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BITE user comments - ILooklikeme

Comments by ILooklikeme

Pup and Duckling, Solihull

Fine independent micro pub in a residential area which had previously been a desert for the discerning drinker. Five or six cask ales kept in excellent condition supplemented by an array of organic ciders and wines. The service is never less than welcoming and efficient and the P&D shot to the top of CAMRA's top rated pubs almost immediately after its first few months of being open. Only gripe are the sometimes unpredictable opening hours otherwise a must visit if in the South-East border of Birmingham. An easy 8/10 and rising.

13 Feb 2018 18:55

The Hind, Leicester

Several visits down the line and as usual I wondered why I bothered. One solitary cask ale, an on-the-turn-Deuchars, did little to redress the tired glad-to-go-home service or the bellowing of the punters (admittedly the bulk were made up of post match supporters). The atmosphere was definitely becoming increasingly boisterous, although deafening rather than threatening, yet I wondered why a pub in a reasonably prime position, opposite the train station, seemed to suffer so much from management inertia. Then as I left I noticed the lease available notice outside which answered most of my wonderings. In its present condition I can't really go above 4/10.

8 May 2017 17:17

The Old Crown, Deritend

In all honesty I would struggle to recommend the Old Crown. I often find it unfriendly even though it regularly attracts a noisy boisterous crowd. The service is rudimentary and the choice of three cask ales uninspiring, Hobgoblin, Pedigree etc. A visit on the hottest night of the year so far made the pub feel humid and sticky with the toilets smelling less than fresh. Although the pub attracts visitors far and wide, often for historical reasons yet I've often questioned whether this is Brum's oldest pub or a pub currently in the oldest building. There is a difference, but I welcome clarification. The interior now has the odd nod to the spirit of the age, floral patterned walls and regulation quirkiness, but generally it's a mish mash. Very popular so obviously has attractions I can't see but I seldom include it in any Digbeth crawl. Just about notches 5/10.

20 Jul 2016 17:26

The Circus Tavern, Manchester

Lovely little trad boozer in the heart of the city centre, not abundant in ales but what I had was more than acceptable. The locals were especially welcoming and the pub appears to be competent at self regulating - as I arrived a gobby drunk was in the process of spectacularly ejecting himself. A very enjoyable visit all round. 8/10

30 Apr 2016 09:21

The Cask Bar, Castlefield

The sort of stylish alternative bar that is very quickly becoming somewhat ubiquitous across the land. No doubt there are dozens of this type of hipsters bar in Manchester where you can be reasonably confident that the bushier the ovular beard the more you have to pay. For the record this modestly sized slightly cramped bar sported three cask and ales and other fashionable beer dispensers that resemble ice sculpture. The bar staff were adequate but not overly welcoming. My pint of Pictish (can't remember exactly what if was called) was quite excellent though.6/10.

27 Apr 2016 10:13

The Old Monkey, Manchester

Good although pretty basic trad pub. I plumped for Holts's IPA and an ale from Chorlton, both of which slipped down quite agreeably. The service was above standard and I was quite pleased with the modest prices. If the pub seemed a little lacking in character a regular imbiber tried to address the balance by offering me an extensive range of Internet based conspiracy theories that asked me to ponder on Obama's mother's real ethnicity, the secretive Zionist cabal that actually controls the whole actual world (and pretty ineptly I'd posit) and the satanic sexual practices of the average pro EU campaigner (actually I might have made up the last bit). Despite this distraction from my task at hand I'd still give the pub a safe 7/10.

26 Apr 2016 15:21

Little Chester Ale House, Derby

For my recent Sunday afternoon session the ale selection was Hartshorn's Ignite, Hartshorn's Fusion, Leatherbritches Ashbourne IPA & Nottingham Rock Bitter supplemented by "three ciders from the cellar" and some "craft keg" - no denying where my prejudices lie. I stuck to Ignite for the session beer of the day, which like this micro pub itself simply excellent. With the exception of a congested, slightly too public spot for the one choice of indoor loo I couldn't think of a reason why I shouldn't award anything less than a 9/10 based solely on one delightful afternoon. Bustling, friendly, comfortably simple with an agreeable mixture of two and four legged punters, plus a stroll back into the centre takes you across a pleasant residential green space as well as an opportunity to pop into the Furnace.. Derby does it again.

1 Mar 2016 10:52

The Coach House, Solihull

Now called the Ebb and Flow, and is paraded as a cafe bar. Smart, comfortable with two well kept Brakespeare (spelling?) beers on offer. Such is the ambience sipping wine or contemporary coffee stylings seem more appropriate than chugging back pints. As you might expect it's menu is emphasised more than the beer. Not bad for a non trad pub, but its appeal is limited. Quiet, respectable but only earns a 6/10.

19 Feb 2016 17:52

The Bear Tavern, Smethwick

Less than a two minute stroll from real ale specialist The Midland, the Bear sports only half the number of handpulls that dispense mostly standard fare. However in terms of atmosphere the Bear beats The Midland into a cocked hat, which may have been due in part to two sets of competing football fans descending on to it at roughly the same time. This provided a boisterous, yet good humoured soundtrack to quaffing a well kept pint of Otter's ale. Despite the crush at the bar the service was brisk and courteous, and although screens were dotted all over this large pub I didn't find them at all intrusive, but then I don't generally. Probably not a pub to tick all the boxes for trad ale house purists but may fit the bill for those who like some Saturday night positivity with their grog. Not perfect but earns a 7/10.

29 Jan 2016 12:08

The Midland, Bearwood

An impressive (or intimating) bank of 15 or so ale choices with the ones I sampled kept in fine fettle. There my recommendations end as this high ceilinged pub formerly a branch of Midland Bank had a decidedly lifeless, unsociable atmosphere with tables occupied by groups encased in their own seal proof bubbles and solitary drinkers either glowering or staring into space. The service although efficient was brusque, even curt, and there was something depressing about the general ambience. It felt like a missed opportunity but at least the Midland offers a decent pint. Although I tried hard to find more merit with the pub, 5/10 is the best I can score it.

25 Jan 2016 11:24

Furnace Inn, Derby

Excellent traditional pub on the edge of the city centre of which I can hardly improve on the previous comments. Try as might I could not any fault worth mentioning and the points rack up for its ale selection and quality, spot-on service, and the happy relaxed ambience provided by a satisfied clientele. The Furnace doesn't lend itself easily to a crawl, sitting somewhat isolated on a small, unpromising looking housing estate, but an extended stay should surely pay dividends. An easy 9/10, essential for the full Derby experience.

9 Jan 2016 09:54

The Gunmakers Arms, Birmingham

Oh an extra point for losing the apostrophe I erroneously included in my previous post.

3 Jan 2016 12:12

The Gunmakers Arms, Birmingham

Now operating as a Two Towers outlet in much the same way as the ill fated Brown Lion over the road in the Jewellery Quarter. Smart, comfortable, discreetly lit but rather minimalistic. All five pumps had Two Towers product, not my favourite brews I have to admit, but I gather guest beers do show up. Prices are good by edge of city standards, and I think I spied a couple of table football machines resting at the rear of the pub. One feels the Gunmaker's will have to so some creative thinking to attract regular punters to this somewhat obscure location, or find a stronger identity for itself especially as its immediate competition is provided by the well established The Bull, just a minute's walk around the corner. Still a resurgent, traditional pub representing a local brewery is always encouraging and I hope it is supported. It's early days for the Gunmaker's but at the moment it's a safe 6/10.

3 Jan 2016 12:09

The Bulls Head, Manchester

Fairly pleasing Marstons pub with a satisfactory range of ales and a soothing traditional interior. Prices a little eye watering that reflect its location near the station, but my choices of libation were at least in good condition. The punters all seemed in a relaxed, cheerful pre-Christmas frame of mind which became more apparent as it filled up. Coupled with attentive bar service there ensured the kind of convivial atmosphere that goes a long way to make up for any shortfalls. A safe 7/10.

17 Dec 2015 11:39

Lower Turks Head, Manchester

Smart, tasteful wood panelled traditional pub, sports six hand pulls and fairly bustling during a weekday lunchtime. As already noted the ale range is unspectacular, accompanied by unrepentant city centre prices to match. On the whole a somewhat bland ale house - there's nothing especially wrong with it but I wouldn't seek it out again unless I found myself standing outside in the most hostile of weather. An extra point awarded for good service, its a 6/10.

17 Dec 2015 11:28

Moca Bar, Matlock

A good contemporary bar, not overly impregnated by ostentatious affluents or Sunday supplement hipsters but rather a discreetly relaxed and convivial atmosphere. On the downside the bar was rather cold temperature wise, and disappointingly food provision ended at 15.00 (at least it did on Saturday). However no complaints at the 7- 8 ales on offer taken from the likes of Oakham, Abbeydale and Blue Monkey breweries served by pleasant, attentive staff. Definitely worth seeking out. 7/10.

