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BITE user comments - rpadam

Comments by rpadam

The Spinnaker, Docklands

Part of a rather unattractive building - with particularly vulgar signage above the main entrance - built on a fixed pontoon in Millwall Inner Dock. Inside, it is done in usual Greene King managed pub style with a modern(ish) and soul-less corporate feel. However, if you can get onto the balcony when there are not hordes of smokers outside then the benefits of its location become apparent. Beer-wise, there are handpumps offering Abbot and Ruddles but no IPA (and as I had a free voucher for a pint of this, I had to settle for the hideous 'smooth' version). Overall, you feel that this place suffers from being built a bit early in the docklands redevelopment and that if it were done now they would make a much better job of things. PS - There is one of the enormous old cranes nearby which is worth a look at.

11 Sep 2010 11:13

The Ledger Building, Canary Wharf

An unusually low building for a dockland setting, appearing somewhat inconspicuous from a distance compared with the former warehouses nearby and tower blocks beyond. In fact, if looking for the place in the late afternoon/early evening you will probably hear all the customers outside in the large patio area first. However, as you approach the hubbub, the historic facade with its grand portico awaits... Once inside, the refurbishment is a curious mixture of heritage and modern, and the decor of the main bar and side rooms gives the place a distinctly cool feel. The toilets are feature too, but I could without the creepy attendants. Fifteen handpumps on the bar, but with some duplicate clips there was still a decent offering of about 10 real ales and ciders. Beer quality is fine, and the prices unbeatable for Canary Wharf (e.g. guest ales such as Nethergate Essex Border at £2.40).

11 Sep 2010 10:56

The Guide Dog, Bevois Valley

Hidden away in a back street, nothing much to look at from the street, and a fairly basic single-bar layout. However, on entering, you immediately notice that this is a proper beer-drinkers pub with an excellent selection of eight real ales chalked up on a couple of blackboards. The atmosphere is also warm and welcoming, with friendly staff and good-natured chat from the locals. My pint of Knights Porter from the Three Castles Brewery was first class and very reasonably priced at £2.60. I would happily have stayed to try a few more had time permitted, and you can see how it has regularly won the local CAMRA branch pub of the year. Not the easiest place to get to, but very much worth the effort.

9 Sep 2010 22:33

The Stile, Highfield

A food-orientated Punch Taverns 'Local Pubs' outlet curiously located just inside the main entrance to the University of Southampton and looking rather out of place compared to the nearby high-tech buildings. Inside, it looks fairly traditional with quite a lot of wood around the small-ish bar and seating areas. Patio beer garden out back. Reasonable selection of real ales from the six handpumps, including Landlord, 6X, GK IPA and Spitfire (a reasonable pint, but oddly priced at £2.61).

9 Sep 2010 22:16

The Mitre, Portswood

Greene King pub with several distinct zones within the opened-out single bar layout. To the right of the front door is a large games area with three pool tables and various machines. On the left-hand side there is a raised seating area with a few low sofas plus some modern seating at a more sensible height for those wishing to eat. Behind that, there are some high stools is an area which looks like it is used for music events, yet more seating near the bar and then a beer garden out back. Two of three handpumps were working when I visited, dispensing a reasonable pint of IPA and also OSH.

9 Sep 2010 21:53

Mulberry Tree, Boughton Monchelsea

The Mulberry Tree is essentially a restaurant, but its bar is also open to those just wanting a drink. The building itself looks like a modern house (added on to an older building to the rear), and indeed this was apparently what was intended by the owner who bought the former Red House pub which once stood on this site. However, following a long dispute, it could only get planning permission for business use (and, despite its rather remote rural location, it seems to be doing pretty well given the various food awards it was won). Beer-wise, there are two handpumps offering Harveys and the local (and rather splendid) Goachers Light. NB - There is also an attractive garden area to the rear.

9 Sep 2010 21:37

John Mulligan, Dublin

Fantastic old pub, comprising two separate buildings - one with a very traditional facade under the name 'John Mulligan' and the other with art deco windows and 'Lounge Bar' above and below the doorway. Inside, there are two dark and plainly-furnished bars, plus a back room with a roof light, all retaining a huge amount of character. Apart from its Guinness reputation and all the usual Irish beers, it also offers a rare outing for McArdles Ale (4.45 Euro). One of Dublin's 'must visit' pubs.

5 Sep 2010 18:08

Ryans Of Parkgate Street, Dublin

Splendid Victorian pub retaining various snob screens, booths, snugs, mirrors and other antique fittings. There is an atrium area at the back of the bar, and the FXB Steak and Seafood Restaurant upstairs. Beer-wise, the usual Irish selection but thankfully supplemented by the 'house' Buckleys Golden Ale (a light and hoppy 3.9%, 4.40 Euro). Overall, much the best place for a pint around Heuston station.

5 Sep 2010 17:40

The Southern Cross, Fulham

A Greene King pub, now back to its previous name after a period when it was called the Peterborough. Located in good location overlooking Eel Brook Common, it has an attractive frontage with full height bay windows each side of the main entrance. Inside, the high ceilings (and aforementioned large windows) mean that it has a light and airy feel. However, given the exterior symmetry, it comes as a slight surprise to find the bar to one side rather than being directly in front of you when entering. The need (or choice?) of a spiral staircase up to the function room or down to the toilets is also a bit curious. There is the usual mix of modern furniture you tend to get following refurbishments, plus a small amount of outdoor seating at the front. Beer-wise, there were just two handpumps offering Abbot and IPA (but the latter was well kept and reasonably-priced for the area at £2.90). Some of the customers were a bit loud, but the staff were friendly and efficient.

5 Sep 2010 13:41

The White Horse, Parsons Green

This pub's (or rather some of its clientele's) reputation may be enough to put some people off, so I was slightly apprehensive when making my long-overdue first visit. Although very busy, the pleasant late summer afternoon sun meant that most of the customers were outside in and around the large patio beer garden in front of the pub. A bit quieter inside, but the staff behind the U-shaped bar were working very efficiently. An excellent selection of real ales - a couple of pumps were double-clipped so I think 10 in total - and other beers, the prices were not as high as I was expecting for an upmarket pub in South West London (e.g. Ascot Posh Pooch at £3.25) and the quality first rate. Overall, I found it an easy place to like and hard to fault.

5 Sep 2010 13:19

The Star Inn, Normans Bay

Whether it really dates from the claimed 1402 I don't know, but this is certainly a historic inn with plenty of character inside the pleasant but fairly plain facade. However, some may find the 'olde worlde charm' - with rooms named as the Captains Quarters, Officers Mess, Smugglers Cave, etc. - a bit cheesy. Just two of four handpumps in operation, offering Old Speckled Hen and Harveys (£3.20 and a bit hazy, but tasted fine). Food seemed to concentrate on the carvery. Large beer garden and childrens play area across a small river (plus, unusually, an indoor area of electonic games for the youngsters if the weather isn't good outside).

1 Sep 2010 22:45

The Lamb Inn, Battle

Located just off the A259 on the edge of Pevensey Marsh, this historic inn has been substantially extended to provide a large dining area in what is very much a food-orientated pub. Limited seating space for those just looking for a drink in the old part of the building (if the waiting staff don't try to shoo you away when it gets busy), plus a few wooden tables out front. I also noticed when leaving that there is a beer garden out back but this is appears to be unsignposted, largely hidden from view and thus empty. Two of three handpumps available, offering Doom Bar and a reasonable pint of Harveys (£2.80).

1 Sep 2010 22:16

The Smugglers, Pevensey

Historic inn with a reasonably sized bar that appears to have been partially refurbished a few decades ago in what they probably thought at the time to be a modern style. Also has quite a large restaurant area down a couple of steps on the other side of the front door. Pleasant beer garden out back, with a separate childrens play area. Three of the four handpumps on when I visited, offering Master Brew, Bishops Finger and a top-quality pint of Spitfire at £3.00. Overall, listening to a decent blues band playing outdoors in the late summer sunshine with an excellent pint in hand, it's hard to think of a better way to spend part of a bank holiday afternoon.

1 Sep 2010 22:04

The Royal Oak and Castle, Pevensey

Great location for a pub, with a venerable tree in the tiny former market square out front and then the Roman walls of Pevensey Castle beyond. Unfortunately, that's where the good points end. It took ages to be served, despite just one other customer buying a drink - apparently, according to the miserable landlady, I was "standing at the wrong part of the bar" (?). Obviously food orientated, but looked in vain for a menu (apparently they stopped serving at 14:30 on a bank holiday Monday - madness!). Only one of three handpumps working (Harveys), but there was also a polypin "on the wrong part of the bar" serving something aptly called 'Grumpy Guvnor' from the nearby White Brewing Company micro (which, at £2.50 was fine, if a little warm on a hot summer day). Quite smart inside, but the beer garden looks a bit neglected. Toilets annoying called 'Maids' and 'Knights' (and also 'Dames' and 'Hommes'). Overall, if they did something about the customer service it good be quite a good pub (but in the meantime you are probably best advised to walk a short distance down the High Street to the Smugglers).

1 Sep 2010 21:49

Railway, St Leonards on Sea

Quite an interesting looking pub, shaped in plan like one of those pre-packed wedges of supermarket cheese. Inside, there is just one small bar with a fairly limited amount of seating (but most customers seem to prefer the area nearest the door so probably worth heading towards the back which is also where the two handpumps are located). Seems to offer a reasonable pint at about £3.00, and very handy - as the name would suggest - for St Leonards Warrior Square station.

1 Sep 2010 20:50

The John Brunt VC, Paddock Wood

A rather plain exterior with fading gold lettering on green paintwork doesn't immediately shout "pub" to those passing by, a feature not helped by the traditional pole-mounted sign being located some distance away on the other side of the road. Inside, the rusticated layout of four separate seating areas is little changed from the short-lived (and unlamented) 'Hopping Hooden Horse' days. There is also a simple part-patio, part-grass beer garden to one side. It has one of fancy Greene King IPA dispensers, and there are typically two or three other real ales (such as Doom Bar and London Pride) on offer from the five handpumps. The most interesting feature is the display in the nominal dining area - with a very basic menu - about Paddock Wood's most famous son (after whom the pub is named). Overall, rather better than it was.

1 Sep 2010 20:33

Flying Horse, Gatwick Airport

You would have to be a hopeless optimist to expect a great deal from an airport 'spoons, but this one really isn't too bad. Yes, it's hidden away upstairs in the ghastly shopping 'experience' but there is a small amount of natural illumination from a skylight and the arrangement of bookcases avoids too cavernous a feel. It is also efficiecently manned, and there are six handpumps offering things like Exmoor Gold at £2.99 (and in good condition, if a bit cold).

29 Aug 2010 22:31

The Cock Inn, Boughton Monchelsea

For many years, this was the only Youngs pub in these parts. However, when passing recently, I was surprised to see a whole 'flight' of bright red Spitfire unbrellas installed over the numerous bench/tables in the patio area. It turns out that it was sold to Shepherd Neame at the end of July (much to the surprise of the landlord who was on holiday at the time!) although there seems to have been no publicity about this on the brewer's website (or elsewhere). However, that aside, this remains a very popular food-orientated pub within a historic building which retains plenty of charm. Beer-wise, the offering is now Master Brew, Spitfire, Bishops Finger and Late Red (and thankfully the quality still as good as ever).

29 Aug 2010 21:44

The Old Eden, Edenbridge

A fine traditional inn, which has been renovated sympathetically to retain a good deal of character in the timbered interior whilst modernising the facilities. The bar isn't that large, but there is restaurant up a flight of stairs in a mezzanine area and the layout does include several different seating areas and a pool table. A small-ish beer garden can also be found out back. There are five handpumps offering three ales from the nearby Westerham Brewery (including a decent pint of 1965 at £3.40) plus Harveys and a cider.

29 Aug 2010 21:29

The Wheatsheaf Inn, Marsh Green

A traditional Kentish village pub, with a well-preserved interior comprising two bars plus a back room (together with a dining area in a modern extension). There is also a beer garden to one side plus a couple of benches out the front. Perhaps I was unlucky as only three of the nine handpumps were in use when I last visited, but my pint of the local Larkins (£3.20) was first class (with Harveys and Westerham Summer Perle also available). NB - If walking from one of the stations in Edenbridge, there is a reasonable footpath (SR617) running between the side of the cottage hospital and the back of the green at Marsh Green which avoids the busy roads when the footways run out.

29 Aug 2010 21:13

The Star Inn, Edenbridge

Looks OK from the road, but inside this is a pretty basic pub with sport on the TVs plus a pool table in the back room. It does, however, offer food and B&B accommodation (but I'm not sure that I would wish to try either). Two handpumps, but only one clipped (for Hogs Back T.E.A. at £3.00) and even then the barman had to go the the cellar to pour it direct from the barrel (but despite my scepticism this turned out to be fine when it appeared).

29 Aug 2010 20:51

Man of Kent, Ashford

Quite an interesting old building (at least externally) in a small area of historic narrow lanes in the middle of Ashford's otherwise rather uninspired pedestrian area. However, the interior has lost all character through successive refurbishments and is now a mish-mash of 'old' wood bits and pieces, a pool table and a vast number of TV screens showing sport. Three handpumps, two with Bombardier clips and the other Courage Best (which was fine, justifying the Cask Marque accreditation, and excellent value at £1.79). Overall, the exterior signage which proclaims: "traditional by day, party by night" probably tells you what you need to know about this place.

22 Aug 2010 22:33

British Volunteer, Ashford

Basic Shepherd Neame house which has been re-painted externally but is still pretty dull inside. Not much in the way of features, but it does have a pool table and a small patio area out back. Just Master Brew on handpump, but this was OK and reasonably priced at £2.70.

22 Aug 2010 22:20

The Grove, Ealing

Large Greene King pub housed in a rather austere brick building located in a good position opposite Ealing Green. Inside, the horseshoe-shaped bar offers plenty of seating (supplemented by quite a few benches in a fenced-off area out the front). The few customers were mostly students with guitars, and it soon became apparent why it was nearly empty as most of the beers were off. However, this was later explained because the pub is closing for a major refurbishment this weekend and they were using up the stock. All a bit odd, but I will probably return as I was promised that they will have more real ales on when it reopens.

21 Aug 2010 12:59

Red Lion, Ealing

A fine old Fullers house (a point which you could hardly miss given the ultra-bold lettering at the top of the facade, and above which perches the eponymous red lion). Inside, the traditional bar area uses pew-type seating to good effect and there are regular tables in the rear extension (beyond which there is also a decent patio beer garden). There are four beers from the Griffin brewery plus a guest (e.g. Ossett Pale Gold when I visited). It has a good location at the south end of Ealing Green, nearly opposite the famous studios, and is well worth the walk from the Broadway or South Ealing underground stations.

21 Aug 2010 12:47

The North Star, Ealing

Quite an interesting facade, looking rather out of place in the otherwise anonymous jumble of architectural blandness that is the Broadway. Inside, it has been heavily refurbished with too much black paint giving a gloomy appearance despite the large front windows. The bar is divided into two parts, with the disadvantage being that the staff always seem to be at the other end when you want to get served. Outside, the 'beer garden' is little more than an alley with a few tables. There are five handpumps, offering a reasonable (if unexciting) selection of four real ales (e.g. Tribute, Marston's Burton Bitter) plus a draught cider. Not too bad, but you feel it could be rather better than it is.

21 Aug 2010 12:31

The Harp, Covent Garden

Always very crowded after work, but well worth venturing inside to get a first-class pint from their much improved choice from eight handpumps of regular ales from the Dark Star and Sambrooks breweries and interesting guest beers. The bar itself is pretty compact, but the barstaff are very efficient so once you make it to the counter you get served quickly. However, there is also an upstairs room with more seating which is usually much calmer (and also a back door to a rather dingy alleyway if all else fails). Justifiably voted CAMRA Greater London Pub of the Year 2010 last month, but probably best to go at a quieter time of day if you can.

21 Aug 2010 11:36

The Marquess of Anglesey, Covent Garden

Rather over-refurbished Youngs pub of no particular interest decor-wise, located just far enough away from the heart of Covent Garden to avoid the worst of the crowds but still having a very transient feel. Four ales on handpump - Ordinary, London Gold, Special and Bombardier - but the prices are right at the top end (even for this expensive area). 'Bistro' dining area upstairs. Overall, not a bad pub, but distinctly unmemorable...

21 Aug 2010 11:07

Nell of Old Drury, Covent Garden

Narrow frontage with doors either side of an attractive bay window. One entrance takes you into a compact bar with a limited amount of furniture (mostly tall stools) and the other accesses a narrow flight of stairs which leads to a more spacious upstairs room with a better selection of seating and tables. You can't miss the theatrical connections as the bar and staircase walls are covered with pictures of the stars from days gone by and posters from the shows (plus adverts for their interval drinks service for the Theatre Royal Drury Lane directly opposite). Just two real ales on offer, but my pint of Doom Bar was excellent and well priced for the area at £2.85. There is no food, and the landlord has a bit of a reputation, but this is a decent spot for a pint (provided you avoid the busy periods when it fills up with theatregoers).

21 Aug 2010 10:45

The Navigator, Ware

Largish (surprisingly so for a small town such as Ware) Smith & Jones pub in an imposing corner location. Inside, the 'L'-shaped bar is all a bit 'chain' in character but there is a decent-looking patio beer garden beside the navigation. Five of the six handpumps were in use, offering an unimaginative selection of Youngs Ordinary, Pride, Doom Bar, Broadside and Bombardier (which admittedly was great value at just £2.25). The food looked keenly priced too. Overall, just a bit dull...

14 Aug 2010 11:01

Old Punch House, Ware

Refurbished Greene King pub which is rather larger inside than it looks from the street. Fairly anonymous modern furniture, but traces of the old layout mean that there are several different seating areas (with one at a lower level) which provides a modicum of character. There is also a reasonably-sized patio beer garden out back. Two handpumps and one of those fancy IPA new dispensers (and for the first time I actually asked whether I wanted my beer served in the 'South' or 'North' style) which produced a decent pint at £2.50 (served 'South' of course).

14 Aug 2010 10:41

Princess Victoria, Shepherds Bush

Large gastro-pub, with what was obviously quite an impressive interior at some stage (but now expensively over-refurbished). Four real ales on handpump - TT Landlord (pricy at £3.50, and cloudy), Doom Bar, Summer Lightning and London Pride. I expect some people like the atmosphere, but I'm afraid that I found it distinctly cold.

12 Aug 2010 23:10

The Askew Arms, Shepherds Bush

Strange pub, with a fiercely fenced-off outside seating area at the front and almost nowhere to sit inside. Repainted in a rather gothic near-black during the last refurbishment, with the 'Hell' Pizza signage almost more prominent than the pub's name. Absolutely no ale at all, not even John Smiths Extra Dull or something bottled in the fridge. A very quick pint of 1664 (£3.40) and I was off.

12 Aug 2010 23:01

The Old Suffolk Punch, Hammersmith

Refurbished (again), and the 'new' Old Suffolk Punch' is thankfully much better than its previous incarnation as the so-called O.S.P. However, the large single-room layout - with a rather annoying single step up to the bar - is still a bit soul-less with its anonomous modern furniture, high ceilings and musak. Cramped patio area at the back overlooking the Frank Banfield Park. Three Greene King real ales on - Abbot, Back of the Net and IPA (£2.95, and in good condition).

12 Aug 2010 22:33

George III Hotel, Penmaenpool

A fine old building located in an splendid position overlooking the dramatic scenery of the Mawddach estuary and its historic wooden toll bridge. It is also located on a disused railway line which has been converted into an excellent cycling and walking trail linking Dolgellau to Barmouth Bridge. Didn't visit the main hotel which is located at first floor level when viewed from the river, but the collonade in front of the Cellar Bar provided a very welcome break from the rain. Three real ales on handpump - Hobgoblin, London Pride and the first-rate Glaslyn Ale from the local Bragdy Mws Piws (Purple Moose Brewery) worth every penny of the £2.90 asking price. Friendly staff too, quite happy to provide a glass of tapwater and even offering to pop some ice in it too - cost almost nothing, but the sort of little thing one remembers when asked to recommend places (which, in this case, I definitely do).

12 Aug 2010 22:16

Tafarn Pencei Cafe Bar, Porthmadog

Styles itself a cafe bar on some of the signage, but the Tafarn Pencei is a reasonable little pub in a fine position overlooking Portmadog's harbour. Downstairs there are two rooms - a slightly cramped bar plus a larger dining area - with more seating available upstairs and a couple of benches out the front. Two handpumps offering Flowers IPA and Bass (£2.70, but a bit disappointing quality-wise).

12 Aug 2010 21:51

The Victoria Inn, Llanbedr

Excellent Robinsons pub, offering something to all types of customers. The younger village residents tend to meet in the small Settle (public) bar, named after a venerable piece of furniture, with its old stone-flagged floor and dartboard. Older customers seem to prefer the larger lounge bar which has been extended to form a dining area. Outside there is a large covered terrace (with heating and lighting) and a very pleasant beer garden and childrens play area for the odd day when it happens not to be raining in North Wales! Three real ales - Unicorn, Double Hop and a first class Bizzy Bee Summer Ale at £2.60.

12 Aug 2010 21:19

The Last Inn, Barmouth

Quite a cosy old Marstons pub, with a small front bar and a slightly larger room at the back with an exposed ancient cellar and lifeboat memorabilia. Also has some seating out the front, usefully set in cubicles which can keep the worst of the wind out. Just one real ale - Pedigree at £3 - which wasn't much to write home about, but overall it is a reasonably civilised sort of place.

12 Aug 2010 21:06

The Bunch Of Grapes, Knightsbridge

Given its location, its surprising that this type of old-fashioned (in the best sense) pub has survived without being gastro-ified. Rather splendid Victorian interior with snob screens and open door partitions around the island bar, engraved mirrors and some interesting art deco light fittings. The layout means that some of the furniture is a bit cramped but there is a separate dining room upstairs. Four real ales on from the Greene King stable - IPA (a decent pint at £3.10), Royal London, Abbot and OSH.

30 Jul 2010 10:26

The Beauchamp, Knightsbridge

Bit of a contrast between the tablecloths and napkins for those people eating out the front and the split-level 'distressed' wood interior. The low sofas and padded stools won't be to everybody's taste, but it seemed pretty popular with a young crowd. Limited food menu, but not as expensive as I was expecting. Three handpumps - GKIPA, Skinners Cornish Blonde (badly overpriced at £3.80, and served too warm) and another one disused.

30 Jul 2010 10:04

The Druids Arms, Maidstone

Quite an interesting building, both inside and out, although some of the rustic 'old' wood may only date back to the days when this was (one of) the first Hogshead brand of pubs. However, features such as the main fireplace certainly add to the historic feel of the place. It did get rather rough at one stage, but the atmosphere has certainly improved again in recent years. Six handpumps offering four beers from the Greene King range plus a couple of guest ales. Reasonably priced food and beer (e.g. a decent pint of IPA at £2.55). Outside seating available in the courtyard side entrance.

28 Jul 2010 21:16

The Coopers Cask, Maidstone

"Cask ales" it proudly proclaims on the facade, but don't believe a word of it. Just keg Whitbread Best (£3.00) and John Smiths Extra Dull. However, it looks like it might once have been a decent pub with several interconnecting rooms around the central bar. Pool table, patio garden and a reasonably friendly barman, but don't go out of your way to try this one...

25 Jul 2010 16:27

The Fox, Maidstone

Fine little community pub, with a good selection of real ales including Goachers Dark (excellent at £2.95), Spitfire plus guest ales such as Wadworth Henry's Original and 4-4-2. A few benches out front, a small patio at the back and a pool table inside. A proper local.

25 Jul 2010 16:09

The Allsop Arms, Marylebone

A substantial detached building which looks slightly out of place in central London - more like something you would see in the High Street of a market town. Looks quite attactive from the street, with some hanging baskets and a sensible selction of benches along the frontage. Inside, the 'L'-shaped bar has been refurbished in a fairly modern style, but this has been done quite well and retains a bit more character than many such conversions. It has some of those annoying high tables but also offers plenty of other seating and a separate dining area. Five handpumps offering a range of beers from the Greene King range - IPA, OSH, Abbot, Royal London and Tolly Cobbold Phoenix. Plenty of staff, and a nice relaxed atmosphere. Overall, much better than I was expecting.

25 Jul 2010 11:02

The Redan, Westbourne Grove

Quite an imposing corner pub with a traditional appearance, and inside it is quite airy with high ceilings and a fairly sparse arrangment of furniture. Upstairs, there is a large-ish dining room (although this didn't seem to be in use when we visited). Beer-wise, the are four handpumps but two were for London Pride, the Deuchars IPA was off and the guest ale clip was covered over with a 'Sold Out' sign. Hopefully this next bit isn't typical, but while the first pints of Pride were fine, one of our group saw the barman trying to pour slops from the drip tray into his glass (which was, of course, refused and a fresh pint was poured without too much fuss, but still shouldn't have happened in any pub - let alone one with Cask Marque accreditation).

24 Jul 2010 16:43

The Bayswater Arms, Bayswater

Oh dear, one thing you expect pubs to have is an adequate supply of beer but the Youngs Ordinary clip was reversed and the London Gold ran out halfway through our order. No suggestion that one of the staff would nip down to the cellar and change the barrel - although the manager finally seemed to be attending to this when we left - and the clueless barperson suggested a pint of Kronenbourg instead (there being no other real ale on offer). That aisde, from the street the pub looks a bit squashed under a dull office block and decor-wise it is wholly unremarkable. They have also tried to cram too many tables into certain parts of the bar (making access to the ladies toilet rather tricky, for example).

24 Jul 2010 16:26

The Prince Alfred, Bayswater

Quite an imposing corner pub with a traditional appearance, although from most directions you might initially mistake it as a florist as there is is substantial flower stall along one side of the building during the daytime. Inside, it has has been modernised in typical West London style (although the side room has largely avoided the makeover). Unusually, the upstairs Sofa Bar is rather larger than the 'main' bar and less busy so rather quieter, and there are some good tables by the open windows when these are open in the summer. There is also a small and undistinguished roof terrace with no view. Beer-wise, there are two Courage beers - Best and Directors.

24 Jul 2010 16:12

The Harpenden Arms, Harpenden

Prominently-located pub with a smart appearance both inside and out. The semi-modernised interior won't be to everybody's taste, and a surprising amount of space is given over to the Thai restaurant which means pretty limited seating in the bar area. Sky Sports on two TVs, showing different channels but with the sound off so not too distracting. Four Fullers/Gales ales distributed between the six handpumps, including a first-class pint of Discovery at £3.10.

22 Jul 2010 22:40

The Skew Bridge, Harpenden

Lots of scaffolding around the front and side of the building, promoting some "We are open" signage. Inside, there are two fairly basic bars but the customers were all crowded around one of the counters making it unnecessarily difficult to get served. Scrappy little beer garden. Just one real ale (a pretty ordinary pint of Youngs Ordinary at £2.90) plus a draught cider. Perhaps it is starting to be refurbished; it certainly needs smartening up a bit to attract people back for a second visit.

22 Jul 2010 22:32

The Plough and Harrow, Harpenden

Quite a large single-bar pub, with a big covered area out back for the smokers plus a substantial (if sparsely equiped) beer garden and a couple of benches at the front. The large Sky Sports banners out front didn't bode too well for real ale, but I was pleased to find four handpumps offering a selection of Directors, Clark's Westgate Gold (£3.25) and a couple of other guest beers. And yes, there are loads of screens (both large and small) showing several channels of non-stop sport.

22 Jul 2010 22:22

The Fire Station, Waterloo

Interesting conversion, but despite the high ceilings the decorative tiles reflect every shouty decibel meaning that it gets very loud when busy. It is also a pity that such a large area at the back is roped-off as an (expensive) dining room as this can leave the bar area at the front (and outside on the pavement) very crowded. Six handpumps, but these were doubled up to offer a choice of London Pride, a decent pint of Brakspear and Shipyard Independence Pale Ale (altogether an odd selection for a Marstons pub).

19 Jul 2010 22:30

The Pavilion End, Mansion House

Modernised pub with lots of light wood in the main bar. Also has a cellar bar and a smaller area down a few steps which leads to the main attraction - a large (for the City) two-level beer garden at the back. Several silent TVs showing live sport plus background music. Didn't eat, but the menu looked pretty reasonable price-wise. Four beers on handpump - a decent pint of Pedigree, the seasonal Pedigree Diamond and Fever Pitch plus Wychwood's Regal 'real' lager. Not exactly special, but if the weather permits and you avoid office decanting time then a sunny spot outside can be quite pleasant.

19 Jul 2010 22:14

The Rack and Tenter, Moorgate

Like so many bars around Moorgate, this place is somewhat hidden away under a office block and thus a bit difficult to spot from any distance. Inside, it has a modern layout with the obligatory (and annoying) high tables. Several silent TVs showing live sport. There are also a few tables between the columns at the front, but a better bet is the reasonably-sized patio garden beyond the conservatory at the back. Four beers on handpump - Pedigree, EPA, Brakspear and the seasonal Hooray Henley. Little in the way of character, but you can do a lot worse around here.

19 Jul 2010 21:53

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham

Popular with tourist groups during the day, and it doesn't take many people to fill the small rock-hewn rooms at the back of the pub in the evening, so space is very much at a premium. However, there are also two small courtyard areas if the weather's fine Eight real ales on when I last visited, with half being Greene King offerings but these were supplemented by three beers from Nottingham Brewery (including an excellent Extra Pale Ale) and another guest. Beer prices are reasonable, as is the menu. Overall, this unique place is a 'must visit' so if you go at a sensible time of day you'll find much to enjoy.

19 Jul 2010 21:34

The Princess of Wales, Charing Cross

Since the smoking ban, this small Nicholson's pub is much more pleasant inside than it used to be since the majority of customers usually seem to be standing outside in the street rather than being crammed into the rather dark interior. There is also an upstairs dining room. The beer quality also seems to have become more reliable in recent years too, with Landlord and others from the usual Nicholson range plus a reasonable selection from their seasonal list (e.g. RCH Old Slug Porter at £3.25, which seemed a slightly odd choice for mid-summer but was served fairly cool and actually rather good). Overall, nothing special, but not bad for a quick one if waiting for a train from the adjacent Charing Cross station.

17 Jul 2010 12:06

The Albion, West Kensington

Corner pub at the junction of Hammersmith Road and Munden Street. It has a narrow frontage, and although the main bar doesn't stretch back that far there is also an upstairs bar accessed by a narrow metal spiral staircase (or by a set of normal stairs at the back for the faint-hearted). The layout and decor of both bars is pleasingly traditional, and the atmosphere has improved substantially in recent years. There are six handpumps in the main bar with another four upstairs, but, on my last visit, three were clipped with Doom Bar, three with Deuchars IPA and one with Old Peculier (but this was off) with the others not in use. So, beer-wise, whilst the quality was fine, the choice was much more limited than I was expecting given its popularity in local CAMRA circles.

17 Jul 2010 11:47

The Humphrey Bean, Tonbridge

As always, absolutely shocking. Whilst there is nothing particularly wrong with the large bar and extensive beer garden, the service and management was, as usual, appalling. Unnecessary queues at the bar due to staff talking to themselves. Uncleared tables all over the place. Only three of the 10 handpumps were working (with one bank of five "only being used during beer festivals, I don't know why"), and my pint of the only thing which wasn't Ruddles or Abbot looking unhealthily turbid ("it will clear in a minute", but of course it didn't). Mind you, there was free 'entertainment' in the form of a big punch-up between two youths out the back, with the manager hiding indoors instead of doing anything about it. Tim Martin, sort this place out or hang your head in shame!

10 Jul 2010 21:03

Richard I, Greenwich

Thankfully, this traditional pub has avoided the worst type of refurbishment from the Youngs makeover team. It comprises two rooms, one in each of two adjacent buildings in an attractive terrace in a quiet part of town. The larger bar leads to a decent-sized patio beer garden which is a very pleasant spot on a sunny day. Four well-kept real ales on handpump - Ordinary (reasonably priced at £2.90), London Gold, Special and Waggledance. Overall, really rather good.

9 Jul 2010 16:42

The Golding Hop, Plaxtol

More-or-less unchanged for as long as I can remember; hidden away on a narrow country lane in a very attractive part of rural Kent. The pub itself is a picture, comprising of what looks like three buildings of different ages. The cosy bar is in the lowest, central part, with another room in the larger (house) section which contains a bar billiards table. There is also a small raised area at the other end of the bar. Four real ales are served direct from the barrel, keenly priced at between £2.30 and £2.60 (depending on ABV), plus 'House Rough' and three other ciders. (NB - This place has an unusual approach to customer service so you are best advised to look at the notices behind the bar to find out what beers are on, with the ciders being listed on a separate chalk board.) There are three benches on the tiny front patio, but it has a large beer garden (with childrens play area) on the opposite side of the lane. Overall, a bit idiosyncratic, but a real treasure in its own way and thus well worth seeking out.

9 Jul 2010 16:29

The Peveril Of The Peak, Castlefield

Unmissable pub, with its bright two-tone yellowy-green tiled and painted exterior standing out from the sombre industrial and commercial buildings which tower above it. The interior is constrained by the curious layout imposed by the adjacent streets, with limited space in the main bar but two other rooms (one with a pool table) on the other side of the through corridor. Beer-wise, the choice is limited to four handpumps, but my pint of Copper Dragon Golden Pippin (£2.95) was on fine form. Overall, it offers a splendid step back in time.

4 Jul 2010 16:44

The Briton's Protection Hotel, Castlefield

Doesn't look much from the street, being surrounded by traffic lights and large billboards, and having some rather functional neon signage on the facade. However, the interior offers a well-preseved layout comprising the main bar, a tiled corridor and two comfortable back rooms (with service via an old-fashioned hatch). There is also a little patio beer garden out back too. The beer range isn't large, with just five handpumps, but several interesting guests (e.g. Coach House Gunpowder Mild at £3.00) in addition to the regular ales. Well known for its collection of whiskies. Overall, with its good atmosphere and efficient service, it remains the finest of things - a proper pub.

4 Jul 2010 16:29

The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool

Distinctive wedge-shaped building with bright red chimneys that can be seen from some distance along Liverpool's main dock-front road. Inside, the bar is rather smaller than you might expect, but there is still room for a proud display of handpumps from the in-house Wapping Beers microbrewey (including delights such as their fine stout at £2.65). With light paintwork, plain furniture and decor limited to a few nautical pictures and prints, it gives the impression of being part-way through a refurbishment (which may well be the case). Would particularly recommend getting a table in the little room at the pointed end if you can.

4 Jul 2010 15:58

Welkin, Liverpool

Curious and unhelpful layout means that the bar in somewhat inconveniently placed. The narrow frontages at each end of the building also mean that there is little in the way of natural light (a situation made worse by most of the windows being covered by large posters). However, it has a reasonable selection of beers from the 10 handpumps, including a fine pint of the local Cains IPA at just £1.60.

4 Jul 2010 15:37

The Ship and Mitre, Liverpool

The frontage isn't that long, but the art deco facade looks very imposing above the eastern portal of the Queensway tunnel. With a first-clas range of real ales (something like 13 on handpump), ciders, perries, continental lagers and bottle beers this place is understandably packed to the rafters most evenings. Only had time for a quick pint of Weetwood Oast-house Gold (£2.70) but would happily have stayed all evening. Top of the range.

4 Jul 2010 15:25

Fall Well, Liverpool

Particularly dull Lloyds No. 1 bar housed underneath an especially unappealing modern building. Eight handpumps, but several off leaving a rather mediocre selection of real ale. Having said that, my pint of Coach House Squires Gold was fine, and good value at £1.60.

4 Jul 2010 15:03

Penny Black, Northwich

Very imposing four-storey mock-tudor exterior which was built as recently as 1914. Inside, the high ceilings of the main bar area give a bit of a barn-like feel, but there some side seating areas that are slightly more to human scale. Better still, if the weather permits, is the sizable beer garden which offers a good amount of outdoor seating. Twelve handpumps offering an excellent range of less usual ales (including a fine mild from George Wright on special offer at just a quid) as well as the usual suspects. Overall, pretty good for a 'spoons.

4 Jul 2010 14:55

The Unicorn, Altrincham

Large, modern 'spoons of no particular distinction, with a long bar and several raised seating areas. Ten real ales on handpump, including an excellent Rudgate Ruby Mild at £1.85.

4 Jul 2010 14:38

The Lass O'Gowrie, Manchester

Splendid traditional pub, with a slightly ramshackle feel to the interior which adds to rather than subtracts from the charm of the place. The bar is in the 'Velveted Saloon', but the snug off to the side is a great spot just to sit and ponder the wonders of the universe with a pint in hand. There is also a small balcony overlooking the Medlock. Beer-wise, only six of the ten handpumps were in use, and most of these (apart from the 'house' Betty's Best) were Greene King offerings, but my pint of the Spitting Feathers Dark Velvet Mild (£2.70) guest ale was excellent. Quite rightly, one of Manchester's 'destination' pubs.

4 Jul 2010 14:31

The Paramount, Manchester

Reasonable corner 'spoons in a modern building, with extra seating at mezzanine level. 10 handpumps, with a decent selection of real ales (e.g. my pint of Lancaster Red, which was well kept at good value at £1.90). The bar staff were efficient too, serving quickly at a busy time and others managing to keep the tables clear and clean.

4 Jul 2010 14:14

The Red Lion, St James

Splendid little pub, with the emphasis on 'splendid' (with a glorious glazed interior and fine woodwork around the island bar), 'little' (and for central London, it really is) and 'pub' (in all the best senses of the word, with a relaxed atmosphere and efficient staff - even when busy). Six handpumps along the front of the bar (and a couple of duplicates around the back), offering a decent selection from the Fullers/Gales range. My pint (and it was full) of Discovery at £3.30 was first class, and served in the right glass at just the right temperature on a hot summer day. Overall, thoroughly recommended.

2 Jul 2010 20:52

Kings Head, Mayfair

Not a bad size for a Nicholson's pub, with two main rooms at ground floor level plus a cellar bar and and the Shelley bar and dining room upstairs. Given how close it is to Piccadilly and the large number of people usually to be found outside on the footpath, it never seems too crowded inside even at busy times of day (e.g. early evening). Ten handpumps; and despite a couple of duplicate clips, it still offers a better-than-average selection for this chain. The beer quality seems to have improved too - for example my pint of Meantime London Pale Ale at £3.15 was first class, and served at just the right temperature. Rating increased since last visit.

2 Jul 2010 20:35

The Queens Head, Lambeth

Formerly the Far Side (and no doubt other names before that including, I think, the New Queens Head). The outside paintwork isn't exactly inspired, but the interior offers a fairly typical part-modernised South London pub experience. Smallish, horseshoe-shaped bar, with two handpumps offering Adnams Broadside and Explorer (the latter at £3.50, but not in the best condition and too warm on a hot summer day). The best feature is, perhaps, the modest patio beer garden.

27 Jun 2010 22:12

The Landor, Clapham

This building has a small theatre upstairs, and it is the signs for this that one sees when approaching. Inside, the pub is part-way through a refurbishment programme and is quite spacious and has very high ceilings. Three real ales on handpump - Doom Bar, Old Hooky and Summer Lightning (£3.30, but served far too warm on a hot summer day). Inside and outside pool tables (the latter in a large patio beer garden).

27 Jun 2010 21:45

Circle Bar, Clapham North

Strange-looking building; single storey along the main frontage, but a much taller section further back which houses a function room. The bar itself is rather dark and characterless in a semi-modernised way, but there is a side area which is a bit more appealing. Badly let down by not having a single real ale so had to do with a pint of overpriced cider. However, the "secret" (as it tells you on the signs outside) beer garden isn't a bad spot, and there is also a Thai food menu.

27 Jun 2010 18:19

The Vic Bar, Fleetwood

Part of a very impressive, semi-circular building (designed by the renowned architect Decimus Burton) which dates back to Fleetwood's short-lived heyday as the ferry port for travellers to Scotland before completion of what became the West Coast railway line. It comprises two large rooms - one with a door leading from the North Euston Hotel lobby, and the other from a separate entrance called the Victoria (or Vic) Bar. Also has a smaller side room (which I guess is used for live music and other functions) and a pool table. Quite smart inside, with an interesting stained glass panel illustrating various aspects of the hotel's heritage above one half of the long bar (which is divided between the two main rooms). Five handpumps offering a fair selection of real ale (including a decent pint of Wickwar Coopers at £2.75).

26 Jun 2010 17:05

The Pump and Truncheon, Blackpool

Fairly traditional-looking pub close to the centre of Blackpool (just one street back from the Promenade), with a hint of 'brewers Tudor' about the facade. The interior has a rather rustic look, with plenty of bare wood about the place. Six or so handpumps, with a fairly interesting selection of (mostly) local beers (including a good pint of Englands Roary from Bryson's Brewery). Overall, rather better than I was expecting given its rather unpromising location.

26 Jun 2010 16:20

Churchills Bar, Blackpool

Would be wholly unremarkable in most other towns of a similar size, but this is one of the better real ale pubs in Blackpool. Fairly civilised inside, with various seating areas on different levels. Four handpumps, with an unadventurous selection of beers such as Bateman's XB (£2.65).

26 Jun 2010 16:07

The Rose and Crown, Belgravia

A surprisingly down to earth sort of pub, given the area, with sport on the TVs and a pool table. Not that large inside, but plenty of benches along both frontages. The bar staff were efficient enough too. Two handpumps - Bombardier and Spitfire (decent enough, and rather cheaper than I was expecting at £3.15).

26 Jun 2010 00:13

The Orange Brewery, Belgravia

Modernised gastro-pub, which also has a small number of 'boutique' hotel rooms (at a price). The room containing the bar is fairly small (with a bit more seating in the small side room), but the larger side room has tables set for diners so it can be difficult to find a space unless the weather is good (in which case you will find many of the customers outside). However, there is also a limited amount of seating downstairs. Four handpumps, three of which were in use (offering Deuchars IPA, Adnams and a reasonable pint of Harveys at a hefty £3.75). Unlikely to be to everybody's taste (and the prices on the wine list will make your eyes water), it is probably a bit better than initial impressions suggest.

26 Jun 2010 00:03

The Ramsden Arms, Blackpool

Imposing, traditional pub in the 'brewers Tudor' style, located close to Blackpool North railway station. Good atmosphere, with plenty of original features and memorabilia to look at. Five handpumps, offering a decent selection of real ales such as the World Cup special 4-4-2 at a very reasonable £2.05. Has a plaque indicating that it is (or perhaps was?) a Tetley Heritage Pub.

24 Jun 2010 23:20

Head of Steam, Liverpool

A right mixture of a place, ranging from the grandeur of the fairly-named Grand Hall, through the odd layout of the Display Bar to the rank toilets. Eight handpumps in the main bar, with a good selection of real ales plus a Westons cider. My pint of the distinctly curious Blueberry Bitter from Coach House Brewery (£2.60) was in good condition, and overall it's not too bad a spot to wait for a train.

23 Jun 2010 18:13

Crown, Liverpool

Unmissable as you exit Lime Street station, with the pub's name in large, gold, lettering on each facade and a huge (and frankly bonkers) embossed shield advertising the former owners - "Walker's Ale, Warrington". There are also rather grand, moulded ceilings in the busy bar and the more civilised back lounge. It must have been quite something in its heyday, but all the posters advertising cheap food and drink deals in the windows, around the walls and on the tables give the place a distinctly downmarket feel. I counted a total of 13 handpumps, scattered in clumps along the bar, but not all of these were working. My pint of Marstons EPA was fine (especially at just £1.69).

23 Jun 2010 17:54

Richard John Blackler, Liverpool

Busy 'spoons on the ground floor of a large building on a corner site, with a long bar and and a longer wait for service. 12 handpumps visible, but an annoying number of beers were 'available soon'. My pint of Titanic Mild (£1.99) was fine, but I didn't really like the place (or the piles of uncleared clutter on the few free tables).

23 Jun 2010 17:29

The Squire Knott, Oldham

Went in a bit later than I planned, and during an England World Cup match being shown on a very large screen (with a DJ during half time) so the atmosphere was pretty boisterous. It was tempting to walk straight back out again, but for a Lloyds No. 1 bar it has an impressive range of handpumps and there was certainly nothing wrong with my pint of Titanic 'All Over' (excellent value at £1.60). Not really my sort of place, but it must be ten times better than its previous incarnation as a Litten Tree.

21 Jun 2010 20:38

The Ashton Arms, Oldham

Nothing that special to look at, but once inside you get an immediate impression that this is a proper pub with a friendly atmosphere that will appeal to regulars and visitors alike. The split-level, single bar layout is perhaps a little awkward, but on the other hand it gives a range of seating areas to suit different sized groups. I think I counted six real ales and two draught ciders, and my pint of the local Boggart Rum Porter was first class (as is the pub as whole).

21 Jun 2010 20:25

The Philharmonic, Liverpool

This architectural gem suffers slightly from being part of the Nicholsons chain, with its standardised point-of-sale material, menus, etc. but that cannot take too much away from the imposing exterior and richly ornate interior. The service area is a reasonable size, but rather inconveniently placed with respect to the drinking areas and main corridor when the place is busy (meaning that getting served can be a bit of a challenge). However, with a pint in hand you could spend ages looking around and noticing all the different features (followed by the obligatory visit to view the gents toilets...). I counted eight handpumps (usual suspects plus seasonal ales from the M&B booklet such as RCH Pitchfork at £2.75), but there may have been others hidden round the other side of the bar. A 'must' for any pub lover visiting Liverpool.

20 Jun 2010 20:29

The Fly in the Loaf, Liverpool

Splendid facade, boldly proclaiming "Vienna Bakery - Bakers to the Queen - Kirkland Bros - Scotch Confectioners" above the large bay windows either side of the doors (above which on a balcony is added "By Appointment" below a royal crest and underneath you will find a fine mosaic with the former owner's name). Inside, there is a long bar which is rather dark unless you can get a seat at the front or near the side windows towards the back. There are also some incongruous features such as stonework arches and a pulpit which seem to have been moved from an old church for no obvious reason. Appears to be an Okells pub, with a good selection of their beers on handpump plus some interesting guests (such as Blackwater Ska at £2.80). Well worth a visit.

20 Jun 2010 11:53

The Dispensary, Liverpool

Fairly small, architecturally unremarkable, split-level layout with some original features and a selection of pharmaceutical memorabilia about the walls (and the former name displayed above the bar). However, it has a good atmosphere and is obviously a proper beer-drinkers pub with a excellent range of Cains beers and local guest ales (e.g. a first-class pint of Brimstage Trapper's Hat Bitter at £2.65) and a cider from the eight handpumps. Rightly popular with the local CAMRA branch.

20 Jun 2010 11:20

Doctor Duncans, Liverpool

Apparently it's only been a pub since 1999 (and it doesn't exactly look like one from the street, being in the ground floor of a substantial old office block), but once inside you might think you were in a venerable hostelry. It has a slightly rustic bar at the front, two rather dark rooms at the back with some interesting memorabilia and the rightly renowned corner room which has one of the most impressive tiled interiors you will see in a public house. Nine handpumps, with a good selection from the Cains range (including a first-class pint of the Finest Bitter) and a number of guest beers. A worthy introduction to Liverpool as you walk into the city from Lime Street station.

20 Jun 2010 10:59

The London Pub, Bloomsbury

From the street, this looks like one of the least appealing pubs in the capital city, and even the most gullible tourists surely can't be taken in by the manufactured name and assortment of stereotypical images on the sign (Big Ben, Beefeaters, Routemaster bus, etc.). However, never having actually ventured inside previously, I finally thought that I would give it the benefit of the doubt. Apart from the tables adjacent to the front windows, it has a dark interior that is almost totally devoid of decoration apart from a couple of TV screens. It does have two handpumps - Abbot and Greene King IPA (cheaper than I expected at £2.40, and actually not that bad) - but also a surprisingly limited number of lager founts and a lack of other drinks behind the bar. Overall, a rather dismal fake 'pub'.

19 Jun 2010 17:49

The Riverside, Vauxhall

Smart, modern pub with excellent riverside views (not only from the extensive seating outside on the terrace but also from within as the place has large floor-to-ceiling windows). The main problem seems to be the atmosphere, which can be as chilly inside as it may be windswept along the riverbank. Beer-wise, there are four handpumps dispensing three Youngs/Wells beers (Bombardier, London Gold and a fine pint of Ordinary) plus a guest (Old Hooky when I visited).

19 Jun 2010 11:35

The Manchester and County, Manchester

Wholly unremarkable 'spoons, and they still haven't bothered to put up the 'new' name on the facade. However, it is very handy for Manchester's main public transport links and you usually get a reasonable choice of well-kept real ale from the 12 handpumps. OK for a quick pint, but no substitute for a proper pub (of which there are quite a few within walking distance).

19 Jun 2010 11:19

The Anchor and Hope, Clapton

A fine location, on the west bank of the Lee Navigation with a view across the marshes (but not exactly quiet as trains frequently rattle across the bridge a short distance downstream and over the nearby points up on the embankment). There is a row of plain benches along the river bank, which is just as well as there isn't much room inside the pub itself. Three Fullers ales on handpump, including one of the best pints of ESB that I have had for a long time (£3.20). Perhaps I was just unlucky, but some of the locals were being a bit of a nuisance (albeit to each other rather than visitors). However, it is certainly a useful stop on the busy towpath route for walkers and cyclists.

19 Jun 2010 10:46

The Ferryboat Inn, Tottenham Hale

In some ways a rather dull, food-orientated chain pub; but if you arrived there blindfolded it would be almost impossible to work out that it had a N17 postcode. The extensive beer garden out the back must be a major attraction on hot summer weekends, but was a quiet, relaxing spot for a pint when I visited. Unsurprisingly, the interior has a slightly corporate feel but this is largely due to the signage, menus, promotional material and bossy signs from "The Management" (with the building itself retaining a reasonable amount of character). Three handpumps - Greene King IPA, a good pint of Doom Bar (£3.10) plus one other with what looked like a Pride clip turned round.

19 Jun 2010 10:26

The Famous Cock Tavern, Islington

I usually try to find one or two distinctive features - either good or bad - in any pub I visit, but I really struggled here (but I suppose it is very handy for Highbury & Islington station). OK pint of Broadside, plus several other standard ales on handpump. Won't rush back.

17 Jun 2010 23:21

The White Swan, Islington

Very curious building (which was probably considered 'modern' in its day), with no obvious clues to its previous use. Most notable features are the indoor balcony and the covered terrace at the front with large glass doors that open right back in good weather. Ten handpumps, two 'available soon' but still some interesting choices (including Leeds Midnight Bell at £2.25, although not in the best of condition). OK, but seemingly devoid of atmosphere.

17 Jun 2010 23:10

The Coronation Hall, Surbiton

Interesting cinema conversion, with plenty of memorabilia on the walls. Dining areas on several levels plus a number of booths and a fair amount of regular seating. Large number of handpumps (12?), split about 50:50 between the usual suspects and more interesting items (e.g. Cotleigh Osprey, good value at £1.89 but a bit 'woody'). Very handy for Surbiton station.

17 Jun 2010 22:46

The Ram, Kingston Upon Thames

Greene King pub with quite a small frontage but a rather elongated layout inside, extending back through a rear extension. Refurbished in a fairly modern style. Claims to have a "river terrace" but this is stretching things a bit - there is quite a reasonable amount of outdoor seating (some covered), but only a few tables are actually close to the river wall. Total of eight handpumps, five from the owners (including a decent pint of London Gold at £3.15) plus, unusally for the brewery, three guest ales. Also has one of those outdoor beer trolleys for the summer months that you often see in Europe, with two keg pumps (not in use when I visited).

17 Jun 2010 22:37

The Enterprise, Holborn

Attractive-looking pub from the street, with a bay window set between the two doorways (one of which would probably suffice, given the narrow frontage). Inside, it is light and airy near the front, with plenty of interesting features - especially the tiled and mirrored walls, some of the lighting and a rather grand bar which takes up most of one side wall. It gets rather dark as you move further in, but then lighter again towards the back in what was presumably a separate room before the interior was opened out. Three beers on handpump - Deuchars IPA, Old Hooky and a reasonable pint of Black Sheep (but a bit steep at £3.50).

17 Jun 2010 20:41

Queens Larder, Bloomsbury

Very compact corner pub, with little room for seating and thus there are often more customers outside than in if the weather is half decent. Even less room for the two barmen almost tripping over each other trying to serve and work the till. Quite a traditional dark wood interior. Three handpumps serving Greene King beers - IPA, OSH and an excellent London Gold (£3.30). Overall, not a bad spot for a quick pint.

17 Jun 2010 20:18

Washington, Blackpool

Busy Greene King pub seemingly aimed at families looking for reasonably-priced food but wishing to avoid some of the cheaper but rougher establishments nearer the seafront. It also looks rather smarter indoors than you would guess from outside. Three regular handpumps (including a decent pint of St Edmunds at £2.50) plus one of those fancy IPA dispensers. Overall, nothing special but reasonably civilised.

14 Jun 2010 23:27

The Auctioneer, Blackpool

Fairly unremarkable 'spoons, but set several roads back from the beach and thus avoiding the worst of the seaside mayhem. Also surprisingly far out from the centre of town but pretty close to the South station. Most - but by no means all - of the 12 handpumps were working, and the selection of real ales was a reasonable mixture of the usual suspects and rarer offerings. My pint of the dubiously named Doff Cocker from the Three Bs Brewery was first class at £1.70, and I doubt whether you'll find a better place for a pint in this part of the town.

14 Jun 2010 23:17

Duke Of York, Blackpool

Reasonably large Thwaites pub with a 'U'-shaped layout with several raised areas and two pool tables. There is also some reasonable seating outside (if the sun is shining, and there aren't too many raucous stag night/hen party crews passing by). Several large screens for the TV sport. I counted three handpumps, but these are scattered along the bar so there may be more that I didn't spot. Real ale included the well-kept but distinctly curious new brew called Seasiders Special at £2.85 (which may become an acquired taste for fans of the Tangerines, but not further afield I suspect). Overall, considering what most of the other pubs in the centre of Blackpool are like, this one is pretty good.

