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BITE user comments - Torqueback

Comments by Torqueback

The Edgar Wallace, Temple

A rainy late November afternoon and I'd expected - thanks to the reviews below - to find the place jammed solid... but it wasn't. It was quiet, with plenty of space and an excellent range of beers available. The "Whatever" was spot on.

The interior resembles a (rather cluttered) museum of 60s and 70s advertising ephemera , which can be interesting for a while but depressing when you consider how much both advertising design and public attitudes have changed since.

Most depressing, however, was being ripped off during the course of a session there.

A pint costs £4.80 - yet a half costs £3.60: totally unjustifiable. Do not be a designated driver here. Worse, my companions, who were drinking wine, were charged an additional £23.90 for a bottle they didn't even have. Every other group in the pub were foreign tourists: to what extent they were ripped-off we'll never know.

They may look friendly. but that welcoming smile from the staff doesn't necessarily mean "Welcome, I hope you enjoy yourselves...". There's every chance they're thinking "Aha! Another sucker! Get ready to bleed them dry...". Make sure you pay attention if you find yourself here.

Extremely disappointing. Avoid.

24 Nov 2016 10:11

The John Harvey Tavern, Lewes

Essentially the brewery tap, the beer is served directly from the barrel... but it isn't what you'd describe as a 'happy' environment.

On a cold January day the fire would have made a difference but an uneasy blend of clientele, from corporate credit card wavers to a group from the shallow end of the gene pool, didn't contribute to the bonhomie either. And shouty bar-staff, unnecessarily and continulally interrupting our conversation with our server, added to the disappointment.

Perhaps if I liked Harveys more it would have helped?

27 Jan 2016 13:14

Lewes Arms, Lewes

An interesting and popular pub with an intriguing mobile-phone defying layout (not a bad thing) (but then, so is most of Lewes). Not the best selection of beers - especially if Harvey's isn't to your fancy - and a disconcerting bar lady who insisted in speaking French.


27 Jan 2016 13:07

The Brewers Arms, Lewes

As a traditional English boozer, the Brewer's Arms can't be faulted. An excellent and rapidly turning-over selection of real ales, a comfortable atmosphere and - yes, reviewers have note the preponderence of locals, but they're all very pleasant. Outside the lavs is a list of quotes compiled from regulars which is funny and worth having a look at - they've been published as a book, which is available behind the bar.

Food is stunningly good value - the range of what you get here for £4 defies belief. TV sports are available in the back bar but they don't impinge on the settled environment of the front bar at all.

Well-organised bar staff - but don't push for the 5% CAMRA discount of a full round because you might not get it - "I'm just following the rules" announced the bar minion. Hmm. Pint of Jobsworth's Pedant, please...

As it's Lewes, a Harveys ale will always be available but The Brewer's Arms offers relief to those of us unenamoured with the local brew.

Me? I loved the place.

27 Jan 2016 13:00

The Watchmakers Arms, Hove

Very pleasant "shop-become-pub" with a small but excellent range of well-kept local ales on tap - literally, as they're brought to you from the back room. Clean and possibly underfurnished (don't try sitting on the wooden 'shelf' for too long - it'll alienate your back-side forever) but a popular and sociable environment. Very close to the railway station.

27 Jan 2016 12:47

York Tap, York

It started out well, wobbled a bit.... and now it's got even better. Tremendous range of beers always available but occasionally lets itself down by not offering anything below 4.2%... which preclude an easy session. Also prone to running out - on a visit a few months ago I ended up having to have four different pints as each (small) barrel ran out.

That said, it's a super circular bar (stand by the hand-pulls or you won't get served) in a large and attractively renovated ex-dining room adjacent to the platforms It has a seating area on the platform - yet despite its location, no train departure screen. Strange, because it would be the ideal place to discover your train is running15 minutes late so there's time for another.

Avoid the gents - it's a disgrace - and use the big station lav just along the platform. But it's the beers you should be coming here for, and the range is pretty well without equal. Tapped's own Mojo is always reliable and watch out for gems from across England (not least Stancill Blonde).

The other of York's two best pubs.