29 Nov 2015 14:06

The Whitefriars Olde Ale House, Coventry

Has an ambience in keeping with Conrad's The Secret Agent but would also suit hand holding ethereals, rustic swingers, endangered beardless hipsters and connoisseurs of the fine art of staring into space. In other words, although it may resemble some, this doesn't remotely feel like any other pub you'll encounter within the city centre radius (with the possible exception of the Broomfield). Six ales sported, colour displayed and sold with tasters offered within the cramped area of the bar, clogged up with characters of the more positive usage of the term. Almost immediately the atmosphere virtually steams off the aged walls. Only one ale suited my palate, guest Jouster but I'm not one to flit about once I get the taste, unlike a true ticker. Downsides are the oppressive heating system over the front door and the crowd swell that takes root in front of the bar. Otherwise one of the most enjoyably distinctive pub adventures likely to be had in Cov. 8/10 seems about right.

4 Nov 2015 11:40

Dog and Doublet, Wolverhampton

The last (or the first) in a line of four handy pubs within a 12 minute dog leg trail from or towards Wolverhampton train station. The D & D is fast becoming my favourite, being the cheapest, friendliest, stylish and the most enterprising. In my book a range of 6 - 8 ales is enough for anyone and the young staff always seem eager to help you with your choice. There's also a great work ethic evident in maintaining the high standard in ale quality - this is a genuinely customer focused pub. Best avoided on home match days if you're not a Dingle, but that aside my half a dozen visits have been more than satisfying. Hopefully this will provide a little bit of a kick up the jacksie to its three nearest competitors that have tended to rest on their laurels of late. I'll award an 8.5/10 but what the hell, lets push it up to 9.

5 Sep 2015 09:57

Masons Micro Bar, Quinton

Sadly this not appear to be a microbrew bar but as the name literally implies, small pub. The one solitary real ale was well kept and pretty cheap, but entering as a non regular the mainly male clientele made it audibly obvious solitary new faces should be treated with derision. Odd place, not comfortable. As it's new good luck to it, but I won't return.

14 Jul 2015 09:21

The Grapes, Liverpool

Small street corner bar, sporting several hand pumps and a bustling, sociable atmosphere. It's main clientele seemed to be connected to the college next door, but this was not intimidating as can happen with similarly placed hostelries. My only gripe would be that my Oceanic Steam beer was the most innocuous at 4.5% which put paid to anything like a prolonged session. The bar staff were commendably attentive though. 7/10.

26 Mar 2015 17:00

Roebuck Tavern, Sheffield

Unfair perhaps to compare this pub with the many excellent ale houses in and around the town, but at the end of a highly rewarding crawl the Roebuck was by far the least striking of the day. There was nothing especially wrong with it, our meals arrived in good time and with two for £10 deals you get what you pay for. Didn't particularly care for my pint (and didn't try to note down what it was). The rudimentary sounding Dr Feelgood tribute band was intrusively loud, but the regulars all seemed to appreciate it so what do I know! Probably not my kind of pub but i couldn't really see this one as a regular calling in place. Points for efficient service and being reasonably located near the station. 6/10.

22 Feb 2015 12:02

The Wellington, Sheffield

Nice little trad pub, with an unspoilt by progress feel. Given the personal touch by some humorous and not so reverent notices posted around the place. Mellow on a late Saturday afternoon with the grizzled barman pouring pints with a discreet but knowing smile behind his whiskers. The ale was so spot on that despite initially calling in for one we tarried awhile for another...or did we have three? Anyway, 8/10.

22 Feb 2015 11:44

The Fat Cat, Sheffield

Hard to fault trad boozer that even when packed to the gunnels on a Saturday night was still a pleasurable experience. Would have liked to have tried the food but we were just a bit too late. The regulars were a friendly lot and despite the crush we were served almost immediately. As for the beer, well it's all been said before. Seems to be acquiring legendary status, I can see why. Excellent. 9/10.

22 Feb 2015 11:35

Lyndon House Hotel, Walsall

Packed to rafters for our late Sunday afternoon visit in which we were serenaded by a free and easy guitar strummer which then turned into a combination of an open mic session and karaoke. Sounds dubious but the general conviviality and boisterously good natured atmosphere put us at our ease very quickly. Add this to a good selection of well kept ales (unfortunately I can't recall what I had) and the Lyndon appears to be a safe bet for a return visit. Against expectations we preferred it to the more reputable Black Country Arms which is located nearer the centre of town. Be advised there is a policy about wearing caps indoors and I was promptly asked to remove mine - but I had forgotten it was still perching on my bonce. Somewhere between 7 & 8/10.

9 Feb 2015 13:54

The Black Country Arms, Walsall

Desperately slow service and unfriendly regulars seated in a line at the bar and not moving a muscle to allow others customers to get served was not an auspicious start to a Sunday afternoon session. The high standard in ale quality and comfortable seating went someway to redress the balance, but a rather mixed experience of a highly regarded pub which, for this visit at least, did not compare favourably to the nearby Lyndon House. A lukewarm 6/10.

8 Feb 2015 16:58

Five Lamps, Derby

Handsome, partly wood panelled pub on the outskirts of the city centre. Usually sporting at least 9 hand pumped ales, much of it usual fayre but kept in great condition. A little bit ho- hum compared to more independently minded pubs nearby, but always worth a look if in the vicinity. Efficient, cheerful bar service adds a bit of distinction.

9 Jan 2015 11:33

Last Post, Derby

What this tiny ale house lacks in comfort is certainly made up for by the beer quality, convivial atmosphere and an entertaining line in banter between barman and customers. Encounters with a prominent book shelf and the stool directly under it are unlikely to help with your hangover the following morning, but the realistically set prices shouldn't make you wince either.
Bit of a step out of the town, but definitely worth it.

9 Jan 2015 09:11

The Royal Exchange, Stourbridge

Unassuming locals' pub on the edge of the town centre, quite basic and attracting an older clientele. The only beers on offer are Bathams bitter and mild, rarely, if ever, sporting guest ales. The atmosphere, in the front bar at least, is generally friendly and bustling, so non regulars shouldn't feel out of place. There's a back lounge and small beer garden/smoking area to the side of the pub, which you will encounter as you make your beer befuddled brain way to the toilets. The Royal Standard resembles many existing Black Country boozers in terms of retaining a relatively unchanged ambience as well as being a community asset. However I fear this type of traditional pub is rapidly becoming a threatened species. Definitely worth a detour, sooner rather than later perhaps. Oh, and the quality of the ale was first rate.

16 Feb 2014 10:28

The Woodman, Birmingham

There are plans afoot for the reopening of the Woodman, so watch this space.

8 May 2013 10:05

The Smithfield, Derby

Not sure about the makeover it was a little bland for my tastes, and they seem to have lost their jukebox (apologies if I overlooked it). However the main points that the ale was in fine fettle with a decent choice, and that the service was also up to the mark means that I'm happy to report that despite my personal reservations you should safely include the Smithfield back into your Derby crawl again.

30 Apr 2013 11:38

The Hand and Heart, Nottingham

Half pub, half cave which is sort of the point being carved into part of Nottingham's district geological features. For our visit a wetherbeaten local thumped out some fifties rock 'n' roll on the edge of one of pub's chambers. In between numbers the barmaid lets rip with an earthy laugh. Actually this pub isn't half bad. The range of ales was excellent and so too was the food. The general atmosphere was very convivial, aided by some highly commendable bar service (and that includes Gertie the Guffawer - hmm will I regret calling her that?) Over all a much more satisfying experience than our visit to the stiflingly hot and crowed Trip to J. A Nottingham must.

29 Mar 2013 12:01

The Hobbs Meadow, Solihull

Most definitely improving. Two ales (Doombar being one), which is to be loudly encouraged in the cask oasis in this stretch of Solihull (though mention should be made of the nearby Harvester.) Good value lunch time meals on offer and the service was brisk and civil. I hope it succeeds.

28 Mar 2013 09:56

Victoria, Birmingham

Update on my review 30/5//2007. Re-invented in recent years as previously commented. All I can usefully add is prepared to be kept waiting at the bar for long, long stretches of time if the person before you is ordering food and cocktails. Both of these requests will be dispensed with the maximum of flamboyance from the staff, and your still un-served presence will not even be acknowledged with a look let alone a word of courtesy. By this time you will have all the information you need to decide whether to persevere or head up to the equally re-invented Craven Arms.

28 Mar 2013 09:47

The Craven Arms, Birmingham

At last someone has finally gotten a grip on this pub and spotted it's potential. As mentioned an outlet for Black Country Ales with 10 or 11 eleven choices for my visit. I wouldn't say I got the warmest of welcomes from the bar staff, and it offered further proof that outside of Wetherspoons, £3.20 is the going rate for a pint of decent beer in the city centre. However for quality, quantity and comfort I'll take the Craven over any of the half dozen or so of it's over rated rivals every time, and I suggest this is the pub you should head for whenever you find yourself in the ritzy Mail Box locale.

28 Mar 2013 09:24

The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool

@dishwad. I too have lodged a complaint, as I would for any other objectionable comments I encounter. Furthermore I suspect you are a faker, and not a person of colour as you infer. Your comments come from below the level of dignity that is inherent in the well established and diverse communities that enrich this country. Good bye.

