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Plough, Earlswood

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user reviews of the Plough, Earlswood

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

Still on recent form a worthy place for a filling lunch or dinner, from a menu that embraces both bar meals and more substantial fare, at relatively competitive prices. Cask-wise, The Plough has finally started to become something of a local contender, serving four offerings, two of them more adventurous guests (the Surrey Hills, Pilgrim and other loc-ale options remain very-well-kept on my visits), and as everywhere else around has caught-up with (and frequently exceeds) the £4 pint ceiling, this pub no longer looks like one of the most expensive in the area.

The interior matches expectations from without and still brings that 'country' feel, despite being in a suburb of a sizeable commuter dormitory town. The garden is a pleasure, with plenty of space and events do run in the warmer months which prove popular with punters. More 'pubby' than The Joshua Tree, more trad than The Old Chestnut, and serving a wider food and beer choice than The Pendleton, I would say this pub's future is assured.

The only qualm: the service is very efficient, but can be a little brusque, depending on whom one is received by. A bit more of a smile and customer engagement beyond the functional basics would be the icing on the cake!
Gamboozler - 10 Oct 2018 13:46
Having not happened to have ventured in here since David left almost a year ago, I popped in for the briefest of halves. I found a very voluble local chappie holding court at the bar with a local punter, and overhearing their conversation suggested that this man was firstly the new licensee, and secondly rather proud of his cask beer knowledge. Happily, this interest extedned to his cellarmanship, as the half of Surrey Hills 'Shere Drop' was authentically some of the finest I've sampled in a long while - crisp, tasty, aromatic, and a long finish. It wasn't the cheapest at £4 a pint, but then The Plough has never been nor will ever be the most value hostelry in this vicinity!

I can't really comment as yet on the food and other supporting aspects of the "new" regime, but I have a modest confidence that the new man has the correct ideas about what the community want from their pub, and the relevant determination to see through what it needs for the greater good. Apparently sales of many things increase when Shere Drop is on, and it's shifting by the barrel-load. I might've dismissed this as tall talk, but for the fact that the quality did speak for itself. I think he'd prefer to stock only more unusual or adventurous products cask-wise, but alas still tied to Punch there is only limited scope for that. But I have good vibes and as a beer drinker and traditional pub lover at least, I think this bloke might have the right approach.

I should say after a year he's altered nothing of the interior, which is a blessing. Okay it is a cliche with hundreds of horsebrasses on beams etc, but it suits the historical building well and there's no doubt the pub remains a cosy and welcoming local venue, be it in summer or winter.

Apparently there is a modest beer festival being held here on Sat 24 Sep if anyone is interested.
Gamboozler - 22 Sep 2016 18:03
Changed hands today - closed at lunchtime.
croydonpeer - 6 Oct 2015 16:16
Pleasant and agreeable though The plough continues to be, it remains one of the most over-priced watering-holes in this district: I sampled my first £4 pint of cask ale in here last month! And I wasn't surprised, as I believe it was here where I had my first £3 pint, £2 pint, and had I been legal at the time probably would've been the first to top the quid too!

Food is decent and good value; beer is well-kept but only outdone on puffing-up of price-tags locally by The Hatch!
Gamboozler - 9 May 2014 13:09
Gosh - what a find! Lovely garden. Interesting nook & crannies inside. Clientele that are relaxed and quietly self-contained. Will definitely be back!
TwoHappyDrinkers - 28 Aug 2013 19:14
Stupidly low rating for probably the best pub in Redhill. Great home cooked food, good selection of beer and all ways a warm welcome. Plus you dont seem to get the normal Redhill Chavs and Yobs. Even better they show live Rugby.
PhillMacKavity - 2 May 2012 18:24
tuesday night almost every chair and table occupied mainly by drinkers but a few tables eating too.
great service and a bit of chat with the two barmaids, good beer and wine, reasonable prices compared to what I have been paying lately.
thanks for the lovely warm temperature and buzz in the atmosphere.
this is how i remember it from 20 years ago when I used to work here.

LB74 - 18 Jan 2012 23:49
A very friendly and comfortable pub, with a good choice of beers, including the excellent local beer Pilgrim's Golden Spice. Would visit again.
happy_wanderer - 9 Jan 2012 13:10
Harveys Sussex, Doom Bar, Ordinary and Pride. Smart looking tradional pub.
GuideDogSaint - 4 Jul 2011 22:13
Tried this pub for the first time last night and thought it was excellent - good beer, good atmosphere, proper fire, friendly staff, didn't eat but clearly lots of contented diners in that evening. Left to have a pint at the Elms Shades (our original intended destination) but quickly came back again and settled in.
RovingBlade - 23 Oct 2010 10:57
There is a notice saying 'no kids' - why not just comply with the rules and go to a pub that takes them?
sussexfox - 20 Oct 2010 20:05
Re Reigate Rover.

