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BITE user comments - Wiccaman777

Comments by Wiccaman777

The Prince, Wood Green

Open for business with quality ale as first priority! Five Cask Ales @ £3.80 a pint (eat ya heart out, Mitchell & Butlers!), Seven Keg beers all at around a £fiver, plus a similarly priced range of ciders. Cheap - No, but compared to what else is on offer locally this is Heaven-sent. A micro-brewery from the boys at Bohem is also being planned in the billiard room also being developed as a function room. Magic!

10 Jul 2016 13:48

The Ranelagh, Bounds Green

As with the other two Mitchell & Butlers pubs in the vicinity (The Starting Gate & The Maid of Muswell), enough is done to put the ambience well above other pubs in the area but there is no impetus to make them reach any higher and the starting baseline of the surrounding competition is low. There’s a small rotating menu of guest ales, but it takes some disregard to turn Dark Star’s Hop Head into a boring pint. I’m no gastroboy, but the food is an average waste of an appetite but, hey, the place is thriving in the absence of any real competition and a well-heeled clientele seem grateful.

26 Mar 2016 10:19

The Prince, Wood Green

Some good news! The managers of The Duke's Head in Highgate have acquired the keys to The Prince and plan to open up it up in the near future on similar lines to focus on 'great beer, food and strong links to the local community'. They were attracted by the recent 'ACV status and the campaign in general which helped us immensely with deciding that the pub was worth a go'.

25 Mar 2016 23:18

The Doric Arch, Euston

Wot they all said below plus discount on pwopa beer for card carrying CAMRA members! What's not to love!

22 Jan 2016 14:59

The Prince, Wood Green

Remains closed but Haringey Council have accepted our application to have The Prince listed as an Asset of Community Value (as of 08/10/15). The Freeholder now has two months to appeal the decision. The Listing lasts for 5 years.

This does not guarantee the pub's future given the vagaries of the free market but any plans for inappropriate development of the site will now be put on hold for 6 months to give the local community an opportunity to respond with its own proposals (as happened with the Antwerp Arms in Tottenham).

More here:
http://www.bowesandbounds.org/forum/topics/the-prince-pub-an-asset-of-community-value

5 Nov 2015 12:09

The Mossy Well, Muswell Hill

Nice spacious two-level refurb with covered patio at the rear, good selection of ales (that's me happy), food looked basic but all cheap as chips. The curtain-twitchers and muesli-munchers in N10 will be deterred by Wetherspoons clientele but no loss there - they can all carry on ruining The Clissold Arms! If you don't like Wetherspoons, there's nothing here that will change your mind but I happily put up with all their flaws for the great range of pwopa ale at rock-bottom prices. The Red Rye ale was a treat! A work in progress. I think it will be a runaway (to the point, perhaps, of even being a victim of its own) success

28 Oct 2015 18:46

The Prince, Wood Green

Hopes dashed as this pub's unsavoury past continues to blight it's future and it's all boarded up again. The previous owner and manager had continued to lease out the upper floors of the building but without conforming to fire safety regulations - despite warnings, and have just been sentenced to six months in prison each for putting lives at risk by breaking fire safety laws.

More recent attempts to provide a sports bar/club night atmosphere/live music venue for cover bands were IMO poorly pitched for the area, although the interior refurb is good. The hard financial reality of the modern pub trade is that you need a mixed economy of drinkers and especially diners to remain viable.

Mitchells & Butlers seem to understand this with their recent expansions in the area (The Ranelagh, Starting Gate & Maid of Muswell) but, unfortunately, the result is insipid uninspiring middle-class gastros. I'd sooner see an outfit like M&Bs make a go of it tho than continue to see what should be my (very) local remain derelict. I plan to report the premises as 'a pub at risk to CAMRA, and hope for a more imaginative approach to its future.

16 Jul 2015 09:36

The Prince, Wood Green

Hope springs eternal... As one of the humans without a beard or a manbun who's lived in the tower blocks 200 yards away for the last 15 years, I was greatly encouraged to meet Michelle, the Manager, and the new owner on The Prince's re-opening night yesterday.

