) IPAs we tried the Marstons Old Empire IPA at 5.7%; lovely pint, clean and strong but not sweet with a pleasant lingering bitter taste, I could easily have had a couple more and would like to have stayed a lot longer. On our next visit to the area will definitely visit for an extended session! 7.5/10

3 Dec 2013 13:17

The Coach and Horses Inn, Fenny Bentley

Annual visit to the Coach and Horses with Mrs Monk and just as good as ever, and just as mystifying why the local CAMRA branch continue to exclude it from the beer guide. Lovely traditional bar area with low beams and two fires, with a tasteful modern restaurant area to the rear. We made two visits, on Thursday lunchtime and Friday evening, with the lunchtime visit proving the busier for the pub. The two ales were Pedigree which is the permanent ale and the guests were Slaters Top Totty and Hartington Bitter, I sampled all three, Mrs Monk stuck to the Pedigree, all were excellent. We ate on both occasions and the food was very good. Very, very good pub. 7.5/10

3 Dec 2013 13:15

Sheffield Tap, Sheffield

Last stop after the game following the mighty U's 2-2 with the Millers. Excellent boozer, I had the laconically named "Ale" which went down a treat, and quickly as we didn't have long before the train went. Pretty crowded with bouncers on the door and no football colours but they were friendly and didn't stop any of our fellow fans with U's shirts on though they were asked to zip their coats up. Fantastic station pub with a superb range of ales. 7.5/10

12 Nov 2013 15:15

Harlequin, Sheffield

Last pub before heading off and arriving late at the New York stadium to see the mighty U's grab a 95th minute equaliser. New scratch for me and an pretty impressed with the beer range - I really must write them down as after 4 or 5 at lunchtime it's difficult to remember what I had, but they were definitely Brew Company, and like the other pubs we visited in Sheffield all excellent. 7.5/10

12 Nov 2013 15:08

The Riverside Cafe Bar, Sheffield

Second pub on the pre match drinking before the U's 2-2 draw with the Millers. Decent food to keep us going on the Kelham tour and pretty decent beer range, we had a couple in here, I had a session bitter which was pretty good and a golden ale, pretty decent ale selection.7/10

12 Nov 2013 15:05

Shakespeare Hotel, Sheffield

First stop on the pre match drinking to see the mighty U's snatch an injury time equaliser at Rotherham. Excellent start to the day with a pint of Clarks (with an old diesel engine on the clip) and then i think something called Five Towns. Losts of different drinking rooms and cheap rolls to tide us over until the Riverside. Superb boozer in the wonderful Kelham Island area, where there are more decent pubs in a square mile than there are in about 20 square miles near me! Lucky Sheffield residents. 8/10

12 Nov 2013 15:00

The Basketmakers Arms, Brighton

Visited with Billy boy on a crawl which took in the Lord Nelson, George, Battle of Trafalgar and the Craft. Sorry to say this was the worst of the bunch, probably a bad time to go (half term week) but the whole bench near the gents' was taken up by a family with kids with their toys spread over two of the tables. Had a quick, and not too good pint whilst standing outside and left, will give it another go but my last two visits have not been good. 6/10

12 Nov 2013 14:55

The George, Brighton

Visited last week on a crawl with Billy boy, who was disappointed that they didn't serve his favourite beer - the evil's Abbot Ale, oh dear. For me this was a great place, five or six clips and a beer festival to boot with around 8 served on gravity. Food was pretty good too, it's all vegetarian and I had a very good veg curry. Excellent beer, good food and a pub layout with different areas on different levels. Very friendly and helpful young lass behind the bar, this is apparently one of a chain of pubs in Brighton and this one is in the CAMRA guide quite rightly and we'll certainly be back as will I with Mrs Monk. 7.5/10

12 Nov 2013 14:50

The Fox, Hanwell

Visited this pub before seeing the mighty U's throw a 1-0 lead away in 14 minutes to lose 3-1 at Brentford. Still after 4 pints of the admiral London Fields bitter the irritation was lessened considerably, though it was no great surprise. Not too far from Hanwell and Elthorne station, you will need your phone map to be working to find it, but it's well worth hunting out. Not only was the beer excellent but the ladies behind the bar topped up the pints without being asked - just my kind of pub. There were 3 or 4 beers on if I remember but I stuck with the London Fields as it was top quality. The other chaps partook of the food which seemed to be pretty good quality. 8/10

30 Oct 2013 12:47

The Greyhound, Wigginton

Another pub which I’ve cycled past for many years without visiting, and ironically my first visit coincides with it being removed from the CAMRA good beer guide for 2014 – well it didn’t pop up on my updated phone version anyway. Pub part to the right and restaurant part to the left, we sat in the pub part which looked like it had been recently decorated – very bright and bare walls combining with wooden floor to give a very Spartan feel and difficult acoustics. Mrs Monk opted for the Adnams bitter from her native county but this went off so we both had the Tring Side Pocket, first pint was slightly too cold but certainly ok, the second was much better and a bit livelier. The other beers on were TT Landlord and something called Star Gazer. The principal reason for our visit was to eat and the food was perfectly ok we both had the fish, chips and peas. Not sure I’d want to spend an evening in the bar part as it lacks atmosphere and character. Decent range of beers on – at least there was no Doombar! Probably won’t be back – there’s nothing wrong with the pub, just not enough right for us to come back. 6/10

8 Oct 2013 11:09

The Barley Mow, Bristol

Third and last in a trio of pubs before and after the mighty U’s visit to Ashton Gate where we managed to salvage a draw from a winning position. The Barley Mow for me was the best of the bunch. Set behind Temple Meads in an odd area of regeneration, social housing and undeveloped land this is a real gem of a pub. Friendly welcome from the knowledgeable staff and a good selection of ales, none of which I’d come across before, so I had the Dirty Stop Out stout which was excellent and finished with a half of the Jeremiah? IPA before heading back to the station. Very pleasant interior which seemed recently refurbished, food menu looked very good and there was a couple of chaps in their 30’s playing crib at the table next to me, just the sort of local I wished I had in the beer desert that is Hemel Hempstead. Lucky old Bristol! 8.5/10

1 Oct 2013 13:03

The Three Tuns, Hotwells

Second in a trio of pubs before and after the mighty U’s visit to Ashton Gate where we managed to salvage a draw from a winning position. The CAMRA guide describes the Three Tuns as beer nirvana, hyperbole in my view but an excellent range of Arbor ales and I’d certainly be happy to have this pub near me. I had a couple of pints of the excellent Blue Sky Drinking a best bitter which was very pleasant and then finished with the Breakfast stout, which was not bad but I’m glad I only had a half. The rest of the boys were drinking a yellow beer which also seemed to go down well. Pleasant interior and surprisingly few customers for a Saturday lunchtime, well worth a visit. 7.5/10

1 Oct 2013 13:01

The Bank, Bristol

First in a trio of pubs before and after the mighty U’s visit to Ashton Gate where we managed to salvage a draw from a winning position. Pleasant enough pub, 3 or 4 ales on with one pump clip turned round. I started with a couple of pints of bitter which were slightly too cold for my liking and then moved onto an excellent porter – neither of the beers I can remember the names of! I know they had Hop head and one from Tintern. We also ate in here and my burger and chips did the job well and good value for 7.50. A good start to the day. 7/10

1 Oct 2013 12:59

The Thatchers Arms, Mount Bures

I popped in on Saturday 10th whilst on a cycle around Essex and Suffolk, ignoring the alluring advances of the Weston Homes for the U's first home game v Port Vale. They had 4 handpumps including a mild and we both settled on the 5.5abv Dark Star Red Shift after having a taster. Wonderful pint, despite the strength it was very quaffable and we could easily have had a couple more but for the cycling. Lovely view across the valley, just a shame the weather was cloudy and, unsurprising as we were atop the Mount Bures, pretty cool. Well worth a visit and made me wished I still lived in the area. 7/10

13 Aug 2013 10:37

The Harp, Covent Garden

A combined review from two visits one on Tuesday 16 July and the other on Thursday 25 July. Great range of ales on with milds (not my thing but good to see) from Mighty Oak, Boggart Hole’s Rum Porter (very nice), Zigzag Chocolate Stout which had me salivating but didn’t deliver especially in comparison with the Colchester Cream stout which is heaven in a glass; Harvey’s Best, Hophead and American Pale from Dark Star, Sambrooks Lavender Hill and Wandle; Maldon Gold and Golden Bull. Not too pricy for the area and only at a couple times on the Thursday was it rammed. As another reviewer said the upstairs bar is quiet and we were going to nab 4 free seats up there when 4 chaps at a table downstairs conveniently left. Upstairs is definitely an option to escape the madding crowd. Before that we were sitting on stools near the tables at the back but you do get knocked a bit and the noise levels mean it’s difficult to converse easily. As usual pretty impressive service from the barmaids who handle the throng at the bar very efficiently and mostly with a smile. Easily the best the best pub in central London if not all of London. 9/10