Glad to see the Plough is keeping up the standards and not welcoming kids.

One minute fast asleep, the next screaming the place down and running everybody's enjoyment of the pub.

If people need to take their kids out go to a Wacky Warehouse and leave the decent pubs to the adults.
kevmac - 20 Oct 2010 17:28
The fact that he was fast asleep is irrelevant. Are you a soothsayer who can look into the future, and guarantee that your baby won't wake up a few minutes later?
suggestion_tryAnewBEER - 20 Oct 2010 12:34
Terrible pub with a medieval attitude to families. My wife and I stopped off for lunch with our new born (fast asleep). Might have well walked dog shit across the carpet for the look on the barman's face - who then un-ceremoniously ushered us to the door.

Will never go back and I hope it goes bust.
ReigateRover - 20 Oct 2010 12:14
this has become my "local" recently. Great pub, fab staff, good food, lovely garden to read the papers in on a sunny sunday, however the drinks are not cheap! Worth it though!
Bombay_and_tonic - 9 Aug 2010 14:01
In my last review I said that I would go back but such is the memory of the obnoxious South African that served me it has taken two years. That said, this visit was a pleasure. My pint of Harveys was very nice, my father in law had the Hooky ( I think) and enjoyed it. The service at the bar and in the restaurant was excellent and the four of us enjoyed our lunch. The menu was simple but well done and well priced. All in all it was very good and when I say that I will be back I know that this time it will be much sooner than before.
gdm - 1 Aug 2010 17:18
I notice from a cursory glance at my previous ratings that I haven't appraised the Plough since Nasty Nick left it high and dry (actually, it was far from high in standards and the bar was never likely to be drunk dry) 3 years ago. It is - at least I think still is - now run by David who used to keep the Station Hotel in South Nutfield many a moon ago. A larger-than-life character who knows a bit about boozers, although you're lucky to see him behind the bar.
I am happy to report that you should now find this place much as it was prior to Nick's misguided takeover in late 2005; in other words it is far more welcoming to drinkers, as well as those wishing to eat, and the decor has been returned to its more traditional styling infinitely more in keeping with the building than the bistro-esque pretentions that dogged it in the mid-'00s.
Four ales are all kept in good order (was going to use the word "nick" but that wouldn't be appropriate here), and whilst 3 pumps are still dedicated to ubiquitous brands, 1 tends now to feature something a little more unusual, thanks I've been told to an appeal to Punch to allow them a little more original in their range, in the same vein as the Old Oak down in Mead Vale. Purity Pure Ubu and Mad Goose have been caught here for example, all the way from Warwickshire. Prices have ALWAYS been un-competitive here; sadly that seems to be the way regardless of licensee and I assume is associated with ridiculous prices and rents levied by Punch. Don't automatically blame those behind the bar!
I'm only an occasional visitor these days but I've always found the service to be most cordial, and there is a strong sense of this being a local's place at the bar as well as an established pub for dining. I suspect it's won back a fair few drinkers from the Shades, which benefited hugely from the Plough's wilderness years, but now has a new licensee of its own who arguably isn't quite on the money beer-wise.

I do hope the last person's experience vis-a-vis topping up was a blip.

TWG - 24 Mar 2010 15:20
Looked in recently drink was overpriced for the location, staff seemed to be unhappy about a request to top the pint up! and a menu lacking in any form of inspiration. Good location but a shame about the way it is run.
RogerBgood - 9 Mar 2010 08:49
Stopped by on chance....freindly staff, friendly customers, choice of ales but sadly only the bigger brewers,,,,my coupla pints of Harveys were is clear that the beers are well looked after..very clean with shiny brass..deserves far more than the 4.3 it currently pretence..just..simply "a good pub" cared for by licensees and locals.. Food is probably equally as honest if the rest is to go by. BQ 8,5
Insearchofthebestpint - 28 Jan 2010 21:58
Great pub, friendly bar staff, good quiz and excellent food. Glad to hear the rumours are unfounded. We like this pub just the way it is.
choccymouse - 18 Aug 2009 20:01
Hello to all just to put a few rumors to sleep. There is going to be no new owners in september and the quiz night will not be changing to sundays. The Plough will still be the same old good english pub it has been for the past two years.
terriblyuncooth - 16 Aug 2009 18:58
nicky and emily are going to be so disapointed that tha new owners who are taking over early september are changing the quiz night from wednesday to sunday night in direct compitition to the elm shades sunday quiz.This it seems is being done purely out of spite by the new owners who have prevously been barred from the elm shades.
parrotlover - 31 Jul 2009 12:09
we have been attending the ploughs quiz night on wednesday for a while now and feel we should post comment on how great this place is, food is good value for money, beer well kept, staff are happy and friendly, will always find us a table and most importantly....always find more than one biscuit for morgan! ......always a top night out...thanks guys!
nicky_and_emily - 18 Jul 2009 18:42
Recently found this pub so can't comment on the history.