14 Jun 2010 23:05

The Dolphin, Kings Cross

It's very easy to walk into the Dolphin, look around for signs of real ale, fail to see any evidence, and walk back out again (I know, I've done it a couple of times over the years, and I know I should have asked but it hasn't seemed the sort of place a stranger wants to start asking questions...). However, it turns out that I have only ever entered the public bar (because this has the obvious door on the corner) but there is also another entrance along the Hastings Street side which is easy to ignore unless you happen to see somebody entering or leaving. This leads to a simply furnished lounge bar with Pride on offer from the one operational handpump. Glad I finally got a pint in the Doplhin, but I won't be rushing back.

9 Jun 2010 22:32

The Silk Kite, Tamworth

This former electricity showroom (and Chicago Rock Cafe) retains quite an impressive art deco exterior, including a distinctive clock tower. Inside, the dark decor gives the place a rather gloomy appearance as soon as you get away from the front windows. There are two banks of five handpumps, but as they are on opposite sides of the central island bar the full choice of real ales isn't immediately apparent (and this isn't helped with one being off, two 'available soon' and the Ruddles being doubled-up). However, my pint of the local Dragon Smoke Stout from Beowolf Brewery (£1.90) was first class.

6 Jun 2010 19:05

Bole Bridge, Tamworth

Curious hybrid of a structure, with the western part being a traditional sort of market town building and a larger modern extension containing much of the seating. There aren't a lot of windows along the main facade, but as these are south facing it is still fairly bright indoors (except for the old bit). There is also a reasonably-sized patio area outside. Ten handpumps in total, and with just one 'available soon' there was a reasonable selection of real ale (including a splendid pint of RCH East Street at £1.90). Not too bad, but I thought the bar staff were distinctly disinterested.

6 Jun 2010 12:13

Picture House, Stafford

First-class cinema conversion, with a large airy interior having good lighting to make the most of the rich decoration and film memorabilia set about the walls. The seating steps down several levels as you get closer to the bar, and this avoids a cavernous feel. There is also a patio area outside. Beer-wise, there are 10 handpumps, and even though three were 'available soon' there was still a reasonable selection of real ales. My pint of Stone the Crows from the local Lymestone Brewery was excellent value at £1.95, and went well with my cheap and cheerful lunch which was served quickly. Well worth a visit.

6 Jun 2010 12:00

Hogshead, Wolverhampton

Imposing corner premises, having a large main bar with high ceilings. Not a great deal of character inside, but the 'beer garden' is a curious affair since it is housed in what can only be described as a large shed with most of its roof missing (actually better than it sounds, with mirrors on the wall too!). Beer-wise, there are seven handpumps offering a good range of real ale (including an excellent pint of Holdens Black Country Bitter at £2.25). Overall, rather better than I was expecting.

6 Jun 2010 11:45

Station Hotel, Oakengates

Slightly confusingly, this is not the nearest pub to the station (but that is only a few minutes walk away). With other pubs almost next door on each side, plus another opposite, this basic-looking establishment has some stiff competition (which is probably the reason for it being rather quieter than I was expecting). Inside, it is slightly larger than I first thought with a side room in addition to the main seating areas either side of bar. There are also a couple of small tables outside in an alleyway, but I think you'll need a smoke quite badly to consider sitting out there. Nothing to write home about decor-wise, but it does offer a very good range of beers from eight handpumps (mostly from small producers), and my pint of Houblon IPA from Summer Wine Brewery (£2.40) was excellent.

6 Jun 2010 00:14

Lyndon House Hotel, Walsall

Traditional-looking hotel building, which includes the Lyndon Bar to the left as you enter. This is slightly more rustic in appearance than I was expecting, but offers a reasonable range of real ales from six handpumps. I opted for their 'house' bitter (not sure who brews it) at £2.40 which was fine. As it was good weather the side patio and multi-level rear terraced beer garden were very busy (with a seemingly older and more well-heeled clientele than most town centre-ish pubs). Well worth seeking out.

5 Jun 2010 23:24

The Black Country Arms, Walsall

A rather splendid old building that has been nicely refurbished both inside and out. From the front, you will note the graceful arched windows and bold columns at ground floor level, and looking upwards one can see the distinctive Black Country Ales/Traditional Inns logo inset into the stonework at roof level. Inside, the eye is immediately caught by a bar with a fantastic array of 16 (if I counted correctly) handpumps, including two ciders. Being spoilt for choice from the range of house beers and guests, I opted for the BFG (£2.40) and wasn't disappointed. The layout has been opened out a bit at some stage, but there are plenty of different seating areas at various levels meaning that it retains quite an intimate feel. Overall, very good indeed, and I was just a bit surprised that there were not more customers in.

5 Jun 2010 23:13

Imperial, Walsall

Very imposing building, but not one of 'spoons best theatre conversions as the area nearest the door is very dark, and then you get a rather sudden drop down at the bar end. Otherwise it is much the usual offering, with cheap food and a reasonable selection of real ale with five guest beers in addition to the usual suspects from the eight handpumps. My pint of Elgoods Black Dog was fine and didn't cost any more than Ruddles with the 'curry night' deal so I was happy enough.

5 Jun 2010 22:52

The King and Castle, Kidderminster

Probably not quite as authentic as it looks and feels, but the Severn Valley Railway has created (or re-created?) a station pub thoroughly in keeping with its heritage railway operation. However, thankfully, it is not over-filled with memorabilia so it has the feel of a proper working establishing rather than a museum (probably helped by it being open to the general public as well as ticket holders). There are six handpumps in total, but as these are scattered along the bar the real ale selection is actually rather better than it initially appears. Good value too, with an excellent pint of Hobson's Mild at £2.30 which went well with a plain but tasty cheese and onion cob (£1.50). Also handy for Kidderminster's mainline station.

5 Jun 2010 18:10

The Windsor Castle Inn, Lye

Quite a traditional-looking pub in an imposing location a short distance up the hill from Lye railway station. However, entering via a small patio garden, it is rather more modern inside than you might expect with a couple of side rooms laid out for dining. The single bar has an impressive line of handpumps - one for each of the eight regular beers of the Sadler's Ales range (for which this is the 'tap house'), plus their monthly special - and the Thin Ice extra pale ale was very refreshing on a hot day. For some reason I found the atmosphere slightly cool, and there isn't a huge amount of seating beyond the stools for the regulars at the bar, but it is certainly worth seeking out.

5 Jun 2010 17:41

The Vine (Bull & Bladder), Brierley Hill

The Shakespeare quotation boldly written across the top of the building is often remarked on, but for many visitors it is the lower inscription that brings them here. This reads "Batham's Genuine Home Brewed Mild & Bitter Beers", and that is exactly what you get - usually just two beers on handpump, Best Bitter and Mild, but two of the best brews in the country (and splendid value at only £2.15 for a pint). Inside, there is small, busy public bar and larger, quieter lounge bar - separated by a serving hatch - on the right-hand side of the corridor; with a dining room and another small room (doubling up as a kitchen annex during the busy lunchtime period) to the left. There is also a patio out back, next door to the tall brewery building. With a great atmosphere, and full of friendly regulars as well as Bathams pilgrims, this is to many (me included) pub heaven.

5 Jun 2010 17:13

The Old Swan, Netherton

A real treasure, comprising of a maze of rooms in what must originally have been two separate buildings. The lounge bar is entered from underneath the embossed swan sign on the left-hand side, with another door in the larger part of the building to the right which boldly proclaims "Pure Home Brewd Beers" (with its old-fashioned spelling of brewed). The public bar is justly renowned for its well-preserved interior which is full of curiosities ranging from the enameled tiles on the ceiling to an ancient wighing machine and a modern 'backwards clock'. No clips on the four pumps, but the four regular house beers are listed on the blackboard (including the execellent Dark Swan at £2.40), together with the local gastronomic delicacy - home-made scotch eggs. Rather out of the way, but one of the 'must visit' Black Country pubs.

5 Jun 2010 16:36

The Square Peg, Birmingham

Popped in for a breakfast (which, at £2.79, is miles cheaper than my supposedly budget hotel would have charged for much the same thing) to find quite a few people in shortly after 9 am. However, this long, thin bar has plenty of seating so it was easily enough to find a quiet corner next to one of the many windows to sit and watch the world go by. A very large number of handpumps were available, not all immediately obvious given the length of the bar, and I opted for a sneaky pint of Nethergate Mary's Ruby Mild which went down very well with the fry-up.

5 Jun 2010 13:49

The Black Lion, Northampton

Split-level pub, with the main bar and pool table area at the higher level and another room with more tables down a few steps in what must have been a separate building in the past. There are also a few benches in the yard out the back. Three handpumps - all local brews, with two from th Frog Island Brewery plus Phipps NBC IPA (£2.50, but a bit 'end of the barrel'). Very handy for Northampton station if waiting for a train connection.

4 Jun 2010 23:14

George and Dragon, Tudeley

This Greene King pub occupies a rather splendid old building, especially the main weatherborded section. Inside, there is plenty of ancient timberwork in the side seating area to the left of the door, front bar (with pool table) and cosy main bar. There is also a dining room beyond and a decent beer garden out back. Good value bar food menu. Three handpumps plus one of those gimmicky new IPA dispensers. Decent pint of Abbot at £3.10.

31 May 2010 17:31

The Brook Green Hotel, Hammersmith

This place has had its ups and downs over the years in terms of management, but seems pretty well run again at the moment. The building itself looks reasonably imposing from the street, with quite a few interesting architectural details. Inside, there are still traces of what was presumably a rather grand Victorian establishment (but all opened out into one large 'staple'-shaped room now). Obviously aimed upmarket, the relatively smart, semi-modern decor and furniture certainly won't be to everybody's taste. The high ceilings create an airy atmosphere, but this can also result in a cool feel to the place when it isn't that full. The small patio beer garden at the back is often distinctly chilly unless you catch it at just the right moment when sunlight shines through the gap between the buildings. Standard range of well-kept, but pricy, Young's beers.

29 May 2010 11:26

The Theodore Bullfrog, Charing Cross

I really ought to hate this place, but it does serve a purpose on a Friday night when you are waiting for a train at Charing Cross and all the other pubs in the area are absolutely rammed. It is on the small side with limited seating space, meaning that most of the customers end up out on the street (whether they are smokers or not). It also has an annoying split level layout with a couple of steps between door and bar to catch out the unwary. The bar itself is split into two parts, the main lager dispensary which is where the staff are, and a smaller section to the left-hand side which has four handpumps. Ale selection is mainstream - but well-kept in my experience - with Greene King IPA, Youngs Ordinary, Doom Bar and Spitfire (£3.15) available at the moment. It's only features of note are the unusual ledges on the pavement side of the windows which are ideal (whether by design or accident) for setting your pint down if standing outside.

29 May 2010 11:01

The Britannia, Kensington

If you remember the Britannia as it was before Young's pub makeover team did its thing, you will almost certainly hate this place now. However, if you take it on its own merits as somewhere fairly civilised to get away from the hordes on Kensington High Street then you might find it more appealing. The front room has been done up in fairly standard upmarket gastro-pub style with the usual mixture of high, standard and low furniture. The restaurant section is down a couple of steps, rather plainly done but enlivened by a gallery of interesting photographs on two of the walls. There are also a few tables and chairs outside in a very cramped alleyway. The menu looks interesting, until you see the prices that is e.g. £11.50 for fish and chips and £11 for a burger (plus an extra quid for some bacon!). Beerwise, there are three handpumps, currently offering Special, London Gold and Ordinary (not too badly priced for the area at £3.25, and in good condition). Another point to note - it is closed for two hours each afternoon (including weekends).

27 May 2010 21:13

The Halfway House, Sevenoaks

Fairly basic Greene King roadside pub, and now the only place for a pint anywhere vaguely near Sevenoaks railway station (and even then, its a good few minutes walk away). Two smallish bars on different levels plus a couple of outdoor tables at the back. Unfortunately there was a power cut in the area when I visited today, leaving the handpumps (or, rather, handpump as only one was on) as the only working features. Not the best pint of IPA I've had, but it was certainly better than nothing in difficult circumstances.

24 May 2010 23:21

The Rifleman, Sevenoaks

In many respects, this Greene King house is rather better outside than in. It has a number of benches out front which are pleasant in the sunshine as the adjacent back street has little traffic. On the opposite side of the building, the raised decking offers a substantial covered area plus a separate smokers shelter. Lower down, there is also a basic beer garden with a few further benches. Inside, there is some plain furniture in each bar plus pool table, etc. in the larger back bar. Three real ales on - IPA, an excellent pint of the seasonal Morris Mayhem (£3.00) plus the Rev James as a guest. Overall, rather hidden away but worth a look if you are in the area.

24 May 2010 23:06

The Royal George, Charing Cross Road

Small pub located in a charmless post-war building located at the end of Goslett Yard, a short side street on the west side of Charing Cross Road. Very cramped inside, especially during the regular live music events, meaning that there is often a large crowd outside on the pavement. However, there is also a downstairs bar, so you wonder why they don't make more use of it. Two handpumps, but only one in use when I last visited (and this didn't even have the clip fixed to the handle) but this did offer a decent pint of Adnams Stout. The chalkboard outside did also proclaim that they have 22 (bottled) ciders available.

22 May 2010 16:47

The Stinging Nettle, Shepherds Bush

Formerly the BushRanger, this modernised Youngs pub is not obviously branded as such (although there are some small signs above the doors if you look carefully). Inside you will find a fairly narrow bar at ground floor level with a function room upstairs. There is also a small roof terrace above the single storey front part of the building. Decor-wise, it is about half-way to being a gastro-pub but offers various types of seating and is certainly not wholly food orientated. Four handpumps, two with 'Ordinary' clips plus Bombardier and a very good pint of London Gold (£3.15). Overall, not too bad, and very handy for Goldhawk Road underground station.

22 May 2010 16:28

Duke of Edinburgh, Shepherds Bush

It's very easy to keep walking when you pass this place due to the dubious crowd of lurkers smoking outside each door. However, if you venture inside this wedge-shaped pub you will find two bars, both very tatty and basic. There is a jukebox in the back bar (which, if you have a really vivid imagination, you might call the lounge). That's about it for decoration, although there is some original tiling in the gents toilet. No real ale, of course, so it's a quick pint of John Smith's Smooth (£2.90) before moving swiftly on.

22 May 2010 16:08

The Rose Inn, Bearsted

The unusual veranda along the main frontage remains a distinctive feature, but inside it has obviously been substantially refurbished since I last visited (which, I admit, was a long time ago). It has obviously had a reasonable amount of money spent on it, with an updated 'L'-shaped bar, a small raised dining area to one side and the main restaurant area on the other. Three real ales on handpump - Pride, Bombardier and Courage Best (£2.90, and well kept). Overall, a pleasant surprise.

20 May 2010 19:18

Royal Oak, Edinburgh

Renowned as a folk music haunt, with frequent impromptu sessions in the cosy street-level bar and regular gigs in the larger (relatively speaking) downstairs room. Real ale was temporarily unavailable, but the keg Northern Light pale ale from the Orkney Brewery was fair enough. (NB - Review dates from August 2009, before pub was listed on BITE.)

16 May 2010 17:03

Bar Chocolate, Maidstone

This place has changed hands and formats more times than I can remember, most recently a bar called ME1. Now more of a club, with minimal furniture inside to leave space for the dancefloor. The interior is also appropriately, given the new name, chocolate coloured which might have sounded good on paper but looks pretty hideous. No real ale of course, and not even any John Smiths Extra Dull - just three obvious lagers - and thus about the worst selection of beer I have encountered in a long time. However, the outside tables are on a quiet pedestrianised lane and can be a reasonable spot for a quick pint of something cold in the late afternoon sun.

16 May 2010 16:43

George and Dragon, Tonbridge

Fairly basic, but well-run, pub. The interior has been opened out to give a reasonable amount of space which includes two pool tables in a long weatherboarded extension. Lots of television screens for the sports fans, and a beer garden out back. Two handpumps, offering Bombardier and an excellent pint of Harveys at £2.85.

15 May 2010 17:34

The Nelson Arms, Tonbridge

Reasonable backstreet Shepherd Neame pub, and not the sort of place you'll find by chance (and thus very much a locals local, but not unfriendly). The original saloon and public bars have been opened out to give quite a large 'L'-shaped room. Fairly basic furniture, but tidy. Two handpumps offering well-kept Late Red and Early Bird (£3.00).

15 May 2010 17:23

The Roman Urn, Cheshunt

Traditional exterior, but unexpectedly modernised inside. Simply furnished, but the place has a bright feel. 'L'-shaped bar with pool table towards the rear. Two large screens for the sports fans, and a beer garden out back. No real ale, so had to make do with a pint of Greene King IPA Smooth (£2.50).

15 May 2010 11:23

The Blue Anchor, Hammersmith

Small but very popular (i.e. cramped) pub in a fine spot on the Thames just west of Hammersmith Bridge. The music can be a bit loud too, so getting a seat outside on the river terrace (not easy) is a bonus. Four real ales, and not the usual supsects (e.g. Wandle, Itchen Valley Fagins, Betty Stogs and a light but flavoursome Hogs Back Dark Mild at £3.40). Pretty good, but go at a quieter time if you can.

8 May 2010 21:44

Rutland Arms, Hammersmith

Well-located pub on the west side of Hammersmith Bridge, which has tended to suffer in recent years due to local competition (e.g. Blue Anchor and Dove). Still, that means you probably have a better chance of getting a table (both inside and out on the river terrace). Standard Punch Taverns 'Great Pub Food' menu, so the food prices are quite reasonable if you are looking for basic fare. Four handpumps - Pride, Youngs London Gold, Bath Gem and Rugby Spring Daze (not bad at £3.25). Worth a try.

8 May 2010 13:51

The Chancellors, Hammersmith

Traditional (and not in all respects a good way) pub located opposite Riverside Studios and, less obviously, on the Thames Path which has one of its annoying diversions away from the river bank in this area. Very basic decor, with just a few old photographs of celebrities on the walls. 'Menu' consists of a few toasted sandwiches. Dart board. Two handpumps - Spitfire and Adnams (£3.20) - but the real ale is not always in the best condition. The only change since my previous visit is that it just looks a bit more dates and tatty - all a bit sad, really (but I still like the amusing pub sign).

8 May 2010 13:20

The Crabtree, Hammersmith

Never been in before, but it looks like it has been recently refurbished in a typical West London style with more than a hint of gastro-pub about the place. However, that said, there are four handpumps - Deuchars IPA (£3.40), Pride, Directors and another one temporarily off - so there is a fair choice of ale in addition to the numerous wines on offer. It is also a large building, so it didn't feel crowded despite being pretty busy. Outside, it has an impressive beer garden (with several big umbrellas and a nice glass-covered verandah) plus a very pleasant terrace overlooking the River Thames.

8 May 2010 12:02

The Pear Tree, Hammersmith

Curiously-shaped building, with large windows which have been painted (not very well, in my opinion) with stylistic pear trees. Inside, a large horseshoe-shaped bar dominates the main room, leaving less room for seating than one might expect. However, there is also a smaller room to the rear and a reasonable-looking courtyard out back. Three handpumps, dispensing Pride (£3.30, and in good condition), Old Speckled Hen and Doom Bar. The chalkboards outside make it clear that food is a priority here, but not too bad a place for a pint either.

8 May 2010 11:45

The Imperial, Soho

Must have walked past this pub numerous times since my last visit, but having just made my way through the heaving Leicester Square it suddenly seemed like it might be an appealing haven of calm. Traditional, if unexceptional, interior. Four handpumps, with usual suspects, but my pint of Doom Bar was fine (and not that badly priced for the area at £3.28). Nothing special, but OK for a quick pint.

8 May 2010 11:22

The Museum Tavern, Bloomsbury

Quite a narrow pub, with a long and interestingly-decorated bar taking up much of the back wall. Plenty of other historic features to look at if you manage to find a quiet time (not easy, as it is usually packed with people visiting the British Museum - directly opposite). A good selection of six real ales on handpump, with some interesting guest beers in addition to regulars such as Old Peculier and Doom Bar. Much better than you might expect from such an obvious tourist trap.

8 May 2010 11:06

The Swan, Bloomsbury

Long, thin room with a narrow frontage and dark wallpaper meaning that it is pretty dark inside. Also somewhat plainly decorated, giving a somewhat soul-less impression. Five handpumps, offering guest ales such as Pedigree, GK Swift and Broadside (top condition, but curiously priced at £3.18) in addition to the regular Doom Bar and Old Peculier. Efficient bar staff and kitchen.

8 May 2010 10:48

The Friend at Hand, Bloomsbury

Unremarkable sort of place (apart from a rather striking pub sign), looking like it has been decorated using a 'typical London pub in a box' kit. Three handpumps - Greene King IPA, Youngs London Gold (reasonably, if curiously, priced at £3.16) plus another one temporarily off. Close to Russell Square tube station.

8 May 2010 10:30

The Perseverance, Holborn

Decorated inside and out with a dark brown and yellow/gold theme and this means that the interior is rather darker than one might expect given the fairly large windows. Quite a small bar (which must, I guess, cause difficulties at busy times). The tables are a bit regimented, but there is more seating in an upstairs room. Three handpumps - a rare pint of Flowers IPA (reasonably priced for the area at £3.10), Wainwrights and another one off. Overall, not too bad, but it is a bit off the beaten track so you would probably need another reason to make trek out here.

8 May 2010 10:17

The Viaduct Tavern, St Pauls

Fairly ornate corner pub, with an attractive surved exterior. Plenty of interest inside, with some interesting decoration above the horseshoe-shaped bar and around the ceiling. Famous for the historic prison cells in the cellar, it is apparently also one of the most haunted pubs in the country. As you would expect, it can get very busy at office closing time (and they also play music at an unnecessarily loud volume). Four real ales from the Fullers/Gales range on handpump, including an excellent pint of Pride at 3.25.

5 May 2010 23:50

Shaws Booksellers, Blackfriars

Attractive curved exterior, with a bright modernised interior featuring a split-level bar but mostly traditional wooden furniture. As you would expect, it gets pretty busy when the nearby offices close (but at least they don't put the music up too loud unlike many City pubs). Although a Fullers house, it only features two handpumps - Pride and Discovery at £3.40. Overall, a slightly curious (but not unappealing) mixture of old and new.

5 May 2010 23:34

The Rose, London Bridge

Old fashioned corner pub, which looks a bit odd at a distance as two of the main doors are blocked off. Inside, you get a cosy little room to the left with with an interesting old bar (in fact, more of a servery as there is little space to put a drink down) and basic wooden furniture, with a larger room to the right featuring a big screen TV for the football. Two handpumps, both with Adnams Bitter clips, but offering a well-kept pint at a reasonable £3.10.

5 May 2010 23:21

The Antelope, Belgravia

Excellent little Fullers pub located fairly close to Sloane Square underground and Victoria coach station. Very small frontage with two doors, but it has a slightly wider interior with a cosy wood-panelled room to one side. Nice, unspoiled island bar with a limited amount of fairly basic seating at the front(but there is more further back and also in another room upstairs). Five beers on handpump, including an excellent pint of Seafarers, at typical-for-the-area (i.e. quite high) prices. Overall, it's worth seeking out this traditional side-street boozer.

1 May 2010 10:52

The Queens Head, Chelsea

Quite a traditional-looking pub which seems slightly out of place in this wealthy area but thankfully it has somehow managed to avoid being revamped as a fancy modern bar. Quite a mixed clientele, from taxi drivers in the front 'snug' to some more exotic types in the rear bar. This is quite spacious, and there also seemed to be another room to the side, meaning than overall the pub is rather larger than it first appears. I could only see two real ales, Pride and Doom Bar, but the first of these was decent enough (and there may have been more round the back).

1 May 2010 10:16

The Princess Victoria, Kensington

Quite a squat building, with the pub's name boldly displayed on the facade, but rather smaller inside than I expected. Compact, 'L'-shaped bar with some comfortable, fairly modern seating. Two handpumps, offering Courage Directors and Deuchars IPA at typical-for-the-area (i.e. quite high) prices. The large wall-mounted screens showing sports TV seemed slightly out of place for this type of Kensington bar, but overall this is a reasonable sort of place.

1 May 2010 09:39

Rising Sun, Maidstone

Recent change of management, and now real ale in a pub which hasn't had it for years (decades?). Tasty pint of Loddon Gorgeous George at £2.80 - served a bit cold but that's being sorted out apparently. Fairly spartan exterior and basic inside, but the landlord is obviously keen to restore the fortunes of this back-street pub.

29 Apr 2010 22:48

Dylan's, Lewisham

Small Irish pub, with typically bright exterior paintwork and the inside looks like it has been refurbished (in a very minimal way, or perhaps just cleaned?) fairly recently. Got a few stares from the regulars propping up the bar, but the landlord seemed friendly enough. However, the beer selection was, as you would expect from this type of place, complete rubbish so it was a quick pint of the inevitable John Smiths and I was off...

24 Apr 2010 11:00

The Bankers Draft, Eltham

This high street pub is fairly small by any standards, and tiny for a 'spoons. Only 5 handpumps, but mostly devoted to festival ales rather than usual suspects. Decent pint of Springhead Spring Chicken at a very reasonable £1.79. Efficient barmaid and a fairly friendly atmosphere too.

24 Apr 2010 10:50

The New Cross Turnpike, Welling

Nothing much to look at from the street, but inside it is pretty spacious (if dark) with further seating in a brighter area upstairs and a roof-top area outside. Lots of handpumps, with a decent selection of festival ales and usual suspects. My pint of Saltaire Bulldog Brown Ale was an excellent way to spend £1.79. Must be about the best pub in the area for proper beer.

24 Apr 2010 10:42

The Tailor's Chalk, Sidcup

Quite a small 'spoons, with a short frontage which makes it quite difficult to spot from any distance. Funny layout inside, with little flights of steps up and down to various seating areas (including an odd bit at the back with a sloping ceiling like somebody's cramped loft conversion). 10 handpumps. Excellent pint of Herold Black Chalice from the International Beer festival, served full to the brim and a real bargain at £1.79.

24 Apr 2010 10:32

The Harvest Moon, Orpington

Standard issue 'spoons, with a reasonable selection of festival ales and usual suspects from 12 handpumps (e.g. Morrell's Oxford Blue at £1.85). Usual bargain food, quickly served by friendly and efficient staff.

24 Apr 2010 10:24

The Sovereign of the Seas, Petts Wood

Unremarkable 'spoons, with a reasonable selection of festival beers and usual suspects from 12 handpumps (e.g. £1.85 for Moorhouse's Ambler Rambler). However, served well short of a pint, but the barmaid didn't seem to notice or care about topping it up. Small patio garden out back.

24 Apr 2010 10:13

The Britannia Tap, West Kensington

Curious sort of place, probably suffering a bit from the only other pub in the area following the Radnor Arms closure - the Warwick Arms - being almost next door. More down to earth than its near neighbour, it offers three real ales from the Youngs/Charles Wells stable, with excellent Bombardier at a reasonable (for the area) £3.00 per pint. Good, if loud, jukebox. Small patio beer garden out back.

23 Apr 2010 23:26

The Warwick Arms, Kensington

A proper sort of of pub, with four real ales on when I last visited (Pride, Chiswick, HSB and Discovery; with the latter being £3.30 for a pint but on good form). Stuffed full of memorabilia - with no particular theme as far as I can tell - but plenty to look at inside. Outside, the tables and benches on the side road catch the sun nicely in the late afternoon. One of the few Fullers pubs in the area to offer Indian rather than Thai food.

23 Apr 2010 23:16

The Cardinals Error, Tonbridge

Attractive old building which must once have been out in the countryside but which now looks rather out of place in a housing estate on the outskirts of Tonbridge. Interesting picture of Thomas Wolsey on the pub sign. Two main rooms, with a curiously small bar shared between them, plus a more modern extension (although built in a sympathetic style). Two pool tables in different rooms. Reasonable-sized beer garden. Three handpumps, with Harveys and Doom Bar on (and other disused?).

17 Apr 2010 22:37

County Hotel, Peebles

A strange mixture of old-fashioned coaching inn and an indy-'spoons with lots of posters about cheap food and drink offers. Three real ales on, including the Belhaven Fruit Beer (which is probably an acquired taste).

17 Apr 2010 15:54

Eaton Farm, Long Eaton

Large, family-orientated pub with play area, lots of outside benches, tolerant but efficient staff, etc. Good value food (albeit of the 'straight from the freezer' variety), with an all-day carvery and free childrens' meals on Saturdays. Three real ales on, including Sneck Lifter and Hobgoblin.

17 Apr 2010 15:53

The George, Enfield

Big pub - aping the Wetherspoons format in terms of layout and reasonably-priced food and drinks - run by an outfit called Welcome Freehouses. Very busy on a Friday evening, with a wide variety of customers. Five real ales on, but only Brains SA being something a bit different from the usual suspects. (NB - Review dates from March 2009.)

17 Apr 2010 15:51

The Toll Gate, Hornsey

One of the more pub-like 'spoons - it even has a proper pub sign and quite a lot of seating out front. Inside, it is larger than you might expect, with an island bar and a wide range of seating (including some booths). 14 handpumps, with a pretty good selection from the real ale fesival, and the beer keenly priced at £1.85. Helpful and happy staff - rather different to the awful Spouter's Corner up the road at Wood Green.

14 Apr 2010 22:16

Spouter's Corner, Wood Green

Initial impressions are not favourable - lurking smokers crowding around the entrance to this ugly-looking part of a ugly-looking building. However, the interior is rather more interesting (which is just as well as you will have plenty of time to look around while you are waiting to be served...). 10 handpumps, with four festival ales (plus two 'available soon') in addition to the usual suspects, with beer keenly priced at £1.85. However, with miserable staff, and some fairly suspect customers, the atmosphere doesn't encourage one to stay for a second pint.

14 Apr 2010 22:03

The Great House, Gills Green

Having not been here for years (decades?), I was expecting that this historic white weatherborded inn to have been 'done over' in the interests of gastropubification. In many ways the interior has been, but I have rarely walked into a pub on a Sunday afternoon to find such a relaxed and warm atmosphere. Two handpumps, with Harveys Sussex and Old (on very good form, and cheaper than I expected at £3.05) on. Two other points to note - firstly, the very curious choice of turquoise plastic chairs out in the beer garden; and secondly, receiving a friendly "Thank you, monsieur" (said without any irony) when I took my empty glass back to the bar!

11 Apr 2010 18:36

The George Inn, Leeds

Characterful and friendly village inn, and enough staff to deal with the busy periods. Partially opened out, with several dining areas laid out as requireed to deal with the expected demand that day. Four handpumps, with two clipped as Master Brew and the other pair for Spitfire (£3.30, but always well kept). Handy for visitors to nearby Leeds Castle (the so-called "loveliest castle in the world").

11 Apr 2010 14:32

Lord Haig, Hertford

Fairly basic pub with a traditional interior, located about half-way between Hertford East railway station and the town centre. Three handpumps, with one off and the other two dispensing AK (which was OK, and fairly cheap at £2.60). The barman was friendly enough, and the other customers didn't seem too fussed about having a stranger drop by.

10 Apr 2010 15:09

The Ram Inn, Hertford

Looks traditional enough from the street, but inside it has been done up a bit with pastel coloured walls (with the predominant green colour giving the place a rather strange air) and the two large TV screens seemed rather incongruous. Three handpumps, but one off leaving AK and McMullens Original IPA (which certainly tasted like a McMullens beer but nothing like any other IPA I have ever tried) at £2.80. From the posters I could see that it offers regular live music and also B&B accommodation.

10 Apr 2010 11:58

The Six Templars, Hertford

Slightly odd 'spoons, mostly housed in a modern glass-fronted building built onto a much older structure which houses the bar. Quite a relaxed atmosphere inside on a Friday afternoon, but as it was warm enough I sat outside on one of the few tables beside the strange 'turret' on the corner of the building to watch the world go by. Ten handpumps, but four were unclipped or 'available soon' so the selection was rather limited (with a few usual suspects plus three festival ales). My pint of the curious of Coconut Porter was fine, if less distinctive than I expected, and keenly priced at £2.10.

10 Apr 2010 11:40

The Old Barge, Hertford

Slightly hidden away from the town centre, but in a good location adjacent to the Lee Navigation and some outside seating which offers a pleasant place to sit if the weather allows. Ten handpumps, with two duplicates, giving a decent choice of eight real ales from near and afar. My pint of their 'OB Session' beer (£3.19) was fine and I would happily have stayed to try some of the others had I more time. Rather good.

10 Apr 2010 11:30

The Alexandra Hotel, Chatham

Imposing wedge-shaped corner pub, somewhat left on its own by previous road schemes demolishing its neighbours. Busy enough in mid-afternoon, but the barman seemed more interested in his laptop (and later reading a novel) than serving pesky customers. Pleasantly light interior from the windows on three sides. Four handpumps, two Master Brew plus Spitfire and an excellent Early Bird. Currently looking for a new tenant, and it shows with the staff issue, but a reasonable stop near Chatham train station.

4 Apr 2010 13:17

Britannia Bar Cafe, Rochester

Somewhat hidden away at the tatty Chatham end of Rochester High Street, and then up a few steps up through the corner door to this 'bar cafe'. Pleasant, continental-style interior with a good selection of furniture and a very curious little alcove near the back. Three handpumps, including Goachers Light and Batemans Miss Ireland (a tasty golden beer). It was raining so I only took a quick peek at the small beer garden out back, but that looked worth trying on a better day. GBG listed for quite a few years, friendly staff and well worth seeking out.

4 Apr 2010 12:55

The Two Sawyers, Brompton

Very basic pub, with a tatty interior and a limited amount of furniture. About the only feature worth mentioning is the pool table, but its the sort of place where one might imagine that the cues end up being used for other purposes. No real ale, of course, so it was a very quick pint of John Smiths Smooth and I was off...

4 Apr 2010 11:58

The King George V, Brompton

First class, traditional corner pub in a quiet square in the urban 'village' of Brompton, located opposite Chatham's historic dockyard. Unremarkable exterior, but inside there is plenty of interest including extensive wooden panelling, glazed windows and various pieces of memorabilia. Adnams, Westerham Freedom Ale, Goachers Mild plus a tasty pint called something like 'Oxford MarshMellow' (£3.20) which was just the job after a thorough soaking in the foul April weather. Also has a Malt Whisky Society and a good selection of special events for Cask Ale Week. Recommended.

4 Apr 2010 11:50

The Prince of Wales, Chatham

"Traditional by day, party by night!!!" is what is says on the sign outside, but I have only even been in fairly early when it operates as a typical town-centre pub with a Wetherspoons-type menu. Lots of screens with Sky Sports on, banks of flashing slot machines and a pool table. Four handpumps, with Bombardier, Youngs Ordinary and Courage Best (good value at £2.25, and served in the right glass) plus one disused. Fairly civilised during the day, but I find it easy to imagine that the second part of the slogan on the sign is accurate enough for me to steer well away in the evening...

4 Apr 2010 11:38

The Two Chairmen, Trafalgar Square

Curious place, with the sign outside currently saying "We are open" (which to my mind make it less likely to attract passing trade than encourage it). Inside, the thin bar has been refurbished with light wood panelling and various small blackboards with what I guess are supposed to be comic musings but just seem slightly annoying. Rather spartan selection of furniture, but quite a relaxed feel with some jazzy music played at a sensible volume. Two real ales on - Pride and TT Landlord (£3.30, but much better than in most London pubs and served in the right glass). Oh yes, two more annoyances - no crisps, and change given in a little dish clearly designed to elicit a tip. Overall, a mixed bag.

29 Mar 2010 23:40

The Sun and 13 Cantons, Soho

A 'stealth' Fullers house with no obvious branding until you spot the keg Pride and Honey Dew (expensive at £3.65, but probably the best bet given that there is no real ale). Thai bar food menu. Nothing very special about the part-modernised main bar, but the mirrored side room (somewhat reminiscent of an upmarket French brasserie) is worth a look. Regular DJ events in the basement bar.

29 Mar 2010 23:25

The Trinity Arms, Brixton

Excellent Youngs pub, geographically a short distance from the main road through Brixton but in other respects a world away in a quiet little square. Some interesting exterior features, and inside it has been opened out into a horseshoe-shaped bar with high ceilings. Comfortable furniture, and some flowers on each table brighten the interior. Six handpumps (with two doubled-up), giving a choice of Ordinary, Special, London Gold (£3.10 and first class) and Bombardier. Reasonably-priced bar food menu too. Well worth seeking out.

29 Mar 2010 22:54

The Beehive, Brixton

Oh dear - if you wish to have all the negative stereotypes about Wetherspoons reinforced, then a trip to this pokey little outlet will probably do the trick. There was some grim entertainment to be had watching the staff complaining about abuse from some unsavoury customers who weren't making much sense at a few minutes short of twelve noon (actually the punters were being rude to each other as far as I could tell). Ten handpumps, but three 'available soon' just leaving Brains SA and Elgoods Black Dog in addition to the usual suspects. The bar person tried pouring three different pints of the former (which was obviously at the end of the barrel) and then poured the various quantities into a single glass. For £1.95 I couldn't be bothered to argue as the end result was drinkable, and at least it wasn't slops, but by this time I was mostly interested in heading for the exit. Grim.

29 Mar 2010 22:37

The Cumberland Arms, West Kensington

Busy, food-orientated operation but still very much a pub. Bright interior, nice relaxed atmosphere and plenty of bar staff, even at busy times. Three handpumps - two of which usually offer Pride and TT Landlord in good condition - but annoyingly you do often have to ask for a top-up. Attractive exterior enlivens North End Road.

28 Mar 2010 11:01

Spital House, Spital Tongues

Reasonably large two-bar pub on a back road near the university's Castle Leazes halls of residence. Probably much busier during term time, but had a quiet, relaxed atmosphere when I visited. Two real ales on, including a reasonable pint of Theakstons XB. (NB - Review dates from September 2009, before the pub was listed on BITE.)

27 Mar 2010 11:40

The Horse and Jockey, Knighton

Interesting inn with various buildings set around a picturesque courtyard. Avoiding the larger and noisier main bar, the compact lounge offers a convivial spot to enjoy a pint of old Speckled Hen or the local Hobson's bitter. Also has a busy restaurant and some good-value accommodation. (NB - Review dates from September 2009, before the pub was listed on BITE.)

27 Mar 2010 11:10

George and Dragon, Knighton

Historic inn on the main road through this small market town. Just the sort of traditional interior that one would expect, but could perhaps do with a bit of a refurb. Decent enough pint of Evan Evans bitter. (NB - Review dates from September 2009, before the pub was listed on BITE.)

27 Mar 2010 11:09

The Golden Lion, Knighton

Wasn't expecting much - looked from the outside to be a football and lager pub. However, they do a reasonable pint of Brains bitter and actually had an England cricket match on the main TV in the front bar. (NB - Review dates from September 2009, before the pub was listed on BITE.)

27 Mar 2010 11:08

Golden Lion, Soho

Quite a cramped little pub (at least at ground level - there is another room upstairs which I didn't visit). Three televisions visible from where I was sitting, each of which was showing a different sport and the high mounting meant that many of the customers were staring upwards at odd angles. Four handpumps, mostly the usual stuff but also a decent pint of Butcombe Bitter at £3.29. PS - Look for the sundial.

27 Mar 2010 11:06

Kentish Drovers, Peckham

Odd little 'spoons with curious lighting, some odd customers and a distinctly edgy atmosphere. Ten handpumps, with some doubled-up so not that great a choice of real ale. My pint of Bateman's Hooker was OK, and reasonably priced at £1.95, but this certainly wasn't a place where I would consider staying for a second.

27 Mar 2010 10:47

The Brockley Barge, Brockley

Curiously-shaped building, with an unusual rounded end nearest the railway station, a small beer garden at the rear and a big cube sat on the central section (giving a slightly ship-like appearance from certain angles for those with a vivid imagination). Apparently the building was actually a pub before it became a Wetherspoons (if you see what I mean), and inside it has a relatively light interior. Ten handpumps with a reasonable range of real ale at £1.89, including Granny Wouldn't Like It from the Wolf Brewery and several other rarities.

27 Mar 2010 10:40

The Capitol, Forest Hill

This former cinema looks imposing enough from the street, but once inside the grand 1920s interior is really something to behold. Plenty of seating on two levels in the upper and lower stalls, but the bar looks slightly out of place because it is in front of the stage and below the natural eye level for such a building. Went at a quiet time so the atmosphere was rather cavernous with large spaces between each group of customers. Ten handpumps in two banks of five, one with the usual suspects and the other with some more interesting beers. These included two from Weltons of Horsham, both with the usual creative pump clip designs, and at £1.89 my pint of Moat Man (having a dig at the infamous MP Douglas Hogg) was good value.

27 Mar 2010 10:22

Postal Order, Crystal Palace

Small 'spoons, with some rather stereotypical mid-afternoon customers and seemingly disinterested bar staff who evetually got fed up of talking to each other and actually went off to clear (and clean) some tables. Quite a modest selction of real ale with just six handpumps sharing a range of usual suspects and a few more interesting beers. To call my pint of Holdens Golden Glow 'lively' would be a major understatement, but when the barman at last managed to get near enough a pint in my glass it was thankfully £1.89 well spent.

27 Mar 2010 09:58

The London Stone, Cannon Street

Curious Gothic dungeon bar, located directly opposite Cannon Street station and near the ancient Roman milestone that gives the pub its name. It has a strange mixture fairly normal seating and odd (supposedly eerie, or perhaps spooky, but mostly just a little wierd) decor. You'd think they would have a few creaky old handpumps to add to the effect, but instead you are faced with several shiny modern fizz fonts which rather spoil the albeit dubious effect. Worth a visit just to have a quick look whilst supping a pint of John Smiths Extra Dull, I suppose, but I can't really see the point of it all (and especially in a part of town not particularly frequented by tourists).

22 Mar 2010 21:52

The Horseshoes, Upshire

Decent village pub, with some wooden tables out front but go round the side to the beer garden at the back which his surprisingly good views. Three McMullen beers, including a nicepint of Cask. (NB - Review dates from August 2009 before pub was listed on BITE.)

21 Mar 2010 18:51

The Chase Hotel, Nuneaton

Large suburban (if Nuneaton can be said to have suburbs) pub with a bit of everything - lots of food and drink offers, large dining areas, function room and a number of hotel rooms. Part of the John Barras chain, it is obviously a popular destination for the slightly older crowd who can resist the dubious attractions of the town-centre bars. Five handpumps, four with clips on, but the Abbot (which was fine) was doubled-up and the Adnams had run out so not as much choice as first appeared. (NB - Review dates from November 2009 before pub was listed on BITE.)

21 Mar 2010 18:46

Crown and Horseshoes, Langley

Formerly just known as the Horseshoes, this pub is located a short distance south-east of Maidstone on the A274. The smaller roadside room is the restaurant, with the bar area parallel to the eponymous Horseshoes Lane. Partly refurbished, with a range of modern-ish furniture, but retaining the dart board. Three handpumps, but two off when I visited just leaving Pride (nice enough, and £3.00 for a pint which is relatively cheap for the area).

21 Mar 2010 18:40

The Old Doctor Butler's Head, Moorgate

Fine old City pub, hidden away in a small alley. Quite a plain dark-wood interior, with little furniture in the 'vertical drinking' zone around the bar but some basic tables and chairs on a small raised area further back. Restauarant upstairs, but with no traffic you can usually find many of the customers outside. Six handpumps with a good selection from the Shepherd Neame range, including an excellent Late Red. Well worth seeking out.

19 Mar 2010 21:58

The Ship Tavern, City of London

Curious place, with a small drinking area at street level behind a conventional-looking frontage, but the bar itself is downstairs. The stairwell is rather grotty, but the main seating area is tidy enough with several quiet corners and plenty of interesting maritime memorabilia. Four handpumps, and with one being off the choice was Pride, GK IPA and TT Landlord (nice enough). Surprisingly quiet on a Friday at office closing time, so one of the few places in the City where you can sit down with a pint in some comfort at that time of day.

19 Mar 2010 21:50

The Bunch of Grapes Inn, City of London

Confusingly "The Grapes" from one side, but "The Bunch of Grapes" on the other (and also on the pub sign). Once inside, you find a very bare wood-panelled bar, clearly designed for lunch-time and after work 'vertical drinking' and thus very few bar stools (and no seats). Upstairs dining room. Six handpumps, but two lots were doubled-up so the choice was GK IPA, Adnams, Youngs Ordinary and Pride (well kept, and reasonable value for the area at £3.00). OK for a quick pint, but not a place to linger.

19 Mar 2010 21:38

The Duke Of York, Chiswick

The exterior with its bold Fullers signage looks OK, but inside seems more down-market that one might expect. Some interesting glazing above the side bar and screened booths also give this room a bit of interest. However, the main bar is stripped of all character within limited seating and a prominent pool table. The signs about various sorts of anti-social behavious all over the place give some indication of the clientele I guess (but it was very quiet in mid-afternoon). Five handpumps, but three off leaving just Pride and the excellent new Bengal Lancer (£3.10). The near empty bottled drinks fridge and missing optics also add to the run-down air, so one wonders about this place's future.

17 Mar 2010 21:43

The Devonshire, Chiswick

Being a Gordon Ramsay pub restaurant, I was expecting a fancy overpriced gastro-pub. However, my pint was 'only' £3.30 and the small-ish bar area retains a reasonable pub feel with a selection of different furniture including a row of bar stools. The larger restaurant area also has some sofas at one end providing extra seating. London Pride, Old Hooky and Old Rosie cider on handpump. Better than I expected, but so quiet in mid-afternoon the barmaid spent the whole time pacing about in a rather disconcerting manner.

17 Mar 2010 21:28

The Crown and Anchor, Chiswick

Bold yellow brick and tile exterior, with plenty of interesting reminders of its former life as a Youngs house. Unfortunately, most of the interior character has been stripped out during several refurbishments and it now has a fairly anonymous gasto-pub layout with the obligatory open kitchen, etc. However, it is quite light and airy, with some largeish windows, pale wood furniture and light pastel-shade paintwork on the walls. Nice little wood-burning stove towards the back. Two handpumps, with Purity Mad Goose and a good Adnams Irish Stout (at £3.40) on. As these sort of places go, not that bad.

17 Mar 2010 21:13

Red Herring, Bank

I previously thought of this as a typical shouty City pub designed for 'vertical drinking' with overloud music. However, it has now been refurbished with a wide range of seating - sofas, standard tables and chairs, and high stables with stools. Quite light inside, with large windows and a high ceiling. Brasserie bar downstairs. Thankfully the beer is still excellent, with six handpumps with a good selection from the Fullers/Gales range (not too badly priced for the area with Seafarers at £3.05, for example) and a guest ale (Castle Rock Preservation on my last visit). Overall, improved.

17 Mar 2010 20:44

The Goldsmith Pub and Dining Room, Borough

Funny place. Plain interior with white walls and rather regimented wooden tables and chairs. Ordered a pint of London Pride, got a glass with the expected inch of froth, asked for a top up, got a rather sullen comment and a dash of Greene King IPA added to my glass. Sigh...

14 Mar 2010 21:52

The Almamata, Egham

Not too keen on the 'Bar, Restaurant, Eaterie' branding on the outside, but smartened up a lot from its previous incarnation. Had a reasonable pint of Black Sheep Bitter.

14 Mar 2010 21:48

The Worlds Inn, Romford

This place has obviously had a chequered history in its previous guises as the Hogshead, The Place and Bar:me, but as a Lloyds No. 1 I would put it down as one of the better examples of this JDW chain. Surprisingly, not only is it just two doors down the road from the local Wetherspoons (the Moon and Stars) but it also has a better selection of real ales including a good pint of Summer Daze from Arundel Brewery (or at least that it what I was told it was as somebody had pinched the pump clip...).

14 Mar 2010 11:32

Mojo's Bar, Tonbridge

First visit since the demise of the late - and very much unlamented - Station House (and before that, the South Eastern). Inside has been refurbished and has a sparse furniture arrangement which allows an easy transition to a live music venue. Small beer garden out back for the smokers. It doesn't look like a real ale pub, so I was slightly surprised to see four handpumps (two of which were on - Spitfire and a reasonable pint of Pride). Very quiet when I went in, but I hope it does well because it is a huge improvement.

12 Mar 2010 20:25

Stewart Arms, Shepherds Bush

Had previously put my head through the door, concluded that everybody seemed to be drinking lager and left. Being the last Friday before Christmas and thus the season of goodwill, I decided to give it another go and initially got my hopes up when I spotted two handpumps (until I saw that the Courage Best clips were turned round). Then saw another pump on the front part of the bar, but this didn't have a clip. Finally spotted a fourth one on the third side of the bar which had a Greene King IPA clip on the front. Hopes raised (albeit slightly), they were soon dashed again when the barmaid said that it "hadn't been used for years". Had to settle for a pint of keg Courage Best, and took a proper look around to see a proper old-fashioned community pub with plenty of customers and loads of festive decorations. Bearing in mind how near Shepherds Bush this is (although you wouldn't know it as it is separated by the ugly A3220 West Cross Route), this could be a really useful pub if they did something about the ale. (NB - Review dates from December 2009.)

12 Mar 2010 20:21

The Swan, Hammersmith

Previously the anonymous Edward's, this pub has now reverted to being the Swan with a tasteful refurbishment of the interesting by M&B's Nicholson's chain. Ten handpumps in the main bar, plus another three in the slightly more relaxed upstairs bar which features intermittent table service and annoying tea-lights on the tables. Real ale usually served in traditional 'jug' glasses. Some intersting choices as well as the usual Landlord, Black Sheep, etc. However, as is so often the case with Nicholson's, the beer is not always in the finest condition (which is odd as the turnover must be fast enough in a busy place like this).

12 Mar 2010 19:58

The Griffin, Shoreditch

Traditional corner pub with lots of interesting features, but badly underlit (presumably to hid the tatty furniture and moth-eaten flooring). Quite an alternative selection on the jukebox and an upstairs function room for regular live music. Three handpumps - Pride (cheap before 6pm), Wandle (at £3.20) and one with a reversed clip. Curious sort of place, but it certainly has a bit of character.

10 Mar 2010 23:31

The Reliance, Old Street

Quite a traditional looking establishment - although apparently it was converted from a shop not that long ago - and one which I guess is supposed to have a nautical theme (but this doesn't really extend much past the pub sign and a ship's wheel propped up by the front door). Rustic wooden furniture at the front part of the bar, with dining tables further back. Three real ales on - Pride, Adnams and Batemans XB (not cheap at £3.40) - plus a selection of Belgian bottled beers (also steeply priced). Unusually, upstairs is now an art gallery (Charlie Smith). Overall, one of the better places in the area for a pint.

10 Mar 2010 23:18

The Talbot, Belgravia

Newly re-opened after a change of ownership. Still a strange-looking building, but at least the basic outdoor tables have survived the major refurbishment inside which has turned the walls a light pastel green. I don't care for the very high tables and stools in the main bar area, but there is some better seating nearer the door and in the eating area towards the back. Down to just one handpump now, but the Deuchars IPA was fine (if eye-wateringly expensive at £3.70 for a pint).

8 Mar 2010 23:06

The Star Tavern, Belgravia

Just what you might expect a old mews pub to be, but bearing in mind it is in the heart of Belgravia it is not exactly a basic backstreet boozer. Small bar area to your right as you enter, with a total of five handpumps with a good selection of Fullers/Gales ales (with an excellent pint of Pride at a reasonable - for the area - £3.05). Opened out with the two rooms on the left being joined by a wide arch with some nice old wooden furniture, rugs on the floor, big fireplace, an interesting selection of prints, a number of ornate mirrors and two fancy chandeliers. Upmarket gents toilets too. All in all, a very comfortable and relaxing place for a drink.

8 Mar 2010 22:54

The Cherry Tree, Maidstone

Locals pub with nothing much to attract the attention of people driving by; but passing for once on foot, I saw a small notice saying that they had got Harveys on handpump. Indeed, there was a pump but my expections soon dropped as the was no clip attached but fortunately this proved to be a false alarm. The beer turned out to be fine, and the lady behind the bar was friendly enough.

8 Mar 2010 22:20

The Garrick Arms, Trafalgar Square

I used to dislike this pub intensely, but am gradually coming round to the place. It has a reasonably large bar, but when it's crowded (i.e. at office closing/pre-theatre time) it is really crowded (and thus spilling out into to the street - not just smokers, but anybody who cannot find a space inside). However, if you go at a quieter time you find a fairly bright interior with lots of interesting features. OK, the beer is from Greene King, but as well as IPA, Abbot and Old Speckled Hen, you usually get one of the seasonal ales. Worth a try.

5 Mar 2010 23:50

The Globe Express, Stansted Airport

Basic, small bar the eastern (Ryanair) satellite arm, selling keg Boddingtons and a lager. Stop off at the Wetherspoons in the main terminal instead unless you get thirsty if stuck waiting at your gate.

5 Mar 2010 20:32

The Cardinal, Victoria

Quite a large horseshoe-shaped bar, with a reasonable amount of seating on three sides and a more tables dining area behind a low partition towards the rear. Some fairly ornate decoration, with dark wooden panelling, an interesting high ceiling and a curious skylight at the back. Usual Sam Smiths offering, with OBB on handpump at £1.97 for a pint. Very mixed clientele. A startlingly brusk, if efficient, barmaid so you certainly don't get service with a smile here...

3 Mar 2010 22:45

The Greencoat Boy, Victoria

Quite a nice looking pub, with some outside seating which can be quite pleasant on a summer weekend when you haven't got so much traffic roaring past. Inside, the 'L'-shaped bar is a bit smaller than you might expect so if busy the best bet (if available) is to sit in the raised area in one corner. However, there is also a basement bar (which I have never visited). Eight handpumps on display, but these are doubled up so the real ale choice was Bombardier, Greene King IPA, Pride and Youngs Ordinary (a decent pint, but daftly priced at £2.97). One of the better pubs in the area.