The recent refurb tastefully updates the interior without detracting from it's character. Locally, there is a huge niche to be filled between the sports bar atmosphere of The Nelson & Springfield Park Tavern, and the Soho priced pretentiousness of The Ranelagh.

The pub deserves the regular support that will enable it to provide varied live music and make the provision of high maintenance, short shelf-life real ale a viable proposition (only Greedy King IPA available at present). Make it so, People! x

5 Mar 2015 00:29

The Griffin, Whetstone

What a welcome find having escaped a dreadful cocktail party for the Norf London Tosserati nearby. Weathered Northern Soul Boys/Girls entertained by a 5 piece Jazz/Funk outfit. Flirty bar staff pulling real ale from 5 pumps. Got so rat-a*sed, can't remember what ales. Chatty mixed clientele. Return guaranteed if I'm in the area again

11 Oct 2013 00:00

The Railway Tavern, Crouch End

Sad decline, huge rise in prices and surly staff

12 Aug 2013 18:43

Crown, Cuddington

Having grown up in poverty in a tied thatched cottage in a similar village, I personally found the gentrification startling and its reflected in the food & beer prices. Lovely picture postcard setting. Missing a trick being closed mid-afternoon on a Saturday tho. 'pparently, the previous landlord/lady and her team recently left to take over another pub in the area and are much missed

Two fullers ales and Adnams - Sticky Wicket was in fine fettle. My steak was perfectly cooked and the four diners I was with were similarly satisfied with a menu that does lack imagination. Ditto the beer lineup from Fullers. The incentive to take it all to another level must be low tho, but whenever I'm visiting friends in the village a return visit is guaranteed

12 Aug 2013 18:34

The Cask, Pimlico

You get what you pay for & quality ain't never gonna come cheap. I'm going back to do the wide cask menu. Good imaginative range. Chapel Down's Curious was in fine hoppy fettle and selling fast, with Duke IPA from the Orkneys to follow - smooth, well-rounded and strong. The estate pub environment remains but the quality of the ales pulls in a well-heeled after-work crowd of drinkers

15 Jun 2013 08:06

The Approach Tavern, Bethnal Green

A pleasingly surprising find prior to a folk gig in The Gallery Cafe closeby. Lively & friendly crowd throughout, the pubs past is properly preserved inside with a heated canopied outside seating area up front.

Gales/Fullers HSB & Seafarer were in fine fettle, and York Guzzler, London Pride & Doombar also on offer. Wide selection of continental beers bottled & on draft, and good wine list. Food is not high gastro but well above standard pub fare. Theres an art gallery/centre above the pub

Curmudgeons will no doubt bemoan the pricing and safe selection of ales, and the predominance of 'Hoxton' types, but the custom of said curmudgeons would not keep this backstreet pub afloat. As said below "reinventions of pubs like this keep them going rather than being lost for good"

7 Apr 2013 14:40

The Askew Arms, Shepherds Bush

Currently being refurbed as part of the Tommy Flynn's chain of Pubs/Steakhouses. News of my recent return to work in the area has obviously reached the licencing trade! High hopes for pwopa beer so watch this space

10 Feb 2013 13:23

The Prince, Wood Green

Currently closed. Prayers being said for new ownership, preferably CAMRA fundamentalists with a zealous passion for real ale

10 Feb 2013 13:16

The Harringay Arms, Crouch End

Sad to report a catastrophic loss of charm in what was previously one of my favourite London pubs for 20 years. I've no problem with changes to the decor, jukebox or increase in popularity - it's a business. But poor service by inattentive air-head staff, watery ale and two of the four pumps running dry on a Saturday night? Unforgiveable! RIP & goodbye

10 Feb 2013 13:09

Goose, Wood Green

Yep, it certainly brought a twinkle to an ole man's eye to see the place rammed with so many staggeringly beautiful & chatty young Dutch men & women during the Olympics! But even before that, the last refurb & 3-4 decent ales keenly priced so you can have a 5 pint session for under 15 were all well appreciated and sampled when I was outta work back in the Spring. Nathan Barley(s) will get sniffy over the clientele, but who cares!

