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BITE user comments - Rich66

Comments by Rich66

The Palm Tree, Mile End

Glorious mid-20th Century timewarp of a pub with the dark, heavily patterned decor typical of the traditional London boozer. The exterior reveals it to have started life as a Truman's house of the type seen in many other Inner London streets; I don't know enough about architecture to be sure of it's age but I'd guess Inter-War years. With it's isolated position it looks like the lone survivor of Luftwaffe bombing raids on the neighbourhood, but the GBG suggests that the surrounding buildings were mainly demolished by the old Greater London Council, leaving the surrounding area as parkland.

One of the two bars appeared to be closed for a quiet Saturday afternoon session, but I immediately felt at home and marvelled at the unspoilt yet clean and tidy room which could have looked exactly the same thirty or forty or more years ago, except possibly for a modern cigarette machine in a corner and the decimal price showing on "Arkwright's" till on the back of the bar.

Autographed photographs of various minor celebrities adorned the wall above the bar, a drumkit lay dormant on a small stage in one corner and pleasant classic pop music played at a sensible volume in the backgound. Clientele was entirely student types on my visit - at 43 I reckon I was the oldest customer by 20 years - but frankly anyone who likes pubs ought to feel at home here unless they're a total philistine.

Two real ales were on offer: Deuchar's IPA and Hook Norton Old Hooky - I had a pint of the latter which was served in perfect condition by, presumably, the much mentioned landlord (average height & build, grey hair, in his sixties) who was perfectly friendly and hospitable, greeting me as I arrived and thanking me as I left despite me placing my overcoat on the adjacent stool and a small bag on the floor!

Ideally a choice of more than two ales would be nice, but other than that this place ticks all the boxes for me and is pretty much my perfect pub. I'll definitely be back and hopefully introduce some friends to it too. One word of warning, you can easily miss it if you walk up and down Grove Road as I did. The address is given as 127 Grove Road in the CAMRA Good Beer guide, but it's set well back on the far side of Mile End Park on the far bank of the Grand Union Canal and partially obscured by a raised area adjacent to the main road.

11 Jan 2009 13:35

The Camel, Bethnal Green

NIce little backstreet local with a pleasant laid-back atmosphere, although on a quiet Saturday afternoon the Indie music playing in the "background" was rather loud for anyone not enamoured of the genre.

Two ales on handpump; I had Crouch Vale Brewers gold which was well kept. (The other was Harvey's Sussex Best.)

Clientele mostly postgraduate types as opposed to the dyed in the wool cockneys one might expect to find in Bethnal Green/Bow. Decor slightly quirky yet still tasteful.

11 Jan 2009 12:50

The Live and Let Live, Cambridge

The last stop on my pub crawl around the Good Beer Guide pubs in the eastern part of the town centre. Another good one with wide range of well kept ales.

29 Dec 2008 12:30

The Salisbury Arms, Cambridge

As already described, the pub has a Tardis-like feel after entering through the narrow frontage. I made the mistake of going to the dormant first bar but was quickly and politely asjked to move down to the other bar by a barmaid where I was served quickly and efficiently. The place was fairly quiet on the Sunday after Christmas, but pleasant enough and with a good range of ales.

29 Dec 2008 12:27

The Kingston Arms, Cambridge

Range and quality of real ales is excellent, although the general atmosphere is a bit trendy and upmarket for my taste. I felt more at home in the nearby Cambridge Blue.

29 Dec 2008 12:19

The Cambridge Blue, Cambridge

A classic old fashioned pub in the middle of a Victorian terrace in a narrow residential street. eleven real ales to choose from, several on handpump with the rest poured stright from the barrel in the tap room. Nice cosy atmosphere on a chilly winter's evening.

29 Dec 2008 12:16

The Earl Of Burlington, Eastbourne

Was so packed on the Friday night when I stuck my head through the door I went elsewhere, but came back the next morning, mainly for a cooked breakfast, and was a bit disappointed to find only two guest ales on. Ale quality was adequate though, and my farmhouse breakfast was was very tasty and excellent value.

21 Dec 2008 14:56

Victoria Hotel, Eastbourne

Popped in for a quick one just after opening time before making my way back to the town centre after staying the previous night in a sefront hotel. Seemed like a nice traditional style pub, although they'd gone for overkill with the Christmas decorations so it wasn't easy to visualise what it normally looks like inside!

Harvey's Best was the best kept pint I had in any of the five pubs visited on my trip which, considering I was the first customer of the day, was impressive. A bit off the beaten track but certainly worth it for the beer quality.

21 Dec 2008 14:52

The Lamb Inn, Eastbourne

Nice old warren of a pub a round a mile inland from the town centre. Only had time for one pint (Sussex Best in good but not quite peak condition), the full range of Harvey's regular and seasonal ales was available.

21 Dec 2008 14:45

The Dolphin, Eastbourne

Smart uncluttered pub with three ales including a decent pint of Harvey's Best

21 Dec 2008 14:43

Dewdrop Inn, Eastbourne

Friendly, lively pub convenient for the sports grounds at the Saffrons. Three ales: GK IPA, one other from the GK stable plus a guest, which was Tom Wood's Bomber County on my visit, in good nick though not a personal favourite. Gents toilet needs sorting out though, it was pretty grim.

21 Dec 2008 14:41

The Oatsheaf, Fleet

Comfortable spacious pub with modern decor and pleasant atmosphere. Seven real ales (mostly christmas seasonals from the likes of Bateman's, Brain's, York etc.), not horrendously expensive (around 2.60 a pint), good enough for a three hour session after a match at the nearby football club.

1 Dec 2008 21:31

The Prince Arthur, Fleet

Bog standard Wetherspoon's. OK, cheap, ale drinkable, but just feels a bit tatty and downmarket.

1 Dec 2008 21:28

The Alexandra Arms, Rugby

Sorry, please ignore my earlier review, I confused the Alexandra with the Victoria and posted on the wrong page by mistake.

I visited the Alexandra too; only had time for one pint and didn't notice the Petite Blonde until I'd already ordered one of the other four ales on offer. Decent enough ale pub, although I preferred most of others I visited in a good town for real ale drinkers.

16 Nov 2008 13:47

The Victoria Inn, Rugby

Very nice cosy old style pub a bit off the beaten track from the town centre. Five of their own Atomic brews were on offer. I wasn't especially enamoured with the one I tried at random (Fusion I think) but there were guest ales on offer too.

16 Nov 2008 13:42

The Squirrel Inn, Rugby

Small old fashioned no-frills boozer with a friendly feel and several real ales to choose from. My kind of pub.

16 Nov 2008 13:40

The Alexandra Arms, Rugby

Very nice cosy old style pub a bit off the beaten track from the town centre. Five of their own Atomic brews were on offer. I wasn't especially enamoured with the one I tried at random (Fusion I think) but there were guest ales on offer too.

16 Nov 2008 13:29

The Merchants Inn, Rugby

Superb old Tudor pub in the town centre, the best of the five Rugby pubs I tried. I was lucky enough to catch it during a beer festival featuring a wide range of ales served in excellent condition.

16 Nov 2008 13:26

Wheatsheaf, Crowborough

Lovely old pub tucked away in a leafy lane a few minutes walk from Crowborough station; three separate rooms surround a central bar. There was a cosy looking beer garden outisde too, although we didn't venture out there. That looks a great place to spend a balmy summer evening.

Five Harvey's ales on offer; I sampled the Sussex Best and the Eastbourne Star both of which were perfectly drinkable, although if I'm going to be picky neither was quite in peak condition.

THe regulars generally seemed very friendly and welcoming.

16 Nov 2008 13:22

The Dulwich Woodhouse, Sydenham

What an absolute unmitigated disaster this recent refurbishment has been. This place is unrecognisable inside and is effectively now a restaurant not a pub.

For a start you have to walk right around the back to get in, entering through the beer garden and the new extention that was added several years ago. There's a small bar and bland open plan seating; turning to the right and going up the stairs into the original Victorian part of the pub one finds dining tables and the original bar has just vanished to be replaced by some sort of catering table.

As I sat down with my post-work pint, hoping to relax for half an hour after a long day in the office, I was offered a menu which I decline. A couple of minutes later the same staff member returned and asked me to move to the downstairs area as I was "in the restaurant". I was so disgusted and disillusioned I walked out, probably never to return to the nearest pub to my home of the past 24 years.

This used to be a characterful early Victorian pub in a leafy yet densely populated area, always busy with locals who clearly lived within strolling distance but also attracting passing trade being on a busy residential road and bus route. Some of the regulars propping up the bar could be a bit of a nuisance at times, giving the impression that it was very much "their" pub, but nevertheless it was an enjoyable place to relax with the pleasant views along Sydenham Hill from the front windows.

Now it's just appalling.

31 Oct 2008 23:28

The Green Dragon, Croydon

A welcome addition to the Central Croydon pub scene, particularly since the end of the Beer Circus.

Six ales on handpump with Dark Star Hophead a regular @2.55, plus two from the Hog's Back range on gravity, quality of ales consistently good.

I'm generally in here on an early weekday evening and it always seems fairly civilised yet lively, with plenty of staff on duty serving quickly and efficiently.

5 Oct 2008 11:38

County Hotel, Ashford

Bog standard 'Spoons, more civilised clientele than many. Included in the 2009 Good Beer Guide, but only one guest ale (a Goff's seasonal) was on offer in addition to the usual mainsteam 'Spoons range, albeit well kept.

5 Oct 2008 11:29

The Swan, Ashford

Made a brief Saturday morning visit after noting in the local CAMRA magazine that a new landlord (whose previous pub was GBG listed) had introduced real ale.

I had a decent enough half of a Wychwood best bitter and Hobgoblin was also on offer.

Nice enough town centre pub.

5 Oct 2008 11:26

The William IV, Leyton

A lovely old Victoria town centre pub.

Two Brodie's ales were on offer - IPA and Red - along with Fuller's London Pride and ESB. I sampled the Brodie's IPA, which was palatable if not sensational, but nevertheless an encouraging start for a new micro-brewery.

Unfortunately the volume was turned up far too loud for the televised Saturday evening football match for the benefit of those sitting a lot further from the screen than they needed to if they were that interested in it. I like football and was taking a passing interest while chatting to friends, but I don't want shouty commentators and roaring crowd noise - you can see what's happening without that accompaniment.

5 Oct 2008 11:20

The Pride of Spitalfields, Shoreditch

Classic old-school back-street London boozer. five ales, Crouch Vale Brewers Gold is apparently a regular and was my choice. In a sidestreet just of Brick Lane in the heart of "Banglatown", I got the curious feeling virtually none of the customers were local. (A mate and I made a detour from Liverpool Street station for old times sake having not been here for a good few years.)

13 Aug 2008 22:52

The Railway Hotel, Billericay

Pleasant enough pub next to the station with a bay window at the front looking down onto the street below. two handpumps, one of which was dispensing the relatively local Nelson's blood from the Maldon based Farmers Brewery.

13 Aug 2008 22:48

The Coach and Horses, Billericay

Billericay's only entry in the 2008 Good Beer Guide - adequate for a pitstop but pretty ordinary on the whole.

13 Aug 2008 22:45

The White Hart Inn, Margaretting Tye

Rather good country pub, well worth the half hour walk down a country lane from the bus stop in Stock High Street. On a sunny lunchtime stroll looking out across timeless scenery you could almost picture landgirls toiling in the fields and the odd Spitfire buzzing overhead. Oriented towards drivers and diners, as it has to be I suppose to attract sufficient trade in such a remote location. Five ales on offer, some on gravity, with names of those to come on display.

13 Aug 2008 22:43

The Queens Head, Horsham

I always used to look forward to popping in here when visiting Horsham FC during its King & Barnes days. Sadly I can't get excited about Hall & Woodhouse beers and my pint of Fursty Ferret was mediocre. Horsham FC have gone now too, as well as K&B.

13 Aug 2008 22:38

The Malt Shovel, Horsham

Popped in with a couple of mates while passing and Harvey's Best was decent enough - better than on my previous visit in December.

13 Aug 2008 22:34

The Lynd Cross, Horsham

Four W J King ales amongs the half dozen or so on offer, which was good. Tried three of them and none was in as good a condition as it should have been, which was not good. At one point no fewer than six barstaff were on duty, almost competing with each other to serve me, which contrasts with the usual Wetherspooon experience of two staff struggling to cope with ten or so punter all waving notes at them along the length of the bar. Frustrating that it could have been a much better experience if only the cellar was better kept.

13 Aug 2008 22:32

The Vat and Fiddle, Nottingham

Excellent ale house barely a stone's throw from Nottingham station with Castle Rock beers to the fore amongst a sizeable range.

13 Aug 2008 22:28

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham

Worth a look because it's such a remarkable old warren of a building, but beer range is mediocre (i.e. Greed King) and felt overtly touristy.

13 Aug 2008 22:26

The Salutation Inn, Nottingham

Good late evening venue if you like heavy rock music and real ale. Ideal finishing post before retiring to my nearby hotel room.

13 Aug 2008 22:23

The Globe, Nottingham

Rather spartan interior and felt a bit downmarket, but locals were friendly and several ales were on offer in good nick.

13 Aug 2008 22:19

The Test Match, West Bridgford

Having heard about the art deco interior I have to say I was a bit disappointed. Furnishings looked about the right style but somehow seemed a bit tatty and not quite right. Five or so ales, but could have been better kept.

13 Aug 2008 22:15

The Stratford Haven, West Bridgford

Excellent ale house with 13 to choose from, including four or so from the local Castle Rock brewery. Best pub I found during a long weekend in Nottingham.

13 Aug 2008 22:10

The Southbank Bar, West Bridgford

Visited on a late Sunday afternoon - seems like a music-oriented place, perhaps more bar than pub, but decent enough with a couple of real ales and a nice riverside patio.

13 Aug 2008 22:08

The Trent Bridge Inn, West Bridgford

Popped in for a quick pint when rain stopped play at the cricket. Fairly busy with a youngish workers-lunchtime crowd. Seemed an OK mainstream pub on a busy junction.

13 Aug 2008 22:06

The Jolly Woodman, Beckenham

Nice little traditional pub in a quiet sidestreet only a few minutes walk from Beckenham High Street. Five real ales on offer, the two I tried were in good condition. However all ales appear to be 2.95 a pint, which is a lot for a 3.8% session beer. Also, there was a crowd of rather loud middle-aged regulars propping up the bar making it feel like I was in a golf clubhouse.

13 Aug 2008 21:51

The Ambrose Hotel, Barrow In Furness

Stayed in the hotel last weekend (rooms surprisingly posh) and had a great night out in the bar with rugby fans from the local Barrow club (ground right next door) and Swinton. Really good live music act (singer/guitarist playing to a backing track) plus friendly locals & staff made the night thoroughly enjoyable and memorable. Oh, four real ales served in good condition too.

3 Jul 2008 22:52

The Furness Railway, Barrow In Furness

Better than average 'Spoons in a lovely old railway building. Manager was clearly very keen on his ales, which were served in good condition.

3 Jul 2008 22:48

The Prince of Wales, Foxfield

Terrific pub in the middle of nowhere, yet with a train station (request stop) and bus stop right outside. Six ales on handpum including two of their own brews, plus own brand cider on draught. Prices very reasonable (under 2 a pint for Foxfield ales) and landlady was very hospitable and friendly. Passes my "public house" criterion of feeling like I've been invited into someone's home. Well worth a detour.

3 Jul 2008 22:45

The White Cross, Lancaster

Spacious, rather corporate feeling (uniformed barstaff, menus everywhere) canalside pub, but good range of ales. Certainly worth a visit.

3 Jul 2008 22:41

The John O'Gaunt, Lancaster

Decent old-fashioned old school boozer - beer well kept, although selection was a bit unimaginative.

3 Jul 2008 22:39

The Three Mariners, Lancaster

Nice old pub tucked away just behind the castle on the edge of the city centre. Good range of ales in decent nick, but collection of grumpy old men propping up the bar was a bit off-putting.

3 Jul 2008 22:37

The Sun Hotel and Bar, Lancaster

A bit trendy for me, but great range of beers and vibrant atmoshphere on a Friday night.

3 Jul 2008 22:35

Tilleys Bar, Newcastle

A bit too trendy for me - at 42 I reckon I was old enough to be the father of almost every other customer, all of whom were certainly under 30. Ales were in good nick but it was too dimly lit to read my paper. The Bodega up the road is more my scene.

2 May 2008 18:46

The Strawberry, Newcastle

Pretty quiet when I popped in on a Monday night. Closest pub to st James' park - must be mayhem in here when the Magpies have just beaten Sunderland. Loads of old football memorabilia on the walls.

2 May 2008 18:42

The Newcastle Arms, Newcastle

The earlier comment that Newcastle is a "desert of real ale drinking opportunities" is totally beyond me. Anyone who thinks that simply hasn't been looking past the end of his nose.

Anyhow, the Newcastle Arms was certainly a lot more difficult to leave than to enter. Solid traditional boozer, good service, good range of beers, served in fine condition

2 May 2008 18:38

The New Bridge, Newcastle

Looks unpromising from the outside, surrounded by dark deserted streets just outside the city centre, but once though the door it's a marvedllous example of what can be achieved by pitching to a market and running a pub properly. It was heaving (but not uncomfortably so) on a thursday evening for what is clearly a very popular regular pub quiz. Just about all the customers appeared to be partaking, the pub is comfortably furnished, the atmosphere was lively and friendly, the four ales of contrasting styles and strengths were all served in excellent condition. Definitely worth a detour.