3 Mar 2010 22:25

The Strutton Arms, Westminster

Ordinary sort of Central London pub, with a narrow frontage giving a somewhat cramped layout inside. Having the bar on one side and several alcoves on the other, there is just enough room to squeeze in some small, high tables in between (apart from the area at the front which is a bit wider). Six handpumps, but these are doubled-up, so the real ale offering was Greene King IPA, Directors and Spitfire (a full pint, served in the correct glass, and good value at £2.50). Mostly notable for pointlessly having two front doors just a couple of metres apart.

3 Mar 2010 22:09

The Crown, Cranbrook

Traditional looking pub from the front, with two large bay windows on either side of the front door. However, the interior has been opened out and stripped right down to bare wood to leave a rather spartan feel (mind you, this probably helps with the regular live music events). The main features seem to be the pool table and jukebox, with the plain wooden furniture and basic menu being nothing to write home about. Beer-wise, there is a handpump dispensing Harveys (and slightly to my surprise this was in fine condition).

2 Mar 2010 23:45

The White Horse, Cranbrook

Quite an unusual building, with plenty of interesting features to look at from the street (including the embossed 'Invicta' at second-floor level above the balcony). Inside, it has been substantially refurbished by Greene King and has quite a modern feel (especially in the small-ish restaurant section). Quite a long bar, but this is located only a short distance away from the front doors so it can be a bit of a squeeze sometimes. Four hand-pumps, but only IPA on when I last visited. Also offers accommodation. Overall, certainly better than it was, but it is one of those off-putting places that always seems to have a gaggle of smokers hanging around the entrance.

2 Mar 2010 23:43

The Tom Cribb, Piccadilly

Given how close this place is to Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, it is a relatively calm and civilised spot for a pint. However, you'll probably be pushing your luck if you expect to find enough table space for food as this single-bar pub isn't exactly spacious. Five handpumps - all with Shepherd Neame beers - but they will usually have a seasonal choice (such as the Amber Ale 'winter warmer' at £3.30, about par for the course in this area).

28 Feb 2010 11:19

The Wellington, Strand

A pub which is both narrow (if viewed from the Strand) and wide (when seen from the Aldwych side) which gives a long, thin bar that can get very busy in the early evening as the offices close and visitors gather for a night out at one of the many nearby theatres. Once inside, you'll find - provided that you can see through the throng - a fairly traditional London pub, albeit less ornate than some others in the Nicholson's chain. You will also need to get towards the northern end to find all the handpumps (about 8 or 9 in total). As well as staples such as TT Landlord, you should find a few seasonal beers from smaller breweries (e.g. Britannia Ale from the Cropton Brewery at a reasonable £2.80 when I visited recently).

28 Feb 2010 11:02

The Edgar Wallace, Temple

Smallish main bar, and surprisingly dark despite the high ceiling and large windows on two sides. There is also a smaller bar up the chunky wooden staircase that takes up one corner. If looking for real ale, you might initially think that you've entered the wrong pub as the handpumps are strangely hidden away round the back of a large pillar. However, once found, you will see an excellent array of eight beers from smaller breweries from around the U.K. On my last visit, I had an excellent pint of Bank Top Dark Mild at £3.25 but could happily have chosen any of those on offer as a change from the 'usual suspects'. Deservedly popular with local workers, this is slightly off the beaten track for most visitors to London but well worth a diversion.

28 Feb 2010 10:41

Sennockian, Sevenoaks

Medium-sized, civilised 'spoons. Busy, but not crowded, at lunchtime. Small outside area at the back for smokers, but you could hardly call it a beer garden. Ten handpumps - one doubled-up (Ruddles) - and another three 'Available soon' when I last visited, but one could hardly complain because these were being got ready for a Dorking Brewery 'meet the brewer' event later that evening. Had a nice pint of stout-ish Molly Malone from Weltons of Horsham; excellent value at £2.15.

27 Feb 2010 14:57

The Oak Tree, Sevenoaks

Comfortable, relatively upmarket, pub from the Smith & Jones chain. Reasonably-priced food meant that it was busy at lunchtime, but the blackboards also indicate a range of evening events such as DJ nights and pub quizes. Several rooms and alcoves, leaving the horseshoe-shaped bar as a central island (although this is not obvious until you have a good look around). Four handpumps, with Brains SA (keenly priced at £2.45) joining the usual suspects of Greene King IPA, Harveys and Bombardier.

27 Feb 2010 14:45

The Chequers, Sevenoaks

Very historic (16th-century) inn in a prime location where the High Street and London Road join. The layout has been opened out at some stage, but the low ceilings (with hops strung out along the beams) and real fire provide inside exactly what the exterior suggests. Nine handpumps, but with four clips doubled-up on my last visit, leaving a choice of four real ales (Black Sheep, Tribute, Abbot and Hobgoblin) and a draught cider (Old Rosie).

27 Feb 2010 14:36

The Flower Pot, Bedford

Curious little pub whose traditional appearance looks rather out of place along a stretch of road with some of the tattiest and least interesting buildings in Bedford. Inside, it is rather dark and has a slightly rustic feel with a selection of fairly basic furniture. Traces of the former Greene King ownership remain visible. Lots of posters advertising live music events. Two of the three handpumps working. Asked for a pint of Pride, but got served Pedigree (albeit in a Pride glass) - sigh!

26 Feb 2010 21:16

Fox & Hounds, Bedford

Much improved since a recent refurbishment which has opened up the layout. On one side, the busy dining area has some comfortable furniture and offers good value meals. Round the other side of the bar, there is a huge screen for the football lovers. In between, there are few small tables for those looking for a quieter spot. The handpumps appear to be disused, with the Greene King IPA being dispensed through one of those fancy new fonts which supposedly offer beer in a 'Northern' or 'Southern' style.

26 Feb 2010 21:01

The Devonshire Arms, Bedford

The 'Devvy' is a traditional pub located in a quiet side street in quite a well-heeled residential area. Pool table and fairly basic wooden furniture in the front bar, with a comfortable looking lounge further back. Three of the four handpumps in operation, with Tribute plus a couple of offerings from the Wells & Youngs brewery (including a decent pint of Eagle IPA at £2.50). Worth seeking out.

26 Feb 2010 20:47

The Gordon Arms, Bedford

More modern inside than you would expect from the traditional pub exterior. Surprisingly busy on a damp Thursday night, with some hard-working staff ensuring that people got served quickly. Quite a mix of ages, and obviously aiming at a higher segment of the market than most Bedford pubs. Five handpumps, with three ales from the Wells & Youngs brewery plus a couple of guests - Tribute and a first-class Jennings Sneck Lifter (at £3.00).

26 Feb 2010 20:30

The Balloon, Bedford

Two bar corner pub which looks a bit odd as it appears to have been two separate buildings at some stage. Some traces of the former Greene King ownership remain visible. The public bar, accessed from the side door, has a few chairs and stools on one side and a longer space (used for regular live music events) going quite a way back on the other. No sign of life in the lounge bar, and I didn't feel particular comfortable under the curious gaze of the regulars. Two disused handpumps, so it was a quick pint of the insipid IPA Chilled and I was on my way.

26 Feb 2010 20:17

The Barley Mow, Bedford

Looks like a traditional village pub from the outside, which sits rather oddly with its (edge of) town centre location. The imposing door from the side road leads to a small bar with some reasonably comfortable seating. However, the main bar at the front has a limited amount of basic wooden furniture (which is presumably easily moved for live entertainment events). I think that Greene King must have sold it on, but there are still plenty of traces of their former ownership around the place. There are also a number of selotaped notices announcing grandly that they have introduced a dress code. Still no real ale, but unlike my previous visit, I did at least get as far as ordering a pint of the taste-free IPA Chilled. This was bad enough, but the polycarbonate 'glass' put the icing on the cake. Drank up quickly, and left...

26 Feb 2010 20:02

Eagle, Maidstone

Basic corner pub with a small, 'L'-shaped bar with a big television to show the footy and racing, and a pool table in a side area down a few steps. The lady behind the bar seemed friendly enough, and the few other customers appeared disinterested rather than hostile to a stranger. No real ale, so it was a quck pint of the inevitable John Smiths Smooth and I was off...

23 Feb 2010 19:26

The Sun, Maidstone

Used to be a right shocker, but the inside seems to have been smartened up somewhat since my last visit. Also, unlike my previous rare excursions into the place, it had a real ale on (Master Brew) which - whilst not exactly in top condition - was perfectly drinkable. The barmaid seemed friendly enough, and she seemed confident enough of her customers to leave the bar untended for a couple of minutes during a quiet spell to nip outside for a smoke. Despite its prime location, I still couldn't exactly recommend it to anybody, I will acknowledge the modest improvement (albeit from a very low starting point).

23 Feb 2010 19:17

Castle, Oare

This is a decent, unpretentious, village pub with a proper community feel. Three real ales on, including a very good Courage Best (which makes a change from the Sheps, Sheps and more Sheps you usually get in and around Faversham). Hosts regular 'bat and trap matches'. (NB - Review dates from July 2009.)

22 Feb 2010 21:47

The Globe, Moorgate

A somewhat jumbled and confusing layout created by joining two pubs together, with the 'Keats Bar' section of less interest than the main room on the corner. Can get very busy, and the service is often pretty poor. The condition of the beer is often rather suspect too (which is surprising given the large customer base and the number of evident ale drinkers). Handy for Moorgate tube, but nothing special (at all).

20 Feb 2010 11:26

The Woodberry Tavern, South Tottenham

Substantial pub, made more imposing by some of the clearance that has taken place around it over the years. Inside, it has the feel of an old-fashioned, slightly tatty (if sizeable) local. Three bar areas, with plenty of space for live music and other events. No sign of real ale in the bar I went into, but the barmaid seemed pretty clueless and there may have been a handpump somewhere up the other end of the pub. A quick pint of the inevitable John Smiths Smooth, and I was off...

20 Feb 2010 11:09

The Goat, Ponders End

Imposing Greene King pub on Ponders End High Street with a substantial amount of 'brewer's Tudor' decoration on the facade. Inside, it looks and feels like a pretty good traditional boozer with a busy main bar at the front, extending past a smaller open lounge with more comfortable seating and round the corner to the games area. Only let down by no real ale (so had to resort to IPA Smooth at a reasonable £1.99) and a temporary lack of food (despite adverts for the all-day menu all over the place).

20 Feb 2010 10:48

The Picture Palace, Ponders End

A oasis of real beer in the desert of Londen's north-eastern outer suburbs. Not that much to look at from the outside, but inside the conversion has been done pretty well with some sensible lighting drawing the eye to the interesting architectural features and giving the main bar area a comfortable feel (although the former lobby and another space of to one side have a more spartan atmosphere). Ten handpumps, with the usual suspects and two"available soon" but my pint of Winter Warmer from the relatively local Brentwood Brewing Company was excellent value at just £1.95. The barman was pretty efficient too, so overall this must be one of the best pubs in the whole area.

20 Feb 2010 10:37

The Falcon, Enfield

Given its very dull surroundings, this former Charrington pub (as evidenced by the ceramic plaques near the doors) is quite an interesting, if very old-fashioned, building. Square(ish) in plan area with a high ceiling and a central island bar. There is also a pool table in one corner and a small collection of books in another, but the television seems to take pride of place. No real ale, despite having three handpumps (one with an old Tetleys clip - "Just there for decoration, and a reminder of the old days. There's not much call for it now..." as the lady behind the told me somewhat sadly).

20 Feb 2010 10:22

The Lamb Tavern, Leadenhall Market

The 'choice' this evening was Youngs Ordinary, Youngs Ordinary or Youngs Ordinary, but at least the pint was in fine condition. Very much a 'vertical drinking' establishment for city types, but it is undoubtedly an interesting building in a historic location. Some nice engraved glass panels too. The mezzanine floor is a bit more civilised (if you can get a table), and there is also an upstairs restaurant (in the 'Private Bar') and a basement section called, appropriately, the Dive Bar.

16 Feb 2010 23:46

The Royal Oak, Wadhurst

Two-bar roadhouse on the A21 just a short distance north of Flimwell lights. The front bar is now the eating area, whilst the side bar has been opened out to include the pool table area. Five handpumps, all with clips, but each one was for Harveys! The beer was fine, and not too badly priced at £2.80. Nothing special, but handy if visiting nearby Bewl Water or when needing a break on the road to/from Hastings.

14 Feb 2010 22:09

The Harrow, Hadlow

Located a short distance north of the village centre, this Shepherd Neame pub (operated by Harris Inns) has been remodelled internally to put an emphasis on food. The dining tables are well spaced - giving a pleasantly open feel to the place - and there are a few bar stools and chairs left at the car park end of the bar for those just wanting a drink. Four handpumps, but with doubled-up clips for Spitfire (£3.10/pint) and Master Brew the choice is limited although the quality is fine. Large beer garden for the summer months, and also a pétanque pitch. Whilst the decor and furniture are all a bit fancy for a proper pub, this is still a decent place to eat and drink.

13 Feb 2010 14:09

The Anchor and Hope, Waterloo

I have only been here in the early evening when it is so packed I can't imagine how anybody finds any space to eat (but the chefs working in the ubiquitous open kitchen looked reasonably busy). Dreadful layout of mostly small tables and stools means that it is almost impossible to get to the bar when crowded (and how they don't get customers going up in flames with the annoying tea-lights being in such close proximity to peoples' clothing, I don't know...). Three handpumps, but only two in use when I last visited - Youngs Ordinary and a decent-enough Bombardier at £3.10. Just a quick pint, and I left.

12 Feb 2010 20:09

Nelson's Retreat, Old Street

Uninspiring pub, just a couple of minutes walk from Old Street station. Very much targeted at local residents rather than the nearby offices, there is an atmosphere which may best be described as 'boisterous' (and which certainly won't be to everybody's taste). Three real ales on - Pride, Deuchars IPA and TT Landlord - but if my pint is anything to go by, this is one too many for the level of custom as it was on the turn (and woefully overpriced at £3.30). Plenty of screens for the footy, pool table and a thai food menu which certainly seems much more reasonably priced than the beer. Also has a wine list, but it really doesn't seem to be that sort of place.

12 Feb 2010 19:44

Railway Tavern, Luton

Looks pretty tatty from the outside, but the interior is gradually being done up (and hence a rather pervading smell of paint). Still rather basic, it offers no real ale (just the inevitable John Smiths Smooth at £2.40/pint if you don't want lager). Given it's handy location by the station, let's hope that this one is starting back on the way up now (but it does have a long way to go).

12 Feb 2010 19:02

The Ship Tavern, Holborn

Leaving aside the somewhat dubious claim to have been established in 1549, the Ship Tavern has pretty much everything you would expect to find in a historic London pub - irregular shape in plan, plenty of dark wood, selection of booths and cozy corners, interior with plenty of interesting features, upstairs dining area (the Oak Room), etc. Six real ales on handpump, including a decent pint of the Six Nations-themed 'Over the Bar' from Caledonian plus a few usual suspects and a couple of other more interesting brews. Overall rather good, just let down very slightly by that other well-known feature of historic London pubs namely a slightly short measure requiring a top-up to be requested (but in this case given without fuss).

10 Feb 2010 21:28

The Tottenham, Soho

Appears nothing special from the street, but step inside and you can spend ages looking around (and up) at the splendid original features. A long bar - and usually a shortage of staff - meaning it can take ages to get served as the place is often crammed with tourists (usually Spanish, for some reason) and Oxford Street shoppers. Six handpumps, but I don't think I've ever seen them all on at the same time. The real ale is served too cold and, as is often the case in Nicholson's pubs, is not quite as good as it should be. Overall, great decor, shame about the pub...

8 Feb 2010 22:12

The White Horse, Shepherds Bush

Looks absolutely nothing from the front; in fact, I walked past it many times without really realising that it was a pub. Inside, it is rather larger than one would expect, with a curious 'L'-shaped bar (where the customers are located 'inside' the 'L') as the room extends behind the adjacent building. Rough and ready in terms of decor (and some of the customers), and it retains an old-fashioned 'working mans' feel with a mixture of Irish and North East influences and racing on the television screens. One handpump, serving a decent-enough pint of Greene King IPA. Pool table and reasonable beer garden. Overall, quite a refreshing change from the pubs around Shepherds Bush Green, and handy for a pint if visiting the Empire or Bush Hall.

8 Feb 2010 21:48

Vesbar, Shepherds Bush

Ugly looking building, but larger inside than it would appear from the front. Range of furniture ranging from breakfast bars, through mid-height marble-topped tables to low sofas. Subdued lighting. Live music every Thursday and Sunday. An unbranded Fullers pub with no real ale, so had to make do with a very overpriced pint of keg Honeydew at an eye-watering £3.70. Plenty of pictures of Vespa (geddit?) scooters.

6 Feb 2010 00:37

The Bird In Hand, Kensington

Another 'done up' West London pub, but altogether more appealing than the nearby Havelock Tavern. Typical 'candles on the tables' interior, but the friendly and efficient staff make the difference here. The young-ish clientele all seemed to be having a good time in an unobtrusive way, and even the background music was pitched at about the right level. Horseshoe-shaped bar and a high ceiling. The exterior plaque signage is worth a look too. A reasonable pint of Bombardier on at a pricy £3.30, with the other handpump having a Red Fox clip turned around.

6 Feb 2010 00:13

The Havelock Tavern, Kensington

One of those West London pubs whose idea of a bar snack is a bowl of olives. Plenty of regimented wooden tables, with banks of wine bottles behind the L-shaped bar. An OK pint of Wandle on (but pricy at £3.30), with Pride also available (and a Doom Bar clip turned round plus a fourth handpump appearing unused). Staff didn't seem too friendly, perhaps because I didn't order any olives?

5 Feb 2010 23:59

The Fountain, Chichester

A refreshingly traditional pub in a city with too many fancy 'gastro' joints. The front bar is fairly spartan, with the regulars all to be found in the more cozy back room. A blackboard indicates frequent live music nights. The same four beers are available from handpumps in each bar, including a decent pint of Pickled Partridge at £3.10 (and it appears to be a freehouse despite all the ales coming from Hall & Woodhouse).

3 Feb 2010 23:23

Park Tavern, Chichester

Compact Fullers pub with a nice view across Priory Park towards the East Walls. Looks like the bar area originally comprised two small rooms, now opened out, with a dining room beyond (although a notice on the door said "Sorry no food today"). A refurbishment has left the place with a slightly odd mixture of old and new features, but the old 'joanna' remains. Four handpumps (one with the clip reversed), including HSB as a reminder of the Gales heritage and an excellent pint of Seafarers (£3.00).

3 Feb 2010 22:59

Dolphin & Anchor, Chichester

A traditional-looking building from the outside, with no obvious corporate branding and a prime location directly opposite the cathedral. Inside, much as you would expect except that a lighter shade of wood has been used than in many other 'spoons and thus it has a lighter feel, particularly if you get a seat near the windows. Twelve handpumps, with a couple of duplicates and two "Available Soon" but a reasonable selection of local ales including a fine pint of Arundel Castle at a very reasonable £2.15.

3 Feb 2010 22:43

Village Inn, Gatwick Airport

Pretty much what you would expect from an airport Wetherspoons - decent beer and (relatively) reasonable prices, but no character... However, they do usually stock an ale from the local W J King Brewery (currently £2.75), and the bar staff seem more clued-up and friendly than one might expect. It should also be noted that this pub 'moved' in 2007 from its original site a short distance away in Gatwick's land-side 'shopping village'.

3 Feb 2010 21:33

Plough at Langley, Langley

First visit for years, and it somehow seemed smaller than I remembered (so perhaps they have enlarged the restaurant section and reduced the bar area?). Anyway, two real ales on - Courage Best and a good pint of Harveys (plus a Directors clip turned around on the third handpump). Located at Five Wents ('five ways'), one of the most awkwared road junctions in Kent so watch out when leaving the car park...

30 Jan 2010 22:37

The Bull, Bedford

Fairly big, edge-of-town pub. Busy, presentable and friendly sort of place. Had a pint of IPA from one of those fancy new fonts that Greene King are experimenting with (but why?).

29 Jan 2010 21:23

The Red Lion, Elstow

One of those places which is rendered rather off-putting by the large number of posters, banners and other signs promoting the 'special offers' of the Sizzling Pub Co. Thankfully, a bit less brash inside. Two real ales on, including a reasonable pint of Pedigree.

29 Jan 2010 21:17

The Castle Inn, Bedford

Busy little Charles Wells pub, in a quiet spot fairly close to Bedford High Street. Guest ale was a decent pint of Bath Ales Gem. Good atmosphere.

29 Jan 2010 21:10

The Embankment, Bedford

In a great spot overlooking the river, so it must be a popular spot in the summer. Had a decent enough pint of Bombardier, but it's far too upmarket for me...

29 Jan 2010 21:04

The Queen, Bedford

A proper local boozer, hidden away on the west side of Bedford (Midland) station. Some money has been spent on the refurbishment, but the place remains fairly basic. Decent pint of Youngs Ordinary.

29 Jan 2010 20:46

The George and Dragon, Bedford

I think it's a Greene King pub, but one of those unbranded ones you get sometimes. It has been refurbished - and thus has probably lost most of its original character - but thankfully nothing too fancy. Had a standard 'pub food' meal and a decent pint of IPA. OK sort of place, but the lack of customers somewhere so close to Bedford's High Street seems worrying.

29 Jan 2010 20:38

Yate's, Bedford

Remarkably, this isn't actually the worst pub in Bedford High Street. At least the remaining Litten Tree outlets such as this have started selling real ale (Bombardier usually), and the seats near the front aren't too bad a place to sit and talk or just watch the world go by (provided that the barman hasn't got the sound system turned up too loud, in a vain attempt to give the place a bit of a buzz).

29 Jan 2010 20:31

Rose, Bedford

Looks like it might have been a decent pub at some stage, but this historic building has been ruined by a partial conversion into a soul-less High Street lager emporium. Had to make do with a bottle of Newcastle Brown with my cheap microwave dinner.

29 Jan 2010 20:25

Clarence (Eurobar), Bedford

Curious little pub, with even more curious-looking customers. No real ales available, so had to make do with a quick John Smiths Smooth. Not a comfortable place to wander in a have a pint, but unique in my experience in that it has a table tennis table alongside the pool table in the games room.

29 Jan 2010 20:19

The Grafton Hotel, Bedford

Looks rather rough from the street, but this little two-bar Irish pub is a bit tidier inside. No real ales on of course, so made do with a pint of the inevitable John Smiths Smooth. The landlord seemed friendly enough, and the regulars didn't seem to mind a stranger in their midst.

29 Jan 2010 20:13

The Paddington, Bedford

Looks a bit run down, and unfortunately the real ale (Greene King IPA) was off. Made do with a pint of keg Ruddles Smooth (which I have never come across before, and will not actively seek out again). Very quiet in the early evening, but the staff were friendly enough. Obviously something of a music venue, and the Irish guy getting ready to play a set later on .

29 Jan 2010 20:09

The Cock Tavern, Euston

A proper old-fashioned sort of place, but rather tatty and (to be frank) a bit smelly. No real ale, so had to do with keg Worthington. Some curious looks from the locals, but not unfriendly.

29 Jan 2010 19:53

The Borough Bar and Dining, London Bridge

A slightly gloomier interior than the nearby All Bar One, but otherwise a pretty similar sort of set-up. No real ale of course, so it's lager all the way on the beer front apart from Guinness and a very feeble pint of over-cold keg Boddingtons (£3.25).

29 Jan 2010 19:16

The George Hotel, Cranbrook

Very interesting old building, which wasn't exactly new when Queen Elizabeth (the First) stayed in 1573. Much more recently, it has received something of a makeover with some fancy modern decor fitted around the older parts of the structure. Taken over by Shepherd Neame in 2008, it offers three real ales (Master Brew, Spitfire and the decent seasonal Amber Ale on my recent visit). If you just want a drink, you'll probably feel more comfortable in the 'Cranbrook Bar' (at the end of the building closer to the windmill), but it's worth getting a seat in the Brasserie when it's quiet just to look at the rather amazing old staircase.

25 Jan 2010 21:58

The Heeltap and Bumper, London Bridge

Now just called the Heeltap. Over-bright lighting and surfaces, and thus rather different to most Davy's outlets (which tend to be dingy dungeon premises). The Old Wallop (re-badged Couraged Directors) was off, so I was pleased to see the excellent Late Red from Shepherd Neame available (or, I was until they charged me £3.85 for my pint!). Not sure what the big guy at the front door was doing (apart from scowling at the punters sitting at the George yard tables outside). Not my sort of place at all, but at least they didn't serve beer in the disgusting metal tankards that most Davy's use.

23 Jan 2010 11:53

Carpenters Arms, Dunstable

Nice looking pub from the front, but the interior seems to have been slightly over-refurbished at some stage. However, there is a very nice open fire in the front bar, with blazing logs making up for the slightly cold feel of the furniture and interior decor. (I didn't have time to look at the larger space round the side and back of the bar, presumably the main eating area.) Four real ales on - a couple of the usual suspects, plus two from local small breweries. Went in at a quiet time, but I thought that it was rather better than the current rating of 4.8 would suggest.

23 Jan 2010 11:35

The Old Sun, Harlington

Traditional village inn, thankfully retaining the original layout so you get an interesting collection of different-sized rooms and cosy corners. Four real ales on, including an excellent pint of the seasonal Camerons Fireside which was just right for a cold winter evening. Friendly and efficient staff too, so the current rating of 5.7 is much too low.

23 Jan 2010 11:21

Sophie'n Eck, Berlin

Cosy little corner pub - very busy with a friendly atmosphere. The Schlosser Alt went well with the traditional German food, and both were good value. Well worth seeking out.

14 Jan 2010 23:40

Lemkes Spezialitätenbrauerei, Berlin

Modern brew-pub under the railway arches. Four different brews on, including the tasty Original (quite a dark brown lager). Not bad, but I didn't find the waiter very helpful once it was established that the menu wasn't required.

14 Jan 2010 23:29

Brewbaker, Berlin

Modern, friendly and justifiably busy brew-pub under the S-Bahn arches. Their tasty Weihnachtsbier (a spicy, gingerish Christmas ale) was perfect on a cold winters night. Wish I could have stayed longer - well worth seeking out.

14 Jan 2010 23:21

Brauerei Marcus-Bräu, Berlin

Decent little place, even if it doesn't look much from the street (and the interior furniture and decor is fairly plain too). However, their 'dunkel' was just the job on a cold winter night and relatively cheap too.

14 Jan 2010 23:12

O'Neills, Stansted Airport

With it being an O'Neills in an airport, one's expectations probably aren't going to be very high and therefore you won't be disappointed. About the only good thing I can think of is that at least they managed to serve my pint of Caffrey's in the correct glass. Go airside and head for the Wetherspoons instead.

14 Jan 2010 23:03

The Three Willows, Birchanger

Traditional village pub, with a limited amount of cricket memorabilia about the walls. Three real ales on - IPA, Abbott and a decent ruby Big Red ale from the Ossett Brewery. Didn't seem particularly friendly, but worth a visit if flying to/from the nearby Stansted Airport or looking for a stop close to the M11.

14 Jan 2010 22:55

Five Bells, Cople

Traditional village pub, with Greene King IPA and XX Mild on tap. Perhaps it was the weather (which was foul), but there was absolutely nobody else in the place in the late afternoon. The beer was fine, and it seemed like quite a decent sort of place so I hope it usually has more customers...

14 Jan 2010 22:48

The George II, Luton

Empty (just one other customer in the late afternoon), grubby-looking furniture and a nasty smell too. Leaving aside the good points, it had "run out" of real ale so had to make do with a pint of keg Greene King IPA Smooth. Perhaps it's OK for live music, but as a daytime pub its pretty desperate.

14 Jan 2010 22:43

The Great Northern, Luton

A real "they don't make 'em like this anymore" sort of pub, somewhat hidden behind the plain frosted-glass windows of the narrow frontage. Quite full in the late afternoon (although this is not too difficult given the small bar area). Decent Tribute, and only £2.20/pint which is pretty remarkable given that a previous review indicates that it was £2.10 in 2006. Very much a locals place with an older clientele, but you could do a lot worse if waiting for a train at the nearby station and you don't mind the curious (but not hostile) looks from the other customers.

14 Jan 2010 22:35

The Railway, Putney

One of those relatively-rare 'spoons which actually looks like a pub rather than a converted furniture showroom or bank. There are plenty of interesting external features from its heyday as the former Railway Hotel, but the interior has been largely stripped out and replaced (but the art deco-style windows on the rear staircase are also worth a look). Six handpumps downstairs plus a few more on the first floor, with a reasonable mix of common and rarer ales (including two from the excellent Westerham Brewery on my last visit, only let down by the paper signs in lieu of proper pump clips). However, the atmosphere was - as one would expect - all rather transient and impersonal.

10 Jan 2010 19:44

The Magpie and Crown, Brentford

Curious mock-Tudor exterior and rather sparse decoration inside too. In fact, it could all have seemed a bit gloomy if it weren't for the mix of customers giving the place a lively atmosphere (with the chap behind the bar being friendly too). Four real ales on, including two from the local Twickenham Fine Ales, O'Hanlons Firefly Bitter plus a splendid stout called ZigZag from the Milk Street Brewey in Frome which was just the job on a snowy winter day (with the next beer on being the excellent Port Stout from the aforementionded O'Hanlons). The chalk board now records that the total number of real ales sold since since 1996 is 2310, which certainly sounds like an achievement. (Regarding the previous two posts, it certainly didn't look like it was going to close in a couple of days time - I certainly hope not, and this is just the sort of proper pub that beer lovers should value.)

10 Jan 2010 19:04

The Coach and Horses, Mayfair

Cosy (i.e. small) wedge-shaped bar, with a similar sized dining room upstairs. Three of the four handpumps on, including a couple of rarities - Warwickshire's Berry Nice Beer (a bit dull in taste, but undoubtedly well kept) and something called London Reinbeer (apparently brewed by Adnams for Spirit Group pubs in the capital). A good display of pump clips indicate a commendable rotating 'guest' ale policy in additional to the regular Pride and Landlord. Some interesting features including old Wm Younger glazing in the downstairs windows. Quite a relaxed attmosphere just a few steps away from the Saturday-afternoon-New-Year-sales mayhem...

2 Jan 2010 20:40

The Jolly Farmers (ex jordan), Lewisham

Difficult to argue with 'humphs' below who called it "the only pub in Lewisham town centre that doesn't feel like a town centre pub." Only two of the handpumps were on - Youngs Ordinary and Doom Bar, but the latter was on good form. Obviously a locals pub, but friendly enough to casual visitors.

31 Dec 2009 20:21

The Watch House, Lewisham

Run-of-the-mill 'spoons, but with a reasonable mix of clientele giving what is a very gloomy bar a decent-enough lunchtime atmosphere. The real ale selection was rather unimaginiative, but the seasonal Nadelek from Sharp's Brewery provided an ideal winter beer to go with my ham, eggs and chips. Bar staff weren't the most efficient, but the young chap bringing out the good and tidying up was doing a grand job.

31 Dec 2009 20:15

The Rising Sun, Lewisham

Traditional-ish exterior, but inside it has has been smartened up in fairly simple but effective way with dart boards and pool table being the dominant features. Just Pride on for those interested in real ale, but this was well kept. Good community feel to the place.

31 Dec 2009 19:54

The Ship of Fools, Croydon

Not a very inspiring 'spoons, with some rather dubious clientele as well. At first it appeared that there were a reasonable selection of real ales on, but several were 'available soon' and unfortunately the King's Happy New Beer went as it was being poured. Not really a place to linger, so had a quick pint of something else and moved on.

30 Dec 2009 23:56

William Stanley, South Norwood

Smaller than it looks from the front, with an even smaller bar. An unusually limited range of real ale on, but my pint of Clark's Classic Blonde was fine. Also has a dart board, a rarity for 'spoons.

30 Dec 2009 23:48

The Moon and Stars, Penge

Unremarkable looking 'spoons, with plenty of handpumps (about 15?) but quite a few duplicate clips so not quite as much choice as it first appears. Had to wait quite a while to get served, but this was more to do with a large group of people each ordering and paying for their meals individually than any inefficiency by the bar staff. Beers included two from Hepworth's - Iron Horse and a decent pint of the paler Sussex.

30 Dec 2009 23:38

The Richmal Crompton, Bromley

Quite why its branded as a Lloyds No 1 bar is beyond me as it looks and feels like many other 'spoons around the country. Also had plenty of choice on the real ale front, including a tasty Horsham Old and another from Weltons Brewery. Went in early when there was only one barman on duty, but he was very efficient; not only serving people in the right order but also recognising many of his customers and remembering what their usual was - just like in a proper pub!

30 Dec 2009 23:23

The Green Cross Inn, Goudhurst

More of a restaurant (specialising in fish, as noted below) than a pub in recent years, but this freehouse retains a smallish and fairly traditional bar at the front (including a very welcome real fire on a cold winter's day). Serves a nice pint of Harveys, but that is usually it on the real ale front. NB - Popular with visitors to nearby Finchcocks, meaning that it is often difficult to find a space in the small car park, and it closes between 3 and 6 in the afternoon.

29 Dec 2009 23:38

The Royal Oak, Tunbridge Wells

A decent spot for a pint or two, located just a few minutes walk from Tunbridge Wells's main shopping streets. The interior layout has been opened out at some stage, leaving an island bar with three open sides; but various partitions mean that there are several cosy spots (including the little 'library' area with the Chesterfield sofas). Harveys, Larkins and the excellent Dark Star American Pale Ale on when I visited.

29 Dec 2009 23:30

White Rabbit, Maidstone

Very interesting old building with white weatherboarding which used to be the officer's quarters of the former Invicta Barracks. Plenty of space with a wide range of seating in a number of different rooms and bar areas. Three real ales on, all reasonably priced. Really rather good for a 'chain' pub (Vintage Inns being one of M&B's brands).

22 Dec 2009 21:46

The Five Pointed Star, West Malling

A traditional Greene King town pub - fairly unpretentious, with a reasonably-priced bar menu. Four real ales on - Ruddles, Abbot, Old Speckled Hen and a respectable pint of IPA (and its not often you'll hear me say that) which went very well with my ham, egg and chips. No sign of the problem customers mentioned by some reviewers below.

22 Dec 2009 20:55

The Bull Inn, West Malling

The missing pub sign makes the exterior look a bit run down, but it is nice enough inside. Also a bit surprised to see several customers eating takeaways from the local chippy because I thought it did food. However, four of the five handpumps were on - a couple of seasonal brews (Rocking Rudolph and a very tasty Rosey Nosey) plus Youngs Ordinary and another standard ale.

22 Dec 2009 20:48

The Farm House, West Malling

Styles itself as a gastro pub, and the left-hand side looks like a fairly fancy dining room. The bar to the right has been modernised, with fairly sparse furniture and decoration (although the tables at the back retain a bit more of a pub feel). Two handpumps - Harveys and Wadworth Henry's Original IPA (which was fine, and cheap for the area at £2.70). Staff appeared to be French (or were pretending to be). Overall, a bit of a strange mix, but I did like their four colourful leaflets giving suggestions for local walks.

22 Dec 2009 20:38

The Joiners Arms, West Malling

Nice little town pub, but one of the most expensive in Kent. The seasonal Late Red was £3.30 per pint which is rather extraordinary when other, more upmarket places in West Malling (and surrounding area) charge considerably less. Also had Master Brew and Spitfire on. Some interesting tools of the joiners trade on the walls, but rather cold (in both senses of the word) inside.

22 Dec 2009 20:25

The Wargrave Arms, Marylebone

Fine looking, traditional Youngs pub but surprisngly quiet on the last Friday before Christmas. Four handpumps, but only two on - Ordinary and what was supposed to be Special (but which tasted much more like the former to me). The bar staff also seemed rather distant, and the place had an altogether chilly atmosphere (despite the festive decorations).

19 Dec 2009 11:34

The Beehive, Marylebone

After my previous error (see below), I thought it only fair to give the place a try. Smaller, cheaper and altogether more fun that its namesake nearby. Two real ales on, Pride and TT Landlord (which was fine on my visit). Plain interior and altogether nothing special, but you can certainly find worse in the area.

19 Dec 2009 11:25

The Richmond, Hammersmith

Sizeable wedge-shaped building which I had always assumed was a standard issue footie 'n lager pub given the array of promotional tat outside. However, having finally decided to venture in rather than just walking past as I had always done before, I was surprised to find a large island bar and some reasonable seating near the pointed end of the bar. Further back there are several pool tables. They even had two handpumps with Pride clips on, and after some debate between the bar staff as to whether it was on or not, a pint was finally produced (which wasn't great, but was at least drinkable). Has quite the most prominent pub name signs on the sides of the building (even more so than shown in the main photograph now they have been replaced).

16 Dec 2009 21:58

The Black Horse, Stansted

Hidden away in a small vilage that is really little more than a hamlet, this traditional pub has much to offer. Big beer garden in the summer, and a proper log fire in the winter. Four real ales on today - the great Larkins Porter, Larkins Traditional, Youngs Ordinary plus something from Cottage Brewing. Well worth seeking out.

15 Dec 2009 17:57

The Porter House, Dublin

For the beer-lover, the one must-visit pub in Dublin (in fact, the whole of Ireland). TSB might not be the best real ale going, but in a country with a (wholly undeserved) reputation for beer this is almost the only place where you are (almost) guaranteed a decent pint. In addition to their own brews, I was pleased to see that they had the Galway Hooker (somewhere between a pale ale and a lager) on draught. I'll accept that this might not be the best pub in Ireland, but you'll not get better beer anywhere else.

12 Dec 2009 14:58

Messrs Maguire, Dublin

Quite a dark, traditional interior with a high ceiling in the main bar area giving a slightly cool feel to the place. However, the main attraction is their own beers which include an excellent 'Plain' which is ten times more interesting than any pint of Guinness you'll have had. Went in at quite a quiet time, so couldn't help eavesdropping on three ladies of a certain age who had obviously had a very good lunch. With their stories about friends and relatives getting into trouble with other peoples's spouses, and anecdotes about dubious goings-on up north near the border, I could have stayed all afternoon. Well worth seeking out.

12 Dec 2009 12:00

The Queens Head, Hammersmith

First visit back to the Queens Head since Fullers bought the place, and the interior certainly has been brightened up since the Chef & Brewer days (but without this traditional building being spoilt by some ghastly gastro-pub makeover). The staff seem much more clued-up than before too. The beer used to be OK before, and whether the previous unimaginative selection has been improved since the takeover is a matter of personal choice I guess as Chiswick's finest is not to everybody's taste. However, the Pride (which is so often rather average in pubco outlets) was on top form here. Overall, rating improved from before.

12 Dec 2009 10:11

The Savoy Tup, Strand

Penultimate Friday evening before Christmas, so no surprise that the place was absolutely busting at the seams. However, there were four staff working hard behind the small bar and there was very prompt service once you had managed to make your way through the crowds. Pride and (a very good pint of) Tribute on, with the Bombardier just having run out and being replaced by Doom Bar. Hardly a comfortable experience, but I will certainly return to try it again at a quieter time.

12 Dec 2009 09:47

The Cock and Woolpack, City Of London

As noted previously, this one is hard to spot and you can't help wondering whether a traditional pub sign hanging off the front of the building mightn't be a good idea. However, I suppose that it is popular enough with those that work nearby for catching the eye of passers by to be a low priority. However, once inside, you immediately get the impression of a friendly little place where the emphasis is very much on real beer - not many lager or wine glasses in sight. Modest, but well kept, range of Shepherd Neame beers - Spitfire, Master Brew and the excellent Late Red. Well worth seeking out.

7 Dec 2009 21:12

Queens Head, Five Oak Green

I started my recent review of the nearby Kings Head as follows: "One of two pubs in a small village, but one wonders how much longer both will last in the current economic climate. Much more of a community pub than one aimed at the passing trade or as a dining destination." Pretty much the same applies here, but the posters advertising various events organised by the pub are a noticeable feature. The pool table looks pretty popular too. Only real ale is Greene King IPA, but that was on decent-enough form.

7 Dec 2009 21:01

The Walnut Tree, Yalding

The sort of pub that looks like it's going to be a good one as you approach, and appearances don't deceive. Sensible split between the restaurant and bar area meaning that the left-hand side (as you enter) retains the atmosphere of a traditional village boozer. Four real ales on, including a fine pint of the locally-ubiquitous Harveys. Bursting at the seams last night during the Yalding Yuletide celebrations, but the staff were making a good effort at getting everybody served reasonable quickly.

6 Dec 2009 12:05

The Oxford, Kentish Town

A bit more like a real pub than the gastro-pub decor would suggest. Yes, they do have one of those modern open kitchen areas that wafts the smell of cooking throughout the place, and yes, the whole of the back area is set out as a restaurant. However, the majority of the early-evening clientele was drinking around the bar and the tables by the windows. Three real ales on, including an OK pint of Harveys. Good atmosphere, and overall rather better than I expected.

5 Dec 2009 14:24

The George IV, Kentish Town

This place really is a picture, even when seen after dark under street lighting. The exterior all seems slightly implausible, somehow, but the inside is also very interesting. It retains a very traditional feel, but just enough money has been spent on the furniture, fittings and decorations to create a warm atmosphere despite the high ceiling. Staff and customers seemed friendly enough too, despite it being far enough off the beaten track that they probably don't get many casual visitors in. As others have noted, this pub would rate very highly, if only they made use of those two handpumps round the side of the bar...

5 Dec 2009 12:04

The Lock Tavern, Camden

Went in on a weekday evening - no door staff and no 'regulars card' required. Inside, busy but not packed at pre-gig time. Customers appeared to be relatively normal, but the staff didn't seem particular attentive (and what was the lady hovering around behind the 'team' - presumably the duty manager- actually adding to proceedings?). Two handpumps, but only one on - an OK pint of Old Speckled Hen. In the unlikely event that I return, I will probably buy my pint and then head upstairs the other bar behind the rooftop terrace which had a more comfortable atmosphere but a restricted drinks range.

5 Dec 2009 11:47

The Hawley Arms, Camden

Went in with the lowest of expectations, having read so much about the place on BITE and in the tabloid press. However, once inside, I started to cheer up as it appeared that staff and customers alike all looked relatively normal (and it wasn't that crowded at pre-gig time)... Three real ales on, including a decent pint of GK's seasonal Rocking Rudolph served in an old-fashioned jug and closer to full measure than you usually get in these parts. The atmosphere seemed cheerful and the staff were attentive enough. Perhaps the traffic management on the main road - where Camden claim to be creating the first so-called 'naked street' in Britain, apparently - is enough to keep the 'Z'-list (and all that travels with them) away? Anyway, all in all, I rather enjoyed my pint here.

5 Dec 2009 11:35

The Bull, Horton Kirby

Just shows what you can do with a bit of effort - every village could have a pub like this, but without a knowledgable landlord/landlady, hard-working staff and proper customer focus so many fail to achieve the heights (or just fail). Six of the eight handpumps in use, offering unusual beers in a full range of styles from a 'real' lager to porter via the 'Two Kents' festival beer from Shepherd Neame. Opted for a quick pint of the light and tasty Hophead from Dark Star, but could happily have stayed all afternoon if I wasn't driving. Only minor gripe relates to the interior decor which felt a bit cold as the pub was quiet mid-way through a weekday afternoon, but I doubt you'd notice this at the weekend. Well worth seeking out.

1 Dec 2009 17:18

Windmill Inn, Weald

Fairly traditional village pub, which is obviously starting to have a bit money spent on it. Elongated 'L'-shaped bar which looks like it has been opened out at some stage from the previous saloon and lounge plus a side room and an extension of uncertain age. Nice position on the green (although this is not one of Kent's most picturesque). Regular live music and other events advertised on the blackboards. Looks like they are getting a new chef too. A Greene King house with three real ales on - IPA, Ruddles and a respectable Morland Original.

1 Dec 2009 17:03

The Victoria Inn, Rugby

Outlet for the Atomic Brewery, and a propor old-fashioned local. Currently looks a bit tatty from the outside as it appears to be part-way through being repainted (but keeping the same bright colours). My pint of Reactor was fine, and went down very well with a basic (but cheap) cheese roll. I was a bit surprised that it wasn't busier as it had a very good range of guest ales on too.

28 Nov 2009 23:56

The Squirrel Inn, Rugby

Small pub, curiously shaped like one of those cut-off wedges of cheese sold in supermarkets. The landlord offered a pleasant welcome, and later on the landlady offered the sort of farewell that sounded like she actually meant it rather than just reciting the company script. Anyway, three real ales on - two from Jennings (which must have got out just before the brewery was flooded) and a tasty pint of Legend from the local Dowbridge Brewery (apparently located somewhere just across the border in Leicestershire).

28 Nov 2009 23:47

The Merchants Inn, Rugby

Splendid pub, with nine handpumps (plus an extra clip for another beer direct from the barrel). Hard to choose, but tasters were offered and I can see why the selected Darling Buds from the Warwickshire Beer Company had recently won the local CAMRA Gold Medal Award. Proper pub tables and chairs, and a curious but effective way of displaying past pump clips using rows and rows of wooden curtain rails between the beam on the ceiling. Very friendly and helpful staff, and thoroughly recommended.

28 Nov 2009 23:31

London House, Rugby

Basic, no-nonsense town centre Marstons pub and (small) music venue. Pedigree and Banks's Bitter on. Just the right distance away from the High Street to have a reasonably friendly 'local' atmosphere whilst still being used to casual visitors.

28 Nov 2009 23:21

The Anker Inn, Nuneaton

As a visitor to Nuneaton, I was happy to find that this place did indeed have a decent atmosphere. Busy but not crowded, with the whole age represented. Darts and pool table. Two real ales - Bass (good) and Hobgoblin. Would happily have stayed for another, but was worried that the chippy across the road would close before I got there.

28 Nov 2009 22:48

The Railway Tavern, Nuneaton

Very loud and very busy on a Friday night, with a mostly young crowd (who, perhaps a bit surprisingly, were obvious keen to enjoy a traditional pub rather than some hideous town-centre bar with plastic glasses and goons on the door). Five real ales on, with two from the local Church End Brewery (including a nice pint of the charmingly-named What the Fox's Hat). Would happily return, but at a quieter time.

28 Nov 2009 22:43

The George Eliot Hotel, Nuneaton

There's probably quite nice old building hiding behind all the tat, but going in on a Friday evening (when it's part-disco with bouncers on the door) meant I probably didn't see it in its best light. Given its clientele, I was surprised to find two handpumps - Tetleys cask (OK-ish) and Spitfire. Moved on quickly.

28 Nov 2009 22:30

The Packhorse and Talbot, Chiswick

Popped in for a very quick one, and was disappointed that the Youngs London Gold ran out part-way through pouring. However, the barman asked whether I would like him to try to get a pint directly out of the barrel rather than wait for it to be changed. Took the risk, and off he went to the cellar and returned with a nice clear pint. Inside, the building has the look of a town pub trying to compete with a nearby Wetherspoons rather than the sort of fancy gastro-bar so prevalent in the area. Not great, but certainly better than I was expecting.

28 Nov 2009 22:23

The Square Tavern, Euston

Hidden away in a small square (but don't expect the typical London area of leafy greenery, more the sort of scruffy courtyard to be found in a technical college that has somehow become the University of Somewhere-you-have-never-heard-of). The pub interior was probably thought to be modern by the architect, but the ceiling seems to be the wrong height and now looks horribly dated (with the tiling in the gents toilet being reminiscent of an unrefurbished Underground station). Two beers on - Youngs Ordinary and Bombardier (which admittedly was fine).

28 Nov 2009 22:08

Ruse, Borough

Looks like a footie 'n lager pub from the outside, and indeed once inside you immediately see an array of shiny fizz founts and several noisy televisions. However, there is a Greene King IPA handpump hidden away around the side of the bar. Beer was OK, and the barmaid friendly enough, but not a place to linger.

28 Nov 2009 21:58

The Duke of York, Borough

Traditional-looking pub from the outside, but with a relatively modern interior. On a quiet mid-week mid-evening, with just a few groups of customers still in, the place had a very relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. My pint of Shepherd Neame's seasonal Top Hat (a beer I hadn't tried before) was in excellent condition.

28 Nov 2009 21:51

The Grenadier, Belgravia

Small, interesting, hidden-away, expensive mews pub. Not that busy - and no audible Americans - in a mid-week mid-evening, but the staff didn't really trouble themselves to be helpful. Nothing wrong with my pint (Wadworth's Swordfish, 5% abv and blended with Pusser’s Rum ), but couldn't really wait to finish up and move on to somewhere more hospitable.

28 Nov 2009 21:36

Edwards Brasserie, Sevenoaks

Very much a restaurant, but with a few plain tables in front of the bar for those with the temerity to answer "no" to the inevitable "are we dining today, sir?" question. Having said that, I gradually realised it had quite a relaxed atmosphere once I was sat down with my pint of Harveys (one of two real ales on offer - the other being Pride). Quite good mixture of old and modern, decor-wise, and friendly enough.

22 Nov 2009 17:02

Red Lion, Redhill

From the outside looks more like a village pub than a town one (and I suppose that was probably the case before the railway came), but the inside seems to have been stripped of much of its original character at some stage to open the place out. Two real ales on - Old Peculier (which I would like to have tried but was in a bit of a hurry) and Pride (which was fine). Friendly and very efficient young lady behind the bar.

21 Nov 2009 11:35

The William Bray , Shere Guildford Surrey

Looks like pub from the outside, but the main door takes you directly into a restaurant. However, a quick right turn (or the side door) leads to a smaller room featuring the seperate bar. All done up in a light modern style, with the bar having a slightly more rustic feel than the restaurant. Three real ales on when I visted, including two (Shere Drop and a decent pint of Ranmore Ale) from the very local Surrey Hills brewery. Appearing (at the time of writing) as the supposed top-rated pub in the country on BITE is clearly ridiculous, but if you like this sort of place (which I don't really) then at least it is well done.

21 Nov 2009 10:40

Rodboro Buildings, Guildford

Not quite sure why this is branded as a Lloyds No. 1 as it has much more of a regular 'spoons look and feel to the place. A large two-level, L-shaped layout with a least three bar areas; however, each of these seems quite small which I guess accounts for the difficulties mentioned below about getting served during busy periods. A large number of handpumps, but many duplicates so the real ale choice isn't quite as large as it first appears. However, overall this is one of the better ones (and is handy for a quick pint if changing trains at the nearby station).

21 Nov 2009 10:24

The Star, Godalming

Attractive old pub, handily placed on a side street between the railway station and town centre. Four handpumps, but seven clips when I visited - the extra three being guest ales served in the cellar direct from the barrel. I went at a quiet time, but it still seemed to have a good atmosphere. Pleasant welcome, and some decent beer. One of rare creatures, an unbranded Greene King house - just shows what can be achieved with a bit of effort (actually quite a lot of effort, I suspect - well done).

21 Nov 2009 09:54

The Vine Hotel, Goudhurst

The main part of this pub has been a Thai restaurant for quite a few years, but the lower bar area remains as a pub. Although an attractive old building, both the exterior and interior look rather tired and in need of substantial refurbishment / redecoration. The aforementioned bar area is actually two rooms, with no sign of real ale in the main (long and narrow) area that you enter from the pub door. However, the smaller room to the right has four handpumps (although only one was on when I last visited). Rather gloomy inside, but the Harveys is very good.

15 Nov 2009 15:09

The White Horse Inn, Maidstone

Not too bad a pub, with a reasonable selection of five real ales on including Doom Bar (which was fine) and John Smiths Cask which I later observed to be the most popular choice. Quite a walk out from Maidstone town centre, and you get the impression that they don't many people calling in on the off chance.

13 Nov 2009 22:48

Style & Winch, Maidstone

Freiendly, traditional pub just a short distance away from the dubious delights of Maidstone's central shopping area. Two real ales on - a decent pint of Courage Best and also Bombardier.

13 Nov 2009 22:34

The Oak On The Green, Bearsted

Didn't get the impression that this place really welcomes people who just want a pint rather than eat. However, they do have three real ales, two of which come from the small 1648 Brewery in Sussex (and the Gold Angel was first class). The menus on the blackboards don't show prices, which I find very off-putting. Not quite on the green either...

13 Nov 2009 22:29

The White Horse, Bearsted Green

Nice position on the green, and supeficially attractive, but the "country pub and dining" branding serves as a warning to the wise. Smart but rather soulless decor inside, with the emphasis fully on the food side of things. Two handpumps, but only the one with TT Landlord was on. The beer was fine, and the staff friendly enough, but this isn't really my sort of place.

13 Nov 2009 22:18

Bell Inn, Bearsted

A Greene King house, but with a limited choice of ale - just IPA and Ruddles. Pretty unremarkable, but least still a proper pub unlike the two 'upmarket' establishments up the road at the green.

13 Nov 2009 22:08

The Furze Wren, Bexleyheath

Very large, but strangely elongated, bar with plenty of window seats to watch the world (generally buses) go by. Decent selection of real ale festival beers on at a very reasonable £1.69. Not particularly busy when I went in mid-afternoon, but the clientele was distinctly more up-market than in the other nearby 'spoons - the rather horrible Wrong 'Un up the road (whose name is probably more fitting than originally intended).

11 Nov 2009 22:41

The Wrong 'Un, Bexleyheath

Fairly standard 'spoons, but I didn't really like the atmosphere inside this place. Had a fair selection of the real ale festival beers on at a very reasonable £1.69. Unfortunately, the one I chose run out part-way through pouring, but the half-wit behind the bar went to fill the rest of the pint up with my alternative selection and then looked rather puzzled when I asked him to stop and get a fresh glass...

11 Nov 2009 22:33

Paper Moon, Dartford

One of the more pub-like 'spoons (if you see what I mean), with a fairly traditional interior layout rather the wide opne spaces of many town-centre conversions. Decent selection of real ale festival beers at a very reasonable £1.69. Plenty of staff about, but they all seemed to be engaged in things other than serving customers which was very annoying.

11 Nov 2009 22:23

The Flying Boat, Dartford

An impressive conversion, with a light and airy feel and plenty of interesting features to look at inside. Busy, as you would expect, but the smaller room towards the rear offers a quieter and more relaxing place to sit. It is also worth noting that the main doors are huge, so if its cold and windy beware of an icy blast each time they open if you are sat near the front. A decent range of real ale festival beers were on offer at a very reasonable £1.69. Plenty of staff on duty too.

