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Southern Cross, Watford

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user reviews of Southern Cross, Watford

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

I wasn't sure what a Flaming Grill pub would actually be like. But it did feel more like a pub than a restaurant. There is a large amount of seating around a central bar. The bar staff were talkative and after they finally opened around 5 minutes late I could understand why, as they didn't have any of the normal keg offerings due to some kind of fault. That was no problem for me, as I was after the real ale. There was a better selection than I had anticipated - Windsor & Eton Guardsman, Tring Bring Me Sunshine, Moongazing & Side Pocket For A Toad & Vale Black Swan. The other people waiting had to settle for ales too - a good way of promoting ale. They also offer a CAMRA discount to those with a card or on this day to those who couldn't order keg! This was possibly the best range of real ales anywhere in the town. A board advertised events for every night of the week. Although I'm not sure that Monday Night Football really qualified. There are several TVs for sports fans and a cash machine for those who aren't prepared. Far better than I thought.
blue_scrumpy - 11 Apr 2016 19:17
Now a "Flaming Grill" pub. I wouldn't recommend the food, but it gets very busy so some folks like it.

Beer-wise they have a decent selection of real ales, quite often featuring a local brewer such as Tring.

For the most part well kept.

There's not much choice in Watford so we can't be too choosy.
Watford_Alehound - 6 Nov 2014 17:47
Hard not to comment on the food as it's quite a large place with lots of seating. I would add though this place seems a pub first, that does food. I've eaten here a couple of times, but it's not the Savoy grill. However, you can order something digestible to throw down your neck while you're drinking a lot. Large selection of booze, bottles, alcopops, even tea and coffee, as I recall. Only a couple of ales though. I could be wrong.
In short, booze yes, food, sort of. Just don't expect to see the Cross in the Michelin guide.
Ruby - 1 Aug 2012 15:14
Now reopened as a Flaming Grill. Food now very Harvester like but seems to do some twists that are better than Harvester but not as much choice. Don't like the orange decor or the need for a tab to bring food/drinks to your table. Beer has always been good but don't seem to rotate as much as they used to. Always an Adnams plus 3 or 4 others. Still a CAMRA haunt but Nascot is better for beer in my book.
busker999 - 6 Jun 2012 20:20
Seems the reviews are more about the food than the beer...

We couldn't try the food, because we visited during a power cut - and anyway, the kitchen would have been shut by the time we arrived.

Looked like decent and well-priced pub grub according to the menu.

According to what we read, new managers had taken over a couple of weeks back. Certainly the staff couldn't have been more helpful.

Three ales on tap - I tried the Old Bob and Black Sheep, both of which tasted pretty decent.

Wine selection was a bit uninspiring but nice enough.

A pint, a glass of wine and two packets of crisps was £9.62, so not cheap but not horrendous compared to some places.

There was a decent quiz not long started when we arrived. Apparently it takes place twice weekly (Thursday and Sunday), so may pop in to tax the grey matter and have a curry one Thursday.

Other people drinking there seemed friendly and happy to chat.

Did feel a bit like a chain pub in terms of the decor etc. Don't mean that as a criticism, just an observation.

If I were going out purely for a few pints, would go to the Nascot Arms, but if I wanted some food and/or entertainment, would happily choose the Southern Cross.
duchyjim - 20 Dec 2011 22:37
I have been coming here for the last couple of months with my girlfriend and our children. We found this to be the best pub in Watford for families and food. Unfortunately they have now stopped doing kid's meals. What a bad decision
Absolute madness!
jim43how - 14 May 2011 20:20
The Southern Cross was the worst restaurant I have EVER been to. When we pulled up outside of The Southern Cross, it looked really dirty. There were empty glasses on the bench outside that were riddled with ants. The inside of The Southern Cross was just the same, it was truly filth, the first few steps that I took the soles on the bottom of my shoes had stuck to the bottom of carpet where drinks had been spilt and not cleared up properly, we had to clean up the tables by ourselves, with a cloth that we had to ask for, because the table was all sticky. The table layout was very wrong and because there were fifteen of us and we didn’t book, the staff huffed and puffed because they are too lazy to sort the tables out for themselves to in the end we had to it.
After twenty minutes of waiting at our table to get our drinks, I needed the toilet. It was the most awful toilet that I have ever been in, there was no sign of cleanliness at all for example, staff going to the toilet and not washing their hands! Leakage of two urinals, dirty mirrors, slippery floor, without sign, urine up the walls, next to the urinal, which had made me, feel sick before I had even eaten my dinner! This also makes me wonder what it is like in the kitchen; in my personal opinion I think it is time the FSA and a good look at the HIC (health inspection certificate)
The staff have a HUGE lack in hygiene, for example after cleaning the tables, they immediately go into the kitchen and serve food, My Food! The wall on the inside where I was sitting had a draft and had green mould from dampness. It was very dusty and had cobwebs in the corners. When I sat down, under the table there was half a tomato on the floor that I almost stepped in.
DOWN TO THE DINNER my food was served first! And moderately warm, if the staff didn’t go that quick, I would have asked if I could have it re-heated in the microwave. After everyone got their meal, about five minutes later, we finally got our cutlery, after asking a few times! my sister orderd a roast and half of it was missing, and when it comes down to the beef roast they had run out, so they had to re-order, when my sister realised there were no pigs in blankets (mini sausage in bacon) she asked for it and got only what I can describe as a big sausage wrapped in bacon which looked like a pigs ear dog chewy!
NOW FOR THE UNPROFESSIONALISM OF THE MANAGERESS /OWNER, someone from our table asked for an alcoholic drink, apparently from her perspective she looked under 18 so the manageress asked for id, she showed the manageress the id that was in her purse and because she could not take the id out, she would insisted in not serving her, and anyone on our tables, when I went up to the bar, the manageress said to me “What do you want?” I was so outraged by this that I went and sat back down, then I overhear her saying “This is my restaurant, my pub and if you have attitude towards me I’ll bar all of you” bearing in mind, she said that to someone on our table, RUDE, OBNOXIOUS AND UNPROFESSIONAL!
Never go to this restaurant again! NEVER EVER, EVER RECOMMENDED