2 May 2008 18:32

The Hotspur, Newcastle

Probably picked a bad time to visit, walking in during the Liverpool v Chelsea European Cup tie to find it packed with boisterous student types in Liverpool colours. Having bought a pint it was promptly almost sent flying by spotty youths pogoing around when Liverpool scored. Best avoided on televised football nights if you want a quiet pint. Otherwise seemed reasonable though.

2 May 2008 18:25

The Duke of Wellington, Newcastle

Somehow felt a bit spartan when I popped in during a city centre crawl. Adequate, but plenty better.

2 May 2008 18:19

The Cooperage, Newcastle

Very atmospheric pub within a large medieval riverside building Main bar room is quite small and three oafs had managed to position their barstools in a circle so it was pratcically impossible for anyone else to get to and from the bar for service. There's another larger room with seating around the corner and some sort of function rom upstairs. Four or five ales on handpump.

2 May 2008 18:15

Bridge Hotel, Newcastle

Rather grand building with a trendy clientele; nice riverside patio area out the back. Most importantly an excellent range of ales, including a couple of unusual one like Everard's Ginger Fox and Saltaire Backberry Cascade served in peak condition.

2 May 2008 18:09

The Porthole, North Shields

Right next to the northern Shields Ferry terminal. Decent range of ales, people friendly enough, but my pint could have been a bit better and the whole place felt a bit tired and down-at-heel.

2 May 2008 18:02

The Steamboat, South Shields

Lovely old pub fitted out with a strong nautical theme. Eight ales on handpum, the landlords were very friendly and helpful with regard to discussing the various beers on offer. Comfortable environment and handy for the ferry terminal.

2 May 2008 18:00

Alum Ale House, South Shields

Great location right next to the Shields Ferry terminal. Several ales on handpum - can't remember which I had but it was past it's best and I didn't finish it. Clientele included a lot of rather annoying yuppie types. (Yes, yuppies in South Shields.)

I much preferred the Steamboat about 100 yards away.

2 May 2008 17:57

Tap & Spile, Hexham

Bog standard old-fashioned town centre boozer - on the small side, on a street corner on a main thoroughfare. Four or five ales on handpump - decent quality but not sensational.

2 May 2008 17:53

The Duke Of Wellington, Shoreham by Sea

Dead quiet on Good Friday lunchtime, in contrast to the nearby Buckingham Arms. Three Dark Star ales on handpump, plus two guests and a cider. Slightly strange decor and ambience, as already noted by others, although the landlord was friendly enough and I'd certainly return if passing though Shoreham again.

22 Mar 2008 22:39

The Buckingham Arms, Shoreham by Sea

Rather busy and not very relaxing on a Good Friday afternoon. Excellent range of ales though, and very convenient for the station.

22 Mar 2008 22:33

The Wellington Inn, Hull

Went here for a couple of pre-match Sunday lunchtime pints before heading to the rugby and found it better than ever since the introduction of the smoking ban. Glentworth Donny Star (a light hoppy best bitter) came on tap just before I had to leave; I managed to squeeze in a half and it was nectar.

One of my favourite pubs in the country at the moment.

20 Feb 2008 21:58

The Grove Inn, Holbeck

An unspoilt old fashioned rough and ready boozer on the corner of a main road, surrounded by vast new buildings. It's a lovely warren of a place with four regular ales plus four guests. Only criticism is that there was no ale stronger than 4.2%ABV on my visit.

20 Feb 2008 21:45

The Cross Keys, Holbeck

An old backstreet pub in the former industrial area of Holbeck, just south of Leeds city centre. The interior has a very modern feel - open plan with lots of exposed brickwork, bare plaster walls and recycled oak beams. It was fairly quiet on a Saturday evening in the main bar, although there was a private funcion in full swing upstairs which sounded to be heaving.

Clearly targetted at the aspiring classes, with a posh sounding food menu and no mainstream beers as far as I recall. Four ales from smaller local brewers on handpump and half a dozen or so imported continental beers on draught.

Some traditionalists might find it a bit pretentious, but it's good at what it does and well worth a visit for the range of beers.

20 Feb 2008 21:41

The Victoria Hotel, Leeds

A lovely mid-Victorian city centre pub with a rather grand and largely unspoilt interior - nicely decorated and furnished. Five real ales; I tried three, which were all served in particularly good condition.

20 Feb 2008 21:33

The Queens Head, Kingston Upon Thames

Reasonable pub, although a bit too trendy for my personal taste. Five handpumps, but only two ales available on my visit. Beer quality (Ruddles County) was good though.

10 Feb 2008 12:35

The Willoughby Arms, Kingston Upon Thames

Terrific pub. Lovely Victorian street corner local, well laid out with separate areas for those who wish to watch big screen sport and those who want a quiet corner. Five handpumps and ale quality was excellent. Guv'nor was friendly and welcoming, it turned out he's originally from Kennington, close to where I grew up in Camberwell and East Dulwich.

10 Feb 2008 12:32

The Canbury Arms, Kingston Upon Thames

I entered around 8pm on a Saturday evening and immediately felt I'd walked into a restaurant, not a pub. I had a half of Gales's HSB, which was very good, but all the tables were either occupied by diners or had "reserved" signs on them. As I dithered in search of somewhere unobtrusive to park myself an over-attentive waited asked "are you alright sir?" Aaaaaargh! Just let me drink my drink in peace then let me out! I haven't given a rating as it's so far removed from what I want from a pub.

10 Feb 2008 12:27

Terminus Hotel, Eastbourne

Nice traditional style Victorian pub on a pedestrianised town centre street. Spacious with plenty of comfortable seating, including tables out the front sheltered by a canopy and a conservatory-type extendion at the side.

Five harvey's ales on offer, in good nick. to begin with a flat screen tv was showing football and classic rock music was playing at a low volume, but around 6.30 the barstaff chancged shifts and the new staff switched the music to dance style and whacked up the colume, although the vast majority of customers present were over 40 and I doubt any of them wanted to hear it. My friends and I certainly didn't, so we left and went elsewhere. A shame.

6 Jan 2008 15:03

The Castle, Holborn

Nice traditional style smaller pub, early Victorian at a guess; interior all bare floorboards and dark wood panelling with stools and shelves plus one tall round table, no tables & chairs as such.

Watch out for the wobbly shelf in the corner to the right of the fireplace - I put my pint down, leaned my elbow on the shelf, it gave an inch or so and my glass slid off and smashed on the floor, much to my embarrassment. The friendly and efficient staff laughed it off and gave me a replacement pint.

Only constructive criticism I'd make is that the range of ales could be a bit more varied in style with eight handpumps - there was nothing on offer above 4.5% ABV

31 Dec 2007 22:03

The Old Bank of England, Fleet Street

Superb interior, standard range of Fuller's ales in good enough condition, although a shame not to have the monthly seasonal brew on offer as already noted.

I just found the place a bit too "corporate" though. Identikit young staff of varying quality and efficiency, all wearing uniform. It can get ludicrously busy at times and I just prefer somewhere a bit more intimate.

31 Dec 2007 21:53

The Shoulder of Mutton Inn, Mytholmroyd

Does a superb Sunday Roast for under a fiver, and had five ales on including Taylor's Landlord plus two from Copper Dragon.

Effectively a small public bar with a large dining area to the side, which extends around the corner into a separate room.

Directly opposite Mytholmroyd station and worth breaking a journey for Sunday lunch when I'm in the area.

31 Dec 2007 21:47

The Devonshire Cat, Sheffield

Not the most intimate of pubs, as has already been remarked upon, but I found nothing else to moan about and the range and quality of ales makes it a must visit

31 Dec 2007 21:41

The Wellington, Sheffield

Very much an old school no-frills boozer, and none the worse for it. Wide range of well-kept ales.

31 Dec 2007 21:39

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

Excellent range of ales, and there actually was a "Fat Cat" asleep on the stool next to where I was sitting.

31 Dec 2007 21:36

The Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield

This is pretty much my idea of the perfect pub. As intimatge as being in someone's living room, yet ten(?) real ales on handpump. Superb!

31 Dec 2007 21:34

The Malt Shovel, Horsham

Nice "traditional pub" on the outskirts of the town centre. Good range of ales (6 or 7, some on handpump and three on gravity) but the quality of those I sampled (Harvey's Best and Taylor's Landlord, both favourites of mine when on form) was disappointingly mediocre. I wasn't tempted to have a second pint of either.

16 Dec 2007 10:59

The Black Jug, Horsham

Relatively upmarket, food-oriented pub. Good for what it is, though not really my type of pub. Six ales on handpump with a good variety of brewers featured, ales were in good nick too.

16 Dec 2007 10:53

Ship Centurion Arminius, Whitstable

Superb pub with great character. A bunch of Londoners down for a football match at Whitstable Town FC's nearby Belmont ground were made most welcome by all the staff and regulars and had a great time in here.

York Brewery's Ghost Centurion (ABV 5.4%) was one of the five ales on offer, and several pints of that helped fuel a splendid occasion! Couldn't really have asked for more.

12 Nov 2007 22:08

The Elephant, Faversham

Lovely little pub a stone's throw from Faversham station. Old-fashioned, spartan, smart interior. five handpumps serving ales from smaller Kent and Sussex brewers. I sampled Hopdaemon golden Braid, Dark Star Smoke and a Rother Valley brew. All beers were served in exceptionally good quality.

12 Nov 2007 21:58

The Alma Tavern, Croydon

Popped in on a Thursday lunchtime for a workmate's final day. Dead quiet, almost tumbleweed blowing across the bar - essentially an old fashioned Victorian boozer, great unfulfilled potential. No cask ales, Guinness was palatable.

Ignore all anonymous comments, they're worthless.

8 Nov 2007 21:05

The Railway Tavern, Chelmsford

Beer quality not as good as on my previous visit. Still like the pub though and have found staff efficient and regulars friendly enough.

21 Oct 2007 18:59

The Warwick Arms, Maldon

Appears to have closed down, although furniture etc. was still present so maybe due to reopen shortly?

21 Oct 2007 18:51

The Queens Head, Maldon

Lovely riverside pub in a very scenic spot. I imagine it can get horrendously busy at times with a large outdoor dining area; I felt more at home in the small bar on the landward side. good range of real ales.

21 Oct 2007 18:50

The Blue Boar Hotel, Maldon

Superb atmospheric old pub with many genuine fixtures and fittings from 300-400 years ago. Beer selection was a little disappointing for my visit with a couple from Adnams (not one of my favourite brewers) and two of the Farmer's range, but not Puck's Folly or their Porter. Still, it gives me a good excuse to make a return visit.

21 Oct 2007 18:46

Swan Hotel, Maldon

Decent old high street pub. Was very crowded when we arrived on a Saturday lunchtime with a Liverpool/Everton match showing on the television, but we managed to find a quiet corner in the side room with a pool table and dartboard. Three real ales; The Maldon Gold was drinkable if slightly past its best.

21 Oct 2007 18:42

The Greyhound, Sydenham

It would be a shame for such a landmark pub to disappear, although it was a very mediocre pub indeed for rather too many years.

15 Oct 2007 01:03

The Oval Tavern, Croydon


Whilst I never had a "bad pint" as such, I stopped going here during warmer weather as the ales were always served totally unchilled. It's been dropped from the 2008 good Beer Guide.

15 Oct 2007 00:40

The Half and Half, Croydon

Sadly (Graeme informed me) the Beer Circus is likely to become a "lounge bar", bereft of anything but the same mainstream beers on offer in every other Croydon watering hole.

15 Oct 2007 00:28

The Grove Inn, Huddersfield

Looks unpromising from the outside - a drab building on a busy junction on the edge of the town centre, but inside it's a real ale oasis. Ten or so to choose from, with superb variety and quality.

14 Oct 2007 23:45

Grove, Huddersfield

Sorry, just realised I posted my previous comment on the wrong pub. It should have been posted regarding the Grove Inn, also in Huddersfield. I've never been to this one in Long Lane.

14 Oct 2007 23:44

Grove, Huddersfield

Looks unpromising from the outside - a drab building on a busy junction on the edge of the town centre, but inside it's a real ale oasis. Ten or so to choose from, with superb variety and quality.

14 Oct 2007 23:41

The Hoop, Stock

A lovely little village pub only a ten minute bus ride from Billericay station on route 100, which has a frequent service and stops directly opposite.

Half a dozen or so ales from small Eassex brewers to choose from, the Mighty Oak Maldon Gold was outstanding.

14 Oct 2007 23:28

The Fox, Twickenham

I used to go here regularly with a group of friends after Harlequins matches, but we stopped when they put the price of a pint up from 2.70 to 3 in one go.

13 Oct 2007 20:25

The Prince of Wales, Kennington

Lovely little pub in the corner of a secluded Georgian Square just off Kennington Park road. A bit pricey but ale quality was excellent. Three Sheps beers on handpump.

24 Sep 2007 21:06

The Red Lion, Snargate

I would have thought it pretty obvious from the many previous reviews that this pub would be a timewarp like someones house, serving primarily real ales straight from the barrel. So why, having read all those complimentary and descriptive reviews would anyone bother trekking into the wilds of Kent to visit it if that's not their scene? Very strange.

My own view is that a "public house" should be just that - like members of the public going into someone's house where they can make new friends and acquaintances. Not a soulless commercial operation staffed by uniformed hired-hands.

The Red Lion is a rare gem indeed.

20 Aug 2007 22:38

The Clock House, East Dulwich

This is possibly the most awful pub refurbishment I've ever come across. The colour scheme and general appearance is horrible; it looks like it was done by Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen while under the influence of mind-altering substances. (Remember that edition of "Changing Rooms" when the woman burst into tears upon seeing what he'd done to her house?)

The back bar is cluttered with an overabundance of assorted furniture, creating a somewhat circuitous route from front bar to lavatories, and if you're bored you can amuse youself trying to spot two sets of tables and chairs that match each other. The front bar features some peculiarly tall and chunky tables and chairs that make any occupants resemble "Tiny Dennis Waterman" from the "Little Britain" sketches.

The first time I went in here post-refurb I'd already had a few elsewhere and had to go back a couple of weeks later to see if it really had been ad bad as I imagined. Sadly it was. Beer quality, which remains acceptable for the relatively bland mainstream brews on offer, now seems almost incidental.

I wouldn't mind if it had always been a mediocre pub, but it used to be acceptably nice and tasteful in appearance and has now taken a turn for the worse

20 Aug 2007 22:23

The Water House, Durham

Standard Wethersppons formula, although I found the decor made it feel a bit oppressive and claustrophobic. Also, whilst nothing was undrinkable, the quality of the three ales I sampled was a bit erratic.

20 Aug 2007 00:24

The Victoria Hotel, Durham

Wonderfully atmospheric warren of a pub, like stepping back in time 100 years. Half a dozen or so locally brewed ales to choose from.

20 Aug 2007 00:20

The Shakespeare Tavern, Durham

Small pub in a steep narrow street leading to the castle and cathederal. Beer range wasn't particularly exciting and my pint of Everard's Tiger was very mediocre.

20 Aug 2007 00:16

The Half Moon, Durham

Nice old riverside pub, comfortable and with four ales on handpump. I had a Durham seasonal beer, which was served rather too chilled for my taste.

20 Aug 2007 00:12

Dun Cow, Durham

Ancient cosy pub in an attractive street a short walk from the city centre. Not as many ales to choose from as some other Durham pubs, but served in better condition than most I visited.

20 Aug 2007 00:09

The Bodega, Newcastle

Great pub, comfortable yet cosy but with plenty of space; Excellent range of ales served in top form. Close to being the perfect pub for me.

20 Aug 2007 00:05

Crown Posada, Newcastle

Classic unspoilt late Victorian interior, fascinating old photographs of Newcastle on the walls, half a dozen or so ales mostly from local independent breweries. Possibly best not to visit during peak times as there wren't a lot of spare seat at 5pm on a Wednesday evening - it isn't the most spacious of pubs and you won't ber able to fully appreciate the interior when it's standing room only.

I thought the Bodega (which I haven't managed to find on this site - not sure if I've spelt the name correctly - was equally good during an all too brief crawl of generally very impressive Newcastle pubs.

20 Aug 2007 00:01

Fitzgeralds Newcastle, Newcastle

Lovely interior, plush early 20th Century look and not the least bit tacky or affected. Goes a long way back despite the narrow frontage, the bar is on the right hand side in the rear area. Plenty of seating and space and a good range of ales. Only downside for me personally was the choi ce of music that was playing over the speakers. Although not at an excessive volume it was all dance/disco type music, which began to grate a bit after a while.

19 Aug 2007 23:53

The Bacchus, Newcastle

Relatively trendy city centre pub down a side street. Nicely fitted out (the aim being to resemble the bar of an ocean liner I believe) with eight real ales to choose from.

19 Aug 2007 23:49

The Kings Head Inn, Carlisle

Good town centre pub that keeps a good pint of ale - I sampled Phoenix Arizona went down well. Staff were friendly and welcoming - only downside was the landlord kept absent-midedly whistling along to every tune that came on the jukebox, whether it was Motown classics or heavy rock, which was unbelievably irritating!

19 Aug 2007 23:46

The Quaker Coffee House, Darlington

Superb small pub with a wide range of well-kept ales.

19 Aug 2007 23:39

Number 22 Alehouse and Canteen, Darlington

Decent pub with an excellent range of well-kept ales.

