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BITE user comments - Gristy

Comments by Gristy

The Fox Inn, Ysceifiog

Local CAMRA POTY for 2013, two beers from Thwaites and two guests from local breweries, all very well-kept. Outstanding nationally-listed interior with tiny front bar with bench built into pub counter, lobby with tiny off-sales hatch, snug off to one side with access through to toilets and back room with closed-off opening to back of bar. Private room beyond the snug on the right and steps to large cellar directly opposite entrance door. Friendly and welcoming landlord, chatty locals, good-looking menu. Attractive building from outside as well, set on the village green opposite the church.

Not easy to find and Mrs Satnav can send you down lanes you'd rather not be driving on, but well worth the time and effort to seek this absolute gem of a pub out.

10 Jun 2014 13:35

The Packhorse Inn, Crowdicote

Although living in the area for three years now and having driven past two or three times on various jaunts, this was our first visit to the Packhorse and I'm very glad to say it will become a regular fixture for us now. Although normally closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, this was open on the Bank Holiday Monday. We arrived at about 9pm, food had just finished being served, although no problem for us as we weren't looking for it anyway. We were greeted by the extremely welcoming landlord (Mick) who promptly ran through all the beers on offer with strengths, tastes and colourings etc. He offers four local independent ales, all at £3.10 and was at p[ains to point out he doesn't carry any of the national brands at all, only the independents. All were sampled and all were in extremely good nick, so much so that we took a two-pint carryout of the Cheshire Brewhouse Galaxy Blues home with us. The setting for this pub is stunning, with what is really just a hamlet cut into a very steep-sided valley sitting on the border of Derbyshire and Staffordshire.
The pub has finally been allocated into a CAMRA branch after a long spell of not knowing which area it fell into, so it is now part of the Matlock sub-branch of the Chesterfield area, which seems a slight anomaly given its distance from Chesterfield, although it is only six miles from Matlock.
Very much worth your time seeking this out - easiest approach is from the A515 at the Hurdlow/Monyash crossroads, and this will also give you the best view of the magnificent scenery as you approach the village from on high before sweeping down a couple of hairpin bends to the valley floor.

7 May 2013 10:57

The Green Man, Ashbourne

Sold! Finally...as yet mystery buyer has promised heavy investment and secure long-term future for the building, though in what format remains to be seen. Projected to take up to 18 months to complete...has the ball finally been picked up and running with it again?

8 Jan 2013 16:36

The Coach & Horses, Ashbourne

On a real rollercoaster at the moment with this one - changed hands a couple of times, frequently shut when you would expect it to be open, management company brought in to run it a few months back, but no consistency in operating, so very much a hit-and.miss experience just now.

14 Nov 2012 13:51

Cock Inn, Clifton

Extremely well-kept Landlord sampled here on 11/11/11, must get out here more often as it's no more than 20 minutes walk from the house...

14 Nov 2012 13:47

The Cross Keys, Nottingham

Still run by Great Northern Inns, but now serving beers from Navigation, only operating since March this year. At least three of their own ales on, plus 4/5 guests, all in very good nick. Highly attentive and efficient staff showed us to the upstairs dining room when the bar area was too crowded to sit and eat. Extremely good food at pretty rresaonable prices. An excellent operation all round.

5 Nov 2012 12:34

The Station Hotel, Ashbourne

Bar now closed to the public, only opened for residents.

23 Oct 2012 15:23

The Green Man, Ashbourne

No such luck. Further delays in the buying process resulted in a deadline set for completion about two weeks ago. The buyer failed to come up with the money, so back to auction it went last week...and failed to meet even the reserve. Not a seriou bid in the room. It's now close on two years since this place first closed its doors -desperate times.

23 Oct 2012 15:11

The Coachmakers Arms, Hanley

A visit for a pint of Titanic Mild today saw the very unwelcome news confirmed that the Coachmakers' will NOT survive beyond next Easter. The new buildings are under way on the opposite side of the road, but once they are complete, the pub will close for ever to make way for...an entrance road to the new bus station. Absolutely criminal.

PLEASE get to the Coachmakers; whilst you still can sample another bit of old and proper England before it dies.

13 Sep 2012 23:01

The Unicorn Inn, Hanley

Very decent, tiny pub right in the centre of Hanley, but none the worse for that. London Pride appears to be the key ale here, with at least two others on, including a very decent Landlord on this occasion. Apparently has a ghost, and although not seen on this occasion, also has a set of rails along which the barrels of beer used to be rolled to the cellar. Very decent stopping point.

13 Sep 2012 22:57

The Cock Inn, Burton-Upon-Trent

Large roadhouse style pub, unusual in a very small and quite isolated village, but partially explained, I suppose, by the rebuild after the Fauld Expolsion nearly 70 years ago. Two separate bar areas connected by a cross-corridor just inside the entrance. Nice decor, good heavy wooden doors and some fairly stylish panelling in the public bar, didn't look into the lounge on this visit. Very welcoming and friendly staff and locals, supremely well-kept Bass on tap as well as Pedigree and, although no guest on during our visit, the number of pump-clips would seem to indicate a healthy attitude to good ale.

Despite working within three miles for well over three years now, this was a first visit, but the second will be much, much quicker. Excellent.

3 Sep 2012 15:23

The Dog and Partridge Country Inn, Swinscoe

I am wondering if this was possibly the Dog & Partridge at Thorpe that this reviewer visited? Could be wrong, but this type of review would get lost amongst the raft of complaints posted there, whereas no-one else has ever commented on the Swinscoe D&P?

15 Aug 2012 17:03

The Green Man, Ashbourne

Some possible movement this week as it is being reported that the keys will finally be passed over to the new owner this week - chances of a decent refurbishment and re-opening in time for Xmas must be hoped for.

15 Aug 2012 16:58

The Wheel, Ashbourne

Having lived in the town for a while now, I can revisit the review below and refine the comments somewhat. It wasn't the type of pub I am used to visiting, but familiarity and repeat visits have improved the experience. Always a warm and friendly greeting from the barstaff, three handpumps always on, two permanent in Bass and Pedigree and a third rotating guest, most recently Jennings Snecklifter and Brains Steaming Wagon. For a smallish pub, several flatscreens dominate the walls and all football coverage is usually on.

For a closer look at the architecture of the building, there is a covered courtyard area accessed via the rear door to the toilets which seems to have had a previous life - there are two fine old leaded windows next to the bar which look out onto this area, suggesting it was an open area once upon a time - a pool room off to the left as you enter would appear to have been built across this space when it was closed off from the old street access.

15 Aug 2012 16:53

The Ardview Inn, Port Ellen

The only true pub in the town, the only true pub on the southern half of the island, in fact...we stayed in the cottage immediately next door and quickly discovered the reason that the all the rooms in the cottage were upstairs was that the pub cellar appears to occupy most of the ground floor under the cottage as opposed to being within the pub footprint itself.
We didn't meet many people during our week long stay who expressed a positive view on the pub. It is quite picturesque to look at from the outside, but has permanently barred and shuttered windows and is therefore quite dark and cramped inside - I have seen descriptions elsewhere of it having the feeling of being inside a ship, which does seem about right.

The local clientele did have a habit of making you feel a little uncomfortable without being actually bothersome, but the upside was that it is an outlet for the local Islay brewery - although our first visit on a very busy Saturday night produced two pints of vinegar, which were vastly improved upon when we we visited again at a much quieter time a couple of days later, so the benefit of the doubt goes with them on that one - and a quite breathtaking array of Islay malts behind the bar - I tried to count them up a couple of times and lost count at well over a hundred and twenty. Some exceedingly rare - and therefore very expensive - bottlings were available and it was a real job to know what to choose.

All in all, a mixed bag of experiences, but as the choice of pubs/hotels is extremely limited in this part of the island, it is somewhere I will return to on our next pilgrimage to the Isle of Malts.

26 Jun 2012 01:00

The Boot Inn, Eskdale

The quietest of the three on our Beer Festival weekend visit, but still far busier than the staff at the Brook House had led us to believe! Decent ales on including the house Robinson's range, friendly staff.

26 Jun 2012 00:48

The Woolpack Inn, Boot

Visted during the Boot Beer festival - made a slight error of judgement as we were staying in Keswick, decided it didn't seem that far by road and came over the Hardknott pass in atrociously wet weather with the cloudbase down to below the top of the pass, and small rivers running down the gradients. A VERY relieved pair in a breathless Mini Cooper rolled into the Woolpack carpark with a sudden big thirst on...took a while to get served as the place was rammed. Very, very good range of beers on, barstaff were understandably rushed off their feet, but some of the younger staff seemed a little unsure of what they were actually doing - newly hired help by the looks of it.

26 Jun 2012 00:44

The Brook House Inn, Boot

Visited during the famous Boot Beer Festival weekend. In our opinion, the best of the three pubs, although they all had their good and great points. As the festival was in full swing on the Saturday evening, it was rammed. The ale selection was tremendous and the whisky range prompted a brief, but very friendly exchange with the barmaid and the punter next to me at the bar due to the Ardbeg jacket I wore fresh off the island just two days earlier.

26 Jun 2012 00:38

The Blue Bell, Annan

Whilst I largely agree with the sentiments expressed in the previous post in terms of the excellent range of real ales and the State panelling decor, our brief flying visit just eight days later saw us encounter a dinosaur standing at the bar as we entered at about 1.30pm, espousing his bigoted and racist views to the small knot of regulars gathered therein in a "comedy" foreign accent. He paused briefly as the embarrassed barmaid shushed him with a whisper of "there's strangers behind you", to which he responded "ach it's ok, they're white".

Chick (I think that was his name), you let the Bluebell down badly.

26 Jun 2012 00:33

George Hotel, Orton

Assuming we are talking about the George in Keswick town centre, its a decent Jennings house, always seemed busy over the weekend we were there. Ancient building, some interesting old panelling and a disused half-door (from a previous room layout?) in the front left room, a nice old openplan arwa to the right and the bar area up a step at the back. Small, but very decent range of malts as well.

26 Jun 2012 00:25

Keswick Lodge Hotel, Keswick

Good Thwaites range, utilitarian feel to bar area, a bit lacking in any atmosphere.

26 Jun 2012 00:17

Lake Road Inn, Keswick

Must have a hard time competing with next door, but does a reasonable job of it. Good ale from Robinsons, friendly barstaff and some interesting old breweriana on the walls.

25 Jun 2012 23:56

Dog and Gun, Keswick

Visited two or three times over our long weekend, The beer range is all local, varied, very well kept and not over-expensive. The food, particularly, the famous goulash, is excellent, although this time not over-cheap. The ambience is warm and friendly with all manner of dog owners, walkers etc...but....ah, but...the barstaff, mostly young women, were less than impressive. On our first visit, tearing themselves away from a threeway close-headed discussion about whoknowswhat took an irksomely long time, followed not by a "hello, what can we get you" type of opening, but a "you all right there?" in the style of a bored shop assistant. This has taken a point or two off a very decent pub for me.

25 Jun 2012 23:53

Bank Tavern, Keswick

Visited on a wet and therefore quiet Sunday afternoon, fullrange of Jennings ales plus three decent guests from the Marstons stable. As said elsewhere, not cheap, but beer was in very good nick.

25 Jun 2012 23:45

The Black Lion, Consall

Something of an oversight in not reviewing this pub before now,m as we have been here thre/four times in the last 18 months or so, therefore more of a generic review than a specific occasion.
You can get here by heritage railway, canal boat, on foot/bike or by car, but however you arrive, it is worth the trek. The arrival by car is something of an adventure as you turn off the nearest "main" road at the Consall turnoff south of Wetley Rocks and drive...and drive...and drive...down ever narrowing roads to what appears to be the entrance to a private estate and then onwards through the wooded nature reserve until you eventually run out of road in a small car-park next to a complex of railway bridge/canal bridges/footpaths and riverbanks which you need to walk for another 300 yards or so up to - and over - a level crossing over the railway to arrive at the door of the pub. For all its isolation, but perhaps because of the journey required, it is nearly always busy and , on occasions, oppressively rammed - it once took us 35 minutes of queuing back out of the door to get served even just a drink, never mind try for food. They are passionate about the provision of excellent local real ales and hold a very good beer festival in the summer. It does appear somewhat ramshackle and untidy, which really ought to be attended to every now and again, but that's a minor quibble, really. Never eaten here yet, but will do so on our next expedition to what is a stunningly located pub.

31 May 2012 15:04

The Waterloo Inn, Biggin

Fairly isolated pub in very small village, although actually not far off the A515. Reasonably attractive looking farmhouse style building, emphasis on camping/caravanning facilities in large paddock at rear, shower block etc out front in adjoining buildings. Nice views across the fields from the patio at the front. Friendly enough welcome, a couple of standard ales on tap - Black Sheep and Speckled Hen, a third pump was dry on our visit. Due to the caravan park and the noisy group of kids on the pool table, had more the feel of a social club rather than a traditional country pub, but really OK for all that. Solid, but unspectacular - apart from the views.

21 May 2012 13:30

The Three Stags Heads, Wardlow Mires

A short visit this past Sunday arriving at around 4pm found an impromptu open music session in the back room, with fiddles, guitars and a bodhran being played in an accomplished manner and warmly received by the small knot of drinkers crowded close to the roaring log fire. All the Abbeydale ales were on top form as usual and two or three lurchers draped themselves around the floor for people to pick their way over.

Honestly, it really can't get much better than this.

9 May 2012 12:30

The Roebuck, Leek

First time in this pub, so no comparisons with old regime are viable for me. Titanic have installed a superb half-circular bar with 10 handpumps ranged around it, seven from their own range and three very good guests. In order to showcase the ale, all the other lager/fizzy pumps have been arranged on the wall behind the serving area with just the handles showing in several rows, much in the style of many American bars. Informed barstaff were able to describe the different styles of beer on offer, always a good sign.
A fairly heavy emphasis on food with an interesting and relatively cheap menu on offer. The toilets are down a couple of steps in what appears to have been an open courtyard at one point, but is now enclosed. A nice amusing touch in the gents is a padded barstool seat screwed to the wall just above one of the urinals, presumably in order for drink-weary punters to lay their head against whilst relieving themselves of the ale consumed!

9 May 2012 12:26

The Green Man, Ashbourne

The daily soap opera that is the Green Man has another quick addition...reports are now that the building HAS been sold by the auctioneers, although in a privately agreed sale after the failed auction. No details are yet forthcoming, but has St.George come galloping over the horizon at the 11th hour?

9 May 2012 12:17

The Exeter Arms, Derby

Under Dancing Duck, this has fast become one of the very best pubs in Derby, no mean feat in the beer capital of Britain. Their own beers are never less than superb, especially the Dark Drake and their various guests are excellent as well. The food is very good indeed, some unusual dishes and a fair veggie selection. The sister pub to the New Zealand, both run superbly by very very good staff. Brilliant.

4 May 2012 19:20

The Green Man, Ashbourne

As of May 1st, closed by the receivers after failing to sell at auction last week. Still on the market, the town as a whole is now worried about the future for the most well knownn building in the town. It really does need a knight in shining armour to step in and rescue it.

4 May 2012 19:10

The Alehouse, Reading

Slightly unnerving experience on a return to the home-town - the refurbishment is a bit like seeing your grungy heavy-metal loving kid brother suddenly have a wash and a shave and put on a suit and tie for a job interview.
Still excellent choice of ales, dispensed by a throughly unsmiling and largely uncommunicative barkeep who looked as if he wanted to be anywhere but behind a bar and seemed to find it a wearisome and irritating problem to answer a simple question from the punter in front of us about the cider/perry pump.
Try smiling and interacting with people in a friendly manner, old son - it doesn't cost anything and might even make you more money over the bar when people remember your winsome smiling face.

3 May 2012 12:13

The Greyhound, Derby

DBC are extremely good at what they do - brew very good beer, offer very good food, but as with the Brewery Tap, they have retained the old exterior of the pub and made it very modern inside, something which jars with my traditional views, but I am very glad these two pubs are thriving and the decor won't stop me going, especially for the sampler boards they offer, excellent for five third-pints and a bowl of cheese. Can't be bettered.

25 Apr 2012 17:06

The King William IV, Milford

This year's beer festival was the catalyst for our first visit here, having never been able to swerve away whilst en route to the Holly Bush before now. Lovely old stone building running along a good length of the A6, albeit on an awkward corner with nothing but on-road parking. For all iTs overall size, the bar area is small and shallow, running about 25 yards along the building, but only 12 feet deep. A well-chosen list of 16 ales from near and further afield was available, 13 direct from barrels to one-side of the bar area and three more on tap. Good busy atmosphere swiftly built up to a packed hubbub as it turned 9pm.
The barstaff were all of the elder vintage as described elsewhere and were a little taciturn in their approach to serving, seeming to not find much to smile about and having trouble identifying one of the advertised beers, in that we heard someone ask for it, but they couldn't say which barrel it was in as they had simply numbered the barrels against the beer list and couldn't match up the number on the barrel to the number on the list successfully. That aside, the two much younger lads dispensing the beer from the stillage were cheerful, friendly and polite, so it was all generally a very pleasant hour or so.

20 Apr 2012 16:52

Globe, Liverpool

Can't really add anything different to most of the reviews here...packed with a crowd of no-one under 50, it seemed. Good range of 5 different real ales behind the tiny bar. Sttep slope up to the tiny snug back bar, gents toilets are a little scruffy...alright, a lot scruffy, they do need tidying up. However, no detraction from an authentic city centre pub experience. Lovely frontage to the place as well.

9 Apr 2012 22:45

Ye Cracke, Liverpool

This was somewhere I have been meaning to get to on regular trips to Liverpool over the years and now kick myself that I didn't realise it was so close to the Phil...visited twice before and after the concert at the Phil. First time was around 3.30pm, pub busy with LFC fabs watching the local feed from their home game, excellent range of good ales on and friendly, if a little slow-moving, staff. Great little series of rooms, but we were lucky enough to have the War Room to ourselves, which prompted a few self-portraits via the full-wall mirror!
The second visit saw us dive in just ahead of the hordes from the concert as the place quickly swelled to rammed...took in the edgy atmosphere of a Saturday night in a Liverpool legend of a pub. Brilliant.

9 Apr 2012 22:39

Pattern makers, Duffield

The correct name of the pub is the Pattenmaker's Arms...a back-street pub, though only just off the main through-road in the village. It has a large horseshoe island bar with an area behind it through openings either side, and a pool table in an open area opposite the bar. Unusual layout, with the kitchen and a storeroom off to one side through doors that I think may have once been the toilets, as they are now accessed through a lobby at the back into a much more recent extension. Also an upstairs room for functions and bands.
Very friendly welcome during the Easter Beerfest, which had some very decent local ales on, including a barrel of Nutbrook Autumn Ale, the only one in existence as all other beer from this brew has been bottled.
Will return again soon to sample the Bass from the jug...

9 Apr 2012 22:29

The Palmerston Arms, Peterborough

EDIT - sorry, got my notes wrong - Oldershaw's is, of course, a brewery local to Peterborough and not from Manchester!

21 Mar 2012 10:43

The Palmerston Arms, Peterborough

For some reason or other, this is NOT in the Good Beer Guide 2012, which is bizarre because it does exactly what CAMRA want it to do - serves beer direct from the cask via gravity only, from a cellar directly behind the bar visible through a large window. Curious decision by the local branch to omit it.

The range of beer, using several from Bateman's , together with several from the local area as well as two from Manchester (Oldershaw's & Phoenix) and one from Newcastle (Mordue), was superb. Highlight of the evening was the Bateman's Salem Porter.

There are other comments below about the fairly recent refurbishment and the gloominess of the landlord. Well, although initially unsmiling, the landlord was happy to talk about the cellar and the pub itself, so you just need to let him warm up a little. With regard to the layout, I am disappointed to hear the original bar was replaced and I do understand the comment about an unevenness in the new layout, as the two rooms immediately inside the entrance door are comfortably furnished in a traditional way, but the bar itself sits uneasily at the back and looks more like a nondescript social club bar than what you would exepct to find in a 400 year old building. As the glasses are all kept in the cellar for ease of filling, that should allow more room in the bar-area, but there is a large overhead shelf that almost hangs down in fron tof the bar staff and lends a cramped feel to the vicinity of the serving area itself.