I have to say it's a lovely pub serving decent beer and food with a lovely garden. Even better it doesn't have kids running right, thank god.

The Plough will certainly be geeting more trade from me.

kevmac - 3 Mar 2009 17:55
This is a great proper pub, with a lovely homely feel and decor. the new owners are really trying hard and are rather pleasant. the little pub dog adds to the ambience, its also rather nice that no children are welcome, makes a nice change and something of a haven..
nicnocs1 - 24 Jul 2008 10:24
Went to eat for the first time since the change over as the menu looked good. At first I was completely invisible to the bar staff but when it came the Broadside was good. On ordering the steak and ale pie I asked if it was a real pie and not a "bowl of stew with a pastry hat on" and was told it was a real pie. Guess what I got? I did comment ad was told "I'm South African. I don't know what a pie is." However it was good. It was all good except the raw broccolli. I had the poor judgement to comment on that too and was told that that was I would more goodness if it's not cooked. We were going to have another drink but that put us off so we had our last pint in the White Lion on the way home.
I will go back but comments and attitude of the South African barman has disappointed me.
gdm - 14 Jul 2008 10:10
Having heard the rumour that this pub had changed hands for the better, went in here for Sunday roast a week ago and was pleasantly surprised by the change. The staff are friendly & helpful, the food was unpretentious, fairly priced and well-cooked & the specials board had some great sounding meals on it. After lunch we sat back next to the roaring log fire, drinking coffee and shooting the breeze. It will take a while to get this place back to it's glory days but it's a promising start and it can only get better once the sun starts shining and the beer garden opens!
lizad96 - 13 Feb 2008 09:28
After the conversation I had with the owner yesterday while trying to book a table for Saturday lunch for four adults and two children. I will now not be recommending this pub to anyone. I was told in the very rude and abrupt manner under no circumstances were children welcome. The phone was then put down on me. If this is the attitude the owner has then I would be very suprised if this establishment is still in business in 6 months.
banana2 - 20 Dec 2007 15:07
Spurred on by GDM's report we went back for a look this afternoon and indeed all is well, that village green local you expect to find is all present and correct. Friendly welcome, pleasant surroundings and people and Harveys in decent condition. They've even managed to get rid of most of the horrid crematorium chars and big tables. Points score increased 3.5 fold.

Well worth a visit now.
nickdavies - 16 Dec 2007 19:43
Popped in for a swift one for the first time in ages (surprise!). Normality seems to have been restored. The beer was good and the menu looked good and unpretentious.
gdm - 14 Dec 2007 10:47
The pub changed hands at the end of last week (late September). Popped in there very briefly on Sunday. Was really pleased to see it returned to what it ought to be like - a trad pub with decent beers and no overpriced food. Only had some chips so can't judge on that, but the new folk seemed friendly enough and conscious that they need to rectify their predecessors mistake. I really hope that they can get the punters back. Good luck to them.
sosman - 2 Oct 2007 22:05
Visited this place a three weeks ago on a Friday lunchtime. There were real ales supposedly on offer, but all were rank and/or ran out within half an hour of arriving. The only alternative was bottled Speckled Hen which is OKish but it too ran out. "We should have something on tonight" was a curt non-apologetic response from one of the two members of staff who put in rare appearances behind the bar. Won't be going back.
anonymous - 17 Feb 2007 21:26
The current owners are putting the Plough up for sale, in a way I am glad as they just weren't cut out to run it.

To whoever takes this pub on...

On behalf of all the locals who loved this pub dearly, can you please be respectful to our wishes and give us our cosy, quaint, value for money and historic pub back. Can you sort out the carpet, get back decent tables, comfortable chairs, decor, and we used to like those benches. And if we wanted a really nice meal that cost a few bob, we'd go down to the Joshua Tree. Don't try and compete, be unique, be The Plough..... after all, at the end of the day, we're your customers....