19 Aug 2012 16:23

The Bucks Head, Godden Green

The food & menu need some more effort, but the ale is all top notch. Lovely pub nicely situated for refreshments after a leisurely ramble in Knole Park.

24 Jun 2012 21:17

The King Edward VII, Stratford

A happy return to one of my old student haunts! Friendly & attentive staff, four pumps with Nethergate Eddies Best, St Austell Tribute, Hopback Summer Lightning & Wells Bombadier all in fine fettle. The architectural character of the place has not been molested - tiled corridors, split-levels & etched glass, and space for a fag out the back. Its also on the wrong side of the tracks to be overwhelmed by the Olympian hordes. Look no further than the Eddie if you are in the area!

18 May 2012 00:31

Goose, Wood Green

Currently undergoing yet another refit, but I doubt it will improve the, er, 'ambience' imparted by the regular clientele

22 Apr 2012 13:32

The Harp, Covent Garden

This pub is an absolute palace and shrine to real ale. Eight handpumps with two offerings from Dark Star & Wandle, Harvey's amongst others - all in fine fettle. The curious can sample the ale before buying. Great selection of bottled ciders, artisan malt whiskies & good Rioca for wine drinkers. Helpful, knowledgeable and unpretentious staff.

The facade above the bar is peppered with hundreds of calling cards from previous guest ales. This fine establishment is the Gold - Standard benchmark by which I measure all other pubs, and none come close. The only downside is its a victim of its own success and always packed at peak times. Get in early, do the menu and go to Heaven!

3 Apr 2012 12:44

Duke of Edinburgh, Wood Green

My first visit today. Despite living in the locality for 12 years, its well off my beaten track, so I specifically made the trek out of curiosity today. First things 1st - no real ale. A bad start. The pub itself was empty, all the 'action' is out back in the somewhat run-down shisha and outdoor seating area at the back that has two screens.

Promotional offers, music nights and membership discounting are geared entirely towards the local student population. Grilled meat dishes were being served and there's a tie-in with local kebab shops. Staff and many of the young crowd are Arabic speaking.

TBH, when I was at Uni drinking gallons of snakebite and black, I'd have absolutely loved this place. But as a grumpy middle-aged old scroat with a penchant for pwopa beer there's nothing for me here. Full marks for finding a niche to keep a backstreet pub open though as we've lost too many in recent years.

31 Mar 2012 23:58

The Priory Arms, Stockwell

A haven in a very harsh part of the world. At a chatty pre-theatre group meetup that didn't give me time to note and sample the fine looking range of fare on offer, but the Blakemere Bronze Bitter was in fine fettle. If I'm anywhere near the area again, a return visit for a more in-depth sampling of the Ale menu will be a priority

29 Mar 2012 01:44

The Coach and Horses, Mayfair

A nice oasis in an area full of expensive pretension - I always pop in if I'm in the area

13 Mar 2012 03:16

The Nelson, Wood Green

I concur with previous posts - a missed opportunity and potential goldmine. The landlady has a cracking arse tho and I'm always glad to see the back of her! ;o)

1 Mar 2012 01:42

The Smoke Bar And Diner, Tooting

Now refurbed and reopened as 'Honey & Venom' - I've yet to try it as the fact that it's always been empty of punters is a little off-putting. They may struggle against the newly revamped 'Wheatsheaf' across the road

29 Jan 2012 15:50

The Wheatsheaf, Tooting Bec

I'm generally in approval of the recent refurb BUT... I've visited several times recently and have to agree with rmb1973's comments - the bar staff are the absolute pits and would struggle to get a job in McDonalds. Really holding the place back

29 Jan 2012 15:46

The Harringay Arms, Crouch End

Now under young new management with the recent retirement of Jim & Sheila (sobs!). A few minor tweaks have been made to make the place look less like a maiden aunt's Sunday best living room. Background music was unobtrusive and actually quite cool. Doombar, Adnams 'Broadside' & London Pride available. Clientele remain the same mix of crusty post-grads, Celtic ex-pats and folk who just want good beer & good company in a traditional pub away from local pretensions. Tweak away, but remember - ITS NOT BROKE SO DON'T TRY & FIX!

