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BITE user comments - oldboots

Comments by oldboots

The Dragon Hotel, Harrogate

Now called the Skipton, with K reversed, oh those crazy Harrogate folk.

4 Nov 2009 18:37

Crathorne Arms, Yarm

A large well appointed pub in a village now by passed by the A19. It comprises one long room with a more formal dining room/restaurant at one end, there are several distinct areas created by stub walls and a careful choice of furnishing and flooring. There are lots of leather benches, sofas and stools with small tables, on the walls old photos of the pub, events and the village. Four handpumps serving Arran Dark, O'Hanlons Port Stout and well kept North Yorkshire's Organic Love Muscle, nice to see a number of darker ales for a change. More unusual range of kegs including Grolsch and Coors plus various temperatures of Carling and some Guinness and Caffreys. GBG listed there is a pool table at one end and a reasonable car park at the rear.

4 Nov 2009 18:35

Buck Inn, Thornton Watlass

Handsome stone built pub on the village green, it has a cozy bar, a dining room and a function room The Long Room. Traditional pub dcor in the carpeted bar, long benches, stools and Brittania tables, no noisey things such as TVs or fruit machines, just conversation and a friendly atmosphere. The usual sort of maps and pictures you expect to find plus a few mounted heads and tails of foxes and otters, dead a long time ago I hasten to add. Five handpumps gracing the bar with fine Yorkshire beers from Theakstons, York, Black Sheep and Daleside. The usual keg products of Tadcaster etc are naturally available. There is a large collection of we're in the Good Beer Guide stickers behind the bar testifying to the quality of the ales. Good food is also available.

4 Nov 2009 18:23

Vernon Arms, Liverpool

For anyone relying on the map to find this pub the post code is wrong and therefore its map position comes out wrong. The Vernon is on the corner of Dale St and Vernon St and the Post Code is L2 2HJ. Still an excellent pub although the service was a bit off last week when I called in.

12 Oct 2009 10:02

McHughs, Belfast

Interesting old looking bar with a dark characterful interior of bareboards, and wood panelling, the upstairs restaurant is more modern in style. Interesting art work and old newspapers on the walls, candles on tables in one part of the downstairs bar, seating on chairs with a central vertical drinking area by the central bar, I also noticed a stool constructed of cog wheels and a crankshaft. Mainly keg beers served by on the ball young staff, the only ale being Whitewater Belfast Ale on handpump in reasonable condition. Punters were mainly youngish with a few middle aged couples.

12 Oct 2009 09:12

The Kitchen Bar, Belfast

Trendy looking modern bar just outside the Victoria Square shopping mall, inside it is less trendy and more down to earth. Only one ale from Whitewater on amidst a sea of formula kegs, this was Belfast Ale a rather thin and watery red ale with a slightly chocolatey taste, served very cold. Sadly as it warmed up a sour flavour was revealed. All the beer seems to be served in either a Magners, Guinness or a Carlsberg glass. Staffing was coolly efficient and the customers were a fairly average looking lot. The interior is mainly exposed brick, a neat tiled floor and with big clear windows to the street, the usual screens and machines are available, the screens being tuned to a racing channel.

12 Oct 2009 09:09

The John Hewitt, Belfast

A great music pub with a good range of eclectic european draught beers, Bitburger, Erdinger, Hoegaarden, and Grolsch plus a couple of very well kept ales usually from Hilden. A few more mainstream kegs from Carlsberg, Harp, Guinness and Caffreys, there are also a few interesting bottles in the well stocked fridge. Traditional victorian styled interior with dark wood, tiles, bareboards, a splendid marble topped bar counter with a proper brass foot rail. Art work from local artists and a range of pump clips complete the picture. Obviously it gets very busy when there's live music, that's six nights a week. I concur with most reveiwers the best pub I visited in Belfast.

12 Oct 2009 08:55

The Bridge House, Belfast

A big Wetherspoons with big clear windows and remarkably good service, speedy, polite and I didn't see uncleared tables, the beer was in good nick as well. It does well what JDWs are supposed to do but fail more often than not. Dcor and atmosphere wise it could be a JDW any where, there is an upstairs section and it is in what appears to be two older buildings knocked together, one bit looking much older than the other. The newer bit has some confusing door/windows, they certainly foxed a number of customers who didn't read the sign. Beer wise the usual keg suspects on a number of T bars, the small set of handpulls lurks hidden behind a pillar unseen when you enter from any direction. Not many interesting ales on the night I was in - Greene King and Marstons plus a very acceptable Woodforde's Nog. Good mix of punters with the under 30s predominating.

12 Oct 2009 08:52

The Golden Fleece Hotel, Thirsk

An old coaching inn from the days of the Great North Road. Large brick building on the market place popular with the 'turf' on race days. The bar is decorated in modernish style with high back chairs while retaining an older elegance. Racing memorabilia, framed silks, members enclosure badges etc. give a racing theme. This is definitely the kind of place where all the chairs match. Well kept Black Sheep bitter and Shep's Spitfire, the usual Guinness, Carlsberg, Strongbow and Tetleys plus San Migel. Food is good and reasonably priced, mains around 7. Service pretty good, the barman pulled off a pint or two to clear the line before serving me as I was the first on Spitfire that day, although he was sometimes absent from behind the bar when needed.

12 Oct 2009 08:12

Counting House, Glasgow

Housed in a magnificent baroque building in George Square, I found this to be a not too bad Wetherspoons. Beer quality, I had a special made for JDW by Strathaven Brewery, was excellent and the service was actually quite slick considering it was a busy early evening. Down side is that JDW in Scotland no longer take CAMRA discount vouchers. Entering up the stairs from St Vincent Place you come to a big almost perfectly cubic room with a large square centrally placed island bar lit by a glass dome far above. All around the walls are corinthian columns and on the architrave are statues. The walls are mainly decorated with pictures of Scots worthies of the last few centuries and some framed bank notes reflecting its former life as a bank. There are numerous alcoves off the main room giving space for a quieter drink. Not many neds or suchlike in there when I visited so I was pleasantly surprised and I say 7/10.

29 Sep 2009 18:29

The Last Post, Paisley

Long, thin, old, building on two floors taken over by Wetherspoons, it forms one side of Paisley's rather dreary County Square, but it is incredibly convenient for Gilmour St station, taxis and the bus stops. However inside it is vanilla JDW, not the worst by any means, maybe in the lower third, but the usual lack of staff and those there are the normally bewildered creatures Tim Martin loves to employ. So slow service and uncleared tables are the order of the day. Sad really because the beer quality was actually very good. Mixed batch of punters with very little low life, what few there were lurked smoking by the doors.

29 Sep 2009 18:27

The Wee Howff, Paisley

An odd half timbered quite narrow interior, with the bar down the centre of one side. Apparently it doesn't do cask beers at the beginning of the week as three bare stumps testified; so you'll have to drink lagers or malts, of which there is a small but choice selection.

29 Sep 2009 18:23

The Bull Inn, Paisley

Long, dark and narrow, lots of dark wood, an interesting bar counter, and small snugs tucked away at the back of the room make this an interesting bar, the three air pumps with reasonably kept Harviestoun beers also help to make it one of the more characterful places to drink in Paisley. The main bar has the counter down one side and bench seating with tables and chairs down the other. Walls are panelled wood decorated with lots of old photos of the area. The afore mentioned snugs are small half glazed rooms at the rear of the main room, the bar seems to be used by the drinking men and the snugs by the women, couples and small mixed groups of friends. There are screens and machines of course and the punters seem a friendly bunch. The staff were pretty much on the ball as well.

29 Sep 2009 18:22

The Ingram Bar, Glasgow

A classic old Glasgow bar just south of George Square, sadly only Greene King Abbott and IPA available on the six pumps but nonetheless very well kept. It being Scotland there are lots of lagers taking up the island bartop. Apparently guest beers are also available sometimes. It is also noted for a decent range of malts. Young punters and staff on a quiet evening when I was in. Normal screens and machines, juke box etc in an old dark wood interior. Decorated with bookcases, Scots photos and prints of sentimental old paintings, The Last of the Clan for example; the more interesting dcor is on the staircase down to the basement toilets, the walls are papered with 1950s copies of the Daily Herald. Differing floor levels provide separate seating and drinking areas to the main bar side space. An interesting bar with original features and reasonable beer.

29 Sep 2009 18:20

The Blackfriars, Glasgow

Basic darkly lit drinking house styled bar with a beer mat finish to the servery ceiling, lots of music posters, sticky tables and not all the furniture matches so the atmosphere is decidedly studenty. It is in the Merchant City so it has pricing to match and the bare board floor is actually laminate. A five pull set of pumps on the bar dispense a mix of Scottish and English micro/small brewery beers and it appears to be a regular outlet for Brewdog although sadly not on my visit but the Inveralmond Lia Fail was quite superb. A mix of ordinary and interesting kegs both European and UK are also available. I liked the small, individual, blackboard beer names above the bar made for easy changes when a beer runs out. Not many students about but there was a mix of ages, classes and nationalities, the bar staff were mainly younger and enthusiastic.