19 Aug 2007 23:35

Hoopers Bar, Camberwell

A nice comfortable back street pub only two minutes walk from the bus stop half way up Dog Kennel Hill; has a clean, modern interior without losing the traditional feel. A bit pricey @2.80 a pint, but the Harvey's Best has always been in absolutely peak condition whenever I've had it, therefore worth paying a bit extra.

10 Aug 2007 11:03

Palace, Leeds

Large old detatched building on a main jucntion at the edge of the city centre. Relatively young and trendy clientele, superb range of ales, only had time for one (Leeds Brewery Bitter) and it was excellent.

23 Jul 2007 21:59

The Duck and Drake, Leeds

I was in there for the first time on Saturday night and it was very quiet, although seemed much busier when I went past the following afternoon with a live band playing.

Pub itself is a classic old boozer, interior looks much as it must have done throughout the past 100 years. I tried two of the nine ales on offer, both of which were served in good nick.

23 Jul 2007 21:57

The Scarbrough Hotel, Leeds

Comfortable "traditional" style pub ,but beer quality and range has been consistently fantastic in my experience. Every time I go in I seem to find an ale I haven't tried before that I really enjoy, and served in peak condition.

23 Jul 2007 21:52

Mr Thomas' Chop House, Manchester

Pub looks great inside - a rather plush time-warp of a pub - but the front part was very crowded with a large dining area at the rear making it unsuitable for a session. Ales were well kept but a bland range on offer. (Boddington's or Bass as I recall.)

23 Jul 2007 21:41

test 16, Manchester

Nice little old fashioned pub in a narrow side street with well kept ales.

23 Jul 2007 21:37

The Goat Major, Cardiff

Decent city centre pub serving Brain's beers in excellent condition.

23 Jul 2007 21:26

Tavern, Warrington

Six ales on handpump when I visited on a Saturday lunchtime while in the town for a rugby match. By around 7pm five of the original six had run out and been changed to something different. Range and quality of ales on offer was generally very good.

26 Jun 2007 22:59

The Smithfield Hotel, Manchester

Unfortunately it was very much closed when I tried to visit last month and didn't look likely to reopen in a hurry.

26 Jun 2007 22:56

The Crescent, Salford

I really hope this pub survives. The sheer range and quality of the ales on offer make it well worth the detour from Central Manchester.

26 Jun 2007 22:54

The Kings Arms, Salford

Old fashioned multi-roomed pub with a decent range of ales.

26 Jun 2007 22:51

The Victory, Hereford

Slightly odd layout and decor with a big room at the back for live performances. Some of the locals were irritatingly noisy, but there was no arguing with the Spinning Dog ales; I sampled three different brews all of which were superb especially the Organic Bitter.

26 Jun 2007 22:48

The Barrels, Hereford

A bit hectic on a busy Friday evening session but service and ale quality were both excellent.

26 Jun 2007 22:42

The Kings Fee, Hereford

I walked out without having a drink after waiting ages to be served, only for one of the two staff on duty to then serve someone out of turn who was ordering a great long list of drinks + food. (I only wanted one pint.) Typical cavernous Wetherspoon's conversion - not the sort of pub where I feel comfortable and relaxed.

26 Jun 2007 22:40

The Swan With Two Nicks, Worcester

Ancient warren of a pub near the city centre. Four ales on handpump, mostly from smaller local breweries.

26 Jun 2007 22:35

The Dragon Inn, Worcester

Old fashioned no-frills boozer near the city centre, yet cosy and friendly atmosphere. Staff were friendly and efficient and most important of all the ale quality was top notch - simply couldn't have been better.

26 Jun 2007 22:32

The Oakdale Arms, Harringay

I visited during a surprisingly quiet Sunday lunchtime session a couple of weeks back. Nice comfortable locals' pub, five Milton ales on handpump. Beer quality was decent but not as good as the Pembury, although the Oakdale is a more comfortable place for a session.

18 Mar 2007 11:49

Admiral of the Humber, Hull

Fairly typical Wetherspoon's in the ground floor of an office block. Usual 'Spoons range of ales plus a few guests; beer served in good condition and service was efficient. Convenient for the station.

26 Feb 2007 22:13

The Nags Head, Belgravia

Unbelievable timewarp of a pub that sems stuck in the 1940's and is no worse for it. Incredible and fascinating array of old nick-nacks and artefacts, including a rather incongruous model of a 1970's jet airliner (a Tristar?) hanging from the ceiling along with a P51 Mustang and several biplanes. Cosy and unpretentious in appearance. Ales are Adnams Bitter & Broadside, the latter being ridiculously overpriced @3.30 a pint, but the overall experience makes it worth a visit.

4 Feb 2007 22:20

The Grenadier, Belgravia

It's a wonder this pub has any customers it's so hiddeen away, down an exclusive mews cul-de-sac and totally invisible unless yu walk to within twenty yards or so of its doors. a very nice old-fashioned pub on the face of it; I wandered in around 8pm on a tuesday evening and it was busy without being uncomfortably so. Most of the customers looked like well-off local who could afford to have their dinner in the pub rather than cooking at home after a long day at work, although the food smells were a bit overpowering for someone such as myslef just wanting a quiet pint of decent ale. Speaking of which: four handpumps including London Pride and Old Hooky, which was on good form. Unfortunately I'd been there barely a quarter of an hour when the place was invaded by a large crowd of young American student types who couldn't seem to keep still and were talking very loudly. (One or two of their number didn't even get a drink in - being irritated by people who aren't even proper customers was the final straw!) After several minutes of aural assault and being constantly brushed past I drained my glass and left. As mentioned by an earlier reviewer, this pub isn't really suitable for groups of more than three or four. Certainly worth checking out though and I'll definitely give it another try.

4 Feb 2007 22:13

The Stand Up Inn, Lindfield

Dark Star is one of ny favourite breweries so this was a must visit for me and well worth the mile and a half hike from Haywards Heath station to the village of Lindfield, complete with a "wildfowl crossing" road sign as you enter the High Street!. Unfortunately the bus back stops running at 6.30pm but at least it was mostly downhill on the return leg!

The pub has a cosy feel without being too small or particularly old-fashioned. Six handpumps including two guest ales. Dark Star's seasonal Amsinck Black stout was particularly tasty.

4 Feb 2007 12:38

The Albion, Hampton Court

Nice enough pub with a contemporary yes comfortable feel. In a narrow shopping street close to Hampton Court station. Reasonable prices for a fairly posh location - 4.95 for a pint of Guinness and a pint of London Pride, ale served in excellent condition too.

28 Jan 2007 10:32

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

Has a very spacious feel with light and slightly spartan contemporary decor making it feel a bit "cold" during a quiet afternoon session. Excellent beers though. There were seven on handpump when I visited, mostly from the Milton Brewery, with several more handpumps unused.

One constructive criticism is that there could do with being a bit more imformation about the ales on offer. Many folk won't be familiar with Milton's beers and their names give no clue as to the style of beer. After taking pot luck and getting something pale and hoppy at 3.8% ABV (which I thoroughly enjoyed) I had to ask if there were any stouts or porters available; Nero being very nice at 5.0% ABV, concluding with a half or two of the lethal Mammon at over 7%.

21 Jan 2007 18:21

The Railway Tavern, Chelmsford

Nice little pub with distinctive character and could not really be more convenient for Chelmsford station. I gave it a go after seeing their range of ales listed on a chalkboard outside and wasn't disappointed. Mighty Oak Burntwood Bitter was excellent. Not Good Beer Guide listed at present, but ought to be on the evidence of my visit.

21 Jan 2007 18:12

The White Horse, Chelmsford

Decent enough town centre pub tucked away up a quiet sidestreet, covenient for the station. Long and narrow with the bar along the left hand side, half a dozen or so real ales in decent enough condition.

21 Jan 2007 18:03

The Marble Arch, Manchester

My favourite Manchester pub. Classic interior, fairly laid-back bohemian atmoshphere, great range of beers both from the Marble brewery and other local brewers. Pictish Porter was particularly splendid.

21 Jan 2007 16:17

Bar Fringe, Manchester

Dutch-style bar which also has three handpumps. Only had a half during a rather hectic crawl, but no issues with beer quality and I liked the laid-back atmosphere.

21 Jan 2007 16:05

The Crown and Kettle, Ancoats

An amazing interior features a rather dilapidated ornate ceiling with netting fixed beneath to prevent bits of it falling down! Certainly full of character with a cosy and rather plush back bar, and most importantly a good selection of well-kept ales.

21 Jan 2007 16:03

The Peveril Of The Peak, Castlefield

The 2006 Good Beer Guide give the hours as follows:

Opens midday every weekday, but shuts between 3 and 5 Mon - Thurs. Opens 4-11 Saturdays and 7-10.30 Sundays.

However on two of my last three visits it's still been shut half an hour after it was supposed to have opened.

It's been dropped from the 2007 GBG.

Certainly worth a visit, but be prepared to divert elsewhere, e.g. the Briton's Protection or Rain.

21 Jan 2007 15:58

The Rain Bar, Castlefield

A bit trendy and cavernous for my personal taste. Only three handpumps on for my visit: a mild, a strong seasonal brew and Moonraker. Worth a visit but not somewhere I'd spend a session.

21 Jan 2007 15:48

The Grey Horse Inn, Manchester

Nice cosy traditional boozer. Friendly atmosphere, Hyde's beer was excellent.

21 Jan 2007 15:45

The Flowerpot, Derby

Derby is one of the best beer drinking towns in England for both quality and quantity of different brews available, and the Flowerpot is one of it's highlights. I reckon you could get plastered every day for a week or more without having the same beer twice or even needing to get on a bus or train.

2 Dec 2006 12:57

The Man of Kent Ale House, Rochester

A very fine old-fashioned corner local. Furnishings are a bit knackered, yet the place felt very cosy on a chilly evening with classic rock music playing at a sensible volume in the background. Eight handpumps all dispensing ales from smaller Kentish brewers, plus real cider and draught foreign beers. Goacher's Gold Star was in top condition.

Regarding some of the earlier comments about beer temperature, I came here three years back on a sweltering August afternoon and had to switch to the impressive selection of German lagers after one pint of totally unchilled ale, but this issue appears to have been addressed since then.

22 Nov 2006 22:06

The Good Intent, Rochester

One of the most eclectic pubs I've ever visited. Looks unpromising from the outside, being part of a post-war estate. Rap/dance music playing rather too loud for my taste didn't help the initial impression as I entered a rather spartan, open-plan room dominated by a pool table with the bar in one corner. However the locals, who on an early Tuesday evening seemd to consist entirely of 18-20 year olds and untrendy middle-aged types such as myself, were very amiable, as was Karen the landlady who immdeately acknowledged my arrival while serving other people. Karen later came over to talk about the old photographs of various local pubs while I was looking at them on the wall, as well as making sure I got a copy of the local CAMRA mag. Needless to say I only ventured here in the first place after noting its inclusion in the 2007 GBG. Three ales were on tap from barrels behind the bar, with others waiting or having recently run out. I had a decent enough pint of Sharp's Cornish Coaster.

The place styles itself "The Ugly Pub", and it's a bit difficult to get away from that image(!), but the people in here certainly make the best of what they've got. Certainly worth doubling up with a visit to the nearby Man of Kent.

22 Nov 2006 21:57

The Alexandra Hotel, Chatham

Shepherd Neame house a stone's throw from Chatham station, so very convenient for killing time befroe a train journey. Several Sheps beers on handpump, the Masterbrew was in superb condition. Pleasantly lively atmosphere even at 10pm on a tuesday. My only complain was the rather overpowering smell of fried food being served to other customers.

22 Nov 2006 21:46

The Red Lion, Snargate

Oh dear! I see the spoilers have been at it again, giving zero ratings to any new pub appearing on the Top Ten. The Red Lion is a wonderful place and had an average rating of 9.7 from the first fourteen people who rated it on here. I'm already looking forward to a rare chance to visit next weekend. Well worth the mile and a half walk from Appledore station.

19 Nov 2006 13:22

The Cricketers, Croydon

Prominent pub on a busy junction, a half mile walk from Addiscombe tram stop. An unremarkable open plan layout but staff were welcoming and the atmosphere was friendly enough.

Four ales on handpump (Harvey's Best plus three guests); I also caught the tail end of the aforementioned beer festival with five additional ales on a stillage in the back bar at discount prices to clear, including Copper Dragon 1816 which was in peak condition and a very nice pint. I switched to Taylor's Landlord from the main bar (@2.40) when that ran out, which was also in good nick.

An addition to the Good Beer Guide for 2007 under Addiscombe. (Not to be confused with another pub of the same name near Lebanon road tramstop.)

18 Nov 2006 10:51

Lewes Arms, Lewes

What on earth is happening with the user ratings on this site? The score for the Lewes Arms has been fluctuating between 8+ and 6.7 without any supposed change in the number of people rating it.

I always look at the individual comments rather than the average score, but it's annoying all the same.

9 Nov 2006 21:45

The Dog and Bull, Croydon

Lovely old boozer in Surrey Street Market. Must be one of the oldest buildings in Central Croydon. Ales were Young's Special and Ordinary plus Wells' Bombadier (never a favourite of mine). My pint of Special was OK but not great. Maybe this is what the Bedford brews will always be like? I hope not.

A non-speaking barmaid didn't enhance the place though. As a former barman myself it amazes me that anyone can a) pull a pint for someone who has just said "Hello, a pint of Special please" b) place said pint in front of customer, who says "Thanks" c) take the banknote proffered by said customer d) return with and hand over change to customer who again says "Thanks" without uttering a single word and maintaining an expressionless poker face throughout. Remarkable.

1 Nov 2006 21:07

The Bear Inn, Faversham

Traditional, old fashioned town centre pub. Can't have changed significantly in the last hundred years or more with internal partitions intact. Had a decent pint of Masterbrew.

29 Oct 2006 23:18

The Shipwrights Arms, Faversham

A peculiar wood-clad building in a remote location. Has the feel of a locals pub, although I'm not sure where the "locals" come from! There's a riverside footpath indicated on maps which runs right past. I walked from Faversham town centre. The interior is decorated with a nautical theme and five ales were served, all on gravity, mostly from Goacher's but also other small Kentish brewers.

29 Oct 2006 23:13

The Quadrant, Brighton

Great news. Hope it's as good as it used to be. I discovered the Quadrant around 12 years ago, picking it purely at random, and always went back whenever I was in Brighton. Was always noted for its range of ales as well as generally being a good all-round boozer with character.

24 Oct 2006 21:32

The Charles Dickens, Southwark

Old fashioned pub in a narrow thoroughfare linking Blackfriars and Southwark Bridge Roads. Nicely fitted out in an unfussy style: wooden floors and furniture, pastel painted walls with framed cartoons of Dickensian characters. Most importantly of all it's a freehouse with six ales on handpump, mostly from smaller southern brewers including Nethergate, Hog's Back, Sharp's etc. all @ 2.60 a pint regardless of strength.

Regarding the earlier comments: the back room and gents toilets were both closed off for redecoration (I had to use the ladies!) but I can well imagine the food preparation in the open plan kitchen in the back room can be a bit overbearing for non-diners so personally I would stick to the front room.

Staff were friendly, welcoming and efficient and beer quality was good. Not GBG listed, unless it's a new entry for 2007, but would be a worthy inclusion. Definitely one to add to my SE1 rota alongside the Market Porter, Lord Clyde and Royal Oak.

22 Oct 2006 20:29

The Oval Tavern, Croydon

I made an effort to visit after seeing its inclusion in the 2007 GBG. Just two ales on my visit: an Adnams seasonal and Marston's Witches Brew. Beer was served in good condition but not at all chilled, which doesn't suit my personal taste.

I did like the pub itself though. A quirky backstreet local with a laid back bohemian feel. Understated "student bedsit" decor; not too tatty, not too trendy, just had a nice lived-in feel. Old music memorabilia on the walls, 60's blues, ska, soul music playing at a sensible volume. Nice place for a session.

Different enough to be well worth a detour if it's to your personal taste.

9 Oct 2006 22:05

The Brew Wharf, London Bridge

A cavernous place that doesn't feel at all like a "pub" to me. The phrase "dull and pretentious" in an earlier review sums it up for me. I went in with high hopes of their own Brew Wharf beers, but both the Bitter and the Best were bland and served in mediocre condition.

I suppose it's distinctive enough to appeal to some people but not to my taste at all.

8 Oct 2006 11:35

Lewes Arms, Lewes

I sincerely hope the Harvey's stays. I haven't been to the Lewes Arms for a while as I live in London, but it's a must visit on my occasional trips to the town. I won't drink Grim King beers as I just don't like them. That brewery's attitude to other brewers is simply appalling. They're a national menace.

7 Oct 2006 10:21

The Prince of Wales, Farnborough

An excellent range of ten well kept ales. The layout means it usually feels rather congested, but if you can grab a table it's a great place to settle in for the duration.

Getting served might seem daunting with so many people crowding around the bar, but I found a firm and decisive "Excuse me, may I get to the bar please!" did the trick, and most of them weren't actually waiting for service so I got served almost immediately.

1 Oct 2006 16:02

The Thatched Cottage, Farnborough

Nice old Tudor building which was literally a thatched cottage and only became a pub in the 1960's.

Five real ales on handpump, my pint of TEA was a bit green on my first visit for several years, but I've visited in the past and generally found the beeer quality to be good.