11 Nov 2009 22:17

The Edward Rayne, Raynes Park

A bit of a "pub in a box" 'spoons, but the atmosphere and clientele seemed fine on my late-afternoon vist. Decent selection of beers from the ongoing real ale festival too. Handy for Raynes Park station too.

6 Nov 2009 23:17

The Falcon, Clapham Junction

Not being much of a fan of Nicholson's pubs and (particularly) the way they keep their beer, I was astounded when I entered this place which I had previously ignored when walking past many times before. A fascinating heritage interior, with a decent selection of different beer on handpump on each segment of the sub-divided oval-shaped bar. Better still, they had a real ale festival on with a total of 49 different brews on offer (main bar plus temporary stillages in the back room. Much, much better than I expected.

6 Nov 2009 23:09

The One Tun, Goodge Street

Surprisingly quiet on an early Thursday evening, and there is certainly something rather sterile with the refurbished layout that seems to have stripped out much of the original character. However, the atmosphere was fine, with friendly and attentive bar staff. The Youngs Special (which quickly becomes an indifferent beer if not kept in tip-top condition) was excellent too.

6 Nov 2009 23:00

The Blackfriar, Blackfriars

A Nicholson's pub, so if familiar with the chain you will probably expect a reasonable selection of real ales that don't quite hit the mark condition-wise. In that case you won't be disappointed, and the Sambrook's Wandle was OK (if served with too much head, and certainly nothing to write home about). However, the interior really is something special so it is certainly worth a visit just to have a look around.

6 Nov 2009 22:52

Feathers, Chalfont St Giles

Surprisingly ungentryfied, this traditional village pub has a fairly basic bar area plus a couple of smarter tables on the other side of the front door and more seating in the back room. Two real ales on, Courage Best and Hobgoblin. Only complaint - the beer was served far too cold.

4 Nov 2009 19:56

The Black Horse, Thurnham

Very pleasant place to stop when out walking along the historic Pilgrims Way and public rights of way at the foot of the North Downs near Maidstone. Despite being very much a food-led pub, they do welcome thirsty ramblers (provided you take muddy boots off and leave them in the place provided by the door). Four real ales on, with the local-ish Westerham Grass Hooper being the pick of the bunch. Nice garden when the weather suits.

2 Nov 2009 16:29

The Rose and Crown, Halstead

It is sometimes easy to be sceptical about how some pubs manage to get themselves on the BITE Top 20 list on the home page, but this is how I first became aware of this place a few months ago. Finally managed a quick visit, and I was very pleased to say that it exceeded my expectations. Very busy on a Sunday lunchtime, with some diners but mostly people seemded to be there for traditional beer and conversation. Five real ales on, including the local Larkins bitter (one of the best low-strength beers). Top-of-the-range village pub.

1 Nov 2009 21:28

Queens Arms, Edenbridge

Remains a timeless, unspoilt and special place...

1 Nov 2009 21:10

The Coal Hole, Strand

Not too bad for a Nicholsons, with an interesting interior and nothing like as dull as the name suggests! A reasonable selection of real ale, and the Robinson's 'Wags to Witches' was on good form. Better than I remembered...

31 Oct 2009 23:10

The Punch Tavern, Fleet Street

There are a lot of conflicting views about this place expressed below, but ignoring the sound of grinding axes and obvious plugs, I still find it difficult to reconcile what I found (i.e. an unexceptional central London pub) with either the positive or negative extremes... Limited choice of just two real ales, but the Hooky bitter was fine, and since most of the other pubs in the area are closed on Saturdays then you could do worse..

31 Oct 2009 22:46

The Lord Raglan, St Pauls

Went in at what I thought would be a quiet time (mid-Saturday afternoon, when many other nearby pubs are closed), but this place was full of Japanese tourists who seemed to be there for some Halloween-themed entertainment that was due to take place a bit later on. Had a quick pint of Robinson's seasonal 'Wags to Witches', and moved on...

31 Oct 2009 22:35

The Artillery Arms, Old Street

Fine little corner pub, with an interesting interior and about the smallest island bar that I have ever seen. Full range of Fuller's ales, and although it is perhaps not quite the season for Discovery this beer was on top form. Well worth seeking out.

31 Oct 2009 22:25

The Cask and Glass, Victoria

Went in at a quiet time (mid-Saturday afternoon, when many other nearby pubs are closed), but I thought that this place had a wonderful relaxed atmosphere (although no doubt it is different at office-closing time). Excellent pint of Kent's Best, and it is hard to find fault with this cosy little Shepherd Neame pub.

31 Oct 2009 22:20

Flora Sandes, Thornton Heath

Ugly looking building, and a whole platoon of smokers lurking outside the front door. However, once inside, it turned out to be a perfectly serviceable (if unexceptional) 'spoons. Bar staff were efficient, the tables were clear and the real ale festival beers were a bargain £1.69. The Port Grumpy's Pale Ale was fine. Really not too bad.

31 Oct 2009 22:14

The Eagle Ale House, Clapham

An excellent place for a pint, with a large range of real ales from two arrays of handpumps (including 'Fossil Fuel', which I guess must come from somewhere in Dorset). Interesting interior, with a sensible selection of bar stools, chairs and sofas to suit your personal preference. A proper pub, and well worth a detour.

31 Oct 2009 00:12

The Ship Inn, Wandsworth

Although not particularly obviously branded as such, this Young's pub has the benefit of a good spot by the Thames although it is somwhat hidden away around the back of a bus station. Inside, the refurbished wooden interior is OK but seems to lack warmth. Excellent pint of 'Ordinary', but not hardly worth its current place at no. 11 in the 'Top 20' on BITE's front page.

30 Oct 2009 23:57

Trafalgar Freehouse, South Wimbledon

Small freehouse with an interesting selection of real ales (including a decent pint of 'Cog' from the Box Steam Brewery in Wiltshire). Fairly ordinary interior, but you are almost certainly here for the beer so that probably doesn't matter too much. One of those places that you are surprised to find still exists, but which you are very glad it does.

30 Oct 2009 23:47

The Priory Arms, Stockwell

Nothing very distinctive about this place from the outside, but the interior has been part-modernised in a reasonably sensitive way. Five real ales on, including something called Dials' Pumpkin Ale from Downton Brewery which was rather better than I expected from the 'trick or treat' pump clip... Enjoyed my 'fried cod in a bap' lunchtime bite (which was again better than I was expecting). Friendly and efficient, and really rather good.

30 Oct 2009 23:33

The Beehive, Walworth

I can't imagine how this place is currently at no. 18 in the 'Top 20' on BITE's front page, but I would note that it has 35 ratings but only 24 reviews so a bit of multiple scoring may be going on... However, there is nothing really wrong with the place - just the sort of stripped pine and candles on the tables part-gentrified establishment that you would expect to find at this distance from central London. Quite a selection of whiskies if that's your thing, but only two of the four handpumps had clips on, and both of those were for Pride! Not worth going out of your way for.

30 Oct 2009 23:20

The Dog and Bell, Deptford

I guess there may have once been a hundred backstreet pubs a bit like this one within a 5-mile radius. However, most of these have now gone and very few would ever have offered the range of beer you get here. Nothing obviously special inside or out, but clean and tidy and a warm welcome when you enter. Five real ales on, including a fine Gadds Oatmeal Stout. First rate.

30 Oct 2009 23:10

The Wibbas Down Inn, Wimbledon

Very unprepossessingly-looking building, and a fairly standard 'spoons interior with the ambience not helped by the low ceiling in the front section. However, with some 17 festival real ales on at the bargain price of £1.69 one really shouldn't complain too much. The beer was fine, the tables clear and the bar service was efficient too. The toilets were disgusting, though...

29 Oct 2009 23:50

The Grid Inn, Southfields

Lurking smokers blocking the front door - not a good start. Inside you find a rather pokey little 'spoons of no real distinction. Eight handpumps, but one was off, two were doubled-up with the same beer and another one was the stnadard dull Ruddles; so not much choice during what is supposed to be their biggest ever real ale festival. Hopeless barman who had no idea who was next and couldn't even work out which pump was which once he finally got round to serving you. I suppose I should say that the beer was fine when it was finally delivered, but otherwise there is very little to recommend this place.

29 Oct 2009 23:43

The Oyster Rooms, Fulham

Really quite good for a Lloyds No. 1, especially one located inside a shopping centre, with six handpumps (one Ruddles and five festival ales) and decent beer. Even better, there were plenty of staff, quick service and clean tables.

29 Oct 2009 23:33

Volunteer, Waltham Abbey

Reasonable-sized and tidy McMullens pub on the edge of Epping Forest. Quiet when I visited late-ish on a weekday afternoon, but I imagine it gets very busy at the weekend if the weather's any good. Look's like it concentrates on food, so there are just two handpumps - Country and A.K. (NB - The postcode is incorrectly shown on the listing at the time of writing - it should be EN9 3QT, which is about two miles east of where the maps currently put it.)

19 Oct 2009 20:22

The Humphrey Bean, Tonbridge

Three years ago I said: "Not quite as bad an experience as my last visit (but that's not saying very much...)." I think the same can be said again, so at the current rate of improvement I might be able to give it a generous '5' in three years time...

10 Oct 2009 15:25

The Victoria, Bayswater

A bit on an oasis in the desert of rubbish pubs around Paddington station. A very interesting historic interior, with a wealth of interesting features to look at. Good range of Fullers ales, including the rarely-seen India Pale Ale which was on fine form. Only annoying feature was the distracting flame thingies beside the doors, otherwise really rather good.

10 Oct 2009 11:32

The Bridge Inn, Bristol

Stopped off for a quick pint on the way back to my hotel not long after 10 pm to find the barman in the process of shutting-up shop despite still having quite a few customers in. Fortunately, he said "you've just made it" and went inside this cozy little corner pub. A reasonable selection of Bath Ales and other local beers. Enjoyed my pint of something I think was called Seven Maidens Mild (but a subsequent internet search didn't produce any details).

10 Oct 2009 11:26

The Seven Stars, Bristol

A proper beer-drtinkers pub, with a basic, unfussy wooden interior. It had a friendly atmosphere, helped by a folk music session going on which gave a very timeless feel. A decent selection of real ales on from various local breweries. The Yeovil Ales Ruby went down very well, and was just £2 per pint (for CAMRA members) too. All-in-all, I really enjoyed my brief visit - thoroughly recommended.

10 Oct 2009 11:15

The Old Fish Market, Bristol

An interesting old building, with a smart and tidy layout in the main area in front of and to the sides of the bar and some characterful wooden booths further back. A wide selection of Fullers beers, including the seasonal Red Fox which was in excellent condition and which went very well with the Thai food.

10 Oct 2009 10:59

The White Lion, Bristol

Interesting little pub, but with a very strange smell inside. Unusual decor includes many old cheese dishes. Nice pint of the ruby-red Autumnale, with a reasonable selection of Wickwar's other beers on offer. Overall - not too bad, but I didn't like the way that the jukebox (which was fine indoors) broadcast itself loudly into the street via external speakers.

10 Oct 2009 10:47

The Commercial Rooms, Bristol

A fine old building, but it looks very tatty inside (including some of the customers). Very busy, but surely they could employ a few more staff to deal with the queues on each side of the horseshoe-shaped bar and the stuff lying about everywhere on uncleared tables? My original intention had been to get a curry and a pint with the good-value Thursday night offer, but on the basis that the kitchin might operate with a similar level of customer 'care' I decided to give that a miss and try my luck elsewhere after a quick pint of Black Pearl (a decent-enough dark stout from the Wooden Hand Brewery in Cornwall).

10 Oct 2009 10:36

Knights Templar, Bristol

Handy for the station and a decent selection of cheap ale, so not too much to complain about. However, it is a fairly charmless modern building and the staff didn't seem very organised.

9 Oct 2009 22:40

The Kings Head, Bristol

Splendid little pub, which could almost be mistaken for a shop when viewed from a distance. Inside, you will find a very well-preserved and traditional layout with a cozy screened 'snug' beyond the smallish bar. Not a great choice of beer, but the Butcombe Gold was fine and in any case it is the interior that really makes this place stand out.

9 Oct 2009 22:29

The Cornubia, Bristol

Visited at a quiet time (mid-afternoon) but I found the place to have a pleasant-enough atmosphere. The barman was a bit distracted by some problem in the cellar which meant that the fizzy liquids were off (so no real loss there for the discerning drinker). Decent pint of the rich, dark Hidden Depths stout. Extra point for the extraordinary location (and the image above doesn't give you any idea of what's around it), and just still managing to be there despite all that has changed in the area...

9 Oct 2009 22:16

White Hart, Southwark

Quite a smart looking pub, hidden away between London Bridge and Southwark tube station. However, from the look of the clientele, you are more likely to find groups of builders in here rather than office workers. Two real ales on, Pride and a reasonable Greene King IPA. A bit more of a local than most pubs in the area, and none the worse for that. (NB - Review dates from July 2009 which was before the pub was listed on BITE.)

9 Oct 2009 21:53

The Tudor Rose, Marylebone

Very busy on a Friday evening, but not that much in the way of atmosphere (not helped by the very dark wood decor). Interesting, if hardly authentic, 'olde worlde pubbe' exterior. Perfectly reasonable pint of Old Speckled Hen but annoyingly sold in a lager-type tall, thin glass. Pride and Theakstons also on. Also, beware prices - my pint cost £3.40 which is a bit steep, even for the area.

9 Oct 2009 21:50

The Golden Eagle, Bond Street

Interesting looking pub, both inside and out, but the place seemed to be lacking something despite being busy (and the clashing colours of the interior and glazed windows couldn't really be called attractive by its best friends). Efficient but seemingly unwelcoming staff. My pint of Brakspear was fine, with Pride and Tribute also on. Very slightly disappointing, given its very high rating of 7.5 (from 50).

9 Oct 2009 21:41

The Land of Liberty, Peace and Plenty, Heronsgate

Just a short distance from Junction 17 of the M25, but a world away really. Looks and feels like a 'proper pub', even though there are no particularly remarkable features inside. However, the main attraction here is the beer and there is a fine selection of six real ales (including the decent Conservation Bitter from the Red Squirrel Brewery) plus four ciders and a perry on draught. Uses over-sized glasses to ensure a full pint too. Well worth seeking out.

7 Oct 2009 21:35

Wetherspoons, Victoria Station

It's a Wetherspoons. It's a station pub. You should know what to expect. That said, it is rather better than the current rating of 3.3 would have you believe. It has a good selection of real ale, and whilst the atmosphere and crowding leave much to be desired, you can usually get a breather out on one of the terraces.

6 Oct 2009 00:44

The Bulls Head, Shrewsbury

Refurbished Marstons pub close to the station. Looks reasonable enough, inside and out, but annoyingly was being used as a children's playground with no attempt by parents or staff to keep the youngsters under control. Decent pint of Pump & Circumstance though, but quickly moved on to catch my train.

6 Oct 2009 00:35

The Albert Hotel, Shrewsbury

Superficially looks OK from the outside, but when one spots the agent's board then you begin to worry a bit. Inside, it looks like it could have been a decent place once but is now in need of a good bit of care and attention. Two handpumps, and despite my doubts the Banks's Original was fair enough.

6 Oct 2009 00:26

The Church Inn, Ludlow

Some mixed reviews here, but the Church seemed an excellent place to stop for a pint on my quick visit to Ludlow. The attractive central bar offers a wide selection of real ales on handpump, including a good pint of the local Ludlow Gold. Busy, but the staff seemed to be performing well too.

6 Oct 2009 00:20

The Loggerheads, Shrewsbury

Splendid old-fashioned pub with a good selection of real ales from the Marston's stable - my pint of Banks's Bitter was excellent. Only found two of the four rooms, but I will certainly be going back again on my next visit to Shrewsbury to check the place out properly.

5 Oct 2009 23:55

The Nag's Head, Shrewsbury

Perhaps I should have tried the beer garden, but the wood-panelled front bar seemed a bit bare and lacking in atmosphere. Four real ales on, but not a particularly inspiring selection. My pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord was OK, but nothing special. Nothing really wrong with the place, but a bit of a disappointment really, given its current high rating (7.5 from 12 users).

5 Oct 2009 23:50

Salopian Bar, Shrewsbury

Top notch pub - don't be fooled by the untraditional modern cafe-bar style, it is a real beer drinkers destination pub. Very large range of real ales and bottled beers, and my pint of Dark Side of the Moose from the excellent Purple Moose brewery was first class. Very knowledgable barman too. Had to dash, but would happily have stayed there all afternoon.

5 Oct 2009 23:44

The Stanton House, Chirk

A fairly basic Hydes house, selling a reasonable pint of Original. A few benches in the rather uninspiring front car park area, and some rather dull tables and chairs in the two front rooms joined by a small corner bar. Does food and accommodation, plus live music and various community events by the look of the posters.

5 Oct 2009 23:38

Victoria, Birmingham

Doesn't look too promising from the outside, and initial impressions of the interior are also a bit off-putting - rather gloomy. However, the Butty Bach was on top form and the other customers and staff all seemed friendly enough. Very close to New Street station if you want to nip out for a quick pint whilst waiting for a connection.

5 Oct 2009 23:25

The Canalside Cafe, Birmingham

A very nice spot to sit outside and watch the narrow boats chug by on a sunny afternoon. Inside, it really is like buying a pint inside an 'olde worlde tea shoppe' - a slightly disconcerting experience. Others have reported variable beer quality but my pint of RCH Old Slug porter certainly hit the spot.

5 Oct 2009 23:18

The Beehive, Marylebone

Looks like a pub from the outside, but more like a French cafe inside (and certainly some of the tables were getting waiter service). Two handpumps, but only Rudgate Blonde was was available. And while this was a nice enough pint, £4.00 (yes, you read that right) must make it one of the most expensive 'pubs' in Britain.

5 Oct 2009 20:03

The Beehive, Marylebone

Ignore last comment - refers to the wrong Beehive (I meant the one in nearby Crawford Street). Doh!

5 Oct 2009 20:02

The Blackbird, Earls Court

A decent, dependable Fuller's Ale & Pie house. Late-ish on Saturday evening, when many places would have door staff and a bit of atmosphere, the Blackbird offered a calm and pleasant experience. Excellent pint of Pride, and handy for Earls Court station.

4 Oct 2009 21:43

The Prince Regent, Marylebone

Given the fancy nature of many of the nearby shops, I was rather expecting this to be some sort of nasty modern gastro-bar with waiter service. However, it turned out to be a fairly tradional London pub with plenty of dark wood panelling. Four real ales on, including a nice-enough pint of Dizzy Blonde from Robinsons. Quite busy, but the staff seemed to be on the ball.

4 Oct 2009 20:09

The Beehive, Marylebone

Looks like a pub from the outside, but more like a French cafe inside (and certainly some of the tables were getting waiter service). Two handpumps, but only Rudgate Blonde was was available. And while this was a nice enough pint, £4.00 (yes, you read that right) must make it one of the most expensive 'pubs' in Britain.

4 Oct 2009 20:01

Windsor Castle, Marylebone

Certainly one for memorabilia fans, with all sorts of stuff on the walls, shelves and even in the windows. Quite a few real ales on, but the Wadworth 6X was only just about OK. Taken slighly by surprise when my packet of crisps was decanted into a little bowl, but at least they didn't charge extra for this 'service'! Overall, an interesting place, but perhaps they should sell fewer but better real ales?

4 Oct 2009 19:50

The Dartmouth Castle, Hammersmith

Surprisingly quiet on a Saturday night, so the place had a very subdued atmosphere (not helped by the incredibly low lighting levels). Two real ales o, including a nice pint of Skinners' Cornish Knocker. Given how close it is to the centre of Hammersmith, it is certainly a civilised sort of place.

4 Oct 2009 19:42

The Bridge End, Ruabon

Looks and feels much more like a country pub than one on a busy road through a small town. Good range of real ales from local breweries, including a first-class Old Wavertonian stout from the Spitting Feathers Brewery. Good, friendly atmosphere too.

30 Sep 2009 21:10

The Wynnstay Arms, Ruabon

Interesting historic coaching inn still offering reasonably-priced accommodation and food. Two busy bars, but just Robinson's Unicorn on as a real ale (although thankfully that's a decent pint).

30 Sep 2009 21:01

The Three Fishes, Shrewsbury

Nice old pub, with a good range of real ales on (many local, including a very good Darwin's Origin from the Salopian Brewery). However, it did have a slightly 'cold' atmosphere which was difficult to pin down despite the place being busy enough. Still, shouldn't complain too much as it is obviously a decent place for a pint.

30 Sep 2009 20:55

The Bull Inn, Shrewsbury

Looks much more modern inside than the traditional exterior would suggest. Four real ales on, including a decent pint of Banks's Bitter. Seemed pretty busy, but I think that most people were from a single large party out on the town for the evening.

30 Sep 2009 20:44

The Briar Rose, Birmingham

Big, busy 'spoons with plenty of choice from a large number of handpumps ranged along the lengthy bar (and many of these from small and/or local breweries). Had a nice pint of Red Dwarf from the Black Hole Brewery. Not sure about staying in the hotel rooms above, though, as it seemed pretty noisy on my weekday eveing visit (and I imagine that Friday and Saturday would be even louder).

30 Sep 2009 20:34

The Bull Inn, Ticehurst

Nice old building, with suitably rustic wooden decor inside. Several seating areas - presumably separate rooms at some stage - are distributed around the central bar area, with a restaurant in the side extension. However, it is perhaps best appreciated when the sun is shining and you can sit out in the extensive front and back gardens which have plenty of benches and tables. Several real ales on, including Harveys.

30 Sep 2009 20:18

The Gloucester, Knightsbridge

Nothing really wrong with place, but it's a bit gloomy towards the back. Service OK. London Pride also OK, but sold at £3.01 per pint which must be the daftest price in town with all that fiddling for change on one side of the bar or the other...

28 Sep 2009 22:55

Kings Arms, Victoria

Unexceptional pub, with a small bar and unenthusiastic staff. Only two of the four handpumps had forward-facing clips, but at least Old Speckled Hen was OK when they got round to serving it...

28 Sep 2009 22:39

Sun Inn, Leintwardine

Many real ale lovers have an interest in the buildings where their favoured brew is sold on draught, and most of these aficionados have an appreciation of the history and heritage of the nation's public houses. The range is enormous, from the ornate Victorian drinking establishments in our larger cities, the friendly backstreet boozer hidden away from the busy main road, the old coaching inns of our market towns and the remote canal-side tavern right through to the traditional country pub that you see on the postcards. So where does the Sun Inn fit in with all of this?

A wide selection of real ale? No, just the regular Hobsons bitter and perhaps a barrel of something more seasonal from the same brewery.

A good selection of other drinks for those that don't appreciate cask beer? Almost nothing - no lager, no spirits, no coffee (although a glass of lemonade or wine might be found for the desperate).

Fine food? Reasonably-priced food? In fact, any food at all? No, no and no (although you can bring a pork pie from the village butchers or get something from the nearby chippy to eat with your fingers).

Plenty of comfortable seating arranged around the bar? No, just a few old armchairs in what looks like an elderly relative's front room (and several rustic benches and tables in another small room when there are more than a handful of people needing to be squeezed in).

That authentic pub look to beckon in the weary traveller? Not likely; just what looks like a couple of old stone cottages with a faded sign next to the side gate and an inconspicuous 'Open'/'Closed' notice hung on a piece of string inside the small front-door window.

Easy to get to by public transport? Hah! - it's hidden away in a small village near the Welsh border, served by a minimal bus service (or you can try a 3-4 mile hike from the nearest railway station which just has four trains per day).

Opening hours? Slightly erratic, depending on the availability of volunteers who are currently running the place.

Up to now, I have wondered how anybody could consider giving any pub a rating of '10' on BITE. Even if you thought that you had found the 'perfect pub', how would you know whether or not there was a better one down the road a bit, in the next town or somewhere you've never heard of half-way across the country?

However, in quiet Leintwardine, you may - like me - find that this miraculous survivor from a bygone age (sadly now missing Flossie Lane, it's legendary 94-year old landlady who deservedly got an obituary in The Times) changes your mind about that elusive '10'.

Hopefully now saved from threat of closure, it’s truly unique and long may the Sun continue to shine.

27 Sep 2009 17:06

The Old Contemptibles, Birmingham

If this M&B pub was in London, you would expect that it would be branded as a Nicholsons and you get the same product and price details on the handpumps. The upper part of the split-level bar is more modern and uninteresting than the area below, but at least you avoid the crush around the main serving area. Good selection of about eight real ales, including a nice malty pint of Fall Over (an autumn beer from Old Mill Brewery).

27 Sep 2009 12:41

The Wellington, Birmingham

Top of the range real ale pub, with so many handpumps on I lost count at the time (although other reviews suggest 16). Totally spoilt for choice, I opted for Pig on the Wall, an excellent dark mild from the local Black Country Ales. Very busy, but still had a friendly atmosphere. Nothing very remarkable about the building itself, but a 'must visit' for beer lovers making a trip to Birmingham.

27 Sep 2009 12:27

The Old Joint Stock, Birmingham

Stunning decor - one of the best conversions I've seen. The central bar layout and very high ceilings mean that there is plenty to see from almost any seat (and I imagine that you get an interesting view from the rear mezzanine balcony, but this wasn't open when I visited). The guest ale, Dictator '09 from the local Beowolf Brewing, proved a good alternative to the extensive range of Fullers beers. Only quibble is that you get charged London prices, but well worth a visit just to admire the interior.

27 Sep 2009 12:17

Windsor, Birmingham

M&B's version of a Wetherspoons, with much the same in the way of decor, reasonably-priced food and cheap beer (although a much poorer range of real ale). Nothing wrong with my meal or the Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted, but not the sort of place you would want to spend the evening in.

27 Sep 2009 11:58

The Royal George, Euston

Although I used to work nearby a few years ago, I hardly ever used to visit as there were always groups of rather unsavoury-looking characters hanging about. However, the place looks rather more appealing now with a smarter appearance both inside and out (and the hanging baskets certainly help). Reasonable selection of real ales, and my pint of Gales Seafarers was on fine form. Overall, rather better than I remembered it.

27 Sep 2009 11:46

Engineers Arms, Henlow

Super little pub, with ten real ales on and a friendly atmosphere. Not surprisingly, it has won plenty of awards and the effort put in really shows. Lots of interesting memorabilia, but inside and out in the rear (non-smoking) beer garden. Excellent pint of Golden Plover from the nearby Buntingford Brewery on my all-too-short stay.

21 Sep 2009 23:01

Ye Olde Flying Horse, Kegworth

Large-looking pub in an imposing position in the centre of the village, faced in a mock-Tudor style with white painted walls between decorative timberwork. Retains a large red Bass sign high above the pub name. Inside, it appears much smaller than you would expect, and the place has a somewhat run-down air. Two real ales on, including a decent pint of the afore-mentioned Bass.

21 Sep 2009 22:39

The Curtain's Up, West Kensington

Gave up waiting to be served on my previous visit (see below), but I am happy to say that there has been something of a transformation here following the Geronimo Inns takeover. A bit more gastro-pub perhaps, but at least the bar (at a busy time on a Friday evening) wasn't full of people buying individual drinks using the sole card reader. Nice pint of Wandle from the local-ish Sambrook's Brewery. Much improved.

18 Sep 2009 23:40

The White Horse and Bower, Westminster

A rather spartan looking Shepherd Neame house, particularly inside where large expanses of plain painted walls give a somewhat institutional feel. Three real ales on (plus another handpump with the clip turned round), including an excellent pint of Late Red. Friendly barmaid, who also made an effort to give useful advice to a couple of tourists seeking directions.

16 Sep 2009 21:35

The Barley Mow, Westminster

Partly modernised pub, but redone using fairly light wood so the place has a fairly light and airy feel. Six real ales on, including a decent pint of Jennings Cumberland. Owned by Market Taverns - the same company as owns the Market Porter at Borough Market.

16 Sep 2009 21:28

George IV, Chiswick

A rare, traditional-ish pub among the many modern, food-centered bars along Chiswick High Road. Fuller's have obviously done the place up a bit at some stage, but it retains a good selection of alcoves and other seating areas. Also has a decent patio garden out back. Six real ales on, including an excellent pint of Discovery (which at £3.00 was a bit cheaper than I was expecting for the area).

16 Sep 2009 21:20

The Lamb Brewery, Chiswick

I don't understand this pub's low ranking - currently "4.0/10 (rated by 40 users)" - as it seems a perfectly reasonable (if slightly anonymous) sort of place. Two real ales on (with andother handpump with its clip turned round) including a decent pint of T.E.A. from the Hogs Back Brewery. Plenty of tables in the large outdoor seating area fronting the High Street.

16 Sep 2009 21:11

The Union Rooms, Newcastle

Interesting old building, with a curious room layout and three different bars to choose from. As you would expect from a 'spoons, you get the usual excellent selection of real ales at low, low prices (especially if you've got a 50p-off voucher). Lots of local beers, including a good pint of 'Angel' from the nearby Wylam Brewery, and very handy for the station too.

12 Sep 2009 20:35

The Head of Steam, Newcastle

Very unpromising looking place from the outside, and a bit gloomy and claustrophobic inside too. However, this is made up by a good selection of real ales including a nice pint of Stallion Bitter from the reliable (if lengthily-named) Nick Stafford's Hambleton Ales. Fine for a quick one if waiting for a train, but I wouldn't hang around for a second.

12 Sep 2009 20:28

The Wheatsheaf, Gateshead

Although not exactly on a back street, this is an old fashioned pub of that type but which is now probably best known as being the second outlet for the Big Lamp Brewery. Four different ales on, including a tasty brew in honour of the Gateshead Thunder rugby team. The pub was quiet in mid-afternoon so I had a good chat with the friendly landlord.

12 Sep 2009 20:21

Alum Ale House, South Shields

Prominent landmark as you land from the Shields ferry, so diverted from my planned route to try a quick one in this self-proclaimed 'ale house'. Turned out to be a decent sort of pub, with a friendly atmosphere and a good selection of real beer. Thoroughly enjoyed my nice pint of Thwaites' Wainwright sitting at a table on the curiously stepped outdoors seating area in the unseasonably warm sunshine.

12 Sep 2009 20:08

The Porthole, North Shields

Traditional, if slightly run-down, boozer near the Tyne quays. Had a reasonable pint of Rivet Catcher from the local Jarrow Brewery whilst waiting for the ferry.

12 Sep 2009 19:56

Fitzgeralds Whitley Bay, Whitley Bay

Having walked down to the seafront from the Metro station, and then half-way back again, I'd almost given up on finding somewhere vaguely civilised for a pint. However, after the very dubious looking establishments along South Parade, I thought that Fitzgeralds looked rather more promising despite a bit of peeling paint. Once inside, you find a fine traditional pub with many interesting features and a good selection of real ale (including a nice pint of Beamish Bitter from the Stables microbrewery).

12 Sep 2009 19:51

The Duke of Wellington, Newcastle

Traditional city pub, a short distance away from the main streets so not too crowded. A reasonable selection of real ales, including the renowned Workie Ticket from the Mordue Brewery at Wallsend. Not one of the city's 'must visit' pubs, but well worth a stop if you have the time.

12 Sep 2009 18:51

The Bodega, Newcastle

Another excellent pub from the excellent Sir John Fitzgerald chain (and how often do you hear the word "excellent" used in connection with pub chains?). Very good selection of real ales, many from local breweries, including the fine Durham Magus when I visited. A top spot to enjoy a pint and admire the unusual ceiling domes.

12 Sep 2009 18:41

Bridge Hotel, Newcastle

This one of those rare places where the owner's publicity isn't overdone - it really is one of the finest examples of a proper town pub with a full range of traditional fittings and decor, plus spectacular views of the Tyne bridges from the rear windows and outside terrace. A large selection of real ales, many local. Top of the range.

12 Sep 2009 18:01

The Quayside, Newcastle

Had the advantage of visiting on an unusually warm and sunny September day, so able to sit and take in the grand views of the High Level Bridge and other majestic structures crossing the Tyne. As previously mentioned, it has a large array of benches outside but indoors it has the look and feel of one of the smaller Wetherspoons rather than a Lloyds No 1 bar. Had a very nice pint of the local and appropriately named Geordie Pride from Mordue Brewery.

12 Sep 2009 17:42

The White Horse, Otham

Otham is a rather dispersed sort of village, and this place can be hard to find in a maze of small lanes with no signposts. Anyway, once you find it, it looks from the exterior just what find it to be inside - a traditional village pub. Nothing particularly unusual or special, but an asset to the community nevertheless. Two real ales on, including a decent pint of Harveys.

12 Sep 2009 17:30

All Bar One, London Bridge

Not really my sort of place, and only went there because the nearby Oast House inside London Bridge station had completely run out of all draught ales and lagers (and I didn't have the time to walk any further)! I won't bother to describe the place because it is just like any other All Bar One, but I was slightly surprised at the prices (which were generally in the £3.00 to £3.20 range which is pretty cheap for central London these days). No real ale, of course, but an impressive array of shiny fonts dispensing a wide range of fizzy liquids.

12 Sep 2009 17:24

The Oast House, London Bridge Station

Every single draft ale and lager was off last night - just incredible! In my previous review I said "Not very nice. Only plus point - not quite as bad as the Boadicea at Charing Cross." However, I now withdraw that 'compliment' because at least the Boadicea actually sells beer...

12 Sep 2009 17:12

The Pitcher and Piano, Newcastle

I wouldn't normally touch a Pitcher & Piano with a bargepole, but lunch had been arranged here and finding an alternative was not really an option. The food was better than I was expecting (especially given that we were quite a large party), and I suppose that the keg Pedigree was just about OK on an unusually warm September day. However, this place does have a fantastic location on the Quayside opposite the iconic Baltic Mill and Sage on the Gateshead bank of the Tyne. The organiser also ensured that we got there early to see the regular midday opening of the dramatic millenium footbridge. I shouldn't really rate this higher than a '4', but it would be churlish not to give it another point or two just for being where it is.

12 Sep 2009 10:48

The Cluny, Ouseburn

Modern looking 'L'-shaped bar inside one of the many converted industrial buildings along the Ouseburn valley. About eight real ales on, plus two ciders, so plenty of choice for the aficionado. Hundreds of photographs, posters and flyers also highlight its live music connections. Well worth the 10-15 walk out eastwards from Newcastle city centre.

12 Sep 2009 10:32

The Cumberland Arms, Ouseburn

You need some decent instructions to find this place, hidden up a dead-end road (presumably left behind from some previous scheme to clear derelict housing and/or industrial buildings). It is also quite close to the Cluny, if you can find your way up some rather crazy, unsignposted stepped footpaths. However, once there, you find a classic little two room pub (with original 'bar' and 'sitting room' glazing) where time appears to stand still. With a sunny terrace out front, overlooking the Ouseburn valley with the Tyne beyond, you almost get the impression (if you ignore the road and rail traffic noise from the nearby Byker viaducts) of being in one of those 'hidden gem' country pubs that you sometimes come across after taking a wrong turn. Four real ales on handpump, including the local Jarrow Bitter, with plenty of other interesting offerings coming soon (and there may have been a couple more on tap, direct from the barrel, which I missed). Great place, and it should be on a 'must visit' list for any beer-lovers trip to Newcastle.

12 Sep 2009 10:03

The Bollo, Chiswick

Went at a quiet time in mid/late afternoon so there were no no diners about and thus didn't feel out of place. The tables make it look like a restaurant, but the bar layout does at least make you realise that it still operates as a pub as well. Two Greene King ales on - IPA and LBW - and the outside benches were a pleasant place to spend a little time sitting in the sun.

8 Sep 2009 18:41

The Old Pack Horse, Chiswick

Nice looking Fullers pub, with plenty of original features in the three bar areas (one of which is part of the restaurant section). Pleasant little beer garden out back. Friendly atmosphere too, and the only downside was a slightly disappointing pint of Discovery (probably just unlucky).

8 Sep 2009 18:35

The Lord Raglan, Staplehurst

Visited again during the 11th annual onion festival on the August bank holiday Monday - not sure why the onions, but it was a very pleasant community event with the Weald of Kent morris side, a folk duo, hot food served in the orchard garden, etc. The usual Goachers and Harveys plus a guest ale (which was a very pleasant light summer beer whose name now escapes me). Top notch, but take note that it does not open on Sundays!

6 Sep 2009 19:11

The Bowl Inn, Charing

Fine country pub, just a few minutes from the busy A20 but seemingly miles away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Usually three or four real ales on - and today's pint of Whitstable East India Pale Ale was in excellent condition (as the beers always are here). Full of nice touches, including the small external clock for those sitting on the wooden benches out the front.

6 Sep 2009 18:59

Ye Olde Thirsty Pig, Maidstone

Ancient listed building with various small rooms on two levels, and two dubious staircases you wouldn't want to tackle if you've had a few. Small bar, with four handpumps (one cider and three real ale) including the excellent Rudgate Ruby Mild - this year's CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain. Excellent value too, with pint and packet of crisps costing about £2.80. This place has had its ups and downs over the years (and I don't just mean the uneven floors), but I'm pleased to see it doing the right things again.

29 Aug 2009 17:52

Cricketers, Maidstone

Used to a dingy pub with some of the rankest 'real vinegar' on tap, so I was surprised and pleased to see that it has been substantially refurbished since my last visit (which admittedly was some time ago). Friendly local atmosphere, and serving a respectable pint of Harveys. Not too bad at all...

29 Aug 2009 17:37

The Chicago Rock Cafe, Maidstone

Large, but completely soulless drinking cavern with all the atmosphere of an empty furniture store (which is what it used to be, if memory serves me right). Fewer customers (2) than visible staff (3) on a Surday lunchtime, but doubtless it will be heaving later on. No real ale, of course, so a dull choice of 'smooth' keg Bass, one cider, a surprisingly small range of lagers and various vile-coloured liquids in bottles behind the bar.

29 Aug 2009 17:33

The Dove Inn, Hammersmith

Surprisingly empty on a Friday evening, and somethong of the old atmosphere seems to have gone. Still has the great views from the balcony, and the Fullers beers remain well-kept. Still worth going to, but I would have to reduce my previous rating (8) to a 7 on current form.

29 Aug 2009 17:26

The Black Lion, Hammersmith

Fine location, nice interior, reasonable (if expensive) beer, something a bit strange about the landlord's attitude, but he and his team continue to make an effort to make this a destination pub.

29 Aug 2009 17:20

The Moon and Stars, Romford

Rather dark and uninspiring 'spoons, with a rather dull selection of real ales (none local) including an OK pint of Wadworth Horizon. Surprisingly, the new Lloyds No. 1 just two doors down the road (The World's Inn) has a more interesting choice.

27 Aug 2009 23:20

The Blue Boar, Billericay

Run-of-the-mill 'spoons, and one with the staff seemingly more interested in doing this and that behind the bar than actually serving customers. However, my pint of Lumberjack from the local Brentwood Brewing Company (at 5.2%, designed "for the man who can handle his chopper!", apparently, according to the pump clip) was fine.

27 Aug 2009 23:12

The Roebuck, Rayleigh

Fairly standard 'spoons, but a bit unusual in that it does have a proper pole-mounted pub sign out front. Reasonable choice of beer, but I thought that my pint of Mauldon's Black Adder was a bit flat (which is surprising since JDW normally turn over their real ale so quickly that it is normally in top condition).

27 Aug 2009 23:04

The George, Croydon

Always very busy, particular at and around the front bar (which unfortunately is the one with the better range of beers). Best bet is to get your pint there and then move towards the back bar area which is a bit more civilised. Never had a bad pint here (and today's Tom Wood's Old Timber was very good), but I don't like the atmosphere.

24 Aug 2009 23:43

Milan Bar, Croydon

Can't really add much to the previous comments from Grailhunter and Millay, but at least the Pedigree tasted fine and it was early enough in the day for no door staff to be in evidence. It is badly lit and really not very nice, but overall it's probably a better bet than the Yates's across the road. Just.

24 Aug 2009 23:36

The Royal Standard, Croydon

Friendly little two-bar pub, if a bit short-staffed (with the solitary barmaid also appearing to be manning the kitchen as well). Good selection of Fullers/Gales ales plus a genuine guest beer (a decent pint of Okells Bitter). Well worth seeking out.

24 Aug 2009 23:24

The Skylark, Croydon

Reasonable 'spoons, with enough space to avoid one or two dodgy-looking customers hanging about at the bar and near the doors. Plenty of real ales to choose from, including a nice pint of Scourers Brew from the White Horse Brewery.

24 Aug 2009 23:18

Foxley Hatch, Purley

Unexceptional 'spoons, but with a calm and relaxed lunchtime atmosphere. Usual good selection of real ales, including a nice pint of Ringwood Fortyniner.

24 Aug 2009 23:02

The Waggon and Horses, Branston

Reasonable two-bar village pub, on an odd-shaped corner site. Nothing special inside or out, but lots of posters around for local events and live music. Five real ales on, including John Smiths Cask and one from the Copper Dragon brewery.

23 Aug 2009 21:04

The Bridge Inn, Peebles

Best pub in Peebles, with a great view from the pleasant terrace overlooking the River Tweed. Good range of four Scottish real ales, including a decent Pentland IPA. Also renowned for the fabulous original Twyford Adamant urinals in the gents!

23 Aug 2009 20:47

The Green Tree Hotel, Peebles

Unassuming and friendly hotel bar, but with some interesting stained-glass windows. No real ales on, but the keg Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA was fair enough.

23 Aug 2009 20:40

The Ship Inn, Holy Island of Lindisfarne

Friendly,efficient pub in what passes for 'main street' on Holy Island. Traditional main bar plus restaurant and a resonable beer garden. Three handpumps on, including two fine ales (Holy Island Bitter and Tyneside Blonde) from the nearby Hadrian & Border Brewery.

23 Aug 2009 20:35

Greyfriars Bobby's Bar, Edinburgh

One of those Edinburgh hostelries in the same 'tradition' as the Nicholson pubs in London (same owners, I believe). Nothing really wrong with it, but very obviously aimed at the transient tourist trade so somewhat lacking in atmosphere. Nice pint of Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted blonde beer, though.

23 Aug 2009 20:08

The Traquair Arms Hotel, Innerleithen

Reasonable little hotel bar, with a very pleasant beer garden out back if the sun is shining. Two real ales on, TT Landlord and a good pint of Deuchars IPA.

23 Aug 2009 19:59

The St Ronans Hotel, Innerleithen

Looks OK from the road, but very run-down inside and out in the beer garden. Had one real ale on, a so-so pint of Deuchars IPA, but wouldn't wish to eat or stay there.

23 Aug 2009 19:15

The Horse Shoe Inn, Eddleston

The least pub-like pub I've ever been in; and one where you are greeted by the maître d' standing behind a lectern opposite the main door. Needed to ask if they just did drinks, and fortunately the answer was "yes" (albeit with the hint of a sniff). Had to sit at table covered in all sorts of cloths and try to hide my walking boots from the waiter. However, they did have one real ale on, an excellent 80/- from Stewart Brewing which made the rather discomforting experience worthwhile.

23 Aug 2009 19:09

The Neidpath Inn, Peebles

A decent sort of pub on the western side of Peebles on the road leading to the impressive Niedpath Castle. Busy main bar at the front, with a quieter lounge behind and a dinning area at the back. Two real ales on, including a decent pint of Deuchars IPA.

23 Aug 2009 18:54

The Crown Hotel, Peebles

Small, fairly basic, bar at the front with a few items of rustic furniture and plenty of locals standing at (and more-or-less blocking) the counter. Another small room for diners at the front, and a larger restaurant area further back. Just one real ale on - Deuchars IPA - but that was OK.

23 Aug 2009 18:50

The Bristol Ram, Bristol

Modernised pub, doubtless not to everybody's taste, but thankfully still has four real ales on (three Youngs plus Bombardier). Wasn't expecting too much, but my pint of Kew Gold was fine. Probably a bit lively in the evening, but pleasant enough on a late Saturday afternoon.

8 Aug 2009 23:06

Wellesley, Waterloo

A basement bar in a railway station, so expectations were not high. However, it was a bit more spacious than most and really wasn't too bad. Four real ales on, including a reasonable pint of Bombardier. Could have done without the Select Service Partner "would you a packet of crisps or peanuts with that" sales script, though...

5 Aug 2009 23:44

The Spotted Horse, Putney

It's obviously been done up a bit, but I found it a reasonable mixture of old and new. Plenty of people in for the pub quiz as well as the food, and a top pint of Kew Gold (one of four real ales on).

5 Aug 2009 23:38

The Coat and Badge, Putney

The usual Geronimo Inns deal - not quite as upmarket as it would like to be, but still a bit better than most of the local competition. Three real ales on, including a perfectly respectable pint of Tribute. Got missed by one barmaid who just served whoever happened to be in front of her and/or people she recognised, but another saw what was going on and made an effort to get me a beer so full marks to her.

5 Aug 2009 23:34

The Bricklayers Arms, Putney

Traditional-looking from the outside, but more modern than I expected once inside. Pleasant, if small, patio/beer garden/smoking area. TT Ram Tam might usually be considered a 'winter warmer', but it went down well on a hot summer evening. Nice, relaxed atmosphere and thoroughly recommended.

5 Aug 2009 23:24

The Whistle and Flute, Putney

Nothing special, but five Fullers/Gales beers on handpump. The Discovery was OK, but the atmosphere was rather remote and the service disinterested.

5 Aug 2009 23:17

The Whistle and Flute, Putney

Nothing special, but five Fullers/Gales beers on handpump. The Discovery was OK, but the atmosphere was rather remote and the service disinterested.

5 Aug 2009 23:17

The Queen Adelaide, Shepherds Bush

Changed almost out of recognition since my last visit, but it does offer a slightly more hospitable experience than I recall previously. Yes, it has been gastro-ified, but there was nothing wrong with my pint of Harveys. Feels slightly out of place amongst the rough mixture of shops along the Uxbridge Road, but not a bad place to stop for a beer before going to a gig at Bush Hall.

31 Jul 2009 19:15

The British Queen, Shepherds Bush

Basic sort of boozer, with questioning looks and pointed comments to the casual visitor. Only one real ale - a shocking pint of Brakspear Bitter - but it's not the sort of place a non-local would be welcome making a fuss, I suspect. Thankfully, I managed to lose some of the taste by scoffing a sandwich from a tray that had been put on the bar for some reason. Left quickly.

31 Jul 2009 19:09

The Crown and Sceptre, Shepherds Bush

Don't know what it was like before the refurbishment, but this large, airy, single-bar pub seems like a reasonable place to me. Good selection of different types of seating and tables which should offer something to those visitors who have a particular preference. The London Porter is the keg version, but the have five hamdpumps with a good selection from the Fullers/Gales range (including a fine pint of Seafarer). The only oddity is the Thai kitchen which is much more open than than in most of the Fullers West London pubs that have gone down that route.

31 Jul 2009 19:03

Thatched House, Hammersmith

Surprisingly quiet, but I agree with the comment below that this goves the impression of being a civilised sort of pub. Reasonable-looking paved beer garden out back too. The beer selection is not quite as extensive as it first appears as there are duplicate clips on the six handpumps - Broadside, Ordinary and Special (and I enjoyed a decent pint of the latter).

31 Jul 2009 18:31

The Malta Inn, Sandling

Great location on the River Medway near Allington Lock, but it can get horribly crowded at weekends when the sun's out. As a Beefeater establishment, this is never going to have much of a pub atmosphere, and service always seems to take a while. However, it does do two real ales (with Spitfire and Hobgoblin on today).

31 Jul 2009 18:21

The Chequers Inn, Aylesford

Slightly more plain and simple inside than one expext from the 'olde world' facade, but this pub does have an excellent terrace overlooking the River Medway and Aylesford's medieval bridge. Two real ales on, including a resptable pint of Masterbrew, and a reasonably-priced bar snack menu.

31 Jul 2009 18:13

The Bush, Aylesford

Fairly basic village pub - nothing fancy, but food and beer at reasonable prices (e.g cask ale at £2.50 per pint). Three of the four handpumps were on, including a rare southern outing of John Smiths in cask form.

31 Jul 2009 18:08

The Little Gem, Aylesford

Gone downhill drastically, and currently up for sale from Punch. Only two of the six handpumps on, including a so-so pint of Harveys. Very disappointing at the moment - let's just hope that a new tennant can be found to restore this 'little gem' to its former glory.

31 Jul 2009 18:04

The Bell and Jorrocks, Frittenden

A great evening spent at the Bell & Jorrocks the other night, with three morris sides (Cinque Ports, Hartley and the incomparable Loose Women) taking over the whole street outside and having a fine time of entertaining music and dance. Top quality Harveys (and several other real ales), as always. Thoroughly recommended.

25 Jul 2009 21:13

The Elephant, Faversham

"I see no Sheps" as it says on the publicity, and it certainly makes a change from the offerings in most other Faversham pubs. Being a bit "on the wrong side of the tracks", you have to make an effort to find the place if visiting, but it is certainly worth it. Five real ales on, including an excellent Old Chestnut from Dark Star and several other interesting beers. Recommended.

25 Jul 2009 21:06

The Bear Inn, Faversham

A proper pub, right in the town centre, but thankfully free of any fancy makeovers and sufficiently old-fashioned to keep most of the undesirable elements away. Top-notch pint of Whitstable Bay. Recommended.

25 Jul 2009 20:58

The Albion Taverna, Faversham

Looks great from the outside, in an old-fashioned weatherboarded Kentish pub sort of way. Inside, it has been 'done up' (or 'done over') in a more modern pale timber style. Nothing wrong with my pint of Whitstable Bay, and it was a pleasure to sit out the front and watch the world go by. Not sure I would choose to go there if cold or wet, but fine on a summer's day.

25 Jul 2009 20:50

The Shipwrights Arms, Faversham

A classic pub in a remote location - you certainly have to make a real effort to get here but it is certainly worth it. If walking the Saxon Shore Way, it is a great place to stop for lunch (but note that it is closed on Mondays). Goachers and Whitstable real ales direct from the cask. Nice beer garden.

25 Jul 2009 20:41

The Pennsylvanian, Rickmansworth

Unexceptional Wetherspoons, with many of the usual beer offerings plus two ales from the nearby Marlow Brewery (with the Rebellion Investors Revenge proving a good choice). Could have done without the oiks smoking in the large open doorway at the front.

23 Jul 2009 23:00

The Feathers Public House and Kitchen, Rickmansworth

Can't comment on the impact of the refurbishment as I have never been in before, but the place has a well-managed feel which offers a smart modern(ish) look which doesn't detract from the historic aspects of the building. Four real ales on, including a very respectable pint of Youngs Special.

23 Jul 2009 22:52

The Red Lion, Westminster

Not my favourite pub due to the very cramped bar which makes it difficult to get served even if there are only two people in the place (which there never is - it is always packed). However, it has always served good beer and continues to do so. No real sign of the change of ownership to Fullers (apart from a discreet chalk-board at the bottom of the back stairs), and it currently has guest ales in the form of the Rev James (very good) and Morrissey Fox Blonde.

21 Jul 2009 23:44

Gun and Magpie, Enfield

Tidy but uninspiring pub. The good news? The John Smiths was off. The bad news? The Tetleys was on. Had a quick pint and went in search of a decent beer between here and Turkey Street station (and failed).

18 Jul 2009 00:12

Finley's, Enfield Wash

Hmm. Styles itself as "just a good old London pub", but it has the appearance of a rather nondescript Irish bar that could be almost anywhere in the British Isles. No real ale of course, just keg Courage Best and John Smiths, Guinness and lots of dull lagers. Still, the locals look like they enjoy this place (but why?).

18 Jul 2009 00:08

The Turkey, Enfield

Looks OK from a distance, but as you see the signage close up you get that dreadful sinking feeling that you are not going to get a decent pint of beer inside. Having said that, that atmosphere seemed more friendly than most other pubs in the area and there is quite a nice area out the back. Had to make do with a 'nothing' pint of John Smiths, but even a single real ale on could make this a reasonable place. Shame.

17 Jul 2009 23:59

Elephants Head, Hook Green

Three years ago I said: "Excellent country pub, with top Harveys and plenty of outdoor seating. Very difficult to think of somewhere better to spend a warm summer evening..." Nothing's changed. Fantastic.

15 Jul 2009 23:13

Star, Loose

Went in on the off chance, many years since my previous visit. Although the door was unlocked, I initially I thought that the place was closed once I got inside. As it turned out, this was not far off the mark since the place will be shut for good next Wednesday. No real ale on, so had to make do with keg Whitbread Best. Had a sad but interesting chat with the landlord who was able to explain in the starkest possible terms how Enterprise Inns make running this sort of community pub almost impossible in the present economic circumstances. Another one bites the dust - hardly a great pub, but a great shame nevertheless.

11 Jul 2009 12:47

Brickmakers Arms, Crowhurst Lane End

Remote country pub, refurbished in typical Surrey gastro-style which is rather at odds to the brief glimpse you get from the adjacent railway line. Nice pint of Harveys, though.

8 Jul 2009 21:27

The Inn on the Green, Harpenden

Reasonable looking pub overlooking (obviously, given the name) one of the greens at the north end of Harpenden Common. Much smaller than I expected inside, but there is a large beer garden plus more outdoor seating at the front. Three handpumps (two with IPA clips, the other unusued) plus one of the fancy new metal fonts dispensing (you've guessed it) IPA - that's Greene King's idea of choice, I guess...

8 Jul 2009 20:45

The Oak Tree, Harpenden

Nice looking Charles Wells pub overlooking a small green, far enough away from the main road traffic and High Street shops to give the place the feel of a village pub. Decent pint of Bombardier, with Youngs Ordinary and Adnams Broadside on the other handpumps. No sign of the reported under-agers either.

8 Jul 2009 20:34

The Golden Fleece, Bank

Busy but efficient Greene King pub, with enough staff manning the island bar to ensure that you get served pretty quickly. Well kept beers, and probably the best pint of Olde Trip that I can remember. A reasonably relaxed atmosphere too, without the loud music and shouty-types that are a feature of most City establishments.