29 Sep 2009 18:17

The Babbity Bowster, Glasgow

Spartanly decorated bar in the Merchant City, plain white walls with some interesting art work, mainly drawings and photos. Laminated floors in a decent refurbishment with a mix of seating that suits its drinking/eating mix. It is ever so slightly pretentious. Three old air pumps serving Deuchars, Kelburn and on my visit a guest from Houston, Peters Well a sweetish golden ale for the Scottish palate. A few students and lecturers the only customers on a quiet Monday night. Scots delicacy Cullen Skink is sold here.

29 Sep 2009 18:16

The Red Lion, Reading

Modern style interior in an old building just south of the town centre. The main bar is finished in cream with a red carpet and red upholstered pew style benches with some short stools clustering round the few tables. Largely seating at one end by a nasty brick fireplace, with a middle area housing a big screen separated by a balustrade sitting on a low partion wall. Beyond that is a pool table, darts board and another screen. Plenty of drinking space around the bar for those who prefer to stand or block the bar. Four handpulls sitting at the end of the bar with Brakspears Bitter and Caledonian Golden Promise being served, the Brakspears was in fine condition when I tried it. The only other punters were some east European lads playing pool and a middle aged business type.

29 Sep 2009 18:14

The Hop Leaf, Reading

Wiltshire's Hopback Brewery's pub in Reading with a range of their beers plus a guest and 9 ciders. A few kegs but I didn't take a lot of notice with Summer Lightning et al being on offer. Basic non-descript dcor with a mix of scrubbed pine and dark traditional furniture, with some pewlike benches arranged booth fashion. The brick built bar looks a bit naff but the beer going across it, served by on the ball staff, is nothing less than excellent. There is a bar billiards table at the back and a small narrow room to the side. A big screen lurks in one corner but looks like it's only wheeled out for the bigger sporting occasions. Mixed, friendly, clientele including a few oddballs.

29 Sep 2009 18:12

The Pennyweight, Darlington

Bit of a chavy dump really, but no worse than other central Darlington pubs and better than some. Badly handled refurb' of a decent old building comprising a big U shaped room with pine furniture, screens and machines, and the standard range of lagers and smooths. There are also 6 handpumps but the beer quality wasn't up to much when I tried it, as the pint of dire John Smith's Magnet I left behind will testify. The barmaid though was excellent and probably thoroughly wasted in this kind of place.

29 Sep 2009 18:09

Number 22 Alehouse and Canteen, Darlington

A long thin bar in a high ceilinged victorian building, home of the Village Brewer although the beers are brewed under contract at Hambleton. 15 hand pumps with the Village Brewer range plus changing guests from UK micro breweries, all very well kept. There is also a wide range of european beers on draught and in bottle. Good service from professional liveried staff.
The elegantly decorated room is split into three distinct areas, chair seating with tables near the door at the front, a canteen at the back and a mainly vertical drinking area in the middle with a few bar stools and shelves to rest a pint on. The blinds over the big clear front windows say this is a Traditional Ale House and Canteen, which tells half the story; the other half being that it is probably the most civilised pub in central Darlington.

29 Sep 2009 18:07

The Quaker Coffee House, Darlington

A gloomy, dark, cellar like bar in spite of it being at street level. Basically a bit of a tickers pub with 10 handpulls carrying beers from mainly micro and smaller breweries. There is also A UK lager, A stout, A euro lager and A keg cider. There is a scrumpy too Old Rosie. Beer quality is great as you would expect from a multi CAMRA award winning establishment, but it falls into the beard, sandles and matching beer bellies stereotype which does not appeal to everyone. With live music on sometimes I guess it will also draw in a younger clientele. Upstairs is a function room, apparently keg only. Under threat of being sold by S & N Pub Enterprise hopefully the current licensees will buy it and retain its ambiance.

29 Sep 2009 18:06

The Tap and Spile, Darlington

I was also greeted by the smell of disinfectant and a bewildering pubs-r-uz layout, I should have been prepared for a typical down market town pub with beer to match. Four hand pumps with pretty poor John Smiths Magnet, plus Black Sheep Bitter and Summer Lightning. You will be able to guess the keg range so I wont bore you with a list. Within the odd collection of rooms there is a nice bar back, a pool table and the usual screens and machines needed in pubs today. Plastic glasses only if you drink outside.

29 Sep 2009 18:04

The Tapas Bar, Darlington

Finished in a Mediterranean style, naturally I guess for a tapas bar, it also offers well kept real ales from small and micro breweries from the six handpumps as well as a pedestrian choice of UK kegs. There is a large outside area especially popular for warm lunchtimes and afternoons but sadly only plastic glasses are allowed outside.

29 Sep 2009 17:53

The Britannia Inn, Darlington

No frills town boozer with the bar to the left as you enter and a function type room to the right of a central corridor. Fairly plain dcor with proper pub seating and Britannia tables, there is a small shrine to Newcastle United at the back. Facilities also include a small TV and a fruit machine, the back wall and the bar are decorated with the pump clips of many counties. Six handpulls with Camerons Strong arm and John Smiths Cask as regulars plus four guests, Mordue, Brakspears, Moorhouses and something from Fox & Morrisey when I visited, all the available beers including the usual keggy stuff are listed on a blackboard by the bar door. Friendly chatty locals, good no frills service and excellent beer quality

29 Sep 2009 17:52

Radcliffe Arms, Harrogate

A Sam Smith's pub in a two pub village with both belonging to Sam's, but oddly for Sam's quite food oriented, even taking credit cards, albeit with a 1.58% surcharge. Three elegantly decorated rooms, a formal dining room at one end, a cosy bar with posh leather armchairs in the middle and a more open bar with furniture set up for more diners at the other end. Staff nowhere to be seen when I called in at the end of lunchtime illustrating the food led nature of the place, I believe they were sorting out puddings and coffees or some such. Beer was ok but nowt special.

29 Sep 2009 17:50

The Harewood Arms, Harrogate

Ancient looking quirky interior, multiroomed Sam Smith's pub in a posh village near Harrogate. There are low ceilings and old timbers, plain walls, settles and benches, carpeted floors rather than flags which would add to the inherent charm of the building. It even has Yorkshire sash windows at the front. Friendly staff and a great village pub atmosphere only the poor beer quality lets the place down.

29 Sep 2009 17:48

The Castle, Spofforth

Largeish stonebuilt pub in the middle of the village. An L shaped bar with a smaller room divided off to one side. All the rooms are decorated in half timber brewers tudor. There are bench seats with mounds of cushions, the usual screens and machines and it is a little food oriented compared to the Railway Inn. Average Tetley's Cask with Black Sheep Bitter and John Smith's Cask also available on the five handpumps, standard kegs from John Smiths, Becks, Fosters, Carling, Kronenburg, with the usual Guinness and Strongbow. The staff are efficient and the cartoons in the Gents are not terribly funny.

29 Sep 2009 17:47

Railway Inn, Spofforth

Pleasant Sam Smith's pub at the Wetherby end of the village street. Two bars, a public to the right and a lounge to the left. Nothing unique or unconventional about this pub, the funishings are upholstered benches with tables and chairs, a repro fireplace from Andy Thornton's in Halifax if I'm not mistaken, a few bucolic prints to brighten up the walls. Friendly landlord and punters, cold but decently kept Old Brewery Bitter. In short a good pub doing a good job.

29 Sep 2009 17:46

Turks Head, Ripon

Sadly currently shut and boarded up, Sept 09

29 Sep 2009 17:41

Groves Hotel, Knaresborough

An unequal U shaped bar with bench seating, tables and chairs and low Britannia stools, undistingushed but comfortable. Two features of note are the nice stained glass round the entrance and the columns on the bar painted in the style of Klimt. Otherwise a pedestrian beer choice of reasonably well kept John Smiths cask, or Old Speckled Hen plus the usual keg suspects although Sangres is more unusual than the others. There's a big screen but I didn't see any machines and a pool table sits at the back on the left side, the right hand side being set up for dining. There are also four rooms for B&B.

12 Sep 2009 12:50

So Bar and Eats, Knaresborough

The name says it all, I believe it is actually rendered as SO!, - bar and eats rather than sober and eats, and that's what you get: a very nice bar with food. Four handpumps with London Pride, Deuchars, Moorhouses Blonde and Roosters YPA, I was torn between Lancs and Yorks but local boys Roosters won and I was not disappointed, a great pint. Two banks of keg fonts; one offering a less boring range from Europe including Leffe, Hoegaarden, Peroni and Staropramen; the other a more typical range with a smooth, Guinness and Blackthorn, lagers from Becks and Stella. Dcor is modern, pastel shaded walls, tiled and parquet floors, sofas and low tables to one end with normal tables and chairs largely at the other and a few tall tables and stools in the middle. The staff were young and enthusiastic, the punters quite a mix of families, pensioners and bright young things although it was a lunchtime visit.

12 Sep 2009 12:46

The Old Royal Oak, Knaresborough

Low ceilings, dark wood, tiled bar, and victorian features combine to make a characterful pub with two bars. The beer sadly was chewy John Smiths Cask, the only ale available, along with the usual kegs. The two bars are broadly similar, to the right is more dining oriented and has a flag floor, the left hand one more sparcely furnished and has a boarded floor. Pictures and photos of old Knaresborough and a few brass nicknacks and horsebrasses in the normal pub style. There is a cryptic message over the door between the bars reading IYBMADIWTY! , I didn't get the chance to ask its meaning but it's more fun to make up your own anyway.