Having rattled on for so long about this aspect, I must make it clear this does not detract at all from the experience of freshly drawn pints and the overall impression of a very fine pub.

21 Mar 2012 10:37

The Stepping Stones, Ashbourne

Just a bog standard Marston's eating house next to the Premier Lodge - OK if you like that sort of thing. Sits on the extreme edge of the town, on the far side of the bypass, and as such relies more on through traffic than local trade.

20 Mar 2012 15:21

The Green Man, Ashbourne

Now apparently under new ownership as of very recently, although details are not known at present. There was something of a refurbishment of the bars a few weeks back, so let's hope this is the start of the climb back up the hill...the beer range has been better recently, although a bad pint was promptly changed on our last visit.

20 Mar 2012 15:17

New Zealand Arms, Derby

Re-opened four days ago under the stewardship of the local Dancing Duck brewery, so local to this pub that it must now be acting as the brewery tap.

Deceptively large corner back street pub, with three entrances into what presumably must have been separate bars in the past, but which is now one large open area, albeit subdivided by big pillars and double-sided fireplaces etc. Large L shaped bar with six Dancing Duck ales on at one end, all at 2.50 a pint, and six other pumps for guests at the other end. As you would expect, the house ales are superb, the Dark Drake stout, the Brown Clough and the Ay Up sampled on this occasion. The very friendly staff are obviously keen to make an early impression. They haven't got everything up and running yet in terms of food etc, but it was most important to get the beer flowing and that they have done superbly.

It is a little off the main road and I suspect they may have a previous body of local clientele to deal with, but I trust they will pull in discerning ale-drinkers from the west end of Derby, as it is really only a short walk from the likes of Mr Grundy's and the Greyhound, so should become part of a real-ale trail very quickly.

19 Mar 2012 11:41

The Falstaff, Derby

Dropped in last night after a gap of about 18 months, to find nothing has changed my opinion of this being the very best real ale pub in the city. The Falstaff range of beer was truly excellent and there was a warm hubbub of chatter from groups of locals. The barman was extremely welcoming and helped us to decide we needed a bottle of the Supernova to take away as stocks are now extremely limited to the point of when they're gone, they're gone.

Now, there are quite a few areas of the bars that are in need of some attention for decoration etc, but they almost add to the atmosphere of an old-time back street local where time is standing still, and there are other comments on here made about the state of the gents etc, although they were some time ago. I can now report that the gents are clean and tidy and the blackboard is still there for comments, but as I went in that door, I heard a yelp of surprise from the wife as she pushed open the door of the ladies. The reason for that became apparent when I came out of the gents, only to be dragged into the ladies with a "come and look at this" to be greeted by an astonishing refit featuring green and purple drapes and curtains, modern clear-glass sinks and an all-pervading air of floaty femininity, totally and utterly at odds with the general archaic feel of the rest of the building.

For that alone, I raise my rating from 9 to 10...

19 Mar 2012 11:30

The Dog and Partridge, Hazlehead

It is very remote, sat alone at the end of the Woodhead Pass, but clearly does well. Welcoming real fire burning as we entered, a decent range of Barnsley bitters and a short, but interesting menu, although not that cheap. No time to eat on this occasion, but worth a repeat visit when the clock isn't against us.

19 Mar 2012 10:38

The Dove Inn, Barnsley

As stated, very handy for the football ground. Very friendly locals, decent Old Mill beer. Clean and tidy pub, although the gents needed some attention with no door lack and the seat leaning up against the wall instead of on the bowl! Replays of old Barnsley games being looped on various TVs around the room and over a somewhat loud PA. Doorman doubling up as a programme seller. A pleasant way to spend an hour before the game, made even better by the 4-0 drubbing we handed them as well!

19 Mar 2012 10:35

Devonshire Arms, Burton-Upon-Trent

As mentioned, has a lot to do to compete with the Coopers mere yards away, but does an excellent job and the two pubs are running a joint beer festival in May with around 50 beers between them. Very decent Burton Bridge ales as well as a guest or two. Only went in the front bar this time, but the decor jars slightly with the old Victorian paint scheme on the outside - a modern bare brick wall catches the eye and is out of place with the character of the building itself. Not that important, I suppose, its otherwise a very good pub ideally situated a couple of hundred yards from the station, so excellent for the first and/or last stop on a circuit of brilliant real-ale pubs in the town.

16 Mar 2012 17:45

Five Lamps, Derby

CAMRA Pub of the Year for 2012 and it's easy to see why...very friendly, welcoming staff, magnificient array of handpumps with mostly Locale brews, but also the odd guest from further afield. Their own label Five Lamps Ale brewed by Derby Brewing Company is a superb session ale. Excellent food on inclusing the Guilty Secret, a massive Yorkshire pudding with three proper sausages, mash, peas and gravy for under 7. Smart open-plan drinking area, but somehow quite intimate for all that. Seems like an out-of-town oasais, but it's only a few hundred yards from the Flowerpot and then you're into the inner city drinking circuit. Superb.

4 Mar 2012 16:34

Black Swan, Bowns Hill

Very attractive looking old stone coaching inn in a pretty village. The buidling next door was once the White Swan. Welcoming barman and decent beer, albeit from the Greene King stable. Massive collection of beer mugs and jugs hanging from the ceiling and all walls adorned with highly polished brass objects as well. Warm and chatty even early doors into the evening session, around 6pm. Excellent stopping-off point on the back roads through from Alfreton to Belper.

2 Mar 2012 10:59

The Peacock, Bakewell

Good and well-kept ales from the local Peak Ales as well as Adnams which appears to be a permanent "guest". Large old-fashioned jukebox dominating the main bar area, good selection of music on it. Staff weren't unfriendly as reported elsewhere, but also weren't exactly all smiles. As with the Castle around the corner, all just a bit flat, albeit at about 4pm on a Sunday afternoon. Best bit about the pub is that you can see the Wee Dram out of the window...

14 Feb 2012 12:16

Castle Inn, Bakewell

Bakewell is a bit "meh" when it comes to pubs. Being so heavily touristic means there isn't really a true "locals" pub where you feel you can just sit and have a good local beer, take in the old-fashioned surroundings and not feel as though you are always in a family dining experience. This is no different - Greene King owned and nothing approaching a local beer on tap, although the Black Sheep was perfectly OK. Fairly heavy accent on eating with more of the feel of a restaurant - albeit with a dartboard area at one side of the bar and a flatscreen for sport at the other end. Menu looked reasonably good, but not sure I could be dragged back in again.

14 Feb 2012 12:08

The City Arms, Manchester

Should read "cowering as pints"...

24 Jan 2012 18:06

The City Arms, Manchester

Late review - visited a week before Xmas on a Friday night - couldn't get in the door at first due to overcrowding and then spent an hour either pressed up against the people around us or cowwring a pint were passed over our heads once we managed to squeeze onto a couple of seats.

Excellent ale range and good, if overworked staff. Would like to vist at a quieter time to appreciate the pub itself a bit more.

24 Jan 2012 18:06

The Willoughby Arms, Kingston Upon Thames

Large-scale imposing buidling set in a back-street close to the town centre.
Central island bar area has four or five very decent ales on - the pub is the HQ for the local branch of SPBW - one bar area set aside with three screens for football, another area with a pool table and a third for "quiet" drinking, althought the sound from the screens will intrude through the open doorways connecting all three. Very friendly welcome from helpful bar staff. Glad the research through the GBG proved our selection of a random pub was so successful.

16 Jan 2012 11:23

Ramsay's Real Ale Bar (at the Buckingham Hotel), Buxton

Something of a mixed experience here...arrived around 6.30pm on a Sunday night. Bar area was sparsely populated and a single barman behind the pumps. We approached the bar and began perusing the handpumps to settle on our choice, although he did not acknowledge us at this stage. During this period, and despite having no other customers to serve, the barman chose to come out from behind the bar and walked to the far end of the room where he started waving a TV remote around whilst discussing something with a group of drinkers at a table, presumably over something to do with the rather loud commentary coming from the three huge flatscreens pumping out the Spanish football. He then returned to the bar area, walked straight past us and started a conversation with first one, then another couple who were perusing menus and dithering over where to sit at tables. All this time, he strode past us several times before returning behind the bar and finally acknowledging us with a "you all right there, guys"? Mmmmm...no we weren't , actually.
However, we were only there for the beer, so a choice of Titanic, Abbeydale and Church end beers were on offer and all were very good. We will return again, as events at the Opera House will draw us back, but the initial customer contact needs to be much improved to keep us coming back.

9 Jan 2012 12:33

The Princess Victoria, Matlock Bath

Visited Matlock Bath on a busy Xmas Bank Holiday, but the pub itself was quiet at around 2pm. Very friendly young barman, two very good Ashover Ales as well as a guest from the brand-new Black Iris brewery in Derby. Small front area with bar off in one corner, big windows to watch the (biker) world go by.

27 Dec 2011 20:46

The Bulls Head, Alton

Visited again yesterday after a gap of about a year, this busy place now has a couple of screens for live football etc, but is otherwise pretty much the same as my original comment.

12 Dec 2011 14:14

The Old Oak Inn, Horsley Woodhouse

Magnificent range of supremely well-kept ales tapped direct from the cask in the Rurad bar in the conservatory at the back. Didn't get into the main bar this time, but another trip beckons soon. Tried Leadmill Slumdog at 5.9 and Steel City Dilligaf at 4.9, both stunning ales at a very decent 2.60 each. A brilliant innovation and worthy of many repeat visits, as long as we don't encounter the boorishly casual racist local "entertaining" the crowds as we did this time. He clearly thought he was "funny" as did the cackling crowd that roared with laughter at his wit. Not impressed at him, but not the pub's fault.

10 Dec 2011 22:11

Trent Navigation, Nottingham

Tucked in amongst the canal and back-street businesses surrounding Notts County FC. Large attractive looking building, heavily tiled along the frontage in an old-fashioned style, but interior decor is jarringly modern in a "boutique" kind of way. Full of Forest fans on our visit an hour before kick-off, but quick service and friendly staff. Prices very reasonable at 2.60 a pint. Very decent selection of half a dozen local real ales. Excellent and well worth a visit on non-match days - its only 15 minutes walk from the station after all.

2 Nov 2011 10:30

The Crown, Lichfield

Re. comment about a Weatherspoons vibe - my exact thoughts. Crowded at 5pm on a Saturday with the local Villa crew in watching their game on the multitude of flatscreens that were on almost every wall. Huge fridges behind the bar stocked up with all kinds of drinks in that Weatherspoons fashion and a decent range of ales on handpump - Adnams Ghost Ship and Ossett Mellow Yellow were taken on this occasion and very reasonable they were too. Friendly service, although only got change back for a tenner instead of the twenty given, so had to chase it back, but otherwise fine. Probably gets very raucous and heaving later on in the evening, but perfectly OK at that time for a pint and to check the footie results.

19 Sep 2011 12:13

The Scales Inn, Lichfield

Going against all natural instincts and even taking into account the "2 for one cocktails between 5pm-10pm" board outside - who in their right mind is drinking cheap cocktails in a town centre pub at 5pm? - we decided to take a bit of a punt on a blind choice rather than the normally well researched decision we usually make.

Should stick to our principles really. Low ceilinged dingy interior, uninspiring choice of Bombardier or Pedigree on tap. Very friendly and polite barman, though, which was good. Several miserable looking punters dotted throughout and drinking alone, general air of despondancy about the place, albeit at 5.30pm on a Saturday teatime. Grim, but a couple of extra points for the barman.

19 Sep 2011 12:05

Smiths Tavern, Ashbourne

Dave is now able to offer an independent ale of his choosing and has begun with the very first brew from a brand new Derby micro, Middle Earth, with their debut ale Prancing Pony at 3.9. A great move that only enhances the experience.

13 Sep 2011 16:03

The Thorn Tree, Matlock

Tucked in amongst the narrow roads up behind County Hall, this is well worth seeking out and staying a long while. The Bass here is so highly regarded it sits proudly alone in the larger (but still small) of the two rooms whilst the six other ales , mostly from the wider edges of the GK stable, jostle for position in the other smaller room. Superb views across the valleys and hills beyond. A very decent pint of Jarrow Rivet Catcher was had this time, together with a swift half of the superb Bass. Excellent.

20 Aug 2011 23:00

The Bell Inn, Cromford

Surprisingly small inside given the size of the building from outside. Two rooms, but one is almost just a large lobby on the way to the toilets. Main room has all the feel of a social club rather than a pub, but welcoming all the same. Bass, Pedigree and what looks like a guest pump with this time Thwaites Triple C on. Two very friendly Basset hounds on the stairs at the back of the bar when on the way to the loo. Advertsting a beer festival next weekend (August Bank Holiday).

20 Aug 2011 22:47

Bowling Green, Winster

A surprise to write the first review of this pub, given its high profile across this area. A beautiful village of ancient cottages, houses and buildings has this very ancient (15th-century) inn at its core. Visited at about 9.30 on a Saturday night, teeming with diners and drinkers in a hubbub of conversation and joviality, although not a local accent in earshot suggests an awful lot of weekenders/second homers. Series of rooms and open areas set around an island bar area, 4 very decent local ales on, Abbeydale Daily Bread amongst them. Good-looking menu, although the vegetarian did not seem to be overly catered for, with what I am assured was a fairly bland choice. The owners have been here for more than 20 years and are proud to declare it in their witty handbook/menu, where they set out their expectations of making all very welcome and everyone having a good time. It's certainly a very pleasant place in which to spend an evening.

15 Aug 2011 12:05

Watts Russel Arms, Alstonefield

This is very much off the beaten track, although it is at the top of the 1 mile run down to the tourist (but tiny) hotspot of Milldale and the riverside walks along the Dove. Nice-looking little building, although a wee bit tired around the edges. Nothing a lick of paint here and there and a little bit of TLC wouldn't straighten out. Small interior dominated by the central bar, very quiet at 2.30pm on the Sunday we visited, although there was a fair amount of footfall after that as we supped our pints in the small beer garden outside the front door. Very, very decent Thornbridge ales on, Brother Rabbit at 4.0 and Chiron at 5.0, both very quaffable indeed, although not cheap at 6.30 for the two pints. Food was available although we didn't consult the menu this time.

15 Aug 2011 10:37

Flying Childers, Stanton In Peak

A marvellous example of a very traditional old village local. In a beautiful small village of many stone-clad cottages and houses up a steep and winding road off the "main" through road - itself a winding B road through the stunning local hills. Step into the the entrance porch with the off-licence hatch still intact and there are several small shelves of bread, cakes, tins of food, eggs etc for sale. Through the door to the right is a tiny bar with just four tables and seating for about 15 or so, very decent well-kept ales on tap. Bombardier is a permanent fixture here, then two ever-changing guest pumps, with Castle Rock Hravest Pale and a just-on Hartington bitter this time. Very welcoming husband and wife bar-team, friendly group of old boys discussing Derby county and the England cricket team. Didn't go into the larger bar to the left this time, but another visit beckons again soon. One of the most relaxed and timeless pub experiences in many a year. Just be wary of the unregular opening hours - closed Mon/Tues.

15 Aug 2011 10:20

The Rose and Crown Inn, Allgreave

Isolated pub, nothing else nearby really. Stunning location with sweeping views down to the valley below and the hills beyond. Yes, the front door does open almost directly onto the road, but it's not exactly the M6 outside in terms of throughflow. A few car park spaces either side of the pub , but a big grassed overflow area on a terrace up a hairpin bend to the right of the building.
Robinsons house, beer reasonable, but not outstanding. Friendly welcome, although a group of young lads on racing bikes had a spot of bother when it came to trying to pay for their coffees and sandwiches by card, only to be told "we can't take cards at the moment" - surely they should have been informed of that when ordering? Don't know if/when it ever gets busy, but a decent pit-stop when on a tour of the stunning landscapes aroundabout.

25 Jul 2011 16:08

White Swan, Ashbourne

This is now run by the landlady of the Vaults directly adjacent - they act as one pub split across two sites, wherein this is the lounge to the Vaults public. Much smarter inside, lighter and brighter, same range of Marston's beers, thogh the interior doesn't match the old-style exterior at all.

18 Jul 2011 15:38

The Brewery Tap, Derby

Another first-timer on Saturday on a between-beer-festival-sessions pub crawl. Magnificent range of their own excellent ales, coupled with several guests from local micros, including Wentwell Farmer's Ale from a brand-new micro in the city and according to the blackboard, the only barrel available anywhere in the world...quite a claim and therefore a beer of such rarity had to be sampled. Also ate well from a very good menu, the food was excellently prepared and very very good, although quality took precedence over quantity. My only down-mark would be the wine-bar type feel of the fittings and bar area rather than a more traditional feel, but this really is a minor quibble.

A return to sample the legendary Rack beckons very soon.

11 Jul 2011 13:33

The White Hart, Ashbourne

Another old coaching inn on the Ashbourne circuit, although it stands "alone" just a few yards along Church Street. Another one with a very lively atmosphere most nights, not just the weekends. Another Marston's house with decently-kept ales, always something going on with talent nights etc. Not a frequent visitor to this one, but it's always OK when we do.

30 Jun 2011 14:53

Smiths Tavern, Ashbourne

Usually described as the oldest pub in the town, it has a very narrow twin-bay "shop-front" apearance with the single entry door in between. An old side door to the left of the frontage which was probably a corridor entrance at one time is long since disused. Three room layout inside with the bar in the front lounge, a middle room up a few steps containing a large fireplace and just two or three tables, with the toliets off to one side and a further room beyond that with a disused dumb waiter in one corner. The unusual layout is continued by the fact that the kitchen area is in the cellar next to the beers.
The Marston's-owned pub has undergone a couple of changes of tenancy in recent times, but has now stabilised under the stewardship of Dave, who cares passionately about the way he keeps and dispenses the beers from across their range, including Jennings as well as Ringwoods and Brakspears "guests".
An always-friendly core of regulars has built up here in the wake of the jittery times at the Green Man just yards along the road, so there is always a convivial atmosphere here to enjoy.

30 Jun 2011 14:49

Just B Piano Bar and Hotel, Ashbourne

The operation here has moved into the Bridge bar elsewhere in town and this is now being converetd into a Italian restaurant that is itself relocating from within the town. Another historic old coaching inn of many years standing, so very nice to look at. Reports on the regime within will have to wait until the scaffoldong comes down and they open for business.

30 Jun 2011 14:41

The Horns, Ashbourne

Yet another of the Market Place circuit pubs, although set on a separate part of the square directl;y behind the Vaults. Another attractive old building, extended some years ago into the shop next door. Average range of ales, nothing special or unusual, higgledy-piggeldy layout of rooms inside set at different levels. Concentrates on food during day, less so in the evenings although they do serve at that time.

30 Jun 2011 14:39

Ye Old Vaults, Ashbourne

Another of the Market Place circuit pubs, again always very lively at weekends. Ancient old building, once known as The Anatomical Horse many decades ago. Low-ceilinged bar area, decent enough Marston's beers on. Friendly staff, but soemetimes a struggle to get your order over the bar due to the noise generated when the bar is packed and the ceilings close in on you...

30 Jun 2011 14:36

The George and Dragon, Ashbourne

Lively longstanding feature of the Market Place. Huge frontage with plaster dragin standing boldly on the roof-eaves. Usually decent range of 2 or 3 ales, although a pint of Pride the other week was probably the worst I have ever tasted anywhere, just bad luck, I think. Varied clientele on the lookout for a big night out at weekends, always a LOUD live rock band on Friday nights.

30 Jun 2011 14:34

The Plough, Ashbourne

Regrettably permanently closed from September 2010. Now in the process of being converted into flats, although the shell of the building seems likely to remain, which is good as it's a fine looking building occupying a prominent position on the busy crossroads at the bottom of Derby Road. It was at one time a very popular place, but trade died off in recent years and an attempt to re-open again in June 2010 only lasted a few weeks. Shame - it's the closest pub to my front door...

