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BITE user comments - Quinno

Comments by Quinno

The Fox and Hounds, Farley Hill

Application to change from pub into house has been submitted: F/2009/1826

17 Sep 2009 14:24

Oak Tree, Tilehurst

An application for Dee Park has gone in to Reading Council which includes the demolition of the Oak Tree - 09/01514/FUL

10 Sep 2009 23:19

The Hop Leaf, Reading

It most certainly is a Hopback pub, unless they've changed it in the last week!

The Jolly Anglers, however, most certainly isn't. And never has been as far as I know.

4 Sep 2009 18:54

The Benjamin Huntsman, Sheffield

Large JDW near the City Hall. Internally it's a strange mix of industrial chic and IKEA-lite furnishings. The advertised garden terrace is spectacularly unspectacular, it's just a patio with a couple of pot plants giving way to a view of a brick wall.

There was a good range of guest ales on the go, £1.80p/p. My pint of Porter was very good, which tallies with previous comments.

Overall, not too bad at all. Worth popping in to see what's on, it's the best JDW in the city centre for my money (or 50p off vouchers).

26 Aug 2009 19:51

Three Frogs, Wokingham

The beers were actually OSH and Ruddles County. Not that means a vast amount with a GK pub mind you.

25 Aug 2009 09:56

Plough, Wokingham

Now a Loch Fyne restaurant (Loch Fyne were bought out by Greene King a couple of years back). The lovely Art Deco signage at the front has been removed. A shame but given there were two GK pubs within a short walk of each other one of them was going to get the boot.

25 Aug 2009 09:52

The Rutland Arms, Sheffield

A wonderfully imposing façade which is a sort of flat V-shape with numerous old touches in the tiled decoration. However what should have been a characterful interior was let down the lack of general maintenance which left a lot to be desired; numerous scuffs, drill holes in the wall and worn-out seat coverings which detracted from the positives like the large stained glass 'Rutland' sign to the right of the main bar. The toilets smelt quite bad too. Three ales were available (TT Landlord, Deuchars IPA and Black Sheep), my IPA was OK, no great shakes.

There’s plenty of potential here but it sounds like it’s been purposefully run-down in order to close it. Shameful.

24 Aug 2009 23:33

The Wig and Pen by Milestone, Sheffield

A posh lounge bar/eatery, like something you’d get down in South East, with prices to match - £3 per pint of ale, a long way from the £2.20 you'd pay in a quality pub like the KIT. Ah and onto the ale quality…two Milestone beers were on – neither of which were in good condition, one was diacetyl tasting, the other smelt of cheesy feet…certainly not Good Beer standard!!! The advertised ‘outside terrace’ is just that, nothing special. There are daily papers available and the Oriental barmaid was pleasant enough.

Piss-poor, don’t be tempted if you appreciate your drink because if they keep the beer this badly god knows how they treat their other products. Quite how this got into the 2009 GBG is a mystery to me.

24 Aug 2009 23:15

Three Tuns, Sheffield

This wedge-shaped pub looks lovely from the outside and you are able to sit in the pretty windowed apex which is rather good on a sunny day. Three ales were available (Tim Taylor Landlord, Stones and Tetley Bitter). My Stones (£2.40) was fairly poor, there was a hint of tinny baked beans in the taste; my TT Landlord was a lot better (though it would have struggled to be much worse). Piped music was of the ‘trying to funky’ variety, presumably in an attempt to appeal to the half-a-dozen suited workers from the HSBC offices opposite indulging in an after-work beer. The interior has a very plush-80’s refit feel, even down to some big leafy pot plants which I remember being so de-rigueur in my childhood - perhaps this place might get listed as an unspoilt interior in 20 years time.

On the one hand, I really rather liked the character of the pub and would like to go again; but on the other I would struggle to recommend it for the beer above the many great institutions within a 15 minute walk. Let’s say it’s worth popping in if you have time or happen to be nearby.

24 Aug 2009 22:28

Fagan's, Sheffield

Initially, a slightly uninviting-looking boozer over 2 rooms, you might be expecting Gene Hunt and Ray Carling to be propping up one end of the 50’s style bar. Only two ales on the go – Tetley Bitter and Abbeydale Moonshine (my Moonshine was in good form). There’s some nice period features to admire such as the wood-paneling and plush banquettes; though parts can feel rather worn in places with a hint of better times having passed. I received a friendly welcome from the couple here have been in charge for a fair while - there’s an award from 1989 on the wall featuring their faces. There was some slightly unusual piped music (sounded like Rene Artois belting out some lounge classics) plus a selection of daily papers and a book exchange. Food was available and sounded rather appetising but didn’t have enough time to sample. Live music sessions were advertised. I caught it on a quiet evening; I guess this another one that relies mainly on student trade. Overall, it’s worth popping in as it’s a decent little boozer but don’t necessarily prioritise it over others in the city pub crawl stakes if you can’t fit it in easily.

24 Aug 2009 22:14

Swim Inn, Sheffield

Another Wetherspoons, this is a weird subterranean effort over two dark levels - as a former swimming pool perhaps you are drinking in the what was the pool basin itself (and which on the sweltering day I chose to crawl the city provided merciful relief from the searing heat outside).

Surprisingly, given the location and interior, four guest ales were available and my stout (I forget whose) was served very well by a friendly barman. Whilst I really didn’t care for it as pub, the beer range and quality is enough to make me recommend popping in to see if anything tickles your tastebuds if you happen to be nearby (en route to the Bath Hotel I hope!).

24 Aug 2009 21:58

The Bath Hotel, Sheffield

Wedged-shaped (or flying-V if you like) corner pub with a really stunning interior (and to a certain extent, the exterior - check out the photos I’ve uploaded.), with the pub separated into two distinctly separate rooms décor-wise; a lounge bar and public bar. The main bar is in the public area but there’s also a nice little serving hatch in lounge bar – if you can get the barman’s attention! 4 ales normally available (one was turned on my visit); my Sheffield Brewery Mild was pretty good. Daily papers were available .sadly, like the Red Deer up the road, this place was empty at a time when I would have expected so see customers. Again, I guess this must be down to there being a lack of students as my visit was outside of term-time. I would have loved to have stayed for longer but time was running short by this stage. I will make a point of returning when next in the city – it really is a place I could have spent all night in. Overall, highly recommended and worth the longish walk from the train station.

24 Aug 2009 21:51

The Red Deer, Sheffield

At 4.50 pm on a Tuesday out of term-time I was the only customer – I guess this place must rely heavily on the student halls of residence opposite that tower over the rear of the building. This street-corner pub is spread over two levels with a functional smokers garden (check out the wall mural). Interior-wise, it’s a straightforward 70’s/80’s décor, a little worn round the edges and feels in need of a facelift. Music on the stereo was provided by UB40’s Greatest Hits – perhaps that explains the lack of custom…the five ales available were fairly mainstream (Tetley Bitter, Adnams Broadside, Black Sheep, TT Landlord and Deuchars IPA); double-clipping of the pumps makes it seem like there’s more on than there actually is to the casual observer. My Black Sheep was good though, no complaints there. The landlord was a good lad.

If I was a student in the nearby digs, I’d certainly be grateful for this on my doorstep. As a pub-crawling city visitor I wouldn’t put this near the top of the ‘must-do’ list but it makes a pretty decent reserve.

STOP PRESS - Having just read the post below, it seems that my visit was possibly the last by a BITE contributor for a while. Shame.

24 Aug 2009 21:25

The Devonshire Cat, Sheffield

Semi-famous ale outlet situated below a large block of student digs housed in a modern-Wetherspoons-like interior (clearly new and open-plan but trying to be trad) enhanced by large glass windows which give a nice light and airy feel. There’s lots of interesting ale available (around 10), listed above the bar on chalkboards with a bit of info – which actually bore little relation to what was actually coming out of the handpull…which concerned me slightly. I tried two ales, both of which were tired and past their best – rather like the girl who was serving in actual fact – very little idea of what she was doing. On the upside, there’s lots of foreign beers available (take a look through the glass-sided storage room window) and on the shoeing of the ale, I’d advise you to stick with those if you come here. The toilets have some excellent quality tiling (yes, you can tell I’m looking for positives here, can’t you?). The phrase “caught it on a bad day” must suffice. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it here based on this experience, that’s for sure. Perhaps the only excuse is that I went in on a weekday out of term-time. But that’s very flimsy.

24 Aug 2009 20:57

Sheffield Waterworks Company, Sheffield

This Lloyds No#1 (aka Wetherspoons with music) is actually called the Sheffield Waterworks Company – presumably named after the building in which it occupies. 4 ales were available with only one guest (a very good Thornbridge Jaipur IPA). It’s a 2-tier affair inside with the upstairs area and is a decent stop for a beer and cheap food during the day (provided you don’t mind the sticky tables) as my window seat afforded a nice place to sit. If you’re on a town crawl it probably isn’t worth stopping though but it isn't too bad for a Lloyds.

24 Aug 2009 20:30

Red Lion, Sheffield

A multi-area city-centre local, with a conservatory and small outside smoking area. Three ales were available (Black Sheep, Deuchars IPA and Abbeydale Moonshine) at £2.60p/p. My Moonshine was OK, but a bit flat. The barmaid was perfunctory and seemed more interested in chatting to her friend.

The interior is tidy but fairly unremarkable, save for a few old Sheffield Theatre posters dotted around the walls; there are hints that interior used to be a lot more exciting though I imagine it all got ripped out a few years back – the exterior certainly promises more than the interior delivers, certainly. There’s a pool table and good basic food is available (including muffins!?!). The lack of punters meant that the piped music and muted TV dominated more than they should have done.

It isn’t bad for what it is, but if you’re on a day trip to the city to drink you’d be best off giving this one a miss unless you’ve got a few minutes to kill before getting a train back.

24 Aug 2009 20:17

Harlequin, Sheffield

A single roomed open-plan pub on two levels, quite posh compared to a number of nearby outlets, in a “twee retro manner” to quote a reviewer below. Oversized glasses are used to serve a fine range (10) of well-kept ales, including a few rare brews for the area – I noticed a Ballard and Rebellion beer on the go. Piped music with a varied, eclectic output. Good value sarnies available at £1.50 a go, which were excellent, just like my nan would make. There’s boardgames available to keep you amused, along with a dartboard. Live music is advertised, blues being a popular choice it seems.

Overall, highly recommended if you like your beer. Not too far away from the KIT-Cat combo and on the way back (sort of!) to the train station, so well-worthwhile.

24 Aug 2009 20:03

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

A two-roomed old-school watering hole, which is a lot more spit and sawdust than the Kelham whilst offering a similar range of excellent quality ales, cider and perry at similarly competitive prices (12 ales counted on my visit).

The main serving area is a classic public bar affair, quite spartan with little tables and stools, narrow and a bit tight space-wise. The slightly superior decoration of the lounge is nice and light but gives off a feeling of faded grandeur that didn’t resonate with me, though the open fire was welcome. Both rooms have a scattering of old sepia-tinged photos of random faces (who??) and old brewery mirrors. There’s some nice tiling on the floor by the front door. Some nice-sounding (and good-looking!) good-value pub meals were available, shame I didn’t have the time to sample as I overran at the KIT. The Kelham Island Brewery is situated next door, so a number of their beers can be sampled here including the infamous Pale Rider. The bogs smelt of piss, which was a bit off-putting – give them a good scrub, please! The clientèle here seemed more 'tickerish' than the KIT.

I couldn’t quite dig the place like I could the KIT but it’s still a great visit nonetheless. The idea of a “KIT-Cat” crawl mentioned below is eminently sensible…

24 Aug 2009 19:42

The Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield

Now, where do I start?

The beer (11 on the go when I visited, including 3 darks) was wonderfully varied and in all in great form. Also very impressively priced – all beer was between £2-2.40p/p. There was also some impressive keg products, plus a cider and perry available along with a warm, personable welcome was received from the barman.

Its other main strength is succeeding in feeling like a traditional pub whilst not feeling old fashioned or grubby as it’s often a very fine line. The pub spans two rooms (the front room is more of a public bar) and is clean, tidy and well-decorated. It seemed to be a quiet pub inside, with the atmosphere generated by the punters alone – though no swearing please! Also I must mention the pub garden – which really is quite wonderful with all the flora and fauna, especially so when you remember your location in this former steel industrial area. There’s quiet piped music out the back, which is made a lot more palatable by the quality; an eclectic mix of classical, jazz, the Cure and the Smiths! There’s also some basic food on offer – cheese or ham filled rolls, good value. There’s daily papers too.

Minus points? Almost none – perhaps the toilets could be better lit. And a dartboard would be a nice addition (for me, anyway!). But overall, these are very minor quibbles indeed.

So, this a must-visit. I intended to stay for a couple of halves but ended up perched in here for considerably more. Whilst it’s a big statement on the basis of one (long!) visit to say that this is my favourite of over 800+ pubs I’ve reviewed on this site, it is certainly in the top 5. A must visit, whoever you are!

24 Aug 2009 19:16

The Wellington, Sheffield

A traditional, multi-roomed backstreet boozer with plenty of unspoilt old school charm and a decent beer garden.

7 ales were available, the beer is served in oversized glasses and was competitively priced (between £2 and £2.40) and in good condition. The pub is the brewery tap for Little Ale Cart – I tried a couple of their beers which, while tasty, were a little samey despite the tasting notes behind the bar assuring me otherwise! There's also an excellent selection of Belgian bottles too.

No piped music on my visit, just the pattering of the pub dog (Harvey). As mentioned elsewhere, this place seems quieter than the KIT and the Fat Cat but that does give you a bit more room to admire the impressive stained glass windows. The barman was engrossed in his paper – I would have perhaps expected a little bit of extra chat rather than a perfunctory service, given the lack of other punters. I rather felt like I was getting in way of his quiet Tuesday afternoon.

Worth a visit for the beer,it’s easily accessible by tram (Shalesmoor) and foot from the town centre.

24 Aug 2009 18:44

The Bankers Draft, Sheffield

A battered town centre Wetherspoons which looks grand on the outside but felt rather grubby internally. Four guest beers were on, a decent selection though served rather cold - £1.80p/p. The barmaid was friendly which is a rarity in many Spoons and there was a community notice board - which seems very at odds with its surroundings. In Sheffield you can find a lot better pubs-wise but it's probably worth popping in on a crawl to see what's on as it's not too far from the station.

24 Aug 2009 18:23

The Old Bell, Henley-on-Thames

and guess what this has now closed and has re-opened as...the Old Bell!

The Old Bell is Brakspear pub, selling Brakspear Bitter only. The pub interior probably should be a lovely old timber affair but it's all been painted white and looks a bit odd - especially the souless front bar. Things get a little better and more atmospheric the further back you go. Not really a recommendation though!

24 Aug 2009 13:19

The Stag and Huntsman, Hambleden

A three-roomed old-school country pub with some period decoration in a picturesque village.

Three ales on the go (Rebellion IPA, Loddon Hullabaloo and Brakspear), the IPA and Hullabloo were both in good form. Plenty of old pump clips attest that the selection of ales change on a regular basis. There was a couple of decent whiskies too.

Darts are available as well as outside lavs (in a fair state, not exactly 'bleak' as described below) and a large pleasant garden which looks like it'd be great in the summer and for beer festivals (one was being advertised). Perhaps the only real downside was that lots of the doors were wedged open on what was a fairly cold evening!

Well-worth seeking out.

24 Aug 2009 12:58

The Victoria Arms, Binfield

A trip back today confirms the review below - excellent pub.

23 Aug 2009 18:10

Three Frogs, Wokingham

No longer a Hungry Horse, just a general Greene King outlet. The inside has been scrubbed up and seems a lot better for it. 2 ales on - OSH and IPA - £2.80 p/p ale condition fair. Decent outside garden with brilliantly spongy astroturf. Tea/coffee available.

Never going to a 'must-visit' but has certainly improved a bit.

23 Aug 2009 17:58

The Three Brewers, Wokingham

Popped back in today - set-up similar to previous - L-shaped pub, nice outside area, TV sport.

There's now though now 3 ales - Pride, Courage Best and Adnams Broadside. My Broadside was decent enough. If you have a 20 minute wait at the station, it's still worthwhile.

23 Aug 2009 17:56

The Harrow, Steep

Perhaps, but they knew full well in advance we were coming - if they didn't want the group there, they could have said. So I stand by my comment.

12 Aug 2009 20:30

The Gatehouse, Barnsley

By Barnsley Brewery I meant Acorn Brewery (whoops).

4 Aug 2009 10:38

The Labour Club (Red Shed), Wakefield

Lierally, it's a big red shed - an old army hut which has somehow managed to survive the surrounding areas redevelopment. The 'red' is the link it holds to various local trades union movements who regularly meet there (and whose plaques hang along the wood-panelled walls).

There's three rooms, two of which can apparently be hired out for functions. The interior is indeed 'spartan' as noted below, which may put you off staying for a long session but perfectly acceptable for a couple of pints - you might see Gene Hunt's ghost if you're lucky.

A good selection of (keenly-priced) four ales impeccably served by a friendly barman are offered. Ossett Gold is the house beer, along with three Yorkshire-based guests.

It's like having a quality beer in a 70's timewarp portakabin. Odd but great fun. Do make sure you go there if you're passing through the area. I hope this is listed in some way - it's a unique treasure.

3 Aug 2009 23:22

The Hop, Wakefield

Difficult to add to the two excellent reviews below this one! Let’s surmise:

-Two floors, with live music and comedy well-advertised

-A super selection of ale (9 I recall, including the sublime Rutland Panther on my visit) which was served well, along with some Ossett brews.

-Also good continental beers available

-Friendly bar staff

-Perhaps more a bar than a pub, but don't let that pub you off.

-Paved area out the front for an al fresco pint

A most worthwhile visit, definitely put it on the 'to do' list if in town. I shall be back at some point.

3 Aug 2009 21:23

Harrys Bar, Wakefield

A small and cosy pub a little off the beaten track, serving up a good selection of ales (from Ossett and elsewhere), continental bottled beers and premium lagers.

The interior is all wooden beams and exposed brickwork with some partitioned drinking areas. As noted in a previous review, the size of the place is a double-edged sword - lovely when quiet, awkward and difficult to relax when busy. Live music nights are advertised inside (how do they fit them in?). There was a nice sun deck outside.

Well-worth a visit in quieter periods (though given it doesn't open until 5 most weekdays that could prove more difficult to achieve than usual). Good pub.

3 Aug 2009 21:13

The Fernandes Brewery Tap and Bier Keller, Wakefield

A bierkeller-style effort based over two floors which is also a brewpub, home to the Fernandes brewery. It’s not an obvious place to find but persevere and you shall be rewarded. The first floor is foreign beer; 12 on draught - though only open on busy nights - whilst the upper floor up an unassuming wooden staircase is the ale with some good Belgian bottles in the fridge and fruit wines. There's a selection of 8 ales mainly drawn from the Fernandes brewery and Ossett, who have recently taken the place over, with a couple of guests plus a cider. The beer was excellent quality (the Nelson's IPA was a pint of grapefruity goodness and Hail to the Tsar was a quality brew). CAMRA awards everywhere, no surprise really.

Interior-wise, it's wood paneling, exposed beams and a roof structure that looks like some sort of old mill though don't quote me on that. Plenty of comfy seats to settle down and enjoy a good long session. The barman looked as rough as a docker but was good at his job. I didn’t spot a TV, so it's a nice place to meet up with friends for a chat.

A cracker and well-worth a journey from the Leeds-Sheffield area to try. Even the thought of having to return to Kirkgate BR (officially the worst station in Britain, what a hole) to get the train back seemed not so bad after a few here...!

3 Aug 2009 21:04

Six Chimneys, Wakefield

Four guest ales on during my evening visit plus the usual other suspects. My Acorn Brewery Mild was good but rather cold. Food arrived promptly and with a smile. The staff in here seem a cut above the average Spooners - friendly and helpful. A good atmosphere and decent lighting made up for the deficiencies of the bland interior. I'd say it's worth popping in to see what's on.

3 Aug 2009 20:42

O'Donoghues, Wakefield

Having been told beforehand that this was a 'rock pub' I was a little dubious about visiting but my source had recommended it so gave it a go. Was pleased I did, there were a fair selection of unusual beers from independent breweries (5 in total, including East Coast – ex of Fernandes I believe) which were cheap and tasted good. Live music was advertised for the weekends though there was a complete lack of customers at 6:30pm on a weekday night – just me and the boy aleandhearty. The interior of the pub was fairly unremarkable though not unpleasant. The landlady was friendly and I could have happily stayed for a couple had I not had other places to go. Worthwhile for a beer visit when the music's on but really needs to advertise itself and get customers in for other times.

3 Aug 2009 20:33

The Graziers, Wakefield

Popped in here whilst getting lost looking for O' Donoghues (which was just round the corner, d'oh!!) and wasn't expecting much, so was fairly happy to see three ales (Black Sheep, Landlord and Deuchars, plus a real cider in Old Rosie) and even happier to find that Landlord was in good shape (£2.80p/p). Judging by the comments below, maybe I got lucky that day?

The pub is a classic V shape as it sits on a tight junction corner. Whilst the outside looks scrubbed and snazzy (I assumed it'd be more like up-market winery) the interior is stuck in the 70's akin to the Black Rock, but a lot lighter inside - the old bar is quite lovely. It's clean and tidy, the solitary barmaid was busying herself polishing the brass and wood in between serving customers.

There's a TV (SKY) along with the daily papers and a load of Rugby league paraphernalia - I assume this must be a Wakefield RFC hangout on match days. the toilets should be listed they looked ancient. The old vs New contrast continues on the way to the traps, as the gents corridor walls are plastered in football clippings and Page 3 girls - very New Lad.

Not exactly an essential experience but you could do worse...

3 Aug 2009 20:22

The Black Rock, Wakefield

Only serving Tetley Bitter on my visit (though clips from previous guest beers feature tantalisingly behind the bar, mocking the two unused pumps in front of them) which was fine priced at £2.56. The interior is a basic 60's/70's old mans boozer, with a couple of drinking areas.

There are two entrances, the lovely tiled one in the photo, or a grotty one down a dingy alleyway. The landlord behind the bar was friendly enough.

Overall, not really what I'd call a worthwhile trip beyond the outside tiling given the nearby competition.

3 Aug 2009 20:09

Henry Boons, Wakefield

Three ales on the go - Clarks Mild, Blonde (it's the tap for the brewery situated directly behind) and TT Landlord. I tried both the Clarks and was impressed with the Blonde, the Mild less so (still drinkable though, tho a bit cold) – both were cheap as chips, so no complaints about the pricing.

The interior is a sort of L-shape with a function room running off the right hand end (there was a wedding reception on when I went in). There's a decent attempt at creating some nice individual drinking areas, with wood paneling, stone flooring and nik-naks thrown together (the bar has an overhang which is thatched) and it just about works! There's a TV with the horses on that one old boy was avidly following, along with pool and live music nights. Perhaps my main gripe would be that on the grey, miserable day I popped in the outside awnings were pulled all the way, blocking much of what little natural light there was, making the place seem rather unwelcoming.

Overall not bad at all, I'd say it's worth a visit if you're in the town but it isn’t necessarily worth the journey if you’re happy in the Fernandes!

3 Aug 2009 20:01

The Redoubt, Wakefield

First things first - yes, the Redoubt is a wonderful old pub with multiple (4) drinking rooms clad in lovely old dark wood which makes for a quite stunning interior. Elsewhere, there are plenty of aged sporting photos of the pub's Sunday League team from the 80's, plus a jukebox and two TV's.
However it's badly let down by the beer - 3 were on (Tetley Mild, Tetley Bitter and Tim Taylor Landlord), perhaps not an awe-inspiring line-up but solid enough. I tried both the Mild (on the turn) and Landlord (lifeless). At £2.80 a pint for the Landlord as well I wasn't impressed. A long way from Good Beer Guide standard! Clearly no quality control going on here.

Worth a look for the interior but on this evidence I'd stick to something bottled whilst you're in there. I really wanted to like this place too, shame.

3 Aug 2009 19:48

Coach and Horses, Dronfield

A tastefully renovated roadside pub just outside Dronfield which has recently been taken over by the Thornbridge brewery and five of their delicious beers are available at the bar. The interior has been moved towards an upmarket pub-restaurant direction - I can see why a pub traditionalist might not like it but I thought it was rather nice and cosy and there is plenty of room and welcome for drinkers - I was asked if I would be eating, but as far as I was concerned it was simply part of the polite service, they certainly didn't pull a sour face when I grinned and replied "no, just drinking!". The girl with bright pink hair behind the bar who served me was very good and looked brilliantly out-of-place.

An 'ale taster' of a 1/3 pint of all five beers was available which came served on a handy customised wooden tray along with tasting notes and a palette-cleanser of either cashews, olives or onions - at £5.50 a bargain I thought so gave it a go (all 5 beers that came over were in good to excellent shape). Once they were done, I went for the sublime Jaipur, which at almost 6% came out at £2.80, quite reasonable I thought given the location. Bottled Thornbridge beer is also available, so I made off with a bottle of their Russian Imperial Stout when I couldn't guzzle any more Jaipur.

Approach to the loos has a couple of football shirts hung up including (oddly) a signed North Korea shirt! The toilets, as I suspected, were spotless. The pub also features CAMRA magazines, a book exchange and some board games; again, drinker-friendly.

A 10 minute walk from Dronfield station and worth every step in my opinion.

1 Aug 2009 16:29

The Keel Inn, Barnsley

A fairly short (though potentially confusing) walk from the station, and doesn’t necessarily scream ‘pub’ from the outside. 2 ales available from interesting small breweries (Flaxen Horse and White Cross on my visit this week) which were a mixed bag quality-wise (though I did note that as the first customer in that day the beer wasn't pulled through at all, which probably explains why).

The interior has lots of nautical tat scattered around (it's near the now filled-in canal), including a huge ships wheel by the bar and a load of gold balls above the bar (not sure why!). There are various cosy drinking areas - the circular seating area by the main door is a nice touch. There’s pool, darts and a TV available. Perhaps most interesting though are the table tops - which are covered entirely in old 1/2p coins!

Beware that this place doesn't open until 7 on weekdays.

Overall, not too bad though make sure that your beer is pulled through if you're ordering at 7:02pm!

1 Aug 2009 15:58

The Courthouse Station, Barnsley

No ale to be seen on my visit this week - the place reminded me a bit of a Wetherspoons!

1 Aug 2009 15:45

The Gatehouse, Barnsley

A bit of a disappointment, given the write-up in the Good Beer Guide. The exterior, despite a couple of nice architectural (Art Deco?) features is actually quite tatty and dull. The modernised interior is loud and lairy (especially so I thought, given it was a Tuesday afternoon!). With loud music competing against a loud TV and then the punters bellowing over both to make themselves heard.

5 hand pumps at the bar but only two ales actually on - (Black Sheep and Old Peculiar) the other pumps didn‘t have any indication that they get used much. My OP was good and was quite cheap - £2.40. There's a sign outside advertising Barnsley Brewery beers - but not one was available inside!

Basically it's a town centre bar which happens to sell a couple of decent quality beers. I guess if you’ve got a few minutes to kill waiting for train it’s worthwhile but if you’re in town for any length of time you’d be better off heading for the Dove or Keel.

1 Aug 2009 15:42

The George and Dragon, Barnsley

Small friendly local, decptively close to the town centre but feeling more like it was a part of the small 70's-build estate that it sits at the edge of. The interior is pure late 70's posh pub refit (even the emergency exit signs are ancient), with padded settles along pretty much every wall as well sepia tinged photos of old Barnsley. There's a TV in the lounge corner (showing the horse racing on my visit) plus a traditional (and rare) Yorkshire dartboard (no outer bull or treble) and pool table in a little room up a couple of steps to the left of the bar which is covered in mirrored brewania. There were 3 ales on - Black Sheep, John Smiths and Jennings served in lined glasses. Both my Jennings and John Smiths (I don't see it much down South!) were well-kept and went down well. The landlord was a friendly old fellow. Also worth noting is availability of pickled cockles and mussels - you don't see that much any more.

A solid local which does the preverbial 'what it says on the tin'. Worth the short walk from town. A tip when leaving the pub - take a left at it's main entrance and you quickly come across a nice little park. Handy for sit down and a pie in the sunshine, I discovered!

1 Aug 2009 15:31

The Joseph Bramah, Barnsley

Long, narrow and very dark Lloyds No1 (AKA Wetherspoons with music) with two entrances at either end (Head to the raised area by the main entrance which has a bit more light) which has much dark wood panelling throughout. Mute TV's on the wall plus a garden area for the smokers through a pair of loudly-banging patio doors. Interior appeared fairly clean and tidy.

There was a decent ale selection when I visited (4 of 5 on). My initial pint was poor but was exchanged without fuss for much better one and the second was in good form also. My food was good and the service was friendly. Downside was that they serve inebriates here, which puts me off. - the guy next to me at the bar could barely stand. Interestingly the beer that wasn't on when I went in at midday (Thornbridge Jaipur) was still not on at 5 when I popped in for a last half before train back - laziness or lack of skill I wonder?

Overall, it's worth a visit if you're in town due in no small part to a lack of real competition on the beer front in the town centre.

1 Aug 2009 15:15

The Dove Inn, Barnsley

Fairly recently refurbished roadside local close to Barnsley FC (part of Oakwell can be viewed from the outside decking area and seemingly given a new lease of life according to the locals at the bar. The Dove has a couple of Old Mill brewery beers on the go (Bitter and Bullion) which both tasted excellent though a bit cold for my liking, served by a friendly down-to-earth landlady. There's a nice downstairs garden area and the inside of the pub is quite plushly furnished (for Barnsley!) though there's a slight whiff of old smoke pre-ban. Beware the big dog roaming downstairs - he's perfectly friendly but looked quite a handful! Dartboard available and a TV.

Best pub I visited on my day in Barnsley and a no-brainer if you're there for the footy.

1 Aug 2009 15:03

The Cornubia, Bristol

My visit last month yielded a strange mixture of Rocky Horror and Disney on the speakers and a paddling pool for the punters outside. You make your own mind up on that one.

Good service from a friendly barmaid. Seemed to be less guest beers available then previously, which is a shame. Saying that, it’s still worth a visit though.

1 Aug 2009 13:07

The Seven Stars, Bristol

So I went back last month and found that my initial review was pretty much spot-on. Quality beer is plentiful and cheap, my Dark Star was sublime. Enjoyed a few games of arrows plus some live music. Perhaps the downside is that interior can be politely described as 'basic'. Personally I'd want to get a pot of paint out and give it a good going-over.

Takes a bit of finding in the backstreets, it isn't obvious to the uninitiated but well worth it - the best beer in BS1 I think (just shades the Bag O'Nails). Given it's proximity to the Bridge Inn, Cornubia, Kings Head and Old Fish Market you can have a good quality crawl here for little effort.

1 Aug 2009 13:01

The Commercial Rooms, Bristol

A stunning Wetherspoons by the historic Corn Exchange. Serves up a wide variety of ales - the two I had were pretty good last visit. The interior, which once was spick-and-span is now in serious need of some TLC. Has also started to attract some dubious punters - there was a scrap outside on a Saturday afternoon a couple of months back when I was last there - never what you want to see, especially in a big tourist area. Still worth a visit for a beer but needs stronger management to get back to where it was a couple of years back. There are a number of quality pubs nearby now which have overtaken the place.

1 Aug 2009 12:51

The Clifton, Clifton

Only popped in because of the late licence and wasn’t expecting much. Was quite pleased to find a couple of ales and ciders on go the which were also quite well served up and not overly (for Clifton) expensive, along with a fair selection of bottled stuff (which was a bit more wallet-bothering). The interior was lit like a fairy grotto along with various pot plants dotted around. Given I’d been at the Portcullis for a while previously my memory is a little sketchy on the rest of the details but I did leave thinking that it was fairly good…will pop my head round the door again at some point.

1 Aug 2009 12:39

The Portcullis Inn, Bristol

An unusual two-level pub situated along one of the old Georgian terraces that feature prominently in this part of Bristol. It’s a small place inside, so be prepared to get cosy (and to attempt to shift barflys blocking your way to service) downstairs; make your way upstairs for another fairly small room which offers a number of board games and amusements (usually with a piece missing).

It’s a Dawkins pub, so no surprise to find that it stocks a good range of real ale (a little expensive for Bristol - though not Clifton - at around £3) plus a cider (Gwynt y Ddraig I think). My Cheddar Gorge was nice, as was the Yeovil ale on offer (I forget the name). I found the service fine, though I was served by a friendly barmaid as opposed to whom I presume to be the landlord who has generated so much recent debate…

A_E_M I'm surprised you didn't like the Bontempi Joy Division tribute act, I thought their rendition of Isolation was particularly good, given that three of the keys didn't work properly…good to hear that Vince Clarke’s bin is being raided for extra instruments in the near future, perhaps they can branch out into Rick Wakeman tunes fairly soon.

Anyways, yes I think I'd recommend a beer or two up here if you can bag a seat - I imagine it fills up during term-time at the Uni.

1 Aug 2009 12:15

Old Manor, Bracknell

One of the few old buildings in Bracknell, a Tudor manor house no less - the Monks Room) features an original priest hole. Along with various period features The courtyard area is a step above the usual Wetherspoons al fresco experience.

Two bars with in separate building with different beers on - I counted four guest beers, including Loddon and Butcombe, which were both pretty good. It was late afternoon on Wednesday so can’t really comment on how it as rush times, but on the strength of this visit I’d pop in again and would recommend it as a better Spoons experience.

1 Aug 2009 11:47

The Snug, St Albans

Ended up in here by accident at the end of the crawl because the Boot was to busy and smelly and I had 20 minutes to kill. What we got in here was the opposite of the Boot - it's a funky funky mofo lounge bar (check out the chocolate and lime coloured cushion covers) with outrageous food and drinks prices - the ale (a pretty nondescript Cottage beer) was £3.30! Music veered from easy listening to quality Indie. Check out the door in the alleyway outside that has the motif "commit no nuisance". Odd. Would I come back here again? Probably not in hurry…

31 Jul 2009 02:09

The Boot, St Albans

Absolutely heaving (maybe this is where all the Goat's customers went) in preparation for a live music session. When I saw the seven ales at the horseshoe-shaped bar I thought I was onto a winner...however the beer was a mixed bag; amongst the usual suspects I plumped for the Titanic which was grotty, whilst the York brewery beer was OK - I would have taken the Titanic back but I didn‘t fancy wading through the crush at the bar once I‘d managed to find a table. My negative feeling was compounded by a grubby interior and toilets that were a feculent pit. I'll give it another go and see if the beer consistency is better but I just didn't really take to the place on first viewing and wouldn’t call it a first-choice pub in town until it gets a good scrub-up.

31 Jul 2009 01:51

The Goat, St Albans

Multi-roomed pub which had four ales on (St Austell Tribute, Crouch Vale, Deuchars and Pedigree) plus a cider (Westons). My Crouch Vale was good and I enjoyed a game of bar billiards in a genteel atmosphere - genteel because it was very quiet indeed. Odd, given the White Lion a few yards up the street was pretty busy and it was high afternoon on sunny Sunday. Also spotted a large selection of board games to choose from, some books and a TV (switched off). The Temperance Ladies in the Gents made me smile. I rather liked it here and will make a beeline for it next time I'm the town.

31 Jul 2009 01:38

The White Lion, St Albans

Three rooms, two bar areas one lovely rear garden and 7 ales with loads of choice (including Morrissey/Fox, Titanic and Tetley Dark on my visit, the aforementioned threesome all in good condition). Friendly service behind the bar and a tidy dartboard in a nicely-kitted-out pub which felt like a good place to be - could have spent all day in here (next time I will do so I can have go on the boules pitch). Check out the old Watneys Red Barrel font at the bar. A blackboard displays the beers tapped and forthcoming - a nice touch. The best St Albans pub on my crawl a couple of months back, well done. Would heartily recommend the place to all discerning pub-goers.

31 Jul 2009 01:29

The White Hart Tap, St Albans

Five ales available (Landlord, Bitter & Twisted, Burton Inde Coop, Deuchars and Pride) a nice selection but the two I sampled were decidedly flat and out of condition. It's a nice enough pub inside and bigger than it looks from the exterior, plenty of light if you can bag a seat by the large bay window. Daily papers are available. UInconvinced on the strength of this visit unfortunately, needs better QC on the beer.

31 Jul 2009 01:17

The Hare and Hounds, St Albans

A nicely-kitted out two-roomed boho pub/bar thing with four pumps (though only two ales actually on - Woodfordes Wherry and Doombar, which came out fairly well) as well as Aspells Cyder, which is always a good tipple - expensive though. Sports TV, daily papers, dominant foreground music and Jenga add to the mix - the TV seems oddly positioned by the bar, if you're queing to be served it feels like your blocking the view of others.

Whilst it won’t bother some of the big-hitter pubs elsewhere in St Albans I thought it was a decent place and worth a quick stop if you’re in that part of the town.

30 Jul 2009 23:58

The Farmers Boy, St Albans

A crushing disappointment.

Two of the five ales off when I ventured in on my visit a couple of months back and the three remaining one of those was pretty poor (Deuchars) and the brewpubs own Farmers Boy spluttered out as we ordered it with no replacement barrel forthcoming - oh dear!

There's a paved beer garden, a TV and a food bar (the Farmer's Kitchen) which was idle, perhaps they had foot and mouth. Possibly the worst pub sign I've ever seen - looks like something from a crèche. There was also a swarm of mites buzzing round which just added to the pain.

I really didn't see much here to warrant the hype. Sometimes you catch places on an 'off' day but having seen this I wonder if they know what an 'on' day is.

30 Jul 2009 23:39

The Mermaid, St Albans

An old-skool local which sport an interesting selection of 8 real ales and cider - my two were in good nick. As well as guest ales there are also 'guest crisps' - a good reason to go in I'd say!

Features include a dartboard, TV and some old-style pub games. The pub spider plants need some urgent TLC and the toilets smelt of old wee and Sunday lunch which was rather unappealing. There were very few punters inside given it was mid-Sunday afternoon.

Well-worth a stop for the beer but could be a lot better with some simple touches and upgrades. I wasn't tempted to stay for too long.

30 Jul 2009 23:19

Waterend Barn, St Albans

A lovely conversion of two old barns. Almost upmarket as far as Wetherspoons (Lloyds No 1 in this case) go - even the toilets were top-notch! There was a 'local' beer festival on when I popped a couple of months back (which were basically 6 beers all from Rebellion and Vale breweries) so good to see a proactive management looking to promote local produce. The girl who served us was a classic Wetherspoons stereotype - 'pleasantly bumbling’ - I think she'd struggle to tie her own shoelaces bless her. I can see Millay’s issue with a number of the beers being marooned away from the till area. I just stood by the till, smiled, and placed my order and sent them scurrying off into the wilderness - it keeps them fit so I don’t feel bad about it. Overall, in a town with so many top-notch ale pubs I’d say that this was still worth a brief visit to see what’s on outside of being charged to get in. However if they told me to change my shoes on a Saturday evening I’d never go back and this review would look quite different…

30 Jul 2009 23:08

The Farriers Arms, St Albans

A clean and cosy McMullens local serving three of their ale range in good condition and in a handled mug (hooray). It's nice, light and airy inside with a bit of history hung on the walls and a TV for sports/news. Clientele were on the greyer side and there was a nice relaxed buzz about the place, which was already quite busy for an early Sunday afternoon. Some may find fault with the mid-80's refit decor but it didn't bother me - in fact I rather thought that it looked like an improvement from the previous interior judging by the photos on the pub walls. I'd be happy to go back again and would recommend it as a tidy place to enjoy a relaxed pint (presuming you like McMullen beer).

30 Jul 2009 22:49

The Portland Arms, St Albans

A tidy backstreet Fuller's outlet serving pretty much their full permanent ale range in good condition. There's a bog-standard back garden and a TV in the L-shaped bar for sports, plus the daily papers for your perusal. Worth popping in if you like your Fullers beer, I'd say. Not bad at all.

30 Jul 2009 22:41

The Lower Red Lion, St Albans

Interesting to see TWG's comments below - I had a similar experience in there myself when I visted a couple of months back. The pub is a tradtional two-room/two-bar affair with dark timber pannelling and 6 ales (Doombar, Cotleigh, Harveys Best, Oakham JHB, Querus and Springhead) plus a real cider in very good condition.

Sadly, we were the only punters in there - bad news for a Sunday lunchtime! Where is everyone? Place was like a morgue. The basics are all there - clearly something has gone awry as in almost any other town there'd be plenty of customers on a Sunday afternoon. Why not here?

If you like your beer, it's well-worth the visit but you may need to bring to your own atmosphere.

30 Jul 2009 22:34

The Six Bells, St Albans

A low-beamed timber interior with three cosy (ie small) different drinking areas (not quite rooms) with an open fire for the winter months, decorated with sepia pictures of Olde St Albans plus an intriguing old bar tariff from the 1920's - there's some drinks on there that have long gone!

However I felt that it was a bit too food-focused for me - space is at such a premium that can be off putting and I felt that I was a bit squashed onto a small table by the TV (sports) whilst the foodies took priority.

5 ales available on my Saturday afternoon visit which were fairly mainstream in choice - Deuchars/BlackSheep/Pride/Abbot/Landlord - no Golden Pippin to be seen sadly! Nevertheless the quality was good, no complaints there. Dart board and decent garden also available.

Worth a stroll to get to on a sunny day from the station but perhaps not worth the inclusion if you're pressed for time or it's raining.

30 Jul 2009 22:22

The Victoria Arms, Binfield

A cracking Fuller's pub which gets a lot plaudits and rightly so on the basis of my recent visit. Discovery, Pride ESB, HSB on the bar which were in good form with a friendly girl behind the bar too, which always helps. The place was busy on a Tuesday late afternoon, which says something! Make sure you visit the wonderful garden and patio area with good views which is a must in the summer. Other features include a TV with the sport on and food is available. Downside is perhaps that the beer is a bit expensive, though it usually is in Fuller's branded places - at least the quality here is spot-on. I'll be back sooner rather than later and would recommend it, alongside a trip up the road to the Jack o' Newbury.

30 Jul 2009 14:55

Jack O'Newbury, Binfield

A nice traditional freehouse with no music or electronics, just beer and conversation. The interior sports various brasses mugs and bric-a-brac. Four ales available on my visit, with a heavily local slant (Loddon and West Berks) which tasted good. There’s a nice garden, a skittle alley and food is available. Worth a visit, combined with a short walk down the road to the Victoria.

30 Jul 2009 14:44

The Bull, Barkham

The guest beers don't seem to be as interesting as they used to be a year ago. The quality is still good though.

30 Jul 2009 14:15

The Millstone, Old Basing

Only dropped in for a swift one as time was ticking on my train but I was quite impressed by the place on first viewing. The location is lovely and there was a good range of Wadworth beers available - the two I was able to sample were both good - expensive though. The expansive interior was quite dark aside from the bar area which might not suit everyone. The quiz machine wants to pay too. Overall, worth a visit for a slow beer on this showing.

30 Jul 2009 13:23

The Crown, Old Basing

Popped in twice quick succession a couple of months ago. There are usually five ales to choose from (including a couple of interesting guests) and they are usually in good condition (though I had a duff Wye Valley beer that had to be replaced recently).

The pub interior and exterior is fairly unremarkable, as noted elsewhere it's based on the 70's mock-tudor look. It gets quite hot and stuffy inside because of the heat from the kitchen (food is a big seller here) and it's smaller than it looks - when the pub gets busy on a Thursday/Friday/Saturday evening it can a bit of a task to find a seat. There's a heavily-sloped garden out the back which acts as a sun-trap.

Fairly good for the beer range - worth a stop for that, though I'm less convinced about the venue itself.

30 Jul 2009 13:10

The Hatch, Old Basing

A Chef & Brewer pub, with the usual C&B style interior. Three ales were on (Adnams, Hogs Back TEA and Courage Best). My TEA was OK, no great shakes. Bar was stupidly understaffed, one harrassed guy trying to cope with a snaking queue of slow-witted diners and drinkers, we waited 10 minutes for our beer which was enough to put me off making a return visit anytime soon.

30 Jul 2009 12:54

The Bolton Arms, Old Basing

Whilst not looking particularly alluring from the outside, the recently refurbished interior really is quite super. There’s separate dining and drinking areas which feel rather swish. There were a couple of ales on, plus a real cider (or was it perry? I forget) which come in handled mugs - nice. My Andwell bitter was a bit flat unfortunately but the cider/perry my friend has was good. I’d give it another go and hope the beer’s a bit better next time, the place seems to have a fair amount going for it at the moment.

30 Jul 2009 12:44

The Skewers, Basingstoke

Popped in on the way over to Old Basing. For an estate pub I didn't think it was too bad. There's a nice sloped garden area outside, with pub itself situated at the bottom of the dip with the whole thing surrounded by a bright red wooden fence which looks like it came from a Lego set. The front bar was in a decent state of repair and quite light thanks to a whacky 70's-inspired window which seems to take up most of the nearside wall. Two beers on (Batemans and Courage). My Batemans was unremarkable but I've had a lot worse in 'nice' pubs. Basic food on offer if I recall. Clientele were gruff but unobtrusive. Never going to win awards but nonetheless a fair estate pub.

30 Jul 2009 12:26

Santa Fe, Reading

Looks like this has shut too!

16 Jul 2009 11:03

Blue, Reading

Now called Bamboo

16 Jul 2009 10:57

Bar Med, Reading


16 Jul 2009 10:56

Bar 38, Reading


16 Jul 2009 10:55

The Horn and Trumpet, Bristol

Now called the Drawbridge. The Horn and Trumpet was a dark and fairly rancid place in its latter years, an example of another Bristol town centre pub that went downhill in the late 90's. I doubt many people mourn its passing. I don't.

15 Jul 2009 14:04

The Star Inn, Waltham St Lawrence

This place has a job on its hands to compete/give a viable alternative to the superlative Bell up the road but to be fair the new guv'nor is doing a good job so far, following on from a good (if unspectacular) previous incumbent who won the much coveted 'Best Pub Pizza' from the local CAMRA branch a couple of years back.

It's a Wadworth tied house, usually there's 6X, Henry's IPA and Bishop's Tipple to be had. Pint Sized Mild has been recently introduced and has proved popular enough to see off the keg Bass mild despite being few pence more expensive.

Food is served and the place is clean and tidy with a decent garden area. The new landlord is a good host and takes care of his beer - these days that's a rare combination in a tied house. The only major downside is a long-standing gripe with the disabled loo - which is inaccessible for many of those who need it as it's either up two steps in the pub or through the kittylitter via the garden. What sort of wally sanctioned that?

If you're at the Bell it's well worth a short journey over here for pint, wheelchairs and bladders permitting.

14 Jul 2009 22:17

The Bell, Waltham St Lawrence

Up there with the Bell at Aldworth as a 'quintessential English country pub' the Bell delivers quality ale from local/unusual breweries in top condition on a regular basis (the West Berks house brew of Old Tyler is re-badged Good Old Boy). There's usually at least one cider/perry available too.

The pub itself is a pretty ancient affair (various dates are claimed but it certainly seems to be over 250 years old) and subdivides into three rooms - the main bar, a right hand-side drinking area and a relatively new area up a couple of steps to the left, which has a more modern ambience (plus a well shaft which the curious can peer down). There's a decent garden area out the back too. Apparently the interior is CAMRA heritage-listed.

Food is available (I've never sampled) and dogs are more than welcomed, they are thoroughly encouraged. There's certainly a lot of the green welly brigade that frequent the place - up to you whether you think they're your kind of people or not. They certainly knew all the Jade Goody jokes a few weeks back so they can't be that bad. The atmosphere is usually quite bustling - there's no electronic distractions here - just chatter and banter.

My only real gripe is that bar access is severely restricted because of the layout and barflys - it's not uncommon to see a queue snaking out from the only point of access away from the bar and round the back of the tables - most off-putting.

Otherwise, this is a classic and deserves a visit from all discerning beer lovers and pub enthusiasts. Well done.

14 Jul 2009 20:42

The Greyhound, Wargrave

The best 'pub' in Wargrave, the Rebellion is usually a pretty good bet. I think the owners could do lot more to entice people in here though, it seems under-utilised. I heard that they didn't want to be on the local CAMRA Ale Trail - given the whole shebang is free and gets a pretty huge response rate (2000 leaflets and a 40% return rate apparently - how many pints must that equate to?) I find that decision rather hard to fathom. Perhaps they like the easy life?

14 Jul 2009 19:59

The White Hart, Wargrave

The beer (Pride and Brakspear) is usually of a decent standard (though not cheap) but I can't ever really get that excited by the place.

14 Jul 2009 19:55

The Bull Hotel, Wargrave

My last couple of visits have found the Bull to be a very quiet and souless place. The beer is very expensive for what is usually and average pint. It seems to preoccupied with making space for diners who rarely turn up. So the drinkers don't bother either.

At present, can't recommend.

14 Jul 2009 19:53

The Beehive, Upper Basildon

New planning application submitted and pub being touted on the internet as a potential conversion to housing.

A shame as the place was doing well before the enforced closure, the beer was decent and the food was good - with the Red Lion up the road Upper Basildon was a worthwhile afternoon trip out.

14 Jul 2009 13:42

The Red Lion, Upper Basildon

Upmarket foody pub which nonetheless serves an impressive selection of ale (Brakspear, London Pride, West Berks GOB plus one other) in good condition. They also open early for coffee some mornings too. Prices aren't the cheapest but I've eaten here a couple of times and not had a problem. I think the place is best sampled outside peak times when it's less of a restaurant and more a local pub atmosphere.

I heard that the previous owner passed away a few months back so am hoping his previous high standards can be maintained. Worth a trip, especially if you're heading up from Reading to the Bell at Aldworth.

14 Jul 2009 13:28

The Golden Cross, Twyford

The weakest of the three (four if you count Ruscombe) pubs in the area. The inside is a bit shabby and the beer quality is often as iffy as the punters. Usually Flowers IPA and a.n.other available. There's a TV tuned in for sports and there's often a dog of some description wandering round. Given how close it is to the station I'm surprised more effort hasn't gone into making the place a more attractive prospect for those who have a 20 minute wait for a train. If this place was better Twyford would have a cracking set of pubs to choose from.

14 Jul 2009 13:20

The Waggon and Horses, Twyford

The Waggon combines a good mix of country pub ambience (flagstone floor, low wooden beams, nice big garden with an aviary) with a couple of concessions to the fact it's just on the edge of Twyford centre (Big TV for sport, dartboard).

There's usually 3 ales on the go (Courage, Pride and Landlord are usually there in some combination, with Loddon and West Berks brewery sometimes getting a spot). The quality is usually pretty good and the service is decent too. Perhaps one downside is that the inside can feel a bit dark and gloomy as the pub front doesn't catch much light.

I like the place and it makes a good combination with the Duke of Wellington just down the road. Would recommend a visit to both.

14 Jul 2009 13:14

The Duke of Wellington, Twyford

A Brakspear-owned local, which feels small and homely despite there being two rooms and a 'dip'. Two 'Refresh' ales usually available plus a seasonal (so make that a Brakspear Bitter, Hobgoblin and maybe a Special) which are usually in good shape. The people behind the bar are a friendly lot and the punters are usually a good mix of people. Three TV's hook in via separate feeds so sports fans can watch multiple games at once. Some of the interior has had a recent refurb but a fair amount retains an air of being stationed somewhere in the late 70's.

It's a nice little place and I'd recommend it if you're nearby.

14 Jul 2009 12:45

The George and Dragon, Swallowfield

Revisted the other week. Similar experiences as before except that the beer wasn't as good and the girl behind the bar was friendly but clueless - I've not seen a simple order for a pint and a half of beer take on such a surreal form before. Dali would be proud.

14 Jul 2009 12:39

The Crown, Swallowfield

Still closed

14 Jul 2009 12:35

The Ship Inn, Wokingham

Looks like a guest is back (Butcombe Bitter on 12/07). Both my pints (HSB and ESB) were fine. Good stuff. Still miss Emma & Brian though!

13 Jul 2009 22:49

The Victoria Arms, Wokingham

There now appears to be a local beer in - Loddon Hullabaloo on 13/07. Not sure if it is permanent but good to see nonetheless.

13 Jul 2009 22:48

Molly's Millars, Wokingham

Has had a thorough makeover and looks better for it both inside and out, now a bit more friendly for a quiet drink during the day - in fact I'd go as far to say it's quite tasteful. Popped in to see if there was an ale on and was surprised to find that there was, a decent half of a GK beer (Dallaglio's Heroes) at an OK price for Wokingham. Shame the staff were too busy chatting amongst themselves to provide any decent level of service - lets it down. Food was available and there was a big screen with the cricket on (muted in favour of music).

Perhaps now worth a look if you're waiting for a train.

13 Jul 2009 22:39

The Queens Head, Wokingham

Has certainly improved over the last couple of years - there's now a wider range of GK ale (plus a guest) served well (if a little cold). The inside of this small pub has been re-jigged to maximise space. I was happy to read the provided Sunday papers with a pint on the weekend just gone. A worthwhile stop in Wokingham, well done landlord.

13 Jul 2009 22:18

Broad Street Tavern, Wokingham

Still serving a cracking pint of Wadworth (plus guest - York centurions Ghost on Sunday). It's getting a bit expensive though, even for Wokingham. You won't get much (if any) change from a tenner for three random pints.

Still, it's a great pub with a cracking garden

13 Jul 2009 22:13

The Volunteer, Theale

The new tenants have got the beer quality up a notch compared to previous, otherwise there hasn't been too much in the way of change. Worth a stroll over if in Theale for a pint.

13 Jul 2009 21:44

The Crown Inn, Theale

The new people in charge are making a real effort in here. It's been spruced up, the big garden at the rear is now more easily accessible. There's three beers - currently GK IPA plus a couple of guests, usually from a local brewery like Loddon or West Berks - which have tasted good so far. Food is now also being rolled out.

Positive signs initially, am hopeful that they're in for the long haul and can make this place a success. Worthy of a detour for a beer at present.

13 Jul 2009 21:41

Rising Sun, Reading

Popped in again, the beer quality was good on bother the beers (Hobgoblin and - I think - Tim Taylor Landlord).

It's still a right old dump but they seem to be doing the beer right, which is a start.

13 Jul 2009 21:31

The Bantam, Burghfield Common

Has been recently re-furbed and looks a lot better for it. Ale is now Arkells Kingsdown (a higher abv!) which came out fairly well. The music has been turned down too. Discovered that there's two rooms, the left hand lounge is a fair place to drink your pint.

It's still no world-beater but has certainly turned a corner for the better.

13 Jul 2009 21:29

Zero Degrees, Reading

I struggle to like this place much as a drinking venue, despite the beer being interesting and usually fairly good - I usually only go in for a pizza. Note: watch out if you're getting a half here, they don't exactly halve the price of the pint to fit...!

13 Jul 2009 21:11

Yates's, Reading

Popped in again the other day and found their two ales (Pride and a specially-brewed 'birthday ale') were in decent condition.

It's a Yates' of course, so whether you choose to venture in after 8pm on a Friday or Saturday night is entirely up to's on Friar St, which is the late-night binge drinking street in town. it wouldn't be my choice.

13 Jul 2009 21:07

The Wynford Arms, Reading

The old landlord has departed and so sadly has the beer quality. It was down to one ropey pint of Shepherd Neame when I went in the other night.

13 Jul 2009 21:04

Varsity, Reading

Popped in the other day and tried the Andwell (it was the only one of four pumps working) - it was warm and tangy, eurgh. Early days but I suspect that quality will be pretty indifferent outside of the weekend.

The interior is a fairly bog-standard take on a town centre bar, IKEA fittings and some sofas. Apparently this place is managed by the same person who owns the Hook & tackle these days...?

13 Jul 2009 20:56

The Turks, Reading

Surprised there's been no comments in over two years! Well, the place has had another change in ownership and there's now a partition door to break up the two bars, plus a few extra pot plants. Usually serves up 2-3 ales, the quality is very inconsistent (as is the service) so I wouldn't particularly recommend a visit unless you want a game of table football.

13 Jul 2009 20:51

The Three Guineas, Reading

Appears to have ditched many of their 'regular' beers and gone for a near all-out guest policy. Quality has been a bit up and down lately so I hope it gets back up standard soon.

13 Jul 2009 20:49

The Red Lion, Reading

Looks like a couple of extra handpumps have been added - 4 ales now. Perhaps not the most imaginative selection you'll see but I guess they're choosing from a fairly restricted list. Quality is usually fairly good. A fair bet for a decent beer and the footy.

13 Jul 2009 20:42

The Orange House, Reading

Appears to be shut.

13 Jul 2009 20:19

Oasis, Reading

Well I did try the other day and found it shut and covered in scaffholding. No indication on whether it'll reopen or not.

13 Jul 2009 20:14

The Oakford Social Club, Reading

There are now three ales on, nearly always sourced from small or unusual breweries and the quality is usually high.

Can be very crowded on a Friday or Saturday night and very noisy as well so pick your time carefully if you want a relaxed beer.

I quite like it in here, though I find the inside a bit dark sometimes. Oh, and the gents are still pretty rank. Worth popping though.

13 Jul 2009 20:12

Nags Head, Reading

Update - continues to improve and achieve very high standards whilst not compromising on customer service or prices. This now become my default choice for a pint or two in Reading.

Well done to everyone behind the bar.

13 Jul 2009 14:11

The Monks Retreat, Reading

Rob (who was the manager at the Baron Cadogan) has moved here so I'm hoping that the quality of beer improves to a similar level.

13 Jul 2009 14:02

The Jolly Porter, Reading

Looks like it's going to re-open a s a bar very soon...'Mannakoo' or something similar...

