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BITE user comments - dingdangdo

Comments by dingdangdo

The Old Blue Last, Shoreditch

Nice old fashioned pub with small venue upstairs. Has some good bands.

The thing that stops me using this pub is the appalling beer. I only drink lager, and £4.50 for a pint of Amstel that I literally couldn't drink is a bit much. Either there is nobody at the pub who understands basic publican practice, or they are watering the beer down with lighter fluid and fairy liquid. And that's the lager - I hate to imagine what the ale is like.

26 Feb 2014 08:20

The Red Cow, Richmond

Seems to charge more for beer than other pubs in Richmond - even other Youngs pubs. Bar staff often too far up their own backsides to serve customers. Only time its worth coming here is in Summer when the Green and river are too busy.

26 Feb 2014 08:04

O'Neills, Richmond

It's hard to imagine how something as uniformally underwhelming as an O'Neills can go downhill, but the current ownership seems to have managed it.

Clearly staff and management couldn't give a toss judging by their general attitude. When its quiet, its the sort of bar where the staff see a customer coming and hide out the back, or shoot out from behind the bar to collect some non existent empties.

When busy (any more than two people at the bar) you can expect a wait of at least twenty minutes, while half the bar staff look busy doing nothing and the other half struggle with such brain taxing trials as finding a wine glass and pouring some wine into it, or taking a food order (for some reason even a basic order of burger and chips seems to involve a ten minute telephone discussion with the kitchen).

Count your change. I remember the old days in here when the staff regularly tried to "wet change" people. Now they aren't even subtle. Last time in I bought a pint with a twenty pound note and got less than a fiver change (if you are going to try to steal, at least take a round tenner so there's some doubt). I called the woman back, but she ignored me and then disappeared upstairs never to return. The remaining staff behind the bar also ignored for ten minutes. In the end I had to shout at the nearest staff member that I wanted to see the manager. Suddenly, the woman magically reappeared and gave me the right change (she didn't even question my claims or check the float, so she clearly knew what she'd done).

Otherwise, general neglect. The quiz machine has been out of order for about 6 weeks now - nobody seems to have noticed. There was been a broken pint glass on a shelf next to the fruitie for about 3 months - probably still there. Gents toilets are permanently flooded and either the cubicle doors get kicked in on a weekly basis or they just don't bother fixing them any more.

I don't bother trying to get in at weekends now, but apparently the live music has now been replaced by a DJ.

Unfortunately this place will survive because of the rugby trade, tourists, and people who don't know better. I'd guess that 90% of people who come here once don't return.

26 Feb 2014 07:53

The Cabbage Patch, Twickenham

This pub seems to exist exclusively for rugby days. Beer is 30-40p more expensive than pubs next door and opposite. So what do you get for the extra money?

The beer is appalling. I don't think they have ever cleaned the pipes. Service even worse. Despite having about 20 live in staff who seem to spend all their time propping up the bar or putting techno on the jukebox at 2 in the afternoon, you'll never actually find anyone behind the bar serving.

Had a Sunday Roast there once. Was lukewarm and clearly microwaved. They also do pizzas which look ok from what I've seen, but I won't be risking it again.

They have various tvs which seem to show whatever the bar staff want to see (ie watching sky news when there is a cricket match on, aussie rules instead of football, etc etc).

Has pool tables, but are so close together that you can't play a shot without jogging somebody trying to play on another table.

Some sort of nightclub upstairs. Shudder to think what that's like.

12 Sep 2011 16:06

The Crown and Cushion, Waterloo

Have occasionally popped in here for a cheeky one at lunchtime without fear of running into any workmates.

Eclectic little place with authentic Irish feel (bric a brac everywhere, racing on the telly, couple of regulars who never seem to leave their bar stools).

Definitely a locals place. When I have been in the landlord/lady always seem surprised to see a customer and a bit put out at having to interrupt whatever they are doing to serve.

4 Mar 2011 09:13

The Cricketers, Richmond

Great location on Richmond Green, totally wasted. A good landlord and a decent brewery could make a lot of money given the location, but the pub is laid out like a staff canteen and has the same atmosphere. Food is poor, service is slow, and atmosphere is non existant (why do pubs insist on putting Sky News on the tv ? This place is depressing enough without having to watch riots murders and recession news).