3 Jul 2009 20:42

The Jamaica Wine House, Bank

Taken over by Shepherd Neame and reopened in April following a short closure. Nothing appears to have changed outside, and not much different inside either. Four Kentish ales on handpump, including a very good pint of Whitstable Bay. Well worth seeking out this historic tavern (which was originally reputed to be the oldest coffee house in London).

3 Jul 2009 20:34

The Courtfield, Earls Court

The current rating of 2.9 is clearly ridiculous - it is not a great pub but has six real ales on including a very unusual appearance (down South) of Tetley Dark Mild. Unlike so many places round here, I got served a full pint by an efficient barman without the need to ask for a top-up. Give it a try.

1 Jul 2009 21:53

The Prince of Teck, Earls Court

Partly refurbished bar with little sense of character. Two real ales on, including a very strange tasting pint of Spitfire (not off, and not pipe cleaner, but very peculiar). Friendly barstaff, though.

1 Jul 2009 21:47

The Earls Court Tavern, Earls Court

Not too bad a place, with the added advantage of fully opening front windows to get a bit of air circulating on a very hot summer's day. Four real ales on, including the new Banker$ Draft from Wickwar Brewing Company (but you would never know this as the pump clip is the first one I've ever seen without the brewery's name on it...). The manager was a friendly chap too.

1 Jul 2009 21:42

The Punch Bowl, Mayfair

£4.00 for a pint of Spitfire. It tasted OK, but four quid? Mind you, the barman was friendly enough, and at least the place was open unlike the last time I happened to wander past.

30 Jun 2009 00:19

The Audley, Mayfair

Interesting place, inside and out, and not unexpectedly very popular with the tourists. However, somewhat to my surprise given some of the other reviews, I was served a full pint of Courage Directors (one of six real ales on offer) which was in good condition. Not a bad spot for a bit of people watching too (if you can find somewhere to sit down).

30 Jun 2009 00:12

The Windmill, Lambeth

Strange sort of place, run by an older couple who gave the impression of being temporary managers. The pint of Adnams was OK, but it is the sort of place that one fears might not be there next time you walk past. Location-wise, if there is anything less like a high street than Lambeth High Street then I have yet to see it (but it certainly ain't in Camberwell).

26 Jun 2009 23:40

The Dog House, Kennington

Took what seemed like 10 minutes to get served (although it was probably only five) in a place that only had two other customers in it mid-afternoon, but my pint of Pedigree turned out OK. Three other real ales on, but it gives the impression of not being quite sure what sort of pub it wants to be. From Kennington Road, it looks like a bog-standard lager pub but inside the extensive food menu blackboards and reasonable wine selection give an altogether different impression. Difficult to categorise...

26 Jun 2009 23:25

The Three Stags, Lambeth

There are some very odd reviews below, some perhaps not altogether impartial and there is the sound of grinding axes in others... However, this place appears to be a perfectly normal part-gastroified pub (if you will pardon the expression) that is quite common across London. A Greene King house, it thankfully had the reasonable St Edmonds on in addition to the less inspiring IPA and Ruddles County. Better still, this was dispensed from a traditional handpump rather than one of the fancy new fonts, and was in very good condition. On the down side, it is rather expensive (£4.50 for a pint and a packet of crisps).

26 Jun 2009 23:15

The Lambeth Walk, Lambeth

I try to give any pub some credit for just staying open through the recession and coping with the other vicisitudes of modern life, but this is a really horrible, rancid little place. When the least-worst option is keg Whitbread Best (and I didn't know they were still making that), then a couple of quick gulps and a dash for the door is probably the only advisable course of action...

26 Jun 2009 22:57

The Dickens Tavern, Paddington

Much bigger inside than it appears from the front, but that is perhaps its only distinguishing feature. I suppose that the staff were reasonably efficient given the place was fairly busy when I visited, but the guest ale (Everards Sunchaser) was very ordinary.

25 Jun 2009 23:42

Peters Brauhaus, Cologne

The interior of this 'brauhaus' looks and feels like the real thing, even though it is a recreation dating back to just 1994 and the brewery isn't even in the city of Cologne. The waiters deliver the Peters Kolsch direct from the barrel in a very efficient manner, and the food is reasonable value.

25 Jun 2009 22:09

The Bridge Bar, Heathrow Airport

Rather cramped airport bar/restaurant lacking any natural light, but my pint of Pride was very acceptable (neither too cold and nor short-measure either). Cheaper than the Tin Goose, and I think that one or two of the staff actually managed to smile.

25 Jun 2009 20:57

The Tin Goose, Heathrow Airport

As you would expect, this place is lacking in any discernable character but there are certainly many worse airport bar/restaurants around. However, the Pride was fine (with Adnams also available too).

25 Jun 2009 20:52

The Yorkshire Grey , Holborn

Looks like an interesting pub from the outside, but at first glance the interior shouts bleached wood gastro-pub at you. However, they have three handpumps serving a perfectly repectable pint of Harveys and a couple of others (including Hook Norton 'Hooky' Bitter). Helpful bar staff too.

18 Jun 2009 22:14

The Calthorpe Arms, Holborn

A proper, old-fashioned Youngs house selling a very decent pint of Special. If you being picky you might wish that the barmaid was a bit more cheerful, otherwise nearly perfect if you like this sort of place (which I do). Let's hope that the corporate makeover team lose their A-Z before they get round to giving this place a makeover.

18 Jun 2009 22:05

The Lucas Arms, Kings Cross

Nothing fancy, but one of the better pubs near Kings Cross station. Fairly anonomous from the outside, but it appears to be a Greene King house with only a small brewery sign near each door giving the game away. Inside it is fairly basic, with plain furniture, massive TV screen and a pool table. However, it did have one of the fancy new(ish) St Edmonds fonts dispensing the golden beer which actually tastes OK despite the low temperature at which it is served.

18 Jun 2009 21:55

The Three Bells, Heathrow Airport

From a distance, you would think that this is a bog-standard airport bar/restaurant, but it is run by Geronimo Inns who usually give the impression of knowing what they are doing (e.g. the Betjeman Arms at St Pancras International). A fairly well-thought out layout, with plenty of bar stools and some lower chairs and tables in front of the main restaurant area. A very respectable pint of London Pride too (with Adnams also available). Overall, nothing special, but still surprising good given the charmless location inside Terminal 3.

18 Jun 2009 21:35

Plan B, Copenhagen

A first-class little bar with a good selection of draught beers (mostly Danish, from what I could decipher from the handwritten labels) and a really relaxed atmosphere. As noted below, they will happily offer you a taste before you buy. I enjoyed a glass of the dark brown Grauballe Mosebryg ale (which I found out as I was leaving comes from a brewery strangely located near where they discovered a well-preserved body from a peat bog...).

18 Jun 2009 21:10

Charlie's Bar, Copenhagen

Probably the most pub-like pub in Copenhagen (and perhaps the whole of Denmark), with a striking array of handpumps dispensing a range of British real ales. However, they also had a good selection of draught beers from small Danish brewers, including a decent AZ Ale No. 16 from the Refsvindinge Bryggeri. Thanks to the internet, the 'home from home' atmosphere was enhanced a group huddled around a laptop at the back of the bar to watch England getting knocked out of the Twenty20 World Cup.

18 Jun 2009 20:49

Bryggeriet Apollo, Copenhagen

Busy place on a busy street, and I suspect that the brew-pub aspect is of only limited interest to many of the customers as the food menus on display outside are far more obvious than anything to do with their beer. However, once inside, various parts of the brewing process are clearly visible. Limited range available, but their chocolate stout packed a punch at 6.8%. In many ways, more of a restaurant than a pub, and hideously expensive at 66 DKR (about £7.50) for a half-litre glass...

18 Jun 2009 10:27

BrewPub København, Copenhagen

Nice enough place if you can get a decent spot in the courtyard. 10 of their own beers available on tap, including a slightly cloudy American-style dark pils called 'Zeus' which went very well with a tasty BrewPub burger. Not cheap.

18 Jun 2009 10:17

Wheatsheaf, Southwark

Brighter and more open than most basement bars, benefitting from a fairly restrained used of dark timber when compared with the likes of Davy's, etc. Busy, but not crowded, as I had missed the early evening rush, with a very good choice of real ales on the beer menu blackboard. Had a reasonable pint of darkish Quercus something-or-other (sorry, I've forgotten what exactly), but I agree with others about the serving temperature.

12 Jun 2009 20:29

The Gladstone Arms, Borough

Having seen the large mural from afar many times, I finally made the diversion from Borough High Street to see what was on at 'the Glad'. Worrying strains of something vaguely country-ish could be heard as you approached, but it immediately became apparent on entering the small L-shaped bar that the music was at the alternative end of the spectrum. A mixed clientele, but a very relaxed atmosphere. My pint of Black Sheep was in good shape, served in a traditional glass jug.

12 Jun 2009 20:09

Ye Olde Black Bull, Stratford

I don't know what this place was like before the rather obvious and clumsy refurbishment, but I imagine it had rather more character than the fairly bare interior has now. Having said that, there is nothing really wrong with the place and there are certainly many far worse establishments nearby. The Bombardier clip was turned around, leaving a somewhat uninspring choice between the Deuchars and Greene King IPAs (but the latter was at least in decent shape).

12 Jun 2009 19:59

The King Edward VII, Stratford

Interesting pub with lots of character both inside and out, and plenty of original features in the lounge and saloon bars. The 'house' Eddie's Best from Nethergate Brewery was excellent. Busy, but not heaving, and a reasonable atmosphere. Given its location on Stratford's charmless gyratory system, opposite the equally unappealing shopping centre, it is almost verging on the remarkable...

12 Jun 2009 19:49

Bulls Head, Warrington

This historic pub looks much more like a traditional village inn, so it appears somewhat out of place in central Warrington. The inside also seems like the real thing too (although doubtless much changed over the centuries). Only one disappointment - a solitary real ale (although there is a second pump) and that was Bombardier rather than something more local.

10 Jun 2009 19:04

The Bell, Golden Green

This place has had its ups and downs, but it seemed to be doing well on my recent visit. Remnants of the previous Green King ownership are reflected in some of the signage, and IPA and Abbot are still the real ales (the former in pretty good condition). As the last amenity in a small rural community, long may pubs like this continue.

10 Jun 2009 19:00

The Britannia, Monument

Gloomy basement pub, with not much in the way of character but a decent pint of Broadside and two other real ales on (Pride and GK IPA). Prices cheap for the area, and not one for the City-types. Nothing special, but file under 'cheap and cheerful'...

10 Jun 2009 18:58

Ashes, Maidstone

Only went in out of curiousity, and found a characterless 'sports bar' with disinterested staff and no proper beer. Had to make do with a quick pint of John Smiths Extra Smooth before the hordes arrived for some football match (or, in fact, two football matches randomly distributed around the various large TV screens in a rather disconcerting way).

4 Jun 2009 22:17

Welsh Harp, Sturry

A slightly dreary village pub on the outskirts of Canterbury, with no real ale on. Had a pint of keg Whitbread Best Mild (which is a new one on me) which was, rather to my surprise, verging on the palatable.

3 Jun 2009 00:16

Maxims, Eastbourne

It may look more like a bar than a pub, but they obviously have an interest in real ales (including the local Beachy Head Original). Not a place for the traditionalist, perhaps, but a pleasant place for a pint with friendly staff and a good atmosphere.

3 Jun 2009 00:14

Izaak Walton, Brimsdown

Fairly tidy-looking pub, but plastered with notices about drug-taking not being tolerated (fair enough, but rarely a good sign). Despite the Greene King plaques by each door, there was no sign of real ale - just John Smiths Smooth and the usual array of lagers. Close to Brimsdown station.

3 Jun 2009 00:10

Hawkenbury, Staplehurst

Quite a lot of investment has gone into this country pub situated as the end of a small terrace in a hamlet between Staplehurst and Headcorn. As you would expect, the food side of things has developed in recent years but there is still a pool table and a decent-sized beer garden with some play equipment for the youngsters. There is usually a couple of well-kept real ales on (typically Harveys and Pride or Spitfire). NB - You can currently buy shares in a new company set up by the existing lessees to buy the freehold.

3 Jun 2009 00:07

George, Yalding

Less upmarket than the Walnut Tree, now the only other pub in Yading, but it is a historic building and the large beer garden has a riverside frontage along the Beult. However, the beer isn't always the best kept (as exemplified by my pint of Adnams) and the choice is limited. All in all - could do better.

3 Jun 2009 00:05

Belmont, Hastings

An odd place, which looks so run down from the road that I initially didn't think was open until I saw some up-to-date stickers in the front window. No real ale, so had to go with the keg Courage Best (which I didn't realise was still made). Overall, the sort of backstreet local where you feel you've stepped back in time about four decades as you enter.

3 Jun 2009 00:03

The Hope Inn, St Margarets at Cliffe

Much more of a traditional village pub than some of the other establishments in St Margarets at Cliffe. Master Brew and Spitfire (in good condition) on handpump, and reasonably-priced 'pub food' on the menu. Skittle alley outside, and a decent beer garden with some play equipment for the youngsters.

3 Jun 2009 00:00

The Barley Mow, Tandridge

First the good points - looks OK from the front, and it has a very nice beer garden out back. On the downside, the beers are from Hall & Woodhouse (which I am no great fan of) and 40 minutes to produce a sandwich when only one other couple had ordered food ahead of me was quite ridiculous. Very expensive too, and it should be a lot better than it currently is.

30 May 2009 20:37

The Bell Inn, Godstone

Whoever "did this place up" managed to dispense with any residual character, despite the 'pub' obviously having a very long history (dating back to the 14th-century if the signs are to be believed). An OK pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord, but piped music in the beer garden - come off it!

30 May 2009 20:30

The Hare and Hounds, Godstone

A traditional pub, with lots of wooden tables out front and a good view overlooking the Godstone village green. Just Harveys on when I called in, and it wasn't exactly the best pint I've ever had. Could do with a bit of investment to spruce the place up a bit, but it makes a pleasant change from the nearby gentrified establishments.

30 May 2009 20:25

The Fox And Hounds, South Godstone

Decent country pub which thankfully has avoided Surrey gentrification so far. Whatever you think about Greene King ales (and please ignore mic_mac's "I've not visited this pub" axe-grinding below), my pint of the seasonal GK Morris Mayhem was in very good condition. I was going to say "nothing special", but the staff were friendly and the beer was good so I will give this place a pretty good rating.

30 May 2009 20:18

The Lagham, South Godstone

Still looks like a pub from the outside, but no real ale anymore (and even the keg John Smiths had run out). Had a quick glass of bottled Abbot and headed for the station... PS - The Indian restaurant part is called Lal Akash.

30 May 2009 20:09

The Dolphin, Betchworth

Looks a picture, and the historic nature of the building is acknowledged by a SCC plaque above the main door. Inside it has a traditional village inn feel, with a welcoming array of Youngs / Charles Wells handpumps. My pint of Ordinary was very good, and the bar staff were friendly. Went at a quiet time during mid-afternoon, but it seemed a nice-enough place to me.

28 May 2009 21:16

The Toby Carvery, Redhill

I wasn't expecting much, but at least the place operates as a pub as well as a carvery restaurant. Some rather uninspiring chain decor inside, but there are quite a few wooden benches out front which are pleasant enough if the sun is shining. Greene King IPA at just £1.95/pint and London Pride at £2.25 (and the latter was perfectly acceptable). Two other plus points - it is less than a minute away from the station (with direct access to platform 3) and out of sight of Redhill's rather hideous town centre.

28 May 2009 21:04

The Halfway House, Brenchley

I am pleased to say that nothing has changed since my last report nearly two years ago - still a great pub with great beer. Another very successful Whitsun bank holiday beer festival with some 50 beers to choose from. Most of the barrels in the tent had run out by Monday afternoon, but there was still plenty to choose from inside. The weather was kind, but (as usual) the garden was full of happy, relaxed people enjoying one of the most pleasant spots on Kent to spend an hour or two.

25 May 2009 17:24

The Stile Bridge Inn, Marden

Things have changed at the Stile Bridge since my last visit, and the place now has more of a pub feel again. They had a good beer festival on this weekend, with a well-chosen selection of 20 real ales (mostly fairly local e.g. Westerham, but also a few from slightly further afield such as 'fff'). Various live music groups, a hog roast and a number of local produce stalls. A really nice, relaxed atmosphere - well done!

24 May 2009 22:14

The Ship, Cobham

Smart village pub, with about five handpumps but only Spitfire and Courage Best "always available" according to the blackboard (and the Best had just gone). However, my pint of Spitfire was very good and I think that the current rating of 4.4 is rather too low and may be based on the travails of those who mistake this site for 'Food in the Evening'.

21 May 2009 23:14

Prince Arthur, Euston

Quite a nice looking pub in a bit of an iffy area on the east side of Euston station. Four real ales on - all usual suspects, but my pint was well kept. Fortunately I didn't get caught by the table service business because I would probably have headed straight for the door...

20 May 2009 23:01

The Lower Angel, Warrington

Old-fashioned twin bar town local, thankfully surviving through the various redevelopments. Very quiet on a Monday night, and they were on the point of shutting early with many of the stools upturned on the benches. Still, the barman was happy enough to serve another customer whereas many places would just have said "we're closed." Decent selection of real ales in each bar, including a fine Theakstons Dark Mild.

20 May 2009 22:52

The Patten Arms Hotel, Warrington

What the advert below doesn't tell you is that the hotel bar is a scruffy affair with a poor selection of dull beers (cold keg Tetley and a couple of standard lagers). Right opposite Bank Quay station, but I suggest that you head straight into town where a good Wetherspoons and several decent real ale pubs can be found.

20 May 2009 22:40

The Postern Gate, Warrington

Strange-looking pub, with what I guess are supposed to be twin oast house roundels at the front (but which are 'squashed' to about half their proper height). No real ales, so I had to make do with a swift John Smiths before moving on. The barmaid was friendly enough, but there is nothing much else to recommend the place.

20 May 2009 22:35

Friar Penketh, Warrington

As the previous reviewers have suggested, this really is one of the better 'spoons. Great choice of real ale - 15 handpumps in total, with all but one in service. The selection included four beers from the local Northern Brewing Ltd, and my pint of 'Two Tone Special' chocolate stout was particularly good.

20 May 2009 22:24

Tavern, Warrington

A proper beer-drinkers pub, with plenty of decent ales and lots of basic wooden furniture. Went for the 'Birds and the Bees' from the Williams Bros Brewing Co. which was in excellent condition. Overall - rather good.

20 May 2009 22:09

Albion, Warrington

Community pub overlooking a green between a large area of old terraced housing and some more expensive-looking new developments across the main road. Excellent choice of real ales, but as the locals at the bar were all ordering Moorhouses 'Black Cat' I opted for that and very fine it was too (showing what flavour you can get for a 3.4% beer). Beer festival coming soon (and a micro-brewery too, apparently). Quite a reasonable band rehearsing upstairs. Overall, a rather good place for a pint.

20 May 2009 21:44

Porter's Ale House, Warrington

A proper beer-drinkers pub, nothing fancy - just a friendly welcome, an excellent choice of real ales and exactly the sort of interior one would expect from the name. The barman recommended the Lees 'Game On', and nice it was too. A local rock venue as well from the look of the many posters around the walls.

20 May 2009 21:30

Harrow Inn, Gillingham

The 'To Let' sign outside isn't a good omen, but at least it is still open. Apparently there is no food available until new people take over, but there are still two real ales on - Bombardier and GK IPA - and the former was in good condition. Let's hope that some good people are found to take this place on - it has the attractions of being a country pub, but with plenty of potential customers in the nearby Medway Towns conurbation It also has reasonable scope for enhanced facilities including a reasonably-sized beer garden.

16 May 2009 16:37

The Vintry, Cannon Street

From the outside, it looks like a loud, shouty City pub (and in many ways it is). However, at least they don't pump out music at excessive volume in the early evening. Also, at least half of the clientele seem to be outside on the pavement so it is actually not too crowded even at Friday going-home time. A Fullers pub, with a pint of Discovery at £3.40.

16 May 2009 00:19

The Duke of Edinburgh, Maidstone

Decent community pub that has some money spent on it recently and which looks reasonably smart. Both Spitfire and Masterbrew were on, and the latter was on top form. Didn't care for the dog much (although I am not clear whether it was a customer's or belonged to the pub), but the covered outdoor area at the front was a good spot to watch the world go by on a sunny afternoon.

14 May 2009 22:09

The Victory, Barming

Fairly basic pub close to East Farleigh railway station (and certainly not 0.7 miles away as the details at the top of the page would suggest). Three handpumps, but only a rather poor pint of Greene King IPA on when I visited. However, pints are currently only £2.00 a go and the front 'balcony' has some decent views over the Farleigh Bridge area. PS - Watch the steps on leaving as this stretch of road is one of the most dangerous for pedestrians in the whole county.

14 May 2009 22:03

Bull, Barming

Friendly atmosphere with some amusing banter between the manager, bar staff and regular customers. Four real ales on including one each from the Kent-based Westerham and Nelson breweries. My pint of BB was rather cloudy (due, apparently to the barrel being disturbed during an earlier delivery), but the offer of a replacment was made without fuss although it tasted OK so I kept it anyway. From the posters around the place, there are obviously lots of events planned so it is good to see the effort being made here.

14 May 2009 21:56

Vauxhall Inn, Tonbridge

A long time ago this was a nice old building, but it has been 'done up' to make it look old instead of leaving it as was (i.e. old). As a Chef & Brewer establishment, the emphasis is naturally on food, but there are three real ales on (including a reasonable pint of Directors). The adjacent Premier Inn adds to the corporate feel, but if yoy look at certain angles you can still just about imagine the country pub it once was.

12 May 2009 00:17

The Bell, Reigate

Strange, narrow bar with an odd arrangement of seating and tables. In addition to the dreaded Greene King IPA, there was Bath Ales Gem which looked a bit hazy but tasted OK. Friendly staff, though.

12 May 2009 00:03

The Market Hotel, Reigate

Nice old building, but that's about it on the plus side. The Bombardier had more than a hint of pipe cleaner about it (not an isolated incident if the last review is anything to go by). Apart from a bored barman, there was nobody else about despite it being late afternoon. Overall, needs to try harder...

11 May 2009 23:58

Star Inn, Matfield

Not quite as picturesque as the Wheelwrights at the other end of Matfield's massive village green, the Star is still a decent-looking country pub. The signs outside to lure in the passing punters concentrate on food, and there are two main eating areas inside. However, there is also some reasonable seating on either side of the bar near the main door for those not dining. Outside, there are regular wooden benches for the smokers right at the front, a landscaped area on one side with a variety of different benches and tables plus a few more benches at the other end in the large grassed area under the trees. Two real ales on when I visited - Harveys and London Pride - and the former was in fine condition.

10 May 2009 18:53

The Bell And Compass, Charing Cross

On the face of things, not a lot has changed since my last review nearly two years ago but I must admit that the atmosphere seemed a bit more appealing than before. The Jennings Golden Host was fine, and there were several other offerings from the Marston's real ale stable as well. Nothing special, but OK for a quick one before catching the train from Charing Cross or as a place to meet before swiftly moving on.

6 May 2009 22:30

The Zetland Arms, South Kensington

Don't really understand why the rating (currently 4.2) is as low as it is. A traditional, if unspectacular, pub with a nice old island bar and some features of interest such as the engraved mirrors at the back. Four real ales on: London Pride, Bombardier, Old Speckled Hen and an OK pint of Adnams East Green (well-enough kept, but I've never had one that has tasted anything more interesting than inoffensively bland).

6 May 2009 22:20

Goodman's Field, Whitechapel

Surprisingly relaxed 'spoons. Busy, but not overcrowded, on a Friday afternoon at office closing time. Not a great selection of International Real Ale festival beers, but a relatively pleasant atmosphere in which to spend a little time watching the world go by.

2 May 2009 00:08

The Hamilton Hall, Liverpool Street

More interesting - decor-wise - inside than out, but this is a particularly charmless Wetherspoons. A reasonable selection of International Real Ale festival beers, but with no pub 'atmosphere' at all. Just hope that your train is on time, because a 'quick one' in here is unlikely to be a great experience.

1 May 2009 23:58

The Castle, Holborn

Surprisingly uncrowded at office going-home time for some reason, so a rare chance to get a seat and have a relaxing pint from the respectable range of non-standard real ales. The Saltaire Trio was an interesting American-style pale beer.

29 Apr 2009 21:58

The Knights Templar, Chancery Lane

Interesting old building conversion, but very empty at the normal office going-home time which I found strange. Modest selection of just four International Beer Festival ales (including the Sharp's Red Slow Ale and Flying Dutchman Wit Bier).

29 Apr 2009 21:49

The Tattersalls Tavern, Knightsbridge

Apart from the previous review from RexRattus, it is difficult to match up most of the recent comments with my experience. However, I'm still not sure whether it is part of a modern building where they have done a reasonable job of making the place feel like a typical London pub, or actually an older building built into something newer. Anyway, the staff were friendly, with the barman serving a full pint and apologising for not having the proper glass for the guest beer (Wychwood Dragon's Bite and another St George's special) and a polite young lady collecting up the used glasses, etc. Pleasantly surprised.

27 Apr 2009 23:03

The Victoria, Victoria

Never tried the place before, thinking that it would be stuffed full of tourists and/or commuters, but instead found a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere in the early evening. Three real ales on, including a decent pint of Adnams Bitter (which is a bit of a change from the ubiquitous Broadside).

27 Apr 2009 22:48

The White Hart, Claygate

Since the Sheps acquisition, the main bar has been redecorated but whilst it is lighter it seems more nondescript. Only Spitfire and MasterBrew on, and the loss of Goachers still rankles. Currently, it seems like a missed opportunity and my rating is lower than it was before, but I hope that the first year of the 'new regime' is a blip which will be overcome.

26 Apr 2009 18:45

The Chequers, Laddingford

As I said two years ago: "Every village should have a pub like this - as close to a '10' as I have ever found." Still a great village pub, even if they had run out of guest ales at this weekend's beer festival!

26 Apr 2009 18:39

The Woolpack, Benover

An excellent country pub - sometimes a bit quiet during the week (so first ring to check for opening times), but usually very full of drinkers and diners at the weekend. Usually has the Shepherd Neame seasonal beer in addition to the regular MasterBrew and Spitfire and a fourth handpump with something else like Canterbury Jack or Bishops Finger. Never had a bad pint here - recommended.

26 Apr 2009 18:33

The Carlisle Arms, Soho

Wasn't expecting much, and only two real ales on (Greene King IPA and London Pride), but we found it a bit more of a 'local' than any of the four Soho pubs we had tried earlier in the evening. Not great, but certainly one of the better offerings in the area.

24 Apr 2009 23:33

The Dog and Duck, Soho

Fairly standard Nicholson's - narrow, devoid of authentic character and verging-on-short pints. The guest Caledonian Raspberry Fool was OK, but not exactly in the best condition.

24 Apr 2009 23:29

The Nellie Dean of Soho, Soho

'Muggaz' describes this is as "a nice little boozer tucked away from the usual mayhem of Soho", but on a Friday night you will find several hundred people standing out in the road (and not just the pavement) outside. Greene King IPA, Deuchars and Courage Best on, all OK but none in excellent condition.

24 Apr 2009 23:23

The Toucan, Soho

Sorry 'threeravensmoor', but I am one of those "pitiful losers" who thinks that Guinness does taste (more or less) the same anywhere. However, I don't dislike the black stuff and I don't dislike this pub. It's just a good thing the Soho has wide-enough pavements to accommodate the drinkers who flock to this place because there is precious little space inside. Friendly bar staff, and OK for a quick one but not a place to stay for a second...

24 Apr 2009 23:17

The Pillars of Hercules, Soho

Not a bad pub, but I always find that the beer is a bit of a disappointment here (which is a shame as they currently have three ales from Batemans and two from Adnams).

24 Apr 2009 23:09

The Fox, St Leonards on Sea

Traditional community pub, with a refurbished exterior but a somewhat basic interior. You get the impression that they don't get many strangers in, and having CBeebies on the widescreen television gave the place a distinctly curious atmosphere. The Courage Best was OK.

19 Apr 2009 20:03

Norman Arms, St Leonards on Sea

The least tired-looking of the three pubs I visited in St Leonards, offering various entertainments including ;ive music and a rather dubious-looking 'gentlemen's night' in a few weeks time. Friendly enough, and my pint of Courage Best was in good condition.

19 Apr 2009 19:58

Prince of Wales, St Leonards on Sea

Very old-fashioned pub, with a rather run-down exterior that makes you wonder as you approach whether it may be closed. The Courage Best wasn't too hot, but at least the place is still serving its local community.

19 Apr 2009 19:52

The Earl Of Burlington, Eastbourne

A fairly standard 'spoons, housed in the former Cornford Garage building (which preserved facade also gives the pub an alternative name). Quite a respectable selection of ales from the current International Beer Festival range, including a slightly over-flavoured Caledonian's Raspberry Fool and a splendid Brains Dark. Overall, nothing to write home about but I've been to a lot worse...

19 Apr 2009 19:42

The Gardeners Arms, Lewes

A cracking pub, full of well-mannered beer lovers having a good time. They had an extensive range of real ales, including several from the Harveys brewery just across Cliffe High Street and other, also mostly local, smaller brewers and draught Black Rat cider from further afield. Top of the range.

19 Apr 2009 19:33

Lewes Arms, Lewes

Went in with the full intention of having a pint of the thankfully restored Harveys Best, but my eye was caught by the London Porter instead (from a good selection from the Fullers/Gales range). The place was packed, with a fairly young crowd giving it a friendly buzz. Much more bright and modern inside than I remember it, but the traditional exterior retains a sense of history.

19 Apr 2009 19:24

The Marine, Eastbourne

Narrow-fronted pub, with a long, thin bar squeezed in between a few side tables supplementing those in the slightly wider area at the front and restaurant at the back. A friendly atmosphere, and a very respectable pint of Harveys Best.

19 Apr 2009 18:50

Victoria Hotel, Eastbourne

A fine community pub - one of Harvey's treasures. A full selection of the brewery's beers was available, including the special Star of Eastbourne ale, although several barrels had to be changed as the thirsty Camra AGM delegates were getting through their pints very quickly. First class.

19 Apr 2009 18:43

The Buccaneer, Eastbourne

A curious-looking building, inside and out, with a reasonable selection of five real ales on including a tasty Itchen Valley Pure Gold. This was very lively and a bit hazy, but the efficient and helpful (if not exactly friendly) barman took care to point this out in advance in case customers wanted to choose something else. A strangely subdued atmosphere.

19 Apr 2009 18:36

The Counting House, Eastbourne

An excellent beer garden, located in a dip in the Old Town that provides shelter from the coastal breezes. Not a great choice of beer (just two ales and a cider), but the White Brewing Campany's 'White Gold' from nearby Bexhill tasted just fine. Friendly staff, and some good value bar food too.

19 Apr 2009 18:24

The Crown, Eastbourne

A rather solemn-looking exterior, but a bright modernised bar with friendly staff and customers. They had wisely put extra beers on during the Camra AGM weekend, including a decent IPA from the Hepworth brewery across the border in West Sussex. Since the sun was shining, the beer garden proved an excellent spot to sit and have a relaxing pint.

19 Apr 2009 18:19

The Lamb Inn, Eastbourne

A very interesting old pub (although the 1180 claims seem very dubious), with a good range of Harveys beers (including a nice pint of Armada). However, I thought that the bar staff left something to be desired, attitude-wise. Good, but could do (much) better...

19 Apr 2009 18:08

Terminus Hotel, Eastbourne

Rather more modern than most Harvey's houses, but definitely still a pub rather than a bar (like the dubious-looking BN21 next door). Not much atmosphere when I visited early-ish Sunday lunchtime, but there was a good choice of the Lewes beers (including a Dark Mild on good form).

19 Apr 2009 17:35

The John Logie Baird, Hastings

It bit like being in a foreign country where you don't speak the language - you just have to keep asking for what you want in English and pointing at it until they get the message... They had a reasonable, if not extensive selection from the current International Beer Festival (with several ununsed handpumps in evidence), with both the Robinson's Nosey Parker and the 'Wild Blue Yonder' from Oregon being in decent condition. Not a great atmosphere, so a middling sort of 'spoons overall.

19 Apr 2009 17:29

County Hotel, Ashford

I have had issues with this place in the past (including a complete absence of real ales on one occasion and just one on during a previous festival), but I have to say that it was fine today. It had a good slection of beers on from the current International Beer Festival (including the Finnish and Australian porters), and a relaxed Sunday afternoon atmosphere. All-in-all, not too bad for a town centre pub with a bit of a dodgy reputation.

19 Apr 2009 17:20

Royal George, Maidstone

Fairly basic corner local. Didn't look like they did any real ale, although one of the handpumps did have a reversed clip on. Barmaid asked another customer whether the John Smiths (Cask) was OK. Customer thinks about it for a bit, and then says yes. Barmain rather dubiously pulls a pint and profers the glass. Had a taste, and yes, it was OK. There you go...
(NB - Review dates from December 2008 before pub was added to BITE.)

15 Apr 2009 22:55

The Hare and Hounds, Maidstone

I had been told that this place had improved, but I struggle to see much difference in the decor or clientele. However, it did at least have one real ale on unlike my previous visit in 2007 - see four posts down the list. This was a gingerish pint of Sly Fox (with just the name hand-written on a pump clip, and I had to Google it when I returned home to find out that it was from Everards). From what I was told, they do at least seem to try different beers rather than sticking to something dull like Greene King IPA.

15 Apr 2009 22:34

The Shakespeare, Victoria

Given the current 2.6 rating and many of the previous comments, I must admit that this place (which I have avoided for many years) was slightly better than I expected. Not a lot, but slightly. There was nothing wrong with my pint of Bombardier either (with Greene King IPA also available), but it certainly doesn't score highly on atmosphere or character.

15 Apr 2009 22:23

The Bull Inn, Bulverhythe

Traditional Shepherd Neame pub with a reasonable beer garden out back away from the main road traffic. Three of the four handpumps in use, including an excellent pint of Kent's Best. Recommended.

13 Apr 2009 23:57

Swan Inn, Sutton Valence

Traditional village pub, but with a (mostly) sympathetic modernised interior. Five handpumps, including a reasonable pint of Black Sheep. Pleasant, multi-level beer garden out back.

13 Apr 2009 23:51

Wheatsheaf, Maidstone

I never thought of this as a real ale pub, but it currently has a good selection of five on (four unusual ones plus their usual Courage Best). Considerably smarter inside and out than it used to be. A pleasant surprise.

11 Apr 2009 23:20

Ship and Trades, Chatham

Despite being converted from an old Royal Dockyard building, the place doesn't have a great deal of character. It does, however, have a potentially good setting by the marina, and I can imagine it is a pleasant place to sit outside on a sunny day (provided that there aren't too many noisy children tearing around). Nice pint of Early Bird.

10 Apr 2009 18:25

The Star, Old Wives Lees

An increasing rarity - a basic village local, not selling any food as far as I could see (not that I wanted any). Reasonable pint of Masterbrew. 'Use it or lose it' like it says on the pole supporting the pub sign.

9 Apr 2009 22:43

The Constitution, Pimlico

Old fashioned sort of pub, but surpringly empty for late afternoon as the offices were emtying out. Choice of three real ales, including a decent pint of Spitfire. Plenty of National Cask Ask Week coasters on display too.

9 Apr 2009 21:10

The Gallery, Pimlico

Didn't find this place anything like as bad as most of the recent reviews suggest. Certainly nothing special, but had a reasonable pint of Pride served full to the brim in the correct glass.

9 Apr 2009 21:04

The Inn on The Hill, Haslemere

As this site is Beer (rather than steak, garlic baguettes or any other food) in the Evening, I'll limit my comments to say that there are two handpumps (Black Sheep and London Pride) plus the usual array of lager dispensers. My pint (Pride) was fine, and served full to the brim in the correct glass which is rare in this type of modernised gastro-pub. Nothing special, but the barman was friendly enough, and it is very handy for the station.

6 Apr 2009 20:16

The Swan Hotel, Haslemere

Not obviously a Wetherspoons from the outside, and inside it appears to be a traditional inn rather than a modern conversion. The barmaid was friendly enough, and a good-natured crowd of locals were engaged in some lengthy banter near - but not blocking - the bar. The Bath Ales Barnstormer was in good condition (and cheap), and I would agree with those that might suggest it is a better bet than the White Horse across the road.

6 Apr 2009 20:07

The White Horse, Haslemere

Strange mixture of old pub and modern bar, with its most distinctive feature being an overpowering smell of furniture polish. Three handpumps, but my pint of Pride was served far too cold (but slightly cheaper than I expected at £2.80).

6 Apr 2009 19:58

The Pilot, Chiswick

The Pilot 'Pub and Dining' branding probably tells you all you need to know about this place - it's a bit like Marmite; either you like that sort of thing or loathe it. It is a Fullers pub, but you would never guess it with just a single handpump for London Pride beside two large banks of lager dispensers. Not really my sort of place, but I have to say that the young staff were very friendly.

2 Apr 2009 21:26

The Gunnersbury, Chiswick

Further to the last report from 'Strongers', the real ale handpump is now in use with Pedigree on today. The place seems to have something of an identity crisis, with 'The Gunnersbury' name at the front, the old name of 'The John Bull' still on the eastern side, 'JB at the Gunnersbury' on the A-frame board on the pavement and 'JB Bar and Diner' printed on the menus. Anyway, its good to see the owners putting in an effort with the refurb, and it certainly looks better inside than I was expecting from the exterior view.

2 Apr 2009 20:59

The Glassblower, Piccadilly

Modernised triangular pub - not a great deal of character, but the barman was friendly enough and took the trouble to pour a commendably full pint (so rare in central London). The Hydes 1863 was in good condition, and really quite flavourful for a low (3.5%) ABV beer. There are better pubs nearby, but also many worse.

1 Apr 2009 23:24

The Leicester Arms, Piccadilly Circus

Looks like a reasonable pub, but I just know that I was going to get a borderline short-measure pint. It had a real ale promotion on, so you would think that they would make an effort to ensure that the beer would be OK but my pint of Bombardier was very average. Also, you could get a 1/3rd pint glass of each of the three real ales at £2.80, but a straightforward pint of the same was £2.95 - where's the sense in that? Not rushing back.

1 Apr 2009 23:15

The Duke of Argyll, Soho

Typically good Sam Smiths pub, just let down (as are so many others) by the ridiculous refusal to serve the proper version of OBB. Had to 'make do' with a pint of Extra Stout (which is actually no great hardship as it is a good beer at a great price). NB - For those who find many Sam Smiths houses overpoweringly dark, this one is relatively light and airy.

1 Apr 2009 23:03

The Old Coffee House, Soho

I thought I knew most of the 'proper' pubs in this area, but came across this place for the first time last night quite by chance. Lots of memorabilia all over the place, efficient staff and a good, friendly atmosphere. Had an excellent pint of Brodies Sunshine, which was also new to me (comes from Walthamstow, apparently). Recommended.

1 Apr 2009 22:51

The Spice of Life, Cambridge Circus

I've been to the pub a few times over the years, and must admit I quite like the place despite not being a particular fan of McMullens beers (although they are always well kept here). Despite being in one of the busiest parts of central London, the staff in the main bar are usually efficient. I'd forgotten about the live music, but the blues night music in the basement bar was great (and free) entertainment.

1 Apr 2009 22:33

The West End Tavern, Marden

Nothing much has changed since my previous reviews, but it has recently been advertised for sale at £115,000 leasehold. Draught beers available normally include Harveys, Master Brew and Adnams.

30 Mar 2009 20:31

The Railway Tavern, Staplehurst

Not much has changed since my last review - gives the appearance of being a bit run down, but there is nothing wrong with the Courage Best.

30 Mar 2009 20:26

The Fordwich Arms, Fordwich

A fine pub, set in a splendid location next to the River Stour. The historic town hall is across the lane (with Fordwich supposedly being the smallest town in the country), and you can get the keys to look around the picturesque parish church from behind the bar. Whilst the solid brickwork might give the impression of a rather dour establishment, the welcome was warm enough and my pint of Wadworth Henry's IPA (one of three real ales on) was in good condition.

30 Mar 2009 19:29

The George and Dragon, Fordwich

If you like village inns refurbished as gastropubs, then this is probably the place for you. Otherwise, you may find the clinical interior rather unappealing. The London Pride was fine, once they worked out which of the two handpumps was actually operational.

30 Mar 2009 19:10

The Swan Inn, Sturry

As the landlord said to me, "I don't drink real ale - this is more of a lager pub". However, he does have one handpump, and knows enough about proper beer to realise when it is going over the hill. Therefore, to see Canterbury Jack at just £1.00 per pint for those willing to give it a go (as a "special offer, as it is past its best") impressed me rather more than many establishments that would try to sell you the same at full price. Otherwise, a historic village-centre pub that doesn't quite live up to expectations.

30 Mar 2009 19:04

The Royal Oak, Broad Oak

Quiet on a Monday lunch-time (but unlike the nearby Golden Lion, at least it was open). So-so pint of Bombardier, but one of those traditional English pubs that you are just grateful still exists.

30 Mar 2009 18:54

The Wild Duck, Marden

Changed hands at least twice since my last review, this out-of-the-way place has now reverted to a simpler pub plus dining room format. Had a reasonable pint of Master Brew, with Broadside also being available (and usually Youngs as well).

28 Mar 2009 23:36

The Swan, Wittersham

I can understand aspects of some of the previous reviews, but the bar staff were friendly and efficient. Yes, there were a large group of locals at and around the main bar, but it was hardly like walking into whatever the Royston Vasey pub is called. There is also a more basic bar at the front if you want something a bit more old-fashioned. Anyway, an interesting selection of real beer - four from handpumps and another four straight from the cask (plus a good choice of cider) - mostly from local and/or small producers. My pint of Rother Valley Smild (a dark mild) was just right.

27 Mar 2009 19:48

The Red Lion, Snargate

This is a unique and special place which I won't try to describe - just go and see for yourself... PS - The previous reviewer called the Goachers Imperial Stout "sublime", but I have to say that I thought it was rather better tha that!

27 Mar 2009 19:10

The Britannia Inn, Dungeness

I don't normally mention food in a BITE review, but this place is justly famous for its fish and chips (and the locally-caught plaice was particularly tasty today). My pint of Master Brew wasn't exactly the best I've ever had, but I think I was just unlucky as the Shepherd Neame beer is normally very good here. Anyway, Dungeness is a rather special place and it's good to have a proper pub handy.

27 Mar 2009 19:06

The Barley Mow, Shoreditch

Small, single-bar pub with a curious collection of ephemera (and customers). Two Fullers beers (including a nice pint of Hock) and a couple of Gales offerings too. All a bit odd-ball, but not bad at all when compared with some of the hideous bars around here.

26 Mar 2009 23:27

The Princess of Shoreditch, Old Street

Fairly smart Shoreditch pub, but not over-refurbished or converted to some sort of fancy 'bar & grill' that has been the fate of many places around here. Four real ales on (two Adnams, Landlord and Black Sheep). Busy, but not overcrowded or over-loud (customer or music-wise). Better than I was expecting. NB - Just called the Princess now (but the old name can still be seen in some of the etched glass).

26 Mar 2009 23:06

The Angel, Old Street

Gives the impression of being a pretty decent sort of pub. Busy, but not overcrowded. Efficient bar staff. Friendly mix of customers. The real ale choice is nothing to write home about (three of the usual suspects), but the Greene King IPA was in good condition.

26 Mar 2009 22:54

St James Tavern, Piccadilly

Unexciting, if typical, central London pub; with the most interesting feature being some decorative tile work on the back wall. Having watch two 'pints' of Amstel with at least an inch of head being given to the punters in front of me, I fully expected to have to demand that my pint of Pride be topped-up - however, all was well. OK for a 'quick half' before going to the theatre, I suppose...

26 Mar 2009 22:25

Waterloo Hotel, Betws-y-Coed

Very much a modern hotel bar, and definitely not a traditional pub, but it served a perfectly reasonable pint of Brains Rev. James. Worth having a look at the historic Waterloo Bridge nearby.

24 Mar 2009 23:33

Three Tuns, Staple

Very imposing brick inn, partly modernised but retaining many original features (including two - very welcome - blazing log fires on a cold winter day). Emphasis on food and accomodation, but two handpumps for beers from the nearby Ramsgate Brewery plus another for Greene King IPA. Enjoyed my pint of Gadds Scottish-style '80/-' ale. The owners are making an effort here, and it shows.

24 Mar 2009 23:31

Skerries, Bangor

Locals pub at the northern end of Bangor's lengthy High Street. Not the friendliest welcome, but a nice pint of the local Glaslyn Ale (Purple Moose Brewery). NB - Review dates from September 2008 which is before pub was listed on BITE.

24 Mar 2009 23:27

The Old Star, Westminster

Refurbished by Greene King since my last visit, and not necessarily an improvement. Brighter, but with a corporate makeover antiseptic feel to the main ground floor bar. My pint of Morland Original was fine, if expensive, but I won't rush back.

23 Mar 2009 22:21

The Albert, St James's

Better than you might expect, given its location, with a proper 'London pub' interior. Five real ales on, including a good pint of Adnams Broadside which was reasonably priced for Central London at £3.03. Busy, but not crowded, and quite a relaxed mid-evening atmosphere.

23 Mar 2009 22:13

The Hereford Arms, South Kensington

This may be a food-oriented pub, but it has six handpumps offering a variety of different ales (and not just the usual suspects). I enjoyed my pint of Morrissey Fox Blonde, and happily have stayed to have tried a couple of others had I had the time. Friendly bar staff too.

23 Mar 2009 22:07

The Greyhound, Enfield Lock

A McMullens pub, a bit better than many of the charmless establishments in the area. Traditional two-bar layout, retaining the distinct difference between lounge and public bars that seems increasingly rare these days. At least in had some real ale, although my pint of County wasn't much to write home about.

20 Mar 2009 20:31

The Navigation, Ponders End

Looks good from the front, but the potentially nice location beside the navigation is somewhat spoilt by the metal fencing that stops you from reaching the waterside. Getting to it through the industrial estate and the pylons on the opposite bank don't do it many favours either. Not sure what the original purpose of the building was, but the corporate refurbishment seems to have stripped the interior of any character. No real ale, so had to have what purported to be the 'smooth' version of Greene King IPA.

20 Mar 2009 20:23

The Wilton Arms, Belgravia

Reasonable Sheps pub, but a slightly sterile atmosphere I thought. Master Brew, Spitfire and Bishop's Finger on when I visited, and the latter was on good form. As expensive as you would expect from the area, but without the character (or characters, depending on how you look at things) of the nearby Nags Head.

16 Mar 2009 22:41

The Nags Head, Belgravia

Interesting place - full of memorabilia, but also some distinct curiosities seated at the bar. Didn't much care for the spooky old landlord pacing around in a rather disconcerting way either. Still, the Adnams Broadside was fine, and I can't help but admire the 'no mobiles' rule. A very mixed bag...

16 Mar 2009 22:32

The Horse and Groom, Belgravia

Small mews-type pub, full of Irish accents at office closing time (presumably the embassy is nearby). It's also a bit odd seeing a Sheps pub full of St Patrick's Day banners. Didn't like the high stools/tables much, but the Kent's Best was on good form and the landlord was a friendly chap.

16 Mar 2009 22:25

Latymers, Hammersmith

Went in for a quick one with a few colleagues after work, and my eye was caught be a well-presented display of Fullers bottled beers. Although I prefer the draught version (where it can be found), the London Porter went down well. Otherwise no real change from my previous review.

13 Mar 2009 20:48

Swan, Flitwick

Walking past the front of the pub, I see that it is a Charles Wells house with an Eagle IPA handpump visible through the window. Finding the door at the side, I entered what turned out to be the lounge bar at the back which had another handpump - this time Youngs 'ordinary'. Asked for a pint of IPA. Barmaid responded: "do you want a pint of Youngs?" I said no thanks, but I wouldn't mind a pint of IPA like I just asked for. The Eagle turned out to be fairly indifferent, so perhaps I should have had the Youngs after all... Strange place, with a weird mix of background music, but very handy for Flitwick station.

11 Mar 2009 23:04

The George, Harpenden

Don't know what it was like before, but this refurbished pub appears to be devoid of much character inside (although it looks like it ought to be an interesting place from the road). Quite a large space to fill, with some sofa-style seating near the windows, a few of those annoying high stools/tables near the long bar and more traditional tables and chairs further back. The staff seemed rather disinterested, despite it being a fairly quiet late afternoon. London Pride the only real ale on offer, but perhaps there is usually another beer on the second handpump.

11 Mar 2009 22:52

The Litten Tree, Old Street

I very rarely consider a pint in any pub with bouncers on the door, but I realised walking from the tube station that I probably didn't have time to reach the Artillery Arms (my intended destination) for a quick pint whilst passing through. On my previous visit, all six handpumps had London Pride clips - this time they were all for Bombardier. Busy, but I got served reasonably quickly and found a free seat by the front windows. There is no way you could call this a good pub, but its a bit better than the current rating of 2.2 would suggest.

7 Mar 2009 16:44

The Betjeman Arms, St Pancras International Station

I expressed my disappointment in my first review of this place, but it seems to be getting better with time. With things like a weekly quiz night, it is trying for more of a proper pub feel rather than just being an anonymous gastro-pub. Currently holding their second beer festival 'outside' under the awning on the upper concourse - an excellent selection of about 30 beers and 6 ciders. 30p per pint discount for CAMRA members too, making it a pretty reasonable £2.70 during the 4-day event. With a jazz band providing some entertainment, it had a nice relaxed atmosphere (not something you can normally say abount a mainline station bar).

7 Mar 2009 16:29

The Sporting Green, Enfield

The exterior signage would make you think that this is an Irish pub, but there is little inside that gives that impression. Odd mixture of new-ish seating, low stage for live music / DJ and a pool table - all in one large, opened-out, L-shaped bar. The barmaid was friendly enough, but some of locals looked a bit unwelcoming. No real ale, so just had a quick John Smiths before moving rapidly on.

7 Mar 2009 13:53

The Golden Hive, Brimsdown

A fairly basic community pub, with Sky TV and a pool table. It did take a while to get served, but a couple of blokes at the bar were friendly enough. No real ale, so had to resort to a swift pint of Tetleys Smooth before moving on.

7 Mar 2009 13:47

The Brunswick Inn, Derby

Fantastic - this is everything a town pub should be (and a bit more, i.e. the brewery). History, character, atmosphere, and excellent beer. I have never given a '10' rating to a pub on BITE, but I reckon that this may be the closest yet. Can't say much more without sounding like a publicist for them (which I am not!).

28 Feb 2009 18:12

George and Dragon, Belper

Traditional inn, with a welcoming real fire and lively banter from the other customers. Several real ales on, including Dive Bomber (pale and refreshing at 4.6%, but more of a summer beer I would have thought) from the local Fun Fair Brewing Company.

28 Feb 2009 18:04

The Crown, Crown Square

Fairly standard 'spoons, with the usual reasonable range of real ale. For some reason there was no pump clip for the Hook Norton Double Stout, just a photocopy stuck on top of something else - a bit odd, but the beer was good. Good atmosphere in mid-afternoon, and not full of the stereotypes that 'Wether-knockers' would have you believe.

28 Feb 2009 17:56

The Boat Inn, Cromford

Very quiet for a Friday lunchtime, but the pint of Odyssey from the local Leatherbritches Brewery was in good condition. Noticed the dog bowls, but thankfully the place doesn't smell of the creatures. Surprisingly unkeen to sell the advertised ploughman's lunches to two customers who came in a bit later on - funny way to run a pub if you ask me...

28 Feb 2009 17:50

The Midland, Matlock Bath

Well-located pub in the middle of Matlock Bath, with a terrace and conservatory overlooking the River Derwent. Refreshing pint of 'Dino & Pete's Breakfast Blonde' from the Derby Brewing Company (created for two local radio DJs to raise 10p per pint for the Clic Sargent charity). Reasonable place, if not especially welcoming.

28 Feb 2009 17:41

White Lion Inn, Starkholmes

Traditional village inn, with a great view overlooking the Derwent Valley from the front. Friendly welcome, and three real ales on (well-kept, if my pint of Jennings Cumberland is anything to go by). If you look at the Ordnance Survey map, there are three railway stations within a mile or so, but it is a steep uphill walk from any of them (particularly Matlock Bath) - worth it, though.

28 Feb 2009 17:32

The Alexandra Hotel, Derby

Although I stayed here overnight, I only managed to get one pint in (an inappropriately named 'Idle Sod') at the end of a very busy day. Very quiet when I got there from the railway station, but a good crowd had arrived to liven things up later on. Must go back to try a few more from a big selection of Castle Rock and other beers.

28 Feb 2009 17:19

The Babington Arms, Derby

Pleasant and welcoming Wetherspoons, with an excellent range of real ales (including many I previously never heard of such as a tasty Middle Mash from the Berrow Brewery). Usual range of cheap food deals, but thankfully they let you choose any real ale with the Curry Night specials. Nothing special architecturally, but first rate.

28 Feb 2009 17:07

The Flowerpot, Derby

Quite dark inside as soon as you step away from the front windows, but not so gloomy that one can't see a vast array of hampumps with all different kinds of interesting brews on offer (including a decent Over and Out Stout from the Headless Brewery out the back of the pub). A real ale drinkers 'must visit' destination.

28 Feb 2009 16:58

The Smithfield, Derby

Looks very tatty from the outside (with more of the signage having fallen off than shown on the current BITE photograph), to the extent that one wondered whether it was still open as you approached. A fine selection of real ales was on offer, including a very tasty Bramble Stout from the Burton Bridge Brewery. It's not often that I wish that somebody would spend some money 'doing up' such a traditional pub, but in this case the surroundings don't really do the excellent beer justice.