26 Jul 2013 15:41

The Tichborne Arms, Tichborne

Vistited on 19th July with Mrs Monk as were staying in the area. Found it via the CAMRA guide and checked on the net. Excellent ales and food, very friendly landlord. It was steak night, so we had steak and chips complemented very well by Palmer's Copper which was superb, I also tried the Bowman's South Sea Spice, which was a subtler version of Marble Ginger, but very drinkable and refreshing. The other beer on was Summer Lightning so didn't bother with it, all are served straight from the barrel. And yes the dogs do stare at you whilst you eat, they don't beg and didn't put us off. Great pub, lovely setting, large popular beer garden especially given the heat, though we sat indoors to be away from the families with kids. 7.5/10

22 Jul 2013 12:37

The Yew Tree, Lower Wield

Visited on Saturday 20 July with Mrs Monk. We were staying in the area and looked for decent pubs with real and food. We weren't disappointed by the Yew Tree, bit of a bind to find, it's in the middle of nowhere, but for £2.30 a pint (not a misprint) it's worth it. Two ales on; the triple f house beer and the other one escapes me. I stuck to the triple f which was excellent, as was the food. Ale and food were both good value and the staff though busy were very efficient and friendly which was a refreshing change from most London pubs' service ethos. 7.5/10

22 Jul 2013 12:32

The Doric Arch, Euston

Part of a tour of pubs which was overall not very satisfactory, comprising the Pakenham, Queen’s Head Acton st (easily the best) Calthorpe Arms (easily the worst) Euston Tap and Doric Arch.
Last call was the Doric Arch, hardly anyone in, good choice of ales, though only tried one, which was excellent. Good friendly service, and a bus spotters' paradise, also very handy for my train from Euston. 7/10

10 Jul 2013 11:27

Euston Tap, Euston

Part of a tour of pubs which was overall not very satisfactory, comprising the Pakenham, Queen’s Head Acton st (easily the best) Calthorpe Arms (easily the worst) Euston Tap and Doric Arch.
Should have been warned off by my previous experience here, but my mate wanted to test it out. I can’t say anything positive except the beer quality and choice for which I give 7/10. However, I’m clearly not cool, young and trendy enough for this place which probably explains why getting served is such a problem, so for the drinking “experience” 2/10

10 Jul 2013 11:26

The Calthorpe Arms, Holborn

Part of a tour of pubs which was overall not very satisfactory, comprising the Pakenham, Queen’s Head Acton st (easily the best) Calthorpe Arms (easily the worst) Euston Tap and Doric Arch.
Worst pub for beer this evening by a mile, and I’m surprised this is in the CAMRA guide, I never did like Youngs and now it’s brewed by Wells it’s even worse so I tried the ubiquitous Tribute (so much for CAMRAs “locale” project. The Tribute was over warm and not very pleasant, and my mate said the Special was poor. Last time I came in here was in 2005 and it’ll be more than 8 years before I go back. 4/10

8 Jul 2013 13:46

The Queens Head, St Pancras

Part of a tour of pubs which was overall not very satisfactory, comprising the Pakenham, Queen’s Head Acton st (easily the best) Calthorpe Arms (easily the worst) Euston Tap and Doric Arch.
This was easily the best pub we sampled, pleasant interior, pretty good service and not packed. The only downside was the beer choice, 3 ales on and all were golden, 2 from Hophead and 5.2% whose name I forget. I stuck with the American Pale for a couple of rounds but we moved on through lack of choice. Will definitely return but will check they’ve got a choice between golden, dark, bitter etc. 6.5/10

8 Jul 2013 13:44

The Pakenham Arms, Clerkenwell

First in a tour of pubs which was overall not very satisfactory, comprising the Pakenham, Queen’s Head Acton st (easily the best) Calthorpe Arms (easily the worst) Euston Tap and Doric Arch.
First visit for many a year and I was impressed with the refurbished interior, and the fact I had my ale served in a mug instead of a straight glass. That’s where the plaudits end, the beer English Pale Ale was distinctly average and one of only 3 beers on offer from the 12 handpumps, there was a blackboard in front of 4 and the next two banks of 4 were selling the same 3 ales! I suppose with more choice it would have been better, but also quite surprising was the beer was more expensive than the Queen’s Head. 5/10

8 Jul 2013 13:42

The Craft Beer Co, Brighton

Have been in 3 or 4 times now, including with Mrs Monk who was most impressed, and have dragged the boys along despite one of them moaning about the distance from the station! Excellent range ales, lined glasses and friendly staff. Now a permanent fixture on our Brighton pub crawls. 9/10

19 Jun 2013 15:12

The Gunmakers, Clerkenwell

Visited a couple of Thursdays ago as a mate had recommended it and we are always looking for good pub. Not sure about the place really, on the plus side when I arrived at 5pm I had the pick of the tables apart from one reserved one and the back room being booked. Not full of media types which is what I expected. Curious layout in that it’s a long undulating pub starting with the bar area, up some steps to the next bar and then down to the back room and bogs, with a rather stark interior and mostly bare walls. Beer range was good, Windsor and Eton Knights of the something or other; Portobello Market Porter, and their real lager which my lager drinking mate had and regretted (nowhere near as good as Cains lager or Budvar); Brentwood Best and Gold completed the line up. I had the W&E, Portobello Porter and the Brentwood Best, and I’d say all were slightly too cold, otherwise the quality was good. The big minus for me was the consistently short measures which is a real bugbear of mine, I reckon they saved a whole pint for every 5 or 6 sold because they were so short. Service was generally good, efficient and occasionally friendly. Didn’t try the food but the menu looked quite promising, might eat there if I go back but will only be with a large group and it’s the voted venue for the evening, otherwise I'll give it a miss. For lack of atmosphere, décor and short measures I’ll give a less than generous 6/10.

8 May 2013 11:50

The New Inn, Colchester

Visited on 20 April before the dismal yawn fest at the WHCS (0-0). CAMRA bore guide app says it's open at 10.30 Saturday, it wasn't open by 11.35 so went to the Playhouse first. Came back and had a couple of beers, a ruby which was pretty good and the Colchester AK which was golden and fairly bitter; the boys had the mild which I tasted and confirmed why I can't stand 95% of milds, it was brown tasteless dishwater, a homeopathic brew in that it is water with a memory of beer. Largely uninteresting choice of ales overall, though I had a burger and chips for £6 which was just the right amount. 7/10

24 Apr 2013 09:30

The Playhouse, Colchester

Visited on 20 April prior to another dismal home showing by the mighty U's. Wouldn't normally countenance a visit here as there are so many good pubs in Colchester but having found locked doors at our first two pubs we all had a reasonably good pint of Titanic brown ale for £2.15 a pint, and you can't argue with that. Beer was slightly too cold but in good nick. Usual sort of Wetherspoon customers. 6.5/10

24 Apr 2013 09:26

The Victoria Inn, Colchester

Popped in on the way to another dismal U's home performance on 20 April (0-0). A lovely sunny day so we crowded into the drinking area at the rear and balanced our beers on some empty kegs. There was only one choice of beer for all three of us, don't know what else was on as we were drinking the Colchester Brewery Colchester Cream Stout. Heaven in a glass. 10/10 for the beer. 9/10 overall.

24 Apr 2013 09:23

King William IV, Nottingham

Visited to see the mighty U’s perform better than last year and only lose 3-1 to County! Still worth the walk away from the centre to visit. I had a Scottish ruby ale which was excellent as was the JHB, my four fellow U's sufferers also enjoyed their ales. Friendly pub and anywhere else than Nottingham would probably spend a lot longer in here! Definitely worth another 9/10

15 Apr 2013 13:35

The Malt Cross, Nottingham

Visited to see the mighty U’s perform better than last year and only lose 3-1 to County! Last stop before the match and so by this point the memory is a bit hazy, but managed to get the last pint of stout before it ran out. Very interesting pub in a former Victorian music hall with gallery and domed glass roof, good place to spend more time in so will be back next season to see another defeat and spend a bit more drinking time here. A worthy addition to the dipsomaniac football fans’ pre match tour. 7/10

15 Apr 2013 13:32

The Keans Head, Nottingham

Visited to see the mighty U’s perform better than last year and only lose 3-1 to County! Good ale, had the Jarrow something or other and the Isis which was 5% but didn’t taste like it, also had the venison and black pudding pie, chips and veg which was very tasty and pretty good value for £9.45. Serving staff were very efficient and friendly. This is a very good one room pub, pleasant atmosphere and interesting interior. 8/10

