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BITE user comments - holbornboy

Comments by holbornboy

Four in Hand, Keswick

Formerly the Four In Hand, in the late eighties this pub was mysteriously adorned with pictures of Gloria Hunniford. Now renamed The Wainwright and a CAMRA West Country Pub of the Year.

Seven handpumps including, on my visit, Bowness Bay Steamer IPA, Barngates Goodhews Dry Stout, Fell Brewery Tinderbox IPA and Ennerdale Horseshoe. I had pints of the latter two. When I asked if the sparkler could be removed, the barman responded with 'You're hard work aren't you?' When told that the sparkler kills the beer he replied 'THIS kiils the beer'. I wondered what this charmless individual was doing working in a pub, especially a CAMRA affiliated pub. He's bald, heavily tanned and a Scouser, if anyone is wondering who I am referring to. Hopefully he no longer works there.

Needless to say, the pint was crap. I won't be rushing back.

22 Jul 2018 22:03

Tweedies Bar at Dale Lodge Hotel, Grasmere

Dark, stone-floored bar. Ten handpumps serving among others Tiny Rebel Juicy, Hawkshead Windermere Pale and Coniston Old Man. Seven keg taps serving Hawkshead/Siren Thresher Spelt IPA, Fierce Tropical Tart and Vocation Oak & Dagger. Juicy, Tropical Tart and Oak & Dagger were all superb. Prices are slightly on the high side. I couldn’t understand why the Hawkshead/Siren collab was £6.60 for two thirds, almost double what I paid at the Hawkshead brewery! Having said that, I paid two visits to this pub in a week and it is a great place for a drink after a day’s walking on the fells.

9 Jul 2017 20:51

The Fortescue, Mutley Plain

If you are looking for that mysterious something that makes a pub great, I suggest you visit The Fortescue Hotel as soon as possible. As I entered the pub I immediately felt a great sense of well-being.
The interior is a long, single room with the bar running along the left hand side. There is also a Cellar Bar, which I did not see.
There are ten handpumps, nine for real ale and one for cider. Among the offerings on my visit were Spingo Special, Hanlons Port Stout, Firebrand The Dead Elvis, Tavy Solstice, Skinners Porthleven and Cornish Crown Porter. I sampled these two latter beers and they were not great. I also tried the Dead Elvis, which is based on The King's favourite sandwich of bacon, peanut butter and banana. I was not impressed. I had two pints of the Port Stout, which were excellent.
You will get a discount if you hold a CAMRA card or Spoons vouchers.
On the wall near me a flyer advertised a forthcoming event in the Cellar Bar called Weirdos - 'all things punky, retro'n'rocking' which sounds right up my street.
Despite the absence of a good pale ale or IPA on my visit, this was still the best pub I've drank in for a very long time and I shall be back. I wish it was my local!

6 Oct 2016 22:28

The Cherub Inn, Dartmouth

The Cherub claims to be the oldest pub in Dartmouth. It is a small, single room with a low, beamed ceiling, a large fireplace and horsebrasses everywhere.
Five handpumps serving Brains Opening Ceremony, Keltek Lance, Exeter Ferryman and beers from St Austell and Exmoor. Three keg beers, two from St Austell - Mena Dhu and Korev and one from Sharps - Wolf Rock.
I went for the Opening Ceremony, it was as flat as a pancake. The barman who served me was indifferent to the point of rudeness. I won't be rushing back.

15 Sep 2016 21:58

The Grapevine, Exmouth

Red brick corner establishment in the centre of town. The interior is a wooden-floored single room. Six handpumps, five ales, one cider. Eight keg taps. The ales on offer on my visit included Jaipur, Oakham Velvet Claws and Crossed Anchors American Pale Ale. I sampled the APA from Crossed Anchors, the in-house brewery. The badge describes the beer as being 'naturally hazy'. The beer was clear, flat as a pancake and not cold enough. I then tried the Oakham Velvet Claws. Not bad, but again not cold enough. I then switched to keg and asked for the Powderkeg Speakeasy (a beer I know to be excellent). This ran out before the barmaid had managed to pull a pint!
Again I find myself at odds with CAMRA, who list this in their lastest GBG. This was only my second visit to this pub (the last was in 2013). What are the chances of me being unlucky on both visits? I won't be rushing back.

10 Aug 2016 21:33

't IJ Proeflokaal (Brouwerij 't IJ), Amsterdam

The last time I was here (see review below) I was deeply unimpressed, although, as I said at the time, the beer was good. I am pleased to say that the pub has undergone a thorough makeover and the result is first class. It is now bright and airy, with an island bar and a new space with additional seating.
My companions and I enjoyed two lengthy sessions here and we all agreed the IPA was better than ever. The place has upped it's game and is now an essential stop on a visit to Amsterdam.

21 Feb 2016 20:07

The Taproom, Islington

I first dropped into this pub shortly after it opened and was not impressed with the beers I tried. A subsequent visit was not much better. So it pleases me to say that last Friday, prior to seeing The Icicle Works at the Assembly Hall across the road, my friend and I had a most enjoyable session. I drank Hammerton No.7, Anspach & Hobday Autumn Pale and Orbit Beers Ivo - they were all excellent. I'll be back.

12 Oct 2015 21:33

The Coopers Tavern, Burton-Upon-Trent

As previous viewers have noted, this pub is very special indeed. There are three rooms - you will be in the first of these when you enter the pub, a second room with a fireplace leads off to the left, continue to the back of the first room, cross a corridor and you will find yourself in the bar area. There is no bar as such, just a tiny counter on the corner of the L-shaped space. There is fixed seating here and a curious raised area to the right of the bar. The room is lit by a skylight during the day and was incredibly atmospheric.
Beers are available on cask and keg, many of the cask on stillage. On our visit there were several beers from the Joules brewery. I had one of the draft beers which unfortunately had diacetyl but the American IPA on keg was good. We also enjoyed several pints of Jaipur on cask.
My companion and I both agreed that the pub had gone straight into our Top Ten, I would possibly put it even higher. If you are in Burton on Trent, you cannot miss a visit to this wonderful pub

16 Jun 2015 22:35

Zero Degrees, Bristol

Zerodegrees feels more like a restaurant than a pub. It's a large single space, half of which is taken up by the dining area. Decor, again, is 'industrial chic', with the brewery occupying a space behind the bar. There are two outdoor seating areas, one of which has raised views over Colston Street
On my visit, the taps were dispensing Mango, Pale Ale, South Pacific Lager and Black Lager. I opted for a pint of Mango, which I was surprised to find wasn't to my taste at all.
I visited this venue at midday and there was only one other customer so cannot comment on the atmosphere as there wasn't any at that time. I wasn't greatly impressed by the place but wouldn't rule out another visit in the future.

27 May 2015 22:16

Tobacco Factory, Southville

A queer one this, and no mistake. A vast square space with a bar running almost the length of one wall. A concrete ceiling has pipes running across it. The tables and chairs would look more at home in a cafe. The atmosphere was non-existent.
On my visit the handpumps were dispensing three beers from Bristol Beer Factory and one from Cotswold Spring. The taps were serving BBF Milk Stout, Ashton cider and a couple of lagers. The two beers I tried, BBF Sunrise and Cotswold Spring Stunner were disappointing. Neither were anywhere near cold enough, and the Cotswold beer had a weird smell.
I won't be rushing back.

18 May 2015 22:45

Tap East, Stratford

This is unusual - a craft beer bar and microbrewery tucked away in a corner of a vast shopping centre - the only one in the UK according to the GBG. There are six handpumps, three of which were dispensing beers from their own brewery (visible behind glass next to the bar). I tried their IPA which was good. There are also ten taps serving beers from around the world.
I wouldn't make a special journey to this place, but if you happen to be in the area, it's worth popping in.

1 Apr 2015 23:31

Holborn Whippet, Camden

Smart little bar at the top end of Sicilian Avenue. Decor is minimalist with a vaguely retro feel. Chalkboards behind the bar display the beers on offer in a somewhat confusing manner. There are around sixteen beers available in cask or keg. I had two pints of Siren Soundwave, which was superb.
Well worth a visit.

1 Apr 2015 23:12

Teign Cellars, Newton Abbot

Teign Cellars probably has the most interesting and varied selection of beers in south Devon and I was delighted when it first opened around eighteen months ago. There are at least eight beers on keg and four on cask. You will normally find a beer from the hoppier end of the scale. I have enjoyed some superb beers from across the UK.
Up until my second last visit this pub had never had any music playing. To my surprise and dismay, a few weeks back, music was being played at an obtrusive volume. I had hoped this might be an anomaly. Unfortunately, on my visit yesterday, loud music was once again spoiling the atmosphere. In addition, the main door to the pub was banging every three minutes and a middle-aged man in a tracksuit standing at the bar was talking loudly into his mobile phone. All these factors combined to create a less than satisfactory pub experience and ensured an early exit. This could be a great pub but on yesterday's showing I won't be rushing back.

11 Jan 2015 17:29

't Brugs Beertje, Bruges

Third and final pub of our crawl and my favourite. The place is small and was rammed on our visit, we managed to get stools at the bar. Wonderfully unspoilt and atmospheric place. We had the excellent Arabier here also.
If you visit one pub in Bruges, make it this one.

1 Dec 2014 22:19

Cambrinus, Bruges

Pub No.2 on a Bruges crawl. A large establishment that feels more like a restaurant than a pub. Another extensive beer list - my friend and I enjoyed Arabier and Caracole. A nice place and I will no doubt return but it does lack that intimacy I look for in a pub.

1 Dec 2014 22:15

De Garre, Bruges

The first pub visited on an afternoon session in Bruges. Great little bar tucked away down an alley that fills up very quickly. Good selection of beers, I had Hopus and Popperings Homelbier while my friend enjoyed the house beer.
Well worth seeking out.

1 Dec 2014 22:07

The Queens Arms, Brixham

Proper backstreet boozer situated near where Brixham Station once stood. A single room pub with six handpumps offering a constantly rotating selection of beers. They always have a couple of beers from local breweries like Otter and Hunters while Oakham make a regular appearance on the pumps. The beers are well-kept, hence the string of awards that the pub has deservedly received, including South Devon CAMRA pub of the year.
On my trips to this pub I've enjoyed Thornbridge Jaipur and several beers from the aforementioned Oakham - these include a very good stout called Hawse Buckler on my most recent visit.
Despite being off the beaten track the pub was rammed a couple of weeks back on a glorious summer evening, no doubt helped by it's entry in the 2014 GBG.
In the real ale desert of Torbay this is the No.1 destination for anyone looking for a decent pint.

16 Sep 2014 22:56

Bucaneer Inn, Babbacombe

St Austell Brewery pub on Babbacombe Downs. There are four handpumps dispensing brews from St Austell - HSD, Proper Job and Tribute, and a cider. My pints of Proper Job tasted fine but they were completely flat. The barmaid's unasked-for attempt to liven the second with a sparkler inevitably failed.
It looks and feels more like a restaurant than a pub. My visit was late afternoon and the place was virtually empty so maybe it livens up later. I won't be rushing back.

16 Sep 2014 22:44

Cary Arms , Babbacombe

Why is the first thing I see when I click onto this 'pub' a picture of a bedroom??!! What has that got to do with the pub or the beer it sells? Have the management of this establishment blatantly exploited this website to plug itself? I think we already know the answer.

25 Aug 2014 21:28

Scafell Hotel, Keswick

Entered this place after a glorious day walking in Borrowdale. The pub is surprisingly spacious, with a snug-like area to the left as you enter. Six pumps - at least two offerings from the Jennings stable and a beer from Keswick brewery. I can't recall what I had (possibly Loweswater Gold) not great, but it was cold and slaked my thirst.
This is the only pub in Rosthwaite, so if you're after a drink this is where you'll end up.

28 May 2014 22:46

The Cornubia, Bristol

Very small, narrow pub that doesn't take too many people to make it crowded.
Ten handpumps, four not in use. Two beers from Hook Norton, not one of my favourite breweries. I had a pint of Twisted Oak Slippery Slope, a quite tasty porter.
Given the reputation of the place I was not impressed with the selection on offer.
A disappointing first visit.

11 Dec 2013 22:56

The Evening Star, Brighton

Good session here before seeing the mighty Numan at the Dome. A good selection of beers on draught and keg. I had Waen Blackberry Stout and Dark Star APA while my companion enjoyed the Orchard Pig real cider.
Another pleasurable visit to the Star.

24 Nov 2013 22:45

In de Wildeman, Amsterdam

Traditional, atmospheric two-room pub. There is a large main bar as you enter, with a smaller room on the right. The pub was packed on two separate visits, but on both occasions we managed to secure a table in the smaller room. We had the excellent Nick & Simon IPA on both visits. Other beers sampled included Cantillon Cuvee St Gilloise and Rose de Gambrinus - not cheap but delicious. A good selection of beers and for me the best pub of the trip in terms of atmosphere.

19 Nov 2013 22:34

't IJ Proeflokaal (Brouwerij 't IJ), Amsterdam

L shaped bar with a large dead space at one end. Very basic furniture. The pub seemed slightly run down on this visit. The first beer sampled was Zatte, which was not great. The follow up, the IPA was very good and several more were consumed. Beer aside, I wasn’t greatly impressed with this place and won’t be rushing back.

14 Nov 2013 21:47

Square Orange, Keswick

The Square Orange is a fairly small cafe bar a two-minute walk from Main Street. There are two handpumps - on our visit dispensing Landlord and an ale from the Keswick Brewery - keg taps serving San Miguel and Leffe and a fridge stocked with US and European beers. I opted for a couple of bottles of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.
Stonebaked pizza is served every night except Thursday.
The stone floor, impressive counter and bar back, light fittings and fans give the place a continental ambience. The 'arty' clientele add to the bohemian atmosphere.
I liked this place a lot and will be back.

27 Sep 2013 23:01

Dog and Gun, Keswick

Perennially popular pub and deservedly so. Six pumps dispense beers from Cumbrian brewers, Keswick and Cumbrian Legendary Ales among them. On several visits I plumped for (and stayed on) the Hawkshead Windermere Pale, which was very tasty indeed. And the famous Hungarian goulash is superb.
The best pub in Keswick.

26 Sep 2013 23:08

Packhorse Inn, Keswick

Long, narrow pub in the naff Packhorse Court. Six pumps dispense Robinsons beers. I had a pint of the Double Hop IPA - crap, and expensive (£3.50).

26 Sep 2013 22:55

Bank Tavern, Keswick

The Bank is essentially a single room pub with the bar taking up half of the left hand wall but some central partitions give it a more intimate feel. There are eight pumps, five dispense Jennings ales while the other three offer guests. I opted for Marstons Single Hop Wakatu which was good.
The pub was packed full of 'tourists' (possibly because of the dreadful weather) on my lunchtime visit, and all of them were eating. I came here many times in the 80s, for the excellent steaks (the chef is long gone), so I've always viewed it as an eating establishment rather than a pub. However, the atmosphere was good and a pleasant couple of hours were spent here.

23 Sep 2013 23:28

Lake Road Inn, Keswick

Wedge shaped pub, four pumps serving Robinson's beers. I can't recall what I kicked off with but it wasn't good. My second pint, Dizzy's Dark Side wasn't too bad. The decision to eat here was a mistake - I had cod and chips - the fish was well past it's best and the chips, well, I'm still not sure how they were made, having a consistency I've never experienced before. Couple this with offhand service and your reasons for coming here reduce to zero. I suggest you avoid this place and go to the excellent Dog & Gun just next door.

22 Sep 2013 23:05

The Hare and Hounds, Kingskerswell

Standing on the main road between Newton Abbot and Torquay, this is more of a restaurant than a pub. The place was dong a roaring trade on a Sunday afternoon but the clientele were here for the food. I'm not sure anyone comes here to have a few pints. There are three handpumps serving Otter, Jail Ale and Tribute. The food was excellent, though.

8 Sep 2013 21:16

The Wellington, Sheffield

Splendidly unspoilt pub a short distance from the city centre. Two traditionally furnished rooms flank a central serving area. We opted for a beer from the pub's own Little Ale Cart Brewery, called Citra. It was excellent, and we ended up staying for several more.
Highly recommended.

22 Apr 2013 21:20

The Hillsborough Hotel, Sheffield

Paid my first visit to the Hillsborough recently and was not impressed. Six handpumps offering beers from Rudgate and the pub's own Wood Street Brewery. My companion and I opted for the Wood Street Pale Ale, dispensed through a sparkler. The beer was hazy and flat. I returned the beers and asked for the sparkler to be removed. The beer was still flat. We cut our losses and left.
There is a pleasant terrace at the back of the pub offering views across the Don Valley. However, on this showing, I won't be rushing back.