28 Feb 2009 16:05

The Devonshire Cat, Sheffield

The "upmarket Wetherspoons" comparison is generally valid - similar layout, reasonably-priced food and a wide selection of decent draft beers (including a tatsy pint of 'Barnsley' from the Oakwell Brewery). The glass-sided 'bottle store' is an unusual touch too. More interesting than it looks from the outside.

28 Feb 2009 15:53

The Bath Hotel, Sheffield

It is a bit surprising that this traditional pub has maintained its character intact without being 'done up' (or 'done over', as so often seems to happen). Also quite unusual to have retained such a place this close to a main city street. A good selection of five real ales, with the Abbeydale Moonshine (a 4.3% pale ale) providing excellent refreshment, and efficient staff. Recommended.

28 Feb 2009 15:43

The Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield

Thank goodness for places like this (and the Fat Cat around the corner), maintaining the fine tradition of English public houses specialising unapologetically in decent beer. With so many unfamiliar real ales, it was difficult to make a choice but a dark mild from the Yorkshire Dales Brewery came recommended and went down very well with a cheese roll (which cost altogether about £3.50). Could happily have stayed all day...

28 Feb 2009 15:33

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

After an intersting visit to the Kelham Island industrial museum, popped stright in at opening time for a pint of Pride of Sheffield from their own Kelham Island Brewery housed in an adjacent building. I thought that the atmosphere was a little cold at first, but I think that this was largely down to the staff still getting things ready for the day. However, as more customers came in, the conversation livened up and with so many decent beers to try, and at such reasonable prices, I could have stayed all day...

28 Feb 2009 15:15

The Wellington, Sheffield

First class, traditional pub serving an excellent range of beer. Had a very decent porter, but it was getting late in the day so can't remember whether it was one of their own brews or a guest... must go back and give the place another go when I am paying a bit more attention (and it certainly is the sort of place to which one would wish to return).

28 Feb 2009 15:06

University Arms, Sheffield

An unexpected pleasure, finding an excellent pub in the middle of university land which is quite unlike most student bars (although I suspect that this place is perhaps more frequented by lecturers and other staff). Good range of real ales, including a selection from Thornbridge Brewery. The Lord Marples was on good form, and the atmosphere was lively and warm.

28 Feb 2009 14:51

The Hillsborough Hotel, Sheffield

Top-of-the-range place - excellent beer (with their own ales brewed in the cellar under the Crown Brewery name, plus guests), food at very reasonable prices and value-for-money accommodation. Particularly liked - well, everything - but would particularly mention their Wood Street Porter.

28 Feb 2009 14:39

The West Riding Refreshment Rooms, Dewsbury

This place would be a great pub anywhere, but to find it acting as a railway station buffet as well makes it exceptional. Excellent range of real ale, including a fine Pinnacle Porter from Naylor's Brewery. No better place to while away time while waiting for (or missing) a train (or two).

28 Feb 2009 14:29

The Head of Steam, Huddersfield

More comfortable than the King's Head at the other end of the impressive station building (but this does depend on which of the rooms you are sitting in), albeit with a smaller range of beer. The Thwaites Dark Mild was well kept, and overall this place is pretty good as a pub, let alone a station buffet.

28 Feb 2009 14:17

The King's Head, Huddersfield

Very different from the Head of Steam at the other end of the grand station building, this is a fairly basic pub with an emphasis on just one thing - beer. The main room is a large space, looking rather 'unfilled' by the plain wooden furniture, but this allows you to see the interesting tile-work and other original features. The side room on your right as you enter feels less like a cavern and I guess this tends to fill up first. Great range of real ales on handpump, including an excellent Roosters Amarillo (chosen mostly because its distinctive pump clip, I have to admit).

28 Feb 2009 12:07

The Grove Inn, Huddersfield

You could easily walk straight past this place - a quiet corner location, with a less-than-spectacular view of the ring road and some car parks. However, once inside, you will soon see how it achieves its sky-high BITE rating (9.1 at the time of writing). Lost count of how many beers and ciders were available on handpumps and in bottled form as listed in the 'menu'. Didn't have much time so went for the Timothy Taylor Golden Best, as we only get Landlord 'down south', and this is always a good reminder that low alcohol strength (3.5%) doesn't have to mean lack of flavour.

28 Feb 2009 11:49

The Buffet Bar, Stalybridge

As unlike the usual station buffet as it is possible to imagine, and just shows what can be done with a bit of effort. Had an excellent pint of Hanby's Black Magic Mild and wished that I could have stayed much longer (where's that "Would passengers please note that trains to Huddersfield have been delayed..." announcement when you need it?).

28 Feb 2009 11:27

Robin Hood, Tunbridge Wells

Tucked away in a residential area, this large pub has a slight feel of having seen better days. If my recent visit was anything to go by, it is a popular place for pensioners having lunch, but perhaps it is a bit more lively in the evenings. Perfectly serviceable pint of Harveys, with Doom Bar also available.

24 Feb 2009 18:50

The Kentish Horse, Mark Beech

This has always been a good country pub, but thankfully still has a slightly rustic feel rather than being over-gentryfied. Stays open all day, but you may have to make your presence known if you arrive at a quiet time. Nice pint of Larkins, with Harveys available as well.

24 Feb 2009 18:45

The Windmill Tavern, Waterloo

Reasonably smart two-bar pub, with numerous photographs of actors adorning the walls. Limited real ale selection, but the Pedigree was fine (if rather expensive).

24 Feb 2009 00:03

The Castle Hotel, Saltwood

Went back a bit over a year since my last visit, and I have to say that the experience was somewhat better than previously. It may still be a bit tatty, but the place was heaving on a Sunday lunctime and had an excellent village pub feel - it really did seem like the centre of the community. The Harveys was on good form too.

22 Feb 2009 22:49

The Park Inn Hotel, Folkestone

I wasn't expecting a great deal from this place, but had 25 minutes to spend whilst waiting for a train. On entering, I was was so dazzled by the bright lights on the lager dispensers around the refurbished island bar that I didn't see the lonesome Bombardier handpump at first. However, the beer was fine and the place was packed on a Sunday lunchtime. Not really my kind of pub, but at least they are making an effort.

22 Feb 2009 17:51

The British Lion, Folkestone

Excellent pub, justifiably packed with Sunday lunchtime drinkers and diners. Five handpumps (albeit two with Greene King IPA), including an excellent Butcombe Brunel IPA (deceptively strong at 5%). Lots of nibbles on the bar as you would expect at a traditional place like this. Thoroughly recommended.

22 Feb 2009 17:45

The Guildhall, Folkestone

I think that ETA's 6/10 for a "good pub" is marking this place too low. It is a decent, traditional pub in a quieter part of the town, with four real ales on (including a respectable Wickwar 'Rite Flanker') and a reasonably-priced food menu. 7, going on 8, in my opinion.

22 Feb 2009 17:39

The Ship, Folkestone

A decent, traditional sort of pub, with nibbles on the bar as you would expect in this kind of place on a Sunday lunchtime. Two handpumps, including a nice pint of London Pride. Well worth a visit.

22 Feb 2009 17:31

The Rake, London Bridge

Funny little place, which looks nothing like the photograph currently showing on this page (because it is always packed). A big range of bottled beers in the fridges behind the small bar, several unusual lagers on tap, and two Dark Star ales (including a decent 'Festival') on handpumps. Would be better with a bit more space, but otherwise pretty good.

21 Feb 2009 22:15

The Evening Star, Brighton

Fully justifies its reputation as a beer-drinkers destination pub which people travel miles to visit. Big range of Dark Star beers (including an excellent Sussex stout) plus others from smaller Sussex breweries. First class.

21 Feb 2009 22:09

The Lord Nelson, Brighton

Excellent Harveys pub, with rarer brews including the Old, Lewes Brown and an excellent Porter. Efficient service, and the food looked good too. Bit of an odd covered area at the back, but overall: top of the range.

21 Feb 2009 22:04

The Basketmakers Arms, Brighton

Mostly Fullers beer, but a couple of guests at well (including a decent Butcombe Bitter). Staff efficient (but too busy to be friendly). Overall, justifiably popular.

21 Feb 2009 21:56

The Great Eastern, Brighton

Quieter than I expected, with just two of Brighton's more 'exotic' residents flirting (rather unconvincingly) with the barmaid. Four real ales on, including the Nelson Brewery Shiver M' Timbers (at 4.7% ) which, whilst not exceptional, made a pleasant change.

21 Feb 2009 21:50

The Battle of Trafalgar, Brighton

A really friendly pub, with the barman greeting most people by name (and getting them to sign a birthday card for an 85-year-old regular), but welcoming the casual visitor too. Even though I am no fan of things canine, even the pub dog failed to annoy me by trying to join in with reading my newspaper. Excellent pint of Harveys. All-in-all, thoroughly recommended.

21 Feb 2009 21:40

Maltsters, Cheshunt

Fairly basic McMullens pub, but the staff were friendly enough and the 'Cask' was on good form. Somewhat better than the current rating of 4.6 suggests.

21 Feb 2009 21:32

The Victoria, Cheshunt

I think it calls itself a 'sports bar' which prides itself on serving beer 'extra cold'. Bearing that in mind, you won't be surprised to find out that it sells no real ale. If you enjoy drinking Tetley's Extra Smooth in a place with all the atmosphere of an industrial fridge, then this is the place for you.

21 Feb 2009 21:28

The King James, Cheshunt

A rather poor 'spoons, with lurking smokers at the door and a slightly edgy atmosphere. At least three of the handpumps were devoted to Greene King IPA, with most of the rest being the usual suspects (Abbot, Pedigree, etc.). Fortunately, there was one down the far end with Loddon Bamboozle (4.8% pale ale) which was a decent enough pint before I headed for the exit.

21 Feb 2009 21:16

The Windmill, Cheshunt

Fairly basic local, close to Cheshunt station. I wasn't necessarily expecting any real ale, but there is one handpump dispensing reasonable Greene King IPA.

21 Feb 2009 21:07

The Punch and Judy, Tonbridge

It looks like 'coffin man' (the former landlord who staged a publicity stunt against the pub owners, Enterprise) has finally gone. The place has been partially refurbished, and the whole atmosphere has improved. Nice pint of Harveys too.

19 Feb 2009 19:10

The Nutley Hall, Reigate

Late afternoon, but apart from the two people having a smoke in the shed outside, I was the only customer. However, the Pickled Partridge was OK (and served in the right glass). You can see that this could be a good, old-fashioned pub, but I hope that trade picks up a bit...

19 Feb 2009 19:01

The Admiral, Reigate

Even though I went in at a quiet time, you could have heard a pin drop in here. However, at least the place was clean and tidy, and the Pride was in good condition.

19 Feb 2009 18:55

The Carpenters Arms, Tottenham Court Road

Full of students, but much smarter than I remember it from when I worked near here some years ago. Reasonable pint of Cotleigh Buzzard, unusually (for a central London pub) served in an old-fashioned 'jug' glass.

18 Feb 2009 23:40

The Prince of Wales Feathers, Warren Street

Nothing special, but a reasonable-enough place to stop for a pint near Warren Street tube. Had to wait a few minutes for a new barrel of Pride to be put on, but happily did so as the only other real ale offering was Greene King IPA. Not quite sure why the TVs had to battle things out with the music - you would think that there would be a mute button somewhere...

18 Feb 2009 23:30

Prince Of Wales, Covent Garden

Some very mixed reviews of this place, so thought I would take a look inside when passing. The general impression was similar to a Nicholsons, with plenty of not-as-old-as-it-seems wooden fittings and four real ales. No problems with service and my pint - Brains St David's Ale - was OK (if nothing special) and typically-priced for this expensive area at £3.10. A bit cramped due to a large part of the seating being reserved for some group which hadn't arrived at the time of my visit (early evening). So a mixed bag, and almost a benchmark for a 6.0 rating.

16 Feb 2009 19:56

The Artillery Arms, Ramsgate

Doesn't look much from the outside, but this is a top-of-the-range back-street pub. Five real ales on, including an excellent Gadds 80/- from the local Ramsgate Brewery. Some nice old interior features too, including picture windows and a large mirror in the upper part of the bar. Friendly, and thoroughly recommended.

15 Feb 2009 20:25

The Butchers Arms, Herne

One of a kind. Only had time for a quick pint of Dark Star Porter, but could happily have stayed all day. Now open on Sunday lunchtimes.

15 Feb 2009 20:18

The Crown Inn, Nuneaton

The owners are clearly making an effort here, with 10 real ales on (including the rather good Edwin Taylor Extra Stout). Perhaps I visited on a bad day, but a couple of customers left something to be desired. Anyway, its close to the railway station and well worth a visit. (NB - Review relates to visit in November 2008 before pub was added to BITE.)

14 Feb 2009 15:15

The Harp Inn, Bangor

Looks to have the potential to be a decent town-centre pub, but the bored barman needs to take a bit more interest in his customers. The Theakstons Best (one of three real ales on) wasn't too clever either. (NB - Review relates to visit in September 2008 before pub was added to BITE.)

14 Feb 2009 14:58

The Nelson, Bangor

Seafront pub, concentrating on cheap-and-cheerful food. No real ale available, so had to make do with a Brains Dark Smooth. For some reason, the blackboard at the front makes the point that it accommodates funeral parties! (NB - Review relates to visit in September 2008 before pub was added to BITE.)

14 Feb 2009 14:56

The Ship Launch, Bangor

Traditional locals pub in the Garth area of Bangor. Two handpumps, but neither working, so resorted to the Mansfield Mild. (NB - Review relates to visit in September 2008 before pub was added to BITE.)

14 Feb 2009 14:55

Queens Hotel, Harlech

Friendly pub adjacent to Harlech railway station, but badly let down by having no real ale on when I visited. Had to make do with a pint of Brains Smooth. (NB - Review relates to visit in September 2008 before pub was added to BITE.)

14 Feb 2009 14:48

Y Branwen, Harlech

Looks like a gastropub from the outside, but it has a deservedly popular bar as well as a restaurant. Four real ales on, including the excellent local Glaslyn Ale from the Bragdy Mws Piws (Purple Moose Brewery). Recommend stop for anybody visiting Harlech Castle. (NB - Review relates to visit in September 2008 before pub was added to BITE.)

14 Feb 2009 14:47

Lion Hotel, Harlech

Traditional village pub in the historic centre of Harlech. Two real ales on, including a reasonable pint of Flowers Original (which I haven't seen anywhere for years). (NB - Review relates to visit in September 2008 before pub was added to BITE.)

14 Feb 2009 14:45

Castle Hotel, Harlech

Dull hotel bar with disinterested staff and no real ale. (NB - Review relates to visit in September 2008 before pub was added to BITE.)

14 Feb 2009 14:43

The Moon and Cross, Waltham Cross

This place may have 12 handpumps, but when four are four Greene King IPA... Still, its cheap and cheerful, the beer quality is fine, and you know exactly what to expect before entering.

13 Feb 2009 21:14

The Sun and Woolpack, Enfield

As a building, there are traces of character inside this place, but it is now very run down with no sign of real ale (just three old, white handpumps standing as immobile as tombstones) and thus a 'choice' of Tetleys Smooth and John Smiths Smooth. More customers than in the previous review, though.

13 Feb 2009 20:48

The Kings Arms, Dorking

Old-fashioned, un-modernised sort of pub - a surprising survival for a town-centre location. Six real ale handpumps (four on when I last visited, including the Whitstable IPA and two more beers to come from that brewery). Opted for a pint from a small Sussex brewery that I never heard of - a distinctive flavour, but a decent pint in a proper (if a bit 'rough and ready') pub.

10 Feb 2009 18:52

The Prince Of Wales, Dorking

An old-fashioned back-street pub, and none the worse for that. The sort of place that notices a stranger, but doesn't make them feel uncomfortable. Excellent pint of Pride, and well worth the walk southwards from Dorking town centre.

10 Feb 2009 18:32

Kings Head, Mayfair

Quite a large Nicholson's pub, and not too overcrowded at a busy time of day (early evening). As usual with this chain, the beer was nothing to write home about, but overall not too bad.

3 Feb 2009 22:43

The Clarence, Mayfair

Odd-shaped Nicholson's bar, with the usual not-quite-so-good-as-it-should-be pint of real ale (6X on my recent visit). Most notable for the sign behind the bar which states that they will top up your beer if you think it has too much of a head (which could be a useful tip for the tourists, or an indication of a frequently asked question - who knows which?).

3 Feb 2009 22:34

The Crown, Soho

Appearance-wise, a fairly typical central London pub. Smaller than most Nicholson's, but you always seem to get a decent pint here (unlike most of that chain's outlets which tend to disappoint). You usually seem to get a friendly selection of customers in too.

3 Feb 2009 22:24

The English Rose, Luton

Friendly community pub, obviously making a real effort to provide the good people of Luton with a decent and varied selection of proper beer. Had three winter ales on when I visited. Well worth the short walk from the station if you are passing through Luton.

30 Jan 2009 21:17

The Bricklayers Arms, Luton

This place has a very solid front door which makes it difficult to know whether it is actually open. However, once inside, what you get is a basic - somewhat old-fashioned - community pub (i.e. a thoroughly good thing). Had a pint of ?somebody's? Extra Pale Ale which looked slightly hazy but tasted just fine. Very handy for the station too.

30 Jan 2009 21:08

The Speaker, Westminster

Last reviewed this place over two years ago, but I'm pleased to say that very little has changed . You'll always get a good pint here, and they make an effort to get a good range of ale in (as well as having regular beer festivals). Had an excellent pint of Edwin Taylor's Extra Stout today. Can get busy, but deservedly so.

29 Jan 2009 00:24

The Abbey, Westminster

Modern-style underground bar, looking a bit like a lager-drinkers paradise from both street level and down below, but with four handpumps. Had quite a reasonable pint of Jennings 'Cross Buttock' (something to do with Cumberland wrestling, apparrently). Rather better than I expected.

29 Jan 2009 00:12

The The Old Monk Exchange, Westminster

In some ways, a typical London 'pub in a cellar', but actually rather more pleasant that most Davy's and similar places. Friendly staff, and a very nice pint of winter beer - Potbelly Brewery's Beijing Black. All-in-all, much better than I expected.

29 Jan 2009 00:02

The Lamb, Bloomsbury

A proper pub, not spoiled (yet) by the Youngs makeover team. Many interesting, original features. Well-kept beer. Really rather good, and thus recommended to all those who fancy a walk since it isn't very close to any Underground station.

24 Jan 2009 00:45

Foresters Arms, Bedford

Traditional community local, with a modest range of real ale (despite the large number of handpumps on both front and back bars). Usually Courage Directors, but the Wells Eagle IPA was also on when I visited recently and was on good form.

24 Jan 2009 00:36

The Wentworth Arms, Mile End

Real, old-fashioned corner local, with a good community atmosphere but without the uncomfortable stares you sometimes get as a visitor to such places. Had to make do with the keg Bombardier, but I suppose you have to try most things once...

22 Jan 2009 22:15

The Palm Tree, Mile End

Curious location, stuck out on its own in the middle of Mile End park. Interesting interior with lots of memorabilia. Got there at around dusk - and initially thought that the place was shut - but it appeared that the landlord was just saving on electricity (and I think he only turned the lights on when he couldn't see the till). Reasonable pint of Davenports ???, but expensive at £3.20. A mixed bag, but well worth the walk from Mile End station.

22 Jan 2009 22:09

Goose, Wood Green

A rather rank sort of place (i.e. par for the course for a Goose), but cheap - Abbot at just £1.85 and Greene King IPA at less than that. Somewhat to my surprise, the Abbot wasn't too bad either.

22 Jan 2009 21:57

Railway Inn, Enfield

A traditional sort of pub, at the 'cheap and cheerful' end of the market (but none the worse for that, as it appears to be well run). No real ale unfortunately, so had to do with keg Whitbread Best (just like the old days...).

22 Jan 2009 21:14

The Opera Tavern, Covent Garden

Not too bad atmosphere-wise for a Nicholson's pub, but I do wish they wouldn't put silly tea-light candles on the small tables without some sort protection... Should have complained when I got given a rather cloudy pint of something unmemorable, but it tasted marginally better than it looked. Won't rush back.

15 Jan 2009 21:08

The Lyceum, Strand

Reasonable Sam Smiths pub, which thankfully has OBB on handpump. Usually worth heading up the stairs in busy periods.

15 Jan 2009 20:57

The Masons Arms, Fitzrovia

Spitfire, Old Peculier and Deuchars IPA on today. Nothing special, but the beer was fine and the place seemed fairly busy for the time of day/day of week.

14 Jan 2009 00:13

The Stags Head, Fitzrovia

Very average pint of TEA, and not a lot of character. OK for a 'quick one', I suppose, but don't go out of your way to visit this place on current form.

14 Jan 2009 00:09

The Running Horse, Mayfair

OK sort of place, close to Bond Street tube but just far enough away from the Oxford Street rush to avoid overcrowding. Slightly annoying use of unnecessarily high stools and tables. Pride and Broadside on handpump.

2 Jan 2009 20:51

The Plumbers Arms, Victoria

Reasonable pub, just a short walk from Victoria (and certainly rather better than most of the others near the station). The London Pride was off, but the Youngs 'Ordinary' was fine.

2 Jan 2009 20:45

The Oval Tavern, Croydon

A bit hidden away, but only a short walk from East Croydon satation. Fairly basic pub, but obviously makes an effort with an interesting line-up of live music events. Nice pint of Caledonian Ale Lang Syne.

2 Jan 2009 20:39

The Claret Free House, Addiscombe

An unlikely-looking real ale (and malt whisky) emporium, but six welcoming handpumps leave one spoilt for choice. Could easily have had the Dark Star Imperial Stout (at 10.5%) and stayed all day, but had things to do so settled for the more manageable 4.5% Sussex Extra Stout. All-in-all, an excellent place.

2 Jan 2009 20:07

The Cricketers, Croydon

Friendly, busy and a bit tatty. Only two of the six handpumps on, due to better-than-expected sales over the Christmas/New Year period (who says there is no demand for real ale?). Nice pint of Westerham Puddledock Porter. A proper pub.

2 Jan 2009 19:56

The Hare and Hounds, Framfield

Decent village pub, with a friendly landlord. The pint of Harveys Old was spot on.

29 Dec 2008 18:55

The Three Cups Inn, Heathfield

Friendly roadside inn, with a pint of Harveys Old enjoyed in front of a blazing log fire on a cold, crisp winter day. What more could one want?

29 Dec 2008 18:38

The Beaconsfield, Kensington

Has always had a rather cold atmosphere, with some rather dubious characters amongst the clientele and disinterested bar staff. Having said that, they usually have a couple of real ales on if you happen to be escaping from an exhibition or just waiting for a train/tube from the nearby Kensington Olympia station. Reasonable pint of Morrissey Fox Mulled Ale had today.

24 Dec 2008 22:02

Ruby Lounge, Kings Cross

DJ and cocktail bar, which gets plenty of good reviews but isn't really my sort of place (but there again, I'm probably not really their sort of customer either). Still, it sells Hoegaarden at and a few other draught continental beers (at a price).

17 Dec 2008 21:38

The Jolly Sailor, Canterbury

Rather characterless pub (supposedly having a nautical theme, but apart from the name you would be hard pressed to identify it). Claims to be an 'ale house', but only has two handpumps. Nice enough pint of Masterbrew, though.

17 Dec 2008 21:25

The Cock Inn, Luddesdowne

If you've got visitors from foreign parts, and you want to take them to a proper country pub, this is just the sort of place you need to take them to. Although they do food, the emphasis is, quite rightly, on providing excellent beer in pleasant and interesting surroundings. Thoroughly recommended.

17 Dec 2008 21:19

The Glasshouse Stores, Piccadilly Circus

As with many Sam Smith's pubs in the area, would be much better with OBB on handpunp. However, its a decent enough place and there are worse things than a pint of draught stout at a little over £2.

15 Dec 2008 23:20

The Devonshire Arms, Piccadilly

One of those London pubs which seems like a Nicholson's, but isn't. Plenty of wooden decor. Reasonable choice of real ales (5), with an OK pint of the seasonal Rosey Nosey. Not a lot of atmosphere.

15 Dec 2008 23:13

The Blue Posts, Soho

Proper, old fashioned boozer - including grumpy-looking landlord, indifferent but efficient barmaids, old bloke who looked like he used to work on a market stall singing songs at the bar and a reasonable pint of Courage Best. Not many places like this left in central London.

11 Dec 2008 00:22

The Kings Arms, Fitzrovia

Seems like quite a nice place to go for a pint in mid-evening in the middle of the week - not too busy, but enough customers to give the place a reasonable atmosphere. Decent pint of Black Sheep.

11 Dec 2008 00:16

The George, Great Portland Street

Quite an interesting interior, and a friendly atmosphere. Even the Christmas decorations (which I usually find pretty charmless in most pubs) almost started to make me feel like it's time to get into the festive spirit. Can't now recall what pint I had (probably something from Greene King), but the beer was certainly OK too.

11 Dec 2008 00:09

The Dover Castle, Marylebone

Excellent Sam Smiths pub, tucked away in a mews near Harley Street. OBB on handpump. Recommended.

11 Dec 2008 00:02

The New Moon, Bank

Not too bad, but very little in the way of seating and it's a Greene King house (enough said for some).

8 Dec 2008 22:53

The Henry Holland, Marylebone

Rather an austere external appearance, and a distinctly cool (not in the good way) atmosphere inside. The London Pride was OK though.

7 Dec 2008 16:59

The Lamb and Flag, Marylebone

Very busy when I visited, with both ground floor and upstairs bars full. Nothing special, but the staff were reasonably efficient and the Bombardier was OK.

7 Dec 2008 16:51

The Pontefract Castle, Marylebone

One of Nicholson's better efforts, with seating on four levels (although if you want decent beer, you're better off staying on the ground floor). The Stonehenge Ales Eye-Opener (which I thought was a seasonal summer brew) was a tasty pint.

7 Dec 2008 16:48

Kings Head, Five Oak Green

One of two pubs in a small village, but one wonders how much longer both will last in the current economic climate. Much more of a community pub than one aimed at the passing trade or as a dining destination. The Harveys was past its best, but at least this one is still going (and I am happy to support important community facilities such as this in the hope that I will get a better pint next time, because if people give up too easily, there won't be a next time).

6 Dec 2008 17:12

Yates's, Leicester Square

I think I visited this place once before, just after it opened, and didn't feel the need to rush back (the majority of BITE reviews only reinforcing my original opinion). However, for some reason that now escapes me, I went back in again and the first thing I saw was a barman serving two 'pints' of lager that stopped at least an inch short of the top of each glass (although the youthful recipients didn't seem to notice). I nearly turned and left, but thought that I might as well try the Bombardier since I wasn't expecting to see any operational handpumps. Much to my amazement, I got a) a full pint; and b) a perfectly drinkable beer. I wouldn't recommend this place to anybody, but life is full of little surprises...

4 Dec 2008 22:13

The Porcupine, Leicester Square

Small for a Nicholson's pub, but seems to offer better-kept beer than most (with a very reasonable pint of the light Cairngorm 'Autumn Nuts' on offer at the moment). As said before, not many seats downstairs and the upstairs seating claims to be table-service only (although I can't confirm, not being a fan of such strange continental practices in what is otherwise a traditional central London pub).

3 Dec 2008 23:29

THE Distillers, Hammersmith

I'm surprised that this place doesn't have a higher rating than the surrent figure of 5.2. Plenty of space, reasonable modern decor, and a nice pint of Pure UBU from the Purity Brewing Co. Close to the Apollo, and much better than most of the other central Hammersmith pubs.

1 Dec 2008 21:38

The Stanhope Arms, Kensington

Rather a cold atmosphere, I thought, and the early Christmas decorations didn't add much yo-ho-ho to the proceedings. Still, it's close to the underground station, they offer a decent pint of Spitfire.

1 Dec 2008 21:29

The Hereford Arms, South Kensington

Pretty full on an early Sunday evening, with a quiet but friendly atmosphere. Bar staff were on the ball, and I enjoyed a nice pint of Bateman's Rosey Nosey. PS - Reference the other comments below, there are now chairs and tables outside.

1 Dec 2008 21:25

The Duke of Clarence, South Kensington

Very busy on an early Sunday evening, with a good atmosphere of mostly young (and wealthy-looking) customers. In fact, it appeared quite difficult for those wishing to eat to find a flat spot anywhere to put a plate down. Only other problem, trying to convince the visitors to our shores behind the bar that the word 'Pint' printed on a glass wasn't the point to which the receptacle needed to be filled, and that if it didn't have a line then it should be filled to the top. Doh!

1 Dec 2008 21:19

The Bull Inn, Linton

Traditional village inn on a main road, which has concentrated on food in recent times. There have been a few changes of management over the years, but the current team seem to have got this place back to what it should always have been. Well-kept Shepherd Neame beers (3 handpumps). Much more friendly atmosphere than on my last visit.

30 Nov 2008 14:10

The Crown and Cushion, Waterloo

Old-fashioned town boozer, crammed full of all sorts of odds and ends, and with a noticeable Irish element in both customers and decor. I'm sure that you can get an excellent pint of Guiness here, but the Greene King IPA was on good form.

26 Nov 2008 21:08

The Red Lion, Egham

Went at a quiet time (mid-afternoon) and had a reasonable pint of Brakspeare Bitter, served in the correct glass too. The only odd thing about the place was the curious vibration coming through the floor in the far corner at the front of the bar (presumably some piece of noisy equipment in a cellar below).

26 Nov 2008 20:48

Lifeboat, Folkestone

Basic but friendly pub on a back street, but with a good choice of ale - 4 handpumps on when I was there, but also three more which are put into use in busy periods. Well worth the short walk from the harbour area.

24 Nov 2008 21:59

The Woolpack, Brookland

Very friendly and picturesque 15th-century pub just off the A259, south-west of Brookland, on Walland Marsh. Nice pint of Late Red.

24 Nov 2008 21:55

The Queens Arms, Pimlico

Looked a bit more 'gastro' than pub from the outside, but managed to serve quite a reasonable pint of Harveys. Not too bad...

21 Nov 2008 23:35

The Prince of Wales, Pimlico

Middling sort of pub - Abbot (on) and GK IPA (off). Nothing special, but I've been to plenty worse...

21 Nov 2008 23:32

The Marquis Of Westminster, Victoria

Rating of 2.6? I don't think so - it's not a great pub, but it served a reasonable pint ot TT Landlord (also with the ubiquitous London Pride on draught) and had plenty of happy-ish looking customers enjoying their eveing out.

21 Nov 2008 23:27

St. George's Tavern, Victoria

Slightly better than most Nicholson's pubs, with a modestly most adventurous choice of real ales (including an interesting Blueberry Bitter from Coach House Brewery).

21 Nov 2008 23:21

The Old House at Home, Maidstone

Used to be quite a genteel place many years ago, but now more of a 'big screen sport' pub with a clientele to match. However, one of the few pubs where Courage Best is still the beer of choice.

19 Nov 2008 22:44

The Royal Albion, Maidstone

Dead as a dodo on a Wednesday night (but probably due to the fact that it wasn't showing the England vs Germany friendly), this Sheps house is certainly better than most town-centre pubs. During the day, a handy spot to escape to if your other half finds the soulless shops of Fremlin Walk more appealing than a pint of Master Brew.

19 Nov 2008 22:38

Earl's, Maidstone

Known more for live music and TV sport than its beer, but the pint of John Smith's Cask that I had was better than I was expecting (but that's not saying much...).

19 Nov 2008 22:32

The Mash Tun, Victoria Station

Tiny station 'pub', about the size of a small corner newsagents, but the sliding glass windows and 'outside' (concourse) seating make this a less unpleasant spot to snatch a quick pint than some places I can think of. Must be run by Select Service Partner, though, as you get the annoying "Would you like a packet of crisps or peanuts with that sir?" script when you order.

19 Nov 2008 22:26

The Rising Sun, Blackfriars

Pretty basic for a City pub - nothing fancy but a reasonable atmosphere and a decent pint (of some real ale, but not memorable enough to recall exactly what).

18 Nov 2008 23:11

The Witness Box, City of London

Obviously popular with the regulars, the underground bar had a rather chemical smell but managed to dispense a reasonable pint of Courage Best.

18 Nov 2008 22:59

The Cheshire Cheese, Temple

Nice enough old pub, but ridiculously over-priced (pint of Adnams Bitter and a small packet of Walkers Ready Salted - cheapest beer and cheapest crisps - £3.80).

18 Nov 2008 22:55

Goose, Fulham

Cheap - with three pints of Deuchars IPA coming in at a little of £5 - but had all the atmosphere (and clientele) of an old-people's home.

18 Nov 2008 22:46

The Prince of Wales, West Brompton

Not brilliant, but much better than many of the other pubs nearby. Had a reasonable pint of Bateman's red Scorpions Tale.

18 Nov 2008 22:39

Britannia, Euston Station

I can't be too hard on any pub that sold a decent pint of Fuller's London Porter, so I'll just note that this is not the worst station pub in London...

15 Nov 2008 20:25

The Whitefriars Olde Ale House, Coventry

The pub up the road had bouncers on the doors, and the one in between didn't need them as the customers hanging around outside did the trick. However, this pub sells decent beer (including a good range from the local Slaughterhouse brewery), and the other two almost certainly don't. Interesting interior, and really rather good.

12 Nov 2008 22:14

Flying Standard, Coventry

Quite good for a city-centre 'spoons, with an excellent range of real ales on during the 'Novemberfest', including a very nice pint of Titanic Iron Cutain to round off the evening.

12 Nov 2008 22:04

Earl of Mercia, Coventry

I suppose that it had something to do with the Real Ale festival being on (and perhaps because it was a Monday night), but this seemed more like a normal Wetherspoons than a Lloyds No. 1 bar. Anyway, the beer was good, the atmosphere was fine, and I find it hard to understand the current low rating.

12 Nov 2008 22:00

Felix Holt, Nuneaton

Pretty ordinary 'spoons, but with a good selection of Real Ale festival beers on at £1.55 per pint (including the interesting, hoppy California Pale Ale) one really can't complain too much.

12 Nov 2008 21:48

City Tavern, City Of London

Didn't have time to visit the roof terrace, but this place seemed to have a bit more character than most City pubs. Limited choice of Greene King beers, but well kept.

4 Nov 2008 23:27

The Cross Keys, St Albans

Fairly typical Wetherspoons, but an execellent selection of the Real Ales festival beers on (about 10 to choose from) - a better bet than the nearby Lloyds No. 1 (Waterend Barn), and cheaper too...

4 Nov 2008 23:23

Waterend Barn, St Albans

Perhaps I went there at a good time (early Tuesday evening), but it seemed OK to me. Nice old building, and enough staff behind the bar. However, just three of the Real Ale festival beers were on (plus three other real ales).

4 Nov 2008 23:19

The White House, Luton

Perhaps I went there at a good time (early Tuesday evening), but it seemed OK to me. Two levels, with a number of arm chairs as well as high and low tables. Enough staff behind the bar, and no bouncers. Four of the Real Ale festival beers were on.

4 Nov 2008 23:12

Est Bar, Luton Airport

Disinterested staff selling overpriced lager to customers who would rather be somewhere else...

31 Oct 2008 20:34

The Blue Posts, Piccadilly

Have had a dodgy pint here in the past, but the Timothy Taylor Landlord was in good condition today. The small upstairs room (with generally non-functioning bar) doesn't look exactly finished, but downstairs is usually pretty full so can be worth a try. Not great, but you can certainly do much worse in the Shaftesbury Avenue area.

16 Oct 2008 22:33

Buffalo's Head, Maidstone

The future of this small pub was in considerable doubt a few years ago, but fortunately is still going (unlike the Post Office and village shop that bit the dust recently). Nothing special, but still a valued community asset that sells a reasonable pint of Master Brew too.

10 Oct 2008 19:54

The Devereux, Temple

I thought that I had come across an unmarked example of the Nicholson's chain, except the beer quality (Theakstons Grouse Beater) was better and the service quicker. This place must have had some character once, but the interior is much less interesting than the historic location would suggest.

8 Oct 2008 23:07

The Spotted Dog, Dorking

Slightly characterless pub inside, but has a modern wooden terrace with a nice view of the Surrey hills above the town roofs and distinctly old-fashioned gents toilets out the back. Three real ales on including a reasonable pint of Courage best.

6 Oct 2008 22:08

The Queens Head, Dorking

Unremarkable, and just far enough away from the town centre for passing visitors to be something of a novelty. However, friendly enough and the Chiswick was in good condition.

6 Oct 2008 22:03

The Junction, Redhill

This is my review from June 2008 which somehow got removed from BITE: "This quote is taken verbatim from The Junction's website: "The Junction at Redhill offers the highest quality of [PRODUCTS / SERVICES] on the market today. Since [FOUNDED], we have provided superior service to our customers and have assisted them in achieving their goals. Our [2007S] of experience and commitment to excellence have earned us the reputation as the best [INDUSTRY TYPE] in the area." This probably tells you as much as you need to know about the care and attention to detail in this place. Actually, it is slightly better than it was last year, but still no real ale."

6 Oct 2008 21:16

The Dragon, Redhill

Very sadly, this place seems to be on its last legs - the main door is blocked off and I had to double check that the place was actually open when I found the back door. Looks more like a chinese restaurant than a pub, no real ale (only Master Brew or Bishops Finger in bottled form), and no other customers in at 6pm. Had a good chat with the landlord who put certain things in context, but I can only hope that something can be found to turn things around to restore the evening trade - Redhill can't afford to loose one of its few (potentially) decent pubs.

6 Oct 2008 21:11

The Albion, Boughton Monchelsea

Nothing special, except that it respresents that increasingly rare breed - a decent community pub. Not a Sheps house, but the two real ales on were Master Brew and Spitfire. I was intrigued by the oriental decor in the lounge bar, but the friendly barmaid revealed that it had been done temporarily for a special curry night the previous evening.

3 Oct 2008 18:33

The Union Jack, Southwark

Looks like it should be quite a good pub, but got served a distinctly 'past its best' pint of Fullers Discovery which rather put me of the place. Perhaps I went on a bad day - will have to try again sometime...

1 Oct 2008 22:08

The Lord Clyde, Borough

A great, traditional boozer with a very friendly atmosphere. Five real ales on - always in excellent condition - albeit with a rather unadventurous choice of London Pride, Spitfire, Greene King IPA, Youngs Ordinary and Broadside. Well worth a visit.

1 Oct 2008 21:55

The Phoenix, Bedford

Traditional community pub, selling a reasonable pint of Eagle IPA. Seemed friendly enough as well, so I can't understand the current low rating of 4.5 given the last three reviews below.

29 Sep 2008 21:23

The Kings Arms, Bedford

Seems like a decent pub with a bit of character to me, so can't understand the low rating (currently 5.4) that doesn't equate with the reasonably good reviews given by others below. Reasonable pint of the seasonal Bonkers Conkers. One of the better pubs in Bedford, so worth a short walk southwards from the town centre and over the bridge.

29 Sep 2008 21:17

The Mill Hotel, Bedford

More modern inside that the external appearance would suggest. Empty on a Sunday evening, but it looks like it could be a reasonable place with a few punters in to give it some atmoshere. Several real ales on, including a nice pint of Bombardier.

29 Sep 2008 21:09

Hobgoblin, Bedford

Completely deserted on a Sunday night, just a very bored-looking barman looking at his watch. Only one handpump working, serving an OK pint of Butcombe Bitter. Almost made the Litten Tree across the road look a better bet - it was that bad - and thus doomed, I should imagine...

29 Sep 2008 21:03

The Cross Keys, Bedford

Virtually empty on a Sunday night - only a guy having a very edgy row with the manager, a person playing the saxophone intermittently and possibly somebody else lurking at the back. Doesn't look like the sort of place that sells real ale - all red and green lighting, and music loud enough to defeat any attempt at conversation - but they actually served a reasonable pint of Tribute. Strange place.

29 Sep 2008 20:56

The City Pride, Clerkenwell

Disappointed with the amount of froth served on top of my 'pint' of Discovery - as if I wouldn't a) notice, and b) ask for a top up. Anyway, the beer was fine but the place had a rather anonymous/antiseptic feel. Not one of Fuller's finest.

29 Sep 2008 20:32

Royal Oak, Tonbridge

One of the more rough and ready pubs on Shipbourne Road but, somewhat to my surprise, the served a perfectly respectable pint of Harveys from the single handpump.

29 Sep 2008 19:26

The Angel and Crown, Leicester Square

Busy, efficient pub which is just far enough from Leicester Square and Covent Garden to avoid being overrun by the hordes. Usually four real ales on.

26 Sep 2008 21:39

The Nelson, Norwich

Actually the bar/restaurant for the Premier Inn above, but not too bad for a newish hotel bar (fitted out by the corporate pub-by-numbers team) and a nice location by the river. Only one real ale, but this was a reasonable pint of Woodforde's Wherry. Handy for the railway station.

26 Sep 2008 21:16

The City Arms, Cardiff

Fairly basic, traditional pub located right outside Cardiff Arms Park and the Millennium Stadium (so it must get very busy on match days). Nice pint of Brains SA, and Brains Bitter was also available on the other handpump.

25 Sep 2008 23:34

Y Tair Pluen, Cardiff

Probably very busy at night, but a fairly quiet city centre pub during the day. Three real ales on when I visited, including a decent pint of Hanby's Cascade.

25 Sep 2008 23:22

The Rummer Tavern, Cardiff

Looks like an interesting old pub, but the tables near the stairs had a distinct aroma of toilet chemicals wafting up from below. Only one real ale on offer (a reasonable pint of Hancocks HB).

25 Sep 2008 23:14

The Goat Major, Cardiff

Really rather good for a city centre pub - probably sufficiently old-fashioned to keep some of the more disruptive elements out. Four Brains real ales on draught, including a nice pint of Dark.

25 Sep 2008 23:06

The Sawyers Arms, Paddington

OK-ish sort of pub, but you just know that they are going to serve you a 'pint' with 3/4 inch of bubbles on top (and they don't disappoint). The barman didn't look too keen to top-up my glass, but I eventually ended up with a respectable pint of Bombardier. One of the better establishments within a few minutes walk of Paddington station (but that is fairly faint praise...).

25 Sep 2008 22:56

The Isambard, Paddington

Not too bad for a railway station pub, with a decent pint of Fuller's Discovery on offer (even if I did have to ask for it to be topped up). However, this is the only pub that I can think of where you automatically get asked "Would you like a packet of crisps or some nuts with that?" - straight out of the corporate script that the company (Select Service Partner, at a guess) issues to its 'operatives'.

25 Sep 2008 22:43

Compleat Angler, Norwich

Somewhat better than I expected - the interior isn't up to much, but it has a good location beside the river (and is very close to the railway station). Had a decent pint of Woodforde’s Norfolk Nog (one of 5 real ales on offer).

24 Sep 2008 00:31

The Freemasons Arms, Norwich

Quiet pub, possibly suffering location-wise from proximity of several other top-notch beer pubs. However, five real ales are on offer, served direct from the tap room at the back. Had a very pleasant pint of the local Winter's Golden.

24 Sep 2008 00:27

The Kings Arms, Norwich

A proper beer-drinkers pub - it might do food as well, but who cares when you've got a choice of 12 real ales? Several Bateman's beers on, but also many from small local breweries (including a very nice pint of Winter's Mild). Thoroughly recommended.

24 Sep 2008 00:22

Trafford Arms, Norwich

First class pub, with an excellent choice of 10 real ales (including a very nice pint of Woodforde's Admiral's Reserve. Seek it out!

24 Sep 2008 00:14

The Rose Tavern, Norwich

Friendly community local, well worth seeking out. Three of four handpumps on when visited, including a very decent pint of Chalk Hill Bitter.

24 Sep 2008 00:10

Champion, Norwich

Bateman's pub, just outside the city walls and near the bus station. Choice of 5 real ales, and the XB was on good form. Only niggle is the slightly annoying piped (jazz) music, otherwise a very decent place for a pint.

24 Sep 2008 00:06

Honest Miller, Brook

Traditional-looking village pub, given something of an interior makeover recently which somehow seems a bit too organised. Pleasant beer garden. Two real ales offered, and the Sharps Doom Bar went down well.

23 Sep 2008 23:58

The Crown Inn, Sarre

Historic coaching inn, with a distinctive appearance due to the name, etc. being painted on the plain white exterior rather than having a pub sign (although there is one at the back) or embossed lettering. Fairly traditional interior, as you would expect, with three Shepherd Neame ales on offer.

23 Sep 2008 23:55

Trattoria Bar, London City Airport

Expensive bar with a limited range of lagers and no proper beer, but with a few tables overlooking the runway and apron to help while away the time.

23 Sep 2008 23:42

Coffee Corner, London City Airport

Expensive, table-service bar with a limited range of lagers and no proper beer.

23 Sep 2008 23:40

The St Crispin Inn, Worth

Historic village pub with a newer (but sympathetic) accommodation building added at the back. Several real ales on, including a nice pint of Harveys. Not visible (or signposted, as far as I could see) from the 'main' road through the village (itself bypassed), but well worth seeking out.

21 Sep 2008 23:47

The Brew Wharf, London Bridge

I agree with mps77 - a current user rating of 2.7/10 (rated by 39 users) is absurd. This is certainly not a great pub, it's probably not even a good pub, but it does sell real ale - both their own brews and guests - and a wide range of (eye-wateringly expensive) bottled beers. There may be plenty of better and/or better-value pubs in the area, but Brew Wharf is hardly comparable to the likes of the typical Walkabout / Litten Tree / Yates's that (deservedly) get this sort of mark. I'm in a charitable mood, so I'll give it a '6' since I enjoyed my pint of Exhibition from the Bristol Beer Factory.

18 Sep 2008 21:40

The Ivy House, Tonbridge

Interesting old pub, with various ups and downs over the years. As other reviewers suggest, it looks like they've spent about 50p on maintenance in the last decade (or two). Unlike my last visit, they actually managed to have some real ales on, and the Harveys really wasn't too bad. Was once a very good pub, and could be so again..

13 Sep 2008 16:01

The Crown, Covent Garden

Unremarkable pub, with more customers standing around outside having a smoke than sitting down inside. The barstaff seemingly have a very limited grasp of what constitutes a full pint - every single pint of draught bitter I saw poured was well under measure, and lager drinkers only got a full glass if the barperson was too busy talking to flick the tap back up overly quickly. However, actually had quite a reasonable pint of Duchy Originals Organic Bitter on draught (which I had only ever seen in bottled form before) once I explained the concept of 'topping up' for the third time to a very unhappy-looking East European barman.

11 Sep 2008 21:18

The Rose and Crown, Southwark

Decent, unpretentious pub with a relaxed atmosphere and spacious feel due to the high ceilings. Serves a nice pint of London Pride and two other real ales.

10 Sep 2008 22:12

Boatyard Inn, BANGOR

Decent, food-orientated pub also offering very reasonable bed-and-breakfast accommodation. Well kept Marstons ales. Formerly the Union Tavern but, as the new name suggests, right by the small harbour in the Garth area of Bangor.

7 Sep 2008 22:47

The Tap and Spile, Bangor

The best pub I visited in Bangor, by far, furnished in a traditional style. Choice of about 7 real ales, including the local Snowdonia Ale from Bragdy Mŵs Piws (Purple Moose Brewery). Handy stop before or after a bracing walk along the historic pier.

7 Sep 2008 22:29

The Black Bull Inn, Bangor

Perfectly reasonable Wetherspoons, with a good mix of customers (the majority of whom were also enjoying a meal). Nice pint of Arundel Footslogger (but I should have asked for the sparkler to be removed as a southern ale doesn't deserve this abuse!).

7 Sep 2008 22:16

The Tap and Spile, Wolverhampton

Basic but interesting 'back street' pub (despite being very close to the town centre). Perhaps I caught it on a bad day as there were only two real ales on, but the Titanic Iceberg was good and came at a reasonable price.

7 Sep 2008 21:19

The Great Western, Wolverhampton

What a great place - really enjoyed my pint of Holden's Special so decided to stay for a quick sandwich and my first-ever pint of Bathams. Lots of interesting memorabilia, and very handy for Wolverhampton station (once you have worked out the less-than-obvious route).

7 Sep 2008 21:13

The Express, Crewe

OK sort of pub, let down by a lack of real ale. First impression is that its very much a local's 'local', but they seemed friendly enough to a stranger who had obviously just walked up from Crewe station.

7 Sep 2008 19:54

The British Lion (the Pig), Crewe

Simply-furnished pub, with a friendly landlady and a decent pint of cask Tetleys. Good place to stop if changing trains at Crewe station (about 5 minutes walk).

7 Sep 2008 19:49

The Scarbrough Hotel, Leeds

Very handy for the main railway station, and offers a good selection of real ales to thirsty travellers (including a decent Robinsons Unicorn today).

1 Sep 2008 22:41

The Adelphi, Leeds

Characterful interior, with many historic features. Five real ales on today, including a very decent pint of Old Mill (Snaith) Summer Sunshine. Well worth the short walk out from the city centre.

1 Sep 2008 22:35

Aire, Leeds

Definitely a bar rather than a pub, and the best thing about the place is its location in a quiet spot with a nice terrace overlooking the River Aire (although it will be better still when something is done about the next-door car park). Large choice of draught lagers, but the Timothy Taylor Landlord was perfectly acceptable.

1 Sep 2008 22:29

Whitelocks, Leeds

A Leeds institution, and always worth a visit (if you can find it). Six real ales on today, but settled for a very nice pint of Nick Stafford's Hambleton Ales 'Nightmare Stout'.

1 Sep 2008 22:19

The Ship, Borough

Good Fullers pub, with more of a local feel than some of the after-work establishments closer to London Bridge station. Nice pint of Discovery.

1 Sep 2008 22:10

The Boot, St Pancras

There's a big 'however' coming later in this brief review, but I really quite like this place. It has a friendly atmosphere and is tidy and unpretentious (and fortunately the outside no longer looks so garish as shown in the photograph above). However, no real ale! Even if it had just one well-kept, proper beer then I would give this place a high rating...

30 Aug 2008 21:31

The Fountain Inn, Barming

This place has looked run down for many years, but the current management seem to be making more of an effort. Somewhat to my surprise, it had two real ales on - the light draught version of Wychwood WychCraft as well as Courage Best.

26 Aug 2008 23:21

The Tickled Trout, West Farleigh

Nice old place, with a large restaurant but only a small bar. Big garden with plenty of benches and a good childrens' play area. Does reasonably priced bar snacks as well as the full menu. Caught the Spitfire on the way out at the end of the barrel but the Old Speckled Hen was OK.

25 Aug 2008 15:09

The British Queen, Maidstone

Was the office pub of choice when I worked in south Maidstone (a bit surprising since the Pilot was closer), but still a reliable backstreet pub selling reasonably priced food. Used to have several Shepherd Neame beers on draught, but only Master Brew on my last visit.

23 Aug 2008 17:14

The Greyhound, Maidstone

Quiet backstreet pub, with a homely feel (old fireplace with mirror above and vase of flowers on the mantelpiece, etc.). Landlord takes care of his beer and sells a nice pint of Master Brew. Often has Kent's Best on as well.

23 Aug 2008 17:08

The Dragoon, Maidstone

Once on the main road to the Medway Towns, now a locals pub on a quiet street. Lots of sport on different TVs, but friendly staff and a very dcenet pint of Master Brew.

23 Aug 2008 17:03

The Brickmakers Arms, Maidstone

Curious place, the sort of backstreet local that one might expect to just serve a couple of lagers and nothing else. However, serves a decent pint of Master Brew and, as noted below, seems friendly enough.

23 Aug 2008 16:57

Wetherspoons T4L, Heathrow Airport

Pokey little 'spoons, hidden away in the landside mezzanine area. Otherwise much as you would expect, with decent beer but little charm...

19 Aug 2008 21:44

Wheatsheaf, Waltham Cross

Well maintained community pub, close to Theobolds Grove railway station. Nice pint of County.

18 Aug 2008 22:03

The Green Man, Knightsbridge

Even knowing (having done my internet research beforehand) that it was going to cost me £4.50 for a London Pride, it was still quite hard to hand over so much cash for a pint. However, given that the place is a complete fake, it was a surprisingly pleasant place to spend a bit of time removed from the shopping hell upstairs. The beer was OK too.

18 Aug 2008 20:40

The Shepherds Tavern, Mayfair

Good location near Shepherd Market, looks OK inside and out, beer (London Pride on this occasion) perfectly acceptable, but - yes - most that you read below about the staff in this place in correct in my experience...

18 Aug 2008 20:32

The Tower, Redhill

Looks OK from the outside, but once inside it gives the impression of being the sort of place where you expect the police to come in at any moment, find somebody to take away to 'help with their inquiries' and depart to a chorus of "f*** off you w***ers" from the charmless clientele. And so it proved to be! No real ale, but had my first pint of keg Pedigree (that was served so cold it could easily have been John Smiths or Caffreys for all the taste it had left) - not an experience I plan to repeat in the near future. Currently put up for letting by the Marston's Pub Company (as the rather large and off-putting sign on the High Street facade makes clear).

18 Aug 2008 20:21

The Gallery, City Of London

Loud, busy City bar. Served a reasonable pint of Adnams Broadside (once one got served, that is).

15 Aug 2008 20:58

Red Lion, Monument

Typical Nicholson's pub. Busy at street level, but worth looking downstairs if you want to sit down. OK pint of Thwaites Wainwright.

15 Aug 2008 20:53

Vine Inn, Waltham Cross

Modern McMullens pub at the north end of Waltham Cross town centre. Had a very reasonable pint of County sitting outside in the front beer garden, and enjoyed sitting out in the sunshine watching the world go by.

15 Aug 2008 20:35

Ship, Monument

One of the better Nicholson's, and less crowded than it used to be since about half of the clientele now seems to standing out in the alleyway having a smoke. Even if busy downstairs, the upper room usually has plenty of space. Had a reasonable pint of Robinson's Olympic Gold.

13 Aug 2008 20:28

The Nell Gwynne, Covent Garden

The whole place used to smell like a toilet, but this problem seems to have been resolved. However, the Bombardier was on the turn and could hardly be recommended. One day I'll call in and find it to be the good pub that it obviously has the potential to achieve.

