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BITE user comments - sew

Comments by sew

Compton Swan Hotel, Compton

Now under new management (since January 2014) for umpteenth time since my last comment... Leaning towards food but doesn't seem that busy. 4 handpumps, all sadly with Greene King beer (the previous tenants managed to get the local West Berks beer in). The wine is fine but expensive. I'm afraid I can't really recommend it as it currently stands.

30 Jan 2014 16:17

The Coach, Worlds End

Now re-opened as of yesterday, 17th October 2012. To an untrained eye seems to be very similar to the place as it was before. Currently 3 real ales including the local West Berks Good Old Boy.

18 Oct 2012 17:49

The Bargemans Rest, Newport

We go to the Bargemans Rest quite frequently as it's very convenient if you arrive in Newport by boat. The food is good, not brilliant, but better than average for the Island. The beer varies considerably in quality, but they're happy to let you taste them first so you should find one that's to your liking. Gets very busy if you want to sit outside, and the tables and chairs outside are horrible plastic things which frankly need replacing with more stable and better quality units. Overall, it's a nice pub.

2 Oct 2012 13:35

The Fox and Hounds, Peasemore

It seems the previous landlord left under a bit of a financial shadow. It's now re-opened under the management of a new family who, I believe, are posted there by the liquidators. The re-opening of the pub is most welcomed by the locals, and the new family seem, overall, to be doing very well indeed so far. Regrettably the longer-term future of the pub is still uncertain, but hopefully this period will at least show that it can be made a going concern and hence prevent it being closed down forever.

2 Oct 2012 13:23

The Coach, Worlds End

There was activity around Easter, but it fizzled out. Now apparently re-opening later this month, October 2012, under the same husband and wife team that were going to re-open in around Easter. Will update accordingly...

2 Oct 2012 12:56

The Winterbourne Arms, Winterbourne

Had lunch there recently and the food was excellent. A bit different and very nicely cooked and presented. They had 2 West Berks beers on: Old Father Thames and Good Old Boy, the Ramsbury Brewery apparently kicked into touch for some reason. I had GOB, it was fine. Service was good and friendly. The place isn't cheap, though.

20 Mar 2012 09:32

The Coach, Worlds End

Now closed. Building works ongoing apparently uprating fire protection. Builder made interesting comments about the state of the kitchen and of the place/accomodation in general, and of the departure of the previous tenants. Allegely scheduled to re-open with new tenants around Easter time.

20 Mar 2012 09:26

The Bear Inn, North Moreton

Just ever so slightly disappointed, given how good it's supposed to be. I wonder if its "fame" is strangling it. The food (Sunday lunch) was okay, but nothing spectacular: I know at least one pub serving Sunday lunch at the same price but its food is far better. The beer was good and sensibly-priced. But the whole experience felt a little clinical, a bit too "pile 'em in and get 'em done". It's no longer a country pub really, it seems it's a bit of a "machine" now. I can understand why: it's the price of succes, but is it worth paying that price?

23 Jan 2012 16:05

The Kings Head, Yarmouth

This is currently the best pub in Yarmouth. End of.

1 Dec 2011 16:45

The Swan Hotel, East Ilsley

This pub is okay. The food is okay. The beer is Greene King, but if you avoid that and go for the guest, then the beer will be okay. The landlord is friendly. The place is clean. The regulars are friendly enough. It's all okay. It just lacks character.

1 Dec 2011 16:42

The Crown and Horns Inn, East Ilsley

This place's reputation has plummeted recently. We're local-ish and heard on the grapevine that it was dreadful, so in the interests of research we had to go in to see! The strange thing is that we didn't find it too bad. The beer was good and well-kept. The landlord was very friendly. We're not regulars or similar, but we've been back a couple of times since and really have had nothing to complain about at all. Maybe others need to give it a 2nd chance?