angryDanreview - 13 Mar 2011 20:56
used to be agood pub then they sacked the manager and put tv in the place just a over priced pub that serves food to the safe well off people of watford.

does have good real ale but very pricey better at the white lion
marc1013 - 26 Jul 2010 22:18
Very pleasant pub. It had three guests plus Adnams Broadside and Bombardier on when I was in there yesterday. Tried the food which was OK. Nice feel about the place and like the Nascot I will definately go in there again.
paulbeckett - 1 Nov 2009 15:34
Attended the pub quiz on Sunday night here recently (looks like it also has a quiz on Tuesday nights as well). As other reviewers have noted, the big strength of the pub is that, perhaps unusually for what is a very generic pubco pub, it clearly takes its ales seriously. I think that each side of the rectangular central bar had three handpumps, dispensing about six ales between them. I had a pint of Shepherd Neame Early Bird, and two of Deuchars IPA, all of which were in good condition. I noted the pub has won awards from its local CAMRA branch. All to be applauded. However, apart from the beers the pub has little to mark it out from the crowd - it's a large, but very generic, Pubco pub, which a modern but characterless interior. Service was pretty slow (just two overworked bar staff serving a very large bar in a large pub). The food looked very bog standard - £2.99 for a steak and chips doesn't inspire confidence although I didn't sample the food. The quiz was a standard Redtooth effort, so not desperately interesting. I'd give this 8/10 for the ales, but 4/10 for everything else, so I'll give it 6/10 overall.
grecian - 1 Jun 2009 11:04
I don't get some of the reviews for this pub. I haven't had the food but by the looks of it it seems Gastropub food anyhow - so people shouldn't be expecting it to be amazing anyway. I had no problems with the staff there and I've been a few times now, both busy and quiet. The ale selection and taste are best in Watford. 3 usuals - Bombadier, Green King IPA and Abbots. Then 3 guest ales, most of which I've never heard of and I've been to a few beer festivals! So glad we have a pub like this, its too hard a search in Watford to find a decent ale pub. With the rise in real ale sales, hopefully more pubs will cotton on and follow the trend!
busker999 - 6 Nov 2008 16:11
The Snow Patrol of Watford pubs. You won't love it or hate it, you'll just find it bland enough to not get in the way of your pint.
ColonelCustard - 23 Jul 2008 14:20
I went last week for the first time in a while and the food was awful. Microwave sausages etc. Terrible. Its such as shame as the oub itself and beers are good.
oldboy6 - 9 Apr 2008 09:29
Back into the pub and still reckon it is one of the best in Watford. Decent beer, avoiding the Greene King rubbish and the range of ales remain pretty good. Try it, you will be pleasantly surprised.
Bonzos_beard - 10 Feb 2008 21:12
Good pub, outside the town centre and serving good real ales. Probably the best selection of ale, which seems to change regularly. 10 minutes walk from the Junction, worth a visit if you can get there. Food is decent as well, and not a Greene King "ale" in sight.
Bonzos_beard - 25 Nov 2007 20:00
As previously mentioned this is a large pub that seems to be aimed more aimed at the food market. I think by doing this it loses a lot of character; I understand the 'beige' comment mentioned below. Our large group were able to be seated together and most of us sampled the food.
Six hand pumps are available three to front as you come in and three to the side. The three to the front seemed more the ales that are often frequently available. The three on the side were certainly less known. The beer we tried was all well kept.
I thought the mixed grill I had was perfectly acceptable.