14 Dec 2012 12:58

, Digbeth

There appears to have been some changes in management, and as a consequence this pub, for me at least, has a much more welcoming face. Although you won't exactly be greeted as a long lost relative, there is in evidence a greater effort at socialbility and engagement with the customers. The quality and range of beer is , on the whole, still up to the mark as has been frequently reported and I have met no resistance from staff when just occasionally a purchased ale needs changing. So I shall cautiously push my rating up from 7 to 8, and the Anchor will now be a regular feature of my Digbeth crawls.

13 Dec 2012 16:28

The Church Inn, Hockley

Yes, let's all hope so. This once terrific pub has been operating well below it's potential for some years, so it came as no great shock to learn it had limped along into full closure of business. If it re-opens as a competitively priced pub, widening it's custom target beyond the upwadly mobile living-space and loft dwellers of the gentrified Jewellery Quarter (from which admittedly there have been benefits), the Church might succeed where the nearby Brown Lion appeared to have failed. We continue to watch with keen interest.

10 Dec 2012 11:51

The Waterfall, Old Hill

Pleasant two roomed traditional pub, very Black Country in character, ie. big on nostalgia with a tight knit community feel. Good choice of well kept ales and lively on a Sunday afternoon. Not especially friendly welcome from the bar staff and anyone new to the pub is advised to take along a pal or two on initial visits as solitary strangers are not particularly well absorbed into the atmosphere. Bit of a climb up a steep hill but worth it for the beer at least.

25 Jun 2012 18:53

The Old Windmill, Coventry

Looks the business from the outside but my Saturday afternoon visit left me with no outstanding impression. The atmosphere was subdued, possibly because of the time of day, and the barmaid seemed a little harrased - although perfectly pleasant when serving me. The Old Windmill ale didn't inspire either and I felt the place could do with some TLC. Didn't really want to sound so indifferent about a fine old structure, so I'll give it another go when next in town. But for now 6/10 awarded mainly out of respect.

10 Jun 2012 13:59

The Exeter Arms, Derby

Despite the fact my pint of Magpie Brewery Thieving Rogue was not a success - it tasted on the turn but I was assured it wasn't and as it was crystal clear I decided it was probably just not to my taste - I can definitely see me eagerly returning to this immaculately kept traditional styled pub to sample alternative product. One lean against the bar punter advised me to stick to the Pedigree which I dislike, the ale that is not the suggestion, and generally the atmosphere was chatty and convivial. A nice contrast to the Tap which occupies the opposite bit of the wedge. Very pleasant.

10 Jun 2012 13:40

The Criterion, Leicester

Nicely relaxed pub nestling on the edge of the city centre. The external view did not look inspiring (or at least it provoked a few of my preconceptions) but once inside it was a perfectly agreeable place to finish a successful Leicester crawl. All I can remember of the ale was of it being in fine fettle and dispensed courteously and precisely - spending too much time in the Swan and Rushes was taking it's toll so I didn't record the brews. Was asked by barman not to sing so loudly along with the jukebox, so sorry to any punters not able to carry on their conversations due to our racket. The pizzas are reportedly a major attraction, but we had run out of time. Will return, hopefully soon. Good one.

10 Jun 2012 13:29

Swan and Rushes, Leicester

Lovely pub. Enjoyed just about everything about this pub, not least the excellent Oakham ales. Hard to fault, although I did try. Down to earth in one sense but with a good diverse crowd in attendance. Include it in a crawl and you may well get no further. 9/10 without doubt.

10 Jun 2012 13:16

Kings, Leicester

Good friendly service and six ales (or more?) on display. Comfortable and tidy, but a little bland perhaps. Probably best suited for a relaxed Sunday afternoon session. But speaking of sessions, offering a pale ale at around 4.0% or under would be welcome. Nice to see BCA ales outside of the West Midlands. Nicely varied, and unobtrusive, piped music tootling away in the background. Looks like one to watch.

10 Jun 2012 13:09

The Post Office Vaults, Birmingham

PVO? Post Vaults Office? Please replace with POV. That's what you get for posting first and then reading back afterwards.

10 Jun 2012 12:58

The Post Office Vaults, Birmingham

One just has to welcome a new pub in Birmingham's city centre that places quality, interesting and varied real ale at the forefront of it's mission statement, backed up with an increasingly impressive reputation for stocking some highly sought after bottled beer. The PVO appeared suddenly before Christmas, and in keeping with it's older sister pub the Wellington is now on the must visit list of any central Birmingham crawl, as well as duplicating the no food (bring your own), no piped music policy seen as something of an innovation locally. But oh dear me what a space to choose! Formely an M&B house the Royal Mail, it couldn't be recommended to those prone to claustrophobia, being below street level and no window to look out of. To compound the problem it's pretty small, with an absurdly placed bar billiards table which swallows up spare gaps to stand when the potters elbows angle their way into you. And rather like the Wellington you can find yourself gulping for some semblance of fresh air after being overpowered by body odour and a fierce heating system. (How I wish that the management had been able to take over Cambridge Street's Prince of Wales when it was up for sale, great potential I would have thought. No doubt there are sound business reasons why this couldn't happen.) The Vaults' regular crowd are quite diverse, but just a little over represented by boorish Jarvis Cokerish beard sporting bar hogging tiny pullover and check shirt wearing professionals. (My work is undone if at least one poster doesn't take offence at the previous sentence.) The bar staff service is similarly adventurous, but thankfully you are more likely to encounter enthusiastic civility and efficiency rather than sulleness at being dragged away from conversation -which has happened on occasion. To be fair my criticisms are probably more appropriate to the Vaults' busy times, and calmer periods reveal a noticeable relaxed tone. However if it's quality of ale you want (and should want) then in that department the PVO is excellent, wisely dispensing a far less intimidating number of eight handpulls at any one time. And it is for this aspect alone that I urge you make the effort to navigate the narrow downward steps and sample it's fine product. So despite my reservations I applaud the PVO's ethic and let's be honest courage, extending a sincere wish to see it remain a sound choice for discerning drinkers.

10 Jun 2012 12:52

The Canalside Cafe, Birmingham

Pleasant, but pricey, characterful place when not crowded by those taking a diversion from the Broad Street trail. 4 ales are usually on, occasionally at least one may rarely seen in Birmingham. The service is perfunctory and efficient at best so along with previous posters I agree the welcoming smiles are in short supply, but I'll take this pub - which is also a functioning cafe for meals and farmhouse teas - over the Tap and Spile anytime. I'd suggest dropping in for one on a warm, sunny afternoon (they do occur from time to time.) Formely the exterior used for Wilf Harvey's cottage in the TV soap Crossroads, but that lone fact shouldn't put you off too much.

10 Jun 2012 11:56

The British Oak, Stirchley

This large traditional suburban pub and it's range of ales are very well regarded by most I mention the place to, but after three determined attempts I have completely failed to get to grips it. For my first visit the Oak was swamped by loud and highly objectionable drunk patrons formed from a wedding reception. The return visit was repaid by getting short changed by the barmaid. Hoping for a third time lucky I was most recently served on sullen fashion to a "4.0%" Hereford ale, tasting like a shandy using still water rather than lemonade. Very popular with the locals but not as you can see with this reviewer.

7 Jun 2012 11:21

The Thomas Leaper, Derby

Superior Wetherspoons, but cannot hope to compete with the best of the other well established real ale pubs never much more than a ten minutes walk away in any direction. Best approached as a quick stop on a crawl, preferably early evening.

19 Feb 2012 13:45

The Smithfield, Derby

Shut, sadly. I fear the worst. :(

14 Jan 2012 15:45

The Victoria Hotel, Durham

Resembling the Colpitts Hotel in terms of preserving a traditional feel and approach. Differences are as this is not a Sam Smiths outlet there are a greater range of ales which of course inevitably means a hike up in prices. I also found the atmosphere of the Colpitts a little more sociable, where as the regular drinkers of the Victoria showed much more in the way of reserve towards an unfamiliar face . However this is a good boozer with a pleasingly nostalgic interior and half a dozen pumps on display. Most of the points go for the quality of the beer which was quite excellent.

8 Jan 2012 21:01

The Court Inn, Durham

Hard to recall anything significant about this pub apart from two distinguishing features from my visit. The first was for a smallish meal concocted from left over turkey with a handful of potato wedges for which I was charged 6.00; and secondly that there was a huge replica of a champagne glass in which a shapely young blonde lady cavorted about dressed in black stockings and bodice, languidly waving around some fanned feathers. Just for a second I thought I might have stepped into one of those venues I swear to everyone I know I would never venture in, but it eventually it dawned on me this was a one off event arranged as a birthday treat. But for the ales on offer, and the ambience of the pub itself I have to say this distraction dwarfed just about any other impression so I'm unable to award an accurate rating score.

8 Jan 2012 18:07

The Half Moon, Durham

Without prompting the young barman (with the slightly ill conceived Abe Lincoln beard) offered me a taster of Durham Brewery White Gold. Always a nice touch when that happens, and a very acceptable drop of ale it was too. A nice spot this, with a roomy dining area and a lively, friendly bar. It was probably the more expensive of my haunts on that night but I think in relative terms worth the money. I'd probably make this a regular calling in place if I lived local. Decent boozer.

