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BITE user comments - benscaro

Comments by benscaro

79 CXR, Charing Cross Road

pretty well empty on my last visit. the refurb seems to have attracted no one much.

i know they rely on their rep as a late opener status, but i'd suspect they are struggling.

4 Aug 2013 01:41

Comptons Of Soho, Soho

full last night when i visited, but that was a friday night. the last visit prior to that was on a thursday about two weeks ago and surprisingly, this place, which used to be guaranteed to be heaving, was only one third full.

i can't fault the service on the last two occasions, but you'd never say it was an exceptionally friendly place.

4 Aug 2013 01:39

Oblivion Bar, Preston

gay bar, friendly, decently run, but clearly struggling. they serve boddington's on tap, something i can never fathom ... and a bunch of the usual suspects, fosters, guinness etc.

honestly not a great environment for drinking. gay bars work mostly when they are heaving full, and this place certainly wasn't.

4 Aug 2013 01:34

The Granta, Cambridge

very average pub with poorly kept beers that monopolises- wastes? - a prime location.

surprisingly average place given where it is and how good it ought to be. the beer was awful last time we visited.

1 Jul 2013 22:46

The Cambridge Blue, Cambridge

i would say it lacks in atmosphere after what i assume was a rebuild. the make-up of the crowd doesn't help that much.

i do credit the huge range of beers, but for me, it's about the whole experience, not just the beer and i would notch this place up as a bit of a victim of its own success.

i know that is unlikely to be a popular view but i have to rate places on how keen i am to visit them, and to be honest the lack of character and the crowd diminishes my pleasure at visiting the blue.

1 Jul 2013 22:43

The Alexandra Arms, Cambridge

staff friendly. good selection on tap. i did not have time to sample all and just tried the noble, an english craft lager. good atmosphere and spacious while still having a few nooks and crannies , and the odd newspaper to read.

i can't abide the blue so i'm glad there's something else good in the same area and would return.

1 Jul 2013 22:38

The Devonshire Arms, Cambridge

a stalwart. after the second pint in the beer garden, which has a shutaway kind of feel, you even forget you're in cambridge; to my mind that's a good thing.

25 Jun 2013 13:18

The Kings Arms, Soho

they do a good pint of the rev. james and keep other brain's beers, which is no bad thing.

a late thirties man in the new lounge area upstairs offered me a copy of the FT and daily telegraph to read. then it emerged he wanted me to take photos of him in humiliating positions, ie, spreadeagled on the floor, with either paper draped over him, or squatting doggystyle with the newspaper rolled up in his mouth and my boot on the top of his head.

i obliged. it takes all sorts, after all... who says london isn't interesting anymore?

7 pts. 4 for the brains and 3 for newspaper boy.

19 Jun 2013 17:32

The Hercules Pillars, Holborn

amongst my perversions is the occasional practice of freemasonry, so i'm occasionally dragged in here by the brethren.

however, i chanced in here last night as it was a convenient halfway point to meet a friend. not many lodges were on last night, so i got a chance to scout the place and take in the ambience. viewed when empty, it's not awfully attractive. the decor doesn't quite hit it off with me ... too many mirrors.

they do keep some ales on but the prices are high.

before, and even more so *after* lodge meetings, which tend to end around 7pm, the pillars is inclined to be jammed full of masons and masonic conversations, which aren't likely to be that stimulating for any non-mason, i would judge ... since masonic conversation tends to be like school gossip from a slightly stuffy and very second rank public school in the west mds, where all the pupils forgot to leave and stayed on into their fifties.

19 Jun 2013 17:13

The Ferryboat Inn, Tottenham Hale

good yesterday. pint of something citrussy which turned out to be very tasty and was only £2.85.

food- i had a curry which was a cut above the usual pub fare of this type. friend had the southern chicken flatbread, came with very moreish sweet potato chips, large, tasty and reasonably priced.

i used to come year every week years ago when i was dating a local and i liked it then. seems like it's still pretty good.