1 Oct 2006 15:56

Railway Inn, Upper Killay

I visited this pub in June on recommendation from a friend after a day at the cricket in Swansea. Brilliant little locals pub tucked out of the way. Everyone very friendly, excellent range of ales including four from Swansea Brewery Company which were superb. Simply can't fault the place. You're unlikely to be "just passing" but it's well worth a diversion and I'll be back as soon as I can.

25 Sep 2006 23:01

Wardwick Tavern, Derby

Popped in early Saturday evening after noticing it's addition to the 2007 GBG. Four ales on handpump with a substantial list of those to come on display. A too-loud football commentary and a rather boisterous younger crowd made for a less than relaxing atmosphere for anyone wanting a pint and a chat. Maybe I'm just getting old?

25 Sep 2006 22:48

The Old Silk Mill, Derby

A good all-rounder of a pub - not too trendy, clean and tidy, interesting old photographs of local life on the walls, seven real ales including two from Derby Brewery Company which were excellent. Not GBG listed, but would be a worthy addition on evidence of the beer quality I experienced.

25 Sep 2006 22:42

The Hope, Wandsworth Common

A reasonable pint but too trendy for me. I was also told they'd closed when attempting to order another round at 11pm, even though there had been no bell or no last orders called and another staff member was still in the process of serving someone else. I'm not likely to be back unless I've just missed a train at Wandsworth Common station, which is conveniently adjacent.

25 Sep 2006 22:34

The Grapes, Wandsworth

A lovely old fashioned traditional boozer that serves a superb pint of ale. A Young's house at it's best.

25 Sep 2006 22:30

The Spotted Horse, Putney

A reasonable Young's house in the High Street, worth popping in if you're passing although I wouldn't go out of my way to visit. Someone's obviously taken a sledgehammer to the interior walls of what would once have been an old fashioned pub with several bars and cosy corners, which seems a shame as it now has a rather cavernous feel as already mentioned.

25 Sep 2006 22:22

Ashley Park Hotel, Walton on Thames

Hotel bar-cum-pub, plenty of space with modern light and airy decor. Three well-kept ales including Young's and London Pride. Not really my type of pub but worth a pitstop if you're waiting for a train from Walton-on-Themes station which is directly across the road.

11 Sep 2006 22:28

The George Inn, Walton on Thames

Overall I think this was my favourite of the five pubs I visited in Walton - even though the beers are Sheps, which isn't a favourite of mine. Certainly nothing wrong with the beer quality though and the general atmosphere suited me.

11 Sep 2006 22:25

The Old Manor Inn, Walton on Thames

My type of pub. A small, old-fashioned locals boozer. Unfortunately my pint of London Pride, though drinkable, was a bit warm and tired.

11 Sep 2006 22:23

The Swan, Walton on Thames

A lovely warren of a pub with plenty of cosy corners; my pint of Young's Ordinary couldn't be faulted. I'm surprised by the low rating- it gets an 8 from me.

11 Sep 2006 22:21

The Weir Hotel, Walton on Thames

The place looked fairly smart with a civilised atmosphere on an early Saturday evening. A very large outdoor drinking area, although I prefer to be indoors myself. Staff were efficient and the ale (I had Brakspear's, one of three on offer) was in top condition.

11 Sep 2006 22:19

The Robin Hood Inn, Pontefract

A nice friendly pub on a main junction to the west of the town centre. Four handpumps, guest ales are on the back bar. Everard's Sunchaser and Copper Dragon Golden Pippin were available on my visit, as well as the ubiquitous Tetley's.

8 Sep 2006 10:27

The Scarbrough Hotel, Leeds

Traditional style pub, very handy if you've got time to kill before catching a train from Leeds. Six ales, Tetley plus five from smaller local brewers. Wylam Bitter was very nice indeed.

8 Sep 2006 10:24

The George, London Bridge

Just for reference, there are gents toilets inside the building too at the far end from the courtyard entrance.

28 Aug 2006 23:42

The Bricklayers Arms, Putney

I visited again on Saturday and enjoyed a couple of pints of Ram Tam, which I'd previously only sampled in Keighley. With regard to the general availability of Taylor's beers: It's rare to find anything other than Landlord in London, but Golden Best is starting to pop up occasionally and if you like it try the Trafalgar in South Wimbledon where it's the house beer, with five other (non Taylor's) guest ales on handpump.

28 Aug 2006 23:35

The Red Lion, Isleworth

I made my second visit on Saturday and enjoyed a good selection of ales having found a comfortable spot near the left hand entrance. However I'm not surprosed by Hans's post as my first visit a couple of years ago was spoiled by inconsiderate families and their hyperactive offspring. On that occasion a heavy shower sent everyone scurrying indoors from the beer garden with people shunting furniture around and children running everywhere; it became intolerable and we left as a result and hadn't been back since until just now. I certainly wouldn't go back on a Sunday afternoon.

28 Aug 2006 23:23

The Priory Arms, Stockwell

I used to drink here regularly when I worked at South Bank Uni. Nice old fashioned corner local, five ales on handpump with Harvey's & Adnams as house beers, plus plenty of foreign beers both draught & bottled and a large selection of fruit wines.

28 Aug 2006 23:14

The Odd One Out, Colchester

A lovely old fashioned pub where time seems to have stood still. Half a dozen or so ales in excellent condition plus several real ciders. I intended to have one or two before moving on to some other pubs closer to the station, but it felt so comfortable with locals chatting and making me welcome that I stayed until it was time for my train.

20 Aug 2006 11:20

The Stockwell, Colchester

Sadly I have to agree with Biggles's comments. I popped in during the Friday lunch break at the cricket. It looks a lovely old pub in an ancient residential backstreet, the array of Nethergate beers (one of my favourite brewers) on offer made my eyes light up; but my pint of Umbel can only be decribed as "disgusting", with all sorts of crap floating around in it. I asked for it to be changed for a pint of the seasonal Lemon Head, which was drinkable but hazy in appearance and not good enough to tempt me into another even if I'd had time to stay longer.

This pub should have no place in the GBG.

20 Aug 2006 11:16

The Bear and Billet, Chester

A bit chaotic late on a Saturday evening with a wedding reception party somewhat the worse for wear, but a sizeable pub with several ales from the Okell's range.

My friend's father was born in the pub when his own father was the landlord over 60 years ago, and he still lives directly across the road where he runs a gift shop.

10 Aug 2006 21:37

The Albion Inn, Chester

A beautifully preserved three-roomed backstreet local just inside the city walls. WWI & 1920's memorabilia are fascinating to look at, and there's a pianola which the landlord occasionally cranks into action.

Had lunch here on a Sunday afternoon (cottage pie) and it was as good a "traditional" pub meal as I've had.

Real ale is Cain's Bitter plus two guests.

Current Good Beer Guide gives the opening hours as 12-3 & 5-11 Mon-Thur; 11-11 Fri; 12-3 & 6-11 Sat; 12-3 & 7-10.30 Sun.

10 Aug 2006 21:33

The Philharmonic, Liverpool

Three or four ales from various breweries. Beer was adequate enough. The pub itself is stunning; feels like an old fashioned gentlemen's club sitting in one of the smaller rooms in a leather armchair during a quiet session.

10 Aug 2006 21:27

The Royal Oak, Brampton

I picked this pub at random when I had an hour to kill before a cricket match at Queen's Park and I certainly made the right choice. Spacious yet cosy with plenty of quiet corners, nine ales on handpump, friendly atmosphere. I also caught the end of a live jazz session when returning after the match for a quick pint befroe the train journey home.

31 Jul 2006 20:56

The Derby Tup, Whittington Moor

Excellent old-fashioned no-frills, yet smart and tidy, boozer on the Sheffield Road. Nine ales from smaller breweries in Derbys, Yorks & Staffs, plus other handpumps available; real cider too. Wooden furniture, stone floors, white walls with old brewery memorabilia neatly mounted and framed. Clientele was mostly 40-60 age range with no music just a lively conversational buzz. Definitely worth the long hike or bus ride from the town centre.

31 Jul 2006 20:53

The Malt Shovel, Northampton

On a main road to the south of the town centre but worth the diversion to make a visit, and reasonably close if you're heading home via the station.

Thirteen ales on handpump plus a real cider, all from smaller breweries except Tetley's which looked a bit out of place amid such an appealing variety of alternatives.

Very much a real ale drinkers' pub with no tacky distractions; a comfortable place to settle in for the duration.

22 Jul 2006 12:14

The Fish, Northampton

A TJ Bernard house, around half a dozen ales on handpump, mostly mainstream brews except the local Frog Island bitter which had a peculiar fruity flavour without being too sweet - I rather enjoyed it. Decent enough pub with plenty of space, efficient service, convenient localtion just off the main street running through the centre of town.

22 Jul 2006 12:10

The Racehorse, Northampton

Excellent range of ales (I think there were seven on handpump); clientele youngish, mainly goth/rocker/student types. Rather gloomy decor and staff could have been a bit more welcoming, but certainly worth a visit for the beer - I had Vale Black Beauty Porter and Oakham JHB.

22 Jul 2006 12:06

The Bricklayers Arms, Putney

A decent backstreet local close to Putney Bridge which I visited after reading the aforementioned article on London Drinker. A freehouse selling predominantly Timothy Taylor's beers; on my visit only the Best was available (an excellent pint) plus a Hyde's brew, although there were two other handpumps waiting to dispense other TT's beers that weren't ready to serve. Barstaff were friendly and helpful.

The owners have put a lot of hard work into getting this place up and running and clearly didn't have the budget to splash out on flashy new decor & furniture, but I liked it and will definitely return.

10 Jul 2006 22:46

The Watermans Arms, Richmond

Nice little pub with an intimate and friendly atmosphere and decent beers on handpump (Young's range). Relatively quiet considering it was very close to the River, the weather was hot, and the White Cross about fifty yards away and right on the River was absolutely heaving.

3 Jul 2006 22:22

The Red Cow, Richmond

Early Victorian pub on a prominent corner in a residential area not far from the centre of Richmond. Interesting building but fairly average pub - worth a visit if passing but not worth a major detour. Young's tied house, beers in good enough condition.

3 Jul 2006 22:20

The Prince's Head, Richmond

Nice old pub down a narrow alley off the main road leading from Richmond station towards the River. Much more spacious than appears from the front with a maze of cozy corners around the back of the bar. Good pint of Chiswick, relatively cheap for the area at 2.30.

3 Jul 2006 22:17

The Smithfield Hotel, Manchester

Has a bit of a rough and ready feel compared to the other city centre pubs I've visited in Manchester, but a terrific range of ales makes it well worth a visit.

25 Jun 2006 23:23

The Peveril Of The Peak, Castlefield

An extraordinalry pub; very distinctive from the outsie and full of character within. I'd been led to believe there wasn't much of a range of ales, but there were around half a dozen on for my visit from various smaller breweries. Keeps unpredicatable opening hours; it was shut just after 4pm on a Saturday (the time at which it opens according to the current Good Beer Guide) but heaving a few hours later when I returned.

25 Jun 2006 23:19

The Briton's Protection Hotel, Castlefield

A lovely interior, which I was able to fully appreciate during a quiet Saturday afternoon, my pint of Castle Rock Cromwell was excellent too. It would be absolutely ridiculous if this building is dismantled and rebuilt elsewhere, a complete wast of time and scandalous if anyone is even considering it.

25 Jun 2006 23:15

The Crescent, Salford

A real old fashioned drinkers' boozer, peculiar shaped bar which seems like to separate bars from the entrances but linked around the back. Slightly bohemian feel to the place but friendly and certainly not pretentious or "trendy". Ten (I think) ales on handpump, a good range, the Bazen's Black Pig (which I think is always on) was superb. Prices mostly around 2 a pint depending on strength, filled rolls at around 1.20 each were tasty. Only downside is the traffic thundering past on the A6 immediately outside; it's around halfway between Salford Crescent and Central rail stations on the southern side of a very busy dual carriageway.

25 Jun 2006 23:10

The Westgate, Cardiff

Large 1930's pub on a main junction, Brain's beers in good condition.

25 Jun 2006 23:03

The Gatekeeper, Cardiff

Popped in during the England v Sweden World Cup match last week, which was showing on the television. Pub was pretty quiet, selection of local ales was good; I tried the Evan Evans and was well impressed with it.

25 Jun 2006 23:01

Henry Boons, Wakefield

A bit disappointing on my visit - only two beers on handpump, only one of which was Clark's, and though drinkable it could hve been better kept. Given the competition from Fernandes', Harry's Bar etc. I wouldn't hurry back. Was fairly quiet on a Sunday early evening but seems more geared towards the younger crowd.

19 Jun 2006 21:40

The Leeds Arms, Scarborough

Smallish pub in the current CAMRA Good Beer Guide, lots of nautical memorabilia, in a sidestreet off the main road leading down to the seafront. Five beers on handpump, my pint of Taylor's Landlord was excellent, although relatively pricey for the area at 2.62.

Not to be confused with the nearby Leeds Hotel, which you will probably have to walk right past to get there.

19 Jun 2006 21:33

Cricketers, Scarborough

Relatively modern buiding resembling a sports or social club more than a "pub". I popped in for a swift half of Deuchars IPA, which was in excellent condition, on a relatively quiet Saturday afternoon. Directly opposite the best known outground on the County Cricket circuit and a great sea view from out the back.

19 Jun 2006 21:28

Ye Olde White Harte, Hull

Amazing 16th century building, I'm fairly sure it wasn't originally a pub. An upstairs room known as the "plotting room" was allegedly used by Oliver Cromwell and his cohorts to plot the overthrow of the monarchy. A local enthusiast explained how the interior was gutted by fire and refurbished in the 1880's, pointing out the differences between different parts of the oak pannelling and beams and ornamental carvings on the staircase.

Three ales on handpump, not as wide a range as the other Hull pubs I visited, but the Deuchars IPA was in excellent condition.

There is also a human skull behind one bar which was discovered in the building and turned out to be that of a long dead woman. The skull is nicknamed "Freda"!

19 Jun 2006 21:24

Ye Olde Black Boy, Hull

Terrific Tudor pub in the old High Street (which is more of a backstreet these days) but still conveniently close for the city centre yet away from the madness of the Friday/Saturday night mayhem. A good variety of ales on offer from various brewers.

19 Jun 2006 21:17

The Whalebone, Hull

I can only concur with Ladnewton's comments - an excellent brewpub, if a little off the beaten track in a rather run-down dockside area north of the city centre. Beers, decor and atmosphere were all outstanding however. A group of Hull rugby fans were chatting to a couple of visiting southerners before we'd even had a chance to order our drinks and immediately offered us a lift to the match, which was a bonus as we'd underestimated the walking distance to the ground.

I enjoyed the Whalebone Neckoil bitter; there was also a Mild available along with several ales from other breweries, though sadly none of the seasonal Whalebone beers. I'll defintely be back though!

19 Jun 2006 21:14

The Wellington Inn, Hull

A Victorian backstreet local on the northern edge of the city centre, but stylishly refurbished inside with a very contemporary feel. Eight handpumps dispensing ales mostly from smaller local breweries in great condition. If you're in Hull for a rugby (and probably football) match go here afterwards for a post match pint and a chat with the local supporters - it's within walking distance of the KC Stadium. As already mentioned there is a phenomenal range of draught and bottled continental beers too - we counted 104 varieties on the bottled beers menu.

19 Jun 2006 21:08

The Lower Red Lion, St Albans

Too right it's "suspect". It's clear that a lot of people (or a few very persistent offenders) are rating pubs "0 out of 10" without having been there or without posting any comments about them just to knock them off the leader board. It happens every time a "new" pub appears on the leader board after getting the necessary ten ratings to qualify. It happened with the Criterion in Leicester and with Fernandes' Brewery Tap in Wakefield, both of which entered the Top 10 after I was the tenth person to give a rating, and both of which dropped straight out again the following day because an eleventh person rated it zero, but didn't bother to explain what was so bad about it. Watch out for the same thing to happen with The Red Lion at Snargate, a fantastic pub in the middle of nowhere on the Kent Marshes - last time I looked it had a rating of 9.8 from nine users, but as soon as a tenth rating puts it at the top of the pile you can bet the spoilers will be out to knock it off again.

I sent a message to the site admin asking if anything could be done about this (e.g. discounting the highest and lowest ratings, or just discounting any rating below "x" with no comments posted) but got no response. Frankly the marks out of ten are worthless on here, you just have to gauge from the comments and after a while you get to know which other regular users have similar tastes to youself and can be relied upon to give you a good idea of what to expect. It's still annoying though, as seeing a new pub on the Top 40 is good publicity and encourages people to at least think about paying a visit.

19 Jun 2006 21:01

The Star Inn, Bath

This is the sort of pub where I could easily settle in for a long session. A cosy interior, friendly staff and regulars and the Abbey Bellringer was a cracking pint.

15 Jun 2006 23:56

The Salamander, Bath

A bit trendy for me, ales in good enough condition although the Bath range isn't my favourite. Worth a visit although not my favourite pub in the city.

15 Jun 2006 23:53

The Ram, Bath

I popped in during an early evening and it was pleasant enough; near the station but the opposite side of the tracks to the town centre so mostly local clientele.

Landlord and regulars were friendly enough and beer was decent quality.

15 Jun 2006 23:50

The Old Green Tree, Bath

Very small, not much space; good selection of local ales in good nick, landlord was welcoming.

A bit touristy and on each of my visits on consecutive lunchtimes during lunch breaks in the cricket match there seemed to be a lot of posh people eating the huge doorstep sandwiches and talking with their mouths full. This became unbearable - these people are presumably too important to stop giving everyone else the benefit of their superior knowledge on all subjects for five minutes while they eat a meal in silence. It was almost as bad as that KFC television commercial with people singing with their mouths full.