8 Jan 2012 17:54

Market Tavern, Durham

Couldn't really recommend this one. Not made to feel especially welcome by smirking woman behind the bar, or the guys at the bar who were very reluctant to move a muscle in any direction so that I could see what ales were on offer. The Thwaites Wainwright was OK, but just a bit too chilled. The most annoying aspect was a surly staff member collecting menus and without a word hurling them into the alcove I unwittingly sat by, virtually whacking my head with them. Strange demarcation seemed to be in place, regulars with stony stares sat the front and students with foreign accents occupied the upraised rear. No distinguishing atmosphere seemed discernible. Sorry to the supporters of the Market Tavern but I couldn't see a reason to stay for more than one pint.

8 Jan 2012 17:43

Ye Old Elm Tree, Durham

Swedish Blonde (an ale, alas) was very nicely kept and dispensed, and for my visit the regulars were in a sociable, chatty of mind. I had feared this was a mainly a diner's pub when I first entered but I was glad I persevered because I had a fine time which was mainly due to the conviviality of the clientele. The interior was comfortable if a little undistinguished, the service was both civil and efficient. I would seek it out again with confidence.

8 Jan 2012 17:31

The Colpitts Hotel, Durham

I'll wager very little has changed at this pub in over fifty years - and I mean this as a positive. If there was room at the bar and the roaring fire wasn't so overpowering on an unseasonably mild January night I would have stayed all night swapping unfeasible tales with the regulars. Instead I slotted on to an end seat and soaked in the relaxed, social atmosphere. Samuel Smiths is not a personal favourite, but at these prices and when kept in such good condition who could find any genuine cause for complaint? Served very nicely to by an attractive lass behind the bar just to complement a delightful mini session. Definitely worth the trek up and down the hilly back streets.

8 Jan 2012 17:21

The Woodman Inn, Durham

Rather an unpleasant experience I regret to report. Just two ales on, one of which was on the turn, although to be honest this didn't register with me until I was nearly three quarters of the way through my pint of Thwaites Best. Heavy set guys sitting round the bar, regarding me with stiff suspicion, and their conversations consisted of "fookin' this an' fookin that" in front of the two or three children that were in attendance. Perhaps I seemed like the stiff and surly one, I try hard not to appear as such, but I sat sidelined near the door waiting to judge the right moment to leave. I'm obviously at odds with the recent previous posters so it may have been the pub, or it may have been me. Don't feel inclined to return to sort it out.

8 Jan 2012 17:04

The Alexandra Hotel, Derby

We all very much enjoyed our brief stop off here and resolved to come back again. Harvest Pale in good nick, among several other options, brisk and civil service and a laid back crowd. The ambience is very traditional, it's priority set at sociable, no nonsense drinking. Rough round the edges and basic it may be, but that's how we like it. Will definitely revisit.

3 Jan 2012 11:32

The Brewery Tap, Derby

Not sure about the big open windows without curtains, and for the first 20 minutes or so I wasn't convinced I liked this place. It was very quiet, but we did visit late in the afternoon in a post Xmas/New Year Monday, so hardly anywhere would have been rockin'. Gradually as the it filled up with customers I warmed to the Brewery Tap through the polite dispensing of well kept Why Not ale and nicely presented (though not cheap) food. Worth a trip back I think.

3 Jan 2012 11:27

The Flowerpot, Derby

I think the Flowerpot has had a welcome lick of paint and something of a refurb since my last visit. A quiet atmosphere during the post New Year/Xmas slum won't give the true picture of what is regularly found here, however the ale was on form (we all enjoyed the light hoppy Jarl) and there was a feeling of convivial relaxation. Generally very pleasant and looking forward to revisting.

3 Jan 2012 11:21

The Brown Lion, Birmingham

Update on my review of June 27. Despite a ludicrous attempt by a Birmingham newspaper in it's front page headline and opening lines suggesting a recent withdrawal of a CAMRA award was prompted by the former manager leaving this particular fold to follow a calling to the Christian ministry instead of the more prosaic reason of falling foul of a trivial technicality, the Brown Lion is quietly going from strength to strength. Establishing itself as the least pretentious, expensive and exclusive of the cluster of Jewellery Quarter alehouses, it's Two Towers product is never less than highly drinkable and the clientele are revealed as interesting, sociable and cheerfully appreciative of the relaxed, informal atmosphere. A special mention should also be made of the service offered, which is consistently warm and attentive - a stark contrast to recent experiences in some of it's more self regarding rival establishments. My only criticism would remain over it's bland, underwhelming interior concepts, but after a series of memorably good nights (including some genuinely accomplished free music offerings), I'll push my rating up from 7 to a carefully considered 8.

18 Dec 2011 14:07

Rose Villa Tavern, Birmingham

Update of my review July 10th. I really wanted to like this pub as in theory it would make a good mini crawl, forming an arc between the two shades of Lions. So I was persuaded to return under the assurance that my last posting was harsh and that the teething problems had been ironed out. Well I managed to get served, but not in turn, and for the princely sum of 3.10 I was treated to a freezing, on the turn pint of 3.4 Brakspear. All this to a pounding soundtrack of a synthetic salsoul version of Sunshine of Your Love on the speakers we sat under. I think CatherineElizabeth's succinct comment just about sums it up, and as the Rose Villa was pretty well populated it does indeed seem this is the sort of standard Jewellery Quarter residents are eager to embrace for their pubs. I hope they'll be very happy with each other, but I'll keep out of their way.

27 Nov 2011 10:04

The Plough, Harborne

My track record on BITE for reviewing trendy UAB-ish pubs such as this is to be rather sniffy in my summing up, unfairly at times perhaps, but usually done so out of irritation when a sound, inclusive boozer loses it's character through being in an area of gentrification and/or the self satisfied clientele that languidly populate it. Which is why it is such a shock to find myself saying that of all the pubs dotted around Harborne, this is by far my favourite.

You see we're a finally unassuming looking bunch, more Larry than George Lamb, yet each visit we are greeted by beautiful, immaculately attired and crucially attentive staff constantly checking that we are being served in a manner as far removed from perfunctory as you could reasonably expect from this type of establishment. Granted it's more than top dollar prices for the beer, yet it's of exceptional quality, and there's always a comfortable space to appreciate it (although probably not on Friday or Saturday nights).

So why does the Plough score over pubs such as the Lord Clifden for me? It has to be the atmosphere which is considerably more relaxed and natural: very few punters appear to be primarily concerned about being seen in this pub over just being sociable and agreeable. The recently upgraded pubs in the Jewelry Quarter exhibit unpleasant displays of status. The Plough, for all of it's affectations seems refreshingly free of this kind of attitude, at least it does on my visits. It achieves the right balance of smartness and accessibility, even to a crumpled, raggedy arsed real ale slacker like me.

So an approval from me, and a sober one at that.

15 Nov 2011 21:36

The White Horse, Harborne

All the right elements for a good pub appear to be in place: a traditional feel, a wide range of interesting and well kept beers and an obviously popular haunt with a solid consistent reputation. Where it stumbles for me however, is that I never find it especially friendly. The welcome from the bar staff is lukewarm and reserved at best, or accompanied with a particularly stinging line of banter which even some of the regulars don't seem to appreciate. I'm not a regular and often made to feel it, an impression shared by several others in our group. Granted mine is a minority view when compared to previous comments but I have to conclude by saying I'll only be here for the beer.

15 Nov 2011 20:52

Goose At The Fighting Cocks, Moseley

Almost laughably expensive and tick box trendy, with continental lagers and organic ciders to the fore amid an admittedly respectable showing of real ales. Exotic and ethnic chic furnishings and ephemera are draped all over the shop, the atmosphere is horribly exhibitionist - the Jezs and Mirandas don't believe in quiet entrances - and the service is dispensed as cool and chilly as you'd expect from media commentators and the spiritually enlightened all biding their time. Of course there are plenty of Moseley-ites who will flock to this place for precisely the aforementioned aspects that so curdle my pint of Nu Vibe Mild, so to them I say welcome to your regulation styled eccentric chill out zone , but where's the nearest pub?

21 Sep 2011 17:44

The New Billesley, Kings Heath

Massive, sprawling, cavernous, empty, boring pub, totally lacking any kind of individuality. No ales, just bog standard lager, cider, and various types of black stuff. After the football the TVs blared out Big Brother. The service was reasonably polite and efficient, but as I'd been forced to got there against my better judgement I really couldn't wait to leave.

14 Sep 2011 19:54

The Fly in the Loaf, Liverpool

Re. comments below. Fair play to the manager.

Will definitely re-visit when next in the area.

11 Sep 2011 08:47

The Fly in the Loaf, Liverpool

Pleasant long smart bar, not cheap of course but has enough going to justify it's pretensions. For a late Saturday afternoon visit the Okells was in fine fettle, and rather than let us stand there waiting for our pints to settle the barman delivered them to our table. Might not have happened if it was busier, but a nice touch all the same. Probably not for those looking for pubs with a bit of edge, but an acceptable way to while away time as you plot your next move.