16 Jun 2013 09:22

The Bun Shop, Cambridge

PS/ turns out it is a chain, or at least the start of one. the developers sold their previous chain to greene king and are not shy of saying that this is what they want to do with this one too.

10 Jun 2013 14:34

The Bun Shop, Cambridge

true enough. nothing wrong with it that you could stand in the court of public opinion and condemn it on. lots of cambridge folk like places like it, the geldart, for example, which focuses on a similar market at the mill road end of town.

BTW, with our references to bills and malmaison, it's worth me saying i have no clue whether cambridge brew house is or isn't part of a chain. it may not matter. baroosh (another chain) cultivates a similar market, and i rather like their cambridge bar.

so i make no play of being objective and am entirely capricious in my view ... but something about the clientele and ambience here does give me the irrits.

10 Jun 2013 13:20

The Bun Shop, Cambridge

whatever it was in the past, 1 king street is now the 'cambridge brew house' a big, open plan, gastropubby myddle-class-family-friendly conurbation.

has some boutiquey ales and porters brewed on the premises. i did not mind the misty river but honestly they were not much to write home about.

the sort of people who like bills restaurants, that is, former hipsters with kids, drifting into early middle age, will find this exactly the sort of thing they like.

i really am a nasty bitch sometimes.

and i like it.

31 May 2013 14:44

The Vaults, Cambridge

didn't really avail ourselves of it as a pub. it is a fairly heaving downstairs place, bar to the left, restaurant to the right.

does a decent meal for £15 including starter, main and an hefty half bottle of their house wine, which is good quality. i have recommended and ranked it for that ... the bar looked a bit busy and yuppy for me but i might come back and give it a go. if i do i'll review the bar side of things.

30 May 2013 22:49

The Mitre, Cambridge

not a bad pub. as others say, with not a lot of nicholson's pubs around- i think this is the only one in the east of england ...? it's a bit of a standout.

tends to keep a good range of beers. food is reasonable and with cambridge having a particularly cruddy selection of restaurants, the mitre is not a bad choice for lunch. a lot of locals eat here.

sometimes attracts a bit of a gay crowd toward the back, in the evenings.

...which may explain the comments about the puzzling phenomena of people watching eurovision!

30 May 2013 22:41

The Vine, Cambridge

why doesn't anyone here update names? this is still the snug, and has been now for about four years!

and as such, it's a kind of lost venue, stuck halfway between a bar, a pub and a club.

... and not doing any of the above very well at all. generally empty, always anonymous. no vibe or life in the place.

there must be a business plan behind these strange little wannabe chainlets.

whatever, they need to chuck it out, sack the consultant who came up with the concept, and try turning it back into a pub again.

in this location, it *could* actually do land office business.

12 Apr 2013 16:37

The Cricketers, Cambridge

went there on a saturday night and the place was pumping with some good music and a decent vibe. they had ale, was rather too inconvenienced to remember what the name of it was.

it's a good little location with the elm tree diagonally opposite, and the free press not more than a spit further down the way.

12 Apr 2013 16:31

The St Radegund, Cambridge

Never been blanked here ... but then i'm a weirdo.

I like this place and always have a great time here.

Landlord always keen to guide me as to the best thing on tap to drink.

12 Apr 2013 16:25

The Angel, West Ham

jesus wept. wonder if this is still here?

i went here once, when i first moved to stratford back in 2008.

a man with a face like a dropped pie and a bottle of poppers came in, got down on his knees and started licking the carpet.

apparently this was a regular occurrence.

no one seemed to mind.

28 Mar 2013 14:42

The Bicton Inn, Exmouth

good little backstreet boozer.

very local but pretty friendly. set up the laptop in the back room and did a bit of writing while enjoying the chatter coming from the main bar.

i avoided what looked like a swathe of faux-gastropub / tourist traps on the foreshore and hunted round till i found this place, and i was very glad i did.

made my day on a rainy exmouth sunday.