30 Jun 2011 14:30

The Station Hotel, Ashbourne

Grand looking building opposite site of former railway station, stands in splendid isolation with no other building within many yards of it. Large bar area with horseshoe bar against one wall, usually a decent ale on. Never seems busy, but they must have their moments, I'm sure.

30 Jun 2011 14:27

The Wheel, Ashbourne

Pretty rough and ready pub directly next door to town police station, so perhaps less bother than you might expect from appearances and atmosphere. Friendly staff and reasonably well kept real ales, although a nothing out of the ordinary range of 3 choices. Has the feel very much of a working man's club with the emphasis on man as very few women are ever in there and it can get pretty boisterous in every sense of the word.

30 Jun 2011 14:25

The Hand and Trumpet, Wrinehill

Superb example of the way in Brunning & Price run their pub estate. Big roadside building with strong emphasis on very well prepared and presented food, not very cheap, but well worth the price nonetheless. Excellent range of six real ales, three regulars and three guests, all except Deuchars IPA sourced from the local region, including Offbeat, running for less than 9 months. Very polite and friendly and waiting staff. Attractive exterior with Immaculate lawns and a deep-set pond together with terraced seating. The extra confirmation of a regime that actually cares about its clientele came in the shape of spotlessly clean toilets.
An immaculate cross between a foodie restaurant and a pub where you can just have apint, together with a warm atmosphere - superb.

15 Jun 2011 13:48

The Green Man, Ashbourne

Well, 5 months down the line and things are really no nearer a resolution. The brewery has moved out, relocating a couple of hundred yards away behidn the library, so good news that they've stayed in town. However, the management of the pub remains the same as it ever was, but it is frequently empty even at 9-10pm on a Friday night when it should be bursting at the seams. No-one knows where the management stand in regard to either getting the pub back to where it was or selling up and moving on. It remains in limbo and, as such, offers at best a half-hearted experience. They have halved their ale range, from six down to three, albeit they continue to source excellent local ales and still kepp them well. The food has plummeted in quality as overhearing several complaints at various times testifies and the staff are inattentive at best. We have now walked out three times after waiting around 10 minutes to be "served". This is such a shame as an inn of such historic inprtance and standing within the town should be at the top of the experiences that Ashbourne has to offer. It disappoints me hugely to drop my rating from a 9 to a 5, I only hope they can do more to regain the ground they have lost.

3 Jun 2011 17:05

The Lathkil Hotel, Over Haddon

As an added bonus, they are now offering "Beer Tapas" - your choice of three 1/3rd pints of their excellent range served in proper 1/3rd measure tulip glasses on a board with cut-outs for the stems and each beer labelled - for 3. A brilliant way to try the different ales - would that so many pubs took the time and care to do this, it would seriously encourage more people to get into ale.

3 Jun 2011 10:16

The Coach & Horses, Ashbourne

Disappointing low-common-denominator pub. Ought to be much better than it is, but prides itself on being open more hours than other pubs in the town, being louder on weekend nights with an ear-splitting disco and serving as much cheap and brightly coloured alcohol as they can get down people's necks. Not for the faint-hearted or those of a nervous disposition looking for a quite pint or two.

24 May 2011 14:49

The Monsal Head Hotel, Monsal Head

Despite coming here 3/4 times in the last few years, have mised posting on this until now. The location is obviously everything here and means a busy time at almost every time of the day. The Stables bar has only 7 tables inside, so things get cramped and busy. Loads more tables outside for when it's not raining. Usually excellent range of ales, both locally sourced and , on this occasion, from further afield - Horndean Mary Rose, a superb chestnut red beer. The food was very good indeed, perfectly prepared and cooked well. The staff were a little lacking in concentration, as one lad served the woman in front of me with two halves instead of the requested pint and a half (although he changed it to a pint and refused to charge her for the half) and then tried to charge me 6.10 to two halves, having entered pint prices in the till! All in all, good times here uif you are patient at busy periods.

23 May 2011 11:32

The Royal Oak Inn, Wirksworth

Super little backstreet local, but watch out for previously mentioned limited opening hours. Small main bar room with benches off to right, occupied by the local knitting circle on our visit on a busy Friday night. Very welcoming staff and superbly kept beers, room off to left dominated by pool table, but still a couple of small tables and benches all around the walls. Very convivial and lively atmosphere all round, a real sense of people out enjoying themselves in a traditional old setting.

23 May 2011 11:20

The Grove Inn, Holbeck

Aaaarrgh! On our first return to the city in exactly five years, we managed to surprise ourselves by navigating to here by memory and parked up nearby, excited to re-acquaint ourselves with one of the finest (and very few) corridor pubs left...only to find it follows that fine Leeds pub tradition of closing completely on Good Friday. Ah, well, push on, there's always the Victoria instead...nope, wait a moment, they're shut too...what about Whitelock's? Surely not...Oh, good, at least THEY'RE open today...

26 Apr 2011 14:49

The Cuthbert Brodrick, Leeds

Absoutely overwhelmed at about 4pm on a sunny Good Friday, and benefitting from the likes of the Victoria shutting their doors all day. Bar staff did their best to get the baying hoards their drinks as swiftly as possible, not helped by people paying for only two drinks (less than a fiver) with a card and others dithering over food orders. Cash-only drink-only tills might have been useful. Decent beer from Leeds brewery was our choice, unusual modern building, plenty of glass overlooking the square.

26 Apr 2011 14:16

The Victoria Hotel, Leeds

...unless you visit Leeds on Good Friday, in which case it's closed all day. Bah, humbug.

26 Apr 2011 14:11

Whitelocks, Leeds

If you're having trouble finding this on Briggate, there is a pub sign hanging above Northern Rock - the door is down the side. Magnificent example of an alley pub, very much in the style of the "entry" bars in Belfast. 10 ales on handpump, at least 7 local micros and 2 or 3 of the more national brands - all very well kept. Superb interior with ancient mirrors, brass, tiling, heavy velvet curtians and toilets up what really amounts to a ship's ladder. All in all, well worth any amount of time you can spend here, but if there has to be one criticism, it would be that awful pungent "cleaning" smell that you seem to get in some pubs these days, this one coming off the glass-washer machine sitting prominently at one end of the bar. Other than that, magnificent.

26 Apr 2011 14:03

The Castle Inn, Nottingham

Nothing to look at from the outside, in the shadow of the Ice Arena next door. Slow-moving staff attempting to serve through a knot of three or four regulars at the bar didn't make this the easiest to get served in, even at a betwixt time like 5.15 on a Saturday teatime. Perfectly good pint of Goff's White Knight as the guest beer. OK for half an hour, not the best, but not the worst.

11 Apr 2011 13:42

The Hollybush Inn, Grangemill

Unusual old coaching inn in "v" of cross roads junction. Small bar area with unusually high bar, only Bass on at our visit, but supremely well-kept. Friendly landlord, has seperate eating area and back games room, food looked amd smelled good, too late to order, but very reasonably priced on menu. Has holiday cottages at rear of car=park and opposite a country pottery workshop. Wasn't sure what to expect, but a nice surprise and a return visit beckons.

6 Apr 2011 23:55

The Hollybush Inn, Makeney

Superb pub with magnificent smoke room and room divider, tiny bar at one end and unused old-fashioned bar at other end in extension opened up into cottage next door, Always a very good range of at least five real ales and two or three festivals a year, with caks lined up in a back room. Superb - there's that word again.

6 Apr 2011 23:51

Sycamore Inn, Parwich

As stated, lovely little village pub/shop in isolated village near Ashbourne. Hard up against the church and next to a small brook. Welcoming and friendly landlady, excellent Robinson's Unicorn and Old Tom on draught. Tables on large lawn, very pleasant little place.

6 Apr 2011 23:47

White Swan, Ashbourne

Well, this is a surprise...just re-opened again after more than 15 months shut...not been in yet, but will be interested to see how it does this time around.

5 Mar 2011 23:38

Noahs Ark, Derby

Two room city centre pub with a small circular island bar area serving both sides, but each bar approached separately from entrance lobby. Small front bar with a couple of benches and tables, but enough room for a dartboard. Couple of handpumps, one with Bass on. Pleasant looking older style frontage and an easy 20 minute visit whilst waiting for a bus from the huge nes edifice across the road.

27 Feb 2011 22:16

The Case is Altered, Five Ways

A flying visit long lost in the mists of time was superceded by a return trip here last Saturday evening. Very pleased to see so little has changed in terms of decor and fittings. A hubbub of conversation was babbling from the already full main bar area and the small side room was nearly all taken up as well. A cheerful and welcoming landlady leapt up from her seat in front of the bar to pour our drinks. A very decent range of four local beers was offered, although, to be honest, both our choices were faintly disappointing in being nothing less than OK, but nothing more than OK.
I bought a pack of three of their own branded beers, brewed for them by the local Slaughterhouse Brewery and they are very good indeed. The bar billiards table is still in situ as well and there is a shelf of second-hand books and a box of pump clips with donations to the RNLI. All in all, well worth the trip back and I'm probably just being over-picky in expecting the ale to be outststanding. I'm sure another trip will beckon sooner than the intervening 12 years or so since the previous one.

14 Feb 2011 14:05

The Devonshire Arms, Hartington

Sat on the village square in a very attractive village. Decent enough beer range, usually Marstons and something like Jennings as a guest. Unusually shaped bar on the right, very long and very thin. Friendly staff, good stopping off point on any walk through the valley.

31 Jan 2011 14:55

Charles Cotton Hotel, Hartington

Very little to add other than "all of the above".

31 Jan 2011 14:52

The Green Man, Ashbourne

Oh.
Dear.

Confirmed today that this has been bought by Wetherspoons. That may not be necessarily a bad thing, as long as they leave the pub and its interior largely untouched other than re-decorating. However, the bad thing is that they have given Leatherbritches 14 DAYS to leave the premises. What a nonsense. The brewery was to be "unaffected" by any sale and must surely have a minimum notice period of more than 2 weeks, given that they will have to move all their plant and re-start elsewhere, hopefully within the town.
I, for one, will not drink there if they bully the brewery out and destroy the fabric of the building.

14 Jan 2011 00:09

The Green Man, Ashbourne

Open again temporarily at 5pm on Saturday to run down the stock, but closed again by this morning for probably two weeks for refurbishment apparently, although the (unknown to us) barperson we spoke to seemed strangly hesitant at offering a targeted re-opening date. I continue to be concerned for the future of this iconic pub.

10 Jan 2011 11:27

The Green Man, Ashbourne

Although this has had a "for sale" sign up for around 10-12 weeks now, it is nonetheless a huge shock to report that the Green Man closed its doors yesterday. The owner has a restaurant business in Leicester and was always going to sell up to concentrate on that, but has creamed every last penny out of the Xmas break and then put up the shutters without finding a buyer so far. The Leatherbritches brewery on site was always unaffected by the closure and it may be that they might take over the running of this iconic pub, especially sicne the whole Shrovetide tradition is based on the pub and it needs to be up and running again by the first week in March in order to accomodate that. The decor had got tired in recent months and everything needs freshening up, so let's hope this is just a temporary state of affairs and that the Green Mna will rise again very soon .

5 Jan 2011 14:24

Mr Grundys Tavern, Derby

Now incorporating their own micro-brewery and range of beers into the very good selection already available, gving a total of seven handpumps with local ales and three more with national brands. Large open bar area with dozens of black and white photos covering the wooden wall panelling.

28 Dec 2010 23:37

The City Road Inn, Manchester

Plenty of handpumps on the bar, but all turned round and not in use, all the lager pumps, fizzy beer taps and Guinness taps were on though - shame about any pub that can't keep at least just one of their reall ales on...Friendly enough staff and busy chatty atmosphere, several small flat screens sited high on the walls and awkward to watch. Disapppointing, have walked past this pub for many years on the way to the Britons or the Pev, may just continue doing that.

17 Dec 2010 13:00

Talbot Taphouse, Ripley

Made our first visit here last night in support of the IPA weekender beer festival and to hear Pete Brown reading from and talking about his superb book "Hops & Glory". Very friendly staff including the couple who run the Amber Brewery, who made us so welcome and were exceptional hosts. A very attractive flat-iron building smartly done out inside in an open plan continental beer-cafe style, backed up by a magnificent range of both Amber Ales and the imported local IPAs, together with four or five good Belgian beers on tap and a varied selection of very good bottled beers, some very rare for the area. The hot cocoa simmering away on the counter was too tempting to refuse on such acold snowy day - a very good touch indeed. They offer Beer safaris, which include a vist to the brewery at the bottom of the hill plus a meal and pints in their two pubs in the town for 12.50, which is something we shall surely be back to sample soon. These are clearly people who are passionate about the art of both brewing very good beer and running a very decent and welcoming pub. Superb.

29 Nov 2010 14:14

The Rotterdam Bar, Belfast

Our latest jaunt to Belfast included the now obligatory trip down Pilot Street to see if the Rotterdam is still existing. Well, the good news is the building is STILL there, looking a little forlorn, but it shows absolutely no signs of life as of 20/11/10. Whilst it still stands, there must still be hope...

22 Nov 2010 13:51

The Bear Inn, Alderwasley

Called in close to 3pm on a beautifully sunny Sunday in November, to find the car-park very full and the rambling number of rooms all packed inside reflecting that. Most people were eating, but there is a small bar area where you can just sit/stand and have a drink. We managed to time our arrival with their November 5th weekend beer festival which meant 12 ales on tap, excellently kept from such breweries as Roosters and Brough. There is what appears be a recently refurbished (and huge) dining area at one end which houses the carvery and a small separate bar with a couple of the handpumps on there. Although very busy, the staff seemed to cope well with the crowds at both bars and the queue for the carvery. We didn't eat on this occasion, but will surely return soon to try it out. Stunning scenery and a real sense of isolation with no other buildings nearby.

8 Nov 2010 11:36

George Hotel, Bakewell

Attractive fom the outside, three separate old-fashioned rooms inside, all served from the central lobby bar. Friendly welcome, huge range of good cheap food and a couple of very decent ales on as well. Excellent stopping point when walking or cycling through village and surroundings.

27 Sep 2010 00:22

The Lathkil Hotel, Over Haddon

Can't really add any new comments to those already posted...an extraordinary view from a very ordinary looking building, excellent range of very well kept beers and bustlingly full already only 15 minutes after opening on a Sunday lunchntime. Didn't eat this time, but looks well worth another tramp over the hill from Youlgrave.

27 Sep 2010 00:18

The Market Tavern, Hanley

Well, its a long time since the comment below and things have definitely improved in the intervening 6 years. With the probable sad demise of the Coachmakers, an alternate pint was sought on a Sunday afternoon and this establishment comes close by. A large corner house with a big L-shaped room appears to have been refurbished recently and is spotlessly clean and tidy. The toilets, whilst not absolutely perfect in upkeep, are certainly clean and fresh. Dozens of pump clips above the bar suggest that they have been dispensing good real ale for some time and this visit did not disappoint, with local brews such as Titanic Steerage, Beartown Bearskinful and the extraordinary Coach house Toffee on offer from the friendly landlady. It waqs deserted during our viasit, but nonetheless offers an excellent beer experience.

13 Sep 2010 10:36

The Coachmakers Arms, Hanley

Absolute disaster has finally struck. The Coachmakers closed over the August Bank Holiday when the licensees packed up and left after allowing the beer to run dry. There are unconfirmed internet comments that it would be temporary and would re-open "in a couple of weeks" with new licensees. That two weeks has passed and as of yesterday, there is nothing to suggest it will re-open and the chalkboard outside the door still reads "Elvis has left the building".
Please God that it is a blip on the road to saving this pub, but I do fear this may be the last we have seen of the Coachmakers.

13 Sep 2010 10:29

The Druid Inn, Birchover

Despite probably wanting to be, this isn't a patch on the Red lion just yards away. There is a telling sign up outside which should warn you - "Traditionally Derbyshire, stylishly contemporary" or something similar. In other words, contemporary equalling NON-traditional. They do a good range of local ales, though, but it is obviously much more geared towards attracting the upper end tourists and second-home weekenders. It was, in fact, empty when we walked in at around 3.30pm on a Sunday and the welcome was a little frosty. We sat outside and watched as another party went to go in, but were shepherede away and the door slammed and bolted behind them - arbitrary closing by the looks of it, just didn't want to open any longer. We followed that other party as they went to the welcoming Red Lion instead.

5 Sep 2010 23:46

Red Lion, Birchover

Just named the local CAMRA branch pub of the year - at least four very good real ales on from local breweries, one brewed for the pub by Peakstones Rock, 10% discount with a CAMRA card. Set in a beautiful village in stunning walking country. Very good staff, food looked decent, though the beer was all we were after this time.

5 Sep 2010 23:39

The Waggon and Horses, Twyford

Unusual layout, L-shaped bar on street level with low roof and beams, then a couple of steps down to a lower seating area. Huge flatscreen dominates other end of room, but usually has some bland commercial radio station playing through it. Decent enough ales, usually London pride and a.n.other, friendly staff. Big garden and car-park, decent enough stop-off.

3 Sep 2010 15:07

Wee Waif, Charvil

Dreadful. Avoid. There are good chain eating-house experiences to be had, but this isn't one of them. Food is very poor at the best of times.
Once called in for an advertised "beer festival", but had the two usual bland beers on tap and a band playing at deafening and probably dangerous levels, couldn't make ourselves heard to find out if there were other beers on elsewhere in the building or if it had started or wasn't going to start, so simply left.

3 Sep 2010 15:04

The Lands End, Charvil

Underwent a complete transformation about three years ago into a large and extended eating house. Good decent food, can get overwhelmed when busy as mentioned elsewhere. Brakspears range of ales, although only usually Best & Organic on. Good walks around and by the ford, do not drive or walk through it unless you can see the water lapping back off the concrete bed!

3 Sep 2010 14:59

Quiet Woman, Earl Sterndale

An ancient looking pub set in an ancient village with a stunning drive to it whichever way in you come - watch out for the unprotected steep drops when coming in off tha A515. Old-fashioned interior, with stone tiled floor, wooden wall-cladding (a bit "piney" for my liking) and a few tables with inset trays for dominoes and crib. Stickers dating back to 1976 around the bar testify to the long history of entries in the Good Beer Guide. Visited at around 7.45pm on a Saturday evening, but were greeted only by an empty room and a none too communicative young barman who shuffled out from a back room when he heard us walk in, dispensed our drinks with barely a word and was gone again in an instant. Spent 30 minutes alone supping our very good pints, mine Jennings Dark Mild and the wife a Reverend James, then left before anyone else arrived. So a slightly flat experience, but well worth another visit when there would hopefully be others around to liven up the atmosphere a bit...

23 Aug 2010 00:40

The Ship Inn, Wincle

Very good range of JW Lees ales on, seemed to be teeming with diners on a busy Saturday night. Very attractive pub set in a seemingly remote valley with one through road, has smallish car-park, so most cars parked up and down the lane, but without hassle. Appears quite upmarket, but also seems to welcome all-comers.

23 Aug 2010 00:33

Rising Sun, Matlock

Excellent pit-stop after hauling yourself up the Middleton incline on the High Peak Trail. Good selection of at least four real ales, two from local microbreweries at Wincle and Peakstones Rock on this visit. Large, attractive whitewashed building with car park and some tables across the road. Sunday lunches looked good and reasonably priced.

23 Aug 2010 00:26

The George, Alstonefield

Large and very attractive building overlooking one of the many greens/squares that the very pretty village seems to be full of. Dining room off to left of entrance hall, small bar area with two seating areas off to right, the last of which is very basic with bare boards and whitewashed walls. The area next to the bar has some nicely old-fashioned floor tiling and bench seats. Well-kept, Marston's beers with one guest, this time from Brakspears. Seems to be heavily food-orientated and was quite busy for a Monday evening, but still able to just sit and contemplate a quiet pint. Well worth a return visit to sample the food, I think, judging by the look of the food on the plates that passed us from time to time.