12 Sep 2009 12:44

Market Tavern, Knaresborough

I was struck by the smell of disenfectant as I entered this fairly standard town pub, which is not as bad inside as the outside suggests. Brown tables and chairs with bench seating, the bar front has a rather nice blue tiled freeze. Part boards, part carpeted floor. There is a raised area at one end with a pool table but is also used as a stage for the regular live music here. Four pumps with only John Smiths Cask available although there were some Black Sheep beer mats on the tables so perhaps guests are not unknown. Not even Cask on sale when I visited so I can't comment on beer quality, the keg offering is much like any other Knaresborough pub; John Smith's smooth, Guinness, Stella, Strongbow, Heinekin, Carling etc. The staff were fine and the few punters seemed OK.

12 Sep 2009 12:44

The Hart, Knaresborough

Although formerly the Harts it is now badged as H - art bar and the interior has been redecorated in a more minimalist style complete with cream walls, light wood matching furniture in a single room with some partioning. None the less it still has the ambiance of a town pub. Three handpulls with lacklustre Theakstons Best, plus Deuchars IPA and Jennings Crag Rat labelled as a guest ale. Usual sort of kegs from John Smith's (smooth), Fosters, Kronenburg, Heinekin etc. Screens and machines as expected, mixed clientele and reasonable staff.

12 Sep 2009 12:43

The Henry Peacock, Harrogate

Large pub next to Starbeck station and level crossing, one large bar with a more elegant room to the back. The first thing that strikes the visitor is the mauve painted anaglypta wallpaper, along with the floral carpet I felt quite queasy, although that might have been the prospect of the choice of beer on offer. John Smiths cask plus a wide choice of the usual kegs. There is a pool table at one end of the bar and a dart board with a mass of trophies lurking behind the bar in a strange open alcove; this is obviously the result of some ill conceived wall removals over the years in misguided attempts to modernise a victorian pub. Although I visited on a warm September day, the radiators were on although the customers weren't OAPs they were a bit eccentric and down at heel looking rather like the pub itself.

12 Sep 2009 12:40

Prince of Wales, Harrogate

Undistinguished two bar pub in Starbeck High Street, public bar along most of the width of the pub with a smaller lounge to the side and another room at the back. The bar is decorated in beige and cream with lots of green benches, short stools with small tables along one side, the counter with some taller stools runs down the other. The counter looks original to the pub and is in dark tongue and groove with a proper foot rail, the rest of the pub looks to have been renovated many times over the years, the back room was under redecoration when I was last there. Only John Smith's Cask on handpump, a little cold but very acceptable, usual Scottish & Newcastle/Heinekin kegs; Guinness, Fosters, JS Smooth and Stella. Flourishing darts team by the looks of it but not many customers in while I was there, the staff were fine if a little under employed.

12 Sep 2009 12:38

The White Bear, Masham

Located next door to the Black Sheep Brewery this is actually Theakston's main pub in their home town. The original pub was bombed in 1941and this new hotel was converted from nearby brewery cottages. Most of the building is hotel but there is a restaurant to one side of the pub entrance and a small cosy taproom to the right. Dcor in the restaurant side is simple with a few pictures and menus on blackboards, bare floorboards, some farming implements and little atmosphere. The taproom is far pleasanter to drink in. There are handpulls in each bar usually carrying the Theakston's range plus Guinness and a lager. The young staff are attentive and keen, the punters vary from richish diners to old locals. As the Theakstons showcase, in tandem with the Black Bull in Paradise, the beer quality is spot on.

12 Sep 2009 12:37

The Greyhound, Darlington

Definitely still open when I walked past in September 2009, just didn't look very inviting and I had a train to catch.

12 Sep 2009 12:17

The George, West Bay

Two bar pub with a restaurant /carvery at the back, one bar is pretty much a nautical themed lounge but pleasantly pubby, while the other is a very basic public with a pool table. Beers from Palmers nearby brewery, IPA and 200 in this case but served with the sparkler on a Northern setting and suffering badly as a result. A trio of lagers from usual suspects; Stella, Fosters and Kronenburg, Guinness of course and Thatchers cider. Quite busy on a Saturday night but not overwhelming although the staff struggled a little.

10 Sep 2009 19:25

Bridport Arms Hotel, West Bay

Food oriented, family friendly, pub next to the village's main car park. Two bars plus a formal restaurant mainly for residents at the rear. Main bar is restaurant styled with tables and chairs and a balustraded area and has a restaurant atmosphere. The smaller bar is more cafe like, transport rather than Cafe Royal. West Bay isn't Southend or Blackpool so the dcor is quite refined for a seaside place, there are lots of nautical themed photos and old photos of the area. Maybe we were luckier this summer than previous reviewers but we found it well staffed with young, enthusiastic people. The draught beers from Palmers, IPA and Dorset Gold were both in good condition and much better than in the George. There is a fairly standard range of kegs from Stella, and Carlsberg, with cider from Gaymers and Thatchers and the inevitable Guinness.

10 Sep 2009 19:23

The Hare and Hounds, Waytown

Splendid isolation perhaps sums up this excellent three room village pub. The flag floored main bar is bracketed by a seating area with leather sofas to one side and a plainly decorated dining room to the other. Friendly staff and regulars, a typical village pub atmosphere hangs in the air. A little too much furniture in the dining room but the main bar is a very pleasant room to enjoy the Palmers beers; IPA on a pump and Dorset Gold straight from the cask. It supposedly has a good garden and super views over the valley but it was dark with low cloud when we visited.

10 Sep 2009 19:20

The Clock House Hotel, Chideock

A serious games pub with a games area at one end of the pub containing six darts boards, table football and fruit machines, there is also another darts board in the main bar and table skittles is also played here. A range of well kept beers from local micro Otter, plus a standard range of kegs for the less adventurous holiday makers. Food led but still a locals pub, the mantle-piece is groaning under the weight of darts trophies and there is a thriving charity book club where people swap books for a small donation, hence piles of books in odd corners. There is also a small collection of wall clocks. Behind the main bar is a raised section used for dining and an odd shaped staircase and corridor affair leading to the toilets and rear car park. Friendly and mainly attentive staff but occasionally it looks like the Marie Celeste behind the bar.

10 Sep 2009 19:18

The Pymore Inn, Bridport

A single L shaped room in a front room style with a domestic looking fireplace, a collection of teapots and a piano. There are a few benches but mainly tables and uncomfortable chairs as food looks to be a big seller here. Well kept beers from Dartmoor, Otter and St Austell. Not many people in when I stopped off for a quick pint so the atmosphere was a little stilted.

10 Sep 2009 19:15

Red Lion, Winfrith Newburgh

This is what used to be called a roadhouse during the golden age of motoring, a biggish pub beside the main Wareham to Dorchester road. The interior is a lovely old 1930s brewers tudor rendition, with wood panelling, low ceilings, diamond leaded window partions and a nice carved front to the bar. Two main rooms with dark furniture and two bar counters. Hall and Woodhouse's Badger beers, including Tanglefoot and Lemony Cricket, not my favourite brewer but the beer was well enough kept. The ales are supported by the usual mass market lagers, stout and ciders plus HB export which I believe is a German import. Food served all day according to the signs inside and out, the staff seemed rather bored by it all.

10 Sep 2009 19:13

Half Moon, Ripon

As suspected this pub has now become a restaurant, drinks are only served with meals.

9 Sep 2009 13:53

The Cambridge, Liverpool

Very traditional interior, in fact the pub slogan is built on tradition. Very popular with students but very quiet in August when I was there, just a few over forties lingering over pints of lacklustre Mansfield cask or some lager or another, the other cask ale choice of Pedigree not being available. Standard keg range, Carling, 1664, Fosters, San Migel and Peroni plus the inevitable Strongbow and Guinness. Strangely for a Marstons pub none of their own smooth. Furnished with well upholstered benches and Britannia tables on a tiled and bare boarded floor, tobacco stained lincrusta ceiling, a little exposed brickwork but mainly buff coloured wallpaper decorated with old family pictures. As I said very traditional. There are two rooms, one with the bar and a second raised area with dart board and tables and chairs. There are quite a few picnic style tables outside to take care of the overspill.

5 Sep 2009 13:29

The Caledonia, Liverpool

An interesting old exterior which is not reflected on the inside. Two rooms have been knocked into one with a slight attempt at designer style. A basic drinking den near the university, normal range of kegs, unused handpump and bottles. Bench seating round the sides of the front area and tables and chairs in the rear. A very big screen showing a music channel takes up a lot of the back wall. There is a raised area at the back possibly used for live music, there were posters for Free Rock & Roll on the wall. Probably very studenty in term time but just a few chavs and an Harold Ramp type in when I was there. I also interupted the barmans teatime kebab.

5 Sep 2009 13:28

Hanover Hotel, Liverpool

Down market bar in a seedy looking hotel. Dreary choice of UK kegs or Pedigree and a Guest on two lonely handpumps, or at least there would have been but both clips were reversed when I popped in. Long narrowish room with two pool tables at one end, bar counter down one side and two or three more separated areas to the side and rear. Carpeted and with lots of seats, the walls are decorated with rock and roll posters. The nice wooden bar counter does have a proper foot rail. There are screens and machines of course, the staff are OK, the punters much as youd expect as there are usually bouncers on the door.