22 Apr 2013 21:14

Rising Sun, Brixham

Single room pub on the harbour. Two handpumps, serving Doom Bar and Bishop's Finger. My pint of Bishop's Finger was completely tasteless.
On our visit the pub was full of lowlife who behaved as if they owned the pub. We didn't stay there for long.
The worst pub I've been in for a very long time. Avoid.

31 Oct 2012 22:57

The Craft Beer Co, City of London

Sorry to have to stick a spanner in the works but I'm getting a little tired of all the sycophantic nonsense about this place. Sometimes the beer is good but sometimes it's very poor indeed. And the policy of 'showcasing' a particular brewery is a nonsense - on my last visit they had six or seven beers from one brewery and three or four from another. Where was my choice?
As for the alleged knowledgable staff - don't make me laugh. There are two bimbos behind the bar who know sweet FA about beer.
Now officially the most overrated pub on this site.

15 Oct 2012 22:50

The Old Fountain, Old Street

Enjoyable visit to the Fountain last week. An excellent selection of beers on tap - my pints of Oakham Carioca and Brodies Dalston Black were superb.

15 Oct 2012 22:35

The Cock Tavern, Hackney

When I heard that The Cock, a hive of scum and villainy the last time I visited, was now a real ale/craft beer pub, serving Thornbridge and Marble beers, I was keen to investigate. Ten handpumps serving a range of ales and ciders and eight keg taps. Among the beers on offer were Marble Chocolate Stout and Redemption Urban Dusk. My first choice was Thornbridge Kipling - one of my favourite beers. My pint was flat and warm - and tasted nothing like Kipling. My second beer was an IPA from the pub's own Howling Hops brewery. It wasn't bad, but again, it was too warm.
Following my experience at the Southampton Arms (and a recent one at Craft Beer Co.) I have to ask - are these pubs overreaching themselves? All three pubs serve ten or more beers. Perhaps a smaller range would allow them to spend more time and care on the beer.

11 Aug 2012 19:01

The Southampton Arms, Gospel Oak

Disappointing return visit to this pub on Thursday. I tried two beers - London Fields Pale Ale and Pixie Spring Prince of Bengal IPA - both were flat and warm. Given the reputation of the place this isn't good enough. Most of the reviews on this site don't comment on the quality of the beer and of those that have, a few have found it wanting. I have a feeling that the pub is not looking after it's beer properly. A shame.

11 Aug 2012 18:47

The Ship Inn, Teignmouth

The Ship is a long, narrow, traditional pub, always very busy. Five handpumps serving Proper Job, Yellowhammer and Tribute, among others. My pints of Proper Job were excellent.
The outside seating area offers beautiful views across the Teign estuary.
The best pub in Teignmouth by some distance.

1 Aug 2012 22:22

The Drum Inn, Torquay

The Drum Inn is a striking 1930s thatched building in the chocolate box village of Cockington. The approach via the arched entrance is most impressive. It bills itself as a traditional country pub but is nothing of the sort, being a gastropub/restaurant affair.
Three handpumps serving Tribute, Butcombe and Summer Lightning. My pint of Summer Lightning was in poor condition. The food was okay and reasonably priced. The outdoor drinking area, overlooking a sweeping lawn is quite pleasant.
I will give it another go next time I'm in the area.

24 Jul 2012 22:40

The Moorings Bar, Aberdeen

Rock'n'roll pub on the harbour. Single large room with that scruffy feel typical of this type of pub. Six pumps - offerings included the pub's own Moorings Ale and Fyne Ales Devaar. Our pints of the latter were not cold enough for me.
Jukebox with an extensive selection of music, mainly metal. Sabbath and Metallica were among the tunes played on our visit.
Entertainment was provided by a spectacularly drunk man who fell off his stool four times before being carried out by his friends.
This pub will appeal to rock/metal types but it's not the sort of place I would spend an evening.

27 May 2012 23:39

The Mash Tun, Aberlour

As soon as I entered this place I sensed the atmosphere was all wrong. It felt more like a restaurant than a pub. Groups of tourists sat eating at the tables. There wasn't a single person in here for the beer (or the extensive selection of single malts). In other words, not a local in sight.
The pub is a single room, the bar against the wall on the left. There are three handpumps - only two were in use, serving Royston's Hoppy Handful and Cairngorm Wild Cat. Our choice - the Hoppy Handful - wasn't up to much. We then moved on to the malts, which were good.
All the tables were reserved for evening meals as we left. I had been looking forward to visiting this 'pub' for a while but on this showing I won't be rushing back.

24 May 2012 23:13

Highlander Inn, Speyside

Getting to the bar of this place reminded me of the scene in 'Spinal Tap' where the band get lost trying to find the stage. Entering from street level you will wander through several rooms before finding the stairs which lead down to the bar. The door at the top of the stairs has the 'Bar' sign on the wrong side.
The bar was as silent as a mausoleum. At a large table in an alcove, a party of Germans sat eating in complete silence. There is a raised seating area outside.
Three pumps serving Trade Winds and Wild Cat's Highlander and Howler. Our pints of Trade Winds - normally a good pint - were on the turn.
I will give it another go if passing.

24 May 2012 23:02

The Grill, Aberdeen

Get past the rather plain frontage and you find yourself in a long, narrow pub with an ornate mahogany bar back and moulded ceiling. Note the brass strip running the length of the bar - this was once used to strike matches. Curiously, there are no stools in the pub, only the fixed leather seating, meaning people are obliged to sit beside each other.
There are four handpumps - beers being dispensed on our visit including Harviestoun Bitter'n'Twisted, Burnside Wild Rhino and Fyne Ales IPA Project Davaar. Our first beer, Wild Rhino, was good, but the follow-up, the Davaar, was superb.
On a return visit, the Davaar was sadly gone, but we had another Fyne Ale, Hurricane Jack, which was quite good. We also availed ourselves of the extensive range of single malts (300+) - the ones we tried were, again, superb.
This is a great pub.

23 May 2012 23:45

The Marine Hotel, Stonehaven

Nice old pub on the picturesque harbour.
Six handpumps - offerings included Houston APA, Kelburn Pivo Estivo, Deuchars and Landlord. Our first choice, the Houston APA, tasted sour and three pints were duly returned to the bar with no fuss. The replacement, the Pivo Estivo, was good. They also have a couple of foreign beers on draught, included Liefmans Frambozen.
Recommended.

23 May 2012 23:37

Bennet's Bar, Edinburgh

A superb example of Victorian pub architecture, the interior, to my mind, is more impressive than the more celebrated Cafe Royal. The intricately carved bar back holds four spirit casks while the seating opposite is housed in an ornate structure complete with mirrors and hand-painted tiles. The tables are inlaid with maps of Edinburgh and Scotland.
There are two handpumps dispensing Deuchars and 80/- and five air pressure fonts serving, among others, Schiehallion and Bitter'n'Twisted. My pints of Schiehallion were good. I also had a meal here which was just okay.
The pub was packed on my visit, with a good smattering of tourists - surprising since the pub is slightly off the beaten track.
Well worthy of a visit.

7 May 2012 00:08

The Sheeps Heid Inn, Duddingston

Descended on this pub from a wet and windy Arthur's Seat, in need of a refreshing pint. The pub has undergone 'gastrification' since my last visit. In fairness, the place was in need of a brush-up, but some of the atmosphere has been lost. Four pumps, beers included Red Squirrel Hopfest and Bitter'n'Twisted. My pints of the Hopfest were excellent, as was the delicious burger I ate (at a fairly steep 9.95).
Despite the more upmarket feel, this is still a good pub.

6 May 2012 00:06

Volunteers Arms, Musselburgh

Enjoyable return visit to 'Staggs'. Beers on tap included Fyne Ales Avalanche and offerings from Highland and Tempest. I've been here a few times now and they seem to favour hoppier beers, which is fine by me! My pints of Avalanche were excellent. The pub was very busy for early afternoon on a Wednesday.
The pub was given a spruce up last year and looks fantastic. An essential detour from the city.

29 Apr 2012 22:23

The Prestoungrange Gothenburg, Prestonpans

CAMRA National Inventory pub now restored to it's Edwardian glory. Check out the beautiful ceiling. The pub has it's own microbrewery, visible from the bar. With this in mind I was slightly disappointed to find only two ales on tap - one of which was Stewarts 80/-. However, the other beer, the pub's own Gothenburg Porter, was good. I also had a 'Gothenburger' which was delicious.
The pub's booklet claims to 'always have two or three ales' on tap. I asked one of the bar staff about this and she said they were having problems with equipment. I hope this is rectified soon. I liked the pub and would certainly visit again.

29 Apr 2012 22:13

The Guildford Arms, Edinburgh

What the hell has happened to this pub? A couple of years ago this was arguably the best pub in Edinburgh for real ale. On my recent visit only five of the ten pumps were in use and dispensing a boring choice - two beers from Kelburn, Deuchars and Stewart 80/-. I managed a couple of mouthfuls of the Stewart 80/- before decamping to the BrewDog bar.

26 Apr 2012 22:29

Leslies Bar, Edinburgh

I first visited this pub a couple of years ago and can confirm that the interior is indeed quite magnificent. However, the selection of beers on that occasion was poor and low in quality. I paid a return visit last week and nothing has changed. There are six handpumps (two were not in use) dispensing an uninteresting range - Landlord, Deuchars, McEwans 80/- and Stewarts 80/-. My pint of Deuchars was warm and flat and as dead as a dodo.
If you want to see a beautifully unspoilt bar you will not be disappointed. Just don't expect a decent pint.

26 Apr 2012 22:19

The Craft Beer Co, City of London

Return visit to the Craft Beer Co. on Saturday. Good selection available, including four Dark Star beers. I started with a pint of Arbor Single Hop Dana which I wasn't too keen on. I then tried Redemption Big Chief, a very flavoursome pale ale that tasted a lot stronger than it's alleged 5.5%.
An essential destination for beer lovers.

6 Dec 2011 19:03

Euston Tap, Euston

A wonderful selection of beers on offer on Friday night. Punk IPA, Nogne Pale Ale, Liverpool Organic Imperial Russian Stout, Arbor 500 Minute IPA, Schlenkerla Marzen and Odell IPA - all superb.

6 Dec 2011 18:57

The Great Western Hotel, Exeter

The Great Western, although a hotel, is a good old fashioned boozer. Seven pumps on the bar were dispensing ales from, among others, Bays, Branscombe and Dartmoor. I had two pints of RCH Pitchfork which were excellent.
The pub sits next to Exeter Station and is a good place to end a crawl of the city. I'll be back.

22 Nov 2011 22:54

The Imperial, Exeter

This pub has the grandest entrance of any I know. A sweeping driveway climbs past a gatehouse and sloping lawn to a fine building with extensive views westwards from the terrace beer garden. The interior is equally impressive, with two distinct drinking areas to the left of the wide hallway.
The bar is bisected by a dividing wall, with the ales dispensed from the counter on the right. A fairly uninspiring selection on my visit, I plumped for a pint of Brakspear's Triple - not a favourite but well kept. The bar was understaffed, a common problem in Spoons for some reason.
The pub was full of irritating students on my visit.
Architecturally the best Spoons I've been in and the beer garden is probably a great place to sit on a balmy summer evening. Worth visiting if you happen to be passing but not one to make a detour to.

22 Nov 2011 22:36

The Well House, Exeter

I visited this pub for the first time on Saturday and was deeply unimpressed. The place was grubby, with dirty tables and food on the floor. There was a suited young man (the manager?) walking around picking up glasses but seemingly oblivious to the detritus scattered about. 'Pop music' was playing at an obtrusive level. The decor and lighting were more akin to a 'modern' restaurant than a pub.
The interior is a single room with the bar situated in the right hand corner. Six handpumps, one not in use, the others dispensing four ales and a cider. I opted for a pint of O'Hanlon's Flagship IPA which was quite drinkable.
This place did not feel remotely like my idea of a pub and I won't be returning any time soon.

22 Nov 2011 22:24

The Stockbridge Tap, Edinburgh

Visited this pub for the first time last week after discovering that it was hosting an Autumn Real Ale Festival. Beers sampled were Highland Orkney Blast, a pale golden ale which was very tasty, Saltaire Cheeky Kriek which failed to have the cherry kick I was expecting and Tempest Brave New World on keg - a delicious 7% IPA (only being sold in half-pint measures). On a return visit I had Boggart Hole Clough Rum Porter and Steel City Sheffield Hop Infusion Team - both were excellent.
The pub itself is L-shaped, wooden floored, with green tiles and several engraved mirrors advertising defunct breweries. There are fireplaces at both ends, though the one at the front is obscured by an ugly wood-burning stove.
I wasn't keen on the church pew benches which were a bit hard on the rear though there are some armchairs and sofas further back.
Along with the new BrewDog Bar, this was the best beer I drank all week and the pub is on the itinerary now!

5 Oct 2011 23:09

Linen Hall, Enniskillen

Typical Spoons outlet with typical incompetent Spoons staff. I was asked my favourite question "Who's next?" on both visits to the bar. However, there is a pleasant outdoor drinking area and the two pints of Schiehallion were good and a refreshing respite from the black stuff.

28 Aug 2011 22:58

The Bay Horse Inn, Totnes

No-frills pub with a rustic feel at the very top of the town. Four handpumps offering beers from Dartmoor, South Hams, Otter and Bays. Not being a fan of any of these I opted for the real cider (Ashworth?) and very nice it was too. There are at least five more ciders on tap, albeit of the carbonated variety.
The pub has three distinct drinking areas - the front bar, a middle room and the back bar. There is a sizeable split-level garden at the back which I can imagine being a suntrap on a hot summer's day.
Despite the disappointing beer selection, this is a very nice pub and I will be back.

21 Jul 2011 20:42

The Craft Beer Co, City of London

When I first started seeing the term 'craft beer' it was always in articles about the new flavoursome beers being produced by US microbreweries. In more recent times the term has been linked to the more exciting new UK breweries like Thornbridge and BrewDog. With this in mind (and having read the preceding reviews) I had high hopes for my first visit to the Craft Beer Co. While not quite living up to expectations the experience was generally a good one. There are sixteen handpumps - the majority of the beers being dispensed were from breweries I had never heard of. I started with a pint of Fyne Ales Avalanche, normally a good pint, but this one had diacetyl. My second pint, Crouch Vale Yakima Gold was much better. I also tried the Otley Thai-Bo, an unusual beer with hints of lemongrass, but very drinkable. Prices for the cask beers are reasonable for this part of London.
There are at least ten keg taps dispensing slightly more expensive brews. My companion and I tried the Southern Tier Double IPA (3.95 for a half pint). It was delicious and a good session closer.
As noted this is a proper pub with a huge Charringtons mirror, a chandelier and a unique mirrored ceiling. There is fixed raised seating and high tables - never my favourite as I've mentioned before. Previous reviews suggest that the team behind CASK pub & kitchen are involved in this place. I wholly endorse their latest venture and shall return very soon.

4 Jul 2011 22:27

Euston Tap, Euston

The first time I visited this bar (it's not really a pub in the accepted sense) I thought it had the most amazing selection of beers I had ever seen. Fantastic brews from Thornbridge, BrewDog, Marble and Otley - what wasn't to like? Subsequent visits were equally enjoyable but in recent times it has become very much a hit-and-miss affair. You can try to time your visit by keeping an eye on the beerlist on their blog but this can and does change with such frequency that the beer you fancy may well be gone by the time you get here. While this means the beer will generally be fresh, it also means you may struggle to find a beer you like. However, if you like Camden, Redemption and Bristol Beer Factory brews, you are guaranteed at least one from each.
The building itself is in one of the former gatehouses flanking the entrance to Euston Station and they have tried to utilise the limited space as best as possible. There is a spiral staircase leading up to a small drinking area with fixed leather seating. This is where you'll find the 'conveniences' - not so convenient when you have to negotiate that staircase to get to them, and a serious challenge after a few pints. The size and shape of the place negate any sense of comfort and it lacks the atmosphere and warmth of a proper boozer. I approve of the Euston Tap in principle but never feel truly relaxed in here. One for a couple of pints before moving elsewhere.

4 Jul 2011 22:16

The Harp, Covent Garden

A couple of excellent pints of Hophead consumed here last week. The sausages were also good.
I still think this is a great pub but CAMRA Pub of the Year? I visit this place often and while any pub that serves Hophead on a regular basis gets a thumbs-up from me I would like to have a bit of choice. They need to be a bit more adventurous with their rotating ales and then maybe they would be more deserving of that award.