10 Aug 2010 08:47

Ye Olde Royal Oak Inn, Wetton

In the midst of superb walking country and slap in the middle of a picturesque stone cottage village, this is an excellent stopping-off point. Three varied ales usually on, always well-kept and served carefully by friendly staff. Nice chatty atmosphere and nicely old-fashioned interior with three separate seating areas, albeit one of them in a modern conservatory. Great to sit outside and watch the world drift very slowly by.

10 Aug 2010 08:40

Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Nottingham

We have visited the Trip probably half a dozen times or so over the last 10 years, but I seem to have overlooked posting until now. We have always enjoyed our visits here, trying to site in a different area each time to cast our eye over something we may have missed before. The beer range here yesterday was very good and excellently kept, drinking Nottingham EPA & Rock Mild on this occasion. We were actually in twice, during the busy Sunday lunchtime period when there was a wait on for food and then again around 6pm when it was much quieter - in fact, we ended up with the Rock Lounge to ourselves at one point eating good food that arrived quickly. Never been disappointed coming here - never likely to be.
I have commented on other pub reviews where sniffy correspondents look down their nose at the tourists that "ruin" such places and can only say that if we didn't have such a long and proud history of such establishments, then people wouldn't be interested in seeing them at first hand. Old pubs are vey much our heritage and history and the world rightfully regards very old British pubs as part of their sightseeing. After all, when I go overseas, the first thing I do is to make a beeline for famous pubs & bars in cities around the world - I am certain I am made to feel welcome in those places and that no local describes me as tiresome and a nuisance.
And let's face it, they put an awful lot of money into the local economy that wouldn't be there if these pubs were just left to the whinging locals.
Enough - long live the Trip, longer lived than most.

2 Aug 2010 11:12

Canal House, Nottingham

...the interior is obviously most unusual and quirky, but at 3.45pm on a Sunday, the inside was absolutely empty - not a soul anywhere, although the outside seating was moderately filled. Impossible to gauge what this would be like at busy times, but I assume it does get rammed in the evenings. Decent enough beer selection - Hadrian Reivers IPA an Batemans Summer Swallow were our choices and very good they were, too. Moved outside again and the much larger seating area extends right down to the canalside, so much more pleasant than sitting 20 yards away on the other side of the fence in Fellows...

2 Aug 2010 10:32

Fellows Morton & Clayton Ltd, Nottingham

Had been planning to come to this one for years, so the disappointment felt on our visit was only matched by our under-whelmed nature. I was expecting much more than a limited beer selection of their own house beer and Mallard Feather Light - admittedly both very good ales. The barstaff seemed world-weary and unable to raise anything approaching a smile, although it was a relatively dead time at around 3.30pm on a Sunday and they weren't exactly rushed off their feet. The over-raucous bunch of late-middle-aged men signing along to Madness on the jukebox at the very top of their voices propelled us outside to a rather untidy patio area where you felt hemmed in amongst the fencing separating their area from that of the Boatyard immediately adjacent, the gas cylinders and the wheelie-bins. Disappointing all round, so we supped up quite quickly and moved across 10 yards to the Boatyard to see what they could do...

2 Aug 2010 10:26

The Lincolnshire Poacher, Nottingham

For the life of me, I don't know why the Poacher has never been on the radar before now. However, finding ourselves at a loose end in Nottingham after the early finish to the Test match, we wandered into the city and broadened our horizon up the Mansfield Road. Confronted by a row of 12 handpumps with three Castle Rock ales complimented by a stunning choice of near and far beers, it was tricky to know where to start. Excellently kept Castle Rock Yew and Box Steam Dark & Handsome were the choices. Wandered throught the rooms to the courtyard to take in some sunshine, so didn't study the whisky and foreign beer selection closely, but that will surely come on future visits. Very good array of what appears to be genuine breweriana as opposed to the normal reproductions, so all in an excellent experience.

2 Aug 2010 10:11

The Okeover Arms, Mappleton

Another new regime here and recently refurbished throughout - still a smell of fresh paint. Very decent range of well-kept local ales. Very quiet on our visit, but nonetheless had to wait a little while to be served as the one barman was "faffing" around with a table of diners taking their order at the table, running through to the kitchen and then re-appearing to serve us. Not a big problem, though, but will be interested to return again to see how they cope with a rush of more than four people...

26 Jul 2010 11:39

The Bull, Sonning

This pub will always hold a place dear to my heart as my recently departed father is within the churchyard over the wall and, as such, I feel I'm having a pint with my old man every time I go there...I have been going here for almost 30 years now and there have been many changes over time, yet it still retains the air of an ancient village inn buried deep within the core of the village.

The gripes about parking are, frankly, worthy only of dismissal. This is an ancient village with a centuries-old layout and nowhere to concrete over just to satify people who are too rich or too lazy to find spaces within the village or - best tip - park up on the through road (Sonning Lane) from the A4 above the village and stroll 3 minutes through the churchyard to get to the pub courtyard.

The Fullers beer range is wide and well-kept (this was a Gales house before that takeover) and the staff are unfailingly polite. The food is excellent, although I do agree the kitchen could be a little more "behind closed doors" as they always leave a door open directly onto the courtyard where many people sit. Being a "posh" village means prices are not at all cheap (a pint of Discovery and a G&T costing 8, for instance), but it is nonetheless a fine
hostelry.

26 Jul 2010 11:24

The Yew Tree Inn, Cauldon Low

A visit here last night would appear to be a much improved experience on recent visits by others. For a "quiet"" Tuesday night, the place was bustling with friendly locals, the beer was in excellent form and Alan was much more relaxed and chatty than he reported recently. All pints continue to be pegged at 2, regardless of being bitter, mild or cider and there was a run on the pork pies. Hopefully the corner has been turned and this can be much more of a decent experience for those coming for the first time.

14 Jul 2010 13:22

The Old Swan, Uttoxeter

Not a Lloyds bar now, just a standard Weatherspoons drinking barn. Admittedly a very good and large selection of real ales at very decent prices and, actually, the food was pretty good, but its just...kinda soul-less. Always rammed on weekend nights and the crowds can get quite boisterous and frankly tiresome, although any trouble that sparks usually sems to happen after the hoards have made their way across the square to the awful Academy.

16 Jun 2010 10:59

Vaults, Uttoxeter

Very attractive frontage with etched windows hides a less-than-attractive experience inside. Two small bar areas, one up a couple of steps, but the back bar is used only as storage - shame. Bass on handpump which was fine, but a group of regulars that you felt liked to "own" the place didn't make it particularly welcoming. Will try again, but not holding my breath.

16 Jun 2010 10:54

Ye Olde Talbot, Uttoxeter

Ancient inn on the market place, building clearly full of history, but has all the feel and charm of a bookies with a bar attached. Loud flatscreens plastering every wall and local "characters" draped around the bar. Very average beer selection.

16 Jun 2010 10:51

Cock Inn, Clifton

Large pub with enormous car park, overlooks older part of village. Rambling series of rooms on uneven floors and up steps, very welcoming and friendly staff. Good range of beers including Timothy Taylor Landlord. Short, but interesting menu with surprisingly good veggie choices. Didn't eat on this occasion, but will soon.

16 Jun 2010 10:45

The Green Man, Ashbourne

Just awarded the CAMRA Derby branch overall pub of the year for 2010.

16 Jun 2010 10:42

The Bowling Green Inn, Ashbourne

Isolated from the town circuit at the top of the steep hill on the Buxton road, so one to start rather than end the loop...2 seperate bar areas and a restaurant section, Marstons beers on tap. Quite lively on our visit, plenty of people eating.

16 Jun 2010 10:40

The White Hart, Alton

Just yards up the High Street from the Bulls Head...the only pub in the village with Sky and as such attracts a different set from the others. Several interconnected rooms with a pizza restaurant set-up at the far end, although you can eat the menu anywhere throughout the pub. Very low leather seating looks slightly jarring. Uninspired beer range, usually only Pedigree on handpump. Pool table in room off to one side tends to congregate the younger element in there. OK, but a bit of a jumble of ideas. Walked in there recently at 12.15pm one Saturday lunchtime to watch an advetised-outside 12.45pm Sky game - the door was open, but there was no-one else in the place - only to be curtly told they weren't open yet and there was evidence of still sweeping up from the night before. Hmmm.

15 Jun 2010 12:23

The Bulls Head, Alton

Generally the most frequented of the several in the village. Always fairly lively and can get rammed at weekends in season. Usually decent range of beers, albeit from the Greene King stable, but usually with one independent local such as Wincle. Does a good menu and has rooms to saty in as well. Good atmosphere on those busy nights, people always ready to talk to anyone.

15 Jun 2010 12:12

The Blacksmiths Arms, Alton

Large sprawling pub at top end of village, huge modern dining-room extension built off back of original building. Very much concentrates on food to catch the passing Alton Towers traffic. Rambling layout of several rooms inside, with a very nice lounge at the core clearly being part of the original building. Can be very quiet-to-dead out of season. Good-ish beers, usually at least one from the local Peakstones brewery a mile down the road.

15 Jun 2010 12:09

The Alton Bridge Hotel, Alton

What a waste of a fabulous location. Very strange regime operates here, run almost as a hobby - irregular opening times, you never know from one day to the next when they will be open, just have to wait for the "we are open tonight" sign to go up. They concentrate on a carvery operation, so you walk into a dining room with a (closed) hotel reception desk off to the right (they currently do not run the accomodation) and the small bar beyond that through a doorway. They do have some very good independent local beers on here most of the time, but such is the irregularity of opening, you can never be sure what condition the beer will be in. There is no local presence here as the pub is set in a tiny cluster of houses at the bottom of the steep hill up to the village proper and the local villagers concentrate on the 3/4 pubs in the village itself that have regular predictable opening times, so no matter what time you go in, the bar is always empty and soul-less.
What with the fact this pub sits cheek-by-jowl with the long closed Talbot, this amounts to a criminal waste of two wonderfully located pubs.

15 Jun 2010 11:51

The Tavern, Denstone

Only pub in the village. Decent enough beer choice, usually a guest from Jennings. Although we've not eaten here yet, does good food and is regularly packed out at weekend lunchtimes. Friendly enough locals, bar staff mostly OK, but can occasionally be a little grumpy-faced, no real detraction from experience, though.

15 Jun 2010 11:41

The Barley Mow Inn, Kirk Ireton

Stunning village, stunning looking pub both inside and out, very simple furnishings, a real evocation of how country pubs must looked 150 or more years ago. Excellent local ales tapped from those casks behind the small serving hatch, chatty locals discussing pub experiences all around the world -all extremely pleasant...but...as mentioned elsewhere below...the dear old lady behind the bar was somewhat taciturn and unconversational, despite the polite friendliness being offered to her. Maybe it was the un-local South of England accent (despite living in Derbyshire), I don't know, but upon returning the glasses to the bar and offering a thank you very much, see you again farewell, she either didn't hear/see me (impossible given the size of the bar) or chose not to hear/see me and continued her conversation with the local girl stood at the bar. I know people get old and set in their ways, but still...

7 Jun 2010 13:19

The Bentley Brook Inn, Fenny Bentley

Called in during the late May Bank holiday beer festival, very good selection of mostly local beers in a marquee in the garden. Advertised and operated a token system, but then confusingly took cash as well - surely one or the other would have simplified things. Although not busy at the time of our arrival, it made things a little slow and a bit frustrating as we had diligently bought tokens only to have to wait as people asked for pints, then didn't know you could get tokens and wanted to pay cash, leading to little stand-offs until it was resolved.
Didn't get into the pub itself and didn't eat, so that will all have to wait for another time.

7 Jun 2010 11:02

The Coach and Horses Inn, Fenny Bentley

Can't believe this could be the first comment made about this very good pub. Went in for dinner on a Sunday evening - excellent menu of very well-made food, although not cheap. Nice decor within, good local beers on and a board telling you what beers were coming up from the cellar next - nice touch. Very good service from friendly staff. Large car-park outside dominated by a pair of Porsche Cayennes not in marked spaces, but hard up against the front door - a clear example of how having money makes your legs work less well than ordinary people's...

7 Jun 2010 10:56

Hope & Anchor, Wirksworth

Dominant position in village at bottom of very steep hill and next to the most lop-sided market place I've ever seen...three separate bar areas, although two of them are knocked through to accomodate the main bar and the pool table area. Good selection of beers on, including Anchor brewed for the pub by the Wirksworth brewery. I can imagine this can be the central attraction of nightlife in this large village/small town.

7 Jun 2010 10:40

Manifold Inn, Buxton

Visited around 4.30pm on a fairly quiet Sunday afternoon, although nearby Hartington village was overflowing with visitors. Superb location in a dip at the bottom of a hill at the junction of two roads and a bridge, very attractive looking place. Decent enough beer from the Whim brewery, food listed up on large blackboard looked OK, although certainly not cheap.
Would probably need to visit again at a busier time to get a true impression, but a nice quiet half-hour spent.

7 Jun 2010 10:33

White Swan, Ashbourne

Currently closed and boarded up.

3 Jun 2010 16:39

The Maltings, York

From the BBC website 26//03/10:

"Next month, pubs and licensed clubs in England and Wales will have to make free tap water available to their drinking customers.This requirement is being imposed by the Home Office on 6 April in a new code of practice on alcohol retailing".

If they are not going to make it available free of charge, with or without good grace, then they are failing miserably. Had Greshon and his mates walked in and just ordered 4 glasses of water, the staff could have been justified in asking them to back that up with actual purchases, but the attitude described above, if accurate, is very, very poor and disappointing from one of my very favourite pubs. We visited for the first time in three years just two days after this sorry episode and enjoyed two rounds of excellent beers.

3 Jun 2010 16:34

The Last Drop Inn, York

Second choice after finding the Blue Bell shut.

Quietish early Sunday evening, very good selection of York (and other) beers on, cheerful barmaid, good little hour spent here.

3 Jun 2010 16:16

The Blue Bell, York

First time back in York for over three years last Sunday, made a beeline straight past may other fine pubs to the Blue Bell, desperate to renew acquaintances...only to find it shut for a private ticket-only party.

Not happy.

3 Jun 2010 16:13

Zero Degrees, Reading

Al;ways worth a try as an quiet early place to eat before going on the town or just part of a crawl round town, although it does get very raucous later in the evening. Beers are always interesting if served a little cold for British palates, but let them warm up a bit before downing them and they are just fine. The food is generally very good inded, not over-pricey and they regularly offer a free nine-pint take-out in a proper metal cask with food orders over 30. A good and welcome variation to the plethora of mostly skanky town centre venues for Reading.

9 Mar 2010 13:01

The Crown Inn, Theale

Lively mix of football-watching and Chinese-munching customers on our arrival. Very decent beer, good choice. Seems to be all things to all men and making a pretty good job of it. Only downside would be the two overdosed-on-E-numbers kids howling at customers through firstly a window from the staircase, then through an open door from the Chinese. They need dosing up with a pint of Benylin each, I think.

8 Mar 2010 15:36

The Red Lion, Upper Basildon

A return visit in what proves to be almost two years since the last and no complaints at all from we I stand. Yes, the interior is somewhat French farmhouse and the bar is unusually low and open, but the solitary young barman was polite and efficient. The food we had was excellent - a vegetarian risotto greatly impressed the wife who doesn't normally like risotto and my smoked fish platter was very good indeed. Prices weren't bargain-basement, but neither were they wildly pricey. Very good range of well-kept local ales. It was a quiet early Saturday evening when we visited, so no sign of the harassed rudeness mentioned elsewhere.

8 Mar 2010 15:30

The Cunning Man, Reading

Attractive looking building, although not original as mentioned elsewhere. Rambling series of rooms/spaces totally geared up for eating, always seems very busy, sometimes unmanagably. Decent enough beer, very good pint of Reverend Jmaes on our visit.

8 Mar 2010 15:20

The Turners Arms, Mortimer

Visited very soon after opening time on a Saturday evening as part of the loacal Ale-trail. Decent beer from Brakspears, nice layout inside, attractive looking building. Not busy enought to gauge the atmosphere, but a pleasant enough stop-over.

8 Mar 2010 15:15

The Lifeboat Bar, Belfast

Gone...demolished...

30 Dec 2009 16:21

Cambrinus, Bruges

Extraordinary and head-spinning menu of 400+ beers, very crowded at most times. The food we had was exceptionally good, although very pricy - 17euro for what amounted to a beef-stew. Waitresses very quick and efficient once we jhad mulled for ages over what to drink, only stayed for one, but intend to try a longer session at a less crowded time next time we're over there...

9 Dec 2009 18:59

De Garre, Bruges

Talk about landing on your feet...although this was picked out before leaving for Bruges, it turned out that our hotel was less than 200m away on the other side of the Burg square...in three days, we were here on four separate occasions and what times they were. Superb range of beers, including several Xmas specials. The house Tripel was superb and very deceptive, no wonder the amounts poured looked to be on the "controlling" side of things and they have a house limit of three very strong draught beers each...not a problem, it helped you to enjoy many others! It is so easy to miss this place when looking for it, even with an A-board at the entrance to the alley, as that actually advertises Cookies further down the alley. Seek and ye shall find heaven...

9 Dec 2009 18:55

't Brugs Beertje, Bruges

On a long weekend in Bruges, this was the second bar we made a beeline for after De Garre and this was no disappointment...nicely old-fashioned two rooms, VERY cosy with the people next to you or sharing your table, exceptionally friendly, courteous and knowledgeable staff, magnificent range of beers. Almost a throwback to inhale smoke in a bar again, although only a couple of people were indulging, so it wasn't at all a problem.
I have to laugh at all the sniffy "tourist" comments...if you're not a native of Bruges and you have made certain you visit this place, then you ARE a tourist in whatever light you choose to cast it...
Anyway, superb...

9 Dec 2009 18:45

The Swan Inn, Bignall End

Staffordshire pub of the year for the last two years now and It's not hard to see why with the range of superb beers and ciders kept. Always Bass anchoring the selection, together with six local microbrewery choices on, starting at just 1.90 a pint. Lively and convivial atmosphere, the decor is somewhat plain and working man's club-like, but it's an excellent back-street local and worthy of the plaudits.

7 Nov 2009 22:09

The Cock Inn, Leek

Apparently still waiting for thr Joules Brewery to get up and running and supplying their beer, but the place is covered in Joules breweriana, although the very traditional old-style frontage belies a much more modern interior than one might have hoped. Good-ish beer range, including an excellent Pendle Witches Brew. Toilets are a problem for the disabled, as they are up several steps. The infirm gentlemen we saw struggling to make it back down the steps would vouch for that...

7 Nov 2009 21:51

The Wilkes Head, Leek

Excellent Hartington range of beers plus at least one guest. Visited on a quiet Saturday lunchtime, only a few in, but pleasane atmosphere nonetheless. Very friendly Staffy pub dog.

7 Nov 2009 21:44

The Royal Oak, Alton

It is a slightly odd place in that you sort of expect a pub in the very picturesque village of Alton to be more, well, pub-like. It's a uninspiring building from the outside, out of kilter with the centuries-old stone cottages that surround it and going inside and seeing the decor is more like stepping into a 1970s working man's club. The door opens to a horseshoe bar with room-space to both left and right. Having said all that, the regime is extremely welcoming and friendly and the Scottish landlord is proud to have been there for well over 20 years. Decent well-kept ales, although from the all too familiar regionals. Don't be alarmed to see men disappearing through the door marked "ladies" as it is actually a passage around the back of the bar, through which you approach the ladies loo.

7 Sep 2009 17:23

The Green Man, Ashbourne

Ancient coaching inn full of history...the very rare street gantry sign could do with a refurb, though, as the lettering is somewhat faded. Excellent range of wonderfully kept real ales, underpinned by the Leatherbritches brews which can be seen being produced across the yard. They have their brewery shop on site, as well, opposite the entrance to the Boswell bar. Always a warm, convivial atmosphere in the Boswell bar, slightly more boisterous air in the younger-set Johnson bar. Modern soft brown leather sofas and stools in the the Boswell perhaps not quite in the tradition of the building, but nonetheless a wonderful way to spend (many) evenings.