15 Apr 2013 13:31

The Royal Oak, Borough

Had not visited the RO for at least 18 months and was pleased to see nothing had changed. Two visits in three weeks, so they are combined. The first was with a large group of mates and the pub kindly reserved us the big table in the bar on the Tabard Street side. The staff were friendly and helpful and both times the beer needing changing they did so quickly and without a quibble. The quality of the beer was superb, I stuck to the Pale and finished with an Old. The second visit was with a smaller group and two of us sampled the food menu and it was pretty good, though quite pricey. The beer this time wasn’t as good, it seemed a bit lifeless, both the Pale and Best, but that’s the beauty of real ale! 8/10

15 Apr 2013 13:29

Micro Bar, Manchester

Great place to start off a day's drinking before watching the mighty 10 man U's beat Bury. Started off with the Boggart Cascade a light coloured bitter which was a pleasant first pint at 11am, then went on to the rum Porter which was fantastic. My mate had one of the guests from Newcastle I think which also hit the spot. A bar like this should be compulsory in all soulless shopping centres. 8/10

20 Mar 2013 14:14

The Trackside, Bury

Visited on 16 March to see the mighty 10 man U's beat Bury. Cut short the drinking in Manchester to take in the Trackside. What more can the sad real ale drinking football fan and part time trainspotter want? Excellent ale, good value food (sausage, mash and veg for a fiver) and excellent service, we didn't have any of the problems with slow service and the beer was superb - can't remember what it was, I never can in the last pub before the game, other than I think it was a stout and wonderful. Even got to see some of the railway exhibits in action. 9/10

20 Mar 2013 14:09

The Basketmakers Arms, Brighton

Visited on Friday 15th February. Excellent guest ale in the form of Longman of Sussex and a lovely way to break my 52 day abstinence from alcohol. Very pleasant and not absolutely rammed unlike Saturday and Sunday lunchtime. Good value food, though for the third time running I've received a smaller portion of chips compared with other customers, so I'm only giving 7/10

22 Feb 2013 12:13

The Lord Nelson, Brighton

That's better! Went in twice over the weekend with Mrs Monk and can report that the Hadlow, Best, Armada and Old were all excellent. Had a very good value and excellent quality Sunday lunch in a traditional pub - as opposed to two nameless pubs, one that we went in and out quickly and the other we just looked in that resembled creches complete with obnoxious middle class pushy parents. Good to see the pub full of traditional drinkers. Will visit again shortly with the boys. 8/10

22 Feb 2013 12:10

The Harp, Covent Garden

In contrast to my visit to a pub the day before where I encountered the rudest barmaid of 2012, I’m glad to say not only was the ale excellent as ever in the Harp, especially the Red Squirrel Stout, but the bar staff were magnificent. It was Thursday 20 December when we visited and the pub was rammed with people most likely having a last drink of the working year, yet the bar staff coped wonderfully and maintained their cheerfulness, efficiency and politeness throughout. Superb. 9/10.

7 Jan 2013 12:04

The Masons Arms, Fitzrovia

My first visit to this pub for about 6 years. Very pleasant interior with 4 handpumps, unfortunately two were GK and Shepherd Neame, so I had the St.Austell Proper Job which was pretty good. However, the visit to the pub (which will be my last for at least another 6 years) was memorable for the wrong reason, namely the winner of the rudest, surliest most unpleasant barmaid of the year. Even though there’s a few days to go in 2012 I’m confident I won’t find a more worthy winner – at least I hope not! We are sitting near the door having settled in after buying a £20-30 round and were rudely ordered to move as we were in the way of the door, not reconfigure our seating but told to squash into a smaller area. When we went to get the next round this same surly treasure made no eye contact, scowled continuously and said nothing other than the price of the round, and when I politely asked her to top up my pint she wrenched it angrily, splashed a thimble full of beer into, slammed it down on the counter and turned her back on me. Good to see the East European communist era customer service ethic thriving in W1. For that reason I’ll give 3/10

20 Dec 2012 16:03

The Bricklayers, Colchester

Stopped in at the ever reliable Brickies to drown away the misery of a dismal display by the mighty U's v Oldham. Good range of Adnams and guests, but at this time of year it has to be Adnams Old which was as good as when I first started drinking it over 30 years ago. Great place to discuss the match before getting the train home. One of many very good real ale pubs in Colchester. 8/10

10 Dec 2012 15:47

The Victoria Inn, Colchester

A rare visit to my home town to see the mighty U’s put on a predictably miserable display. Luckily I fortified myself by visiting the New Inn and the Victoria. The second stop en route to the WHCS was the Victoria, I’ve been here a couple of times since it started to provide quality real ale and we all started on the local mild which was rather good as I’m not a fan usually, the second pint was a golden ale and though good was a mistake on my part as I’d been on porter, mild and dark bitter so far. My first visit to this pub in 1977 resulted in me getting no further than the door, with the barmaid shouting out that they didn’t want art students in there – I was quite insulted because I wasn’t! It’s certainly a lot better now, and far more welcoming. It’s also very handy for catching the shuttle buses to the WHCS. 8/10

10 Dec 2012 15:43

The New Inn, Colchester

A rare visit to my home town to see the mighty U’s put on a predictably miserable display. Luckily I fortified myself by visiting the New Inn and the Victoria. The New Inn had a lovely porter on which I thought was from the Colchester brewery though I couldn’t find details on their website. I could have happily stayed all afternoon drinking that even though it was 5% (and wished I had at 4.45pm); I also had the Nethergate Augustinian which was excellent. My friends started on the Brightlingsea Brewing Co ale which they didn’t like so I gave it a miss. Very good ales and a great start to the day’s drinking. 8/10

10 Dec 2012 15:37

The Lord Nelson, Brighton

Oh dear! What has gone wrong with the Nelson? Mrs Monk and I popped in on a Saturday lunchtime (because the Basketmakers was rammed at 12.20) the beer was fine, the food menu uninspiring and the place almost empty so we had a quick drink and left. Mrs M was unimpressed with the state of the ladies' loo! Went in again a on a November Monday at around 5-6pm with Billy boy, one other customer and it smelt like there had been a tramps convention there. The beer was fine and I was going to have the old as well but it was so depressing we left. This is one of my favourite pubs but it seems to be falling apart - I really hope we've just been unlucky and it picks up soon. 8/10 for the beer but 4/10 for food, choice, ambience etc.

22 Nov 2012 11:31

The Devereux, Temple

We visited this pub because the Edgar Wallace next door was very crowded due to the upstairs being reserved for a private party. Not a good move, especially in comparison with the Edgar. Unpleasant interior and we seemed to get the comedy vibrating seat, I thought at first it was a tube passing under the pub but it was continual. The beer selection was uninspiring and included my all-time least favourite beers, Youngs/Wells and Shepherd Neame; the saving grace was that the Doom Bar was decent, and my mate drank the Old Peculier which was apparently good as well. What particularly irked was the appalling short measures, each of our three rounds we had to ask for the beers to be topped up, so clearly it’s either ignorance on behalf of the staff or deliberate short changing. The clientele were very much of the city/barrow boy type, perfectly matched to the charmless, characterless interior. The toilets smelt horrible but at least there was soap in the dispenser and the hand dryer worked. I’d give the beer 7 out of 10 for quality, the pub 3/10 for ambience, so an overall 6/10 from me, I won’t be visiting again and wouldn’t recommend it, though of course other people may like this type of pub.

16 Nov 2012 11:58

The Three Fishes, Shrewsbury

First stop on the crawl for the visit of the U's to Shrewsbury on 27 October. The beers were good, I had the Marble Manchester Bitter, Stonehouse Bitter and Salopian Dark heart (I think) stout which was excellent. As another reviewer has said the interior isn't up to much, the restaurant style tables and place mats give the interior an appearance at odds with my idea of a comfortable (it ain't), relaxing pub. The food was adequate, though I wasn't prepared for the reaction of the guvnor to my request to order food, a "no, you can't but my colleague over there will take your order" - you don't order it at the bar but at a separate point which of course I didn't know. This attempt at humour might not go down well with some, but it's still a decent enough place to visit. 7.5/10

12 Nov 2012 15:42

Salopian Bar, Shrewsbury

Visited on 27 October to see the mighty U's v the Shrews. Visited this as it's the CAMRA pub of the year, now I now this isn't ambience in the evening or architecture in the evening, but this doesn't look the most welcoming pub and the inside is even worse than the outside. The interior is vile, the decor horrible, with huge screens nailed to every wall. My mate thought it looked like the toilets in the Shining! The beers that the three of us had were very good, but my mate who came down with his wife, didn't go as she refused to enter as it looked so bad. Not one for pleasant evening or lunchtime with the wife or girlfriend.