1 Dec 2011 16:39

Langley Hall Inn, Worlds End

This is a pub, a proper pub. It's not a bistro, it's not an expensive restaurant. It's not trying to be anything clever. It's a pub, plain and simple. But it's a good pub. The food is simple, good, and locally-sourced. The beer is limited in choice, but who needs choice when it's well-kept West Berks Brewery on offer, and at a sensible price, too? The landlord and -lady are friendly, as are the chatty locals. Loveley warm stove in the bar end. Just the place to go for a chin-way, a pint and a bite to eat, and to boot the bill won't leave you cold at the end of the evening.

1 Dec 2011 16:33

Compton Swan Hotel, Compton

The place appears really to be more of a bistro than a pub -- not exactly uncommon these days. The barmaid ... well, I wouldn't have employed her, let's put it that way. The place really wasn't all that friendly, it has a cold, unwelcoming, clinical feel about it in spite of the nice coal fire. The beer was okay though dull. The regulars seemed to be drinking lager rather than beer -- that tells you a bit either about the regulars, or the beer, or both! With other good pubs not far away I won't be rushing back.

1 Dec 2011 16:23

Langley Hall Inn, Worlds End

Not yet eaten there, but they do now (as promised) have Good Old Boy which is superbly kept as is apparently selling well. Currently priced at 3/pt.

6 Aug 2011 08:23

The Coach, Worlds End

This pub always seems to be busy, and they're getting a huge amount right. There have recently been massive staff changes, with the manager promoted to spearhead the group's move to build a string of "Lazy Cow" inns, the chef changed, and various other, too. The group, I feel, has lost interest and there appears to be little investment in repairs and maintenance; let's hope they don't just think it's a cash cow to feed the Lazy Cows. There will be interesting times ahead, let's see what happens.

31 Jul 2011 08:07

The Three Bishops, Brighstone

Been there thrice recently, mainly because it's basically the only pub in the village. On the first occasion we ate. It wasn't busy, we were in the old part of the pub at the top next to the bar, but they wouldn't run a tab without a credit card or similar behind the bar, which is an absolute no-no as far as I'm concerned. I would have understood if we'd been in the garden or even in a far-flung part of the restaurant, but we weren't. That sort of got us off on a bit of a bad footing. The dressed crab looked good, but it turned out the sides were filled out with salad rather than crab meat, which felt very mean indeed given the cost. The pie I had was very average indeed. The beer is okay, not great, but not terrible. The Timothy Taylor Landlord seems to be the best bet. The pub doesn't seem to be as busy as it was, even now it's school holidays. I think it needs to up its game.

31 Jul 2011 07:53

Langley Hall Inn, Worlds End

Did re-open briefly in February -- apparently to pretend the pub was open so it could be sold as a "going concern"! Anyway, it was sold, and now it's open again, since last Friday (29th July). It's too early to say how it'll be, but the signs are hopeful with, apparently, a commitment to get Good Old Boy back on the pump and a desire for it to be a (well-behaved) dog- and child-friendly country pub. Neutral rating for now; let's see what happens.

31 Jul 2011 07:43

Lulworth Cove Inn, West Lulworth

Better than I was expecting. Guest Badger very good. Some of the food on the dear side and a bit average but the burgers seemed home made and were good value. The staff was helpful and pleasant. Really not bad at all given the location and what I was expecting.

31 Jul 2011 07:37

The Square and Compass, Worth Matravers

Absolutely amazing place. If you're after pub grub it's not the place to go -- the only hot food they do is a miminal selection of pies/pasties. Good on them! Words really can't describe this place. It's a museum.

31 Jul 2011 07:35

The Stag, Leckhampstead

Seems to be doing well, quite busy. West Berks GOB well kept and always avaiable, plus Morland Original (Greene King now, of course). Food not spectacular but absolutely fine. Good atmosphere, friendly landlord & landlady. Dogs and children welcomed if well-behaved.

18 Apr 2011 16:27

Turfcutters Arms, East Boldre

Friendly, proper locals pub where strangers are welcomed, too (we're not locals). Dogs allowed, children, too. Food good and good portions though perhaps not desperately adventurous. Beer very well-kept. Landlord friendly but keeping an eye on things and retaining control. Basically a sound recipe for a popular pub -- sort of what all pubs need to look to if they want to survive and thrive in these awkward times...