21 Aug 2009 14:20

Den Engel, Leek

Didn't realise until reading these reviews that this wasn't the original site of this bar, but nonetheless a very pleasant experience indeed. Superb & huge selection of beers, clean cafe-bar type layout and a convivial crowd in on a Sunday lunchtime - just as well really, as the rest of Leek seems to be shut of a Sunday. Well worth a return visit or two to work your way through the beer menu, will be back again very soon.

13 Aug 2009 15:00

The Magpie and Parrot, Shinfield

Sunday opening hours now extended slightly to at least 4pm, but may well drift on as long as there are customers in...the London Pride has reluctantly been increased to 3 a pint, but still the best-kept pint in these here parts. Note that although the picture above is a fine portrait of the buidling as a whole, the bar and both available rooms are contained only within the lowest part of the building to the right and the entrance is at the back on the right hand side - not via the entrance door pictured...

6 Jul 2009 10:32

The Whip Inn, Lacey Green

Can't believe this is within 35 minutes of home and yet have never ventured here before. Arrived at about 3.30pm on a gloriously hot and sunny afternoon, very few people in at that point, but a welcoming barman and six very well-kept ales to choose from. Sat out in the garden taking in the windmill and the circling kites and watched the clouds float by - absolute bliss. They had a food stall set up at the front door selling local cheeses, chutnies etc and a real coal barbecue on the go as well.
Well worth becoming a regular stop-off, highly recommended.

30 Jun 2009 15:33

The Duke of York, Elton

On the CAMRA National Inventory, this stunning time-warp is certainly worthy of the fairly lengthy detour required to get to this remote village with stunning views across the Derbyshire Peak District.
Word of warning, though. They are only open between 8.30pm-midnight every day, plus Sunday lunchtime, and 8.30 isn't necessarily prompt. Directly opposite the church, plain stone exterior with the pub name over the door. The entrance leads to a corridor with rooms left and right, the one on the right looking for all the world like a railway waiting room from the 1920s. The room on the left is smaller, but does have a pool table for the village youngsters and a serving hatch to the rear of the bar. The tap-room is beyond the pool room, but also with a serving hatch to the corridor. Low ceiling, huge fireplace, tiled floor, wooden panelling and just two tables join to create a very intimate den for the exceptionally friendly locals to while away the evening.
Mary the landlady is a lady of, er, some advanced years, but keeps very good ale - Marstons' Burton Bitter and Adnams on this occasion. No till as such, just a drawer with coin compartments.
Up two steps and out the back are the primitive toilets, housed in a completely separate bit across a small courtyard.
All in all, an exceptional experience.

26 Jun 2009 16:20

The Yew Tree Inn, Cauldon Low

There's virtually nothing I can add to Roger B's description that could enhance it in any way. I first visited this wonderous monument to old Britain around 6 years ago and vowed to re-visit asap...having just relocated to within 15 miles - and soon to within just 4 miles - I am fortunate indeed to now want to regard this almost as my local.
Alan is an extremely welcoming and gentle-souled landlord who is happy to welcome in anyone, old or new. The beer is well-kept and cheap - at just 2 a pint - and there are also locally made pork pies at very cheap rates.
A further enhancement of the Yew Tree experience can be had by visiting on the first Tuesday of each month to hear the Folk Club in full swing.
The pub can be approached from either the A523 turning off at Waterhouses down the side of the pub on the main road, continuing past the huge cement works and looking out for it on the right hand side...hidden behind the yew tree.
Coming from Stoke on the A52, simply look out for the Cauldon turning off to the left, 4 miles after the turning to Cheadle, and follow it in to the pub on your left. If you miss the small turning, continue to the A523 junction and turn left onto the A523 into Waterhouses as before.
Whatever your route, make it there and revel in the past.

23 Jun 2009 12:22

The Coachmakers Arms, Hanley

Finding myself recently relocated to within 30 minutes of Stoke means I simply had to get to the Coachmaker's asap, duly achieved last night. Everything's been said about the layout and character of this marvellous place...pretty quiet at first, but it soon filled up with chatty, friendly locals all there for the excellent range of beers. Signed their petition even before ordering the first beer and have since done so on-line as well. Please God the planners don't get their way.
The next action meeting is on Monday 29th June at 8pm - be there!

19 Jun 2009 15:47

The Jinnie Inn, Rolleston on Dove

Visited in the last half-hour on a gentle Sunday evening - a few regulars dotted inside and out and a quiet air all around. Decent range of guest beers alongside the Pedigree - well-kept beers from Wychwood, Brakspears and Jennings. Friendly welcome from the staff. Nice comfortable armchairs in the front window on which to while away the half-hour with a good book and the last vestiges of daylight nudging through the windows. Very pleasant.

15 Jun 2009 10:22

The Burton Bridge Inn, Burton-Upon-Trent

Not too sure about the comments made about the welcome below...we visited on a Sunday lunchtime, apparently just minutes after the local 10K run had finished, and the place was heaving with people of every age down to children of about seven years old. They had laid out what we took to be free Sunday lunchtime nibbles - at least, no-one told us we could't help ourselves...so we did! The beer was excellent and the location is superb, right next to the Trent bridge. Having just moved into the area to work, this is one of a number pf pubs I look forward to re-visiting again in the very near future. Hoping to get to see something of the brewery itself next time...

26 May 2009 13:18

The Coopers Tavern, Burton-Upon-Trent

Visited on a wonderfully warm sunny Sunday afternoon, so we actually sat outside to soak up the rays, but the interior of this museum piece is what it's all about. Two old-fashioned parlour-type front rooms lead through to the bar area at the back, where the excellent range and selction of ale is all racked and drawn direct from the cask. There is a seated area consisting of cushions on a semi-circular bench which is raised up above and around the back of a couple of the casks, so you can feel like you are actually sitting in amongst the barrels...unique.
There is almost no deeper heritage in any pub in Britain than considering its past as the bottle store for the brewery at the very heart of the true brewing capital of Britain. Feel that tradition...

I've only rated it at 8 for now, though, as the welcome given by the landlady on our visit was a little "exasperated" and lacking in warmth...not what you may expect from such a pub, but I'm sure it was just an off-moment and we'll be back for more very soon.

26 May 2009 13:10

The Swan, Whiston

Surprisingly few comments for such a decent pub. Our was only a flying pitstop, but the welcome was warm, the pub - and carpark - was very full, the food smelt good and the range of beer was very decent indeed. Although arriving at dusk, we could see the potential of the view around. The barman had his arm in a sling after breaking his collarbone a few weeks ago, but still managed to serve us far better than many people with two fully functioning arms in too many pubs to mention!

10 May 2009 15:44

The Star Inn, Bath

At the risk of just repeating everyone else, this has to be the best pub in Bath and one of the finest in Britain. Magninficent original multi-room interior, excellent ales - although didn't have the Bass (this time, anyway). It surely benefits from its relatively isolated positon which keeps the circuit hoards away and probably deters the bulk of the trippers, although there's nothing wrong in promoting what a real old English pub looked like in times gone past.
An absolute gem.

29 Mar 2009 00:44

The Coeur de Lion, Bath

Well tucked away down a side passage, marvellous stained glass window promised much...but decor seemed disappointingly bland and characterless. Interesting layout nonetheless with the cellar toilets and (newly-opened?) upper dining room. Very friendly and welcoming staff, excellent local ales. Understandably cramped, but no-one minded you sharing their table, as implored by the notice imploring people to "budge up"!

29 Mar 2009 00:37

The Old Green Tree, Bath

Dropped in just before midday on a Saturday, back room already busy with eaters, front lounge occupied, but - wondrously - two seats at the bar. Excellent range of local ales, well-kept and welcomingly served. Superb original features abound, panelling is some of the best to be seen anywhere. With its cramped style, It couldn't fail to be difficult to get served at busy times, but that experience will have to saved for next time. Superb.

29 Mar 2009 00:31

The Maiden Over, Earley

Visited on a very quiet Sunday evening, hardly anyone in at that point. Friendly welcome, decently-kept beer, but a distinctly odd feel to the place - the rear lounge area is, despite refurbishment, still something straight from a 1960s RAOB social club or the like, complete with 6-inch high stage in one corner - you feel like they could stage a re-enactment of the Wheeltappers & Shunters without any effort at all. Having said that, one nice feature is the original barback with the pub name picked out over glass in the original lettering.

18 Mar 2009 17:15

The Moderation, Reading

All polished floorboards, palm plant pots, black leather sofas - far too restaurant/wine bar-like for my tastes, but decent real ale on, including a very decent and rare-for-the-area beer from Rugby. Thai food and barstaff. May call back again to sample the food, but not really a typical pub as such. For all that, it's still, much, much, MUCH better than some of its previous incarnations.

18 Mar 2009 17:01

The Crown On The Bridge, Caversham

Decent enough beer range - Young's, Brakspears, London Pride - well-kept and pleasantly served by the landlord, but, Christ, was it ever LOUD at 8pm on a Saturday night. Sport on flatscreens, but I think they were muted as you couldn't hear a bloody thing over the cacophony of groups of lads and lasses clearly limbering up for the assault on the town centre later on. Not the place for a quiet contemplative pint and a philosophical chat...

18 Mar 2009 16:57

The Black Horse Inn, Spon End

Visited due to being in the city for a gig and the sole Coventry representative on the CAMRA National Inventory - unfortunately, as stated elsewhere, the lounge features have all been painted over with white paint and this makes the room look very ordinary and like a very scruffy social club. Managed to time my visit to this Irish pub for St.Patrick's Day, so at 6.30pm, it was totally rammed inside and I couldn't get into the bar room to look over the features there - served via the hatch/doorway from the lounge side. Long wait for a drink, but the Guinness (natch) was very good. I was on a very limited time-scale, so probably worth a return visit at a quieter time...

18 Mar 2009 16:50

The Blue Anchor, Hammersmith

We have been regular visitors to the Blue Anchor over the years, on our way from our favoured parking spot to events at the Hammersmith Odeon. Last walked past a year or so ago when it was closed for refurbishment and, at the time, feared the worst. However, last night saw our re-entry into this classic riverside pub and we were very happy. The refurbishment has seen the bar turned through 90 degrees across the centre of the room and a wheelchair access door added where the end of the bar used to meet the frontage. The original barback has been retained to provide a wall of mirrors and the tin bartop and handpumps have been resited along a drinking shelf facing the river. The toilets are now modern and spotless and I understand from other comments that an upsatirs dining room has been opened. The beer range doesn't seem to change from other comments already made, but is well-kept. The staff were friendly and welcoming and were happily surprised to see us again after the concert for another swift pint. It was completely empty downstairs at 10.30pm, but this was a Monday night, so perhaps not too surprising. A throughly pleasant experince all round.

10 Mar 2009 14:15

The Bird In Hand, Henley-On-Thames

Excellent true free-house, the only one in Henley. Five well-kept ales always on, very friendly welcome and convivial atmosphere. Something of a dog-fanciers paradise...If you haven't got a dog, go along anyway - someone will lend you one of theirs for the evening. CAMRA branch pub of the Year and deservedly so.

27 Jan 2009 15:14

The Cricketers, Southampton

Rather bizarrely, an identical occurrence for us yesterday...dropped in at 2pm, to find the place completely empty save for one table occupied by a group including a young child...as we approached the bar, we didn't even get a greeting of any sort, just a nod towards our almost-seventeen year old lad and a grunted "has he got any ID - over 18s only?". With that, we spun on our heels and walked out, not even bothering to question the presence of the child in the corner.
Over 18 policies are no bad thing at keeping a lid on riotously packed nights in a city-centre bar, but a 16yo lad wanting a Diet Coke with his mid-forties parents AND late-sixties grandfather in tow on a graveyard Sunday afternoon is something completely different. Very poor.

29 Dec 2008 14:19

The Beacon Hotel, Dudley

Time to bang on again about the wonder that is the Beacon. Following the mighty RFC to any Midlands away day game invariably means a detour here, no matter to which ground we may be headed. After a very pleasing 3-1 demolition of the Blues this time, the trip here was all the more sweeter.
Arriving at about 7.15pm on the Saturday evening, the whole pub was already packed. The Snowflake was as superb as it normally is and the rest of the range was equally on top form. The recently awarded CAMRA award for the best pub in Birmingham, propelling it into the running for the National award, is long overdue and thoroughly deserved.

22 Dec 2008 11:53

Mount Pleasant, Sedgley

Squeezed into the front bar around 10pm on a Saturday night, didn't get to see the rest of the layout, but will definitely return again to experience the whole of the Stump. Superb range of fantastically kept beers from a host of local breweries, lively chatty atmosphere and friendly barstaff. The mock tudor exterior of the building, coupled with the piece of rough land adjacent lulls you into maybe expecting something less, but step through the door and it's almost like stepping into another fabulous dimension.

22 Dec 2008 11:42

Bull's Head, Sedgley

Dropped in around 10.30 on a Saturday night heading back to the Beacon, only a handful in at that time. Decent range of well-kept Holden's ales and a welcoming landlady, but nonetheless a very flat experience. Flatscreen TV BLARING out across the small front bar to no audience, could easily have turned it down or off. Men's toilets were extremely scruffy and dirty. Only hung around for 15 minutes, I'm afraid.

22 Dec 2008 11:38

The Dragon Inn, Worcester

Hunted this one down on a flying visit through Worcester, dropping in at about 2.30 on a Sunday. Only a smattering of locals in as we arrived, but soon augmented by a dozen-strong group that pile in just behind us. No frills single room drinker's den, excellent range and quality of ales, nice little selection of malts as well. Driving limited me to just the two halves, but will make a point of returning car-less in the near future...

22 Dec 2008 11:31

The Dispensary, Liverpool

Late visit for last knockings on a Saturday night - decent Cains range on and a friendly welcome from the barman, even at the fag-end of a long night. It does appear somewhat shabbier than the last time we visited, although that was about 8 years ago...could do with a spruce-up, although Cains probably haven't got two ha'pennies to spend on decor at the moment...

20 Oct 2008 13:09

The Roscoe Head, Liverpool

Excellent little side-street pub - tiny bar surrounded by multiroom layout with front snug sectioned off. Good choice of well-kept real ales. only yards off one of the main drags for the circuit crowd, but a calm oasis even when full of punters, who tend to be the more mature ale-drinker.

20 Oct 2008 13:04

The Fly in the Loaf, Liverpool

Visited at 10.15 on a very busy Saturday night...I have to say that the staff were absolutely exceptional and probably the best crew I have ever encountered in nearly 30 years of pub-going. We managed to squeeze into a corner at one end of the long bar and had a perfect view of them in action. They were a constant blur of motion and action, but each used a split-second to acknowledge your presence and the fact that you were next. Even with an order for two beers coming one from each end of the bar, there wasn't a hint of impatience from them and they still found time to recommend different tastes and different beers to people who weren't sure what they wanted. The beer quality and choice was excellent, too.

20 Oct 2008 13:00

The Alehouse, Reading

Quinno, would have to agree with you completely. The Hobgoblin has been the best real ale pub in Reading for over 15 years, but the price hikes and current pricing of admittedly rare-for-the-area ales leave it trailing for attractiveness behind the Nag's Head, The Retreat and even - gulp, dare I say it - the Wetherspoons' quartet in the town. No-one minds paying a bit more for something you won't find elsewhere, but up to 1 a pint more? Sorry, but it pegs it down from my ever-constant rating of 10 to a current 8.

28 Sep 2008 23:29

Old Ship Inn, Cadmore End

At the third time of asking, after finding it shut twice before - Sunday opening hours not as listed in the Good Pub Guide - we finally managed to call in here last night, renewing an acquaintance of some 20 years ago when it was a Breakspear house...little has changed, because there is so little to change.Tiny pub with tiny L-shaped bar, but with two seperate areas to choose from. Welcoming landlord, quiet group of locals chatting at the bar. Two very decent real ales on, tapped from the cask in the cellar down three steps at the rear of the bar (no pumps at all on the bar, save for a cider tap almost hidden from view at the back end). Lots of pump clips from previous beer selections.Small, but tasty looking selection of food on a blackboard. Didn't eat this time, but the smells wafting from the kitchen four paces opposite the bar were tempting enough to want to make a return trip very soon. Ancient version of their pub sign standing in the no-longer used fireplace, which is massive given the size of the whole place.
A truly hidden gem. Parking in gravel layby on opposite side of road - look out for the boards at either end indicating that the pub lies below road level somewhere between the two.

21 Sep 2008 14:58

The Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds

Once we had toured the town centre three times looking for a place to park, we strolled into what amounts to a large phonebox for a unique experience. It wasn't busy - how could it be? - with just four or five people inside. The beer was OK, although disappointly expensive at 3.20 for a pint of GK IPA. Very friendly barman.
The stairs up to the loo are frightenly steep, but the "conference room" made us chuckle. If you don't mind sitting directly outside the loo door, you can get a good view of the street below as people wander past. Very large windows do make it feel a bit bigger, but I can imagine it feeling quite hemmed in with about a dozen customers as you cannot take your drink outside.
In a Nutshell - groan - well worth the trip.

1 Aug 2008 23:54

The Kings Head (Low House), Laxfield

On a one-day trip to Southwold, it was impossible to resist the lure of a detour on the way home to the best village pub in Britain, bar none. Our first visit for over four years and nothing had changed, apart from the people now running the place, although I'm glad to say they were as welcoming as any previous regime. Wonderfully kept beer dispensed in true old-fashioned style, cosily warm & friendly atmosphere and a feeling of being totally away from it all make this the most rewarding of pub-going experiences possible.

1 Aug 2008 23:46

The Sole Bay Inn, Southwold

Having known the Sole Bay pre-makeover, I would have to say I preferred the older version. Days of Nut-Brown, Champion Pale Ale and Old Ale with the old-style pump-clips are fondly remembered here. It was a real shock to come here after the re-fit to find a cafe-bar style interior, although the exterior remains picturesquely old-fashined, despite the addition of the long wheelechair ramp down the side (no criticism of the accessibility arrangement, jist that it looks less "rustic" on that vista than it used to.
Having said all of that, it was still a pleasure to re-visit the Sole Bay yesterday, get a pint and sit on the front benches in the sunshine, reading a book and glancing up regularly to take in the site of the best beer factory on Earth just yards away across the green.

1 Aug 2008 23:41

The Harbour Inn, Southwold

Arrived around 5.30 on a sunny Thursday afternoon, plenty of people on the benches in front and behind, but absolutely no-one inside, unsurprisingly. The location is everything here and the beer was naturally very well-kept, although like everywhere else in Southwold, on the expensive side. It is faintly disappointing that such a conscientous brewer as Adnams could not keep their prices lower than normal in their home town - transportation costs must be about 1p a pint, I would have thought.

1 Aug 2008 23:32

The Lord Nelson, Southwold

Well, further to my comments of more than two years ago(!), I finally made it back to the Nelson yesterday for the first time in 4 years and am glad to report I was not disappointed at all. Arriving just after 2pm and therefore finding it devoid of the lunchtime rush, we were able to enjoy a glorious pint of The Bitter in glorious sunshine on a bench out the front, people-watching and soaking up the flavours of Southwold in full stride. The Bitter is up to 2.80 now and everything else is 3.00, but, believe me, those prices are better value here than anywhere else you may care to mention.

1 Aug 2008 23:28

The Cittie of Yorke, Holborn

Re-visited again today after a gap of probabably 15 years. Despite its fairly unique interior, the missus couldn't remember it at all, must just be my saddo memory banks then! Love the layout with the line of booths, the long low bar and the vaulted ceilings with the enormous vats perched overhead. Beer was OK, but whilst I appreciate what Sam Smith's are doing to preserve a series of historic London pubs, I do wish they could open out their selection to at least one guest...would round off these pubs perfectly.