12 Nov 2012 15:34

The Admiral Benbow, Shrewsbury

Visited on 27 October to watch the mighty U's chuck away a two goal lead. This was the best pub of the day, (also went to the Salopian Bar, Three Fishes and Nag's Head. Very pleasant interior, we three chaps particularly liked the romantic candles on the table; excellent ales and friendly service. Lucky Shrewsbury to have such a good pub.

12 Nov 2012 15:28

The Dispensary, Liverpool

Visited with Mrs M whilst the mighty U's were throwing away another 2 goal lead at Crewe. Only had one pint but it was very good, the something Welter from Fernandes of Wakefield, they also had Titanic Stout on. Very nice friendly pub, and definitely worth a visit. 7.5/10

12 Nov 2012 15:25

The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool

Visited on 10 November with Mrs M whilst the mighty U's were throwing away another 2 goal lead at Crewe. Had the Wapping Bitter and the Stout, both being good but the latter superb. Not really Mrs M's sort of pub but definitely mine. Just a shame there isn't a more extensive food menu, but that's a minor quibble.

12 Nov 2012 15:23

The Craft Beer Co, City of London

Visited on a Thursday night which was a very different proposition from our previous visit. This time the place was rammed and we were outside on the pavement, had it been cold or raining I cant begin to think how everyone would have squeezed in. First a niggle, it was packed and serving behind the bar isnt fun I know Ive done it, however, at one point there were 6 people behind the bar with only two serving and they stuck to one of the bar until the chap in front of us loudly asked for service at our end of the bar. Also one of the barmaids, who served my mate, seemed to randomly serve people ahead of others whod been waiting a while, she also needed a communication skills refresher!
Now the good bits, the other bar staff who served me were excellent. As to the beer superb with a good choice, I had the Stout Mary, Cob Nut from Kent, Maverick from Argyll and the house Pale; all were top notch and of course served in lined glasses ensuring a full or even over full pint. This is a great pub and the numbers there are ample evidence of how good it is, though why people went there just to drink wine is beyond a simple beer drinker like me. 8/10.

14 Sep 2012 14:57

The Battle of Trafalgar, Brighton

Last call on the crawl with Bill on 29/8 and although I can't remember what we had, the beers were both good, the atmosphere fine and this is a pleasant friendly pub. Well worth including on any crawl. 7/10

5 Sep 2012 11:40

The Craft Beer Co, Brighton

Visited on Wednesday 29 August with Bill during a crawl which also included the Basketmakers, Royal Oak, Lord Nelson, Battle of Trafalgar and Pump House. Had three pints, two red/copper coloured and very flavoursome bitters from Prospect and Arbor, and I had the light but bitter pale ale. An excellent pub, and a worthy addition to Brightons excellent real ale pubs. Very friendly and helpful bar staff who offered us testers of the ales, which are served in oversized glasses ensuring you get a full pint, which is a massive plus in view of the deliberate serving of short measures which is rife these days. Sensibly priced this is a very pleasant street corner pub just off Dyke Rd and certainly will visit again. 9/10

5 Sep 2012 11:35

The Royal Oak, Brighton

Have been in twice with the boys since the visit with Mrs Monk, both times for extended sessions in the beer garden at the back to take advantage of the sun. Excellent selection of ales on both occasions and the HPA and I think Maldon Gold went down particularly well on a very hot day. Friendly and helpful staff, interesting looking food menu and the same special as the Basketmakers was about half a pint cheaper! A worthy addition to any crawl of Brighton's best pubs, and indeed we'll be there again on 29 August 8/10

22 Aug 2012 14:14

The Beehive Inn, Colchester

Visited with Mrs Monk, two friends and their daughter for Sunday lunch on 17 June. First ever visit to this quaint, old fashioned pub, which took me back to the 1970s right down to the Double Diamond electric pump on the bar. Three beers on; London Pride which was very good, the Adnams which Steve had and was also good but he got the last pint until Tuesday, and the guest ale the Reverend James which was also good. We had a reasonable lunch for a tenner, a roast and a pudding. Friendly landlady and serving staff and all in all pretty good. 7/10

19 Jun 2012 16:00

The Craft Beer Co, City of London

My first visit to this pub Wednesday 6 June and I was impressed. There was a good range of ales, around 10-12 including a porter, a stout, a couple of milds and the golden ales. I had the oyster stout from the Redwillow brewery in Macclesfield (as good as the Mersea Island brewery oyster), the Wreckless, the Feckless (a proper bitter ale) and one other light one of theirs; and the house ale. Also on offer was the Dark Star American Pale and Hophead. Lined glasses, knowledgeable and helpful staff, an exceptionally beautiful young lady serving, and (unusually apparently) not jam packed, made it a very good night out. My friends enjoyed the excellent but rather pricy pork pies. Suspect it will be crowded on a Thursday night and as it was just after the long bank holiday weekend that kept the numbers down. But Ill be coming back. 8/10

7 Jun 2012 15:34

The Vat and Fiddle, Nottingham

Visited on 5 May when the mighty Us lost 4-1 to County. Spent a fair bit of time in here as we left the game at half time! Had quite a few ales, all of which were in top condition, though after visiting 4 other pubs my memory of what I drank here was a bit hazy. Thoroughly recommended though and it clearly hadnt changed a bit since my last visit some years ago. 9/10

11 May 2012 13:04

The Salutation Inn, Nottingham

Visited on 5 May when the mighty Us lost 4-1 to County. Didnt really like this pub, very interesting interior and one of the customers looked like a lost extra from the Lord of the Rings, definitely wouldnt visit it in the evening when busy and with rock music, but thats just my taste. The beer was perfectly good though and would recommend it. 7/10

11 May 2012 13:03

The Cross Keys, Nottingham

Visited on 5 May when the mighty Us lost 4-1 to County. Had a couple of very good pints here, large open pub, very busy and couldnt find a seat but with knowledgeable and efficient bar staff. Had the Titanic Porter which was good and one other whose name I forget but a good stop nevertheless. 8/10

11 May 2012 13:02

The Keans Head, Nottingham

Visited on 5 May when the mighty Us lost 4-1 to County. Had a very good pint of brown ale and the lamb burger to fuel the rest of the trip. Very good pub, a contrast with the King Billy but good all the same, and pleasing to see a brown ale. 8/10

11 May 2012 13:01

King William IV, Nottingham

Visited on 5 May when the mighty Us lost 4-1 to County. Pub was still closed when we arrived and had to wait a few minutes for the guy to open it up but it was worth it. A real down to earth boozer set in a none too scenic area! I had the Celtic Pale Ale which was exceptionally good dry and bitter, my mate had the Moose Juice also good, I went on to the Nottingham Pale (I think) which was good. Only stayed for two but this would be a great pub to stay in for session, but I wanted to sample the Cross Keys, Keans Head, Salutation and of course the Vat & Fiddle. 9/10

11 May 2012 13:00

The Marble Arch, Manchester

Visited on 9 April to see the mighty Us hammered by the even mightier Bury. Had a couple of pints of Manchester bitter which was on good form, and the stout which was also excellent, gutted that again the Ginger went before I could get my hands on it. A note on prices, as I pay London prices for my ale i.e a minimum of 3.30 in the Edgar Wallace and up to 3.90-4.00, paying 2.85 for the Manchester bitter and 3.05 for the stout is pretty good to me. Have to say I agree with the comments about the food though, 10.95 for burger, chips and minimalist salad is taking the p somewhat especially when compared with the Basketmakers in Brighton. Overall though this pub is the reason I enjoy trips to see the Us in this part of the world. 8/10

11 Apr 2012 10:33

The Royal Oak, Brighton

Visited on Saturday 7 April with Mrs Monk, and I had the Otter which was excellent. First visit to this pub which I gather is another Blue enterprise, great building including good music posters on the ceiling. Interesting looking food menu but didnt partake as we'd been to the Basketmakers earlier, good boozer in a slightly down at heel area. Will visit again for an extended session. 7/10

11 Apr 2012 10:32

The Basketmakers Arms, Brighton

Visited on Saturday 7 April with Mrs Monk, we both had the Fullers HSB which although not as good as the real HSB was damned fine, I also had a pint of Pride which I havent tasted for a while and this was pretty good too. We both had the cod and chips, one of many fine choices on their excellent food menu. For ambience, ale and food you really cant do much better than the Basketmakers. 9/10

11 Apr 2012 10:30

The Edgar Wallace, Temple

Visited on Thursday 29 March, a lovely sunny day so plenty of people outside. Got very crowded as the evening after work rush began but we got in just before and bagged a table. Good range of beers quite a few golden ales Dark Star American IPA which was good although the freshly washed glass was very warm, this was replaced by Maldon Gold also good, a best bitter George Best was good as was the Barristers brief despite the terrible name. My mate had the mild until this went off and he switched happily to the George Best despite being a Liverpool fan. Didnt try the food so cant comment on that, but very good beer, very good service for a busy pub, some great old posters and adverts, love the Double Diamond and Watney's Red pumps though thankfully those ghastly brews are million miles from what's served now, thoroughly recommended. 8/10