15 Jan 2011 15:04

Langley Hall Inn, Worlds End

Appears to be closed since Christmas 2010. Hasn't re-opened in the new year 2011. RIP what used to be a really good pub...

15 Jan 2011 14:55

The Rising Sun, Stockcross

Under relatively new management and they seem to be doing okay, though it's early days yet. The biggest downside is that it doesn't seem to be open very much, and the published opening hours aren't kept. Out of the times I've been, I have ended up at the other pub down the road precisely 50% of the time as the Rising Sun hasn't been open. That has to be sorted, preferably sooner rather than later.

3 Dec 2010 16:56

The Coach, Worlds End

Recently celebrated being open (under present management) for one year, and generally doing very well serving all areas of the community from those popping in for a pint on their way home from work, through "ladies what lunch" to folk going for an evening or weekend meal. If you pick your moment and go for the special offers the wines are well-priced; and the beer is well-kept. It's often surprisingly busy, and shows just what can be done, even in a recession. Children are welcome, as are dogs in the bar area. Basically a very good formula, a genuine pub for all that seems to be doing well.

3 Dec 2010 16:50

The Ibex, Chaddleworth

Currently closed. Due to re-open, presumably under new (temporary?) management mid December 2010.

3 Dec 2010 16:45

Langley Hall Inn, Worlds End

I have given it time, but the beer & f&c system isn't working. Dogs no longer welcome even in the bar area. Very few of the locals seem impressed with the new style, beer or even the food. Very disappointing really to see what used to be an excellent pub go this way. To all inents and purposes this pub is no more.

27 Sep 2010 15:47

The Coach, Worlds End

"The Coach", previously "The Coach & Horses", and before then "The Horse & Jockey" (poor pub has lost first its jockey and now the horse, too) re-opened towards the end of 2009 having been closed for quite some time, with a refurbishment, and under the stewardship of new owners, Urban & Country Leisure. Many of the staff are ex-Carnarvon Arms (south Newbury).
The pub has 3 rooms, one of which is a larger dining room, but none of the rooms is huge. It caters for all markets, locals drinking, ladies what lunch, family dinners (Sunday lunches are always busy), business meetings, parties, etc. and manages somehow to get the balance right and all sectors seem happy and comfortable there at the moment. Well-behaved children are welcomed, likewise dogs.
Following badgering from the locals, they now stock West Berkshire Brewery beer, usually Good Old Boy (albeit at 3.15 per pint), and it is well-kept.
Food varies from "Grazing Boards" through sandwiches right up to lobster, though I suspect the majority of the sales are in the middle ground 10-15 range. The food is not cheap; but it's not hideously over- or disproportionally-priced; and there are numerous special offers, too, if you're not too time-specifically restricted, which can result in meals that are very good value.
Walk past the range of often hideous vehicles outside and you'll find inside that the place is actually very genuine and is frequented by locals from all walks of life as well as some who have travelled from further afield. The staff is young, but experienced nevertheless, and do an excellent job of balancing friendliness with efficiency and good service.
At the moment, at least, the pub is actually very difficult to fault. Date: April.10

9 Apr 2010 11:35

The Beach Bar, Freshwater

Now called "The Beach Bar" and apparently under new management since the lot that did the refurb went bust shortly after last summer. That's what the barmaid told me, anyway...
Child-friendly, faux-leather sofas, fairly comfortable but rather lacking in character. Beer fine, with a varied selection, but not spectacular, and it would have been good to have seen at least one local beer on tap, which wasn't the case during my visit. I don't think they do food, but to be honest it wasn't on my mind during our visit, and I forgot to check! So basically okay, but lacking the character it had before. Date: April.10