5 Sep 2009 13:19

Andersons Bar, Liverpool

Smart and pricy basement bar with a restaurant upstairs located in the business quarter. Owned by Manchester brewer Lees but sadly both handpumps were out of stock, normally John Willies is on one. There is an abundance of cold mainstream lagers, Guinness and Strongbow, plus shots and cocktails as its that kind of place. Dcor is modern with dark wood wainscotting, cream wallpaper with tasteful pictures and mirrors, fancy light fittings and a floor of white tiles and bare boards. Furniture is a mix of sofas, armchairs and tables, and high stools with tall tables. Nondescript punters and background music, staff ok but the wrong side of the bar chatting when I dropped in on this average urban bar.

5 Sep 2009 13:15

Slater's, Liverpool

Rough, long, thin, bar in the nightlife centre of Liverpool around Fleet St, Wood St, Slater St and Bold St. Dodgy punters and dodgier staff. French doors and a mini-veranda front onto Slater St, the main door is up a couple of stairs. Inside the walls are painted brick and stone work and the ceiling is of tongue and groove boards with some posters. The bar counter is at the back selling a fairly ordinary range of UK kegs including Murphys which is getting rarer these days. Screens and machines and lots of CCTV cameras, euphemistically this is an interesting bar but by no means could it be called a pub. It bills itself as the College of Knowledge - gawd knows why.

5 Sep 2009 13:09

Renshaw's, Liverpool

A single large room with a little Victorian charm but not nearly as much as the impressive exterior suggests. Usual range of uninteresting kegs, a solitary unused handpump at the end of the counter with a guest beer clip reversed. Screens and machines, a fairly down market place in all respects, not surprising given that Renshaw St is an extension of Lime St.

5 Sep 2009 13:07

The Liffey Bar, Liverpool

Seven Guinness fonts, diddley diddley music, quotes by Wilde and Joyce this is a bar that wears its Irishness on its green sleeve, with the blue painted frontage it certainly looks the part. Nice victorianish interior with bare board and old tiled floors, an extraordinary panelled ceiling and etched windows with fake oil lamps hanging in them. In addition to the Guinness it also sells Carling and Stella, Strongbow and the smooth bitter and dark mild from Tetleys. The staff are attentive and the punters a good mix of ages and types. It is basically one big room with the bar area to the side with a raised floor, there is also a raised area at the back with a large drop down screen, other screens and machines are spread round the room. Furnishing is mainly tables and chairs, that match, plus a little bench seating and a couple of old barrels with table tops. Toilets are down stairs and there looks to be an outside area but I didnt explore that. It seems to close about 10pm on weekdays.

5 Sep 2009 13:06

Old Ropewalk, Liverpool

Went past again last night and it was open but not for long, two hours later at 10:30 it was shut. Looks like it may open Thurs-Sun.

28 Aug 2009 13:13

Old Ropewalk, Liverpool

The lights are on but there's nobody home. It certainly looks like this pub has shut, every time I pass the steel shutters aire down but the outside lights are on. In fact I don't think I've ever seen it open.

25 Aug 2009 15:51

Green Dragon, Bedale

Pleasant village pub and eatery listed in the GBG2009. Interesting interior with several distinct drinking/eating areas, a large dining room in a well executed extension at the back and also provides a beer garden. Each side of the front door has access to the bar although definitely split into two or three areas. To the left, through what looks like a well appointed kitchen, (there is a range and leather sofas), is what appears to be a public bar, to the right a rather twee room with a nice fireplace, brasses etc and tables, then behind a foreshortened wall is the bar area with a sitting area containing a dresser complete with china dogs. I liked the iron wheels set into the walls acting as snob screens between the two bars. One pump in the left hand public serving Landlord and four in the right hand lounge with Black Sheep on both the new light up gizmo pump and a straight forward handpump, Theakston Black Bull on another, while the third was unused. Landlord was fine but a little softer and rounder than usual while the Black Sheep Bitter had a slightly peculier taste for Black Sheep. Service was friendly and fast whilst the pub was not particularly busy except with a few diners and a solitary local.

22 Aug 2009 11:27

Vernon Arms, Liverpool

Classic Liverpool pub of the plainer Victorian variety thankfully reopened after a long period in limbo and gently refurbished. Two rooms, a large front bar that may have had a small snug at the front at one time and a small lounge without a counter but looking bigger due to all the wall mirrors. Between the two is an unused encrusta tiled entrance and the toilets. The main bar has a sloping floor, not quite as steep as I remember and certainly not like the Globe, a classy ceiling and a classically styled barback. There is a big pulldown screen for the sport which attracts a big crowd on match nights. The etched windows appear to date from a 1980s existence under the Liverpool Brewing Co, anyone know more about this? Six pumps arranged along the counter selling well kept beers from micros and smaller regionals, Reverend James, Henry's IPA (a long way from Devizes), Betwixt Sunlight, Trappers Hat, and a special brewed for the pub by Wapping. Euros from Hoegaarden, and Fruli with Becks, Worthington Smooth, Stella, Carling, Guinness and Strongbow providing something for everyone. A broad spectrum of customer ages and types, tourists, locals, workers and layabouts.

22 Aug 2009 11:11

Thomas Rigby's, Liverpool

One of my favourite pubs in Liverpool and always my first or second call when enjoying the Dale Street crawl. Rigbys is a multi room pub, smaller than the outside would suggest. To the right when entering is a panelled dining room with the tap room proper to the left. The bar counter runs down one side and there is a more secluded room with a vaguely nautical / Nelsonian theme at the back, a raised alcove like area to the back left and a large courtyard which is shared with the Lady of Mann. As this is Liverpool there are the inevitable sports screens of various sizes. Unusual wood and leaded glass bar and pretty grape mouldings over the front leaded windows. Good quality Okells bitter and IPA always on sale plus up to six changing guests from regional and micro breweries. As with the larger Fly there is a wide range of European bottled and keg beers, and of course the UK keg drinker is also catered for. Although like the Fly it is run by Okells there is a definite difference in style between the two pubs, Rigbys being a little rougher in every way to the well polished Fly, here the punters are a bit older and sometimes include obnoxious suits, the staff are a little less on the ball, but definitely still a classic.

22 Aug 2009 11:08

The Lady of Mann, Liverpool

Entered via a gateway between The Saddle and Rigbys this is in a building at the back of the shared yard or patio. The third of Okells Liverpool pubs, in comparison it sells a cut down range of Okell's Bitter plus a guest on each of two further pubs, although only Reverend James and the bitter were available on my last visit. There is also the choice of a few fine european keg and bottled beers, Carling making a rather limp appearance alongside them. As with the other two Okell's pubs the beer is always of good quality and well kept, staff friendly and attentive, I believe the staff are shared between here and Rigbys. Snack type food is available comprising bar snacks, pies, baguettes and cold meat platters. The single room is split into two sections by a large glass panelled structure surrounding the staircase down to the toilets. The front section has the bar, a TV and a few tables and chairs, the rear part more tables and chairs. The modern fad for exposed brickwork and bare floorboards is given full reign here.

22 Aug 2009 11:03

The Ship and Mitre, Liverpool

Liverpool's main permanent beer festival pub, pumps and fonts as far as the eye can see, well almost, I counted 14 hand pulls. There is a constantly changing range of guest beers from smaller UK breweries complemented by European bottles and kegs. A full list, which is usually up to date, is on the wall opposite the North Street door, next to the disgusting Gents, there is also one just inside the bar by the Dale Street entrance although this one is easily missed. Downstairs has an island bar serving two rooms, the Dale Street end having a raised seating area in one corner and is usually the busier part of the pub unless football is on. Plain dcor with German brewery signs. The rear bar has a vaguely ocean liner style left over from its Ship make over in the sixties or seventies I believe and has the screen for the the footie. I've never been upstairs or eaten here but both are possible. There are regular beer festivals and events, these are listed on a blackboard by the North St entrance. The staff are usually spot on, tonight was not the babe crew but some equally efficient blokes. Customers vary from studenty types, middle aged real ale enthusiasts, OAPs hippies and various forms of the weird and wonderful lifeforms that frequent Liverpool's pubs.

22 Aug 2009 11:00

The Excelsior, Liverpool

The refurb has now finished as someone comments below and externally there is no change, internally the back bar retains its victorian features with just a light wash and brush up, the front is not modern garish but certainly lacks any charm. Very few punters in when I dropped in on my way to the Ship, bored staff watching football with the commentary in foreign. Very poor and warm Betwixt Sunlight the only ale on any of the six pumps, some with clips reversed some without clips. Not a pub that hits the mark yet and is likely to suffer with nearby competition like the Ship & Mitre, The Vernon, Dr Duncan's and the Okell's pubs up the road.

22 Aug 2009 10:55

The Avon Brewery Inn, Salisbury

I can add very little to RogerB's erudite review of this pub, the frontage is a splendid Victorian affair of etched glass with a tiled base leading into a rather conventionally decorated long dining type room with the bar offset to one side. There is another room further back designated as a function room which I didn't go in. Lots of mirrors, embossed wallpaper, brown furniture, well upholstered settles and tasteful prints complete the traditional style. Pedigree, Ringwood bitter and Hobgoblin on the pumps, I didn't note the keg beer available but nothing very different to anywhere else I expect. My Ringwood was reasonable if warm, but it is now usually a lacklustre beer in any case. An early evening visit so it was fairly quiet with just some middle aged diners scattered about the front room, listening to 80s and 90s hits from the local radio station.

