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BITE user comments - lauraeva

Comments by lauraeva

Vane Arms, Long Newton

As an ex-pat Stocktoner, did Xmas day lunch here with my folks three years ago. was a real royal banquet, just six tables, perfect, but we had a history of coming here for Sunday lunch ... slow service ... but impeccable food and decent beer and wine ...
Landlord was talking / embarking on major renovations - must go and check the place out next time I'm "up north" ?
- Laura

13 Aug 2010 02:30

The Hamilton Russell, Thorpe Thewles

Food - don't think about it unless you just want to stuff yourself in a dismal school canteen environment (not decor, but service, food quality, and attitudes) - and does anybody come here to drink ???
OK my experience is Sunday lunch and I despair ...
Vane Arms just down the road for discerning drinkers and diners, decent beer and wine, friendly landlord and family, guess they take bookings for their lovely food as they can only seat half a dozen tables ?

13 Aug 2010 02:16

The Thomas Sheraton, Stockton On Tees

As an ex-pat Stocktoner I liked this pub even a decade back.
Was in a few times Xmas a year ago - its the best pub in Stockton by far even though its a shitty JDW - is it the pubs or the peeps that make drinking out in Teesside such a crap experience ???

13 Aug 2010 01:56

The Horse and Jockey, Stockton on Tees

Crap food (OMG Little Chef is better !), synthetic beers, zero pub atmosphere -McDonalds give more vibes - likewise the Tesco cafe across the road (!) - why does this place exist ???

13 Aug 2010 01:43

The Masham, Stockton On Tees

OMG ... Was last in the Masham almost 6 years ago (left Stockton for good in 1979, but have friends in the area who I like a drink out with, and of course my folks) ...
Yes, lovely pub, but you always felt you were intruding in a posh neighbour's living room !
If its become a "gastro pub" I'm curious as Teesside seems to be an absolute culinary desert, but the area is devoid of decent pubs with good beer and drinkable wines ... just hope the Masham delivers in its lovely village setting ... will try it out soon.
- laura

13 Aug 2010 01:36

The Farmers Boy, Maidenhead

Used to be nearest pub to office (c 2004 -8), lots of "job free" regulars and early pensioners ... hell until the smoking ban !
Sure decent beer (Abbott ?) and OK heart attack food ...
Pool table, sport on TV, typical chav place, maybe its improved but given its location i doubt it - but not without redeeming aspects ?

13 Aug 2010 01:11

The Ferry, Cookham

No issues with this place, but only used it work lunchtimes ...
The decking down to the river, lovely, watching the ducks on sunny afternoons.
Even lunchtime food was silly overpriced, but it was OK for a lunch menu ... some Belgian beers too ...
There are more trad pubs in Cookham which do real ale, this is not one of them, you pay for the stylish renovation, "sophistication ?" and river aspect.
I'd have thought if you were doing dinner in Cookham this would be the last place you would choose, though it might just be amongst the cheapest !
Likewise if you were looking for a few beers in the evening ... not the place ... "horses for courses ?".
- Laura

13 Aug 2010 00:57

The Purple Turtle, Reading

OMG !!!
I've been ejected from here with friend(s) for "sexual indecency", been refused admission rightly so cos I was way 'gone ... but each day is a new day, and if you can stand up straight you get admission, even at one in the morning, and you don't pay - just get ripped off �3:50 for a Leffe !
C'est la vie ...
- Laura

13 Aug 2010 00:04

Zero Degrees, Reading

Their food is surprisingly good ... pizzas even better than their pasta.
OK wine, interesting beer if only you had time to let it warm up a bit (zero degrees, hmmmm ?)
Unexpectedly nice place, especially the Gun Street facing bit !

