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Farmers Boy, St Albans

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user reviews of the Farmers Boy, St Albans

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

Paid a return visit to the Farmers Boy after trying the excellent Beer Shop just opposite, which wasn't there the last time I visited St Albans. Whilst the Beer Shop is not listed on here, it's well worth a visit and you can drink any of their bottles or draught ales on the premises. The Farmers Boy was much busier than my last visit in 2010. It was pretty much standing room only, with patrons watching the Six Nations England game on a TV in the corner. Service was pretty laboured. The regular ales are Robinson's Trooper, Bath Gem & Adnams Mosaice. Two guests were Oakham Dragon & Arbor Some Kind of Wise Guy. Unfortunately there were no dark beers and no real cider. Food is served from an open kitchen to the rear of the bar. Too busy to enjoy and the drinks range could be better.
blue_scrumpy - 25 Feb 2018 11:29
Like this place - basic but comfy and decent beer from Oakham etc. Unfortunately their own beers were not available on my visit. Did't try the food but it looked pretty decent.
baxterfish - 6 Mar 2016 17:08
Decided to drop off in here after having visited 8 other pubs in the town on the way back to the station and am glad we did. It has more of an alternative feel (Free copies of NME were available to read) than many of its rivals and we loved the olde worlde map wallpaper. A pint of Verulam got a mixed response (unsurprisingly at a mere 2.8%) but Oakham's Scarlet Macaw was superb.
BoehmBawerk - 11 Jan 2015 12:33
Really worth a visit .Just had a make over giving it a really cosy atmosphere,no more hard seats as have all been covered with a comfy seat cushion .
The real ales are very popular special their own brewed on the premises ,never last more then a couple of days
Food is tasty alot homemade and reasonable priced .
Friendly staff
happyone06 - 16 Jul 2014 10:50
I usually have to search for a beer here.
Selection often dominated by Oakham which is OK if you like your hop forward citrus ones.
Do ask about the bottled beers available
drinkingdad - 8 May 2014 09:40
I am only an occasional visitor to this pub. Sometimes the ale is good (usually when it is crowded and there is a band on). Frequently it is not. The other night I took the beer back and the barman was clearly quite aware that he was serving sour beer - he refunded my money promptly and without question. Really poor for a place that brews their own beer.
alebarry - 16 Apr 2014 16:20
Having looked at the previous reviews I felt that I had to say something after having eaten at the Farmer's Boy about this time last year at lunchtime with my partner, who is a CAMRA member. We had fairly modest expectations of what to expect from a standard 'pub grub' menu, and yet found we were still disappointed. My partner had chilli con carne, which looked as unappetising as it tasted (and also had cheese grated on it, which was not stated on the menu and could be a problem for people with a dairy allergy). I had a chicken salad, which seemed to be mainly iceberg lettuce and red onion. Very, very disappointing.
Similarly we tried their own ales and find them to be quite unpleasant. Perhaps they had a bad day, and obviously it's been a year since we went, but I'm not overly keen to either eat there or sample their own ales again.
However, the juke box had a great selection & we probably will go back to the pub for the good selection of other ales on offer.
Wildflower26 - 25 Feb 2014 11:39
Enjoyed an excellent pint of porter brewed on the premises. Very friendly and relaxed. Only quibble is that it can get noisy - speakers all over the place. 9/10.
wobblybob - 27 Sep 2013 22:32
Nice pub, generally with a great selection of beers. Food is basic but good (and cheap). The beer garden is nice in the afternoon, but doesn't get that much sun in the evenings.
josiem - 13 Sep 2013 12:14
Had 3 very good beers here 2 were brewed on site at about 3 quid each then a lovely all day breakfast including proper bread and black pudding.
THUNFAN007 - 14 Jun 2013 22:08
Of course it's full of blokes. It's a pub!
Tewin - 14 May 2013 20:19
Been in a couple of times..... Lots of interesting ales but most seem to be IPAs. Always full of blokes.
Mappiman - 26 Feb 2013 20:33
Popped in a few times over Xmas, the beer range was simply superb, Magic Rock, Marble , mallinsons, Oakham etc. The beer brewed on the premises was excellent too. Well done
Henners - 8 Jan 2013 12:05
great pub for a pint and a read during the day very quiet but with good well priced food cooked in sight of the bar. had 7 beers on including kernel brewery,oakham,tring,magic rocks and 2 from their on-site verulam brewery viewable from the patio garden were they have several beer festivals. has a late licence and gets packed for its 3 times a week live music. a good pub crawl is blacksmiths-mermaid-farmers-white hart tap-white lion-boot.
THUNFAN007 - 28 Aug 2012 10:27
Not the best real ale pub in St. Albans. Took back a pint and was told it was badly produced! even though it smelt vinegary and tasted as bad. Some beers are drinkable but there are better ale pubs in St. Albans.
IMG1975 - 23 Jul 2012 00:51
A bit rough round the edges but more publike than some of the others in the vicinity. Had an excellent pint of porter in here,
anonymous - 17 Jul 2012 20:35
Nice pub with a good range of ales including their own. My pint of mild(forget the brewery) was very nice and the food is pretty good value.
baxterfish - 11 Jul 2012 23:48
larger was ok,drinkable anyway.
was very busy so service took a while,but was 4 deep at the bar.
not a bad little pub
sambucca941 - 28 Nov 2011 01:08
I have been wanting a long time to try this boozer. Got the chance to after getting the last parking space in the street.
Mostly Oakham ales were on offer: Inferno, Musashi and White Dwarf. Fullers London Pride (yuk) and last, but not least, Verulam's Half Nelson at 2.8% ABV. I thought this was going to be coloured water. Wrong. For a low alcohol beer this was excellent. It really was tasty.
I'm not sure if food is top priority of its customers. Choice of meals are reasonable as are the prices. Portions are good size and tasty. The kitchen is almost part of the bar.
Downside, apart from no car-park, was loud music. The pub is too small for all that malarkey.
fugglehops - 11 Oct 2011 21:43
great place nice atmosphere altho personally i found the local ale not to my taste
marinetank0 - 9 Sep 2011 19:19
Has great potential, but beer can sometimes be a bit dodgy especially their own. Worth a look, nonetheless.
webstercraft - 4 Sep 2011 13:20
Pub No.15