21 Apr 2015 12:55

The Hop, York

Consistently good city centre boozer, superbly renovated from an old game dealer's shop. Excellent range of Ossett beers on tap - plus various extras from the group of smaller breweries (Fernandes, Rat, etc.) that Ossett distributes. Constantly well-kept beers (including stout and porters during summer months which in itself is meritworthy), kegs of interest (if you're that way inclined) plus always intriguing ciders and perrys. A proper drinking parlour with a pizzeria towards the back. Offers CAMRA discount Sunday-Thursday. Long climb to the lavs.

One of York's best two pubs... and that's saying something.

21 Apr 2015 12:44

The Artillery Arms, Old Street

Small, popular boozer overlooking a graveyard... so you'd never think you were in the heart of the City. Good range of Fullers - and guest - Ales, kept well and served promptly (by someone who can add up in their head, too!).

By far the best in the Old Street area.

11 Mar 2015 15:31

White Swan, Stokesley

It was good thirty years ago, and it's good again now. Lovely little cosy pub, brewing its own range of tasty ales, mostly named after local-ish celebrity Captain Cook and his assorted exploits. A considered range of guest ales are available too.

Popular with locals and visitors alike, it's the sort of place you'd like to get trapped in on a wild and stormy night...

11 Mar 2015 15:26

The Woodman, Birmingham

The best pub in the West Midlands, eventually to be incorporated into the new Curzon Street High Speed 2 station... so go now before the place becomes a) a building site and then b) as busy as the Parcel Yard at Kings Cross!

A superb range of beers, friendly staff and a great atmosphere. Don't get run over by the skateboarders outside, and mind the step on the way to the lavs... but otherwise, this place is faultless.

They don't give CAMRA discount but do accept Wetherspoons vouchers - even though they aren't part of the Wetherspoons chain - to "encourage footfall".

No, me neither...

11 Mar 2015 15:19

The Mad Bishop and Bear, Paddington

Spacious and adquate bar high up in Paddington station. A fair range of ales, including several guests, and a place that seems less frenetic than its Fullers counterpart at Kings Cross.

Couldn't understand why the sign to the Gents is in LMS maroon, here at the very fundament of all things Great Western, but with a decent pint to hand, I didn't lose too much sleep over it.

11 Mar 2015 15:10

The Parcel Yard, Kings Cross

Loved this place when it opened but its popularity is spoiling it these days. Too many corporate events take over the rooms and you're left sitting on a table-less bench in the corridor. Even worse are the prices. As noted elsewhere, "eye-watering" is the half of it.

If you DO fancy one before your train journey, arrive half an hour earlier and go to the Queen's Head in Acton Street down Gray's Inn Road instead.

11 Mar 2015 15:06

The Kings Arms, Waterloo

Pleasant and attractive boozer almost underneath Warterloo East station, an oasis in a desert of otherwise grim hostelries. Two bars, offering a pretty fair range of well-kept ales, although something dark other than Guinness might be worth having on. The yard at the back has been converted into an eating area for the Thai kitchen, which offers a range of good-value and tasty dishes.

11 Mar 2015 14:59

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

Visited last Saturday night when there was an excellent Northern Soul night on. Wonderful mix of friendly locals and an outstanding range of extremely well-kept ales. This attractive and well-managed place is a gem.

Oh, and watch out in case you get short measure. I did and before I could point it out, a big bloke next to me at the bar did so on my behalf. "There's a right way and a wrong way to do things..." he growled at the barman... who didn't hang about at correcting the situation. Super place!

11 Mar 2015 14:52

The Ten Bells, Shoreditch

The tiled walls are wonderful and the location is very useful but the bogs are disgustingly punk and the beer (mostly Truman's) is too expensive. However, the reason I give it a low rating is because of the thicko behind the bar.

Being oafish is not an ideal qualification for a barman, but being downright rude is unforgivable. And trying to take a glass away - while I'm still holding it and there's a cm of ale at the bottom? No. Forget it.

Get rid of the would-be-trendy lout behind the bar and I might reconsider.