8 Apr 2010 18:44

The White Horse, Whitwell

Fairly typical of an Island pub with a large "family dining" open-plan extension in addition to the original small pub building. The original building is lovely; the extension isn't. But that's the nature of the game and is, regrettably, essential to cater for the hordes of grockles and their offspring which blight (sorry, grace) the Island from Easter to October. Food menu looked extensive and portions generous, and is reportedly very good indeed (or so the locals say). One step up from the normal IoW pub grub offerings. Choice of beers was OK, not extensive in the ale department, but adequate and what they did have was well kept and highly palletable. I can recommend the (local) Yates Holy Joe, though can't promise this isn't seasonal and/or a guest beer. I'd rate this as one of the better establishments on the Island. Date: April.10

8 Apr 2010 18:10

The Fox Inn, Hermitage

Gives the impression of being a friendly community pub. Good selection of real ales including from the local West Berks Brewery. Friendly to well-behaved children. Looked at menu but didn't eat: seemed okay and gave the impression it would be good pub grub, but nothing fancy. Prices looked okay. Generally favourable impression. Date: March.10

8 Apr 2010 18:03

The Three Bishops, Brighstone

Visited over Easter. Large dining area out the back seems to be for the grockles, original pub near the road is where the locals seem to end up! Staff OK, landlord OK, beer OK, food didn't look much, but we didn't try it so can't really comment. CCTV cameras everywhere which is horrible and unnecessary -- last time I heard Brighstone wasn't exactly a crime hotspot! Pubs are tricky on the Island because of the tourists. This one isn't bad, but it isn't great, either. Date: April.10

8 Apr 2010 16:32

The Stag, Leckhampstead

Under new managment of ca. Feb.10.

8 Apr 2010 16:22

The Rising Sun, Stockcross

Superb range of excellent beers (as would be expected from the only tied pub of the West Berkshire Brewery). Locals pub with friendly atmosphere. Food uninspiring but adequate -- frankly this is not a pub you go to for the food and with this in mind what they do is absolutely fine. The dogs on the sofas in both the bar and dining areas may put some off, and they (the dogs) are not that fantastic with other dogs, either. In short this is a friedly local pub with good banter, tales, excellent beer and no pretence of anything else. If that's what you're after, you'll be delighted. If you're after posh gastro-pub you'll be dismayed. It's a love-it-or-hate-it sort of place, I suppose. Date: April.10

8 Apr 2010 16:16

The Yarbridge Inn, Yarbridge

Sept.09. Visited again, walked from Bembridge (ca. 3 miles each way, but a relatively flat route, and quite interesting). Ate this time. Beer was excellent again, perfectly kept and a choice of a good half-dozen different real ales. The Warsteiner also apparently very good. Food was excellent. Pub grub, but very well done. F&C with delicious light batter and lovely tartare sauce; pie looked fantastic with melt-in-the-mouth beef. Friendly landlord, staff and locals. Highly recommend this pub; makes a good walk from Bembrdige so you feel you've at least earned the beer, but make sure you don't drink too much as you have to cross the railway line twice on the walk back, and you don't want to get hit by the intercity IoW trains travelling at 200+ mph!

21 Sep 2009 07:26

Selborne Arms, Selborne

Sept.09. We chose this pub to meet up as it's in all 3 pub guide books I have. We expected it to be good and it had a lot to live up to. Unfortunately it failed dismally.
The beer was excellent. That's where excellent ends.
We were in a group of 6 plus 2 children. The food was very average overall -- nobody was exactly raving about it -- and the Sunday lunch @ 12 was rather small. But the worst of it was the lack of vegetables. We had 5 of the 6 dishes with vegetables and the waiter brought out a small bowlful for all of us to share -- and that was 5 minutes after the meals had arrived. We queried the quantity for 5, asking for reassurance there was more coming. I won't bore with the details, but it was handled dreadfully; we all agreed it was appalling, and there's clearly a communication problem between the kitchen and the serving staff.
Maybe it was a one-off. This is the first pub I've really slated, but frankly we expected 10 times better... Sorry.
Footnote (not that it actually affected us): dogs not allowed in pub (crazy IMHO given the location), but sort of sums up the pub's arrogant attitude which is unacceptable at any time and suicidal in today's climate.