Good pub
Good beer
Ok service

Recommended: 7/10

Summary so far. Best pubs: 1) Lower Red Lion,2) Six Bells, 3) White Lion
Best Beer: 1)Blacksmith's Arms, 2)L.R.Lion, 3)White Lion
whimbreltits - 4 Sep 2011 12:26
Friendly and efficient service. Beer is but nothing special. Can get crowded and feel cramped, especially when they have bands on and occasionally has a strong chlorene/bleachy smell.
IMG1975 - 8 Jul 2011 18:49
Fine array of in-house brewed (and other) ales and a friendly atmosphere. Garden out the back is in transition but coming along and the inside is clean and functional after a recent minor cosmetic uplift. Sunday carvery is top quality too! 8/10
stace3610 - 22 Jun 2011 08:23
Before the paintpot must come the finger! Nevertheless, an excellent selection of ale and renewed activity at the brewery round the back much in evidence amongst the 5 pumps.
Hopsucker - 4 Apr 2011 13:23
always have a great night in here. shame it doesn't look like its picture anymore. come on doug get the paint pot
mixie58 - 19 Mar 2011 09:33
Great pub. Friendly, good beers, unpretentious punters. 9/10
Isambard_Lombard - 3 Jan 2011 13:53
Doug runs a fine pub, one of his bar staff needs to stop going on about his army days so much - on both sides of the bar. Most of the bar staff are very friendly and polite. Great grub, great music and a real mix of punters.
Bouncer12 - 25 Nov 2010 19:25
Friendly single bar pub with a simple interior. There is a small kitchen area to the side of the bar that serves food and a patio to one side for smokers. Beers on were Red Squirrel Conservation, Fullers London Pride, Oakham Akhenaten and White Dwarf plus Everards Dark Angel. The cider is Addlestones. A nice enough place to unwind and down a few. Not too far from the main station either.
blue_scrumpy - 16 Oct 2010 11:15
Not the ale destination it once was. Seems to be some Everard's link these days. Tried a pint of Dark Angel ( an Everard's brew). Was expecting somethng darker but got a reasonable enough bitter. It's okay but no longer a 'destination'.
anonymous - 9 Oct 2010 23:05
A more interesting selection of ale these days and often some very good bands on Thurs nights when it can get rammed. I've never noticed a smell of chlorine although one or two of the groupies smell as though they would benefit from its application.
Agree with Bonser about the Clipper. Will someone please get their finger out regarding the brewery!
Lupulus - 4 Oct 2010 14:32
Good beer, service is friendly but occasionally you get people pushing in (which happens in a lot of pubs). Can get very busy when they have a live band on and it can feel and smell a bit like at swimming pool at times, i.e. get quite humid and the smell is a bit similar to chlorine.
IMG1975 - 20 Aug 2010 17:08
Hi TMJ, yes I know the history of how Fat George and his ghastly staff ruined one of the finest pubs in the land (The Lower Red), driving me away from it in the process, and are now doing the same to the Mermaid (not that the latter has ever been the finest pub in the land, it's not even the finest pub in Hatfield Road).