30 Oct 2011 11:58

The Porcupine, Leicester Square

Location, location etc. My favourite West End meeting point, but nought there to make you linger once met

28 Oct 2011 11:21

The Bear and Staff, Leicester Square

Always a good bet if you need a beer in Grockleland - good, well-kept selections of ales (bar staff were impressively engrossed in conversation about the upkeep of the ale as they served yesterday), outside tables good for Thesp-spotting (afternoon, Mr Gambon, Sir!), prices reflect location and the food looks standard but head & shoulders above the local competition.

28 Oct 2011 11:18

Lyttelton Arms, Camden

A huge improvement on previous incarnations and a good place afore & after gigs at Koko

25 Oct 2011 06:21

The Red Lion Hotel, Chulmleigh

Briefly overnighted here this week on business. Chulmleigh is a stunning rural idyll, a remote Saxon hilltop town steeped in heritage overlooking some breathtaking rolling Devon countryside. The pub looked recently renovated and the 'Sportsbar' appearance of the main bar is incongruous with the rest of the building.

Two ales were the local Country Life's 'Golden Pig' and St Austell's 'Tribute', both in fine fettle. The draft cider seemed aimed at the student market. A quiet night, but the locals in & out of the pub were chatty and friendly. Accommodation is of a high standard and keenly priced. Only got to try a good breakfast, but the menu rightly features local produce. Competition from two other local pubs namely The Globe (right by the magnificent church) and The Old Courthouse, both looked worth investigating at a later date.

I was unexpectedly charmed by Chulmleigh and the surrounding area and will return next year to explore at leisure

1 Oct 2011 12:41

The Wheatsheaf, Tooting Bec

A work in progress as already mentioned. Good that the regulars have not been alienated & a nice mixed clientele. Hope the rear outside area is earmarked for a spruce-up. My apologies to the barstaff - I just don't think you are as cool as you so obviously think you are yourselves.

31 Jul 2011 18:25

The Royal Standard, Wandsworth

Decent unpretentious little boozer. Not a huge range of ale but preferable to The Alma

31 Jul 2011 18:17

The Alma Tavern, Wandsworth Town

Overpriced New Labour Gastro pub for the local Nathan Barleys. Usual Youngs fare at Soho prices - walk on to the Royal Standard

31 Jul 2011 18:10

The Ranelagh, Bounds Green

Newly refurbed in anonymous gastro style, the patio is now fully enclosed by canvas prioritising diners with smokers banished to the garden that closes at 10. Remains woefully understaffed and this obviously impacts on bar/kitchen service.

I heard diners complaining about portion sizes and also heard one of the staff bragging that they had taken 6K on one of the recent BH Monday's. No surprise given low staff overheads & top dollar Soho drinks prices. The young professional crowd that have niched into Bounds Green (because of the comparative property Bang you get for your Buck) deserve better. I'd drink here more often if it weren't for the resentful feeling of the owners taking the piss out of a captive audience.

22 Jun 2011 15:01

The Prince, Wood Green

Soo, a return trip to the pub which should be my local and... bad to worse, sadly. Staff struggle to keep the lager in any decent shape, so it's probably as well that there's no pwopa ale. In the front bar, a pair of shit-faced Vicky Pollards were verbally emptying the contents of their bowels at a young male audience, whilst a bunch of awesomely laconic hoodies fumigated the side smoking area with skunk cannabis. Cars continually pulling up and deals being done from the kerb. Luvverly! Avoid at all costs.