15 Jun 2006 23:48

The Bell, Bath

I bowled in just in time for a live music session featuring a Latin jazz band, which seemed very popular and was great fun. The place was absolutely heaving on a Wednesday night, but the beer was in excellent shape and the service fast and efficient under considerable pressure.

15 Jun 2006 23:40

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

On the face of it a typical and slightly scruffy early Victorian backstreet local. What sets it apart is the range and quality of real ales - 8 on handpump including a mild and a porter, plus a real cider. I tried four different ales, all of which were in excellent condition despite the hot weather, plus a pint of cider.

Clientele during my early afternoon visit was mostly middle-aged locals. Atmosphere seemed very friendly and a collection of instruments and sound equipment stashed away in a corner suggests a lively evening scene. An absolute must-visit for any real ale enthusiasts remotely in the vicinity.

13 Jun 2006 22:44

The Earl of Eldon, South Croydon

I walked past this place (didn't go in as I don't like Greene King beers) and it's currently undergoing a refurbishment (although still open for business) so the brewery obviously agrees with Steve!

3 Jun 2006 18:13

The Crown and Sceptre, South Croydon

"Public bar" type area to the right of the entrance, and a dining type area at the back beyond the end of the bar, plus seating outside at the front.

I've just been in here three days running during the Surrey cricket week at Whitgift school and the London Pride was consistently in perfect condition and reasonably priced at 2.45 a pint. In fact the Pride was the best I've had anywhere for some time - certainly up to Good Beer Guide standard, even though this place isn't in the GBG.

3 Jun 2006 18:10

The Royal Oak, Borough

I popped in here yesterday. Although there were five Harvey's ales on offer these included two milds at just 3.0%ABV and Pale at 3.5%, which was a bit disappointing for me as this is the only place you regularly get any Harvey's brew other than Best in Greater London as far as I'm aware.

I had a couple of pints of Best and a couple of Armada. Obviously any beer might not be to your particular taste, but I have to say both those I sampled here were in peak condition. My pints weren't just good, they were exceptional. If there have been any quality issues recently they certainly weren't in evidence on my visit.

21 May 2006 22:49

The Market Porter, Borough

Have to say I think Burnsy has summed the place up perfectly. I popped in around 6pm last Sunday for an hour or so on my way home; it was busy but bearable, I got a stool at the bar, service was very quick and efficient with plenty of staff on duty, Battersea Powerstation Porter was very tasty but unfortunately it ran out after my second pint! In my recent experience it just gets too crowded to relax between 5-9 pm on weekdays and Saturdays though.

Incidentally if it's sheer range of real ales you're looking for and you're ever in Derby the Flowerpot had 23 when I visited last month.

20 May 2006 11:40

The Cabbage Patch, Twickenham

Spacious old looking pub in a prominent location near Twickenham station. Popped in to watch the end of the FA Cup Final after noticing it wasn't too packed. Plenty of television screens. London Pride, Young's Ordinary and Deuchars IPA on handpump, I sampled the latter which was in reasonable condition. 2.70 a pint which seems to be about par for the area.

15 May 2006 19:53

The Sorting Room, Twickenham

The choice of user name is irrelevant. Comments by "Bigbum69" can be distinguished from everyone else's, comment's posted anonymously cannot. How many different people have posted anonymous comments on this pub alone? One? Two? Five? Anyone incapable of comprehending that must be a bit thick. I've got plenty respect for people who deserve it.

15 May 2006 19:49

The Sultan, South Wimbledon

I've been meaning to visit this place for ages and finally got around to it last night. Well worth the trip. A backstreet local on a corner, two bars, fitted out in a smart but unfussy fashion, some curiously gigantic furniture that looks like it's been liberated from a pre-war farmhouse kitchen.

Hop Back is just about my favourite brewery and their beers were in superb condition. GFB (3.5%ABV) is the most flavoursome beer of it's strength I've sampled on ages. I also tried the seasonal Spring Zing, which had a citrus flavour, the Entire Stout and the flagship Summer Lightning. Prices ranged from just 2.05 a pint to 2.35 for the 5.0%ABV Summer Lightning.

I really can't fault the place.

12 May 2006 22:12

The Porter and Sorter, Croydon

A spacious but rather bland pub next to East Croydon station. Has that generic London pub decor - green/maroon/cream colour scheme with heavily patterned carpet - and on the whole feels a bit like an upmarket Wetherspoons. Tries too hard to cater for everyone, beer quality consistently good in my experience but a rather unimaginative range of 4 or 5 real ales with Hog's Back TEA the only reletively unusual option.

Last night a television was showing the Preston/Leeds football match at an unnecessarily loud volume while dance music competed over the loudspeakers, making for an unpleasantly noisy atmosphere. On the whole it's OK if you've got time to kill or want to meet someone before catching a train but certainly not worth going out of your way for.

9 May 2006 23:15

The Sorting Room, Twickenham

Gordon Bennett! I wish I'd never mentioned my "chav" mate and his cap! It wasn't an issue, we didn't notice any signs to this effect before the doorman spoke to us, we just found it funny that's all. We only went in here because the Fox had run out of ales and the beer range in the Eel Pie isn't to our taste and this place was on the way back to the station. Having recently started watching Harlequins at the Stoop it was just part of the process of checking out the local pub options. It was nothing horrendous and the beer was in good nick at a reasonable price, but just not really our type of pub.

And why do so many of the people below have to post anonymously? If you've got anything worthwhile to say why not say who you are? Otherwise your comments are indistinguishable from all the other "anonymouses" who talk shite.

7 May 2006 23:24

The Salisbury, Leicester Square

A wonderfully ornate Victorian gin palace. Four or five real ales available, Young's and the increasingly ubiquitous Deuchars IPA were both in good condition. Only downside was that it was incredibly crowded for a Saturday late afternoon/early evening; you really were struggling to find somewhere to stand, never mind sit. And some pillock had parked an articulated lorry right outside which remained there throughout our two hour stay and spoiled the view of St Martin's Lane.

7 May 2006 22:59

The Royal Albert, Crystal Palace

This has been my "local" for the last three or four years now. A peculiar pre-war detatched building set back from a narrow shopping street; essentially a reasonably neat and tidy no frills boozer, clientele mostly mid-30's upwards, plus students. London Pride, Young's "Ordinary" and Adnams Bitter on handpump, reasonably cheap and comfortable; no food Mondays to Saturdays but roast dinners on Sunday lunchtimes and a striking view across Central London on a clear day. I'm not one for drinking al fresco but there's a pleasant enough beer garden around the side too.

2 May 2006 00:27

The Alma, Crystal Palace

Oh dear! I've lived in the area for many years and have only just tried the Alma for the first time, and it's not good. The carpet and furnishings look at least thirty years old, the carpet almost worn through to the underlay and the upholstery pockmarked with holes and cigarette burns, patched up with gaffer tape and the stuffing hanging out. The walls are painted a garish scarlet and there's a broken stairrod on the staircase just to enhance the dilapidated impression. Even the television projector screen appears yellowed with age. If this was my home I'd be too embarrassed to invite anyone around.

The beer seems almost incidental - I'm not usually one to allow my surroundings to get the better of me, but it really is that bad. I didn't dare risk more than a half of Adnams Bitter, the sole real ale; it was drinkable but clearly past its best. Alternatives were Fosters, Carling, Guinness, (fake American) Budweiser and John Smith's Smooth - the beer range from hell!

The place looks on its last legs. Admittedly I was in here on a very quiet Bank Holiday lunchtime (half a dozen or so punters in there); maybe there's a friendly and lively crowd in here during the evenings, but my experience of the Alma was truly depressing. I can't believe it will still be operating in its present guise for much longer.

2 May 2006 00:16

The White Hart, Crystal Palace

A very nice pub, fitted out with a bit of flair and imagination by owners who are clearly very enthusiastic about what they're doing. A bit trendy for my personal taste, clearly pitched at the young professional/postgraduate crowd and a bit pricey, though not excessively so for what you get. Three real ales at a time from a varying range, no fewer than 14 decent draught lagers and fruit beers with no Fosters/Carling/Guinness/creamflow-type rubbish. I didn't order any food but that looked good too, and generous portions.

My pint of Landlord was very tasty and served in a dimple pint pot. Twenty years ago you'd get served ale in these as a matter of course and I didn't like them - you had to ask if you wanted a straight glass - now it's the other way round and I quite enjoy the novelty.

It's clear that our anonymous contributor further down is either (a) an idiot or (b) has a personal grudge against someone who works here.

2 May 2006 00:04

The Builders Arms, Croydon

Nice enough Fuller's pub in a suburban street close to East Croydon station; ales always drinkable but can be a bit mediocre at times.

30 Apr 2006 00:08

Sloanes, Leicester

An excellent pub. A bit on the trendy side for my personal taste, although prices were very reasonable, especially as it appears to be pitched towards the young professional crowd. My pint of Oakham Harlequin was perfect.

29 Apr 2006 12:02

The Criterion, Leicester

1960's buiding that feels more like a sports club bar then a real pub with a lot of empty floorspace in the front bar and a darts area, but you can't argue with the range and quality of ales. I was delighted to find Hook Norton Double Stout, a personal favourite.

29 Apr 2006 11:58

Ye Olde Dolphin Inn, Derby

A real medieval pub, limited range of ales compared to many others in the city but still well worth a visit. Taylors Landlord was in good nick.

25 Apr 2006 23:07

The Smithfield, Derby

Nine ales on handpump, mostly from smaller Midlands breweries such as Oakham and Whim but also a couple from Durham; White Amarillo really hit the spot. A real old fashioned feel to the place, it probably hasn't changed much in the last 30-40 years, and none the worse for that.

25 Apr 2006 23:04

The Flowerpot, Derby

Phenomenal range of 23 ales available. Three of us sampled seven different brews between us and quality was consistently good. Pub was a bit chaotic towards closing time on a Saturday, although it was just about mild enough to sit outside which eased the crowding somewhat.

25 Apr 2006 23:00

The Babington Arms, Derby

Widely regarded as one of the best Wetherspoons in the country, I think I counted 14 different ales on handpump. I was a bit unluck in choosing a pint of stout that had lingered a day or two too long. Unfortunately the stiff local competition and the fact that I don't really care for the Wetherspoon's ambience means I probably won't return in a hurry.

25 Apr 2006 22:57

The Brunswick Inn, Derby

An unusual warren of a pub near Derby station. I think there were 16 ales on handpump; five from their own microbrewery and various others from an assortment of other brewers. The Brunswick's own beers were considerably cheaper than the guests, which are relatively pricey for the area. The Brunswick Porter was excellent.

25 Apr 2006 22:54

The Alexandra Hotel, Derby

A three story detached Victorian building on a main road near Derby station. The bar is smartly done out in a no frills and slightly austere fashion with some nice railway memorabilia on the walls. Six handpumps, I had a York seasonal beer which was excellent.

25 Apr 2006 22:51

The Queens Head, Belper

A lovely little pub up a steep hill a few minutes from the town centre. Five or six ales on handpump and I had a superb pint of cask stout. A nice friendly atmosphere with a splendid view across the valley from the window in the back bar.

25 Apr 2006 22:47

Talbot and Falcon, Wakefield

Nice Victorian pub in the town centre, recently refurbished, not too cluttered, old photographs of local life on the walls. Tetley's beers plus one guest ale which was an Adnams season brew on my visit. Beer quality very good

25 Apr 2006 22:44

Six Chimneys, Wakefield

I'm not a fan of Wetherspoon's but this one was a lot better than most. Beer quality was excellent, and just 1.39 a pint!

23 Apr 2006 22:58

The Fernandes Brewery Tap and Bier Keller, Wakefield

Absolutely fantastic pub; the bar is up a staircase above the brewery itself. Six ales and a cider on handpump, including some from other breweries even though it's the Fernandes Brewery Tap. Fernandes' own Dragon Slayer Stout was nectar. Unfortunately I only had time for two before leaving for the rugby ground. Free black pudding and pork pie slices on a Sunday lunchtime were very tasty too!

23 Apr 2006 22:56

The White Hart, Crystal Palace

If you want accurate and up-to-date comments I suggest you're most likely to get them from SarahG (who nominated the White Hart for inclusion on BITE in December 2005) and other comments since then by people who actually put their names to what they have to say instead of posting anonymously.

As I said yesterday, I haven't been in since it reopened but I live locally and it certainly didn't open in it's present guise until shortly before Christmas 2005. Therefore comments posted on other websites two years ago are somewhat irrelevant.

20 Apr 2006 18:33

The Prince of Wales, Newport

No frills boozer just off the main shopping area in the town centre. Three handpumps, Oakleaf Hole Hearted was excellent, landlady friendly. Essentially a decent pub, although a group of rather boisterous locals were encamped at the bar watching televised horseracing with the volume at a loud and intrusive level; then a woman standing behind my table playing a fruit machine began a very loud and irritating mobile telephone conversation instructing someone (who must have been a bit thick) how to use a tumbledryer. Hopefully it's not always quite like this.

16 Apr 2006 15:12

Duke of Wellington, Southampton

Traditional sort of pub, tastefully fitted out with a nautical theme. Four or five ales on handpump, my pint of Ringwood Best was fine. Clientele mostly young well-spoken types.

16 Apr 2006 15:05

The Guide Dog, Bevois Valley

Popped in last night during a pub crawl and found it very difficult to leave. Hop Back Spring Zing and Downton's Brunel were both perfect. Looks like the new guv'nor will be maintaining the same high standards as his predecessor.

16 Apr 2006 15:00

The Bay View, Swansea

Looks and sounds very impressive, having also looked at the pub's own website. I'm visiting Swansea for the first time in June for the Glamorgan v Surrey cricket match. With the cricket ground being just a few hundred yards down the road the Bay View will definitely be added to my itinerary!

2 Apr 2006 12:50

The Partridge, Bromley

A very tasteful and impressive refurbishment of a former bank building. Two fairly large yet unobtrusive television screens showing football on mute, decent background music at a sensible volume, good quality comfortable furniture, the full range of Fuller's ales including the splendid current seasonal beer, London Porter (ABV 5.4%) at 2.65 a pint; not really excessive for such a strong brew.

2 Apr 2006 11:11

The Riverhead Brewery Tap, Marsden

A brewpub in the centre of a lovely little Pennine town. Seven real ales of all styles and strengths, all from the host Riverhead brewery; two of us tried five of them between us and all were in perfect condition. A very high quality pub indeed.

21 Mar 2006 22:29

The Sair Inn, Linthwaite

A cracking pub near the top of a steep hill off the main Manchester Road. the sort of place you can settle in for the evening and really don't want to leave. Several rooms leading off the main bar, it probably hasn't changed much since the 19th century. Home to Linfit microbrewery, a vast range of ales is stocked on handpump. Three of us sampled around seven different beers between us; the best was Gold Medal, a medium strength hoppy light bitter. I also enjoyed the English Guineas stout. A must visit for any ale drinker remotely in the vicinity. They don't open until 7pm on Monday-thursday, and 5pm on Fridays.

21 Mar 2006 22:22

The Buffet Bar, Stalybridge

An absolute gem. If you have any interest in real ales, railways or old-fashioned idiosyncratic English pubs you'll love it. Rather tucked out of the way unless you're actually catching a train from Stalybridge station, but well worth a diversion or a break in your train journey.

21 Mar 2006 22:15

The Sportsman, Hyde

Old fashioned two-bar locals' pub on a main road. a rather spartan public bar to the right and a larger more comfortable bar, slightly shabby but with a certain charm, to the left. Good selection of 5 or 6 ales, my pint of Landlord was perfect.

21 Mar 2006 22:06

The Sorting Room, Twickenham

A cavernous place aimed at the younger generation. One of my friends was mistaken for a chav and ordered to remove his (tweed) cap by the doorman. He's 56!

Not really my cup of tea but it's convenient for the station and their ales were in good condition. As is usual for Lloyds the beers were the Wetherspoon's range without the guests.

13 Mar 2006 22:05

The Fox, Twickenham

Nice little old-fashioned pub. Five real ales on handpump, including several from the local Twickenham Brewery to which I've become rather partial.

13 Mar 2006 22:00

The Claret Free House, Addiscombe

Yes, John the landlord is a proper gent. He lives in a small village near the Sussex coast and "commutes" up to the Claret around the middle of the week and goes back to the seaside after the weekend. It's a real "drinking den", yet civilised. Ales are always superbly kept and I love sitting in the corner whre I can gaze at an old photograph of a bi-plane coming into land at Croydon Aerodrome!

8 Mar 2006 21:31

The Ealing Park Tavern, South Ealing

Fairly large pub with a strong emphasis on food & wine; bare floorboards and wooden furniture, with a number of the chairs in a hazardous state of disrepair!

Felt comfortable though; good service and a decent range of ales in good condition: Black Sheep, Hog's Back TEA and Wychwood Hobgoblin; two other pumps had the clips turned around.

5 Mar 2006 16:39

Whitelocks, Leeds

Well worth a visit if only to admire it's ornate interior. Seven real ales on, the shape of the bar means it can feel a bit cramped if you don't secure a table. My pint of York Stonewall was a little past its best, but I'll certainly visit again.