15 Sep 2009 07:29

The Swan Inn, Great Shefford

Sept.09. Popped in for a quick pint or two. Didn't eat, but looked at menu. Butts (local) Barbus Barbus excellent and well-kept. Bar staff perhaps a little wet behind the ears, but helpful enough. Not cheap by any stretch, though. Looked at menu and gorped at others' food -- seemed okay, but unexciting. Probably fine. Masses of tables, all neat and tidy and looked clean and well-presented. Staff seemed good overall. Garden/patio area overlooking brook and with lovely willow tree. This pub clearly has huge potential but has always failed for some reason (I'm not particularly local so can't explain why). Let's hope it has better luck this time. Seemed fairly family-friendly.
Overall we were very satisfied, but can't comment on the food, really.

6 Sep 2009 17:18

The Fox and Hounds, Peasemore

Aug.09. Landlord can be charming, but not often. Mostly he's extraordinarily grumpy (but not in an amusing way)! His wife is much more reliable and very pleasant. The food is okay (she tries to make it "interesting" and certainly puts in the effort, which is to be commended) but rarely inspiring. The beer (West Berks GOB) is usually well kept but has its moments when it's not so great. Sometimes it's quite busy, sometimes it's dead; seemingly often without rhyme or reason. Children's menu is excellent value but very poorly advertised. This sums the pub up: some good ideas, they do some things well, but are often let down in the implementation and front-of-house presentation department. Sadly not worth a special visit, but try it if you're passing you may strike lucky and get good beer and the landlord in a good mood. You never know!

17 Aug 2009 20:56

The Highdown Inn, Totland

Went July 2009. Moved on to this pub after briefly visiting another fairly local establishment with a no-under-10s policy... Staff and landlord excellent and friendly -- an amazing difference. Happy to help with food for the children. Free extra bread with the meal. Beer (ale) excellent. Very impressed overall: this is a "proper" pub but with good service and proper emphasis, not too prissy, straightforward and honest. Prices not cheap, but fine.

17 Aug 2009 20:45

The Three Bishops, Brighstone

Visited August 2009. We are locals but The Three Bishops used to be a bit of a dive, so avoided it for a long time. Its rival (where we went more often, but frankly never inspired) is apparently struggling post "issues" of a suspicious nature. The Three Bishops isn't really my favoured sort of pub: chain, average-looking food menu, too big, too "family-oriented", etc. -- unfortunately all too common on the IoW. But to be fair (we only had drinks) it was quite good, the play area was useful for our children, the beer was okay (better than many) and it served us well for the purpose. Not really a pub to get excited about, but better than I thought it might be.

17 Aug 2009 20:40

The Fat Cat Bar, (Sandpipers Hotel), Freshwater Bay

Note for some reason 2 entries on this site for the same pub... Anyway, the new bar is open after renovation (mid August 2009) and is modern but quite cozy and very pleasant. Not especially busy, but beer (ale) was good, they have lots of different bottled lagers (if that's your thing) and they had a strong cider on tap. Staff good. Slightly lacking in character, perhaps, but basically a sound offering. Didn't have any food so can't comment on that.

17 Aug 2009 20:36

The Yarbridge Inn, Yarbridge

Visited August 09. In spite of being locals, we're from the west and don't go over that side often! Superb selection of ales, friendly landlord, seemed welcoming to all. Didn't have any food, but menu looked fine and reasonably priced. For beer certainly THE BEST on the Island we have visited, pity it's so far for us to go!

17 Aug 2009 20:32

The Red Lion, Freshwater

Visited July 2009. Staff okay but certainly not friendly. Note no under-10s policy (execpt in garden) may appeal to some but didn't work for us due to impending rain. Real ale okay but not great. Food prices very high with no children's menu. We're IoW locals but left and went elsewhere farily nearby which was much better, with the same local beer but far better kept. The Red Lion is on the tourist route (walk from Yarmouth along old railway line) but my advice is to avoid, to be honest.

17 Aug 2009 20:29

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