12 Aug 2010 23:53

The RISC Global Cafe and Bar, Reading

OK - you use this place if you feel you "fit in" ... green, liberal, socialist, kinda global outlook ?
Free band nights (v good), films, and its where the local folk club meet.
Their food looks lovely too (for vegan / veggie stuff) and can anyone quibble with a place that has always stocked "Erdinger Piquantes" for �3:50 ?
- Laura

12 Aug 2010 23:41

Sweeney and Todd, Reading

This is midway restaurant rather than pub ... wines are scary in price, but the likes of Tanglefoot, Royal Oak, 6x, are kept absolutely perfectly and around �3:60 a pint ...
But you go to Sweeney's for their pies (& quiches) ... they almost have sawdust on their floor ... and if you turn a blind eye to calories - wow !
Steak & Stilton a favourite, Game Pie, or Hare & Cherry yum, eat in for a fiver, ratatouille, or mixed veg couple of � on top.
Chicken Broccoli & Stilton Pie to take home for �2:40 ...
Spinach quiche & salad in summer with a pint of 6x ... �8:00 ...yum !
This has to be 10/10 as they look after their beer like no other place in Reading (honestly), have perfect pub food ...
... and crap places like the Nag's Head even buy their pies to re-heat and sell them on, like Tuesdays with "baked beans" - would you believe !
- Laura

12 Aug 2010 23:17

The Alehouse, Reading

As I exit the Oracle with shopping bags, Hobgoblin is opposite ... if I need loos what they offer is disgraceful :-)
Guess you go in there for beer, and you see an array of handpumps serving usually reliable brown stuff, but not a fan of Hobgoblin ales, and guests rarely hit jackpot ... Wetherspoons usually has more interesting beers.
Really don't like the ageing compartmented aspect of the pub, makes it a stand up place which is frankly a turn-off.
Should be a brilliant pub but its a place I avoid ...

12 Aug 2010 22:39

The Bell, Waltham St Lawrence

Wish this could be my local, but in reality its not a local for anybody proletarian or "son of the soil" anymore !
Sure maybe some farmers, but mainly the few fortunate enough to have the means to live in a pretty Berkshire village ...
Sadly cars and pubs don't mix ... least not nowadays, and so its more like a National Trust property than a sensible / practical / viable pub for 21st C ...
Yes I was on a CAMRA coach trip of 40 people, and the pub struggled to cope.
Also seemingly no cooked food, so no real reason for people to travel other than gawp at the history, the low oak beams, the church and village green, and drink the well kept beer ?
A thing of beauty and of age, but sadly only unique for its survival ...

12 Aug 2010 22:20

The Hope Tap, Reading

Doh !
This is Weatherspoon ... �1:50 basic pint, �2:00 for their decent guest beer selection, usually well kept and no quibbles if you think its off ... �2:85 for 330ml wine (which is always perfect) ... their burger meals, steak nights, Sunday lunches, all with drink inc. are crazy value - would you rather do Mc'Donalds for a similar price ???
Only curry nights are dubious, but check out the price of a microwave curry from Sainsburys ?
Sure its not where you go for a romantic date, but the rear of this pub offers lots of light (expelled smokers have ruined the outdoor patio), and thru' the day clientelle varys from OAPs, East Europeans, Students tanking up pre-nightclub ... and its quieter on Fri eves than the Monks Retreat, which is best of times dark and claustrophobic.
Yes the stairs to the toilets stink of pee, but the Ladies is semi-OK, stuff that the pub needs to address ...
Please don't diss pensioners, unemployed, who can't afford likes of even "Slug and Lettuce", Sweeney's, or trad pubs like the Allied, or those of us who want a cheap drink while we do our shopping ... Hope Tap is OK, Weatherspoons Staff are always OK, honestly if you want an traditional pint town centre is there really an alternative ?
- Laura

12 Aug 2010 21:29

The Hop Leaf, Reading

Bit out of the way unless walking back to town from Chennai Dosa or Kathmandu Kitchen ?
Summer Lightening (!), friendly regulars, everyone knows everyone, so not a good place when you're breaking a relationship ...
But a big recommend for a proper local with good beer !