30 Mar 2012 15:33

The Cross Keys, Covent Garden

Not sure about this pub: I hadnt been here since the mid 90s and it started off well, the barman offered me a sampler of one of the Brodies ales so I plumped for that, but he then seemed to deduct the sample from my pint and served it well short! The Brodies and guest were pretty good so no real complaints about the beer range or quality and we managed to get a table; though it was pretty hot with annoying flies buzzing about. What was more annoying and not unique to this pub was the practice of serving consistently short pints. When you pay as much as you do in rip off central London a full pint should be obligatory (especially cf the prices in the William IV they must use the most expensive transport available to bring the ale from E10 to WC2). I have no sympathy for landlords who complain about what a tough business it is when they and their staff consistently serve short measures its either through ignorance, lack of concern or deliberate and whats worse is having to ask the same person over and over again to top up your pint. 6.5/10

13 Mar 2012 14:37

The Ale House, Colchester

A rare visit to my home town, and whilst all the other suckers went to the WHCS to see the mighty U's lose to the bottom of the table team me and the other two old gits went to the newly refurbished and open Ale House formerly the Dragoon. Excellent range of Adnams Ales and guests, and whilst it still smells of paint it will undoubtedly take custom away from the pub across the road. 7.5/10

14 Feb 2012 13:57

The Cow and Plough, Oadby

Welcome return to this wonderful pub, missed the junction on the motorway last year on the way back from the Peaks with Mrs Monk, so hadn't visited for a couple of years. Had the Steamin' Billy bitter; then Sky Divin' and the Abbeydale Redemption, both around 5% and both excellent, even Mrs Monk approved. Sunday lunchtime was pretty busy and the comment from Steve45 about "who's next?" happened to me, which may be nit picking but it is irritating that customers are either so anonymous or the bar staff take no interest in seeing who is next. That doesn't detract from both wonderful food and beer - I'd say two x two course Sunday lunches for 27.90 was excellent value considering the quality of the food - see what you'd get for that in London or the home counties, most probably more costly and certainly from the Brakes pre - cooked heat up in the pub range. Considering it's 3.20-50 for a bog standard bitter in most London pubs I'd say the 3.00 per pint for the 5% ales was damned good. I wish I had a pub like this within 10 miles of where Mrs Monk and I live. 9.5/10

28 Nov 2011 13:31

The Coach and Horses Inn, Fenny Bentley

Annual visit to this impressive pub for Mrs Monk and I during our stay near Thorpe Cloud. Tried the Pedigree and the guests which changed from Thursday to Friday, Abbeydale Daily Bread which was excellent as was the other whose name escapes me, Pedigree also very good. Good food though the Friday evening service was a bit slow and probably the food was not up to the standard of our visit the day before. However, I still can't work out why this pub isn't in the CAMRA guide as the beer is always very good. 7.5 out of 10

28 Nov 2011 13:22

The Hole in the Wall, Colchester

This is a rather late review prompted by receipt of the 2012 CAMRA guide which incredibly includes this pub for the second year running. I visited in June prior to going to see Modern English at the Arts Centre big mistake, not the gig ME were wonderful. Maybe Im getting on, maybe we were just unlucky, but there must be better pubs than this to put in the guide. A couple of the hand pump clips were turned round, never a good sign and the pint we had was distinctly poor but just about drinkable. Exactly the sort of pint to put off any young person from ever trying real ale again, (this is predominantly a young persons pub) not that Im young of course, but if CAMRA want to attract young people to real ale then this pub is a fertile recruiting ground for the fizzy yellow chemical product, I cant understand what Colchester CAMRA were thinking of putting this pub in the guide. To complete the picture the bar staff were all very young and wouldnt know an off pint from a glass of Bovril, both our pints were of course served short as in nearly every pub, and the empty interior was explained by a DJ sitting hunched over a deck pounding out thrash metal at stadium gig levels. If you are a CAMRA member on a tour of the Colchester pubs avoid this place like the plague. 3/10

15 Sep 2011 09:37

The Basketmakers Arms, Brighton

Visited again with Mrs Monk, and have to say again how good it was, with Blue behind the bar it was just like the good old days. I was on the Castle Rock which was excellent and Mrs Monk had the HSB which is still her favourite ale. I had the Basketburger and chips which was very good, Mrs Monk had the cod & chips which were as excellent as when I came in a couple of days previously. 9/10

30 Aug 2011 11:05

Euston Tap, Euston

Late review, as I visited last December, so caveat emptor,but BITE didn't seem to want me to create a new pub entry and review it so congrats to whoever who did create the entry. That, however, is where the congratulations end. Visited on a snowy December evening and found the pub to be very small inside, with a narrow metal spiral staircase leading to the upstairs - didn't go up there but was amused by the traffic going up and down - maybe a traffic light system would help. Decent enough beer range but rather too many in the 5% and above category. Geeky staff and clientele on this evening. Rather unpleasant reaction from the barman who dropped my pint behind the bar and seemed to take his frustration out on me by being rude and serving a very short pint. My group (6 or 7 of us) were unanimous in giving it the thumbs down, a real "tickers" pub in my view and certainly not a place for a comfortable evenings drinking. Recommended though to make your own mind up and it might have improved since then, though of course the ridiculously small interior can't be changed. 6/10

30 Aug 2011 10:59

The Ship, Fitzrovia

Another pub Ive worked within spitting distance of for 5 years and never ventured in. Took the plunge for a leaving drink and was quite pleasantly surprised, the interior is very comfortable, old fashioned (in a good way) dark wood and red decor, a real, proper pub. Its only Bass, Bass or Bass but it was well kept and very drinkable. A definite 6.5/10

5 Aug 2011 11:32

The Edgar Wallace, Temple

Visited on a wet Thursday evening with three mates after work ( I am one of the suits whose presence seems to be resented by some reviewers!) We were quite surprised that the pub wasnt crowded given the time of day and we snagged a large table. I tried the Woodfordes Wherry, Edgars Pale Ale, Rebellion Cackhander and the Brewers Gold. All very different and all absolutely excellent .They also had Harveys best which was very good according to Bill; Pontypridd 4.0 and Jennings Cumberland, a couple changed during the evening so there was a good choice of ales on offer. Very efficient and friendly service a great pub. An 8/10.

5 Aug 2011 11:27

The Evening Star, Brighton

Haven't been a big fan of this place - probably residual memories of how unpleasant it was when full of smokers, however, it's been the best pub on our last two jolly's to Brighton. Had a couple of guest beers which were very good but the star (no pun intended) was the American Pale Ale which was wonderful if you like dry, golden beers - reminded me of the Fistful of Hops but not quite as dry.
Definitely deserves an 8.5/10

30 Jun 2011 09:32

The Basketmakers Arms, Brighton

Visited recently on a jolly to Brighton. Has definitely got better in my eyes, the Butcombe Bitter was superb, my friend was drinking ESB which I had a sip of and was very good. Excellent food so can't fault it really.

30 Jun 2011 09:29

The Tower Tavern, Fitzrovia

I've worked right next door to this pub for 5 years and had never been in, mainly because it was Greene King. I've now been in twice recently and have been very pleasantly surprised, I was tempted in by the blackboard announcing the guest beers and on my first visit they had Tribute and the Reverend James, both of which were very good. On the second they only had one real guest which was Otter, also pretty good. I tried the GK IPA which was well kept if typically GK bland, but was surprised at how good the St.Edmunds was, when I was a lad this was in a bottle and you mixed it with Abbot ale for a last put you to sleep drink! It's now a refreshing pale coloured ale and went down well after the Otter. Landlord and staff seem pretty good and they do table service. A definite 7/10

30 Jun 2011 09:17

The Bull and Butcher, Turville

Visited on Saturday 5 March and Thursday 10 March and Saturday April 23 with Mrs Monk. The first two visits on the journey to and from our break in the Cotswolds. Excellent Brakspears ales + guest with a very good food menu which is reasonably priced. Brakspears Bitter was excellent on each visit, and the Oxford Gold was pretty good in April. Booking recommended. Didnt know it at the time (we picked it as a convenient M40 stop off from the GBG) but the village is used as the set of the Vicar of Dibley and our favourite programme Midsomer Murders (Straw Woman was filmed there) also the windmill on the hill is in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Set in a lovely village which gets very busy and this pub must be a goldmine. Generally friendly and very efficient staff, though must mention as a negative point the rather haughty and supercilious young female serving who almost demanded a gratuity on top of the bill. 7.5/10