I understand that Viv still owns the FB and is personally working on getting the brewery going again. Hopefully this will give him a chance to see the state it has got into, and prompt him to give the current tenant a good kick up the backside.
soodly - 28 Jun 2010 12:23
No Verulam ales, became Alehouse Brewery a couple of years ago. Kevin the brewer brewed his last Alehouse beer in May, appropriately called Final Fling. Soodly, you've probably come across him before, he was at the Lower Red and then at the Mermaid. It is the intention of the Farmers Boy to brew again, under what name I don't know.
TiaMariaJim - 28 Jun 2010 08:50
This place went right downhill a few years back but, having heard that changes were afoot, I decided to check it out again.

Oh dear. It had the same old bunch of foul-mouthed, ratted alkies infesting the left side of the bar, and the yard out back was rammed with more extremely loud effing-and-blinding lagered-up footie supporters. The interior was dirty and tatty, there was no sign of the Verulam Brewery ales, and the Wadworths offering we tried was poor.

Needless to say, we drank up hurriedly and nipped round the corner to the enjoy the civilised delights of the White Hart Tap.

I'm giving the Farmer's Boy 2/10 only because the barman was friendly and welcoming, but I will not be back anytime soon.
soodly - 28 Jun 2010 07:14
Noteworthy for being the home of the Verulam micro brewery, The Farmers Boy is otherwise a rather unremarkable cottage style pub on the main London Road and reasonably close to the station.

The single bar interior is bare boarded and, apart from a fine old framed photo of the pub showing it advertising "Wickhams Pure Beer", my main memory is of hard wooden floors and uncomfortable seats and a slight smell of cleaning fluid. The pub was decidedly quiet with probably fewer than half a dozen or so customers.

On the real ale front, on my recent early Saturday evening visit, the usual suspects - Landlord, Pride, Bombardier and Greene King IPA - were all present, but, disappointingly, the only beer from the microbrewery that was on was the Clipper IPA - £ 2.90p. This was however in splendid form and, looking back in retrospect, was probably the best pint of the day.

On that basis alone, I think that I'd probably include this pub in the crawl next time
JohnBonser - 13 May 2010 13:35
Still poor. Some how the same owners are still attempting to ru[i]n a pub. The beer is very very hit and miss. I'd warn anyone to scrutinise their pint before drinking. The kitchen is a joke, just watch how the lady helps herself from plates, with her bare hands, or the food she's 'cooking', whilst standing around. Shocking place that should be avoided. The White Hart Tap is just a stones throw away. The two establishments couldn’t be any different !
number6 - 27 Apr 2010 14:58
On the weekend of Sat (24th) and Sunday (25th) they have a charity music even which is raising money towards the purchase of the re-opening of the former Odeon in St. Albans.
IMG1975 - 24 Apr 2010 22:32
We started a day's real ale-ing in St Albans at this pub, and I found it a good place to start the day and am puzzled at the negative tone of a number of the below reviews. It's a nice local boozer a little outside the city centre - U-shaped around a central bar, with light wood panelling giving a nice airy feel to the place. Five ales on my visit: we had a pint of the Clipper IPA which was well-served, albeit perhaps rather summery for the time of year. Other alesincluded TT Landlord, Pride and Deuchar's.
grecian - 1 Mar 2010 10:34
All the beer and food is fresh and quite yummy. But somehow everything in this pub happens q u i t e s l o w l y!
dulldolly - 16 Feb 2010 21:20
A disappointment, beer not quite there, food a poor quality microwave job. A shame as it feels like it could be really good. Worth a visit if only just to see the old photos on the walls.
RedHarvest - 18 Dec 2009 12:42
I have visited this pub twice in the past 4 months. One night there was a band murdering the songs of Bob Dylan, the other night there was an over 50s hard rock band going through the motions. It was certainly lively though, rocking even, so maybe my musical judgement is just a bit too cynical. On each occasion I had a pint of the locally brewed beer (a different ale each time).Hmmm. It has a taste of citric acid blended with newly cleaned aluminium sink, and an aftertaste of sour stewed apples. It wasn’t necessarily bad, just very odd, and, in the end, not very drinkable. Is it supposed to taste like this?
alebarry - 16 Nov 2009 10:32
The Autumn Fall Pie, priced on the menu at a very reasonable £350, must be absolutely scrummy! This is quite a nice pub; Doug and Ros are sociable and make you feel welcome.
dulldolly - 23 Oct 2009 12:35
Real ale not terrible, but not great!