5 Sep 2011 16:42

The Spread Eagle, Acocks Green

Not being a fan of Wetherspoons houses I was pleasantly surprised to discover quite a mellow, efficiently run bar when I dropped in one late Sunday evening. The ale was nicely kept, and the service was pretty good in comparison to nearly every other Spoon I've been in. Clearly I visited at the right time. A minor spat between members of a card school flared up and blew over just as quickly, in slightly comic fashion. I'd call in again when next in the area.

8 Aug 2011 20:01

The Inn on the Green, Acocks Green

Reasonable choice of ales, not expansive, but occasionally have interesting guests. The first impression may be that there is something of an intimidating, and possibly inebriated vibe, but once a little time is spent over the first drink it is evident this is a sociable, live and let live crowd. Though I wouldn't recommend displaying any sort of attitude in here unless you're 100% confident in your street combat skills. Best to visit with modest expectations, and also beware of the sound system which suddenly wracks up the clubbing music to an alarming decibel level.

8 Aug 2011 19:53

The Tap and Spile, York

Somewhere in here is a really good pub trying to get out. My return visit on early Saturday evening saw nearly all the punters sitting outside despite the showery weather. This could have been due to the character perched at the bar who once my presence was noticed immediately launched into a rant that sounded like a dress rehearsal for an English Defence League after dinner speech. Still, he was easily ignored by walking away and I managed to enjoy an acceptable pint of Rudgate Battleaxe. I think the Tap is worth persevering with.

21 Jul 2011 21:38

The Bootham Tavern, York

Ordinary basic pub, good for Sky sports with screens dotted all over the shop. Usually a couple of real ales on, kept in reasonable nick. Friday and Saturday nights can be a bit boisterous, and just a little bit threatening at times. Saturday lunchtimes usually sees the hungover regulars slumped at the bar struggling to recall the previous night's antics. I've been in a lot worse.

19 Jul 2011 11:22

Lamb and Lion, York

As I always considered the Lamb & Lion a somewhat upmarket establishment I'd always make a point of avoiding this one, it seemed from the window to be rather stuffy, pricey and cliquey, but as it's been feted by CAMRA this year I decided to finally cross the threshold. Quite glad I did. A manageable range of beers, of which I had the very agreeable Osset's Sizzler (in contrast to the weather which most certainly wasn't). Very friendly service too and in all honesty I preferred the atmosphere to that of the lifestyle choice ambience that pervades the Three Legged Mare.

19 Jul 2011 11:14

The Gillygate, York

Rather undistinguished with just the Copper Dragon ale on when I last visited. I have eaten here and wasn't very impressed, but it was some time ago. There's nothing greatly wrong with it, but the Gillygate does not leave much of a lasting impression, particularly when considering that there are a great deal more interesting and quality alternatives to be found in any direction you care to walk.

19 Jul 2011 10:56

The Maltings, York

I think Sunday evenings may be the best option for a weekend visit if you don't want to have charm the doormen to allow you in, only to stand wedged up against a group of outrageously overpriced and status symbol marking lager drinkers. Why do people insist on forcing themselves into a pub which has punters virtually falling out of the windows? However if you pick a quiet time the rewards are plentiful. A pub with great character, with a prominent signs telling you to watch your language dotted in between the many other visually entertaining ephemera on the walls. The staff are relaxed, attentive and up for banter, and the regulars are a decent, sociable crowd. As for the beer, well I can only echo other comments, and just say it's of the highest order in terms of both quality and range (prices reflect that unfortunately). And where else would a barman let you have a pint for free because it is near to running out but is still perfectly drinkable? OK lots of places you may answer, but not THAT many I'll wager. A delight.

19 Jul 2011 10:49

The Nag's Head, Heworth

A little anonymous perhaps, it would be hard to recall if included in a crawl of York's many other distinctive pubs, but the Nag's Head seems to serve it's community more than adequately. Despite it's unfortunate connection with a contemporary York heartache, it maintains a spirit of positiveness with charity raising social events advertised throughout the bar and has a general atmosphere of earthy cheerfulness. Added to that my pint of John Smith's on cask was most agreeable, which was against expectations.

19 Jul 2011 10:31

The Old Grey Mare, Clifton

I try to see something positive in every pub I visit, but it's not always possible. As far as the Old Grey Mare is concerned I'll throw in a point for eventually getting served with a cheery please and thank you. The rest I found unremittingly awful.

18 Jul 2011 19:30

The Fox, York

Exceptionally friendly pub, not greatly signposted so it melts in somewhat with the terraced house street it nestles in. Not a great range of ales either, but the atmosphere more than makes up for any shortcomings. The interior is a little odd and minimalist, but also has a definite charm to it. Worth the walk out of town for what should be a pleasant experience.

18 Jul 2011 19:24

The Hansom Cab, York

Boisterous, plain speaking Sam Smiths pub, one of the cheapest beers in the centre, gearing itself to the unrefined York drinker, and none the worse for that. Obviously limited in ale choice, but a refreshing contrast to so many upmarket and slightly precious pubs that surround it. A good one to include in a crawl rather than a prolonged stay.

18 Jul 2011 19:16

The Spotted Dog, Digbeth

Only the beer range disappoints in this otherwise convivial, atmospheric and interestingly laid out back street boozer. If you're lucky enough to visit on a sunny day try the pleasant and quirky beer garden, as you wonder just why there have been attempts to curtail the Dog's entertainments activity to pacify the new crop of apartment dwelling neighbours - if indeed the stories that abound are true. A great place to begiin or conclude a Digbeth crawl; an even better place to spend the night. A Digbeth legend that resists resting on it's laurels. 8/10.

13 Jul 2011 12:07

Rose Villa Tavern, Birmingham

Watched with mounting thirst and an unwanted sense of self consciousness as the barman spun containers in the air, working with great concentration on what appeared to be a mammoth order for cocktails. At no point during this operation was my presence acknowledged, not by the juice juggler nor the other dude who fiddled at something behind the bar stopping briefly to pass the time with someone he knew. After roughly four minutes of being made to feel like a wino who'd just wandered off the street I left. I could try again I suppose, but my experience seemed to encapsulate the very worst of what the Jewellery Quarter has become since it's gentrification. Am I being unfair? Quite possibly, but on this occasion I don't care.

10 Jul 2011 14:20

The Station, Kings Heath

Certainly a different type of pub to when I last used the Station. Now it's a trendy, contemporary styled bar with state of the art prices to match. Not a great range of beers, or at least nothing much to appeal to me. Service was brisk, not abundant in personality. I think I'm beginning to distrust the concept of refurb. I hope the locals like it, but I doubt I'll be paying many more visits.

27 Jun 2011 10:04

The Brown Lion, Birmingham

Nice to see this operating as a traditional ale house again, good luck to them. The Brown Lion will need to up their game a bit if they are going to attract custom away from neighbours The Red Lion and Lord Clifden, I suppose the cheaper price range might help. The interior is somewhat minimalist, austere even, and I wasn't sure what type of drinker the BL is hoping to appeal to. When I called in on a late Sunday afternoon the only other punters seemed to be a sprinkling of regulars from the Wellington. Still, early days. On the plus side the service was good, with a nice range of locally brewed beers. If they can find an identity for themselves this is one to watch and I'll award it a cautious 7 if only for resisting being another UAB type pub that seem to be springing up rather tediously over the city.

27 Jun 2011 09:53

The Pub, Leicester

Appears to be attempting the elusive blend of a traditional alehouse vibe in a contemporary space. How successful The Pub is in that respect depends on your taste for either, but my visit was enjoyable enough for me to make a return trip when next in Leicester. Although I found the minimalist interior with it's long corridor like bar and bare primary coloured walls (as I remember them) somewhat generic and uninspiring, it wracks up points for it's relaxed convivial atmosphere, highly efficient, eye pleasing service and an excellent range of ales. Good food too. All you could reasonably expect in fact.

13 Jun 2011 15:02

The White Lion, Hampton in Arden

Popped in yesterday for a quick bite and a beer. Found no fault with either product other than being slightly overpriced. It's a fine old building with a pleasant rustic feel in the front bar, which I preferred to the slightly characterless dining section at the back. The service was civil and friendly enough and I think the management are trying to provide a pub worthy of it's attractive village setting. Nothing spectacular but a nice example of a fully functioning traditional rural pub. Worth a look if in the area.

5 Jun 2011 14:55

Lord Burton, Burton-Upon-Trent

The first sentence of my review should have read 'one of the very few pubs open in Burton'.

26 May 2011 16:47

Lord Burton, Burton-Upon-Trent

One of the very pubs open in the centre of Burton for our Sunday afternoon visit, and like the town it was quite bereft of people. Still this meant we got served briskly and civilly to a very acceptable pint of Bateman's Pink Cadillac. Annoyingly though other beers we were interested in were "off" but the clips left facing the punter so as not to "spoil the corporate image". For a Lloyd's 'Spoon it seemed pretty run of the mill.