30 Jul 2008 00:20

The Lamb, Bloomsbury

Vistited on a very quiet Tuesday afternoon around 3pm, decent enough beer range, although nothing out of the ordinary. Lovely interior, excellent to see a full set of snob screens still in situ. Somehow actually seemed almost too pristine, almost like a reproduction rather than the original we know it to be.

30 Jul 2008 00:15

The Princess Louise, Holborn

Never been here until today, so can't compare to the "old" Princess Louise...however, stunning interior and detail in the decor. Looks marvellous and the room dividers are all part of the charm , don't listen to the moaners who say it makes it cramped. Friendly barman and reasonable beer, even if it is the unexciting Sam Smith's range.

30 Jul 2008 00:09

De Hems, Soho

Drunken_Duck - don't know if you'll ever bother to come back to re-read these comments, but I can't let your pseudo beer-snobbery pass without comment. This site is NOT offered solely as a real-ale lover's site and should not be touted or treated as such. I am a CAMRA member of more than 20 years and a minor contributor to printed pub guides and cannot see one reason why I shouldn't visit this marvellous pub to enjoy foreign beers served in the continental way. I defy any real devotee of world beer not to enjoy the Maredsous Blonde on tap or any of the bottled range. Your narrow-mindedness only helps to reinforce the oft-spouted negative views of ale disciples as trainspotter-ish nerds who believe all lagers to be the devil's spawn.
It's your loss...

29 Jul 2008 23:59

The Brunswick Inn, Derby

A real ale mecca, with seven of their own and seven guests on during our visit. Starting from just 1.50 a pint through to 2.10 for their own adn only as far as 2.70 for the mostexpensive guest. Excellent (genuine) home-made food at decent prices. Superb building with many rooms and an open view of the brewery. Has to be in the top two or three across the whole city and a must for anyone stepping off the train.

13 May 2008 00:53

The Alexandra Hotel, Derby

Always a superb range of beers on, including several foreign beers. Very friendly welcome from staff and punters, especially to the away football fan on matchdays. Heaven if you're a trainspotter-ish drinker, lots of of railway stuff on the walls. One of the most convivial pubs in the whole city...and only 100 yards from the Brunswick, too.

13 May 2008 00:49

Ye Olde Dolphin Inn, Derby

Not much more to add to other comments - age oozing out of every pore here, managed to get into the snug for the first time ever on this trip. Excellent range of ales, although not the best in the city as some here would have it. Always worth your time to wander in here for a quiet pint or enjoy the packed later evenings most nights of the week.

13 May 2008 00:45

The Flowerpot, Derby

Magnificent range of ales on when we called in - 9 on handpump and 15 tapped from the cask wall in the rear "cellar" bar. Didn't eat, but the huge portions being consumed by other punters had our eyes on stalks. Very knowledgable and welcoming staff. Can't belive this was our 4th/5th trip to Derby over the last four years or so and this was the first time we had been there - it'll be stop no. 1 next time round.

12 May 2008 14:21

Station Inn, Derby

Bass straight from the jug - the only reason you need to go here, but a friendly welcome, good atmosphere and a tidy looking bar area all add to the experience. Old fashioned opening hours may frustrate slightly, but make sure you know the times asnd you'll be in heaven.

12 May 2008 14:17

The Falstaff, Derby

Yes, it is hard to find and the route in can offer some challenges in terms of the local (very mixed) inhabitants, but it's all worth it when you get there. Excellent range of beers, welcoming and friendly staff, old-fashioned multi-room layout, decent jukebox and the all the feeling of a real, proper backstreet boozer. Visited at around 8.30 on a Saturday night, but very quiet for all that. Superb, regardless

12 May 2008 14:14

The Hollies Hotel, Westbury

At 10pm on a Saturday night, this was busy without being crowded. A long row of pumps on the bar diguised the fact that there is only one real ale on offer here, albeit a very good pint of Sharp's Doombar. Three flatscreens dotted around, each showing a different channel, but all without sound. Lively atmosphere, but a steady stream of smokers to the back patio left us sitting both in a draught and with the fag-haze wafting in from outside. Only a flying visit, but worth another go if we're ever back in the area.

5 May 2008 16:02

The Retreat, Reading

To combine two of the comments below, the front bar has been recently re-painted and I think the back bar is to follow soon. With regards to the "junk" comment,I know what you mean as one end of the front bar is strewn with "stuff" which, if cleared, could provide a larger serving area or, at the very least, a good glass collection point. Minor details, though, which should not detract from the fine experience that is The Retreat.

7 Apr 2008 14:54

The Head of Steam, Newcastle

Visited on what I presume to be an ordinary Friday night...heaving,steaming,loud and sweaty. Good selection of beers behind the bar and an apparently good range of local beers on four handpumps, but having bought two of them, the clips were turned round on ALL FOUR within five minutes. One of the two pints we had was very bottom-of-the-barrel stuff, so it looks like they decided to maximise their profits for the night by serving the bottled stuff only quicker than they could change the barrels and pull real pints. For your actual ale-drinker, a visit at a quieter time must be best, otherwise be prepared to sweat pounds, spend even more pounds and have your senses assaulted by the noise level from what seemed like hundreds od students/bright young things in what seems like a phonebox.

7 Apr 2008 14:48

Crown Posada, Newcastle

Can't believe it's almost 18 months since our last visit, it felt like yesterday...outstanding range of beer from local breweries. Warm and friendly clientele, happy to launch into a chat about the beer or the football as soon as they knew you were from out of town. Inevitably rammed full and always difficult to get close to the bar to get served, but people will happily pass your pint over to you. Mnaged to get into the snug on our second visit of the weekend, suddenly seems like an oasis of calm in a perenially popular classic watering-hole.

7 Apr 2008 12:24

The Newcastle Arms, Newcastle

Excellent range of real ales, definitely worth spending an evening there when the queue for the Newcastle Beer Festival was way too long to contemplate joining...not sure about the comment about the smell, there was absolutely no evidence of that during our visit. Lots of evidence of original styling within and the bowed front window and surrounds. Within yards of St.James'Park, so best visited outside of pre-match times, although that doesn't mean it won't be full anyway...it will be.

7 Apr 2008 12:19

The Beehive, Newcastle

Called in on the way through to the Posada as the exterior looked interesting in an old-fashioned tiled way. Certainly is a drinkers pub, flatscreens with horse-racing everywhere making it feel like almost any bar in Belfast...nothing here to interest the real ale drinker and the "Exhibition Ale" keg beer we took a swift half of was possibly the worst "beer" I have ever tasted in my life. Definitely not one for the imbiber of fine ales...

7 Apr 2008 12:14

Bob Trollops, Newcastle

Having a veggie for a wife, she was very happy to visit this pub at a quiet time (5pm on a Friday) to sample the all-too-rare extensive veggie menu. Very good and very cheap food, friendly barman, not a great ale selection (one hadpump only as mentioned elsewhere, interesting building with three seperately named pubs under one roof. Does have a lot of competition close by, but whn we walked past again much later in the evening, it was rammed to the gills.

7 Apr 2008 12:08

The Cluny, Ouseburn

Extraordinary range of at least 7 well-priced real ales on, all from local breweries + extensive range of foreign draught beers. Arrived just too late to eat(kitchen closes at 9), but other people's orders looked very good. Heaving by the time we left, interesting building by the river, feels somewhat isolated if you don't know where to find it. Great music and hugely lively atmosphere, but then it was a Saturday night in Newcastle...show me a Newcastle pub/bar that isn't lively and I'll tell you it's shut!

7 Apr 2008 12:03

The Red Lion, Upper Basildon

Visited on a Sunday luchtime to find the place rammed full, albeit it is quite a small bar area, but with a dining room attached to one side...excellent beer from West Berks, friendly, if slightly harassed staff.
On first visits to both, would have to say we preferred this pub to the Beehive around the corner, although both are worth a trip out.

31 Mar 2008 17:22

The Beehive, Upper Basildon

Recently saved from turning into a private house by a local campaign. Some very ancient features inside, but coupled with modernistic refurbishment. Has an air of being a gastropub, but decent enough beer selection. Visited on a quiet Sunday afternoon, so not much action, but a pleasant enough diversion from a drive in the country.

31 Mar 2008 17:19

The Sportsman, Reading

Large eating house (Hungry Horse type menu, but food looked fairly decent, actually), another pub festooned with flatscreens blaring out football and competing with music over speaker system - one or the other, please! Suffers from being on edge of Whitley estate (especially since all the pubs on that estate have now shut) and also proximity to the Maidens almost directly opposite in that clientele can be, ahem, rough and ready. Still, if you can catch it at a quiet time, the beer is decently enough kept, even if it is GK and the food may be worth investigatine.

31 Mar 2008 17:10

The Three Guineas, Reading

Always a decent beer selection - Bushy's (Isle of Man) on there during our last visit, a good rare find for this neck of the woods. Overpowering large screen, lots of smaller flatscreens and music piped to outside seating at very loud levels all conjure up a feeling of somewhere you can't relax whether waiting for a train or passing by on the way to town. Certainly couldn't spend a session in there, but the beer does make it worth the occasional foray.

31 Mar 2008 17:04

The Allied Arms, Reading

Small town centre pub, but still has two seperate bar areas, both approached through the side door - the front door is permanently shut. Usually two good real ales on, occasionally a third and infrequent beer festivals (seem to recall the last one was about a year ago, so perhaps another is due?). Usually a good chatty atmosphere, decent old-school jukebox, but the odd occasion when it can feel a little unwelcoming - you seem to pick up the odd evil eye from time to time from punters who probably feel you are invading their personal front room drinking den. Nothing wrong with it, in general, though.

31 Mar 2008 17:00

The Eldon Arms, Reading

Very traditional back-street local. Be aware if you have driven to it before that the street it sits on has recently become one-way and is only approachable now from the King's Road - don't turn off Eldon Road!
We only ever come here as part of the annual Ale Trail, but always find the beer in top condition. As we always normally go into the public bar,we went into the small lounge side for the first time, very pleased to see the full beer selection available from that side as well...all too often these days, the pumps are all on one side only and the other side feels somewhat lifeless. The old off licence hatch is still in situ opposie the entrance door as well, so a very traditional feel to the place.

31 Mar 2008 16:50

The Foresters Arms, Reading

Finally managed to get there yesterday as part of the local Ale Trail...well worth the wait. Old-fashioned look from outside, but a surprisingly tidy, clean and modern feel to the front bar. Decent beer on from Harvey's, small unobtrusive flat-screen with all football shown. Didn't go through to the back bar, but seemed lively with pool table and further screens.
Lots of Reading FC paraphanalia from the days whenthe old stadium was close by...very much a decent back-street boozer sandwiched down a one-way street between two main roads.

31 Mar 2008 16:41

The Prince of Wales, Caversham

A mixed bag, this one. Excellent, well-kept Brakspear's ales with a decent guest usually on as well, unusual layout with entrance door only two steps from bar which then extends around to the right. Two open lounge areas off to left with some excellent original old oak panelling. HUGE, but friendly pub dog, popularly known as the world's biggest puppy. Friendly enough atmosphere here when we visited as there was a very loud 21st birthday karoake party going on, but I do know where the comment below about the regular clientele comes from. We've never had a problem in here, but I can see how some would feel.

17 Mar 2008 13:21

White Horse, Emmer Green

Uninspring Greene King food-house, lots of small areas up and down steps, all very random. Loud shouty clientele, big screens everywhere. Huge outdoor decking area at the front of the pub - bet the locals love that late of a night. Complete contrast to the Black Horse across the road, but yet similar in a lot of ways.Just as unappealing.
I know the comment about being a bland gastro-pub was made two years ago, but it's more Hungry Horse than it could ever be described as a gastropub...

17 Mar 2008 13:09

The Black Horse, Emmer Green

Visited as part of the local CAMRA branch's ale trail. Slightly sneery know-it-all look from barmaid as I asked for the ale trail stickers along with our two halves (first pub of the night and we had other trail pubs to move onto). Good to see an old-fashioned layout with a (not in use) off-sales window as you enter, then public bar to right and lounge to left. Public bar dominated by pool table and locals restricting access to bar area. Decent enough beer on, although not a big choice. Lounge bar comfortable. Couldn't say hand on heart that it would be a regular trip out, nothing would pull me in again apart from it appearing on the trail again in other years.

17 Mar 2008 13:02

Shepherds House, Woodley

Large roadhouse type pub on the A4. Has had something of a reputation in the past and was never an attractive place. However, a new regime over the last 2-3 years has improved things dramatically. Always 4 real ales on - permanently Adnams Bitter, Sharp's Doom Bar, West Berks Gold Old Boy and a regular guest, usually from Hog's Back at the moment. Friendly and attentive staff. Good honest cheap bar food (no frills). Seperate side room, handy for club meetings, and further seperate bar room with pool table - handy for keeping the younger element off to one side. Two large screens for all sports occasions. It can still feel a bit rough and ready, but it's none the worse for that.

18 Feb 2008 12:31

Bird In Hand, Knowl Hill

Current CAMRA branch Pub of The Year and fully deserving of the title. Always at least five ales on, all in tip-top condition and they will always change them at the first hint of not being quite right. A mixture of hotel, function rooms, restaurant and just plain pub make this a pleasant change from the norm and it all works together. Only ever come here to drink, but that's all I need it it for!

28 Jan 2008 11:26

Broad Street Tavern, Wokingham

Known for the best range of real ales in the town, they had a mini-festival of porters and stouts on when we visited on Saturday just gone. Very good range of beers from across the country, all in good nick, some served direct from the barrels set up at one side of the bar, although they were served under pressure, despite being corretly racked on a small stillage. What's wrong with pure gravity dispense, people?
Friendly and efficient staff, in a pub that exploded into life around 7.30pm and became very hectic very quickly. Being Australia Day, this saw the place decorated with inflatable Australiana and the Antipodean barman was all done up for the occasion, but the flag he had tied around his neck caused a few problems with trailing over people's glasses as he moved around. Better off without it, cobber.

28 Jan 2008 11:07

The Metropolitan, Wokingham

Called in around 7pm on a Sunday evening...distinctly underwhelming. Two small bars in an old building, looks attractive from outside, but not so inside. Public bar dominated by huge flatscreen, lounge bar at side also has large screen which is less dominant. Boringly bland range of GK national beer. Only saving feature really is the retention of the two seperate bars.I believe building is listed, so difficult for them to try to knock it through, but you get the feeling they would if they could...

28 Jan 2008 10:59

The Griffin Inn, Chipping Warden

This pub has been very patchy over the last 18 months or so, but a new regime is in place once again, with the landlady freely admitting it's her first ever pub.
Very tidy inside, perhaps slightly more modern than you would expect from outside. Roaring log fire, couple of deep settees, quite cosy all round. Three decent real ales always on, haven't tried the food yet, but plenty of boards around with all sorts of offers on. Promising, hope they can maintain the enthusiastic start,

19 Jan 2008 00:25

The Meeting House, Larne

Recently refurbished again, kitchens moved from upstairs to large extension behind bar. Excellent food, superb Guinness. Random, but frequent sessions by local musicians - always very good. It has an isolated feeling to it up in the hills behind Larne, but is easily found by turning off the A2 coast road at the Balleygalley Hotel, signed to Cairncastle. Uphill until you reach a T-junction and it's there in front of you. Well worth the trip out.

15 Jan 2008 16:45

McCuaigs, Rathlin Island

Large-roomed bar overlooking the harbour area. Entirely functional and basic inside - looks more like a canteen, really. Acts as the island's social club,given it's the only place to buy a drink. Excellent Guinness and decent enough Smithwick's. Marvellous setting on a very picturesque island with lots of walking and bird-watching...and very little else. 30 minute ferry from Ballycastle.

15 Jan 2008 16:35

The Beacon Hotel, Dudley

Another 12 months on from our last visit and time for the annual trip to the Beacon...yet again, nothing has changed at all and praise be for that. The Snowflake and the Dark Mild were both on absolute top form, although you REALLY don't want to be driving if you imbibe either. We normally coincide our visits with football matches in the area, but it really is worth coming up here just to visit the pub. It's 120 miles from home for us, but worth every minute that it taskes to get here.

14 Jan 2008 12:28

The Bartons Arms, Aston

It is extraordinary that this magnificent example of Victoriana survives intact in an area of some "distress". Maybe being by itself on an island surrounded by three roads helps to keep the undesirable element away, although several plain windows where there surely were etched ones before bear testimony to some attack from the surrounding natives.
Superb selection of Oakham ales and several guests, excellent Thai food, quickly served even on a match day, friendly and efficient staff and wonderous decor with ceiling to floor tiling, wrought-iron staircases. plenty of etched glass, some old bell-pushes and a series of snob screens at one end of the huge island bar (although the snob screens don't look entirely original to me. They has a huge pile of new floorboards ready to lay throughout the pub, but it's such a vast and warren-like layout that you almost didn't notice the pile at all.
Fabulous example of all that can be good about a pub -long may it continue.

14 Jan 2008 12:14

Mailmans Arms, Lyndhurst

Echoing the couple of comments already made, this looks from the outside to be everything a fine old English pub should be. However, the multi-room layout that you might expect from various doors and signage is now nothing more than a knocked-through L shape room around the bar, with bistro type floor wooden flooring and big soft leather sofas.The Greene King range is never going to be that exciting...and it wasn't.
Soulless. It needn't be this way.

2 Jan 2008 15:30

Bittles, Belfast

The food is excellent too. Well-made, decent portions and well-priced. The range of bottled beer keeps on growing and their Christmas range includes a Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Ale at a whopping 9.6%.

27 Nov 2007 15:54

Red Lion, Sheffield

Visited twice in the same day, Sunday late lunchtime and again early evening. Quiet on both occasions, but decent range of beers and friendly staff. A lot tidier than some city centre pubs, although just a tad on the ordinary side, with any past divisions between bars removed to give one large L-shaped room with a conservatory on the side. Has echoes of an older style in the outside look and some etched windows. Pleasant enough and much more welcoming than others close by.

27 Nov 2007 15:49

Nags Head, Reading

Despite being Reading born and bred, I had never set foot in this pub until three days ago, mainly due to the awful reputation it and the surrounding streets have had for more years than I can recall.
However, having heard all about the re-launch and the "permanent beer festival" there these days, we took a punt.
Large single room pub, with a dozen hand-pumps lined up, each beers name displayed on a chalkboard above the pumps, along with the beer lined up to come on next. Excellent idea. All real ales at one price - 2.50, which is, for Reading, quite reasonable. All beer tasted - five on our visit - was in excellent condition. Lively, chatty atmosphere. Very friendly and competent staff, toilets absolutely spotless - always a sign of a regime that actually gives a hoot.
A hugely welcome addition to the limited range of decent pubs in the town...

12 Nov 2007 14:39

The Golden Cross, Cardiff

Visited this pub on the basis of the Camra National Inventory-listed features - heavy tiling on the outside, areas of tiling inside and a magnificent bar. A wierd mixture of these preserved features and then totally featureless expanses of walls. Many doors show where the interior would have been sub-divided in the old days, but huge expanse of nearly new bricks at the rear of the pub show that this is basically an old facade slapped on a new frame.
Not having the local knowledge before visting, it soon became apparent that this is a gay pub, but it was welcoming to us at a very quiet time on a Sunday afternoon.
Many handpumps on the bar, but only one Brains real ale on. Decent enough and VERY cheap - 1.65 a pint.
Worth a visit a view of the preserved decor, but I suppose it depends on you as to whether you stay on after that...

12 Nov 2007 14:30

The Cayo Arms Hotel, Cardiff

Have visited this pub several times over the last few years, but this is tht first time of commenting...called in around 6pm on a Sunday evening. Fairly sparsely populated, flatscreens everywhere and volume FAR too loud. Excellent range of beer as always, "food all day" didn't apply at the time we were in. At it's best on matchdays when very busy, rather than the half-hearted atmosphere we found on this occasion. Still worth searching out for the Tomos Watknis beer, though.