13 Jul 2009 14:00

The Foresters Arms, Reading

The two ales (Harveys Best and Brakspear Bitter) are still excellent quality. However the back bar desperately needs a lick of paint, some basic maintenance and a few new lightbulbs.

Simple stuff but it makes a huge difference.

13 Jul 2009 13:44

The Fishermans Cottage, Reading

Under new management - the inside has been tidied up and the beer range extended to incorporate most of the Fuller's cask range (plus a guest). Quality has been better too. Can still be a bit quiet but expect trade to pick up now the Jolly Anglers has closed (again!)

13 Jul 2009 13:42

The County Arms, Reading

Now boarded up, unlikely to re-open.

13 Jul 2009 13:38

Corn Exchange, Reading

Doesn't exist, this is a duplicate entry for the Corn Stores.

13 Jul 2009 13:38

Brannigans, Reading

Now closed for good.

13 Jul 2009 13:36

The Claddagh Ring, Reading

Now called the Kennet Arms since the old landlord departed to the Horse and Jockey.

The inside is all 'new bar', laminated tiles and shiny pumps, with passée scrawls along the bar ("what happens in the Kennet stays in the Kennet") etc.

No ales on, Guinness was OK I guess. Music stupidly loud for a Tuesday evening. There was a plasma screen on but turned to mute so what's the point?

Half-finished garden out the back with two roaming 'puppy' dogs.

Can't find much to be positive about really.

12 Jul 2009 11:28

The Butler, Reading

New owners seem to be doing a good job. Ale range has been improved with a guest often featuring. Quality so far has been very good. Worth popping in on the way to the Nags.

12 Jul 2009 11:23

The Bugle, Reading

Beginning to look very ragged and tatty, especially the back bar. The two ales (Courage and Bombardier) are usually fairly average.

12 Jul 2009 11:21

The Brewery Tap, Reading

Refurbed and re-opened. London Pride and GK IPA on which were well kept when I sampled the other day. The front area has been spruced up and is more of a diner/bar area. Apparently there are plans for live music/club nights downstairs.

An improvement, let's see how it progresses.

12 Jul 2009 11:20

The Vine at Hannington, Tadley

Came across this place by accident as we were pottering around the Hampshire countryside waiting for the White Hart to open.

This place is an upmarket-take on the traditional country pub. The interior is airy, clean and tidy with both eating and drinking areas. There's a nice set of leather sofas to be had near the fire which are nice.

It's situated in some nice countryside (though it's a devil to find as the signs from the main road peter out very quickly). Good for the summer months.

Two ales on - London Pride and Black Sheep - which both came out well on tasting.

Food is offered and I gather that the pub is dog-friendly as well. There was a nice conservatory round the back too which leads on to an impressive-sized garden area.

All in all, not bad at all, I'd say it's worth a diversion for a relaxed beer or two. If they could add an interesting guest ale it'd be very inviting.

11 Jul 2009 20:25

Royal Oak, Fritham

A lovely 'picture-postcard' country pub, with low thatched roof and roaring fire in the heart of the New Forest.

The interior boasts several drinking areas plus simple but excellent food that includes local cheese and home smoked sausage. The ploughmans looked fine indeed.

A fair selection of good quality ale within, usually sourced from Hop Back, Bowmans and Ringwood. These are served from stillage behind the bar.

One or two of the regulars were a bit offish. Otherwise, this is a great place, especially if you can bag a seat next to the fire on a cold winters evening. Recommended.

11 Jul 2009 20:11

The George, Staines

Gone right down the dumper - popped in today, beer choice uninspiring and quality of all three of my pints were average to poor. Service with a scowl behind the bar, perpetuating the Eastern European bar staff stereotype. The inside remains scruffy and unkempt. Graffiti all over the toilet doors, for example.

A shame as this was a decent 'Spoons back in the day.

11 Jul 2009 19:46

The Vine, Pamphill

A quaint pub with some nice old (original?) touches built 200 years ago on two levels as a bakery, becoming a pub in 1900 apparently.

Beer-wise there was London Pride available at the tiny bar (the other guest had just ran out), served by a pair of charming ladies who made our group feel welcome. Otherwise, there's two rooms - a nice lounge to the side of the bar, or a public bar up a set of health and safety-bothering stairs. There's a tidy beer garden out the back through a nice old set of french doors.

Pub can be a bit of a git to find if you don't have sat nav, keep your eyes peeled.

A solid place, worth making a detour for if nearby for the uniqueness of the interior and welcome afforded. I'm not sure I can get quite as effusive as previous reviewers though, it wasn't quite the life-changing experience.

6 Jul 2009 22:22

The Square and Compass, Worth Matravers

This rural gem is one of the few pubs which has featured in every edition of the Good Beer Guide. It really is a pub for all seasons - beautiful outside with a beer in summer; lovely inside with a real fire in the winter. It’s a haven for walkers and is also dog-friendly. The only mobile phone network I could pick up here was French, so phone home before you start on the drink.

The pub (as mentioned previously) looks like a farmhouse from the outside. The interior is bare stone, flagstone floors and real fires. Nothing much has changed here over the years – no TV or fruit machines! Two drinking rooms are separated by a narrow corridor which hosts the notorious serving hatch – notorious because it can quickly get jammed up when more than a few people want a pint which in the case of this pub means quite often It can be a real wait sometimes but what can be done? If the hatch is demolished everyone will cry “shame!” so we’ll just have to be patient. It’s part of the charm.

I found the funny museum a bit pointless - is it really worth having it? I’d wager that the room would be better off for drinking in given the popularity of the place. Perhaps put a relief bar in there for peak times?

Onto the beer – there were 3 ales on when I went (Ringwood Best, barnsley Oak Leaf and Rudgate Ruby Mild) served well from stillage. The ales were also complimented by a decent cider selection – you could easily do a session in here on a summer’s day. Prices were slightly above average (between £2.80-£.10 for the real stuff).

Food-wise there are pasties to be had, which are OK if a tad expensive for what they are (and that they’re served on flimsy paper plates). However better to have this than proper diners fayre which would block the place up even more than it currently is. Clientele are a mix of locals, walkers, tourists and the curious ale-geeks (me).

All in all the S&C is pretty dammed good but it suffers from its own notoriety at peak times. Despite the faults it’s got to be worth the trek whatever.

6 Jul 2009 22:10

Bankes Arms Hotel and Country Inn, Studland

A pub of contrasts. The most obvious is location; it's certainly an idyllic setting with some some quality views from the beer garden over Poole Bay. However the place doesn't look overly inviting from the outside and parts of the interior looked a bit worn and tired - some simple touches could improve this. The pub is spacious inside, with at least one real fire on the go during winter.

On my visit there were 5 ales on, most (if not all) from their own brewery (Isle of Purbeck) - they were served well but were fairly uninspiring taste-wise. They also do a home-brewed lager which I actually found to be their best offering - go for that first. However, given that they brew on the premises the prices they charged are pretty extortionate - over £3 for their lager. I got a tour round the brewery from the brewmaster who was a nice chap.

It started filling up quick so I doubt they'll be too fussy about the negative reviews on here. Personally, I think it's worth a stop for the tick if nearby but I wouldn't call it an 'essential' pub.

6 Jul 2009 21:21

The Fox and Hounds, Farley Hill

Now closed.

5 Jul 2009 23:11

The Royal Oak, Reading

Closed again.

5 Jul 2009 23:09

The Shurlock, Reading

This has now been revamped after being brought by a locals consortium. The inside is a lot lighter and is set up for dining (a small drinking area remains). Two ales still available (Pride and a guest - St Austell Tinners yesterday) which are expensive (£3.30!) but excellent quality. New incarnation is finding its feet but things look positive - well done to all those who kept this open and have given it a new lease of life.

5 Jul 2009 23:09

The Jerusalem Tavern, Clerkenwell

Can MR MULTIPLE ALIASES please stop posting the same comments over and over again. One is enough, we get your point.

1 Jul 2009 10:03

Three Horseshoes, Henley-on-Thames

Quinno's epic Henley crawl ended here at the first pub many people see when they drive into Henley, a big building that straddles the split in the road as it forks.

This is essentially a generic local, owned by and serving Brakspear - my Special was pretty good, one of the best of the evening.

The friendly landlord gave me a free t-shirt for my pub crawl troubles as apparently I had managed to do all the Brakspear-owned ones. My notes are a bit hard to fathom at this point but I'm fairly sure there was a TV...

Not bad, would look in again.

23 Jun 2009 19:12

The Bird In Hand, Henley-On-Thames

Made a long-overdue revisit recently and was glad I did. The beer (five ales) and the surroundings are still the best in Henley by a stretch.

The interior is cosy and convivial, easy to strike up a conversation but also no worries about sitting quietly with a book or news paper. It's very easy to lose an evening in here - I was only meant to be in for 10 minutes but stayed for 40.

Should be the first port of call when in Henley. And maybe the last too.

23 Jun 2009 19:04

Saracen's Head, Henley-on-Thames

A little forbidding from the outside and I have to admit to not expecting much when I went in. But to my pleasant surprise was greeted by a friendly barlady along with a very good pint of Hooky Dark (which is usually awful; Brakspear was the other ale).

Pub interior was pretty spartan however there was a dartboard I was positively encouraged to use. The toilets were a bit poor, could do with some work.

A good example of a relatively unspoilt two-room backstreet boozer from back in the day. Worth the extra two minutes up the hill from the Bird on this showing for a couple of games of arrows.

23 Jun 2009 18:59

The Row Barge, Henley-On-Thames

Having had a few by this point I must be honest and say that I can't remember too much about the Row Barge beyond:

-An extremely good pint of Brakspear Bitter
-Pub cat
-Toilet signs were in Welsh

So I guess I'd best pop back in again.

23 Jun 2009 18:44

The Argyll, Henley-On-Thames

Pleasantly upmarket Greene King refit pub which seemed to attracting the nouveau riche of Henley on my visit (one of whom looked suspiciously like Bruno Brookes).

Beer-wise there was the usual Greene King suspects - Abbot and IPA - but happily a guest too in the form St Austell Tribute; although it was served waaaay to cold. The barman was a nice chap.

The fair-sized interior is posh tables, pot plants sofas and muzak although (oddly) there was also a quizzer which wanted to pay so I left £10 better off. There's a nice garden too.

A paradox pub - although I find it hard to get too excited about the place, I wouldn't mind going back again at some point in the future.

23 Jun 2009 18:41

The Queens Head, Henley-On-Thames

Remembered this place in it's previous incarnation as the Idle Hour a few years back, so I entered with trepidation whilst on my crawl a few months back.

The interior has had a bit of an overhaul but still retains its general mood as being very much set up for the younger Henley crowd, all dim lighting, Americana touches and loungy sofas. I was greeted by a friendly barmaid (I guess this must be Catherine) who was a convivial hostess.

Two ales on (Brakspear Bitter and Hobgoblin) which were fine.

A vast improvement and worth a stop on a Henley crawl I think. Well done.

23 Jun 2009 18:31

Three Tuns, Henley-on-Thames

Rough and ready locals-only boozer. Two Brakspear ales on, mine was OK. Interior is fairly cramped and pretty unkempt. The patrons didn't seem overly happy to see me. It strikes me as the sort of place where the smoking ban should be lifted.

I wasn't too displeased to exit stage left after my half was drained. Perhaps I hit it on a bad day, but I would see no reason to go back anytime soon.

23 Jun 2009 18:03

The Anchor, Henley-On-Thames

A real find, tucked away in the backstreets off the main drag. Stick with your googlemap and your patience will be rewarded with a proper low-ceilinged and two bar cosy local, full of nik-naks and a real fire. Well described below as having a 'lived-in' feel to it, you do indeed think you've stepped back 40 odd years when entering on a cold winter evening.

It's a Brakspear house with Bitter and Oxford Gold available on my visit, the quality was very good too. Can't recall the price but it didn't seem much different from the other non-JDW outlets in town.

The little old lady plus pet dog running the place seemed slightly concerned that I was on a crawl of Henley town centre and even slightly horrified after I showed them the list of pubs I was aiming to tick off. Bless.

Well worth a visit on this showing.

23 Jun 2009 17:58

The Victoria, Henley-on-Thames

No real ale so didn't stop, beyond noting it's a IKEA-style pine refit sports bar.

23 Jun 2009 09:34

The Catherine Wheel, Henley-On-Thames

A great big barn of a place, with - confusingly - a bar on either side of the room (which both stock different beers).

Whilst the beer here is cheapest in Henley the choice is actually pretty weak- the only thing of interest outside the usual JDW suspects was Loddon Russet (which came out fine).

The interior is very dark and dim in the evening - unpleasantly so for a Wednesday I thought and loud music too - presume this must be a Lloyds No1 branded JDW now. The darkness, lack of customers and loud music made the place feel rather soul-less.

There's a rudimentary beer garden out back for the smokers and oddballs. Otherwise, it's the usual.

Pop in and see what's on, but be prepared not to linger (unless you want cheap food).

22 Jun 2009 21:49

The Bull, Henley-on-Thames

No real ale so didn't sample but did notice that the small amount of punters were watching the footy in semi-darkness. Odd...

22 Jun 2009 21:39

The Old White Horse, Henley-on-Thames

Basically a big foodie pub with a couple of smaller drinking areas. There's a faux country pub ambience inside - nicely clean and fairly cosy (though the interior is far to open plan to get the real country feel). Beer was Brakspear Bitter which was in fair shape. Probably only worth the trip for a beer if you're a completist to be honest.

22 Jun 2009 21:35

The Old Bell, Henley-on-Thames

Used to be called the Bell. Now a tapas bar which serves various exotic liquors and bottled lagers. No ale though, so I headed onward on this occasion as I wasn't hungry!

22 Jun 2009 21:30

The Horse and Groom, Henley-On-Thames

Greene King owned pub, offering two brews one of which was a seasonal - Ridleys Witchfinder which was pulled through as I ordered. Unfortunately it was flat and lifeless, nevermind. £3.10 is a bit expensive but we are in Henley I suppose.

The pub interior has obviously had a recent overhaul (check out the New York by night frieze on the right hand wall as you enter). I popped out to the pleasant garden to sup my beer (served in a thick handled mug which was a nice touch) where I met who I assume to be the pub dog.

Despite the disappointing beer I'd give this place another go as I think there's potential there.

22 Jun 2009 21:28

The Rose and Crown Inn, Henley-On-Thames

A decent, if perhaps uninspiring from a drinking perspective, upmarket Henley pub.

It's a foody, dim-candlelight sort of place in the evening. My Brakspear Bitter (the only ale) was decent, no complaints.

There's better in Henley for a beer but it's decent for what it is.

22 Jun 2009 21:21

The Angel On The Bridge, Henley-On-Thames

Keep this brief...

The plus points:
-Lovely location right on the Thames and a waterside drinking area
-A decent pint of Brakspear Bitter and Special
-Interior is quite quaint

The minus points:
-Expensive...£3.30 a pint outrageous considering it's from the brewery who own the place
-Plastic glasses
-Annoying Hooray Henley-esque punters can often predominate

Perhaps worth a pint of a sunny afternoon if not crowded but otherwise I'd rather take in the view from the bridge and move on.

22 Jun 2009 21:13

The Windmill Inn, Portishead

Becoming more and more the trendy hangout in the 'Head and the prices are beginning to match.

The beer is still good though. there's usually a couple of guests on (often from the same brewery). Apparently a new conservatory is being built over the next few months - to cash in on the Marina crowd no doubt.

My gripe about the place is the heat - some evenings it's stupidly hot and stuffy, especially on the upper levels. Get those windows to open further please!

Still a sound choice for a beer, though it's noticeable that other pubs in Portishead are beginning to catch up now, hopefully will keep this place on its toes...

22 Jun 2009 21:02

The Royal Hotel, Portishead

A pub with a chequered recent history which finally seems, over the last couple of years, to be finally getting it right.

The ale range is pretty good - Butcombe and Doombar along with at least one guest; quality is usually of a good standard.

The big selling point here is the view - a nice pint on a sunny day in the beer garden overlooking the Severn towards the bridges and the Welsh coast is rather nice...also, you can take your beer down to the little pebble beach inlet through the garden gate.

The pubs interior also deserves a mention - there's some lovely tiled areas and a nice atmosphere when busy (although can feel deathly quiet when not).

Only real downside is the price - you're paying an extra 30-odd pence for the venue in which you're imbibing. There's food available (never sampled though).

Should you be visiting a rich relative in the Marina complex, make sure you pop over, it's worth it I think.

22 Jun 2009 20:53

Ship Inn, Portishead

First visit to the Shippin' for over ten years and was pretty impressed.

The exterior is younger-looking than I recall and there's a well-tended garden out the front along with ample parking. The interior is as I remember - fairly large and essentially decorated like your dear old Nan's lounge, which perhaps will put a few people off for being a bit 'safe' but I thought it was pleasant enough.

Three ales were available (Otter, Butcombe and Keltic Gold) all of which were pretty good, if a tad too cool perhaps.

The landlord (Vic?) was good for some banter and the locals seemed like a decent lot - classic gentrified old Bristolians.

There's a well-maintained and well-used bar billiards table along with a dartboard. If you venture onto the BB table you're likely to receive plenty of 'advice' from various quarters as to your play. Basic food is served. I saw no TV.

It's worth a visit if in the general I'd say - well done. Portishead certainly has improved beer-wise over the last few years...

22 Jun 2009 20:40

The Hole in the Wall, Cambridge

Popped in a couple of weeks back for some food and liquid refreshment, on the strength of its Good Beer Guide entry.

Located in a lovely quintessential English village, we sat outside in the sunshine-trap garden, bar a quick five minutes in the interior to order food. the interior is as you'd expect from the photo - wood beamed, open-fire country pub ambience. there's a separate dining area.

The beer (Woodfordes Nelsons Revenge) was fair and they also sold the Headcracker in bottles.

Food was ordered from the posh sounding menu, my mate and I got a pair of excellent dishes clearly home-cooked on site - worth the expenditure.

If you're looking for a good example of a country pub which specialises in food, you could do a lot worse than here. I enjoyed it.

20 Jun 2009 20:46

Benson Blakes Bar and Grill, Bury St Edmunds

Went in with a group of friends en route to one of BSE's less salubrious nightspots. Wasn't expecting much from the outside but was fairly surprised. The interior is obviously very 'modern bar', all pine and chocolate colours.

One ale on sale (unexpected) which was Nethergate Umbel Magna (hooray!) which in the GK stranglehold of BSE was fantastic. Quality of beer was good (though turnover was rapid which helps). Staff were impressively quick and good-natured.

The interior was quite rammed and it was fairly uncomfortable to stand without knocking into someone. It was Friday night though, so I guess that's par for the course. Clientèle were pre-clubbers - girls flashing flesh with hair rigidly straightened and lads with too much hair gel wearing the latest Primark number, talking quite loudly over the less-than-background music.

Overall, not bad. If you're on a night out here, you could do worse.

8 Jun 2009 20:46

The Greyhound, Bury St Edmunds

Greene King pub with a mock-tudor exterior, serving three of their brews. The St Edmunds I had was very poor. How can a GK house a mile from the brewery sell their wares stuff so badly when it must be so cheap to procure? Appalling management.

Nice back garden, though there's a bald patch on the grass where I tipped my half away.

8 Jun 2009 20:22

The Old Cannon Brewery, Bury St Edmunds

Revisit last week found the usual two Cannon brews plus a guest of Triple FFF Mild and another I forget (maybe Adnmas?). One of the Cannon ones was served very cloudy and had to be taken back - bit miffed that wasn't spotted by the staff in a place like this. Otherwise, the quality was excellent.

We had out beers in the sunshine under the trellis, a fair setting. the inside is more clinical and food-oriented that I remember so it isn't quite becoming of a long session.

Prices are expensive for the BSE area but they're worth it in the end.

Well-worth seeking out but don't necessarily expect a 'pub' experience.

8 Jun 2009 20:11

Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds

Re-visit last week found the place on good form still - beer quality and range was good (for BSE). The food was alright and we enjoyed our beers in the big garden out the back. In another town I'd say that this probably wouldn't stand out massively but in BSE it's a winner and I'd recommend it.

8 Jun 2009 20:05

The Warwick Castle, Maida Vale

Popped in for a beer on the way to Wembley Arena to catch the might that is Girls Aloud live. Came away happy from here.

This is a lovely backstreet boozer a short walk away from the tube but just far enough away not to attract the dregs (not that appear to be too many in this area mind you). The interior is set over two rooms which sport lots of period features from back in the day. There’s an open fire for the colder weather plus a selection of old-skool board games such as draughts and chess.

A decent selection of three ales on my visit – my two (Doombar and Adnams) were kept well and I enjoyed them.

One downside is the unisex loo – not great in this day and age, could imagine the ladies not being happy to do their business in there on a busier night.

Overall, I’d well recommend it and would say it’s worth the 5 minutes diversion on the Bakerloo if you’re at Paddington with a bit of time to kill. Especially recommended if you’re off to Wembley and fancy a proper beer in decent surroundings.

7 Jun 2009 19:21

The Doric Arch, Euston

First visit last week to this Fuller’s station pub, almost opposite the green. Was slightly taken aback by having to go up so many stairs (think they may scare off the old and infirm).

There’s a good selection of ales (at least four Fuller’s plus at least two guests) and both of my beers were tasty and well-served by a friendly barman.

Pub interior is a little dark and full of old railway memorabilia – a seat by the large glass windows overlooking the station entrance is good for people-watching if you’re bored.

There’s a quizzer that won’t quite pay as well as food.

The toilets are down two flights of stairs and you need a code from behind the bar to get in them – presumably to keep the local dregs out. Best take a pen if you’re planning to have a few…

Was surprisingly quiet inside for a Friday evening, thought there would have been more people.

Not bad, will return next time I’m in the area.

5 Jun 2009 20:35

The Hawley Arms, Camden

Having never set foot in place before the cleansing power of flame, I can’t draw historical comparisons.

I dropped in for one last beer before the Roundhouse and was quite impressed (though admittedly expectations weren’t huge). The main drinking area appears to be one long narrow strip opposing the bar which makes for uncomfortable jostling during busy times.

There were a couple of ales on (a Greene King trio of Abbot, IPA and Olde Trip if I recall accurately). My half of Olde Trip was pretty good in fairness.

Bar staff were a bit naff and stupidly overdressed but I guess old habits die hard round here.

Probably worth a swift one before the Roundhouse – if you can see the bar and there is more than one person working it.

5 Jun 2009 19:18

The Hawley Arms, Camden

Having never set foot in place before the cleansing power of flame did its work, I can’t draw historical comparisons.

However, we dropped in for one last beer before the Roundhouse, we were quite impressed (though admittedly expectations weren’t huge). The main drinking area appears to be one long narrow strip opposing the bar which makes for uncomfortable jostling during busy times. There were a couple of ales on (a Greene King trio of Abbot, IPA and Olde Trip if I recall accurately). My half of Olde Trip was pretty good in fairness.

Bar staff were a bit naff and stupidly overdressed but I guess old habits die hard round here.

Probably worth a swift one before the Roundhouse – if you can see the bar and there is more than one person working it.

5 Jun 2009 19:17

The Devonshire Arms, Camden

The penultimate port of crawl before the Manics saw us end up here. OK, we didn’t just end up here, we deliberately chose this place because – thanks to the reviews on BITE – we wanted to see just how awful the toilets were. Gentlemen (and Ladies, we checked) this place lives up to the hype. They are the worst pub toilets I’ve yet to experience; Michael Eavis would veto them if they appeared on Worthy Farm.

On the pub side, the inside is loud, dark and scruffy. One bonus was the ale – the Hobgoblin was decently priced for the area and tasted fairly good given some of the soup/Sarsons I’d been subjected to earlier.

Worth a stop for the comedy value – once. Or twice if you use the toilets as a forfeit for a bet.

5 Jun 2009 18:59

The Camden Eye, Camden

Just over from the World’s End lies what, from the exterior, looks like quite a large pub. Inside it’s actually rather smaller than the outside might suggest.

Noticed the Cask Marque sign on the way in and thought that maybe I was onto a good thing as I saw three ales (Deuchars IPA, Bomardier and Batemans – all sparklerised). I had a half of both the Batemans and Deuchars. Sadly they were both pretty poor and at £3.30 a pint pretty pitiful. AlbertoL, if you come here to drink English beer I think you’re going to be pleasantly shocked if you try the same beers elsewhere.

My annoyance was exacerbated by the ludicrously misleading signage to the bogs which points to a locked door. Ha ha ha, oh how I laughed.

Don’t bother - give it a couple of minutes slipper and you can be in at least three places a lot better than this one. If you have to find somewhere near the tube to wait for mates, try the Spread Eagle instead.

5 Jun 2009 18:52

The Worlds End, Camden

Stuck my head round the door for a quick look - didn’t hang around as there was no ale as far as I could see.

A sign outside attempts to lay claim to some sort of pub size record in the UK (though there are a number of places that also say that). It certainly is quite large, spread over at least two decent-sized rooms. Clientèle were of the extreme Camden variety – soiled tradesmen, chavs, weirdoes and duped tourists. Prices looked expensive from where I stood.

Not my bag and to be honest, I doubt it’ll attract many visitors who do their research as this is obviously a bit of a tourist trap for the dollar/yen.

5 Jun 2009 18:41

The Spread Eagle, Camden

A peaceful respite from the madness nearby. This is a Youngs tied house, so the general standards of beer quality and cleanliness are good.

Five ales on offer (Youngs Ordinary, Special, Waggledance plus Deuchars IPA and Bomardier), plus a good selection of lagers. Irritatingly, the Waggledance proved to be off despite the clip not being turned. My pint of Special was in pretty good shape and was well-priced for the area (under £3).

Others features include a quizzer.

Perhaps the only real nod to its surroundings are low-grade pop art canvasses of various musicians like Weller and Hendrix.

If you’re in Camden, I’d recommend it as it looks good in the context of its competition and it’s only a half minutes walk the ‘wrong way’ from the local venues and tube - a good place to wait for someone rather than chancing your health/guts in the Worlds end or Camden Eye.

5 Jun 2009 18:37

Quinn's, Camden

Ale-wise, they seem to have started stocking Greene King beers only - three of them. I’ll stick to the Belgian beer fridge from now on (not that I needed too much persuasion).

5 Jun 2009 18:35

The Old Eagle, Camden

Very strange this one. The outside looks like a regular boozer and that impression extends until the bar where you begin to notice the “Trad-pub-meets-latin-vibe” which awaits within this high-ceiling L-shaped pub.

Two Greene King ales (OSH and IPA) on offer and a friendly greeting from the Irish landlady and a couple of the punters, who were proper old-skool Mockneys (loud, brash, opinionated but ostensibly friendly). My OSH was OK, not the best but I’ve had a lot worse when it comes to GK beer.

I made my way out to the small decked patio area to catch the last few rays of summer sunshine for the day which was nice and relaxed. I also stopped off in the conservatory for a bit to admire the weird paintings plus fantastically mis-matched sofas (avoid the orange one as you might get a spring up your pipe).

Whilst I wouldn’t say it’s worth a significant detour to come here, I would say it was worth a quick walk for a half if you’re in the immediate area.

5 Jun 2009 18:32

The Prince Albert, Camden

A few seconds walk from the Constitution, the Prince Albert initially looks like ‘Trad Pub +’ what with its wonderful Charrington’s branded green tiling, which I guess must be around 100-odd years old. So I had high hopes for the place as I crossed the threshold, a nice outside front garden with a well-developed hedge to separate it from the road.

Once inside, the first thing I noticed was the place has taken a turn towards pub bistro food – the clientele were a rather more yuppie lot than those I’d just left behind at the last place, plus the pump music was of the trendy muzak kind. The interior is clearly quite new, though a couple of older features remain and at least it isn’t an IKEA-pine refit bar.

There were three ale pumps (one was off) serving Black Sheep and Downton Mild as well as an impressive array of lagers. Sadly, both of the ales were expensive (£3.30 p/p!) and both were hazy, with the mild in particular not tasting great. I suspect that the Mild was at the bottom of the barrel and the Black Sheep hadn’t dropped properly – very poor cellarmanship!

The menu sounded nice, pricing average for the area (give me a falafel wrap from the takeaway opposite the tube station any day!). I noticed over my reading that the couple opposite me were having an issue with the food – wrong order I think. So I didn’t get a great impression of that.

The toilets were pretty fabulous though, well-worth a visit.

Overall I’d say stop here once, grab half a lager which gives you a few minutes to admire the exterior and use then quickly use the top-notch facilities before moving on.

5 Jun 2009 18:29

The Bell House, Camden

In a desperate bid to try and find some half-decent places in Camden to get a beer before the Manics gig, I pottered round some of the backstreets to see what I found. This was my first and best stop of the day.

After a 5 minutes walk from the tube station I spotted this one - from the outside it looks like a traditional pub and the inside delivers a modern-trad feel, with pool table, juke box and dartboard. Three ales were on offer (Broadside, Deuchars IPA and a Wyre brew), my Deuchars was in excellent form and the large foamy head was topped-up without asking.. As it was a sunny day I ventured outside and was rather pleased to discover a lovely beer garden right on the canal. The summer sun appears to travel over from the back of the garden down to set over the front of it which is fantastic in the summer months.

Basic fried food was on offer, which seemed to be going down well.

A very positive first impression, would recommend to others. I’m planning a return next time I’m in the area – wish I’d spent longer here given some of the later rotters I encountered on my crawl.

5 Jun 2009 18:28

Queens Arms, Edenbridge

A national-inventory time warp pub, known locally as Elsie's (Elsie is, of course, the proprietor who was born here in 1924 and is still behind the bar 85 years later). If Elsie is behind the bar, she's a good conversationalist and will tell you all about the Canadian soldiers who frequented the place during the war!

The three ancient handpumps offer just one beer - Adnams Broadside - which was in reasonable condition. As mentioned elsewhere (and on a notice outside the door) there's no lager, just ale a few spirits and some soft drinks. There's also (as I noticed on a sign) NO children's room and NO ice!

Keep an eye for the ancient darts scoring machine. There's a music session once a month - we were leaving just as Les Onions (AKA Count Vernon Dudley Bohay-Nowell from the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band) which looks like good fun.

Now if we gloss over some of the 'ahh' factor, there's one main fault with the place - it needs some paintwork and a bit of renovation here and there. The gents in particular were most uninviting. I'd find it hard to stay beyond a pint of curiosity value really.

Overall, worth a visit for the heritage value (which applies equally to the landlady as well as the pub!) but there needs to be a bit of work done to make it a s good as it should be.

31 May 2009 19:28

The Filo (First In Last Out), Hastings

An unusual brewpub in the nicest part of Hastings (probably too far up the hill for the chavs), which is the home of some decent beer, there was (as I recall) Crofters Best Bitter, Ginger Tom (yes, it is very gingery…) and Gold which were all cheap and served well. There’s also a fair selection of real cider as well.

The interior is quite dark as it doesn’t seem to catch the sun that well which makes the lavish 70’s décor (dig the carpets attached to the upper and lower portions of the strip-lit bar) seem even more wacky in summer, though in the winter the big open fire in the middle of the room makes it all seem rather cosier than your average boozer might feel. The best place to get a seat is one of the booths at the side but you’ll need to get there fairly early for that as the place fills up quick. There’s a rudimentary beer garden for the smokers down the steps at the far end of the pub.

Perhaps the only drawback was that I found the welcome behind the bar a little bit surly – cheer up, you’re working in one of the best pubs in Sussex!

If you’re down on the East Sussex coast, you’d be mad to miss it.

31 May 2009 19:04

The New Inn, Uckfield

Popped in for a beer on an scheduled stop-off due to our tour organizer realizing it was listed as a heritage pub.

The signs on the outside aren't promising - the paintwork is peeling and the pub sign is falling apart. When you venture inside, you find a similar story. There's a lot of dilapidation in the main big front bar that needs addressing, the old bits of wood, real fire and ancient brewania don't really compensate for the fact that the place is a bit of a dump - it needs a lot of TLC (just a lick of paint would be a start) but there is a nice pub waiting to spring out as some of the photos above testify. Oddly, he only part of the place which has been done up to any great degree is the back room, which only hosts a pool table which takes up all the space - so much for the drinkers!

Beer -wise, there were two ales on; Harveys Sussex Best (average) and a Tom Woods (Bomber County I think) which went off almost immediately when we arrived. No great shakes.

All in all, I could only say it's worth popping in for a swift half at present but I really hope that someone can take hold of this place and turn it into the pub it could and should be.

31 May 2009 18:37

The Kings Head, East Hoathly

This attractive 17th century pub is home to the 1648 Brewing Company which is located in the old stables next door. And as such you can expect a good range of their beers available (along with Alton’s Pride and Harvey’s Sussex Best on my visit) and – as you would expect from a brewpub – the beer quality was excellent in the three I tried.

As noted below, look out for the unusual (unique?) double-decker urinal arrangement. Both appear to plumbed, so take your pick! And watch your head on the way out!

The pub itself is light, airy and catches the sun well. There is an attractive tiled-floor room in addition to the main bar which is decorated with some nice painted bottles along the ledging.

All in all, a super pub and well recommended.

31 May 2009 18:18

The Old Fountain, Old Street

Been back a couple of times recently, good to see that word has got round and that the place has taken off. The beer remains in great condition, with some really good choices on offer. Well done.

26 May 2009 23:13

The Waunwyllt Inn, Five Roads

Popped in to get a couple of ales and some grub before the Welsh Cup final, based on its Good Beer Guide entry.

The exterior is well ordered and the interior is divided up into a number of areas and we managed to bag a pleasant set of comfy seats by the window, which was fortunate as some other parts of the pub seemed quite dark.

There were three ales on offer (Evan Evans, Wye Valley and another I forget at this moment). Usually I'd be quite happy with that selection if served well; sadly only the Evan Evans was what I'd describe as Good Beer Guide standard.

The food was fair enough - semi traditional pub food not necessarily anything to write home about but solid enough.

The couple of regulars we spoke to seemed friendly, got a bit of banter in about the final.

All in all I'd struggle to find much reason to pop back for a beer in the short term, sadly.

26 May 2009 20:38

Thames Lodge, Staines

A hotel bar, which offers very little in terms of quality beer (no ale) and is rather expensive but does have a nice view of the Thames if you take a seat outside.

Otherwise, can feel a tad depressing.

21 May 2009 22:55

The Charlotte, Leicester

I'm sad it's shut - this was a classic on the 'toilet venue' circuit, and a cracking place for gig (according to Mrs Quinno who was a regular here in her mis-spent youth).

21 May 2009 22:26

Bird in Hand, Reading

Based on a visit last summer (so I'm happy to be corrected) this is possibly the worst proper pub I've ever been in.

The inside was manky, grubby and smelly, which contrasted hilariously with the brand new gleaming lager fonts. there was no ale (though I wasn't surprised). The toilets were akin to relieving yourself in a festival portaloo mid-summer - stinking and festering, I thought I might catch a disease.

The customer base is, well, base.

The only small ray of light in the otherwise dreadful place was the garden - which whilst not kept in any great condition at least meant an escape from the interior.

You have been warned.

21 May 2009 22:10

The New Inn, Helston

Decent little place out in the sticks halfwayish between Helston and Redruth. We arrived here by accident when attempting to visit the nearby Poldark tin mine museum which was shut, so we ended up here looking for a taxi and a quick pint.

Pub interior is horseshoe-shaped, cosy and tidy without necessarily being memorable - though the fact we were there mid-afternoon on a weekday probably didn't help as there were only two other customers.

A couple of Cornish ales were on (I forget which) my half was in perfectly fine, so no complaints there. Landlord was friendly enough given we were clearly there to get to grab a taxi and a quick beer. Food was available.

Not bad for a pub entered through desperation. I'd say it's wortha stop if nearby.

21 May 2009 22:02

Try Dowr, Truro

As far as Spoons go, this is one of their nicer ones. A classic cavernous interior which nonetheless feels a bit more homely than the usual which is also set in the nice surroundings of Lemon Quay.

Usual Spoons ales, plus three decent guests which were in good nick. Prices were at the higher end of the Spoons spectrum, Truro must be posher than I thought.

There's plenty of history dotted around the walls and the place is nicely lit. Main gripe was that old dishes and food condiments weren't cleared away. Tut tut.

Not bad at all, worth a stop for a decent beer outside of Friday/Saturday nights I'd wager.

21 May 2009 21:41

The Three Legged Mare, York

A York brewery pub which sells their full range (including the unique to the pub Wonkey Donkey) along with two guests.

Was only in for a short while whilst Mrs Quinno disappeared off to the nearby shop for an emergency birthday present but was there long enough to appreciate my pint of Centurion's Ghost, polite service by the barmaid and observe a group of American tourists doing a cheese and ale tasting session.

The interior is nice and new without being sterile and it's proximity to Yorkminster means it's an essential stop if nearby. Cracking place.

21 May 2009 21:28

The Maltings, York

One of the classic 'must-visit' pubs in York (and there are a few of those) the Maltings benefits by being close to the station and just far enough out of the warren of that constitutes the town centre that you don't get too lost on leaving for your train.

There's usually 7 ales, with Black Sheep bitter the regular. Had a pint of Otley on my last visit, which really was tip-top (and got some banter for wearing my Wales top). Noticed there was a decent range of Belgian beer available, plus a real cider.

The exterior has been painted black (presumably because of the Black Sheep connection) which does make it look a little intimidating to the casual observer, though I think it looks quite smart myself.

The interior is really quite small, with an old tiled floor, rudimentary furniture and numerous old tin signs along the wall advertising products long since gone. When it gets busy (which is a given after 7pm most days) you may well find yourself standing. Noticed that the place had been voted AFC Bournemouth Exiles Pub of the Year - guess that long journey must be worth it.

A definite 'must-visit' pub in general and a great place to take a tourist to if in York. Well done.

21 May 2009 21:06

The White Lion, Ross-on-wye

Popped in on the strength of its GBG entry whilst we were heading through town a few weeks back.

It's a big old place next to the river, which affords a nice view if you sit by the window. There's a real fire, which injected some much-needed warmth that day.

Ales on offer were Otter and Wye Valley bitter. There was a third handpull, with a clip turned (I forget what). I was feeling very unwell that day, so the fact I was able to have a couple of halves says as much about the good beer quality as anything.

Food is offered and we tried some - not bad but relatively formulaic, I suspect it's from a Brake Bros type concern. The fresh salad side was good though.

All in all well-worth a stop if you happen to be in town, though I wouldn't call it an essential experience.

21 May 2009 20:43

The Seven Stars, Bristol

Only popped in briefly before having to rendezvous with my lift back home, but liked what I saw.

A good selection of well-kept beer, buzzing atmosphere and a warm welcome. Pub interior is on the basic side but that's well made up for by the beer.

Will be popping back in sooner rather than later and will leave a slightly more comprehensive review!

21 May 2009 18:54

The Old Fish Market, Bristol

A pretty pub frontage conceals a cavernous polished-wood interior which awaits those who venture inside, alongside a good selection of Fuller's ales plus at least one, if not two guests. Like the majority of Fuller's outlets, the beer is in good-to-excellent condition.

The interior is perversely the selling point and downfall of the pub. When quiet, you feel very isolated. When it's busy the atmosphere is good but the high ceilings amplify the noise and it can get difficult to hear your companions. It also fails to catch the late evening sunshine, which makes the inside seem a bit gloomy unless they get the lights on early. As mentioned elsewhere, a hefty walk to the traps so make sure you leave a good couple of minutes lag time!

Overall, I'd recommend the place if you're in the town centre but wouldn't necessarily say it's worth seeking out as an experience in the same way that, for example, the Bag O' Nails is. But if you're in a big group of mixed drinkers, this is a sure-fire bet for everyone to be happy for a couple of hours.

21 May 2009 18:15

The Llandoger, Bristol

Popped in again because there was a beer festival advertised. A quick count revealed that all but three of the beers could almost certainly be purchased within a 10-15 minute walk elsewhere of the Trow.

Nice one, manager.

10 May 2009 12:14

The Apple, Bristol

A neat concept mirroring the grain barge further up the dockyard system (btw it's a nice walk between the two if you stay dockside).

It does have a couple of drawbacks - the bar is stupidly small for such a large potential capacity and the food is too expensive. The interior also seems rather gloomy to me, whereas the Grain Barge does well at letting the light in.

However if you're after an interesting cider in interesting surroundings (there's dockside seating available as well as inside the boat itself) you could do worse than come here for a couple and then pop over to the Orchard for a late evening session.

10 May 2009 12:07

The Apple, Bristol

A neat concept mirroring the grain barge further up the dockyard system (btw it's a nice walk between the two if you stay dockside).

It does have a couple of drawbacks - the bar is stupidly small for such a large potential capacity and the food is too expensive. The interior also seems rather gloomy to me, whereas the Grain Barge does well at letting the light in.

However if you're after an interesting cider in interesting surroundings (there's dockside seating available as well as inside the boat itself) you could do worse than come here for a couple and then pop over to the Orchard for a late evening session.

10 May 2009 12:07

The Eldon House, Bristol

An enjoyable little alehouse located a little off the beaten track.

The inside retains some older, more quirky elements of the past, which is nice. The layout isn't what most modern drinkers would expect - there's a couple of different rooms, nook and crannies and window seats.

Ale-wise, the quality was good, I forget the exact selection on offer but I do recall at least one Bath ale. Quiet on our Saturday afternoon visit, hopefully it gets busier in the evening.

Worth seeking out.

10 May 2009 11:43

The Hope and Anchor, Bristol

Basically a pub for the upwardly-mobile boho ale drinker, which is reflected in the achingly trendy muzak, stripped back interior and the expensive prices.

Nonetheless the ales available are usually in excellent condition and they carry the sublime Butts' Barbus Barbus. The staff are also polite and courteous, so that's always worth a couple of extra pence on the pint price in my opinion.

So whilst this is an essential stop-off for a pint of the Barbus, there won't many of you who feel they could afford to stay for more than a couple, especially with the Eldon House and Bag O Nails only a couple of minutes away in either direction. It is still a fine place though.

10 May 2009 11:31

The Bag O' Nails, Bristol

Was lucky enough to finally get back here in a more aware state than previous. A teeny-tiny little place which nevertheless manages to pack in several excellent ales (including a mild on my visit). The interior is very basic, no-frills except for some pictures on the walls and some oddments in corners - the focus in here is having a drink and some banter.

Well worth the short walk from the city centre, I will be intending to visit as much as possible when back in Brizzle.

10 May 2009 11:24

The Yacht Inn, Penzance

Lovely Art Deco pub that claims a prominent position opposite the open air Jubilee Pool and sea views. The inside of the pub is large and open plan, which also catches the sunshine for long periods of the day, so ideal for an afternoon or mid-evening drink during the summer as there's a nice airy feel. Some of the original Art Deco touches remain, which is nice.

The beer range inside was fair - I had an excellent St Austell Proper Job (the other choices I believe were Tribute and a Skinners beer, though I'd had a couple by this point so don't quote me).

It's not often I'd disagree with Mr B but I thought that the atmosphere here on my visit was excellent - there were plenty of people in and there was a lot of chat, especially when Pass the Pigs came out. Whether he was unlucky or I was just lucky I guess will have to be decided by a return visit at some point! Certainly it's a little more 'nice' than some of its nearby competitors.

I would certainly recommend popping in here for a beer or two, for the architecture and views if nothing else.

14 Apr 2009 20:55

The Turks Head, Penzance

A cracking little restaurant/pub just off the main strip of town.

Three Cornish ales were on offer when I visited in good nick, so first impressions were positive. The menu looked good and Mrs Quinno-friendly so we both ate well - and I can thoroughly recommend this place on our experience. The fish was lovely and cooked quite above the average standard, the service was good too (given the amount we paid for a dire experience in the Seafood Cafe in St Ives a couple of days later, we really did appreciate the quality and value here even more in retrospect).

The pub itself is a decent size, though watch the couple of steps you need to descend before you hit main bar. The inside has a few nik-naks lying around (as do most of the pubs in the area it seems) but they are a lot less physically obtrusive than others nearby. The old pub sign above the fireplace is a nice touch.

All-in-all, well-worth a stop, especially if you fancy some nice food with a good local beer. Well done staff and management.

14 Apr 2009 20:44

Tremenheere, Penzance

Not one of Spoon's better efforts. The place inside is on a par with the ugliness of the minging 60's building which houses it, just like the outside, the interior is bland, dark and slightly foreboding.

The choice of guest beers was pretty weak and the quality was distinctly average, the usual Spoons fayre plus two pumps off and another serving a Cornish beer I could find at 25% of the other bars in town. There's a beer garden out back that looks no more appealing than the interior.

I didn't have an issue with the staff, they seemed OK. Place was rammed, so I doubt it'll be going out of business anytime soon.

14 Apr 2009 19:45

The Admiral Benbow, Penzance

If you let your colour-blind mad aunt design a pub for the tourists by the seaside, this is a pretty close approximation to what you'd get. The place has gaudy tat everywhere - and I really do mean everywhere, that bloody anchor on the left hand side of the bar is a proper Lynn Faulds-Wood botherer. I am assured that most of the tat comes from salvage from shipwrecks from the past 400-odd years. In a way it's so stupidly over-the-top it sort of works in the same weird way attempting to drink yourself sober does.

Only Doombar on when I went in (though there looks to be capacity for at least one other) which was served well enough. Food is also available, though I didn't sample as we'd already been to the Turks.

Take a moment to have a go on the proper old jukebox which plays 7" singles. Very cute indeed, so perhaps a good place to take Granny as nearly all the singles are pre-1975.

The (fictional) Admiral Benbow is world-renowned for its appearance in Treasure Island by RL Stevenson. Note that this pub isn't actually 'it'.

Overall, worth popping for the brain-melting array of colour, artefacts and getting a couple of tracks on the old jukebox.

14 Apr 2009 19:24

The Dolphin, Penzance

A nice-looking pub situated next to harbour and therefore ready to help relieve tourists of their spending money at source.

To be fair, it does a decent job - whilst the beer (3 from St Austell, condition average on my visit) isn't necessarily particularly inspiring I'd rather have that than the normal dishwater served up in similar situations. The food again is decent - nothing to write home about but ticks the box. The interior is spread over two levels and - as pointed out below - is big on the nautical theme, but in a more sanitized and ordered manner than its rougher-and-readier neighbour, The Dock.

Whilst I wouldn't necessarily advise you go out of your way to drink in the place in in Penzance, you should pop in for a quick half if you're nearby and haven't yet had your fill of St Austell beer.

14 Apr 2009 19:10

The Dock Inn, Penzance

Popped in purely on the strength of the availability of the Spingo Ale (sourced from the Blue Anchor in Helston).

Inside we were met by a heavy nautical theme (check out the old nicotine-stained maritime maps plastered across the wall in the back bar) a bearded barman who could well have been Jethro's brother and a raucous game of poker. I did worry briefly that we'd stepped into proper locals territory.

Fortunately the Spingo was in decent nick and we got some good banter from the poker players when we started playing Pass the Pigs. Although it was a relatively quiet midweek night out of season, I could imagine this place would pack in some real atmosphere at the weekend.

2 ales available (I forget the second, dare say it was Doombar), competitively priced.

If you're looking for an unusual beer and a bit of banter just outside the immediate town 'strip' of pubs, you could do a lot worse than pop in here for a couple of Spingos.

14 Apr 2009 19:02

The Crown Inn, Penzance

A funny little corner local (I thought corner locals were meant to be large?!?) - dead near the main shopping street but feels like a good mile away outside.

The interior seems very spartan, looks like it's had a make-over from a nicotine-stained old boozer a couple of years back. The arrangements of furniture, as mentioned elsewhere, feels haphazard and rather cramped. Everyone can see you business as they're often no more than a couple of feet away from you and your beer.

The beer itself is good - 3 ales on (a Skinners, Otter and Keltik Magik on my visit) which were certainly in decent nick - no complaints there. As also mentioned by RogerB, the bar layout isn't the best, it's hard to see what's on if busy. Whilst I (for 'I' read Mrs Quinno) appreciate the coffee machine, perhaps its best stored elsewhere?

So to sum up, it's a strange little place. I certainly didn't feel too comfy in there and fancy a session. the beer's good, the landlord seemed a decent lad and the place is clean but overall it just didn't click with me at all.

14 Apr 2009 18:53

The Phoenix, Portishead

Funny little place, a bit like having a beer in someone's front room/conservatory. Quite a small bar but manages to pack in a couple of Marstons beers in fair condition (and you get offered the choice of sparklered/non-sparklered before you order - nice touch).

Clienetele are mainly the middle-aged old-skool 'Head residents. Atmosphere was good. Outside seating area looks fab for a hot summer's day.

Wouldn't be my no#1 destination in town but you could do a lot worse.

11 Apr 2009 10:24

Plough Inn, Portishead

"Just the opposite of the Poachers" would probably be more accurate a description for this place.

The inside is quite large and characterful, but it's let down by its customer base (alcoholic old soaks) ear-splitting music and bad service (no bar staff when I walked in last night).

There's no ale either.

In the right hands, this place could do well but there's no reason to go in at present.

11 Apr 2009 10:21

The Plough, Little London

Gets better with each visit, a real community country pub. A few ales and a couple of games of bar billiards...lovely. Perhaps the only downside is that one or two of the locals seem a bit sniffy if they don't recognise you as a regular.

1 Apr 2009 17:24

The White Hart, Charter Alley

Re-visited on a Tuesday evening to find it near-deserted. A pity...use it or lose it folks!

1 Apr 2009 17:22

The George and Dragon, Ramsdell

Popped in for a quick beer - four to choose from, fairly mainstream choices. My Ringwood was OK. Again, this is one that's mainly set up for the foodies but not averse for a beer drinker.

1 Apr 2009 17:19

The Highwayman, Checkendon

A decent find whilst getting lost looking for the Black Horse. Couple of decent ales (I forget what) on the go in a nice atmosphere.

Pub is mainly set up for the foody brigade but we didn't feel too out-of-place with a beer.

Worth a stop if on the way to the Black Horse.

1 Apr 2009 17:12

Seven Stars Inn, Aberedw

A lovely village local, just off the beaten track but easily reachable whn turning off the A470.

There's a couple of good ales on in decent form, along with some good no-nonsense food. The interior is pretty large so there's plenty of places to sit.

Service was friendly on my visit and will make a point of returning again in future.

1 Apr 2009 17:07

The William IV, Truro

Popped in after for some food before the train back to Penzance, went in on the strength of the St Austell brand name and availability of colitis-friendly food offerings for Mrs Quinno.

The inside of the place is pretty big and bright and has a conservatory straight out of the Everest catalogue attached to the side. The whole set-up looks pretty recent.

Three beers on - Tribute and Proper Job were fine, but the HSD was vile, well off. All were sparklerised, which seems to be policy in most St Austell pubs for some reason - no idea why as their beers don't require it.

Food was good, though watch out for the volcanic rock dishes where they bring out a super-heated pumice stone and allow you to cook your own seafood/steak - one chap went for the steak and spilt a load of jalapeño sauce over the plate which sent a billow of tear gas-style smoke up in the air and prompted a mass evacuation of the place because we were all coughing, our throats were on fire and tears were streaming out of our eyes!

All in all, not bad. Probably not worth a stop if you're familiar with the St Austell beer range but worthwhile if you fancy a bite to eat and a decent beer to accompany it - though try before you buy if possible!

13 Mar 2009 19:44

The City Inn (Tavern An Dre), Truro

Stopped off in Truro on the way back from the Eden Project (AKA Kew Gardens Writ Large) to give the two GBG pubs a try. This was my second of the two after the Wetherspoons (had to work my way up for the hill ascent) and I have to say this place really was a crushing disappointment.

The pub is split into two areas, a nice area set out with ostentatious dining tables and all I can describe as a dark, grotty area for the drinkers away from a small bar area where all the locals were crushed into. The gents were also pretty rancid, what are those brown streaks running down the wall by the sink about?

There were three ales on - Sharps, Courage Best and Skinners Betty Stoggs. I opted for the Betty Stoggs and got a pretty insipid beer for my trouble. Perhaps I should have tried another of the beers to see if was just unlucky given the dislike of the place itself I didn't feel any desire to stay on so left.

GBG or not, I'd struggle to summon up any recommendation really.

13 Mar 2009 19:11

The Golden Lion, St Ives

Very much a locals pub with a robust atmosphere to match, so it may not suit everyone - Mrs Quinno wasn't keen on the place but I thought it was fine.

Set over two bars, most of the banter and drinking takes place in the front bar as you enter, which is quite small and feels like it may well have been a hotel bar years ago. By the looks of some, the drinking had been going on since the early afternoon, there was plenty of - ahem - joviality to be had.

Three ales on during my visit, two Sharps and a Skinners, two of which (Sharps) were in decent nick, the other was a little tired but drinkable.

If you're fan of the traditional local boozer and decent ale, you'll enjoy it here. Whilst not having the 'must-visit' element of a number of other GBG pubs in this area of South Cornwall, this is still well-worth popping into if in this picturesque little town.

13 Mar 2009 18:54

The Ship Inn, Mousehole

Popped over to Mousehole on the request of Mrs Quinno for its silly name and easy availability from unattended front garden stall of the renowned Marrow Chutney.

The number 6 bus from Penzance is a nice trip but good grief I wouldn't want to be the driver when it gets into the village proper trying to navigate the tight corners!

So after a sun-soaked walk around the town and harbour it was time to take in the pub - it isn't listed in the GBG so it was a little bit of a gamble - but was glad I did.

There's the full St Austell range (sparklerised) and the two halves I had of the four available were in good nick, so no complaints there. The drinkers part of the pub is fairly basic, with some maritime touches and pictures of yore alongside some narrative regarding the lost lifeboat crew, so doff your cap to them while you're there.

Mousehole is a proper Cornish tick-box visit and I guess that the pub certainly knows that the trade is coming in the peak season - the slightly elevated room was all set up for diners. Didn't sample the food but it sounded good.

All-in-all, well-worth the jaunt.

13 Mar 2009 18:43

Kings Arms, Marazion

A super little pub situated in an ideal location for you to quench your thirst after (or before) a trip over to St Michael's Mount.

Compact but neat and tidy inside, grab a seat by the window and enjoy a pint of St Austell's ESB or Tribute (comes without a tight-tit sparkler, good work landlord), kept in excellent condition.

Enjoyed the Credit Crunch Lunch - my carrot and orange soup tasted pretty damned good and was an excellent choice at only £2.50.

Watch out gents - our toilet is outside, so take your coat if it's a cold and rainy day!

Well-worth it's GBG entry and a highly recommended stop-off, shame I couldn't stay longer.

13 Mar 2009 18:25

The Blue Anchor, Helston

The definite 'must-do' pub on my holiday a few weeks back and I wasn't disappointed.

The pub is god-knows-how old and is a rustic and basic two-bar affair, with smaller (and colder!) drinking rooms to the left hand-side of the long main corridor of the main bars leading out to the rear toilets and large marquee.

The interior may be a bit of a shock for some - it's rather dark and a different world from the high street you've just stepped in from! There's no piped music or TV - just chat, time ticking (and maybe the piano if you're lucky). The locals are friendly enough and are used to beer tourists turning up, so say hello at the bar and you'll get a few words.

Try the brewed-on-site ales including the 6.8 Spingo (brewed 'a little heavier in the winter' I was informed - indeed the bottle I took away was well-over 7%!), sit back and relax - by the real fire in the back bar if you get extremely lucky as I did.

Surprisingly there was also food available - I had already eaten but Mrs Quinno went for the local fish trio and was very happy with what she received - so a thumbs-up there too.

It's been in every edition of the Good Beer Guide and long may that continue. A national treasure, hope it is listed!

13 Mar 2009 18:18

The Star Inn, Crowlas

A super ale drinkers pub within an easy bus trip of Penzance - the bus stop is pretty much outside.

5 good ales on during my visit including a mild. Beers were well-kept and the barman was knowledgeable, in a gruff way.

It's a fair size inside with a decent atmosphere too in the evening.

Highly recommended.

13 Mar 2009 18:02

Valley, Scarborough

A cracking drinking den (I don't use that the word 'den' lightly), with a wide range of ales, ciders, perries and bottled continental beers.

There's the downstairs 'den' bar with the beer, whilst upstairs there's a pool room and a restaurant area. The punters seemed mainly slanted towards the middle-aged gent on my visit.

I have to admit I felt a bit let down by the casual attitude of the place when it came to the food - or lack thereof because the owners/chef/whoever were on holiday - as it was still being advertised as available outside and in. A note by the wall menu advising that dinner is of a liquid variety only for the week isn't too much to ask, as I was starved and disappointed I had to head back out into the night to search for a square meal after a couple of halves!

That gripe aside, a very worthwhile drinking experience.

12 Mar 2009 22:03

Scholars, Scarborough

A modern refit bar, with a heavy slant towards sport and good ale.

Whilst the exterior and interior are nothing to write home about, they are clean and inviting whilst the bar area serves up 4 real ales with a local slant, all in excellent condition on my visit.

There was no sport on when I was there but there was still a pretty good atmosphere and I was happy to stay for a couple.

All in all, a tidy place to enjoy a few ales with the football and a good place for a younger drinker like myself. I rather liked it; possibly my favourite GBG pub visited here.

12 Mar 2009 21:47

The Old Scalby Mills, Scarborough

A pub in a lovely location that tries to be many things to many people. Perhaps too many.

There's ale available - a decent range and in good condition. There's food too - a whole half the pub (the best bit too with the views I might add) which means the drinkers are often rather squashed in the rest - I was one of those unfortunates.