21 Feb 2006 22:50

The Boltmakers Arms, Keighley

This really is a fine pub; small and cosy, I can't fault it. The last stop of our afternoon in the town as it was closest to the station of the pubs we wanted to try, and we inevitably ended up catching a later train than intended.

The full range of Taylor's beers, including the Dark Mild which had been absent from the Brown Cow earlier in the day, the Best and Landlord were particularly superb.

21 Feb 2006 22:46

The Cricketers Arms, Keighley

Essentially a nice pub with a good range of ales, but we found ourselves at a table in the middle of the room with competing noise from rock music at one end and a too-loud television commentary from the Winter Olympics at the other, which only one bloke seemed to be paying any attention to - either cut the music or have the tv on mute, preferably the latter for me, but don't have both. I was so irritated by that I can't remember what my only pint in here was. I'll consider another visit if I'm in Keigh;ey again, but the competition from other pubs is very stiff.

21 Feb 2006 22:42

The Brown Cow, Keighley

A super pub with friendly locals on a main road to the south of the town centre, people were chatting and joking with us virtually from the moment we walked in. The landlord was very hospitable, talking enthusiastically about his beers and asking us about the sort of beers we drink down south. He used to be a drayman for Taylor's and although I contravened his strict no swearing policy by mentioning Blackburn (he's a Burnley fan originally from Nelson) he kindly let me off the hook.

Beers were Golden Best, Best, Ram Tam and Landlord (all from the Taylor's range) plus a couple of guests. Ram Tam is probably my least favourite Taylor's beer (it was the first time I've had it) but needless to say the Landlord was fantastic - both the beer and the bloke running the place.

21 Feb 2006 22:36

Haworth Old Hall, Haworth

A splendidly sturdy old manor house that looks built to withstand a siege. Seven real ales, five of them from the Jennings range; my pint of Cocker Hoop was excellent. Only downside is that it's in the Bronte tourist hotspot of Haworth - my own excuse for being there is that I took a trip on the Worth Valley Steam Railway prior to attending a rugby match at Keighley in the afternoon - and by 12.40 on a February Sunday it was getting pretty crowded, so I should think it gets rather hectic to say the least in high summer.

21 Feb 2006 22:24

The Narrow Boat, Skipton

Nice pub fitted out in a smart but simple style with wooden furniture and floorboards and no tacky modern paraphernalia whatsoever. I visited during a quiet early lunchtime session and with no background music whatsoever there was a slightly unnerving feeling that everyone was looking at each other! I think that's just the way the furniture is arranged and the fact that it was barely past midday on a Monday though; certainly not a reason not to go back.

The range of ales was excellent, eight of them from a variety of breweries, I had Durham White Gold.

The entire pub is now non-smoking.

21 Feb 2006 22:16

Cock and Bottle, Skipton

Looks promising from the outside, six handpumps, two of which were dispensing Tetley's with the others all reserved for beers from small brewers. On the whole I just found the place a bit bland and disappointing. My pint of Goose Eye was drinkable but a bit past it's best. With so many other pubs to choose from in Skipton town centre I'll try somewhere else instead next time.

21 Feb 2006 22:09

Marsh, Cleckheaton

Essentially a street corner local on the main road to the south of the town centre. Smart, cosy, friendly; beers are from the Old Mill brewery, but whilst well-kept weren't really to my personal taste. Certainly worth a visit though.

21 Feb 2006 22:05

Commercial, Cleckheaton

A large and imposing building on the main street through town, spacious inside with plenty of comfortable seating and interesting local memorabilia decorating the walls, with a games/television bar at the back. Ales on offer were Deuchar's IPA and Jenning's Snecklifter (both in good nick) plus the dreaded Greene King IPA, which I didn't touch.

21 Feb 2006 22:00

The New Beehive Inn, Bradford

Amazing Edwardian timewarp, the interior can't have changed significantly since the place was built in 1901. Most regulars seem to favour the small front bar; there's also a larger back bar and a billiard room to the side plus a cellar bar hosting live music which has separate access from outside the main building.

Quite a bizarre and bohemian atmosphere with mostly middle-aged locals bringing along guitars and harmonicas on a Sunday evening for an impromptu folk-type singalong in the front bar, but not so intrusive as to be an inconvenience.

Kelham Island Best seems to be the regular real ale, and very nice too; despite a copious number of handpumps they only seem to have two other guest ales on at a time, plus a variety of continental beers.

I stayed two nights in an upstairs room and it was fine; the whole building is maybe showing its age a bit and it won't be to everyone's taste, but as a cheap and cheerful place to stop over for the night I enjoyed it and had no complaints. It does seem to be run in a mildly shambolic manner but I liked it very much and will go back.

There's also a no-frills curry house right next door where we had an excellent meal at a ridiculously cheap price.

21 Feb 2006 21:44

The Corn Dolly, Bradford

Great pub, large range of real ales in excellent condition. Really cosy place with a blazing fire, most welcome on a chilly evening; locals very friendly and ready to chat to a couple of Southerners - great atmosphere and a must-visit next time I'm in Bradford. Slightly off the beaten track to the north of the city centre but definitely worth a diversion.

21 Feb 2006 21:24

The Fox and Hounds, Battersea

A bit trendy and food oriented for my personal taste; clientele heavily biased towards professional/postgraduate types, but essentially a decent pub and nicely fitted out.

Ales on handpump were Deuchars IPA, Harvey's Best and London Pride - nothing unusual in terms of selection, but having sampled the last two I found them to be in exceptionally good condition. Certainly worthy of consideration for the 2007 Good Beer Guide on that evidence.

15 Feb 2006 21:52

The Wheatsheaf Hotel, New Milton

Old fashioned and a bit rough and ready, located on a fairly busy residential road away from the town centre, but all the locals (and their dogs!) were friendly enough towards three strangers passing through. Ringwood Best & 49er on handpump.

5 Feb 2006 13:03

The South Western, St Denys

Cracking pub! Building looks mid-Victorian, presumably built when the railways came along - fairly open layout with another room upstairs which I didn't investigate. Ten real ales on handpump served in excellent condition, nice mix of people, good service, friendly atmosphere, decent rock music on the juke box (Led Zep, Hendrix, Metallica, Aerosmith) but not too loud for conversation. Felt really comfortable but sadly had to leave after a couple of pints to try a couple more pubs nearby. Anyone living near here or with an easy train connection to St. Denys station is well and truly spoilt. Will certainly be looking for an excuse to come back!

5 Feb 2006 12:57

The Dolphin, St Denys

Good pub, well worth a visit, couldn't be any more convenient for the train. Eight handpumps serving a good selection of ales in decent condition, although a bit too chilled for my personal taste - Hop Back Entire Stout - Mmmmmmm! Fairly young and lively crowd, nice atmosphere, although personally I preferred the South Western across the railway bridge.

5 Feb 2006 12:48

The Guide Dog, Bevois Valley

Nice backstreet local, cosy, friendly atmosphere, guv'nor very welcoming and enthusiastic about his beers. 5 or 6 handpumps serving ales from smaller local breweries; unfortunately post match crowds from Southampton v. Derby had cleaned out a couple of those available but had a couple of pints of Goddards Fuggle-de-dum in very good condition.

Doesn't open until 3pm on weekdays.

5 Feb 2006 12:39

The New Drum, Tonbridge

A backstreet local with a modern twist. Fairly trendy decor, pastel painted walls and fluorescent wall lights plus large screen televisions, but it works. Guv'nor is clearly a Millwall fan judging from a few old team photographs mounted hight on the wall at one end of the bar; could maybe do with a few more pictures as the walls look a bit bare. On the whole a nice smart pub, beer was excellent (Harvey's Best) and atmosphere friendly.

29 Jan 2006 00:04

Ye Olde Chequers Inn, Tonbridge

No complaints at all, a really nice old pub. The area to the left of the entrance was quite strikingly fitted out with paintings and prints on wooden wall panels plus comfortable furniture. Beer (Taylor's Landlord) was in good nick too. Can't understand the low rating at all.

28 Jan 2006 23:57

The Ivy House, Tonbridge

Fairly small 17th century pub in the high street; so authentically "olde" I banged my head on a low beam, and I'm only 5'9". Rather incongruous 1970's style "crazy paving" stone floor just inside the door. A rifle mounted on the wall could have been a useful antidote to the referee at the football match I'd just been to if only I'd seen it earlier in the day.

Reasonably civilised with friendly and efficient service plus a decent pint of Black Sheep Bitter on an early Saturday evening but copious notices warning against drug use and under age drinking suggest things might be a bit "lively" at certain times - maybe that's just Tonbridge?

28 Jan 2006 23:51

The Dulwich Woodhouse, Sydenham

Regarding Steveo's comment below, if you sit in the original part of the pub, especially the old back bar, you won't really notice any difference, except that it doesn't become so uncomfortably smoky or crowded. The wall where the kitchen presumably used to be has been knocked through and a big extention with a long bar added on a lower level catering primarily for diners, which helps keep the original part free of dining clutter and food aromas for the drinkers. Definitely an improvement in my view.

15 Jan 2006 15:45

The Bridge House Tavern, Penge

Not surprised to see this place closed down at present. I first discovered it around 18 months ago when I had an excellent pint of London Pride served by a welcoming Antipodean lady who I presumed to be the manager. I never saw her again, the beer quality became less impressive on subsequent visits and was completely undrinkable the last time. A barmaid had to call the landlady to change a barrel and she clearly didn't have a clue, peering at a pint resembling stagnant pond water and wondering "is it supposed to look like that?"

15 Jan 2006 15:30

The Watermill Inn, Burgess Hill

Nice enough pub without being sensational. Seems very much a locals pub, yet with a friendly enough atmosphere to put newcomers at ease. Four ales on handpump: London Pride, Young's "Ordinary", Old Speckled Hen, plus one guest which was a Westerham seasonal beer on my visit. Less than 100 yards from Wivelsfield train station.

15 Jan 2006 15:23

The Jerusalem Tavern, Clerkenwell

I haven't managed to visit for a couple of years now, but the comments below suggest it's as good as ever, if not better. I used to like whiling away a couple of hours here in the afternoon, when it was reasonably quiet. A shame for me personally that it shuts at weekends, like many City pubs. The St.Peter's Cream Stout (6.5% ABV) is fantastic - probably one of my favourite half dozen cask beers ever.

1 Jan 2006 13:25

The Lower Red Lion, St Albans

Terrific 17th Century coaching inn, two fairly similar bars either side of the central main entrance. Very cosy on a December night with blazing fires, half-timbered walls and sagging ceilings.

Seven ales were on offer and were generally well kept, but I can't help feeling they might be vending a couple too many to turn them over quickly enough; all were served very clear and bright but one or two tasted a bit tired. A couple of pints of JHB went down well, although I'd have preferred it a bit younger; a Salamander seasonal beer was very nice, a Fernandes Dark Mild (sampled out of sequence after I mis-read the ABV on the pump clip) was clearly past it's best, a Ringwood Christmas ale was the best I had; a half of White Star (7.2% ABV) Christmas ale rounded off a nice session.

Certainly well worth a visit, in an ancient residential street near St.Albans Abbey. I recognised the exterior of the pub from an episode of "Foyle's War", when a lecherous Group Captain was shot dead and it was supposedly in Hastings!

31 Dec 2005 23:33

The Farriers Arms, St Albans

Popped in on New Year's Eve around 8pm and it was completely dead! Two other punters in there. Nice back street boozer though; been in a couple of times in years past and always liked it. Not a great fan of McMullen's beers but had a pint of their Christmas ale and it was in perfect nick.

Beer quality makes it a very safe bet for the ale drinker.

31 Dec 2005 23:17

The Prince of Wales, Merton

Fairly typical Young's house; large-ish, nicely fitted out, smart. Most importantly, the Young's Special was in excellent condition.

27 Dec 2005 11:02

The Market Porter, Borough

I agree absolutely with JohnnyBGoode re. supporting the microbreweries, and I'll generally try something new ahead of an old favourite, I just haven't had much luck in the Porter recently. I dare say I'll be back before too long despite my pessimism of last week. If it isn't (relatively) quiet during January it'll never be!

25 Dec 2005 10:24

The Mermaid, St Albans

Always liked this pub although I haven't been for about 18 months now. Thre have always been a couple of appealling guest ales on my visits. Although there's plenty of competition in St.Albans from pubs on the other side of town the Mermaid is more conveniently situated for the football ground in Clarence Park and the train journey back to London. So why such a low rating when none of the people who've actually commented on it have criticised anything?

25 Dec 2005 10:14

The Clock House, East Dulwich

An acceptable Young's pub in a nice enough location on the edge of Peckham Rye with several bus routes stopping very close. A small front bar has wooden floorboards and chairs with a raised section to the right of the entrance; there's a larger back bar, carpeted with upholstered bench seating.

I've been drinking here off and on for many years and found the ales to be in consistently good shape, though not spectacularly so.

Plenty of outside seating some of which features those awful patio heater things, a horrendous waste of energy rivalled only by leaf-blowers (why can't people use a broom or a rake?). If you're too cold sit inside!

24 Dec 2005 15:20

The Moon and Stars, Penge

The range of ales was excellent but my pint of Summer Lightning was rather "green" (i.e hazy in appearance and with an indistinct flavour) and as I neared the bottom of the glass I noticed lots of "bits" floating in the beer suggesting the lines hadn't been cleaned for far too long. I've never much cared for the pub for similar reasons to those already outlined by other reviewers but the beer quality was always fairly good and it's close proximity to the bus stop for my journey home and the lack of appealing alternatives was enough to retain my occasional custom. However this was the second or third time running I've found the beer to be below par. Not good at all.

24 Dec 2005 15:01

Ye Olde Reindeer, Banbury

A genuinely historic pub in the centre of a nice old market town. A sign outside indicates the building dates from 1570 and Oliver Cromwell apparently used it as a base during the Civil War, Banbury being a Roundhead stronghold. Make sure you take a look at the original oak-panelled room at the back, much of which was removed to (I think) the V&A museum during the early part of the last century but restored to the pub after World War II. Also many interesting old photographs on the walls. Tasty looking food was being served during lunchtime and four ales were available from the Hook Norton range, though sadly not my favourite beer of theirs, Double Stout.

18 Dec 2005 14:33

The Lord Clyde, Borough

Dropped in with a friend last night after fleeing from the madness of the Market Porter. The range of five ales is unimaginative: Spitfire, London Pride, Young's, Adnams, Greene King IPA in decending order of strength; the first two @2.80 and the rest 2.70, which is too expensive to be frank, but other than that everything about the place gets full marks. The London Pride, probably my favourite mainstream beer was excellent, the landlord greeted us in a friendly manner as soon as we got to the bar and we got comfortable seats and a table near to a blazing fire - most welcome on the coldest day of the winter so far. The whole atmosphere was pleasant with classic pop music playing at a sensible volume and just the right number of people to make it feel lively without being crowded. The place is also tastefully fitted out, with old photographs of the pub and neighbourhood on the walls.

If you like the Royal Oak (a few minutes walk away across the other side of Borough High Street) the chances are you'll like the Lord Clyde too.

18 Dec 2005 14:15

The Market Porter, Borough

My visit last night (around 8pm) will probably be my last for some time becasue it was just so crowded and noisy. Obviously that's a mark of its popularity, but there wasn't even a wall or pillar to lean against and nowhere to put down your bag or coat. I found myself wanting to finish my pint as quickly as possible and leave - it felt like being on a rush hour train where everyone was pissed! Maybe ten years ago I wouldn't have minded so much.

You can't argue with the sheer range of ales (eleven), which isn't matched by many (if any) other London pubs, although I've noticed on my more recent visits that many of those on offer are from obscure smaller breweries and whilst served in good enough condition they aren't anything out of the ordinary; the sort of ales that are left over on the final day of the Great British Beer Festival after the more popular varieties have run out. Last night I had Codrington's Old Codger (probably appropriate enough given the mood I was in by the time I left!) which was a mediocre best bitter. It's a long time since I've had anything new here and made a mental note to look out for it again in future. On a more positive note I've found the service to be remarkably quick and efficient given that it's so busy. Are there any sessions when it's still reasonably quiet? I used to meet a friend here after work, usually on Mondays or Tuesdays, and this place converted her from bottles of Bud to pints of ale and we almost always got a table, either immediately or before finishing our first pint, and it was much smaller in those days!

18 Dec 2005 13:19

The Market Porter, Borough

I have to say I really don't like the refurbishment, especially the area where the old back bar was, which has strong unshaded light bulbs set into a low dark-painted ceiling - oppressive and not very relaxing. The whole place almost looks as if several interior designers have been let loose on different parts with their own ideas. In fact, just to be really grumpy I liked it best before the previous refurbishment in 2000 when there were partitioned areas by the windows and the enclosed staircase to the right of the side door wasn't there.

You can't argue with the sheer range of draught ales, which generally seem to be in consistently better condition than before. A common complaint of mine in the past was that beers were often served too "green", presumably due to fast turnover and lack of cellar space; in fact it reached the stage where I would avoid anything new that came on tap while I was in there. I suspect the refurb included a cellar extention.

Obviously it's a well known pub in CAMRA circles and attracts a lot of ale drinkers from far and wide, but it also seems very popular with a trendier and more transient crowd making it incredibly busy and difficult to settle in and relax for a lengthy session sampling all those different beers. I always seem to find myself having to stand in a place where I keep getting brushed past or having to move. Obviously that's a result of so many people liking the place, but it puts me off going more often.