27 Apr 2011 10:14

Horse and Groom Inn, Bourton On The Hill

Visited on Sunday 6 March with Mrs Monk, during a weeks sojourn in the Cotswolds. Wonderful pub, doesnt look much from the outside but the inside has been well designed, being light airy and with high ceilings. Had a superb Sunday lunch of roast lamb washed down with excellent Goffs Jouster. Why arent there any pubs approaching this standard of excellence where we live?9/10

27 Apr 2011 10:13

Ebrington Arms, Chipping Camden

Visited on Monday 7 March with Mrs Monk during our weeks sojourn in the Cotswolds. Lovely pub in a small village near to Blockley where we stayed. Had the fish and chips with mushy peas complemented by 4 of ales on offer, including the Wye Valley HPA and the star of the selection, the Dorothy Goodbody Stout. Friendly attentive and knowledgeable staff and landlord. A good reason to move to the area! 9/10

27 Apr 2011 10:11

The Coach and Horses Inn, Fenny Bentley

Visited on 18 & 19 November with Mrs Monk whilst on a wonderful short break in the Peak district based in Thorpe. Great pub, very nicely done inside with a number of separate areas including a more restaurant style room. Good menu and probably the emphasis is on the food. Last time we were here 2 years ago the Christmas menu had just started and that was very good and good value. Thursday lunchtime was pretty full and we had excellent food and sampled the Black Hole Cosmic and the regular Marstons Pedigree, both in fine fettle. Friday night the pub was surprisingly empty which is a shame for a lovely pub such as this. Even more surprising is that this pub isnt in the CAMRA guide for 2011. Maybe the addition of one more hand pump would add even more to the appeal. 7.5/10

22 Nov 2010 11:20

The Marble Arch, Manchester

Visited, not to watch the mighty Colchester but with Mrs Monk on a shopping trip to Manchester, who was most impressed with the interior, the best bitter, though not the Manchester, and of course the great food. Superb as ever, although the Marble Ginger ran out to my consternation due a coach party of CAMRA people descending on the pub. Had a very pleasant conversation with a postie and his family, who asked the very demure and shocked Mrs Monk if she was on a pub crawl! Wonderful pub. 9/10

11 Nov 2010 10:22

The Famous Railway Tavern Brewing Co, Brightlingsea

Visited some time ago with Mrs Monk and a friend and his wife, my first and last visit. Ghastly interior that looked like it was the abode of an eccentric recluse, the beer was good but whilst it was being poured we had to endure the wit of the locals who obviously recognising us as grockles from Colchester decided to show off their knowledge of four letter words, any utterance being punctuated by fs and cs. Ill leave this pub to the pea-brained cretins who clearly thought they were amusing, they werent young either, these morons were all in their 50s Id say. Mrs Monk and my friends wife walked straight out and we drank on the roundabout! A favourite of Colchester CAMRA at the time of our visit, it was presumably in the beer guide as they think it quirky and presumably the CAMRA people overlook the vile surroundings and clientele whilst sucking up to the landlord. I know this is beer in the evening and the beer was good, but the surroundings and obnoxious people drinking there make this the recipient of my first ever nought out of ten. Congratulations!

11 Nov 2010 10:13

The Angel, Manchester

Visited this pub in August on the way to Rochdale to see the mighty Colchester. Good range of ales, especially the local ones, had a couple of excellent pints. Pitifully poor service, with a scowl. When we left and said thanks and goodbye we were completely ignored. Maybe he was just having a bad day but it's that sort of attitude that puts you off. Four of us, two pints each and not worthy of a civilised response - that'll be the first and last two pints I have there! Far better to walk a couple of hundred yards to the Marble.

15 Oct 2010 09:15

The Marble Arch, Manchester

Wonderful pub, visited on the return from Rochdale watching the mighty Colchester. Lovely interior, great own range of beers including the Marble Ginger which is superb. Looking forward to visiting again in October, and having some of their good food. 9/10

15 Oct 2010 09:09

The Baum, Rochdale

Late review for this excellent pub, visited in August when the mighty Col U beat Rochdale. Friendly locals, great ales, excellent food. What more do you want in a pub? 9/10

15 Oct 2010 09:05

The Royal Oak, Borough

Visited on a wet Thursday evening, 25 March 2010. Full range of Harveys beers including the Pale which Im pretty sure my favourite pub in Brighton, the Lord Nelson doesnt do. The beers were all excellent including the 1859 Porter. Food was good too, although the woman serving was a bit offhand. Ludicrous prices - 3.00 for the Pale, 3.50 the Porter and 4 for my mates lager but thats London for you , and why people drink that fizzy urine is beyond me anyway. A good pub, good interior and a very pleasant place to spend an evening. 7.5/10

30 Mar 2010 09:55

The Wellington, Birmingham

Visited before the trip to Walsall FC on 20 March at 11am, and it was pretty full then. Good ale, tried the Purity Mad Goose I think and another later in the evening which was also good. Impressive range of beer and the morning pint was topped up without needing to ask. Given that my nearest decent real ale pub is about 8 miles away I'd love to have this on my doorstep, though there is something about the place which just doesn't work for me, it might be the ordering of the beer at the bar by number not name, but you can't fault this pub for the range or quality of ales. 8/10

24 Mar 2010 09:00

The Black Country Arms, Walsall

Wonderful pub and yet again the highlight of yet another dismal football trip to Walsall FC. Why this pub isnt in the CAMRA guide is beyond comprehension. (Ive had the arcane procedural reasons explained to me, but as CAMRA branches clearly dont apply the same rules to their favourite landlords/pubs this is clearly iniquitous and downright ludicrous).

The beer range is fantastic (around 12 to 14 including lots of local ale), the food is good and good value, and its a lovely building if set in a pretty depressing location. The beer quality was also superb and pints were topped up without having to ask. It was busier than our last visit, which was good to see. The beer highlight was the Rhymney Dark, a lovely dark toasted stout, also tried the Art Brew stout which was good but didnt have as much depth of flavour, and on the lighter side the Avalanche which had the hop power to cut through the taste of the dark beers. Will definitely visit again when Colchester return to Walsall FC next year. 9/10 pubs dont get much better than this.

24 Mar 2010 08:55

Far From the Madding Crowd, Oxford

Second visit here, both at lunchtime and whilst the atmosphere is a bit flat the beer is pretty good if pricey at 3.10 a pint but probably average for Oxford. Seems to get a non student type crowd at lunchtime which is fine with me! Definitely worth a visit for the ale selection. Had "Dave's special" which was Fyne's Maverick at 2.10 a pint and a lovely beer, worth paying the full price for, also tried a half of a dark beer which was good, but can't remember the name. Must mention the food, it is pretty good but the accompanying vegetable portions to the steak and ale pie are pretty paltry in size; a cauliflower floret, half a small thinly sliced carrot and a broccoli spear with an ice cream scoop sized portion of (lumpy) mashed potato.You run of veg long before the end of the pie. One amusing thing, a confusion over our order meant my wife got a bowl of chips not fish and chips (the staff were pretty good overall I should add) - the plate of fish and chips duly arrived but with about half the amount of chips in the original bowl! Why so mean? Someone else got a bowl of chips later which I suspect were the ones delivered to us, reheated! A minor irritant, they wouldn't serve me a second pint in my original glass citing "elf and safety" for giving me a new one - I've managed to survive drinking for 35 years with often the same glass with different ales in all night! I'd still give the pub 7.5 for beer but 6 for food.

16 Mar 2010 09:46

The Swan, Ascott under Wychwood

Pretty decent pub, more of a restaurant really. Only two ales on Brakespear's Bitter and Hook Norton Bitter at 3.4 and 3.6%, the Hook was good though. Very good food, especially the starter. Wouldn't go as far as the other reviewers especially as there were only two low strength similar beers on, also the young girls (and I mean girls) serving the food and behind the bar were distinctly lacking in any people skills or welcome, the landlord was welcoming though especially to the regulars. Certainly more welcoming than some of the pubs in this area. I'd give it 6/10 for beer merely because of the lack of variety, and 7 for the food as the puddings were a real let down after good starter and mains. Visited on 14 March.

16 Mar 2010 09:31

The Bakers Arms, Broad Campden

Pretty sure there were 4 ales, Donnington BB, Stanney, Wells and Tetley. Tried the Donnington's and the Stanney, bizarrely had to ask them to take off the sparkler! Good ale and pretty good value food, friendly staff so well worth a 7 out 10.