Legend has it that Keith Richards used to drink here and tried to buy the licence a few years back. Would probably have made it a very different proposition.

4 Mar 2011 09:02

The Lot, Richmond

Since they got rid of Sky Sports, which was the only reason most people came here, this place has become fairly quiet other than weekend nights. Cheap booze and food if you are a poor student, and they do all the nasty jellys, shots and alcopops that the kiddies like. They also have a couple of pool tables and a quizzer, although the tables are badly positioned in terms of elbow room, and they don't allow winner stays on.

Friday and Saturday nights are strictly for the under 25s. Gets absolutely rammed and the staff are not the brightest buttons in the box, so getting served becomes a bit of a random scrum. Also another place with ridiculously aggressive bouncers - last time I tried to get in the guy demanded to see my age id (I'm nearly 40).

I know that Sky is expensive, but this was one of the the few places round here that had Sky and allowed under 21s in, so probably not the smartest decision commercially to lose all that business.

4 Mar 2011 08:47

O'Neills, Richmond

Standard O'Neill's fare, so I'll run down the basics...
Location: right next to the station, so perfect if you are rolling off a train and want a quick one on the way home.
Beer: not much for real ale fans. They've just changed the lagers and seem to be going up market with Amstel and Heineken instead of Fosters and Carling. Taste better, but if I want to pay 3.50 a pint there are nicer pubs around than O'Neills. Service: hit and miss. Although they employ dozens of staff and are always changing, it seems there are only ever a couple of people who serve anyone. The rest are all doing table service, or glasses, or food, or aren't trained up to use the till. Last time I was in there was an Irish girl behind the bar talking to her friend for 10 mins while I waited. I assumed she wasn't trained up, but about half an hour later I saw her stop her chat and actually serve someone...
Food: I wouldn't. O'Neills food isn't great anyway, and having seen the state of this place at weekends I'd have serious worries about the hygiene.
Weekends: Friday and Saturday nights tend to be a meat market for the over thirties crowd. They used to have some good bands on a Saturday and Sunday night, but I'm guessing they've worked out that drunken rugby players will listen to anything because the last few times I've been in the music has been awful. I think they now do karaoke on a Sunday.
Bouncers: worth a mention because they are actually nice reasonable people. There's very rarely any trouble here (I guess because it's an older crowd) and I've often managed to get in with a group of mates, even after having a few liveners elsewhere.

4 Mar 2011 08:27

The Devonshire Arms, Camden

Metal dive bar frequented by rockers and the odd Camden punk. I recognise a few refugees from the old Intrepid Fox.

The beer's not great, but most people drink snakebite or Guiness anyway. Toilets are awful and it's dead in the daytime, but if you want to listen to metal and watch the freaks it's as good a place as any. Also has occasional live music (not big names, but I think it's free).

One other comment. Sack the DJ. The music is usually better before he turns up !

27 Feb 2011 12:57

The NW1, Camden

Not entirely sure what this place is supposed to be. Shows most sport and doesn't get as busy as the Sheep or the Mixer, so acceptable if you want to watch a game and everywhere else is packed.

Has a pool table right in the middle of the bar, which makes the bar area a bit cramped and makes it hard to play pool shots. They also do Thai food, although on the half dozen occasions I've been in I haven't seen anyone eating.

Odd mix of people as well. When I was in for the rugby it was full of loud supporters but there were couples sitting in the corner having a "quiet" drink (If I'd turned up with my girlfriend I would definitely take one look and go somewhere else).

Other than the fact it doesn't get too busy, there's no reason to come in here as there are several better pubs on Parkway

27 Feb 2011 12:44

Sheephaven Bay, Camden

Great pub with a good range of beers and decent food. Staff are friendly and quick.

Pat the landlord makes an real effort to get the customers in - all live sport is shown on several tvs, and they also have a quiz night, food specials, and host a number of functions.

As well as hosting the local Celtic supporters club, The Sheep is also popular with Arsenal ans Spurs supporters, and I think they also do after match food for a football and/or rugby team. As you will often get any combination of the above in at the same time, Saturday afternoons tend to be chaos. Even then, I've never seen any trouble in here.

Looking at the improved posts since the days of the Mornington Arms, as well as seeing the complete decline of the Oxford (useless bar staff, drunken idiots, horrible atmosphere) goes to show what a decent publican can do for a pub.