but this pub doesn't deserve the terrible reviews it has been recieving

nice atmosphere, done nice work in the courtyard too!
beer_lout - 12 Aug 2009 17:39
A crushing disappointment.

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

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

I really didn't see much here to warrant the hype. Sometimes you catch places on an 'off' day but having seen this I wonder if they know what an 'on' day is.
Quinno - 30 Jul 2009 23:39
Disappointed on this occasion.

After having visited in April and enjoying a good pint, my friend and I made this the penultimate venue of our crawl last night. Clipper IPA, normally highly quaffable, refreshing and hoppy was cloudy and disappointingly lacking in flavour this time. All credit to staff who offered us an immediate replacement. Being loyal to the brew we tried the Farmers Joy. The flavour was different and it felt difficult to drink.

Really, sincerely hope this is just an aberraition and next time we'll get our Clipper and Joy back the way we have become accustomed. Otherwise still a very good pub (atmosphere, etc fine).

lad_newton - 16 May 2009 19:18
Last time I went in they had a Disco on playing eighties rock like Guns and Roses, Bon Jovi etc. You forget how shit that music is over the years. Beer ok , but not like it was in the good old days,after Bon jovi by a while and before lily Allen.
Henners - 23 Apr 2009 12:51
This pub has gone from being excellent [pre-2006], to poor [2008], to now shockingly bad [2009]. The current [and worst] owners have no idea what they're doing and should not have ventured into the world of owning and running a public house. When ordering a simple pint from the landlord, he stares blankly at you, as if you'd just asked for the keys to his car so you can go for a joy ride. When he does finally realise that you're a customer, he can't remember more than two drinks at a time. We had to wait an hour and 10 mins for a simple cheese and tomato sandwich. This isn't tough stuff. We're going elsewhere. This place is the pits. The landlord is alledgedly an ex-solicitor, well he should have stayed away from this type of "Bar" !
number6 - 27 Mar 2009 21:53
Where's the lovely Nathan gone??
dulldolly - 13 Feb 2009 11:18
Back on track, I reckon. The new manager is running a reasonably tight ship now. Beers, food and entertainment are all good quality and the pub is clean. I'm in here more and more, just can't help it!
historyloony - 5 Feb 2009 11:32
Farmers Joy was very pleasant, time for only one beer though - looks a nice place but very late in the pub crawl and things were starting to get a little hazy...
Booze_Allen - 12 Jan 2009 17:47
This place has always had dodgy regulars, even in the days of Viv and Tina. More important is the quality of the beer, which is now more consistent, and the food, which is now available longer again. Maybe we'll have some more Alehouse beers when Kev finishes at the LRL. This would make it a near perfect pub.
sidderney - 24 Nov 2008 15:39
Not the same since Gerry left. Echo the comments from others here about the locals!! Especially if they are sitting at the bar, they look at you as if you've walked across a family grave if you dare push through to order a pint.
Sherminator - 13 Nov 2008 22:13
A fairly modern even minimalist feel inside but with hops over the central bar hinting at tradition. Wooden floors and a lack of soft furnishings make for a noisy environment. A mix of seating includes drinking shelves against the walls. Some photos of old St Albans.
The on site Alehouse Brewery supplies Farmers Joy and Clipper IPA, Pride Adnams Bitter and TT Landlord also.
Xmas lights up in the windows already!
Maldenman - 9 Nov 2008 12:01
Had not been in for a while but had a couple of good late drinks in here last night with my mate. Took me about 30 mins to notice the wall with the fire place had gone since my last visit! I am planning on not leaving it so long until my next trip there