21 Jun 2011 18:48

Rising Sun, Haddenham

I'd be happy with this as a local - friendly family feel

14 Mar 2011 15:23

The Leather Bottle, Colchester

My sister lives round the corner and we all had a meal in there on Saturday night. Nice refit and an emphasis on good home-cooked fayre. Service was attentive and food really good. The Woodforde's Wherrys tasted a bit thin, but the Greene King IPA was in fine fettle. A better selection of ales would be a good move. Overall this is a vast improvement on its previous shabby incarnation, and if the surly former clientele are carping about having to move on then thats no loss

7 Mar 2011 11:29

The Pillars of Hercules, Soho

Whilst better local pubs in Soho will be spilling out onto the pavements on a weekend eve, this small decent boozer offers room to breathe and even sit. Adnams Old and Broardside, British Bulldog, Theakston's XB, Finchcock's Original and Thwaites' Wainwright all in fine fettle

26 Feb 2011 12:52

The Crown And Two Chairmen, Soho

A good pwopa boozer to meet friends in town. Friendly staff who are focussed on customers (shock!). Lancaster Red, Doombar and Wandle ales all in good shape, and in jugs if you ask. I will return when in the area!

6 Feb 2011 10:37

The Dog and Duck, Soho

What a great little boozer, nice range of well kept ales and good honest VFM pub grub. Upstairs bar prioritises diners where we didn't venture beyond London Pride & TT's Landlord, both in fine fettle, but others are available downstairs. Well done Nicholson's

22 Jan 2011 02:25

Kings Arms, Borough

Would echo the previous 2 poster's comments. The regulars are a real friendly bunch too. A discreet hidden little gem of a boozer, but don't tell anyone... oh shit, I have!

15 Jan 2011 15:12

BRB at The Gate, Alexandra Park

Druggies have (been?) moved on. No real ale this afternoon. Service more attentive. Like the Ranelagh, this pub is pitched above the usual abysmal Wood Green fare & there's no inclination or incentive to strive any higher. A missed opportunity.

9 Jan 2011 18:14

The Claude Hotel, Cardiff

Greene King squanders another opportunity with minimum effort & lowest common denominator ethos. What ale there is treated like lager 'with issues'. Shame - it's a grand ole building that could cater for the increasing affluence and good taste in the area. Avoid at all costs and make your way to the Albany Hotel 10 minutes away.

30 Dec 2010 01:52

Bar Billabong, Roath

Now revamped as 'The Pear Tree', and a work in progress. Brains beers feature heavily, but no Guinness. The emphasis is very much on the food, but it's a welcome improvement on it's piss-stained, lager lobotomised predecessor

30 Dec 2010 01:42

The Albany Hotel, Roath

A grand ole boozer with a split personality that caters for two very different types of clientle. Estate & sports crowd in the larger public bar, students, post-grads & the pub-quiz crowd in the smaller saloon. All served with well-kept Brains beers. It ain't broke and the owners aren't fixing - long may it continue!

30 Dec 2010 01:37

The Five Miles From Anywhere No Hurry Inn, Upware

A great place for Sunday lunch with a choice of three roasts and a nice range of steaks all cooked to perfection, with accompanying veg & chips really flavoursome. Other diners portions all looked generous. Good selection of ales but I didn't get further than the Brandon's 'Rusty Bucket' which was in fine fettle.

Staff were all smiling, friendly and helpful. The building was spacious but nonedescript, but the outside seating area and riverside views are good for families with a small stage for live music/DJ's etc, although the only entertainment yesterday was an angling contest on the opposite bank of the river.

As a London boy visiting friends in the area, I'll definately be back on my next trip

18 Oct 2010 10:24

The Railway Tavern, Crouch End

It's precisely the absence of the local 'Nathan Barleys' (such as the previous poster) that makes this place. Glad you hate it. Tossers are also unwelcome at the Harringay Arms.

26 Sep 2010 16:09

The Antelope, Tooting

A rare & successful balance of Gastro and pwoper Pub. Really well kept ale, choice of mug or glass, staff who will keep beer in the pipe for you and fresh sausage rolls behind the bar for a quid. My Welsh Black steak was really tasty & good value, and washed down with Adnams dark ruby 'Gunhill' in peak condition. Needs more staff at peak times, but highly recommended.

26 Sep 2010 01:15

BRB at The Gate, Alexandra Park

Sad to report a recent influx of over-age druggies and associated cockroaches, 45+ yo blokes calling you 'Geez' & 'Bruv' and who think a cocaine rush & a trophy dog is a substitute for a personality. There seemed to be some kinda pitbull convention outside tonight with the unwanted addition of dozens of young Dappy wannabees smoking skunk outside whilst the head waitress from the Cotton Club served them all up trays of shots as oversize pimp-wagons blocked all the parking. Worthless vermin.