Good to see the place is dog-friendly, I like well-behaved dogs in pubs although surprised this squares with the food provision (doesn't bother me but I suspect it might others). However, in our squished part of the pub, the dogs added a further obstacle to navigate.

I quite liked the place and it's worth a walk along the sands for but something didn't quite work for me in terms of wanting to return in a hurry. Perhaps best sampled on the very quiet days as it is currently a victim of it's own success.

12 Mar 2009 19:25

North Riding Hotel, Scarborough

Two bar pub in a big, imposing (from the outside) hotel. The ale selection was excellent, well-served and eminently drinkable.

Much of your experience depends on what time of day you go in and where you decide to drink. The lounge bar is a 70's-style plush area, one for warmth and old men playing dominoes. But when it's quiet, it feels very lonely and Sunday-like unless you are after a bit of solitude.

The public bar by contrast, is a particularly spartan affair with very little in the way of creature comforts - it's very much a drinking den with the locals and their banter - probably not to everyone's taste when busy.

As mentioned elsewhere, the toilets aren't the best, so it's good to hear they'll be dealt with in due course.

All in all, it's an excellent real ale pub but a few steps short of being a good all-rounder, but hopefully that will come in time. Well-worth a visit though, either way.

12 Mar 2009 19:12

Lord Rosebery, Scarborough

Inviting-looking Wetherspoons not far from the train station.

Disappointed on a Friday night to see most of the real ale lines out of action for 'cleaning' (didn't see much evidence of that). Poor show really - I could understand it on a Monday!

Inside of the place is fairly-well kitted out and of course the prices are cheap - but cheap prices are only good if the beer you want to buy is available!

Probably worth popping your head round the door to see what's on but there are better bets nearby.

12 Mar 2009 18:55

The Golden Ball, Scarborough

Charming Sam Smith's pub with superb views over the seafront and harbour.

As you'd expect, the usual supply of SS produce, (including their cold and nasty real ale OBB) but given the stupidly low prices, it becomes a rather more palatable proposition!

The interior is all wood panelling and comfy seating, as well as having a real fire on the go during the colder months - if you bag a seat next to it I can guarantee you won't be leaving there in a hurry.

As noted elsewhere, it's pretty small for the location, so it probably isn't worth visiting on the weekend during summer but out of season it comes into its own.

12 Mar 2009 18:49

Cellars, Scarborough

A small downstairs bar that nonetheless trades well on live live music and a retro entertainment theme (see the old show and music posters dotted around).

3 ales on during my visit (I forget exactly what) which tasted good. Food also available but didn't sample.

Was pretty quiet in the early evening, looks like a place that gets lively around 9pm. Worth seeking out.

12 Mar 2009 18:28

The Angel Inn, Scarborough

A good quality locals pub, serving some decent ale choices in good condition. Look out for the saucy postcard collection which adorns the walls.

Worth a stop.

12 Mar 2009 18:21

Robert Fitz Harding, Bedminster

Seemed to be cleaning half the beer lines on a Saturday evening but managed to get a decent pint in the end.

Very posh for a Spoons as far as the interior goes, very library-like with leather sofas. You can tell Bedminster is the setting for Bristol’s version of This Life when the local Spoons is upmarket.

Not bad.

8 Mar 2009 13:20

The Spotted Cow, Bedminster

Very much a pub for the 20-40-something urban Yuppie that now seems to be taking over Bedminster.

A couple of beers on over Christmas, quality average though you do get a handled mug for your troubles if you order a half.

I found it all a bit This Life for me, but the upmarket Boho crowd will love it here which is fair enough, they could do worse.

8 Mar 2009 13:04

The Avon Packet, Southville

Decided to call in on the strength of the model car collection, before our group hit Bedminster.

A very traditional male-boozer, you can leave most of you airs and graces at the door. Ladies may need a map to find the loos.

One ale on (I forget what, nothing special, maybe Courage) which was OK. There was also some real cider available.

Punters were were quite local and gave us a long hard look when we came in but in the end we were accepted with no problem.

Pub itself is an L-shaped bar, with the toy car collection behind the bar. The exterior has some attractive old tile-work which has escaped the curse of modernisation. TV inside tuned to the football.

It isn't necessarily a place I'd recommend to most but would certainly say it's worth popping in for a pint for the novelty value if you haven't been before.

8 Mar 2009 12:59

The Orchard Inn, Bristol

Called in over Christmas due to the GBG entry and BITE recommendations and was pretty pleased.

Pub itself feels like a pretty basic 'no frills' affair - it's designed for drinking!

Lots of cider on offer (with advice offered if you ask!) and also some real ale, 3 I think including a rather nice Wickwar brew of which I forget the name - blame the two ciders I had beforehand.

It was pretty quiet when I went in but so were a lot of the pubs that day over Christmas - I'd like to visit again on a sunny afternoon.

For now, I'd certainly recommend if you like cider and ale!

8 Mar 2009 12:52

The Cottage Inn, Bristol

Popped in over Christmas. Did indeed feel the 'country pub' ambience, could imagine it'd be lovely to sit outside on a summer's day.

Beer range OK if unspectacular, had a good pint of the Bristol Beer Factory's Christmas ale which was in good form.

We also ate here - the food was fair enough for the price, none of us thought it was particularly expensive. They were also able to alter one of the dishes a little to cope with a dietary requirement, so we were happy enough.

Not bad - worth a stop on a summer's day (which I intend to do soon).

8 Mar 2009 12:45

The Merchants Arms, Hotwells

Return visit at Christmas found good beer and some good banter.

Mrs Quinno and another female companion also enjoyed the place, good news all round from me.

8 Mar 2009 12:39

The Lion, Clifton

Difficult-to-find corner local in deepest darkest Clifton.

Beer-wise: one ale on my visit (Bath Gem) served well enough. I think there may have been a real cider too. Bar staff didn't seem overly keen on serving though, our presence appeared to be a bit of a distraction from something (who knows what?).

Interior is fairly stripped wood and sparse-feeling; Boho-modernism which I suppose fits in with the yuppieness of the area. Looks like the place has had a refurb recently, it all felt quite new inside.

Nothing to make me come back in a hurry but OK if you live locally. I guess

8 Mar 2009 12:36

Plough, Worcester

Just a quick review as I'd had beer-a-plenty in Hereford before stopping off here for a swift one in between trains.

Old-skool multi-roomed interior, good beer (including the Hobson's Mild, yum) and a large whiskey list (see photo).

I remember that the sandwiches had a ludicrous mark-up (£3 or similar) which seemed a bit much. Beer was ace though so will be back for a more sober judgement.

4 Mar 2009 17:38

Bar 28 (Merton Hotel), Hereford

Popped in for a swift couple of halves before catching the train back. The inside felt very much like a hotel bar that had experienced a quick makeover to turn it into a 'proper' drinking venue'. The décor was very burgundy, if I recall and there was a TV at one end with something on (I forget what, blame the Barrels...). It was clean and comfy enough.

Two ales on - Wye Valley HPA and a Spinning Dog beer. True to the form of the day, the Wye Valley beer was excellent and the SD was flat and lifeless (though whether this is the fault of the pub or the beer I don't know).

If you've got a 20 minute wait for a train, you could do worse, but don't spend any Barrels-time here unnecessarily!

2 Mar 2009 19:04

The Victory, Hereford

Popped in for a couple after the Barrels and have to admit I was rather disappointed. Recent comments were reflected in my experience:

1) The barmaid was busy reading her magazine to be paying much attention to the new customers beyond a couple of cronies at the far end where she was sat.

2) The beer, when it did come, wasn't up to much, both were decidedly flat.

3) The rugby was on, but there weren't many people in there. The Barrels must have had about a hundred crammed in there watching; this place (despite feeling twice the size in floorspace) barely mustered 20. Perhaps because of points one and two?? I ended up texting my chums who had stayed at the Barrels for an extra beer not to leave, as I was heading back with my other hardy companion!

Which is a real shame because the Victory has a lot going for it; it has the tap for Spinning Dog and it's quite spacious inside.

I'd give it another go when in Hereford, purely because I really want to be convinced that it can do much, much better than this.

In terms of the Hereford brewery taps, the Barrels is the easy winner.

2 Mar 2009 18:52

The Barrels, Hereford

First visit to the legendary Barrels last month and was well-worth the 2 hour journey from Reading!

Interior is very old-skool, with a working-man's back-street boozer feel from the 70's. The pub is divvied up into four separate bar areas which each feel a little different to the other. There's a TV in the far bar, which gets used for sports.

But the star of course is the beer - this is the Wye Valley brewery tap. If you think you've had a good pint of Wye Valley elsewhere, you should come here for the real deal. Great range of beers in amazingly good condition. The prices, as noted elsewhere, are around 5 years out of date so you can have a great session in here for under £15. Magic.

The punters were mainly older males when we first stepped in, but the average age lowered and the lady count increased in the build-up to Wales-England rugby. The place was HEAVING at kick-off time.

The staff were friendly and very efficient - barrels were changed over in under 10 minutes - loved the communication between the bar and cellar of banging the floor/ knock for yes, two knocks for no is it...?

The only small gripe was that the toilets, whilst clean, were a bit on the dark and grim side. Some new tiles and strip-lights wouldn't go amiss. But that is a minor gripe.

All in all, one of the best town boozers you're likely to find. Well done.

2 Mar 2009 18:38

The Kings Fee, Hereford

Popped in here as the first pub of the day on a Saturday afternoon before heading over to the Barrels and Victory.

Have to admit I was quite impressed by the place, it's a cut above the average Spoons in terms of décor and ambience. Very light, airy and pretty clean.

The food we ordered arrived in good time and tasted fine.

The beer range was very good and was served to an excellent standard. The staff service level was fine though obviously it wasn't as busy as it would be 6 hours further down the line.

All in all, I was quite happy there and will go back next time I'm up that way en route to the Barrels.

2 Mar 2009 18:24

The Toby Jug, Penzance

Looked proper closed when I walked past last week.

28 Feb 2009 14:23

Up The Junction, Reading

Paid a long-overdue visit to this small bar lurking almost unnoticed in a parade of shops of fast-food outlets.

Essentially, the main bar is a long corridor with a rear bar at the back.

The drinks choice is pretty limited (no ale here) but there are couple of slightly unusual choices on offer - Murphys (don't see that much any more) and SuperBock - which will do.

Atmosphere was fairly good, can see why this is a hit with the locals. There's TV and music available.

Might pop in again if nearby.

28 Feb 2009 13:13

The Blue Bell, York

Ahh, finally made it into the legendary Blue Bell in January for my birthday and was glad I did, it lives up to its reputation well.

Packed to the rafters on a Saturday evening (no wonder) I only got as far as the small, basic front bar but was lucky enough to bag a table next to the fire!

Plenty of good-natured hubbub from the locals, had a bit of banter with one of the punters, all good fun.

Beer range was good given the size of the place and the quality was excellent.

Only stopped for a couple of halves but fully intend to show my boat race in there again within the next 18 months!

20 Feb 2009 19:20

The Yorkshire Terrier Inn, York

A great little pub (converted from a shop, winner of CAMRA award for the conversion I believe).

Serves the range of York brewery beers in excellent condition as you'd expect. Bar staff were knowledgeable and friendly.

There are a number of different drinking areas, so each visit of the first few could give you a slightly different feel to the place.

Was full to rafters when I went on Saturday night - understandably so. Only downside was that it felt rather cramped - but for York, that's often the way things are!

Well-worth the visit.

20 Feb 2009 19:11

The Red Lion, York

Found this place a rather disappointing experience.

There were a couple of ales on (my Deuchars was OK), but were quite expensive compared to nearby outlets. The inside was very Olde Worlde style, though a bit cramped but par for the course in York. So for, so OK.

However the real beef was the service level; which left a lot to be desired. After asking for a black coffee for Mrs Quinno and being served a white one (important for her as she can't have milk) I asked for it to be changed - quite politely - to which the barman (who had cocked up the order in the first place) audibly sighed and rolled his eyes at his barfly friend who sniggered loudly.

Won't be back in a hurry on that showing. Given the prices and service levels this place feels less like an honest boozer and more like a tourist trap. Poor.

20 Feb 2009 18:52

The Ackhorne, York

A very good find down a narrow side-lane off the main street, this retains the air of a locals-only pub within the city centre.

Pub was apparently refurbed in the early 90's (not you'd necessarily notice), so it was good top see the stained-glass windows being retained.

The main bar is a fairly spartan, with a bare-floorboard look and bench seating, though there's a carpeted snug a bit further over that has some Civil War tit-bits for viewing.

The range of ale was good as was the quality. Atmosphere inside felt good and covivial.

Would return.

20 Feb 2009 18:39

Brigantes Bar and Brasserie, York

This is indeed more a of a brasserie than a classic York pub, which I think is most welcome when done well - which Brigantes certainly is.

Based on two levels, with an 'upstairs' bar level and a lower eating and drinking level. The lower level has some nice booths to slide into, which gives the place a little bit of pub-factor.

The range and quality of beer (real ale as well as some continental choices) was excellent, as was the service - the staff seem genuinely proud to be working here.

The atmosphere and ambience on a busy evening was relaxed, but with a definite vibe of chatter of enjoyment going on.

Didn't sample the food but noted its availability - would give it a try next time I'm there.

All in all, a super place and highly recommended for the discerning drinker and pub-goer.

20 Feb 2009 18:31

The Punchbowl, York

In terms of Wetherspoons, this isn't a bad one and quite unlike most of the others in it's comparatively small size. The inside is fairly dark away from the front windows.

The beer range was decent and my couple of halves were most acceptable.

One area in which this place is also unlike Wethersopoons are the the toilets - they were a rather rancid and old-time affair.

All in all, not bad...but in York, that's being damned with faint praise.

20 Feb 2009 18:04

The Gladstone Arms, Borough

Yes indeed, 'Boho' is just the right word for this place.

The outside of the pub is pretty interesting what with the two big paintings of Gladstone glaring down at you, so it certainly stands out a bit amongst the hundreds of other pubs nearby.

The interior is surprisingly small with the aforementioned boho touches. Mrs Quinno's cup of tea was served in a trendy 'right-on' mug with some sort of left-leaning sentiment (I forget what) so don't take any Sun/Daily Hate Mail readers in here.

So I was quite looking forward to my beer - there were two on (Black Sheep and Adnams, I think) but both were of questionable quality. Shame.

I want to like this place so I will try it again but have to admit I left disappointed by the beer experience. It isn't THAT hard to keep a decent beer if you actually understand what it is you're selling, especially given the high standards set elsewhere in the area.

18 Feb 2009 20:36

The Rose and Crown, Southwark

Small Shepherd Neame pub which nevertheless manages to pack in most of their ale range including a seasonal (I sampled the Porter in here over Christmas).

It stands alone in the immediate vicinity, presumably because the Nazis bombed the rest of the nearby buildings during the war.

The interior is relatively unspoilt, which means that there's not much room to swing a cat, so a good place to go with a couple of friends but not a big group.

Prices are fair and the food looked decent as well. The beer quality was good too.

All in all, a good little boozer and I'd be happy to go back.

18 Feb 2009 20:24

The Mad Hatter Hotel, Southwark

A big, dark-panelled hotel bar with a hint of recently-installed Victoriana and some Alice in Wonderland touches if I recall correctly.

Everything in here is expensive and the staff can be a moody bunch, sadly it's usually the East Europeans living up to their grumpy stereotype...crack a smile love, it won't kill you!!!

Having said that, the beer is usually in good condition and there are a couple of more intimate booths to sit in with friends.

Basically, I'd only recommend a trip here to try out whatever the Fullers seasonal is for a pint before moving on.

18 Feb 2009 19:51

The Cheshire Cheese, Temple

Old leaded windows, some Victorian features and a nice ambience lift this little boozer above the average mark.

A couple of ales on, OSH and Bombardier. My Bombardier was a little musty-tasting, unfortunately.

There was also a muted TV on showing the cricket, which did seem a little out of place but I guess it draws the punters in, so why not?

As a pub, I actually prefer this to the Edgar Wallace but the EW does better beer. If you could mix the two you'd have the best pub in the area by a mile.

Worth a quick stop as tick before heading to EW. I'll try this place again as I'd be quite a fan if the beer quality was good.

18 Feb 2009 19:18

The Edgar Wallace, Temple

A nifty ale pub, tucked away just off the Strand.

There's two floors; comfortable drinking on the bottom floor whilst the upper area is set for diners. As the pub floorspace is limited I found myself upstairs, which was lacking a bit in atmosphere.

As noted elsewhere, there's a really good selection of unusual ales (8 if I recall) which were served well. The prices weren't too bad for the area.

There's a lot of old rugby memorabilia dotted around the walls and the place is clean and tidy.

Recommended for a good session but I'd like to see a bit more life about the place...perhaps I caught it on a quiet afternoon.

18 Feb 2009 19:11

The King Charles I, Kings Cross

Popped in the other day on the strength of other BITE reviews and was very impressed with what I found.

Situated up a side-street off Pentonville Road, this feels like a long way away from the bustle of Kings Cross.

On entering, you find a deceptively un-spacious, ramshackle interior which is a little on the dark side, giving the African tribal masks on the far wall a bit more of a scare factor.

There's a bar billiards table (with house rules) as well as a small selection of literature. A real fire was lit and there was background music over the general hubbub of conversation.

4 ales on (the two Brodies mentioned plus two others) - my Brodies Bitter and Red were both quite enjoyable, especially the red.

Service behind the bar was good - when I nipped into the gents and found it was swathed in darkness due to a broken bulb the barman had it fixed within a minute, so well done them.

It's also dead near the Scala so this is a clever place to get a couple of decent beers beforehand, without being squished in the pre-gig crowd on the main road.

All in all, a really good find and my new favourite pub for the area - go check it out.

15 Feb 2009 13:57

The Euston Flyer, Euston

Returned earlier last week - pleased to see HSB and the seasonal Jack Frost - both very drinkable. No proper guests though.

As mentioned elsewhere, it is more expensive than a number of surrounding outlets...but in general it's a better standard of pub.

15 Feb 2009 13:45

George and Dragon, Reading

Biggish Greene King pub, was serving Abbott and the Christmas seasonal Rockin Rudolph, which were OK.

Farily tidy inside, but fairly forgettable really in the way that many corporatised GK pubs are.

The quizzer wants to pay though...

12 Feb 2009 13:23

Goose At Fenchurch, Fenchurch Street

Now called Windsor. Not a bad place given that it's modelled as a cheap and cheerful outlet.

The inside is an L-shaped bar with a raised area on one side - obviously refurbed not too long ago, was clean and looked-after.

Had a couple of ales on and my Tim Taylor Landlord was decent enough.

The food is pretty cheap for the area but the quality reflects this; expect deep-fry and microwave combinations. Still, it came out in good time given how busy the place was.

If you're looking for quick ,cheap food and a fair pint of ale this place isn't too bad, especially if you're in a group.

9 Feb 2009 19:52

The Crown Tavern, Clerkenwell

Gave this place a go based on a personal recommendation and was pretty pleased with it from a drinkers point of view.

There were a couple of quite interesting ales on offer, along with an impressive selection of overseas and continental beers. My ale (one which I hadn't tried before) was in excellent condition.

The pub interior is quite airy and spacious, with a relaxed atmosphere on my Friday evening visit. It was busy though, I ended up with a small section of shelf to myself but nevermind, it was a Friday after all...

As I usually stick to scoffing Subways when I'm out and about on pub crawls, I can't pass comment on the standard of the food.

Would recommend this place on the strength of my visit and will make a point of going in there again soon.

9 Feb 2009 19:36

The Gunmakers, Clerkenwell

Popped in before Xmas to see if could high-five the man known as Stonch/Jeffrey but unfortunately he was out. Still, I decided to try a couple of the beers anyway.

There were 3 available if my memory serves. First up was Hook Norton (old Hooky) which a little on the flat side but drinkable enough. I then tried some of the Landlords perennial favourite, Tim Taylor Landlord - which was spot-on.

The inside of the place is quite small, but as it is slightly off the beaten track it wasn't too heaving but nicely busy.

The outside looks pretty foreboding though, all black and looming. Perhaps a nice traditional pub sign might help?

Would pop in again as it's a place that is on the up.

9 Feb 2009 19:16

The Still and Star, Aldgate

Made a visit to this place on the strength of previous BITE reviews but have to admit I was distinctly underwhelmed by the place.

Yes, there is a decent - if unadventurous - ale selection (Youngs Ordinary, Adnams Broadside, GK IPA, London Pride); the quality of my beer was not much better than average but was fine to drink.

The inside of the place is very basic indeed, it felt quite cramped and grubby; 'basic' I guess. The bars on the front window made me feel like I was having a pint in a prison cell.

I really wouldn't have wanted to stay for another - perhaps it's a bit better during the summer when you can stand outside?

So yeah, it's alright but 7.2? Is it THAT good? No, not really.

9 Feb 2009 19:08

The White Swan, Aldgate

Not a bad little place (little being the operative word) that I popped into on a whim during my crawl.

The Shepherds Neame beers were fine - 3 in total I think which is unsurprising given the small size of the place and its 'off the beaten track' quality.

The interior, as noted elsewhere, was clean and orderly, with a slant towards the Victorian in terms of nik-naks and furniture.

In contrast to other reviewers, I found it relatively busy (although I was in there at the fag-end of a Friday lunchtime) so getting a seat was tough!

Not a bad place, worth a stop if passing but it's hard to get too excited by it.

9 Feb 2009 18:58

The Old Dispensary, Whitechapel

Popped in on the strength of its Good Beer Guide entry and was pleased I did.

It's a big old building inside and manages to retain an element of its Victorian heritage despite being filled with accountants eating posh nosh and drinking wine.

The beers were in very good shape with 3 available on my visit - my Dark Star Hophead was delicious.

Although it hasn't been open in its current guise for long, the décor is wearing a bit inside, needs a lick of paint around some of the edges.

Worth seeking out if in the area, good for a slow afternoon beer.

9 Feb 2009 18:51

The Black Bull, Whitechapel

Now called Nakoda, which meant 5 minutes asking a number of passers-by who I suspect don't drink alcohol for religious reasons where the Black Bull was!

The inside certainly isn't the best - spartan, shabby and lacking any real charm. I was also subjected to the pointlessly loud TV - the volume level being even more pointless as I was one of only 4 other customers on a Saturday afternoon.

The beers (all from Nethergate) were well kept and well served. Had a bit of a chat with the barman and one of the regulars, so a mark for that.

It isn't a pub worth going out of the way for unless:
a) You're well-up for a Nethergate beer
b) You happen to find yourself in the area

In which case I'd recommend it.

9 Feb 2009 18:42

The Hop Leaf, Reading

Now also serves two real ciders (Westons Scrumpy and Old Rosie) plus a Perry (Westons again).

Also check out the heat-based range of bar snacks!

6 Feb 2009 13:59

The Warwick Arms, Reading

Yes, it's re-opened as a Thai resteraunt/bar and is unrecognisable!

Three ales on, including at least one GK seasonal. Quality has been OK, if a tad cold.

Not eaten here yet, but might give it a try. Worth a stop for a quick beer if nearby.

6 Feb 2009 13:36

The Roundhead, Reading

Apparently now selling London Pride though it's never on when I go in...

6 Feb 2009 13:30

The Rose and Thistle, Reading

Now selling a guest alongside the Greene King ales. Quality has been farily good so worth the 5 minutes diversion if you're down by the Nags.

6 Feb 2009 13:29

The Pheasant, Reading

Change of management - has had a facelift and feels like a nicer place to be.

Intermittently selling one real ale (currently Pride - am told there may be Youngs Ordinary on soon).

Worth a quick look if you haven't been in for a while.

6 Feb 2009 13:24

Kings Tavern, Reading

No real ale. Perhaps one day I will go in for a Guiness. Popular with the Thames Valley University students (their campus is just over the road), so I'm told...

6 Feb 2009 13:16

The Horse and Jockey, Reading

New landlord has taken over (formerly of the Claddagh Ring), so let's see if he can this place back on its feet.

6 Feb 2009 13:14

Murdochs Diner and Bar, Calcot

Promises more on the outside than it delivers on the inside. No real ale, though I wasn't expecting any.

Perhaps if they followed through with an American theme in interior they might get a bit more business? I don't really know what the point of the place is really.

6 Feb 2009 13:11

The Southcote, Southcote

Big roadside pub/eatery that looks like it serves ale occasionally but none were on when I popped my head round the door a few weeks back.

6 Feb 2009 13:09

The Mansion House, Reading

Big barn serving food but no real ale up a lane by Prospect Park.

6 Feb 2009 13:07

The Horncastle, Reading

Massive roadside pub serving a fair pint of Pride served by a better class of barmaid than you'd expect in this area.

Inside is vast with two bar areas and a number of pool tables and garden.

It could do with a bit of a spruce-up as it looks quite tired.

Couldn't really recommend, but it's probably the best bet on the Bath Road.

6 Feb 2009 13:06

The Farriers Arms, Reading

Three Marstons ales on (interesting for thew area) but the quality is rarely up to much which is a shame.

Interior-wise it's a dark pub that doesn't get much natural light. Otherwise unremarkable but could be OK with a bit of effort.

6 Feb 2009 13:01

The Allied Arms, Reading

Range and quality of ale is on the up again, I believe that Steve and Moira have returned which explains why. But how long will they be here? Hopefully a while!

6 Feb 2009 12:55

The Great Western Hotel, Basingstoke

Ventured in simply because it has such a fantasically low rating.

In fairness, I didn't see any trouble, nor did I feel that there was any danger of some and I invited danger by using the pool table! The clientele seemed fairly Rock/Goth like, no obvious scummers.

As for the interior, if this place has been refurbed I'd love to see how it was before - it looks pretty naff with chairs and tables sourced from Steptoes scrapyard.

One beer on - Old Speckled Hen - which apparently was 'fresh on'. If the barman thinks that is a fresh beer he needs to change his underpants more often.

Overall, certainly not the 0.8 score currently displyed but I think it might struggle to get much past a 4.

3 Feb 2009 13:52

Lloyds No 1, Basingstoke

Big, new(ish), shiney glass-and-steel Wetherspoons construct serving the cinema area.

The drinks range was pretty good and my Mauldons Black Adder was fine but a word of warning - they serve beer in plastic cups...even on a quiet Monday night in crazy Basingstoke!! If Mondays require beer to be served in plastic, Saturdays must be a riot!

On the plastic cups issue alone, I couldn't recommend this place as a beer venue but it's probably pleasant for coffee and lunch in the afternoon because of the glass frontage. But that's not why we're here, is it boys and girls?

3 Feb 2009 13:45

The Maidenhead Inn, Basingstoke

Popped in again for a beer last night, the range available was good and the quality was alo excellent.

The layout of the pub isn't too good, it's essentially one long corridoor most of the way along and gets quite cramped because too many cahirs and tables have been levered into place. They could also do with turning the lights up a bit, far too dark!!

Overall, worth a visit when quiet if you like your ale but I wouldn't want to spend long in here.

3 Feb 2009 13:31

The Old House, Warren Row

A nice laid-back foody pub, that seems to be run by a collective of ladies and a dog called Bandit (best ask the barmaid about his name), that nevertheless does not scrimp on the drinking side.

It offers a couple of good ales (usually has Rebellion) plus a real cider.

The welcome is warm and cheerful and it's easy to settle in for a few pints - it feels a long way from reading here. The ambience and interior is a bit Goa (or Greenham Common circa 1983).

Never tried the food but there's usually a few people in eating it - for a pub this disconnected from public transport and footpaths, that's a good sign.

I would recommend it here - if you can get to it! Access from the A44 isn't up to much. Best to book a taxi from the Bird in hand and back - I'd say it's worthwhile.

22 Jan 2009 00:34

Butchers Arms, Tilehurst

A fair community local, usually has a couple of ales in OK condition.

Friendly welcome from Buster Bloodvessel behind the bar.

Lots of paraphernalia scattered around. Dig the pine-panelled walling, very early 70's.

Not too bad, better than the Bird in Hand over the road!

21 Jan 2009 23:54

The Royal Oak, Tilehurst

A bit of weird one - this is located away from Tilehurst town and is in the leafier suburbs, up a little hill. I was certainly expecting something good when I got off the bus but was pretty disappointed when I got there on my visit just before Christmas.

It was unkempt outside and felt like a very low-grade local inside, split over two levels but with none of the attendant intrigue one might expect. The ambience and general feel of the place wasn't at all welcoming.

Two ales on offer, both Courage, condition poor.

Could be a brilliant community pub in the right hands, I am surprised that no-one has made the effort.

21 Jan 2009 23:50

The Prince Of Wales, Tilehurst

Not the worst in Tilehurst, but certainly not the best.

The interior is pretty big and this place has a lot of potential - if they get rid of the poo-coloured varnish brown colour that dominates the interior, a bit of a smoking ban hangover I think.

There's a big sized TV to be had and the outside seating isn't too bad.

I got told you can judge a pub by the state of it's sign - this one is old, dirty and peeling.

They served a fair pint of Pride, but this place also suffers from being a Chav-magnet. In the right hands, this could be Tilehurst town centre's premier pub. But does Tilehurst want one??

21 Jan 2009 23:43

The Plough, Tilehurst

Grubby basic boozer with pointlessly loud music and glaring locals, still smells of old cigarettes post-ban. Nice.

Served an OK pint of Pride but I doubt I'll be making much of a beeline back unless they make more of an effort.

21 Jan 2009 23:38

The Tylers Rest, Tilehurst

Note to quizzer fans - Tarrant can be rinsed here.

21 Jan 2009 23:36

The Tylers Rest, Tilehurst

Low grade eatery.

Occasionally sells a mainstream ale of sorts (Brakspear, GK, Pride) very cheaply.

Outside architecture is quite pleasant, the inside is alright as well.

Nothing special though.

21 Jan 2009 23:34

The Victoria, Tilehurst

Shame there's no real ale here, it's not too bad inside, certainly a lot better than most of the other pubs nearby (Fox and Hounds excepted).

21 Jan 2009 23:30

The Fox and Hounds, Tilehurst

Clean and friendly, there's two ales (usually Wadworth 6X and Courage Best) on offer at a reasonable price.

There's a nice airy conservatory out the back, with a decent selection of pub games on offer plus TV and music. Food available too I believe.

The only decent pub in Tilehurst. Worth a visit if you are in the area or have a Reading Buses Busabout ticket (take the 17 and it's a short walk from the terminus).

21 Jan 2009 23:26

The Bear and Dragon, Tilehurst

Not surprised it's gone - when I went in a few weeks before it shut they had no ale on the pumps, despite advertising it outside. It was hardly a place to get a drink.

The Thai restaurant refurb a while back was probably not thought-through properly for that area of Tilehurst, especially given that the 17 to Reading town centre stops directly outside.

21 Jan 2009 23:10

The Greyhound, Tidmarsh

The outside is a lovely-looking old thatched cottage. The inside is all low beams (one of them has been given a foam cladding to stop anyone over 5ft bashing their heads on it) and country pub dining ambience rules the day.

Have been in a couple of times and had mixed experiences.

First visit found some decent Fuller's beer including a guest (Elgood's Cambridge) in good nick. Enjoyed my brief stay.

Second visit found only two of the Fuller's on, in variable condition. Landlady seemed miffed to be pouring two halves of each for my friend and I - not exactly a great attitude given that there were only 3 other customers.

A potential gem that's lost it's lustre a bit with me.

21 Jan 2009 23:05

The Swan Inn, Reading

Quite impressed on my first visit, a good range of 5 ales (nothing massively out of the ordinary choice-wise) served well - my Tim Taylor was nice. A bit pricey though, over £3.

Inside is nice - reminded me a bit of this pub's namesake over in Arborfield.

Some unusual stuff to be found outside, lots of hanging baskets and the kiddie-pleaser, 'Jumbo's House', the mutt - sorry mascot - of London Irish.

Worth a visit, will be back again soon.

21 Jan 2009 22:58

The Crown Inn, Theale

I hear there is to be a change of licensee in the very near future.

Let's hope they can keep up the quality of the ale with a bit of TLC to the interior. If they can manage that they'll have a good pub on their hands.

21 Jan 2009 22:51

The Royal Oak, Reading

Reopened recently after a long period of closure during 2008.

In contrast to the White Hart, this place is modern loud and rather brash. Which strikes me as an odd thing for a Sunday afternoon, which was when I visited.

The tables were laid out for diners but I certainly wouldn't go there to eat and I can't really see who would.

One ale (GK IPA) very average, served by a footballers wife's mum.

Don't bother.

21 Jan 2009 22:45

The Shurlock, Reading

A pretty good find - had been trying to get in here for a while but was constantly thwarted by the irregular opening hours (on more than one occasion it was shut despite the opening times posted outside begging to differ!).

Inside is a pub that feels fairly unspoiled by recent history - all dark wood and sooty smells.

Three ales on (Brakspears plus A.N.Other plus a good guest beer of St Austell's Tinners). Quality OK but could be a bit better.

Only managed to stop for 15 minutes, but will be making an effort to come back and get a more rounded view as the first impressions were good.

21 Jan 2009 22:43

George Hotel, Pangbourne

Pretty building, very IKEA-like refit of a hotel bar, lots of pine-coloured fittings and chocolate-coloured fittings; sterile.

Nice view of the town centre from the windows and outside.

Usually has a couple ales on (Courage and Pride have been spotted) which are OK, a bit cold.

Big on sports and a younger clientèle, very 'awight geezer' mockneyesque.

Not my bag but might appeal to others.

21 Jan 2009 22:11

The Old Devil, Knowl Hill

Surprised to find three ales on here in this foody pub (Pride, Tribute and Courage). My Tribute was rather good.

Not necessarily a place for the drinkers, but offers a fair range nonetheless. Gets very crowded.

Chickens wandering around the car park, so the meat is obviously fresh and free range!?!

Will give it another go.

21 Jan 2009 21:58

Novello's, Littlewick Green

Three ales on (Rebellion IPA, something from Tring and another one, probably Brakspear). My Tring had clearly been sat in the pipes for a good few hours as it was warm and a bit tangy. Shame, as this isn't too bad a place and they're clearly making an effort getting the ales in – it's the management of them that seems to be lacking!

Obviously very up-market foody, the inside is quite nice, a good place to take the girlfriend (if the beer quality improves!).

Until then...

21 Jan 2009 21:55

The Royal Oak, Knowl Hill

...and not much longer after I'd written that last comment the owners shipped out and took the food with them.

The Oak is now back to being a wet-led pub. usually has 3 ales on, including Brakspear (boo) and Rebellion (yay). My visit found the quality to be good and I'll pop back in again soon.

Worth checking.

21 Jan 2009 21:31

The Queen Victoria, Hare Hatch

Re-visited just before Xmas. I think the owners have changed, but the pub isn't really any better. Uncleared plates left scattered around from lunch, not a great atmosphere, Brakspear beer not great.

Don't bother, there's a lot better up towards Knowl Hill.

21 Jan 2009 21:25

White Horse, Emmer Green

Would agree with the first three sentences of Gristy's review below, sums the place up well.

Usually has three ales (GK IPA, Abbot and Ruddles since you ask), served fairly well.

A good bet for the footer but avoid on certain evenings when the karaoke is in full swing and wekends when the punters are younger, lairy and shouty.

Points for the book exchange and the fishtank.

Not a bad place, but not really worth a special trip.

21 Jan 2009 21:22

Gardeners Arms, Emmer Green

A grand brewer's Tudor style pub that is run down and feels unloved.

There's all the right things there to make it worthwhile - a huge garden, function room, TV sports, darts etc - but it just doesn't pull it off in any way.

The beer is GK (usually IPA) which is variable. Bogs are disgraceful. Punters often a bit iffy.

Could be good in right hands, but isn't currently. Don't bother.

21 Jan 2009 21:15

The Black Horse, Emmer Green

Enjoyable old-skool boozer, split into plush lounge and a spartan public bar.

As commented below, the public bar is dominated by the pool table and is home to satellite sports and darts. The lounge is a quieter cosier affair, mainly housing the older clientèle.

Two ales on, Courage Best and Deuchars IPA - the Deuchars is usually a pretty good bet here for the quality.

Whilst not necessarily being a pub to go out of the way for, it's well-worth a stop if you're nearby or down the hill in Caversham and near the bus stop.

21 Jan 2009 21:11

The Maiden Over, Earley

Popped in after hearing news about the refurb - was pleased with the results.

Front bar is cleaned up, painted and now feels like a place to drink, rather than stool cement mixers. Was greeted by the landlady who introduced herself - good service.

Toilets are painted, lit and clean.

Two ales on (it was Pride and Abbot on my visit though I'm told they've switched to GK IPA - shame!). get the tight sparklers off though, you're not in the North now!!

Worth a look.

21 Jan 2009 21:02

The Six Bells, Reading

Decent local that serves three ales (Loddon, Abbot and Courage) in OK but sometimes uninspiring condition.

A hangout for the local Morris Men - you might get a go on their wooden sticks if you're lucky.

21 Jan 2009 20:55

The Cunning Man, Reading

Average foody pub with a nice garden. The inside is quite tidy but not anything to get excited about.

Smoky on my pre-Christmas visit (don't overheat the cooking oil, chaps).

Three ales on which looked good but there's an issue with the knowledge of the product - the London Pride was dispensed through a tight sparkler whilst the Tim Taylor wasn't. My beers tasted OK but the Pride had the life knocked out of it, which was a shame.

As far as the beer goes - good start but could better. I'll pass by again and see if things are looking upwards.

21 Jan 2009 20:52

The Flower Pot, Aston

Was back in again just before Christmas - it was rammed with diners but the ale was still pretty poor. Odd. If they can't shift the Hooky Dark, why sell it?

21 Jan 2009 20:44

The Good Intent, Rochester

Popped in after regressing back to my childlike self at nearby Diggerland, on the strength of its Good Beer Guide entry for 2009.

This pub does many things right. The 5 ales (and real cider) served from stillage were eclectic and of good quality. The barman was friendly and the customer base was nicely mixed.

As noted below, this really is an ugly place and the interior is basically a fairly small open room with little architecture of note, with the right hand side dominated by the pool table - which when in use is a real pest if you are sat on the tables opposite wanting to get past for another beer. The toilets also need a bit of attention, as although clean the plaster is coming off the wall. A small detail, but it matters if you want to be the best.

In short, very worthy for a couple of excellent beers but falls short of being essential as an overall experience - there's room for improvement.

4 Jan 2009 17:44

The Kings Arms, Fenwick

Run by Jim McCalliog of Southampton FC's FA Cup winning side, 1976.

4 Jan 2009 12:37

The Little Angel, Remenham

A nice old building on the outside, with the inside having been done out in a very 'modern ambient' feel.

Two ales on (Brakspears Bitter and Hobgoblin) which are usually OK without being particularly inspiring.

It's OK but I struggle to find much affinity for the place. I wouldn't want to stay for longer than a pint.

17 Nov 2008 19:19

The Bunch Of Grapes, Knightsbridge

Not too bad Victorian boozer with some nice bits of interior interest. Not much else in the nearby vicinity so a worthwhile stop for a swift one, though getting a seat/standing spot is sometimes tricky.

Ale selection not much to write home about (Pride/GK IPA and Abbot/Youngs Ordinary). My Abbot and Pride were OK, if expensive (£3.25).

Not one to go out of the way for, but OK if you've just been to one of the museums on Exhibition Road and fancy a pint.

17 Nov 2008 19:07

The Bull, Barkham

Still doing a good job in here if you like a good ale - 5 on today including 2 Adnams beers and Ballards Wild in excellent shape.

Can be a bit foody but retains the air of a drinkers pub outside of the more obvious eating times.

Well recommended.

26 Oct 2008 22:22

The Crown, Swallowfield

I struggled to remember much about my visit, except that it's yet another GK pub that offered little out of the mundane...DeggyT wasn't keen on the place so I'll take his word for it.

19 Oct 2008 12:39

The George and Dragon, Swallowfield

Only popped in for a beer so can't comment on the food, although pretty much the entire place was set up for dining, no real drinking area.

Interior is quite pleasant, imagine it would be nice on a winters evening with the real fire blazing away.

Two ales on (Pride and Brakspear) both pretty good in all honesty.

Service was a bit of a let-down, the Kelly Osborne-a-like was pretty surly, guess she must be the landlords daughter as it looked like she didn't really want to be there.

Will try again die to the beer quality.

19 Oct 2008 12:37

The Fox and Hounds, Theale

Quite impressed on our first visit. Inside is quite cavernous and nicely fitted out, also sports the best toilets in the Reading area, very nice.

5 Wadworth ales on the go in fair condition. Food was pretty good too, decent portions at a fair price.

Quite quiet for a Saturday afternoon, which is surprising. I'd recommend it on first showing, a good place to take the missus or grandma.

19 Oct 2008 12:14

The Beehive, Upper Basildon

Hurridly boarded up yesterday, looks like the owners are trying to close it down again.

14 Oct 2008 13:04

The Magpie and Parrot, Shinfield

Still knocking out an excellent Pride along with occasional guest (I had Mauldons Golden on Saturday) in pretty unique surroundings. Only two minutes from Shinfield village and easily walkable.

Well worth it.

13 Oct 2008 20:52

The Six Bells, Shinfield

A little tucked out of the way from Shinfield centre, this is basically a Hungry Horse formatted Greene King pub. Three handpulls dispensing one(!) beer (Abbot) which was decent.

Fairly busy for a Saturday afternoon, with some regular punters mixed in with the deep-fried diners who were more than happy to bellow out the Divine Comedy's National Express for some unfathomable reason.

Quiz machine wants to pay. TV looked like it's permanently on sports, probably horse racing.

Certainly not one to go make any effort for but not so bad if you find yourself there for a bit. It's certainly better than the Royal Oak.

13 Oct 2008 20:49

Black Boy, Shinfield

Made a decent job of the refit, keeping the nice beamed feel with a general clean-up.

'Country pub' routine is ruined somewhat by bring slap-bang on the A327 and next to a busy section of the M4, as well as there being a TV. Feels a bit 'are you local?' outside of the major evening times.

Beer is Geene King, served fairly well but not really much to retain the interest beyond a pint really. I guess the selling point is the food, which I haven't tried and probably never will...!

13 Oct 2008 20:41

The Royal Oak, Shinfield

Grotty place, naff Greene King beer served badly. Big screen being used for cartoons on our visit. Tatty round the edges.

Don't bother, felt like a Sunday, even though it was a Saturday afternoon.

13 Oct 2008 20:33

The Bell and Bottle, Shinfield

Big spacious pub that is half-refit, half mid-70's nothingness. It's a mish-mash of everything but a master of nothing. It desperately needs to work out what it wants to be as there are plenty of pubs in Shinfield, given the population.

In fairness they are trying with the beer - there are usually three ales on (Tim Taylor and Archers seem semi-regular although I've encountered Wadworth and Hidden brewery recently). The condition ranges from not-so-good to very good but it can be a bit hit-and-miss, especially the random assignment of tight sparklers which can ruin the beer in many cases.

There's pool, a a darts board that's seen better days and an old Frogger arcade machine that's never switched on. It overlooks the village green and really should do better especially given the place next door is pretty weak.

13 Oct 2008 20:26

The Windsor Castle Inn, Lye

A pretty good pub serving up some good Sadlers beers.

Maybe not as characterful as a many in the Black Country (and I was particularly spoilt on the day of that trip) as it has a more modern slant inside but well worth a stop for a good few pints nonetheless, especially on a Saturday for the football by the looks of it.

13 Oct 2008 20:00

The Vine (Bull & Bladder), Brierley Hill

Another superb Black Country offering, this Batham's brewery tap is a classic, unspoiled pub with various rooms leading off a long central corridor.

The 1920's stylings of the bar are a delight, as is the beer (assuming you like Bathams!).

Again, another worthy visit.

13 Oct 2008 19:51

The Old Swan, Netherton

A pub that really can be described as unique - from the gigantic tiled swan on the ceiling of the public bar through to the home brewed beer of the Olde Swan brewery which is enjoyable and cheap too (and in the Black Country, the word 'cheap' is a whole different concept for someone from Berkshire).

Beer is best drunk in the cosy rear snug, after a ten minute tour taking in all the CAMRA National Inventory-listed fixtures and fittings.

Well worth a visit. Again, I was only able to spend a small amount of time here but will endeavour to return.

13 Oct 2008 19:47

The Jolly Crispin, Upper Gornal

An enjoyable cosy and friendly pub. A good selection of beers on my visit, including a dark one - Wickwar Station Porter, in excellent condition.

Comfortable lounge bar at the rear with panoramic views of the Black Country is well worth seeking out.

Clearly a good ale pub, with a nice relaxed atmosphere, would be good for a session but was only able to stay for an hour. Will be returning though!

13 Oct 2008 19:43

The Beacon Hotel, Dudley

So, where to start?

Let's begin with the interior. It's a lovely, unspoilt (or apparently unspoilt) gem. A number of different rooms, with four of the clustered around a central 'bar', which is essentially little more than a serving hatch on two of the sides. Sucha set-up allows for a relaxed atmosphere and some welcome variety.

Secondly, the beer. This is the home of the Sarah Hughes brewery who produce, amongst others (Surprise and Pale Amber usually) the sublime Dark Ruby Mild. A drink that anyone who enjoys beer should try at least once. A wonderful, dark fruity brew with a pretty unique taste weighing in at 6% abv. Along with three Sarah Hughes beers, there are usually a couple of guest beers available. All are served in sublime condition. The brewery is located at the top of the building - it's well worth a tour, a real old-fashioned brewing affair with a large dose of love added.

And other stuff includes cobs to eat, excellent chatty clientèle and a dog-friendly policy. One very small point is that the fires don't appear to be 'real' fires, which is a small let-down. How amazing would it be to have some coals/logs on there in the winter?

I wish this was my local. An absolute gem.

13 Oct 2008 19:37

The Elm Tree, Beech Hill

Very expensive place for a fairly average selection and quality of beer, well over £3p/p.

Place is full of clocks. Has an impressive outside decking area, with a nice view towards Hampshire from the left. The gents is indeed 'bog standard' (ho ho) compared to the ladies, so I'm told.

Atmosphere inside is decent enough, a few drinkers among the diners.

Maybe worth a quick half if driving and it's a nice day. Otherwise, too expensive to justify it really.

8 Oct 2008 23:35

The Dog and Partridge, Riseley

A proper 70's timewarp pub, with a lot of potential.

There's not much to write home about on the ale front - my Pride was pretty weak. However, there's some interestingly old-skool bottled stuff behind the bar (Mackeson Stout and Manns Brown Ale).

My weekday visit found that the front bar is a sedate, gently fading lounge bar, which catches the sun nicely on an afternoon and the landlord certainly gives off a similar ambience. So imagine my surprise when I ventured round the place to find not only a public bar, but also a huge skittle alley-cum-function room, with a refrigerated sandwich counter and big TV!

I'd like to see how busy this place gets on a weekend, as there's plenty on offer here. If the ale was a bit better I'd be making the trip sooner rather than later to find out.

For now, an intriguing enigma.

8 Oct 2008 23:28

The Bull, Riseley

Decent little place, selling a couple of Shepherd Neame beers in decent condition which is an unusual thing in this part of Berkshire.

Have also experienced the lack of punters/atmosphere mentioned below - this place should be fuller than it currently is.

Inside is nicely kept, with nik-naks scattered around. Feels a bit like your nan's front room on the right-hand side of the bar.

Worth a brief stop if passing, perhaps more so on a weekend.

8 Oct 2008 23:20

The Bull, Streatley

A lot nicer on the outside than inside, which, as noted below, is all ciggy-stained yellow and feels a bit grubby.

Two ales on, GK IPA and Brakspears - nothing special, quality variable.

Found the staff (landlady?) a bit rude, the first time we approached the place to get a beer one afternoon we were told very curtly that they were closed before we'd even got near the door. Politeness costs nothing you know!

Wouldn't really recommend stopping for.

8 Oct 2008 23:14

The Bull, Sonning

A fairly pleasant village pub with a bit of rustic charm. Bigger inside than it looks on the outside.

Usually packs in four of the Fullers-Gales range, including HSB. Beer is usually in good nick, although pricey.

I've never sampled the food, but they do olives as a bar snack, which is unusual. I agree that the plasma screen TV does seem rather at odds with the rest of the place.

To get the parking moans into perspective - the majority of Sonning was built 300+ years ago. It's inconvenient for a driver, but get over it! They've already sacrificed the lovely garden for the cars, so I'm with CaolineNo on this.

Worth a visit, best sampled on a cold winters evening or a lazy Sunday.

8 Oct 2008 23:03

The Great House, Sonning

A big old hotel, which has a public bar. Serves a fair pint of Pride, but be aware of the sparkler and the price - £3.40 pre-Darling.

No real reason to head for here when you've got the Bull in the village.

8 Oct 2008 22:53

The Royal Oak, Ruscombe

Feels more like a restaurant than a pub to me. Usually has a couple of ales on (Brakspear and Pride) which tend to be on the better side of OK most times. Will occasionally put a third ale of Rebellion on if the local CAMRA branch turn up for a meeting.

Has a big outside garden and a large frieze of Audrey Hepburn near the bogs. Clientèle are usually middle-aged and middle class foodies in the evenings, with some office workers during the weekday.

Tends to be devoid of atmosphere outside the evening foodie brigade, so I wouldn't really bother too much about going there just for a drink. I struggle to get particularly excited about it myself, but it's probably worth taking your girlfriend/parents to for an evening. For a proper drink, you'd be better off heading into Twyford to the Duke or the Waggon.

8 Oct 2008 22:51

The Volunteer, Theale

Clearly the most popular pub in Theale, usually busy, pulls in a lot of the business crowd for lunch.

Stocks three of the Fullers ale range (Chiswick, Pride and ESB), which I've never found to be beyond average in condition, but never bad. The sparklers probably don't help matters, as the body of the beers, especially the Chiswick, disappear quick.

Serves average deep-fried pub food, is family-friendly and has a large garden, so ticks a lot of boxes for the 'regular' drinker.

Worth a visit if you've got the time in Theale to do so, but not necessarily at the expense of the Crown or Red Lion if you're after a good beer.

8 Oct 2008 20:49

The Red Lion, Theale

Previous landlord had a nice mix of beers in a cosy, living room atmosphere. Food was pretty hearty for the price charged. I quite liked it.

New landlord has revamped the place - it isn't a bad revamp, but I think I preferred it the way it was. 3-4 ales usually on now (Youngs Ordinary, Pride, Brakspear and Courage). Again, not bad, but uninspiring compared to previous. Ale is usually in decent nick, to give them their due.

There's a skittles alley available, although I dunno whether it sees much use.

Give it a go.

8 Oct 2008 20:41

The Lamb, Theale

A bit skanky in all honesty. The building looks quite imposing from the outside and the inside mirrors that impression. The place feels like it's from The Past, and not in a good way.

No ale, as mentioned below.

I wouldn't bother.

8 Oct 2008 20:36

The Falcon, Theale

Occasionally the beer's good and the company is lively, other times the beer is distinctly average and the company stare at you blankly if you enter the public bar.

Usually has Pride on (experimented briefly with West Berks but that seems to have gone). Also has daily papers available. Split into two bars, the public bar is pretty basic. The 'other' (I wouldn't say Lounge) bar is a bit nicer.

A mixed bag, maybe worth 15 minutes if in town.

8 Oct 2008 20:34

The Crown Inn, Theale

Serves a very good pint of West Berks Good Old Boy, so worth a stop for that.

The inside is a stuck in the pre-smoking ban era, could do with a spruce up. Usually has some newspapers available, as well as SKY so a good place to watch the footie or just drop in for a quiet pint.

Clientèle can vary considerably, some of them have Tourettes judging by their potty-mouthed howling and are best avoided. Shame, as they let the place down occasionally.

8 Oct 2008 20:30

The Bull, Theale

Never really got much out of this place, seems to be a bit of a Chav magnet some days, doesn't really hold an atmosphere outside the big sporting events.

Big and open-plan inside, usually stocks one or two of the Wadworth range in average condition but not really enough to make an impact.


8 Oct 2008 20:26

The Warwick Arms, Reading

Currently shut and due to reopen as a Thai resteraunt/bar. Apparently will still be selling ale.

Is being run by the same guys who are in charge of the Lyndhurst and who have turned the Moderation around, so worth checking out again in a few weeks.

8 Oct 2008 20:01

The Horse and Jockey, Reading

Under threat of closure due to a Change of Use application being submitted to the Council.

8 Oct 2008 19:59

The Wishing Well, Reading

One of the better pubs on Oxford Road. No ale though. Inside looks like it came out of the Wetherspoons interior refurbishment catalogue.

21 Sep 2008 18:59

The Upin Arms, Reading

Has had a refurb and looks a fair bit better for it.

No ale on, but manages to serve up a real cider (Westons).

As noted previously, full of students - though of a more snotty, upmarket variety than the College Arms.

21 Sep 2008 18:55

The Royal Albion, Reading

Rather you than me.

Another Greene King pub without a drop of ale, which usually gives you a fair indication of what to expect inside.

21 Sep 2008 18:45

The Red Lion, Reading

New management have certainly done a good job on the place - a nice new paint job outside and a spruce-up generally inside.

Now sells two rotating guest ales from the pubcos list. Quality has been relatively good so far and the choices interesting. Sports shown the TV, so might be good for a few ales with the football.

Worth trying out again.

21 Sep 2008 18:35

Queens Arms, Reading

A Greedy King pub which doesn't even serve a cheap IPA tells you all you need to know about the pub in question.

A feculent pit.

21 Sep 2008 18:27

The Pond House, Reading

Given the area, I was fairly impressed with the place. Huge inside, two rooms over two levels with the lower level being inhabited by pool-playing youths and the upper area being a bit more old-man. I'm not old yet, but I preferred upstairs nonetheless.

Two ales on - Pride and 6X - which were both fairly good in all honesty. daily papers available, so there's a presumption that a certain percentage of the punters can read which isn't usually the case at the lower end of Oxford Road.

The place needs a bit of work doing to it and a good lick of paint, there's clearly a pre-smoking ban tiredness to it.

However, it could be worth looking for as it's well-served by the 'once every 7 minutes' no.17 bus route.

Not bad.

21 Sep 2008 18:22

The Orange House, Reading

Apparently the local CAMRA group got the Council to tell them to remove part of the outside sign that read 'serves cask ales' under Trades Descriptions. A little fact for you...

21 Sep 2008 18:14

The Northumberland Arms, Reading

A lot better than previous (although that wasn't too hard to surpass). Opening hours appear erratic and some of the punters can be a bit on the rougher side. No ale, but enough Magners and low-grade lager to keep most of the regulars happy.

Holds a children's disco on a Saturday, so at least they're trying to be a bit more community-oriented than previous.

Outside of the place looks dreadful, why couldn't the pubco at least have painted it before it reopened?

21 Sep 2008 18:11

The New Inn, Reading

No ale, but not quite the worst pub on the Oxford Road...

21 Sep 2008 18:07

The Maidens, Reading

A pub for the those who find the Sportsman too clean, too polite and too good at serving a decent pint.


21 Sep 2008 18:00

The Jolly Anglers, Reading

I hear the revolving door spins again - expect another landlord soon.

Beer quality hasn't been quite to the standards Max set, though still relatively good.

21 Sep 2008 17:57

The Alehouse, Reading

Some prices are getting silly - £3.60 is too much, even for an excellent ale the middle of Reading. Check the blackboard on the left wall behind the bar before you order, is my advice.

21 Sep 2008 17:51

The Gateway, Reading

A 'proper' Irish pub (ie not called Irish simply because it's dreadful and the cockney landlord claims to be from Donegal).

Still serves a good pint of Pride and is worth the odd stop once in a while.

21 Sep 2008 17:47

Dogma Bar and Kitchen, Reading

Looks like they've given up on the idea of selling ale on the evidence of my last two forays into the place.

21 Sep 2008 17:41

Coopers Arms, Reading

What's the opposite of the phrase "going from strength to strength"? This place fits the bill.

Apparently will be bulldozed through at some point as a walkway for the Silver Street redevelopment. At this rate, no great loss.

Shame, as it could be a real jewel in the crown with the right ownership and a bit of cash spent on it.

21 Sep 2008 17:38

The Brewery Tap, Reading

Reopened under new management. Pride and Bombardier available. Not much change from previous, still have the huge pool room out the back. Beer not much to write home about. Could well struggle without a little imagination being applied.

21 Sep 2008 17:29

The Blagrave Arms, Reading

Currently closed and looking for a new tenant. They'll have to widen the customer base to get this place into profit. Difficult on a street where the sun only shines for 30 minutes a day.

21 Sep 2008 17:27

The Bel and the Dragon, Reading

Mainly an upmarket restaurant, but gets into BITE due the nice little bar area which serves up a very good pint of Pride and Brakspear - which goes down nicely in the outside seating area/boat on a sunny day.

Don't ask about the food, I'm not that rich...

Check out the little free museum a bit further up from the boat, which features a fully-restored old gypsy caravan from the turn of the century.

Takes a bit of finding, but well-worth a stop on a sunny day.

21 Sep 2008 17:25

Bar Four, Reading

Binge-drinkers bar on the alcopops strip of Friar Street.

One for the discerning drinker to give a wide berth to.

21 Sep 2008 17:20

Bar Copa, Reading

A refub of the old Outlook (and Hogshead before that).

It's pretty nice in here now, more of a bar/lounge than previous. Nice views at the far end over the canal. Huge area downstairs that seldom has anyone in it.

Ale choice is Ruddles County and GK IPA, lightly sparklerised. No problems so far with getting them taken off on request. Prices reasonable.

Usually populated with the after-work crowd during the week, get s a lot busier at weekend evenings.