One of the locals
passionatelocal - 17 Jan 2007 16:10
Called in for the first time this afternoon so unlike most of you below I can't comment about the previous administration. I was hoping for an ancient village green local but.... initial thought was that it was a victim of the usual head office inspired refurbishment, what with the horrid green paint over what I suspect is proper wood panelling, pine furniture with tables so big you have to shout and what I call crematorium chairs - those with narrow high backs that just need a pocket on the back for the hymnbook. Anyway turns out it's a freehouse which makes it all the more disgraceful. Clearly expensive consultants have been involved.

So what you've got is an identikit gastropub, no different to hundreds of others these days. Worryingly for this one there were all of three punters in there when we arrived about four on a Sunday afternoon, and nobody else turned up for the half hour we stayed. No-one finishing off a late lunch. No locals having a boozy afternoon.

The beers was OK though, pity it was all strong stuff so only one pint for us drivers, and astonishingly expensive. A pint and a V&C was over six quid. I can think of places where it's less than four. Consultants to pay?

I can't imagine we'll be returning somehow, there's lots (and I mean lots) of better places in the area.

nickdavies - 3 Dec 2006 20:18
I'm very interested to read the comments about the changes brought (or should I say wrought?) by the change of ownership earlier this year.

I am not for a moment trying to defend those changes, but I do think that the comments are overwhelmingly negative and OTT. Whether or not Nick knows how to change a barrel, his beer is actually pretty good and he often volunteers to give you a sample when he has a new guest beer.

I agree that he tends to be too pushy with his food (which I have had once - and never again!) but I don't agree that he treats drinkers only like scumbags. That said he does have a rather unfortunate manner which I think is unintentional, but does certainly alienate people.

I don't wholly disagree with many of the comments made, and I would have the previous landlord, Gary, back tomorrow if I could, but I just wanted to bring a bit of balance to the comments below.

I for one will occasionally pop in as it's not as bad as all that.....I don't know how long Nick will still be there though for the reasons previously expressed, so maybe these comments will all soon be irrelevant.
sosman - 20 Oct 2006 22:41
I am not in any way surprised by the comments made since the Plough's grandiose re-opening in February. It wasn't a perfect pub, and we had hoped that the new licensee, a veteran of the catering trade, would address refurbishment sensibly and sensitively, and that whilst the food side would be significantly ramped up, it would still remain a decent place for locals to drink, perhaps even with an extended ale range for the more discerning quaffer.
He has undoubtedly spruced the pub up and it is cleaner. The ales, whilst still fairly "obvious" are in good nick, and the food is, I'm told, very worthwhile, albeit over-priced.
But this minimal gain has been at the expense of the local drinking community, and any genuine organic atmosphere in what was, and still is potentially a lively, cosy local. It has been stripped down to basics, creating a wholly inappropriate and pompous pseudo-"bistro" feel. This, combined with the licensee's brusque and sometimes overtly rude attitude towards the few that dare to come to his pub just for a drink and not to eat, clearly demonstrate that he wants to run a restaurant rather than a pub. This pretentious approach, entirely self-motivated with no apparent concern for community interest, has alienated most people I know. Notwithstanding sacrificing what must've been a lucrative market for drinkers, the blinkered mentality of the licensee is such that he actively discourages such folk, seemingly in the belief that all drinkers are "riff-raff" who have no place in his urbane middle-class bistro - indubitably, he makes no bones about this.
I think the concept of such a venue in St John's/Earlswood is misguided. It is a mixed community of some affluent but several more working-class folk, and even if a top-class reputation for food is established (almost as many chefs have been dismissed in the last 8 months as customers!), I don't think there is enough of a market to support 2 similar pub restaurants: why go here when the Joshua Tree already provides a worthy eating experience, and with a thriving bar atmos to boot.
I know I speak for the majority when I say that I'm very disappointed; I genuinely expected better of the new regime.
TWG - 12 Oct 2006 13:42
A local, pretty and atmosperic "olde worlde" pub, but not pretentious. Lots of little nooks and crannies, in a decent setting. Food was ok, if you like simple fare at a reasoanble price.

Well. It was.

Someone's obviously bought this pub out of retirement or pension savings after a long career in something completely unrelated to a service insustry, with no idea what people want. An out of the way "Gastropub" where you fancy they'd rather be running a restaurant but coulndn't afford one in Reigate, thats singularly expensive- obviosuly to cash in on the "surrey money".

Shame they don't eat here. Nor do the locals anymore.

anonymous - 9 Sep 2006 22:48
lovley garden and a cold beer. A bit like the host,cold
BIGGERDOG - 18 Jul 2006 17:28
I see Nick (Publican of the Year Winner [1973]) has put an A board outside his White Elephant proclaming - "No football. No television". Pity he didn't have enough chalk left to add the blindingly obvious. "No punters".