31 Jul 2008 15:02

The Porterhouse, Covent Garden

The only bad thing about this place is overcrowding - and that's there for good reason. It's not exactly a real ale stronghold (usually 2, sometimes 3, beers on handpumps) but it does have an excellent range of draught beers from Ireland's Porterhouse brewery plus one of the best selections of bottled beers in the country. Try to go at a quieter time of day, and you should have a great time.

31 Jul 2008 14:57

The Brewmaster, Leicester Square

Run-of-the-mill central London pub, but the upstairs bar is probably the better bet. Despite what 'rampantwurzel' said below, it does have real ales on sale (3 on my last visit), but given that these are all Greene King offerings then that is nothing to write home about...

26 Jul 2008 23:10

Wetherspoons T2L, Heathrow Airport

It's a Wetherspoons... It's in an airport... Two of the five handpumps advertised beers that turned out to be off... As expected, had to ask for my pint of Pedigree to be topped-up...

26 Jul 2008 22:55

Skylark (T1L), Heathrow Airport

It's a Wetherspoons... It's in an airport... Two of the five handpumps advertised Shepherd Neame's Bishops Finger but both turned out to be off... As expected, had to ask for my pint of Abbott to be topped-up...

26 Jul 2008 22:52

The Rose and Crown, Kew

It's a Chef & Brewer, so you probably won't be expecting too much. However, I probably visited it at the best time - mid-afternoon on a weekday with the sun out, and enough time to watch the world go by on Kew Green from one of the benches at the front. Nice pint of Everards 'Hazy Daze' wheat beer too.

22 Jul 2008 23:26

The Coach and Horses, Kew

Rather dull Young's pub, and not as traditional inside as one might expect when looking at it across Kew Green. Reasonable beer, but certainly not cheap...

22 Jul 2008 23:16

The Botanist On The Green, Kew

More 'gastro' than pub, and no real ale available on my visit. Apart from that, not too bad a place on the edge of Kew Green, and larger than one would expect with lots of nooks and crannies.

22 Jul 2008 23:13

Marie Lloyd Bar, Hackney

Modern bar, attached to the Hackney Empire, selling three Greene King real ales in addition to a reasonably up-market range of lagers and wines. If going to the adjacent theatre, ask for your drink in a plastic glass so that you can take it in with you (as the bars inside have only a marginally better than usual but still unimaginative selection of drinks).

22 Jul 2008 23:09

Latymers, Hammersmith

For an early Thursday evening, the place was busy but not packed and the Thai food looked and smelt tempting. The Discovery was also much better than on my last visit (see below), hence the new review and corresponding improvement in my rating.

20 Jul 2008 13:29

The Rose and Crown, Bishop's Stortford

Smallish pub near the railway station. Part modernised, with tall stainless steel tables and chairs in one part of the pub, but lower traditional window seats and tables elsewhere. Friendly landlord, but not so sure about some of his customers. Only Greene King beer, but the IPA was nice enough.

19 Jul 2008 16:28

The Jolly Brewers, Bishop's Stortford

A good, traditional pub with a selection of three real ales on when I visited. Well worth the walk from the train station.

19 Jul 2008 16:24

The Marquis of Granby, Westminster

Typical Nicholson's pub (and that's not really a good thing). Four real ales on, but the Cains Bitter was passed its best (as seems to be the way for any beer offered in most outlets run by this chain).

15 Jul 2008 23:32

The Glue Pot, Swindon

Good, old-fashioned (in the best sense of the phrase) pub, with an excellent selection of 8 Hopback and Downton beers. Nice pint of Elderquad. My vote for the best pub (by some way) in Swindon's Railway Village.

15 Jul 2008 23:25

The Cricketers, Swindon

Perfectly good, part-modernised, pub with a selection of 4 real ales (including the Brains Rev. James which was very good). Not as good as the Glue Pot, but 10 times better than the Baker's Arms.

15 Jul 2008 23:18

The Baker's Arms, Swindon

I remember this from my previous visit as a fairly miserable 'locals' pub with a selection of Arkell's beers. It now only has 3B on draught.

15 Jul 2008 23:13

The Skinners Arms, Kings Cross

The current rating of '7.1' doesn't seem to tie-up with some of the recent reviews. Traditional pub interior, but not overly gloomy. Six handpumps on - not all Greene King thankfully. Nice pint of Cains Sundowner. One of the better pubs in the area.

10 Jul 2008 00:25

Marquis of Cornwallis, Bloomsbury

Seems like a reasonable-enough place to me. Modernised, but not overdone, with a youngish (but not teenage) clientele. Real ale served in a jug, which is a rarity these days (but did require a little top-up). Lots of space in the upstairs bar.

10 Jul 2008 00:15

The Blue Bell Inn, Beltring

I remember when this was a good pub (but there again I've got quite a good memory). Nice old building (in parts), but very run down, so the current management have got a lot of work to do to smarten the place up a bit (but hopefully not too much). Beer quality-wise, I'm not too sure since the place was totally overwhelmed by people looking for a cheaper and better pint than likely to be offered at the music festival being held over the road in the Hop Farm and everything was rapidly running out (with the three real ales gone before I got there). Will try to visit again sometime on a more 'normal' day...

7 Jul 2008 22:56

The Counting House, Bank

Interesting building, and decent Fuller's beer. However, no real atmosphere and expensive. Overall verdict - quite OK as somewhere to stop for a quick pint.

2 Jul 2008 22:54

Woodins Shades, Liverpool Street

Indifferent Nicholsons - never had a decent pint here, and today's Bateman's 'Thirsty Work' was particularly poor.

2 Jul 2008 22:46

The Greyhound, Tinsley Green

Given the other reviews, this place has obviously had a mixed history. Looks a bit run-down from the front, but tidy enough inside (except the toilets). Unfortunately, the only real ale (Adnams Broadside) was off. Limited menu, but at least you could just buy a sandwich on a Sunday lunchtime (which was all that we needed) rather than the full roast which most other pubs assume that everybody wants.

29 Jun 2008 16:26

The Lemon Tree, Covent Garden

Friendly small pub, tucked away on a back street between Covent Garden and Charing Cross station. Looks a bit like an Irish country-town pub from the outside, but has a bright interior with plenty of memorabilia on display. The cramped bar means there are actually two more handpumps than first appears to be the case as these are set against the side wall rather than facing the customers.

29 Jun 2008 16:15

The Masons Arms, Marylebone

Friendly little corner pub, but with probably more seating space on the benches outside than in the downstairs bar. Not a great fan of Hall & Woodhouse beers, but the Hopping Hare was refreshing on a warm summers day.

29 Jun 2008 16:02

The Carpenters Arms, Marble Arch

Excellent pub, getting just about everything right. Sensible distribution of space between those drinking and dining, and several benches outside. The U-shaped bar means that the attentive staff serve you quickly. Good range of beers from breweries large and small. Television on, but unobtrusive.

29 Jun 2008 15:55

The Cart And Horses, Stratford

Odd place, with the pool table taking centre stage (giving the incongruous effect of an alter). No real ale, and not many of the lager dispensers seemed to be working either. Surprisingly polite barman.

26 Jun 2008 21:07

The Goldengrove, Stratford

Not exactly great, but pretty good for Stratford with a reasonable selection of ales and friendly barstaff.

26 Jun 2008 20:54

The Muggleton Inn, Maidstone

Continues to get worse - most of the handpumps are just there for decoration these days. The Wetherspoons near Maidstone East station (Society Rooms) is now a much better bet.

25 Jun 2008 23:10

Golden Lion, Rochester

Unexceptional Wetherspoons, selling a reasonable pint but offering little in the way of atmosphere. The central section along the main part of the bar is particularly narrow which must make things difficult at busier times of day.

25 Jun 2008 22:52

The Railway Tavern, Higham

A friendly welcome in this traditional village pub. Three Shepherd Neame real ales on, including the seasonal and refreshing Whitstable Bay. Five minutes walk from the station.

25 Jun 2008 22:46

Robert Pocock, Gravesend

A better-than-average Wetherspoons, with a pleasant lunchtime atmosphere and a wide range of customers. A good selection of real ales, as you would expect.

25 Jun 2008 22:40

The Crown and Thistle, Gravesend

Excellent, if narrow, little pub with five real ales on when I visited. Pleasant 'decked' area out the back, but I don't know what the neighbours think because they must have lost quite a lot of privacy and gained quite a lot of noise after the smoking ban changes. Well worth the walk eastwards from the town centre.

25 Jun 2008 22:34

The Gregorian, Bermondsey

Large-ish and surprisingly well-refurbished pub close to Bermondsey underground station. Had two real ales on which is at least one more than I was expecting.

25 Jun 2008 22:27

Pommelers Rest, Tower Bridge

Standard-issue Wetherspoons. Usual mix of a few interesting ales and a selection of dubious-looking customers.

25 Jun 2008 22:12

The Bridge House, Tower Bridge

Given that Adnams have only one hostelry in London, it is surprising that they didn't choose somewhere a bit more 'pub-ish' than this bar. Moderately inoffensive modern decor, but at least half of the tables are set aside for diners rather than people just having a drink. Had a pint of East Green which claims to be "the UK's first carbon neutral beer"; not bad, but probably more of a marketing exercise than a necessary addition to the Adnams range of draught beers.

25 Jun 2008 22:03

The Somerhill, Tonbridge

I think this place was still the Hooden Horse last time I visited, but it seems a much more appealing place now. Fairly old-fashioned interior, but smart enough inside and out. Only strange thing was the various groups of pensioners in to get their special-offer lunches, with Eminem and Green Day on the sound system! Nice pint of Harveys.

19 Jun 2008 19:28

The Primrose Inn, Tonbridge

Nice pint of Harveys in a pub that looks like it should be out in the countryside somewhere - which, given its apparent age, I guess it was (if you go far enough back in time) - rather than suburban Tonbridge.

19 Jun 2008 19:21

Doggetts Coat and Badge, Southwark

Charmless monstrosity in a great location on the South Banks of the Thames by Blackfriars Bridge. Beer-wise, it's the usual Nicholson's hit (or mostly) miss.

14 Jun 2008 16:25

The Rose and Crown, Southwark

Excellent Sheps pub - decent beer, good atmosphere and somewhat 'old fashioned' (in the best sense of the phrase...).

14 Jun 2008 16:11

The White Hart, Waterloo

Notwithstanding some of the previous 'reviews' of this place which were (justifiably) removed from BITE, I just can't understand the low rating this place gets. I may prefer real ale, but if it difficult to understand why another reviewer complains about a pub having 9 lagers on tap. The atmosphere seemed OK to me, and the bar staff reasonably attentive. The Everards Sunchaser, served in an old-fashioned pint 'jug', was fine (and everything is somewhat cheaper than the nearby Kigs Arms). Whatever may (or may not) have happened in the past, I suggest that this place is well worth a try.

14 Jun 2008 15:08

The Garland, Redhill

Excellent Harveys pub, well worth the few minutes walk southwards under the Reigate branch railway bridge from Redhill town centre.

12 Jun 2008 20:34

Walkers of Whitehall, Whitehall

Crowded in the upstairs bar and out on the street, but much more civilised in the main bar downstairs. Far fewer tourists than in the nearby Silver Cross, Old Shades or Clarence. Not a very inpsiring choice of beer, but the Pride was decent enough.

5 Jun 2008 23:01

The Red Lion, Pall Mall

It's claim to be "London's last village pub" is stretching things a bit, but this decent little hostelry - hidden away in a little alleyway just off Pall Mall (and only a short distance from St James's Park)- is well worth a visit. Nice pint of St Austell Tribute.

5 Jun 2008 22:54

The Painters Arms, Luton

A bit 'rough and ready', and no real ale, but there are numerous aspects of interior and exterior decor that make it an interesting place to visit (and only about 5 minutes walk from Luton's charmless railway station).

4 Jun 2008 20:12

The Grafton Arms, Fitzrovia

The little roof garden is the main feature of interest here - although at one time it used to be the place to escape from the smoke (but is now the opposite). 'Dull as ditchwater' Greene King ales, although the Ale Fresco is probably the best of a bad job.

3 Jun 2008 23:47

The Northumberland Arms, Goodge Street

Pokey little bar, and the sort of place that you would expect to have an upstairs room (except it doesn't). Leaving aside the 'size matters' issue, the beer was well kept and the place has a good, friendly atmosphere.

3 Jun 2008 23:43

The Jack Horner, Tottenham Court Road

Straight out of the box, self-assembly Fullers 'Ale & Pie House'. Nothing really wrong with it (if absence of character doesn't feature too highly on your list of desirable pub characteristics), but not much right either (except the beer which is always well kept if Fullers is your thing).

3 Jun 2008 23:38

The Cinque Port Arms, Dover

Traditional pub, right in the heart of the Western Docks. Looks nothing from the outside due to the steel palisade fencing around the port facilities, but well worth the trip inside. Unfortunately, no real ale on draught, but a reasonable selection of bottled beers.

3 Jun 2008 23:24

The Cinque Port Arms, Dover

Traditional pub, right in the heart of the Western Docks. Looks nothing from the outside due to the steel palisade fencing around the port facilities, but well worth the trip inside. Unfortunately, no real ale on draught, but a reasonable selection of bottled beers.

3 Jun 2008 23:24

The Prince Albert, Dover

Looked like a typical Dover pub (if you've been to a couple, you'll know what I mean), but better than I expected. In addition to all the usual lagers, also offered a reasonable pint of Gadd's No. 5 from Ramsgate Brewery.

1 Jun 2008 17:54

The Flagship, Dover

No real ale on draught, bur a reasonable choice of bottled beer. Not bad, but could do better.

1 Jun 2008 17:49

The Eight Bells, Dover

Typical 'spoons, except that my pint of Palm was unusually poor. Disappointinting.

1 Jun 2008 17:46

The Eagle Inn, Dover

Tired pub, which has seen better days (which could also be said of Dover, or the real ale on offer...). Shame.

1 Jun 2008 17:42

The Highwayman, Horsmonden

Nice position overlooking the village green (the Heath), and much more of a village local than the nearby Gun & Spitroast. Nice pint of Kent's Best.

1 Jun 2008 00:15

Blacksmiths Inn, Ninfield

This most be one of the most dog-friendly pubs in the country - all of the other customers seemed to have at least one with them. Fairly basic decor in the bar. Reasonable pint of Harveys.

1 Jun 2008 00:13

The Ark Inn, Newhaven

Surprisingly modern interior decor, but really the best place is out on the terrace where one can happily while away some spare time watching the shipping in the harbour. OK pint of Harveys.

26 May 2008 23:51

The Foresters Arms, Fairwarp

Traditional village pub on the edge of Ashdown Forest, albeit one with most of the tables set up for eating rather than drinking. Not usually a fan of Badger Beers, but the Hopping Hare was nice enough.

26 May 2008 23:45

The Bull of Brenchley, Brenchley

Brick-built village pub which looks slightly out-of-place with the surrounding cottages which mostly feature traditional Kentish weatherboarding. Quite small inside, but a friendly welcome and a nice pint of Harveys.

26 May 2008 23:38

The Bag O' Nails, Victoria

Popular with the tourists, but one of the better pubs within a few minutes walk of Victoria station if waiting for a train.

26 May 2008 23:29

The Duke of York, Victoria

Fairly ordinary central London pub - nothing particularly wrong with it, but won't be rushing back...

26 May 2008 23:14

The Buckingham Arms, Westminster

Not too sure on the refurb - on one hand it's lost the traditional look, but on the other it is a nice-enough modern interior if judged on its own merits (even if the back of the bar still seemed to smell of wood glue). Reasonable pint of Bombardier, if served a little on the cold side.

21 May 2008 20:44

The Two Chairmen, St James's

So-so pub between Westminster and St James's Park. To give you an idea about this place, on my last visit I asked for a pint of Bombardier and the bar person topped up a glass that had obviously been standing there for some unknown period of time before I arrived. When queried whether they actually sold fresh beer, the staff member looked rather surprised that a) I had noticed, and b) that I had bothered to query this practice. Eventually got a promise that she would give me a new pint if I didn't like it, but chose to drink the stuff and write a grumpy review instead...

21 May 2008 20:27

The Coach and Horses, Covent Garden

Small? Yes. Expensive? Yes (but what would one expect for the area?). Decent pub? Yes.

20 May 2008 23:28

The Prince of Wales, Reigate

Friendly sort of place, right by Reigate railway station. Very nice pint of Kent's Best.

19 May 2008 20:53

The Panther Inn, Reigate

Friendly local selling a better-than-average pint of Greene King IPA.

19 May 2008 20:50

The Lamb and Flag, Covent Garden

Since the smoking ban, about 2/3rds of the customers seem to be standing about outside - this still leaves the inside quite busy, but rather more relaxed than it once was. Nice pint of Harveys, and another five (usual suspects) to choose from. A nice place to escape the tourist madness that is Covent Garden (and try the upstairs bar if you want to sit down).

15 May 2008 20:58

The Gable, Moorgate

Busy, but big enough to avoid the usual City bar crush. Lots of staff on, and two handpumps hidden away amongst the shiny lager dispensers. Easily the most over-chilled pint of Pride I've ever tasted, and not really my type of place, but it did seem to have a good atmosphere.

14 May 2008 22:30

The Betjeman Arms, St Pancras International Station

Major disappointment - no wonder the statue of the man himself further up the station is looking the other way! Very poor location, cramped, back-to-front (with the half-open kitchen near the door and the bar tucked away at the back). Never did find the toilets, and there may also be some dining rooms hidden away further inside somewhere. Nice pint of the own-brand beer from Sharps Brewery, though.

14 May 2008 22:22

The Chequers Inn, Goudhurst

Improved, inasmuch as it is now more of a gastropub than the dive it was a few years ago. Great views across the Weald from the terrace, but a rather indifferent pint of Harveys.

14 May 2008 22:06

The Bridge Lounge and Dining Room, Tower Bridge

Modernised bar, with friendly and efficient service and a very decent pint of Bath Ales Barnstormer.

14 May 2008 21:55

The Swan Hotel, Downham Market

Looked to be an interesting old inn from the outside, but turned out to be a bit of a dive. Only one real ale - Greene King IPA - and that was cloudy. If it really is a hotel, I can't imagine why anybody would consider staying there…

14 May 2008 00:02

The Crown Hotel, Downham Market

Reasonable, if small, bar inside a traditional coaching inn. Not particularly obvious from the street, but worth looking out for.

14 May 2008 00:01

Cooperage, London Bridge

Fairly grim, nothing-like-as-old-as-it-pretends-to-be, cavern underneath London Bridge station. Had to ask, very firmly, and several times, to get my pint of 'Ordinary' topped-up, but at least it wasn't served in a Davy's usual ghastly pewter tankard.

13 May 2008 23:58

The Phoenix, City Of London

If you go here expecting a larger-than-normal but otherwise nothing special Greene King City pub then you won't be disappointed. However, thankfully had Tanners Jack on which made a change from IPA or Abbot.

8 May 2008 22:18

The Hallsville Tavern (the White House), Canning Town

As 'DaveC' said in 2003: "Friendly locals' pub... aimed at the older punter", and thankfully nothing much has changed here in the last five years. Only gripe - no real ale (so had to make do with keg Flowers IPA which I haven't had for years, possibly decades). Long may this sort of old-fashioned corner pub continue.

8 May 2008 22:04

The Globe on Morning Lane, Hackney

Traditional pub, but now called "The Globe on Morning Lane" (for some reason probably best known to the signwriter who must have been paid on a per-letter basis). I was a bit dazzled on walking by the very big and bright array or lager dispensers, but fortunately the were also a couple of discreet handpumps there as well. Very creditable pint of London Pride. Seemed like a friendly place too.

8 May 2008 21:21

The Chesham Arms, Homerton

Excellent little pub on a quiet back street between Homerton and Hackney. Three real ales on. Friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Just the sort of place you'd be happy to have as your 'local'.

8 May 2008 20:23

The Shipwrights Arms, London Bridge

Somewhat cramped pub, with a large square bar in the centre and efficient service, but limited room on each of the four sides. Nice enough pint of Pride.

30 Apr 2008 22:13

The Sun Inn, Bredgar

This lively village pub has lost some of its charm through refurbishment and extension, but it's great to see such places doing well. Plenty of people in for the jazz duo and Sunday lunch. Nice pint of Harveys too.

26 Apr 2008 16:42

Fleur-de-Lis, Leigh

Not an especially welcoming atmosphere, and the promise of Greene King beer is arely a great attraction. Fortunately, however, they also had Bath Ales 'Gem' on, which went down very well.

26 Apr 2008 16:41

The Greyhound, Charcott

I was amazed when I discovered this place - I've lived in West- and Mid-Kent for most of my life, and thought that I knew the area (and its pubs) pretty well. Anyway, before yesterday, I'd never heard of Charcott (let alone The Greyhound pub). OK pint of Harveys, but the main point is that hamlets like this - with their pubs still open - are increasingly rare, so go there now (and keep going back)! Within easy walking distance of Penshurst station via a paved footpath opposite Chiddingstone Causeway church.

26 Apr 2008 16:39

The Bear, Bedford

Looked like a typical 'probably best to avoid' town-centre pub from the outside. Inside, there is a strange, brightly-lit area with a pool table at the front and a very long, gloomy bar further back. However, much to my surprise, there were two real ales on (including an excellent pint of Hydes Jeckyll's Gold). Overall, rather better than I was expecting.

25 Apr 2008 21:34

The Barley Mow, Bedford

Looks like a traditional Greene King pub from the outside, but took one look inside - no real ale and a few unpleasant-looking punters - and left...

25 Apr 2008 21:17

The Wellington Arms, Bedford

If you like real beer, you'll love this pub. 14 handpumps (12 ale and two for cider). Run by the local Banks & Taylor brewery, with their own beers (including the excellent Black Dragon Mild) plus numerous guests from far and wide. Regularly voted CAMRA 'Pub of the Year' for the area. Full of 'breweriana', and, not surprisingly, happy customers. Find an excuse to visit soon!

25 Apr 2008 21:12

The Cricketers, Bedford

Very friendly pub, with efficient staff and a limited, but reasonably-priced menu. Good range of real ales, includes a decent pint of Moorhouse's Premier Bitter served northern-style (with a sparkler). Can't really understand why the rating is so low - thoroughly recommended.

25 Apr 2008 20:43

The Ship, Bedford

Decent old pub, with friendly staff. Even the Greene King IPA tasted pretty good (which is not something I say very often). One of several reasonable pubs within walking distance of the eastern edge of Bedford town centre.

25 Apr 2008 20:36

Three Cups, Bedford

The first reviewer who said that "this is a good example of a town pub that feels like a country pub" seems to have got it just right. Although this is a Greene King pub, it also had Bath Ales Gem on which was welcome. One of several reasonable pubs within walking distance of the eastern edge of Bedford town centre.

25 Apr 2008 20:32

The Champion, Fitzrovia

Typical Sam Smiths London pub, with dark interior, fancy glazing in the windows and the 'how do they sell it so cheap' beer. Handy retreat from Oxford Street, but badly let down by the lack of 'real' OBB.

23 Apr 2008 21:16

The Yorkshire Grey, Fitzrovia

Nice little corner pub, somewhat lighter and brighter than most Sam Smiths outlets in London (and none the worse for that). Usual low, low prices and OBB on handpump. Really rather good.

23 Apr 2008 21:11

The Cock, Oxford Circus

Inside, no real surprises for a Sam Smiths pub in London (i.e. dark wooden decor and the like it or loathe it beer at low, low prices) apart, perhaps, from the unusual lack of stink from the gents toilets! Outside, there are the rather remarkable lanterns overhanging the on-street smoking zone. Overall, not too bad at all.

23 Apr 2008 20:59

The Nags Head, Covent Garden

Managed to get a seat for once, and enjoyed a nice pint of McMullen Cask Ale (which has plenty of hop flavour for a light 3.8% beer) in a traditional London pub which is usually just to close to Covent Garden for comfort.

21 Apr 2008 22:03

The Lattice House, Kings Lynn

Atypically small 'spoons - quite a characterful building, with a nice little walled garden, but the Freeminer Speculation Ale was on the turn. Also about 60p per pint more expensive that the nearby Lloyds No.1/Wetherspoon Lodge (the Globe Hotel) for no obvious reason.

21 Apr 2008 21:30

The Crown and Mitre, Kings Lynn

Nice, traditional pub with some decent guest beers and full of nautical memorabilia. (PS - Don't ask the landlord about the Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 'Big Boy' model locomotive on the bar unless you've got a good half-hour to spare...)

21 Apr 2008 21:23

The Globe Hotel, Kings Lynn

One of the better pubs in Kings Lynn (not hard), despite most of the real ales being unavailable for some unexplained reason. Surprisingly, much cheaper than the nearby Wetherspoons (the Lattice House).

21 Apr 2008 21:16

The Jolly Sailors, Brancaster Staithe

Probably heaving in mid-Summer, but had a nice, friendly, traditional feel that brightened an otherwise dull and unseasonably cold April day. Enjoyed my pint of their own-brew IPA. Recommended.

21 Apr 2008 21:09

Ship Inn, Brancaster

Got there at 9:10pm to find the place closed for the night - don't they want to sell beer to people?

21 Apr 2008 21:02

The Exmouth Arms, Euston

Nice corner pub, with 'bold' exterior colour scheme softened by flowers and foliage all over the place. Inside, the most noticeable feature is the kitchen which is open to the bar so you can see exactly what you are getting. Served a decent enough pint of Spitfire.

21 Apr 2008 20:57

The Bree Louise, Euston

The plus points - 50p off for CAMRA members (voluntered by the bar staff without asking), and five decent ales including Oyster Stout on gravity in addition to the handpumps - clearly outweigh the minuses (slightly antiseptic feel to the decor, but this does not extend to the toilets...).

21 Apr 2008 20:47

The Hole In The Wall, Waterloo

A bit of a dive (in a good way), with some decent beer (and not much else, apart from a marked - but welcome - lack or pretension).

17 Apr 2008 23:21

The Stamford Arms, Lambeth

OK-ish sort of pub, but let down by one of the worst pints of Harveys that I have had for a long time. Perhaps I came on a bad day, but I couldn't really recommend this place to anybody in case they also get a duff pint (and the bar staff didn't look like they cared much anyway).

17 Apr 2008 23:16

The Kings Arms, Waterloo

In many respects this should be a highly-rated pub, if it were not for the prices (£3.15 for a pint of Bombardier and an incredible £1 for a packet of crisps). Still, it was packed with people presumably happy to pay up, so what do I know?

17 Apr 2008 23:06

The Prince Albert, Southwark

Fair enough locals pub, not exactly welcoming to the passing stranger, but no bad atmosphere either. Reasonable pint of Bombardier.

17 Apr 2008 23:01

The Old Thameside Inn, London Bridge

Run-of-the-mill Nicholsons pub, with the usual "how do they manage to turn decent beer into this insipid brown beverage" offering. When asked to have my nearly 0.85 of a full glass topped up, the bar person gave me one of those "have you just wandered in from 'planet Full Pint'" looks. Did eventually get something resembling a proper measure of Titanic Brewery Capt. Smiths, but won't be hurrying back.

17 Apr 2008 22:56

The Wheatsheaf, Borough

Good enough Youngs pub - not so crowded as the Market Porter just up the road, but there again nothing like the range of beer either...

16 Apr 2008 23:47

The Old Fountain, Old Street

Nothing particularly special in terms of decor, but an excellent range of beers on - about 9 in total in the upper and lower bars. Well worth the short walk from Old Street station.

16 Apr 2008 23:40

The Duke of Wellington, Hoxton

An old-fashioned pub, selling Flowers IPA on draught (which I haven't had for years, perhaps decades). Cheap and cheerful!

16 Apr 2008 23:32

The Eagle, Hoxton

Nice enough place, with some decent draught beers on, but slightly lacking the authentic 'pub' feel - perhaps more aimed and the wine and food market?

16 Apr 2008 23:30

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

I wish that this pub was my local - decent beer, friendly atmosphere, no London gastropub bulls**t or hideous pubco makeover...

16 Apr 2008 23:24

The White Hart, Claygate

Nice country pub, but the Goachers has gone already with the forthcoming change of ownership to Shepherd Neame. Hopefully the standards of beer keeping and the reliable food will not change adversely when Russell and Sue leave.

16 Apr 2008 00:06

The Bell, Bredhurst

Nice enough village pub. Staff appeared friendly, but the relatively loud music seemed rather out of place. Had a nice pint of Nelson Brewery IPA which I've not tasted before.

13 Apr 2008 21:50

The Lord Moon Of The Mall, Whitehall

Oops, the date in my last comment should have been 10 Sept 2006.

12 Apr 2008 17:25

The Lord Moon Of The Mall, Whitehall

My last review of this place (!0 Sep 2007) said: "The positives - always a good selection of real ales, very reasonable prices for central London and only five minutes walk from Charing Cross station if you have just missed your train. The negatives - often crowded and smokey." Well, at least the smoke has gone (apart from the 'choke zone' near the front door, that is)...

12 Apr 2008 17:22

The New Drum, Tonbridge

From a distance, looks like yet another house along a residential street. On closer inspection, you can see the main pub sign and the old red Courage illuminated sign. Quite a traditional back-street boozer, with an emphasis on the Sky and Setanta sports screens, but serving a nice pint of Harveys.

12 Apr 2008 16:59

The Bat and Ball, Leigh

Former Shepherd Neame house - now a freehouse - and a good village pub serving the local Larkins beers as well as the ever-reliable Harveys. Although mostly interested in the beer, I must say that the sandwiches were excellent too.

12 Apr 2008 16:16

The Little Brown Jug, Chiddingstone Causeway

Much changed since I first went there, but still a nice enough county pub (albeit with an emphasis on food). The signs say Greene King, and that's the beer on offer, but it now belongs to the small Whiting & Hammond chain. Directly opposite the north side of Penshurst station (not 0.4 miles, as suggested, and it's in Chiddingstone Causeway and some distance from Penshurst anyway!).

12 Apr 2008 15:51

Printworks, Clerkenwell

The whole place smelt like a Parisian street (i.e. more than a hint of open sewer). Limited choice of real ale, despite the large display about the ongoing beer festival near the bottom of the stairs. Few people in despite it being office chucking-out time. Overall, very disappointing (I suggest going to the Sir John Oldcastle a short distance down Farringdon Road instead).

9 Apr 2008 00:39

The Sir John Oldcastle, Farringdon

Can't see the problem here - standard-issue Wetherspoons, but usual cheap beer (supplemented no doubt by the current real ale festival) and a reasonable crowd in for the early evening rush (but not overly so). Would rate it two points higher than the nearby 'Printworks'.

9 Apr 2008 00:30

The Liberty Bounds, Tower Hill

One of the better 'spoons - not the cheapest around the City, but certainly cheaper and more civilised than most other establishments in the vicinity. Usual good selection of decent beer, including in the upstairs bar. Well placed for the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, etc. but far enough away to avoid the hordes.

3 Apr 2008 21:19

The Cheshire Cheese, Tower Hill

Somewhat buried under Fenchurch Street station, but relatively cheap (considering its City location). Three real ales on, but the Pedigree was nothing special. Authentic London pub stinking toilets (well the gents, at least), with the traditional 'hot' taps unconnected to the water supply... Reading the small print on the posters, it appears to be an M&B pub.

3 Apr 2008 21:12

The Crosse Keys, Bank

Absolutely huge pub, with a single circular bar in the centre. Very full of City types at office closing time, but not too bad earlier or later on. Anyway, the main point of this review is to note that there are currently 18 (yes, 18!) different real ales on during the Wetherspoons 'International' festival. So much choice, Tim Martin should be done for inflicting mental cruelty on his customers...

28 Mar 2008 21:49

The Essex Serpent, Covent Garden

Considering how near it is to the centre of Covent Garden, I'm amazed that this place hasn't been 'done up' for the tourist hordes. Traditional bar, with well kept beer. Overall, a decent, if small, oasis of calm...

27 Mar 2008 23:36

The Marquis of Granby, Fitzrovia

Beer quality better than many Nicholson's, but the evening music is unnecessarily loud (presumably in a dismal - but failed - attempt to create some 'atmosphere'). Suggestion: if you want to drink in the Marquis of Granby, try the other pub with the same name at nearby Cambridge Circus instead.

27 Mar 2008 23:30

Fitzroy Tavern, Fitzrovia

Cheap and cheerful, but although I don't even drink OBB out of choice, I am still offended that it doesn't serve any cask beer. Even if only 1% of the clientele wanted to buy real ale, there would ample demand to justify installation of some handpumps. I can't image why Sam Smiths persist with this approach for some, but not all, of their central London pubs (it just seems pig-headed to me). Having said all that, a nice pint of stout, as always...

27 Mar 2008 23:21

The Penderel's Oak, Holborn

Always one of the better 'spoons - busy, but nothing like as shouty as many of the pubs in and around the City. Low-key lighting with sensible use of candles too. Some excellent beers on for the Spring real ale festival, and certainly 10 times better than the ghastly Shakespeare's Head up the road a bit.

27 Mar 2008 23:04

The Green Man, Bank

Run-of-the-mill 'spoons, rather gloomy downstairs, and not surpringly (given the location) charging at the upper end of this chain's prices (but still cheap for the City, though). Fair selection of beers on for the Spring real ale festival.

27 Mar 2008 22:58

The Globe, London Bridge

Busy, loud and certainly nothing special, but I'm not sure it's quite so bad as some of the reviews suggest. My pint of Bombardier was OK too (if served verging on a short measure).

27 Mar 2008 22:50

The Red Bull, Eccles

Traditional village pub with low ceilings and lots of wood (created over time from at least different buildings - see photograph). Friendly atmosphere, and several comfy chairs. Four handpumps (with three on at time of visit), bur beer offering spoiled slightly by the Spitfire which was just starting to turn.

22 Mar 2008 00:08

The Pilgrim, Dorking

Heading for Dorking West station (via this pub), I thought I was walking up the wrong road which started to resemble a cart track between a row of houses and an industrial estate. However, around the next corner, there was the pub which seemed to be reasonable place with a bit of character. Nothing special about the pint of Pride, though. (PS - The station was just a short distance further on, but really hidden away.)

17 Mar 2008 22:05

The Old House At Home, Dorking

Youngs pub - asked for a pint of the 'ordinary' bitter but was served a pint of Special. Not sure which I was charged for, but it tasted fine anyway. Otherwise a reasonable-looking pub, quite quite a range of events being organised by the look of the notice board.

17 Mar 2008 21:56

The Half Moon, Stepney Green

Lots of old men welded to their seats in the front bar, but more life evident at the back. Nice pint of Winchester bitter (not sure which brewery this came from), and sat outside in the courtyard (must be something to do with global warming - I can't imagine doing this 20, or even 10, years ago in mid-March). Overall, rather better than I expected.

15 Mar 2008 22:16

The George Tavern, Stepney

Three men and a dog (literally) sitting at the tables in the alleyway alongside, and no-one at all inside despite the fact that it hadn't even got to 14:00 on a Saturday afternoon. No real ale, but it is the only place I've ever been in where the barman put an LP of marching-band music on the sound system! Odd, but it's got to be better than yet another block of flats.

15 Mar 2008 22:09

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

What a great place. Excellent range of Milton and guest beers. Plain and functional decor, but it is probably the ale that you are here for anyway... SPBW London Pub of the Year 2007.

15 Mar 2008 22:00

Baxter's Court, Hackney

Whilst it is undeniable that the Pembury Tavern is in a different league altogether, this really isn't too bad a Wetherspoons. Had a perfectly respectable pint of Wexford "Irish-style ale" (wherever that actually comes from). Only complaint is that you have to walk through the smoking area on the way in.

15 Mar 2008 21:53

The Trinity, Borough

A Greene King pub, but don't let that put you off. Only one of the three real ales available was a GK product, and I was offered the choice of a straight glass or a jug. Very handy for Borough underground station, and not too bad at all...

15 Mar 2008 21:46

The White Lion, Covent Garden

Small, but surprisingly under-crowded, pub close to the heart of Covent Garden. Otherwise a fairly standard-issue Nicholson's house, but the Elgoods Cambridge bitter was on good form.

13 Mar 2008 21:17

The White Swan, Covent Garden

O'Neills are usually about as convincingly Irish as my uncle Michael (and I don't have an uncle Michael), but this one seemed a bit better than others I've tried. On the other hand, my judgement may have been swayed by the fact that I got a swift pint of Guinness Red free of charge thanks to the coupon in the Metro newspaper. I may even have heard an Irish accent in there somewhere...

13 Mar 2008 21:04

White Horse, Headcorn

Reasonable, if fairly basic, pub just a short distance away from the picturesque (in parts) High Street. The Pride was off, so made do with a decent-enough pint of Courage Best.

10 Mar 2008 22:27

The Kings Arms, Headcorn

Sad place, and currently on the market (according to the local newspaper). Only one handpump working, and that dispensed a slightly suspect pint of Master Brew. Could have a lot of potential, with plenty of room around the bar for diners as well as drinkers, and also offering accommodation - I hope that someone enthusiastic takes it on.

10 Mar 2008 22:23

The George and Dragon, Headcorn

The best pub in Headcorn (but that's not saying very much...), with two Shepherd Neame ales on (Master Brew and Spitfire) and several fancy draughtlagers. Nicely decorated bar, and reasonable looking menu, but very pricey beer.

10 Mar 2008 22:17

The Argyll Arms, Oxford Circus

Well worth a visit just to admire the well-preserved interior decor, but probably best done at a quiet time of day due to its proximity to Oxford and Regent Streets. No surprises, but a good range of well-kept real ale available. Definitely one of Nicholson's best (although that's not too hard...).

5 Mar 2008 22:54

The Holly Tree, Englefield Green

Quite a reasonable modernised interior, and a perfectly respectable pint of Pride.

5 Mar 2008 22:41

The Armstrong Gun, Englefield Green

Nobody else there at 1:30 on a weekday lunchtime, so no wonder that the barperson looked fed up. Fortunately the weather was good so that the OK pint of Spitfire could be enjoyed in the garden rather than in the doom-laden atmosphere inside.

5 Mar 2008 22:34

The Happy Man, Englefield Green

Excellent little pub, with four interesting ales on handpump. Very handy for the Royal Holloway campus, but obviously not just a student pub. Very apt name!

5 Mar 2008 22:18

The Castle Hotel, Tonbridge

No real ale, the only bitter is a frozen John Smiths and two of the dull draught lagers were off. Potentially good location overlooking the River Medway in the centre of town, but the only other plus point is the interior looks rather brighter since the 'Gold Bar' refurbishment. One of the very few things that I can think of which might make the Humphrey Bean (the particularly poor Wetherspoons almost opposite) seem like a good idea for a pint.

2 Mar 2008 17:01

The Melton Mowbray, Holborn

Fairly standard-issue Fullers pub, but the guest beer - Ossett Brewery Snow Drop - was excellent.

29 Feb 2008 23:21

The Dolphin Tavern, Bloomsbury

Decent enough pub serving a decent enough pint of Adnams (spoiled only by two of us getting beers in propoer Adnams glasses and the other in a Carling recepticle).

29 Feb 2008 23:15

The Crown, Bloomsbury

How can a Sam Smith's pub this busy not serve 'real' Old Brewery Bitter on handpump? The keg version is still cheap, but I suggest going to the nearby Angel or Princess Louise instead... Disappointing.

29 Feb 2008 23:08

Bishop of Norwich, Moorgate

In most respects a typical Davy's house (i.e. a dingy, windlowless cellar with lots of non-original wooden features), but different in the one respect that it managed to serve the first vaguely-drinkable pint that I can remember in one of this chain's bars. (If 'Old Wallop' is actually Courage Directors, then the 'Best Bitter' that I had is presumably Courage Best.) Still hate the metallic taste given (psychologically or not) by the pewter tankards, though...

29 Feb 2008 22:51

The Bull, Bishopsgate

Many City pubs make an effort with real ale, but unfortunately this isn't one of them... It did sell an OK pint of Pride, but that's it apart from numerous fancy dispensers of no doubt hyper-expensive imported lagers.

28 Feb 2008 00:44

The Railway Tavern, Liverpool Street

Appears to be a Greene King pub (Abbot, IPA, etc.) but I couldn't see a brewery sign. Nothing special, with it's most noteworthy feature being a bank of four slot machines along the end wall which blink and flash furiously in a rather annoying manner.

28 Feb 2008 00:02

The Coach and Horses, Norwich

Had some spare minutes waiting at the station so took a quick walk up Thorpe Road to this interesting brew-pub. Had a nice pint of their Flintknapper's mild (quite strong at 5%) before dashing back to catch my train. Glad I made the effort - it finished off my visit to Norwich very nicely.

27 Feb 2008 23:09

Glasshouse, Norwich

Not too bad for a city-centre Wetherspoons, only really let down by bar staff who seem to think that talking to each other is more important than a) serving customers or, having done that, b) clearing up.

27 Feb 2008 23:00

The Kings Head, Norwich

Old-fashioned (in a good way), with an excellent choice of real ales from local breweries (many of which I have never heard of before). Closer to the city centre than most of the other top real ale pubs in the Norwich suburbs, so perhaps the one to go for if on a quick visit.

27 Feb 2008 22:54

The Cidershed, Norwich

Splendid place - home of the Fat Cat brewery, and rather less cavernous than I was expecting from some of the reviews. Otherwise as mentioned by other reviewers: i.e. decent range of in-house and guest beers, good staff, friendly atmosphere, large range of railway memorabilia and yes it is slightly odd (or perhaps quirky), but not in a bad way.

27 Feb 2008 22:49

The Duke of Wellington, Norwich

Another great Norwich pub - similar to the Fat Cat in terms of real ales on handpump and direct from the barrels in the back room, so I don't see why it has got so few reviews in comparison (19 against 138 at the moment). The impromptu folk music session (not everybody's thing I know) going on in the back of the large bar made my visit just about perfect. Can another 5 people please visit, review and rate a.s.a.p. as I reckon that this place deserves to be in the top 40...

27 Feb 2008 22:32

The Fat Cat, Norwich

What a great place - tucked away in an outer Norwich side street, but a 'must' for any real ale drinker visiting the area. Fantastic choice of beer on handpump and direct from the barrels in the back room. Nice friendly atmosphere too.

27 Feb 2008 22:16

The Royal Oak, Chesterfield

Closed on Monday evening (odd for a town-centre pub), but managed to go back mid-afternoon the following day (but no-one else in - odd again). Despite the number of handpumps, only two real ales on. Nice old building, but something of a disappointment having read some decent reviews elsewhere.

26 Feb 2008 00:06

The Market, Chesterfield

The Tetley sign outside didn't seem to offer much hope, and I nearly walked past. However, it has been 'done up' in the coporate idea of an old-fashioned 'ale house' style (i.e. lots of wood) and offered a reasonable range of real ales. The Timothy Taylor Landlord was OK, but not top notch.

26 Feb 2008 00:01

The Famous 3 Kings (F3K), West Kensington

Fine if your idea of going out to the pub is to watch sport on TV (but slightly disorientating since each of the many screens seems to be showing a different game on a different channel). They even put out copies of the free Friday 'Sport' magazine on the tables for those who can't see the Albanian fourth division game they wanted to watch. Apart from that, there was a reasonable pint of Wickwar 'Rite Flanker' on offer...

23 Feb 2008 17:19

The Curtain's Up, West Kensington

Saw something here quite unlike anywhere else I can think of - everybody appeared to be paying by debit/credit card. With three barstaff on, which should have been enough for a reasonably busy early evening, things ground to a near halt as they all had to wait to use the single card terminal. Waited about 10 minutes to be served, but gave up and went to the Famous 3 Kings instead. I suppose that I will try again sometime, but it really was pretty farcical.

23 Feb 2008 17:07

The Queens Arms, Hammersmith

Rather an odd place this, giving the impression of having been only half-refurbished (but not one half new and other old, but a bit here and a bit there..). Modern(ish) bar, but the chairs and tables a right jumble of ages and styles, with hardly more than two of the same to be found (although upstairs may be different - I didn't try). Nice pint of Pride, though.

23 Feb 2008 16:59

The Colton Arms, Barons Court

An old-fashioned pub (and none the worse for that), making it stand out from the usual run of West London bars. Real ales served in traditional 'jugs', and lagers offered in a plainer glass with a handle. Off the beaten track, but well worth a few minutes detour from Barons Court underground.

23 Feb 2008 16:50

Williamson's Tavern, Mansion House

Much to my surprise, this Nicholson's pub managed to produce a very drinkable pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord. Definitly one of this chain's better offerings (but don't believe their Dick Whittington 'Ale Trail' leaflet whichs shows it in the wrong place east of Ye Old Watling whereas it is actually located to the north in a small alley off Bow Lane).

21 Feb 2008 21:31

Ye Olde Watling, Mansion House

Fairly typical Nicholson's offering, and the Timothy Taylor Landlord was not available (which was probably just as well as it would probably have tasted just as insipid as the very uninspiring pint of Harveys I had instead - how does this company, which promotes itself as something of a real ale specialist, manage to do this to two of Britain's finest ales?). Claims to date back to 1668, but I doubt that much of 'ye old' wood-look dates any further back than the last corporate refurbishment. Plus point - seems to offer a remarkably extensive range of sausages if bangers are your thing...

21 Feb 2008 21:19

The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast

Owned by the National Trust, and a Grade A listed building. I won't try to describe the interior - you just have to visit it youself (but as this is one of Belfast's 'must see' destinations, it can get very crowded).

20 Feb 2008 23:03

L'Académie de la Bière, Paris

Extravagent selection of bottled beers on the 'menu', plus about 12 draught 'bières pression' (including a very refreshing Grisette Blanche from Belgium). Quite cramped inside, but well worth the trip (near the Port Royal RER station).

20 Feb 2008 22:31

The Frog and Rosbif, Paris

Rather more like the 'real thing' than I was expecting (and certainly more convincing than the usual Irish or Scottish bars to be found in most European cities). All of the customers in on my late-afternoon visit appeared to be French, but given the number of coffee-drinking laptop users, it would appear that the free wi-fi access was of greater appeal than the beers brewed on site in the basement (next to the toilets - nice touch!). Had an interesting brew called 'Ginger Twist' - not great, but OK for a change.

20 Feb 2008 22:21

The King Charles I, Kings Cross

I must admit that I wasn't expecting to find a place like this on a side street off the dodgy part of Pentonville Road near Kings Cross station. Inside, a small, old fashioned pub bar with wood everywhere and a friendly atmosphere. Nice pint of Brains SA, and they obvouly take a genuine interest in their beer here. Bar billiards table too.

15 Feb 2008 21:45

The Lincoln Lounge, Kings Cross

Never noticed this place before, although I must have walked past it a few times... However, once inside, I found an interesting bar with attentive service (and how rare is that in this part of London?). I guess that most customers are regulars, but the room had a friendly atmosphere for the casual visitor. Decent pint of Bombardier too.

15 Feb 2008 21:37

The Driver, Kings Cross

Certainly better than I expected for the area, and surprising quiet for mid-evening. Decor-wise, an interesting mixture of old and new, and the food looked good. Reasonable pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord.

15 Feb 2008 21:31

The Midas Touch, Soho

Reportedly in danger of closure, but the sign on the pavement outside states "Open as usual (but better)". Inside, the ominous words "Sorry folks cash only" are written behind the bar, and it is difficult to know if the place is being run down or whether new people have just taken it over. Some comfortable seating, but very dark and no real ale.

15 Feb 2008 21:24

The Holly Bush, Maidstone

Basic, and a bit tatty, but I can't think of anywhere else around here that sells Stella for £2.00 per pint.

13 Feb 2008 22:27

Milfords, Temple

Small-ish pub at street level, but with an upstairs bar which seemed to be more popular given the number of people venturing up the stairs (although I didn't have the time to do this myself). Nice pint of St Austell Tribute, and two other real ales on.

13 Feb 2008 00:11

, Digbeth

Came across this place by chance, when walking from New Street railway station to the Paragon Hotel on a dark, rainy evening without a map (on reflection, perhaps not a very sensible thing to do as the industrial estates behind Digbeth bus station are not exactly the most salubrious parts of town). Anyway, the place is full of character and has a great range of real ales. Thoroughly recommended.

9 Feb 2008 20:17

The White Hart, Bagshot

Popped in on the off-chance when passing through. Nice enough pint in a friendly enough pub.

9 Feb 2008 18:40

The Salutation, Hammersmith

Decent Fuller's pub, and well worth the walk westwards along King Street away from hideous gyratory system that passes for Hammersmith's town centre. Can get very crowded and loud after work, but usually find somewhere a bit quieter at the back and away from the bar if you need to.

9 Feb 2008 18:33

The Salisbury, Leicester Square

Classic London pub interior, with a good selection of real ales and other beers. Usually busy (hardly a surprise, given its location), but you can usually find somewhere to perch if you look around.

9 Feb 2008 18:26

The Pilot, Maidstone

One of the best 'local' pubs in Maidstone, with excellent Harveys beer. Well worth the walk southwards out of the town centre.

9 Feb 2008 18:22

The King William IV, Horsley

A nice pint from a local brewery and an interesting interior, but not especially welcoming.

9 Feb 2008 18:14

The Flower Pot, Maidstone

A long time ago, this used to be my Friday lunch-time local with good, cheap food a short distance from the office. Sadly, both the office and the menu have gone, as have several neighbouring backstreet pubs and most of the passing trade (so I hope that this one finds a way to keep going).

9 Feb 2008 18:07

The Dorset Arms, Withyham Hartfield

One of Harvey's great small-village pubs. Full of character, and well worth seeking out.

9 Feb 2008 17:55

The Newton Arms, Holborn

Surprisingly quiet at 6pm, when just around the corner the Princess Louise was heaving. I suppose that it is difficult to compete on price with a neighbouring Sam Smith's pub, but the Adnams here is excellent.

6 Feb 2008 22:51

The Cittie of Yorke, Holborn

Some time since my last visit, but nothing seems to have changed (which is just as it should be for a Sam Smith's pub). The main bar can seem a bit cavernous when it's not crowded (however this is not usually a problem in the early evening!), but it's worth a visit at any time just to look at the interior (and you certainly can't complain about the drink pricing).

6 Feb 2008 22:45

The Princess Louise, Holborn

Full of character, and deservedly full of customers (although the partitioned areas make navigation towards and around the bar somewhat tricky). All this, and at Sam Smith's bargain prices (e.g. the stout at just £2.15/pint).

6 Feb 2008 22:37

The Old Ship, Hammersmith

Not the sort of place I would normally choose (appearing rather soulless), but it certainly has a great position on the Thames. Few people in on a cold Friday night, but they served a perfectly respectable pint of London Pride.

2 Feb 2008 00:03

The Dove Inn, Hammersmith

This really is a good pub, with great views from the balcony in decent weather, and always well-kept Fullers beer on tap. Often very crowded, but not too bad in the winter (and can almost forgive the fake 'real' fire on a cold evening...).

1 Feb 2008 23:58

Rutland Arms, Hammersmith

Currently closed for refurbishment - due to re-open on 7 March 2008 according to the notice in the window.

1 Feb 2008 23:53

The Blue Anchor, Hammersmith

Due to re-open after refurbishment in mid-March, according to the banner outside.

1 Feb 2008 23:51

The Old City Arms, Hammersmith

Not as bad as I was expecting from some of the reviews, but certainly nothing special. Only real ale was a so-so pint of London Pride.

1 Feb 2008 23:50

The Grapes Tavern, Bristol

Absolutely shocking. Clueless barpersons who had no idea about how to pour a pint of beer, let alone how to replace a barrel which was clearly off. I ended up feeling sorry for the so-called 'staff', but easily the worst pub experience I have ever had.

(Review from September 2006 and not previously posted for technical reasons on BITE, so may be out-of-date - I certainly hope that Wadworths have done something to improve things!)

1 Feb 2008 23:41

The Rutland, Chesterfield

Excellent pub, close to the famous crooked spire. Seven or eight beers on, including a very odd pint of something called 'Golden Bud' produced by the local Townes microbrewery, plus several more 'out the back' in readiness for the forthcoming Chestefield beer festival. Thoroughly recommended.

30 Jan 2008 20:25

Spa Lane Vaults, Chesterfield

Monday night is obviously a quiet night in Chesterfield, with quite a few bars and clubs closed (and even a couple of the pubs). As a result, this is the emptiest Wetherspoons that I have ever been in, with about three customers in total. Several interesting beers on, and cheap as usual.

30 Jan 2008 20:12

Portland Hotel, Chesterfield

Slightly better than average 'spoons, rather let down by filthy toilets which didn't look like they had been cleaned for a week. Good selection of real ales at a good price.

30 Jan 2008 20:08

The Red Lion, Moorgate

Not too bad for a City pub, with a ratio of after-work customers to space available marginally less than one. Nice pint of Adnams.

30 Jan 2008 20:03

Red Herring, Bank

Loud, shouty City pub at street level. Much quieter and more civilised downstairs. Decent Fullers beers, though.

24 Jan 2008 20:45

The Westminster Arms, Westminster

Small, usually busy and thus difficult to find somewhere to sit. Reasonable selection of real ales, but a strange approach to customer service from some of the staff (who seem to take a request to top-up a glass to give you something close to a pint as a personal affront). Handy for the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the QEII Conference Centre.

23 Jan 2008 22:51

Bull Inn, East Farleigh

This place seems to have moved somewhat up-market since my last visit, with a friendly welcome and Cask Marque accredited beers. No "tatooed thugs" in evidence, just a few lads playing darts and minding their own business.

23 Jan 2008 22:44

St Stephens Tavern, Westminster

Quite how I have managed to miss this place until now escapes me (since I must have been past it umpteen times over the years). Even though I am not a great fan of Badger beer, the Pickled Partridge went down well, and the interior decor (and the balcony bar upstairs) make it well worth a visit.

23 Jan 2008 20:01

Adam and Eve, Westminster

Perfectly reasonable London pub - nothing special, but certainly better than some of the other neraby establishments.

23 Jan 2008 19:57

The Swan on the Green, West Peckham

Great location, and an interesting range of beers from the on-site micro-brewery. Good, but expensive, food. Customer service may not have got much closer to West Peckham than Alders Crossroads (actually now a roundabout), but this really is a 'must visit' place...