16 Jun 2011 18:51

The Cambridge Blue, Cambridge

Enjoyable return visit to the Blue. More Oakham beers consumed here - Inferno and Bishop's Farewell - again excellent. As was the bottle of Schlenkerler Rauchbier.
Still essential on a crawl of the town.

16 Jun 2011 18:40

The Kingston Arms, Cambridge

Oh dear. What's happened here. Our pints of JHB and Jaipur had a creamy head and were almost completely flat. The Jaipur, in particular, tasted nothing like what it was claiming to be.
Maybe they were having an off day but this was visit was a major disappointment.

16 Jun 2011 18:37

The Live and Let Live, Cambridge

Three beers from Oakham on the pumps - Scarlet Macaw, X-Terminator and Midnight o Mild. We sampled the Macaw and X-Terminator - both were excellent. On a return visit later in the evening we tried another Oakham beer, Helter Skelter - again excellent.
My favourite pub in Cambridge.

16 Jun 2011 18:32

Murphy's, Manhattan

Next door to Jamesons, the interior of Murphy's is a mirror image of it's neighbour. I had several pints of Goose Island IPA which were good. Music again UK leaning - didn't imagine hearing the Arctic Monkeys in NY.
The large window at the front was open and my companion and I sat by it, admiring the many attractive young women passing by.
Again not one to make an effort to get to but okay.
If you're after good beer in New York I recommend the excellent Pony Bar on 10th Ave/45 St or Rattle'n'Hum on E 33 St. I've tried to register these pubs on BITE without success.

5 Jun 2011 13:31

Jameson's, Manhattan

One of the many faux Irish pubs that line this stretch of 2nd Avenue, Jamesons is a long, narrow pub with dark wood and dim lighting. No ale on tap but the Sam Adams Boston Lager wasn't too bad. Music tended toward Anglophile (Oasis, Smiths).
OK if you're in the area and feeling thirsty but not worth going out of your way for.

5 Jun 2011 13:16

The Seven Stars, Bristol

Single room pub with horseshoe bar. Brightly lit interior, wooden floored. A jukebox that could be called eclectic, I'll just settle for plain weird (Boyzone and crappy 80s 'dance' music?)
The pub was having a Cornish ales festival on my visit. Beers on offer came from, among others, Lizard, Keltek and Driftwood. I tried Coastal Erosion, a strong old ale and Penpot Shipwreck Coast which was very fruity. I saved the best till last - Tintagel Gwaf Tan, a 5.8% porter - whch was excellent.
This is a PUB and I'll be back.

22 Feb 2011 22:19

The Kings Head, Bristol

Wonderfully unspoilt CAMRA inventory pub. Long and narrow, with the 'Tramcar Snug' at the back on the right. This is an enclosed drinking area with a servery to the bar. Wood-panelled, original bell pushes and gas lit. The corridor is adorned with framed prints of Bristol and trams. The bar back is engraved with the words 'Port and Sherry', 'Cigars', 'Mineral Waters', 'Claret' and has a splendid mirror advertising Burton Ales and Dublin Stout in gold leaf.
An unimaginative ale selection - Sharps Doom Bar and Cornish Coaster, Wadworth 6X and Butcombe Gold. My pints of Cornish Coaster and 6X were okay, not really to my taste. Expensive as well - 3.30 a pint.
Worth dropping in to check out the interior, maybe you'll like the beer as well.
8 for the pub, 4 for the beer.

22 Feb 2011 22:01

The Village, Salisbury

Another pub less than five minutes from the station if you feel inclined to grab a quick pint before catching your train. Five pumps serving among others Downton Quadhop, Poachers Black Crow Stout and Andwell King John. I sampled all three of these - the Quadhop was good, the stout had an incredibly bitter aftertaste and the King John was a bit bland.
The pub itself is in dire need of a makeover. I found it a bit manky to be honest. Not one I'd rush back to.

30 Jan 2011 12:14

The Wyndham Arms, Salisbury

This pub was the original home of the Hopback Brewery, a fact noted by the carved head of Bacchus hanging over the entrance. It's a long narrow pub, with a sort of room at the front, separated from the main body of the pub by a chimney, and another little drinking area off to the right.
Six pumps dispense a range of Hopback beers including Taiphoon, Rye Tangle and Ginger Stout. My pints of GFB and Summer Lightning were excellent.
Sitting by a warming fire I could have spent a little longer in here. For me this was the best pub I visited on this trip. I will return.

30 Jan 2011 12:09

The Winchester Gate, Salisbury

A ten minute walk from the town centre brings you to the Winchester Gate, cut off from the town by the hideous motorway just outside it's doors. The pub has two bars, the one on the left, which has a stage, was deserted, possibly owing to the fact that it had nowhere to sit in it. The right hand bar, as others on here have noted, is a curious mix of lounge and public bar. The pool table sticks out like a sore thumb. There were four or five customers on my visit, all sitting at the bar.
There were three ales on the pumps, Botley Mill, Sixpenny 6d Black and Hopback Crop Circle. My pint of Crop Circle was a couple of degrees colder than I would have liked. I can't say I warmed to the place, mainly because it was bloody freezing in there. I'm getting a little bit irritated with pubs that are too tight to put their heat on on cold days. This fact, combined with the schizophrenic nature of the interior, means that I'm only giving this pub a 5.

30 Jan 2011 11:59

The Rai D'Or, Salisbury

I only managed to get into this pub for one pint before closing time so didn't really get a detailed impression of the place. It's a fairly small L-shaped pub with a slight 'cafe-bar' vibe. Two handpumps - one had a Hophead clip turned inwards, the other was serving Downton Port Stout. My pint of the latter was excellent.
The pub doesn't open until 5pm, a fact I only discovered when I attempted a return visit the next day. From my brief impression of the place I would say it is definitely one to include in any crawl of the town.

26 Jan 2011 22:59

Deacons, Salisbury

Pub No.2 on my Salisbury visit. Three pumps serving Hopback GFB and Summer Lightning and Sharps Doom Bar. Had a couple of excellent pints of GFB - 2.30 a pint, 90 pence cheaper than the Haunch of Venison and vastly superior.
The pub has a traditional, basic interior and a nice atmosphere and is handily paced near the railway station for a last pint before catching your train.

24 Jan 2011 23:06

The Haunch of Venison, Salisbury

Paid my first visit to this pub on Friday and can't say I was too impressed. The pub is on CAMRA's National Inventory for it's interior, which is admittedly impressive, but I was left with the unmistakeable impression that whoever is running this pub is extracting the urine big time. GFB is 3.20 a pint while Summer Lightning is an astonishing 3.50. I had a pint of the GFB which was not well kept.
Normally I would say a pub is worth visiting for the interior alone, but I'm going to make an exception this time as this place needs a hefty kick up the arse.

24 Jan 2011 23:01

CASK Pub and Kitchen, Pimlico

Paid a long overdue visit to the CASK on Friday. Thornbridge Hopton and Brewdog Edge on the pumps. I had a couple of pints of the Hopton which was excellent. I also had a burger and chips which, again, were good.
BUT...the pub was playing music far too loud, with the result that everyone in the pub was talking loudly. Having to shout to be heard is for nightclubs, not pubs and I'm a little surprised at Martin for allowing the music to be played at such a volume in his pub. The pub was rammed so he probably won't care about my opinion but if this becomes the norm in his pub I won't be returning.

12 Dec 2010 23:31

The Plough Inn, Taunton

Long, narrow pub with a small seating area at the front and stools at the bar. There is a further long narrow room behind this as well as two split level seating areas. The pub has a nice, traditional feel to it.
No handpumps, beer is served direct from the barrel. Beers available on my visit included Moor Revival and Otter Amber. Six ciders also straight from the barrel - I sampled Orchard Pig and Rich's Farmhouse - the latter was very nice but both were far too warm for my taste.
A nice pub but from previous reviews and my own experience they need to care for the beers/ciders properly.
I will give the place another go next time I'm in town.

19 Oct 2010 20:40

The Castle Green Inn, Taunton

Paid my first visit to this pub to attend a beer festival. Twenty beers on stillage - highlights were the Bristol Beer Factory's Southville Hop, an American-style IPA and Moor JJJ IPA - a powerful 9% beer - both were delicious.
The pub itself is a large, barn-like structure - wooden-floored, oak beams, ceiling spotlights with a very modern feel. Four pumps - the only beer I can recall being Wickwar Bob.
The place doesn't really have the atmosphere I look for in a pub but the beer was good and I will visit again next time I'm in Taunton.

19 Oct 2010 20:31

The Cider Bar, Newton Abbot

Ah, this is my kind of place! A very basic interior, stools crafted from barrels, the barrel motif extending to the bar, mostly stone floored with herringbone parquet in some areas. Beyond the bar a long narrow seating area leads out to an equally narrow yard with raised seating.
A huge selection of ciders and perries, mostly direct from the barrel and mead, as well as a large selection of wines in a bewildering variety of flavours - including damson, sloe and elderberry.
I sampled several perries - Westons, Merrylegs Broadoak and Sam's Autumn Cider and something called Suicider. I also tried the damson wine which was superb.
This is a no-nonsense drinking hole and I shall be returning very soon.

13 Oct 2010 19:09

The Wolborough Inn, Newton Abbot

Single room L shaped pub with the bar to the left as you enter. Low-ceilinged and mostly wooden-floored with a nice, basic feel to it. Three pumps serving Otter Ale, Teignworthy Reel Ale and Dartmoor Jail Ale. My pint of Jail Ale was okay. There was only one other customer on my visit but I would imagine it gets a good crowd. I will come back again.

13 Oct 2010 18:56

Union Inn, Newton Abbot

Large, single room pub with entrances either side of the bar which, unusually faces inwards to the back wall. Five pumps - four in operation on my visit - serving Doom Bar, Tribute, Teignworthy Beachcomber and O'Hanlons Port Stout. I tried the Port Stout which was good.
On my midday visit, 90% of the clientele were of the elderly persuasion and all of them were eating (a coachload of tourists perhaps?).
I can't quite put my finger on it, but it just didn't have the right atmosphere that I look for in a pub. However, I will try it again next time I'm in the area

13 Oct 2010 18:48

The Globe Hotel, Topsham

Six pumps - five beers available on my visit - Otter Amber and Ale, Exmoor Wild Cat, Doom Bar and Directors. I tried the Otter Amber and Ale, the Amber wasn't too bad.
The oak panelling and beams give the bar an atmospheric feel but you're very much aware that you're in a hotel as opposed to a pub - the reception area is merely an extension of the bar and guests were checking in inches from where I sat. Given a more interesting selection of ales I would consider a return visit.

8 Oct 2010 18:48

Exeter Inn, Topsham

The 2010 GBG states that this pub has a 'vast choice of real ales, 14 in total'. I was therefore somewhat disappointed to find only four pumps on the bar and an uninspiring selection of ales - two from Teignworthy and Hunters Gold and Lytham Gold. Has the pub changed hands recently? I plumped for a pint of the Lytham which was okay.
The pub is long and thin, with a pool area at one end and a dartboard at the other. Two large TVs, one in an alcoved area and one in a very obtrusive position in the middle of the pub (thankfully not on on my visit).
The pub was empty on my mid-afternoon visit so it was slightly lacking in atmosphere. Not one I'd hurry to again

8 Oct 2010 18:35

The Bridge, Topsham

Wonderfully atmospheric ancient pub on the outskirts of Topsham village which dates back to the 16th century. There are two rooms - the 'snug', connected to the servery is low ceilinged, dark and cosy and has a fireplace which, sadly, is no longer open and a separate room to the left as you enter the pub. There is a further room behind the bar, known as the 'Inner Sanctum', which, as the previous reviewer has noted is open to the public 'by invitation'.
Nine ales were on offer on my visit, all served direct from the cellar. I sampled two from Branscombe Vale - Branoc, a pale, hoppy beer which was quite refreshing and Summa That, a light, golden beer which, to my surprise, I wasn't impressed with. I also tried Exeter Avocet which was okay and O'Hanlons Stormstay, a copper coloured, slightly sweetish beer and Vale Black Beauty, a porter, both of which I enjoyed.
This is a lovely unspoilt pub, only slightly marred by the traffic roaring past its doors. Don't get caught out by the daytime opening hours - 12 to 2 during the week!

6 Oct 2010 00:07

The Bree Louise, Euston

I hadn't planned on a return visit to this pub having been let down too many times by the quality of the beer. However, when a friend noted that they had four BrewDog beers on stillage, it had to be investigated. The beers on offer were Trashy Blonde, 5AM Saint, Punk IPA and Paradox Isle of Arran. The beers we tried, Punk IPA and Paradox were superb (and at the right temperature!)
It's certainly made me think of paying the pub another visit sometime.

30 Jul 2010 16:46

The Old Cross Tavern, Hertford

Foghorn (or should that be F***wit?), when you start writing reviews about PUBS and BEER (the purpose of this site) then just maybe I might believe you have a clue what you're talking about.

21 Jul 2010 16:02

The Rake, London Bridge

Paid my second visit to this pub last night. Brewdog Punk IPA and Dark Star Meltdown on the pumps. I had several delicious pints of Punk IPA and very reasonably priced it was too. Large selection of European and American beers in the fridge. Tiny place but an essential stop if in the area.

21 Jul 2010 15:31

Jolly Butchers, Stoke Newington

Paid a return visit last week and was greatly pleased to find the pub hosting a 'Brewdog week'. Trashy Blonde, 5AM Saint and Punk IPA on the pumps, 77 Lager and Hardcore IPA (9.2% and being sold in half-pint measures) on the taps. My pints of Trashy Blonde and Punk IPA were good, but still not cold enough! Nevertheless, an improvement on my last visit.

21 Jul 2010 15:25

The Old Cross Tavern, Hertford

Foghorn, if you were there on Friday and found the beer to be drinkable then you are as clueless as I earlier surmised. It was my companion who put forward the opinion that the beers had been put on too soon, and believe me, he knows a lot more about beer than I do!
You have made over a hundred contributions to this site and two things stand out - you don't talk about beer ('I've drunk for Engerland' (sic) - my arse!!) and you're a foul mouthed yob. Hopefully the mediator will now see you for the troublemaker that you are and remove you from this site forever.

11 Jun 2010 22:41

The Old Cross Tavern, Hertford

Foghorn (appropriate name that, a loud unpleasant noise) did you attend Friday's session at the Old Cross? I'm guessing that you didn't and even if you did I doubt you are capable of telling whether a beer was 'off' or not, seeing as your 'reviews' never mention beer (or anything else for that matter, one wonders if you actually understand the purpose of this site)
For your information, my companion made a return visit on the Sunday and found the beers to be good, confirming our view that perhaps they were not ready to be served on the Friday.
Why don't you stop making fatuous comments about other people's contributions to this site and start reviewing pubs and beer. Or is that beyond your capabilities?

11 Jun 2010 16:39

The Old Cross Tavern, Hertford

Paid a visit to the Old Cross on Friday, looking forward to it's annual beer festival. My friend and I were initially impressed with the breweries represented. Between us we sampled two Brewdog beers - The Physics and Trashy Blonde, Crouch Vale Apollo, two Castle Rock beers - Harvest Pale and Screech Owl, Dark Star IPA and Houston Blonde Bombshell. With the exception of the Apollo, they were all duds. Perhaps they had been put on too soon? Given that some of our favourite breweries were on show we were extremely disappointed. We cut our losses and moved on to the draught Hophead, which was excellent.
This is still a very good pub but sadly, the beer festival was a major letdown.

30 May 2010 23:35

The Old Fountain, Old Street

Paid a visit yesterday for the pub's very first beer festival. Ten beers on stillage and eight on tap - almost all of those sampled were superb, including Pictish Brewers Gold, Crouch Vale Dry Hopped Brewers Gold, Marble Pint, Dark Star Victorian Ruby Mild and Red Squirrel American 100 Special.
An excellent first festival, well done to all involved.

21 May 2010 23:36

Jolly Butchers, Stoke Newington

Visited this pub for the first time on Monday, enticed here by the mention of Thornbridge and Dark Star beers.
There are nine pumps, beers available on my visit included Dark Star American Pale Ale, Crouch Vale Amarillo, two from Thornbridge, a cider and a perry. There is a selection of foreign beers on tap including the splendid Schlenkerler Rauchbier. I started on the American Pale Ale which was a couple of degrees too warm, probably because it was served in a warm glass. I had to ask for the beer to be topped up. The second pint was better , though still not cold enough for my taste. I switched to the Crouch Vale Amarillo, which was again served in a WARM GLASS. I also sampled the Thornbridge Lord Marples, which was good, but again not cold enough.
This pub has the potential to be very good but the beer could be kept a little better and the issue of serving it in a warm glass needs to be addressed.
A disappointing visit but I will give it another try sometime.