olly77 - 19 Oct 2008 16:23
Not a bad pub by any means, but it's increasingly cliquey and I'm not convinced the new manager really knows what he's doing. Worse, TFB is becoming the drinking den of some Arfur Daley types, who instruct you to watch their drink while they go to the loo, and say "Sorted!" by way of thanks. Humph. Better news is that the quality of the ales and food is holding up, and the barstaff are hard working and polite. But, but.......
historyloony - 11 Oct 2008 13:25
hertsboy - 22 Aug 2008 10:40
Very enjoyable pint in here last night ending a "crawl" with an overseas friend and a local. "Clipper IPA" was on excellent form (this follows the hard act of a highly flavoursome pale ale at the White Lion). A friendly group a couple of tables up from us engaged in lively conversation at the end of the session; one chap over from Denmark seemed particularly fond of this pub and the onsite brewery.

We found the atmosphere in the FB very pleasant indeed, and I for one would happily return this evening if I was not having a night off the booze. Great stuff, keep it up chaps.
lad_newton - 21 Aug 2008 12:23
I have to say this place is soulless and as a brewery tap the worst ive been too.Ive been in three times recently and they only have one of their beers on,which is in good condition along with the TT which is a great beer but on everywhere now.They also rudely kick out dead on 11.20 during the week and they cant blame licensing for this just lazyness as it used to be open to midnight.I brought 12 people in the other week for a planned monthly get together and ththe rudeness at the end of the night has left me looking for another venue.Stop worrying about the bloody sign on this pub but at how downhill it has gone.
Henners - 24 Jul 2008 12:46
might buy this place and turn into an allotment....
richerthanyou - 23 Jul 2008 16:21
I see that bemoaners of a decent pub sign for this place now have their own group on Facebook, "Sign Whiners Unite". You go, girls!
matt_k - 2 Jul 2008 11:26
Oh Sign, Oh Sign
I wish you were mine.
You was divine.
Like a shrine.
But now youre gone.

Its a sign of the times.
tony_pachus - 7 Jun 2008 00:49
As an infrequent visitor, I've generally found the staff to be friendly and welcoming. However, I'm disappointed to see that they're no longer serving food in the evenings, as they used to serve the best pub grub within easy walking distance of the station. Shame. Good pub, though. 8/10
elwood_p_dowd - 8 May 2008 16:34
I totally agree with historyloony's comments - the FB is not welcoming and the regular punters should get a grip and stop thinking it's "their" pub.

I sat in the FB the other evening and couldn't believe the way in which the bar hoggers slagged folk off (including each other) and was gobsmacked when the bar staff (I think it was Rosie) joined in and did nothing but moan. 4 out of 10! The owners of this place really need to do something. Again, very unwelcoming. Drink elsewhere!
pubsta - 2 May 2008 12:31
A pretty good pub overall, well-run and with good drink and food. Also more spacious since the recent refurb, and the historical photos around the walls are interesting. That said, the FB is not particularly welcoming and is in the grip of its regular customers, who think it's "their" pub and monopolise the bar etc. Ho hum. Still, 8/10 overall and one of the ten best pubs in St Albans.
historyloony - 12 Apr 2008 10:22
I care about the sign! Or, to be more accurate, I care about the general trend away from traditional-style pub signs to cheapo graphic-designer jobs like this one.

Otherwise there's not much wrong with the FB, but since the current incumbents chucked out Tina's menu it's a food desert for vegetarians such as yours truly. Tina's fry-ups (with veggie bangers) were an awesome institution and are a great loss to St Albans.
soodlum - 28 Jan 2008 15:59
Why is everyone still obsessed about this f**king sign? Who cares?