28 Mar 2013 14:06

Chaucers Inn, Exeter

a hidden gem. don't let the frontage fool you ... i wrongly assumed it would be heaving with drunks given the central location.

what i found was an excellent basement pub with a good crowd, comfortable booths, pleasant staff and what looked to be a decent menu, although we'd already eaten so didn't sample any of the food.

certainly a pub to note if you are in exeter.

28 Mar 2013 13:54

79 CXR, Charing Cross Road

as reported, reopened as 'manbar'. walls covered in painted murals which presumably derive from gay porn films or skin mags. quite artistic in its way.

it's an improvement although its former, seedy era came with its compensations too.

beer *just* as expensive as before. in fact. it had gone up. no ales on.

not much atmosphere despite the revamp. it was pretty empty when i went in, about 7pm, and it is one of those places that needs to be heaving, to have any atmosphere at all. i imagine late at night when it comes into its own.

the new owners have plans to do things with it, or at least one has, as he was talking loudly about this at a table upstairs when i visited.

this is big place and the rent, you may assume, reflects that. with the price of the drinks and the place's reputation as the last pub you go to of an evening, i think they are in for a struggle.

i wish them luck, but i can't honestly rate it much as an experience.

4 Feb 2013 14:16

Yates's Wine Lodge, Wood Green

is it not possible for the site owners to start culling some of these places? honestly, this hasn't been open for five years!

16 Jan 2013 16:42

The Live and Let Live, Cambridge

good little real backstreet place. as others have said, ideal for reading the papers while having a pint of something different.

16 Jan 2013 15:14

The Tram Depot, Cambridge

i'm not mad keen on the open plan thing but it's ok and being close to the uni has a bit of clientele. probably designed with large groups in mind.

15 Jan 2013 17:02

The Free Press, Cambridge

cosy little place with a lot of life. wasn't disappointed.

15 Jan 2013 17:01

The Champion of the Thames, Cambridge

had gem and cumbria XB on. both seemed pretty well kept. gem particularly good. crowd middle aged and punkishly grumpy ... they all had stranglers tickets. dog sleeping on the floor also surly, looked a bit like steve martin's mutt from 'the jerk'.

the slightly nonplussed atmosphere gives it character, and probably sees off the kiddies, which may be intentional, given the area. and it's fine by me. good little boozer.

15 Jan 2013 16:57

The Hopbine, Cambridge

seems to have been made over recently, without totally destroying the atmosphere but i can't help feeling it was probably better then. still, it's OK and they keep a good range of beers and ciders. i like where it is very much so it's one i go to a fair bit.

13 Jan 2013 13:24

The White Swan, Cambridge

seems to be a late opener that inevitably gets all sorts. they keep one or two ales. staff seem reasonably attentive and i find the mixed crowd there ok. a lot less attitude than most cambridge places. not bad.

13 Jan 2013 13:21

The Bath House, Cambridge

got to agree about the horrible interior.

basically an aesthetically vacant rectangular void enclosed within wood veneer.

seems to be popular with young students. the beer range wasn't memorable. not sure if they had an ale on.

13 Jan 2013 13:11

The Castle Inn, Cambridge

pricey, rambling kind of place. can't help thinking it's the sort of pub you'd see the vaguely upwardly mobile neighbours from george & mildred.

very middle class, veering to cliquey, attracting that class of person who goes straight from school age to middle age without an intervening period.

guess that's cambridge for you. it didn't really do it for me.

13 Jan 2013 13:08

The Green Dragon, Cambridge

i like where it is. i'd call in if i was in the area. ale was OK when i was there. wifi worked reasonably.

i didn't eat as the food didn't look anything special. sounds like i made a good choice ...

10 Jan 2013 17:34

The Anchor, Cambridge

if you like eating bad food by a river this is the one to go to.

i don't, so i don't.