12 Nov 2007 10:08

The Cardiff Cottage, Cardiff

Visited around 5pm on a Sunday, just after Cardiff Rugby club had been playing around the corner, so rammed full of post-match exuberance (and a total ignorance to move ever so slightly to one side so that we could pass to somewhere near the bar). Decent Brains range on tap, although much pricier than could be obtianed from very close by). Mirrors everywhere create the impression of being much beigger than it actually is - more of a long corridor than anything else. Slightly stale smell in the air, but the smokers would say that could have been masked, I suppose.

12 Nov 2007 09:57

The Hop Pole Inn, Aylesbury

Excellent range of beer on the 10 handpumps plus a good selection of bottled beers. Very efficient barstaff, nice layout to pub, bare wooden floors, extremely clean and airy. Crowded in early evening, lively chatter from all around. Only had time for a single drink, but will return soon for a longer session and to sample the good-looking food.

26 Oct 2007 09:45

The Peyton Arms, Stoke Lyne

Visited on a wonderfully sunny Sunday in mid-October, can only say that reports of a discourteous welcome would appear to be somewhat wide of the mark. Great bunch of welcoming locals, chatty and friendly. Mine host and his good lady were also very happy to see us, enquiring how we'd found them and where we'd come from. Superbly kept Hook Norton ales tapped direct from the cask in a tiny cellar behind the miniature bar. Just three tables in the "main" room, lots of memorabilia of times gone past and ancient music quietly drifting out of a radio. Marvellous little split-level buidling with lots of off-shoot rooms, most not in use, but a new-ish toilet block at the back. A country gem without a doubt and excellent walking close by as well.

15 Oct 2007 10:27

Swan, Iver

If this was your second visit in as many weeks, why was your first posting done in the first person as a method statement for the pub and the second was as a third-party "punter"? If you are going to pump yourself up with false reviews, at least have the nous to not link yourself to previous posts...
Visited around 8.30pm on a quiet Thursday night. Bare pine boards, pine tables, pine high-back stolls and pine window blinds...too much like a Swedish bistro restaurant and nothing like a pub, I'm afraid. One real ale on, London Pride, nothing wrong with it, but won't be hurrying back.

31 Aug 2007 09:50

The Magpie and Parrot, Shinfield

Suffered badly in the recent floods, water two foot deep throughout. Some furniture and fittings ruined, currently no carpets, ask to see their photos...otherwise, business as usual and the Pride just goes on getting better and better.

20 Aug 2007 13:08

The Bush House, Bushmills

Superb front bar, excellent bar-back and original fittings. Larger back-lounge with original bell-pushes. Third room which we didn't see was apparently the old kitchen. The obligatory horse-racing up on the TV, friendly welcome. A real throw-back bar, in the town with Ireland's oldest whiskey distillery and always worth a visit.

14 Aug 2007 13:13

The Mermaid Inn, Belfast

Tucked down one of Belfast's secret "entries". May be on an old site, but it's totally modern inside, almost like a new wine-bar - bit of a shame, really. Horse-racing on many screens, decent Guinness and Alex Higgins sat studying the form at a patio table...

14 Aug 2007 13:04

McDonalds Bar, Ballycastle

CORRECTION! This pub is called - and always has been - The House of McDonnell.
A fantastic and incredibly rare example of a pub untouched by modernism for well over 120 years...it has been in the same family ownership since it opened in 1766, more than 240 years ago. Listed both internally and externally, it is unlikely that this will ever change. Four-room layout with the bar all along the right hand-side, from the small front section (formally a spirit grocer's shop) through to the larger saloon at the rear. Off the rear bar is a tiny snug with no decoration save for four tiny original Bass advertising tiles and then a seperate lounge reached through a sliding door at the rear. Fantastic bar-back with original mirrors, spirit casks unfilled since the 1920s and a huge collection of unopened ancient bottles of whiskey, other spirits and old Victorian glasses. Not open weekday lunchtimes, but hugely popular at all other times. Spent a long hour talking to the landlady about the fascinating history of this unique bar. Well worth the travelling to see this living, breathing museum piece.

13 Aug 2007 13:24

Whites Tavern, Belfast

Reputedly the oldest in Belfast and tucked away down yet another secret entry. Has the air of antiquity and some bits certainly are old, but I'm not sure how much of it is totally original. Excellent lunchtime food and a pleasantly busy atmosphere. Can't vouch for the ladies, but some old memorabilia in the gents.
One of the better experiences in the city.

8 Aug 2007 18:31

The Rotterdam Bar, Belfast

Recently re-opened after a shaky period when re-development all around threatened its existence. Has won a stay of execution for at least a year and hopefully, it can survive either in its present state or as a new location elsewhere. Still the best bar none for the craic...

8 Aug 2007 18:27

Robinsons, Belfast

Multi-level bars, Robinson's through the front door, Fibber Magee's through the back, a decent restaurant upstairs, nightclub on the top floor and a modern bar in the basement. One of the best complexes in Belfast and something for all tastes.

8 Aug 2007 18:25

The Kitchen Bar, Belfast

Never managed to get to the Kitchen in its old guise and understand that it is a different bar now in lots of ways. LOTS of glass and leather, high ceilings make it feel much larger than it really is. In the Good Beer Guide for this year, but NO real ale when we visited. Black mark, I'm afraid.
Directly opposite Bittle's and is currently the poorer relation of the two, I feel.

8 Aug 2007 18:07

The John Hewitt, Belfast

Very popular city bar, live music most nights, excellent lunchtime food. One of the few real ale outlets in Belfast, always an interesting guest on and decent range of beers from around the world.

8 Aug 2007 18:04

The Duke Of York, Belfast

Staggering range of whiskies, huge collection of original pub memorabilia/old whiskies/beermats/local football programmes. Very popular bar, packed most nights. Nice layout, tucked down one of the old city alleys, but easy to find...and hard to leave.

8 Aug 2007 18:02

The Deers Head, Belfast

Slightly biased here, as my late father-in-law designed this during its last major refit, but have always enjoyed coming here. Always friendly and attentive staff, superb Guinness, excellent food. Traditional layout with a line of booths opposite the bar, although they are not enclosed Crown-fashion.

8 Aug 2007 17:59

The Beaten Docket, Belfast

Have always found the atmosphere a little lacking in here. Big and open on two levels, friendly staff, usual range of beers for a Belfast bar. TV always on racing channel, mixed bunch of visitors, but somehow just a bit sterile. Walk 10 yards across the road to the Crown or Robinsons beyond that...

8 Aug 2007 17:56

The Belfast Empire, Belfast

Split level venue with downstairs bar in crypt area of former church and upstairs hall used for larger gigs. Visited on a very quiet lunchtime, so difficult to gauge. Good selection of beers, nice layout, food looked good value, but will have to visit again in depth.

8 Aug 2007 17:53

The Crown Liquor Saloon, Belfast

Currently undergoing major sympathetic renovation, but still open for business and none the worse for the reduced space to chat, drink the black stuff and wonder in awe at the fittings. Ignore every comment you've ever seen on here about the bloody tourists - what's the point in having something as wonderful as this hidden from those who wish to see living history?
When the re-fit is complete, it will look even more stunning that it still does. Grab the opportunity to see it with both hands, preferably with a pint of Guinness or a sample of the Whitewater real ales in each hand...

7 Aug 2007 13:10

Bittles, Belfast

Superb - and tiny - pub situated in the apex of a flat-iron type warehouse building. Tiered seating up into angle from small bar with huge range of bottled beers and whiskies, very friendly welcome. Lots of music-hall and literary memorabilia crammed onto walls. A marvellous Belfast experience.

7 Aug 2007 13:05

Gillistown House, Ahoghill

Remote location at crossroads, not really that near Ahoghill at all. Recently refurbished and heavily redecorated. Previous information only listed a single room bar, but there is a back bar as well. Very friendly welcome, decent Guinness. It all has an air of newness about it, which perhaps ironically detracts slightly from the expectation of an old style shop/bar building.

7 Aug 2007 12:46

The White Hart, Whitton

Went here on a Sunday afternoon, randomly picked after spotting it as we walked to the nearby stadium. Welcome was friendly enough, although one or two characters dotted around the bar looked a little unsavoury at first. Decent enough beer, with a rare-for-the-area Robinsons beer from Manchester on tap. Huge garden, but with only a few tables, almost felt like you were sitting in the middle of a field. Not a bad stop-off if you're only visiting the area briefly.

11 Jul 2007 11:27

The Inn on the Park, Woodley

A quick update - her "ladyship" really is a total waste of space. We held an AGM there for a local sports club last night in a function room attached to the side of the bar. There were approx. 40 of us, all spending money over the bar freely. At the end of the meeting, we helped the staff to pack away the chairs, tables and returned ALL glasses to the bar, to continue the after-event socialising. From her favoured position in amongst her drinking cronies, Madam decides to berate several of our party for apparently not returning the glasses to the bar, despite some of us carrying 5/6 glasses each. She then threatens to ban us from using her glasses at any future meeting we hold there (we also hold monhly meetings there, so are frequent mass users of the pub). I think it's safe to say we'll be seeking alternative venues from now on - a lot of lost revenue.
To cap the evening off, time was called & we left the bar and stood outside chatting a moment - long enough to see her herd the two barstaff that had actually done the work in the evening out of the door at some pace and slam it shut to continue the session with her pals inside...pitiful, absolutely pitiful.

28 Jun 2007 09:43

The Lord Raglan Hotel, Blackburn

Visited on early Sunday lunchtime, old-fashioned looking place with large expanse of cobbles out front. Vaguely interesting interior, with seperate lounge to right of main bar area and some old style glass panelling, though not sure of its age. Pleasant enough staff, no real ale on , but good range of Thwaites beers at very cheap prices(to us Southerners, anyway). There probably are better pubs in Blackburn - certainly for real ale - but this was a "blind" choice and it wsas a harmless enough hour spent there.

14 May 2007 10:00

Imbibe, Southwark

"I recently had my 30th birthday here...for the fifth time..." any "review" by a once-only poster with hidden details is always going to be unsubtle self-advertising.

Keep self-promotion off BITE.

A big fat zero in protest...but all these zero awards will be removed shortly...

3 May 2007 13:27

The Nell Gwynne, Covent Garden

637 signatures as of just now...shamefully, I have yet to visit the Nell, but will now make it a high priority...

3 May 2007 13:15

The Inn on the Park, Woodley

Have to say this pub has gone downhill so fast it should win an Olympic Gold...on a visit last week, the guest beer - Archer's Village - was just drinkable and had gone off by the time of the next round. The ever-reliable fallback of London Pride was insipid and flat and the final fallback - Brakspears - was just vinegar, yet they only took off the guest pump. Had to resort to Guinness in the end, which was admittedly, perfectly OK.
Poor atmosphere made worse by the blanket fog of cigarette smoke and an air of couldn't care less from the landlady who seems to treat the place as a personal bar for her and her friends instead of actually trying to run the place properly. In desperate need of a total overhaul...

1 May 2007 16:39

George And Dragon, Chacombe

Excellent village local, interesting interior with several panelled rooms leading off the bar area which has a well actually in the middle of the bar counter. Excellent range of ales, very good food at not too over the top prices.

24 Apr 2007 17:25

Anvil, Wigan

Excellent town centre boozer next to the bus station. Friendly staff dispensing superbly kept ales from a big range at very reasonable prices (us Southerners are used to near-3 a pint now instead of the either-side-of 2 up north...)

24 Apr 2007 13:39

The Three Stags Heads, Wardlow Mires

Just about a year since our last visit and absolutely nothing has changed - the spartan interior, superbly kept beer, whippets & hounds draped everywhere, a roaring range, friendly chatter from all inside and total lack of engagement from Geoff, the surly landlord. Despite greeting him with a warm "good afternoon, how are you?" and placing an order for three different beers, all the time exuding polite friendliness, the only two words offered to our party were "Four pounds" - the price of the round.
If you can live with that attitude - and it never changes - it is simply one of the best examples of an era long gone.

24 Apr 2007 13:27

The Fishermans Retreat, Shuttleworth

Amazing location, you would have to know it was there, otherwise you might give up trying. Geared heavily towards the food, run almost along restaurant lines. Huge portions of very well-prepared food, but the veggie missus almost didn't eat due to the very limited choice(just one starter and two mains). They do need to widen it a bit further to match the standard offerings, which are extremely good. Excellently kept Black Sheep beers and Landlord on tap, but it is, of course, the range of whiskies that takes your breath away. One irritation with that, though - an advertised range of 500 whiskies needs a printed list to browse, which was not available on our vist. I got the impression that they weren't that concerned about doing a new list, but that may have just been the slightly off-hand reply to the question. You could only really select from what you could see at the bar, which was approximately 150...how do we know what we may have missed?
Still a great time,though, and just a few tweaks needed to make it the ultimate experience.

23 Apr 2007 18:13

The Lord Raglan, Nangreaves

The journey to the pub is an adventure in itself, over a mile of old cobbles, before arriving on the hill top and quite spectacular views over the valley. We arrived early on a quiet Sunday lunchtime, so speed of service wasn't a problem, although there was the merest hint of the sullen-ness that has prompted so many adverse comments here. It seemed like the staff didn't want to engage with you and couldn't wait to serve you and move on.
Spectacular range of ales from the brewery downstairs, at very reasonable rates. We chose not to eat, but there seemed to be a steady flow of people arriving for their Sunday lunch and we didn't see/hear any problems in the hour we were there. Beers available to take out either in bottles or 4-pint carry-outs, a good enough reason to visit in itself.

23 Apr 2007 18:02

The Bell Inn, Aldworth

We were there on the same Easter Sunday and, although the queue took some time to get in the door, it became apparent as we got closer to the bar that this was NOT due to lack of efficiency and politeness on the part of the barstaff, more to do with people dawdling in their choices and dithering about after getting served. The staff were supremely polite and helpful, the beer was wonderful and the rolls were superb. The interior is a sight to behold, completely unchanged for decades. This is, without doubt, one of the finest pubs in England.

17 Apr 2007 12:51

The Bull, Riseley

This ought to be a lot better than it is...looks can be deceptive. Rural village location, but sitting openly at roadside, so passing trade and locals should be flooding in, but at 8.30 on a Saturday night, we were the only customers. Shepherd Neame tied house - unusual for the area, so Spitfire and Masterbrew on pumps. OK, but nothing special. Difficult to generate anything really positive to say from such a flat experience.

17 Apr 2007 12:12

The Green Man, Hurst

Excellent country pub, gets absolutely rammed full at weekends due to the excellent food, good beer and good service, as well as a sun-trap garden. Unusual layout inside with a small bar tucked into one corner (serving hatch to garden) and a cellar room set two steps down from the rset of the pub - presumably the former cellarage where the casks were kept.

17 Apr 2007 12:05

The White Swan, Charlton

Visted as away fans before a Charlton game. Friendly welcome and good chat with locals at bar (two of whom insisted they were Chelsea, but that it was their own local). Obviously got very crowded as kick-off tiem approached, loud and raucous at times, but never a problem. Mundane Greene King choice of beer, but decent enough to drink, actually. Toilets STILL in need of re-decoration, though.

10 Apr 2007 12:40

Morgan's Wine and Ale House, Bexleyheath

Wouldn't normally have stepped inside, but the lack of opening at the Robin Hood forced our hand somewhat. "Real ale" blazoned on the outside, but four handpumps within had one Courage Best clip between them and that was turned round...decent Guinness, though, and friendly barmaid. Obscenely loud music playing for the benefit of the 10 regulars who clearly had been there most of the day (this was 5pm on a Bank Holiday Monday). Strange mix of decor and something of a mixed bag all round, have to say it'll be a one-off visit.

10 Apr 2007 12:34

The Golden Lion, Bexleyheath

Tidy inside, decent decor, if a little wine-bar-ish. No real ale, but then it's not meant to be that sort of place. Quiet at the time we visited, but I'm sure it gets packed out later on in the evening. OK to while away a quiet half hour waiting for other pubs to open...or not, as the case may be with the Robin Hood...

10 Apr 2007 12:30

The Robin Hood and Little John, Bexleyheath

Oh, what a shame...visited the area on a Bank Holiday Monday and made time and space to visit this pub, bearing in mind all the decent reviews and its reputation. Arrived at 4.45pm to find it shut, but with all its opening times displayed on the door (a rarity in itself and something that really should be more commonplace), it appeared that it would be opening at 5.30pm. We wandered away and returned nearly an hour later to find it still shut and with no sign of life at all. I can only suppose they were applying Sunday hours which meant opening at 7pm. We couldn't wait around that long and left disappointed.
It was always the convention that Bank Holidays had Sunday hours, but in these enlightened and varied times, surely a simple handwritten notice to that effect on the door would have cleared up any doubt.
We will return, but it may be a while before that happens, depending on Charlton's ability to remain in the Premiership...

10 Apr 2007 12:25

Ye Olde Reindeer, Banbury

Marvellous old pub, full of character and history. Big hanging sign suspended halfway across street, superb old panelling to left hand side and big fireplace to right. Big u-shaped bar, lots of good decoration, excellent beers, always a chatty atmosphere. Tends not to attract those who walk the Banbury circuit - just as well, really.

29 Mar 2007 14:53

The Hare and Hounds, Lower Wardington

Very well kept Hook Norton beers, slightly unusual layout in that the bar looks almost like an island bar, although it's actually just tucked at the rear of the room with a passageway down the side leading to the garden and the toilets. Huge open fireplace with a table and part of a bench actually underneath the chimney, which dominates the small room...The locals tend to cluster round the bar, which can make it slightly difficult to reach around and get served, but they are friendly enough. Food is cheap and big-portioned. Lovely village setting and good view from garden.

29 Mar 2007 14:49

Queens Head, Reading

Obviously very studenty, rather smoke-filled - not for long, roll on July 1st - decent range of beers. OK, but nothing special. Old fashioned feel to lounge bar.

19 Mar 2007 17:10

The Roebuck, Reading

Unusual back street local. Original panelling in what would have been seperate lounge bar before it was opened up into one room. Decent beer, although Greene King-heavy. Parking nearby can be awkward.

19 Mar 2007 17:07

The Three Tuns, Great Bedwyn

To anonymous 2nd March:- You could at least add a tagline saying you own or work at the pub. If you do either, perhaps you could explain why, having tried both (locked) doors, we spotted people through the window sitting at the bar who clearly saw us, but couldn't even lean out of a window to say sorry, we shut on Sundays...and it's a bit too obvious that "Shiner" is inextricably linked to your pub as well...the journey wasn't wasted, of course, as we had a decent experience in the Cross Keys.

19 Mar 2007 16:34

The Elephant and Castle, Whistley Green

Decent beers, even if they are Greene King based. Friendly welcome and decent service, nice two-room layout although lounge side appears to be rarely used, friendly pair of pub dogs...

19 Mar 2007 15:18

The Circus Tavern, Manchester

I'm shocked to see the treatment meted put to Jaybone as described below. He appears to be someone you could regard as a regular and yet gets turfed out on a whim.
As I previously described, we visited the pub for the very first time as completely unknown strangers from the soft South of England and yet we had no problem getting in, even though we did have to knock on the door. We have been back a second time since, again without a problem, although that was early on a Saturday lunchtime and the door was wide open.
I know that the place is run as something of an invitational institution, but I am amazed that someone such as Jaybone would be treated in that way, especially since he had been greeted so warmly initially.
Jaybone - perhaps you need to visit again soon in a quieter moment and gently ask why you were treated like this.

6 Mar 2007 17:01

The Yorkshire Terrier Inn, York

Agrre totally with the Centurion's Ghost...the best beer of the entire night on a tour of the city centre. A little gem of a pub.

26 Feb 2007 10:34

The Last Drop Inn, York

Has an almost cafe-bar type feel. Relaxed and chatty atmosphere, excellent range of York ales. Great place for a break mid-shopping or on an evening tour around the better alehouses of York.

26 Feb 2007 10:31

The Ackhorne, York

Visited on a very quiet Sunday lunchtime. Decent and varied selection of beer, friendly barman. Decent decor, although the patiio was closed as part of the floor just inisde the door had been ripped up for repair. Just off the beaten track of the Micklegate hell-holes, would be interested to return again on a busy night to see how the atmosphere feels...