11 Mar 2015 14:47

The Beer House, Sheffield

Previously a bead shop, then a (thankfully short-lived) e-cigarette emporium, the Beer House on Eccleshall Road opened at the end of 2014. It has a shop's layout, two rooms with a raised seating area to the rear and a bar with five draught ales at the front. It has no television, no music, no fruit machines and food is limited to nuts in bags. And it's excellent. Not only do you have to go outside if you want a ciggie, the pavement is also full of customers trying to get a mobile phone signal. There's also a disconcerting sign on an emergency exit with instructions on what todo in case of flood. Strange, because the place is on a hill. Basic pub games and a friendly barman who doesn't mind explaining the rules of backgammon - or at least where all the pieces go. .

A good and varied mix of beer-lovering clientele on a Saturday afternoon were enjoying a small selection of exceptionally well-kept local ales, including two from Fugglebunny in Killamarsh. The Stancill Blonde (3.9%) was superb - hoppy, fresh yet well-rounded - and the Fuggle Bunny Russian Rarebit (5.0%) rich and wholesome.

If all you want is good beer in pleasant surroundings, you can't go wrong at the Beer House. Faultless.

15 Jan 2015 17:30

The Well House, Exeter

They need to sort out the interior of this place - it's half mess (the front area) half labyrinth (the bogs towards the back). Quite expensive, but it is in Exeter's prime location, directly opposite the cathedral in a very attractive row of buildings. One or two problem-makers amongst the local clientele ("I hate visitors - I'll be glad when they've all gone") but if they don't like visitors, why drink in a prime tourism venue? Pretty fair selection of beers (a range of Otters, one Bath, some eclectic guests plus the inevitable DoomBar) and particularly agreeable bar staff...

29 Jul 2013 15:55

The White Bear, Bristol

Not a great selection of beer or cider, but adequate enough for stopping off for a quick pint. Interior looks a bit like it hasn't made its mind up, with contemporary decorations in an old layout.

29 Jul 2013 15:43

The Hare On The Hill, Bristol

Good boozer which should supply oxygen and CPR for those who make the mistake of walking up, rather than down, to it. An ordinary range of Bath Ales was very much to the fore but Moor's Revival was a superb guest ale, in tip-top condition. Features a barman - and regulars at the bar - who knew so much about local beers their conversation might have been intimidating if I didn't know what they were talking about. Pleasant interior, nice mix of locals and visitors.

29 Jul 2013 15:39

The Bank, Bristol

Not a bad little pub - a bit of a licenced annex for the Direct Line offices next door. Pleasant staff, small but all-encompassing range of beers available. Tucked away, but a good central location.

29 Jul 2013 15:31

The Old Fire House, Exeter

A gem of a place. Rambling rural charm, stuffed with interesting ephemera and a kaleidoscope range of drinks on tap. As good (possibly better) for cider than beer, with helpful attractive staff, eager to assist you in making a choice. Good range of food, with legendary pizza deals.

Not only a smashing boozer, but an intriguing one, too. What more could you ask for?

29 Jul 2013 15:27

The Prospect Inn, Exeter

If you want to award 10/10 for miserable bar staff, this is the place. A sunny, not-too-busy lunchtime in July, no customers at the bar, yet one of the most hostile and unpleasant receptions my wife and I have ever experienced. Not replying to "Hello" is one thing. Grunting and complaining about having to work there, while pouring short-measure pints is another. Beer is expensive - very expensive for Exeter. Food equally so - they're arrogant enough to leave any pence off the blackboard: it's all in rounded-off pounds. The interior is pretty charmless, but nothing like as bad as the guy pulling pints (or, rather, poor impressions of them). Avoid. Stay in the centre.

29 Jul 2013 15:23

The Counting House, Bank

Oh dear.

Once a firm favourite in the heart of the square mile and architecturally a real gem - of the kind Fuller's do exceptionally well (cf The Old Joint Stock, Birmingham, or The Parcel Yard at King's Cross station). But once money starts changing hands, things start appearing considerably lack-lustre.

Over a three hour session yesterday, every single pint I ordered I had to ask to be topped up. The Discovery, usually bright and tasty was dull and insipid. Identical rounds cost a difference price each time. When food was ordered, it wa taken to a table but we weren't notified it was ours. Perhaps the fish pie was once shown a photograph of a fish, but that's where any connection ends. Totally tastless, and almost ingredient free. £10.50 for a sad and chewy prawn plus one a bay leaf in a bowl of mashed potato.

Really not good enough. Needs work.

5 Jun 2013 18:32

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