11 Dec 2005 22:47

The Red Lion, Snargate

Absolutely incredible pub. I can only endorse all previous comments. Like a cross between someone's house and a local history museum with a 1940's theme. Thanks to a cancelled train at Ashford (it's an hourly service) I had only 15 minutes to spend here, having walked for 20 minutes along a narrow road with no pavements from Appledore station, almost falling into a ditch thanks to a f'king silly cow who looked like Camilla Parker-Bowles driving a 4x4 who refused to budge an inch even though she had plenty of time to see me and no vehicles were coming the other way, before walking back again and continuing my journey to Hastings. But it was worth it. If I remember rightly there were four ales available, all from Goachers, although the pumps are decorative with the beer dispensed straight from the barrel. My pint of Goachers Stout was so good I managed to squeeze in an extra half while perusing all the memorablia. I think I disappointed the dog by not stopping to play with him though - he kept bringing his toys over and dropping them at my feet!

A friend tells me the train service is due to be drastcially cut back in the new year with only a couple of trains a day stopping at Appledore and some of the smaller stations on the line in order to cut the journey time from Ashford to Hastings by a few minutes. That would be absolutely scandalous. The pub is difficult enough to get to as it is without driving, but if you're ever in the area or thinking of going, just go! Bear in mind they close between 3pm and 7pm though.

If there's a better pub in the country please let me know!

11 Dec 2005 21:03

The Wyndham Arms, Salisbury

I really liked this pub, and I like Hop Back beers anyway so I was spoilt for choice with a range of five or six to choose from - needless to say it was served in peak condition. The building is probably just over 100 years old, it was clearly built as a house and has been converted with many of the interior walls remaining. This creates lots of cosy corners, although I would imagine it feels a bit cramped and difficult to move around when busy - not many spaces for people to stand without getting in everyone else's way when all the seats are taken.

I'm reliably informed that Phil Harding was present during my visit, as suggested below!

11 Dec 2005 20:43

The Village, Salisbury

This is a super pub. If you like railways and real ale you'll love it! Very cosy on a chilly evening, we stayed longer than intended and got the last feasible train back towards London. I think there were six ales on handpump including porters and stouts. The landlord was very hospitable and made us feel like regulars, and the manner in which he gently but firmly dealt with an unwanted arrival who staggered through the door clearly the worse for wear was a masterclass in tact and diplomacy. Clearly a great bloke who has found his true vocation in life!

11 Dec 2005 20:27

Tom Brown's, Salisbury

Unfortunately I wasn't able to visit as it shuts on Saturday afternoons and doesn't reopen until 6pm! A bit of a hike from the city centre but convenient if you're taking in a football match at Bemerton Heath Harlequins FC. Many of the Salisbury pubs listed in the 2005 Good Beer Guide have restricted opening hours so bear that in mind if going out of your way to visit a particular one.

11 Dec 2005 20:18

The Rai D'Or, Salisbury

Unusual pub which felt a bit more like a restaurant than a pub and was very quiet on a Saturday early evening - I felt slightly out of place just having a couple of pints and no meal, although when I next visit Salisbury I might make a point of eating here. Two ales from the Downton's range were available on my visit - both served in good condition although I found them a bit bland. Would be a nice place for a leisurely evening with your other half.

11 Dec 2005 20:12

Deacons, Salisbury

Feels like a real drinking den. Some would probably regard it as shabby and downmarket but the service was good and the atmosphere friendly, and the beer even better at less than 2 a pint to boot - I think it was Triple fff Alton's Pride - my memory was a bit hazy azfter a lengthy tour of the city!

11 Dec 2005 20:04

Ye Old Stout House, Horsham

Old fashioned drinkers' pub with bare floorboards in the front bar, a posher carpeted area towards the rear; fairly quiet during my early evening visit, real ales from the Hall & Woodhouse range as is the case in many Horsham pubs since H&W's takeover of King & Barnes. Had a pint of Tanglefoot which was in good nick, though not my favourite range of beers to be honest.

Sky Sports on the TV at a discreet volume, landlord friendly enough, although I can understand the comments from some earlier posts implying it's a bit of a rednecks' bar. If you're an over-35 male and drink ale you'll probably like it.

16 Nov 2005 21:33

The Crown, Horsham

Didn't venture inside, looks an absolute chav-magnet. Pool table, handful of young-ish customers propping up the bar, Green King IPA on handpump. Had a good view through the windows and door, thought about going in but just got bad vibes.

16 Nov 2005 21:26

The Black Jug, Horsham

An unusual looking pub from the outside, the interior is smart with a lived-in look, lots of interesting prints and old photographs adorning the walls; wooden floorboards, spacious layout, plants in the rear/dining area. Rather too orientated towards diners and wine drinkers for my personal taste, although there are six handpumps with a good range of ales. I had a Hyde's seasonal beer (HPA?) which was in good condition but grossly overpriced at 2.80 (ABV 4.6%). Worth a visit for the range of ales but I'd resent paying their expensive prices throughut a lengthy session.

16 Nov 2005 21:20

The Brewery Tap, Wimbledon Village

Good selection of ales, I had a couple of pints of Hook Norton Old Hooky which went down nicely. Not surprisingly it was busy on a Saturday night, but also seemed incredibly noisy (the customers, not music or anything like that!). Clientele a bit brash and trendy for my taste and beers a bit on the pricy side (5.10 for two pints of bitter), although certainly worth another visit if I'm passing.

13 Nov 2005 16:03

Trafalgar Freehouse, South Wimbledon

A lovely little backstreet local that appears to have changed very little over the past few decades. (It still has the 70's style Bass Charrington sign over the side door that is visible in the photograph above.)

Five real ales were on offer on my visit, I sampled Taylor's Golden Best, Hog's Back St.George and Gale's HSB; all served in excellent condition and reasonably priced, and complemented by a friendly atmosphere

13 Nov 2005 15:54

The Dulwich Woodhouse, Sydenham

I only pop in occasionally for a couple of pints as it's the nearest pub to my home, but the ale prices (Young's) are certainly not over the top. Unlike a lot of Young's houses they generally stock all the seasonal and special edition real ales, always served in good condition.

It's a detached Mid-Victorian building on a leafy but fairly busy residential road with no other shops or businesses within about half a mile. The building was roughly doubled in size four or five years ago when an extention was built onto the back. A nice relaxing place to settle in for a few hours, although can get very busy in the evenings.

10 Nov 2005 21:49

Postal Order, Crystal Palace

Relatively small for a Wetherspoon's, better than average service for a Wetherspoon's, otherwise the usual Wetherspoon's formula of an old building that used to something other than a pub (a post office in this case) fitted out to look like a "traditional" sort of pub.

Cheap prices and the chance of a decent guest ale are the main attractions for me. To my knowledge it's the only pub within quite a wide radius where you're likely to find anything more exotic than Young's/Fuller's.

10 Nov 2005 21:35

The Artillery Arms, Ramsgate

A splendid backstreet local, five real ales; Daleside Shrimpers was very nice, Gadd's Dogbolter porter was lethal at 5.6%ABV and certainly "did the job" (Gadd's being the local Ramsgate brewery). If you like drinking quality ales in a small old fashioned pub this is well worth a detour.

26 Oct 2005 00:51

The Claret Free House, Addiscombe

Great beer drinkers' pub. Small looking frontage opens out into a long rectangular room with the bar along the left hand side. Mock Tudor decor looks a bit tacky in a building that clearly isn't very old and the bar itself looks a bit like what you'd expect to find in the pool room of a nouveau-riche celebrity's Essex manor house (exposed brickwork with a rustic wood structure above). However, you go to this place for the real ales, which are excellent. Six handpumps: on my visit there was Shepherd Neame Spitfire & Late Red; Dark Star Festival & Porter; Westerham SPA and Palmer's IPA. Prices range from 2.20 for session beers to 2.50 for premium beers. I gluttonously dived straight into the Dark Star Porter (ABV 5.5%) without sampling the Westerham SPA or Dark Star Festival first, but I'm a cask stout/porter fiend and just couldn't resist - it was lovely. The walls are adorned with nicely mounted old photographs of Croydon and brewery memorablia. The Claret is literally within a few yards of Addiscombe tram stop and well worth a diversion to make a visit. Along with the Beer Circus (massive selection of continental beers) and Royal Standard (traditional boozer serving the Fuller's range) I'd rate the Claret as one of the best three pubs in Croydon and district.

18 Oct 2005 17:58

The John Harvey Tavern, Lewes

Nice enough pub but surprisingly small for the brewery's flagship pub. Five Harvey's ales were on sale on my visit, in excellent condition as would be expected. The car park area outside was a bit of an eyesore. Not sure who owns/leases it, but it would make an excellent outdoor drinking area right next to the river. A shame it hosts nothing more than cars, bins and assorted junk.

9 Oct 2005 15:28

The Spread Eagle, Croydon

Nice building as already mentioned by others, six handpumps, beer in excellent condition (London Pride), only downside was an excessively loud football commentary for an obscure European match that nobody really seemed to be interested in - hopefully that's not usually the case.

28 Sep 2005 00:52

The Kingswood Arms, Kingswood

Large pub with several bars and lots of cosy alcoves. Feels quite ancient inside, although it's clearly not an especially old building. In fact it looks remarkably similar architecturally to the nearby Kingswood station; I only stopped off becaue there are no pubs near Tadworth ot Tattenham Corner, the last two stations at the end of the line where I was going.

A rather unexciting range of five real ales on handpump; London Pride was decent but pricey @2.80. Clearly the sort of area where if you have to worry about the cost of a pint you won't be living there in the first place.

28 Sep 2005 00:44

White Horse, Ditchling

A nice comfortable pub with friendly staff and excellent beer. Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted and Harvey's Bitter were among those on offer. There was a bar billiards table and blues/rock music playing at an unobtrusive volume in the background.

You're really spoilt for choice in Ditchling with the White Horse just up the road; there's a third pub round the corner called the Sandrock that I didn't have time to try (it's not listed on BITE at present).

26 Sep 2005 20:00

Bull, Ditchling

One of three pubs very close to each other in the very ancient village of Ditchling. A very old building houses two bars; the one I chose had bare floorboards and wooden furniture and was lit with candles as the night drew in creating a very nice atmosphere. Several ales on handpump, Harvey's Bitter and Taylor's Landlord were both superb. Well worth a visit.

26 Sep 2005 19:55

The Greyhound, Keymer

Smart looking bar inside a very old building opposite the village church. Had a superb pint of Gale's Bitter. Harvey's and two other bitters were also on handpump. A fairly large, grassy beer garden out the back was very pleasant to sit on a warm early Autumn afternoon.

26 Sep 2005 19:51

The King and Queen, Caterham

Nice pub serving a decent pint of London Pride. I liked the small front bar, only downside was a group of rather annoying middleaged regulars clogging up the area around the doorway and bar but hopefully they aren't always there! I meant to have a look around the corner in the other bar which seemed a bit posher but forgot.

18 Sep 2005 20:46

The Royal Standard, Croydon

Lovely unspoilt boozer selling the full range of Fuller's beers in good condition. Two bars, one with bare floorboards and wooden stools, the other carpeted and with tables and chairs. I wish there were more pubs like it. Only downside is the view of a multistorey carpark and a flyover!

18 Sep 2005 20:39

The Eel Pie, Twickenham

Very impressive. Everything just felt right about this pub. Nicely fitted out, nothing tacky or pretentious, lots of rugby memorabilia and pictures on the walls, friendly atmosphere. Real ales were the Hall & Woodhouse range (Sussex Best, Badger, Fursty Ferret, Tanglefoot) - not my favourite brewery but served in good condition.

11 Sep 2005 22:01

Far From the Madding Crowd, Oxford

Good range of real ales; had a pint of Black Sheep that was a bit iffy, but also sampled a Stonehenge beer (can't remember which of their many seasonal & special edition beers it was) and that was fine. Pub had a "modern" feel without being overly "trendy" - decent jazz/blues background music.

11 Sep 2005 01:11

The Lamb and Flag, Oxford

Skinners and Palmers guest beers on my visit. Had a good pint of Betty Stogs (2.10).

11 Sep 2005 01:07

The Bear, Oxford

Nice pub, small, had a good pint of Brakspears. Tourists seemed to keep wandering in and hovering without actually having a drink, which was a bit irritating.

11 Sep 2005 01:01

The Punch Bowl, Abingdon

Popped in about 2pm on a Saturday for a "quiet" pint and the place was packed. Clientle mostly aged 40-60 all looked like they'd been in there since opening time, if not earlier. A bit zany - friendly enough atmosphere, it was just like walking into a pub at 10pm on a Saturday night, except it was only 2pm. And that bloody awful "Crazy Frog" noise was playing on the juke box at about 100 decibels. Morland Original in good condition (2.30), but only stayed for one. Kronenbourg was 3 a pint, but I don't drink that anyway. Small old pub in the market square, I'd probably like the place if it was my local (except for the Crazy Frog).

11 Sep 2005 00:55

The Red Lion, Godalming

Two bar pub - large back bar was like being in the drawing room of an old, slightly ramshackle house with a high ceiling and bookcases around the walls, pool table, comfy leather chairs and sofas. Several real ales on offer, mostly from smaller breweries. I had a WJ
King beer, can't remember the name, light coloured and quite pokey (around 5%ABV).

27 Aug 2005 23:14

The Leathern Bottle, Godalming

Small old fashioned no-frills pub next to Godalming Town FC on a main road. Slightly 70's feel to the place but smart enough and friendly with decent Hog's Back beers on handpump.

27 Aug 2005 23:07

The Queen Victoria, Shalford

Small 'traditional' type pub right next to Shalford station. Should think it's nice and cosy in winter - open fireplace, tastefully decorated with prints and photographs of local scenes. Three ales on handpump - I had fff Moondance which was excellent, there was also London Pride and Greene King IPA.

27 Aug 2005 23:02

The Capitol, Forest Hill

Cavernous building but seems a bit smarter than the average Wetherspoon's. I generally only pop in during the occasional midweek afternoon when it's fairly quiet, so the common Wetherspoon failings of slow service and cluttered tables due to lack of staff numbers aren't in evidence.

Beer quality here is pretty reliable in my experience with the usual 4 or 5 house ales plus up to five guests - 1.69 for a pint of Goff's White Knight was particularly good value today.

25 Aug 2005 21:46

The Royal Oak, River

Small, smart pub between Kearsney station and the football/rugby grounds. Shepherd Neame beers on handpump.

20 Aug 2005 22:56

The Cricketers, River

Large, lively sort of pub close to Dover Athletic Football Club. London Pride and Spitfire on handpump. Convenient for football on match days, friendly enough but overall nothing out of the ordinary.

Incidentally Crabble Cricket Ground, from which the pub presumably gets its name, and where Kent CCC used to play matches, is now a rugby ground instead.

20 Aug 2005 22:52

The Golden Lion, Dover

Street corner local close to the High Street and convenient for Dover Priory station. Three real ales including Black Sheep (very nice pint) and Bombadier. Friendly atmosphere, would have stayed longer if I hadn't had a train to catch.

20 Aug 2005 22:44

The Bishop, East Dulwich

Just for the record, the beer for which I was charged 2.90 was a Greene King beer I hadn't come across before (Alfresco?). Summer-type seasonal beer, admittedly a nice pint and well kept, which even at that price was preferable to the ropey pint of Director's for which I paid 2.28 elsewhere this week. I can't find Alfresco in my Good Beer Guide to check the strength but I think it said 4.5% ABV on the pump clip.

I find the "change in a tray" business rather impolite and impersonal, especially as I wasn't chatting to anyone else and was paying full attention to the barman serving me. I've come across this policy in a few pubs and bars and always assumed it is an invitation to leave some of the change behind in the form of a tip, which didn't impress me given the price I was paying in the first place. I'd also suggest it creates considerable scope for arguments to occur if the change is incorrect, i.e. were you short-changed by the barman or did another customer swipe it while you weren't looking?

Anyway, I appreciate managers who take the trouble to give feedback on this site. As I said, the Bishop is obviously what a lot of people want so Scott must be doing a good job. It's just not for me. The fact is that all the pubs in this area seem to have changed in the same direction in a short space of time and those of us who aren't interested in the food menu and just want a few pints in a traditional no-frills boozer have become somewhat alienated.

19 Aug 2005 15:02

Herne Tavern, Forest Hill

Very old-fashioned looking pub but quite smart. Beer was disappointing though. I'm not a great fan of Courage beers at the best of times and my pint of Director's was cloudy and not very nice. Hard to see how the place has usurped the Clock House as East Dulwich's entry in the 2005 Good Beer Guide on this evidence.

18 Aug 2005 23:45

The Bishop, East Dulwich

Is this supposed to be a pub? 2.90 for a pint of medium strength bitter and they plonk your change down on the bar in an ashtray/saucer thingy instead of handing it to you. First time I've been in sice it was The Foresters Arms, which was the last of the seven pubs on the main road from Denmark Hill station leading round through the heart of East Dulwich to succumb to the advance of the gastropub/cafe-bar.

It was quite nicely fitted out and there were plenty of customers so it's obviously what a lot of people want, but it's not for me.

18 Aug 2005 23:40

The Gowlett Arms, Peckham

Popped in again during a quiet afternoon session. It really is a nice backstreet local - a bit more traditional looking that I previously thought. Spacious and nicely furnished with leather benches and sofas. In fact just about the only decent pub left in East Dulwich. (Yes I know the postcode is SE15 but I grew up round here so I'll set my own boundaries!)

Beers on offer were Kelham Island Easy Rider and Hook Norton Haymaker, both very palatable, as well as Adnams Bitter (which I didn't try).