12 Aug 2010 20:45

The Rose and Thistle, Reading

This was for 18 years my local, 3 min walk from my front door, but not being a local sort of girl (just use pubs when I'm out and about or meeting friends singular or plural) I under-used this place ...
I love Abbot which has been on tap there since I first popped in two decades back. Their wine list is terrific too for the prices.
Landlady Sue does a grand job (Green King really screw their tied houses), and some of the food is fresh kitchen prepared - not all pre-prepared microwave - way superior to Weatherspoon !
It was an infrequent lunchtime retreat on sunny weekdays when working from home on Brunswick Hill, somewhere to go to see Sky footie, and I'd noticed it had got a lot quieter music wise on weekend evenings ... hate noisy pubs.
But decking the garden was a huge mistake ...
Left my mobile phone there one Saturday, on a table ... it wasn't stolen but handed in for me to collect the next day ... what does that say about the clientelle !
- Laura

12 Aug 2010 20:30

The Foresters Arms, Reading

How does a pub like this survive ?
The other pub I knew in tiny, narrow, out of the way Brunswick Street shut over a decade ago (Brunswick Arms) , as did the Swiss Cottage just round the corner on Tilehurst Road ...
Faithfull local clientele, but never crowded.
The front bar feels like you've intruded in one of the neighbouring terraced house sitting rooms, especially as the handful of other people there seem to be treat as family ... lovely garden (shame the barbecue smells were drifting from the next door house !).
A bit run down (toilets ?) which makes you realise that they're running on a shoestring :-(
I do like this place, it clicks when it gets half busy and you're with someone who make you feel entitled to be there ... and suddenly you become a friend among really nice people ... totally unbigoted lovely folk.
Only negatives are the feel "its a local pub for local people" (if you're a stranger), and a limited choice of beers ... usually just two, both way understrength (@3.5%) for someone who drinks halves I like ESB / Speckled Hen strength ... and pretty much a single wine choice, though the bottle was still fresh and OK ...
An odd but wonderful pub !

12 Aug 2010 19:59

The New Inn, Reading

Since moving into the new and rather nice Battle Hospital development this has become my local, as the Rose & Thistle is now 15 min walk away :-(
Okay its the Oxxie Road so what do I expect ? Well I'd like it to get a spruce up, sort out their beer and offer a selection of wine (not just red or white !), offer some tempting basic pub grub that people might just want to eat ?
Staff are friendly ... but that's the only positive.
Used it while checking out the area, and buying my house, but wild horses wouldn't drag me in there now !

12 Aug 2010 18:48

Polish Gospoda, Reading

Used this a couple of times for food at quiet times (early midweek eves) and was impressed ... portions are huge, especially meat content, and authentic (try the buckwheat pancake filled with "goulash" or the Golbaki) ... bit pricey for pub grub but OK value considering, and until some enterprising person opens a proper Polish restaurant off the Oxxie Road !
Really friendly crowd when it gets busy, I'm Hungarian but love the Poles, but gets a bit intimidating for "oldies" like me late Friday / Sat nites when you can hear the music blaring and bouncers outside ?
Obviously not a "real ale pub" but full marks for what it does. and long may it survive ...

12 Aug 2010 18:29

The Allied Arms, Reading

Real ale, trad pub, but loud juke-box on weekends pumping out heavy metal so you can't think !
Silly prices but nice beer garden ...
Use it midweek (shut Sundays) !

9 Aug 2010 21:12

Nags Head, Reading

Most bigoted pub in Reading ...
If you're not white, heterosexual, middle class ... avoid !

9 Aug 2010 21:04

Nags Head, Reading

Really troubles me that Ted & Mico (licensees) are so judgemental about gender issues ... not a gay friendly pub ... (DOH & I'm not gay) ... a crap place really ... yup a really crap establishment where most clients don't realise the censures that are happening !
And stuff like bar "propper up", Clive, an ex neighbour, who said he didn't know me ... how does that feel ?
Shame 'cos their beer can be OK (but can be soo off at times) and Ted always chose some decent wines ... and some crap wines too ...
Worst pub in Reading but should be amongst the best !!!!!
Laura -

9 Aug 2010 20:55

The Sussex Arms, Paddington

Guess this is the only "real pub" on Paddington's doorstep ... sure the clientele seem to be guys working on engineering & construction contracts in London, but who mostly have roots / homes as far away as Newcastle or Aberdeen !
Wine choice is "do you want red or white luv ?" ... !
Their beer choice is ... well ?
Really like the place 'cos its unpretentious, shows football in a big way, and it really scares tourists off !!!
And whenever I'm brave enough to go in, I never end up sitting there on my own, as I'm always drawn into "dubious" company and really enjoy myself ...
Laura -