Anyway, I ventured in here a couple more times recently and drank some very nice ale. Staff are friendly, punters are jolly, nice little pub. Definitely one of the best in the centre of St A.
matt_k - 28 Dec 2007 14:05
Nice pub, with excellent beer, but that pub sign is awful. What happened to the old one?
anonymous - 11 Nov 2007 13:40
I was expecting good things from a pub that brews its own beers, so I'm sorry to report that the three different ales I tried were barely drinkable. Flat, horrible. Amongst the worst ales I've had recently. Friendly enough bar staff though. Was this just an off night?
matt_k - 12 Sep 2007 16:53
I come to praise the Farmer's Boy, not to bury it, but my previous 2 messages didn't even get posted. Why?
grosslysloshed - 21 Jun 2007 11:04
I thought the old sign was terrible, was delighted when they got rid of it. The food here is good hearty fare, great chips. It's a bit on the small side but that gives it a cosy feel, friendly, helpful staff and nice relaxed feel. very nice in the winter when the fire is lighting. Am surprised about the dirty comment, it's normally very clean.
Sherminator - 10 Jun 2007 22:03
All this sentimental tosh about the old pub sign is getting on my wick - exterminate! In fact the sign only went up in the late 90s so was hardly an historical artefact or anything. The new sign is cruder and strangely similar to "3JB" in Brighton, but there are other reasons to visit pubs!
Most importantly, the Farmer's Boy has really improved for both eating and drinking since the current managers took over a few months ago. Service standards used to be appalling, but have improved beyond recognition. It's a very clean pub too IMHO. The FB is now a "must" for any pub crawl in this part of St Albans.
dalekemperor - 20 May 2007 08:57
Now having inspected the sign that has attracted so much wrath, it is harmless in that it is merely a sign. However if I was visiting St Abans for the first time without the Good Beer Guide or recommendations, I may well have drawn the wrong conclusions from it, and walked past without necessarily enquiring further of the interior. I am therefore glad to have known this pub before the signage was changed.

An excellent crawl on Tuesday evening began with a call at the FB in which an excellent pint and a half of "Clipper" was supped. Roger (known as the "farmer's boy") made for entertaining company whilst awaiting the arrival of my friend.

In direct disagreement with the reviewer of 16th April, I found the place very clean, the service to be quick and friendly, and that I could have remained in the pub for a great deal longer had a crawl not been arranged.
lad_newton - 17 May 2007 18:53
Found it dirty, service was poor and the whole experience was fairly charmless overall. Very pleased to see they brew their own beers.
seasiderMM - 16 Apr 2007 20:12
still a friendly well run pub despite the rather pathetic sign outside, bring back the old one
blackrat - 11 Mar 2007 01:01
Always enjoy visiting this place. Beers in good condition, pleasant atmosphere, efficient service.
downender - 16 Feb 2007 09:55
With the change in ownership in the last year, has there been a change in the pub? Easy - no!

It is not an obvious pub to head to, being off the main circuit, as well near to some of the takeways on London Road. However, the inside with comfy seats (and cushions now!) make the place warm and welcoming.

Beer quality (which we did test very thoroughly!) is excellent. Both from their own beer (Farmer's Joy, IPA and Yorkshire) to the guests (when we went were Landlord and Mill Stream, both from Yorkshire).

Also have a good range of lagers and bottled beers. Just no Chimey White, so had to 'manage' with the Blue instead.

Staff friendly, as well as good at clearing and cleaning (both the tables, ashtrays and also the mirror!) Look foward to going back.
zakman - 14 Feb 2007 14:20
Lovely spot, especially on a cold winters night, good Guinness, nice atmosphere, feels like a proper country pub.
RashersOKane - 2 Feb 2007 15:50
The fact that this is now called by its initials should have alerted me to the fact that this is rather a poncy pub, with a barman (landlord?) who has absolutey no idea how to serve a pint of beer :( , albeit a well kept one. Avoid. 3/10
Darren_in_the_City - 7 Jan 2007 22:11
Please, please bring back the old pub sign. The current 'logo' suggest The Farmers Boy is a Youth Pub Circuit establishment and it's not. Instead of looking classy, I imagine the new sign will put people off ... Dare to be Different!
Captain_Swing - 2 Jan 2007 13:32
Much improved recently, especially the service. Real ales are fine, as is the food. This pub is back on track - well, apart from the dodgy new "tfb" logo on the door, obviously.
anonymous - 26 Nov 2006 16:16

A definite improvement on the last time I visited: it’s bright, clean, welcoming, civilised and catering for a wide range of locals, from bearded beeronauts to young office workers. A hit! 8/10
elwood_p_dowd - 17 Nov 2006 10:13
My girlfriend and I moved into a flat nearby over the summer, and, like an earlier poster, we too avoided going in as it didnt look that welcoming on approach.

Big mistake.

Since wandering in one evening in September, this has become firmly established as a favourite of ours.