Not bad - a safe choice for a post-work drink.

21 Sep 2008 17:17

The Back of Beyond, Reading

Beer quality currently excellent. Service a little more variable...

21 Sep 2008 17:12

3Bs, Reading

Opening hours pared right back, now only open in the evenings Weds-Sat.

21 Sep 2008 17:11

The Toby Carvery, Lower Earley

One ale (GK IPA) with a really tight sparkler. Taken off without a fuss, but I could see why it was on as the beer that emerged was flat and past its best - sparklers do tend to disguise this visually.

Otherwise, it's a basically a big barn that does low-cost food.

Not worthwhile for a drink.

12 Sep 2008 17:45

The Maiden Over, Earley

A definite pub of two halves.

The Bad half: Public bar (which is the one you walk into first) is a mess and needs real work done to it - especially the toilets, which are pitiful. My glass appeared to have paint on it.

The Good half: there's 3 ales, which were decent; the back lounge room is quite nice (in a dated sort of way) and the service was friendly.

Has potential, but I wouldn't be in a hurry to go back at present.

12 Sep 2008 17:39

The Earley Retreat, Lower Earley

All ale off on my visit (although it looked like Youngs and Pride if it ever gets on).

Didn't look terribly inspiring, almost identical to the Seven Red Roses inside.

12 Sep 2008 17:30

Seven Red Roses, Lower Earley

Very bland and chainy. A couple of ales (Youngs Ordinary and Pride), both sparklerised.

There's a dartbaord. Ummm, that's about it. I wasn't keen.

12 Sep 2008 17:26

The George, Earley

Chef and Brewer pub, disappointing ale range (Courage B, Courage D, Pride, Bombardier) served too cold. There's clips of far more exciting beers up behind the bar giving the appearence that they have been served at some point...

Food is OK. Has a big covered outside area by the river but I wouldn't come here for a drink really, too foody.

12 Sep 2008 17:23

The Old Red Lion, Staines

Lovely pub, ropey beer, too expensive.

Could be essential, but isn't.

12 Sep 2008 17:15

The Almamata, Egham

Currently shut and due to reopen as a bar/resteraunt.

12 Sep 2008 17:13

The Holly Tree, Englefield Green

Has had a makeover and is a lot better for it - a better atmosphere and (dare I say it) better customers.

I had a good pint of Pride (why no local ale though?).

Worth popping into now, especially since the Gun seems to gone downhill.

12 Sep 2008 17:12

The Happy Man, Englefield Green

The Happy Man continues to impress, a nice mix of students and ale drinkers.

Well worth the walk up the hill!

12 Sep 2008 17:08

The Beehive, Englefield Green

The beer range is good and varied - but still very few customers.

The Beehive failed to capitalise on its student popularity when Dave was away from the Happy Man and the Monkeys Forehead was dreadful a few years back. Now both of the aforementioned are back in fashion, this place is losing out big time. If they don't pick up the student vote soon, I fear this place will be shut and sold off for housing, which would be a crying shame.

12 Sep 2008 17:06

The Armstrong Gun, Englefield Green

Popped back in for a beer the other day as I hear the AG may not have long left if developers get their way.

I've always had a soft spot for the pub itself and it'd be a shame to see it go.

Unfortunately five minutes after we'd sat down a fight broke out (it was only 6pm!). Not a great advert really. There is a local nutcase element who get barred from one pub and travel over to the next - they currently seem to be residing here.

Beer was Youngs, average quality.

This place could really be somehting with the right landlord.

12 Sep 2008 17:02

Broad Street Tavern, Wokingham

Licensee Clive has just celebrated his 10 year anniversary at the helm. The beer is still good and the beer festivals are excellent.

Agree that this is an awkwardly shaped pub - it's the lack of space between the bar and toilet doors that does it. Which is fine most days but on Friday and Saturday nights it can get a bit difficult.

Still, it's a worthy visit!

12 Sep 2008 11:00

The Victoria Arms, Wokingham

Still doing a good job in here - 2 ales (TT Landlord plus guest) in a vibrant new-style local pub.

Agree with the comment about getting a local beer in - there's plenty to choose from and it will definitely sell if given the chance.

12 Sep 2008 10:54

The Crispin, Wokingham

Great to see the new(ish) licensee has got this place back to its best, selling three goood quality ales in a cosy (and now clean!) pub. It's a freehouse, so the locals get to choose what beers they want to drink on the "coming up" blackboard.

I can now happily go back to thoroughly recommending it.

12 Sep 2008 10:50

The Greyhound, Wargrave

Enjoyable two-roomed locals pub, with three ales (including Rebellion IPA) in the mix; the IPA was in decent form.

Crowd are a bit younger and livelier than the other outlets in Wargrave on the two-time showings when I've been in.

Sporting events shown in the big public bar. Bonus points for the mounted stamps in the lounge bar. Decent outside garden.

No world-beater but a solid local, worth combining with the White Hart for a couple of pints on a visit.

9 Sep 2008 14:50

The St George and Dragon, Wargrave

Awful beer, poor service, surly staff.

Politley asked for the sparkler from my ale to be removed and got told by the barman "it's only a beer!" Told him that it was "my beer" which I was paying for thank-you-very-much!

Clearly the notion that `the customer is always right' doesn't apply here. Oh, and what eventually got dispensed (Loddon Bamboozle) was the dregs of the barrel and near undrinkable.

As noted before, staff employed for aesthetics rather than ability.

Junk the riverside location and go somewhere else, this is worthless.

9 Sep 2008 14:43

The White Hart, Wargrave

Decent drinkers pub, with a superb pint of Pride and a not-so-superb pint of Brakspear Ordinary; a dull choice really, as noted elsewhere.

Good atmosphere when I went in, enjoyed it.

Quizzer wants to pay.

Worth a stop for a pint if in the area.

9 Sep 2008 14:38

The Bull Hotel, Wargrave

The quality of the one ale available on Saturday (Brakspear Ordinary) was good and the pub itself is clean and tidy which shows off the history well - quite like an old ladies front room.

Not sure about the (lack of) atmosphere though, or the choice what sounded like the Waikiki Beach Boys in the stereo. Most odd.

Worth a stop for a half but didn't find much to keep me beyond that.

Barman looks like Andy Abrahams from X Factor.

9 Sep 2008 14:30

The Tattershall Castle, Embankment

Even less choice than previous, Budvar appears to have disappeared.

Could be a whole heap better.

8 Sep 2008 18:07

The Harp, Covent Garden

Revisited a few weeks back - the beer is still good and the updstairs room has had an overhaul, so now looks well worthwhile going up the Lynn Faulds-Wood bothering staircase. Good work all round.

3 Sep 2008 09:34

The Swan, Pangbourne

Hello DeggyT, I have finally made it.

Clearly trading on it's riverside location - the prices are high, the Greedy King ale is greedily marked up compared to the other two GK outlets in town (and then served through sparklers!) and the food didn't look like much to write home about given the prices - I couldn't find much to like about this place, bar the view.

The Cross Keys is a much better choice if you want a pint by a river, in my opinion. I wouldn't bother with here.

31 Aug 2008 01:10

The Star Inn, Pangbourne

Used to be as rough as a docker's daughter, chucks of plaster missing from the wall and peeling paint, along with some obnoxious punters.

There's been a wholesale tarting up inside just recently, looks quite good now. Even the regulars look like they've had a bit of a makeover. Will it stay that way?

An average pint of GK Abbot awaits - although I did get mine in a handled glass, so things maybe are on the up?

31 Aug 2008 01:01

The Cross Keys, Pangbourne

Oh and there's a serving hatch from bar to garden (see pic) which is a nice touch.

31 Aug 2008 00:57

The Elephant Hotel, Pangbourne

Recently refurbed, sports a couple of interesting ales from West Berks plus a Butcombe. Condition average.

Unfortunately the inside of the place doesn't appeal as a place to drink them in, a bit sterile. And what are those tables about? There's no accounting for (bad) taste...

Give it a bit of time, and hopefully will it'll gain a bit of character and ale consistency. Maybe worth a quick half at present.

31 Aug 2008 00:55

The Cross Keys, Pangbourne

Pangbourne doesn't have much in the way of good pubs, this one is the best by a fair way, mainly due to the wonderful outside garden next to the stream and the exterior character of the building.

Another Greene King pub, but this one does at least have the temerity to serve something interesting as a guest ale every now and again. Quality is usually fair to good.

Worthwhile on a summers day.

31 Aug 2008 00:50

The Thatchers Arms, Theale

Average pint of Pride in a fair pub, probably best sampled on a summers day in the front garden as I did.

Not sure about the hospital blue paint in the inside though.

Will try again on a nice day, but won't be pining for another visit anytime soon.

31 Aug 2008 00:42

The Turners Arms, Mortimer

Despairing that we couldn't find a decent pub in the vicinity, we happened across this nice little Brakspear pub.

No great shakes on the ale front (Bitter and Oxford Gold), but the quality was good and the inside of the place (as well as the outside garden) was nicely presented, a couple of quirky elements here and there.

Apart from the barman being a little odd in the personality stakes, I'd recommend a quick stop-off here.

31 Aug 2008 00:24

The Victoria Arms, Mortimer Common

Even Calvin Harris wouldn't have found this Acceptable In The 80's. Perhaps the 70's, maybe.

One ropey pint of Pride in a place that needs a bit of TLC.

Seems popular with a gobby Chavvy element present, along with a couple of old men and their Racing Post.

We did one like Mazher Mahmood - made our excuses and left...

31 Aug 2008 00:20

The Horse and Groom, Mortimer

Pretty disappointing in all honesty - ale (6X) was weak, the hastily set-up TV was fuzzy and there was no real atmosphere. Wasn't keen on the interior either, felt like something out of a Magnet showroom.

Barman seemed like a nice guy and the garden looked OK, but I found little reason to return in the near future.

31 Aug 2008 00:15

The Royal Oak, Borough

A bit of change on its way here!

Apparently they will be stocking London Pride because of a deal done with Fullers over the Lewes Arms retaining Harveys Best! Let's hope they add an extra pump here, rather than dropping one of their own beers!!

Last year an old pub in Lewes, East Sussex, became famous. Greene King - owners of The Lewes Arms - told the landlord to stop selling beer from the town's own brewery, Harvey's. The locals organised a boycott. Against the odds, they won, after attracting the attention of national newspapers and enlisting the support of their local MP.

GK have now agreed to sell the pub to Fullers, London's leading ale brewer. The new owners will continue to sell local beer there, but at a price: The Royal Oak in Borough - Harvey's only London pub - will have to introduce a Fullers beer. Presumably that'll mean dropping one of the brewery's own range. Boo. Hiss.

28 Aug 2008 11:47

The Old Spot, Dursley

Sounds like you were in a different pub to me. I certainly didn't smell anything untoward.

Also, CAMRA PotY. There are many criteria. But it's certainly not wholly based on the amount of ales on offer, it's about how good those on offer are; whether it's one minute after opening or one minute before last orders. Having 10+ ales on the go means little if two/three/four of them aren't any good at any one time. Sometimes too much choice is no choice at all.

And since when was Cornwall near Gloucestershire anyway? :o)

27 Aug 2008 13:31

The Royal Oak, Knowl Hill

Very much a restaurant, only really a couple of spaces available for drinking in a place that's already quite small to start with.

Has a couple of Loddon ales on, so I sampled the seasonal one. It was far from great.

For some reason the radiators were switched on despite it being a summers day. Odd.

Not worth it.

25 Aug 2008 18:42

The Seven Stars, Knowl Hill

Been in a couple of times, still can't really find much to get excited about, although some of my other friends seem to like it.

Nominal range of Brakspear ale in fair condition. As noted below, some of the punters seem more suited for a tourettes clinic, especially if the football's on.

There's a big skittle alley out the back, not seen it used much though.

Bird in Hand 10 minutes up the road perhaps overshadows this place in terms of an ale experience. I wouldn't particularly recommend a stop here unless you're curious.

25 Aug 2008 18:39

The Elephant and Castle, Whistley Green

A surprisingly good local pub on my visit a few months back, I have to admit I wasn't expecting much.

Greedy King ale was decently served (even if the range was a bit limited).

Pub was busy for a weekday night. Fair cross-section of punters, ladies darts team were throwing arrows and there was a lively buzz about the place. The interior was quite nicely done.

Not bad at all, will return.

25 Aug 2008 18:32

The Jolly Farmer, Hurst

Pretty average Greedy King pub, saved from obscurity by the availability of live music, which brings a younger crowd in.

Ale is of the usual GK variety (*cough*) and was OK.

Outside of the music, not really worthwhile at present.

25 Aug 2008 18:26

The Green Man, Hurst

Oh, and the parking is limited and tight to the roadside, so be careful!

25 Aug 2008 18:19

The Green Man, Hurst

A classic place to take Granny on a Sunday.

Three Brakspear ales on (the two regulars plus seasonal Hooray henley, in average condition).

The garden is clearly the big selling point, it's really rather pleasent on a sunny day.

Unlike one of the reviewers below, I did spot some sprogs - so don't go if you don't like kids in pubs as the garden makes them hyperactive.

Worth a token visit if it's sunny. Would be more a little more positive if the ale quality was a slightly better. I'll try again.

25 Aug 2008 18:18

The Castle, Hurst

No real ale. Looked nice inside though.

25 Aug 2008 18:13

The Queen Victoria, Hare Hatch

Wasn't keen on this place during my visit.

The Brakspear ale range was limited and poor in quality. Sections of the clientèle left a lot to be desired - I made my excuses and left, as the NotW would say.

Shame, looks like it could be a decent place in the right hands.

25 Aug 2008 18:11

The Horse and Groom, Twyford

Basically a roadside restaurant, catering for the masses on a Sunday afternoon out.

Couple of ales on - I forget what, so they obviously weren't terribly interesting. The quality of the one I had was OK.

Plenty of outside seating, though not sure that the A44 is my perfect setting!?

Not really worth a visit if you only want a drink - carry on to the Bird in Hand for that.

25 Aug 2008 18:07

The Fox and Hounds, Farley Hill

Fairly average Greedy King country pub. Quite small inside, welcome was friendly, so points there.

Couple of ales on, my Abbot was OK but for some reason they had sparklers on it (removed when asked). Pfft.

Didn't really find much to get excited about.

25 Aug 2008 17:56

The Old Bell, Grazeley Green

Quite a nice stop-off for an occasional ale, if you don't mind the eaters and transients from the Travelodge.

As it's a Chef & Brewer, the ale range is usually good (4-5) with the odd leftfield choice available most visits. Condition is usually fair; they're served often far too cold unfortunately.

Inside ambience is quite pleasant. I've eaten here before, and was relatively happy with what I got.

Worth the odd stop.

25 Aug 2008 17:49

The Horns, Reading

Brakspear pub in a picturesque location.

Building appears pretty ancient and has a function room out the back.

Quite heavily food-oriented and open hours appear a little irregular, I think they're open a lot less during winter.

Ale is the usual Brakspear fayre. Quality is inconsistent.

Worth a quick stop on a summers day, but I've yet to find a reason to visit regularly.

25 Aug 2008 17:37

Wee Waif, Charvil

A Greedy King version of Travelodge, so don't expect much, apart from the occasional Alan Partridge.
Inside is very dark and uninviting.

There was ale on (Abbott and IPA) - Abbot wasn't too bad and at least the barmaid was able to smile, so it's not all bad.

Give it a miss, far better within 10 minutes drive.

25 Aug 2008 17:29

The Lands End, Charvil

Enjoyable Brakspear house, situated next to a ford in some nice countryside.

Couple of ales on (including a Brakspear seasonal), which was pretty good. Interior was decent enough and there was a wide mix of clientèle. Nice outside seating area, good for summer.

Will be returning, would recommend if nearby or looking for a Sunday afternoon type of pub.

25 Aug 2008 17:22

Rising Sun, Reading

Big, imposing pub. A fair amount of trepidation as we went in - there was some ramshackle DIY hut in the garden, whilst the interior was pretty ropey, with a broken window and a severe case of nicotine-tinged paintwork and a carpet that hadn't seen better days since 1954.

So we were pretty surprised to see a couple of ales on (Brakspear and Hobgoblin) and even more stunned to find that the Hobgoblin was very very good indeed.

Quick explore found a function room, quizzer and telly.

With a bit of TLC, this place could work well (assuming the Hobgoblin wasn't a one-pint-wonder).

I'll be back again on the strength of the ale quality, but I couldn't really recommend it as a pleasant drinking experience.

25 Aug 2008 17:13

Hatch Gate Inn, Reading

Quite a nice low-beamed pub, with a bit of character.

Obviously attracts the local glitterati (check out the Aston Martin DB5 in the photo).

Beer is Greedy King which is a drawback, but it was served well enough.

Atmosphere was good, would pop back again at some point.

25 Aug 2008 17:05

The Bantam, Burghfield Common

Rough and ready 70's new-build estate boozer, with blaring music and permanently-barking pub dog, who can sniff out a non-local and stay on their case throughout their visit.

Thought Judgement day had arrived when the Quizzer swallowed our money and promptly crashed with the satanic dog still barking at us, but landlord was good about re-booting the machine and giving us another quid.

One ale (Arkells BBB) which was average.

To be honest, I think I'd struggle to find a reason to return.

25 Aug 2008 16:57

The Flower Pot, Aston

I really want to like this place - the outside looks good, and the inside has two bars and various nooks and crannies. Anything that doesn't move for more than 10 minutes appears to be mounted and stuffed.

However, the quality of the ale (usually Brakspear and and guest/seasonal) is often less-than-average and I've never felt particularly comfortable with the locals. Never usually more than half a dozen in, but they don't send out particularly welcoming vibes to strangers.

I guess it's worth a pint for the stuffed fish and chilli pickled eggs behind the bar.

25 Aug 2008 16:49

The Roebuck, Reading

Yet another new landlord, previous one bolted. Shame, as this is a damned good pub.

GK ales on. Previously supplemented by a seasonal but availability seems to be a bit-hit-and-miss lately. usually, the beer is of good quality.

Otherwise, the inside has a lot of character and it feels like a nice place to be, so I'd recommend a visit on that strength alone. Let's hope GK don't ruin by deciding it needs a 'refurbishment'.

25 Aug 2008 16:29

Swan Inn, Arborfield

Recent revisit, pretty much unchanged, including Millionaire quizzer - Chris has got even greener with the passing of time. Wants to pay out on the two-player option.

Car park is pretty tight, go careful on the clutch.

Think I counted 5 ales this time (Hogsback TEA being an addition to previous). My first pint of Broadside was long on the turn, but got changed without fuss. TEA was a much better pint.

Enjoyable place, if the ale quality is consistent.

25 Aug 2008 16:25

The Bull, Arborfield

Recently refurbished, can still smell the woodwork.

Has three ales on - fairly mainstream choices (6X, Broadside and Courage Best if I recall). Served OK.

Quite big and light inside, obviously looking for some diners. No-one there when I went in with my mate, beyond two other staff - must be struggling a bit as it was a weekday evening, so no atmosphere.

Not as good as the nearby Swan, but better than the Bramshill Hunt. Maybe worth a stop on a busier evening.

25 Aug 2008 16:24

The Bramshill Hunt, Arborfield

Squaddie pub by the barracks. Pretty average GK beer (Abbot and IPA).

Fair enough inside, but a fairly forgettable drinking experience really. Wouldn’t recommend.

25 Aug 2008 16:20

The Rising Sun, Stockcross

Pretty much what a village local should be - good beer (essentially a West Berkshire brewery tap), good atmosphere and god conversation.

Had already had a few when I got here so the power of recall lets me down on the detail - there were a collection of tankards on display and oh, I think I purchased some very nice homemade spicy chutney from the bar!

Anyways, well worth a number of visits in the future...

24 Aug 2008 22:57

The Bear Inn, North Moreton

A pretty good pub, although as noted elsewhere you'll be drinking alongside foodies and sometimes younger children, which can be off-putting at some points.

Ale range was fairly good (I remember four: TT Landlord, Brains SA Gold, Goffs Jouster and a Butlers), served well.

Open gallery above the bar gave the place a bit of uniqueness it would have lacked otherwise. I recall a TV with the rugby on (c'mon Wales!).

Not bad at all, worth seeking out. Not quite in the same league as the Bell further south in Aldworth (but very few pubs are!) but certainly worthy of attention.

24 Aug 2008 22:39

The Black Horse, Reading

A wonderful pub with a lot of character, seems to be very 1930's in character and detail, but I guess the building is much older than that.

Three separate rooms inside; spartan main bar, along with two plush lounges further down, which one suspects were proper pipe-smoking rooms a few years back. Very nice.

Beer available is usually a choice between Butlers and West Berks, served well, along with some excellent pickled eggs! Check out the wooden till, too.

Outside is a nice place to sit (front or back garden), in the front garden you can cross over the road to have a chat with the long-haired Aberdeen Anguses in the field.

Gents are a comedy outside affair, a right git in the winter.

A super country pub and well worth a visit - combine a stop here with a trip to the Bell at Aldworth, you shouldn't be disappointed.

24 Aug 2008 22:13

The Royal Oak, Wantage

Finally managed to make it in after a number of aborted (pub shut!) attempts. And well worth it.

Old-skool, two-roomed pub, with two differing atmospheres (both good!). Left-hand was my haunt, given the dartboard. Plenty of folk in, buzzing atmosphere.

Good range of beer, with the West Berks beers taking the prominence. My Maggs Mild really was lovely - top marks.

Great 'real' local pub, well worth a visit. Wantage is blessed to have both this and the Shoulder of Mutton. Go forth and drink responsibly.

22 Aug 2008 22:04

The Shoulder of Mutton, Wantage

Have happily ended up back here again a couple of times recently, and enjoyed my visits.

Couple of extra bits of info:

1) Meeko (he of the Nags Head fame in Reading) is one of the landlord team. Hooray.

2) The place used to be even more old-skool (CAMRA heritage standard, apparently), until Greedy King raped the interior. Thankfully, there's enough been saved to keep the basic old style pub atmosphere alive.

3) Beer is nearly always local (Butts and Loddon seem to be the staples).

I won't claim that this pub will suit everyone, but it should appeal to the type of punter I want to drink with!

22 Aug 2008 21:49

The Red Lion, Cricklade

Well by miraculous chance (OK, good fortune) I ended up back here last week with the Reading Beer Festival helpers day out.

And happily I can report that the beer range and quality was good, along with the atmosphere. Also discovered a huge beer garden out the back - you could play a game of cricket out there.

Lovely and well worth a visit for the discerning ale connoisseur.

22 Aug 2008 21:41

The Tunnel House Inn and Barn, Coates

A pretty unique pub, so worth a visit just for the footpath, bridge and lovely countryside.

A good range of ale inside, served well - no complaints there.

Interior is littered with bit and bobs of old brewery tat and stuff from David Dickenson's shed. 'Quirky' I think the word would be. It's quite dark inside - which I guess works well on a winters evening, but would probably be a bit depressing on a Sunday afternoon I'd wager.

Clientèle were an oddly mixed bunch, middle aged diners, twentysomething males and a few old blokes. In some places that would mean a smooth mix, but in here it seemed a bit odd. Certainly one or two of the diners looked a little perturbed by 35 of us turning up to have a beer.

All in all, a good pub worth a visit.

22 Aug 2008 21:38

The Village Inn, Nailsworth

Slightly unusual place upon entering. The interior appears to be very new, but in an old-fashioned way. The small of new wood is almost overpowering. There's been an effort to make the inside late-1800's in character, lots of little alcoves, nooks and crannies, which is great and fits in well with the shell of the building, which I guess must be 150 years old at least.

Building houses a brewery (Nailsworth) downstairs, which supplies the pumps upstairs. The beer range and quality produced are excellent.

The trio of female hostesses were friendly and kept pace with our busload of beer tourists well.

All in all, a nice place, with very local beer(!) and I'd recommend it straight away. Would expect to improve further as the interior beds down.

22 Aug 2008 21:30

The Old Spot, Dursley

Where to begin?

Excellent range of well-kept ales (I almost died and went to heaven when I spotted Sarah Hughes dark Ruby Mild on the go), a warm welcome and a good selection of nice food.

Lots of paraphernalia around the walls - old clips, ceramic drinking mugs etc.

One fault I would pick, is that the outside patio heaters seem to be permanently on. I'm no Swampy, but that really is a waste of electricity - get one of those push-button timer systems in and do your bit to save the planet!

Otherwise, near-perfect. Well done.

22 Aug 2008 21:23

The White Hart, Sherfield on Loddon

Pretty average Youngs pub, really. Only 3 ales on (Ordinary, Special and Bombardier) which isn't great for a pub this size and two of them ran out quickly without being replaced. Not cheap either.

Bit 'chain bar' sanitized inside. Decent seating outside, a saving grace at least.

Preferred the Four Horseshoes over the road - beer not overly superior, but a better pub atmosphere generally. But neither really convince.

13 Aug 2008 19:48

The Four Horseshoes, Sherfield on Loddon

Fairly average pub - couple ales on the go (Pride and GK IPA, the IPA was good enough).

Decent enough inside, didn't seem particularly run-down to me. Could be homely with a couple of mates in on the beer.

Menu looked pretty expensive to my eyes, I hope the chef is good, he'll need to be for me to pay that much outside a restaurant!

Could take it or leave it, really. There's a lot worse.

13 Aug 2008 19:13

The Head of the River, Oxford

Location - tick
Ale range & quality - tick
Prices - mmm, no tick.

Fair enough place, could be a lot worse. Doubt it's much to crow about outside summer.

Full Fullers ale range plus HSB, served well.

Worth a stop on a sunny day, but not essential in OX1.

5 Aug 2008 17:34

Iguana Bar, Reading

Now shut, along with the veggie resteraunt underneath. A shame.

4 Aug 2008 15:02

Cafe Du Sport, Reading

Now closed and replaced by a resteraunt.

4 Aug 2008 09:31

The Central Bar, Shepherds Bush

Wetherspoons in a shopping centre - a vision of the UK's future urban hell? Maybe.

To be fair, this one isn't as bad as it could be. There's a decent view from the windows and the punters didn't seem too bad. The interior is a bit bland, but more kempt than many other Spoons and cleaner too.

Three guest ales on, varying in quality from 'on the turn' to 'very good', with a distinctly 'average' inbetween. But what to do? Olga from the Volga rarely has a clue or cares, in my experience. Still, it's only 99p for a half, it could be worse if you need a couple of beers before a gig at the Empire...

4 Aug 2008 09:08

The Royal Standard, Wooburn Common

Good pub with a huge ale range, mostly in good condition.

Can feel a bit locally inside. Outside seating is a bit close to the main road for my liking!

Well worth seeking out for the ale range.

3 Aug 2008 14:36

The Jolly Farmer, Cookham Dean

Lovely rustic village pub (owned by the village in fact), boasting 5 ales (all fairly mainstream, could do with a little more imagination on that front) served in good condition.

No electronic distractions, so a great place to go for good conversation and a couple of ales.


3 Aug 2008 14:14

The Princess Louise, Holborn

Wow, what a good job Sam Smiths have done in here. Love all the new snug areas and the general tidy-up. Lots of atmosphere now, a great place to have a drink.

Usual Sam Smith beer on tap, but fortunately the fridges are stocked to the max with their bottled range, which is a lot better.

Staff could do with a course in smiling, the girl who served me looked like her face would crack if she tried.

Other than that, eell worth a visit.

3 Aug 2008 11:49

The Radnor Arms, New Radnor

Stopped off here on the way back from Aberystwyth, after consulting the Good Beer Guide.

Fair to say I left mighty disappointed. Only one ale available (Buckleys) which was well past its best. (Cider and Perry also available from a Thatchers box at the bar).

Inside was a bit dark and dank on a beautiful summers day, felt a bit depressing. The outside section looked OK.

My lunch of pork shank was a bit mixed. The pork itself was huge and very well done. The accompanying small tray of vegetables (meant to be shared by two people) was paltry and overcooked.

I can't recommend this place on the evidence of my visit, pretty poor stuff really.

3 Aug 2008 11:45

The Mad Bishop and Bear, Paddington

Fullers have done well here - most station pubs are usually situated between 'tolerable' and 'appalling' - this one actually manages to crawl over to the sparsely inhabited side of 'good'.

Usual Fullers ale range (Pride, Discovery, ESB, Chiswick) plus two(!) guests. As mentioned by GDS below, the fridges are stocked with almost every Fuller's bottle imaginable. So you won't be spoilt for choice.

Food is basic, stick to the onion rings. Place is pretty clean, also unusual in the train pub stakes. Toilets are free, and also pretty clean.

All in all, very good for what it is and well worth a visit when using the station.

3 Aug 2008 11:36

The Bell Inn, Aldworth

A real gem, ticks lots of boxes from the unspoilt interior (CAMRA heritage pub), through to the ale range (4 local beers plus house ale, served in handled mugs as standard), via the food selection (basic but tasty, try the duck and orange pate hot roll).

There's also a nice garden and an outside gents pissoir with almost no roof.

Service always friendly, even when busy.

One of my top 5 pubs. A must-visit.

3 Aug 2008 11:22

The White Horse, Oxford

Popped in again the other day - more ale than I remembered (5) served well. Cosy, nice atmosphere. Handy for Trinity College.

One of the best in OX1.

3 Aug 2008 11:19

The Shoulder of Mutton, Playhatch

Similar to the Crown in that food is clearly the big push here, but unlike the Crown it also feels like a place where you can drink in peace without feeling to out of place.

Couple of the usual GK suspects in fair shape at the bar. Haven't eaten there but have had it recommended by Mrs Quinno so they must be doing something right.

Fair enough for what it is.

14 Jul 2008 23:12

Crown Inn, Playhatch

Not really a pub, more of a restaurant. Three Brakspears ales in average condition. Difficult to feel at ease here if you're not eating.

Not my bag.

14 Jul 2008 23:09

The Chandos, Trafalgar Square

First visit on Sunday, was pleasantly surprised too. We did the upstairs bar which has a nice relaxed vibe, just the kind of place for a long relaxed session. Size of the place means that the full Sam Smiths range is available, which is a blessing.

Interior is classic Sam Smiths - a blast from the past. Although there are number of more modern touches, like the armchair furnishings.

Well worth a stop, and a good place to take 5 whilst pottering around the local landmarks.

14 Jul 2008 23:06

The Chamberlain Hotel, Aldgate

Decent hotel bar, kitted out in dark mahogany-esque wood.

Fullers beer range is relatively limited given the size, but tastes fine. Bring your own atmosphere.

Not worth going out of the way for, but a decent stop for a quick pint.

1 Jul 2008 16:13

The Fox and Hounds Restaurant & Bar, Englefield Green

A decent place to go for a couple of summer ales (if you can find it!!), usually have Pride, Brakspears Bitter and A.N.other available.

Ambience inside is nice, if a little tally-ho for some peoples liking.

Can't comment on the food...

Worth a stop if in the park.

25 Jun 2008 17:55

The Old Barn, Wraxall

Almost impossible to find if you're not equipped with maps and patience, but well worth it.

Beer is straight from barrels on stillage and is in good condition. the range is fairly small, but it varies throughout the month.

Inside is a bit eclectic, as mentioned previously it's basically a tarted-up barn and there's lots of old tat/interesting paraphernalia scattered around, along with some cobwebs (don't go if spiders give you the heebee-jeebies!).

A nice atmosphere pervades inside.

Well worth the trip, will return.

25 Jun 2008 12:50

The Horse and Groom, Belgravia

A decent little local down a nice mews (you can smell the money as you walk), selling decent Shepherd Neame beer.

Turned up on a Friday evening when there was a toffs 70's-80's disco on - all very weird, especially when they played Eton Rifles and London Calling. Hard to tell whether it was with brainless gusto or wonderful irony that Petronella, Henry their chums sang along at the top of their voices.

Worth a quick half for the location.

25 Jun 2008 12:29

The Nags Head, Belgravia

Beer improved, but the service was grumpy, verging on the downright rude.

An enigma - a one and a half stop place that really should be indispensable, but tries its damndest not to be.

25 Jun 2008 12:20

The Tea Clipper, Knightsbridge

Not bad, pleasant enough inside with some nice touches and glasswork.

I don't recall the ale being anything particularly special, but not bad either.

Worth a pints worth of your time.

25 Jun 2008 12:17

The Chesham Arms, Homerton

Quite a surprising find. A decent range of ale in good nick, served in a place that was last decorated when Huggy Bear was on the TV circa 1974.

Weirdly enjoyable, especially on a winters evening.

Sadly my review can't be much more detailed as I was already a bit merry by the time we visited :o0

Give it a try, I think you'll like it. I'm going back.

25 Jun 2008 12:11

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

Can't really add much to RogerB's excellent review below, as I agree with most of what he's said.

The ale/cider range is super, it's well served and the oversized glasses are always a bonus.

But as a pub? It doesn't work for me. It's just too big, cavernous and (dare I say it) clinical - no atmosphere and character a lot of the time.

Worth seeking out for the ale and cider range, but make sure you bring your friends!

25 Jun 2008 12:04

The Compton Arms, Islington

A rather nice backstreet local which could be a million miles away from its location in Zone 2.

A fair range of beer (it's a Greedy King tied house) but I do recall them having a seasonal and a guest, which for GK pubs is always quite impressive. The beer was good, too.

Small and atmospheric inside, only sign of the 21st century was a TV with the football on.

Well worth seeking out if in the area.

25 Jun 2008 11:57

The Old Red Lion, Islington

Not a bad place to stop off for a pint. The ale range is fair and the quality was fine.

The old wood panelling and glasswork is well worth a bit of anyone's time - you don't see much of this any more.

Could do with a spruce up in some areas though, the seats weren't great.

Atmosphere was a bit lacking on a Friday afternoon.

Worth popping in for a swift pint.

25 Jun 2008 11:49

The Old Fountain, Old Street

Walked past a couple of times thinking that this place was a classic rough Hoxton boozer, so was shocked when I finally went in to find a whole host of interesting and well-kept beers, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

TARDIS-like inside, loads of space, which unfortunately means that atmosphere can be a bit lacking at times.

Think the Wenlock with more space and a carpets that still retains the carpet's well worth stopping for. Will be back.

Recommended to ale fans.

25 Jun 2008 11:41

The Pride of Spitalfields, Shoreditch

Small tight boozer, with a great set of well-kept ales (the Crouch Vale Brewers Gold was a real 10/10) and really good atmosphere.

Not easy to find, make sure you go equipped with an A-Z!

Has a stall selling cheap sarnies inside, so no need to move too far if you get the munchies between pints (although of course there a number of splendid curry houses nearby).

We were also subjected to the pub cat (which can sleep through anything) deciding that we were sitting in his space and could we move along please! Who could begrudge him?

I won't run through the Guardianista East End clichés (but they all apply).

Wonderful place, well worth making the trip. One of London's finest.

25 Jun 2008 11:32

The Globe, London Bridge

Poor beer (warm and on the turn) and no real reason to stay either - 'old fashioned boozer' is a term that can be applied to 50% of London's hundreds of pubs.

If you like a good pint, avoid this place - look at the 'nearby pubs' link and see what else is on offer.

This is weak.

25 Jun 2008 11:05

The Southwark Tavern, London Bridge

Decent enough boozer, although overshadowed by better places in the nearby facility.

My Pride was OK, there's a selection of slightly exotic overseas lagers, and the stained glass windows are a nice touch. Punters were lively but friendly and the atmosphere was good for a Saturday.

Worth a quick half or two, but I think there's better to be had within 10 minutes walk.

25 Jun 2008 10:59

The Bunch of Grapes, London Bridge

Popped in again a few weeks back - still like this place quite a lot, especially the little garden/patio out the back.

Decent range of Youngs beer served in good condition. Recommended.

25 Jun 2008 10:50

The Catherine Wheel, Goring

Nice enough pub, but my pint of Hooky Dark was poor unfortunately.

25 Jun 2008 10:45

The Rake, London Bridge

Perhaps a victim of its own success in a way - the place is tiny and rather impersonal when busy.

However the range of foreign beer (plus two guest ales) can't really be faulted. The price of the real ale is fair, although as noted elsewhere you need to be clever when buying snacks...

Worth going to, but at a time when it's likely to be quiet - definitely NOT 9pm on a Friday!

25 Jun 2008 10:27

The Dog and Partridge, Bury St Edmunds

Large decent GK pub with a quizzer, usually the only pub in town with any atmosphere.

Usual Greedy King fayre, although I do remember an Adnams being on offer (I'd had a few by this point).

Worth a stop.

24 Jun 2008 18:35

The Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds

Smallest pub in Britain, with a mummified cat hanging from the ceiling.

Beer is greedily marked up by Greedy King, so have a half, savour the uniqueness (as you'll only need a half to take it all in) and be on your way to the Cannon...

24 Jun 2008 18:33

The Old Cannon Brewery, Bury St Edmunds

A lovely brewpub, offering up some nice beer in quiet (but not lacking in atmosphere) environment.

Odd to see all the brewing paraphernalia on display, gives it a bit of a USP.

Beers taste good, and food is available. Diners mix with drinkers which may put some people off a bit, but it didn't bother me.

A must visit in BSE (and there aren't many of those).

24 Jun 2008 18:30

Moreton Hall, Bury St Edmunds

Any pub in this area that stocks beer from outside the Greedy King/Adnams axis is to be worth a visit.

It's an Ember Inns, so it's their classic format (foodie, families, clean and comfy in an IKEA style).

A couple of good guest beers on in decent nick.

Worth a visit.

24 Jun 2008 18:24

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street

Popped in again yesterday - seemed to be a better stock and selection of Sam Smiths than previously. Also had the cask ale on too.

Whatever you think of their beer, you've got applaud SS for their upkeep of these historic pubs, and for being able to sell their draught beer so cheaply.

24 Jun 2008 14:12

Quinn's, Camden

Tried it again yesterday, and was more impressed than previous.

There's a couple of extra ales (hooray!) and the Belgian beers (which I hadn't really been able to explore previously) were better labelled by the bar so I gave them a go and left happy - prices were very reasonable given the area.

Inside also looks to have had a bit of a tidy-up too. Nice selection of music on the landlords ipod.

My recommendation for a decent pre-gig beer in Camden.

24 Jun 2008 13:49

The Good Mixer, Camden

Now two ales (Sharps Special and GK Abbott - both warm).

Think the lustre of this place has long gone, it's living on memories. Time for a lick of paint, some maintenance and a rethink.

24 Jun 2008 13:44

The Enterprise, Chalk Farm

Popped in for a quick one before going to the Roundhouse to have my ears raped by My Bloody Valentine.

One ale (bass) which wasn't great. Didn't get near the bar to see what was in the fridge because of the usual annoying barflys hogging all the space.

Pub itself isn't too bad for a pre-gig pint, but frankly you'd be better off taking a five minute detour to Quinns and loading up on some nice Belgian Barley wine, before having a token one in here whilst waiting for the queue opposite to start moving...

24 Jun 2008 13:40

Queen Elizabeth, Reading

A pub that's in the news for all the wrong reasons, sadly.

No ale, and rather run-down.

Did get a free can of Tanzanian lager when I ventured in last summer, so it can't all be bad?

24 Jun 2008 13:23

Norreys Barn, Wokingham

Classic estate pub, complete with growling dog at the bar.

Serves GK beer, I saw IPA there. Also a few old clips by the bar seem to attest to there being a bit of variety occasionally.

Locals were OK. Pub has a garden, TV and pool table. Could do with a lick of paint though.

Not bad, but only worth a visit for tick value.

24 Jun 2008 13:01

The Ship Inn, Wokingham

Sad that licensees Brian and Emma have moved on - they really made this pub into a must-visit. I wish them well.

Tonight's visit found the guest/seasonal ale missing (why? They proved it would sell!), with the range being Pride, ESB and Discovery. Quality is still good though.

Still worth a visit, but no longer essential now the guest/seasonal appears to have been dropped.

19 Jun 2008 23:44

The Nova Scotia, Bristol

I'd spent many years driving past and thinking "that looks nice, I'll have to go there" and was so pleased that I did.

Bags of character in every season, wonderful location, great clientèle and decent ale. Had a great session.

Probably the best pub overall in Bristol. Wonderful.

6 Jun 2008 20:49

The Rose of Denmark, Bristol

Used to have a bit of a reputation a few years back, so decided to pop in and see it for myself.

Has obviously been refurbed in the recent past, and looks good for it (dig those hand-carved tables).

The ale selection was pretty mainstream, but served fairly well.

Worth seeking out, this area of Bristol is a good place for a crawl and the RoD should be on it.

6 Jun 2008 20:37

The Stag & Hounds, Bristol

Promised a lot more than it delivered. Only one ale on (Doombar) which wasn't in great shape.

Inside is pretty big (and there's plenty of scope the do a Gordon Brown upstairs).

Empty, even though the England rugby match was on - I did go on a Saturday, so perhaps missed out the really busy time during the week.

Perhaps worth a quick diversion, but won't be making a big effort to go back.

6 Jun 2008 20:30

The Berkeley, Clifton

Not a great Spoons, but I've been in worse.

A few ales on, though availability and quality vary tremendously.

Worth checking out some other nearby outlets, rather than ending up here by default. The Quinton House for example.

6 Jun 2008 20:25

The Quinton House, Clifton

Named after me, so must be good.

And it wasn't too bad when I got taken there as a comedy surprise over Christmas.

Couple of ales on in decent nick, and check out the 80's retro Pepsi pump. Atmosphere inside good.

Worth checking out if in Clifton to visit your token Bristol Uni student friend.

6 Jun 2008 20:21

The Miners Arms, Bristol

A good stop for quality ale, but didn't really carry the charm or ambience of places like the Hillgrove PS - a minor gripe.

Still worth seeking out though and I will be back.

6 Jun 2008 20:19

The Merchants Arms, Hotwells

Used to look like an absolute sh*t-tip when I was younger, as the Portishead bus used to sweep past the outside. I used to wonder who on earth would go there.

Well, fast-forward 15 years and I ventured over to find out. Immediately knew that there had been a change for the better, as the outside had been cleaned and painted. Went inside to see the full range of Bath Ales, which were in great nick.

Two bars as mentioned, deceptively bigger on the inside than it looks from the outside.

Well worth a visit, especially if you've gone down to Trashton Gate to watch your team put of few past Bristol City - it's a healthy (but not that far!) walk.

6 Jun 2008 20:14

The Hillgrove Porter Stores, Bristol

One of the best ale pubs in Bristol, with a fine range (and decent condition on my visit).

Staff and punters were friendly, and enjoyed the small square that constitutes the beer garden.

Interior is nice, with some quaint touches (see pics).

Highly recommended. Don't be put off by the high-rise flats opposite, they're fine.

6 Jun 2008 20:06

Grain Barge, Bristol

An ale boat - excellent! Bristol's version of the Tattershall castle in London. And better.

Enjoyed the focus on local produce, Bristol ale and Bristol pies. Super. Ale is almost certainly bright (that means it doesn't have extra yeast added to the cask before sealing and shipment, the beer is essentially siphoned off the main vat at the brewery). I can forgive them for this, given the slightly unstable nature of the stillage!

Pricey, but it's all about the location, which in this case is lovely. Worth the extra few pence on your pint.

Well worth a visit, especially on a summers evening.

6 Jun 2008 20:03

The Farm, Bristol

Has a lot of the ingredients to be a great pub (location, couple of decent ales on, nice outside area) but falls a bit short - namely because of the customers...weekend hippies and drippy floaty-skirted teenagers talking loudly about how politically/ecologically sound they are. Can see why Venue like the place.

My bias, but there you go.

Worth checking out, but the best pub in Bristol? Not quite!

6 Jun 2008 19:55

The Cat and Wheel, Bristol

Enjoyed my Xmas visit. Went in by accident, but were happy with a pint of the Moles.

Could probably do with a spruce-up.

Nice easy mix of locals and students, worth dropping in for.

6 Jun 2008 19:50

The Bridge Inn, Bristol

Teeny-tiny basic pub which served up the best pint of Bath ale I had all trip over Christmas (and I had a few).

Check out the view from the bridge, especially of the historic lead shot tower, which happily has a grade listing.

Walkable from the town centre and Bristol Temple Meads - make sure you try it.

6 Jun 2008 19:48

The Bag O' Nails, Bristol

Enjoyed my stop-off here over Christmas - nice old boozer with a bit of character.

Dark and slightly foreboding interior won't appeal to all tastes, but there's plenty of other places nearby.

Beer range and quality good, will seek out again.

6 Jun 2008 19:43

The Adam and Eve, Bristol

Good range of real ciders and ales.

Pub is tucked nicely out of the way, but is still easily accessible with a short walk from Hotwells or Ashton.

Enjoyable place, will be back. Well worth stopping for.

6 Jun 2008 19:39

Bird In Hand, Knowl Hill

"Sure the beer's in good condition"

Think you'll find that's the main reason why it wins. Quality is consistent and there's always a dark ale of some description available.

Beer quality scores for this area are taken by the local CAMRA branch (as well as nationally through the NBSS website) 365 days a year - the league table doesn't lie!

4 Jun 2008 23:55

The Eagle, Cambridge

Certainly one of the better places to get a beer in Cambridge. Plenty of history, and a nice feel to the place inside.

Couple of drawbacks:

1) Greedy King beer. So bland, so lifeless, so ubiquitous in Cambridge.

2) Not much room a lot of the time. But that's just the way it is - a victim of its own success.

Although it's very close to the corn exchange, so good for pre-gig pint (assuming you can get to the bar).

Worth a visit for the history value.

31 May 2008 12:50

The Mitre, Cambridge

Oh, and two(!) quizzers! So a bonus point there.

31 May 2008 12:38

The Mitre, Cambridge

Unremarkable, save the labels of recently-shoplifted goods that had been discarded in the gents.

31 May 2008 12:37

The Baron of Beef, Cambridge

Nothing special, another Greedy King pub with the usual Greedy King range (although I do believe I spotted Caledonian IPA at one point).

31 May 2008 12:34

The Regal, Cambridge

As commented previously, a lovely (and cavernous) art deco building. The quality of the beer was very good. However, my fish supper was still frozen in the middle. Appalling!

Never eat in Wetherspooons...

Worth stopping for a pint and look at the architecture, but that's about all.

I won't forgive them for the frozen fish, who do they think I am, Captain feckin' Birdseye?!?!?

31 May 2008 12:31

Salt, Aberystwyth

It does have ale, at least two pumps worth - you weren't looking very hard!

28 May 2008 17:01

The Moderation, Reading

Platic tit sparklers removed, beer quality very good (decent range too - Bath Barnstormer was lovely a few weeks back).

Good service, and a good atmosphere now people have ventured in and not been hit by flying bar furntiure, as they used to expect.

You can take or leave the decor, but the beer makes it worth a visit.

19 May 2008 11:13

Tobacco Factory, Southville

Failed to tick a lot boxes for me - big, cold, formulaic and desperately trying to be trendy by charging expensive prices. Packed to the rafters but less atmosphere than a funeral.

Basically, this is just a big room with achingly trendy muzak selling overpriced lager to rich students and wannabe arty types.

Not good.

14 May 2008 19:56

The Roundhead, Reading

Given the neighbourhood, this was actually better than I was expecting.

No cask ale (only Youngs Light ale in a bottle). Barman struggled with the concept of Amaretto for Mrs Quinno, but we got there in the end. Service was friendly, if a little confused.

Split over two rooms, with one room appearing to be TV-room, with Coronation Street on the big screen turned on and the volume up to ear-splitting levels (presumably to compete with the music in the other bar, also loud). Pool and darts available.

Has been refurbed in the last couple of years, seems fairly good for it. Inside was pretty clean and relatively comfertable.

Clientèle are a mixed bag - a number of them were nice enough, but there was an underlying element of shouty-sweary chavs as the evening wore on (especially Spitting Man in the car park, I hope he doesn't have TB because he sure sounded like it).

Can't really say there's much to recommend it, but it could be a lot worse than it is. A back-handed compliment, I know.

14 May 2008 19:46

Colston Yard, Bristol

I think Butcombe have done a super job on this - there's a good feel to the place and I think it's a good venue to market good beer to the under 40 age-range; my drinking chums are certainly impressed with it.

Excellent range (and well-served) ales, complimented by an interesting selection of bottled stuff.

Inside is light and airy; modern, but not in a way that I think would date badly (so long as it's kept maintained).

Agree with the comment about the food; think I'll stick to the beer personally, although this would be a good place to take a partner for a relaxed date during the week, if you're willing to spend a few quid.

I concur that this place has a bright future, I look forward to my next visit.

14 May 2008 18:55

The Star and Dove, Bristol

Used to be a beaten old dump called the Cumberland, this place has been thoroughly scrubbed and remodelled as a gastropub (I never thought I'd see the day when Totterdown had or needed a gastro, but there you go!).

It's actually not a bad effort, though the 'distressed' furniture is a bit w@nk really, some of it looks skeletal. Otherwise, it's a fair place to have a drink.

Ale-wise, there were a couple of good choices, my Bath Gem was served well. The food sounded interesting but didn't sample.

Worth dropping in if you're visiting the Shakespeare up the road, or if you've taken a walk through the park opposite.

14 May 2008 18:47

The Shakespeare, Totterdown

A rather super pub in the fast-gentrifying area of Totterdown, though the regulars are quite often the old-skool 'downers of my childhood.

As mentioned, 4 excellent real ales (Good Beer Guide quality), served in a nice interior with a few outside seats.

Evidently haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting the landlady, I've usually had decent service.

Recommended, especially as it's quite simple to walk to from town.

14 May 2008 18:42

The Oxford Inn, Totterdown

They made a real effort with this pub 20 years ago, and for a while it looked rather good and welcoming.

Now it looks dilapidated, both inside and out. A shame.

No ale so walked out. A waste, given the location.

14 May 2008 18:38

The New Found Out, Totterdown

Didn't see much to shout about a few months back, given that the rather super Shakespeare is within spitting distance.

No ale either, if I recall.

Assume the comment below is from the manager?

14 May 2008 18:36

The Shakespeare, Bristol

A bit dark inside, ale uninspiring though not terrible. Wouldn't recommend sitting outside either. The paint on the sign is peeling. This place just doesn't inspire.

Given that the Kings Head (a superior pub in every aspect) is next door, I couldn't recommend here.

14 May 2008 18:32

Kingsdown Wine Vaults, Cotham

Nice enough place with a couple of decent ales on, and a fair selection of other fayre.

Was dead when we went in (to be fair it was 1pm on a Saturday). Nice enough inside, quite comfy.

Will pop in again.

14 May 2008 18:12

The Star Inn, Tickenham

A great big kids playground, noisy and uninviting to the sprogless.

Efforts to get staff to organise a clean table were in vain, place was a mess and clearly understaffed.

We left, pintless and hungry!

Wouldn't recommend!

12 May 2008 22:10

The Black Horse, Clapton in Gordano

An excellent old pub (of the basic country stonework and hearty fire variety) serving a good range of well-kept ales, mostly from the south west.

Went here on a winter's evening for the first time in years during January and was sad to leave, a real treat for lovers of good ale and good old pubs. Far enough out of Portishead for the local gene puddle element to be absent. Not easy to find unless you know where you're going - but well worth the effort.

A gem - go visit.

12 May 2008 22:06

The Stork Inn, Thurnham

My mate used to work here a few years ago and raved about the place, so we took in a visit over Christmas.

Fair to say that it wasn't anywhere near the quality he had talked about (which he acknowledged). Most of the ale was off, and the pint I had wasn't exactly a world beater. Noticed a plaque on the wall tracing all the landlords past and present, and the one of the mid 90's had moved on, so I guess that explains it.

As for the 'mistress' comment below, I believe we saw at least one occurrence of that, interrupting a rather amorous couple as we sat down in (what we thought was) a quiet corner to the right of the bar. I hope he washed his hands before he left.

I wouldn't rush to recommend it really.

12 May 2008 21:43

The Sherlock Holmes, Charing Cross

Tourist trap pub serving GK ales (and the Sherlock Holmes Ale is just re-badged Morland, don't be fooled into paying more folks).

I guess it has some novelty value for a quick pint and a gawp at the Conan Doyle nik-naks, but as many others have said elsewhere, your beer money is better spent at the Ship & Shovell a short walk away, which is also a hell of a let better in terms of being a proper piece of old London memorabilia.

12 May 2008 20:59

The Ealing Park Tavern, South Ealing

Couldn't really make up my mind on this one - the inside was quite open-plan and lacked atmosphere.

Range of ale was decent but unimaginative (although it was served well enough).

Quite enjoyed the concrete jungle beer garden - it's a bit different and was a nice place to sup my beer in the sunshine. So marks there.

I'd say it was worth stopping off for, but not necessarily going out of the way to visit.

12 May 2008 20:54

The Forester, West Ealing

A wonderful 1930's heritage pub (almost breathtaking in its rarity), so worth visiting for that reason alone. It's a cavernous, dark-wooded affair inside and it can be a bit gloomy on a summers day, but on a winters evening I imagine it really comes into its own.

Two beers on my visit - Courage and Hop Back Summer Lightning - which were OK. Reckon that if they were more adventurous with the beer, they could really pull in some more punters. There's a lot of space inside to fill.

Landlord did indeed seem to a bit grumpy. Not sure why, given that the three of us had just doubled his attendance on an early Saturday afternoon!

Completely worth seeking out for its unique architecture, but not necessarily for the beer, sadly. Could be a real gem though.

12 May 2008 20:40

The Fox, Hanwell

A pretty and enjoyable boozer near the Grand Union Canal, serving some good ale (although the choice when I went was pretty limited - only 3 on).

TV and pub dog inside, but sitting outside in the garden on a sunny day is nice also.

Be warned, it's almost impossible to find a cashpoint in Hanwell high street (along with the English language it seemed) so go prepared.

Well worth a stop.

12 May 2008 20:32

Hanbury Arms, Caerleon

Good range of Brains cask beer (including Dark Mild) all served to a good standard.

Food basic but decent. Quite big inside, and quite a locally clientèle - reception could be mistaken for frostiness.

Super views of the River Usk outside add an extra dimension to what would otherwise be just a good ale pub.

No gem, but worth seeking out if you're in the area.

27 Apr 2008 20:42

The Butler, Reading

Seems to permanently have London Porter on tap, super.

Refurb hasn't really acheived much, except taking out the top part of the bar and painting the back of it white. Eurgh.

Still, good for beer.

10 Apr 2008 13:50

Bird In Hand, Knowl Hill

Reading CAMRA Pub of the Year 2008 - second year running. Well done!

10 Apr 2008 13:29

The Hen and Chicken, Bedminster

Fair place, had a couple of ales on the go a while back, my Sharps IPA was decent enough, though not cheap by any means.

Another gentrified Bedminster outlet; suits, students and trendies are the main customers.

Fairly modern design inside, quite liked it for a quick stop, but not for a session.

Would pop back in I happened to be passing.

8 Apr 2008 14:09

The Lounge, Southville

The gentrification of Bedminster continues with the Lounge. A nice, comfy, candlelit, drinking and olive eating outlet for the upmarket urban types.

There's a selection of games to choose from, 3D Connect 4 takes on a different dimension after you've had a couple. The barmaids are professional flirts; don't get too excited, gents.

No ales available, and not cheap either. However must say I rather enjoyed the visit, given this isn't my usual choice of venue.

8 Apr 2008 13:54

The Hobgoblin, Oxford

Useful place to get a couple of jars in before the Zodiac, although the ale selection has always been fairly mainstream and limited when I go (usually end up with Abbott).

Not bad for its location.

7 Apr 2008 19:57

The Rising Sun, Winchester

Rough as a badgers backside, full of oddballs and grunters watching horse racing.

Token ale on (Courage, I recall), which was in surprisingly average condition - I wouldn't have thought anyone in here would drink it. So there's a bonus mark there.

Probably best avoided unless you are an OCD pub ticker like me.

3 Apr 2008 00:13

The Jerusalem Tavern, Clerkenwell

Rickety tables fixed, glasses clean, St Peters ale back up to top form and still a great selection - not many places have a mild and a porter on at the same time!

An excellent choice.

2 Apr 2008 23:50

The Clachan, Soho

Tick box for a bit of heritage let down by inferior service and poor ale, despite a fair selection. I had three of them, which ranged from adequate to 'take back'.


2 Apr 2008 23:45

The Nags Head, Covent Garden

Perma-rammed corner boozer an Orang Utan's throw away from Covent Garden.

Have to admit that I wasn't expecting much but was pleasantly surprised - there was a decent range of the McMullen's ale on, and served fairly well. Also the interior and exterior retain some nice olde worlde touches.

Worth a stop if you can find a seat.

2 Apr 2008 23:31

Brewers Fayre, Maidenhead

Very clean and IKEA clinical bar/lounge thing, all rather Alan Partridge at the Norwich Travel Lodge when it comes to atmosphere.

Still, there was at least a couple of ales on, in fair enough nick (not cheap though).

Inanely moderate.

2 Apr 2008 22:58

The New Holly, Forton

A pub/diner with a couple of Thwaites handpulls in average condition.

Food was good, but inconsistently portioned when I went in over Xmas. Chocolate fountain available for the nippers.

Sports memorabilia (read tat from ebay) plastered over every available wall space, including the ceiling put me off somewhat.

Might be worth stopping off for some food, but not for just a drink.

2 Apr 2008 21:06

The Turks Head, Laleham

OK community pub, clean and tidy.

3 ales (2 courage and Pride). Bottled beers (Summer Gift and IPA) available.

Pretty 70's inside, some bits nicer than others.

Not overly worthwhile, maybe once or twice.

2 Apr 2008 21:04

The Barking Smack, Great Yarmouth

A pub that is better than the initial impression (unclean, dark, grotty, a bit chav - basically a low-brow seafront pub) gives off.