26 May 2011 16:43

The Coopers Tavern, Burton-Upon-Trent

Can't add much to the comments already posted, except to say that for our visit we found two sides of the same (excellent) coin: pretty dead on a Sunday afternoon to the point where we thought staff were waiting for us to drink up for an early closure; lively and companionable in the evening with a variedly interesting set of regulars. But of course this is all part the pub adventure experience. A great little alehouse.

26 May 2011 12:58

Sheffield Tap, Sheffield

If ever there was a station bar that works well as a pub in it's own right the Sheffield Tap is probably it. I'm not sure I'd make it a regular haunt as of course the clientele is too transient, but what better way for the discerning drinker to kill time awaiting trains then by tallying awhile over some very interesting ales. So interesting in fact I nearly missed my train. I had to splutter at the dispensary of trendy beers in hour glasses encased in wooden holders, WTF?

1 May 2011 09:07

The Red Deer, Sheffield

Just one visit on a quiet Saturday lunchtime won't give anything like a complete picture of a pub so my initial assessment is that the Red Deer seems pleasant if rather bland interior-wise. A nice selection of ales, I ordered a well kept award winner Harvest Pale, and the civil service was appreciated, but the pub seems to somehow lack identity. However there didn't seem to be much else in the area so for a decent pint it's worth a look.

1 May 2011 08:51

The Kelham Island Tavern, Sheffield

Couldn't find much to fault this pub on my visit, other than my first pint might have done with a top up but to have asked for one would have increased the volume by a lickspittle. A mellow, late Saturday afternoon visit afforded me a seat in the exotic beer garden under the warm sunshine and thoroughly enjoying my pint of Acorn Up the Aisle (in honour of you-know-what). I counted 12 working real ale pumps, but make sure you check round the corner of the bar for the full options. The regulars seemed a friendly lot basking in a rather sleepy atmosphere, but if that's how they like it then long may it remain. I came away judging this to be the best pub I visited while in Sheffield, but only for that day. Very much worth the short walk out from the city centre.

1 May 2011 08:28

The Yorkshire Terrier Inn, York

This is an interesting little pub, of that there is no doubt. An L shaped room behind a shop front that's set up nicely for quiet conviviality and intimate conversation. If I remember correctly 9 pumps were on offer and I plumped for the fine York Brewery's First Light - I'm always intrigued by handwritten clips. This was a late Sunday afternoon so the atmosphere was a bit too low-key - perhaps unsurprisingly, and for a spell there were considerably more staff milling about behind the bar than there were customers. Also it seemed as though the only natural light was provided by a window that looked out on to the shop front. I may have misremembered of course.Would like to try it again later in the evening for a fuller appreciation.

20 Mar 2011 09:21

The Excelsior, Liverpool

Inevitably the Excelsior would have a hard time emerging out of the shadows of the likes of Ship & Mitre and prestigious The Lion Tavern, and it certainly did itself no favours by only having one working cask ale pump on show when entering through a side door.. (I only spotted another four pumps on the other side of the bar as I was leaving.) Nevertheless I see no reason why I wouldn't pop back again as in it's own unassuming way provided a pleasant contrast to it's Friday night packed alternatives. Service was brisk and civil and my pint of Deuchars IPA was very acceptable. A relaxed, discreet atmosphere which will suit if that's the mood you're looking for. Not bad at all.

31 Jan 2011 20:37

The Crown, Birmingham

Tried to order a beer a couple of weeks ago. Stood at the bar for ten minutes and short of employing brute force found it impossible to get served. Bar staff seemed trained in the Wetherspoons method, ie. the just look directly in front and serve the first face they see. Why should I have to try so hard just to get a drink!? So I didn't. I'll think long and hard before I try again.

31 Jan 2011 20:22

The Blue Bell, York

Update on my Jan. 2009 review. Just a note to say the Private Party sign normally displays on Saturday afternoons so that the manager can ensure large numbers of pub crawlers or anyone looking a bit lairy will be dissuaded from attempting to get in, thus making nuisances of themselves. For the record the Blue Bell remains an excellent little boozer.

31 Jan 2011 17:50

The Prince of Wales, Birmingham

Update of my review posted October 2008. Pleased to report a massive improvement in staff attitude and service, as well as maintaining it's high standard for 8 well kept cask ales. I can now recommend this much more confidently, but Sunday afternoons are still best avoided if you are not a fan of pubs that are rammed almost to the point of being a health and safety risk.

31 Jan 2011 17:06

The Queens Arms, Birmingham

Update of my review May '07. Knocked off a few points on my original review as I have frequently found the beer to be either decidedly average or decidedly off. A complacent attitude pervades and often it gets packed out with some obnoxious wad waving punters. Sorry to report this.

31 Jan 2011 16:58

The Dispensary, Liverpool

Fine, bustling and basic ale house, with a nice choice of ales from which I veered happily from the Ossets to the Salopian. For an early Saturday evening it was a little too popular for comfort but that's hardly a criticism, and although the atmosphere was boisterous it was above all very friendly and congenial. Striking up conversations at random seemed the most natural thing in the world with this sociable lot. Plus the service benefits by employing one of the most full-on cheerful barmaids I've ever encountered. Definitely on the list of must re-visits.

31 Jan 2011 16:21

The Philharmonic, Liverpool

Absolutely staggering interior within a magnificent piece of street corner architecture. But as a pub going experience...!? A beer festival type event was advertised just outside of the doorway but I found only half a dozen cask ale options of which I opted for the quite common Bitter 'n' Twisted to the accompaniment of a curl of a lip by the barman as I'd only ordered half. I'm sorry I took up his precious time by trying to pace myself at the beginning of a crawl. After being dismissed from the bar I found a place to sit and quickly felt as though I was drinking in a museum or the drawing room of a listed tourist attraction. I drank up quickly and left, enriched on one level by my visit to one of the most beautifully designed and conceived pubs but not connecting to the over reverential atmosphere which made me feel rather uncomfortable. Would agree though that this is an essential visit for any self respecting connoisseur.

31 Jan 2011 15:58

The Lion Tavern, Liverpool

Always a nice touch when the manager of a popular pub is secure enough in his establishment's reputation to care enough about the industry & it's punters to recommend other ale houses he thinks you might like. His advice was an integral factor in making my visit to the excellent city of Liverpool so rewarding. The Lion damn near gets all ten points for being everything I look for in a city centre boozer; that is a civilised, relaxed but not at all stuffy or precious, with an extremely welcoming vibe and needless to say a great and manageable choice of beers. It's traditional feel was a delight and it only stumbles slightly at the final hurdle by not having a locally brewed ale for my visit. But the time I ordered my third or fourth Copper Dragon I was gleefully beyond caring. A roaring success ... sorry about that.

31 Jan 2011 11:49

The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool

If the Summer Ale is a reliable indicator than the Wapping product brewed at this stand alone boozer is worth seeking out. It was delightful and refreshing after a walk around the Docks in the stiff Mersey breeze. However I found the pub rather moody for a late Friday afternoon, not helped by keeping most of the lights off as the pub sailed into dusk. Perhaps I caught it at the wrong time. I didn't appreciate the lads effing and blinding in a smug fashion at the bar either. Might try again but only for the beer.

29 Jan 2011 08:12

The Tap and Spile, York

Closed down!? That's a damn shame, I always enjoyed my visits here. Here's hoping for a saviour.

27 Nov 2010 13:57

The Fleur De Lys, Lowsonford

Smart country village pub for even smarter country village dwellers the Fleur de Lys seems to aim itself squarely at families of diners, nearly all of the tables were reserved and clearly designed to accommodate it's food trade. The word is the standard of their pies is legendary. Edible certainly, but not quite in the mythic category.The ambience of the pub is strenuously tasteful, but also rather boring and stifling in it's appeal to the clans of 4x4 owners whose chariots are guarded by Labradors named Lance. Stand up drinkers like myself in search of something more convivial, and an adventure in beer tasting with some rough edges for atmosphere are advised to make the Fleur just a brief stopping off point - although it's nearest alternatives are all some miles away.

27 Sep 2010 19:26

The Minster Inn, York

Never had a bad pint or night in this pleasingly discreet boozer. I heartily endorse the positive comments, which in my experience are accurate and fair. I can only scratch my head in bemusement at the recent criticisms, but of course just about anywhere can have an off night.. Marygate's a great road for a crawl by the way.

16 Sep 2010 21:17

The Phoenix, York

Very smart and sophisticated pub, with candlelit tables and a welcoming smile from behind the bar. Comfortable with a fairly decent range of beers and tasteful decor this seems the perfect pub for insulated couples to while away the time over the weekend broadsheet supplements and have conversations that could have been cribbed from Radio 4 aftermoon dramas. This type of pub is popular with many, and with good justification no doubt, but alas not for me. So I drank up quickly and headed off in search of a more convivial atmosphere.

14 Sep 2010 16:44

The Old Royal, Birmingham

Update on my review of 24/8/08. I use this pub a lot more these days, mainly due to the reasonable prices, the addition of another three options for real ale (including Sunchaser, Landlord and EPA), a largely trouble free atmosphere and importantly a significant improvement in the customer care skills of the staff member whose attitude I had taken exception to in my previous posting. No longer showing Sky Sports, the Old Royal's three imposing TV screens seem a bit redundant, but they don't detract from what is now a pleasant, if somewhat low key pub in which to linger over a couple of ales.