18 Aug 2009 16:26

Ye Olde George Inn, Christchurch

Interesting and popular old pub, the only one in Christchurch with a GBG entry. Beers from the Piddle brewery, Piddle, Jimmy Riddle and Silent Slasher plus Crop Hop, which I'm not familiar with and something from Idle (South Yorkshire) which ran out just as we were about to order it. The Piddle and Silent Slasher were in top condition and dangerously drinkable, I didn't have a Jimmy Riddle (sorry, but the brewery started it). As well as a keg range there is also New Forest Black Cider which was very much enjoyed by our own Runningdog. Half timberish two room interior, there is a front room accessed off the street, and a back bar with the entrance via the courtyard. Conventional dcor if a little bit chintzy in places although the chamber pots compliment the Piddle beers I suppose. The back bar has some thrones by the bar and a more dining oriented area to the rear. The courtyard is very well patronised and apparently there is a skittle alley somewhere off the courtyard. Staff were a bit over occupied by food orders as there were not quite enough for the customer level, speaking of the punters apart from a couple of dodgy looking old blokes occupying the thrones, they seemed a fairly normal bunch of people of various ages.

18 Aug 2009 16:23

Sweeney and Todd, Reading

From the front it looks like an ordinary pie shop, although the sign says famous pies... fine wines... real ales; once inside the door the bar and dining area is still partially hidden by screens and curtains. Carry on up a short flight of stairs and you reach the bar with its four beer engines carrying Adnams Bitter, York Ghost, 6X and Tanglefoot, a little less boring keg range from Peroni and Becks plus Stowford Press cider. I chose the Adnams as I've not had it for a while and was not disappointed by the condition, taste or quality of the ale. To the side, front and back are tables and chairs for the consumption of the delicious pies, you need to ask which fillings are available when you order as it does vary from the menu. There is a larger dining room further back. You can drink here as a non diner but I guess that would defeat the object of visiting. Decorated in a fairly conventional style, Constable prints, pictures of old Reading, framed awards and brewery mirrors there are also some interesting theatrical ephemera. Mixed bunch of customers although my evening was enlivened by a couple of 12 year olds from the BBC, listeners of Ed Reardon's week will understand the cruel truth of that.

18 Aug 2009 16:19

The Sun Inn, Reading

Old rambling place with an interesting disjointed interior, the bar counter is hidden away in a back corner. There are low ceilings, plastered walls and half timbering dividing the place into a jumble of odd shaped areas on different floor levels. The front room has screens and machines, beyond which is the bar through to the left and what appears to have been a corridor to the right. This has now been opened out to form a comfortable drinking and seating area with a big modern juke box. Further back is a space on a much lower floor level, probably for dining, but deserted when I was there. A door at the back leads to a patio. Two handpumps with Courage Best and Deuchars IPA, I plumped for the Deuchars but soon regretted this rash decision, mediocre would be a polite description. Nothing unusual or of note in the keg line up.

18 Aug 2009 16:17

The Horn, Reading

Good corner location not far from Reading's central area. Attractive old wooden interior around the bar area but a little drab in other parts of the single U shaped room. Pool table to one side, to the other there is seating on distressed leather covered benches and a screen for Sky Sports, beyond that a dining area. Active, friendly bar staff, but it was very quiet when I was there in the early evening. Two handpulls, one not in use, the other badged as Bombardier but actually serving London Pride, which was flat and uninteresting but drinkable. Smiths Smooth, Fosters, 1664, Guinness and Sagres keg beers plus Strongbow and Bulmers keg ciders.

18 Aug 2009 16:16

Shepherds Dog, Harrogate

Renamed the Harlow Inn many months (years?) ago

15 Aug 2009 18:33

The Greyhound Inn, Killinghall

The name is more properly the Greyhounds the inn sign shows two dogs. Sam Smiths pub in the centre of the village opposite the Three Horseshoes. There are four rooms, two at the front with the bar counter, a lounge to one side and a public with pool table reached from the back of the pub. Traditional pub decoration and furnishing with tan walls and old local photographs. A Sam Smiths pub so of course only Old Brewery Bitter plus the Smiths range of keg beers to choose from, but the OBB is well kept if a tad cold. Friendly enough and welcoming village pub.

15 Aug 2009 17:14

The Three Horseshoes, Harrogate

One of two pubs in the village of Killinghall straddling the A61north of Harrogate. Double fronted building but with one large room of two distinct parts, to the right a dining area to the left a lounge bar with a nicely carved L shaped counter, bench seating and tables. Sky sports being shown on a big screen. Four handpumps but only Black Sheep Bitter or Tetley cask to choose from plus a wide range of standard kegs, including Boddingtons, Tetley Smooth, the typical lagers, Cider and Guinness. My Black Sheep was fairly thick and tasted of bubble gum, however the staff were friendly and attentive and the customers a decent lot. There is also a garden out the back but the weather kept me inside.

15 Aug 2009 14:34

The Boars Head , Ripley

Possibly the only pub in England with a Baronet's name over the door, the licence holder is Sir Thomas Ingilby, Bart, he lives in the castle next door to the hotel. The Boar's Head is the bar of a smart hotel in an elegant planned, or model village, halfway between Harrogate and Ripon. The bar is at the back of the hotel entered via the courtyard car park or through the Hotel reception. A long narrow room, the counter is down part of one side, the rest of the space is taken up with bistro style seating. Six hand pumps serving well kept Theakstons Best and Old Peculiar, Black Sheep Best and Golden Sheep, and Village White Boar. Range of kegs includes 1664, Becks Vier, Bulmers and Staropramen. The room is dominated at one end by Boris the Boar, there are some nice 18th and 19th century prints and caricatures, and some amusing cartoons of boars and hunting scenes drawn on the walls. Not the village local but a more than pleasant hotel bar.

15 Aug 2009 14:31

Little Wonder Hotel, Harrogate

Named after the 1840 Epsom Derby winner its best days are probably behind it. A large whitewashed hotel on a major roundabout where the A61 and A59 meet, the last pub in Harrogate when leaving for the north. Two large rooms, one a dining area the other very much a public bar with lots of machines, big screen telly, pool table and a dart board. Dcor comprises football shirts and scarfs with a big Engerland flag nailed to the ceiling. The pool table and darts mat take up some of the space but there is plenty of bench seating, stools and tables plus standing room and stools round the bar. Beer is a myriad of cheap lagers, Stella, Fosters, Becks, Carling plus Guinness and cider. There are two beer engines but they are unused. Not a wholly unpleasant place if the beer and football is to your liking, other wise a bit chavvy.

15 Aug 2009 14:17

Claro Beagle, Harrogate

Large, modernish (1960s) pub on Harrogate's northern outskirts. A single room broken up into several drinking areas including space for three pool tables, but be careful leaving the Gents. In addition there are a number of fruit and games machines, and a big screen TV showing sports. Two handpumps serving Tetley Cask and Daleside bitter which started mediocre but improved a little in the glass, probably not vented properly to start with. Usual keg range, Carlsberg, Becks, Strongbow, Fosters, Guinness, Stella, Tetley Smooth. Decorated in a mix of light greys and beiges with some out of place anaglypta and mosaic walls. Pretty much an estate pub but probably fun in its way and it does get busy. Food deals also offered, i.e. 2 meals for 6.99 and there is free WiFi.

15 Aug 2009 14:15

The Brewery Tap, Leeds

Bar like venue with 12 handpumps serving the Leeds Brewery range plus guests, including Tetley Mild, and Milestones, all I tried were in excellent condition. There is also an eclectic collection of lagers. Plain beige walls, stained boards and modern but practical furniture in one large, long room with big clear windows along one wall. More seating in a room upstairs, where there is also a room containing some brewing equipment, this may or may not be used as I didn't see anything resembling a fermentation vessel. It is labelled The Brewhouse. Plainer and less designer styled than the Midnight Bell, another of Leeds Brewery's houses, but perhaps suited to its location and I presume its target demographic. Acoustic music night every second Thursday.

15 Aug 2009 13:54

The Scarbrough Hotel, Leeds

Large pub with a fine exterior just outside the main Leeds railway station. Eight pulls with a range of mainstream and micro brewery beers, Tetley Cask and Timothy Taylors Landlord apparently always on plus a changing range of guests. On my visit they had the newly crowned Champion Beer of Britain, Rudgate Ruby Mild, and very good it was too. Standard sort of keg range, Carling, Strongbow, Guinness, Heinekin and Stella, although the signs and drinks menu suggested that was not the whole story. They are proud of their pies here and have a sign listing the number sold so far that week: 81 when I was there plus 2151 pints of beer sold. Big L shaped room with possibly an original bar counter front, the room is decorated in traditional pub style. Mixed group of punters ranging from some older couples to a large but well behaved group of lads starting their weekend a bit early.