10 Jan 2013 16:44

The Regal, Cambridge

i really can't fault this place.

the food is consistently good and better than just about everything else in cambridge ... which admittedly is not saying much.

but it is cheap, hearty stuff that does the trick for a fiver.

the staff are always welcoming. i've never noticed a problem with the clientele and the fact that it attracts such a diverse mix of people is one of its good points.

i have always enjoyed the range of beers on offer and the prices are modest.

whoever is managing just about gets it all right in running a huge city centre pub designed to cater to all tastes.

i like esoteric and weird a lot of the time, but when we just want a cheap beer in reasonable surrounds and a bite to eat on a busy saturday, the regal wins hands down.

10 Jan 2013 15:09

79 CXR, Charing Cross Road

closed down.

no surprises there but i guess a lot of gay men will regret it for the charnel house atmosphere and that when you emigrated to london, CXR was probably first port of call.

a bit sad but it was a 'kangaroo in the headlights' as aussies say, frozen in time as it's end got closer and closer ... but after westminster council made them clean up their act in general and the cruisy toilets in particular, there wasn't much reason to go there.

15 Oct 2012 08:35

Charlie's Bar, Tower Hill

does anyone know whether this is the famous cross-dresser's bar which was called the 'way out bar'?

i think it was only a trannies' bar on saturday nights.

17 May 2012 16:36

The Kings Arms, Soho

they seem to have renovated it a little, creating a more spacious atmosphere but i'm having a bit of a struggle ascertaining the direction they are taking it in.

do they know, i guess is the question? odd.

it did need something, that's for sure.

it's more of a mixed bar now than just a surly older gay men's bar.

jury's out on it, let's say 5 as i can't really complain about the quality of the beer.

10 May 2012 17:35

The Garden Ladder, Harringay

really friendly little bar. female and gay friendly. good choice of music.

what's not to love, really?

my local. 'spose i'm biased.

10 May 2012 17:30

The Penderel's Oak, Holborn

really not a bad effort for a wetherspoon's.

you could do worse in this area, and easily so.

10 May 2012 17:28

79 CXR, Charing Cross Road

in recent weeks they've attempted to tart the place up with some red leather lounges and felt wallpaper that attempts to mitigate the empty and lost look of the upstairs area. i wonder whether it will work. the average beer is over 4. no ale, or anything decent to drink, really, and the place seems infested with pests of one sort or another, giving it the atmosphere of a psych ward or impromptu drop-in centre for the terminally bewildered.

10 May 2012 17:25

The Old Coffee House, Soho

angry, surly barman who accused my friend of not saying 'thank you' as he delivered two half pints which were two fingers short of full.

... may re-assess whether to bother returning, as much as i like brodies beer.

10 May 2012 17:21

Jolly Butchers, Stoke Newington

not too bad really, but it is infested by hipsters, as some comments indicate.

still, i suppose they have a right to good beer too, and real ale druids have to start *somewhere* on their lifelong quest to becoming annoying ;-)

10 May 2012 17:19

The Green, Islington

closed. was either a reasonably funky, veering to twinky and irritating sort of twentysomething gay bar ... i think it was part of the same group that owned kudos.

10 May 2012 17:14

79 CXR, Charing Cross Road

the toilets have been cleaned up but most of the punters have vanished ... the two are related as improptu cock was the reason the place was popular.

sorry to say that it's one on the way out, like a lot of gay pubs.

22 Nov 2011 12:16

The Flask, Hampstead

OK range, Youngs etc.

staff could pretend to be more interested in the patrons, given the high prices charged for beer and food.

decent atmosphere.

22 Nov 2011 12:07

The King Edward VI (EDVI), Islington

passed it last week and from the look of it (though i can't find any independent confirmation) it's gone the way of many of london's rather tired gay venues, ie, closed down.

the rating reflects the ambience when it was open, because, and only because, i can't find a methodology to evaluate the ambience of a closed down pub.