18 Aug 2005 23:32

The Harp, Covent Garden

Gave this place another try and happily the beer was much better (Landlord). they were also serving Black Sheep, Harvey's and a guest from Wye Valley.

I do like the feel of this pub. It's small and narrow but they haven't made the mistake of trying to squeeze in too much furniture. In fact there are no tables as such, just a broad ledge around all the walls with plenty of stools and the bar along one side.

I remember going here years ago when it used to be called the Welsh Harp and the gents toilet was halfway up a staircase, making a deadly trap if you stepped out of the door without concentrating! I didn't get the opportunity to check if it's still like that.

18 Aug 2005 23:23

The Garland, Redhill

Classic Harvey's pub with the full range of their beers including seasonal beers (I think there were six available). The three I sampled were all in excellent condition. On a main road about 3 or 4 minutes walk from Redhill station and worth breaking a train journey when I'm on my way back into London.

11 Aug 2005 23:53

The Marquis of Granby, Covent Garden

Three or four years back this was a cracking little pub with a superb selection of guest ales, always in good nick. Since it was refurbished it's become rather bland, and that applies to the beer range too. Still good enough for a pit stop before catching a train off Charing Cross though. I'm just not so tempted to have another pint and get the next train instead!

11 Aug 2005 23:49

The Harp, Covent Garden

Pub had a nice feel to it and there was an impressive collection of pump clips decorating the bar, indicating the turnover of guest ales they've sold. Unfortunately my pint of Black Sheep Bitter was rather "green", and the pint of Taylor's Landlord I saw someone else served with looked similar. Hopefully that's not typical and I'll still give the place another try.

11 Aug 2005 23:43

The Dog and Duck, Soho

The pub itself is delightful, small, smart, old-fasioned looking, tastefully furnished; only problem is it seems to be popular with the type of posh, arrogant Soho media types who never seem to do any work after 1pm. No Taylor's Landlord on handpump on my last visit either, had to make do with the ubiquitous London Pride.

11 Aug 2005 23:32

De Hems, Soho

This is a top quality pub. Great selection of draught Dutch/Belgian beers including blond, dunkes, kriek, frulli etc., staff have always been well above average too - polite, efficient. The pub itself is quite strikingly fitted out inside, which is probably best appreciated during a relatively quiet afternoon session.

On the whole: impressive.

11 Aug 2005 23:28

The Pillars of Hercules, Soho

Well, I'm not sure about the TJ Bernard business but I was in there yesterday and they had the usual six real ales on, including Exmoor Gold (@2.62) and Lancaster Bomber, one other from a smaller brewery I can't remember and some more mainstream one like Young's, London Pride, Adnams.

Depends what sort of pub you prefer; it can get uncomfortably crowded at times, but as an ale drinker I regard it as a safe bet.

The comment about the gents toilets below is something of an exaggeration, although I can see where the analogy came from!

11 Aug 2005 23:20

The Railway, Merstham

Small old-fashioned pub, seems to have been recently refubished. Mostly local 30/40-something builder types when I was in there, friendly enough atmosphere. Greene King beers on handpump, which aren't a favourite of mine unfortunately. Better choice of beers across the road in the Feathers, but the Railway is probably the better pub.

2 Aug 2005 23:39

The Feathers, Merstham

A large old looking pub with plenty of cosy corners, bare floorboards, old leather sofas - feels a bit like a student flat. Decent selection of ales, I had Black Sheep Bitter - they also had Adnams and Bombadier plus Addlestones cider on a handpump.

2 Aug 2005 23:34

Seven Stars Inn, St Austell

You can't beat a helpful, enthusiastic and unusual barman.

21 Jul 2005 21:57

Ye Olde Six Bells, Horley

Very impressed. Ancient half-timbered building located next to a churchyard and a stream, large secluded beer garde, plenty of cosy corners inside. Ideal place to settle in for a leisurely session. Fullers London Pride and Draught Bass on handpump.

Certainly worth a diversion if you're in the vicinity.

16 Jul 2005 20:03

The Pillars of Hercules, Soho

Small old-fashioned pub, and one of the few I've come across in the West End to have a decent selection of guest ales; up to six ales available on handpump with a good balance between the large regional breweries and the smaller independents.

There are seating areas at teh front and back with three booths along one side wall in the middle where you can sit on stools and the bar opposite. It does sometimes get uncomfortably cramped with suits congregating at teh bar and blocking the way in and out for everyone else but most of the time I find this to be a nice place for a few quiet pints and a chat; not really ideal if you're in a large group though.

Prices tend to be in the 2.50 - 2.70 range for ales depending on strength, which isn't excessive by West End standards.

I've only managed to catch DJ Wheelie Bag once, but I enjoyed his quirky selection of obscure Blues/ska singles.

15 Jul 2005 16:59

The Prince Albert (Rose's), Woolwich

The word timewarp has already been used to decribe this pub, but I can't think of another more appropriate. Apart from the odd lick of paint it really looks much as it might have done 50 or more years ago, right down to minor details and fittings - which is fine by me, although it would get a bit boring if every pub was like that. However the quality of the beer on my visit left much to be desired. Three real ales from small breweries looked promising, but the first I sampled (Broadstone) was in very mediocre condition to say the least, and as I reached the end of my pint I noticed "bits" floating in the bottom of the glass. In hindsight I should have complained about it before drinking it. I risked a second (Brecknock this time) as I liked the pub, and it was much better than the first but still not quite as good as it ought to have been.

I don't often pass through Woolwich and the lack of appealing alternatives means I'd probably give Rose's a second chance, but it would take a vast improvement in beer quality for me to drink here regularly.

9 Jul 2005 10:40

The Florence Nightingale, Waterloo

Still shut, all windows boarded up and doesn't look like it's going to reopen in a hurry.

I was a barman here for four years in the early 90's and there used to be a really good mixture of people in there, but then Scottish & Newcastle did a really tacky refurbishment, put all the prices up to price out everyone except the office workers, and it was never quite the same again.

5 Jul 2005 14:57

The Lord Clyde, Borough

I popped in here last weekend and th beer was very well kept indeed. I first visited back in the late 80's when I was a postman in the area. It's always been a consistently nice backstreet local, but with strangers able to blend in comfortably too.

4 Jul 2005 15:48

The Royal Oak, Borough

I should have known about The Garland (mentioned by John below) as I've been there! It's close to Redhill station and I had 40 minutes or so to kill before catching a train a couple of years back, and it was certainly well worth a longer visit. The beers were on a par with those at the Royal Oak.

4 Jul 2005 15:45

The Cayo Arms Hotel, Cardiff

As a Londoner who was recommended this pub by a Welsh friend, I went some distance out of my way to find it (stopping off in Cardiff on route to a rugby match in Bridgend) and it was well worth it. looks like a big posh house from the outside, and as you walk through the door the decor and ambience is suitably tasteful. If a pub like this was in London it would be full of unbearable poseurs, but here the clientele seemed to consist entirely of decent down-to-earth people. There was a wide range of real ales, from the local Tomos Watkin and Brains breweries (four and two respectively), plus Draught Bass and Old Speckled Hen. I sampled Watkin OSB and Brains Rev. James, both of which were superb, both 2.40 a pint - don't know if that's expensive for the city or not as I couldn't tear myself away to visit anywhere else. Also very conveniently situated for Glamorgan CCC matches at Sophia Gardens. Definitely a 10 out of 10 from me.

3 Jul 2005 11:46

The George, London Bridge

I find myself agreeing with most of the recent remarks below. A pub with a lot of character but prone to invasion by large groups of suits and tourists who take ages to get served. It's a shame the buidings on the oposite side of the courtyard are so ugly to look at too.

Generally a decent selection of ales in reasonably good nick but you won't get much change from three quid for a pint of anything.

Worth an occasional visit but I wouldn't come here regularly with so many alternatives in the nearby backstreets.

28 Jun 2005 11:37

The Black Bull, Whitechapel

Traditional old-fashioned no-frills high street boozer in one of London's traditionally working class areas. Everyone seemed friendly enough and as a fan of Nethergate beers it was particularly good to find four of them on handpump, with countless pumpclips displayed above the bar indicating that they sell all the seasonal and special edition brews from the Nethergate brewery. I'd have preferred my pint to be served a little cooler, but it was a very hot day and I tried the Suffolk County, Umbel Magna and Old Growler, all of which were kept in excellent condition.

I think I might have encountered the barman who was criticised in another message although he didn't give me any cause for complaint, and I was also served by another barman who was especially welcoming so on the whole decent enough service.

The current East London & City CAMRA pub of the year.

28 Jun 2005 11:20

The Carpenters Arms, Marble Arch

Very nice traditional type pub, on the small side but comfortable and not too crowded. Good real ales all from smaller breweries (I had Mauldon's Pickwick & Orkney Red MacGregor).

Three tvs mounted high on the walls showing Sky Sports, but on very low volume so as not to annoy those who aren't interested. Staff switched over to the rugby league when we asked, which was a bonus.

On the whole a nice friendly atmosphere, tucked away in a backstreet but very close to Marble Arch.

18 Jun 2005 11:23

The Guide Dog, Bevois Valley

Having made a considerable detour to make a visit I was disappointed to find it wasn't open (on a Monday luchtime). Is this a regular occurrance? Fortunately the nearby New Inn was an acceptable alternative (although the Bevois Castle was not!).

As it's clearly regarded as the best real ale pub in Southampton I'll definitely make another attempt when I'm in the area again.

15 Jun 2005 01:39

The New Inn, Southampton

Small, old-fashioned looking pub on a busy road. Appeared to have been redecorated recently, with a dark red/green colour sheme which felt a little oppressive with the low ceiling, but well worth another visit. Gales beers were in very good condition. A much better bet for ale drinkers than the Bevois Castle across the road.

15 Jun 2005 01:33

The Rockstone, Southampton

Nice enough pub & atmosphere but the beer was not of the standard I expect from a Good Beer Guide entry. My pint of King Alfred was totally unchilled, literally at room temperature on a warm day, and my friend had a pint of Robinson's that was well past it's best.

15 Jun 2005 01:27

The Market Porter, Borough

I popped in last night, not realising it was the first day after refubishment. I always used to avoid the place on Friday evenings because it just got too packed, so needless to say it was heaving on reopening day. Looks the same from outside but almost unrecognisable within. The toilets have been knocked through to extend the back bar, and there's a completely new area opened up around one corner with new toilets below. Even more ales than before (11).

I'll have to go back during a quieter session before passing judgment.

11 Jun 2005 11:34

The Tulse Hill Tavern, Tulse Hill

I made a point of popping in for the first time as they advertise in London Drinker magazine. The place is much as described by other people below. My pint of London Pride was well kept but wasn't chilled. As I would normally have to break a journey to go here it wasn't really impressive enough to make me do that in future.

11 Jun 2005 11:26

The Golden Eagle, Bond Street

Lovely old fashioned pub which meets my definition of what a "public house" should feel like. Almost like walking into the ground floor of someone's house. Two St.Austell beers were on handpump, both were excellent, as well as the ubiquitous London Pride. I'll definitely visit again.

11 Jun 2005 11:20

The Harcourt Arms, Marylebone

A very nice pub indeed, exactly as described by Ruby below. A bit off the beaten track for me but well worth a detour. My pint of London Pride was perfect.

11 Jun 2005 11:12

The Half and Half, Croydon

A brilliant little pub. Fantastic range of beers consisting of three real ales on handpump, eight continental beers on tap, countless bottled beers mostly from Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and other foreign nations. People come from far and wide to visit this pub, which must be just about unique in the London area. Deservedly the local CAMRA Pub of the Year 2005. I'm sure many of those who actually visit have given a 10/10 rating on this site (or maybe 9), which means some people have given very low marks for Beer Circus to be hovering around the "6" figure in the overall ratings. Am I being cynical or does anyone else suspect that some sad people see Beer Circus in the "BITE" top 10 and log in to rate it "0" without ever having been there, just to keep it below their own favourites in the "Top 10"? Same applies to other classic pubs like the Royal Oak (Borough) and Magpie & Crown (Brentford).

Apart from the great beers the thing I really like about Beer Circus is that I can enjoy those beers in a relaxed atmosphere while chatting to friends without being harrassed by loud and stupid people and the false "excitement" of flashing lights and blaring muzak etc.

2 Jun 2005 23:13

The Brewery Tap, Brentford

Essentially a "nice little pub" tucked away in a narrow road just off the High Street, serving Fuller's beers in excellent condition. I was disappointed never to find any of the recent range of Fuller's Spring Seasonal beers - perhaps they only had a limited supply and I was unlucky to be there on the wrong days - but 2.73 for a pint of the very bland new Fuller's Discovery is far too expensive. Certainly worth seeking out ahead of the many other Fuller's pubs if you're in the area, but you'll find greater variety and better value at the nearby Magpie & Crown.

30 May 2005 23:26

The Royal Oak, Borough

It's good to hear the Royal Oak is now open at weekends as I sometimes pass through with friends on a Saturday; I used to go a fair bit when I worked in the area but haven't been for a while now. It's a really smart and traditional style pub and I used to enjoy sampling the many Harvey's seasonal beers. The Market Porter up the other end of Borough High Street serves Harvey's Best but you don't often see the other Harvey's brews in London.

A few years ago one of the bar staff told me this was the only Harvey's house north of Crawley, although that situation might have changed by now.

30 May 2005 23:09

Lewes Arms, Lewes

I always make a point of paying a visit whenever I go to watch football at Lewes. A superb pub with real character. On my most recent visit a few weeks back the Harvey's Best was fantastic; I was surprised to notice it's a Greene King house, and I sincerely hope the policy of stocking Harvey's beers continues as I don't like Greene King.

I can understand the comment about the (very small) front bar feeling unwelcoming, but there are two other bars to choose from. The only downside is that the place sometimes becomes incredibly crowded at times when you wouldn't expect it to.

30 May 2005 12:51

The Gardeners Arms, Lewes

A good range of guest ales and well worth the short diversion from Lewes town centre across the river into Cliffe High Street.

30 May 2005 12:41

The Magpie and Crown, Brentford

This is indeed a splendid pub. My friends and I began going there when London Broncos RLFC moved to Brentford. We go there after most home games during the rugby league season and if the Broncos ever move again to a different ground we'll definitely make a point of coming back whenever we can.

Four real ales on at all times, carefully chosen to provide real variety in strength and often including milds, porters and stouts, and consistently in excellent condition at reasonable prices. I don't usually get as far as sampling the real ciders or continental beers, and with the hourly Sunday train service back to London I've lost count of the number of times I've thought "oh sod it, I'll have a couple more beers and get the next train".

I used to think the place looked a little bit too tatty, and at times the gents toilets have reinforced my theory that quality of a pub's toilet is often in inverse proportion to the pub's overall quality. However, I did note the recent improvements yesterday with the outer door even closing properly at last!

As a relatively unbiased occasional customer I'd like to endorse all of Gordon's comments below, which I feel are fair and accurate. The place has a comfortable lived-in feel to it, and I appreciate the use of energy saving lightbulbs. Too many pubs are far too brightly lit; it isn't necessary and the lighting in the Magpie is perfectly adequate.Wasting energy is a particular pet hate of mine, whether it's heaters turned up full on crowded trains while all the windows are opened to prevent the passengers from fainting or fluorescent lights in shopfront signs. Anyway, I'm rambling now.

I'm already looking forward to my next visit, which unfortunately won't be until 24 July when the Broncos play their next home game.

30 May 2005 12:36

The Queens Head, Kingsnorth

A lovely village pub which is clearly thriving; looked a bit dead from the outside but was surprisingly vibrant within. Ales included Hop Back summer Lightning, which was in perfect condition. All it needs is a pavement between the pub and Ashford Town FC, which is a rather perilous walk along a busy narrow road with speeding traffic.

28 May 2005 22:44

The Gowlett Arms, Peckham

A bit pricey and a bit trendy and modern for me, in an area where most of the pubs seems to have rushed into the 21st Century leaving me trailing in their wake - but a good selection of well-kept ales sourced mainly from the larger independent brewers, which is the main thing for a CAMRA type like myself. I reckon it's probably a good thing for an overtly modern pub to win the SE London CAMRA pub of the year award. The Gowlett is a also a convenient distance away for anyone watching matches at Dulwich Hamlet FC.

28 May 2005 22:35

The Dog and Bell, Deptford

Unless you live very locally or you've spotted it listed in a beer guide and decided to make a point of visiting you're not likely to find it, tucked away in a backstreet near Convoy's Wharf. Well worth going though if you like your ales, which are served in the condition you'd expect of a CAMRA award winning pub. Fuller's Pride & ESB always available plus three guests. Sedate atmosphere won't suit everyone but the place has a friendly feel, making strangers welcome.

28 May 2005 22:19

The Railway Bell, Crystal Palace

Nice backstreet local, fairly typical Young's-style pub with well-kept ales on handpump. Can feel a bit cliquey at times with large numbers of middle-aged regulars clogging up the bar and no one sitting at the tables.

28 May 2005 21:46

The Grove Tavern, Tunbridge Wells

Lovely Little old fashioned backstreet local. I found it with some friends a few years ago then couldn't remember the name or where it was, up a steep narrow road just off the High Street. Ales were in perfect condition; I tried Deuchars IPA and Taylor's Landlord (they also had Harvey's Best). Very convenient for stopping off on the way back to the station after a day at the cricket.

28 May 2005 12:09

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