12 Sep 2010 17:53

The Seahorse Hotel, York

Your enjoyment of this pub will depend on your liking for Sam Smiths product, traditional boozers and Al Murray-esque landlords. Yes for me in all categories with the added pleasures of being non-concessionary to tourists and not packed to the rafters on a Saturday night. And unlike some of it's flashier neighbours it was relatively easy to strike up a conversation with the regulars. No candles on the tables here I'm pleased to report - nice one.

11 Sep 2010 12:40

The Black Swan, York

Popped in Sunday lunchtime for the first time in quite a while. I asked the guy behind the bar, "Are you doing Sunday lunches?"
"Oh yes", he replied, "we have quite an extensive menu in fact."
"Ah good. Could I have a roast chicken dinner then please?"
"Er...just a minute". He nips out of sight for a few moments. "Actually we only have roast beef."
I was offered a roast cajun dinner option by a lady who suddenly appeared on the scene, and to be truthful it was very nice. I sat outside and a third member of staff delivered my cutlery and then my meal. And then a fourth member of staff came and collected my empty plate. I felt that we could have gone on like this indefinitely. The pub itself is rather nice in a low key way, and haunted by the spectral figure of local historian and ghost tour guide Trevor Rooney, who has been known to chill his audience with macabre tunes on the out of tune piano if the Guinness flows his way.

10 Sep 2010 15:47

The Harvester, Solihull

Based on a quiet Monday evening visit it was a nice surprise to find one of the very few pubs in this part of Solihull offer four cask ales, including Taylor's Landord, plus a Thatchers cider hand pull. The Harvester has a look of an estate pub in the middle of suburban semi-detached land, and all the action such as billiards, darts, dominoes takes place in the front bar while the back lounge looks more conducive to conversation and low-key company. It was also quite welcoming, and we were offered cheery goodbyes as we left. We all agreed under the light of the full moon that against expectations this is a pleasant little local.

1 Aug 2010 19:27

The Newshouse, Nottingham

Slightly odd location for a pub, especially one aiming it's appeal to the more discerning drinker, the Newshouse stands awkwardly on a partly re-developed highway. Once inside there is at once a similarity to the nearby Vat & Fiddle in as much as it retains a non contemporary interior with a focus on traditional ales and relaxed atmosphere. For our visit there only appeared four working hand pumps on offer, and my first choice Old Big Head (in tribute to you-know-who) was not a success. There was also another beer, the name of which escaped me, that even though was advertised as a bitter had a peculiar cidery taste which we were assured was how it's meant to be. Eventually we were all settled on something we liked and the general impression was of a pleasant, rather than essential alehouse with not much to fault it. And being close to the station you could do a lot worse. Good service.


1 Aug 2010 19:10

The Vat and Fiddle, Nottingham

The Vat's ace card is to be less than five minutes walk from the train station, yet so relaxed and unpretentious was the general ambience that I'd quite cheerfully toddle from side of town to the other to sample it's range of fine ales. Of a choice of eight or so hand pulls I stuck to the Harvest Pale and Alchemy by Oldershaw's Brewery which were both in excellent condition, and perfectly complimented the anarchic way we engaged in the TV Times trivia board game when the erudite conversation dried up. Perhaps there could have been more on offer in the way of bar meals, but this did not impair a most enjoyable evening in a pub we happened on by chance. On the list of must re-visits.

1 Aug 2010 18:45

The Wellington, Birmingham


There is some validity in your comments regarding "The Wellington". However there are at least four decent pubs in or very close to the Birmingham city centre that do not require you to "fight for" for your real ale. I'll name them if you insist, however I would hope you prefer to do your own investigations. Your personal criticisms of individual pubs are perfectly acceptable but to characterise a city using the same criteria is a misrepresentation that's both unhelpful and unbecoming.

22 Jul 2010 19:26

The Great Western, Wolverhampton

A treat for the first timer, and a Mecca to the initiated. My visit on a warm, thirst inducing Saturday afternoon left a very strong impression of a relaxed cared for pub with an excellent and manageable choice of real ales. My only quibbles would be the limited availability of food, and a courteous welcome rather than a hearty one - however bear in mind I am always looking for reasons not to award a pub the rosette of a 10/10. Delightfully located on an atmospheric cobbled back street, yet only just over five minutes walk from the train station, the Great Western has an ambience those of a certain age have seen wanting in contemporary drinking establishments: a preserved traditional space where those in search of a simple, civilised night out can do so equally. One of the very best pubs in the West Midlands.

20 Jul 2010 15:52

The Town Crier, Chester

Can't see the appeal of this pub myself. Decor and ambience strike me as rather Weatherspoon-ish and transient, seemingly a popular place to pop into when weaving from one bar to another. It's certainly cheap enough to encourage hard drinking lone rangers who sit in corners with their best Friday night glower whilst also being a good rendezvous for the lads and their girl friends as they shriek in recognition at each other over a thirty foot distance. Still in fairness the beer was pretty decent and it seems pretty well liked, thriving in fact, so they must be doing something right and the absence of my disgruntled mug won't cause them any sleepless nights.

2 Jul 2010 21:38

The George and Dragon Hotel, Chester

I wasn't expecting much when I first walked in and immediately pegged this an another rather anonymous suburban Greene King pub. Yet I have to admit that for a Saturday night the George had quite a mellow feel with plenty of seating, good views of the tv screens and more than competent bar staff. I certainly enjoyed my pints of Back of the Net and some simple pub grub. Preferable to many of the self conscious and rather snooty pubs in the city centre. Not bad at all.

28 Jun 2010 16:40

Hornblowers, Birkenhead

An unsmiling barmaid, indifferent Bombardier ale and spectacularly swearing punters entirely oblivious to my presence are the only impressions I retained while walking dispiritedly away from this ramshackle pub.

28 Jun 2010 16:31

The Albion Inn, Chester

Just one real ale on when I visited, can't remember what it was but I wasn't that enamoured with it. The food was excellent and the interior is interesting, but the WWI memorabilia was somewhat oppressive. It was an early Friday evening so perhaps this pub comes into it's own later in the evening but I have to say the atmosphere was a little bit like a waiting room and I felt strangely self conscious sitting on my own. Couldn't fault the service though which was pleasant, civil and efficient.

27 Jun 2010 12:27

Thomas Rigby's, Liverpool

Based on a half hour spent here one Saturday lunch time my impression was that this is a fine pub interior wise, but underwhelming when it came to service. I was served briskly, but with nothing more forthcoming in the way of personality. Assembly line came to mind. However the Okells was well kept, and there seemed an interesting range of other ales on offer - though not cheap as previously commented on . Perhaps it has hidden depths during busier periods, but the atmosphere was lacking somewhat.

27 Jun 2010 12:10

The Church Inn, Hockley

After several visits in the last eighteen months or so I've finally decided to give up on this one. There never seems to be more than half a dozen punters in attendance no matter what night I drop in and they are very rarely in a sociable frame of mind. Tonight's meagre choice of two real ales (T. Taylors & HPA) seemed typical, and my pint was not particularly inspiring, being cloudy and not quite chilled enough. Although I popped in on a breezy summer's evening it was stifling and stuffy inside. The staff are reasonably friendly and the pub has benefited from a lick of paint and new floor, but there is a heavy atmosphere of apathy which is sad when one compares it to the thriving concern the Church had been only two and a half years ago. It would take a considerable turn around to tempt me back again which gives me no pleasure to assert.

15 Jun 2010 22:26

The Bell Inn, Harborne

I have to agree with SGA: by only sporting two handpumped ales The Bell loses points and is in serious danger of becoming just a novelty pub - ie. village-pub-in-a-city-suburb. It's got great character sure enough, a lovely place to repose during warm weather and something of a community feel, but I'm afraid relying on the hopeful attraction of Brew XI just doesn't cut it. That said I was pleased to see Deuchars on offer recently, not all that common in Brum.

31 May 2010 16:31

The New Inn, Harborne

Rather ordinary Marstons outlet, with nothing much to distinguish it. Not bad by any means and the Cockerhoop was in good condition, but as it's tucked away in a residential spot I would only use if passing or for a quick one if on the Harborne run. Seemed to be a friendly enough crowd though.

31 May 2010 16:07

The Brunswick Inn, Derby

Did I see right? 16 handpulls!? What a pity I only had time for a fine drop of White Feather which set me back the princely sum of 1.80. Already the pro points are racking up. And being so close to the station it's just plain rude not to pop in here for (at least) one. I can't comment too much on the atmosphere as my visit was on a mid afternoon, between busy periods and so more like a reading room with one or two punters buried behind newspapers. Nothing wrong with the service which was brisk and civil, and I particularly appreciated the aroma of the Brunswick, a heady mixture of open fire, the sweat of manual labour, pipe tobacco impregnated walls and the contented spirit of a wet labrador. Beats Febreze any time.