5 May 2010 23:33

The Guildford Arms, Edinburgh

Wedge-shaped pub hidden behind the eastern end of Princes Street. The revolving door is an unusual feature. Giant TV above the entrance, which no-one was watching.
Ten handpumps serving, amongst others, Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, Orkney Dark Island, Thornbridge Seaforth and Raven and Fyne Ales Avalanche. On my visits I tried the Thornbridge Seaforth and the Fyne Ales Avalanche - both were excellently kept. The Avalanche was proving particularly popular.
Probably the best pub for real ale in the town centre.

27 Apr 2010 22:46

The Auld Hoose, Edinburgh

Single room pub with horseshoe bar. Three handpumps dispensing Deuchars, Hobgoblin and Fyne Ales Avalanche. I had several pints of the Avalanche which was an excellent hoppy ale. All ales are 3.10. I had a burger and chips here which was enormous and very good (6.95).
The pub has an 'alternative' jukebox which was playing an atrocious racket when I arrived. I was somewhat taken aback, therefore, when after five or six tracks of turgid nonsense I heard the opening strains of Fad Gadget's 'Back To Nature'. Investigation of the jukebox revealed, amongst the thrash metal or whatever you call it, albums by Fad, Joy Division, Magazine and the Dead Kennedies.
Good beer, good food and some good stuff on the jukebox. What more do you need from a pub?

18 Apr 2010 22:24

The Halfway House, Edinburgh

Tiny wedge-shaped pub, which, as the name suggests, is halfway up (or down) Fleshmarket Close. Four handpumps - on my visit I had pints of Cairngorm Howler, a very drinkable porter, and the Highland Scapa Special. Both were well kept. All beers are 3.00.
The pub was packed on my visit, but given it's size that's not too difficult. I didn't try the food but prices looked very reasonable. Again, the pub was harshly lit - don't they like a bit of atmosphere in these pubs?

16 Apr 2010 00:16

The Abbotsford, Edinburgh

This is one of a dwindling number of pubs on Rose Street worth visiting, a distinctive red sandstone building with one of the most impressive interiors in Edinburgh. The pub is a single large room with an intricately carved mahogany island bar and a decorative ceiling in green and cream painted plaster. There is fixed seating around the walls with and stools around the bar. In one corner, opposite the bar, is an equally impressive mahogany food counter with back gantry and mirrored panels.
Five handpumps dispensing Orkney IPA and Dark Island, Wylam Gold Tankard, Stewart's Copper Cascade and Strathaven Avondale. I had a pint of the Avondale which was a refreshing amber ale.
On my visit I found the pub to be harshly lit and lacking in atmosphere. Nevertheless it is one of the most beautiful pubs in Edinburgh and should not be missed.

16 Apr 2010 00:04

The Starbank Inn, Edinburgh

As soon as I entered this pub I felt an overwhelming feeling of disappointment. I felt like I was in a restaurant that served beer as opposed to a pub. Maybe it was the smartly dressed people occupying all the tables. Maybe it was the uniformed barmen with the seriously gelled hair. It just isn't the traditional boozer I was expecting.
There are eight pumps although only four of them were in operation serving Landlord, Abbot and Kelburn Goldihops. Despite there being four barmen I still waited for about five minutes to be served. I opted for a pint of the Goldihops which was filled to a certain point and then left with a large head. I naively assumed the barman was leaving it to settle and would come back to top it up (wrong!) I had to ask another barman to do it. I found the pint to be insipid.
The pub is in the GBG so maybe I was unlucky but I won't be hurrying back.

11 Apr 2010 16:13

Volunteers Arms, Musselburgh

A splendidly traditional boozer. The main bar is wood-panelled, with a couple of partitions around fixed seating and has a giant TV sitting on a shelf behind the bar, straddled by two large beer barrels. A second TV hangs in another corner. Through a doorway is the 'Bar Lounge', a smaller room with another TV. There is a larger lounge bar further back but the doors leading in to it were locked on this visit. The pub has won numerous CAMRA awards which hang in frames on one wall.
Six pumps dispensing two beers from Blue Monkey, Deuchars, Orkney IPA, Oakham JHB and Thornbridge Jaipur. I tried the Orkney IPA which was okay, and the JHB and the Jaipur which were both superb.
This is an excellent pub well worth a detour from the city. Take the No.44 bus from Princes Street and get off at the Brunton Theatre. The pub is just behind the theatre.

11 Apr 2010 15:52

Gordon's Wine Bar, Charing Cross

Paid another visit to this fantastic bar with a friend on Monday.
The place is still as atmospheric as ever, and slightly cleaner than it was a few years ago when there was dust and cobwebs everywhere.
We drank a bottle of Chilean Merlot, which, at 15.00, is the cheapest bottle on the list and very nice it was too. Of the two choices on the food front - cold meat or cheese selection, we opted for the cheese plate which was very good value for 7.75.
I've always loved this place and everyone I take there loves it too!

2 Apr 2010 17:19

The Harp, Covent Garden

Another enjoyable session at The Harp last week. The only beers I recall were three from Dark Star - Hophead, Sussex Stout and Festival. My pints of Hophead and Sussex Stout were excellent. We got in the pub around 5.30 and it was fairly busy but within half an hour it was absolutely heaving.
One of the best pubs in London.

31 Mar 2010 23:48

The Porterhouse, Covent Garden

Finally got round to visiting this place for the first time last week. The pub is on three levels - basement, ground floor and mezzanine - with bars on each level. The interior has a similar feel and appearance to it's sister pub in Dubin. As in Dublin the Porterhouse beers are on keg and the ones I recall being available were Templebrau, Wrasslers Stout, Oyster Stout, Plain Porter, Porterhouse Red and Brainblasta. There was a guest ale on pump but I can't remember what it was. I had a pint of the Plain Porter, which was a very drinkable stout. As they did not have the Hop Head which I had enjoyed in Dublin I followed this with a pint of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. The beers are expensive, around 3.75 for the Plain and 4.50 for the Sierra Nevada.
I might pop in again if drinking in the area.

31 Mar 2010 23:32

The King Charles I, Kings Cross

This was my fourth or fifth visit to this pub and I do like the dark, traditional feel of the place, especially when, as on Saturday, they have big, roaring fire. What I'm less keen on is the beer they sell. I've tried several Brodies beers now and I just can't seem to get enthusiastic about them. On Saturday they had four on the pumps including West End Best, Jamaican Stout and Amarila. I had a pint of the Amarilla which was just okay (and slightly too warm for my liking) while my friend opted for the West End Best. He wasn't able to finish his pint which says it all really. But my biggest gripe was the price of the beer. I was somewhat taken aback when the barman asked for 6.40 for the two pints. Having just paid 2.90 for a superb pint of Hophead in the Charles Lamb I think that charging these prices for what I consider to be very average beer is on the cheeky side. Then again, King's Cross is allegedly an up and coming area, so maybe their rates are high.
7/10 for the pub, 3/10 for the beer.

17 Mar 2010 22:28

Messrs Maguire, Dublin

This pub sprawls over four floors in a building overlooking O'Connell Bridge. There are bars on the ground and first floor. The stairs to the upper floors were blocked on my visit. I sat at a window overlooking the river on the first floor. There are two impressive fireplaces with rooms at split level behind them. At bar level there is a seating area to the left of the bar with bookshelves adorning the walls.
There are five beers brewed especially for the pub - Plain (Dublin Stout), Rusty (Irish Red Ale), Bock ('a malty Irish lager'), Haus ('a German-style premium beer') and Weiss. I had a pint of Plain which I didn't find to my taste. Having just come from The Porterhouse I had been hoping to find at least one hoppy 'golden' beer but as I was pushed for time I didn't get to try any of the other ales so I may have missed something good!
However, it is good to see a pub in Dublin (see also The Porterhouse) attempting to educate people about beer and I shall pay a return visit in the future.

17 Mar 2010 22:09

The Porterhouse, Dublin

In the ale desert that is Dublin, the Porterhouse shines like a beacon. It is owned by the Porterhouse Brewing Co. who have bars in Bray down the coast and in Covent Garden. Beers are on keg and all brewed by the Porterhouse. Ones I recall are Porterhouse Red, Chiller Lager, and Hop Head. I sampled the Hop Head which, after nearly two weeks of drinking Guinness, was pure nectar. A fairly strong (4.8%) hoppy beer, it was absolutely delicious. I also tried a bottle of Brainblasta, which was a 7% plus beer, and not to my taste. The Hop Head was 4.75 euro for a pint, which may seem dear but with Guinness costing close to 5 euros (admirably not sold in here I should mention) it's not hard to make a choice!
I also ate here, opting for the 'Porterhouse Burger' which was huge and tasty (ten euros).
The building spans four floors, though I did not venture beyond ground level. The furniture is the kind I dislike - high tables and chairs. Glass cabinets filled with bottles of beer from around the world adorn the walls . There was music being played at slightly too loud a volume for my taste.
Despite these reservations, I thoroughly recommend this pub to anyone in Dublin looking for a decent pint.

17 Mar 2010 21:52

McDaids, Dublin

Large single-room pub with stools and ledges as you enter and low tables and chairs further back. The pub has a high ceiling, with stained glass windows and wooden floors. There is a lot of dark wood and some beautiful tiling below the bar counter and around the walls depicting flowers and birds. A large section of tiling behind the bar declares the pub's name. Some partitioning near the back affords some privacy.
For the drinks selection refer to previous reviews!
Well worth a visit.

16 Mar 2010 20:01

Kehoe's, Dublin

This is another wonderfully unspoilt pub right in the heart of the city and is pretty much as I remember it from my first visit in 1983. The interior is dark and atmospheric - as you enter the pub there is a large snug on the left with service to the bar, dark wood partitions create separate drinking spaces along the bar and there is a funny little room on the right that I sat in all those moons ago. Beyond the bar and a corridor is a larger room. Behind the bar is a fine old cash register and a large bureau with lots of little drawers.
Drinks served are the usual suspects (see previous reviews).
A lovely pub not to be missed.

16 Mar 2010 19:51

Doheny and Nesbitts, Dublin

Just across the road from Toners, this is another beautiful pub. As in Toners, the bar counter is divided by partitions giving a feeling of intimacy. There are snugs at either end of the servery. A large engraved mirror advertises Darcy's Old Irish Whiskey. Rugby shirt adorn the walls and ceiling. There is a larger 'public' bar at the rear of the pub which does not have the same ambience. Again many taps selling Guinness and a variety of lagers including the ubiquitous Carlsberg and Heineken.
Worth popping in if crawling in the area.

11 Mar 2010 21:14

Toners, Dublin

The sign outside says 'Toners. A pub' which, while stating the obvious, is rather modest given that this is a wonderfully unspoilt pub of the kind that is fast disappearing in Dublin. The interior is all dark wood and softly lit. There is a wonderfully intact snug at the front of the pub. The bar counter is split by mirrored partitions affording a degree of privacy. There are two impressive engraved mirrors advertising Mitchells Old Irish and Powers Whiskeys.
There are twelve taps serving Guinness, Murphys, Kilkenny, Smithwicks, Carlsberg, Heineken and a couple of other lagers which escape me. No ale but my Guinness was not too bad.
A lovely, atmospheric old pub.

11 Mar 2010 21:02

Blakes of the Hollow, Enniskillen

Another Victorian classic, on CAMRA's National Inventory, in the centre of Enniskilllen. The pub is a long single bar, with dark wood-panelling on the walls and ceiling. To the left, as you enter is a small snug, with another at the other end of the bar. Up a flight of steps is the former 'publican's office' from which he could observe proceedings. Behind this is another snug and then a larger room with a pool table.
The usual suspects are available on tap - Guinness, Carlsberg, Heineken.
This is a beautiful pub, and shouldn't be missed if you're in the area.

8 Mar 2010 22:58

McConville's, Portadown

Another impressive Victorian pub also included on the CAMRA National Inventory. The interior, while nowhere near as impressive, is not dissimilar to The Crown in Belfast, with a row of enclosed snugs opposite the bar.
The pub was run by the same family for over a hundred years, the present owners having taken over three year ago. One of them spoke to us at length about the history of the pub of which he is clearly and rightly proud of. He explained the purpose of the bronze statuette that sits on the bar, (a statue of the Tichborne Claimant) - it was a cigarette lighter which produced a flame when activated by the barman. Sadly someone broke a piece of the device two weeks ago, so it no longer works!
Mention must be made of the huge lamp (engraved with Mandeville Arms) that hangs over the entrance.
No ale on tap but the pint of Guinness I had was very good.
This is a beautiful pub and not to be missed if you are in the area.

7 Mar 2010 23:18

The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast

Owned by the National Trust and on CAMRA's National Inventory, this is the most spectacular pub I've been in. The elaborately tiled exterior, including a floor mosaic showing the crown, gives you an idea of what to expect inside. The interior is all tiles, etched glass and ornate woodwork - an outstanding example of Victorian pub architecture. But what makes the pub really special are the row of enclosed snugs opposite the bar. There were originally ten snugs, lettered from A to J, now there are nine (snug J was removed in the 1970s). The snugs have their own doors, each topped with carvings of a griffin and a lion. On the walls are plates engraved with the word 'Matches' - these were originally used for striking same.
The pub has three ales on pump, from the Whitewater Brewery - Belfast Ale, Hope and Glory and Belfast Black. The barman gave us samples of all three - I wasn't impressed with the first two so had two pints of the Black which was a fairly drinkable stout.
A minor quibble, but one I seem to have had a few times this winter, was the lack of heating in the pub. It was bloody freezing outside, so why no heat in the pub?
Nonetheless, an essential stop on any Belfast itinerary for the interior alone.

7 Mar 2010 22:59

The Volunteer, Baker Street

I've drank in this pub a few times over the years and it's always been at the end of a crawl rather than an intended destination. I can now report that it is somewhere I would happily spend an evening.
Four handpumps dispense Harveys Best, Doom Bar, Tribute and a wheat beer from Adnam's. Also on tap are Franciskaner and Erdinger Weissbeers and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, as well as a selection of foreign lagers. I had two pints of Harvey's which were good, my companion enjoyed the Adnam's wheat beer and we then moved on to the excellent Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (3.95 a pint).
I had a home-made 'Classic Burger' which was tasty but maybe a bit overpriced at 6.95. And adding a pound to the price for a bit of cheese is taking the mick.
The interior of the pub is plain and wood-floored with a mix of low and high tables. There is a separate lounge-type area further back.
Overall a good pub that I will be visiting a lot more often.

14 Feb 2010 14:11

The Ypres Castle Inn, Rye

I have to admit that having read the reviews of this place on BITE, I entered the pub with some trepidation. The pub itself is in a fantastic position, halfway up a stepped alleyway and just below the citadel that gives it it's name. The interior is low-ceilinged and cosy and the area in front of the fireplace is very welcoming.
There are three pumps, serving Fullers Pride and ESB and the ubiquitous Harveys. I might have eaten here but the query from the barman who served me - 'Is Sir having a meal or just having a drink?' made up my mind for me. The pint of Harveys was just okay.
It did not take me long to identify the 'governor' mentioned in previous reviews. During my visit he marched up and down the pub making it clear he was the boss. Having finished my pint and putting on my jacket, he quickly scooped my glass up from the table. I did not feel comfortable in this pub and given the bad attitude of the 'governor' cannot recommend it. A shame as it could be a really good pub.

3 Feb 2010 22:38

The Standard Inn, Rye

This is a fairly small, traditional pub at the western end of the High Street. Low-ceilinged with wooden partitions, this was a warm, welcoming pub on a cold winter's night. Three pumps, serving Harveys, White Brewery Chilly Willy and something else which I couldn't identify, but appeared to have mead in the name. The Harveys was good.
The pub was heaving on my two visits. Of the three pubs I visited in Rye this was my favourite and certainly the most popular.

3 Feb 2010 22:23

The Union Inn, Rye

This is a fairly small pub in a sidestreet just off the High Street. As you enter the pub the bar is on the left, with a room at a lower level on the right - which appears exclusively reserved for diners - and another room through a doorway to the right of the bar which seemed cold and uninviting.
There was only one pump in use, serving Harveys Best. On two visits to the pub, the beer was well kept. On my second visit I had a 'mixed ploughman's' lunch which was generously portioned (7.50).
I understand that the pub has been under new management for a couple of months and I found the staff to be polite and friendly. I do have one criticism though - why there was no heating on in the pub on one of the coldest days of the year?
Nevertheless, I would say this is a pub worth visiting when in Rye.

