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BITE user comments - elwood_p_dowd

Comments by elwood_p_dowd

The Lower Red Lion, St Albans

I believe the Lower Red Lion was first dropped from CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide in 2009, when the pub was under different ownership. The present owners usually stock an ever-changing and interesting range of 5 or 6 real ales, as well as locally produced ciders. They’re currently advertising a beer festival to be held this coming bank holiday, 28th to 31st May.

21 May 2010 09:37

The Lower Red Lion, St Albans

Has definitely improved since the new licensees took over in January. Now friendly, clean and welcoming, with excellent beer and a relaxed atmosphere. If it carries on like this, it will soon be back in the Good Beer Guide. 8/10

29 May 2009 13:29

The Vintry, St Albans

I gave the Vintry a good review when it re-opened last year. Sorry folks, I was wrong. It really is pretty unpleasant these days, with sticky tables and lousy service. Poor.

6 Aug 2008 16:34

The Robin Hood, St Albans

It might not look particularly special, but the Robin Hood has very friendly staff, good and reasonably priced drinks, a pleasant garden and the most eclectic juke-box in the Home Counties. Not bad at all. 7/10

6 Aug 2008 16:21

The Wargrave Arms, Marylebone

Has the Wargrave changed hands recently? I've been disappointed with the service on my last couple of visits.

3 Jul 2008 14:42

The Punch Bowl, Mayfair

I've been quite a regular at the Punch Bowl over the past few years and was very happy to see that the recent refurb has been well handled, and has even enhanced the very pleasant ambiance of the pub. However, a small (175ml) glass of house wine now costs an eye-watering £3.90! Which, sadly, means that I won't be idling away my Saturday afternoons here in the future. Shame.

2 Jul 2008 17:01

The Garibaldi, St Albans

This is about to reopen under the management of David, from the White Lion, and Martin, from the White Hart Tap – both of whom know how to run a good pub. At long last, things are looking promising for the Garibaldi…

30 May 2008 10:38

The Farmers Boy, St Albans

As an infrequent visitor, I've generally found the staff to be friendly and welcoming. However, I'm disappointed to see that they're no longer serving food in the evenings, as they used to serve the best pub grub within easy walking distance of the station. Shame. Good pub, though. 8/10

8 May 2008 16:34

The Boot, St Albans

It's always good to be reassured that there are real people working in a pub. It's just a shame they couldn't employ real bar staff as well.

Note to visitors: please remember that the staff at the Boot aren't here to make your visit a pleasure - their primary goals are to: chat to their mates ("Hey!", "Yah!", "Cool!"); serve the regulars; cock up your order and short-change you (not dishonestly, I suspect, but out of sheer incompetence). Enjoy.

Now, where did I put my lederhosen...

3 Jan 2008 14:35

The White Swan, St Albans

If you’re looking for a quiet drink in the city centre, where the service is welcoming and efficient, the prices are reasonable, the locals are friendly and there’s a good jukebox: you’ve found it in the White Swan. 8/10

12 Oct 2007 09:47

The Boot, St Albans

Sorry Boot, you are potentially the best pub in St Albans city centre, but you won’t be until you get some decent bar staff. Disappointing, again…

12 Oct 2007 09:36

The White Lion, St Albans

Great beer; very friendly service; extremely good food: excellent. 9/10

12 Oct 2007 09:28

The Vintry, St Albans

OK, so perhaps I was a little carried away with my previous review – so much so that I forgot how to spell chaises longues – but the Vintry has seen such a remarkable transformation that maybe I can be excused a rush of blood to the head. In the cold light of day, this is not a bad place for a drink. It may not be the best pub in the city centre (not while the White Swan, the Boot and the Peahen are in contention) and it’s certainly not the best pub in St Albans (see Six Bells, While Lion, Verulam Arms, Portland Arms, Blue Anchor, LRL, Farmer’s Boy etc.) but it’s definitely worth a look. Enjoy…

14 Sep 2007 12:14

The Vintry, St Albans

As someone who would have walked barefoot over hot coals rather than drink in the old Vintry, I’m delighted to report a very impressive refurb. As previous posts have mentioned, the owners must have spent a fortune on the new décor, which ranges from solid, dark-timbered dining tables and chairs to chez longues which wouldn’t have looked out of place at the court of King Louis XIV. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming; the staff are friendly and polite; there are a few real ales and an extensive wine list which includes many, perfectly decent, wines at reasonable prices – it’s certainly less expensive than the Peahen over the road. Snacks, such as falafel with warm pitta and tzatziki, are available for £3.50, main meals for around £7.00. And, in answer to historyloony’s gripe about nibbles, packets of crisps were available last night, although I don’t know if they sell peanuts, pork scratchings etc. It’s early days yet, but I think we may have a winner here. 8/10

31 Aug 2007 10:27

The White Hart Tap, St Albans

The jury’s still out on this one (having had good and not-so-good experiences here) but I expect it will improve once the smoking ban comes into effect.