16 Mar 2010 09:20

The Bree Louise, Euston

Yet another visit to the Bree on Thursday 29th October. Great selection of ales though they were wiped off the blackboard at an alarming rate! The Meantime was superb as were a couple of others and after nearly three weeks without a beer this was a real treat. The layout of the pub remains problematic and the lighting and atmosphere leave a bit to be desired but for a great range of beer and 50p off with a CAMRA card this pub is the best for miles; also had the steak and kidney pie with mash and veg, great value, great boozer. 9/10

31 Oct 2009 19:19

White Horse, Bourne End

First visit to this pub despite living within about a mile for the last 9 and a half years. Firstly the beer - haven't had a pint of McMullen's for donkeys years and so I tried the Country and the AK, both were good though with my bore's hat on I thought the Country too cold. The AK was superb, lovely bitter taste and only 3.7%ABV. The decor is a bit anodyne and tired and the pub lacks atmosphere, the lighting was too bright and it felt like a new pub tacked onto a new estate (Rover's Tye in Colchester - yuk). Didn't eat but the food menu looked interesting with a lot of specials and a fish menu. Visited at around 5.30 on Saturday having had the news of Colchester's last minute defeat at Millwall plus leaving for a 3 week tour of Laos and Vietnam so needed a pint and this was a good one. First comment I made was oh no there's children in the pub, sorry but I'm old fashioned I don't like kids in pubs. Not everything should be family friendly especially pubs and football grounds! 6/10 overall but 9/10 for the beer.

31 Oct 2009 19:13

The Crown and Sceptre, Fitzrovia

Went to this pub (reluctantly) for a leaving do Friday 30 October, after having walked past it without going in for the best part of a decade. The pump clips are usually turned round so not a good sign; the sort of people I see drinking here put me off as well. Managed to last about an hour and a half somehow, most of which was spent queuing at the bar and the rest looking at the appalling decor and listening to the braying of the vile clientele.
Won't ever go back - overpriced, surly bar staff and full of the sort of people who in Basil Fawlty's words would wear a dog turd round their neck if it was made of gold. 1/10

31 Oct 2009 19:03

Leyton Orient Supporter's Club, Leyton

Visited after taking three points off Leyton Orient on 10/10/2009. Plenty has been said about this magnificent social club, they had 8 beers on, none of which Id heard of, so we tried the Pitchfork, Bargee and Triumph Stag all superb, service was amazingly quick considering the melee near the bar. If only we had a bar like this at the Weston Homes Community Stadium. 7/10

12 Oct 2009 12:23

The Birkbeck Tavern, Leyton

Second stop on a mini tour of my old manor before heading to the Matchroom Stadium to see the mighty Us take 3 points off Leyton Orient on 10 October 2009. Cant have visited here for 15-20 years and it change of owners apart it was exactly the same. Good selection of ales, friendly clientele and staff, lovely beer garden though I thought you could see into the cemetery previously. Excellent ales, I tasted the Slaters Top Totty - superb and we drunk them dry. Maldon Gold ok it may be an Essex ale but it is a great drink and it was magnificent here. Also tried the Weltons which again was top notch and one other. Minor gripe was the barmaid served a couple of seriously short pints, other than that Im mystified as to why this pub isnt in the CAMRA guide. 7/10

12 Oct 2009 12:22

The King Edward VII, Stratford

Visited the KE before the visit of the might Colchester United to Leyton Orient on 10 October 2009. Had a couple of pints, a very pleasant Nethergates, Eddies Best, which although local to Colchester Id not tried before, also a pint of Sharps Doombar which was also in tip top condition. Very nice pub which I havent visited for over 20 years, good selection of ale, friendly staff and although I didnt try the food the chips on the next table looked home made and smelled divine. 7/10

12 Oct 2009 12:21

The Fly in the Loaf, Liverpool

Last pub on the crawl before heading to Lime Street, after seeing Colchesters disappointing away draw at Tranmere. Very large busy pub and an interesting exterior and interior. Competent bar staff meant we didnt have to wait long for our beers, and I can only remember the name of one CBG or something - I really must write them down. Good lively atmosphere with TVs showing football and rugby, probably the best for atmosphere on the day, but then Liverpool in the evening is a lively place. Visited 26/9/2009. 7.5/10

28 Sep 2009 09:26

The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool

Was looking forward to visiting the Baltic Fleet and it didnt disappoint in the beer department. Last stop before heading over to Birkenhead to see Colchester at Tranmere. Had two of the Baltic beers which were excellent and the pub is a lovely old reminder of times past in an ever changing area. Easily the best pub of the crawl despite the Rogan Josh being pretty poor but its the beer that counts. 8/10 Visited 26/9/2009

28 Sep 2009 09:25

The Lady of Mann, Liverpool

This pub (is it actually a wine bar?) was a big disappointment, literally next door to the Thos Rigby, I had a pint of Warwickshire, which was way too cold. Limited choice and as its next door to the Rigby I know which Id prefer. Just a quick pint on the pre match (Colchester v Tranmere crawl). 5/10 Visited 26/9/2009

28 Sep 2009 09:25

The Ship and Mitre, Liverpool

I have to admit to being slightly disappointed with all the pubs in Liverpool except the Baltic Fleet, even though Im giving them 7 to 7.5 out of 10. I was looking forward to the Ship and Mitre having read reviews and it was an integral part of the pre match crawl (mighty Colchester at Tranmere). Had a pint of Leydens bitter which was pretty good and they had at least 11 ales on, barman looked up the brewery as Id never heard of it, and he was very friendly no problem with me wearing Colchester colours either. For me it just had something missing but still a 7.5 out of 10. Visited 26/9/2009

28 Sep 2009 09:23

Thomas Rigby's, Liverpool

Large open Okells pub, and at 11.50 there were already a few fellow Colchester fans here. Had a pint of the Okells bitter which was pleasant, and the staff were very friendly, the young lad serving asked if I wanted the sparkler off as one of my fellow fans is a stickler for non-sparkler beer but my motto in the North is when in Rome.. Landlord (presumably) an Everton fan had a chat about our 5-0 defeat in the cup in 1971. Good pub and 7.5/10. Visited 26/9/2009

28 Sep 2009 09:22

The Fox and Fiddler, Colchester

The F&F is a surprising pub, havent been for over a year, but the staff especially the landlord are always friendly and the range of Mighty Oak beers is good. I say surprising because some of the customers look intimidating, but dont be put off its a very friendly place with great ale and good value nosh. We only had time for one before heading on to see the Us beat the Monkey Hangers but what a lovely pint it was, golden, dry and very bitter. Blowed if I can remember the name, Viper something, thats what the Old Growler in the OOO does to you! Surprisingly low average score on BITE of 6.2. I'd give it 7.5 and it's streets ahead of most of the ghastly town centre drinking establishments.

23 Sep 2009 13:25

The Odd One Out, Colchester

First visit to the OOO since October/November 2007. This visit was part of a nostalgic pre Layer Road routine. The same barmaid and the same faces in the pub! Glad to see nothing has changed here.Good range of ales though the Greenjacks which I thought was off (had a sour green taste!), my mate liked so we swapped. Had the Mighty Oak Search Engine which was inoffensive but rather bland. The star pint was the Nethergate Old Growler, black, strong and with a lovely burnt bitter taste and none of the beers were as expensive as the Grenadier. 8.5/10

23 Sep 2009 13:22

The British Grenadier, Colchester

First visit to Grenadier since 26 April 2008, the last game at Layer Rd, and since the pub was saved from closure by the campaigning landlord. Nothing has changed which is good, the range of Adnams beers plus a couple of guests. The Butcombe Gold was very good, but surprisingly pricey at 3 a pint, as the other guest was Everards Tiger, and for some reason Pink Floyd was playing on the juke at gig sound levels we headed off. Still good and glad to see the pub still going. 7/10

23 Sep 2009 13:19

The Bree Louise, Euston

Visited for a quick couple before getting the train home. Two excellent ales West Berkshire Good Old Boy, a lovely bitter nut brown ale, and a light Downton Elderquad, refreshing and dry, neither of which I'd had before. Excellent pub and good prices with the 50p off per pint for CAMRA members (mine were 2.50 and 2.60), seeing as most London pubs charge about 3.20-3.60 a pint this is great value. Layout is not the best, nor the lighting, but for central London, close to a major railway station with a dozen or so ales, many straight from the barrel this pub is a real gem. 9/10

9 Sep 2009 08:32

The Waterloo Arms, Freemantle

The Waterloo was the last pub visited after the game and had a pint of Brains Red I think which was excellent and one other which was also top notch again plenty of Saints fans in the pub but no animosity towards the two of us wearing Colchester shirts. Three excellent pubs visited on our trip and well worth any away fan going to shame we didnt get to see why the local CAMRA have taken the previously excellent South Western Arms out of the guide. 7/10

7 Sep 2009 10:29

The Guide Dog, Bevois Valley

Superb boozer, a home fans pub but very friendly and mostly of a certain age (i.e not youngsters), quite comfortable to wear my Colchester shirt. Had the Flowerpot Perridge Ale, very light, hoppy and slightly floral. Also sampled the On The Rails, which again was around 3.8% but surprisingly dark and flavoursome probably the best pint of the day. Had one of the stronger Flowerpot range which was good but not as good as the other two sampled. 9/10