Hope the Pest Control in Blue sorts it all out soon and saves me the bother of having to call them in myself. Been drinking here for 11 years so I'm hoping this is just a passing phase.

28 Jul 2010 19:44

The Red Lion, Avebury

Hurrah! Under new management, 'pparently. Hopefully looking forward to simply enjoying the magick ole place again rather than forever cursing it! Good luck & all support the new team!

17 Jul 2010 22:39

The Ranelagh, Bounds Green

As before, this pub could be so much better in terms of food & quality/quantity of service, but with no competition locally, the motivation to turn this into the kicking venue it's dying to be still isn't there - yet?

10 Jul 2010 23:53

The Railway Tavern, Crouch End

What a good 'onest boozer this is. Watched Spain stuff the Germans here this week. None of the local Joshua's & Jocasta's were in. The Deuchars IPA and Timothy Taylors Landlord were in fine shape, good unpretentious food and friendly staff. Spot on!

10 Jul 2010 00:50

The Queens Head, Glastonbury

Not worth the walk up the hill. Speckled Hen only on my recent visit

12 Mar 2010 19:29

The Pig and Fiddle, Bath

Passed thru Bath and was pleased to find this pub. Half a dozen good west country ales all in good nick, pwopa cider, a young eclectic mix of people and good value food. I will be back!

12 Mar 2010 19:21

The Old Green Tree, Bath

What a fine establishment and a real find as I was passing through! Polite & chatty young chap behind the bar. Pitchfork & OGT Bitter were on damn good form. A snug & public bar retained. Old School and will definately make the effort to return whenever I pass through Bath again.

12 Mar 2010 19:14

The Hope, Carshalton

I was lucky enough to visit The Hope for my comrade Ash's birthday bash mid-January. Great staff, locals, beer and atmosphere. These people really care about their beer and the punters reap the rewards

21 Feb 2010 17:00

BRB at The Gate, Alexandra Park

Can confirm improvement in service ethic since my last review in March 2009. Supplies of Doombar and a guest ale still patchy and a bit of an afterthought, but a bit more polish in a still under-developed gem

3 Jan 2010 13:12

The Phoenix, Alexandra Palace

Can only reinforce what the a-n-f said. The banner should read "With views like this - why should we bother!" ...and they don't, they really don't.

Visit Ally Pally and the park, but bring a picnic, your own booze and avoid this disgraceful shithole at all costs.

23 Jul 2009 00:24

The Prince, Wood Green

I live about 400 yards from the pub and pass it frequently - its always empty and consequently there's no atmosphere. No proper beer either! The new decor is bland & inoffensive but certainly an improvement on the tatty nicotine drenched 'Hell's Waiting Room' that preceded it under the old regime. But the old Prince did have atmosphere, customers and a handy lock-in for us familiar faces. I think that they need to find a niche, and the introduction of an extensive array of real ales could provide that niche. A potentially good pub withering on the vine!

23 Jul 2009 00:01

The Ranelagh, Bounds Green

Popped back recently early on a Monday eve. Only one bod in the kitchen and one behind the bar (who also had to serve the food). The quality of the food and the service suffered hugely as a result.

This pub (along with The Gate & the Maid o Muswell) have pitched themselves just above the other squalid & dismal offerings in the area, and then stopped as if thats enough effort - well it ain't!

3 Jul 2009 11:57

The Devonshire Arms, Camden

Dark, dank, the worst men's loo since "Trainspotting", shite music, BUT - if you wanna get hammered quickly, talk bollox for England, get chatted up by alluring goths half your age, wink at friendly barmaids who know who's first and remember what you're drinking - get in there!

12 Apr 2009 22:56

Springfield Park Tavern, Bounds Green

I'm all for traditional boozers (No. 1 favourite - the Harringay) so sorry to strike a discordant note here - but this is a depressing estate pub and the domestic squalor on view at the weekends will make you lose the will to live

10 Apr 2009 01:00

The Princess Alexandra, Crouch End

Now renamed "Villiers Terrace" - a licenced restaurant catering for the Crouch End three wheeled buggie (with disk brakes) brigade

5 Apr 2009 02:39

Goose, Wood Green

Hells waiting room for those who are about to die! AVOID!

