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Whitefriars Olde Ale House, Coventry

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user reviews of the Whitefriars Olde Ale House, Coventry

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

This place is currently closed and looking very run down from the outside. Nobody appears to know whether it will re-open.
blue_scrumpy - 24 Dec 2018 17:40
Has an ambience in keeping with Conrad's The Secret Agent but would also suit hand holding ethereals, rustic swingers, endangered beardless hipsters and connoisseurs of the fine art of staring into space. In other words, although it may resemble some, this doesn't remotely feel like any other pub you'll encounter within the city centre radius (with the possible exception of the Broomfield). Six ales sported, colour displayed and sold with tasters offered within the cramped area of the bar, clogged up with characters of the more positive usage of the term. Almost immediately the atmosphere virtually steams off the aged walls. Only one ale suited my palate, guest Jouster but I'm not one to flit about once I get the taste, unlike a true ticker. Downsides are the oppressive heating system over the front door and the crowd swell that takes root in front of the bar. Otherwise one of the most enjoyably distinctive pub adventures likely to be had in Cov. 8/10 seems about right.
ILooklikeme - 4 Nov 2015 11:40
Think there were six ales on offer and three cider when I was in Sat - plumped for Slaughterhouse Saddleback 3.7% - in great condition. There is a beer garden and a band were setting up out there (they looked like they were going to be loud). Oh yes, and the Gents toilet floor is still wet...so keep checking your laces are tied!
kernott1 - 8 Sep 2014 08:51
I used to frequent this pub regularly , but not so much now . The choice of ales has become less and of poorer quality . There are better pubs in town , so if things do not improve I will have to drop this from my crawl .
lotus - 20 Nov 2013 10:42
Following the move of a colleague to Coventry, I've had the chance to check the city centre bars out on several occasions. It soon became clear that this was the best one within strolling distance of the university. Very good beer range and a pleasantly basic atmosphere.
Arctium_lappa - 18 Feb 2013 00:28
Great pub, been the last three or four Saturdays, beer excellent.
beer_hunter - 10 Dec 2012 21:59
An olde worlde kind of pub with excellent ale on offer. had a pit of Welton land of Hope and Glory which wa sspot in. What lets this pub down is a crowd that, in spite of there being loads of room elsewhere in the pub, insist on crowding at the bar and being deliberately awkward in obstucting people trying to get served.
Snarling_Mallard - 20 Feb 2012 22:15
Drank here many times now, never had a below average or bad pint. The beer has always been superb, I like really dark or light beer great range of beers from all over and many from Byatt's Brewery Coventry. Only bad point is that the gents floor is often wet so check your laces before you enter.
beer_hunter - 27 Dec 2011 19:23
Interesting historical pub in a road where there were some dodgy looking ones. Good selection of real ales and the ones I had were in good condition. Guy behind the bar friendly and obliging. Would visit again next time in the city.
davewat - 17 Feb 2010 20:55
Pub built into very old houses. 6 real ales on, the Worcester Sorcerer was excellent.
Airwolf - 17 Feb 2010 12:40
Some of the previous reviews about poor beer quality caused me some concerns but I'm pleased to report that last night both the Everards Sunchaser and Holts Mild were fine.
There was a singer performing last night which produced a pleasant atmosphere and although the pub is close to the university there were plenty of customers who clearly weren't students.
I think this ancient pub might well be the oldest building in which I have drunk a pint or two.
Ordinary - 14 May 2009 21:54
Recent visit proffered 0 drinkable beers out of a good 6 that we saw at some stage in the night.
First few were vinegary, the ones that replaced those returned beers were not ready yet.
Real shame.
Dimple_mug - 15 Mar 2009 19:34
A very good pub if you like to sample different real ales. As it's a free house any beer is available! I have recomended a few beers to try and they have had them on as soon as they were available. Large area to sit outside ( could do with tidying ), great in the summer. Can have up to nine ales on but tend to keep only five on unless it gets busy. Food on at dinner only.
lotus - 23 Feb 2009 16:18
recent experience is of having to bring back vinegary beer that had already been complained about by others. Staff slightly arsey.
The downstairs has become pretty unpalatable. Fave Coventry pub switched to the Beer Engine.
Dimple_mug - 20 Dec 2008 16:10
Such a welcome relief from the rest of ale'less pubs in the area, 7/10
fat_beer_badger - 11 Dec 2008 18:10
Great olde-worldy pub with a great selection of real ales. They usually have five real ales on at any time across their eight (or is it nine?) taps - some appearing on more than one tap rather than just some taps not being on.