Had a decent selection of ale, including a rather good Tipples Brewery Moonrocket. The food (mussels) was pretty good, as was the service.

However, it's difficult to overlook the broken window and the creosoted radiator, as well as the comedy lavs.

With a bit of TLC, this could be a really good place. Until then, it's just OK, worth a stop for a pint but not a session.

2 Apr 2008 21:02

Cock & Bell, Long Melford

Clean and tidy Greedy King pub, with the usual Greedy King fayre.

Not bad, but nothing to get excited about.

2 Apr 2008 20:14

The Crown Hotel, Long Melford

Decent tidy and modern place, had some ales on, including some non-Greedy King choices, which were very welcome.

Lacked atmosphere a little, but for the joy of not having to drink GK, I'll let it off!

2 Apr 2008 20:12

The Swan Inn, Long Melford

Fairly uninspiring Greedy King pub as far as I could make out. Was happy to move on.

2 Apr 2008 20:03

The Buckingham Arms, Shoreham by Sea

Memory very hazy when I reached here, but do remember there being lots of beer and enjoying it...summer beer trip down to Sussex on the cards I think.

2 Apr 2008 19:19

The Duke Of Wellington, Shoreham by Sea

Great Dark Star beer and some cider in good nick, so worth a trip for that.

Outside is an interesting bit of architecture. Inside, however, is nothing particularly special and I wasn't really too keen to stay on beyond a pint or two.

Will try again in the near future, perhaps I caught it below-form.

2 Apr 2008 19:15

The Maypole Inn, Yapton

Ah, a cracking pub, with lovely views and good range of well-kept ale.

Check out the huge t'uppeny coin stack at the bar, got told how much it was worth, but forgot to make a mental note of it in the beer fug.

Well worth a visit.

2 Apr 2008 18:56

The Dewdrop Inn, Wick

A nice, basic boozer with some decent ales on. Stay cut short (only 20 mins) but liked what I saw.

Warm welcome from the licensee and enjoyed the antics of the pub dog.

Worth seeking out.

2 Apr 2008 18:46

The Five Bells, West Chiltington

Excellent place, most of it feels like it's barely changed since 1950.

5 good ales on offer, including a mild. Don't be put off by the King & Barnes sign outside, it isn't K&B on the beer front.

A great one to find in the summer for a session or to relax in. Recommended.

2 Apr 2008 18:43

The White Horse, Maplehurst

Characterful pub (1950's American car outside, Victorian nudey ladies in the gents etc) serving an excellent range of ale in very good condition.

Winner of CAMRA awards and a perennial GBG entry, this is a must-visit.

2 Apr 2008 18:37

The Murrell Arms, Barnham

A gem - 2 bar boozer with more old nik-naks on display than David Dickenson could wave a stick at.

Small but well-served range of Fuller's ales, including Butcombe on as a guest.

As mentioned previously, no music, no machines but ring-the-bull (fiendishly hard!), darts, cribbage, proper open fires and wooden floors.

Just what a proper old eccentric English pub should be. Wonderful.

2 Apr 2008 18:25

Sand Bar, Parksville

A really nice Canadian pub, with a good range of beer and spectacular views across the bay.

Comfortable seating, pool table and food available.


2 Apr 2008 18:19

Rocking Horse, Nanoose

Nice little place out in the countryside of Vancouver Island.

Quite spacious interior, pool table available.

Decent drinks range, food available. Occasional live music and dancefloor. Farmers market held on Sundays.

Gardens and surrounding countryside very nice for a summer beer. During good weather, you can sit outside on the deck and enjoy watching the free roaming fowl and other barnyard animals.


2 Apr 2008 18:16

Bugsys Bar and Grill, Parksville

OK stop-off for a group of younger drinkers.

Beer range fairly limited. Food OK but not great. Sports on TV. Friendly enough welcome.

Prefer the Sandbar for a beer in Parksville.

2 Apr 2008 18:10

The Copa, Oxford

Upmarket Greedy King outlet, serving foreign lagers at expensive prices, catering mainly to loaded students as a pre-clubbing venue.

Not too bad a place for what it is, clean and tidy, but you've got to laugh at the comedy of having a large flatscreen TV showing a DVD of a real fire...why not just install one?!?

Perhaps worth a stop if you like foreign fizz.

31 Mar 2008 20:41

The White Horse, Oxford

A nice little (in the very real sense) bolt-hole for proper drinkers.

A decent selection of ale given the size of the place and an enjoyable atmosphere, easy to get a bit of conversation going with a stranger.

Inside décor is wood-panelled and charming.

Would recommend for a crawl and good for session if you can grab a table.

31 Mar 2008 20:37

The Turf Tavern, Oxford

Certainly been a fine place to drink on my last two visits - can't believe this place is a Greedy King house, but there you go, proves what can be done.

A very good range of ale on, served well (didn't notice any of the drip-tray shenanigans mentioned elsewhere).

Lots of nooks, crannies and alleyways - easy to get lost after a few if you're not familiar with the layout - and mind your head on the door frames if you are taller than an Oompa Loompa.

Can get incredibly busy and large queues forming at the bar, however given the age of the place (and the tight layout) it's best to either accept it or move on and come back at a quieter time during the day.

At present, well worth a visit, possibly the best pub in Oxford town centre.

31 Mar 2008 20:26

The Kings Arms, Oxford

A decent Youngs pub, with a number of good guest ales in decent nick and some nice bottled beers stocked from the Youngs range.

I've never felt able to settle in here though, although both visits were on a Saturday evening. There's something about the front bar I don't like.

Well worth a pub crawl stop-off, but not great for session unless you get in there on a weekday.

31 Mar 2008 20:07

The Lamb and Flag, Oxford

A fairly spacious freehouse with an excellent range of ales available.

Unsure of the service though, and it seems to lack a bit of atmosphere unless you bring your own.

Worth stopping for a pint of Betty Stoggs and/or Old Peculiar, but not my first choice in town.

31 Mar 2008 19:55

The Eagle and Child, Oxford

'Character', 'olde English', 'Tolkien' - you know the score.

Fairly enjoyable - the front (olde) part of the place is inevitably tiny due to the retention of the snug drinking areas, but is nice to sit in if you're lucky enough to find a space. There is a more modern Everest double-glazing catalogue conservatory area out the back - not particularly great, but it does at least offer some extra seats.

Ale selection very mainstream (Brakspear, Pride and...another one) on my visits, but served well enough.

Toilets stank, felt like I was going to pass out - improvement needed here!

Well worth a stop on an Oxford crawl for the heritage factor, but not worth a session unless you get a seat in the front area I think.

31 Mar 2008 19:33

Far From the Madding Crowd, Oxford

Enjoyable modern pub/bar in the town centre, located down a small alleyway by Debenhams - which means you won't find it by accident, often a good thing.

Plenty of ale on, and a good selection too with plenty not seen often down south (a couple Elland brewery beers on Saturday), including a stout from somewhere in Scotland. Beer was in pretty good form too.

Food was fair, and staff service was good - we were given an honest waiting time for the food before we ordered, most places would take your cash and then let you sit twiddling your thumbs.

Atmosphere was good, mainly the more mature/discerning punter.

Granted, it might not be the quintessential olde English pub but it does more than enough to warrant regular visits and it's a good place to take non-ale drinkers. I like it and would recommend it.

31 Mar 2008 19:22

The Bounty Inn, Basingstoke

Stumbled in on Saturday evening after a curry up the road and encountered what seemed to be a decent stab at a yoof disco (unless the place was holding a private function, the average age of the punters was about 22).

Anyways, 3 GK ales, my Speckled Hen was fairly good. Atmosphere noisy but not rowdy.

If this is the regular Saturday evening entertainment, it might well be worth a visit if you're under 35. Certainly better than the town centre anyway.

31 Mar 2008 19:07

The Red Lion, Cricklade

Wish I'd had more time in here, but was only able to quaff a quick Bath Ale barnstormer, which was surprisingly flat (it isn't usually, minor quibble).

Plenty of other ale fayre on offer, with little shot glasses lined up in front of each one to show colour (and presumably, act as a taster).

Plenty of people in and there was a nice convivial atmosphere. Sky sports on mute. Food served most days, except Mondays.

Good place, will have to return at some point.

27 Mar 2008 16:28

The White Lion, Cricklade

Popped in here for some grub after visiting Keith Harding's World of Mechanical Music and finding the GBG (Good Beer Guide) Red Lion didn't do food on Mondays.

Pleasantly surprised, a fair range of ale (3 - I had a decent pint of Black Sheep, Degu had a good Bombardier).

Landlord was friendly and although not overly busy, there was a pleasant atmosphere throughout the cavernous interior. Enjoyed the comfy chairs.

Food was standard pub grub, my brie and bacon was decent, and the scampi and chips of Mrs Quinno and Degu was of a slightly higher standard than usual. Service was prompt.

Not a bad choice, worth a visit (especially if hungry in Cricklade on a Monday!) or if you've made the effort to get to the Red Lion for few GBG ales.

27 Mar 2008 16:11

Horse and Jockey, Stanford in the Vale

Big olde-worlde country pub, intimidatingly imposing interior. Popped in for a swift one before heading home from a country drive a couple of Sundays back.

Place seemed to be a full-time crèche - small children and their toys everywhere. Not to my liking, but great if you want family-friendly, I guess.

Ale-wise, standard GK fayre, my Morlands was OK.

A couple of punters made grumpy noises when I took a pic of the pub sign - thought they'd have better things to worry about, frankly, judging by the state of their boat races.

Found the place a bit like Paris - nice place, not keen on the natives. Wouldn't make an effort to return.

26 Mar 2008 23:38

The Ship, Wool

Popped in after a day of Monkey-bothering up the road, for a quick pint after finding the Bear closed.

Decent pint of H&W First Gold (it's an H&W pub by the looks of it, other ale was Tanglefoot).

Pretty spacious inside, two bars and a few nooks and crannies. Gives off the impression of olde worlde, how legitimate that impression is, I don't know. Plenty of food available, didn't sample.

Minus point for the surliness of the barmaid, cheer up, love.

Worth a quick pint, but that's probably it.

26 Mar 2008 23:28

Woodley Arms, Reading

The Mild is also CO2 topped. Bah!

Oh well, at least it's available...

25 Mar 2008 19:14

The Bar Copa, Reading

Now closed, going to reopen as a 'Bar Copa' - so don't expect any ale, but a few foreign lagers.

To be honest, this place has been going nowhere for a while, so no great surprises. And no great loss.

25 Mar 2008 19:11

The Moderation, Reading

New owners (same chaps as in the Lyndhurst) and in effect a brand new pub.

Going for a more upmarket vibe, big on food. Has a fair range of ale on but for some reason puts the evil plastic tit of a sparkler on the southern ones (why?). When it's off, the quality is good.

Décor may not be to some tastes (some of the fabric looks like it was sourced from Bet Lynch's knicker drawer).

Worth a visit.

25 Mar 2008 18:52

The Monument Public House, Newbury

Rough-round-the-edges boozer, but does stock Butts brewery beers (condition varies).

Landlord chatty, music loud. Wouldn't particularly want to pop in without company, but not a bad place.

25 Mar 2008 18:17

The Jolly Anglers, Reading

Landlord Max is off this weekend (20/3) for good.

Money has dried up. Beer is disappearing fast - get down there ASAP.

A crying shame, I only discovered this place recently.

A GBG entry for good reason - 3 ales (Harvey's Best as standard, other 2 locals) in good form.

Pub future uncertain. I'd be surprised if it remains this good.

Good luck Max.

20 Mar 2008 00:33

Polish Gospoda, Reading

You wouldn't recognise it from it days as the Battle - completely reformed interior, very nice. Polish TV and music, with Polish food available.

A little disappointed with the beer range though - it's all the same Polish fizzy pop you can buy in Weatherspoons. Was expecting something a little more unusual to be offered, really. Worth trying once or twice.

14 Mar 2008 12:00

The Cornubia, Bristol

And god bless you too, Mr one-pub reviewer.

Blessed are those who only comment once, for they shall assume other identities elsewhere.

7 Mar 2008 10:25

The Cornubia, Bristol

an_ecunemical_matter and Mr X are both regular BITE contributors of good repute and seemingly sound judgment.

And you are...? I see you only have one comment registered so far.

Just curious...perhaps you have an opinion on other nearby ale houses? I'd like to hear them.

22 Feb 2008 20:55

The Town Hall, Staines

Beer quality gone down the tubes – shame, as I rather liked this place when it first opened.

Has had a bit of a refurb and gone for the laminate floored thing, presumably to try and rid itself of the dodgy image and dodgy customers it had a few years back.

Can't say I was keen, although the back part still looks the same. Despite the dubious characters I always had a soft spot for it. Sadly no ale available, so didn't stop for long. I hope it improves.

21 Feb 2008 23:22

The Market Porter, Borough

Plenty of ale, but can get insanely busy, hot and feel a bit impersonal as a consequence when you're squashed into a corner (a victim of its own success I suppose).

Still good though, just be clever about what time you visit.

21 Feb 2008 23:21

The Tattershall Castle, Embankment

Fairly average beer boat, only really worthwhile on a summer's day for the scenery.

Not much on offer of interest. Think Budvar was the most interesting option.

Better examples of beer boats for my money would be the Charters in Peterborough, or Grain Barge in Bristol.

21 Feb 2008 23:20

Zero Degrees, Reading

Wasn’t keen on the ZD outlet in Bristol, but this one is better.

ZD beer their own beer on site, for those who don’t know. A fair range, it’s continental in style (ie not real ale as such) but it’s a decent halfway house between Stella and Summer Lightning.

The usual Crystal Maze Industrial Zone-style interior for drinking, which I personally don’t like but others think it’s a good design. However the outside façade does look quite striking, in a good way.

Eaten there a couple of times (restaurant area a little more traditional), food is good and the service was of a decent standard – I was quite taken with pizzas.

I wouldn’t be tempted in to drink outside of summer though, it’s often freezing inside and doesn’t look inviting in the same way that the Allied does – quite often you’re standing.

Blokes toilets have some unusual decoration, a tick for that. Girl with the clipboard is my preference.

Trying to something a bit different, so good luck to them. Worth checking out I think.

19 Feb 2008 20:06

Yates's, Reading

Now sells London Pride, so I ventured in. Pint was OK actually.

Usually deserted during the week, heaving at weekends, but then again so are all the townie chain bars.

Disabled-friendly, even when busy, my friend was given (ViP treatment by the bouncers) so a bonus point there.

19 Feb 2008 19:55

The Wynford Arms, Reading

Conforms to many gay bar stereotypes - lit up like a 70's disco, with overly loud music and blinds on the windows.

So I was shocked to go in and discover that they have two constantly changing ales which were in fair-to-good condition. Some literature scattered round to broaden your mind as well.

Digital jukebox is free before 6:30pm, though the choice of music is very limited - no Blue Monday? That's the biggest-selling 12" single of all time, you know!

Give it a try - preferable to the Malthouse, the other gay bar in the town centre.

19 Feb 2008 19:49

Woodley Arms, Reading

Used to be a pretty 1920’s building years ago (a bit like the County Arms), but got pulled down and re-housed in the 70’s build estate. It’s a two-bar affair, with a quite plush lounge and a much more austere public bar.

GK beers, mostly served with a CO2 top except for the Mild which I understand to be the real deal.

Owners Adie and Viv are a lovely couple, very helpful and they run a tight ship – no troublemakers in here. Longest-serving landlords in Reading too, I understand.

A good community local, tucked slightly away from the main road, I enjoy the place. But only drink the Mild!

19 Feb 2008 19:40

Westside, Reading

Upmarket GK pub, aimed at younger demographic. Used to have an ale on, but no longer.

Nice enough inside, but can get a bit chavvy at weekends.

I wouldn't bother.

19 Feb 2008 19:34

Wellington Arms, Reading

Dodgy punters, dodgy beer (Pride) and dodgy looks from many inside.

One or two interesting bits of interior architecture, but not worth stopping for.

Woodley Arms and Hop Leaf are far better bets.

19 Feb 2008 19:32

The Warwick Arms, Reading

Seem to be permanently running low on the ale, quite often only one/none on and it isn’t that hot when it is, either.

Bit of character inside, but not worthwhile outside the tick value really.

19 Feb 2008 19:30

The Three Tuns, Reading

Beer still OK, but I find the place very uninspiring, doesn’t attract too many punters either.

Very few students, even though it’s right outside the back entrance, a massive untapped market there.

I’d much rather walk the extra 10 minutes to the Roebuck.

19 Feb 2008 19:28

The Three Guineas, Reading

Recently refurbished and better for it - although the toilets are beginning to stink again. Didn't take long!

Ale is more consistent of late, though still served up too cold.

Designated away fans pub on Reading FC home matches, don't end up in a scrum of overweight, pissed-up Geordies trying to get cider mixers at the bar. I did and it was horrible. Better when London Irish games are on, nice atmosphere.

18 Feb 2008 23:43

Sweeney and Todd, Reading

Still great, although sadly Joan, the blue tabarded raspy-throated 'voice of the pies' has departed into retirement.

I'll never forget her way of reading the pie list (which never bore any resemblance to the menu) in a glorious tobacco-inflected monotone. And when asked to repeat 'the one with pigeon in', going through the whole list again, top-to-bottom.


Ale range still good, with a little bit of variation every now and again, Had one duff pint in here, which was dealt with swiftly and politely.

A real gem.

18 Feb 2008 23:35

The Sun Inn, Reading

Beer quality gone downhill recently, a shame as this a really good pub otherwise.

18 Feb 2008 23:29

The Spread Eagle, Reading

Popped in a couple of times during the day last year and found a really nice pub with a small but decently-served Greedy King range.

Inside is quite plush, has a bar billiards table and comfy chairs.

Will try and get back over there in the evening to see if it really is the Chavalanche that other reviews suggest.

But for now I'll say that I rather like it.

18 Feb 2008 23:27

The Rose and Thistle, Reading

Don't usually 'do' Greedy King pubs that much but I have to say I quite enjoyed my pint of Abbot in here a few weeks ago and found the atmosphere congenial enough.

The ubiquitous sport was much in evidence - La Liga was on when I was there.

Black Pudding soup on the food menu sounded intriguing but I had to dash off to the Nags.

I'm going to give the place another go in the near future, I quite liked what I saw first time round.

18 Feb 2008 23:22

The Rising Sun, Reading

Ale still awful, basically a ROCK venue and not too much else. I guess if you ROCK and drink snakebite, you'll be fine.

NB: being cheap to get into and open until 2am also applies to many ladies of the night down the Oxford Road, and I wouldn't go near them either :o)

18 Feb 2008 23:14

The RISC Global Cafe and Bar, Reading

I'm with beerprincess on this place, I like the fact you can mix and match the drinks and punters. It is all a bit 'right-on', but given what they're trying achieve, I think that's fair.

Some unusual fayre, Ethiopian bottled beers among them. Also a bottled conditioned ale from blighty in a light blue wrap - though I forget the name of it, Neil’s beer or something. Wells banana Bread beer also on offer. Beer prices not cheap, but worth the premium for the novelty factor.

The Ethiopian food on offer is also excellent, would recommend getting some in with your beer. Be adventurous and you’ll be rewarded amply. It's also a lot more filling than it first looks.

Catacomb toilets also de-fumigated, a great improvement. Has hippy trance-dub music nights and local musicians banging their bongos if that’s your bag.

Worth putting on a crawl list if you're visiting the town.

18 Feb 2008 23:10

The Retreat, Reading

Has recovered well from its downturn in form and is back to how I was told it was when I first got to Reading – a brilliant community local, with a great selection of ales, ciders and bottled continental beer in top condition.

Bernie and Jane(?) always good for a bit of banter, regulars are a crazy bunch but always good far a chat. Pickled eggs a winner too, as are the board games, community notice board and reading material. It feels like someone’s front room. Which I guess it is really. Music nights are usually good value, and it gets pretty busy.

Inside is pretty grubby, even more obviously so now the smokers fog has disappeared. Some may say it adds to the charm but I think a lick of paint one weekend wouldn’t go amiss. And a new dartboard too while you’re at it, please.

A jewel in the Reading ale circuit.

18 Feb 2008 23:01

Queens Head, Reading

Two-roomed studenty local, big screen for the footy and a quiz on Tuesday nights. Jean the landlady is excellent for banter but you don't see her often. Pics of her and former student bar staff on their graduation day hung up along the bar - is she the ultimate gatecrasher?!?

3 standard ales - Summer Lightning, Adnams Broadside and Courage Best. Usually well-served, not had a bad one yet and I've had many. Small concrete beer garden for the smokers.

Will stand by my comment that the place needs a good clean and a lick of paint - it looks quite tired now there's not a thick fug of smoke in the air. Should also get some basic student grub in - missing a trick there.

Plays host to informal 'info over a pint' lectures given by the university during term time. Check the uni's website for details, I would recommend them and a good USP for the pub too.

A good little local - but could achieve more.

18 Feb 2008 22:50

The Pheasant, Reading

Teeny two-room pub, tighter than Jonny Borell's trousers.

No ale, and all a bit grunty-local for my liking. Have to admit I'm not entirely sure how it survives.

Hop Leaf not far away, keep going down the street towards it is my advice.

18 Feb 2008 22:39

The Bar Copa, Reading

Manageress gone to Cardiff, beer range and quality gone with her by the looks of things.

Only one ale on the Saturday evening before last, with no plans for any others! In a venue of this size - what a joke!

Not worthwhile any longer.

18 Feb 2008 22:35

The Oakford Social Club, Reading

A decent attempt at creating an upmarket young(er) drinkers venue.

There’s usually a couple of ales on and often sourced from outside the usual suspects. Quality of dispense was poor when it first opened, but the last few visits have seen good beers served up. Some interesting foreign lagers and Aspall’s Cyder on tap too, only place I’ve ever seen it so far – so good marks on the range.

The décor is a mixture of mood lighting and leather sofas. I imagine the sofas won’t last long before the gaffer tape comes out for emergency repairs. A number of music and entertainment evenings get the punters in regularly.

Couple of gripes – the toilets aren’t signposted at all, and once there (well, the gents anyway) they reek horribly of piss and look quite filthy. And this is during the early afternoon. Also the gigantic portrait of the fat bloke who is supposedly the ‘President’ of the social club would look better off in a banana republics shopping centre. Assuming the picture is his doing, he must have the ego the size of Michelle McManus’s fridge.

Aside from those, a good choice for a pint at present. I quite like it.

18 Feb 2008 22:32

O'Neills, Reading

Gets heaving on the weekend, but then again so would a midget's caravan parked up on the street corner selling neat turps in this part of town.

Been in a couple of times recently to try some of the Guinness Red, but it never seems to be on. So it's either incredibly popular or their ordering system is up the crapper.

18 Feb 2008 22:23

Nags Head, Reading

Beer quality has improved a lot over the last few months (believe me it wasn’t great quite often when they first opened) - exponentially in tune with the increased patronage, so turnover must be up quite a bit. Impressed they've stuck with the 12 and didn't reduce the range - it's beginning to pay dividends as it’s fast becoming an attraction for drinkers outside the immediate Reading area.

Has a great community atmosphere, buzzing most nights and really friendly too (impressive in itself given the closeness of the Oxford Road). Lots of thought going into ways to punters in - the bus to the Madejski Stadium on match days (shared with the Foresters) is a great example. The management team are doing extremely well, to their credit. This place, a ‘wet-led’ pub is booming whilst many others are failing. Food is evolving but still fairly basic stuff, which suits most punters fine.

'Something' for everyone' - a good way to describe this place, a miracle turnaround from the Greedy King owned (and soon to be discarded due to ‘poor turnover’ in advance of the smoking ban) pit I encountered on my first visit - see post 14 Sept 06.

Well done everyone at the Nags. Just keep that beer quality up from opening time onwards, it has let you down occasionally. Otherwise, would heartily recommend for an evening or weekend session.

18 Feb 2008 22:17

The Monks Retreat, Reading

Beer quality gone downhill over the past few months, can be a bit of a lottery now.

Still the best Spoons in town for atmosphere, but no longer for ale - Hope Tap has that title at present.

18 Feb 2008 22:02

The Lyndhurst, Reading

Seem to do well here, the beers I have are always excellent. Five ales with a decent range, though usually one can expect to find St Austell Tribute, something from Hampshire and a Hooky brew.

Aimed at a younger, more upwardly mobile drinker, there's a nice chilled atmosphere inside most evenings.

There's food available (not tried any yet, the lure of Perry's Caribbean canteen is too strong most evenings) along with a quizzer that's yet to give in to my advances. Inside is clean and has a nice rustic edge.

The chaps who run this have recently taken over the Moderation in Caversham. If they can get that old dump half as good as this, they’ll do well.

Very good place, one of my Reading favourites and I visit regularly.

A great place to take non-ale drinking friends or a lady you want to impress whilst not compromising on the ale front.

18 Feb 2008 21:56

The Jolly Anglers, Reading

Pleasant little pub by the canal side, home to three well served ales usually featuring Harveys Sussex Best, a Loddon brew and another guest.

Pickled eggs are served up with salt and peppers cellars - classy!

TV on for sports, rest of the inside is nice enough, without being overly memorable. Regulars are a chatty bunch.

Well worth the walk for the beer, a good place to take in the footy with an ale or three. Worth its perennial Good Beer Guide entry.

18 Feb 2008 21:47

Iguana Bar, Reading

Two venues – an evening bar upstairs, and a veggie restaurant downstairs.

An extremely good range of bottled ales upstairs, for a venue of its size. You'll have to contend with hippy trance-dub and earnest looking middle-class kids getting in a mince about 'right-on' issues, but it's worth seeking out once in a while.

Downstairs cafe serves a decent range of slightly-expensive veggie food during the day, though they need to get some decent extractor fans in - the smoke from the kitchen gets everywhere, I smelt like fry-up when I left on Saturday.

Won’t suit a lot of people but I think it’s a fair bet for something different in town. Fair play to them.

18 Feb 2008 20:20

The Horse and Jockey, Reading

Goes through licensees as fast as Amy Shitehouse smoked crack pipes.

Not a bad little place, but lacks any real character, it needs a good bit of investment.

Has a couple of ales on - quality usually fair to good. Normally one from Triple FFF but not been in for a while, may have changed again.

Dart board gets a few games and there’s a stupidly small ‘beer garden’ (I use that phrase loosely) but otherwise a bit of a non-entity really.

Needs a sustained period of good, solid management and a few quid thrown at it.

18 Feb 2008 20:13

The Horn, Reading

Beer still bad (when it's on), atmosphere still sour, one of the worst places in town.

Which is a shame, as it could be pretty good in the right hands.

18 Feb 2008 20:05

The Hope Tap, Reading

Come a long way from the 'Hopeless Tap' of old, beer quality still good and a lot less cold.

Wetherspoons beer festival last year was best in here out of all the ‘Spoons in town, the beers were spot-on.

Can still suffer from idiocy like not turning the clip round when the beer's off, but otherwise worth seeking out at the moment. Though as is usual with Wetherspoons pubs, you never know quite how long this renaissance is going to last. But I’ll enjoy it while it does.

18 Feb 2008 20:02

The Hop Leaf, Reading

Beer still excellent, good range on including guests from Downton brewery.

Often frequented by the University Real Ale Society and for good reason.

Darts board often in use and a warm community atmosphere inside. Quiz machine wants to pay, although it flickers something chronic, so don't put a quid if you’re epileptic. Bar Billiards table as well, which quite often gets used.

One of my favourites in Reading, worth the short walk from the town centre.

18 Feb 2008 19:57

The Hook and Tackle, Reading

Had a clean and a change in management - pub is now trying to promote ale a bit more. At £1.50 a pint it certainly is attractive but the quality often reflects the price, sadly.

There's also a hint of unfriendliness about the place which puts me off. I wouldn't feel particularly comfortable in there on my own.

Pool tables and seemingly continuous poker games complete the picture.

Good for a cheap pint if you're skint and drunk your way through all the Wetherspoons in town, but nothing more at present.

18 Feb 2008 19:53

Ha Ha, Reading

Shut down and got turned into The Abbey. Apparently it has moved to somewhere near the Oracle, but I haven't stumbled across it yet. Thankfully.

Never thought much of it, too many p*ssed-up keyboard chimps from town drinking overpriced lager for my liking.

18 Feb 2008 19:44

Great Expectations, Reading

Beer quality varies, but never had a bad one - just a few mediocraties. Often the problem seems to be that they run out at busy times. Selection tends to be varied.

Seems a lot busier now, gets heaving with the 25-40 brigade on an evening when the After Dark has got a night on, it's a great warm-up venue.

I like it and I think it's worth stopping off to check out the inside at the very least.

18 Feb 2008 19:41

The Foresters Arms, Reading

Nice two-roomed backstreet community boozer, with a couple of good ales on in excellent form, including Harvey’s Sussex Best.

Inside is fairly functional with a small beer garden out the back, which impressively has TV for sports in a lean-to, so worthwhile going for a summers’ day sports fest.

Reading FC pub, plenty of paraphernalia around the walls.

Enjoyable, worth the short walk from the Oxford Road and a good one to combine with the Nags Head on a crawl. I like it.

18 Feb 2008 17:20

The Fishermans Cottage, Reading

Perhaps not as bad as made out in some reviews, the conservatory is straight out of an Everest windows UPVC catalogue from 1985. However, given that the rest of the place doesn’t catch much light during the day, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

My ESB was OK (nothing more, nothing less) though I was bit surprised when I overheard the lady who I guess was the licensee saying that she didn’t like ale, and absolutely hated having to do the tasting in the morning after cleaning the lines. Given this is a Fuller’s outlet, I think that’s a bit of a poor reflection!

Given that the Jolly Anglers is only a few yards further on up the bankside path, with three excellent ales and a perennial GBG entry, I’d keep going. The Butler is a far better Fuller’s outlet in town, with the Corn Stores not far behind.

18 Feb 2008 17:14

Dogma Bar and Kitchen, Reading

More slow than Stephen Hawking with a flat battery in his chair. Both my ales (Pride and Brakspears) were poor, flat and had a head so big that you could put a Flake in and call it a 99. Barmaid seemed perplexed by request for a top-up. Guess what, sparklers on the pump. *Sigh* Not a place for ale drinking.

Still, this is mainly a cocktail bar and the cocktails were made from fresh – commendable, but do you really have to squish raspberries through a little sieve into the glass each time you make one? Couldn’t they be squished in bulk at 4pm and kept in a Tupperware box in the fridge?

That’s why it takes so long to get served…

18 Feb 2008 16:48

The County Arms, Reading

So-so Greene King pub. Didn’t see much to get excited about, none of the guest ales or seasonals that have mentioned by previous posters. My Abbot was OK.

Pretty façade and plenty of space inside but a bit spartan and characterless – think all the fun got ripped out of here a few yeas back. Seems to be permanently advertising for new management. Darts, quiz machine and pool table, if I remember correctly, along with Sky Sports.

Not one to go out of the way for, maybe pop in if you’re doing the Eldon Arms-Retreat-Lyndhurst ale circle perhaps.

18 Feb 2008 16:38

The College Arms, Reading

Student pub, full of TV’s, loud music, garish colour schemes and a general air of grubbiness.

One ale (surprising) an OK pint of Courage Best and fairly cheap.

Don’t touch the quizzer, it asks for ridiculous levels of attainment, too many smart-alecs must drink in here.

Look out for the comedy spellings and bad grammar on the signs, the one by the bar about drug use is particularly funny.

OK I guess - not my type of place, but probably would have frequented it a fair bit when I was a student and it clearly caters to its target market quite well - it was pretty busy at 5:30pm on a wet weekday evening.

The Roebuck up the road is a better bet for a drinker, but this place isn't too bad for what it is.

18 Feb 2008 16:31

Chronicles Bar and Restaurant, Reading

Tiny subterranean bar and (bigger) restaurant. Takes some finding.

No ale to be had sadly, but could be interesting for a bit upmarket dinner with the missus I guess.

18 Feb 2008 16:22

The Butler, Reading

New landlord (Scott?) is moving this place in the right direction, the beer quality is good and he is getting the seasonals in too. A few more faces around the place these days, but can still be quite quiet at times.

Excellent Caribbean theme night here at the fag end of last year, absolutely heaving. Live steel band and proper Jamaican nosh on offer, everyone had a great time. If he can get a few more nights like that on the calendar, things should take off.

Currently the inside is a bit dark and intimidating, a 1976 timewarp - quite off-putting to passing casual punter I’d imagine. Should be due a refurb soon, all the redevelopment nearby should get some extra business in.

One to keep an eye on - pop in every now and then for a good Fuller’s seasonal ale.

18 Feb 2008 14:39

The Bugle, Reading

Beer quality never really matched that of my first visit. A good place to go with a few mates, can get a bit of atmosphere going, but not really a must-do Reading pub by any means at present. No Webster’s GL on any more either, DeggyT’s gutted.

Watch out for the comedy on Reading FC match days, a massive hinged beam gets put across the inside of the front door like something out of the Sheriff of Nottingham's castle! Only exit is through the side door, seen a few shoppers being caught out by it, thinking they were locked in until sundown!

18 Feb 2008 14:30

The Blagrave Arms, Reading

Has had a good clean post-smoking ban and a lick of paint too – and looks much better for it, the ornamental glasswork really stands out now. Still feels a bit of a shed though, they’d do better to get some booths and partitions in to break it up a bit.

Beer quality also improved considerably (Courage Directors, Best and Bombardier are the usual) and the awful Rn’B megamix TV has been switched off. A good improvement, impressive.

So would recommend popping in now and then. Tends to be an after-work place so rammed at 5:30pm but dead as a dodo come 9pm. Often looks closed on Sundays as well.

18 Feb 2008 14:22

The Back of Beyond, Reading

Beer quality incredibly variable – can range from excellent to awful. The last beer festival was so badly managed that Mullet Man Tim Martin appeared in person to see what was going wrong!

The nicest Spoons in town in terms of décor, but not in beer.

18 Feb 2008 14:15

The Allied Arms, Reading

I do like this pub, a proper two-roomed old boozer with a bit of character. Nice sun-trap beer garden and a large (but currently unused) function room, which they really should open up, losing a lot of revenue there. Fortnightly quiz some fiendish questions, someone please end the dominance of MC Hamster!

Usually has Pride, a Loddon brew and a guest – although they seem to be short of stock quite often at the, not unusual to see only one of the three actually on. Need to address that sooner rather than later as I've turned tail a few times recently and gone somewhere else with a better range. Saying that, there was a super pint of Whippet Strikes Back there last week...

18 Feb 2008 14:12

The Abbey, Reading

A nice conversion of the old Bar Ha Ha that stood on this site, I do rather like the inside. It's a lot less frenetic and shouty than before. More relaxed and with an emphasis on food if that’s your thing and would be a good place to take the lady for a bit of sophistication.

However the beer (2 handpulls of Pride and Caledonian IPA) is often rancid or not even on - and when it is they insist on serving the Pride through a sparkler so clearly not much knowledge of what they're serving.

If they got a grip on that I'd be willing to give it a good mark, but not at the moment. I’ll stick with Perry’s Caribbean restaurant on High Street for my nutrition!

18 Feb 2008 14:06

3Bs, Reading

Four good ales on, with some unusual guests, often featuring a dark which are usually served in good nick.

Can often be a bit devoid of atmosphere earlier on in the evening and only tends to get going around 9pm.

Quite often has live music from local bands and the days papers are available for your perusal. Careful of the hot water tap in the gents, it’s so hot it’s close to steam.

A worthy inclusion on a town centre crawl.

18 Feb 2008 13:57

Old Ship Inn, Cadmore End

Peculiar little pub down a steep slope off the main road, quite small and pretty limited for space in the evening.

A couple of decent ales on (St Austell Tribute and Youngs Ordinary) which I enjoyed.

Not necessarily one to go out of the way for, but worth a small diversion if you’re traveling through that part of Buckinghamshire.

17 Feb 2008 23:59

Swan and Rushes, Leicester

Finally listed on BITE and thank the Lord it is so – I can inform all you eager punters that an excellent selection of extremely well-kept ales along with a well-stocked fridge of continental fayre awaits you.

Inside is stuck in a late 70's timewarp, all dark wood and dark green. Can make the place feel a little depressing unless there's a few people in, so not necessarily one to do at 2pm on a wet Tuesday afternoon.

Landlord knows his beer and is good for banter - would wholeheartedly recommend this place for an evening session when it gets a bit more lively.

Short walk to the Criterion as well, so the city centre’s two best alehouses are within a Geoff Capes stones throw of each other. Bliss. Hope to get a good few visits chalked up in the near future.

17 Feb 2008 23:55

The Union Inn, Market Harborough

Couple of mainstream ales on (Pride and one other, maybe OSH) served averagely. The Quinno funbus only appeared briefly for some liquid refreshment prior to a wedding so can't recall too much else about the place.

Oh yes, I can actually, it's quite big inside and does a bit of trade in accommodation, relatives stayed in the one of the rooms (old stable block I assume) which looked quite cosy. Spacious courtyard garden with kids play equipment, a good place for a family to stop over.

Not exactly a session pub though!

17 Feb 2008 23:46

The Way Inn, Basingstoke

Good range of beer available, my Palmers 300 was in decent nick.

The inside downstairs seemed a bit dingy, better up the steps, bit more natural light coming in. Beer garden functional but well-done.

As noted in other reviews, the music was a little on the loud side, landlord must be deaf.

I'd recommend a visit, I shall be back soon.

17 Feb 2008 23:38

Stag and Hounds, Maidenhead

A nice, uncomplicated rural boozer dispensing a decent range of ale (five pumps was it?) in very good condition - quality pints of Hogsback Hop Garden Gold and Rebellion Booby Trap quaffed on my visit at the fag-end of last year.

Real fire, large garden and skittle alley tick some more boxes for the enthusiast. Hope to visit again soon.

17 Feb 2008 23:29

The Boot and Shoe Hotel, Scotforth

I really like the inside of this place, lots of cosy nooks and crannies with plenty of places for a private drink away from the hubbub.

Fair range of beer on, but the quality varies too much and they're quite often too cold for my palate outside the summer months. Sort that out and you've got a tidy community boozer well worth a visit.

Note for Southern visitors - Booths supermarket is over the road, a mecca of fine local bottled ale at cheap prices. Fill your boots there, I always make sure I do!!

17 Feb 2008 23:20

Penny Street Bridge, Lancaster

Posh new showcase bar for Thwaites. Looks very nice inside, done a good job on the refurb and I can imagine this place getting popular pretty soon.

Had the usual Thwaites range plus a couple of welcome seasonals over Christmas (Elma Pound and Wainwright). Sadly the beer quality was pretty variable, so not able to give the place a high mark.

Hope they sort it out soon as I liked drinking in it. I’ll try and again and hope for better.

17 Feb 2008 23:12

The Isambard, Paddington

Impressed by the range of ale on (in a station platform pub I'd call more than one a range). My ESB was fair and not-too-badly priced given the location.

Bazco101's got it spot-on, this is a dinky square box but they've done well with the interior. Can see why they've got the lock on the bog door - the other pissoirs in the station are 20p a tinkle at least this one is free for the paying customer.

Would take a punt on this if you've got a 20 minute wait for the train and fancy a bit of refreshment. But if you've got 40-50, maybe go out of the entrance and have an explore instead, this one’ll keep for the next time you’re here.

17 Feb 2008 23:02

The Angel, Woolhampton

Token handpull of very average London Pride available in what is basically a posho foody-cum-wine bar.

Wood cladding and wine bottles everywhere, all along the ceiling. Plant pots, leather sofas and ambient muzak to finish off. Must've cost a fair whack to kit the place out.

Didn't seem too keen on the Quinno and DeggyT funbus pulling into the place, perhaps we didn't look rich enough and only wanted a pint! As we got to the end of our drinks, waitress said they were closing for the afternoon and could we leave please...not entirely sure I believed her but not too fussed as I much preferred the Falmouth anyway! Mind you, we were the only ones in there at the time.

I imagine this might be the place to take a bit of posh totty for tea, but it isn't really my scene.

17 Feb 2008 22:54

Falmouth Arms, Woolhampton

Nice little pub on the A44 which always has three ales, including a perennial mild, the brewer of which appears to vary from season to season.

Architecturally interesting (see pics), with good value Sunday lunch. Darts and TV sports also available.

Sun-trap conservatory and beer garden complete the picture.

Enjoyable and worth a stop - a notch above what most of Thatcham has to offer.

17 Feb 2008 22:45

The Falcon Tavern, Huntingdon

Popped in for a quick pint when I had an hour to kill between journeys. Lots of character, (see pics) nice courtyard area and inside too.

One ale on (TT Landlord) in fair condition. Not sure about one or two of the punters, bit chavvy for my liking but it was market day.

Worth seeking out for the heritage factor on a sunny afternoon.

17 Feb 2008 18:28

The Swan, Thatcham

Cavernous pub-inn by the station. Pretty busy on my Saturday evening visit and got a decent pint of Courage Best as well, wasn't expecting that.

Staff seemed friendly enough, would give it another try next time I’m waiting for the train.

17 Feb 2008 18:23

The Old Chequers, Thatcham

Decent enough, OK pint of something-or-other (probably Pride?). Quiz machine and food available.

Only popped in for a quick one but didn't find much to get excited about first time round, didn't seem to have much character (outside excepted), but had plenty of punters in, so must be fairly popular.

17 Feb 2008 18:20

Black Horse, Thatcham

A nice out-of-the-way backstreet local. Two ales on (Pride and 6X, usually in fair condition, although always a tad cold). Got some unusual soft drinks in the fridge as well, so a thumbs-up from Mrs Quinno.

Pool and darts both prominent features, both often have a crowd on, big on their sports here. Electronic jukebox seems programmed to bellow out Glam Rock classics 24/7. TV (not always on) and quizzer complete the line up. Pub quiz on a Thursday too, apparently.

Decent crowd, usual local 'characters' including a bloke who keeps wanting to tell me about his adventures in the Congo when he went to Um Bongo. Weirdo.

Make sure you eat your carrots, there isn't much light beyond the bar and the pool table lamp on a dark evening.

Decent choice for Thatcham, I like it.

17 Feb 2008 18:13

The Sawyers Arms, Paddington

Not too bad a choice for the station - unexpectedly good pints of Adnams Broadside and Spitfire (think GK IPA was the other one on) although not cheap by any means.

Interesting layout inside, plenty of different areas to sit in. Decent crowd too, good atmosphere.

Food came out at fair speed and tasted fairly good for what it was.

No world-beater, but would seek out again if I had 30 minutes to kill before the train.

17 Feb 2008 18:06

The William IV, Islington

Me and DeggyT plodded in like a pair of drowned rats just before Xmas when we were trying to find the Wenlock without a map and needed a pints worth of splash-and-dash.

Couple of decent ales on, Black Sheep was good, and served in a handled glass as well. Didn't look too put out when I asked where the Wenlock was either, so extra mark there.

Inside was all white-painted wood, 30-watt bulb lighting and a particular kind of ‘distressed’ look, probably added at great expense I imagine. Some nice glasswork along the pubs frontage and a few old oil portraits of long-dead Georgian nobodies along the walls. Looked like food was a high priority here, took a quick look at the menu whilst DeggyT was downloading – looked fairly reasonable in price.

Will pop back in next time I’m on the way to the Wenlock, would like to explore a little more.

17 Feb 2008 17:58

The Fez Club, Reading

Currently closed for refurbishment.

15 Feb 2008 17:58

The Plough, Little London

Very English low-beamed country pub, open log fires with a good atmosphere, friendly staff and clientele.

Decent selection of beer (Ringwood Boondongle; Rebellion Blonde; Branscombe Branoc) in good nick, served from stillage. Not much in the way of food, which doesn’t bother me as I go to a pub to drink.

Features darts, bar billiards and no TV. Super. Would like to pay a return visit.

15 Feb 2008 17:56

The White Hart, Charter Alley

Super pub situated in glorious rolling countryside but close enough to Basingstoke to make a trip out from the station by taxi.

4 ales on my visit (Hidden Fantasy; FFF Alton’s Pride; Palmers Bitter; Wadworth Horizon), all in very good condition.

Inside has a nice old-fashioned feel to it and it’s pretty popular given its location – plenty of people on my weekday evening visit.

There’s a lovely well-maintained garden out back, home to some pub Guinea Pigs. Food was being served, didn’t have time to sample any, but the carbonara looked pretty hearty and smelt lovely.

A glorious place for a late summer ale when the sun’s out. Will be back again.

15 Feb 2008 17:48

The Red Lion, Reading

Given that the sign outside says it isn't open again until Saturday 16th, I take it you are the landlord...?

14 Feb 2008 22:28

The Bear Hotel, Wantage

Cavernous pub in a pretty building. Claimed to have three Akells beers on outside but I only saw 3B along with two (two?!?) Courage Directors pulls. 3B was a bit eggy and served in a glass that hadn’t got a proper rinse in the dishwasher. Was with friends so didn’t complain. Maybe I should have done in hindsight.

Tried the food and was fairly happy with it given the price (fiver for my lasagne). Couple of TV’s showing the rugby. Toilet doors had no signs, so it was all a bit Deal or No Deal guessing which was the right one. I guessed wrong, no bankers deal for me! DeggyT guessed wrong too, but Mrs Quinno got it right. Must be a gender thing.

Would try somewhere else next time in Wantage.

11 Feb 2008 14:21

The Shoulder of Mutton, Wantage

Brilliant, a Gene Hunt timewarp pub. Apart from the (thankfully switched off) flatscreen TV, nothing about the inside looks to have been updated since the miners strike, including the punters.

Two bars, a small (but very well kept) choice of ales (two Butts brewery and Loddon on Sunday) and some good banter with the locals (got told I was a 'troublemaker' for ordering a lemonade for Mrs Quinno) by the bar, plus a pub dog, all made for a good hours worth of drinking.

Recommended if you like your beer old-skool. Should I ever return to Wantage, I'll drop by. Worth its place in the Good Beer Guide.

11 Feb 2008 14:11

The Evening Star, Brighton

First visit since the smoking ban on Saturday evening and what a huge improvement on an already great pub. Still as heaving as ever, 7 ales all on fine form (the Dark Star Original was exemplary). Keep forgetting just how close it is to the station as well, brilliant.

Lucky me kept getting served by the dark brunette barmaid who had a winning smile, wished she worked at my local :o)

Stood next to George Michael from Start Stories for a bit as well, good spotters badge.

A trip to Brighton isn’t complete without a stop-off here. Sooper.

11 Feb 2008 13:13

The Bright Helm, Brighton

Typical of so many big-town Spoons – useless transient staff, hopelessly trained and badly managed. Thought we’d pop in here on the way back to the minibus ‘for a quick one’. I campaigned to stay the ES for that ‘quick one’ but seeing as we’d drunk our way through most of the beers I was outvoted.

My gripe is thus: it had an array of handpulls downstairs so we queued up and waited for 5 minutes. Finally got served only to be told that there was ‘no ale whatsoever’ even though all the clips were on display! Grumbled about that but to avail so went in a huff upstairs (I’d decided to boycott the tills at this stage, but some of my pals had gritted their teeth and got a Kopperburg), only to find that they had a token Abbot available up there!! Arrggh!

The amount of times people have complained about clips not being turned on Wetherspoons leading to frustration at the counter is vast. Mullet Man says it shouldn’t happen and it’s something to do with staff training. My hairy @rse, this must be Spoons policy, I’ve only ever been in a couple where they follow normal publicans convention on unavailable/rancid ale. The fact that the t*t who served me couldn’t even summon up the mental capacity to advise me to try upstairs is truly depressing.

As for the pub itself – it’s a bit snazzier than the usual Spoons and the door staff are big on ID’ing everyone that enters. But as they clearly don’t know what they’re doing, I won’t be back and I advise you all not go either if you like your beer – Evening Star (and others with great beer and professional service) only 5 minutes walk away from this joke!

11 Feb 2008 13:12

The White Horse, Epsom

A very pleasant surprise – a pub in Surrey where the ale is £2.50 a pint (with a note on the wall apologising for the recent price rise!) and served in dimple mugs! Lovely. 4 ales on the go (OSH; Caledonian Tried and Tested; Titanic Steerage and Batemans Hooker). Pub also runs an ale connoisseurs club, nice touch!

Ticks a lot of other boxes. Big screen TV’s for sport and good food available – slightly posher pub food than usual but still fairly affordable – served well and tasted nice. Service was friendly, beer garden a bit of a sun-trap and well fenced for the kids.

Enjoyed my visit, would like to get back here soon. Proof of what can be done with inventive management and a bit of effort.

11 Feb 2008 10:55

The King of Wessex, Basingstoke

‘Respectable estate pub’ – good summing there Alexh1982. Looks a little intimidating from the outside, but I quite enjoyed myself in here watching the second half of England vs Switzerland. My beer (Marstons) was in good shape. Sat at a nice raised area and pub clean and well-kept inside.

Clientele were almost exclusively middle-aged blokes. Fair enough.

Tidy. I think I’d pop back in at some point for a swift one.

8 Feb 2008 16:54

The Soldiers Return, Basingstoke

Went in towards the end of last year on the recommendation of the Good Beer Guide but wasn’t overly impressed. My Loddon was freezing and the place seemed very tired, like a 1960’s council house. Didn’t really feel welcome either, had no wish to settle down for a session.

Plenty of reading material scattered around, so a bonus point there, assuming you can still focus.

Perhaps it was a bad day. I’ll try it again at some point if it reappears in the next GBG.

8 Feb 2008 16:51

The New Inn, Basingstoke

Something a bit different, looked like a pool tournament going on when I was there. Fairly raucous (but unthreatening) atmosphere.

My ale OK (think it was Courage). Found the music a bit loud, inside a bit dark…not my bag but can see it appealing to others.

Impressive edifice from the outside, tiled and imposing.

Not too bad, may pop in again at some point.

8 Feb 2008 16:50

The Winton, Basingstoke

Surly female member of staff got mardy when I asked to take the sparkler off the Pride before they poured it. Given that there were only 4 other customers I can’t quite see what the big huff was about.

Suffice to say I didn’t hang around much longer, despite the comfy chairs.

8 Feb 2008 16:49

The White Hart, Basingstoke

Really quite surprised by how much I liked this place.

Definitely a younger persons boozer (average age 21!) but with a really good atmosphere and no Chavs or Pikeys to be seen. My pint of Pride was good, and pleased to note a lot of the kids were drinking it too. Also a bit cheaper than surrounding outlets.

Needs a lick of paint and some basic maintenance, but otherwise a good place to have a pint. Lots of atmosphere.

8 Feb 2008 16:47

The Maidenhead Inn, Basingstoke

A very tarted-up ‘Spoons, looked like something from an IKEA ad, a long way from the dark brown Victoriana of most of their outlets. Very small as well compared to other ‘Spoons.

Beer decent, lighting very dim, could’ve fallen asleep in the downstairs area. May well pop back in for an ale next time I’m passing.

8 Feb 2008 16:46

The Hare and Hounds, Basingstoke

Flat ale, gratingly loud music up against the football commentary, no no no no no

Avoid unless you have multiple personalities.

8 Feb 2008 16:45

The Hare and Hounds, Basingstoke

Flat ale, gratingly loud music up against the football commentary, no no no no no

Avoid unless you have multiple personalities.

8 Feb 2008 16:45

The Castle, Basingstoke

My initial impressions of this place were good – pretty building and a fairly cosy-looking interior. Some Saints paraphernalia on the walls and load of comedy framed Britpop-era match tickets.

However the bar was taken up by (the only other customers) a small collection of loudly braying low-grade office workers and their little estuary-English assistants (one of whom was loudly describing how she had been sexually harassed by her boss…but quite enjoyed it). Would expect more people around on Wednesday evening, perhaps they all went to the Queens Arms instead.

Adnams Broadside was past its best. Chugged it and left disappointed.

Shame as the inside looks like it’s perfectly preserved from an episode of Life on Mars – the jukey even played Children of the Revolution, right on cue.

Perhaps I’ll give it another go sometime. It has potential.

8 Feb 2008 16:43

Platforms, Basingstoke

No not a bar owned by Louise Wener but a rather upmarket wine bar thingy by the station (Sleepers, see?).

Anyway it didn’t have any ale so I only popped in and out. Looked nice enough but quite pricey.

8 Feb 2008 16:42

Platforms, Basingstoke

No not a bar owned by Louise Wener but a rather upmarket wine bar thingy by the station (Sleepers, see?).

Anyway it didn’t have any ale so I only popped in and out. Looked nice enough but quite pricey.

8 Feb 2008 16:41

Queens Arms, Basingstoke

This super little rail station pub is fast becoming an essential stop whenever I’m over to see my friend in Amazingstoke.

A good variety of ale in good shape (my Hop Back Entire Stout a couple of days back was particularly good condition) with a nice clientele mix – office workers, builders, rail staff etc that makes for a comfortable and lively atmosphere.

Obviously proud to show off their ale, with the pump clip display on the far wall showing a good variety.

Recommended, not just for a ‘quick one before the train’ but for a proper session.

8 Feb 2008 16:40

The White Horse, Hedgerley

Beer from Microbrewers will always be expensive to procure. Small-scale production means larger cost overheads. Simple economic theory.

I personally applaud their active promotion of microbreweries. It gives small businesses an exposure that they won't get in tied houses. Most breweries started off as micros many moons ago. There'll always be a few beers that aren't that great served up, but there'll be some crackers. Sober's Six Sixes is a particularly memorable beer I had in the WH last year.

If you want a Dark Star/Hopback/Grand Union/Sharps there are plenty of places that serve them!!

Except Grand Union, which is now defunct, bar a few barrels sitting in cellars waiting to be tapped...

7 Feb 2008 14:03

The White Lion, Portishead

Has had a bit of a refurb and gone for the laminate floored thing, presumably to try and rid itself of the dodgy image and dodgy customers it had a few years back.

Can't say I was keen, although the back part still looks the same. Despite the dubious characters I always had a soft spot for it. Sadly no ale available, so didn't stop for long. I hope it improves.

3 Feb 2008 21:56

The Windmill Inn, Portishead

Was indeed a poor pub when known as the Hole in One - a classic case of much potential unfulfilled.

Potential now fulfilled, wonderful views over the Channel towards Wales, a very good range of ales in very condition. Service polite and prompt.

Clientele are mixed, but mostly white, middle-class young locals, with some older aleheads in residence. Can get quite hot inside sometimes.

Only quibble with the overhaul is that you can no longer drink in the old windmill itself, that had a lot of character, shame to see it closed off.

Would recommend highly, along with the Poacher.

3 Feb 2008 21:52

The Swan Hotel, Staines

Beer quality variable and damned expensive. Shame as this should be the best pub in town with that view...but isn't.

3 Feb 2008 21:42

The George, Staines

The quality of the ale in here continues to impress, proves that in capable hands Wetherspoons pubs can be good.

Shame the inside is such a mess.

The place to go in Staines for a beer, very very good.

3 Feb 2008 21:40

The Poacher, Portishead

Some good ale imbibed here over Christmas, well done landlord.

3 Feb 2008 21:35

The Water Witch, Lancaster

Still the daddy of ale houses in Lancaster, no problems with the sparkler this time either.

Christmas beer festival was insane, so much choice.

Yes it is a little on the expensive side for Lancaster, but given what's on offer I think it's acceptable.

3 Feb 2008 21:12

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

Still a genius beer pub, but I think it really is time for a new carpet, a good clean and maybe just a little less sarcasm from behind the bar.

3 Feb 2008 21:07

The Beehive, Englefield Green

Still empty - how does it make any money?!?

Beer quality good, though cold.

3 Feb 2008 21:04

The Almamata, Egham

Slowly getting there - the huge back garden decking has been finished and there's now normally two ales on which are well-served.

I like the guy who runs this place - want him to succeed, think he may have over-extended himself early on but is making it back now.

3 Feb 2008 20:59

The Compasses, Egham

Beer quality never been as good as that February visit.

Smoking ban has shown up how tired-looking the inside is. Needs a bit of TLC but really could be a contender if the landlord applies himself.

3 Feb 2008 20:56

The Porterhouse, Covent Garden

Half of the 'world beers' on the menu are never stocked, which is annoying. Mrs Quinno also had an issue in here with the food and a surly bar manager here a while back.

Staff quality varies - I've had some excellent service punctuated with others who seem to busy chatting to their mates the other side of the bar or serving attractive girls before everyone else.

Novelty has worn off, I'm busting down my mark for this place, sadly.

3 Feb 2008 20:53

The Griffin, Caversham

Still a decent selection of ale and plenty busy with diners. You could do a lot worse than get a pint in here.

3 Feb 2008 20:45

The Full Moon and Eclipse, Bristol

Return visit to the FM found less-than-drinkable beer on, barman seemed disinterested in taking it off or at least turning the clip round.

Shame as this could be a contender, it has all the fittings in place.

3 Feb 2008 20:44

The Lord Clyde, Borough

I love the Clyde, have been back a few times with some friends who have also left mighty impressed.

A hidden gem - lovely.

3 Feb 2008 20:40

The Nags Head, Belgravia

Dropped in for re-visit a few weeks back.

I still love the interior, but the price of my pint was shocking and it wasn't exactly nectar either. I'd like to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the rent for the place is sky-high given where it's sited.

Only three other people there, not a great return for a Saturday afternoon.

3 Feb 2008 20:37

The Speaker, Westminster

Paid a re-visit last week and enjoyed myself. Four ales on, including a Stout which were well-served.

Inside was heaving and it there was barely room to move so took a while to get served, had wave my tenner like a handkerchief in order to get seen.