11 Oct 2011 15:57

The Village, Soho

i agree it is fairly clear that the poster two posts down, is associated with the owner or manager.

it does still have the cheap happy hour when you can get a glass of the house nasty in red or white flavours for 2, or a stella.

not so bad. it is what it is.

occasionally has dancers on the bar, drag, karaoke. no decent ale worth mentioning.

not the greatest bar in the world but it's packed for a reason. i think the description 'lowest common denominator' is fair enough, but 2 wine is rare in soho! on the rare occasion i feel that common, i guess it's good to know it's there.

26 Aug 2011 18:03

The Admiral Duncan, Soho


if you are the sort of person who likes this sort of thing, this is exactly the sort of thing you'll like.

unfortunately i'm not.

dire pub.

hugely popular though, so it's doing something right to someone somewhere.

26 Aug 2011 17:51

The Kings Head, Marylebone

Good pub with a good 'local' feel. I go to a social group which has talks in the upstairs room and so have occasion to be in there at least monthly and I've always found it a cosy and personable place.

26 Aug 2011 17:47

The Ku Bar, Charing Cross Road

Unfortunately this place has developed a reputation for being racist, with a number of friends of East Asian/Oriental appearance turned away by security who said it was 'a members club'. Absolutely untrue, of course. The same excuse was conveniently forgotten when I and other Caucasian friends fronted up.

The migration of East Asian chaps has been caused due to the closure of the unlamented 'Kudos' down near Charing Cross. There are now obviously a number of gay SE Asian men looking for a local in the West End and Ku-Bar, being in Chinatown, seemed a good choice I guess.

I suppose it is only human nature ... that a gay pub would be racist though is a bit sad, honestly.

It was an OK place upstairs for a cocktail or wine ... though downstairs is a bit dire unless you are 20 years old, but until they have their 'issues' sorted I will not return.

26 Aug 2011 17:42

The Finsbury Park, Finsbury Park

Not a bad pub. As folk have said, going somewhere. Very cosmopolitan crowd with a mix of Eastern Europeans, Turks, South Americans, Chinese and others. A salsa night. Some good live music and DJing. Beer a bit pricey for this neck of the woods but not enough to make you choke on your pint.

26 Aug 2011 17:29

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

I tend to agree. This pub seems to attracts politics and intrigue from the druids of the real-ale-bore scene like no other.

The lack of food is a downer, so is the fact that it's for sale, but the last time I went it was still open, it was still a good pub, with good beers, good atmosphere, good punters and a good feel.

And the smelliest toilet in Christendom.

Hurrah.

26 Aug 2011 17:22

The Quebec, Marble Arch

The Quebec is unique as a bar that is a comfortable environment not only for older gay men but also for that large percentage of gay men who do not care to adhere to the twink or bear look.

The Quebec has been a gay bar since before these obnoxious stereotypes inflicted themselves on the scene and will probably still be there when they are forgotten. So it has a varied clientele and a lot less attitude among the patrons than just about any other gay bar around.

Some of the bar staff can be a little obnoxious as they are generally younger Eastern European boys hired for their beauty. Like any cross section of humanity, some let that go to their head, while others are unchanged by it and are nice lads who do a good job.

With regards to other comments, it is inevitable that there will be rent boys and young foreign men looking for sugar daddies in a bar like the Quebec. Older men are more financially well-heeled so they represent a good market for rentboys. And young English men do not have visa worries, so they dont need to find an older husband. But foreign boys do need a visa and I can't see that there's anything wrong with them trying to find someone to help them with that issue. If you dont like that, write to the Home Office or the IMF; dont blame the Quebec.

The DJing ... well it's indifferent, the karaoke on the one time I went to it, was awful the guy tried hard, but downstairs is just the wrong place for it and the drag and other acts can be fun.

The Quebec is what it is. Within its limitations, ie expensive wine, no great beers -though they finally gone a step in that direction by getting Abbots on tap, and the occasional look from an 80yo with a face like a half sucked mango ... it's OK.

26 Aug 2011 17:02

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