26 Feb 2007 10:24

Brigantes Bar and Brasserie, York

Excellent range of well-kept beer, a taster of things to come when the smoking ban hits in July. Such a pleasure to walk in a place that smells clean - not disinfected clean, either, just CLEAN. Relaxed atmosphere on a Sunday lunchtime, just hope it can keep itself above the circuit grot-holes that surround it...

26 Feb 2007 10:21

The Blue Bell, York

Without doubt the best pub in York, a huge achievement given the very stiff competition. Just been voted CAMRA York Pub of The Year for 2007 and richly deserved. Outstanding range of superbly kept - and served - beer, superb unaltered interior and very chatty, warm feeling from the clientele. Rammed full at 8.30pm on the Saturday, but miraculously emptied out a huge group of people all at once to allow us a comfortable couple of pints in the smoke room.

26 Feb 2007 10:17

The Maltings, York

Renewed acquaintances with this marvellous pub after a gap of about four years. Happily, nothing has changed at all. Fantastic range of beer, jammed full at times, but excellent service from welcoming barstaff. We had bought some of the house bottled strong ale on the Saturday night and returned on Sunday lunchtime for a couple before we left for home. The lad that served us with those bottles recognised us again and enquired whether we had enjoyed them (not drunk them yet...)
Nice touch, but he won himself even more brownie points by serving us our pints and pointing out that the Black Sheep bitter was right at the end of the barrel and that we could have them for free! If they weren't up to scratch, we could have returned them for two fresh pints of something else, which we would have been glad to pay for. They were absolutely fine, though...Exceptional service.

26 Feb 2007 10:11

The Rain Bar, Castlefield

Good lunchtime food, if ever so slightly on the pricey side for the size of portions.The Mild and Bitter BOTH went off as we got served, so that left the Moonraker - too heavy for a lunchtime pint - or their speciality brew of the moment, the Plum Porter, which was excellent, but again not a session beer. Interesting building, but really felt devoid of any soul and character. Shame - it could have been so much better...

20 Feb 2007 11:19

The Hare and Hounds, Manchester

Decent old-style town pub, lovely tiling and so good to see the three divided areas still in place. Very well-kept beer. The only gripe would be to echo the comment elsewhere about the disinfectant smell which was much in evidence at 9.30pm on a Saturday night...

20 Feb 2007 11:10

The Marble Arch, Manchester

Superb in every respect. Fabulous interior, stunning range of beers brewed on the premises as well as five guests. Laid-back and very chatty atmosphere, impossible not to drop into conversation with your neighbours. In a city where there are many stunning pubs to visit (as well as some of the direst to avoid at all costs), this stands out amongst the very best. A pity the Beer House a few yards down the road has closed as they were the perfect double act.

20 Feb 2007 10:56

The Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield

Fabulous range of beer, slightly more modern feel inside than the Fat Cat (difficult to believe there could be a better pair of beer-centric pubs anywhere in Britain). Fully deserving of all accolades and one of the ultimate experiences of connoisseur beer consumption...

31 Jan 2007 16:59

The Beacon Hotel, Dudley

Renewed our acquaintance with this old friend after a gap of just about a year and nothing has changed, thankfully. Magnificent beer in unsurprisingly top condition, very friendly and obliging staff. Beautifully preserved interior, very tidy and clean despite the very wet red clay from the car-park surface being dragged in on the soles of everyone's feet. The tiniest disappointment came when they said they had none of the cheese and onion cobs available, but we still came away very happy indeed.

29 Jan 2007 09:06

The Old Swan, Netherton

It has been a long-held ambition to visit this legendary pub, don't know why it has taken so long...Finally managed it this weekend and wasn't disappointed in the slightest. Mistimed our journey from Reading slightly and ended up waiting outside at 10.50am for them to open, trying not to look too much like alkies! What greeted us promptly at 11.00 was magical. Fantastic interior, like a living museum, wonderful tin roof and individual rooms everywhere, each with their own bar or hatch to the main bar. Very friendly staff, spuerbly conditioned beer, especially the Entire.
If that is right about the the local CAMRA branch, then something is seriously amiss. with their procedures and opinions. We are CAMRA members of many years standing and this oasis ticks every box ever created for us.

29 Jan 2007 08:58

The Baskerville Arms, Lower Shiplake

Superbly run pub - the only one in a very upmarket village, but none the worse for that! Very high standards, both in food and quality of beers. It almost stands as the brewery tap for the nearby Loddon Brewery - 3 miles away - as the management was/still is from the same family that owns the brewery. Not at all cheap, but the quality is outstanding.

25 Jan 2007 11:48

Crown Posada, Newcastle

Visited 6th December, overlooked putting the review on until now...first went in around 4.30pm, quiet at the time. Several excellently-kept ales and some useful information on new local brews from the obliging landlord. Unusual, but very interesting interior, one of the narrowest pubs ever encountered. Gentle, soothing music eminating from the old-style record player at one end of the bar. A very pleasant and relaxed couple of hours...
Went back in around 10.30pm for a last pint, this time rammed with a large party of loud suits (in both senses of the phrase), but still an enjoyable atmosphere although it is difficult to get served when it's busy like that.
A great experience (or two) and one to be hopefully repeated soon...

18 Jan 2007 17:57

The Ship and Mitre, Liverpool

Some people do seem top have a lack of patience if everything is not ABSOLUTELY perfect on their visit. No food? I'll never go there again.(Anon - 20/07/06) How many people go to pubs solely for food?
Poor beer quality? I'll never go there again. Keeping such a vast range of beer is a difficult job and it cannot always be perfect, but they only get one chance of my custom. (In4, 20/10/06)
Better off without them, I say. Leaves more room for people like us who can give them a chance to show what they can do.
Supremely welcoming barstaff, attentive to every request and detail, gave us table service for our food as the serving area was unmanned at the time. Magnificent range of beers, supremely well-kept and an atmosphere of quiet enjoyment from all in the pub. Great to see them offering third-pint nips, enabling us to spread ourselves across the range without going blotto.
A super experience, one we'll be glad to repeat anytime soon...

15 Jan 2007 09:57

The Lion Tavern, Liverpool

Wonderful interior, superbly preserved. Hugely helpful and welcoming staff. Excellent beer, chatty , friendly atmosphere, everything a proper pub should be.

15 Jan 2007 09:45

The Grey Horse Inn, Manchester

Went straight in here from the Circus next door, very different feel, but similarly intimate. Excellent beers, didn't have to use the Gents, so can't comment on their "old-style" feel, saving that for next time!

3 Jan 2007 10:04

The Peveril Of The Peak, Castlefield

Can't be certain of the hours they keep, but we walked past at various times between 4pm and 6pm on a Friday afternoon to find all doors shut. However, it was open by 7pm and well worth the wait. Main bar was heaving, so went round to back of bar to get served. Superb old screens and windows, two back rooms of differing styles, one very much feeling like a working men's club room, the other more like a ladies' lounge. Good range of beers on, great experience all round.

3 Jan 2007 10:01

The Briton's Protection Hotel, Castlefield

Magnificent pub of its type. Extraordinary fittings, beautifully preserved. Decent range of beer, huge range of whiskies, wonderfully warm back rooms lit with proper fires, friendly service and best of all, next door to the hotel we had picked at random!

3 Jan 2007 09:55

The Circus Tavern, Manchester

Unique, fantastic...we had to knock on the door to get in, but made to feel very welcome. Tetley's was excellent, had to spend whole time standing in corridor with people squeezsing past evry few seconds, but the experience was none the worse for it. Ladies' loo may be a bit rough and ready for most - no lock on door! Timewarp drinking at its very best...

3 Jan 2007 09:52

The Magpie and Parrot, Shinfield

Best-kept London Pride ever tasted always on tap here plus an ever-changing guest. Extremely friendly welcome and great bunch of "old-boy" regulars. They opened up a second room(their actual living room)over Xmas, but I don't yet know if this is permanent. Otherwise, there's room for 20 people at the most. 2 beer festivals each year in a marquee out the back. Possibly the quaintest pub in Southern England and current local CAMRA pub of the year. Normally open from 12noon only until 7pm (3pm only on Sundays), but look out for the A-board out on the roadside. If it's there, they are open...

3 Jan 2007 09:47

The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool

Visited at 4pm on a Wednesday, only one other punter in the pub at the time. Great range of beers, v.friendly barman. Warmed up as people drifted in from work and was cosily full as we left. Went back again the next day for lunch, very decent, basic food at good cheap prices. Attentive service from different barman. As we left, I asked if they had any bottled beers of their own brew and was presented with four bottles, although not labelled as such, as they have yet to finalise their process and they refused to take any payment for them! We're back in Liverpool again this weekend - I know where I'll be...

31 Oct 2006 13:55

Olhallen 7:an, Gothenburg

...Well, we were not disappointed! We visited this bar 3 times during our stay and the hospitality just got better and better each time. There is one large table, seating 8-10 people and 11 smaller cafe tables for 2-3 each and you are shoulder to shoulder with everyone else, so you can't help but fall into friendly conversation with whoever is sat next to you. The staff are supremely welcoming, friendly and knowledgeable about their beers. I asked for one of their t-shirts on the last visit, priced at about 7.50, and was given it free, together with not being charged full price for the round! You won't find anything like that easily in Britain. Can't wait to go back there, a fully deserved 10/10.

11 Aug 2006 00:39

Olhallen 7:an, Gothenburg

"Ol" is the Swedish word for beer, so it's literally "beer-hall". We are off to Gothenburg in less than four hours time and this place has been high on the agenda for some time. Hope it lives up to the expectation...watch this space...

1 Aug 2006 23:00

The Three Tuns, Great Bedwyn

Would have loved to have checked out all the mostly positive comments about this place, but called in at 8pm on a beautiful sunny Sunday evening to find the doors locked. Unable to establish whether they were open, closed or otherwise despite being able to see people through the window, who did nothing to help us confirm anything...they may well have had a valid reason for the closure, but we won't be rushing back, especially as we had driven 45 miles from home specifically to visit the pub. The Cross Keys just down the road was therefore the recipient of our custom.
As a general comment, isn't it the most frustrating thing on earth for pubs not to have their opening times displayed, despite the recent change in licensing laws which means that almost no two pubs open for the same hours? With new visitors to a pub, how can you ever know whether you are welcome or not?

24 Jul 2006 08:55

The Cross Keys, Great Bedwyn

Visited on a quiet, sunny Sunday evening after finding the Three Tuns shut at 8pm...unable to sample any food, but a nice, relaxed feel to the place and excellently kept beer. Will definitely return to eat, given the reputation of their veggie selection...

24 Jul 2006 08:45

The Bell, Waltham St Lawrence

One of the all-time classic village inns, amazing that it has drawn so few reviews over the last two years.
Always a tremendous range of real ale, not overly expensive despite being in a very well-to-do rural location. Excellent food, superb setting in the heart of the village next to the church and the village pound. Always a welcoming atmosphere, decent sun-trap garden. Although we missed it, they have just had their first beer festival and, by all accounts, it was a roaring success.
Exactly the sort of pub this site was designed for...

30 Jun 2006 12:17

The Lord Nelson, Southwold

Wouldn't you know it...the wife gets to go to a case conference in Norfolk and manages to find the time to call in here on the way home, calling me from the benches outside to rub my nose in it! Confirmation from her, as if it were needed, that this does, indeed, remain amongst the very best there is. Lovely chatty atmosphere, wonderfully kept Adnams - as if it could ever be poor, very decent pub grub and a superb setting...Nirvana.

19 Jun 2006 11:18

The George, Earley

Visited at around 5.30pm on Sunday last, lots of staff grouped behind bar in a gaggle trying to sort out who was clocking off early. One eventually peeled away to serve us, but her customer interaction wasn't the greatest and her heavily decorated nails weren't accurate enough to hit the correct table number on the till, so the food nearly went to another table...the beer was fine and the food was mostly OK, but the "cheesy leek pasta" turned out to be "creamy" as in no cheese, just cream. Wouldn't have ordered that if the description had been more accurate...generally, a feeling that they could do better, especially at a quiet time of the day when their job should be easier to carry out...

19 Jun 2006 11:13

Baron Cadogan, Caversham

Visited at 5pm on a Sunday, hoping for a quiet meal between the lunchtime crowds and the evening shift, but the first "chef" had clocked off at 4.30 and the expected new shift hadn't shown up, so food was off.
Notices on the tills demanded cash only as the card link was down. The room was untidy with half-finished dinners across tables and only one person serving with some issues about how to work the till...apart from that, it was great.

19 Jun 2006 11:04

The Alehouse, Reading

No, no, no, no, noooooo! Please don't accuse me of being tight-fisted! I may have used slightly over-emphatic language to make my point, but I'll gladly stand a round or two for you both if you're ever in there with me...I did describe the Hobgoblin as the best beer pub around and that I considered myself lucky for it to be in my home town. Nothing would make me change that view and prices will always continue to climb. I just felt somewhat disappointed that one of my own favourite pubs had to be the first - in the limited choice of pubs that I choose to visit - to broach this barrier. I did also acknowledge that other venues less attractive to me do already charge far more than this.
Incidentally, one of the 3 beers was from a brand-new local brewery, just 10 miles from Reading. Surely no distancing factor involved in the pricing there...

16 Jun 2006 17:24

The Alehouse, Reading

Living in Reading, we have always been lucky to have this pub in our town. It has always been at the vanguard of supplying real ale from far and wide - something around 5200 different beers in the last 13 years. For that privilege, it has always been accepted that some of the beer may be 20p or 30p dearer than the average pint in this already expensive town. This has recently meant that some pints have been up as high as 2.80.
HOWEVER, BUYER BEWARE! Whilst I would not wish to deter anyone from visiting the best beer pub around, I was shocked to see on a visit yesterday that they were selling two of the eight beers on handpumps at the incredible price of 3.00 a pint. They were not heavy ABV (only 5.0 / 5.1) for which it is occasinally expected that you may pay a premium, so to say I was stunned was an understatement. I remember the uproar when beer went through the 1 a pint barrier, then the 2, now even the best beer house there is feels it necessary to charge 3 a pint for some of its offerings. I can understand this pricing level in clubs, "trendy" bars and at sports arenas where you don't have a choice, but this is bordering on obscene. I won't stop me going there, but I'll have to call in on the bank manager first...

12 Jun 2006 09:58

Wight Mouse Inn, Chale

I know this isn't a current review, but browsing through this site chanced me upon this pub which reminded me of a crushingly disappointing experience here.
I first stayed here in around 2001, at which time the pub/hotel was still privately run and excellent in every way, most importantly including the incredible collection of nearly 400 whiskies, all available for consumption. It was, at the time, the sole reason we chose to stay at the hotel, but inevitably looked forward to the time when we could return to continue acquainting ourselves with the collection.
As it was, we didn't return until May 2004 at which point the pub had changed hands, had been completely redecorated and the interior altered radically. They had subdivided the rooms with walls composed of shelves of the whisky bottles with glass on both sides - how clever to present them in that way, we thought. However, upon inquiring on the range still available, we were told that the new owners had bought the collection as part of the sale, but didn't want to sell them any more, so chose to integrate them into the decoration of the room! Thus, dozens of half-drunk bottles were displayed tantalisingly out of reach and unavailable for drinking. What a huge letdown and such a shabby treatment of such fine whisky!
It was still a comfortable place to stay and the food was good, but I fear we may never return there again...

6 Jun 2006 13:56

The Babington Arms, Derby

Visited this weekend - just your 17 real ales on tap, then...no pumps off or just for show, either, they were all on. All excellently kept, well the six we tried were, anyway! Not the greatest ambience, but with the cheapest pint at 1.29 when we're used to 2.50 plus in Reading, well worth the time.

30 May 2006 14:56

The Three Stags Heads, Wardlow Mires

A timewarp experience - like stepping back decades in time just by walking through the front door. Flagstone floor, bare oak tables - room enough for only three - a huge roaring range and a group of whippets stretched out in front of the fire. Superbly kept beer, including the infamous Lurcher.
The landlord doesn't suffer fools gladly, barking "door!" at those who couldn't shut the door properly - it opens almost directly onto the road - and plonking a collection tin in front of anyone foolish enough to use a mobile.
Given the almost total lack of anything modern in the building, it was almost a surprise to see the beer served from handpumps instead of casks.
A great experience and long may it continue...

30 May 2006 09:51

The Cheshire Cheese Inn, Hope

Can only reiterate all other comments. Spent two nights here over the bank holiday weekend and this certainly lived up to all expectations. It's been a while since we encountered such a good-natured, friendly & welcoming atmosphere from ALL the staff of a pub. The room was smallish, but spotless and the bed was possibly the most comfortable I have ever encountered away from home. The food was excellent, the beer(and whisky)range was wide and varied and superbly kept - especially the Whim Hartington.
An absolute gem and deserving of all the accolades it receives, including runner-up in the rural Pub of The Year award this year from the Sheffield CAMRA branch.

30 May 2006 09:41

The Rotterdam Bar, Belfast

A truely authentic Belfast experience - you're unlikely to encounter the tourist hordes suffered by The Crown as it's tucked at the end of a dead-end street,hard up against gates to the Docks. Very dingy,low-ceilinged,undecorated bare whitewashed walls - almost feels like you're in a cellar,even though it's all at ground level. Can get very smoky. Very small bar, always superb staff who serve perfect pints of Guinness. Music most nights. The perfect place for a pint and the craic.

25 May 2006 17:31

The Retreat, Reading

Reading all the poor reviews below makes me wonder if these reviewers all caught this pub on "bad" days...we are regulars in the sense of dropping in once every two or three weeks and have never yet had anything approaching a bad pint. Last Saturday was typical - our pints of Sharp's Atlantic IPA were absolutely top-notch.
The interior is somewhat shabby, but how do you criticise a pub for being "too small"? What do people expect when they see a pub in the middle of a terrace with an exterior no more than 12 feet wide? Tardis-like rooms inside? It's not a Yates Wine-warehouse, it is a back-street public house in the very truest sense and tradition of what thousands of pubs used to be like.
And "intimidating"? In what sense? There are plenty of chain pubs in Reading that are truely intimidating, but the clientele of The Retreat rarely look up from their newspapers long enough to give anyone a menacing glare.
If you want a quiet pint or two in the middle of an afternoon or in the evening, come to that, without having hordes of lads all skinful of 2-for-1s and wanting to stab broken beer bootles into your face, then this is a good place to come.

23 May 2006 17:27

The Lord Nelson, Southwold

All the favourable comments about one of my top five pubs of all time are making me teary-eyed at the thought of making a pilgrimage there again soon. It's exactly two years since we were last in Southwold and it's high time we renewed acquaintances with all our old friends in the best small town group of pubs anywhere in these islands...

23 May 2006 16:56

The New Barrack Tavern, Sheffield

Nothing has changed since the last posting a year ago. Magnificent range of beer - 10 bitters and 8 lagers, all real, on handpump and a huge range of bottled beers and whiskies. Decent, cheap and quickly-served food. Real atmosphere, crowded, but very friendly on Sheff Wed matchdays, but I suspect very popular at all other times as well.

10 May 2006 13:05

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

An outstanding pub. In a really quite grotty area of Sheffield, but nonetheless facing stiff competition from other first-class pubs nearby. Perhaps it's just as well they are not in a smart part of town, otherwise too mnay people might get to know about them.
Its' national fame is well-deserved, however, with a superb range of draught and bottled beers. We didn't have enough time to sample the food, but the range looked very good and well-priced.

10 May 2006 13:01

The Grove Inn, Holbeck

Visited the city in April with the mighty RFC. Made a beeline for this pub and spent a very happy hour both before and after the game in the company of the friendliest locals and barstaff you could wish to meet. Wonderful layout inside - lovely old tiling on the corridor section, superb range of beers, great chat, and attention to detail from the staff was excellent. Every pint requested was served in its' own brewery labelled glass instead of he first they could lay their hands on. Can't wait to get back there.

10 May 2006 12:55

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