3 Feb 2010 22:15

The Spread Eagle, Camden

What the hell are Wells/Youngs doing to the interior of this pub? I visited it last night and it's a bloody mess. In the main bar area they have removed the table and chairs that sat against the wall separating it from the 'lounge', leaving a horrible empty space. They have installed high table seating against the window which now blocks the entrance into the lounge. They've removed the low tables and chairs from the area leading out onto Parkway and replaced them with more high table seating. The once comfortable lounge area is now a jumble of mismatched furniture. Despite it being fairly busy for a Sunday night there was virtually no atmosphere. Someone needs to come in and sort it out. As it stands I will not be returning to this formerly great pub.

25 Jan 2010 16:16

The Duke Of Wellington, Hackney

First time visit to this pub last night and a very pleasant one. The pub was hosting a 'Winter Ales' Festival so I was expecting a few more stronger ales like the Old Ale Festival at The White Horse. However there were some good beers on. I sampled the Hophead Amarillo and Marble Brew 14, two thirst quenching ales and Adnams Tally Ho. All three were excellent. I also sampled my companions Dark Start Sussex Stout which was also very good. Less successful were the half of Boggart Cascade, straight from the barrel, which was slightly warm for my taste and the Wolf Brewery's Granny Wouldn't Like It which I didn't like either.
I had a Galloway Burger and chips, which was good but a bit pricey at eight quid.
The bar staff were the most professional I've encountered in a while.
This is a good pub and I will pay a return visit very soon.

23 Jan 2010 13:28

The Gunmakers, Clerkenwell

I paid my first visit to this pub on Friday and I have to say it was a disappointing one. As I entered the pub the barmaid was on the phone and I waited for about five minutes to be served. The call was work-related but an apology for being kept waiting would have been nice. Not 'I suppose you want a drink, then?' which is presumably her idea of humour.
Four handpumps serving Purity Mad Goose, Woodfords Wherry, Harveys Best and Old Rosie Cider. I had a pint of Harveys which was far too cold.
The pub is made up of two rooms - a front bar with fixed seating and a smaller room up a few steps. Decor is dark wood with two handsome mirrors engraved with the pub's name. Above the mirror in the lower bar is a musket and two pistols.
There was only one other customer on my visit and he and the barmaid were both attempting a cryptic crossword. From her conversation the barmaid appeared to be quite intelligent but she rather undermined this by her inability to complete a sentence without the F word.
And the pub was bloody freezing. Not impressed.

10 Jan 2010 18:29

The Seven Stars, Chancery Lane

Not sure what to make of this place. A long, narrow pub with two smaller rooms at either end. The three rooms are painted in different shades of lurid red. Plastic gingham tablecloths cover the tables. We were served by a surly barmaid with an American/Canadian accent who was more interested in talking to the lone customer at the bar than serving us.
Three handpumps, - the Dark Star Hophead clip was turned around, with only Over The Moon and Adnam's Broadside available. I had a pint of Over The Moon, which was a very good dark mild.
A middle-aged lady with shocking pink hair, who I took to be the landlady, appeared behind the bar at one point. She seemed to be up herself.
A dangerously steep staircase leads to the toilet which is a single lavatory. To the right of this an open door revealed what looked like an office, out of which was blaring loud opera music.
I'm not sure what kind of place this is supposed to be, but it is certainly very strange.

10 Jan 2010 18:13

The Southampton Arms, Gospel Oak

I never knew this pub in it's former incarnation, but I paid a very pleasant visit tonight. Decor wise it is a bit on the sparse side - a large single room with the bar on the right, an old fireplace opposite and a piano at the back. With the exception of three lights suspended over the bar the place is lit by bare light bulbs.
There were twelve handpumps serving, amongst others, five real ciders, two German-style lagers from Meantime, Sambrook's Junction, a Morrissey-Fox ale and O'Hanlons Port Stout. I tried the Port Stout and one of the Meantime beers -both were good. There was only one pump not in use - it had been serving a Brewdog beer which I haven't tried.
On this visit I found the ale selection a little disappointing but the pub is committed to only selling ales and ciders from small independent breweries and for this it is to be commended.
I wish the pub success and hope many more pubs will follow it's lead.

4 Jan 2010 21:18

The Sun Inn, Hook Norton

This is very far from being a 'lovely country pub'. Do not be deceived by the charming frontage for once you enter you will find another destroyed interior. There is a stone flagged floor, a big brick fireplace from which hangs pots and pans and a beamed ceiling but it's all of recent construction. The place has all the atmosphere of an airport lounge.
The customers were those dreadful middle-class types who think it's okay to bring toddlers and babies into pubs.
Four pumps serving Hook Norton ales - my pint of Hooky Gold would have been nice but was a degree to warm for my taste.
I might have stayed for another pint but the combination of screaming rugrats and self-important air of their parents hastened my departure.

30 Dec 2009 13:46

Ye Olde Reindeer, Banbury

This pub has a old, atmospheric interior, with oak beams, a wooden floor and dark wood panelling. There are several handsome engraved mirrors (including one for the now defunct Benskins Brewery) adorning the walls, along with pictures of the outside of the pub before the hideous pedestrianisation of the street. A TV set, sitting above the entrance corridor, spoiled the ambience somewhat. Hook Norton ales on tap - Hooky Bitter, Old Hooky, Hooky Dark and Twelve Days. My pints of Old Hooky and Dark were well kept.
A very nice pub in a town sorely lacking decent pubs.

30 Dec 2009 13:22

The Bell Inn, Banbury

Why was the only GBG entry for Banbury closed for three days in a row? On Sunday it was for a 'Private Party' (something that pubs should not be allowed to do in my opinion) but is it normally closed on Mondays and Tuesdays? Pah!

30 Dec 2009 13:07

The Turf Tavern, Oxford

This was my first visit to this pub and having had high expectations due to reviews on this site, I have to say I was somewhat underwhelmed. There are four separate drinking areas - the front bar, a second bar directly behind it, and two rooms following on behind that. The two back rooms had little or no character, merely being extra space to drink or, on my visit, eat. I opted to stand in the front bar which at least had some atmosphere.
Six pumps, on my visit serving Abbot, St Edmunds Ale, Potbelly Aisling and Turf Summer Ale. I had two pints of the Summer Ale which were good and refreshing.
I might pay another visit next time I'm in Oxford but there's no escaping the fact that this pub is over-rated.

18 Dec 2009 13:10

The Kings Arms, Oxford

It's some years since I last visited this pub and it's nice to see that it hasn't suffered the destructive makeover that Youngs/Wells have seen fit to inflict on so many of their pubs. It retains the multi-room layout I recall from my previous visit. However it is in desperate need of some TLC - the carpet is filthy and torn in places and a large chunk of wall was missing near where I sat.
There are six handpumps, dispensing Youngs Bitter, Special, Winter Warmer, London Gold, Tribute and Bath Gem. I had a well-kept pint of Winter Warmer.
A good pub, but it's time to give it a spruce.

18 Dec 2009 13:02

The White Horse, Oxford

This is the sort of place one imagines drinking in on a dark, winter's night. The interior is long, narrow and low-ceilinged. There are six pumps - beers on included Landlord, Tribute, Shotover Scholar, Vale Best and White Horse Wayland's Smithy. I had a pint of the Smithy which was okay (3.00). The pub is quite small - I timed my visit well and managed to get a seat but the pub soon filled up with people.
An unspoilt, traditional pub.

15 Dec 2009 13:23

The Lamb and Flag, Oxford

This pub is split into two levels with an upper and lower bar. The upper bar has light wood panelling with the shields of various colleges adorning the walls. Three handpumps serving Betty Stogs, Palmers Best Bitter and Lamb and Flag Gold. I had a pint of the L & F Gold, which was a degree or two too warm for my taste.
I initially sat in the lower level, but after a few minutes of listening to two men in labourer's overalls effing and blinding, including referring to someone as an 'f***ing gay prick', I moved back to the front bar. I then made the mistake of ordering food. I had the beef and onion pie (6.95) - the pie itself was fine but the potato wedges were cold and the carrots and brussel sprouts were inedible.
This is quite a nice pub, but the beer was average and the food was well below par.

13 Dec 2009 23:52

The Eagle and Child, Oxford

This is an old, atmospheric pub with dark wood panelling and, according to pub legend, was a favourite of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis who used to meet in a room at the back. It's a long, narrow pub with two snugs at the front, a drinking area in front of the bar and a lighter conservatory area at the back. I sat in won of the cosy front snugs. There are four handpumps - on my visit they were serving Old Hooky, Brakspear's Bitter, Lancaster Blonde and a Shepherd Neame Christmas ale. I had two pints of the Old Hooky, which were well kept. There was a mixture of covers of old classics (Rod Stewart singing 'Wonderful World') and Christmas songs playing at an obtrusive volume, to the detriment of the atmospheric surroundings.
A fine pub and well worth including on any Oxford crawl.

13 Dec 2009 23:33

The Fox and Anchor, Smithfield

This establishment has a wonderful facade, with fine original tiling proclaiming the pub name, and an impressive dark wood bar within. The interior is long and narrow - in fact, too narrow - you have to squeeze between seated people and the bar, but there's not much space behind the bar either. Four handpumps - beers I noted were Purity Ubu, Adnams Old Ale and the pub's own Fox & Anchor Ale . I had a pint of the Adnams Old which was good.
However, I have to say THIS IS NOT A PUB. All the tables were reserved for diners and all the drinkers were down near the entrance. I appreciate that in these times pubs have to find ways of bringing the punters in, but this place seems unable to decide what it wants to be.
A disappointment.

6 Dec 2009 20:56

The Hand and Shears, Barbican

I've been coming here on and off for years and it has never changed (and hopefully never will) - a pub with four separate drinking areas and full of atmosphere. It was absolutely rammed early on Friday evening. Three pumps serving Wadworth 6X, Adnams and Courage Best. My pint of 6X was cloudy and the pint of Adnams was sadly distinctily average (both 3.00 a pint).
Despite my disappointment with the beer this pub is still well worth a visit.

6 Dec 2009 20:44

The White Horse, Parsons Green

Paid my first visit to this pub yesterday for the annual 'Old Ale Festival'. A very nice old pub that clearly once comprised several bars but is now one huge one. With only one or two exceptions, all the beers I tried were excellent. I sampled three from the Sierra Nevada Brewery - my particular favourite was the Wood-Aged Scotch Ale. Other standouts were the Thornbridge Hark, the Otley 'O8 and the Harveys Christmas Ale.
One thing irked me though. All the tables were reserved, and it was evident that the people who had reserved them were 'locals' (and by that I mean the dreadful incomers who have ruined so many pubs in London) and not there for the festival. Most of them were drinking lager or soft drinks and several had brought children with them. Speaking to a couple of the regular attendees of the festival, this happens every year. This is childish behaviour from pathetically childish people and it should be stopped. For the day of the festival I suggest that the pub should say that the tables can't be reserved. If they want the custom of the festival goers, this isn't too much to ask.
An excellent festival and a very nice pub. Shame about the 'locals'.

29 Nov 2009 18:48

The Eagle Ale House, Clapham

This was a very pleasant discovery - a nice, busy old-fashioned pub. Seven handpumps included Doom Bar, Tribute, Purbeck Fossil Fuel and Harvey's Best. I had three pints of well-kept Harvey's.
Music was playing at an unobtrusive level. A pub of the old school.
I'll be back.

22 Nov 2009 22:40

The Nightingale, Balham

This is one of an increasingly rare breed - a Youngs pub that hasn't been turned into a soulless gastropub. The two bar layout is still discernible with the island bar occupying a wooden-floored area, with a carpeted room beyond. I'm not a big fan of Young's beers but the pints of Special and Winter Warmer I drank were the best I've had in a long time.
My friend and I opted to eat here which proved to be a mistake. I had the 'Great British Breakfast' - 5.95 for a plate of food which included one sausage and one pathetically small piece of bacon. My friend had sausage and mash (seven quid) and the mash was lumpy.
A nice pub but don't bother eating here.

22 Nov 2009 22:34

The Old Fountain, Old Street

'London high flyers like the Wenlock'? Lee, stop talking rubbish.

5 Nov 2009 21:57

The Duke Of Wellington, Shoreham by Sea

This is a large, single room pub with a horsehoe-shaped bar. Three or four pumps serving Dark Star Hophead and Golden Gate and a guest beer Nailsworth Winter Woolly. My pint of Hophead was well kept.
The bar itself looked as if it had just been built and was waiting for a varnish. The pub was also harshly lit.
There was live music on our visit from someone described as 'folk soul' (whatever that is). The songs were cliched left-wing nonsense - one of the titles was 'Hard Money' and at least two of them contained the word 'shit'.
Can't fault the beer, but the overall experience was disappointing.

14 Oct 2009 22:43

The Hand In Hand, Brighton

The best word to describe the interior of this pub is 'quirky'. It's a small, one room affair, the walls are covered with newspapers while a central beam is covered with dozens of ties. On our visit there were only two ales available - I plumped for pints of Dark Star Oktoberfest which were well kept. They were also serving Hacker-Pschorr wheat beer and Kriek on tap.
Well worth a visit.

12 Oct 2009 22:45

The Lord Nelson, Brighton

Traditional, unspoilt pub just below the station. The interior is divided into several drinking areas, two small bars at the front, a larger lounge and a conservatory to the rear. I sampled the Sussex Best and the seasonal Old Ale - both were good. Recommended.

12 Oct 2009 22:34

The Evening Star, Brighton

Small, one room pub two minutes walk from the station. Eight pumps - four serving Dark Star brews, Hophead, American Pale Ale, Over The Moon and Oktoberfest and four guests including Titanic Stout and Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby. My pints of Hophead and American Pale Ale were excellent. They also have a couple of Belgian fruit beers on tap.
Only minus was having to listen to an entire Cranberries album (albeit at a mercifully low volume). Otherwise, an excellent pub.

12 Oct 2009 22:23

The Old Fountain, Old Street

Another enjoyable visit to the Old Fountain last week. Seven or eight ales on the pumps including Meantime London Pale Ale, Dark Star Espresso, Brewdog 77 Lager and Red Squirrel White Mountain. The pints of 77 Lager and White Mountain were good.
The place was packed and buzzing with atmosphere. Reviewers of the nearby Wenlock should pay this place a visit. They'll find a better range of beers and a pub free of pond life.

4 Oct 2009 18:11

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

Against my better judgement, I was persuaded to step over the threshold of this establishment once again. We were presented with an array of eight unknown and unpromising beers. The ale we tried was decidedly average, confirming my suspicion that this has become a ticker's pub.
Seated around the bar were about eight middle-aged men in football shirts whose conversation was liberally peppered with the F-word. And the same pain-in-the-arse bloke who pestered me before was staggering around, pissed out of his head at five o'clock.
The floor remains in the same state of disrepair as on my last visit. Are the owners of this pub so arrogant that they think this doesn't need fixing?
As for the ongoing praise for this pub on BITE, I can only wonder at how many pubs these people have been to!

4 Oct 2009 17:56

The Charles Lamb, Angel, Islington

Paid my first visit to this pub in it's present incarnation last week and was pleasantly surprised to find a very good pub indeed. Three ales on tap - Dark Star Hophead, Butcombe Bitter and Cottage Whippet Jack Boxer. The pints of Hophead were excellent and reasonably priced (2.80).
The pastel green/cream decor of the interior gives the place more of a European cafe-bar vibe than a pub but that's a minor quibble.
I shall be returning here very soon.

4 Oct 2009 17:43

The Circus Tavern, Manchester

This pub has the smallest serving area I've ever seen, housed as it is under a staircase. Only one pump, serving Tetley's.
There are two small rooms, one behind the other. I sat in the front bar with a group of Scandinavian men. Every inch of the walls and half the ceiling is covered with pictures and posters. Considering this pub is on CAMRA's National Inventory of Unspoilt Interiors I'm rather surprised that they've done this. Personally I think it looks bloody hideous . And the Tetley's was not good.
I would say check this pub out for it's unique interior but don't expect a decent pint.

20 Sep 2009 18:08

The Castle Hotel, Manchester

A fairly small pub about two minutes walk from the Crown & Kettle. Main bar at the front, with a smaller room with a piano behind. The clientele were mainly young on my visit and the pub has a slightly 'alternative' atmosphere. The music was good - obscure sixties stuff. The pub was packed but I eventually managed to get a seat.
Six pumps serving Robinson's Unicorn, Hatters, Old Stockport, Dizzy Blonde and Old Tom and Hartley's Cumbria Way. I had a pint of the Cumbria Way and was not impressed. I also had a half of Old Tom which had the diacytol taste and the Dizzy Blonde, which wasn't too bad.
I'll give the pub another go sometime.