Had forgotten about the comedy hike up some narrow, rickety stairs to the toilets - bet that's caused a few accidents in its time. Not exactly disability-friendly!

Very good, will keep returning.

3 Feb 2008 20:33

The Buckingham Arms, Westminster

Popped in on a Friday night and enjoyed my visit. Winter Warmer was on good form and got a bit of banter from the barman.

The interior is quite nice, though I'm not over-keen on the long swoop of the bar without any top-roofing, makes the place look extremely empty...guessing there was one a while ago.

But yes, well worth a visit if you're in the area - I'll be back.

3 Feb 2008 20:28

The Wheatsheaf, Virginia Water

Looks like someone's removed the post about the fact that this place was prosecuted by the local council for the woeful state of the kitchen a couple of years back.


Type in the pub name, place name and 'prosecuted' into Google and it's the first returned hit...from the local council's own website!!!

I am sure, however, that the kitchen is now a place of much cleanliness.

3 Feb 2008 19:49

The Sportsman, Reading

Clean and enjoyable GK pub a short walk away from the uni.

Two ales usually on (Morlands and a GK-approved guest voted on by the regulars), which are kept fairly well, food available.

Forward-thinking landlord is putting on a variety of entertainment, good luck to him.

A nice little place, worth a stop.

2 Feb 2008 11:39

Oasis, Reading

Brilliantly bad - awful beer (my Abbot was rancid) stripped-down and grubby interior along with a pikey-inhabited pool table.

Even more surprising as this is a Greedy King pub.

I last visited in July 07 (it's only just been listed on BITE) so I shall pop in again soon (the lengths I go to, eh?).

30 Jan 2008 21:41

The Land of Liberty, Peace and Plenty, Heronsgate

Continues to impress me each time I visit - excellent range of ales in great condition, good service and a pretty location.

It's fairly easy to get to from the M25. I would urge everyone to sample the place whilst it's this good (in the final four of CAMRA's national Pub of the Year award, 2008)!

30 Jan 2008 14:23

The Battle Inn, Reading

New pub will be called Gospoda, which is also listed on BITE.

I too anm looking forward to giving it a sample, I hope they do well. The Nags Head has proved beyond doubt that turning a dump round into a must-visit venue can be done, even if you're on the Oxford Road!

30 Jan 2008 13:56

Cheekees Bar Brasserie, Staines

Looks like my old comment got removed, so I will comment again...

Cheekees was horrible and I'm glad it's gone. The only people who would even think of drinking in here during the day were the sort of people you'd be wanting to avoid anyway, if you were normal of course.

Only claim to fame is that it's mentioned in a Hard-Fi song. You can guess in what context.

29 Jan 2008 21:34

Bird In Hand, Knowl Hill

Excellent place, Reading CAMRA Pub of the Year 2007 and rightly so. Has a good selection of ale, always featuring a dark (landlord is a dark ale fan) which are kept extremely well.

Lots of history about the place, landlord also organizes some good theme evenings (excellent bonfire night last October for example).

A big part of its business is selling food. Not tried any yet, but my friends say that it is good stuff. However drinkers are always welcome, you aren’t made to feel like unwelcome if all you want is a couple of beers and there’s usually a good atmosphere most evenings.

Clean and tidy, topped off my pleasant, professional service.

Would recommend without hesitation.

29 Jan 2008 20:59

The Crown and Thistle, Gravesend

Popped in here for 20 minutes before going to watch Ebbsfleet vs Burton. Recommended by the Good Beer Guide and rightly so. This is a friendly local, with an easy-going atmosphere and an extremely range of ale (5 handpulls, my pint Oak Leaf Porter was nice) given the pubs size, along with comfy seating and a nice bottle of Fentimans Ginger Beer for Mrs Quinno.

Close to the waterfront and the town centre, but far enough to keep it's identity and keep out townie-types. Main fault (as pointed out elsewhere) is that the bar is often inaccessible because of the rows of old men sat at it - irritating, get rid of some of those bar stools. Small beer patio is a sun-trap.

Noticed that for a minimum order of £10 you can get the bar staff to phone you through a takeaway order (menus scattered around the pub) which gets delivered to the bar for you to consume at your table - nice touch.

I'll be working my way through Gravesend over the coming months due to MyFC, get the feeling I'll be in here a fair bit though.

27 Jan 2008 13:13

The Battle Inn, Reading

Being turned into a 'Polish Pub' - good luck to them.

23 Jan 2008 15:20

The Battle Inn, Reading

Currently boarded up, future uncertain.

13 Jan 2008 00:05

The Latchmere, Battersea

Learn how to use punctuation before you post.

4 Sep 2007 23:19

The Queens Head, Henley-On-Thames

Better than it was, but not worth stopping for.

29 Jul 2007 19:04

The Railway Inn, Winchester

Only a brief stop due to a desperate need for a kebab and the train home, so slammed a half - but was in long enough to take enjoy the left-field vibe of the place. Definitely an evening stop though, can't imagine too much life in here during daylight hours.

A friendly (and frighteningly skinny) barmaid serving the liquid tucker including a couple of good ales, my Banks' Sunshine was in decent form.

Will stop off again to explore further next time...only have another 18 pubs to do in Winchester…

23 Jul 2007 22:14

William Walker, Winchester

Quite possibly the best pub of the day on our crawl, a super half of Ringwood's 49er with an excellent crowd.

Place had a buzzing convivial atmosphere in a nice location. Food looked good, but didn't sample.

Well worth seeking out if in Winchester, would recommend, especially on a Saturday evening. Shall be back!

23 Jul 2007 22:06

Bakers Arms, Winchester

Certainly quite local, but certainly didn't find the quality of punter on a par with the Rising Sun!

Old skool interior, quite lively with good music. Could see how this would be a good warm-up pub on a night out.

Fairly limited selection of ales, my Spitfire was alright though but my fellow crawlees Youngs Ordinary was poor in my opinion.

I wasn't too bothered by this place, but Degu was pretty happy so I guess we'll be back...

23 Jul 2007 22:04

The Green Man, Winchester

The joint worst pub on our crawl (along with the Rising Sun), both Greedy King ales here were in appalling condition. No atmosphere, save for a couple of fishwives at the bar.

Shame because I quite liked the interior. Also get the feeling the local EMO’s might hang out here.

Working dumb waiter was an interesting touch, as was the slightly unfathomable choice of two different types of handwash available in the gentleman’s convenience.

Must do better.

23 Jul 2007 22:02

The Fulflood Arms, Winchester

Charming local, a bit out of the way but well worth the walk. A Greedy King house, but had a guest on (St Austell Tribute) which was served fairly well.

Locals were friendly, and a bar billiards table is to be found – unusual in a tied house these days.

Comedy entertainment was provided by the three massive St Bernards, who were roaming round the bar, pushing the 16 year old-looking camp barman off balance.

All in all, pretty good.

23 Jul 2007 21:59

The Albion, Winchester

Small but enjoyable stop-off near the station. Looks a little rough from the outside but don't be put off - this was one of the better pubs on our crawl on Saturday.

A lively evening atmosphere with a good selection of ales (my Gooden's Gold was very well served) made for an enjoyable half hour. Recommended.

23 Jul 2007 21:51

The Eclipse Inn, Winchester

An excellent find - 4 ales on (my Flowers was quality) in a good relaxed atmosphere situated over two bar areas.

Clientele were a mixed crowd but tended towards the younger, artier side.

Barring a very strong smell of lamb & mint (some kind of neuveau posh air freshener?), one of my favourite pubs of the day. Good work landlord!

23 Jul 2007 21:36

White Swan, Winchester

The Hyde Tavern (our original destination) was closed further up the road (doesn't open until 7pm), so stopped in here for a breather.

All went a bit Sam Tyler in here, patrons, jukebox and television were all stuck in a 1996 timewarp. Knew I'd had a few but thought someone had spiked my last pint.

Well actually it turned out that the landlords ipod was on playlist Britpop, the patrons looked like they got their Britpop clothes on for the day and the TV was showing England vs India Test match from 1996. This was Oasis-style Britpop, lots of pissed-up mooing, grunting and unintelligible conversations. Get the feeling a lot of these punters think they're too good for the Rising Sun, or too pissed to find it.

Interior was in fairly good shape, with a small beer garden out back. Greedy King pub with only a couple of ales on - my Speckled Hen was fine.

Not sure I'd bother this place again unless I had a copy of Loaded and a packet of 20 B&H in my pocket. And was hammered.

23 Jul 2007 21:21

Greens Wine Bar, Winchester

Had a very enjoyable smoked fish meal in here last year when I took Mrs Quinno out for the day. No ales that time, but an enjoyable hour nonetheless.

Popped by on the weekend crawl but still no ale, and this time had bigger fish to fry (see what I did there?!?) so carried onwards.

23 Jul 2007 21:08

The Blonde Beer Cafe, Winchester

Didn't see much beer to get excited about in here, certainly no ales!

23 Jul 2007 21:04

Royal Oak, Winchester

Not too bad a place, decent atmosphere.

5 ales on (2 of which weren't Greedy King) my Moorhouse Bitter was fairly good. Food looked decent but didn't sample.

Funny barmaid wearing pixie boots kept us smiling. Worth a stop on a Winchester crawl, quite liked it here.

23 Jul 2007 20:53

Old Gaol House, Winchester

The scruffy end of the 'Spoons spectrum - refurbishing all these pubs is gonna cost mullet man a fortune.

Food was OK, all the guest ales were from Itchin Valley, but didn't sample - pub 9 of the day meant a pint of lemonade along with our Pikey Platter in order to get us through to closing time.

Quite obviously chavvy, and I thought Winchester was one of those posh places you hear about.

Needs a damn good clean really, but I've been in worse.

23 Jul 2007 20:49

St James Tavern, Winchester

Small, dark Wadworth house tucked away from the direct centre of town.

5 ales on tap, my Butcombe Bitter was OK, no great shakes. Landlord's Ipod selection was eclectic, to say the least, Fratelli's to Dean Martin in 10 minutes flat.

Worth the short walk for a quick half.

23 Jul 2007 20:43

The Bishop On The Bridge, Winchester

Very expensive pub in a pretty location. Light, bright, airy and spacious, must have been refurbed in the past 12 months or so. Toilets were exemplary.

Disappointed to only see three Fullers ales on, and my ESB was fairly lifeless sadly.

Felt that it had more to offer than this, so will try again next time I'm in town. But for now, very middling points, and wouldn't particularly recommend it for a Winchester crawl if Fullers' pubs aren't a novelty in your area.

23 Jul 2007 20:20

The Black Boy, Winchester

Eccentric freehouse, with more stuffed animals in it than Ray Mears' shed and more rugs than Terry Wogan's dressing room.

Enjoyable cosy atmosphere, with a good selection of 5 ales (my Flowerpots bitter was good).

Comedy Britpop-era tabloid newspapers decorating the bogs, not sure about the dirty contacts pages being up next to the urinal though.

Worth the (pretty) walk to get to, good for a session I think. One of Winchesters best places and a well-kept secret from the tourists.

23 Jul 2007 20:13

The Wykeham Arms, Winchester

Still doing a sound pint of ale (my Butser was good), absolutely heaving Saturday lunchtime with people eating which unfortunately meant that we drank up and bogged off pretty quick, there were no tables left. They must be doing something right.

It is indeed a little expensive, but I think you get what you pay for here.

Watch out for random cucumbers lying on the pavement if you’re walking down from Canon Street, they’re a potential death trap (copyright Lynn Faulds-Wood).

23 Jul 2007 20:07

The Exchange, Winchester

A fairly modern yoof/sport hangout. Had a decent beer garden with a nice view.

Surprised to see 2 ales on (the Brakspears turned out not be available) my Summer Lightening was OK too.

Barmaid who served me looked thoroughly fed-up, regardless of how blonde she was.

Might be worth a stop if on a crawl, but there are plenty of other places in town.

23 Jul 2007 19:50

The Westgate Inn, Winchester

Enjoyable hostelry, with a neat, bright interior (some nice window glasswork), good selection of music and the most genial landlord in town.

3 ales - 2 Jennings and a Banks, my Honey Bole was in good form. Quizzer was a bit harsh on us though.

Well worth a stop, good for the station too. Recommended.

23 Jul 2007 19:44

Bar 38, Reading

Newcy Broon gone, only Budvar can save us now...

Too noisy, too dingy, too expensive.

20 Jul 2007 19:21

The Rose and Crown, Thorpe Green

Promises a lot more than it delivers, I found it all rather underwhelming, and my Hogsback was fairly insipid.

Part of the Chef & Brewer chain. The one in Wokingham is very good for beer, so surprised this was so dull really.

20 Jul 2007 19:08

The Red Lion, Thorpe

Not too bad a place, usual unimaginative choice of 2 ales (Pride and Courage) but a good pint of Best.

Pool tables take up too much room and get in the way. Found some of the customers a bit 'local' for my liking, felt like me and my mate were getting the stares.

Maybe worth a stop, but if you'e close enough to Egham and want a pint, there are more compelling places a few minutes drive away like the Royal Marine in Lyne.

20 Jul 2007 19:01

The Cow and Plough, Oadby

A good range of beer in this converted farm outhouse, including the Steamin' Billy range (served through silly sparklers, get them taken off!).

Shame the farm (which was open to the public) has gone, blame DEFRA for that during foot and mouth, killing off the countryside. Still, at least we have this gem in its place.

Lots of original olde worlde pub decor inside (which makes you realise how many pubs have been raped by developers of the past few years) which gives it a good ambience. Lots of characters, could easily lose a few hours in here chatting to folk.

Grab a bus (one of Leicesters strong points) and come out here for an afternoon), it really is worth it.

12 Jul 2007 23:05

The Criterion, Leicester

Still the best in town, tried 10 cracking brews last Wednesday and had a go at the fiendishly difficult quiz.

Very close to the Swan & Rushes (not yet listed on BITE, it's on 19 Infirmary Square, LE1 5WR) which is also a great ale pub.

Leicestershire CAMRA pub of the year and deservedly so. Any serious alehead must visit the Criterion at least once!

12 Jul 2007 22:57

Barley Mow, Leicester

Quite a good Everards house near the train station, serving the normal Everards fayre in normal sparkler-ised Everards condition.

Patrons are on the acceptable side of rowdy, very middle-aged laddish. there's a coffee bar upstairs that's open during the week.

Landlord and landlady were offering around free sangria last Sunday, so novelty points for that.

Worth a stop if you're waiting for a train, not a bad little place.

12 Jul 2007 22:49

Jaceys Bar, Leicester

This is now a gay bar called The Village with a big rainbow flag fluttering outside the door.

Didn't drop in to see what's changed, but have to express a bit of disappointment, as I quite liked Jacey's :o(

Still at least it's trying to be a bit different I supoose, better than another plastic bar.

12 Jul 2007 22:45

The Globe, Leicester

Interior has been done up to a better standard now, and had a decent pint of Tiger to boot. A big improvement and worth a visit if in the town centre needing to kill half an hour.

12 Jul 2007 22:40

Goose On Hotel St, Leicester

Couple of OK ales on (I had Bass), interior is pretty good shape given its customer base.

Collection of alcoholics and shady characters hanging round didn't make the place seem terribly welcoming during the lunchtime I was in, but there's a lot worse in Leicester.

12 Jul 2007 22:39

The White Horse, Hedgerley

"Go there for the superbly kept and varied beer, the hot fires on a cold winter's evening and the feeling of an old pub run in the way that pubs are supposed to be run..."

Yup, I think that's a fair assessment...

12 Jul 2007 19:02

The Three Horseshoes, Marlow

Well, unlike some of the reviewers below I go to pubs for BEER and the beer in this Rebellion brewery tap was in fabulous condition, with a 6 handpulls doing a fine job.

Pub is clean and well-maintained - the interior can be a bit cavernous and they could do a little more with the garden perhaps, but this is a definite must-visit if you're in the area, a great choice for a session.

11 Jul 2007 23:26

The Land of Liberty, Peace and Plenty, Heronsgate

I've never had this apparent problem that others claim to have with the Landlord+lady when I've been in, nothing wrong with being knowledgeable about the product you sell is there?!?

As far as I'm concerned I've always had an excellent selection of ales served in great condition with a good atmosphere!

11 Jul 2007 23:17

The White Horse, Hertford

A couple of guest ales on that I recall (tried Elgood's Cambridge) which was in good form alongside the Fullers fayre.

Didn't really dig the place though, can't really put my finger on why, should go back and give it another go at some point. The beer was good enough and the pickled egg was welcome. Something just didn't quite click.

11 Jul 2007 23:12

The Queens Head, Allens Green

A real corker of a pub selling a range (including a mild on my visit) of well-kept ales.

No TV's or fruit machines, just beer!

Was lucky enough to drop in on the 3rd weekend of the month and sample the beer lovers festie in a nice beer garden with marquee. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this is that the Landlord (who is a thoroughly good egg and has a passion for beer) uses an honesty box for the guest beers and allows you to pour them out yourself!

One of the best pubs I've been to. Excellent all-round, I shall return!

11 Jul 2007 22:58

The Gate, Sawbridgeworth

Had a lot of beers available my visit, but I also found that a couple of them were well past their best - think the quality control needs to be a bit tighter here!

Was busy though, I'll give it that and good to see them brewing their juice.

Room for improvement, however.

11 Jul 2007 22:51

The White Horse Inn and Hotel, Ridgewell

Low beamed country boozer featuring a real cider and perry alongside 4 interesting beers, including a Mild.

My halves were served in a thick-handled beer mug, always a bonus. Bogs could do with a refurb though.

Gigantic banner outside proudly proclaiming that they don't serve Greedy King beer - good on you boys!

All in all, a great pub in a nice location well worth seeking out for good session.

11 Jul 2007 22:46

Queens Head, Reading

Enjoying this place more and more each time I go in, standard of beer is pretty good, enjoyed the Tuesday night quiz and the punters are a friendly lot. Well worth calling my local.

11 Jul 2007 22:41

The Turks, Reading

Big spacious studenty pub. Barmaid seemed to get randomly stroppy about me wanting 2 halves of the two (very mediocre) ales rather than a single pint. Odd, but then again I hear she has a reputation for being a bit mardy.

Quite enjoyed the atmosphere otherwise, will give it another try to see if the beer has improved in a few weeks.

28 Jun 2007 18:23

The Red Cow, Reading

Enjoy the Lounge bar, it should be listed by CAMRA as a heritage pub as it is perfectly preserved from 1984, right down the vintage Hofmeister ashtrays and Courage Best Nitrokeg! (perhaps they have Red Barrel and a Party 7 hidden in the cellar too). Landlady is akin to Peggy Mitchell on speed.

Outside of that comedy factor, there's no real reason to return once you've had a look.

28 Jun 2007 18:13

The Malthouse, Reading

A straight-friendly gay bar. Done a nice job on the inside, though it does remind me somewhat of the Careless Whisper video. Well it's George Michael, who knows what the designers were thinking...?

Sadly there's no ale (not even a decent bottle), which is a bit unfortunate if you're a gay/lesbian/whatever ale drinker wanting that particular (and rare outside London and Brighton) kind of atmosphere.

Fairly good for what it is, could be better though.

28 Jun 2007 18:08

The Hope Tap, Reading

Ale range improved a bit, but now served too cold. Gah! off to the Hobgoblin...

28 Jun 2007 00:00

The Hop Leaf, Reading

Miserable old landlady now gone the same way as the cat, definately a more friendly experience for it too. Beer quality first class, would now wholeheartedly recommend.

27 Jun 2007 23:59

The Alehouse, Reading

Still love the beer range and the ale quality but never fancy drinking it inside, always opt for the small outdoors area. The toilets are pretty bad, they must make enough money in this place to give them an overhaul soon.

27 Jun 2007 23:57

The Eldon Arms, Reading

Excellent 2-room backstreet boozer in the posh bit of town (well the bit that looks like Bath anyway). Good range of Wadworth beers on, kept well. Active darts team and a nice atmosphere on my visits.

Not sure where all the comments about expensive pints is coming from - I don't think I've had an ale in there that's more than £2.70. If you want Lidl-style prices, go hang out with the pikeys in Wetherspoons!

27 Jun 2007 23:54

Coopers Arms, Reading

Range and quality of ales up and down more than Abi Titmusses knickers recently, which is a shame as I like this place a lot. Quality jukebox too, put some Whigfield on.

27 Jun 2007 23:49

The Brewery Tap, Reading

Return visit on Sunday afternoon found gents toilet covered in the previous nights barf. If that's the standard then I'm not daring to drink anything that isn't bottled.

27 Jun 2007 23:47

O'Neills, Reading

I'm not entirely sure what this is doing on here as it's a paying club, but for what its worth there ain't much decent beer to be had - best to get tanked up elsewhere before you boogie on down to Falco and Nena.

27 Jun 2007 23:31

Nags Head, Reading

It has indeed been overhauled extensively and is much better for it. Good quality dart board and rolls available.

There are indeed 12 ales on, however when I went in a couple of Saturdays back in the early afternoon a number of them tasted musty like they had been sat in the lines for a quite a while which has put me off.

I'll try again in the near future and see if there's an improvement, but frankly, it might just be better for the licensees to halve the selection for now and keep it fresh before launching into 12 bearing in mind that the Hobgoblin and the Monks have cornered the real ale market in town.

27 Jun 2007 23:24

The Coopers Hotel (Y Cwps), Aberystwyth


They're trying to pass off some of the handpulls as genuine, when in fact all you get is nitrokeg.

Poor show.

1 Jun 2007 18:23

The Phoenix, Staines

New landlord has started to make changes for the better, has got some beer on (sadly all Greddy King but you've got to start somewhere I suppose), and is worth a visit now.

There's plenty of scope here to turn this place into a top venue for the area. Can it be done?

1 Jun 2007 17:47

The Lyndhurst, Reading

Visited earlier this week and was really impressed.

Five ales on (and the four I tried were in excellent condition) which were a fairly mixed bunch, from the obvious (Greedy King Abbot) to the more left-field (Rebellion and St Austell's). Pub had a clean interior, friendly punters and a good atmosphere.

I rated this higher than the Retreat, for an ale drinker that's quite something given the hype surrounding the Retreat.

Will definitely be back very soon.

1 Jun 2007 17:37

The Retreat, Reading

Real ale dive bar, old-school boozer in the sense it hasn't seen a new carpet for forty years.

My beer quality was variable I have to admit I was expecting more, but there was certainly plenty of choice including a dark, cider and a number of belgian beers.

I'd definitely come back, but I left feeling just a little disappointed. Perhaps I caught them on one of those 'bad days'?

1 Jun 2007 17:31

Queens Head, Reading

Low-brow studenty pub, could do with a lick of paint and a clean. Functional beer garden out the back, plus quizzer.

Three ales on last week, including an unusual choice in Gribble's Plucking Pheasent. Beers are served OK.

Worth it if visiting or studying at the uni.

1 Jun 2007 17:23

The Litten Tree, Reading

I'll pass comment on this as Dogma, seeing as the updating for this site is currently sporadic, to say the least.

Cocktail bar with 3 ales on, all pulled through a sparkler and all in poor condition.

Queue at the bar is ridiculously long.


1 Jun 2007 17:19

The Pickerel Inn, Stowmarket

Old skool pub with old skool regulars and big dogs. 2 beers on, my pint of Adnams Bitter was good, if a little cold. Other choice was Greedy King IPA.

Darts available. Beware of the quizzer, it takes your money for no return.

Definately better for a pre-tarin pint than the Verandah (aka Gordon Brittas' leisure centre).

1 Jun 2007 16:48

The Glengower Hotel, Aberystwyth

Beer selection still decent - and I'll forgive them about the sparklers (which seem to be taking over Aber pubs like a cancer now) I just get them taken off.

Otherwise, still far far to big for its current incarnation, GET THE DISCO BACK IN!!!

17 May 2007 23:05

The Weston Vaults, Aberystwyth

Found at the bottom of the barrel more like.

17 May 2007 22:38

Yr Hen Orsaf, Aberystwyth

Ale range poor, and still freezing cold on dispense. Shame as this used to be a good place.


17 May 2007 22:28

The Vale of Rheidol, Aberystwyth

Being re-decorated on my visit.

Still a hit with the locals, not a student in sight. Or ale for that matter, so I shoved off after a bottle of Pils.

17 May 2007 22:24

The Ship and Castle, Aberystwyth

Now back to towards its best, six interesting beers on the go and in very good nick too. Won CAMRA's Ceredigion Pub of the Year for 2006 - on this form it's easy to see why.

The only must-visit pub in Aber!

17 May 2007 22:22

Rummers, Aberystwyth

They've now got TV's. Sold their soul for few geeks watching Top Gear. What will Julian Shelley think?

On a more positive note, the beer range has improved.

17 May 2007 22:19

Mill Inn, Aberystwyth

Now has a beer on (a very nice pint of Rev. James), so now worth a stop for the footy.

17 May 2007 22:04

The Court Royal Hotel, Aberystwyth

It's Harley's under a different name (so no ale).

Had a flirtation with being a gay bar so I hear, but I didn't notice too many Dorothy's when I popped my head round the door.

17 May 2007 21:45

The Castle Hotel, Aberystwyth

No it isn't, and it's had an expensive, trendily clinical refit (which only extends as far as the toilet doors). Lost some atmosphere as result, especially as the top of the old Victorian-style bar has been ripped out (why?!?!)

Has one or two of the old bits left (like the Jukebox, dart board and lethal pole) and now serves real ale, for the first time in years.

In some ways better, in some ways worse. So about the same, but at least I can get a decent pint.

17 May 2007 21:33

The Bay, Aberystwyth

The Snakebite and Black's still lethally good value, but shutting the downstars bar (and the alternative nights/gigs that went with it) is short-sighted and takes away some of the pub's uniqueness.

17 May 2007 21:29

The Fountain, Aberystwyth

Ale is often too cold, otherwise, still a good place to spend a couple of hours.

17 May 2007 21:27

The Coopers Hotel (Y Cwps), Aberystwyth

Has had a refit, but service is ropey and the beer is still crap.

17 May 2007 21:26

The Three Horseshoes, Shepperton

A pub that has seen better days, attested to by the dusty pump clip gravestones of the real ale they no longer serve hooked across the top of the bar.

TV vs jukebox death match on the weekday evening when I was there, and 2 other customers as well.

Pub boasts cricket and darts team, plus a charity book exchange.

17 May 2007 21:17

The Crossroads, Shepperton

Walked in, saw no beer, so walked out again.

17 May 2007 21:11

The Court Royal, Aberystwyth

This is now deceased and has reopened as the Court Royale Hotel.

You'd be hard-pressed to tell the difference however.

25 Apr 2007 22:27

The District Arms, Ashford

Old, tired and very tatty, interior colour of choice nicotine yellow. Could be a decent boozer with a bit of effort, but it looks like the heart of the place was ripped out long ago.

A couple of ales on, and my Spitfire was surprisingly good given what I was expecting.

Apparently has a function room and a beer garden. I didn't hang around long enough to check them out though and they will have to remain a mystery cos I'm not going back.

19 Apr 2007 23:48

Royal Hart, Ashford

An old Victorian building that has been recently been refitted (at considerable expense I'd guess) and looks fairly good for it.

There is outside seating, and 3 pool tables. Basically this is a kids bar, although there is an explicit no Chav-wear policy on Fridays and Saturdays

Nothing for me, the token beer (Hobgoblin) was only fit to pour over fish and chips and the telly and music were both turned up against each other.

Not really worth the effort unless you're 19 or a bit Chavvy (on a weekday of course).

19 Apr 2007 23:42

The Three Tuns, Reading

Decent enough boozer catering for locals and students from the Uni across the street.

Has a couple of beers on (Pride and Courage Best) which were OK.

Nice in summer, the front end is a sun-trap.

Nothing special, but OK for what it is.

19 Apr 2007 22:17

The Sandrock, Boundstone

Fair few beers on (including a smashing pint of Surrey Hills’ Ranmore) all kept in pretty good condition.

Recollections of the inside are pretty hazy, but I look as happy as Larry in my mates photos sat in front of a long line of halves, and my piece of beer scoring paper has a big tick through it!

Definitely worth seeking out for another session this summer, very good place.

15 Apr 2007 20:41

The Hawkley Inn, Hawkley

A good selection of beers, but most in very average condition

Didn't feel much ambience, came away a little disappointed really...

Given the amount of beers on offer, I'll give it another go sometime.

15 Apr 2007 20:39

The Flower Pot Hotel, Sunbury on Thames

Classic quote about the bar staff being like Alan Partridges girlfriend ('Is he right? He's not wrong! etc). Our Olga from the Volga looked like her face would crack if she smiled.

Quite enjoyed my pint of Brakspear in here, it was a fairly good atmosphere. However, wouldn't settle in for a sesh cos there wasn't much choice beer-wise and the music was TOO LOUD.

15 Apr 2007 16:28

The Grey Horse, Sunbury on Thames

A blink-and-you'll-miss-it local, with a couple of nice Twickenham beers on sale in very good nick.

Service with a smile from the ladies behind the bar.

Main drawback was me not being too keen on the interior, didn't really fancy settling in for a session, but definately worth 30 minutes with a pint of Twickers.

15 Apr 2007 16:22

The Three Horseshoes, Laleham

Slow service, staff looked miserable, beer was poor.

Token point for the fishtank.

15 Apr 2007 16:19

The Railway Arms, Alton

An agreeable place to sink a few of the Triple FF breweries wares.

Worse for wear during my brief visit, but did enjoy the train bursting forth from the pubs frontage.

Definately worth a stop, especially if boarding the Real Ale Train!

14 Apr 2007 17:29

Bugle Returns, Shepperton

Ahhh, so it's still listed as Trawlers!

Popped in mid-refit, had a couple of beers on the go (Adnams Bitter, London Pride) in decent nick so that's a good start!

Hard to make too much of a judgement on the interior, but the barmaid didn't seem to actually know much about her job, and we had a quick chat with a CAMRAS version of Freddie Mercury.

Will pop back in again once Bob the Builder has moved out and the refurb has settled in.

12 Apr 2007 19:41

The White Horse Inn, Priors Dean

After being served at the miserable Harrow, we were grateful to arrive here a pub with a story which boasts a nice array of ales and ciders, but more importantly, was friendly! The owners were happy to chat in between tasks and we were made to feel welcome.

Beers sampled included Oakhams JHB, with No Name Strong and Best also. The cider was a particularly dry one (Heart of Hampshire I think), which certainly stripped the plaque off the teeth, should keep my dentist happy.

Couple of small downsides - I found was that the interior was a bit dark for a sunny day, and I wanted to get outside. I dare say it’s a better bet in the winter months. Also the beer, whilst fair, wasn’t of the quite of the top quality I was hoping for (and I had been spoilt by the Moles!). I am being picky though – it’s well worth a return visit.

7 Apr 2007 15:59

The Harrow, Steep

I’m afraid I will have to break ranks here and say that on our visit at the beginning of March, this place sucked.

The landlady was a right mardy cow, and appeared to see our group of thirsty (but thoroughly friendly) CAMRA drinkers as some sort of irritating nuisance, rather than a business opportunity (unlike the super landlady at the Three Moles, who worked the pumps like a Las Vegas gambling addict to keep us happy). In here, lots of huffing and puffing, despite taking more in that 30 minutes through the barrel than she would for the rest of the day. And she appeared to take particular exception to be asked for the actual names of the beers on dispense, rather than just the brewery name! I still have no idea what the Oakley brewery beer I drank was. And whilst OK, neither was particularly great.

As an actual pub, this place has many plus points – the interior, a real fire, comedy outside lavs, thick handled glasses…but the service with a scowl negates that, cos it lives on in your mind long after the beer has passed through the system. We were happy to go.

7 Apr 2007 15:56

The Keepers Arms, Trotton

Hard to rate the place properly, as it was in mid-conversion when we arrived. However a few facts are inescapable:

1)The location is wonderful, you’d give an arm for a summer beer on the balcony. Not your drinking arm though.
2)There were two ales available (Dark star Hophead and WJ King Horsham Best) with more to come.
3)The interior is tidy, and would do well in the winter too I think.
4)The electric towel dispenser in the toilets was a source of much fascination

So that bodes well. Landlord was keen to tell us of his plans, so if that keenness translates into talent, this place should be a sure-fire winner in six months time, so long as the foodies don’t overwhelm the place.

7 Apr 2007 15:54

The Three Moles Inn, Selham

A fantastic cosy pub in the middle of Sticksville, our beer bus visit from the suburbia of North Surry visit found five handpulls on the go, featuring some diverse choices, all served in tip-top condition.

Pub is set in a picturesque woodland location, and features a real fire, plus a friendly pub cat. And a lot of plastic moles.

Landlady is a legend, was completely unfazed by 20 thirsty drinkers falling out of the bus, took us all in good humour and was happy to chat and answer questions. She would’ve had a throwing arm thicker than Steve Backleys after all the pints she served up.

An excellent establishment, and definitely worth seeking out for a session

7 Apr 2007 15:44

The Minnow, Weybridge

A wine-led gastropub thingy in a rather nice location.

One beer (Tim Taylor Landlord) which was very average.

It was cold inside, someone should have put the heating on. Also smelt strongly of Milton, which was a bit odd. Better than smelling like a Wetherspoons I suppose.

Maybe worth it for a lazy summer drink, but I wouldn't fancy it otherwise.

7 Apr 2007 15:00

The Queens Head, Weybridge

One of the better pubs in Weybridge.

A former coaching inn, the interior is on the unusual side, what with bare brickwork and random iron poles stretching from floor to ceiling - I bet someone's done themselves an injury on those at chucking-out time.

Decent beer selection, 3 pulls and my pint of St Austell Tribute was in very good condition.

Food is available and there is also quite a big function room. Atmosphere inside was pretty good.

Worth visiting for the interior and beer.

7 Apr 2007 14:59

The British Volunteer, Weybridge

Had a fair selection of the ales on when I went, pretty mainstream choice, but Harveys Best was on, although it was in unusually drab shape…not bad, but not as good as usual.

Inside was classic old skool, probably has looked the same since 1976. Decent atmosphere and newspapers available for those still able to focus.

Unfortunate error of having the TV vs music battle to the death beloved of pubs that aren't confident enough in their own ability. Put me off.

Decent pub, but not worthy of special attention.

7 Apr 2007 14:59

The Grotto Inn, Weybridge

Didn't fancy this place much, but I made the mistake of being there on St Paddys day with all the braying eejits wearing Guiness hats and being 'Oirish' which may have tainted my view somewhat.

However, this wasn't helped by my pint of Ordinary being vile (so far off there must be a lack of basic checking by staff in the morning), but it did get exchanged for an acceptable Pride.

Next time I'm Weybridge I'll pop in again hopefully minus the plastic paddy brigade to get a better picture.

31 Mar 2007 17:12

Old Crown, Weybridge

A nice old interior consisting of three bars, with a bustling atmosphere.

Three handpulls on our visit (only one ale of note though, Hepworths Prospect) which were in fair condition.

Highlight was having it served in a thick handled glass that was class and will ensure I come back!

31 Mar 2007 16:42

The Hand and Spear, Weybridge

An impressive edifice from the outside, the inside isn’t too bad either with a new and modern look, although a bit dark on sunny days.

Lacking a little on the handpull front, but the Winter Warner I had was excellent, best of the season.

Worth a visit if waiting for train.

31 Mar 2007 16:22

Plough, Wokingham

Yet more Greedy King on the Wokingham outskirts, a boringly sad monopoly.

However, unlike the Three Frogs/Poplars/White Horse, this is an enjoyable place to sink a couple of pints; IPA, Abbot and Speckled Hen on offer today (and the Abbot was particularly good).

Pub follows the usual GK out-of-town bar resteraunt feel, however this one is a tad more upmarket and the outside seating provides a good place for a lazy beer on a summers afternoon, even if it is by the main road.

Perhaps a bit too cavernous inside to generate a particularly cosy feel, this is still a notch above a number of other offerings nearby.

26 Mar 2007 23:55

The Magpie and Parrot, Shinfield

Paid my first proper visit yesterday (thanks for the A-board tip Gristy), wasn't disappointed.

Tiny two-roomed pub, which manages to sell two ales in great condition (Pride and a guest - Bath Gem). So small in fact that when our group of four came in, one of the regulars called out to the landlady that there was ‘a rush on’.

Lots of character (and full of characters like Aitch the rescue dog), stuffed full of odd nik-naks (as opposed to tat), David Dickenson would like it in here.

Enormous garden out the back too, could play a good game of footy on that, bet the beer festivals must be a blast; I’ll be popping along to the next one.

Well worth a visit.

26 Mar 2007 23:48

The Bull, Barkham

Well worth a visit due to the good selection of ales (5 including an excellent pint of Old Peculiar) and the warm and chatty atmosphere.

Sadly had to leave earlier than planned, but will make a point of returning. Recommended.

Here, the Swan in Arborfield and the Magpie and Parrot in Shinfield would make an excellent mini-crawl for ale drinkers if you have a willing DES.

24 Mar 2007 14:27

Three Frogs, Wokingham

Looks nice from the outside, but in reality this is just another low-grade Greed King Hungry Horse outlet.

Only two beers on (IPA and a Belhaven, 6 Nations) which were OK, no great shakes.

Inside was pretty dark and dingy, clientele mainly scummy mummies and their offspring when I went in, along with a couple of lonely old men.

Could actually be quite a nice place with a bit of effort but in its current incarnation, avoid.

24 Mar 2007 13:58

The White Horse Inn, Wokingham

Greed King country pub. Three handpulls (Ruddles County, Abbot and IPA) in the usual decent condition for GK.

Basically a place for old men to while away the time reading the paper in the afternoon.

Not worth the effort.

21 Mar 2007 22:37

The Albion, Portishead

Curse of Quinno strikes again! Has now been refitted in the classic Greedy King style (cream and chocolate) and now seems to be a pub/lounge bar effort. The rotten window frames have gone, and there's now some cleaner tables and comfy seats. Vibe is now more warm and relaxed, though still quite quiet.

So onto the beer, what's new? An extra GK handpull (Speckled Hen) and also guest beer (Bateman's XXX, in decent nick from stillage), proving that Greedy Kings shenanigans at the Lewes Arms is just childish corporate posturing.

The Albion is worth visiting again for the first time in years, but it has a long way to go to make up the ground it has lost in Portishead to the Windmill and the Poacher.

20 Mar 2007 23:08

The Two Poplars, Wokingham

Not overly-inspiring Greed King foody-pub.

Pretty big inside, looks like it was only refurbed a short while back but the decor is getting pretty shabby and it needs a lick of paint.

Bizarrely it only sells one GK brew (IPA) along with a guest (Batemans XXXB) in average condition. Does stock a lot of fizzies, which I guess is where they get a lot of custom from...?

Service this afternoon didn't strike me as being particularly on-the-ball, a lot of faffing.

Food menu contained most of the usual suspect nuveau pub-grub, but would appeal to most, prices reasonable for area.

Perhaps somewhere to take Aunty for an afternoon, but I wouldn't bother.

20 Mar 2007 19:37

The Poacher, Portishead

Wasn't expecting much - hadn't been here for around 10 years until I went in last week, and was very happy with what I found.

It's a good place to get a beer, four handpulls operating on my visit with a couple of good choices (Butcombe Blonde and Doombar) in good nick.

A bustling atmosphere on the Friday, belying the pub's local reputation of being a boring old farts waiting room where you can hear the clock tick. This of course helps keep the kids and riff-raff out, and the serious drinkers and characters in, as I discovered.

The interior has that lived-in feel, and it is pretty easy to settle in for an all-night session and get chatting to a red-faced local who has a story to tell.

In short, a revelation and highly recommended for the discerning drinker in the area, along with the Windmill. Keep it up!

19 Mar 2007 22:34

Rifle Volunteer, Wokingham

A good example of an enjoyable community local, light and airy on my lunchtime visit.

Three handpulls on (Pride, Courage Best and a leftfield choice of Cottage D&S) in decent nick.

Clientele mainly 40+ locals. Has an active darts team and Fantasy Football League as well as newspaper rack, which is a nice touch. Serves simple food which keeps the old fellas happy. Has a kids play area out the back.

No world-beater, but well worth a visit. I liked it.

16 Mar 2007 23:01

The Holly Tree, Englefield Green

Still the same old Holly Tree as far as I can make out - dark and dingy with no real atmosphere most times.

Ale is usually a very average pint of London Pride.

Armstrong Gun and Happy Man are far better bets for the area.

13 Mar 2007 23:23

The Shakespeare's Head, Leicester

Barnsley brewery pub, so a few ales to be had, housed in a 'unique' 1960's building that infests this part of town.

8 Mar 2007 21:44

The Crispin, Wokingham

Beer quality on the slide, 2 of the 3 rugby themed beers on today were minging and have had a number of ropey ales in here over the past few weeks.

Get a grip!

5 Mar 2007 19:27

The George, Staines

Beer quality and range has notably improved under new duty manager, and he has no quibble about refusing to serve the obviously inebreated either.

Inside is in desperate need of an overhaul, the tables are shot to pieces and the decor is getting pretty shabby. Roll on refurb...if it ever happens!

1 Mar 2007 23:37

The Bunch of Grapes, London Bridge

A better outpost of the Youngs empire. An inviting pub set out on two floors, with the cosy upstairs in particular being an excellent place to a enjoy a Winter Warmer in a comfy chair next to a real fire. Would be a great place to take the missus I think.

Too leathered to make any notes about the beer range (so a ready-made excuse to go back), but this was certainly an excellent terminus for the Friday crawl and a great opportunity to wind down in nice surroundings.

A definite place to hit on a Borough crawl, and worth seeking out for a relaxing/intimate occasion.

28 Feb 2007 23:14

The Royal Oak, Borough

Paid another visit on Friday. Still doing a great job in here with a good range of the Harveys, including a couple of guests.

There are better interiors to drink beer in nearby (stand up, Lord Clyde) but rarely do the beers come as good as the nectar served up in The Oak.

Deserving of high praise and many visits.

28 Feb 2007 23:01

The Lord Clyde, Borough

An absolutely wonderful old-skool local, with a friendly and convivial welcome on Friday.

Got some nice heritage factors (glass work on the doors) it's nicely lit and would be a very easy place to settle in on a winters night for a couple of hours. And I really dig those red curtains round the door too.

Four mainstream handpulls on the go, the Adnams Bitter and Spitfire were both on good form. Shame there wasn't a slightly more eclectic selection - this is the right kind of area (and pub) in which to shift it.

My personal favourite in the Borough area right now, a must-visit when out with your mates. Misses out on a 10 by the lack of originality on the beer front, but otherwise fabulous.

28 Feb 2007 22:53

The Kings Arms, Waterloo

A bustling corner local, featuring four fairly mainstream ales (though Bass is probably not that mainstream these days). Ticks a few heritage boxes as well.

Tucked away down a classic Olde London street, weekend drinkers (who appeared to be art and philosophy students in my admittedly inebriated state) regularly spill out onto the street to enjoy their tipple, where a rather lovely view of the not-so-Olde-London Millennium Wheel can be had.

Though not as classy as the Lord Clyde, or as eclectic as the Royal Oak, I'd certainly recommend a visit if you're crawling this fine drinking area of London.

28 Feb 2007 21:56

The Speaker, Westminster

Pretty decent bar given the area. Our visit on Friday found 4 ales on (including two from Norfolk brewer Buffys) in fair condition.

Interior looks to have had a refit (I'm hazarding a guess at late 90's), not too bad a job done, and the sympathetic lighting and lack of obtrusive noise from TV's/Jukey made for a pleasant atmosphere.

Clientele almost exclusively formed of the political class (and people who wish they were) but not as boorishly irritating as in other nearby haunts. Our wandering group of scruffs got a couple of funny looks, still it must do them good to meet the proles occasionally...

Would pop in again if nearby, but wouldn't make a big effort to divert that way otherwise.

28 Feb 2007 21:39

The Round Table, Leicester Square

Don't be fooled by the exterior - this is a pretty basic boozer (OK I had been spoilt by the 'Wow' factor of several pubs that day before we dropped in here).

A small, unpretentious little place that had a couple of ales on (Bombadier and Theko's Old Peculiar) in average condition.

Enjoyed the old skool music selection, made the stop-off a little more memorable, hope they stick with that policy on a regular basis.

With The Salisbury so near, I'd recommend to keep on walking towards it.

28 Feb 2007 00:00

The Salisbury, Leicester Square

Enthusiatic staff, 6 handpulls and great heritage features make this a most agreeable hostelry to sink a couple.

Slightly disappointed that the only unusual beer was Moorhouses Pride & Pendle, more scope to be adventurous here I think, given the prime location.

Perhaps not quite as initially cosy as the Ship & Shovell (I found them very similar interior-wise) but the quality of service certainly helps to make that up.

Definately worth a visit, could well be a contender if the beers are varied more and kept interesting.

27 Feb 2007 23:53

The Harp, Covent Garden

Popped in again on Friday, again a decent selection of beer but still not too sure about the overall quality - The Exmoor Hound Dog was good but the Mordue Radgee Gadgee was distinctly average. I'll just have to keep putting my head round the door for quality control purposes...

As mentioned in other posts, upstairs in very drab, more life in Roy Castle. Stick to the downstairs area.

27 Feb 2007 23:47

The Ship and Shovell, Charing Cross

A quality pint of Badger in beautiful surroundings, the etched glasswork is wonderful and the place is kept clean and well-maintained.

The staff were knowledgeable about the beer being served and there was a buzzing atmosphere, with a nice mixture of folk inside.

Would've easily been able to settle in for a session if it were not for the other pubs I had to visit with my fellow crawlees!

Highly recommended, a great place to take a foreign guest in London.

27 Feb 2007 23:42

The Nell Gwynne, Covent Garden

A perfectly acceptable boozer in a prime location, but perhaps a little too lionized given the wealth of opportunities available elsewhere in Central London.

4 beers on Friday (Courage’s Best and Directors, Speckled Hen and Bombadier) which in fairness were served very well.

However it was so dark it felt like I was having a pint in a comedy brothel (yes I know who Nell Gwynne is) and I could easily imagine myself dropping off after a couple.

So we have the pseudo Victorian interior, but then have the two flat screen TV's on the go with no sound. Bearing in mind that this place has the same capacity as a midgets motor home, what's the point?

Jukebox is indeed a very Indie-centric creature, probably more at home in The Good Mixer than here, I would be expecting some Knees Up Mother Brahhhn, or maybe Flash Harry's theme from St Trinian's given the interior style.

Reaching the toilets is like a challenge from the Crystal Maze, though having the timely bash on the head gets you wakened.

I'd recommend it for a slow pint now and then, but not much more.

27 Feb 2007 23:40

The Three Guineas, Reading

Quality of ale is becoming increasingly variable, poor value for such a high price.

25 Feb 2007 19:30

The Dovetail, Clerkenwell

Certainly a great menu of Belgian beers at not-too-bad prices, helpfully sub-divided into easy to understand sections on the menu.

Not a great place to drink them though, inside is pretty dreary, the tiling reminded me of a public convenience and the furniture is uncomfortable cafe-street style (which isn't so bad when outside on a hot summers day, but not inside on a drab Friday in February).

Worth a brief stop, but Quinn's up in Camden also has an extensive range of Low Country beers in a far more comfortable session setting.

25 Feb 2007 18:39

The Hand and Shears, Barbican

Very bland place, promises so much more when you see the outside.

2 Courage Beers on tap (my Directors was OK), but very little else of note. The inside could do with a clean-out.

Considering the heritage factor and location, the owners are missing out big time here. I'm not going back here in it's current state, but would love to have a reason to do so in the future.

25 Feb 2007 18:32

The Three Kings, Clerkenwell

Not sure this place justifies the hype.

Three mainstream beers on the go (my Pride was fine) served by a bloke who was in Holby City for a bit and supplemented by some nice exterior glasswork to catch the eye.

However I found the interior dark and messy. The tat and random posters reminded me more of a student union bar circa 1994. Mind you, I guess for the area that's a bit unique...? In fact, a lot of the people in there seemed quite studenty.

Might pop back on a summers day to sample the al fresco element, but not tempted back at present.

25 Feb 2007 13:34

The Jerusalem Tavern, Clerkenwell

A fantastic range (both bottled and stillaged) of the St Peters ales that it's difficult to know where to start (or end). Darks, Milds, Bitters,'s all here.

Very appreciative of the fact that bottles can be purchased chilled or at room temperature. Real fire was on the go when I visited on Friday, and the service was friendly and efficient.

Two minor quibbles - the dishwasher isn't doing a great job on the glasses (to the obvious embarassment of the barmaid) and our tabletop was loose and very precarious...'olde worlde' does not preclude basic maintainance!

Otherwise, a great place for beer and definately worth a good couple of hours on a weekday afternoon.

25 Feb 2007 13:21

Ye Old Mitre, Holborn

Wonderfully ancient and full of charcater, so can't be faulted there. In fact, quite breathtaking.

3 ales on the go on Friday (Adnams Bitter, Broadsie and Deuchars IPA) not a particularly inspired selection really, could and should do better there. Not exactly served a full glass either first time either, slightly disappointing given the hype.

Yes I'm being nit-picky but when there's a wide range of top-quality pubs within a couple of miles, one has to be.

Certainly well-worth finding for the heritage factor, though I'd be a lot more inclined to go to the Jerusalem for a session in Clerkenwell.

I'll be back though.

25 Feb 2007 13:07

The Priory Hotel, Portbury

Not too bad a place at all, pretty food-oriented (food is decent enough for what it is, and the service is extremely good).

Two ales on today (St Austell Tribute and Butcombe Bitter) both of which were in very good condition.

Has a beer garden outside, but found it a bit cold inside the pub.

Worth a hike to get to on a sunny day, or to take some people out for a meal too. Certainly better than The Battleaxes that's for sure.

17 Feb 2007 20:46

The Harrow, Charlton Village

A lovely old thatched cottage, with the interior retaining a few of the old fittings. Sadly the furniture looks like it's come water-damaged from the Pheonix Club, which spoils the atmosphere somewhat.

Don't neccessarily expect rural-style ambience either - the footy was on during my visit on Sunday.

Beer is Greed King, the Abbot I had was in very good condition - I think this place is being overlooked by the local CAMRA branch.

Would definately recommend a visit.

14 Feb 2007 23:13

The Goat, Upper Halliford

A snug locals bar with a low beamed ceiling.

After the classic stares and glares upon entering, you find that the regulars are a beady-eyed and challenging bunch, ever-eager to know your business and to impart theirs upon you.

One ale, a (nice) pint of Pride with Newcy Broon in the fridge. Perhaps the only saving grace.

I couldn't wait to leave.

Note: This is a laptop free bar, the patrons swear by it.

14 Feb 2007 23:04

The Bull, Shepperton

A 2-bar local that looks like it's seen better days. 2 beers (Courage Best and my choice, Speckled Hen - decent enough). There are some nice architectural touches inside, but it needs a revamp. Pretty empty as a result on Sunday,compared to the other places in Shepperton we dropped into.

Inside is dark and dingy, the barman had the hyperactivity and attention span of someone who has drunk 10 red bulls.

Not encouraged to go back.

14 Feb 2007 22:58

The Wheatsheaf and Pigeon, Staines

An old-school locals pub down by the river. Initially encouraging, three mainstream handpulls on the go, with the Pride and TEA both being in very good form. Inside is nice and light.

Sadly didn't enjoy the atmosphere; both the music and the rugby on the telly were pumped up against each other making general conversation difficult to follow at times. My pet hate, but there you go.

Worth a beer, but not a stayer unless they adopt a 'one brand of entertainment at any one time' policy.

14 Feb 2007 22:53

The Feathers, Laleham

A pub in transition after a series of dubious landlords.

3 ales on the go (Courage Best, Gales' Swing Low and Pride) Swing Low was in good nick, served by a friendly young lass, so there is hope for the place.

Worth a sample at present.

8 Feb 2007 22:37

The Royal Marine, Lyne

Return visit yesterday, must admit I was a lot impressed. The beer range was good (4 ales, including a lovely dark - Pullman's Old Ale) and the condition was good overall. Inside was nice and cosy, and there was a genial, if quiet atmosphere. Can see why it won North Surrey CAMRA Pub of the Year in 2006.

Darts was being played, and the food served up was of the classic 'being looked after by dad' variety, a huge plate of ham, egg peas and chips.

I can recommend this place wholeheartedly on current form.

8 Feb 2007 22:34

The Golden Grove, Chertsey

This should be a great old country pub but it falls well short, the inside is cheap, outdated and unwelcoming. Went on a cold Wednesday night but instead of a snug cosy atmosphere it felt uncomfertable and transitory.

2 ales on, Tetleys Cask and Pride, OK to drink but no great shakes.

Could see this as having great potential for an Anthony Worrell-Thompson gastropub maybe. Not a bad place, but massively underacheiving.

8 Feb 2007 22:30

The Wheatsheaf, Virginia Water

Popped in for my first visit on Sunday afternoon as Missus Quinno was driving her new motor back to Staines.

Pleased to see three handpulls (Bombadier, TEA and Pride) in nice surroundings but not impressed by the wait at the bar, as the staff were far too engaged with the food ordering classes than pulling a pint for the plebs (and having seen the newspaper article referred to below, I can only hazard a wild guess as to why it's so popular).

So in the end, left without sampling - very poor performance.

Might serve a nice pint...if you have more time to kill than Terry Waite chained to a radiator.

8 Feb 2007 21:21

The Kings Fairway, Ashford

A classic Linda (formerly of the Crown in Egham and the Sovreigns in Woking) production...well done girl, a good job unfolding here.

Six beers on the go Monday, (including three guests) served in a busy and vibrant atmosphere. Interior and toilets clean as a whistle. Refurb is obviously new, but is fairly well done I think.

Rumour has it that Linda doesn't order any guest beers under 4.5% abv, so there's always going to be some interesting choices available!

Best in Ashford by far, and now pulling up with the best in North Surrey - well recommended. I look forward to my next visit...

8 Feb 2007 21:12

Ash Tree, Ashford

Not a bad Fuller's pub in a modern (read ugly) light building with a limited range (Pride, ESB and Chiswick) which were served very well. Landlord said that most seasonals don't sell here. But does he try to promote them?

Yet again some basic faults: TV/jukebox death match, shabby interior getting needing a lick of paint, toilets smelling of stale piss (and for people who say that this is normal, go to the Kings Fairway which is TWICE as busy yet avoids all of the above).

Other features include a pool table and Thai kitchen.

I would certainly recommend it for the quality of the beer, but this place could and should do better as a whole.

8 Feb 2007 21:02

Kings Head, Ashford

Spacious local, could be good but has the classic faults - too smokey (despite extractor being on) and the TV vying with the jukebox for superiority.

Pub has a golf team, which is an interesting touch.

A couple of Marstons handpulls (Pedigree and Bitter) served too cold but otherwise in good condition.

Not bad, but could be a lot better with a few simple changes.

8 Feb 2007 20:51

The Compasses, Egham

Now this is more like it, three enjoyable Hall & Woodhouse (AKA Badger) brews, served well in a comfy atmosphere.

A most enjoyable pub, overlooked in the North Surrey area, will attempt to change that...

4 Feb 2007 00:16

The Robin Hood, Egham

Decent two bar community local. Only one ale (Courage Best - oh why oh why oh why...jesus wept).

That's it. No real reason to enter unless you feel horny drinking the Courage filth.

4 Feb 2007 00:13

The Jolly Butcher, Staines

Two bar community local. Only one ale (the ubiquitous Courage Best) served OK.

Friendly staff, but desperately needs a lick of paint to get rid of the nicotine stains.

4 Feb 2007 00:07

Boundary, Staines

One ale (Marstons), served poorly (a pint poured into two halves) in a cracked glass.

Footy on the TV with aspect ratios incorrectly set. What a waste of a grand if the landlord even can't read the instructions!

Basically, the same as it was when under the Blue W@nker moniker. So avoid...

4 Feb 2007 00:04

The Phoenix, Staines


OK, so there's no ale, the TV and jukebox are in fierce competition and there's still no reason to go in.

It's clean and there's no chavs...but there still seems to be no real vision here.

3 Feb 2007 23:59

Baroosh, Staines

A trendy young persons bar, which is clean and well designed (for what it tries to be).

Also serves one real ale (McMullen's Best) which was in decent enough condition tonight (almost certainly uses a cask breather, but at least they're trying!). Staff are decent too.

Can't complain really. If you're doing a night out in Staines, it's well worth a look especially if you're with trendies.

30 Jan 2007 00:01

The Barley Mow, Shepperton

A fantastic pub for the real ale enthusiast or traditional drinkers.

Five handpulls on the go last night (Sharp's IPA, Hepworths Old Ale (superb), Hop Back Entire Stout, Hogsback TEA and Summer Lightning...I think!!). Great to see a couple of dark beers on the go for the colder months.

Also boasts a fully-operational bar billiards table (no I don't understand the rules either) which was a cause of much excitement among my companions.

Brilliant, joint best pub in North Surrey (along with the Happy Man) at this point in time. An absolute must-visit.

28 Jan 2007 14:52

The Rising Sun, Stanwell

Decent pub/food outlet, with three handpulls (the Black Sheep was fine).

Best place in Stanwell for a beer at the mo.

28 Jan 2007 14:39

The Wheatsheaf, Stanwell

Enjoyable old pub, with two handpulls (Courage Best and London Pride) in good nick.

Has a function room and a beer garden. Pub needs some work doing to it, though planning restrictions may make this difficult.

New (currently temporary) landlord, Aussie Paul, has the right idea. Hopefully he'll get the chance to push this place forward as it has potential.

Worth a visit.

28 Jan 2007 14:35

The Swan, Stanwell

Might have been a nice boozer 30 years ago.

It ain't now.