The Farmers Boy may not have the "olde" history of some St Albans pubs, but as a resident, I will leave that aspect to the tourists.

This pub has everything I want in a local. Good ales, good wine (well, the Mrs rates it), Food (not tasted yet), board games, quiz machine, books about beer, more books about beer, a beer garden, and a toilet.

Contrary to some comments, I have always found the service to be efficient and friendly. Twice on Saturday evening the barmaid brought my pint to the table rather than have me wait whilst the barrel was changed.

A pint and a glass of dry white only nudged over £5 - miraculous for the area!

If you are walking down London Rd between the city centre, and the mainline station, you could do a lot worse than taking a pit stop here.

If you live nearby, I thoroughly recommend popping in of an evening and tasting their own brewed beers.

starjack - 31 Oct 2006 14:27
One of those pubs I have always walked past but never been in, worried it looked a bit unwelcoming.
Finally put that to one side a few weeks back and have not stopped going back since. What I found was a
very nice local pub. I really like The Farmers Joy, a dark nutty / choc beer (brewed out the back)
Mrs Olly appreciates the cushions on the benches.
Landlord and Landlady both very welcoming.
Noticed they are offering some good drink and food deals during the World Cup.
Sunny back garden
olly77 - 29 Jun 2006 22:23
Pub has undergone a tasteful refurbishment which has made the pub subtly brighter and more spacious yet cosier, warmer and more welcoming. Cussions along the seating area were a good idea.

My friend and I found the staff to be very friendly, approachable and good-humoured during our Bank Holiday Monday visit last night.

The beers brewed on site have improved and the Yorkshire Bitter & IPA were both wholly exquisite. Intending to stay for only one beer, we ended up stopping for two. Note the pub now has a guest beer which is currently Timothy Taylor's Landlord. In addition there are quite a few Belgian beers available including Kwak and Liefmans.

Note that food in the evening now stops at 1930, which if I remember correctly is earlier than under previous management.

I found the whole experience here excellent and I could quite easily have returned today had I not been giving the booze a rest!

lad_newton - 30 May 2006 19:54
Yes, very good beer, and the food looks OK too. But sadly I agree with comments made below about the attitude of barstaff. Yesterday evening there were 2 staff "on duty", i.e. being paid to serve customers, but one was attached to a mobile phone and the other was sitting at a table, back turned against the people queuing up at the bar. I thought this was disgusting.
Every time I come to this pub I leave after just one drink, very disappointed.
historyloony - 9 May 2006 08:21
Excellent beer
keithcoleman - 8 May 2006 17:07
Things should be warming up at this pub now. The new managers + Big Kev have plans for more beer festivals, and a bigger selection of ales, a la Lower Red Lion. Meanwhile other nearby pubs are raising their game too, most obviously The White Lion. All good stuff, and exciting times for St Albans pub-goers.