20 Sep 2009 18:01

The Crown and Kettle, Ancoats

The impressive stone-carved ceiling and narrow stained glass windows give the pub a vaguely ecclesiastical feel. The main bar is housed in a high-ceilinged room with wooden floors. This bar runs through to the Vault, a slightly smaller area. There is a third room which connects the Vault to the main bar. The main bar has some impressive chandeliers, though these were not lit on my visit. In fact, the main bar was barely lit at all, and the candles that a member of staff put out on the tables barely compensated. I like dark pubs but this was a bit over the top.
Four pumps, the beers I noted were the pub's own Summer Ale, Howard Town Wren's Nest and Shugborough Mi Lady's Fancy. I had the Summer Ale which was okay and the Wren's Nest, a light, hoppy ale and actually quite good.
A musician was setting up his gear as I left.
I'll probably give the pub another go next time I'm in the area.

20 Sep 2009 17:53

The Hare and Hounds, Manchester

This pub has an attractive green ceramic ront and an interior layout similar to The Swan in York. A corridor widens to become the drinking lobby/bar area. There are two rooms, one on either side of this, served by hatches. The room at the front and the lobby share some handsome tiling.
Holt's Bitter is the only ale on pump.
The drinking lobby was harshly lit and music was being played loudly (appalling music at that - Edie Brickell, Rosie Vela, Suzanne Vega). I sat in the front bar, which mercifully wasn't having this 'music' pumped into it.
I would say the pub is worth visiting for it's interesting interior, but that's about it.

17 Sep 2009 21:42

The Marble Arch, Manchester

Made a return visit to the Marble Arch, looking forward to a pint of the pub's own superb Lagonda IPA. Sadly it wasn't on, so I had to make do with two excellent pints of Thornbridge Jaipur instead (slightly expensive at 3.20).
I also had a very tasty home-made burger and chips (7.95).
Other ales on were Marble's Pint, Bitter, Dobber, Ginger and JP Best.
If you only have time to visit one pub in Manchester, this is the one.

17 Sep 2009 21:10

Lamb Hotel, Eccles

The third, grand pub built by the Holt's brewery in Eccles. A red brick and terracotta affair, standing opposite the Metrolink terminus.
The vault has a separate entrance. On the other side of the bar is a drinking lobby, with an 'open' room opposite, separate 'Bar Parlour' and a magnificently unspoilt 'Billiard Room'. This has raised seating throughout to enable people to view the games. The table, apparently, is the original, installed when the pub was built in 1906.
Holts Mild and Bitter on pump, the fridge was stocked with a full range of Holt's ales - I had a bottle of Sixex - a 6% porter priced reasonably (but oddly) at 2.02.
Of the three grand pubs of Eccles this was my favourite and I could have lingered here a bit longer.
Recommended.

15 Sep 2009 22:25

Royal Oak Hotel, Eccles

A terracotta coloured corner pub built by Holts's Brewery around the same time as The Grapes. There are two entrances - one exclusively for the Vault. The bar is rich in detail - with mahogany screens, etched glass and tiled floor. In one corner the seating is slightly partitioned, one of the wooden partitions declaring in etched glass 'Outdoor Department'.
On the other side of the long bar is a large drinking lobby, served by hatches.
Off of this are three rooms with doors declaring in etched glass 'News Room' (which contains a pool table), 'Bar Parlour' a pleasant carpeted room with a fireplace, and down a tiled corridor a very large 'Billiard Room' where the pub's entertainment is held.
Holt's Bitter and Mild on the pumps.
The pub was playing music at a ridiculously loud volume - odd, considering the clientele were exclusively middle to old-aged men.
Another wonderfully unspoilt pub.

15 Sep 2009 22:03

The Stanley Arms, Eccles

A small corner pub on the Liverpool road a few minutes from The Grapes. The single entrance on the side street takes you into an L-shaped drinking lobby. The main bar is to the right, separated by the lobby from two further rooms.
Holt's Bitter and Mild on tap - I had a pint of Mild which was quite drinkable (1.76).
I sat in the 'snug' opposite the servery which is carpeted, has fixed seating and a fireplace. The third room, down the green-tiled corridor houses a magnificent cast-iron range.
Well worth a visit.

15 Sep 2009 21:25

The Grapes Hotel, Eccles

This is one of several magnificent pubs built by the Holt's brewery in Eccles, and possibly the grandest. Four separate drinking areas all denoted in etched glass on their doors - 'Vault', 'Bar Parlour', 'Smoke Room' and 'Billiard Room'. The left hand entrance to the pub brings you into a large drinking lobby with servery from the Vault.
Two pumps dispensing Holt's Bitter and Mild - though the Mild wasn't on on this occasion . I can take or leave Holt's beers but my pint of bitter was drinkable enough.
I sat in the Bar Parlour and the Smoke Room -both are large, carpeted rooms with richly carved mahogany fireplaces.
A pub of great character and well worth a visit.

15 Sep 2009 20:52

The Kings Arms, Salford

Traditional pub just north of Salford Central Station. As you enter the pub there is a room on the left, the main bar is to the right.
Six pumps, beers available as I arrived were Pride, Bombardier and Deuchars. I reluctantly ordered a pint of Deuchars. I'm not a great fan but It was okay, despite the ubiquitous head. I assume they were changing barrels because two more beers came on as I sat there - Allgates Caskablanca and Bazen's Flatbac. I tried a pint of the Flatbac, a light golden beer and not bad at all.
The bar has fixed seating running almost the entire length of the room. The leather upholstery was torn in several places. Varied selection of music playing in the background, at so low a volume as to be virtually pointless. The pub has a definite student vibe to it.
In summary, an okay pub that I might give another go in if I was walking past but I wouldn't go out of my way to visit again.

13 Sep 2009 19:27

The Buffet Bar, Stalybridge

As you step in to this pub you are taken back to a different era. The interior looks as if it hasn't been touched since about 1950. Old advertising boards and railway memorabilia adorn the walls. The main bar is a long narrow room with a marble-topped bar, wooden floored and high-ceilinged. There is a newish looking conservatory room to the left and another room down a corridor to the right.
Eight pumps, serving Empire Darkside, Ostler's Summer, 3B's Tacklers Tipple, Flowers IPA, Betwixt Skyline, Leyden St Swithun, something from Titanic and a cider called Moonshine White. The fridge is stocked with a selection of Belgian beers.
I tried the Ostler's Summer, the St Swithun and the Tackler's Tipple. I wasn't greatly impressed with any of them but the Tackler's Tipple was probably the best.
I also tried the house speciality - a bowl of black peas with mint sauce. They were quite tasty and filling for the princely sum of 80 pence.
Despite my disappointment in the beers I tried, I would thoroughly recommend a visit to this place and I will certainly return the next time I'm in the area.

13 Sep 2009 19:14

The Coeur de Lion, Bath

This is Bath's smallest pub, so I was pleasantly surprised to get a seat early on Sunday afternoon. There is further seating upstairs. The stained glass window proclaims Devenish Ales - ironic, given that they tried to close the pub (it's now owned by Bath's Abbey Ales).
Four handpumps serving DBC Jurassic, Brewers Gold, Bellringer and St Austell Liquid Sunshine. The pint of Brewers Gold I had was good.
The clientele on my visit mainly consisted of tourists. Worth a visit if you happen to be passing .

1 Sep 2009 21:05

The Volunteer Riflemans Arms, Bath

This is a fairly small pub tucked away in a maze of alleys. On my visit on a Saturday evening it was absolutely rammed, which isn't too hard given it's size.
Four pumps dispensing Hopback Taiphoon, Cotswold Honey Beer, Crouch Vale Brewers Gold and Otter Ale. I had a pint of the Brewers Gold which was well kept.
The pub was far too brightly lit and playing 80s music (Madness, Adam & the Ants, Haircut 100) at an unnecessarily loud volume. I will give it another go (perhaps during the day) on a return visit to Bath.

1 Sep 2009 20:50

The Old Green Tree, Bath

This is a very compact, traditional pub in the centre of Bath, which thankfully, wasn't too crowded on my visit. There are three distinct drinking areas, the 'lounge' bar at the front, a drinking lobby by the bar and the 'Smoke Room' beyond the bar. I sat briefly in the back bar but found it slightly claustrophobic so stood in the lobby before securing a seat in the front bar. This is a small, low ceilinged room with a small brick fireplace, adorned with WW2 paintings of Spitfires.
Six handpumps serving Butcombe Bitter, Plain Ales Inspiration, the house ale called Old Green Tree, RCH Pitchfork and two Wickwar ales. I sampled the Old Green Tree and the Inspiration, both of which were good.
Another unspoilt pub that must be seen if you come to Bath.

31 Aug 2009 21:56

The Star Inn, Bath

The slightly austere facade gives no hint of the unspoilt Victorian gem within. The pub is divided into four separate rooms. The first of these, to the left of the lobby, is a 20th century addition. To the right, the first of three older rooms, a small snug with a long single bench. Opposite the snug, through a door marked 'Glass Room' is a public room with fixed seating and a drop-down shove ha'penny board. Through another door is the bar, which also serves the snug.
Four handpumps, serving Abbey Bellringer and Chorister, Doom Bar and Adnams. Bass is served directly from the cask via a jug. They also have a cider called Hells Bells, again sold from the cask.
I tried the Bellringer, which was fine, and the Chorister which had gone bad. On a return visit I had a pint of Moorhouse Black Cat and a pint of the Bass which was good.
Now owned by Bath's own brewery, this is quite simply a magnificent pub.

31 Aug 2009 21:23

The Bell, Bath

This is a large single room pub a few minutes walk from the centre of town. There is a slightly run down feel to the place which some people might call 'bohemian' but I would call neglect.
Eight pumps, serving Abbey Bellringer, RCH Pitchfork, Butcombe Blonde, Stonehenge Danish Dynamite, Bath Gem, Summer Lightning and Otter Ale. I tried the Bellringer and the Butcombe Blonde, both of which were well kept.
There is a large beer garden at the rear.
Echoing earlier comments, there is a noticeable difference in the way the staff treat the regulars and newcomers which the owner needs to address. The girl who served me was bordering on rude.
Good beer, but not a pub I will bother with again.

31 Aug 2009 21:00

The Maltings, York

Initial impressions of this pub were not good. There was one free table and as my companion and I sat at it, a barman (who I subsequently realised was the owner) shouted across that the table was reserved. So we sat on stools at the bar, before managing to secure a table.
I counted five or six pumps - Fuller's London Porter, Black Sheep, Lincoln Cathedral Fosseway, York Guzzler and Hoskins Dolphin. I sampled the Fosseway and the Dolphin, neither of which were particularly impressive. I gave up and had a pint of Black Sheep, which was good. As a notice above the bar informs you, you can ask for the beer 'nozzle free' which I did, but it didn't make my beers any better.
As other reviewers have commented, the decor is a bit weird - I'm really not sure about the ceiling made of old doors.
Reading the reviews below, I have to say that this pub is extremely overrated. And the 'reserved table' nonsense brings my rating even lower. Not a pub I will be rushing to again.

9 Aug 2009 21:57

The Minster Inn, York

Another pub with an unusual layout. You enter the pub via a corridor, which has a serving hatch from the main bar to the right, there are two further rooms to the left and right. Small beer garden at the back.
Five pumps serving beers from Marstons portfolio - Burton, a couple of Jennings and Ringwood Boondoggle. I had a pint of the Boondoggle which was not to my taste.
We sat in the main bar, where there is an Interesting wall above the fireplace made out of wine corks.
The main bar was a bit too brightly lit, but this is an interesting, relatively unspoilt pub.

9 Aug 2009 21:37

The Rook and Gaskill, York

This pub is just outside the city walls at Walmgate. It is a long narrow room with wider drinking areas at the front and beyond the bar, with a conservatory and beer garden at the back. The pub has a slightly 'grungey' atmosphere. The music selection being played was good - the Floyd's 'Astronomy Domine' was playing as I arrived, so it get's a thumb's up for that alone.
Twelve pumps selling mainly Castle Rock beers - I had two excellent pints of Harvest Pale which were incredibly reasonably priced at 2.30 a pint.
They have a loyalty card scheme called '1 over the 8' where you get money off your drinks after 8 pints - a definite incentive to come here with beer this good.
The fridge was healthily stocked with various beers, including four from the Brewdog brewery. I had a bottle of the Punk IPA, which was superb.
This would be my local if I lived in York!

6 Aug 2009 22:21

The Swan, York

As other reviewers have noted, you could easily walk past this place, as it doesn't look that interesting from the outside. But once you get inside, you find a wonderfully unusual interior. The main bar is in the wide corridor - or 'drinking lobby', with two bars on either side. The larger of the two, the lounge, has a fireplace and bell pushes.
Seven pumps - on my visit they had Copper Dragon, Tetleys, Landlord and Rugby Brewing Co's Union, as well as Broadoak Perry on draught. I tried the Lower Laithe from the Goose Eye Brewery, which was a good, refreshing pint.
Less than five minutes from Skeldergate Bridge, this is another pub that must be visited when in York. And you must check out the men's urinals before you leave!

6 Aug 2009 21:58

The Golden Ball, York

This pub is in a quiet, residential street south-west of the city centre. It has an impressive glazed tile exterior which incorporates the pub name in the fascia. As you enter the pub you find yourself in a corridor with more glazed tiling, you follow this around to the right passing a small snug with a counter to reach the main bar, oddly placed farthest from the entrance.
Seven pumps, again playing it safe: Tiger, Deuchars, John Smiths, Bombardier and Ruddles. My pint of Tiger was rather bland.
There are two further rooms, the one I sat in looked like it had been refurbished fairly recently, with a new carpet and new furniture. It has a fireplace and retains the original bell pushes. There is also a beer garden.
This is a wonderfully unspoilt pub, and well worth a visit. With a more imaginative beer selection it would be an excellent pub.

6 Aug 2009 21:32

The Blue Bell, York

Now this is what I call a pub. Two bars accessed via a corridor which itself has a small drinking lobby. The front bar is small and cosy, and was rammed on our visit. Down the corridor, beyond a door with 'Smoke Room' engraved on the glass is a slightly larger bar, with a fireplace. The pub has dark wood panelling throughout.
Seven pumps with an unimaginative selection - I saw Deuchars, Black Sheep and Landlord as well as Tetley Dark Mild. I plumped for two pints of Copper Dragon Golden Pippin which were good though a degree warmer than I would have liked.
This is a marvellous pub though, and an essential place to visit when in York.

5 Aug 2009 19:03

The Three Legged Mare, York

I'm inclined to agree with the previous reviewer's 'tearoom vibe' comment. It is a light, airy place, the exact opposite of my idea of a cosy pub. A large single room with the bar on the right. Beyond the bar is a conservatory and a small walled beer garden.
Nine pumps, serving York and Milestone beers. From the York brewery I saw Terrier, Ashes, Wonky Donkey (the house ale) and Centurion's Ghost. I had a pint of the Terrier, a light, golden beer which was okay, followed by a pint of the Ghost, a porter type beer which was better.
It's an okay pub but not one I would necessarily hurry to again.

5 Aug 2009 18:43

The Spread Eagle, Camden

This is probably still the best pub in Camden Town, but that's not saying much these days. I virtually lived in the pub for most of the 80s when it was a traditional Youngs pub populated by genuine locals, some of whom had been drinking there for decades. At that time it had three separate bars, each with it's own distinct atmosphere.
When Camden Town became the centre of the so-called Britpop boom, The Spread Eagle became its HQ. A certain pair of Mancunian 'musicians' started to patronise the place and every sad, indie hanger-on descended on the pub. It started making more money than ever before and I have always wondered if that played a part in what Youngs did next. They knocked a couple of the walls down and created a single long bar. They replaced the furniture with what looked like a load of knockoffs. They got rid of the proper tables and chairs outside and replaced them with a pile of crap. Every few years Youngs give the pub a makeover, always for the worse. In the latest, they have painted the frontage black and the room on the corner has been turned into some hideous jazz lounge. The pub I drank in is now just a distant memory.
I salute you, Youngs, on removing everything that made the Spread Eagle a great pub.

30 Jul 2009 12:10

The Culbokie Inn, Culbokie

This is a fine little pub in a village ten miles north west of Inverness. The beer garden commands fantastic views of the Cromarty Firth.
I had two pints of Cairngorm Trade Winds, which were the best two pints I had drunk all week.
Well worth a visit if in the area.