15 Aug 2009 13:51

The Cross Keys, Holbeck

In ambiance the Cross Keys is very like its near neighbour the Midnight Bell but not quite so stylish, lots of exposed brickwork, light coloured ceiling beams, quarry tiles and a spiral staircase leading to an upstairs function room. This is named after James Watt, the Scottish engineer who worked mainly in Birmingham, not sure what his connection with Leeds is however. Two downstairs rooms, one a cosy bar the other a larger room with bench seating and tall stools beside a drinking shelf. There is also a patio or sunny courtyard which is very pleasant on a sunny afternoon. The rooms have plenty of seating on cream coloured leather benches and lots of short stools. Four handpulls in the two bars with a changing range of mainly Yorkshire microbrewery beers, Elland, and Roosters on my visit. The beer was slightly warm but still in good condition. Also on the bar; Erdingers, Lindeboom from the Netherlands and the super Kuppers Kolsch, plus a range of Belgian bottles. Although slightly less overtly foody than the Midnight Bell, unlike there the Cross Keys staff have more of a restaurant ethos but still work well.

15 Aug 2009 13:48

The Midnight Bell, Leeds

Crisp and modern wine bar style bar owned by the Leeds Brewery. L shaped ground floor, a very large outdoor area and, unexplored by me, an upper floor. 9 handpumps serving three beers from Leeds; Pale, Best and Midnight Bell plus a guest I forgot to note because my pint of Best was positively perfect in every way. Some of the cooler brands of continental beers also available here served in the appropriate glassware. Light wood furniture mostly of the hard seating variety and mostly arranged for dining. Tasteful dcor in various shades of light grey with matt white woodwork incorporating the Leeds Brewery corporate shape as used on their pump clips and bottle labels. On the ball, friendly and enthusiastic, young team of staff. You may be able to guess the customer profile, young to youngish, trendy to trendyish, urbanite ubercools and those who want to be thought ubercool; oh and a couple of old farts like myself. A little pretentious but in a very Leeds kind of way. Although not quite up to the standard of Walters Bar in Hull, like the Cross Keys almost next door this is the kind of place that proves good ale doesn't need to be sold in some sort of doss house or museum.

15 Aug 2009 13:44

The Grove Inn, Holbeck

Excellent, traditional back street boozer surrounded by modern office buildings. Multi-room layout with dcor mellowed by age to gentle golden hues, an outstanding unfancy Victorian interior. Nine hand pumps spread between the corridor serving hatch and the front bar, serving a range of mainly UK microbrewery beers all in fine condition but a little cold. You can easily spend many happy hours here. Mixed group of punters ranging from suits at lunchtime to student types and regulars. Attentive and friendly Irish staff who make bar work look easy. Regular music of different sorts and just a short walk from the railway station.

15 Aug 2009 13:42

William Walker, Winchester

CLOSED and now reopened as the William Walker

8 Aug 2009 18:38

White Rose Bar, Leeds

Underwhelming station buffet with appallingly bad beer. A choice of Davenports, mine was vinegar, or Stones on two out of the three handpumps plus Stella, Coors, Worthington, Carling etc on keg. Blandly decorated with mirrors, a big screen TV and a useful train announcer screen. Usual sort of furnishing and menu for this sort of place, staff rather abrupt and with an ever changing range of the travelling public as customers. There are much better places not far away.

8 Aug 2009 10:02

The Buffet Bar, Stalybridge

Victorian station building on the east bound platform housing a superb bar. There is a smallish room with a bar counter, a big long settle and a couple of tables, then two smaller rooms with benches and tables and a very pleasant newly refurbished conservatory opened in January 2009. The dcor as you may expect is mainly railway based, loco and wagon plates, old posters, station signage etc. Nine handpumps with cider on one, two more with Boddingtons and Flowers IPA; the remainder dispense more interesting beers from northern micro breweries. Small range of fairly standard kegs. All the beers I tried were in absolutely excellent condition. Both the bar room and the platform just outside were rammed but the other rooms were almost empty on my visit, the crowd tending to ebb and flow with arriving and departing trains. The staff coped admirably with the pressure of any sudden influx and even the bar blockers moved politely for thirsty people. Mainly an older age group enjoying an early evening pint or three when I was there missing my train.

6 Aug 2009 20:27

The Feathers, Helmsley

Popped back into Helmsley today after the steam fair at Pickering and the bar is called the Pickwick Bar (?) and has another door off the main street without traipsing through the hotel bit.

6 Aug 2009 20:16

The Black Swan, Masham

Old village pub just outside Masham with a small holiday park behind, caravans, tents and some rooms in a separate block providing an on-site supply of punters. Two bars, the front one being set up as a dining area and dangling from the ceiling what is possibly the world's biggest collection of chamber pots. The back room, in a modern extension, lacks the olde worlde character of the front room but is pleasant enough. Two hand pumps in each bar dispensing Black Sheep Bitter, Golden Sheep and guest Stump Cross Ale brewed a little further away at Richmond, in Swaledale. Standard for the area keg offering from Carling, Worthington Smooth, Guinness, Thatchers cider and the more interesting Grolsch Blonde. There is a pool table in the back bar and strangely the walls display a large number of aerial photographs. There is also a patio with open views across the dale.

6 Aug 2009 20:01

The Crown and Anchor, Sowerby

Large, open plan, U shaped room with a mainly splendid choice of ales. One end is a lounge set out for dining, the other is a comfortable bar, modern but in a traditional style with dark wood, mixed furniture and pump clips as object d'art. There is a dart board, games machine and big screen telly with Sky Sports in the bar area. Five handpumps serving John Smiths Cask plus four changing beers mainly from Yorkshire micros, my pint (Acorn) was in really excellent condition, if only I wasn't driving I would of had another. The standard range of kegs found in a lot of Yorkshire pubs will be found here. The other punters were fine and disappointingly non sweary. The staff were great, apart from one minor quibble - refilling someone's dirty glass not really recommended with swan necks. The pub is the only one in the village, in the main street which is lined with agreeable, and pricey, 18th and 19th century houses, however behind the pub is a small estate of social housing. Handy for the auction mart and A19/A168 interchange, if you're in a car, outstandingly better than most Thirsk pubs.

6 Aug 2009 19:57

The Regency, Harrogate

Tucked away from the main bar and club circuit of Harrogate it is in that style although maybe more refined than some. One room across the width of an oldish building with a more discreet but cramped area at the back. Pleasant enough dcor furnished mainly with low leather sofas, matching tables and some chairs. There is a posing table in one of the big clear front windows and an outside drinking area. The beers are all extra cold mainstream kegs, John Smiths, Tetley, Carlsberg, Fosters, Stella, Guinness and Strongbow although there are three unused beer engines. We were there a bit early to get a feel for what the atmosphere is like when busy but it seemed OK for that sort of place just a bit small. Larger function room upstairs.

6 Aug 2009 19:44

Muckles, Harrogate

Not as bad as it looks as it's a former Scruffy Murphy's. Dark wood furniture and bar counter, bare boards in the middle and carpeted round the outside of the room. Big clear windows looking out onto the Stray and restrained dcor in a single open plan room. Good balance of seating and standing room, with a pool table at the back. Usual range of keg stuff, John Smiths Smooth, Tetley Smooth, Carlsberg, Stella, Guinness and Strongbow (yawn), four hand pumps dispensing Pedigree, Tetleys Cask and Black Sheep Bitter, my BSB was pretty nasty cold, thick and green. For those interested in pub architecture there are still some fine architraves and two very nice stained glass windows behind the pool table.

6 Aug 2009 19:42

The Alexandra, Harrogate

Not what you might expect entering the pub from the John Street end, a very big room more like a city centre pub than most in Harrogate. Beer wise a keg range much as found anywhere although maybe a little more choice, and two well kept cask beers, local lads Daleside and Copper Dragon on my visit. Multiple big screens on various different channels spread round the room with lots of table and chair style seating, the tables have brass numbers for food orders but I didn't eat here. The staff are young and seem a bit inexperienced hence some short measures here but there are enough of them to cope with reasonable customer levels even if some of the punters are a bit dodgy looking. Nothing much to praise or complain about. There is a pool table at one end and live music here every Thursday which is a good thing in itself.

6 Aug 2009 19:38

The Sportsman's Arms Hotel, Pateley Bridge

Large stone build hotel, restaurant and bar up a narrow lane not far from Pateley Bridge. The bar is a single room decorated with country sports pictures, brassware, clocks and stuffed fish. Pub-like bench seating albeit very nicely upholstered. Very much food led the quiet bar is nonetheless separate from the restaurant although the food is very good and not standard pub fare. Well kept Timothy Taylors Best and the ubiqutous Black Sheep bitter from the two hand pumps plus Carling, Worthington Smooth, Thatchers Cider and Guinness complemented by Heinekin Export and Grolsch Blonde. Staff glide about in long aprons serving generally rather well to do tourists and posher locals, although there is a sign about muddy boots at the door, so the odd walker from the Nidderdale Way must stray in here occasionally.

6 Aug 2009 19:24

The Feathers, Helmsley

Well appointed North country hotel in Helmsley Market Place. A multiroom layout ,there is a more traditional bar reached via a snug like room to the left on entering and a dining room to the right also with a bar counter. Drinking only is frowned upon in the dining room as the profusion of computer generated A4 notices will confirm. There is also a large function room to the rear. Usual keg offering plus Black Sheep bitter from the whizzy new pump plus Tetley cask and Feathers a very drinkable porter / stout brewed for the hotel by the Yorkshire Dales Brewing Co, possibly a detuned version of their Yorkshire Penny stout. The rooms are generally small and cosy, tastefully decorated although the tartan carpet clashes a bit. The food was pretty good and the service mostly sharp and efficient although the disappearing bar staff trick can be witnessed here. Locally made Mouseman and Beaver furniture, country prints and a relatively quiet atmosphere much in keeping with Helmsley itself.