The pub is a true free house and has absolutely zero regular ales. Every time you go in you get something different. Many beers are locally sourced from the likes of Slaughterhouse Brewery, Warwickshire Brewery, Church End brewery etc. But I have had beers from The Isle of Skye, Isle of Man and even Ireland in the years I have been drinking there and I can count on the fingers of one hand the amount of pints I've thought were rubbish.
markmorgan - 16 Nov 2008 19:33
The pub up the road had bouncers on the doors, and the one in between didn't need them as the customers hanging around outside did the trick. However, this pub sells decent beer (including a good range from the local Slaughterhouse brewery), and the other two almost certainly don't. Interesting interior, and really rather good.
rpadam - 12 Nov 2008 22:14
The interior has been talked about. It is a joy, no doubt.
I've never had a bad experience here. Warwick University Real Ale Society do the exec handover here every year, such is the respect we lavish on it.
Usually a Church End beer on from what I can remember. Beer has always been good overall, good rapport with the staff. It's a good area for pubs, combine this with others for a grand night. Also, the food place next door does the trick.
Dimple_mug - 6 Sep 2008 15:00
Lets be clear, this pub is well nice lookin, real old, a well in the corner, great upstairs with old beams and all that, but the beer is worse than the water out the swanswell. This place promises so much but delivers jack and shite. I was very aggrieved at having to drink bottles of magners because people are too lazy to sort out good beer in their pub.
BolshevistBoozehound - 15 Apr 2008 17:18
not impressed at all. went a few years ago and had decent atmosphere and beer was good. now its got too many yobs and kids around and the place was dirty, woman behind the bar gave me attitude when I mentioned that my glass was dirty? from Ithink about 8 hand piulls on the bar there were only 2 beers available
anonymous - 12 Oct 2007 08:22
Good choice of real ales.Friendly staff,good rear garden some covered.Large carpark next door.Historicaly interesting pub.

lotus - 14 Jul 2007 17:07
I liked this pub straight away and wish I could have stayed longer than I did. Disappointed with the beer festival over the bank holiday weekend. Why put good beer in plastic glasses?
palmwinedrinkard - 29 May 2007 12:02
Rickerty old joint, plenty of character and a good selection of beers. Recommended.
rob372 - 23 May 2007 08:16
I was lucky enough on my visit to this pub to be in the company of someone who knew its history and got a guided tour. The well in the corner, the outside drinking area, the lovely fireplace in the downstairs room, then a tour upstairs. Wow - was I impressed. There are a few different sized rooms plus a small area with only one table and a couple of chairs. The open beams were great and it all looked so old. It is well used though and and is somewhere quiet when there is music downstairs. Oh - and the beer was great too.
gillhalfpint - 15 Apr 2007 22:17
this is one of the best pubs in town, it could be the best. the beer they choose to put on is woeful. its the kind of place that loves serving santa's little helper at x-mas. probably too tight to get any real strong beer in, never see a sneck lifetr or O.P. in here.
BeerBolshevik - 23 Jan 2007 09:16
Quite simply the best pub in Coventry. And i should know - I've visited a few!

The very best selection of real ales is supported by regular musical soirees, and a decor which feels like it's been carved out of the original Coventry Wall.

This is the best - accept no substitutes!
SkullduggeryAfoot - 31 Oct 2006 09:16
If you go to play on the acoustic night on a Wed do NOT under any circumstances enter into anything other than a superficial conversation with the organiser... he may be satan. nice pub tho.
gillyweed - 20 Aug 2005 15:41
This is an all round excellent pub. There is a good variety of real ale, which has generally been of a good quality when I've visited and reasonable in price. The bar food is also good and the portion sizes huge. Staff are friendly too!
MadSal - 9 May 2005 16:49
Gazbert wasn't lying when he said cleaning etc.. had changed the pub - it looks nearly new (well, as new as a medieval building can)! It also smells good. Hopefully the pub will revert back to how it was when it first opened.