Set over two bars (both dirty) boasting a substandard handpull, all the curtains drawn (in the middle of the day) and a very expensive projector showing very crackly horse racing. Plus a broom cupboard.

We were the only customers and it was very easy to see why.

28 Jan 2007 14:24

The Five Bells, Stanwell

Traditional but fairly clean inside bar, which leads to a separate nonsmoking conservatory area which is rather smart.

Darts available and food on offer is exotic (for Stanwell) and fairly cheap. Spacious beer garden is basic, but looks to be poised for a bit of development. Sadly only one handpull (Courage Best) in good nick but a bit cold.

A fairly good little pub that looks to be going places and could be a well worthwhile visit in a year or two's time, especially if the ale selection improves.

28 Jan 2007 14:11

The Three Crowns, Stanwell

Nice and clean, with an OK pint of Bombadier (the only handpull). Has a little conservatory out the back.

Has a couple of real fires on the go which should add a cosy atmosphere, but found the chairs and some aspects of the decor a little too clinical to be cosy, landlord should be looking to improve on this.

Keep an eye out for grumble on the road leading up to the pub, it seems to be a hotspot for discarded jazz mags.

Comfier seating and a second handpull would make this place a worthwhile visit.

28 Jan 2007 13:52

The Happy Landing, Stanwell

Two bar spacious local by the estate.

Desperately needs an overhaul as it's very tatty and smokey. Grumpy girl behind the bar in the green romper suit could smile a bit more.

One handpull (Courage Best) which was off yesterday forcing us to sample the bottled Light Ale.

Pretty poor really.

28 Jan 2007 13:40

Chats, Sunningdale

Massively overpriced bar (half a very poor quality Pride tonight was £1.65!!!), which thinks it's in Ascot serving the squawking upper classes after race day.

Get fit and take the 15 minute scenic walk to the rather superior and more comfy surrounds of the Nags Head, where the beer is good and the prices far more reasonable.

Avoid here like the plague, unless you burn money like the KLF.

22 Jan 2007 20:58

The Garibaldi, Staines

Popped in just now, has improved a bit, I'll give it that.

Plus points:

There's been a lick of paint and some new lights inside. The lad serving behind the bar was good as well. It was fairly busy (though Arsenal were on the box). And the piano too - does anyone play it?

There are still a lot of negative points for me though:

No real ale, basic but important. Jukebox skipped through the Queen song that was on during my swift half. Premiership footy was on as well, courtesy of some Arab TV channel on a nice widescreen telly but the aspect ratios weren't set properly. And having music PLUS footy on at the same time is highly irritating. There were also the same rather dubious looking characters I remember from previous visits. The front porch was grotty and litter-strewn.

Quite a few locals love it - it's never empty. Not for me though, and probably never will be. I can't recommend it at all.

21 Jan 2007 17:14

The Beehive, Englefield Green

Has had more owners than the Littlest Hobo.

Newly-refurbed whitewash-and-chocolate incarnation is quite nice though maybe a little too clinical for me. Currently boasts Pride and Gales HSB (which was in superb condition yesterday). New landlord seemed like a good bloke, nice and friendly.

However I fear that time is up for the Beehive now the Happy Man and The Monkey's are in full throttle, as both are nearer the students and this place is not an obvious destination, being slightly out of the way. It was pretty quiet last Saturday night, only half-a-dozen other people in. With only two ales on, it doesn't have any real USP - it needs one quick.

I would recommend a visit, firstly for great pint of HSB, but mainly to catch it while it's still here!

21 Jan 2007 15:14

The Barley Mow, Englefield Green

Although having four (mainstream) ales on the go, a very pretty view of the green and lovely heritage facade, this place has gone to the dogs.

Despite still selling beer, almost every table seems to be blocked off or reserved for diners, so the only place to go most evenings is to stand at the bar (where there's no stools).

The Mow now seems to be attracting a rather menacing and boorish mix of nouveau-riche chavs (wonder where they get their money from?). The staff don't help either. One particular guy who was shouting away last night in a frankly menacing manner at the bar would have been warned of his behaviour in most other pubs, but not here.

Used to be a pleasent and classy place to get a good pint a few years back. Not anymore. Got to The Happy Man instead, via the Gun.

21 Jan 2007 15:00

The Armstrong Gun, Englefield Green

Back again, first time for over a year and-a-half. Pretty much the same, boasted two ales (Hogsback's Hair of the Hog and Fuller's London Pride) in average condition.

A nice pub to have a drink in. It feels a bit seventies (in a good way) upon entering with a three-sided bar centrally situated, lots of copper-shaded ambience at the front bar giving way to a more normal style at the back, where the pool table is to be found (directly in the way of the toilets, so I bet a bit of aggro has started a few times as a result of one too many people filing past). They don't need a pool table here, it should be junked.

Populated by locals and students, so a nice mix and a decent atmosphere. Recommended for a pint or two before the Happy Man.

21 Jan 2007 14:44

The White Lion, Egham

Sadly, a shabby and smelly flea-pit of a pub, no ale anymore and was glad to make a swift exit after a token half!

The inhabitants and staff are at least a little more classier than their surroundings and they didn't feel too unwelcoming, unlike the pub itself.

Not even worth going in for curiousity value I'm afraid.

21 Jan 2007 14:33

The Foresters Arms, Egham

Popped in yesterday and was pleasently surprised.

A nice refit, which has opened up a bit more space than previously and a little brighter too. Accompanied by two handpulls, Courage Best and Abbot (though disappointingly the Best was a bit too cold and the Abbot clip was turned).

The inhabitants are the same as usual, not neccessarilty the most welcoming bunch at first but there's a lot less of the 'deathly silence descending' when an unknown walks in compared to a lot other pubs in the North Surrey area.

It's child-friendly (a few nippers zooming about yesterday evening) and has SKY Sports on widescreen, with correctly-set aspect ratios.

If they can get the ale on the straight and narrow, this could be a more regular drop-in for me. Promising.

21 Jan 2007 14:26

The Beehive, Staines

Jon Bon's review below is a pretty accurate one. A turn-of-the-century corner local with two seperate bars still serving (a decent and competitively-priced pint of) Pride and Courage Best. Also has some basic rolls behind the bar for £1.30.

There's a bit of atmosphere in there, and quite liked the ambience of the saloon bar. However, be prepared for the resident drinkers to hush down and stare at you when you enter. Operates a 21 and over policy, so there's no Chavs.

Worth popping in for a quick one if you're passing with friends maybe.

21 Jan 2007 14:15

Ha Ha Bar And Canteen, Staines

Want a nice view of the Thames on a sunny day? The Swan is over the bridge, and it's nicer.

There isn't really much here, quite cold and clinical, and it's frighteningly expensive. There's no handpulls (although they do offer Whitstable Bay Organic Ale for £2.95)

Popular with Estate Agents and wannabe This Life trendies.

21 Jan 2007 14:04

The Cock, Staines

Ventured back in on Saturday, two ales on (an average pint of) London Pride and Courage Best.

There was a dartboard, but not much else.

Dark, drab and depressing. Could be a good pub with a bit of effort.

21 Jan 2007 13:57

The Castle Hotel, Aberystwyth

Have heard that this is going to be closed down and converted into flats! Is this true?!?

16 Jan 2007 20:12

Molly's Millars, Wokingham

Has had a bit of a clean-up inside and looks better for it, but sadly still doesn't offer anything of interest to a beer drinker, not even in a bottle.

Pop further down the road and over the rail tracks to the Three Brewers on Barkham Road (for some reason not listed on BITE despite me submitting it twice!) for a pub that has a couple of well-kept ales on the go if you are waiting for a train.

16 Jan 2007 19:52

The Hare and Hounds, Sunbury on Thames

Nice Fullers pub, three handpulls on the go (ESB, Pride and Chiswick) which tasted very nice with reasonable prices (Pride was £2.60)

Outside has a bit of an art deco look to it, whilst the inside has had an obvious refurb, which, whilst clean and tidy, can't make up it's mind as to whether it's all-out dark wood art deco or pine slabbed gastro. This is occasionally mixed together (as in the dining area) with grating results. There should be only one obvious choice, and it ain't the pine gastro!

Worth a visit, it's a tidy pub with tidy beer but has the potential for more.

16 Jan 2007 00:10

Prince Of Wales, Covent Garden

Nice enough boozer, well located for a thirsty ale drinker on their way to the theatres on Drury Lane.

Plenty of seats and a nice view from the window, though the atmosphere seemed slightly less buzzing than I would have expected given the amount of people in attendence. Something to do with the layout I think.

Five ales on tonight, though all drawn from the usual suspects. I had a Winter Warmer which was the most interesting on offer and it was in good condition, with a nice temperature.

Not cheap though (my half and a Baileys for Missus Quinno came out at £4). Still, I guess that's par for the course in this area.

Never going to win any pub of the year awards, but good enough for me to pop back in again.

10 Jan 2007 00:17

The Lamb and Flag, Covent Garden

Rickety old joint, boasting 6 handpulls which are mainly Youngs but sadly no interesting Indies on offer.

My Winter Warmer was OK (not great though for £1.40). Inside was packed out for a tuesday evening.

Worth a quick sample for the interior, but there's plenty else in the area to enjoy and stay longer in, like The Harp.

10 Jan 2007 00:06

The Cove, Covent Garden

Enjoyable 'one-off' pub. Decent selection of Cornish ales (mainly from the St Austell brewery), though my beer was too warm this evening. The prices were reasonable (£1.35 for a half; the Lamb & Flag down the road was £1.40 and that doesn't have any USP)

However, as noted on previous posts, this place has a cramped interior which means that it's not great for meeting friends or for having relaxed chat. And getting a beer from the crowded bar is like trying to get prise a bar heater off an eskimo.

Well worth sampling once for the balcony view over Covent Garden, or for taking a foriegn guest.

10 Jan 2007 00:00

The Hobgoblin, Staines

Beer range heading the same way as Jenna Jameson.

A waste - used to be so much better!

6 Jan 2007 23:49

The Old Red Lion, Staines

Pride was watery for my liking tonight.

Very cosy inside though, a good winter pub.

6 Jan 2007 23:44

North Star, Staines

Beer still too cold.

6 Jan 2007 23:37

The Albion, Portishead

Gone downhill even further - window panes are beginning to rot!

Beer-wise, 2 GK ales on in acceptable quality, though the IPA was off two days earlier according to my companion. And whether anyone actually drinks them in here is a moot point. Now the Windmill has a got the beers in with a rotating guest, this place can't even claim the uniquness of real ale in the town and I think most of the drinkers now live up there.

Also had the footy results up on a static screen...but only the Championship's! Bristols City and Rovers didn't even get a look in! What muppet lets this happen?

So now just playing host to the podgy Porty and their spud-faced nippers eating mega plates of chips and deep-fry, like Michelle McManus and Vanessa Feltz having just heard the four minute warning.

Thoroughly depressing, I won't be back. To think where this was where I spent many of my formative years!

5 Jan 2007 23:59

The Louisiana, Bristol

A great gig venue with a nice atmosphere (when busy, which is irregular unless a gig is on). Best to go on a Friday or Saturday evening.

Now has a token handpull (Pride) in decent nick. Shows that real ale is on the comeback.

A great pre-Thekla meet-up venue, back in the day after moving on up from the Watershed. Many happy memories...

5 Jan 2007 20:52

The Shakespeare, Bristol

Greene King have ruined this pub.

Used to be a very pleasent old school boozer, nice and dark, lots of nooks and crannies with old fellas supping pints and giving you the latest on their old hounds hip operation at the vets. Have very pleasent memories of watching the World Cup matches in here in '98 before going over to the Thekla to grab a goth and shimmy on down to Northside.

Went back in here for the first time in a few years last week and now it's all lit up, the nooks and crannies have been reduced to a minimum and the atmosphere was non-existent.

A waste. Utter waste. Don't bother going.

5 Jan 2007 20:47

The Cornubia, Bristol

As tobo says, this pub is very much open. And thank the Lord it is - it's the best in town. Takes a bit of finding...pop into the Kings Head first if you're stuck and ask for directions!)

Now run by the Hidden Brewery (whose beers are very good, and they offer an excellent dark on handpull as well) this is a top-notch old-school alehouse, inhabited by real drinkers and some real characters.

On my last visit me and my mate were accosted by an Andy Fordham lookalike, and spent a surreal 30 minutes discussing the merits of Scottish Lower Division football (do you know who the best-supported team are in terms of catchment area? Apparently it's St Johnstone). Thank Christ my mates is half-Scot and can name Stenhousemuir's top scororer...

Anyway, this place is a must. I can't recommend it highly enough. A big 10/10

5 Jan 2007 20:37

The Llandoger, Bristol

A real beauty on the outside, spoilt by having only two GK pulls on the go and the inside is nothing special either.

A classic case of a pub not fulfilling its (very big) potential. This could (and should) be one of the top 5 Bristol pubs, but sadly it is nowhere near this.

5 Jan 2007 20:29

The Kings Head, Bristol

A wonderful heritage pub with a lovely unspoilt interior and a great place to grab a read of 'Pints West' the local CAMRA mag. Love that title.

Beer choice was fairly good (though not as good as I was hoping) and all tasted quite fine.

Well worth a visit, especially when combined with a back-to-back visit to the Cornubia.

5 Jan 2007 20:25

Knights Templar, Bristol

A big drinking den designed for the suits and keyboard chimps that inhabit the newly-developed Temple Quays complex, so try the old UV light in the bogs next time you're in and fancy something a bit more adventurous than a pint of Futtocks Old Roarer.

Staff seemed barely trained. Beer is average (served a cloudy pint to my mate), and the food was OK, though they didn't ask if we wanted chips or rice with the Chilli which most usually do.

Nothing special, make the extra few paces to the Cornubia or Kings Head for a much better pint in easy reach of the station.

5 Jan 2007 20:20

The Full Moon and Eclipse, Bristol

These are essentially two completely different bars, which have recently been massively overhauled from dingy (but popular) Goth/Rock venues, the Eclipse being a live and loud venue, with the Full Moon being a bar only.

First up is the Eclipse. This is now a huuuge 'trad' bar with many 'trad' fittings bussed in at what must have been a considerable expense. It certainly looks good, and had a couple of OK handpulls. However it was near deserted, and they're going to have to do a lot of advertising to the students to get an atmosphere in.

Secondly, the Full Moon. Arrrghhh, well the Undead will be turning in their graves when they see this. It's all blue-lit, whitewashed walls serving only lager and spirits to a zombiefied clientele glued to the big screen watching the big screen. Actually that last bit sounded right up an EMO's street but let me assure you that it isn't at all, but just an example of the wonderful flexibility of the English language.

Was it all worth it? We'll see, but the Goth numbers in town were certainly dying off (ho ho) since the mid 90's, so something had to be done to at least one of the venues. But I feel a little twinge of nostalgia for lost history.

4 Jan 2007 23:40

The Bell, Bristol

Looks like it's just undergone a renovation. 4 Butcombe pulls in superb condition. Toilets were from a different dimension...!

Toooo quiet though, in fact more quiet than a Steve Brookstein fan club convention...exacerbated by being too dark given there was only four people in it.

Apart from a super pint there just wasn't anything to get me excited for more. I'll try again and see if it's any livlier.

4 Jan 2007 23:29

The Crown & Cushion, Bristol

Wasn't a bad place to go for a pre-Thekla pint back in the day (96-99) though always seemed very empty given its location.

Now sadly demolished to make way for the surely-doomed Broadmead expansion.

4 Jan 2007 23:16

The Hare On The Hill, Bristol

If you are prepared to venture forth up past the flats that precede it from the city centre, you are rewarded with this gem of a pub, a small old-school street corner local from the turn of the century. Dig that green tiling on the front. Interior is fairly spartan, but not neccessarily the worse for it.

Beer-wise, Bath Ales plus a guest on my Xmas visit along with the recently introduced Budvar Dark (bottled). Also boats SKY Sports and a friendly welcome along with food.

I think it's well worth a stop on the Bristol route - my mate felt it was the best place he'd been in for a while and he's done a lot more Bristol pubs than me in his time!

4 Jan 2007 22:59

The Ship, Bristol

Nice old victorian style pub, plenty of individual drinking areas, cosy and with a lot of character. It's bigger than it looks with a downstairs area too. Bogs could do with an overhaul though, they let the place down a bit.

Plenty of ale to quaff, six handpulls on the go over Christmas though sadly the mild was off when we went but it was changed over with the minimum of fuss after the requiste check from the local alcy at the end of the bar.

Most people in there were either students left behind from the Xmas trip back to Mammy's or Gasheads (Bristol Rovers fans) who didn't go to Walsall that day.

In short, a very good pub that falls a little short of great - needs to keep a check on its ale quality and get the builders in onto the bogs. Well worth a visit for the character.

4 Jan 2007 22:48

Zero Degrees, Bristol

I really like the idea of this place, a bar that brews it's own beer on site.

Only had time for an Oyster Stout, which was pretty nice. Shame it's nitrokegged which spoilt it a bit, but at least it was more tasty than Guiness ever will be.

However I feel they fail on three points.

Firstly, they put the glass over one those 'quick-wash' things at the bar where they press the glass on a pad upside down and it gets rinsed with some sort of solution. This just made my whole drink smell like a swimming pool and made me worry exactly what strange chemicals I may be imbibing along with the beer. Which is irritatiing if you're drinking a shitty ubquitous lager, but if you're drinking a homebrewed stout it's plain off-putting.

Second, there was music on alondgside a TV with no sound, which I detest. One or the other please.

Thirdly it was cold and glum inside and very poorly lit. On a day when it was cold, grey and pissing down with rain outside, the trendy spartan decor just turned me right off and made me want to get a warm cosy vibe ASAP which I did in haste I'm afraid.

Pop in for one, and judge for yourself. I'm not sure I'd make a big effort to go back unless I was passing though. Maybe on a summer's day? We'll see.

4 Jan 2007 21:18

Colston Arms, Bristol

A small and genial freehouse snuggled into the hillside.

3 pulls on the go, and the place features a pool table. Was pretty dark inside, so be prepared for locals to pop out of the corners.

Legend has it that this pub is where condemned men would sup their final pint before being hanged at the top of St Michael's Hill. Nowadays appears to be a shrine to Wales and Manchester United instead!

Worth a visit.

4 Jan 2007 21:01

The Highbury Vaults, Bristol

A good little ale-house, with 6 handpulls (Youngs plus guests) in dark and (a little too) dingy surroundings, I get the feeling that every day could be a Sunday in here, unless the students are in town.

Also boasts a beer garden (very modern and at odds with the interior). Food certainly looked cheap, but had just eaten!

Worth going back.

4 Jan 2007 18:42

The Blue Anchor, Lancaster

Not great, 6 handpulls on the go make it look better than it is.

The atmosphere was a strange mix of dead-yet-rough (the decor didn't help, it was a bit manky disguised by lots of blue lighting) and the beer was of dubious quality, the sort of thing a decent landlord should eliminate by a quick taster during the day.

I have no reason to go back here.

4 Jan 2007 18:00

The Green Ayre, Lancaster

A pretty good Whetherspoons/Lloyds. Though what that actually translates as in 2006/07 is 'a bit better than barely adequate'.

On a positive note, the food was the best I've ever had in Wevvies, all correct and nicely cooked (alright fried/microwaved). The interior is pretty clean and presentable, and the bogs were in good nick.

However, the first beer (from a decnt range) I tried to order was off and I got the usual Whetherspoons rubbish of the staff not taking any notice of the fact they're selling damaged goods; leaving the clip of the offender on display until pressured to turn it round by us.

A stupid schoolboy error which spoils what would have been a fairly postive review.

Tim Martin really needs to get out into his estate and pay some unannounced visits to see the real story (see my other Whetherspoons reviews!!) - unless he condones this type of service? No wonder these places are sliding downhill, I (and many of my friends) would much rather pay the 50-75p premium for a quality pint served by someone who knows and cares about what they're doing. So it figures that people who go to *most* of these places on a regular basis...don't.

You get what you pay for.

4 Jan 2007 17:47

The Golden Lion Hotel, Lancaster

2 handpulls on, but wasn't able to sample as the place isn't child-friendly (unusual for decent ale-houses in Lancaster) as I had the missus' little brother on tour with me.

What I could sample was the inside - fairly uninspiring and pretty empty - so wasn't too upset about having to move on!

4 Jan 2007 17:30

The White Cross, Lancaster

Another quality Lancaster venue, this place had eight handpulls on the go over Xmas including a rather wonderful dark stout-style beer from the Dent brewery (T'owd Tap) which was spot-on.

Beer served by knowledgeable staff - the guy with the dark hair, beard and pony tail really cares about the ale - (he was handing out some beer tasters to a group of lager drinkers in the corner to broaden their horizons) makes this a cracking venue, albeit slightly out-of-the-way unless you know town.

Clean, child-freindly and with a good quizzer, got all the bases covered for me.

Top marks.

4 Jan 2007 17:22

The Water Witch, Lancaster

An absolute must-visit, a pretty canalside freehouse serving ELEVEN (yup) handpulls with the condition of each of the six I tried in good nick, and a huge selection of bottled beers and vodkas (look out for the Porter by the Anchor Brewery in San Francisco, it is an absloute corker for £3.50).

Apparently this place was converted in the 80's, though you can only spot this in subtle ways, like the backlit glass at the bar. The music selection was pretty good, a mix of 80's, 90's and Indie alternative.

One small moan, teach the foriegn barstaff what a sparkler/sprinkler is, and that removing it on request is perfectly acceptable!

I hear on the grapevine that this is being flogged to Mitchells(?), so whether the incredible selection continues undiminished looks precarious, as very few of these groups appreciate what makes these types of places successful in the first place.

I urge all ale drinkers who use BITE to get up there ASAP, in case in turns into a yuppie w@nko bar with nothing but Inbev/Coors pish!

4 Jan 2007 17:09

The Wagon and Horses, Lancaster

A bit of a disappointment compared with the other places I visited in Lancaster over Xmas...only two mainstream-ish ale handpulls and a definate lack of atmosphere.

Worth popping in if passing, but not to specially make time for considering the wealth of decent ale houses the city has to offer.

4 Jan 2007 16:05

The Three Mariners, Lancaster

Wonderfully pretty heritage pub all low ceilings and beams with a nice warm ambience, with four handpulls on a couple of weeks back.

It was very quiet though compared to the other half dozen pubs I visited that day with my tour guide. I wonder why? A place like this would be packed out down here.

Beer was decent, nothing to shout compared to many other places within 10 minutes walk about but it's a definate must on a Lancaster crawl. You won't want for a space.

4 Jan 2007 16:01

The Sun Hotel and Bar, Lancaster

A really nice bar, very spacious and bare stonewalls all round. Lots of ale on offer, though it was so packed when I was in there I couldn't count them all, but the stout I had was nice.

Clientele looked pretty studenty, with a smattering of middle-aged groups in the front bar.

Well worth a visit.

4 Jan 2007 15:55

The John O'Gaunt, Lancaster

A corking heritage pub, with lots of ale (though a bit mainstream on my visit though I am assured it usually more eclectic), lots of character and impromtu music sessions.

If you're lucky enough to get a seat (it's always busy after 3) you really could stay here all evening.

Lancaster has a lot of good pubs, and this is one of the top three, and definately the best in the immediate town centre.

4 Jan 2007 15:50

The Penny Bank, Lancaster

A very nice pub in the town centre, with 6 handpulls on the go over Christmas all in good nick. Clientele mainly local, with a couple of students. Didn't feel the urge to stay beyond a couple though.

4 Jan 2007 15:45

The Rutland and Derby, Leicester

A rather nice eclectic bar slightly away from the town centre. Serves quite a number of foriegn lagers (no Budvar Dark though, tsk tsk). Three handpulls from Everards in good nick, served by knowledgeable staff.

Has hireable board games (all pieces included!) and a very eclectic (that word again) playlist which was refreshing. Decor is nice with a beer garden thrown in, and the punters vary from students to This Life-style workers.

They could fit a great disco in here if they wanted.

Serves food, but didn't get chance to sample.

4 Jan 2007 15:23

Last Plantagenet, Leicester

Rocked up in need of a point whilst waiting for my travel connection up north. Stroll in, notice that one half of the bar is busy, the other deserted. Go up to the deserted part of the bar to grab my beer and a bit of food.

Oh Lord what a mistake.

The reason it was deserted was because the trainee barman (let's call him Goon), was Eastern European and had absolutely no idea what he was doing, and appeared to have no-one sahdowing him. Now don't get me wrong, I have no problem with overseas bar staff, sometimes they are better than Brits. But they need to be trained properly and have a basic grasp of pub-english.

This fella was woefully short of both.

Let's have a look at the facts:

1. Asked for a Mocha for the missus. After going through a range of variations of the word 'coffee', off he went to ask someone what a Mocha is.

2. Goon reappears and I ask for a half of one of the guest ales. Goon disappears to ask the mananger what a half was and where it was on the till. Then he couldn't undo the the lock properly to release the handpull so said that it was off. The temptation to reach over the bar and unlock it for him was immense, but I probably would have been chucked out. So I thought I'd persevere and asked for a half of the next one along, which I noticed was unlocked. The half eventually appeared, with a bigger head on it than Ron Jeremy - explaining concept of the 'top-up' was excruciating.

3. Time to ask for food, not looking forward to this, but I was in too deep and also the queue at the other bar had got bigger. The Pikey Platter (2 for 6.99) being the obvious option for two people. I pointed at the menu and picked out the two I wanted, which he rang through at full price. So cue another trip to find someone to correct it.

4. Rang through by someone else in the end, then I paid. Goon took the money and then wandered off, oblivious to a) my receipt for the food, and b) the Mocha (remember that?). Managed to get someone else over to produce the receipt and go and make the Mocha. Whilst waiting, I looked at the receipt and saw that my half had been rung through as a pint. After having a second half to compensate I eventually got back to my seat 15 minutes after I went to the bar.

5. The food arrived and the chips were undercooked and cold.

This place is a shambles, managed by day-releasers from the funny farm. Giving a kid with pidgen English and no obvious bar skills a shift unsupervised and untrained makes the mind boggle.

Don't bother with this place, forget the beer range, they don't give a toss about the customer. Pay a premium and go to the Criterion, Vaults or Derby and Rutland. It really is worth it.

4 Jan 2007 15:06

Broad Street Tavern, Wokingham

Seem to have got a grip on the guest ale of late, was pretty static for a while.

Had a smashing pint of Xmas Pud there yesterday.

Lots of festivals coming and going, ale fest just gone was excellent, and there is a foreign lager fest in January, including Kwak etc. Excellent.

22 Dec 2006 21:51

The Monks Retreat, Reading

Still better beer than the Hope and BoB, and better service too. Food has always been on time and had all the requisite accompaniments!

Alright a chutney was missing once from ma mates curry but the girl went and got one!

22 Dec 2006 21:45

The Monkey's Forehead, Egham

Now managed by Dave from the Happy Man, so ventured on down to see the hype for myself on Monday.

Have to say I was fairly impressed - there are two handpulls (both dispensing Hogsback brews on Monday) which being tended by Dave means that they were of course spot-on.

The pub itself has been repainted and brightened up to good effect. It's still aimed primarily at students, so expect loud music and some raucusness, not neccessarily the place for a quiet pint, but great for a beer drinking student, seeing as the RHUL campus boasts not one ale!

However I think he may be missing a trick - Dave needs one of those handpulls to be a Discovery/Exmoor Gold/Summer Lightening style golden beer to get some of the Magners/Carling crowd to switch, I'm not sure they'll be tempted by a Hogsback unless there's a hard sell or a promo attached...?

This place could really take off next summer.

20 Dec 2006 23:22

The Eel Pie, Twickenham

Very enjoyable pub in a nice part of Twickenham. Plenty of ale to choose from last night, in a nice atmosphere with decent staff.

Only complaint - as mentioned in an earlier post - is the tendency for punters to congregate along the fairly narrow bar area, makes life difficult trying to get a couple of beers if the place is more than mildly busy.

Otherwise very good and highly recomended.

20 Dec 2006 23:05

The Fox, Twickenham

Only two of the five handpulls on last night - pretty poor management with the Christmas season underway, especially with the Eel Pie in full throttle just over the street!

20 Dec 2006 23:00

The Allied Arms, Reading

Had the best pint of Hogsback Advent I've sampled so far, brining the ale list up to three. Keep the guest on the go and up to scratch, and I'll keep going back.

17 Dec 2006 16:09

The Bar Copa, Reading

New bar manageress seems to be taking the place in a better direction. A good amount of GK ales on the go, the heating was on and the quizzer has been overhauled - and more customers and atmosphere as a result!

17 Dec 2006 13:49

The Corn Stores, Reading

Fullers pub/resteraunt, that has been carefully converted from an old grain warehouse.

Run by guys of arabian descent, there are plenty of the old arab smoking devices to keep one preoccupied.

Excellent attentive service, with pasta served upstairs, with downstairs operating as a small (but good) ale bar. The usual Fullers fayre is supplemented by a welcome guest ale (Goddards today).

Tidy establishment.

15 Dec 2006 01:19

The Rising Sun, Reading

Music was already pumping out at 7pm, despite me and my mates being the only customers, indeed the place was set up like they were expecting the Zep to appear any minute.

Dark and dingy, and the pint of ale I had was of the egg sandwich variety.

Excepting the fibreglass rhino coming through the wall, this place is an utter waste of time, unless you are here to RRRRROCK on a Friday night.

15 Dec 2006 01:10

The Lord John Russell, Russell Square

Oh there was one more the thing - the music. Veering between sea shanties, jazz and electronica. So at least there's something that's a bit unusual about the place.

13 Dec 2006 23:33

The Almamata, Egham

This place has had more guises than Carlos the Jakal in recent years, and it is currently trying to be a posh bar, all leather sofas and wood floors.

Only one ale on (Pride) which was OK, but there were only four other customers! Not good for 9 o clock on a weekday evening in term-time!

I think getting a disco down here on a Friday and Saturday could bring in the students and liven the stiffs up a bit, along with some offers. There's enough floorspace and bar space.

Until then it remains a dead bar with much unfulfilled potential.

13 Dec 2006 23:29

The Red Lion, Egham

Now has a real cider on (Addlestones) with a couple of ales too (usually a GK Abbot plus another random).


13 Dec 2006 23:23

The Wellington, Waterloo

Didn't come with a particularly good rep, but I was quite pleased by the place.

Only three beers on (Youngs Ordinary, Marstons Poodigree and the rather more palatable Adnams Broadside). Very busy and a pretty raucous atmosphere with 70% of the pub watching the boxing...

It's no world-beater, but I'll pop in again if I'm waiting for a train.

13 Dec 2006 23:20

The Fire Station, Waterloo

Newly refurbished, though looking a little too chic for me. Only one beer on (Marstons naff Pedigree) so no reason to hang around either.

13 Dec 2006 23:10

The Hole In The Wall, Waterloo

A massive improvement on my previous visit, all the handpumps were working and 3 of the 6 we tried were spot-on (although the beer selection was safely mainstream, one special guest would have not been too much to ask).

The toilets were cleaner (though there was a an underlying smell of stale piss) than before.

Still desperately needs a refurb though, the carpet in the front bar is worn down to the threads in places and the paintwork is extremely grubby.

Sort that out and there's a quality pub in the offing.

13 Dec 2006 23:06

The Shaston Arms, Soho

A real ale gay bar, or so it seemed to me, or maybe there was a big gay convention there on Saturday!

Not too bad if you like Badger beers, it's a bit compact so getting a seat can be tricky. Worth a stop, but not much reason to stay beyond a pint - unless it really is a real gay ale bar, and you are a real gay ale drinker!

13 Dec 2006 22:55

The Rising Sun, Smithfield

Not a bad little place looks-wise, we popped in for a quick half but the stock was pretty depleted. Being a Sam Smith's too boot meant it was time to move on.

The barmaid was very good, and I guess for the area it's a decent choice.

13 Dec 2006 22:49

The Lamb, Bloomsbury

A very pretty heritage pub well worth a stop for pint, and it's Young's so expect something familiar.

That's about it, I didn't get the round in so I can't comment on the barstaffs customer service skills.

13 Dec 2006 22:46

The Good Mixer, Camden

Went here for a Britpop pilgrimage, having missed out in my formative for being a) too young and b) living in Bristol.

Wasn't expecting much, but was pleasently surprised by what I found. There was an ale, (Sharps) and a good atmosphere. It was more smokey than Buncefield, and I guess this'll be a place that will be hit hard by the government's fascist ban.

Populated the art school trendies it's not a pub for everyone but worth it for the blue plaque value if you like your Indie with ice. Sadly there was no Menswear on the speakers.

13 Dec 2006 22:42

The Windermere, South Kenton

A waste of what could be a great pub. The art deco interior is wonderful and virtually unique in Britain to be seen in a public house.

No real ale (forced to have a bottle of Youngs light ale, which was rank), furniture from a village hall and music mixed in with live football commentary when I was there on Saturday. Also seemed to be populated with extras from the Dave Allen show.

13 Dec 2006 22:15

Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green, Kensal Green

An EMO bar full of middle class kids with 'issues' and arty blokes who look like Jez and Quin from Private Eye. Nevertheless it has a certain unique charm to it, though a fair bit of work needs to be done as it's pretty shabby in places (the gents for instance had no working lightbulb forcing one to piss in the dark).

2 beers on (Adnams Broadsde being my choice) which were in good nick served by Dan Hawkins from The Darkness, who also appeared to be in charge of the rather eclectic playlist (Nico etc) that you usually wouldn't find in a pub.

13 Dec 2006 21:57

The Cittie of Yorke, Holborn

Another beauty, with a wonderful interior, ruined as a drinking experience by only having Sam Smiths on. Well I guess we have them to thank for keeping the place in good nick I suppose.

Was bloody freezing when I went in there, and it felt like a Sunday.

13 Dec 2006 21:51

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street

The interior is wonderful, so it's a must-stop for that alone.

However it's a Sam Smith's so it's the same old tasteless cack that can't hold you there for more than the one, unless the fridge is stocked.

Hardly any seats and limited floorspace so be prepared to stand. It also gets pretty hot.

13 Dec 2006 21:33

The Lord John Russell, Russell Square

A slightly above average pub serving slightly above average beer in a slightly above average area.

4 beers on (2 Courage handpulls OH LORD WHY!?!?!?!). Not much else of note.

Still, I haven't seen John Smith's cask for a while...

13 Dec 2006 21:25

The Charles Dickens, Southwark

Spacious but murky pub saved from obscurity by the six handpulls on offer (a combo of old stagers and a couple of unusual choices - though not sure what the point of having Harveys on is when the Royal Oak is up the road but still).

Friendly staff, and Daddies sauces with the food which always gets marks in my book.

13 Dec 2006 21:23

The Litten Tree, Staines

Now a Chinese restaurant!

4 Dec 2006 18:36

The Fez Club, Reading

Went to see The Egg here on Saturday. Prices were expensive (no ale, Corona was £3 and with no lime either). But I guess I knew that was coming anyway, seeing as The Egg weren't playing the 3B's...!

The barmaids were friendly though, and the bogs were in a decent state.

Some music afterwards and it got pretty busy but it was too trendy for me! And I was broke.

Gig was a gas though. Hoorah!

4 Dec 2006 18:33

The Bird In Hand, Henley-On-Thames

An excellent freehouse, with five (count 'em) ales on Saturday night in good condition in friendly, comfertable surroundings, especially on a cold winter night.

A real pub!

4 Dec 2006 10:29

The Magpie and Parrot, Shinfield

Tiny pub that is someone's front room. Real ale on offer but best to phone beforehand as the opening times are rather random!

1 Dec 2006 15:17

Swan Inn, Arborfield

Oh and there is food available too - the Tia Maria and Wild Mushroom pie sounded pretty good, shame I had already eaten!

1 Dec 2006 11:41

Ye Olde Leathern Bottle, Wokingham

Very large restaurant/pub just outside Wokingham.

Nicely kitted out inside, with three real ales on last night (the ubiquitous Courgae plus two guests, Caledonian XPA and a Hardy's brew, both of which were in good condition). Well worth stopping for a beer.

Given how cavernous the place is, the bar really needs to be made bigger as I can see how they fail to cope when the place fills up.

1 Dec 2006 11:40

Swan Inn, Arborfield

Really lovely country pub 10 minutes drive from Wokingham. The interior is split into two fairly small (can get pretty cosy when there are more than a dozen people in) drinking areas, with beams, pub dog, and tankards and most of the boxes you would expect to be ticked, plus a real fire for the winter. Big marks.

Four real ales on (Broadside, Pride, Deuchars IPA and Courage Best) and the two I sampled were in good condition.

Also has an ancient Millionaire quizzer, where the screen has gone green with age.

Well worth the effort to visit.

1 Dec 2006 11:15

The Watershed Cafe Bar, Bristol

Excellent bar for students, beardies and trendies and now stocks a couple of Bath Ales which are always good.

Great views across the docks too, and a great warm-up before a trip to the Thekla or Louisiana.

28 Nov 2006 21:24

The Cherry Tree, Leicester

Oh and Stu, they serve MILD here!

26 Nov 2006 00:03

The Euston Flyer, Euston

An excellent place for an ale or two, usual Fuller's range well-complemented by Archers Oyster Stout and Dark Star Hop Head yesterday.

Inside of the place looks like a Wetherspoons, but don't let that put you off. Staff are quick to serve, but a massive big screen for the football seemed to be out-of-place.

Wouldn't advise eating here though, it's too pricey for what you receive (which is essentially mass-catering Brake Bros style food).

24 Nov 2006 13:34

The Skinners Arms, Kings Cross

Not impressed upon entering, asking for a pint of TT Landlord (advertised on a big placard by the bar) only to be told it was 'unavailable'. Bah. Had a couple of enjoyable pints of Abbot though.

Decent place, but very very smokey, not helped by having fans at ceiling height blowing all the smoke back down towards the punters - what's that about? If you ventilation, open the damned door!!!

24 Nov 2006 13:01

Swintons, Kings Cross

Nicely crafted interior, plenty of candles and cushions and no TV.

However, only one ale on yesterday (Pride...yawn), and that ran out after two pints! On a Thursday?!?!? Get a grip!

Went over the road to the Lucas, which had it's usual three GK brews.

I'll pop by here again because I'm sure they can do better!

24 Nov 2006 12:55

The Argyll Arms, Oxford Circus

The downstairs snugs are certainly beautifully crafted, and the Argyll is worth a visit just for that - though there is a noticeable patch of white ceiling that hasn't been painted, which spoils the effect a bit.

Had five fairly mainstream ales on draught yesterday - the Black Sheep was good, but wasn't too sure about the Old Hooky.

I suspect that many grubby hands will be wanting to rip out the downstairs as they have with the upstairs, so enjoy it while you can.

24 Nov 2006 12:49

The Castle, Harrow On The Hill

Quote from anonymous: "u cajnt excpect them to just throw the old one [ale barrel] away"

Yes you damn well can, it's off. Like lumpy milk, sweaty cheese and stale bread.

Or do they serve that up as well?

22 Nov 2006 18:30

The King and Castle, Windsor

Refurbed and looking good with the new no-smoking rule in operation.

Absloutely massive place, with a big beer garden outside. Menu's are rather upmarket (black+white...niiiice) with no 2 for sixpence pikey platters on offer (shame!).

Decent selection of ales on today, Rebellion's Smuggler and Ringwood's Fortyniner were in superb condition, Hogsback's Ripsnorter had been on for a while but still tasted OK. Small complaint is that they were served quite cold though.

Well worth a visit before settling down in the Carpenters Arms.

21 Nov 2006 19:51

The Red Lion, Wokingham

I stand corrected, there are now two pumps. One serving Hobgoblin, which was well past it's best, and the other dispensing Brakspear Bitter, which was OK.

7 Nov 2006 23:14

The Happy Man, Englefield Green

An excellent job being done here.

Four rotating real ales at competitive (£2.40) prices, good food, a quizzer and a warm welcome.

Featured in the Good Beer Guide 2007 and rightly so.

One small complaint, very smokey (open the windows!). But otherwise, top drawer.

7 Nov 2006 00:32

The Hole In The Wall, Waterloo

A rancid flea pit, which had four ales on tonight. The Battersea was well past it's best, and the Adnams Bitter wasn't far behind it.

And as for the toilets - well I may as well have pissed on the floor as it looked and smelt like everyone else had been since opening, and possibly the night before as well. Maybe the drain was linked to the ale pumps?

One point for the novelty value of having trains rumbling over your head. Really, if you think this a good, or even a decent pub, you seriously need to get out more.

29 Oct 2006 00:24

The John Snow, Soho

Cheapo (Pint of Stout and a bitter lemon £3.30) Sam Smiths pub (so all nitrokegged), sort of comfy but also quite tired looking.

I find it hard to have much of an opinion about this place really...

29 Oct 2006 00:14

The Fox, Twickenham

Excellent little pub, quite trad inside with a good range of real ale, including Tiwckers. Also has SKY sports.

Well worth a few visits.

24 Oct 2006 17:27

The Cabbage Patch, Twickenham

Disappointing place, unspiring and limited real ale, mirroring the atmosphere!

24 Oct 2006 17:23

The Sorting Room, Twickenham

Not overly-inspiring Wetherspoons (Lloyds No1). Lots of red in evidence. Usual real ale suspects, with a Twickenham on as guest.

24 Oct 2006 17:20

The Royal Oak, Borough

It was indeed a random beer that no Harveys name on.

Maybe more a long-lost cousin than a guest beer...

18 Oct 2006 21:21

The Pelican, Addlestone

Random but pleasant pub in the middle of an industrial estate. Couple of decent ales on, and the inside was nicely kitted out, I imagine it'd be a cosy place to have a couple of beers now the nights are drawing in. I'll be back.

17 Oct 2006 21:30

The White Hart, New Haw

Beer choice improved recently, nice pint of Cottage on Sunday and lovely beer garden next to the river. Toilets could do with a paint job though.

17 Oct 2006 21:27

The Black Prince, New Haw

Not overly inspiring. Two (two?!?) Courage Best handpulls and GK IPA which was off, with Newcy Broon in the fridge.

Decent beer garden but a bit Chavvy for my liking.

17 Oct 2006 21:22

The Herbert Wells, Woking

Has a good range of ales, but the floor was like treacle, the toilets were minging and the tables were dirty - terrible for a Sunday afternoon, hasn't the duty manager got the gumption to do some basic cleaning before they open up?!?

Another case of Wetherspoons slowly losing the plot. I'd rather pay a 40p premium to have a similar selection of ale in the Sovereigns which is clean and comfertable.

At least it has the comedy backwards clock on the ceiling, go to the far pillar to press the switch - if you can get out of the quicksand at the bar.

17 Oct 2006 21:18

The Sovereigns, Woking

Popped in on Sunday during the beer fest. Quality beer and the pub was spotless. Top marks to Linda!

17 Oct 2006 21:10

The George, London Bridge

A lovely looking pub, with a couple of handpulls and some (expensive but enjoyable) food available upstairs with the crusties.

Worth it for the venue, but not much more.

15 Oct 2006 00:43

The Market Porter, Borough

A fabulous location, and a wide range of excellent ales.

Better than the Wenlock? Score draw.

Try both and make your own mind up...!

15 Oct 2006 00:37

The Royal Oak, Borough

An excellent Harvey's outlet, with a few guest beers on too. Great to see. Pop along!

15 Oct 2006 00:34

The Duke of Hamilton, Hampstead

Enjoyable Fullers outlet, with a decent range (Butser, ESB, Pride, Discovery, Old Rosie as a draught Cider with Aspells in the fridge this Saturday) with a basic range of £1 rolls behind the bar. Well worth a stop-off and very close to the tube. Bogs could do with a scrub though.

15 Oct 2006 00:32

The Green Man, Sandridge

A nice little local with some decent ales on, well worth a visit!

9 Oct 2006 18:30

Our Mutual Friend, Stevenage

Fabulous ale range here yesterday (8 plus two real ciders!), including two American brews (Hop Devil IPA @ 6.7% from Victory Brewing, Downington, Pennsylvania and Oatmeal Stout @ 7.0% from Ipswich Brewing, Ipswich, Massachusetts) which were both very tasty indeed and a real find so the landlord certainly has some good contacts! Excellent!

8 Oct 2006 11:40

The Land of Liberty, Peace and Plenty, Heronsgate

Lively pub with a good and wide selection of ales.

8 Oct 2006 11:27

The Strathmore Arms, St Pauls Walden

A whole host of ales (including a porter and a mild) to tempt you, with a friendly landlord and a cracking view from the window!

Toilets could do with a dusting down though - cobwebs and long-dead crane flys are pushing trhe rustic thing a little too far...

8 Oct 2006 11:21

Engineers Arms, Henlow

Cracking pub, with a hige host of well-kept guest ales (including Sarah Hughes' delicious Ruby Mild) with a great landlord and friendly staff.

Also boasts a tidy beer garden and SKY. Well worth seeking out, a real gem!

8 Oct 2006 11:18

The Kings Head, Chertsey

OK for a quick pint of ale (Bombadier and Pride on last Monday tasted fine). Otherwise fairly unremarkable really.

5 Oct 2006 18:59

Jagz Bar, Ascot

Nice bar, serving one ale on my visit today (Deuchars IPA) reasonably priced (£2.50) in good condition though pumped through a sparkler. Good atmosphere, youngish clientele. Worth a visit and very close to station.

4 Oct 2006 23:01

The Coach and Horses, Chertsey

Three Fullers handpulls (Pride, ESB and Chiswick) which were in good nick. Pub itself was a bit devoid of atmosphere and a bit sterile for my liking and was almost deserted compared to the Crown.

3 Oct 2006 20:29

The Crown Hotel, Chertsey

Spacious and attractive Youngs boozer. Lacking on handpulls (only Special & Ordinary yesterday), but well-stocked in bottles (Oatmeal, Double Chocolate and Old Nick all present) though the Oatmeal had been in fridge which killed the taste a bit. SKY and football available on big screen.

3 Oct 2006 20:20

The Crispin, Wokingham


The seats have been fixed as of last Friday! Hoorah!

25 Sep 2006 23:29

The Bar Copa, Reading

Greene King outlet, big, spacious and wood-panelled. Couple of Real Ales on (IPA and the Brewery Formerly Known As Ridleys). Long hike to the bogs, and devoid of customers, despite it being 8pm on a Saturday! Probably becuase it was so cold. Worth a pint, but not worth going out of the way for.

24 Sep 2006 16:36

The Back of Beyond, Reading

Well well, went back in on Saturday, and was served by possibly the rudest and amateur barmaid in southern England. The blonde one who looks like she's sucking a lemon.

The management in here must be pretty ropey to let such an awful person serve, she's only fit for bog-scrubbing duties.

I won't be going back. Whetherspoons are really going downhill fast.

24 Sep 2006 16:30

The Warwick Arms, Reading

Average pub full of Reading fans on a Saturday. Couple of ales on (Rev James and another) that ran out by 7pm!

I thought the staff were OK, they kept my phone safe behind the bar for an hour or so after I'd lost it.

24 Sep 2006 16:26

3Bs, Reading

A thoroughly enjoyable Saturday evening venue, with two exciting (for Reading) ales (Sharps' Wills Resolve and Berks Brewery Dr Hecter) which were fresh on by the taste.

Live music was enjoyable and the atmosphere was lively without being too boisterous. Highly recommended!

20 Sep 2006 23:08

Coopers Arms, Reading

A very good bar/pub in the town centre, some decent (though mainstream) ales on in good nick, and excellent atmosphere for a Saturday evening with a good jukey. Well worth a visit.

20 Sep 2006 23:04

The Slug and Lettuce, Reading

Those Channel 5 'consolidate your debts into one' adverts must be aimed at people who drink in this hell-hole, as buying a round in here would set you back around the same amount as a small African country's GDP.

Alcopops a go-go! Decent beer a no-no!

20 Sep 2006 22:57

Bar Med, Reading

Bar Med? More like Bar Ded.

No beer of note. I drank lemonade, which really takes some doing.

Bar 38 is better on the Riverside than this. But this is better than the Slug & Lettuce. Go figure.

20 Sep 2006 22:51

Bar 38, Reading

Like drinking at Dr Karl's surgery, dig that glass brick wall. No ale on, but had a Newcy Broon. Now only if they could get Stefan Dennis over as guest barman...

20 Sep 2006 22:49

The Back of Beyond, Reading

Second best of the three Spoons in Reading. A cleaner and brighter establishment than the others, but the ale and selection of, is way inferior to the Monks, though better than the Hope. Ate here, usual Wetherspoons fayre. Not really worth a stop with so much nearby.

20 Sep 2006 22:46

The RISC Global Cafe and Bar, Reading

When Neil from the Young Ones graduated in 1984, he came to Reading and opened this place.

Full of the more, ahem, 'eccentric' uni crowd (we were served by what appeared to be a lesbian Phil Oakey does Goldfrapp thing), but a great bottled beer selection and draught Budvar save the day.

The toilets are in catacombs below and smell of a tramps sleeping bag. Need to get some air in. But otherwise well worth a visit for the experience.

20 Sep 2006 22:41

Great Expectations, Reading

Enoyable piece of silly mock-Victoriana interior, selling a couple of decent ales (guest beer Davenports was very good).

Big, dark and empty though, need to bring a few mates with you otherwise it feels like a Sunday. Well worth a stop on a Reading crawl though.

20 Sep 2006 22:35

The Hook and Tackle, Reading

Reminded me of a Harvester (maybe due to its location?). Sold a decent pint of Bombadier and Directors on Saturday, with a Hobgob shield turned round. Otherwise unremarkable for me.

20 Sep 2006 22:30

The Red Lion, Reading

Unscheduled stop-off after the Hop Leaf, serving competitively priced Hooky Best in a clean but unremarkable tavern run by Bill Bailey's brother.

20 Sep 2006 22:25

The Hop Leaf, Reading

The start of our Reading pub crawl last Saturday.

Got there 5 minutes before opening. Surly-looking woman opens the door bang on 12 and looks rather disappointed to see paying customers, eager for (as i have been hyping it up to my mate) a quality Hop Back brew.

Go in, pat resident cat on the head, order two GBF's and sit down. Surly woman disappears out the back, shouts "get out of the f*ckin way" and boots the poor moggy into the middle of next week, judging by the unholy howl it emits.

Surly woman returns 5 minutes later with sandwiches, sits at the end of the bar scowling at her platter and ignores us (which was a shame as we were debating the ins and outs of mystery shopping, a subject I am sure she could have contributed to) until we finish and leave.

In short nice place and great beer, ruined by atrocious customer service and atmosphere.

20 Sep 2006 22:21

The Nags Head, Belgravia

"It's about two years sinse my last visit to the Nags Head so I'm not qualified to comment in a realistic way ..."

So how qualified are you to comment or leave a rating then?

Seeing is believing, but band wagon-jumping is not.

17 Sep 2006 00:45

The Cos Bar, London

"Cutting edge of design"?!?

Maybe Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen does drink here. Or the criminally insane.

15 Sep 2006 20:09

Cafe Du Sport, Reading

A sports bar where the widescreen TV's have the aspect ratio incorrectly set, so you end up watching smurfs play football.

If they're too thick that they can't even get the TV's to work properly in a sports bar, that's all you need to know.

Except that they also desperately want you to drink Budweiser. It's on every second tap. No ale, or anything else of interest.

A very bad joke. The worst place in Reading, awful awful awful. AVOID.

14 Sep 2006 01:02

The Purple Turtle, Reading

Mere memories...and no ale. Still the musics good, eh?

14 Sep 2006 00:54

Sahara, Reading

So pretentious. A couple of interesting bottles in the fridge but not much else except a clean bog.

Don't bother unless Man From Burtons flogging you an expensive cocktail gives you the horn.

14 Sep 2006 00:53

The Orange House, Reading

Wetherspoons without the ale. Don't bother, it's dire.

14 Sep 2006 00:49

The Battle Inn, Reading

Sort of oirish. Sort of craic, sorry crap.

No ales whatsoever.

14 Sep 2006 00:47

Nags Head, Reading

Ropey old dump, where GK are trying to get punters to drink Ruddles nitrokeg. No proper beer - avoid.

14 Sep 2006 00:45

The Water Rats, St Pancras

Had some great (and forgotten nights in here) as a music venue. Fairly poor as a bar though, and that's the main reason why we're here.

Has a couple of handpumps that are sporadically filled with expensive Spitfire or Pride, and run out most nights; so you make the bad call and hit the Hoegaarden/Leffe, or when that's off too (as most people make the same choice), the Wife Beater. The toilets are often a bit skanky too.

Best get your beers in at the surrounding pubs before coming here, as you never know what you're likely to get.

12 Sep 2006 22:48

The Sutton Arms, Barbican

Bog-standard olde London (from the outside, but not inside) pub. Only two ales, Adnams Bitter and Fullers Discovery (tasted fine) just boring really. It promises a lot from distance, but fails to deliver in my view.

Can't see what the fuss is about when compared to the Wenlock Arms or the Nags Head. Perhaps it's the food? It's certainly not the beer, and, being a pub, that's what I'm in there for first and foremost.

12 Sep 2006 20:27

Richard I, Greenwich

An enjoyable Youngs outlet, clean and welcoming, with a big beer garden and good selection of their bottled wares.

Not a top 40 pub however! I think this is a case of enjoying a young, affluent and web-savvy neighbourhood who like a pint here and who have voted highly for the place early-doors. I can't see it being top 40 when pubs outside the South East start breaking through the 15-vote barrier.

12 Sep 2006 20:16

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

A wonderful pub in a frankly odd location (must've been the only bit the Luftwaffe didn't hit judging by the less-than salubrious surroundings you need to trudge through to get here).

A vast selection of well-kept ales from a variety of Indies, a mixed clientele and a great atmosphere inside must make this one of the best pubs in London (certainly THE best that I have tried so far by a long way).

Exquisite, and an absolute MUST-VISIT!

12 Sep 2006 20:10

Quinn's, Camden

Only one ale on (Pride I recall) on Saturday, though there is an interesting stock of foreign garb in the fridges if that floats your boat.

Colourful but otherwise unremarkable beyond a pint I think.

12 Sep 2006 20:03

The Crown and Sceptre, Fitzrovia

A great place to try some continental fayre (with Budvar Dark on tap, mmmmm...) at VERY reasonable prices for the area. Only one handpump (Tim Taylor's Landlord) though, but it tasted fine. Friendly barman as well.

Inside has some nice touches (the Deco doorway for instance), though I was less sure about the stuffed goat that reminded me of Alanis Morrissette.

Well worth popping in, and also a great place for ale drinkers to take their bubble-drinking friends without offending their own palette!

12 Sep 2006 20:00

The Pakenham Arms, Clerkenwell

Quite how this place is so high up in the Top 40 I can't really explain.

Four ales on tap on Saturday (all mainstream Pride/Bombadier etc, no Indies) which were nice, but hardly a taste sensation.

The atmosphere inside was dead, despite it being half-full. Mainly a load of sad-looking old and middle-aged men staring silently at the big screen TV. Contrasted with Wenlock Arms or the Sultan, where the atmosphere was one of lively chat and banter, this place was like a morgue.

Looks pretty from the outside, but inside is no different to a hundred other London pubs. It ain't a bad place (far from it), but it's not a great one either (far from it).

12 Sep 2006 19:48

The Nags Head, Belgravia

What a wonderful place to sink a couple. Timewarp factor of about 1936, the place has a great ambience about it, and you'd be hard-pressed to remember that you're in central London after 15 minutes on a Saturday afternoon. Even the till is ancient, and there are a couple of ancient (but working) one arm bandits on the way to the bogs. Staff are friendly folk.

Only small drawback is the limited ale range (Adnams Broadside and Bitter, kept well). I'd love to get my hands on this pub, rip out the Stella and Guiness and stick a few extra ale lines in, it'd give places like the Wenlock a run for their money, without a doubt.

But still, this a must-visit on a London crawl without a doubt, simply for the aesthetics.

12 Sep 2006 19:37

The Harp, Covent Garden

The front of this place is stunning, especially when they pull the front window right back.

Six ales of interest on last weekend, tried Lees Ruddy (OK - for a Lees!) and the Kerfuffle which unfortunately was warm and quite past its best, so the quality control is a bit wobbly at times it seems. Hopefully it was a one-off?

A trip to the toilets after a few is an experience, due to the narrow winding staircase and lack of turning circle when you get to the door.

Well worth a trip for the heritage factor alone.

12 Sep 2006 19:30

The Sultan, South Wimbledon

Excellent Hop Back Brewery outlet, situated in quite an interesting aesthetic. Clean and cosy inside, sampled the GFB (extremely good), Entire Stout and Hopscotch (both very good). Has a nice unfussy beer garden and a chatty clientele.

Well worth the yomp from Colliers Green tube or Wimbledon mainline. Best take a map though, it's in the back-streets. Watch out for the tinted mirror in bogs, it makes you look like you've been caught in a thermo-nuclear blast.

12 Sep 2006 19:23

The Brewery Tap, Reading

Not overly impressed, my Bombadier was a bit tinny tasting and the music was pretty loud for 6pm (yes I know, Grandad alert but 6pm?!?). A number of pool tables and a decent jukebox give it some plus points, but I didn't see much to tempt me back again really.

9 Sep 2006 00:30

Sweeney and Todd, Reading

Utter genius, a pint & pie shop. A bloody brilliant one too. This is not a really a pub, which is also great as there are no pikeys or wannabe yuppies in sight.

Four ales (Tried the Tanglefoot, 6X and Adnams Bitter which were all on top form, but the Tanglefoot especially was awesome, you get what you pay for ale-wise) and quality pies (my Goose and Gooseberry was divine), with the nights menu read by a classic old bat with smokers cough and a Final Score-style delivery. Interior is clean and well-lit, and pretty comfy.