31 Jul 2009 11:55

Half Moon, Ripon

Pub has been shut for a while but is due to reopen early August 2009 after "gastrofication"into a restaurant/bistro is completed. No surprise there as very many, if not most, rural pubs in North Yorkshire have gone down this route in some form. Once reopened it may sell beer and may welcome casual drinking non-diners but the new owner's reported comments don't fully engender optimism on that score, he is apparently an award winning chef who has previously cooked for royal and aristocratic punters. I will review once (if) I can persuade Mrs B to dine there.

NB new telephone number 01765 603514.

31 Jul 2009 11:46

Unicorn Hotel, Ripon

Now has a sign in the front window advertising guest cask beers, although on my last visit it was Black Sheep Golden Sheep as well as Black Sheep Bitter and Tetleys cask. The building work that disrupted central Ripon for months has now been completed.

27 Jul 2009 11:24

The Black Lion Inn, Ripon

Roomy village pub just outside the entrance to the tourist destination of Newby Hall. Two tastefully decorated bars, one a standard but comfortable Public with a darts board and a pool table, the other more a formal dining room although it is labelled as a lounge bar. A Jennings tied house with three sets of three pull beer engines, sadly only chilly Cumberland Ale available plus the usual kegs. GL cider and Marston's variety of Smooth are also there. The Cumberland was distinctly appley (acetaldehyde) once it had warmed to drinking temperature, even so Marstons have certainly wrecked what was once a great beer, very sad and disappointing. The food here is very good, a range of prices and certainly good value. Service in the lounge was much more restaurant style than village local.

24 Jul 2009 15:38

The Westgate Inn, Winchester

Corner pub opposite the ancient Westgate and Winchester Castle. Only a few suits in the smallish semicircular bar when I was there, possibly lawyers who had been working late at the nearby Crown Court, no sign of their clients though; as dodgy reviews from its nearest extant competitor may suggest. The main bar is decorated in traditional but basic style, brown wood, tatty tables, hints of Victorian splendour and military prints reflecting Winchester's relationship with the Rifle Brigade and the Royal Hampshire Regiment. There is a second large room of raised seating with wild west style bannisters which previous reviews suggest may have been an Indian restaurant. Mainstream ales and kegs, other than my pint of Banks's Original which was drinkable but not outstanding only Staropreman registered on my conciousness ,

12 Jul 2009 20:21

The Green Man, Winchester

Brick and flint built pub with basic Victorian type dcor although I remember it a good few years ago as modernish with carpet going halfway up the bar counter. The present style is probably described as something like retro shabby chic, it does have some good original etched windows though. The outside says Greene King but there is not a sign of their products inside, instead there are four hand pumps, only one in use selling Bowman's A Swift One and on my visit two casks on the bar. Four discreetly placed keg fonts serving Carlsberg, Heineken, Guinness and Stowford Press cider, other ciders were also listed on a blackboard. I had Keltic Even Keel straight from the cask and although it was fitted with a cooling jacket the beer was warmish, flat and lacking any condition. An early Tuesday evening visit but it still seemed a bit cruel to leave the barman all on his own as I was the only punter. Free Wi-Fi available.

12 Jul 2009 20:05

Alfies, Winchester

Incongruous mixture of an old building unsympathetically furnished with those very fashionable light wood tables and chairs of various heights. A side alcove is furnished as a leather pervert's front room with low leather sofas in black and some even lower tables, some messy artwork adorns the walls. Wide eyed and confused staff, the only customers were a sparce group of youngsters in the garden, myself and a middle aged canoodling couple. You are now thinking the beer can only be a dreary range of kegs and perhaps a badly kept guest ale on a solitary hand pump; well almost right: the choice of Deuchars or London Pride might have disappointed but the Pride was very, very good. The moral being don't judge a book by its cover or a beer by its pump clip. This is very possibly a good venue for the under 25s at the weekend but then I'm just going by its looks there, being as I'm over 50.

12 Jul 2009 20:01

The Old Courthouse, Cove

Cask Marque approved pub with an old looking interior in a big open plan room. The bar is stiff with hand pumps, 11 I believe, with 4 or 5 ales on sale from Fullers, Bass and Hogsback. This promises much but sadly on this occasion it did not deliver. My first pint was thick, cloudy and definitely smelling of acetic acid. This was instantly and graciously exchanged for a second pint but although better still not really up to much. I held my nose and finished it but suffered badly as a result the next day. Comfortable and spacious with old beams and tudor brickwork. Friendly enough and lively although some customers looked like they'd been there since morning opening time, - God knows why. A visit that demonstrated why keg beer was invented.

12 Jul 2009 19:55

The Thatched Cottage, Farnborough

Tweely decorated old looking pub with genuine half timbering and nice carpets. The staff are an odd mixture of surliness and knowledge. Set in what looks like a middle class hinterland the customers are also a bit of a mixture, various ages of diners and drinkers mingling with medallion wearing builder types and uncouth youth. Food not inspiring or indeed competently warmed up. The beer however, more than makes up for any peculiarities in the ambiance etc, a range of 6 very well kept ales from Scotland, Yorkshire, Suffolk and locally from Hampshire and Surrey. Absolutely worth visiting and definitely one of the better pubs in Farnborough.

12 Jul 2009 19:52

The Prince of Wales, Farnborough

Village type pub in suburban area of North Farnborough . Two bars either side of the entrance, I didn't think it was scruffy, actually quite reasonably decorated, comfortable and popular. The dcor is traditional, a bit of brewers half timber, panelling, herringbone brickwork in small doses, anaglypta / lincrusta on the walls and ceilings. 5 hand pumps in the bar I used, with a good mix of well kept regional and micro breweries represented. Customers were mainly an older age group but not exclusively so and not just local suburbanite commuter types. I can see why it may not appeal to some, but this is in Farnborough where the choice of pubs ranges from the mostly bloody awful to the occasional good; this is one of two pubs in the place I would actually use more than once.

12 Jul 2009 19:46

The Imperial Arms, Farnborough

It is unfair to review a pub on the night a new licensee takes it on but I'm going to anyway. Bleak dcor with holes showing where TV and dart board had been removed, although the seats were pretty comfortable, the Gents was very clean but a little vandalised. Apart from a fairly standard keg range the choice was rather sad Andwell with Hogs Back expected soon. Two bars with a pool room and the toilet section between them, the front bar was deserted earlier but filled up later; the back bar, by the car park, was fairly busy considering it was close to opening time when I was there. Lively bunch of punters who would probably find the nearby Prince of Wales far too upmarket for their tastes. The staff had obviously had a very busy afternoon getting the place into shape for opening time and full marks for their enthusiasm and hard work, it's good to see any pub reopening. I haven't given a rating as that would just be too unfair but I would urge anyone to go along and at least see what sort of job the new team make of it.

12 Jul 2009 19:40

The Retreat, Reading

Small 2 bar back street pub, smallish pleasant front bar serving well kept local micro brewery beers, mostly from Andwell and Loddon, plus Ringwood. Good range of German and Belgian bottles, plus draught and bottled ciders. The back lounge is a bit scruffy and somewhat odd, there is a decent juke box, pool table and lots of board games etc. piled up on top of the piano. The customers are a mixed bunch and there is a sort of sub hippy atmosphere in the back bar.

12 Jul 2009 19:36

The Eldon Arms, Reading

It may be a clich to say unspoilt back street local but that just about sums up the Eldon. Two bars pleasantly decorated with lots of unostentatious old wood and etched windows, although the public bar shows signs of a Guinness fetishist being about. A substantial range of Wadworths cask beers, plus standard kegs from Carlsberg, Stella, Heineken and Fosters (isn't that the full set?) with Guinness (of course), Blackthorn and Strongbow. Big TV at one end and piped music from the local radio station but then it was a quiet Monday night with only Morris Dancing to look forward to when I dropped in.

12 Jul 2009 19:32

The Back of Beyond, Reading

One of three Wetherspoons in Reading, fairly standard JDW interior and beer range, which was well kept and the staff were fairly good for anywhere never mind a JDW. The area is a seedy commercial one a fair way from the town centre but is on the way to the Retreat and the Eldon Arms, there is also a reasonable riverside terrace at the back.

12 Jul 2009 19:31

The Excelsior, Liverpool

Currently (June 08) being refurbished so no cask ales on sale, although there are half a dozen handpumps in the large bar. I hope the magnificent ceilings and the original lincrusta will survive the refurb. In the right hands and with a sympathetic redecoration this could be a great addition to the Dale Street circuit, standing as it does between the Vernon Arms and the Ship & Mitre. Time will tell I guess.

27 Jun 2009 19:07

Lamb and Lion, York

Easily overlooked this pub is two old buildings knocked into one, formerly a well thought of restaurant, it nestles next to Bootham Bar on High Petergate - in York a bar is a gate and a gate is a street. Converted into a pub cum small hotel last year, it is owned by the people who own the Guy Fawkes Hotel further up High Petergate. Got a mention in the recent Guardian summer pubs supplement. Four pumps with a range of well kept UK regional and micro brewery beers with the less common Erdinger, and Bitburger plus Amstel and Kronenburg. Traditional dark wood front bar with bench seating, small dark wood tables and stools plus those daft tall two tier tables; bare floor boards and big clear windows complete the look. Down the corridor from the clinically tiled entrance are back snugs or small intimate drinking/dining rooms, also on the ground floor is a Top Parlour which is the ground floor of the second of the two buildings. This is a large elegant room with sash windows. Upstairs are the letting rooms.