27 Feb 2011 12:29

The Eel Pie, Twickenham

Very much a locals pub - typical local being a 50 something chunky sweater wearing, real ale drinking, rugby lover, usually with some sort of dog.

Many times I've wandered in here and stood at the bar completely ignored. Then invariably one of these regulars will wander up behind me, shout out the barmaid's name, and receive immediate and fawning service.

I've also been in here watching football only to have the channel changed without warning at the request of one of these regulars.

The lager is some sort of own brand generic pish. The cider is very sweet and watered down. The ales are better if that's what you like.

25 Feb 2011 14:40

St Margarets Tavern, St Margarets

This is an acceptable pub when I can't be bothered to walk into Richmond or Twickenham, but has a few annoying aspects. Firstly there is the poor bar management that seems to typify a lot of big pubs these days. If there are 4 people behind the bar and only one customer you'd expect to be served fairly quickly, no ? Of course not, because the bar staff are all busy putting away glasses, shuffling menus, chatting amongst themselves - anything to avoid having to serve. They also have a few bar staff who do that lovely thing where they take your money and then chuck your change at you while looking in the other direction as if they are ashamed to be dealing with the likes of you.

The beer's in decent nick at least.

They advertise Sky Sports, but often the tv is off. When I was last in customers had to ask the bar staff to switch a game on even though they had advertised that they would be showing it. They also seem to favour rugby over football and don't seem to show cricket at all.

Blurb on this pub mentions live music, but I don't think they have had any music for some time.

25 Feb 2011 14:22

The Fox, Twickenham

Previously an old man's ale pub, The Fox has recently had a light refurb and (I guess) a change of management. It also seems to have collected a few refugees from the old Red Lion (ie old rockers and trendy musos). It has a friendly, laid back atmosphere, friendly and efficient bar staff, and the new dimly lit decor makes it a nice place to sit in a dark corner nursing a beer and listening to the music and banter. They also do food, which looks decent enough from what I've seen.

One drawback about this place is it is tiny. When the place fills up it becomes quite hard to get to the bar and, if you are lucky enough to get a table, watch out for people sending your drinks flying as they try to squeeze past.

They also have live music some evenings and weekends, but when they do the place is invariably rammed, so I haven't managed to check the bands out yet.

23 Feb 2011 11:52

The Good Mixer, Camden

Rough and ready pub, but I've never found it as rough as some suggest. Best time to come here used to be around 5-7. You could get a beer and have a few games of pool. After 6 it starts to fill up with the local market traders. You'd get a good bit of banter, a very competitive winner stays on pool comp and some good music on the jukebox.

Sadly it seems that recently the place has been taken over by the Austalian bar staff that live there. Any time I have been in they have commandeered both pool table and jukebox. You can't get a beer because whoever is supposed to be behind the bar is invariably either playing their pool shot or putting on endless ACDC and INXS tracks.

With a bit of luck the place will get back to how it was soon. London doesn't need another Walkabout.

23 Feb 2011 11:34

No.1 Kew Road, Richmond

This is truly an awful dump. Being close to the station, I have popped in once or twice over the years after getting off a train. Other than at weekends there is never more than half a dozen customers, and yet it always takes 5 or 10 minutes to get served. Often there is nobody behind the bar at all - the staff seem to like hiding in the kitchen whenever possible.

When you can get served the tap lager is undrinkable. Either they buy in cheap past it's sell by date stuff or they never clean the pipes (probably both).

Friday and Saturday night is a no go. It has always been a meat market and I did go there in my younger years, but I wouldn't go near it now. Very young clientele and a fair number of punchy little chavs who think they are "gangstas". Ridiculously agressive bouncers (I have been pushed around when I was walking past the place with no intention of going in). Walk past it after 10.00 pm and it looks like a scene from a documentary about broken Britain - couples shouting at each other, girls puking up their WKDs, little gobsh*tes in baseball caps threatening to shoot each other.

Saddest thing is they have the cheek to put up signs alluding the the place's past as a live venue (the Stones used to play here and they still had bands and comedy on up to the early 90s).

The fact that places like the Red Lion get so much hassle from the council, and yet places like this remain open is a travesty.

23 Feb 2011 11:21

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