7 Sep 2009 10:23

The Platform Tavern, Southampton

First visit to the Platform for about 4 or 5 years and not much has changed. Had two excellent pints of fff Albions something or other, which was dry and refreshingly bitter; also tried the homemade burger and chips which was very good. A good start to the day for the visit of the mighty Colchester United to the Saints. (Though I'm pretty certain the 2010 CAMRA guide says it opens at 11 on a Saturday which it doesnt! not sure if love_good_ale was referring to me and the 2010 guides misleading opening times )7/10

7 Sep 2009 10:22

The Royal Oak, Borough

Long overdue visit to this Harveys gem on 1 September 2009, first visit since the smoking ban which makes visiting this pub even more pleasurable. Sampled many pints of Pale Ale which was perfect, a lovely combination of dry bitterness, very quaffable; also tasted the Best and the Lewes Brown Ale, which was very dark almost stout like, heavy and slightly too sweet for me but still good. Combined with the excellent food its easy to see why this pub was packed on a Tuesday night from around 6pm, only emptying around 10pm. Almost perfect pub, thanks to the landlord who shows how a pub should be run. 9.5 out of 10.

4 Sep 2009 12:29

Prestonville Arms, Brighton

Visited for the second time in a couple of weeks. Had the same guest ale that was on in the Basketmakers, and one of the Fullers range and both were in tip top condition, although the Fullers bitter masquerading as Gales was exceptionally bland. We sat in the garden and the kitchen aroma certainly put us off an evening refuelling of food. Seems Nikkiginger and I have had the same experiences with the food, charging the the same but for poor quality food is only going to lose you customers.6/10

27 Aug 2009 14:33

The Lord Nelson, Brighton

What can I say except its always my first choice for food and ale in Brighton? Good range of Harveys ales well kept, excellent food from the specials menu and friendly and helpful serving staff. Will be back on Friday 11 December when the mighty Colchester visit the Withdean. 8/10

27 Aug 2009 14:30

The Evening Star, Brighton

Things were getting a bit hazy on our fact finding visit as by now as we were approaching double figures, but although the ale was excellent and there was a very good choice there is something missing in this pub, and my 3 mates agreed. I never stay for more than 2 here, its not a comfortable pub and not one I can happily sit in for a while such as the Nelson. Sorry guys only a 6.

27 Aug 2009 14:28

The Hand In Hand, Brighton

Oh dear, thought wed try this for old times sake and although wed had a few by the time we got here the three real ale drinkers among us had different ales and whilst the pints looked clear they were appalling. Such a shame for an individual and different pub, but serving pints of such poor quality is what puts people of cask ales. 2/10

27 Aug 2009 14:27

The Basketmakers Arms, Brighton

Hadnt been to the Basketmakers for a while, not because of anything particular against the pub or the people, just the beer (though did once have an issue with a very sub standard Basket burger). As it is now a Fullers pub the attraction of real Gales HSB is longer there, however, on a tour of the Nelson, Evening Star, Prestonville and Hand in Hand we took it in and can only report good things. Good ale, though I did drink the guest, some sort of golden ale and the food looked back to its best. A worthy 7/10.

27 Aug 2009 14:25

The Alexandra Tavern, Norwich

Visited before thrashing Norwich 7-1 on 8 August. Had the range of Chalk Hill beers which were excellent especially the gold and the bitter. Fantastic food which was excellent value, last time I came here I had indigestion and couldn't drink but more than made up for it. Superb pub, every local should be like this one.

11 Aug 2009 18:42

The Ketts Tavern, Norwich

Excellent pub, visited after thrashing Norwich 7-1 on 8 August, great range of beers and friendly staff (and customers surprisingly!). Can't remember what beers we had but they were both superb.

11 Aug 2009 18:39

Prestonville Arms, Brighton

Haven't been to the Prestonville for a while, mostly due to Gales selling out to Fuller's, which puts off me going to the "Gales" pubs in the beer guide . Went a couple of Sundays ago for lunch. Had a guest beer, very bitter golden coloured Scottish ale which was excellent, followed by what Fuller's market as HSB - on a blind tasting I'd never have guessed in a million years what it was. Another disappointment was the lunch - I know this is mainly beer reviews, but the Sunday lunch has always been excellent before, but this was really poor. Stringy beef served with a ton of veg and a gallon of gravy, but only two potatoes and stuffing! Also half a roast onion! which all lunch eaters left. Such a shame as this is (or was) a great pub, this might explain why when we arrived at 1.15 Sunday lunch it was almost empty. Have to give it a 6 only and that's on the generous side.

3 Aug 2009 11:54

The Black Country Arms, Walsall

Superb pub in a bit of a run down market area, lovely building with many rooms. Visited on 14 February when Colchester played at Walsall and definitely the highlight of the day! Around 14 ales mostly local and the many me and my mates tried were excellent. A couple really stood out. Excellent food too, with a couple of local dishes. I had the faggots which were wonderful. Friendly pub and clearly had more people in than were expected, must have been all the Colchester real ale lovers. Will definitely return next season, a must if you visit Walsall.

11 Jun 2009 11:19

Black Horse Inn, Chesham Vale

Went there after visiting the still excellent Rose and Crown at Hawridge. Distinctly unimpressed, average pint of 6X which with a coke in a small wine glass came to a staggering 5.30!! Definite lack of atmosphere. We didn't eat there but the food looked average, and a lot of dishes were bulked up with salad. Surprised this is in the CAMRA beer guide as it's definitely a pub that puts more emphasis on food, plus the beer selection is very uninspiring, 6X and Greede King. Won't be going back again.

11 Jun 2009 11:13

The Kings Fee, Hereford

Typical 'Spoons conversion, but with an interesting selection of ales. Primarily visited to eat on a long day trip for football on the 18th of April. Decent enough pint in the real ale festival and with the 50p off CAMRA voucher that's a pint for 1.19. Efficient serving staff and my pint was topped up before I pointed out it needed to be which is pretty good. Deserves a better than the overall 5.5 rating.

29 Apr 2009 13:47

The Victory, Hereford

Visited on 18 April along with the Barrels, and both get a 7. Interesting decor in the Victory and a decent enough pint of porter. My friends both had decent different pints though did to prompt the barman to top up a lively pint. Definitely worth a visit.

29 Apr 2009 13:41

The Barrels, Hereford

Not a bad pub, visited on a football trip to Hereford, friendly locals to chat to in the bar and a great range of ales. Good service from behind the bar as well. Slightly puzzled as to the reverential nature of some of the reviews and the write up in the CAMRA guide. Wouldn't mind it as my local though!

29 Apr 2009 13:38

The Smithfield Hotel, Manchester

Visited on 7 March before moving onto the Marble Arch, was in Manchester to watch Colchester at Oldham. Only went in as the other pub I wanted to visit wasn't open yet, but lucky for me the pub was hosting a beer festival with 20 ales, nearly all I'd never heard of so tried a few halves. Excellent beer, friendly serving staff. Probably not the place to take your lady for a romantic date but for a decent beer in a traditional pub it's worth a visit.

8 Mar 2009 15:53

The Marble Arch, Manchester

Visited on 7 March prior to watching Colchester United at Oldham. Marvellous pub, absolutely stunning interior. Beers were superb, tried the Manchester Bitter, Stout and the Ginger - I can still taste the ginger today! Food excellent and not overpriced, nor was the beer, plus a very friendly bunch from Accrington to chat to. Perfect.
Just wish it wasn't 200 miles from where I live!

8 Mar 2009 15:49

The Full Moon, Hawridge Common

I'd cycled past this pub for about 7 years before eventually trying it. First time me and a mate went in dressed in full cycling gear and thought it was pretty decent and fairly friendly staff. Large garden with many other cyclists. The next day (Sunday) I went in with my wife in normal clothes, was "greeted" by the most miserable woman I've ever been served by, clearly a dental receptionist in her day job, with all the service ethos of the old Eastern Europe. Apart from scowling at us all she managed to spit out was the (over)price for the beer, which was almost as sour as the welcome. If you look around there are countless signs saying don't do this, don't do that, don't stand here etc. Haven't been back since and can't understand why the local CAMRA branch have recommended this for the 2009 beer guide instead of the superb Rose and Crown just down the road.

17 Sep 2008 14:05

The Borough Arms, Crewe

Superb boozer, looks derelict from the outside but has an excellent range of beers and friendly staff. Even better the superb pints of real ale are served in lined glasses. Wonderful pub and look forward to returning next year (reason for visit football match).

17 Sep 2008 13:56

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