anonymous - 29 Mar 2006 16:07
I don't get there that often but I LOVE this pub! Yes, the beer was pretty good, fabbo ciggy holes in the bar (which may be out of use now - but still super, friendly people and jst how a pub should be!
The_Dawg - 8 Mar 2006 01:21
So far so good! I tried the Yorkshire Best and the Best my mate tried the IPA and they were all fine.
Oh yes, and you can get a decent plate of REAL chips for a quid whilst you are at it. Its not good for the waistline but I did enjoy it.
Triathlete - 14 Feb 2006 17:00
I can confirm that the landlord and brewer (Viv) has now left. Pub will be run by Heidi and Jerry with Big Kevin from the Lower Red Lion leasing the brewery. They will still get the Verulam beers whilst others under the 'Alehouse' name will appear for the LRL and a few other outlets.
M.Sticker - 7 Feb 2006 12:45
In two days we visted 12 pubs in a crawl through St Albans. Farmers Boy was one of the best places. We had five different ales from the local Verulam Brewery. Welcoming and cosy interior. Lazy, but friendly pubdog. Helpful and nice barmaid who can best be described by one of the ales name (find out for yourself).
rune - 7 Feb 2006 12:33
Fairly ordinary interior much cheered in winter by a well-fed open fire. Enough. Being here primarily for the beer, full marks for the produce from the in-house brewery. Should be something in the range to please most palates. Personally, I regret that the Clipper IPA seems to have been made a little less aggressively bitter in recent months, presumably to broaden its appeal. Still a bloody good pint, though.
Hopsucker - 10 Jan 2006 10:34
Lovely ales. Shame about the atmosphere.
anonymous - 14 Oct 2005 14:23
Good beer,and excellent staff who willingly let you try b4 u buy
Henners - 31 Aug 2005 14:34
Cosy and attractive pub full of quirky charm. Sadly on our visit in March all four of the homebrewed beers tasted like homebrewed beers rather than professional products. Diactyl was evident in all the beers; while they all had a general undeveloped taste and flaccid hops - as though the yeast were underperforming. The Yorkshire was pulled through a sparkler in the Yorkshire style and that didn't help the flavour. The most interesting of the four beers was the Farmers Joy - a fruity beer with blackcurrant flavours undercut with chocolate and coffee. I should imagine this would be nice in good condition. The Clipper was too drowned in the butterscotch flavour of diactyl, while the Best had a rubber band taste in the finish.
I'd be keen on a re-visit to taste those beers in good condition.
SilkTork - 25 Aug 2005 11:47
Excellent all-round boozer. Verulam brewery IPA particularly fine (you WILL have to enjoy the taste of hops).
Good food, seems to be available throughout opening hours.
stresser99 - 3 Aug 2005 17:03
A good, reliable boozer which runs its own beer festival from time to time.
anonymous - 28 Jul 2005 17:26
Had a couple in here last saturday (11th June) bitter very poor replaced with IPA even worse and well overhopped. I'm told they have a yeast infection - I'll come back when they have some cream for it!
Were'nt cooking any chips either so a well poor experience.
Usually a good boozer though
Triathlete - 15 Jun 2005 20:16
Good beer, good food. Check the ashtrays that are actually built into the bar top!
Graylob - 15 Apr 2005 02:45
Totally agree on the sandwiches - tuna mayo with sweetcorn, brown bread, £2.50. MASSIVE as well
Dave - 30 Oct 2004 12:26
Tina's sandwiches are the dogs b******s!
Muz - 15 Oct 2004 08:00
I would like to congratulate Viv on the much-improved home brew beers at the Farmers Boy.

Both Special and IPA are hoppier and more bitter than they used to be, whilst Farmer's Joy has lost some of its earlier sweetness and acquired a sophisticated smoky flavour with an excellent "burnt" finish.

It's now twice in a row I have met up with people for a crawl round St Albans starting at this pub, and ended up staying for the entire evening.


Just a footnote advising anyone visiting after an absence of 3 months or more: the pub no longer takes debit/credit cards nor does it offer cashback. In its place stands an in-pub cashpoint which applies a charge of approximately £1.50 for all withdrawals - so get cash in the town or by the station before coming!
lad_newton - 26 May 2004 14:07
Top place, very friendly, always busy even mid afternoon on a Tuesday, beer excellent as is food
dpiom - 11 Mar 2004 20:29
I started a pub crawl last night in this pub, and the beer here was by far the best. I came back with my mate for more at about 2245 and he agreed! The home-brew IPA was spot-on. Also, I must complement the food which was excellent. The home-made stake & ale pie is recommended!
lad_newton - 8 Jan 2004 17:12
good pub, friendly staff and locals, a number of beers to sample. As mentioned previously there are a number of beers brewed locally in the Verulam brewery and well worth sampling.

summary: recommended, by a visitor from australia.

nmguy68 - 1 Jan 2004 00:54
Excellent Beer, Good Food, well worth a visit !
Steve - 21 Aug 2003 21:13
The brewery on the premises is a definite attraction with four local brews available at reasonable prices. The food is good and the pub has a nice friendly atmosphere. Right on a junction of a main road so can get a bit noisy from the traffic but also good for people watching. The best of many good pubs in the area.
Millay - 18 Aug 2003 21:20
....reasonable prices for St Albans too. Also has Warsteiner on draft, and a drinkable dark beer served from a Watneys font (now THAT must be a first !).
ian - - 11 Jul 2003 14:03
Excellent festival - here's to many more!!!
lad_newton - 6 May 2003 10:58
An excellent brewpub - home to the VERULAM brewery. Excellent dry hoppy beers are served on handpump in a cottagey environment. A paved beer garden offers a pleasant summer evening drinking-place, and wholesome, home-cooked food is served from about midday until 9pm daily. Some summer barbeques. A good pub to include in a "crawl" too.
Lee - - 12 Mar 2003 18:22

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