One minor complaint is that the gents is just one toilet, which can result in queues. It is clean though.

This is great, go go go. And go some more. No trip to Reading is complete without it. Can't reccomend enough.

9 Sep 2006 00:19

The Gateway, Reading

A bloody good pint of Pride (though that was the only ale) and a comedy Elvis tribute act tonight. Also apparently a hang-out for London Irish fans. Some comfy corners to be found for a quiet pint.

Not worth going out of the way for, but a good 30 min stop if you're there.

9 Sep 2006 00:01

Scruffy Murphys, Reading

A bloody good pint of Pride (though that was the only ale) and a comedy Elvis tribute act tonight. Also apparently a hang-out for London Irish fans. Some comfy corners to be found for a quiet pint.

Not worth going out of the way for, but a good 30 min stop if you're there.

8 Sep 2006 23:59

The Blagrave Arms, Reading

Decent boozer very close to the station. Courage Best, Directors and Wells' Bombadier (yawn) on yesterday, but kept and served well at least. The bar staff are nice people.

Wood and glasswork around the bar is very pretty, but the rest of the pub is a bit bare and smokey. Also plays loud televised teenypop/RnB fest which is totally at odds with the surroundings and punters. Turn it off, or at least put something a bit more appealing on.

Worth a pint for the architecture, but no more I'm afraid, unless they get more interesting beer in.

8 Sep 2006 23:55

The Sun Inn, Reading

Spacious locals pub, with active dart board and friendly bar staff. Pride, Bombadier and Courage Best (if I remember correctly!) which were kept and served well. Toilets good also.

Itbox quizzer is a tease, gets you onto Bully's prize board but then asks you Hitler's inside leg measurement or the name of Bolton's third choice YTS keeper.

Drop in and have a couple.

8 Sep 2006 23:45

The Walkabout, Reading

A big warehouse, with 24/7 aircon, even when nature has given you a cold day to start with.

However VERY tasty and good value food, along with some interesting Aussie brews that you won't get elsewhere in town make it worthy of a stop every now and again, just do it before 7pm.

8 Sep 2006 23:38

The Allied Arms, Reading

Cosy boozer, with a couple of Ales on the go (Bombadier and Courage) which were well kept, but in Reading a pint of either is nothing special really I think. Worth a visit though, for sure.

8 Sep 2006 23:35

The Three Brewers, Wokingham

Recently refurbed and a lot the better for it, a lot cleaner and makes better use of the beer garden and has widescreen TV's with the aspect ratios correctly set. This is a real locals pub.

Two real ales on tonight (Flowers and Courage Best) both tasted very good. Barman looked like Gollum.

Well worth ducking in for a pint and handily close to the station.

6 Sep 2006 20:22

The Metropolitan, Wokingham

Locals pub, split into two areas. First is the events room (footy, live music), which is a bit shabby and souless when empty; best to move to the second room, which is more of a lounge area, with a selection of books to read, though to be honest I'm not sure the average punter would want to read much Clare Rayner though!

One ale on today (Morland Original), cheap at 2.40 for the area and tasted fine.

Not bad, but not great. Stop by for one if you're on a crawl maybe.

5 Sep 2006 23:22

The George, Staines

Well no sign of the Lloyds Number One yet...perhaps the thought of driving away the old men made them realise they'd lose half their takings, especially as the Kids are now drinking and watching the footy at the Town Hall over the road which is a far better set-up for that kind of customer.

However this place does need a good clean-out, regardless of how the Lloyds idea pans out. It is getting fairly smelly and tatty round the edges.

3 Sep 2006 16:46

The Jolly Farmer, Staines

No ale on my visit, and no sign of it ever being available either. Still almost 100% male oriented.

It doesn't seem cared-for. Unclean ashtrays and crisp packets were scattered around yesterday, despite there only being a handful of people in there. The TV wasn't tuned in properly (now hard can that be? Who is going to watch the football at your pub when all you offer is a small screen telly with a crackly picture, while almost every other pub in Staines that shows sport now has widescreen HDTV and a sound system to match?). Pretty grubby place really, needs a good clean , new carpets and some kind of selling point.

The sad fact is that it really could be quite good, with a bit of effort.

3 Sep 2006 16:17

The Swan Hotel, Staines

The new refit means that the place now has a bit of atmosphere it was badly lacking during quiet hours (see my previous post). Though no Chiswick on my last visit which is a shame as it is the only Fuller's pub in my vicinity that served it regularly. Shame.

3 Sep 2006 16:06

The Town Hall, Staines

Have done a nice job in here, very big and visually arresting (parallells with The Academy in Aberystwyth). Three ales on (Tim Taylor's Landlord, Youngs Special and suprise surprise Courage!), which are well-kept.

Many big-scren TV's dominate, all with their aspect ratios correctly set, so a good place to watch sportsmen rather than Smurfs. Though conversely some of the staff on big matchdays are in absoultely no hurry to serve you, which is pretty irritating and drove us over to The Swan at half time yesterday.

3 Sep 2006 16:03

The Three Tuns, Staines

Long line of weary faces sat along the length of the bar, reminded me of those little old ladies who spend all day at the one-armed bandits in Las Vegas.

One ale (the ubiquitous Courage Best) which was, well, Courage-like really.

Same chain (Jack Beards) that own The Cock in Staines, and to be honest you'd struggle to tell them apart - both kitted out in all-over burgundy decor, like the blood river from The Shining has just passed through.

Big plus point was that it was offering a selection of bar/board games which is a rarity these days, so there is a good reason to pop in. To be honest, it would be utterly forgettable otherwise.

3 Sep 2006 15:55

The Frontiersman Pub, Coombs

If you like your pubs to conform to the North American stereotypes this is the one for you.

Busty big-haired blonde waitress, dark, grimy underlit interior, Canadian lager, truckers with 'taches and baseball caps crammed into a small smoking booth watching computer-generated horse racing, and a pool table that's seen more action than Black Watch.

It reminds me a bit of the one the Blues Brothers played at where there was a chicken-wire mesh along the front of the stage to stop bottles...

To be fair the waitress was very friendly, but I didn't like this place.

2 Sep 2006 15:01

The Crispin, Wokingham

Still doing a good job on the Real Ale guest beer, but the place desperately needs a good clean and new seat covers. Being some sort of 250 year old pub doesn't stop you from updating the basic decor occasionally. Like once every 20 years.

1 Sep 2006 23:01

The Academy, Aberystwyth

There is no real ale here now.

1 Sep 2006 22:56

The Redan, Wokingham

Change of landlord. New fella seems to be moving it in a more cocktail-oriented direction. Fair enough, no-one else in Woky is doing it. Nice bloke to boot. Has two ales, both GK (IPA and Speckled hen)

Sharp enough to note that the pint of Speckled Hen was barrel-end and offered me the IPA as alternative. Most places would just dump the grot in front of you and demand payment.

Has a small beer garden and a bright conservatory area. Not cheap (my GK IPA was £2.70) but the beer is well-kept and the guy obviously takes pride in serving it well. Better than it was and one to put on the Woky crawl list now.

1 Sep 2006 22:41

Y Llew Coch, Tregaron

A very strange little pub in a very strange little town.

Pub split into two sections, one section houses the pool table and strange music, a dark slate-hewn room. The bigger lounge area is painted burgundy and houses an arced big screen.

Hancocks HB on when I visited, though didn't sample as i missed it! Had a pint of nitrokeg mild instead which was OK.

To be honest this place seemed pretty depressing. Was pleased to get out.

28 Aug 2006 23:43

The Talbot Hotel, Tregaron

Beautiful interior, some real character.

Had a number of real ales on when I went, but I didn't think much of them myself - the Double Dragon tasted tinny and the 'Champflower' seemed suspiciously like the landlords homebrew, complete with strange mushroom slither!

28 Aug 2006 23:36

Mill Inn, Aberystwyth

Small room with comedy outside lavs. Usually inhabited by sporty types from Aber Uni and younger locals. Nothing to shout about.

28 Aug 2006 22:46

The Glengower Hotel, Aberystwyth

Transformed from sticky-floored student 'plub' to wannabe gastropub.

Three real ales on tap (Everards Sunchaser, Deuchars and Theakstons), but use of sparkler on the pump made a mess of what should have been a nice pint.

Food served tastes fine, though portion sizes are variable. Also has a penchant for playing fairly inappropriate music when you're trying to eat (rap?!? whose gonna eat here, 50 Ceri?) No Sunday roast either despite being open on a Sunday which is pretty dumb.

Has potential, but really needs to up it's game.

28 Aug 2006 22:33

The Cos Bar, London

A rotten pint of Courage Best and seat covers that look like they've been stolen off Marlene's wardrobe by Boycie. Crap, go to the cockpit 50 yards up the side road instead.

19 Aug 2006 22:44

The Anchor, Southwark

Popped in on Friday afternoon. Never saw the place pre-refurb so will take it at face value.

The pint of Bomadier I had was fine. Admittedly the bar staff have a bit of English deficiency but smiling and pointing at what you want does the trick?

Had a £7-8 stuff-your-face carvery upstairs which was very very good and excellent value.

Not the best pub in the world but I'll be going back for sure!

19 Aug 2006 22:41

The Brew Wharf, London Bridge

As a Vinopolis visitor yesterday I popped in here with me mates clutching our taster tickets - tried one of everything. I didn't really like any of them, the Weiss and Raspberry beers in particular were akin to Panda Pops. The staff are also in a terrible hurry to clear away the empties which i found off-putting.

19 Aug 2006 22:31

The Rising Sun, Blackfriars

Enjoyable Shepheard Neame beers on last night. The interior is pretty dull (looks like it may have been a few years back but has had it's guts ripped out) but at least the ale is good...

19 Aug 2006 22:22

Founders Arms, Bankside

Expensive but great views from a building that wouldn't be out of place in Centerparcs.

Get the bottles, as noted below they are better value than the draught.

19 Aug 2006 22:19

The Cockpit, Blackfriars

Really good little ale pub, four (admittedly fairly mainstream) brews on yesterday tasted good, housed in a classic piece of dark Victoriana.

Works a good tab system. Has a TV with Sky. Well worth a visit.

Fella with impressive handlebar moustache behind the bar too!

19 Aug 2006 22:02

The Black Lion Inn, Derwenlas

A nice rural stop-off offering a lovely view over the valley and a warm cosy interior.

Mainly frequented for meals, it was fully booked when we rocked up for a pint, so it must be pretty good as far as nosh goes.

One real ale on tap (the brand I have forgotten) which had that irritating metallic taste that infects so many pints in west Wales (what is it??? The pints everywhere else don't taste like that!!!).

Worth a stop to take in the view, and I imagine the warm snug interior would be most appealing on a cold winters night. Loses marks for poor ale quality sadly.

15 Aug 2006 20:10

The Wild Fowler, Tre'r Ddol

Rather pleasant stop off between Aberystwyth and Machynlleth, with great views.

A Real Ale on offer in good condition (London Pride bizarrely), The Wild Fowler also has a quizzer, food, darts, a pool table and SKY TV. Good bar service when I was there too.

Well worth seeking out for a pint on a warm summers day in West Wales.

15 Aug 2006 19:05

The Red Lion, Wokingham

Refurbed a while ago, all whitewash and chocolate brown chairs now. Fairly pleasent, in a forgettable way.

Food is served, so maybe somewhere to take a hot date if you don't fancy Prezzos.

No Real Ale that I could spot, so I won't be in there again in a hurry.

15 Aug 2006 18:53

Nags Head, Sunningdale Village

Nice little pub 15 minutes walk away from Sunningdale station in the picturesque Sunningdale village.

Has the Harveys Real Ale range on offer which were all good when I visited (the Best and Mild in particular were excellent). Decently priced too given the area.

Be sure to say hello to pub dog Rosie, who looks to have been there as long as the place itself; a very friendly little hound, likes a tickle behind the ears!

Also has a pool table and clean toilets.

15 Aug 2006 00:32

The Buzz Restaurant and Wine Bar, Wokingham

Trendy, trendy wine bar opposite the Gig House. For a yuppies pub it's actually pretty good. The interior is quite tasteful and the prices are reasonable given it's market.

No real ales of course, but a pint of Strapraolen (or however it's spelt) was alright as an alternative.

I think I remember fishtanks being in the walls as well.

14 Aug 2006 18:15

Lord Beechings, Aberystwyth

Another Aber refit pub, this time from a small pokey little dive that only had customers due to its lethal 99p triple vodkas, to a big (expanded to the old sweet shop on the corner) comfy and modern bar.

It's been very nicely done, and I was pleasntly surprised to find two of the Brains range of Real Ales (Gold and SA), although they had a slightly metallic taste to them, a problem which seems to affect a lot of pubs in west Wales for some reason!

Overall, a good recommendation, especially if the ale is sorted out in the next few months. This place would make a nice Cask Marque pub.

14 Aug 2006 18:06

The Orangery, Aberystwyth

Very upmarket (for Aber) posh bar and eatery. Really nice interior and lounge, and spotless toilets.

There is an extensive selection of bottles available, from wine to real ale, with cakes and nibbles available at the bar.

It's not cheap (my bottle of seaweed-infused ale was £3.50), but it keeps the Chavs out and allows for a pleasant table service.

I really like what they have done in here, though most of my ex-Aber mates violently disagreed. But if you want a cheap pint of bubbles, then there are 5 bars within 500 yards of this place.

NB: This used to be the Talbot Hotel, then Brady's, back in the day (98-04). The bloke behind the bar looks like David James too.

14 Aug 2006 17:36

Bar Essential, Aberystwyth

Had a good and reasonably priced meal in here last weekend, and a nice pint of Brains SA too.

Good service and the upstairs seating gives a lovely view.

One to avoid a few years back under its Central Park guise, this is now one of Aber's best pubs. Better than Varisty and 'Spoons for food too I think.

14 Aug 2006 17:08

Yr Hen Orsaf, Aberystwyth

New pumps and refrigeration fitted; which is fine for the bubble-drinkers, but the Real Ale is now freezing too, which kills the flavour stone dead.

Sort it out or lose the Cask Marque!

14 Aug 2006 15:13

Scholars, Aberystwyth

Down to one real ale - Reverand James - which tasted a bit metallic.

Attractive barmaids though.

14 Aug 2006 15:09

Downies Vaults, Aberystwyth

Real ale - Mansfield cask plus Banks on my last visit which were good, with loud music on a Friday night which was heaving.

14 Aug 2006 15:08

The Coopers Hotel (Y Cwps), Aberystwyth

UPDATE - The wall has been painted!!!

14 Aug 2006 15:06

The Orange Tree, Leicester

Decent place for a last drink before closing, has a couple of ales on (Bass and Marstons tasted fine) and gets very full, mainly yougsters on en route to the city's clubs. Has a big beer garden out the back.

9 Aug 2006 19:19

Orange Tree, Richmond

Quite a pretty little place, not too cheap though and nothing of note to keep you there beyond a pint.

Didn't see the place pre-refurb, but I quite liked it in here, well the corner cubby-hole by the door anyway.

6 Aug 2006 19:08

The Red Cow, Richmond

After a tipsy route march from The Britannia carrying the blonde barmaids message of greeting to Phil, we arrived at the Red Cow, a nice looking Victorian-style bar and a Youngs-tied house.

After passing on the message to Phil (a thoroughly nice chap) we got our (expensive) pints and took a seat. The inside of the place is certainly *quite* pretty, but modern flashing fruitmachines and odd lighting sit uncomfertably with other aspects of the interior. My pint of Special was also not particularly special either.

If in Richmond for a crawl, go once to sample the interior, but I can't imagine wanting to stay beyond a pint most nights.

Sup up friends, we're off to the Orange Tree before we get the train...

6 Aug 2006 18:57

The Britannia, Richmond

A nice tidy little pub tucked away down an alleyway. Had a couple of mainstream Real Ales on a couple of days back (Bombadier was mine) which were well kept and served.

Small but comfy beer garden out the back. Well worth a visit.

Blonde barmaid became very excited when we asked directions to the Red Cow, I think 'Phil' the barman there has an admirer...

6 Aug 2006 18:42

The Pitcher and Piano, Reading

Pretty interior (loved the windows) but the prices are outrageous, I'm surprised the staff can keep a straight face when they ask for your money.

No real ale, well like you wouldn't know that anyway eh?

3 Aug 2006 21:48

Pavlov's Dog, Reading

Squalid little hole, appalling toilets, naff uncomfertable furniture and lit like a brothel.

No ale either, just fizzy lagers and the like not even a decent bottle.


3 Aug 2006 21:42

The Horn, Reading

Really really disliked this pub.

Went in and there was no real ale (despite it being advertised outside, so ended up with a Newcy Broon.

Then went over and had a go on the quizzer (note to fellow quiz machine Moths: the Bully game took us almost instantly onto the prize board, so a few quid to be made here). Anyway we noticed that someone had left their wallet behind, so we took it over the bar to hand it over. The response from the barmaid?
"Well you should have brought this over 10 minutes ago, he was in here looking for it then". No that wasn't a joke either. She meant it.


3 Aug 2006 21:36

The Hope Tap, Reading

Not as good compared to the Monks (the other Wevvies in Reading I've been in).

Beer was fine but a very dull selection (Pride, Abbott, Loddon & Pedigree) compared to the Exmoor Gold and others on offer in the Monks.

Food was decent, so a plus point there, and the pub area itself was quite nice. Toilets were a hike to get to.

Maybe if the beer is more varied i'd go back in but not on last night's showing.

3 Aug 2006 21:21

Bar Risa, Reading

Popped in on a Tuesday evening. Not too bad a place, no real ale though (surprise surprise) but there was Leffe, Budvar and Hoegaarden in the fridge so that's OK, pricey though. Barman was a nice fella too.

The semi-circular sofas are a nice touch and the toilets were in good nick. Menu looked nice + quite cheap but didn't sample.

One of the better 'bar' venues in Reading, certainly a lot nicer than Pavlov's which we visited later anyway.

3 Aug 2006 20:57

The Square Bar, Wokingham

Absolutely shocking.

Served me a pint of tomato juice masquerading as London Pride. When I told them (politely) that it was off, and could I have a different drink please, the barman held it up to the light and said "what's wrong with it? It looks alright to me!" then proceeded to huff and puff over pouring me a Guiness.

Failed to change the barrel, turn the clip or take away the pint of ming, which was left on the bar, despite there being only 7 other people in the place.

Places like this shouldn't be allowed a licence to sell real ale as they are obviously too thick to know how to care for it, and add to the perception held by many that ale from a pump tastes vile.

And it was stupidly expensive to boot. Avoid this place like an overheated portaloo, as just like a protaloo, you'll get a sh*t pint. Or sh*t in a pint.

3 Aug 2006 20:42

The Feathers, Laleham

Cask Marque revoked last month according August edition of What's Brewing. Shabby stuff, but fits in with what my fellow Staines-based ale drinkers have been telling me of late.

1 Aug 2006 21:21

High Society Music Bar, Staines


31 Jul 2006 23:13

The Grainstore Brewery, Oakham

A very enjoyable place to sink a few (very good) beers from the brewery. Right next to the train station so easily accessable from Leicester or Cambridge.

It's a bit of a one-off place, and has a pleasant atmosphere.

I didn't have any problem with the service in here and the bogs seemed fine to me, although it was Sunday afternoon.

Food is served too, and there's outside seating.

30 Jul 2006 21:04

The Cherry Tree, Leicester

Classic roughs boozer tucked away behind the Shires.

Serves no real ale but does have a rather nice beer garden with comedy astroturf they must have nicked from Loftus Road.

Problem is that you have to walk through a bar full of tatooed regulars watching you and making husehed comments to each other to get to it. It did seem to make their afternoon when me and my mates tried it, and it made ours too in a very bizarre way.

30 Jul 2006 20:56

The Ale Wagon, Leicester

Two big rooms with a smattering of old men looking at the Racing Post and waiting for something to happen, like tumbleweed to blow past perhaps.

Has an alright Real Ale range and the Dolphin wheat beer was nice. A regular comedy evening was advertised too. It'd have to be bloody good to get the resident old farts to chuckle though.

30 Jul 2006 20:49

The Globe, Leicester

This place is a mess. The seats have chunks missing and it needs painting something else from that nasty vomit yellow colour. A weirdo in the corner kept staring at us too. urgh.

The Everards beer is fine as you'd expect, but as a drinking experience this place sucks, especially with so many other decent ale houses nearby like the Criterion or the Vaults.

Don't go here until a decent landlord does the place up.

30 Jul 2006 20:42

Sloanes, Leicester

Excellent real ale outlet in a beautiful location (well at the New Walk end anyway), has a lot to choose from and the prices are very cheap too.

I prefer the Criterion for atmosphere though if I'm out for a beer early on, I think this place is better later in the day.

30 Jul 2006 20:36

The Criterion, Leicester

This is a fabulous pub for real ale, has a good selection of handpumps and a bulging fridge full of bottled imports in great condition.

It does indeed look like the inside of a non-league football clubs function room but it is clean, airy and bright so that's really not a bother once you're in.

You really could stay in here all day, and with it being 2 minutes from the town centre, the stagger towards Leicester's excellent public transport system is straightforward.

Also serves food and plays host to regular live music. Fabulous.

30 Jul 2006 20:22

Cafe Bruxelles, Leicester

Really beautiful interior, coupled with an excellent range of continental bottled beers (at reasonable prices) should make this a must for any pub crawl in Leicester.

The food is OK though not brilliant however, my mediterranean chicken ciabatta seemed to be distinctly lacking a mediterranean slant...

30 Jul 2006 20:15

Broad Street Tavern, Wokingham

Still doing a good job here, usually 5 Wadworth ales on plus Amstell and Chimay if that's your bag.

Nice big garden out the back, with a bar for a busy Friday or Saturday. Also has a table service on when it's busy so you can avoid the arduous trek to the (admittedly stupidly small) bar, which is fab.

Good pub.

21 Jul 2006 23:28

The New Rose, Wokingham

A really nice interior, very spacious and well crafted with comfy seating, good for a bland after-work drink because it won't offend anybody and you can fit plenty of people in.

There is no cask ale, just two naff Marstons nitros, so no good for the cultured. C'mon guys, you've got loads of taps, just one ale ain't asking too much is it?

The prices are stupid too - £3 for two half pint lemonades from the syrup tap?!? Get real.

Better pubs very close if you're with real drinkers.

21 Jul 2006 23:22

The Gig House, Wokingham

Sdaly the ales aren't being kept as well as they were; especially an irritating lack of pulling through the first pint or two after cleaning so you end up with a nasty alkaline undertaste to some beers in the the early evening - try before you buy is my message here at the moment and don't accept second best! If they fob you off, then take a short walk to the Crispin or Vicky Arms.

The food however is still good and the service is fine. Clear air and relatively clean toilets too, although the cider range has sadly diminished.

Just sort out the basic beer skills barman, and stop being lazy.

20 Jul 2006 23:58

The Bells, Staines

An enjoyable evening in an excellent location, beer spot-on, toilets clean and atmosphere/air quality good.

Small complaint however, the staff were a bit Pokerface for my liking, got the feeling that the paying customer plays second fiddle to cleaning the brasswork at times unless they are a regular; if I am at a bar waving my fiver I expect to be served (or at least acknowledged) ASAP, not looked at as a distraction! Cleaning can wait, money in the till and good service is surely the priority for a sensible landlord!

19 Jul 2006 00:35

The Victoria Arms, Wokingham

Sampled the mini beer festival last week, very enjoyable with 6 brews, plus the other 3 tap ales, all very reasonably priced for the area.

Landlord is doing a great job here, it had quite a poor reputation a few years ago but the trouble-makers have been scared away, and the regulars are a good friendly crowd that you can get chatting to.

Has screens in now for sport, so well worth a visit.

One small complaint is that it can get quite smokey though, but in a few months time that'll be redundent I guess!

Good times.

17 Jul 2006 23:43

Cocco, Staines


15 Jul 2006 18:23

The Duke's Head, Wokingham

Fairly good, got the ubiquitous Brakspears on as their Real Ale, but kept and served better than most of the other local establishments.

Lively atmosphere some evenings, and pretty clean throughout.

Tidy, but not neccessarily endearing however.

14 Jul 2006 23:21

The Griffin, Caversham

Nice little pub, with a good selection of real ale, and often quite busy as a consequence.

A good place to start in Reading before moving onto to the After Dark!

13 Jul 2006 19:11

The Victoria, Woodham

Nice little place, serving some decent real ales - worth making the time for if you're in the area

13 Jul 2006 19:06

The Garibaldi, Staines

Scares the life out of me, and I've been in my fair share of pubs.

No real ale, so no point in me going there either.

12 Jul 2006 22:37

The Old Red Lion, Staines

Pretty good place, and the regulars are a nice crowd. Serves a decent pint of Real Ale too.

12 Jul 2006 22:34

The Ship Inn, Wokingham

Sports Bar? Not really, they just show the football/rugby, like a lot of places.

Still a great place to go in Wokingham, although quite pricey. But the real ale is always spot-on, so you get what you pay for in that respect.

Bryan and Emma are doing a great job here.

12 Jul 2006 22:15

The Red Lion, Egham

Getting better, small and slowly changing Real Ales, less chavs too.

Footy quizzer has gone though, boo!

12 Jul 2006 22:07

The Anglers Retreat, Staines

Hmm well following on from my previous comment the ales have been detiorating a bit (down to one Brakspears the other day and that wasn't great) and the waiting staff can be pretty ropey, making schoolboy errors (double-charging, not bringing over cutlery etc).

The food is very very good, and the toilets are excellent but don't bother coming here for a beer.

12 Jul 2006 21:42

O'Neills, Reading

Ah, the classic Oirish McPub (TM).

Barman was a good fella.

Oh I don't know, it's an O'Neills, whatever, just avoid the yuppie Guiness bores droning on.

12 Jul 2006 21:36

The Alehouse, Reading

I'm not sure what to make of this place.

Yes it has some fantastic real ales in great condition, and the cubby-holes scattered around are quite endearing, as are the old beer clips adorning the walls and roof.

But on further inspection, it's grubby. Not in a real-ale-hangout way, but just generally manky. And the air is stale, they need to get the windows open abit, especially in the summer!

I think that a bit of TLC could make this a top place, but it's falling a bit short for me at the moment.

NB: There is a no-mobiles policy, which is rigidly enforced by the staff and regulars - be warned!

12 Jul 2006 20:51

The Bugle, Reading

Well what a strange little cubby-hole.

Slap-bang in the middle of the town centre, it looks like a backstreet boozer from yesteryear, and doesn't disappoint when you go inside. The decor is circa 1976 and so are most of the people drinking in it - I almost expected to see Watneys on sale, but saw Websters Green Label instead which ain't that far off really.

Bomadier and Directors were the two real ales on when I went, and I hear that they are changed regularly, well mine were in tip-top condition so fair play there.

Music of choice is LOUD ROCK, (as is the landlord by the looks of him) even when there are only 10 customers, like last night.

Not a pub for everyone, but I found it rather quaint nonetheless.

12 Jul 2006 20:46

The Metropolitan, Wokingham

Decent boozer tucked slightly away from the town centre - wider range of ales now available, and music some nights.

1 Jul 2006 12:25

The Plough Inn, Marsh Gibbon

Sells some of the beers from the Oxfordshire Ales brewery. Not really to my taste, but the pub itself is fairly nice, and situated in some lovely countryside. Pretty spacious too, with comfy chairs!

28 Jun 2006 22:51

The Hop Pole Inn, Aylesbury

Huge selection of real ale, visited very early on in the day, so as for atmosphere I cant really vouch one way or the other for that. Its the beer wot does it for me!

28 Jun 2006 22:49

The Hope and Anchor, Wokingham

Seems like every time I pick up the local rag or speak to someone who lives in Woky there's a report about a scuffle in this place. Going to the dogs fast by the looks of things.

28 Jun 2006 22:27

The Vale of Rheidol, Aberystwyth

Has a bit of a reputation around Aber, which is enough to scare off 99% of the students, which is just how the people who frequent the place like it.

Nothing special beer-wise, just the usual nitro-keg suspects.

It was just over the road from this pub that the now infamous "who wants free money?!" incident took place.

28 Jun 2006 22:07

The Rising Sun, Kemsing

Great real ale, fabulous pub and quality eggs from behind the bar (50p!). A bit squiffy by the time the bus rocked up here, but managed to find a secong wind in the summer sunset due to the quality on offer!

26 Jun 2006 22:07

The Red Lion, Snargate

Another wonderful Kent pub, I was lucky enough to go on beer festival day and enjoyed every second (The Imperial Stout was to die for). Fabulous old school interior adorned with friendly staff and punters alike. Will be making sure I visit again soon!

26 Jun 2006 22:04

The Swan on the Green, West Peckham

What would I look for in a fantasy pub?

1. Ales of quality - Check
2. Above brewed on site - Check
3. Good atmosphere - Check
4. Beautiful setting - Check
5. Outside beer garden in above setting - Check
6. A good quality cider on tap - Check
7. Reasonably priced - Check
8. Clean - Check
9. Friendly staff - Check

For the summer months, this is the best place I've ever been too. Amazing. Just go here on a sunny day and be blown away!

26 Jun 2006 21:56

The Old House, Ightham

What a fabulous find! Stuck well away in the sticks it doesn't even look like a pub from the outside. Time has stood still on the inside, straight out of the 40's by the looks of it. 4 ales of interest on tap, and a huge open fire that I am making a point of sampling when winter reappears!

26 Jun 2006 21:49

North Star, Staines

Nice pub by the station, three reasonably-priced ales in great condition yesterday (spitfire, 6X, Deuchars IPA) and a decent crowd and a nice sized beer garden.

Also contains a fabulous career barmaid who appears to do a lot of pub chores with a ciggie hanging out of her mouth. The refit is a little too IKEA for my liking though, but otherwise very good for Staines.

18 Jun 2006 15:29

The Rose and Olive Branch, Virginia Water

Nice little pub just outside Viginia Water. GK brews on served well and an interesting menu, certainly looked inticing but I didn't have the time to order anything. Easy-going clientele and bar staff, well worth going for a sampler.

16 Jun 2006 19:42

The Wykeham Arms, Winchester

Was quite quiet when I visted on Saturday afternoon, didn't really see any pub-school bottom-antics or Gordon Gekkos when I was there, just a good pub with well-kept beer (the old Gales range plus the newly-imposed Fullers) and polite staff. Which is good enough for me really.

No mobile phones allowed I noted, now that's worth something?!

I'd recommend it. Sitting at the old school desks was quite a treat, though I'd have to say that a lick of paint on the windows wouldn't go amiss.

4 Jun 2006 17:23

The Lucas Arms, Kings Cross

Not bad at all, good for a couple of ales before AC30 at the Water Rats. Three GK brews on (Abbott, IPA & Speckled Hen) priced at £2.50, reasonable for the area.

23 May 2006 20:33

The Three Guineas, Reading

Wide selection of (expensive) Real Ales, which taste good. Being next to the railway station and near Broad Street, it does attract a few people that you'd rather avoid, ho-hum. Worth going in if you've got a wait for the train anyway.

30 Apr 2006 11:27

The Latchmere, Battersea

As a pub, this place is completely forgettable - just one ale on when I went and not much atmosphere. The upstairs toilets were pretty nasty.

Does play host to a small theatre however, which is pretty cool, but overall a bit more care and attention is needed in here; especially with so many alternatives nearby.

11 Apr 2006 21:26

The Falcon, Clapham Junction

Very good when I went in last night, excellent pint of Bombadier and quick food service despite it being 6:00pm

Decent range of real ale and nice interior, though it's quite often hard to find a seat and it can get pretty smokey.

11 Apr 2006 21:11

The Pillars of Hercules, Soho

Not a bad little place, decent beer, nice variety. Suffers from being very small, dark and smokey. And the toilets are nasty too, but then again in Soho that's the norm, eh?

Pop in for one, and then press on.

9 Apr 2006 20:08

The Anglers Retreat, Staines

Pretty nice place, Brakspears behind the bar served and kept OK.

Lots of fishtanks to keep yourself amused in a dull moment.

Not as good as the Feathers, but still a nice place to go for a Sunday afternoon.

9 Apr 2006 20:03

The Bricklayers Arms, Fitzrovia

Funny little place, upstairs is like a gentlemans club that hasn't been decorated since 1976 - very cosy.

Drinks were decent, though the barman was a right knob-rot; still, you can't have everything in London I find.

9 Apr 2006 19:57

The Castle Hotel, Aberystwyth

No ale on anymore. Rubbish!

17 Mar 2006 21:52

The Feathers, Laleham

A pretty good place to have an evening drink, (or start a pub crawl into Staines). Spacious and with a good clientele, with a decent range of Real Ale.

11 Mar 2006 16:39

The Shepherd and Flock, Farnham

Odd place, good range of Real Ale, but the interior is a bit weird, I expected a CAMRA version of Elvis to pop out from behind the bar...

11 Mar 2006 16:37

The Sovereigns, Woking

Recently taken over by the former Landlady from the Crown in Egham. A wide range of Real Ales, excellently kept. Modern interior may put off some, but I think it's quite nicely done myself, it feels fairly warm and snug. A must-stop for a pint in Woking.

11 Mar 2006 16:33

The White Hart, New Haw

Fair place, spacious, has hops hanging inside but otherwise has a slightly twee feel about it. Real Ale on tap served well, but nothing out of the ordinary.

11 Mar 2006 16:29

The Royal Marine, Lyne

A nice little ale-house tucked away just off the M25. Interior marine themed and doubles-up as HQ of the Lyne Mountain Rescue Team (the joke being there are no mountains in Surrey...)

Real Ale available, but didn't strike me as being anything to shout about. A lot of people do swear by this place however, so give it a try!

11 Mar 2006 16:27

Thomson's, Edinburgh

Went in there on a Saturday night and was pretty impressed by the unusual interior, and more than happy with the Real Ales on tap.

As mentioned in a previous post, drinkers are of the red-faced variety, but a friendly (if somewaht noisy) atmosphere prevails.

If you're staying on the west side of town, definately pop in here for a pint or three.

11 Mar 2006 16:17

The Bow Bar, Edinburgh

Dedicated to two of the finest drinks available - Real Ale and Whiskey, making the atmosphere inside a joy. The whole place is dedicated to enjoying the drink with no distractions except for a newspaper rack and the buzz of other conversations. Also near to some great eateries and serves a mean pint of stout as well. A must for a Real Ale crawl!

11 Mar 2006 16:13

The Guildford Arms, Edinburgh

My personal favourite in Edinburgh, a massive range of Real Ale served in a tidy boozer with a nice Victorian interior.

11 Mar 2006 16:08

The Blue Blazer, Edinburgh

Great place to get a drink, loads of Real Ale, atmosphere smokey, but clientele well-behaved for a Saturday night!

11 Mar 2006 16:05

The Redan, Wokingham

Nothing special, another Greene King outlet if I remember correctly.

11 Mar 2006 16:03

The Court Royal, Aberystwyth

You can guess from the title what you'll find in here: sport, loud people, naff beer and fag smoke.

Nothing special outside of watching the rugby.

21 Feb 2006 10:11

The Inn on the Pier, Aberystwyth

Well-frequented hangout that plays host to Premiership football, home-made pizzas and crap nitro beer, but at least they offer Skol and Ansells for a quid. Being on the Pier, there are great views to be had from the windows, especially if the resident Starlings are coming home to roost at dusk.

Clientele usually loud and brash, especially as this is the little sister pub to the nightclub next door.

Come here? Maybe if you want to watch the footy, feel hungry (the pizzas are good) and can make a pint of Skol last for an hour.

21 Feb 2006 10:02

The Tynllidiart Arms, Capel Bangor

A nice little place tucked away in Capel Bangor with a lovely comfy interior, this is the home of the smallest commercial brewery in the world as of July 2005; I tried it and it tastes alright too!

Impressive selection of food on offer. *Definately* worth a visit when in Ceredigion or Aber. Front door is almost right on the main road, so careful when you step out after a couple!

21 Feb 2006 09:53

The Weston Vaults, Aberystwyth

Weird little place, unusual clientele. Needs a refurb and a unique selling point, as there isn't one at the moment.

21 Feb 2006 09:43

Varsity, Aberystwyth

Yucky chain pub, nicknamed the Goldfish Bowl. Used to have Banks' but that has now gone, only the usual lamentable nasty tasting nitro beers. Usually stuffed with loud sports types and girls from the home counties wearing whatever Victoria Beckham had on last week, it's a place best avoided when there's so many other outlets nearby.

Saying that, the service has certainly improved, the bar staff on my visit 19/02 were friendly and efficient and the food order was good and on time.

But the beer still stank.

21 Feb 2006 09:42

Scholars, Aberystwyth

Pretty cosy place to start your night, has a couple of real ales and a nice interior with a quiz on a Sunday night. Clientele often higher-end students and locals.

Suffers from the usual Aber problem of being too hot and smokey when busy, but overall well worth visiting.

21 Feb 2006 09:35

Rummers, Aberystwyth

Probably the best pub in Aber for a late drink. Has a great atmosphere and a nice outside seating area overlooking the river Rheidol. Clientele are of the Masters/Phd student variety, which ensures a generally pleasant atmosphere and has hireable board games with a piece missing.

Usually has a majorly overpriced guest ale/foriegn beer. The only other drawback is that it is far too smokey inside and that its popularity, combined with a small bar mean that it takes ages to get served when busy.

21 Feb 2006 09:32

The Coopers Hotel (Y Cwps), Aberystwyth

A very popular place with the Welsh-speaking population in Aber, though I've always struggled to see why. It's small, pokey, nicotine stained, shabby looking and has cigarette smoke permanently lingering in the air.

Occasional live music upstairs and a real ale (the ubiquitous Double Dragon) gives it a bonus point.

Once bottle green on the outside, one of the walls was rebuilt a few years ago and left an unpainted concrete grey like some East german tenement. In a town where brightly coloured buildings are the norm, I think it's that lack of pride in the pub's appearence that sums the place up.

21 Feb 2006 09:26

The Academy, Aberystwyth

Converted church that had lain derelict for years - it's stunning to look at and takes your breath away the first couple of times you go in, it is nicely furnished. After that you tend to notice the underlying faults: It's cold downstairs but baking hot upstairs; the beer is nothing special; service at busy times is inconsistent; the church acoustics mean that everything is amplified, so you end up shouting at people across the table instead of talking.

Visit once, but then move on.

21 Feb 2006 09:19

The Victoria Arms, Wokingham

Backstreet (well as backstreet as Woky gets) boozer that has been overhauled inside and is (unusually) much the better for it too.

An excellent range of ever-changing and well kept real ales which are well advertised.

Gets very smoky though, and sometimes feels a bit dim inside but this is definately one of the better pubs in Woky right now.

11 Feb 2006 21:14

The Crispin, Wokingham

Nice pub with guest ale, though let down by poor staffing; when I went in just before Christmas some drunk started stripping the tree and throwing it into the fire. Staff reaction? Nothing. Time to move on.

27 Jan 2006 21:20

The Lord Raglan, Wokingham

Classic Greene King refit pub. Great if that's your bag, but it ain't mine. Clientele tend to the younger, slightly boozier side, especially on a Friday and saturday night

7 Jan 2006 22:37

The Watermans Arms, Eton

Seemed very nice inside, and had a good ale selection (inc Hogsback, which always gets a thumbs-up) and an attentive barstaff.

Has a map of the Thames on the ceiling which I fear has caused many people to fall off their chairs when drunk; it doesn't have Staines marked on though, so minus points there...

3 Dec 2005 20:15

The New College Arms, Eton

This place has the fixtures in place to be a great pub but it falls well short.

The ubiquitous London Pride, Sky Sports Extra on the screens with no sound and toilets that smelt like someone had left a brown parcel in a bag underneath a radiator.

Not impressed at all!

3 Dec 2005 20:09

The George, Eton

A kind of half-in, half-out gastro pub with conversion that's a bit too clinical for my taste and devoid of atmosphere as a consequence. A decent Brakspears, but in Windsor that's nothing to get excited about is it?

3 Dec 2005 20:03

The Highlander, Windsor

Nice range of ale and on the cheaper side of Windsor's wallet-busting standards. Good atmosphere inside.

3 Dec 2005 19:57

The Horse and Groom, Windsor

Really enjoy the atmosphere in here, smashing views by the window. Enjoyable Spitfire on last visit, though not a cheap one by any means!

3 Dec 2005 19:54

The Two Brewers, Windsor

Tucked away but well worth finding. Ales of good quality, including Courage Best which normally tastes grim (or grem).

Spread over two very small bars, it's often standing room only. Interesting literature in the gents too.

3 Dec 2005 19:51

The Windsor Castle, Windsor

Worth the walk. A nice warm place; clean and fairly friendly with the nicest pint of Deuchars IPA I've tasted! Well worth putting on the crawl list.

3 Dec 2005 19:48

The Prince Arthur, Windsor

Are you local?

Fuller's pub; service was fine, but inside was lacked atmopshere and warmth. Got a few funny looks which didn't help either!

3 Dec 2005 19:44

The Three Tuns, Windsor

Was nice and festive yesterday, had Youngs Special on. Quite warm and welcoming but nothing out of the ordinary really, especially with the Carpenter's and the Horse & Groom so close by.

3 Dec 2005 19:39

The Royal Oak, Windsor

Expensive tourist trap! The beer wasn't great last time I went. Nice inside though, though they should really get a Japanese rice beer in...

3 Dec 2005 19:35

The White Horse, Hedgerley

Wow! This place is immense!

Can't really add anything new to whats been said below...quality beer, friendly staff, lovely atmosphere...A perfect 10 every time!

28 Nov 2005 21:25

The Farmer's Bar, Aylesbury

Lovely place, Chiltern Brewery ale and a rather nice pint of Hooky's Twelve Days served by friendly, chatty staff. Sympathetic refit, though the dash to the icy outside toilets is a bit of a 'mare in the colder months!

27 Nov 2005 14:16

Masons Arms, Headington

Nice little place, good range of real ale, has it's own microbrewery in the old toilets!

Clean and cosy.

27 Nov 2005 14:12

The Laurie Arms, Hammersmith

A really nice place to sink a couple before heading off to the Palais.

My visit in October 05 found the two cask ales in excellent condition (and with one of those being Courage Best, which is nearly always off everywhere else.

10 Nov 2005 22:08

Goose, Brixton

A pretty good place to grab a beer before the wallet-bothering horror of the Academy, a nice atmosphere though you'll be hard-pressed to get a seat.

Had Tiger on 9/11/05 before Sigur Ros. UV toilets too, so make sure you're clean...

10 Nov 2005 22:04

The Phoenix, Staines

Pretty bad. Has the potential to be so much better. A venture-captialists dream should anyone in Staines know one.

10 Nov 2005 21:58

The Cock, Staines

I did this place a slight disservice, I got it mixed up with The Pheonix over the road. Compared to there, this place is actually not so bad...!

10 Nov 2005 21:57

The Cambrian Hotel, Aberystwyth

Since its 1998 makeover, this place is now a cocktail swigging student bar. And to be fair it does it pretty effectively.

Don't go in for a beer though, they're dead expensive and not too special either.

Lots of nice girlies though!

5 Nov 2005 23:15

Kane's, Aberystwyth

Quite how this place stayed open when I was at Aber is a mystery as me and my dozen friends seemed to be the only ones in it, but here it still stands, playing host to junior drinkers fun club on a Saturday and seemingly not much else unless Aberystwyth Town got a result.

Used to have an excellent dingy UV corner but that's gone now :o(

Look out for the bogs where you can add your own message with a keyring.

5 Nov 2005 23:07

Downies Vaults, Aberystwyth

A really nice little boozer tucked away just off Pier Street. Lovely fittings and a nice atmosphere, plus music pumped into the bogs which is always a rarified bonus the these here parts.

Banks beer (just like almost every pub in West Wales) and a decent Jukey plus good sunday lunch. Gets very locally on the weekend though, best sampled during the week when it holds court to various Interpol students.

Well worth finding and pulling toward your bosom.

5 Nov 2005 22:25

The Nags Head, Aberystwyth

Only the brave student ventures in here initially, but they will be rewarded with a bar that is essentially someone's front room, where the locals will all stop to stare at you before warily returning to their pints, keeping a beady eye on you throughout your stay. Well worth sampling once!

Used to serve cockles but they are now sadly extinct. Beer is decent.

5 Nov 2005 22:21

The Angel Inn, Aberystwyth

Average place with high prices is saved by the lat-licence large function room which hosts Indiesoc on a Monday, Rocsoc on a Tuesday and usually a locals Now That's What I Call Music ho-down on the weekend. And it's next door to a kebab house.

5 Nov 2005 22:16

The Pier Hotel, Aberystwyth

Ah the Pier Hotel. Another late find for the students, but perfectly positioned. Decent drinks, has Bank's so the ale's alright and is generally OK.

Oh and the jellybaby vodka can kill off most first years that may be with you.

5 Nov 2005 22:09

Yr Hen Orsaf, Aberystwyth

It's becoming a bit of a national pastime to slate 'Spoons. I have two words and six reasons for it's defence in Aber:

The Varsity.


a) Is WAY WAY cheaper. V Card my *rse
b) Has a better range, including guest ales.
c) Has a heated outdoor area
d) Has toilets that don't smell like an otter's drowned in them.
e) Barstaff (and clientele) are far less pretentious
f) Has a better quiz machine

So there.

5 Nov 2005 22:04

Yr Hen Llew Du, Aberystwyth

Ignore all the Sais paranoia, this is a decent place to have a drink in so long as you don't go in draped in a St George's cross.

No real ale though, so minus points there. I would have thought a Double Dragon wouldn't have been too much to ask for?

Note to hetero males/lesbians The barmaids are also the FITTEST in Aber (as of Halloween 2005!)

5 Nov 2005 21:54

The Ship and Castle, Aberystwyth

Used to be THE real ale place in Aber. Pete & Dee did a grand job, along with the Hound Of The Baskervilles that used to patrol the bar.

Alas they are now gone. Some of the old fittings have been ripped out (to no obvious effect) and there seems to be a little less real ale on these days than there were.

However, I am grateful for the small mercy that there are still as many ales on as you'd find in Yr Hen Orsaf (Wethies) and the atmosphere remains great and gets ludicrously busy on a Friday.

So still THE real ale place in Aber. But not quite the same...

5 Nov 2005 21:47

The Castle Hotel, Aberystwyth

The Castle has a lways been a bit of a weird one. Stuck out by South Beach in the student ghetto, it plays host to a weirdly odd mix of hard-nose locals, and students in fancy dress. Every time I go in I expect a fight to start, but I've never seen or heard of one yet.

Beer is pretty average, but Sunday lunch is usually good. Has a dartboard!

Always expect RRRROCK on the juke box and a Band Of Builders playing old Quo covers every now and again.

5 Nov 2005 20:23

The Fountain, Aberystwyth

Aber students tend to find this late; but thanks to the all-singing, all-dancing Tref bridge you too can now sample the unique atmosphere of The Fountain.

Tales abound that it used to be full all the time, hosting rockers, role-players and some of the gay population. However whenever I've been in it always seems empty, which is sad.

It has Brains Dark, which is always a winner and the jukey is good. Used to have fish as well, but I think someone might have poured a beer into their tank. Also made some headlines a few years back, but you'll have to google that one...

5 Nov 2005 20:18

The Bay, Aberystwyth

Ah, this place is legend. Dance stuff downstairs, cheese and Indie upstairs. Yer general Indie scruffs pull up here and bring a machete to cut through the smoke...Roy Castle would spin if he saw this place.

Don't forget to check out the Titanic (in age) handryer in the gents, Aled the pikey landlord and all the kids getting REALLY messed up (like Sion of the Dead) on snakebite & black and whatever foreign version of meths they've got in that week.

I spent 5 yesr in here, and can only remember a few hours.

5 Nov 2005 20:12

The Litten Tree, Staines

'twas alright, like a mini-wetherspoons but in a bad location. Think Mr G has got it about right can't hate it, but won't miss it either.

5 Nov 2005 20:00

The Albert Hotel, Shrewsbury

Had an ale in here before going on to Aberystwyth.

To be fair, the beer was decent. However, I get the feeling that if the girl behind the bar had taken a dislike to us, we'd have been out of there quicker than Matthew Kelly in Stars In Their Eyes.

I think this is how backstreet boozers used to be in my dads day back in the 70's...dark and smokey with seats that have been gaffer-taped back into existence. You don't find 'em like this anymore.

5 Nov 2005 19:57

Charters Bar, Peterborough

Ahhh, this place is great. Quality beer, crazy location, excellent venue. Can't recommend enough!

11 Sep 2005 17:02

The Albion, Portishead

Used to be a really good (in Portishead terms) place to go, but since Les' departure and it's conversion to a hungary horse, the atmosphere has departed somewhat. At least it has decent ale though, even if it is Greene King. In Portishead that's pretty revolutionary in itself.

11 Sep 2005 16:56

The Queens Head, Wokingham

A bit pokey, a bit smokey. Decent service and the beer was good (if expensive). Not the best pub in town, but not the worst either.

11 Sep 2005 16:42

The Hope and Anchor, Wokingham

A bit of a let-down - most of the beer was either off or past it's best. It's decent enough inside, but needs a kick up the arse.

11 Sep 2005 16:40

Broad Street Tavern, Wokingham

A bit like a TARDIS a lot bigger when you get in than it looks from the outside, with a nice beer garden.

Good range of ale, and though one of them was on the turn the guy behind the bar immediately went to check it out when I told him, so credit there.

Definately one of the best in Wokingham at the moment.

11 Sep 2005 16:38

The Porterhouse, Covent Garden

This place is excellent, so much to choose from on the beer menu! The food is pretty good too. Best drink I've tried there is the Porterhouse Red. Heaven in a pint.

OK, prices are bit steep, but it's Covent Garden, not Hull. At least you get something unique for your cash. It does get crowded, so best to go in mid-sunday afternoon to enjoy the place properly.

One slightly sore point - watch their quizzer if you take more than a quid out of it, it sets ridiculous levels of attainment for the next time. Win your money and go!

30 Aug 2005 22:58

The Hogshead, Aylesbury

The only ale I saw there when i went a fortnight ago was Youngs bitter (which was on the turn...). Nice location but didn't really sell itself to me.

23 Aug 2005 23:40

The Evening Star, Brighton

This place is incredible for the ale drinker. It certainly has it's faults - it's too small, there's no smoke extractor and the toilets aren't brilliant.

But given what's on offer...well those issues pale into insignificance!

Just go with plently of cash - there's no cash machine nearby and they don't take cards - becuase you aren't gonna leave after just one drink!

23 Aug 2005 22:34

The Carpenters Arms, Windsor

That's virtually NO tourists/chavs of course!

23 Aug 2005 22:24

The Carpenters Arms, Windsor

Best place I've been to in Windsor so far, real ale well kept and frequently changed and a lovely atmosphere inside, with clean well-lit toilets (though watch your head on the stairs going down!). Food of good quality and virtually tourists/chavs to be seen. Heaven!

23 Aug 2005 22:23

The Ship Inn, Wokingham

Excellent Fuller's pub. Friendly staff, with a cracking quiz on a Sunday. Loads of atmosphere with a well-kept Fuller's ale range, decent food and mixed clientele. Best proper pub in Wokingham without a doubt.

23 Aug 2005 22:19

The Gig House, Wokingham

The fact that this place had two real ciders on tap last week, along with numerous ales (Loddens last week tasted excellent) makes it a great place to sink a few bevvies with some mates, as it's pretty cheap too. Mixed clientele, with younger drinkers taking over on the weekend. Only small issue is the huge uninterrupted floor space downstairs - it looks like a cattle market!

23 Aug 2005 22:14

Molly's Millars, Wokingham

For sporting events only. Don't bother otherwise, there are so many other pubs in Wokingham.

No cask ale.

23 Aug 2005 22:08

The Happy Man, Englefield Green

Has had a period of terrible managemnet and chavroach infestation, but return of the previous mamangement has seen the place restored.

Quality and price of ale first class (Hogsback on currently, devine!) including Hoegaarden at around 3.20. Food also excellent.

Will be rammed solid during term-time, so get in early!

23 Aug 2005 22:04

The Beehive, Englefield Green

Tucked away but well worth finding, beer good and a couple of beer fests a year.

Nice atmosphere, but occasionally plays host to a couple of punters you'd wish had gone somwhere else, but they're normally in a very small minority. Food was decent on last tasing in April.

23 Aug 2005 22:00

The Hobgoblin, Staines

I think this place is an excellent place to socialise in Staines - the beer is tasty and varied, the clientele are (gasp) a mixture of locals, students and oldies and the doormen are perfectly pleasant individuals.

Excellent for a drink in the evning/late, though can be a bit murky in the afternoon. The music can be loud, but that's par for the course in a town centre, it's the same at any other and at least her it's not the RnB fest so favoured by other places - if you want a quality pint in peace then carry on down the road to the Bells. If you're out on the town with some mates, I can't recommend this enough.

23 Aug 2005 21:51

The Barley Mow, Englefield Green

Mixed feelings expressed by people I know regarding the re-furb, but I think it's OK.

Excellent range and condition of cask ales so the high price is worth it for them. Lovely location and good regulars.

Regarding the staff, I think I may know who people have been talking about - he's got a rather dry sense of humour which isn't to everyone's taste ;o)

22 Aug 2005 16:45

The Armstrong Gun, Englefield Green

TheGP has nailed this one - it's a quality 'real' pub, great atmosphere. Decent beer. Need a machete to cut through the fog of ciggie smoke though.

22 Aug 2005 16:39

The Red Lion, Egham

By day: nice little pub, good food a great quizzer (you can clean up on the footy game if you have a good knowledge of Bolton Wanderers reserves circa 1998) and nice atmosphere.

By night: Quality of drinker degenerates somewhat. Gets crowded. People shout a lot, especially fat men in 100% polyester Chelsea shirts. Occasional Chav appearence.

Abbott Ale beer of choice, tastes good. Just drink it before 8:30pm...

22 Aug 2005 16:32

The Almamata, Egham

Had a reputation as a bit of a rough-house a while ago, but has had a re-furb recently and seemed OK when I went in a few weeks back.

Has ale, but only London Pride if I remember correctly, so hardly inspiring.

Give it some time I guess.

22 Aug 2005 16:17

The Monkey's Forehead, Egham

A pub for the posher end of the RHUL student spectrum ie those who can't bear to drink inside the RHUL campus, so go 25 yards outside it. Has delusions of grandeur which occasioally come off when there's a posh car in the car park.

Basically lager and loud R&B. Used to have Flowers, which was a saving grace, but this has gone. So a bit pants then really. Unless you're from the Home Counties wanting to go out on the 'large'.

22 Aug 2005 16:15

The Foresters Arms, Egham

RE: Si's comment - Not a bad little place, the locals won't communicate at first but you tend to get accepted if you go in regularly and aren't obviously a student 'tosser'. Clientele mainly old men and the gentrified builders who appear to inhabit that part of Egham, living off the proceeds of either doing up or renting student houses.

Ale variable, though haven't been in for a few months.

22 Aug 2005 16:08

The Crown, Egham

Very expensive and very smokey. But the beer is always excellent (Adnams and Archers). So you get what you pay for in that respect. Couple of beer festivals a year, and there's usually a nice twist to them (like the beer Olympics).

The food is diabolical though, you could have robbed a jewellers with battered fish i was served up with a few weeks back. If you're hungary, go to the Fish & Chip shop over the road or the Red Rose curry house. Though if you give up your seat, you're unlikely to get it back.

Customers are a fairly broad bunch, but beware the pinstriped estate agents that come in at 5:30 braying loudly and Royal Holloway staff members getting wasted on a Friday night.

22 Aug 2005 16:02

The Swan Hotel, Staines

Takes advantage of a lovely interior and riverside view. Pricey, but Fullers ales in good nick so that's OK.

Due to location can be empty and devoid of atmosphere on a boring grey day so best taken either at height of midsummer or depths of a winter evening.

22 Aug 2005 15:54

Que Pasa, Staines

Quite nice for a cocktail during the day, and they have an excellent variety of non-alcholic ones. No ales though, which means I haven't tried it after 7pm.

Food is of the Gordon Ramsey-baiting variety, deep-fried/microwaved to within an inch of it's life. If you want quality Tapas, go to the Tapas Bar in Windsor old station, not here.

22 Aug 2005 15:48

The Jolly Farmer, Staines

A MAN pub, full of MEN, doing MEN things. Lots of smoke.

If that's for you, then great. If not, then try The Swan or the Bells.

22 Aug 2005 15:43

The George, Staines

Boycotted the place last year when they made a song and dance about giving me a clean glass to replace the dirty one they had given me with my pitcher. Also meals usually had one ingrediant missing when it turned up. Burnt.

Some JDW's are great, others are poor, depending on the management. This one was poor :o(

But at least they had a decent ale selection.

22 Aug 2005 15:33

The Cock, Staines

Low-grade locals-only pub. Not terribly inspiring, and you get funny looks in there if you either

a) aren't a builder
b) aren't already pissed
c) don't have lots of conspicuous Elizabeth Duke jewellry.

But if that floats your boat you'll have a lot of fun here... ;o)

22 Aug 2005 15:27

The Bells, Staines

Excellent Youngs pub situated close to the town centre, but far enough away for the chavs to be absent.

Light and airey with a friendly 'suburban' clientele, the ale always is in good condition and the toilets are clean. The bar manager looks like he was in Menswear, which makes him slightly at odds with his surroundings.

Great for a quiet hassle-free pint with your mates.

22 Aug 2005 15:19

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