9 Aug 2010 20:01

The Dickens Tavern, Paddington

This is a real, real filthy dive -
- bar area OMG !, - toilets - do not approach, better to dump on the street !
Beer reminds you of "Watney's Red Barrel" ... lukewarm keg and handpumps not much better ... avoid so called wine at all cost !
"Longest / Deepest pub in London - maybe they're right ... best fish and chips in London ... WTF !"
Clientele are 99% tourist (no Londoner would touch this place with a bargepole) and it saddens me that this is the closest pub to Paddington station - guess its in character with the fleapit "so called" hotels on Sussex Square who have nerve to charge �100 per night ...
Guess "Dickens Tavern" says it all ... :-)
Laura -

9 Aug 2010 18:53

The Isambard, Paddington

OK - its not a proper pub !
From the outside it looks same as the station kiosks housing Burger King, that tie & scarf place, baguettes "wonderland", etc. ???
Actually its not that small inside, comfy sofas, fireplace, big mirror, and has real friendly staff ... is open for an hour after the other station / near station pubs close (Paddington seems to enforce 11'oclock curfew on all its pubs other than the GW Hilton) ...
11 o'clock in the evening its way more tempting than the station benches to waste / shiver for a half an hour before train goes, and I've met so many interesting peeps there doing same as me !
Laura -

9 Aug 2010 18:06

The Mad Bishop and Bear, Paddington

Soo many ignorant comments !
Gave this a 9 purely on criterea of "station pub" ... maybe it deserved a 10 for being a "London station pub" ?
This is the best haven I know within a London station, staff are really nice, beer (Pride & ESB) perfectly kept and good choice of basic wines, house Sauvignon is way better than "supermarket plonk" !
Prices are standard central London Fullers.
Since the days when it was the only place other than "The Reef" that you could smoke within the station its got bit less crowded and way way more pleasant ... their food is OK and bargain priced given the location.
You can always find a seat and with not much patience a table.
You can forget where you are and see this as any other Fullers conversion, and its nicer / cleaner (toilets including) than most Wetherspoons I know ...
Laura -

9 Aug 2010 17:49

The Archery Tavern, Bayswater

This was a 9/10 pub, probably spent cumulative 500 hours drinking, chatting, socialising there (but was never part of the "backroom" crowd).
Featured in every London "Historic Pub" guide ...
One of few Hall & Woodhouse tied houses outside the West country (Badger beers) ...
But lease belonged to Church Estates, who maybe had problems with licenced premisise on their books (how 19th'C), or more probably were looking to maximise site rental !
Whatever the Archery despite its 200 year old history could not survive ...
Its now a posh French Restaurant, very good by all accounts, but how many of us ex-regulars can afford a �90 meal more than once or twice a year ?
We now use the nearby Victoria, guess Fullers would never let this happen to one of their "trophy historic" pubs ?

9 Aug 2010 17:26

The Victoria, Bayswater

This is a beautful Victorian gem ... real traditional pub, and a "local" just a 10 min hazy stagger to catch your last Paddington train back home !
Been using this pub for at least 7 years since I moved out of London and commute in for my weekly "catch up" with a best friend ... our previous regular was the Star in Belgravia in TJ days, and this competes !
Wonderful sympathetic refurbishment two years ago (the Victorian themed "Ladies" are the nicest and reliably the cleanest in any bar outside of a posh hotel in London) ...
The Library and Theatre bar have real history, and are not always booked for functions, so often open to public, especially late evenings.
Even the tourists who find this place have searched it out as its in a residential rather than hotel area ...
My friend tells me he's never been pulled a bad pint of ESB, and as an occasional beer drinker I agree !
Sure prices are high ... my house "chenin" is a bit over �5, and ESB around �3:40 ... food is shockingly pricey for pub grub, its good and well presented, but you'd want a better (less crowded) eating environment when paying almost �10 for a dish ?
But this is Mayfair and Mayfair overheads ...
The landlord always recognises me, as do the Oz / SA staff until the annual change-around, a raised finger on entry and we have our drinks without my opening my mouth ;-)
Sure it can get crowded but can't praise this pub too highly !
Laura -

9 Aug 2010 16:59

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