5 Apr 2009 02:18

The Ranelagh, Bounds Green

Still a bit of a missed opportunity and the mixed reviews are justified BUT - the smoking patio/beer garden on a weekday evening is a great place to meet people (old friends & new ones)

5 Apr 2009 02:10

Dirty Dick's, Bishopsgate

I held my Half-Centennial knees-up here last weekend on a Satuday night in the window area of the upstairs bar. The food was excellent (the platters and Nachos make for a much more sociable finger food buffet) and really good value. Service was also sharp and polite (thanks, Dagmar x) and the Youngs beer well kept, and the whole venue has real character. A great time was had by all.

30 Mar 2009 23:15

The Harringay Arms, Crouch End

My spiritual drinking home since 1993. Classic old school boozer that has remained unchanged when all else in the area has changed pretentiously for the worse. I love it!

23 Mar 2009 20:24

The Red Lion, Avebury

The coachloads who visit Avebury once or only occasionally will probably not be affected or bothered by what Im about to write, as its written from my perspective as a regular visitor who stays in the village to photograph the Stones at different times of year in different light, and to walk the Ridgeway. As such it has been sad to watch the consistent decline in service at this fantastic old pub in recent years.

The Red Lion now trades purely on its position, providing poor food and begrudging indifferent service to tourists who will only ever visit once. Even the modest B&B accommodation (where you were actually locked in the pub at night with stale sheets) has now been stopped. Evening food is often irregular which is a real nuisance for those in the village B&Bs. Locals now seem to give the place a wide berth, probably at other pubs/restaurants more interested in returning custom. The outside seating is in a decrepid state on an unswept carpet of ground-in fag-butts. Its such a waste of a potential business opportunity and an all-round miserable experience for the regular visitor.

However, a simplified British menu with ultra-fresh local produce highlighting local suppliers (who would in turn highlight the pub), an interior refit, more emphasis on a level of cuisine and service that would ensure returning trade in the evenings and in winter when the coaches have gone. Guest ales for the discerning ale drinker. Accommodation, modestly priced to fit below the expensive village options, but to price out the unruly would guarantee more revenue from food and drink sales to guests.

Links and discounts for the local community and interest groups would foster loyalty and guarantee return trade. In the summer, open-air barbeques could cater for tourists and scooter/motorcycle clubs alike. The Red Lion could & should be a focal point for local businesses and the local community. Instead its being run down with a minimum work/effort philosophy.

For *%$sake, Greene King, its not rocket science, its in everyones interest including your shareholders. Get Ramsey or HFW in and you could even re-launch the kind of venture Ive described on national TV. SORT IT OUT!

23 Mar 2009 19:56

BRB at The Gate, Alexandra Park

Ive been drinking here since 99 when I moved into the area, fell off the train and straight into the pub! It was originally The Railway Hotel, but was renamed to link in with the old racecourse. The lovely original Victorian Gin Palace features have sadly been chipped away over the years and the ugly pizzeria feels bolted onto the side. I miss the small theatre upstairs (where I once saw a startling naked production of Hamlet), and the Thesps that it drew in.

The initial transition from Starting Gate to BRB The Gate was well managed in the early noughties. A small committed band of regular student staff ran a tight ship and there was a busy buzzy atmosphere. Feature nights were always well supported by students, as well as us regular folk seeking refuge from the misery of Wood Green pubs in general. 2for1 Pizza nights were always rammed and great value. Once this happy little band of staff graduated though, things started to go downhill.

Recently (March 09) the pub has been run down into the ground by a succession of disinterested temping managers, consistently running out of beers, rubbish and wheelie bins out the front, increasingly worn and tatty furnishings and staffed by surly young staff who think theyre doing you a favour. Im really saddened by the decline, but its a great opportunity for a refit and a revamp. Get in there Gordon!

23 Mar 2009 19:37

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