20 Jul 2009 22:07

The Ferry Boat Inn, Ullapool

On previous visits to this pub, I've always felt like I was in a cafe/restaurant as opposed to a pub. On my latest visit it did have more of a pub feel. There are three pumps, one looked like it had been inactive for a while, one had the clip turned around and the third was selling Cairngorm Stag. We had two pints of the Stag, a porter type beer which was quite nice.
The windows command great views of Loch Broom and the jukebox was playing a good selection of music on our visit.
Having visited all the drinking establishments in Ullapool, this is easily the best pub in town.

20 Jul 2009 21:45

The Altnacealgach Inn, Elphin

This pub sits on the A837 about a mile south of Ledmore Junction. We descended on the place after a glorious walk on Cul Mor in magnificent weather. The bar is a long rectangular room adorned, for some reason, with flags of different nations. You reach the bar through a conservatory, which, on this afternoon, was too hot to sit in. Two handpumps, serving Deuchars and Caledonian 80'. Desiring something cold, I had two pints of Amstel, which did the trick. There are tables by the road, which we took advantage of.
The pub itself is nothing special, but proved handy for a post mountain walk.

20 Jul 2009 21:15

The Fuaran Bar, Altandhu

This is the only proper PUB as opposed to the public bar of a hotel within a twenty mile radius. The interior is dark and atmospheric, as pubs in the wilds of Scotland should be. There is a newish outdoor drinking area which commands great views. Right, that's the positive part of the review.
Behind the bar is a charmless young man who can't even muster a smile as we enter the pub. My 'hello' is met with a stony silence. No words are exchanged as I order and pay for our drinks. He stands, virtually motionless, for the duration of our visit, eyes fixed to the TV screen opposite the bar. Maybe he's been lobotomised.
I have a pint of Red Cuillin, the only ale available. Although completely clear, it tastes bloody awful.
I have no doubt that I will come here again, but this was a disappointing visit.

17 Jul 2009 23:10

The Drumbeg Hotel, Drumbeg

This hotel was a regular haunt of mine in the late 80s and the early 90s. At that time it catered for the angling fraternity and the bar was packed with a motley crew of locals and anglers. It was a busy place and had a fantastic atmosphere. It quickly became my favourite pub in all of Scotland. Sadly the owner sold the hotel in 1991 and there followed years of bad management. Happily, I can report that the pub is back in sympathetic hands, and the present owners are doing a good job with the place.
They do not sell real ale at present though the owner is considering it. I had to make do with McEwans 80' on keg.
I spent four nights at the hotel last week and the only customers every night were hotel guests and a man who said he was originally from Basildon but was now living in Drumbeg until 'I go into the ground'. During a chat with the owner, I got the impression that he may have banned or discouraged people from coming to the pub. That's a shame, as it was the locals that made this such a wonderful place to visit.

17 Jul 2009 22:50

The Kylesku Hotel, Kylesku

This hotel is in a fantastic situation on the shores of Loch Cairnbawn, but that's about the only thing going for it.
The interior is split into two levels, with the bar and main drinking/dining area on the lower level. There is further seating and a pool table on the upper level. There is outside seating but how many days of a year you can sit outside is a moot point.
They don't serve real ale. I had a pint of a bland, tasteless keg beer that I have now forgotten (McEwans?)
All meals are around the 10.00 mark. We had a roast chicken which was just that, chicken roasted - no sauce, no gravy, no flavouring of any kind. For this we were charged nearly twelve quid.
Pubs are few and far between in this part of Scotland so it's sad to have to say that this has always been a fairly charmless place.

16 Jul 2009 22:40

The Anderson, Fortrose

Paid a visit to the pub part of the building prior to dinner in the restaurant.
Five handpumps, five foreign ales on keg. I had something called Blonde Moment which was a light, golden ale. It was nice, but would have been nicer if it had been a couple of degrees colder. I also had a pint of Deuchars which was okay. The pub is dark and traditional but definitely in need of some sprucing up.
The food I ate was good. I had the seafood chowder as a starter - it was nice but there wasn't much of it! I had venison filet for the main course and it was good. My friend had steak which he found to be mediocre. I would say the prices are a bit on the expensive side.
We then visited the Whiskey Bar, where I had a pint of Brewdog Hardcore IPA which was strong (9%) but excellent.
Reading the previous comments, I have to wonder how many pubs any of these people have been to. 'Best pub in Scotland'? I don't think so.
A good pub, nonetheless.

15 Jul 2009 21:28

The Castle Tavern, Inverness

Small, cosy pub situated just below Inverness Castle. Five handpumps, I sampled the Isle of Skye's Flora McDonald, a light refreshing beer and the Highland Brewing Co's Dark Munro, which was a porter type beer. Both were well kept. On a return visit, I saw Isle of Skye Red Cuillin and Blaven, and Cairngorm Wild Cat and Trade Winds. I had two pints of the Trade Winds which were good.
Only negatives were the rather harsh lighting and a large TV (which was on with the sound off!) Outside seating at front.
A good pub and the place to go for real ale drinkers visiting Inverness.

15 Jul 2009 20:48

Shoulder of Mutton, Wendover

'Two mushroom caps an inch and a half in diameter'. Jesus.

23 Jun 2009 08:57

The Egerton Arms, Salford

This pub sits in a sidestreet by Salford Central Railway Station. Holt's was the only ale available on pump, and the pint I had was perfectly fine.
There was a cabaret singer belting out pop songs (including an Abba medley for Chrissakes). A Bez lookalike tried to sell us a jar of Nescafe for two quid and then sold two jars to a bloke at the bar. Some unkempt old man came and sat beside us wearing a Bluetooth headset. Bizarre.
A less than glorious end to our Manchester sojourn.

17 Jun 2009 12:57

The Crescent, Salford

Oh dear. This pub was a major let-down. Dirty, run-down and an unpleasant chemical smell in the air. I counted five hand pumps. I had a pint of Pacific from the local Bazen Brewery which was not good. Snippets of punk classics were being blasted out in a room next door (in preparation for a disco?)
After reading the reviews on this site I was rather looking forward to visiting this place but the simple fact is that it is a dump.
There were some unsavoury looking people sitting on the steps outside as we left.

17 Jun 2009 12:46

The New Oxford, Salford

A sign on the wall outside says 'continental style bar' whatever that means. It's certainly not very pubby inside. A large island bar surrounded by an open area, at the point where I was served I could see five handpumps and five foreign beers on draught. I believe there were more pumps on another side. I had a pint of New Oxford which was fine. We sat outside on the square which was a pleasant spot.
Will probably pay another visit sometime.

17 Jun 2009 12:37

The Marble Arch, Manchester

A bit of a shock, after the quiet of the Crown & Cushion, to find this pub rammed around 4.30 on a Saturday afternoon, but it doesnt take long to see why.
The interior hits you as soon as you enter the beautiful glazed tiling on all the walls and ceiling and the attractive mosaic floor, which unusually follows the line of the sloping road. On the walls just below the ceiling the brickwork is engraved all around the pub with the words Brandies, Whiskies, Gins etc.
There are ten pumps selling a range of beers from the pub's own brewery, including Mild, Pint, Bitter (imaginative names there!) and Dobber. There were at least two guest ales, including Thornbridge Jaipur. I had a pint of Mild, which was good and two pints of Dobber which was strong but delicious.
My friend and I had a steak sandwich and chips, which was nice, but expensive for the amount of food were given (7.50).
Easily the best of the pubs visited on this trip and I would imagine a strong contender for the best pub in Manchester.

16 Jun 2009 15:09

The Crown and Cushion, Manchester

Another Holt's establishment, this is a large corner pub surrounded by new buildings. The pub has high ceilings and the bar is situated in a corner on the left as you enter. A separate room to the right has a pool table. There were four handpumps, three without clips. The fourth sold Holt's Bitter. There were two keg beers, also from Holt's, called Black and Smooth. Again, my pint of bitter was fine.
The pub was almost empty mid-afternoon Saturday.

16 Jun 2009 13:59

The Dutton Hotel, Manchester

Triangular shaped corner pub, which as a previous reviewer noted, is a lot bigger than it first appears. The main bar wedge shaped, with two rooms behind, one with a serving hatch to the bar. Oak beams and white painted walls. Two hand pumps serving Hyde's Original and Sacre Bleu. I opted for the Sacre Bleu and the landlord was most apologetic when it was found to be off. The Original was okay.
A nice pub, spoiled slightly by the (I assume) local man who couldn't utter a sentence without using the F word at least once.

16 Jun 2009 13:52

The Eagle Inn, Salford

This pub sits on the edge of a dual carriageway, surrounded by warehouses and derelict buildings. The interior consists of a main bar with two rooms off to it's right. One room has a dartboard in it, the other a huge widescreen TV that dominated the room and paraphernalia that suggested they hold discos here though given the size of the place that seems ambitious.
The pub is in desperate need of some care and attention. The furniture was tatty and the carpet needs to be replaced. There were also a load of flies buzzing around the room we sat in.
Holt's Bitter and Mild on the pumps. I had a pint of the bitter which was well kept (and cheap - a bitter and a lager cost less than four quid).
This could be a nice little pub but, given it's surroundings and present condition, I can't help wondering how much longer it will survive.

16 Jun 2009 13:13

The Unicorn, Manchester

Traditional city-centre pub with original fixtures and fittings still seemingly intact. Large island bar, off which there are three distinct drinking areas. The secluded corner we sat in had an old fireplace and a service bell. I had a pint of Copper Dragon Challenger IPA which was okay.
Music was being played at an obtrusive volume and seemed at odds with the clientele which consisted mainly of middle-aged men.
Worth a visit if in the area.

16 Jun 2009 12:53

The Peveril Of The Peak, Castlefield

Standing alone among it's larger neighbours, this is a pub of considerable character. The beautiful, green tiled exterior is very impressive, the inside slightly less so. You enter the pub via a corridor, with the main bar on one side and two separate rooms on the other. One of the rooms is wedge-shaped, with high-backed settles and a fireplace. the other has a pool table. The main bar has a table football game which was proving popular on our visit.
Four handpumps, ales available were Deuchars, Tiger, Jennings Cumberland and Copper Dragon Golden Pippin. I had two pints of the Golden Pippin, which was a light, refreshing ale and the best of the ales I drank in this session.
Not as impressive as it's neighbour Briton's Protection, but an interesting enough old boozer and a must-see for anyone who has a liking for proper, old-style pubs.

15 Jun 2009 13:36

The Old Nag's Head, Manchester

This long, narrow pub runs the length of a block with entrances on two streets. There are drinking booths to the right as you make your way towards the bar, which is through an arch at the back (or is it the front?) of the pub. A karaoke session was taking place while we were there, with people deliberately murdering good songs. Hilarious. Not. Two handpumps but the Old Speckled Hen clip was turned around. I had a pint of Theakston's Best which was distinctly average and that had it's clip turned around before we left.

15 Jun 2009 13:08

The Briton's Protection Hotel, Castlefield

A beautiful pub. The main bar is to the right as you enter, with a tiled corridor leading s around the back of this to two cosy rooms behind, both with fireplaces. There is a serving hatch in the corridor behind the main bar. Gas light fittings and service bells intact. The ugly extractor fan in the leaded window only slightly spoils the overall effect. Five handpumps. I tried the Robinson's Unicorn, Wem Golden Honey and Sharp's Cornish Coaster - I wasn't particularly impressed with any of them but the Coaster was probably the best. Tetleys and Jennings Cumberland were also available. The back rooms were empty when we arrived but rapidly filled up.
A must-visit pub for anyone visiting Manchester.

15 Jun 2009 12:57

The Rain Bar, Castlefield

Modern, warehouse conversion with spacious, dark wood interior but sterile atmosphere. JW Lees range of ales. I had a pint of Coronation Street, which was slightly lacking in the flavour department. There is outside seating overlooking the Rochdale Canal, which was busy with just-finished workers.
Bouncers on the door when we passed later in the evening.

15 Jun 2009 12:27

The Hole In The Wall, Waterloo

I attended this pub on Friday for the excellent, if somewhat slightly irregular, Electric Circus music quiz. Again I find myself in a quandary. As always, there were seven ales available, among them Marstons Burton and Pedigree, Sharp's Doombar and Brakspeare's Bitter. I sampled both of the Marstons beers, and the Brakspeare's - none of them were particularly well kept. I find it odd that a pub that sells such a wide choice of ales, doesn't take more care in looking after them. And has been previously noted, the gents toilets are absolutely disgusting. It is clear the pub has no intention of addressing this issue.
If you're in the area and looking for a decent pint, don't bother coming here.

8 Jun 2009 12:22

The Betjeman Arms, St Pancras International Station

The only thing going for this pub is the outside seating where you can admire the magnificent soaring arches and watch the trains coming and going to Europe. The interior of the pub is very oddly laid out indeed. To the left, as you enter, is the kitchen, chefs in full view. The bar is set further back. There are two large rooms for dining to the left of the bar. The gents toilets are a joke - two urinals and one cubicle in a pub that could potentially cater for a few hundred people is ridiculous!
London Pride and Betjeman Ale on tap. The dreaded sparkler was applied to my Pride, instantly killing it.
I will continue to pay the occasional visit, if only for the aforementioned outside seating.

2 Jun 2009 11:11

The Queens Head, St Pancras

The pub retains the Victorian frontage and 'postage stamp' sign, and, as has been previously noted, there are some impressive ornate mirrors and tiling inside. These remnants suggest that this pub was probably once an impressive Victorian public house.
On my visit yesterday, I asked for a pint of Adnam's but one sip told me that if I drank it I'd be laid up for the rest of the week. The barmaid agreed that it was off and came out with some crap about how there was 'no demand for it' and how it was hard to keep and went off after a couple of days! Well, maybe if you tried looking after it, love, there might be a demand for it. She didn't turn the clip around or change the barrel, which makes me wonder if some other poor chap is now chucking his guts up this morning.
My friend and I had some Thai food here, which was good and cheap.
However, this is not a pub I'll be hurrying to again.

2 Jun 2009 10:17

The Old Cross Tavern, Hertford

The pub's motto is 'Pubs the way they used to be' and following two visits at the weekend, I am inclined to agree. No TV, no jukebox, this is an excellent old-fashioned boozer with a slightly 'country' air to it - hard to believe, then, that the pub is only ten years old. In fact it was celebrating it's tenth anniversary last weekend with a four-day beer festival. They had a large number of gravity ales in the beer garden, of which I sampled several. From the Oakham brewery, I tried Bishop's Farewell, Oblivion and Endless Summer. All were good, but I was particularly impressed with Endless Summer, which at 3.4% would make an excellent session ale. I also sampled two beers from Dark Star, the IPA and the Ruby Mild - both were delicious.
Luckily, my companion and I had arrived early enough to secure one of the two snugs as the place was heaving from about six o'clock onwards
On our return visit the following day we sampled another Oakham beer, Inferno, a light, refreshing ale, Harviestouns Bitter & Twisted which has a complex flavour Im still not sure about, and Inveralmonds Ossian, a thirst-quenching golden ale.
Well deserving of the CAMRA award, this is a superb pub that I shall visit again.

26 May 2009 17:01

The Swan and Edgar, Marylebone

This pub is now called Swan & Edgar and was shut when I walked past just now (2pm). No opening hours showing outside.

20 May 2009 14:13

The Punch Bowl, Mayfair

This pub was a regular haunt of mine in the late 80s/early 90s when it was run by a mother and son team. The son hosted a rather good quiz here. There was also a dark wood partition which created two separate 'bars'. This was removed a while back, damaging the intimate atmosphere of the place. Once the Ritchies cast their eye on the place, it's fate was sealed. One can well imagine the knob-ridden hellhole it has now become. A pox on the place!

7 May 2009 16:52

The White Horse, Leighton Buzzard

A basic, no-nonsense backstreet pub, handily placed for the railway station if you're legs are weary from a long walk. Five ales on the pumps - we sampled Jack O'Legs from the Tring brewery - a copper coloured, fruity ale and Western Arches from the Cottage Brewing Company which was a light, hoppy beer. Both were well kept and reasonably priced at 2.80 and 2.90 a pint, respectively. Recommended.

5 May 2009 17:38

The Duke of Wellington, Pitstone

My companion and I sought refuge from the elements in this hostelry on a typically miserable Bank Holiday Monday. We found ourselves in a cosy country pub where we were given a friendly welcome by the landlord. Two ales on tap, London Pride and Marston's Pedigree. We opted for the Pedigree which was perfectly fine. The pub must have had a makeover since the previous review as it was certainly not run down on our visit. Worth seeking out if you are towpath walking and in need of refreshment.