My only complaint is it's far too close to where I live!
mcnaughty - 23 Feb 2005 12:04
As an addition to my earlier comments I'd like to make absolutely crystal clear the crap owners that Geoff and Ted talked about are NO LONGER THERE!!! I know this for certain because Geoff and Ted are my two best friends and the guys who've just bought Whitefriars (At the start of February 2005)are also pretty good friends.
gazbert - 19 Feb 2005 18:30
McNaughty is entirely correct, Whitefriars has new owners as of about two weeks ago, I know this because I work for some of them at their other pub so you can take my slightly prejudiced comments as you wish.

Bottom line is that it's a great pub that's become a little bit rundown. In just two weeks the place has already changed beyond recognition. You'll be amazed at how much difference little things like cleaning the floors, replacing the blown out lightbulbs and perhaps most importantly (And I'm going to use capitals for emphasis)CLEANING THE BEERLINES can make. Trust me, it's worth your time, and while you're at it, go to the pub that I actually work at (You'll help pay my wages), the Greyhound Inn at Sutton Stop.
gazbert - 19 Feb 2005 18:08
Heard that the pub has been taken over - still the same staff though!

mcnaughty - 8 Feb 2005 10:14
Still doing live music on Wednesdays from 8pm....
All are welcome and its free!
Acoustic open mic
Seamus - 17 Jun 2004 15:23
I was also one of the original staff for Whitefriars. After eventually getting through a year long period of drought, Bill(former Landlord) has now taken over the Beer Engine down the road on Far Gosford Street. So starting on Monday 14th June will be the birth of the best pub in Coventry, and one of the best in the Midlands. Given that we will be taking everything that made Whitefriars into a success and transfering all of that into a new location. How can the same principles, Staff, Regulars, and more importantly selection of Ales and bottled Belgian Beers possibly fail. Don't miss out of being part of the massive cult following...
Ted - 8 Jun 2004 11:18
I was one of the original staff for whitefriars, Sadly it has a new landlord and Have not since been back. I dont know what its like now but it was the best pub in the midlands by a long way. Heres to fond memories of being drunk at a beer festival: )
Geoff - 28 May 2004 17:15
Great pub in one of the oldest buildings in Coventry (fourteenth century) that has, thankfully, not been over-restored. Consequently there's loads of character especially when the log fires are blazing. Ever changing range of guest beers means you could never have the same drink twice here, but this can attract the wrong kind of red-faced old gent(!) Most of the surrounding pubs are student orientated, so you get a fair few younger folk to keep the mix of clientele interesting.
Ceri - 28 Apr 2004 14:33
I spent time in a few public houses in my time and can honestly say i've never felt more at home than in the whitefriars. Everyone should visit!
Patrick - 10 Apr 2004 11:29
Just got back from a visit to Whitefriars and it has gained another point or two on the ratings! They now have Liefmans Frambozen and Kriek beer alternating on tap!! They are going to be having more varieties of belgian beers too apparently! People were coming in buying it in pints!! Word is getting around so it would seem! This is the only pub I know of in Coventry, taking the effort to do something different and do it well!! More Belgian beer to come..............need to get a bigger bar guys!!!
Andrew - 16 Mar 2004 00:17
A great pub with ever changing range of beers. You had best leave the car at home
dwthia - 16 Dec 2003 15:27
Whitefriars is a wonderful old place full of character. They serve fantastic beer, the staff are really nice and there is a Folk Flavour Acoustic Night on Wednesday evenings. Anyone is welcome to have a go at singing and playing.
Seamus - shay@fish.co.uk - 17 Nov 2003 16:58
Great pub in the 'Old Windmill' mode. Huge choice of guest ales.
Claudie - 17 Nov 2003 12:07
This is an excellent pub. There were some superb Scottish beers on during my last visit when I enjoyed a great cheese ploughmans and chatted with locals. This is one of the oldest buildings in the city, and part of an epic pub crawl (if you take in Spon End, etc). Recommended. I am giving it a "good" 8/10.
lad_newton - 22 Oct 2003 20:14
One of Coventry's oldest buildings dating back to 1335. Nominated for a joint CAMRA/English Heritage award. Usually 4 real ales on and occasional beer festivals. Many rooms to visit and exposed brickwork and beams make the atmosphere very nice indeed. Live music too.
Andy Carter - 26 Sep 2003 17:15

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