Anyone know the name of a reputable firm of Insolvency Receivers? Please forward - with the bread from Lesbourne Road - to The Plough. Thanks.
hammyhampster - 15 Jun 2006 21:21
Well what can i say - Old English 16th century pub comes to this !-I feel so strongly about this - culprit should be sent to prison to do hard labour or maybe get a job on changing rooms! glad I moved - won't bother popping in when I visit -plenty of Ikea stores around the country - don't need any more.

bizzylizzy - 13 May 2006 23:29
We, and by that I mean about a dozen of us used to go here for a Sunday lunchtime treat, good food and lots of it at a very reasonable price friendly staff (not false and flaky like the one they have there now) We were told after the refurbishment hat it would be "even better" than the "old Plough" I won't swear but the number of cars outside this now spoilt pub on Suday lunchtime speaks for itself, the punters are voting with their feet/wheels SORT IT OUT
scooterroy - 9 May 2006 19:48
I nipped in here on my way home on Thursday evening as I used to last year and wow WTF has happened. Where did the original pub go and who allowed this to happen.

Never before have I seen such devastation and incompetence in such concentration.

I hope that this is just one mans bad taste in decorating and not a brewery decision to make all its pubs look like a shiny laminated IKEA experience suitable only for those with no taste.

The 2 couples that where eating commented on the price vs. quality vs. value and one lady commented that McDonalds has a better ratio.

Final comment: a total travesty has befallen the Plough, lets hope a similar fate awaits the person who did this to a wonderful old English pub.

anonymous - 22 Apr 2006 19:24
The Plough has been extremely well manage for years and years..... until that is Mike left in December. Since then the extensive closure of the pub followed by a decorating disaster of biblical proportions has resulted in a pub with no character, no decent beer and as a result no customers.

How you take a successful busy pub and turn it into this is a mystery and all we can hope for is that a new landlord takes over that knows how to run a pub and not just serve sandwiches.

ploppy - 16 Apr 2006 15:04
What an utter joke! Does he (Nick) seriously think his amateurish, aloof manner is going to wash with the customers around here? People in business should learn to stick to what they know. Forget the pub game, my friend. Get your van out and concentrate on your sandwich round. Let a professional run The Plough - if you haven't already ruined in for good that is.
hammyhampster - 11 Apr 2006 19:08
what a shame the plough has been totally ruined.this used to be such a fantastic pub with real character.

now what we have to look forward to is beech lamminated flooring in a 16th century building topped of with pine tables and chairs and a garrish green and white colour scheme.

also a rude landlord and a permantly drunk landlady finishes this disapointing experience.
parrotlover - 7 Apr 2006 20:55

Had a "top up sunday" session in here and the food was sublime.

Staff were first class, and apart from my many faux pas the atmosphere was excellent and I am sure i saw a few little kids around...and this was not the beggar kind....nice happy genuine family pub...keep up the good work.
Confusion101 - 26 Feb 2006 23:08
Nice , nice , nice
tanks - 21 Feb 2006 16:49
Lovely lovely lovely old fashioned pub with friendly landlord and good beer. Quiz is well hard, but worth a go.
Nick - 14 Oct 2004 19:26
great beer, food, service, atmosphere, beer garden, open fires, sunday roast.. the list goes on and on. brilliant pub - best in the area.
Ed - 13 Sep 2004 11:34
Best pub in the area. Great food and proper 'home-cooked' sunday lunches. Traditional, genuinely old English pub. No gimmicks. Just great service, good beer, excellent lawned beer garden perfect for the summer drinks, but in the winter you can take refuge in cosiness of the pub with its open fires. Very friendly regulars. No other pub in the area compares.
Anon Ymous - 13 Sep 2004 11:28
Wonderful atmosphere, friendly attentive staff, would definately recommend this pub.
J Bristow - 28 Aug 2004 22:53
Don't bother with the soup. It's tinned.
anonymous - 9 Jul 2004 13:55
Very friendly and welcoming pub - please to have it as my local.
Good pub quiz on Wednesdays.
Leigh - 11 Jun 2004 14:05
Extremly nice pub, friendly atmosphere, and always made to feel welcome. The food is second to none - Fantastic Sunday roasts, and saturday brunches (best hangover cure in the south!) Beer is clean crisp and fresh. Fantastic management!
anon - 16 May 2004 11:04
Really cosy pub. Perfect for Sunday night drinking and hangover lunches. Very friendly management.
anonymous - 19 Feb 2004 11:00

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