18 May 2007 09:36

The Goat, St Albans

Has definitely improved since changing hands recently. I’ll give it a cautious 6/10 and hope that the new management continue their good work.

18 May 2007 09:20

The Jolly Sailor, St Albans


This place has really grown on me in recent months. The non-smoking bar is quiet, comfortable and has a suitably maritime aspect (plenty of wood panelling etc.). The service is always excellent (try ringing the bell if no-one is behind the bar) and tasty, inexpensive food is available at lunchtimes and early evenings. What’s more, now that the dirty Digger has his grubby hands on English Test cricket coverage, the Jolly Sailor is a good place to watch the match, mercifully with the commentary turned off! Very good. 8/10

18 May 2007 08:59

The Verulam Arms, St Albans

I sincerely hope that I’m mistaken, but I’m sure I’ve detected a distinct fall in standards at the Verulam lately. I can’t quite put my finger on why: maybe the menu isn’t as interesting, or the food as well prepared, or maybe it’s because providing table service for drinks often means that there’s no-one serving at the bar. Whatever, it’s a real shame. 7/10

13 Apr 2007 14:34

The Verulam Arms, St Albans


Improves with every visit. 9/10.

17 Nov 2006 15:48

The Six Bells, St Albans


As someone who eats regularly at the Six Bells, I have to agree with historyloony’s comments. I’ve always found the service to be very good: both friendly and efficient. And the food is first-class (particularly if chosen from the Specials Board): very much a cut above standard pub ‘fayre’. My only reservation is that it appears to be competing with the Rose & Crown (next door) for the most expensive glass of wine in St Albans. Be prepared to pay 40p + more than most other pubs in the area and a mighty 90p + more than some pubs in town, such as the Farmers Boy and the White Swan. For the quality of the food and ambience, I’d like to give 9/10 but have deducted 2 marks for the drinks prices. 7/10.

17 Nov 2006 12:46

The Farmers Boy, St Albans


A definite improvement on the last time I visited: it’s bright, clean, welcoming, civilised and catering for a wide range of locals, from bearded beeronauts to young office workers. A hit! 8/10

17 Nov 2006 10:13

Blue Anchor, St Albans


Relaxed and friendly atmosphere: good service: excellent food. It’s a little more expensive than the Verulam Arms and the lounge bar certainly feels more like a restaurant than a pub, but I, for one, wish the new proprietors well. 8/10.

7 Nov 2006 14:33

The Boot, St Albans

I’m looking forward to visiting the Boot some time after summer 2007, once the smoking ban in enclosed public places takes effect. It’s an interesting-looking pub with a decent selection of ales but unless you crave the smell of saltpetre or are taking an experimental beagle for a walk, I’d give it a miss.

Also, should you have the misfortune to want to order drinks while the barman is taking a ‘fag break’, be prepared to be ignored, or given a look which roughly translates as ‘why don’t you leave me alone and take your business elsewhere’. Readers, that’s exactly what I did. A disappointing 4/10.

8 Sep 2006 09:40

The Wharf Inn, Welford

Excellent food, good beer, convivial atmosphere, canal-side location, big garden. Open all day. 8/10.

2 Aug 2006 13:32

The Verulam Arms, St Albans

The recently refurbished Verulam Arms is a fine addition to pub life in St Albans. It’s a handsome Victorian building with a pleasant atmosphere (no smoking throughout), good service, decent beer and wine and an interesting menu. We'll be back. 8/10

21 Jul 2006 09:07

The Constitution, Pimlico

Hidden away in Pimlico, the Constitution is just far enough away from Victoria to escape the commuting hoards, and is all the better for it. The atmosphere is relaxed, the (mainly Polish) bar-staff are efficient and friendly and it has the most eclectic mix of customers in the neighbourhood: old geezers, well-heeled young gels, family groups of cagouled tourists, young hipsters, eccentric old ladies, local office workers etc. The food is standard pub grub but is inexpensive and served in large portions. Recommended. 7/10.

14 Jul 2006 09:41

The Wargrave Arms, Marylebone


The Wargrave is a splendid example of a traditional, well-managed, London pub – no gimmicks, no gastro just good quality food and drink served by friendly staff in a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. It’s popular with a wide range of pub-goers, from local residents to occasional small groups of American and European tourists plus local office, hotel & casino workers. And on Tuesday evenings the back room is home to a flourishing chess club.

In an area full of interesting pubs, the Wargrave is one of the best. 8/10.

14 Jul 2006 09:06

The Harcourt Arms, Marylebone

I’m very fond of the Harcourt. It’s an excellent place in which to unwind after work. In summer the atmosphere is cool and relaxed, with benches on the (quiet) street outside, and a garden at the rear. In winter it’s warm and welcoming with the occasional, incomprehensible, game of ice hockey showing on TV and “glogg” (Swedish mulled wine) available for the adventurous / reckless.

As others have mentioned, the staff are predominantly Swedish. I’d add that they are invariably courteous and friendly. An easy 8/10.

12 Jul 2006 15:20

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