27 Jun 2009 19:05

The Casa Bar, Liverpool

A bar set up by disposessed Liverpool dockers following a long strike in the 1990s. Dcor with a revolutionary theme but pleasant enough. Only sells a wide range of keg beers but that includes the drinkable Staropramen and Hoegaarden. There's a big room at the back which had Salsa dancing going on when I called in here on my way between the Phily opposite and the Everyman just up the road.

27 Jun 2009 19:02

George Hotel, Hull

Pleasant panelled interior with traditional furnishings in a larger hotel. Situated in the wonderfully named street 'Land of Green Ginger'. Four handpumps with beers from Fullers (London Pride), Hopback (Summer Lightning) St Austell (Tribute) and Adnams (Broadside) in decent condition. Very foody smell to the place and very middle aged besuited customers.

27 Jun 2009 19:01

The Wheatsheaf, Ripon

The Agents board now says "Sold STC"; let's hope it's still going to be a pub.

17 Jun 2009 19:13

The Swan, York

Looking from the outside like a fairly ordinary back street pub, the charm of the Swan is in the range and quality of its cask beers and the well preserved 1930s interior. I found the service and the punters however to be fairly unappealing.

17 Jun 2009 18:36

The Snickleway Inn, York

Splendid half timbered interior decorated with brassware and willow pattern plus some interesting prints and pictures. One divided big room with big clear glass windows looking out onto Goodramgate, a little less touristy than some streets in York. Cask beers from Black Sheep, John Smiths and Marstons, (Old Speckled Hen), with a similarly unadventurous keg offering. Sadly my Black Sheep was more than a bit tired. Some good cartoons in the Gents by a local artist called Phil and probably the smallest beer garden in the world. Not a style of decoration or a beer list that will appeal to all but there is a friendly atmosphere and it is comfortable enough. It is also alleged to be the most haunted pub in York.

17 Jun 2009 18:31

Pivo Cafe Bar, York

Small half timbered three storey European style bar. 10 fonts for interesting european beers mostly served in the correct glassware plus three handpulls for British ales. Remarkable range of foreign bottled beers which are on show in a large glass case as you come in. There are a few small tables with tiny stools by the large front windows where you can watch the tourists going past in the tiny street, some tall stools along the bar and further seating upstairs, there isn't a lot of standing room. Plain red walls are enlivened by enamel German and Belgian brewery adverts and the ceiling is low, dark beams. The staff were friendly and served me fairly quickly, another interesting York pub well worth a visit.

17 Jun 2009 18:22

The Maltings, York

Famous eccentric pub, the nearest good one to York railway station. Always Black Sheep Bitter plus six changing guests on the handpumps, classier European beers on draught and in bottle, generous helpings of food available from the Soup Dragon. Almost always busy due to the high quality of the beers and the pub's character. The customers are best described as eclectic. The interior is largely tatty and made of timber offcuts, decorated with old enamel signs. The ceiling and bar front are made of old doors. Occasional beer festivals are held here. A unique, wonderful pub and not to be missed.

17 Jun 2009 18:19

KoKo International Bar, York

International range of beers, cocktails, wines and spirits, eight draught continental beers, including Kasteel at 11% ABV, plus two beer engines for British beer, well kept Thwaites Nutty Slack and Roosters on my visit. Nice atmosphere, friendly knowledgable owner and a mixed clientele. Apart from the minor grouch of the outside gents an excellent bar.

17 Jun 2009 18:16

The Guy Fawkes Hotel, York

Fine old hotel with a dark but interesting interior, renovated in 2008. Six pulls of mainly smaller brewery products of good quality and a range of both boring and interesting keg beers. Lots of rooms of varying sizes in a simply decorated dark finish with settles and tables all looking very 18th Century in style. Some rooms have gas lighting. The pub operation is food led complete with brass numbered tables but the wet side doesn't appear to suffer as a result. Pleasant friendly staff and all real ales are 2.50 a pint, I don't know if that's a short or long term offer. Now it's reopened after refurbishment it is naturally listed and mapped in the centre pages of York CAMRA's magazine Ouse Booze, as indispensable an item as BITE when visiting York.

17 Jun 2009 18:14

The Golden Ball, York

Back street local with a superb intact 1930s interior, six pulls with John Smiths Cask, it is their pub after all, plus guest ales; all I tried were in fine condition. Several rooms with a bar billiards table in one. Good local atmosphere, friendly staff and customers of various ages. A gem in the less fashionable south west area of the walled city.

17 Jun 2009 18:10

The Ackhorne, York

No nonsense but comfortable, old style boozer with leaded glass everywhere. Six good guest ales and a range of fairly standard UK kegs but with a couple of more acceptable ones. Basically one big room with a bar counter at one end, you can still see the remnants of the old three room layout notably in the
titled leaded windows. Up a small alleylike road off Micklegate as other reviewers have said.

17 Jun 2009 18:09

The Three Horseshoes, Leyburn

Small roadside pub in the village that gives the dale its name and not far west of Leyburn along the Hawes road. Low white building with two rooms usually accessed from the rear carpark. Simple down to earth dcor of plain white walls with the odd picture, comfortable pub like furniture and outside facilities for both ladies and gents. There is a pleasant outside area with a view across the dale which is extremely nice on a sunny day. Five handpumps with, on my visit, John Smiths Cask, Taylors Landlord, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin, Yorkshire Dales Askrigg Ale and Black Sheep Bitter. Keg Fosters, Guiness and Strongbow so all tastes should be catered for. It is the tap for the Wensleydale Brewery, supposedly with most of their range served by gravity (straight from the cask) but I didn't see any sign of this so I'll need to make another visit just to check.

14 Jun 2009 17:23

The Everyman Bistro, Liverpool

Housed in a cellar under the Everyman theatre at the catholic cathedral end of Hope St. Can get very busy but I managed a seat and a decent meal on a Thursday mid evening. Very pleasant York Guzzler as part of their range of well kept ales on the five hand pulls. I could have chosen Cains Bitter, Black Sheep Bitter or Leeds Samba in addition to the Guzzler, the fifth pull had Rosie's cider. Usual range of mediocre kegs plus Hoegaarden. There's a vaguely Spanish / Mexican flavour to the dcor, or maybe that's just the cactii in the alcoves, and some of the punters look and sound a bit yoghurt knitter. There is a wine obession on the blackboards advertising the drinks but it's not a bad place to eat and drink.

14 Jun 2009 17:00

White Hart, Overton

Characterful, genuinely half timbered, rambling old building. Two bars, a smaller lounge with traditional furnishing mainly for dining and a larger, strangely furnished, bar with clapped out sofas, poker tables and some very big tellies, it appears to host the Sky Thursday night poker club. There is also a room devoted to a pool table. A range of beers from regional and micro brewers on 4 pumps but sadly not very well looked after. Plain white walls and old photos of the village which appears to be the house style for Overton! A great old building with probably massive but unrealised potential.

13 Jun 2009 16:14

Red Lion, Overton

Tastefully decorated food led establishment that very narrowly avoids being just a restaurant. Extremely well kept Hogs Back and Flowerpots beers just slightly more expensive than average. Beer mats appear to be verboeten, perhaps they would make the place a little too pubby. Casual drinkers are welcome in one room while the other is the true restaurant side. Nice leather seating not of the shiny variety, and some tasteful but wine orientated prints. The staff and customers are generally frightfully well spoken, not a destination for the village lads and lasses I'm guessing.

13 Jun 2009 15:59

Old House at Home, Overton

Nice village pub, a games room with pool darts, etc, a public bar, a dining area and a conservatory leading to a small garden. Greene King IPA, London Pride and Spitfire in good condition plus Kronenberg, Fosters, Guinness, and John Smith's and Theakston's smooths. Dcor is a bit plain, white walls relived only by a few old photos of the village. The customers are drawn from a wide range of ages etc.

13 Jun 2009 15:55

Crown, Liverpool

Rather disappointing trip to the Crown his week, apart from the architecture of course! No cask beers, only a pump clip for Tetleys Cask which wasnt on sale. The ill trained barman suggested something called Worthington smooth as an alternative - I declined, drank half a Guinness and away tout de bloody suite.

11 Jun 2009 12:36

The Rai D'Or, Salisbury

A pub and Thai restaurant in the same two rooms - it just works as a concept, it is certainly a vast improvement over its former incarnation as one of the roughest pubs in Salisbury. Pub style in one smallish room round the bar with a more restaurant setting in the other larger room although customers were eating in both. Well kept beers from local microbreweries, Stonehenge and Small Pauls plus scrumpy from Addlestones on the three handpumps with Budvar, Blackrat cider and Fosters on keg. Bottles from Singha, Tiger, TsingTao and Chang as befits a south east Asian restaurant. Busy with both drinkers and dinners when I visited, the only staff I talked to were chatty and friendly.

4 May 2009 11:45

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