5 May 2009 17:10

The Cambridge Blue, Cambridge

This pub sits in the middle of a Victorian terrace, strikingly painted in blue and white. Two open sections sit on eithe side of a central bar while a small conservatory on the left side leads out to a spacious and grassy beer garden.
The pub was doing a brisk trade on our visit.
My companion and I found the ales on tap rather uninspiring so we opted for bottles of the delicious Schlenkerler Rauchbier. Sat in the very pleasant garden, the sun came out and we ended up staying for another two rounds.
Another fine hostelry on the outskirts of town, we didn't make it into the city centre!

27 Apr 2009 12:39

The Kingston Arms, Cambridge

Pub No.2 on our Cambridge crawl. My friend and I opted to lunch here, both of us had the very tasty home-made burger and chips, washed down with two pints of Crouch Vale Brewers Gold. At least four other ales available, including Hopback Entire Stout and Oakham's JHB.
There is a beer garden at the rear which would be nice to sit in on a sunny day.
Free Internet access.
Only gripe I have is with the cheap-looking and uncomfortable seats whose hideous green upholstery clashed with the mustard-coloured walls.
Overall, a good pub with good beer and food.

27 Apr 2009 12:30

The Live and Let Live, Cambridge

This is a basic, no-frills backstreet boozer on the outskirts of town. Interior has a rustic feel, with bare floorboards, wood panelling and heavy wooden tables and chairs. There are books and newspapers available to peruse, a mixed clientele of students, locals and visitors like ourselves.
It was the last day of a beer festival on our visit, with at least fourteen ales and seven ciders to choose from. My friend and I sampled the Castle Rock Sand Martin, a porter with strong chocolate flavours, a palate-cleansing Gareth's Perry from the Pickled Pig brewery and on our return visit later in the day we tried the Wessex Russian Stoat, a very tasty strong, dark ale at 9%.
An unpretentious pub selling good beer, I wish I had a local like this.

27 Apr 2009 12:00

Royal Oak, Ambleside

No this isn't a good pub. In the Eighties this was a traditional, unspoilt Lakeland pub. A few years ago it received the same cretinous treatment that is blighting pubs up and down the land and is now a bland, soulless bar. I doubt if many locals still drink there, and only a clueless 'tourist' like George XXIII could like a place like this. Go to The Golden Rule, if you want a proper pub.

16 Apr 2009 11:43

The Prince George, Hackney

Tucked away down a residential street, this was a pleasant find - a relatively untampered-with local boozer. Fuller's Chiswick and Pride and Gale's Seafarer on the pumps - a tad expensive at 3.20 a pint. Excellent jukebox (Nick Cave, JAMC and Scott Walker were played during our visit). Mainly young crowd and a good atmosphere. I'll be back.

14 Apr 2009 12:17

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

If this was ever a proper pub, someone has been spectacularly successful at removing every last vestige of character it might once have had. I felt like I'd walked into the local community hall. You enter via what looks like an emergency exit and find yourself in a large, cavernous space not helped by the brightly painted walls. Below a high ceiling, beams are adorned with hundreds of beermats, while a long bar occupies most of the back wall.
Ten ales on the pumps, seven from the Milton Brewery. I sampled three of the Milton offerings - Nero, a porter-style beer, Mammon, a very strong ale and Sparta, a light, hoppy ale. All were well kept, though a couple of degrees warmer than I would have liked.
I might pay a return visit if in the area, but it's not the kind of place I like to drink in.

14 Apr 2009 12:11

The Dove Inn, Hammersmith

People will not be fooled by EnjoysABeer's blatant plug of the pub. He/she has never reviewed a pub before. Neither has touchme. In fact, I think they're the one and the same person.

31 Mar 2009 09:00

The Constitution, Lisson Grove

I have seen this pub go through several changes of management and clientele in the last twelve years. For a while in the mid-nineties it drew a large crowd of office workers on a daily basis. When an ignorant, youngish Irishman took over about eight years ago, this crowd disappeared and was replaced by workmen in dirty overalls. He didn't last long and the pub got a makeover, including a new monogrammed carpet. The office crowd, however, has never returned . There was an abortive attempt to introduce ale a while back, but the London Pride was always off whenever I was there. I visited the pub today with colleagues to celebrate St Patrick's Day and had two badly kept pints of Guinness. Some of the furniture was slashed and torn and there is a general air of shabbiness, not helped by the clientele which consists of old drunks and benefit claimants. Today's visit was a truly dismal experience.

17 Mar 2009 16:58

Galeria Del Sol, Lanzarote

This bar has a sea-facing entrance reached via steep steps which could be treacherous if slightly drunk. A charmless, orange walled room with a small, curved car to the left as you enter. As with all pubs on Lanzarote, the place allows smokers, and we had a pair of chain smokers sitting right behind us which was an unpleasant reminder of days of old. Canarian lager drinkable enough and nice views of the coastline, but that's it.

9 Mar 2009 13:14

Metropolitan Bar, Baker Street

I paid a visit to this establishment for a lunchtime drink with colleagues last Friday, and can safely say it will be my last. The beers on offer (in addition to the usual suspects) were something called Abstinence (3% - is this a joke?), something from the dreadful Brentwood Brewery and Irish Whiskey Ale. I plumped for a pint of the latter, which had that appley taste which suggests it wasn't ready to be served. My friend decided his best bet was a cup of coffee - which was quite good. The only attraction of Wetherspoons pubs is their prices, and the fact that occasionally you can get a decent beer. But the last few experiences I've had of this place lead me to conclude that for real ale drinkers, it's a complete waste of time. Coupled with the obnoxious attitude of several of the staff, and this becomes one to avoid.

18 Feb 2009 12:22

The Colton Arms, Barons Court

Visited this pub for the first time yesterday and very nice it is, too. Interior decor is more 1930s Roadhouse than village pub, but still has a good, local feel. A long, narrow room with two smaller rooms at the back. Fireplace on the left, beamed ceiling and a large mahogany carving against the right-hand wall that looks as if it was once part of a huge dresser. London Pride, Sharp's Doom Bar and Harveys Best on tap. We had several well-kept pints of Harvey's (slightly expensive at 3.25 a pint). A proper, old-style boozer. I shall return.

16 Feb 2009 15:41

Clockwork, Islington

I have patronised this establishment on two occasions, purely for the extremely enjoyable music quiz. The venue is a large square room with an unusual layout - tables and chairs on opposite sides, sofas and low tables in the centre and the bar occupying an entire third side, bizarrely positioned against one of the street facing walls. Huge selection of bourbon whiskey, if that's your thing, Amstel 3.20, Guinness 3.40 and a fridge stocked with small bottles of American ale. I can't remember the name of the one bottle I tried - it was delicious, but expensive at 3.60 for roughly half a pint. I'm not sure what MichaelBuffalo means by 'boutique beers'. I saw Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in the fridge which I drank on draught on Saturday.
It is patently obvious to me that BitterShurn is referring to Real Ale, something MichaelBuffalo clearly knows nothing about. I don't recall seeing an ale of any description on a handpump so would love to know what he's talking about.
Largely young clientele that look like they're in bands (and may well be) and yes, on both my visits there were a number of young men with Howard Moon-style growths on their upper lips.
I shall return to this bar (I can't really call it a pub) again for it's excellent quiz, but unless you have a lot of money, I would avoid.

9 Feb 2009 09:40

Trafalgar Freehouse, South Wimbledon

Paid a first visit to this pub on Saturday and what an odd little place it is. From the street it looks like a private house with dark blinds drawn. On entering the pub and negotiating a heavy drape you find yourself almost on top of the bar. To the left a small seating area with a fireplace, to the right a more open area with a dartboard and TV, which, although on, no-one was watching. Among the clientele were a group of grossly overweight AFC Wimbledon fans celebrating their team's 5-1 win over Braintree and a couple of tickers with their notepads. Five ales on the handpumps, including Dark Star Hophead and Moorhouse Black Cat. All were in the 3.5 to 4.0 range. I would like to have seen at least one stronger ale available but the two pints of Hophead I consumed were good. An interesting pub that I will probably visit again.

29 Jan 2009 10:01

Inn 1888, Marylebone

The former Devonshire Arms has an identity crisis. Is it a pub or is it a restaurant? A magnificent fireplace and tiling betray it's original function while uniformed waiters hover expectantly. There were six or seven other customers but none of them were eating. GK Abbot and IPA on tap, my pint of Abbot was reasonably well kept (3.20) Nice interior, apart from the odd positioning of the bar in one corner, but that's it.

26 Jan 2009 09:54

The Harcourt Arms, Marylebone

Very nice pub, but the barmaid applied the sparkler to my pint of Adnam's Explorer which completely killed it. Why do they do this?

26 Jan 2009 09:46

Metropolitan Bar, Baker Street

I was in this establishment last Friday for a colleague's leaving drink and had a less than satisfactory experience. My companion and I started on Badger's Pickled Partridge which was good. After two pints the Pickled Partridge had run out so we switched to Exmoor Gold which was also good. Then this ran out, leaving only one guest ale on that neither of us wanted. The alternatives were the Wetherspoon standards: Green King IPA and Courage Best. At this point the clips were still showing on all the ales, including the Abbot Reserve. Having sampled the normally delicious Reserve two days previously and finding it tasting nothing like Reserve we had not bothered with it on this occasion, but I tried it anyway and it still didn't taste right. On an earlier visit to the bar I had seen one of the managers standing by the Reserve pump pouring samples into a half-pint glass and scrutinising them and had pointed out to him that it didn't taste anything remotely like Reserve. His response was to walk away from me without a word. Now I asked a barman why the clips weren't turned around on the unavailable beers and he agreed with me that they should be but management had instructed the staff to leave the clips as they are. What sort of stupid policy is this? Wetherspoons need to investigating the poor management of this pub.

12 Jan 2009 10:15

The Golden Bee, Stratford Upon Avon

Reluctantly visited the local 'McDonalds of the pub world' just to get a decent pint of ale, after my experience in The Garrick. Asked for a pint of Oakhams Raucous Reindeer. The emo type who poured it left a huge head on it and acted confused when I asked him to fill it to the top (a local preference perhaps?). I find Wetherspoons pubs characterless at the best of times but this was the most sterile I've ever been in. As other users have noted, the pub seemed to be populated by slightly odd people. My pint however was good!

29 Dec 2008 12:42

The Garrick Inn, Stratford Upon Avon

Visited this pub on Christmas Eve. There is a smallish, cosy-looking bar at the front of the pub and another slightly larger one at the back. My companion and I sat in the back bar which is in need of a lick of paint and some new furniture. Like the reviewer of 24/06/07, I think I may have been overcharged. A pint of Rocking Rudolph (which was not well kept) and a large glass of dry white wine set me back 7.50. Has the potential to be a very nice pub in the right hands.

29 Dec 2008 12:29

The Brazen Head, Lisson Grove

Went to a private function in this pub on Friday and can report that the hand pump is still in place, despite the pub not selling real ale. Suggestion to the management: get some ale in here or REMOVE THE PUMP. The barmaid served me a brandy in a highball glass. The same barmaid, about five minutes later, came to our table and lifted the glass, which still had the brandy in it! Der. A large single room with no character whatsoever. I am unsure as to why anyone would wish to drink in this place.

22 Dec 2008 11:07

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

Paid this pub another visit yesterday and left with the inescapable conviction that it is living on a reputation it doesn't deserve. My companion and I sampled four of the ales - Adnams Old, Downton Pale Ale, Crouch Vale Brewers Gold and Acorn Crystal Maze - and they were all well below par. Service was below par as well - behind the bar was what looked like a father and son team from the local estate. The older, bearded one looked at me three times as I waited to be served. Only by shouting 'Excuse me' did he seem to come out of his trance. Lastly, I must mention the clientele. There was an aging yob at the bar whose every fifth word was c***. Another aging yob came and sat uninvited beside me and talked gibberish for several minutes. I considered it prudent to nod and smile rather than tell him to get lost. What mystified us was that members of the East London CAMRA were seated at the next table and seemed to be enjoying the beer. Keeth Emerssion was happily chomping on a particularly fatty looking bacon sandwich. Reviewers on this site are looking at this pub through rose tinted spectacles. If people think this is a good pub I hate to think what a bad or rotten pub is like. If it's worth doing, DON'T DO IT AT THE WENLOCK.

11 Dec 2008 09:53

The Bree Louise, Euston

Paid this pub a visit last Friday as it was advertising a 'Pie and Ale Festival'. The advertisement had said there were 50 ales in the festival. When we were ordering the drinks, my companion asked for a list of forthcoming ales. The member of staff serving us had no idea that there was a festival on but offered to go down to the cellar and look at the barrels! We sampled three of the ales on offer - Piper's Gold, which was a bit bland, Hopback GFB and Harvey's which were both quite good. Odd mixture of clientele, office workers and teenage mothers with their babies. Pub interior needs to be rethought, the lighting is too bright, not helped by the whitewashed walls. I knew the pub when it was the Jolly Gardeners and remember it as being a small, dark, cosy pub.

3 Nov 2008 10:29

The Harp, Covent Garden

Went here on Saturday for only the second time. In all my years of drinking how have I managed to overlook this excellent pub? A friendly, efficient barmaid, a choice of six or seven ales (I tried the Summer Lightning, Black Sheep and Tribute - all well kept) and a relaxed atmosphere all made this the most pleasant evening I've spent in central London in a long time. As more and more West End pubs go down the bland, soulless bar route (like the Marquess next door) it is extremely important that this pub survives.

15 Sep 2008 11:48

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

This pub stands alone in an area of industrial units, a survivor from an earlier age. On my previous two visits I had not been impressed with the ales I tried, so it is with relief that I can report that on this occasion the beer was good (Oakham's Beermonster). I agree with the earlier comment that the carpet should be replaced, a tradition that is fast disappearing from pubs. The pub was almost empty on our visit (last Saturday) but it was still quite early so may well have filled up. A band were setting up gear as we left. A fine old school boozer that needs sprucing up a little bit.

1 Sep 2008 13:58

The Old Forge, Inverie

This pub is the most remote in mainland Britain. To get to it requires a boat trip from Mallaig or a sixteen mile hike from the end of the longest dead-end road in Britain. Our visit was during the day and the customers were mainly tourists but I'm told it can get quite lively in the evening. The ales available on my visit were Old Speckled Hen, Abbot and Red Cuillin (from the Isle of Skye brewery). My companion and I plumped for the Red Cuillin which was very drinkable. We also had lunch there, which was typically Scottish pub fare in that it was distinctly average. My venison burger was undercooked, and my friend's fish and chips was so-so. I will certainly pay a return visit one day.

16 Jul 2008 11:02

The Victoria, Bayswater

Visited this pub for the first time yesterday. The beer was good and the staff were attentive. It is indeed a lovely pub of the kind that seem to be disappearing in London. Just a couple of gripes: there was a musty/damp smell coming from somewhere and my friend and I were constantly swiping little black flies away from our drinks, which suggests that the pub could be cleaner than it actually is.

18 Jan 2008 10:29

The Nags Head, Belgravia

Have been drinking in this pub on and off for about ten years. It's a lovely old-fashioned bona fide boozer...BUT...went here on Saturday for a drink and couldn't believe the prices. 3.50 for a pint of Adnams Broadside is taking the piss, even in Belgravia. Another formerly great pub is struck off my list.

31 Dec 2007 11:23

The Hobgoblin, Marylebone

Went here yesterday lunchtime looking forward to a decent pint of ale (isn't that what Hobgoblin pubs are meant to be about?). Three of the four pumps had their badges turned around, the only one not turned around was the Hobgoblin, so I asked for a pint. The barman started to fill a glass, looked doubtful and then said 'Hobgoblin's off'. I asked why they didn't have any beer on and the response was a shrug of the shoulders and 'it happens sometimes'. This would be a poor show in most pubs but in an alleged REAL ALE PUB this simply ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH.

15 Aug 2007 11:00

The Prince, Stoke Newington

Went here on Tuesday with a couple of mates for the weekly pop quiz. They had no ale on tap. Two of us had Guinness while the third opted for San Miguel. Then the San Miguel ran out. I asked the man who seemed to be 'in charge' what had happened to the beer and he said, in a less than apologetic voice 'it all decided to walk at the same time'. I said 'Excuse me?' and he repeated this 'joke' then said they were getting a delivery the next day, which is of course, completely irrelevant. On nearly every previous visit, at least one of the ales has run out and hasn't been replaced. I come here for the quiz but I would say if you are a real ale drinker, don't waste your time on this place.

3 May 2007 10:50

The Riverside, Vauxhall

Punters beware - the waiters will charge a 12.5% service charge to carry your drinks to your table, which in our case was a mere five yards.

3 Apr 2007 09:31

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