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Bear, Crickhowell

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user reviews of the Bear, Crickhowell

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

On a sunny winter's afternoon the light, if anything, emphasised the atmospherically dim interior of this historic inn.

The blazing log fire and comfortable seating made for a cosy visit. The ales and food seemed decent enough, but be aware that there is only skeleton menu and service at off-peak meal times.

But taking in the ancient surroundings, you can't help but wonder, if only walls could speak, then what tales they might tell? There again, you might get the Michael Caine of the Talking Walls World. "Did you know, that that Oscar Wilde always walked beneath an opened umbrella, even when it was not raining? Not a lot of people know that"

Rest, drink, and be thankful.
Hulots_hat - 13 Feb 2020 17:51
I stayed here for a few days recently and it wasn't quite as 'good' as I'd hoped. But plenty of plus points.

Imposing building - there's been some form of inn here for the best part of 600 years and current building is clearly a seriously old coaching inn. The main building is across a couple of levels with the usual small flights of stairs between levels that you'd expect in a place of this age. There is a separate restaurant but one can eat in the bar areas too. The bar areas themselves are large so drinkers and eaters are well catered for in terms of space. I stayed in a room in the 'annex' next door - I expect a converted stable block in an attached imposing courtyard. My room was large, clean and comfy but the furnishing seriously out of date. Good bathroom though.

Inside the main building - low ceilings, dark beams and so on, all as expected in a place this old. But it struck me as bit gloomy rather than 'olde worlde' - perhaps some lighter furniture may help. That said - pleasant atmosphere.

Bar service - as mentioned, the drinking area is spacious but the serving area is pretty small and four or five punters at the bar soon overwhelm the rather inefficient staff.

Ale - lacklustre. On one night had a pint of Rev James, sadly undrinkable. Sent it back and got a pint of 6X - that was adequate at best and they didn't turn the Rev James clip around. A pub like this should, in my view, pride itself on its ale; they didn't.

Food - poor experience in the restaurant, too many things to moan about to list. In the bar on another night it was very good - a decent steak from the highly rated butcher which is 100 yards from the pub. Nice :-)

Its still a 'six' overall from me and worth looking in if you are nearby - Crickhowell is lovely and a superb spot to explore the Brecon Beacons.

Last and least, I've been posting on this site for knocking on 14 years I think. There were a few posts in 2012 and 2014 that on reflexion were probably a bit ill advised and "up my own arse". But I think this is probably my penultimate post - sorry its long and rambling, but the intent of BITE was (and still should be) to allow people who actually love pubs and go in them to pass on their experiences to like-minded individuals.
on_the_brightside - 9 Jan 2020 18:54
Had the best meal here on our recent visit to Wales..we hadn't booked on a busy Sunday lunchtime but easily found a , efficient service , good ales and excellent food in a cosy, rambling building.
suegwells - 22 Apr 2013 08:50
This seems to be a very well run place - it caters both for drinkers and diners with a great selection of beer and good food. Interesting layout and a lovely village make this an excellent pub.
Floyd - 29 Jul 2012 09:47
We didn't find this place particularly welcoming, The staff were rather curt and although the beer was very well kept we only stayed for one pint.

It's a shame as this place looked really inviting and we were intending on staying for food - never mind!
Foreman - 3 Jun 2011 13:13
Big old coaching inn on the High Street. Quite sprawling inside with lots of rooms, but it still managed to feel cosy.
About 4 ales on..mixture of local beers and a couple of more national ones. In good condition.
Quite a few diners but a few locals propping up the bar too.
Efficient service, but not particularly welcoming.
Food at the bar was tasty, freshly cooked and good value. There's an adjacent restaurant but didn't go in there.
JonRambo - 13 May 2011 14:00
A large and imposing pub/restaurant/hotel at the top of the High Street. Inside there’s three different bars areas as well as a separate restaurant. The left hand bar also looked to be geared up mostly for eating, and there was a plusher snug beyond this. The two main, adjoining bars contained a mixture of diners and drinkers. There was a reserved table right in front the bar, but this seemed to be just for local drinkers. I thought this was a nice touch, I can imagine some of the locals may get fed up with not being able to get a seat thanks to all the tourists.

Although quite sizable, it still manages to retain a certain charm. There’s a parquet wood floor with a number of rugs, some exposed stone walls, a couple of old fireplaces, one of which had a fire going, an old grandfather clock, a unusual wood panelled back to the bar and plenty of old pewter jugs hung on the wall.

Although very busy on a recent Friday evening, there were plenty of staff and the service was quick and efficient. Food was a notch above your usual pub grub, but £10 got me a pleasant enough curry with some decent, tender pieces of chicken, a poppadom and some pickles.

Beers on tap were Rhymney’s Bitter, Henry’s IPA, Rev. James and Bass. The solitary cider was Kingston Press.
Blackthorn - 14 Mar 2011 12:40
A group of 17 of us visited on a Friday night. Not only did we get a table, but the staff gave us table service - something they don't usually do. Food was excellent and real ales went down well. By far the best pub in town!
Erdingerfan - 13 Sep 2009 11:29
Excellent food, beer and rooms. Friendly staff made for a delightful stay. The sunny weather helped.
ChrisL - 7 Jul 2009 16:46
Good beer and good. Quite busy too. Food a bit on the expensive side.
mike_pct - 22 Apr 2009 19:31
Best food in Crickhowell!
blink - 24 Jul 2007 12:13
We popped in the Bear while passing on the local canal.
Found a warm welcome and great atmosphere.
The menu was varied and the food tasted great.
I can only recommend.
shepcott - 15 May 2007 11:55
This pub has happy associations for me, as I stop here on way to Welsh holidays. Good atmosphere - always welcoming, but in an unfussy way.
A really attractive old coaching inn with higgledy piggledy rooms and a nice garden. Great food (try their apple or ther fruit pies) and friendly service

spincat - 19 Jun 2006 06:48
Busy pub, 200+ lunches EVERYDAY served and prepared by friendly east europeans...a great place to see and be seen in :)
NeilAle - 1 Mar 2006 23:09
Found this pub to be expensive and 'CLIQUEY'...average food, poor service and I was pleased to find my car...BEWARE!
anonymous - 31 Dec 2005 22:22
Went to the Bear with some chums in March 2004. Great food, excellent service, very nice rooms, good selection of Malts. Pity about the beer but the rest compensated. Am making a special journey back this weekend with my wife and 2 friends over from America; they'll love it.
Patrick Sullivan - 21 Oct 2004 18:09
Johnny Depp had a beer in here the other day too....
G - 7 Oct 2004 13:46
Nice pub, good ale.
Jimbo Smith - 8 May 2004 13:27
15th century coaching inn, Local & National Real Ales. Tidy Wine List. 50 odd malts. NO ALCOPOPS! excellent food in the bar. posh nosh in the restaurant. bedrooms befitting a **** hotel.
tosh - 22 Oct 2003 23:01

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