Love_good_ale - 11 Nov 2007 23:49
The best pub in Watford by a mile. Friendly staff , nice interior , good selction of beers on tap, nice area (nascot village) and women can go in without fear of being accosted by males.
oldboy6 - 18 Sep 2007 13:22
If it was a colour it would be beige. A good place to take beautiful, stupid women.
Bigfatbald - 11 Sep 2007 18:56
Big pub, easy to get a seat with a groups of people in the slightly sterile surroundings. The food is Wetherspoonsy but passable. Where the Southern Cross wins big in the very large selection of decent ales - probably the best in Watford.
scathingpubreviewer - 30 Jul 2007 15:59
A no 'boom boom' bar - unusual for the area! Disinterested, slow and incapable (or poorly paid) staff - except for Edit who is wonderful. Food should be taken off completely unless someone in the area - apart from myself - has a tastebud, or two!
anonymous - 21 May 2007 18:19
Large gastro pub with a great selection of real ales with regularly changing guests. Outside drinking patio at both the front and the back make for even more room. Accommodation available. Easy wheelchair access. 10 minute walk from Watford Junction Station.

Millay - 14 Apr 2007 12:22
This place doesn't have the atmosphere of a normal boozer but is a pleasant, modern pub with decent food and excellent beer. There are comfy seats and a cash machine.
The last couple of days they have been selling Theakston's Mild, Deuchar's IPA and Barbadier and I can vouch for the fact that the first two were lovely - the best ale I've found in Watford.
Staff have been friendly and I'm tempted to pop down on a quiz night (Thursday & Sunday if I remember correctly).
dyyony - 12 Apr 2007 17:40
Not my favourite pub because it seems more like a place to go to eat but strangely the real ale is the best and most varied in Watford. I say strangely because there is no obvious landlord/lady running the bar when I go there but somebody obviously knows their stuff..
It's better to go in a group I find..

ltlg - 29 Mar 2007 17:50
Manageress woman seems quite unfriendly, I've found. I tried to book a table for an event and she never go back to me. I've found the bar staff to be quite ok though. Especially one of the bar girls who always gives me a smile. Food not good but tolerable. Usually 3 guest beers on (and they no longer taste of soap!)
prof_plum - 15 Nov 2006 13:02
Food might be good but service and customer care nil.Do not recommend
anonymous - 4 Sep 2006 12:09
Service really bad.Had to wait 2 hours for meal.Staff very unhelpful. Would avoid this establishment.Made a complaint,sent off 3 letters to owner in end and received no reply.
anonymous - 20 Aug 2006 09:53
I would disagree with the earlier comments - I've been to this pub on several occasions and found the staff most welcoming and friendly.

Food is excellant, although admittely there is sometimes a bit of a wait for it. I like the guest beers too, makes things more interesting!

Heard good things about the weekly quizes, but have yet to give them a shot.
jonsey - 30 Jul 2006 23:59
My second visit hoping for better than last,but no luck still had a long wait,more than normally found at other establishments.
anonymous - 25 Jun 2006 09:35
Food good if you dont mind waiting for it to arrive.Could take over an hour to eat.Staff not that friendly.
anonymous - 23 Jun 2006 10:55
Had very bad service.Waited one and half hours for meal.Have written to them twice and have received no explanation. Meal quality good,just service and lack of contact very bad. Would not recommend this pub to anyone
vicarage - 23 Jun 2006 10:51
This could be a very good pub. The beer is good and the atmosphere overall is pretty friendly.

Unfortunately, I've found that the service leaves a lot to be desired. Everytime I've been there they always seem to have run out of something and it often takes forever to get served.

The staff seem pleasant enough with the exception of the manager who I've found to be pretty rude.
anonymous - 8 Jun 2006 13:15
Yes, an OK pub with some splendid beers - and how good it is to find Theakston's Mild is one of the regular beers. Is it worth it's place in the current Good Beer Guide? Possibly - maybe certainly in the context of the availabilty of decent beer in Watford!
oldgold - 11 May 2006 11:36
I've been here a few times, primarily for the quiz, which was quite a challenge but lots of fun.

It's a large pub with a modern light and comfortable interior. Lots of seats and always popular when I've been in. I hear their food is nice too but haven't tried it myself.

Beer wise (always up there on the importance list) it's above average, with Duchers IPA (v.good) and a few other guest ones. However it seems having a few beers off is a regular event, so you can't guarantee you'll get the 4 or so real ales you'd find on a good day. Maybe I've just been unlucky but I've had to move onto Guinness on one occasion.

Recommended but for a pub this size I'd expect more reliability on the beer front.
spacedz - 9 Mar 2006 17:06
This is a fantastic pub. It is a nice large and friendly pub. It has 3 quiz nights a week Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. It does a great range in cast ales and has 3 guest ales on most of the time. The food is great. This would be the perfect pub to take your date to.
anonymous - 24 Feb 2006 10:25
Great pub quiz to end the weekend on a Sunday Evening.
gle1978 - 29 Nov 2005 13:09
A large friendly and comfortable bar which earns it's Cask Marque accreditation with a good range of well kept ales.
Millay - 11 Dec 2004 17:06

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