19 Jan 2008 00:27

The Royal Oak, Borough

A proper pub.

18 Jan 2008 23:44

The Fox and Anchor, Smithfield

I don't recall having visited here before the refurbishment, but they certainly seem to have made an effort. Knowledgable barman, with a genuine interest in the decent range of real ales on offer, but all of this a bit wasted on the punters who just wanted "something a bit like Magners, with ice" or the Stella or Kronenbourg brigade who looked totally flummoxed when offered a decent lager - the excellent Helles from Meantime Brewery. All in all, a very decent place, but one which suffers from the long, thin layout which makes moving about something of an effort, slightly ridiculous toilet facilities and pewter tankards (which I just can't stand).

16 Jan 2008 22:16

The Jerusalem Tavern, Clerkenwell

If you can get here outside the busy periods, you will find one of the great hidden gems of London. Full of character, with a number of cosy wooden alcoves, and a tiny raised area with three seats that resembles a pulpit. First class St Peters ales on draught. Absolutely top of the range.

16 Jan 2008 22:05

Old Red Lion, Holborn

Now, to some people (myself included), the idea of giving a Greene King a half-decent rating is as strange a concept as, say, Bruce Springsteen inviting the Spice Girls up on stage to join the E Street Band for a couple of encores. However, this is a decent pub, serving well-kept beer with 2 or 3 genuine guest ales as well as the usual GK offerings. The interior decor, including the coloured glass windows, is also fairly traditional and restrained (unlike the large neon GK sign despoiling the exterior). Well worth a try if you are in the High Holborn area.

15 Jan 2008 23:56

The Wellington, Waterloo

Not great, but just a short distance away from the station concourse, and selling a reasonable pint of Marston's Burton Bitter (profferred as an alternative to perhaps the cloudiest pint of Pedigree that I have ever seen...).

11 Jan 2008 00:10

The Hoop and Grapes, City Of London

Typical dark-wood London pub interior, and surprisingly dull pint of Bishops Finger. Nothing special.

9 Jan 2008 20:40

Ye Old Mitre, Holborn

It's too long since I last went to the Old(e) Mitre, but it hasn't changed a bit - and thus exactly the point of the place...

9 Jan 2008 20:34

The Horseshoe Inn, London Bridge

Traditional pub, and one of the few in the London Bridge / Borough area open on New Years Day. Three handpumps, one not operational, and both the London Pride and Bombardier were cloudy (if just about drinkable). Overall, looked better than it turned out to be, and will not be hurrying back.

1 Jan 2008 19:46

The Dog and Bull, Croydon

I had previously avoided this place as I guessed that it would be a "three heads"-type place (as in the look a stranger gets from the locals when wandering into 'their' pub). However, with a bit of New Years bravado, I ventured in and found it to be a very pleasant, traditional Youngs boozer. Mind you, got a few odd looks, so perhaps a "two heads" establishment...

1 Jan 2008 19:36

The Partridge, Bromley

"anonymous" on 23 August 2007 called this a "boring old farts pub". I guess that this was meant as abuse, but as a boring old fart I thank Fullers for providing me (and other BOFs) with such establishments where hopefully we will not have to meet "anonymous" or his/her ilk.

1 Jan 2008 19:29

The Anglesey Arms, Bromley

I did not appear that they were expecting any customers at 12 noon on New Years Day, but the staff obliged with a nice pint of Shepherd Neame Porter and a friendly smile.

1 Jan 2008 19:23

The Castle Hotel, Saltwood

This place has seen better days - very tatty. Having said that, it had a nice log fire and a reasonable pint of Harveys.

31 Dec 2007 22:47

The Anchor, Hastings

Reasonable enough Old Town pub - seemed to be mostly locals in rather than tourists. Nice pint of Sheps Porter.

31 Dec 2007 22:41

The Malt Shovel Inn, Eynsford

Looks like a village local from the outside, but turned out to be much more of an eating pub than I expected. Nice pint of Everards, but had to sit at the bar as all the tables were full of (presumably happy) diners.

30 Dec 2007 16:57

Fountain, Cowden

Proper village pub - blazing log fire on a cold winter morning, nibbles on the bar at Sunday lunchtime, interesting menu and a decent pint of beer (with a choice of three Harveys ales) - what more could you want?

30 Dec 2007 16:49

The Man of Kent, Tonbridge

Not the best-kept pint of Harveys in town, but this smallish backstreet pub makes a pleasant enough change from some of the more obvious venues along the nearby Tonbridge High Street.

28 Dec 2007 14:02

Ye Olde Chequers Inn, Tonbridge

Many years ago, this historic pub used to be a dingy place selling so-so Courage beer (but used to have a slot machine that would regularly pay for a whole night out if you started here and went on to other, better, establishments). Not a lot has changed (except the aforesaid slot machine has long gone...).

28 Dec 2007 14:00

The West End Brewery, West End

I suppose that West End still likes to think of itself as a village (rather than a suburb of Southampton), and this place appears to be still aiming for a "village inn" feel (although quaint it is not). Not too bad, and only really let down by the dull offerings from Greene King.

27 Dec 2007 21:31

The Hop Poles, Hammersmith

Have never wanted to go inside before, but interested in the recent reports suggesting dramatic changes. Certainly looked good inside, but some of the punters still seemed a bit dubious. Only one real ale on - Timothy Taylor Landlord - and they tried to charge £2.65 despite the rather irritating digital adverising displays around the bar clearly quoting £2.45. They claimed that "the price has gone up today", but their bluff was well and truly called when I asked to look at the official price list on the wall. Ho hum! All in all, a mixed bag, but certainly now worth more than the current rating.

24 Dec 2007 18:15

Latymers, Hammersmith

So packed on Friday that we did not venture in - went back today (Christmas Eve) and the place was virtually deserted (I suppose that the local offices were mostly closed). Rather indifferent pint of Discovery, but the London Pride was OK. Nothing special.

24 Dec 2007 18:09

Sankey's, Tunbridge Wells

Never been there after dark, but in my experience this place offers a civilised spot spend some time during the afternoon, away from the hustle-and-bustle of central Tunbridge Wells. Two good real ales on tap - Sussex and Hadlow, both from Harveys - and a good range of imported beers in both draught and bottled form. Hope this cheers the landlord up a bit!

22 Dec 2007 16:54

The Opera House, Tunbridge Wells

Admittedly I have never been there in the evening, but I can't understand the low rating for this "pub". In fact, it's the least pub-like drinking establishment that I can think of, and you just have to go inside to understand. It always has a great range of real ales (somewhere around 10 to 12, depending on whether they have any guest beers on at the smaller bar at the far end). Perhaps, like the trains, it's better to go off-peak if you can?

22 Dec 2007 16:46

The Compasses, Tunbridge Wells

Seems to be a Greene King pub (but not 'branded' as such), and now green on the outside rather than red as shown in the photograph. Reasonable pint of Highgate Stocking Filler, but could have done without the flashing LEDs on the pump clip. OK, but nothing special (try the nearby Grove Tavern for a nice pint of Harveys instead).

22 Dec 2007 16:40

The Grove Tavern, Tunbridge Wells

Proper pub, in a characterful but somewhat hidden part of Tunbridge Wells, selling a nice pint of Harveys and two other real ales. Recommended.

22 Dec 2007 16:36

Martins Wine Bar, Hammersmith

Somehow managed to get a table for an impromptu pre-Christmas lunch. Reasonably cheap, and reasonably cheerful. Just Grolsch and a modest wine selection upstairs (at street level). Never did get downstairs to see what was on offer in the "wine bar" (but at least we got in the door, unlike the last time we tried in the week before Christmas).

21 Dec 2007 23:39

The Marquis, Covent Garden

Now re-opened, and much smartened up. Odd-shaped pub, tapering to a corner just one seat wide. Some decent continental lagers and a couple of handpumps (for once, real ales not tried). Handy for Charing Cross station if the alternatives (e.g. Harp, Chandos, Ship & Shovel, etc.) are too full or if you fancy a change.

21 Dec 2007 19:54

The Marquis of Granby, Covent Garden

Now re-opened, and much smartened up. Odd-shaped pub, tapering to a corner just one seat wide. Some decent continental lagers and a couple of handpumps (for once, real ales not tried). Handy for Charing Cross station if the alternatives (e.g. Harp, Chandos, Ship & Shovel, etc.) are too full or if you fancy a change.

20 Dec 2007 22:33

The Crown and Sceptre, Kensington

Great pub - friendly atmosphere, shared by young and old alike - and deservedly West London CAMRA pub of the year 2007. Changing selection of three real ales, always well kept. Fully recommended.

20 Dec 2007 22:21

The Hope, Tottenham Court Road

Small pub, but I am surprised by the modest user rating. On a busy pre-Christmas night in Fitzrovia, it was full but not crowded, and had a really friendly atmosphere. Nice pint of Adnams Bitter. Recommended for those willing to take a few steps away from Tottenham Court Road or Goodge Street.

19 Dec 2007 20:28

The Sussex, Covent Garden

Very expensive (even allowing for an almost unheard-of reduction for a slightly cloudy very-near-the-end-of-the-barrel pint of Batemans Rosey Nosey). Overall, not too bad, but nothing special.

19 Dec 2007 01:06

The Two Brewers, Covent Garden

Perfectly reasonable Covent Garden pub, less crowded than most. Three real ales, including a reasonable pint of The Rev. James (a rare excursion for Brains in London?).

19 Dec 2007 01:03

The Angel, Soho

A refreshing change from the other pubs and bars in the area. Perhaps more of a "working mens" pub than an "old mans" pub, but also frequented by some more bohemian types and students (and never seen an obvious tourist in there). Sam Smiths Stout at £2.15 per pint - not at all bad for central London.

19 Dec 2007 00:58

The Fitzrovia, Goodge Street

Very crowded and noisy on an early Tuesday evening, but the overall atmosphere was reasonable (i.e. people wanting to be there, rather than thinking that they ought to be seen there). Unfortunately the Batemans Rosey Nosey was conditioning and the London Pride was nothing to write home about, but will try again next time I am in the area.

19 Dec 2007 00:44

Est Bar Est, Stansted

A more continental style of bar, with as much of an open air feel that you could hope to get inside the Stansted terminal building. A reasonable selection of draught lagers if the airside Wetherspoons (The Windmill) isn't your kind of thing.

13 Dec 2007 19:35

The Lounge, Shepherds Bush

Either I have walked past this bar umpteen times without noticing it before, or it is a new conversion of something else. Could be quite a nice little spot, just a short distance from Shepherds Bush Green, but definitely waiting for the customers to arrive. The beer's too pricey as well (and the staff volunteered this before I had the chance to say it myself).

13 Dec 2007 19:23

The Globe and Rainbow, Kilndown

At one stage, this small village off the beaten track near Goudhurst appeared to have lost its pub to residential conversion. Fortunately, concerted local action meant that a smaller version was retained in part of the premises. Now mostly a restaurant, but with a tiny bar area selling Harveys and Westerham ales.

13 Dec 2007 18:29

The Castle, Holland Park

Not a large pub, and therefore seems crowded even on a quiet night. Good range of draught lagers and other imported beers. Only two handpumps, and only one working on both this visit and the previous one. Good service, and the prices were not a high as I was expecting.

13 Dec 2007 13:57

The Mitre, Holland Park

As noted by others below, much more gastro than pub. Only one of the two handpumps was on, and I got a very odd look when I asked for my 0.8 of a pint to be topped up. However, once served, the Bambardier tasted surprisingly good and cost less than I was expecting for the Holland Park location.

13 Dec 2007 13:50

The Old Swan, Notting Hill

Reasonable enough pub, with well kept beer. However, I am not sure that they actually have as wide a range of real ales on at any one time as the number of handpumps suggest (because a surprisingly large number of them have little plaques on saying that the beer shown on the clip is conditioning).

13 Dec 2007 13:43

The Churchill Arms, Kensington

Top-notch Fullers pub a short walk south of Notting Hill Gate underground station. Good atmosphere, and excellent pint of London Porter. Well worth seeking out.

8 Dec 2007 19:10

The Prince of Wales, Kensington

Long, narrow pub just off Kensington High Street. I don't know how they manage it, but they do the same thing to Timothy Taylor Landlord that Nicholsons pubs do (and that's not good).

8 Dec 2007 19:07

The Champion of the Thames, Cambridge

Proper pub, and just far enough away from the city centre to retain a fine 'local' atmosphere. Thankfully the place offers a couple of guest beers as an alternative to the Greene King stuff.

8 Dec 2007 18:57

The Bun Shop, Cambridge

Not much to look at from the outside; and with its name, it takes a second glance to work out what's inside. In fact there are several things within - bistro, tapas bar, live music/function room and a 'pub style' bar (which is actually rather better than it sounds).

8 Dec 2007 18:50

The Baron of Beef, Cambridge

So-so Greene King pub - nothing really wrong with it, but not much to recommend it either. Ditto, the Abbot.

8 Dec 2007 18:38

The Globe, Moorgate

Popped into the Keats bar while passing through Moorgate, and Nicholson's pulled one of their best ones (not a pint, unfortunately, but the great disappearing bar staff trick - just vanished, with a big queue of thirsty punters at 6 pm). Went through to the main part of the Globe to get a so-so pint of Timothy Taylor's Landlord (what do they do the beer in these places?).

3 Dec 2007 23:26

Hops!, Covent Garden

Reasonably busy and noisy, but much less so than many other bars in and around Covent Garden. Polish Okocim on tap, but no real ale.

1 Dec 2007 21:31

The Fox and Hounds, Belgravia

Traditional, local pub just a short distance away from the fancy eateries and overpriced emporia in and around Sloane Square. Worth seeking out (but don't leave it late - they call 'time' by the pub clock which is at least 10 minutes fast).

28 Nov 2007 23:29

Elm Tree, Paddock Wood

Very disappointing for a Shepherd Neame pub. OK for a quick pint, but don't expect a warm welcome...

28 Nov 2007 23:19

Winterton Arms, Crockerhill

Pleasant country pub, tucked away in a turning off the A27 dual carriageway (east-bound) between Boxgrove and Fontwell.

28 Nov 2007 23:18

The Plough Inn, Badbury

Traditional Arkells pub (a bit of a tautology, I suppose) but none the worse for that. Very handy for Junction 15 of the M4 if you are looking to break your journey.

28 Nov 2007 23:08

The Baby Betjeman, Kings Cross

Small, temporary bar set inside the stunningly-renovated St Pancras International station. Will be replaced by The Betjemen Arms in early 2008, but seek this out and avoid the ridiculous queues at the champagne bar... Real ale direct from a barrel on the bar.

28 Nov 2007 23:04

The Queens Head, Chackmore

Every village should have a pub like this - nothing fancy, just good beer, reasonable food and outdoor seating front and back.

28 Nov 2007 23:01

The Ship Inn, South Walsham

Comfortable village inn, serving a nice pint of Woodfordes Wherry and several other real ales. Recommended.

28 Nov 2007 23:00

The Castle Inn, Brenchley

One of an increasingly rare species - a country freehouse in a quiet hamlet off the beaten track. Quite small and dark inside, but well worth visiting. Serves a nice pint of Harveys.

28 Nov 2007 22:58

The Victoria, East Farleigh

Friendly country free house between East Farleigh and Coxheath. Worth seeking out.

28 Nov 2007 22:57

The Swan, Maidstone

Large pub, with some potential, but two old blokes playing the slot machines at 1:40 in the afternoon. Strange (and the only handpump was "off").

28 Nov 2007 22:56

The Swan, Maidstone

Traditional backstreet pub, handy for County Hall and Maidstone East station. Basic, but well-kept Shepherd Neame beers.

28 Nov 2007 22:54

Fishermans Arms, Maidstone

Basic, edge-of-town-centre boozer; but makes a welcome change from the noisy, overpriced bars in the middle of Maidstone. A Shepherd Neame house.

28 Nov 2007 22:53

The Walnut Tree, East Farleigh

Excellent Shepherd Neame pub, hidden away on a country lane between East Farleigh and Dean Street, with good food and a nice beer garden.

28 Nov 2007 22:51

The Swan Hotel, Alresford

Historic coaching inn, with an additional wing of modern rooms; let down by a poor selection of beers.

28 Nov 2007 22:49

The The New Calley Arms, Hodson

Friendly Wadworth's pub, hidden away in a small village south of Swindon. Well worth a visit.

28 Nov 2007 22:47

BRB at Arc, Angel, Islington

A fairly dark, rather unexciting place, but there are worse around. Surprisingly, not too noisy, even when quite full. No real beer. Had to explain the concept of 'topping up' a three-quarter full pint to the barmaid who seemed slightly astonished by the request.

21 Nov 2007 20:59

The George, Hammersmith

As The George, it was always the sort of pub that one took a brief look at, and then kept on walking... As Belushi's, I did at least give it a (very) quick try and was 'impressed' with the total lack of atmosphere...

10 Nov 2007 22:20

St Christopher's Inn, Borough

Just dreadful - three of the handpump clips were turned around, the Bombardier was off, and the Spitfire was on the turn. Clueless bar staff ("I've just been in the country for a week"). Many decent pubs nearby, so avoid...

6 Nov 2007 23:49

Willow Walk, Victoria

Am I mad? I think I actually prefer the Wetherspoons inside Victoria station. Help - call the men in white coats...

31 Oct 2007 21:27

The Hobgoblin, Marylebone

Had to try the Hobgoblin, I suppose, but there weasn't much choice. Pleaseant enough place to spend a little time if waiting for a train at Marylebone, but nothing special.

31 Oct 2007 21:15

The Stage Door, Victoria

Typical central London pub - 'done up' at some stage and thus almost entirely devoid of character... Nice pint of Everards Black Pitch, though...

31 Oct 2007 21:13

The Mug House, London Bridge

I've have a worse pint of beer, bur probably only in another Davy's house. Do they ever sell Old Wallop at £3.20 per pint more than once to same customer in any one year? Quite a nice little place to get away from the hustle and bustle of London Bridge, though.

31 Oct 2007 21:10

The Bunch of Grapes, London Bridge

Certainly better than the watering holes inside London Bridge station, but there are much better pubs nearby.

31 Oct 2007 21:00

The Brewery Inn, Ashtead

An Ember Inns pub, so reasonably-priced beer and food (but not quite as cheap as Wetherspoons). Nothing special, but several real ales to choose from, and a nice enough atmosphere for a chain pub.

26 Oct 2007 23:20

Heart In Hand, Blunsdon

Friendly village pub on the outskirts of Swindon, with three real ales on tap. Offers bed & breakfast accommodation.

26 Oct 2007 23:01

The Half Moon, Windlesham

Excellent range of beers from the local Hogs Back Brewery and Ascot Ales, also Sharp's from Cornwall. Menu looked good, if somewhat expensive.

24 Oct 2007 18:36

The Roundhouse, Covent Garden

Reasonable pub, but always very cramped due to the odd triangular shape of the bar. Close to Covent Garden, and usually a safe bet for a decent pint.

12 Oct 2007 21:22

The Tea Clipper, Knightsbridge

Has the makings of a nice pub, but I really didn't find the right atmosphere (not bad, just rather 'yah', but I suppose that should be expected from the area). I'll give it another try, though.

12 Oct 2007 21:19

The Queens Arms, South Kensington

Tucked away in a quiet mews, but not far from the Royal Albert Hall, Imperial College and the Science Museum. Reasonable atmosphere, and decent beer.

12 Oct 2007 21:15

The Manchester and County, Manchester

Perhaps the dullest pub name in Manchester, but not too bad for a city-centre 'spoons. Very nice pint of Black Bear (a strong, dark ruby, mild) from Congleton's Bearside Brewery.

6 Oct 2007 00:14

The Castle Hotel, Manchester

Looks nothing from the outside, and on first glance you might think the same inside (until you see the 9 handpumps serving the full range of the Robinson's ales from nearby Stockport). An increasingly rare example of an old fashioned city boozer, but any real ale drinker will find the five-minute walk from Piccadilly Gardens worthwhile.

6 Oct 2007 00:09

The Marble Arch, Manchester

10 handpumps, including 4 beers brewed on the premises. Even some decent imported draught lager for those so inclined (but why not try the real stuff?). Great tiled interior. A good 'local' atmosphere, but any visitor to Manchester ought to seek this place out.

6 Oct 2007 00:03

The Waldorf Hotel, Manchester

Close to Piccadilly station, and well worth the short walk. Lots of dark wood - floors, walls, tables and chairs - but a nice pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord.

5 Oct 2007 23:57

The Masque Haunt, Old Street

Nothing special, but one of the better Wetherspoons in the area. Had a very nice pint of London Porter in their Fullers mini-festival at £1.79/pint - bargain!

26 Sep 2007 21:11

The Bedford Arms, Bedford

The first half-decent pub I have come across near the centre of Bedford. A good selection of real ales and imported beers - well worth a try.

26 Sep 2007 21:08

Diamond, Londonderry

Doesn't look much from the outside - but a surprisingly pleasant interior. A very nice pint of White dwarf wheat beer from the the far-from-local Oakham Ales at £1.39 - bargain!

15 Sep 2007 22:43

The Bankers Draft, Bedford

Reasonable interior, but spoiled by an array of dirty glasses and plates on every table. It is good to see them support the local Potton brewery, but they don't seem to sell much as the beer was well past its best. Better than the Wetherspoons on the other side of town (The Pilgrims Progress). Just.

15 Sep 2007 22:42

The Hen and Chickens, Bisley

Nothing special, but a nice pint of T.E.A...

14 Sep 2007 18:52

Magennis's Bar, Belfast

Traditional Belfast pub, adjacent to St George's Market and fairly close to the Central Station, but I'm not sure they were too keen to have an Englishman wander in...

12 Sep 2007 23:21

Windmill, Stansted Airport

It's a Wetherspoons... It's in an airport... You know what to expect...

12 Sep 2007 23:12

The Linenhall Bar, Londonderry

Handy bar if walking around the city walls. Usual Irish (non-)choice of beers, but seemed to be very popular with those seeking reasonably-priced lunch-time food.

12 Sep 2007 23:08

McGlynns, Kings Cross

Search this place out if you have some time to spare when waiting for a train at Kings Cross or St Pancras. Unusually for an Irish pub, it does serve real ale.

8 Sep 2007 13:21

Bull Inn, Olney

Decent Charles Wells pub, serving excellent beer and good food. Well worth a stop if you are passing.

8 Sep 2007 13:18

The White Horse, Bedford

The landlords make a real effort here, and they keep a number of Charles Wells snd Youngs beers in excellent condition. I have not found a better pub in Bedford yet.

8 Sep 2007 13:11

Fox & Hounds, Bedford

Looks slightly better inside than out, but that's not saying much... OK when visited mid-afternoon, but wouldn't wish to come back when it gets busy.

8 Sep 2007 13:08

The Angel, Angel, Islington

Very ordinary Wetherspoons - cheap, but not very cheerful...

1 Sep 2007 00:04

The Silver Cross, Whitehall

Characterless 'olde London' pub aiming at the Trafalgar Square tourist market. Was sold a pint of 'London Pride' that somehow managed to taste of Greene King IPA - how did they manage that?

30 Aug 2007 21:29

The Halfway House, Brenchley

Justifiably award-winning country pub, with a great range of real ale available and decent food. The 50-beer festival over the August bank holiday weekend is a must, but well worth seeking out at any time of year.

30 Aug 2007 10:02

The Bell and Jorrocks, Frittenden

A proper village pub, but one making an extra effort by now providing Post Office facilities, etc. Beer festivals in August and April. Well worth making a detour.

28 Aug 2007 23:16

The York, Islington

Fairly typical Nicholson's - nothing special, but still a real pub rather than some ghastly theme bar. Reasonable pint of Timothy Taylor's Landlord,

23 Aug 2007 20:45

Old Manor, Bracknell

A very welcome oasis in the decent pub desert otherwise known as Bracknell...

10 Aug 2007 17:20

The Mudlark, London Bridge

Surprisingly quiet for a South bank pub near the Thames Path. Typical Nicholson's pub - nothing special, but served a reasonable enough pint of Landlord.

6 Aug 2007 23:18

The Anchor, Southwark

Great location, but bar staff seem to think that a customer should be satisfied with a pint served with a full 1 inch of head. Caveat emptor!

6 Aug 2007 23:14

The Cockpit, Blackfriars

(Pleasantly) surprising lack of suits, for the City - about the closest thing to a genuine pub that I have found in this area.

6 Aug 2007 23:11

The Bell And Compass, Charing Cross

The makeover hasn't improved The Griffin much (if at all), so the best thing you can say about this place is that it's not as horrible as the Boadicea inside the nearby Charing Cross station. Not quite...

26 Jul 2007 22:36

The Montagu Pyke, Charing Cross Road

Given its former life, this place is always going to be a cavern. It used to be a rather soul-less Wetherspoons, now it's a rather soul-less Lloyds No. 1. Nothing musch seems to have changed, but I recommend looking for seats in the small upstairs area if you want to hear what your companions are saying.

26 Jul 2007 22:29

The Tyburn, Marble Arch

I'm surprised that this is not branded as a Lloyds No.1 bar rather than as a Wetherspoons, particularly as they only seem to have a passing interest in real ale. Otherwise, quite small but reasonably inoffensive...

26 Jul 2007 22:19

The Arkle Manor, Betchworth

Used to be the sort of drab roadside establishment that one just continued to drive past, but the exterior and (especially) interior have been given a thorough makeover. I'm not sure that modern leather and polished wood decor is quite my sort of thing, but there is probably a good market for it in this part of leafy Surrey. Apart from that, it had Timothy Taylor Landlord on, but I suspect that they don't through much real ale here.

20 Jul 2007 18:35

The Green Man and French Horn, Covent Garden

Long, thin pub with a rather dull interior. Decent beer, though.

12 Jul 2007 22:58

The Andover Arms, Hammersmith

Tucked away in a maze of residential streets, this traditional pub has a real 'local' atmosphere that comes as something of a surprise in this affluent area. Excellent Fullers beers, as one would expect. Well worth seeking out.

10 Jul 2007 09:56

The Anglesea Arms, Hammersmith

Perfectly reasonable gastropub in a well-healed area, although this also means that a pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord costs £3.10. Apparently some of the nearby residents want the council to take away its licence - I wonder what/who was here first, the pub or those complaining about it?

10 Jul 2007 09:29

The Cricketers Inn, Easton

Decent beer, reasonable food, friendly staff - every village needs to have a pub like this.

8 Jul 2007 17:04

Goose At The Station, Bracknell

Cheap, and reasonably cheerful. Very handy for Bracknell railway tation.

6 Jul 2007 20:46

Red Lion, Bracknell

Not as bad as the signs on the doors stating that as a condition of entry that you accept that the management and security staff may carry out body searches might suggest. Not quite.

6 Jul 2007 20:44

The Bell at Mill Hill, Mill Hill

OK for a quick pint in the early evening whilst dodging a thunderstorm. Reasonable modern interior, but not exactly a friendly atmosphere.

4 Jul 2007 23:32

The Pepper Box Inn, Ulcombe

Great rural location, overlooking the Low Weald. Excellent Shepherd Neame beer. Well worth seeking out.

30 Jun 2007 17:03

The Blue Eyed Maid, Borough

OK, but nothing special, and just dull Greene King IPA on draught when I visited...

28 Jun 2007 21:56

Kings Arms, Borough

Nice, traditional, friendly pub, but let down by selling Greene King IPA at £3.00 per pint...

28 Jun 2007 21:54

The Litten Tree, Old Street

Nothing special, but I obviously picked a better time to visit that those described below. Some reasonable window seats, but most of the interior looks very gloomy. Six hand pumps, but all had London Pride clips!

27 Jun 2007 22:52

The Market Porter, Borough

Top place - always busy, but with a great range of real ales.

20 Jun 2007 22:32

The Home Cottage, Redhill

Perfectly reasonable local, and certainly a much better bet than most of the pubs on the town-centre side of Redhill railway station. Well kept Youngs and Charles Wells beers.

18 Jun 2007 18:54

The Green Man, Lidlington

Would be quite a nice village pub if it offered something better than the dull-as-ditchwater Greene King ales.

15 Jun 2007 20:15

The Magpies, Woburn

Much more like a traditional village pub than the other hotel bars in Woburn High Street.

15 Jun 2007 19:55

The Black Horse, Woburn

Fairly busy on a Monday night, but I suspect that most people were there for the food rather than going out for a drink. However, the Greene King Ale Fresco provided a change from the dull IPA normally served in these parts. Interesting contrast between the modern interior and 'heritage' Woburn outside.

15 Jun 2007 19:54

The Bell Hotel and Inn, Woburn

Agree with the previous comment, but would add that most of the 'pub' is really the restauarnt for the hotel which is (curiously) located on the opposite side of the road.

15 Jun 2007 19:44

R Bar, Maidstone

Strange place - quite cheap for a town-centre pub - large, bright food area quite different from the dingy front bar - 'barman' who had very obviously never been asked to pull a pint of real ale before

7 Jun 2007 22:18

The Ring, Southwark

Plenty of uniformed staff whose unexplained duties don't seem to involve serving customers, and a surprising lack of choice on the beer front too. A bit pokey inside, but there are quite a few benches outdoors if the sun is out. Close to Southwark tube station.

7 Jun 2007 22:13

The Southwark Tavern, London Bridge

Busy, and not exactly upmarket in terms of decor, but plenty of choice with a wide range of continental lagers and several real ales on draught.

7 Jun 2007 22:04

The Hand and Flower, Kensington

Quite busy and loud - full of people shouting at each other when they could have sat down and talked... Smartened up a bit since my last visit a few years ago, but nothing special.

1 Jun 2007 23:58

The Princess of Wales, Charing Cross

Definitely not one of Nicholson's best, but you can usually get a reasonable pint with less hassle than the 'smarter' pub just up Villier's Street (and certainly better than the 'Block Hole' inside nearby Charing Cross station if your train is late).

17 May 2007 22:53

The Harp, Covent Garden

Very crowded after work, but well worth venturing inside to get a decent pint from their good choice or regular and guest beers.

17 May 2007 22:42

The Garrick Arms, Trafalgar Square

Nothing special...

17 May 2007 22:40

The Hog in the Pound, Bond Street

Couldn't get a chair outside, or indeed anywhere to sit inside, but had a nice pint of Hogs Back Brewery T.E.A...

17 May 2007 22:39

The Barrowboy and Banker, London Bridge

Big, busy, and little sense of character about the place. Efficient bar staff, though, and a nice pint of Discovery.

9 May 2007 22:49

The Bird in Hand, Little Sandhurst

Nothing special, but a perfectly reasonable village local...

3 May 2007 22:52

The Lord Raglan, Staplehurst

A real hidden gem - a 'proper' rural pub serving good food and decent beer, all at reasonable prices. Has a very pleasant garden if the weather suits. Well worth seeking out.

1 May 2007 14:25

The William Morris, Hammersmith

Not too bad if it is a sunny day and you can get a table in the square outside the side doors. Otherwise, avoid this dingy hole and try the Plough & Harrow further down King Street if you want a reasonable pint at Wetherspoons prices.

1 May 2007 08:39

The Shakespeare's Head, Holborn

One of the more dingy Wetherspoons, but otherwise much as one might expect...

29 Apr 2007 22:37

The Chequers, Laddingford

Every village should have a pub like this - as close to a '10' as I have ever found.

22 Apr 2007 16:05

The Prince, Crowthorne

Interesting spectrum of customers, with a rather different feel to place depending whereabouts along the bar one is standing. Had a very pleasant lunch-time pint of Thwaites Wainwright, though.

18 Apr 2007 18:39

The Wateringbury, Wateringbury

Chef & Brewer pub attached to a Premier Travel Inn - nothing exciting, but usually has a resonable selection of real ales on.

11 Apr 2007 15:58

The Axe and Compass, Heath and Reach

Friendly staff, a very nice pint of a local mild (sorry, didn't write the name down), plenty of outside seating and a decent childrens' play area. A pleasant place to stop in one of the oddest-named places in England.

9 Apr 2007 21:35

The Cross Keys, Hammersmith

Excellent Fullers pub, with a friendly 'local' atmosphere. Well worth seeking out.

31 Mar 2007 15:57

The Ravenscourt Arms, Hammersmith

Visited this small Irish-style bar when England were playing Ireland in the cricket world cup. Could have been a bit awkward, but there was plenty of friendly banter between supporters of the two teams watching the action on the big screens. Overall, quite a pleasant surprise.

31 Mar 2007 15:55

O'Neills, Shepherds Bush

First the bad news: it's an O'Neills (and even less interesting than most).

Now the good news: it's adjacent to the Shepherds Bush Empire - London's best live music venue (in my opinion, anyway), whose only fault is that their idea of a decent beer is even worse than the place next door...

30 Mar 2007 16:55

The Oast House, London Bridge Station

Not very nice. Only plus point - not quite as bad as the Boadicea at Charing Cross .

23 Mar 2007 21:43

The Cumberland Arms, West Kensington

Busy, but not unpleasntly so, on a Friday evening. Bright interior. Decent pint of London Pride.

23 Mar 2007 21:37

Village Inn, Gatwick Airport

Just what you would expect from an airport Wetherspoons - decent beer and (relatively) reasonable prices, but no character...

21 Mar 2007 23:16

Red Lion, Gatwick Airport

Really not too bad, with some reasonable views over the airport if that's your kind of thing...

21 Mar 2007 23:12

The Bell Hotel, Staplehurst

At last - Staplehurst has an interesting pub which makes an effort and sells decent beer. (Ignore my previous comment further down the list below.)

14 Mar 2007 16:25

The Red Lion, Lenham

Can't think of much to add to the review below, except to say that it is a rather more relaxed place than the neighbouring Dog & Bear Hotel.

14 Mar 2007 15:55

The Trout, Hammersmith

Not really a pub - just a shopping-centre boozer for those disinclined to try somewhere more interesting. Probably the least exciting Greene King ever tasted - not off, just rather unpleasant. Have been disappointed before, but tried again just to make sure. No change.

13 Mar 2007 23:57

The Black Lion, Hammersmith

Fine location, nice interior, reasonable beer, slightly clueless staff...

13 Mar 2007 23:52

Mawson Arms/ Fox and Hounds, Chiswick

Fuller's brewery tap - nothing fancy, but top-notch real ale direct from the producers.

13 Mar 2007 23:49

The Bear and Staff, Leicester Square

Usually busy, as one would expect from a well-placed Theatreland pub, but prompt and efficient service by the bar staff.

4 Mar 2007 21:17

The Devonshire Arms, Marylebone

Interesting pub, not far from Portland Place, but £3.10 for a pint of Adnams is a bit steep....

28 Feb 2007 00:11

The Hare and Hounds, Maidstone

Four handpumps. No real ales on. Left.

26 Feb 2007 23:16

Boadicea, Charing Cross Station

After several years of carefully avoiding this pit that painlessly fails to reach even the traditionally low standards of BR-era station drinking holes, just one quick lapse on a Friday evening meant that I found it to be... just the same as ever.

23 Feb 2007 21:33

The Pilgrims Progress, Bedford

A lot of hostile comments (see below), but this Wetherspoons is just what one might expect - an uninspiring watering hole in an uninspiring place like Bedford...

20 Feb 2007 23:59

The Ship Inn, Bedford

Not the best Charles Wells pub, but one of the few places to get a decent pint on the north-west side of Bedford town centre.

20 Feb 2007 23:54

The Hercules Pillars, Holborn

"RogerB" has got it just right - see below.

20 Feb 2007 23:49

The Sea Horse, Mansion House

Not quite sure what to make of this place. Traditional exterior, but (partially) modernised interior. Pretty full after work on a Friday night (but what self-respecting pub in the City isn't?). Sells Harvey's, though, so can't be all bad...

16 Feb 2007 23:28

The Shepherd and Flock, Shepherds Bush

A few old men nursing their pints and staring into space, a bored-looking couple at the bar, but not unpleasant. However, will try again to see if there is more life than this usually.

16 Feb 2007 14:38

The Grove, Hammersmith

More 'gastro' than pub...

16 Feb 2007 14:32

The Laurie Arms, Hammersmith

Bright and airy pub, with staff who actually seem interested - so unlike some of the other places in Hammersmith. The Thai food served to nearby diners looked good too.

16 Feb 2007 14:29

The Hare, Langton Green

Exactly the sort of pub one might expect the well-to-do of 'Royal' Tunbridge Wells to visit for Sunday lunch - others might find it a little dull and rather expensive at £3 plus per pint. Didn't stop to eat, but the food looked nice.

5 Feb 2007 17:38

The Moon Under Water, Leicester Square

Usually packed solid, but excellent value for the heart of the West End. Not as much choice as some of the other, larger Wetherspoons in central London, but usually several interesting guest beers on offer.

2 Feb 2007 13:47

The Coach and Horses, Soho

Unsure that this place is now quite as bad as some of the other recent reviews suggest, but certainly not a patch on what it used to be. Not usually a cider drinker, but had a nice pint of Thatchers draught though.

2 Feb 2007 13:44

The Hogshead, Leicester Square

As the original Hogshead, this used to be quite a good place to stop off just a stone's throw away from Leicester Square. Atmosphere went down and prices went up when the format was 'modernised', and this trend has only got worse since the latest revamp into the 'Crooked Surgeon'. Example - London Pride served too cold at £3.25 a pint - there are many other places nearby where you get better for less...

2 Feb 2007 13:38

The Radnor Arms, Kensington

What a shame about the planned closure. This is a really good local pub, nothing pretentious, but with excellent Everards beer and a friendly atmosphere. Go there before it is too late!

2 Feb 2007 13:28

The Albion, West Kensington

This looks like it could be a good pub, but somewhat put off by some of the other clientele. One rather so-so pint, and left quickly...

31 Jan 2007 19:10

O'Neills, Richmond

It's an O'Neills... It's close to the station... Not much more to say, but the live music sounds interesting so may go again one Monday night.

31 Jan 2007 19:06

The Abbot, Redhill

Nothing special, but close to the station and the young barman was actually interested in the real ale rather than the lager! Pleasantly surprised.

31 Jan 2007 19:02

The Sun, Redhill

Not too bad when last visited on a late weekday afternoon. Two excellent local beers from King's brewery in Horsham. Planned to have a quick pint and head for the station, but stayed for another...

31 Jan 2007 18:59

The Forester's Arms, Paddock Wood

Typical 'pool and footie on TV' pub, but not an unfriendly atmosphere. Surprisingly bright and open interior too.

17 Jan 2007 22:30

The Iron Duke, Victoria station

Typically awful station 'pub'. Only redeeming feature - less crowded than Wetherspoons (but less choice and much more expensive).

17 Jan 2007 22:20

Wetherspoons, Victoria Station

Nor brilliant, but you can usually get a decent pint at a reasonable price. Often best to get a table on the balcony to avoid the usual crush inside.

17 Jan 2007 22:16

The Bell, Cannon Street

Small, and thus very crowded after work, but easily the best of a bad lot (The Banker excepted) around Cannon Street station.

12 Jan 2007 20:37

The Chandos, Trafalgar Square

Proper pub, with an excellent range of decent beer at very reasonable prices. Worth trying out the upstairs Opera Room bar (unless it is very busy in which case you will probably fall over one of the closely-packed sofas...). Very convenient for the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Covent Garden, Charing Cross station, etc.

23 Dec 2006 22:49

The Round Table, Leicester Square

Not great, but still a reasonably pleasant surprise when compared with some of the other 'unpleasant, packed-to-the-rafters, rubbish beer and worse service' establishments nearby.

23 Dec 2006 22:31

The Duke Of Marlborough, Maidstone

Uninspiring 'old man's' boozer, close to Maidstone's new 'Fremlins Walk' shopping centre.

21 Dec 2006 22:17

The Old Kings Head, Borough

Old-fashioned town pub, making a pleasant change from the overdone theme bars nearby. Good selection of real ales. Worth seeking out if you have a long wait at London Bridge station.

21 Dec 2006 22:04

The Queens Head, Hammersmith

Potentially excellent pub, but always clueless staff. A real missed opportunity, but there's always hope...

13 Dec 2006 23:03

The Hammersmith Ram, Hammersmith

Just what you would expect from a Youngs town-centre pub - nothing too exciting, but a well-maintained establishment with reasonable beer...

13 Dec 2006 22:59

The Plough and Harrow, Hammersmith

Obviously a place that provokes strong emotions (both positive and negative) from other reviewers, but that is probably representative of their general view of the merits (or otherwise) of Wetherspoons overall. My view - better than average for the chain, and certainly rather more enticing than the horrible Lloyds No. 1 up the road.

13 Dec 2006 22:55

The Crown Inn, Stratton St Margaret

Part traditional, part modern inn on the Roman road known as Ermin Street. Good value meals, reasonably-priced rooms and the local Arkell's ales.

11 Dec 2006 23:08

The Wheatsheaf, Stratton St Margaret

A village pub now swallowed up by Swindon's suburbs, but seems to retain a genuine friendly 'local' atmosphere.

11 Dec 2006 23:03

The Queens Tap, Swindon

The first thing you see when leaving Swindon railway station - keep going!

10 Dec 2006 15:43

The Green, Shepherds Bush

Usually a warmer reception here than at the Defector's Weld across the road, and a much better choice of real ale too.

10 Dec 2006 15:40

The Defector's Weld, Shepherds Bush

Busy, noisy and bouncers to 'welcome' you. Good wine selection, but very limited real ale choice. Quite a nice modern look to the seating layout, though.

10 Dec 2006 15:37

The Castle Tavern, Woolwich

Can only agree with 'Marty' - not too bad, but not a very comfortable atmosphere either.

10 Dec 2006 15:33

The G W Hotel Bar and Grill, Swindon

You wouldn't guess from the outside, but this bar has a bright modern interior and decent ales from the local Arkell's brewery. If waiting for a train at the nearby station, don't even think of going anywhere near the Queens Tap, come here instead.

7 Dec 2006 23:03

The Lincoln Arms Hotel, Dorking

Old-fashioned hotel bar, located close to Dorking and Deepdene stations. Usually has three real ales on, but non-smokers may find the atmosphere a bit thick.

22 Nov 2006 20:34

The Buckingham Arms, Westminster

Decent Young's pub, worth seeking out.

20 Nov 2006 23:56

The Sanctuary House, Westminster

An interesting building, and a well-run Fuller's house. The 'Sanctuary' name is also fairly apt since it makes a pleasant change from some of the other scrum-like pubs around Westminster/St James's Park.

20 Nov 2006 23:53

The Hand and Racquet, Covent Garden

Cosy little pub just a short distance away from Leicester Square (but nowhere near Covent Garden, despite what the listing says). Not too convinced about the bar staff, though...

20 Nov 2006 23:49

The Doric Arch, Euston

It's good to see that Fuller's haven't spent too much money "improving" the Head of Steam - the seats may be a bit more comfortable, and the place is slightly less cluttered, but the Doric Arch retains much of its quirky charm and railway memorabilia. Excellent range of guest beers, as before. (PS - Remember to get the door code from the bar staff before venturing towards the toilets downstairs.)

20 Nov 2006 23:44

Metropolitan Bar, Baker Street

Always has an excellent choice of real ale, and very handy for Baker Street underground. Note the wierd contrasts between the neon-lit entrance, the tables crammed into the pokey lobby and the cavernous main bar hall.

19 Nov 2006 16:21

The Globe, Baker Street

Crowded and uninspired.

19 Nov 2006 16:16

J J Moons, Wembley

Cheap and (mostly) cheerful.

19 Nov 2006 16:15

The John Brunt VC, Paddock Wood

I suspect that Paddock Wood's most famous son would be disappointed with this rather sad pub bearing his name, but at least the short-lived 'Hopping Hooden Horse' name has gone...

19 Nov 2006 16:14

The Bridge Bar, London Bridge Station

There are worse things to do than sit here nursing a pint of Hoegaarden, having just missed your train home thanks to London's hideous 19th-century underground system. Can take quite a while to get served, though.

10 Nov 2006 21:33

The White House, West Farleigh

A real old-fashioned country pub, with the local Goacher's ales direct from the barrel. (NB - You might also find the address given as Heath Road (wrong) in West Farleigh (correct). The best bet is to use the postcode to locate the pub on your GPS or internet mapping site of choice.)

10 Nov 2006 21:26

The Foresters Arms, Tonbridge

Not exactly Shep's finest establishment, but my experience of the place is not as bad as some of the comments suggest.

10 Nov 2006 20:52

The Humphrey Bean, Tonbridge

Not quite as bad an experience as my last visit (but that's not saying very much...).

10 Nov 2006 20:44

The Railway, Kew Gardens

Had a very pleasant Saturday lunchtime visit - decent selection of beer and pub food at reasonable prices.

10 Nov 2006 20:40

The Rocket, Euston

No sign of a real ale, but had a nice pint of Hoegaarden instead. A "let's go there and watch the footy on the telly" sort of pub.

12 Oct 2006 21:39

Mabel's Tavern, Euston

Good Sheps beer, but not much else to recommend it.

12 Oct 2006 21:37

The Euston Flyer, Euston

Not cheap (or quiet), but the Fuller's beer is always well kept.

12 Oct 2006 21:35

The Feathers, St James's

Pleasant enough, but unremarkable. Close to St. James's Park underground station.

8 Oct 2006 16:21

The Red Lion, Westminster

Very busy pub set in the middle of the main Government offices. Main drawback - you always have to stand. Handy for the Houses of Parliament.

8 Oct 2006 16:18

The Old Shades, Whitehall

Unremarkable, but pleasant enough. Close to Trafalgar Square.

8 Oct 2006 16:14

The Sherlock Holmes, Charing Cross

Not too bad, provided that you don't get there at the same time as a coach-load of Conan Doyle enthusiasts...

29 Sep 2006 20:24

The Clarence, Whitehall

Looks to have a good range of beer, but quite a few seem to be "available soon". Not bad for Whitehall, through.

29 Sep 2006 20:22

The Speaker, Westminster

Well worth seeking out - a decent pub with good beer, not far the heart of Westminster. Recommended.

29 Sep 2006 20:20

The West End Tavern, Marden

Popular village local, with a good 'pub food' menu. Wide choice of real ale (usually 4 or 5 on), but they never seem to taste quite as good as they should (i.e. not past their best, but still somehow not quite 100%).

26 Sep 2006 13:18

The Central Bar, Shepherds Bush

Fairly typical Wetherspoons, with its most notable feature being the particularly uninspired name. However, as you would expect, there is a good choice of beer and food here at very reasonable prices. The window seats also offer a good view out over Shepherds Bush Green. (NB - This place also seems to attract to some rather dubious characters, some of whom are definitely best avoided if they try to engage you in conversation.)

26 Sep 2006 13:06

The Old Parrs Head, Kensington

Not too bad, but the emphasis is on the Thai menu and wine list rather than beer here. The only real ale on this time was London Pride, but have previously enjoyed the Hoegaarden siting outside in the sunshine.

26 Sep 2006 12:57

The Chequers, Loose

Traditional village pub, in a picturesque setting at the bottom of a steep valley beside a stream. Decent beer, but one of those places where you suspect that locals get served quicker at the bar...

25 Sep 2006 12:45

Society Rooms, Maidstone

Nothing special, but the usual wide choice of beers and good value meals that you would expect to find in a Wetherspoons. Handy for Maidstone East railway station if you are waiting for a train.

25 Sep 2006 12:38

The Rifle Volunteers, Maidstone

Step back in time to the 19??s, but enjoy one or two of Goacher's excellent local brews in this, one of only two, tied houses.

25 Sep 2006 12:35

The Muggleton Inn, Maidstone

Now branded as a Lloyds No. 1 bar rather than a Wetherspoons pub, but not much else has changed. Quite pleasant for a meal upstairs at lunchtime, but you need to go back down to the main bar for the full range of beers.

25 Sep 2006 12:30

The Walnut Tree, Loose

Driven past it a thousand times, but finally decided to pop in. Nice friendly atmosphere, and good Shepherd Neame beer.

20 Sep 2006 22:46

The Ship and Shovell, Charing Cross

Although not a great fan of Hall & Woodhouse (Badger) beer, this smallish pub hidden in a passage underneath Charing Cross station is one of these best in the area. Very busy in the early evening, but they also have a separate, quieter bar on the opposite side of the passage.

17 Sep 2006 11:46

The Brook Green Hotel, Hammersmith

Nothing like as good as it used to be - prices up, atmosphere down...

17 Sep 2006 11:39

The Lord Moon Of The Mall, Whitehall

The positives - always a good selection of real ales, very reasonable prices for central London and only five minutes walk from Charing Cross station if you have just missed your train. The negatives - often crowded and smokey.

10 Sep 2006 17:55

Bonapartes, Bristol

Cafe bar on the platform at Temple Meads station. OK, if you happen to want a cool lager on a hot afternoon and can get a seat at one of the outside tables.

10 Sep 2006 17:42

The Royal Oak, Clifton

I nearly walked by, but was glad that I didn't. Nice friendly pub, with a good 'local' atmosphere. Recommended.

10 Sep 2006 17:25

The Berkeley, Clifton

Not too bad mid-afternoon, but won't be hurrying back...

10 Sep 2006 17:22

V Shed, Bristol

Good range of real ale, and very pleasant sitting outside watching the world go by on a sunny weekday afternoon (but one can imagine it getting crowded at the weekend).

10 Sep 2006 17:17

The Mad Bishop and Bear, Paddington

A good effort from Fullers to provide a 'watering hole' slightly removed from the hustle and bustle of Paddington's platforms.

10 Sep 2006 17:11

The White Hart Hotel, Cricklade

If you are looking for accommodation in the Swindon area, leave the town behind and drive a few miles north to this traditional hotel in the interesting small town of Cricklade. Good food, and excellent Arkell's ales.

3 Sep 2006 15:02

The White Lion, Cricklade

Busy enough when visited on a Thursday evening, but nothing special.

3 Sep 2006 14:57

The Old Bear, Cricklade

Simple village pub, but decent Arkell's beer from the local brewery.

3 Sep 2006 14:39

The Red Lion, Cricklade

Great range of real ales (9 in total), with a good 'local' atmosphere. Recommended.

3 Sep 2006 14:31

The Peacock, Goudhurst

Pleasant country pub, serving excellent Shepherd Neame beer. Well worth a detour if visiting nearby Sissinghurst, Goudhurst or Cranbrook.

8 Aug 2006 00:18

Elephants Head, Hook Green

Excellent country pub, with top Harveys and plenty of outdoor seating. Very difficult to think of somewhere better to spend a warm summer evening...

8 Aug 2006 00:14

The Wild Duck, Marden

Isolated country tavern, recently rebranded as a 'gastro pub'. Has had an up and down reputation in recent years, but hopefully on the up again (but don't go on Tuesdays or in the late afternoon when closed).

8 Aug 2006 00:11

The Railway Tavern, Staplehurst

Basic roadside pub near the mainline station.

8 Aug 2006 00:04

The Kings Head, Staplehurst

Historic pub at the top of the hill, near the church. Quite dark, low beamed cealing, but good Shepherd Neame beer.

8 Aug 2006 00:01

The Bell Hotel, Staplehurst

Appears to be closed...

7 Aug 2006 23:58

The Unicorn, Marden

The village local. Friendly atmosphere. Excellent Harveys. Food at reasonable prices. Worth a visit any day.

5 Aug 2006 22:34

The West End Tavern, Marden

Popular food pub, especially at lunchtimes. Younger clientele in the evening. Not a classic local, but nevertheless an asset to the village.

5 Aug 2006 22:31

The Parrot Inn, Forest Green

Well worth seeking out - this is as good as it gets (for Surrey). Peaceful location on the edge of one of the largest village greens that you have ever seen, decent beer, good nibbles on the bar, and relatively reasonable prices...

5 Aug 2006 22:24

The Squirrel at Hurtmore, Hurtmore

Nearly hideous - should be a decent pub, but nothing like as good as it thinks it is! I suppose that the piped music drowns out the noise of the A3, but after a pint you'll want to head for the hills (I suggest the nearby Cyder House in sleepy Shackleford).

5 Aug 2006 22:18

The Cyder House Inn, Shackleford

After developing a rather jaundiced view of Surrey country pubs, this was a very refreshing change. More modern inside tham one might expect, but a nice atmosphere. Staff seemed interested, and the customers looked like they were enjoying the food and drink. Wished that I could have stayed longer...

5 Aug 2006 22:14

The Barley Mow, Tilford

One of the very best pub locations, set between the large triangular cricket green and the River Wey. Should be a truly great local, but unfortunately isn't... (and probably the most expensive pint of bitter that I've ever had).

5 Aug 2006 22:10

The Donkey, Tilford

Tiny bar, with most customers eating in the (not very large) restaurant section (and yes, a real donkey out the back to amuse the children.) NB - Located in a byway off the B3001, and in a dip, so quite easy to drive past by mistake.

5 Aug 2006 22:05

The Woolpack, Elstead

A bit soul-less, but reasonable beer straight from the barrel. Food quite expensive, but nice enough...

5 Aug 2006 21:58

The Golden Fleece, Elstead

Probably the most 'local' pub in Elstead, and serves decent Thai food at reasonable (for Surrey) prices.

5 Aug 2006 21:56

The Mill at Elstead, Elstead

Fantsatic location and setting in old watermill on the River Wey just west of Elstead. (Drove past it by chance, but turned around after half a mile and went back - it just looked so nice...). Decent pint of Fuller's Discovery, sipped watching the swans on the mill pond, but the staff didn't seem too interested.

5 Aug 2006 21:53

The Royal Oak, Holmbury St Mary

Lovely location overlooking the green, but no real atmosphere...

5 Aug 2006 21:38

The Dog and Pheasant, Brook

Pleasant setting opposite the road from Brook's cricket ground. Limited and quite expensive menu, but the Bombardier went down well after a warm summer evening walk from Bowlhead Green.

28 Jul 2006 21:49

The Sun Inn, Dunsfold

A nice pint of Harveys in an excellent location on the edge of Dunsfold's large common. Well worth the detour off the A281.

28 Jul 2006 21:41

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