13 Feb 2010 22:30

The Swan In The Rushes, Loughborough

There may be better reasons for coming to Loughborough other than just to drink in the Swan, but whilst sitting in the relaxed and welcoming main bar quaffing an excellent ale like Sheriff's Tipple it's certainly hard to think of any. By keeping things simple, and using an intelligent approach to traditionalism this is an example of how good a pub can be once it is acknowledged that there are still plenty of drinkers who value alternatives to chain pubs or city bars. It's easy to imagine making many new friends here within just a short period of regular visits. Interesting feature is the illustrations along the corridor walls leading to the toilets and outdoor smoking area, I assume they're caricatures of the regulars. Trouble is you're too busy looking at these to notice the step that trips you up on your way. Heigh-ho , it should earn a laugh when you return to your comrades. An all round thumbs up.

13 Feb 2010 22:09

The Moon And Bell, Loughborough

Reviewing Wetherspoons pubs such as the generic Moon and Bell is becoming about as stimulating as counting sheep, but at least the efficient service I encountered here lends something that resembles a bit of character. Quite cramped conditions, a peculiar smell - a composite of sweat stained clothes and cheap disinfectant, and an average age range of 45 - 55 were the only other impressions I came away with. Range and quality of beers were as you'd expect, though I should mention that on a bustling early Friday evening our party were served with ordered food well within ten minutes. That's not such a common experience when you think about it.

13 Feb 2010 21:36

Bay Horse, York

Loungey, comfortable pub just on the edge of the river with nothing particular distinctive apart from a very chatty, amiable barman and a discreet place for the large TV screen. The ales on offer were a little uninspiring but to be fair it seems that bad weather conditions had prevented delivery of more interesting local product. Will pop back again perhaps.

8 Feb 2010 16:52

The Wellington, York

Not a pub you'll just happen across as it is a nestling in the middle of a residential street just off the beaten track. But I urge all connoisseurs of good, back-to-basics locals to make the effort. Not only will you be rewarded with the ever reliable, and astoundingly cheap Sam Smiths beer in a simple, three roomed, no frills, terraced pub, but you'll also be enjoying it in the company of an extremely nice set of regulars - at least they were for my visit. I was made to feel very welcome by both staff and punters alike. That goes along way in my book. Highly recommended.

8 Feb 2010 16:42

The Swan, York

There's hardly anything I can usefully add to the justifiably enthusiastic reviews for one of the most cheerful and charming alehouse I've ever had the pleasure. A stunning contrast to the gloom of seeing that nearly every other near-by pub was either for sale or boarded up, and then coming across this visually arresting, vibrant, popular and so obviously valued local. The quality starts as soon as you enter the corridor which in itself is as much a place of repose as the two bars - a great feature. It's also a joy to be able to drink some class act ales in a place where the staff seem to actually enjoy their work, of course they may be accomplished actors, but I thought the service they gave was excellent. One of York's very best and that's truly saying something.

2 Feb 2010 21:58

The Rook and Gaskill, York

An impressive bank of handpulls line the bar in this interestingly laid out pub. A real ale drinkers version of a sweet shop, of which my 2.30 pint of Harvest Pale was very agreeable indeed. Unfortunately I totally missed the friendly vibe frequently reported by previous posters so I can only conclude I visited on an off night. I drank up quickly as I felt distinctly uncomfortable here. Still it's range of ales was second to none.

2 Feb 2010 21:07

, Digbeth

Highly regarded pub which discerning drinkers often hold as a mecca for quality ales. Very convenient for the newly re-opened Digbeth coach station, this Victorian and Irish oriented pub, offers at least a dozen different ales nearly always in fine fettle. While the Anchor ticks many boxes for me it falls down considerably in quality of service. As remarked before you will seldom be greeted with a smile, and although no bar staff is actively rude, most transactions will be conducted in a manner best described as taciturn. Also I should advise that the back bar is not the best place to attract the staff's attention, even when the pub is not especially busy. For this reason I prefer the warmth and civility offered by the White Swan five minutes up the road. But based solely on the range, quantity and quality of beer on offer the Anchor stands head and shoulders over nearly all of it's competitors.

10 Jan 2010 13:23

The Black Eagle, Hockley

Agreed the Black Eagle has no immediate competition, but the management has not succumbed to complacency. I concur with most previous posters that this is a nice pub, with a relaxed sociable atmosphere. The ales are nearly always on fine form, although it's not a cheap place to drink, or eat for that matter. This is a food dominated pub, famous for it in fact, and on occasion I have felt slightly self-conscious when popping in for a drink only. Also a warning to the uninitiated, check the opening times before you make a special journey as the Eagle appears to close for the afternoon during the weekends.

10 Jan 2010 12:58

The Saddlers Arms, Solihull

A boisterous, no frills pub with some decent Marston's ales on offer. Plenty of TV screens for sport, and some basic entertainment advertised. Unpretentious and has much in common with The Red Lion in Shirley and the Highwood near the Land Rover. Not much more to add really...

3 Jan 2010 19:30

The City Tavern, Birmingham

A follow up to my last review 28/6/07. I had genuinely despaired at the treatment of this pub, but my regular visits over the last few months convince my this lovely looking establishment is finally in safe hands. The new landlord has experience in keeping real ale pubs, and he displays a positive attitude in ensuring the City Tavern remains a genuine alternative to the Hades that is Broad Street. Always a wide selection of ales, and those nostalgic for Davenports ales in pubs will smile at the pump clips that greet them at the bar. Very promising, perhaps the most improved pub in the City Centre.

19 Dec 2009 16:25

The Olton Tavern, Solihull

Not really my kind of pub in all honesty, however what they do is done very well. The emphasis of course is on food, and my Sunday lunchtime visit saw it thriving with salivating punters waiting for their tables. It's a comfortable place, if you can get a seat, and it has a strong family oriented atmosphere. My main interests were the beer, which included a well kept and charity supporting Weatheroak, the nicely placed Sky screens (not so nice if you are non sports enthusiast) and the service, which was efficient and polite. Nothing strikingly memorable, but as there are only two other pubs in the vicinity, neither of those offering cask ales, then the Olton Tavern is the best bet for discerning beer drinkers until you reach Solihull town centre.

19 Dec 2009 16:03

The Falcon, Chester

When the barmaid asked me for 1.44 for a pint of cask Sam Smith's I assumed for a split second she'd pulled a half by mistake. Well it may not be Chester's best pub, but it must certainly be a contender for the cheapest. And I enjoyed my time in here much more than the snooty Bear & Billet, and equally unwelcoming Pied Bull (I wasn't eating and expected to be with an ASBO as a consequence.) I propped up one of the two basic bars, chatting away to all and sundry as though I'd been using the pub for years. Seems to be popular with market shoppers. Admittedly there's not of options to tempt a non Sam Smith's enthusiast but that aside the next time you visit Chester's centre and fancy an unpretentious, relaxed, low key sup you could do considerably worse than popping in to the Falcon.

22 Nov 2009 18:35

Jekyll and Hyde, Birmingham

Eager to be added to the list of smart Urban bars pimpling the city centre, but is narrow, cramped, offering nothing special in the way of real ales. Also off putting were the staff's cronies sat in an exclusive huddle around the bar meaning anyone else wanting to be served had to linger on the edges, hoping to be noticed. Put stools in front of a bar and I'll show you punters bristling with frustration in trying to get served. Still I wish them well, but this bar is not for me which may be recommendation enough for some BITE - ers.

24 Aug 2009 20:19

The Red Lion, Hockley,jewellry quarter

Lord Clifden's (or the Cliff, or even Cliffie if you really want to prove your credentials as a Hockleyite) sister pub, and for me the preferred watering hole than it's now very trendy sibling. The UAB touch ups don't detract from the splendour of it's beautifully tiled interior and non-sports lovers (fair game in my book) will bristle at the ease the screens can be viewed in both rooms, but will have to admit the resident ale Purity is in top notch nick. Four ales altogether, two of those being guests as well as those 5.00 a pint lagers that the new inner city dwellers insist on drinking. Expect warm, cheerful and good natured service from the dark haired barman, but rather fashionable aloofness by courtesy of the Ian Beale lookalike.

24 Aug 2009 20:09

Ye Olde Leathern Bottel, Wednesbury

Quite a nice Sunday lunchtime experience in this mellow pub at the bottom of a hill. Perhaps the three choices for real ale were a little lacking in imagination, but that said my pint of Ruddles County was in excellent condition. The choice for food was reasonable served with efficiency and civility. Where the pub scores points for me was in it's character - about half a dozen little rooms with an unforced rustic feel. and a generally relaxed atmosphere. A good 'un, 7.5 out of 10.

9 Mar 2009 08:01

The Berkeley, Clifton

10.15 and the students are getting stuck into the Sambuca beer chasers as though stomach pumps were going out of fashion. Like the rest of the solitary drinkers I joined in the fun by glowering at them in typical glassy eyed style. The Young Uns responded by banging on the glass to passing comrades who buried their heads in their coats, hurrying with all speed to Greggs. Well what's wrong with unwinding on a Monday morning after a hard weekend's hedonism!? With it's varying atmospheres that are best described as moody 1; moody 2; or moody 3 - there are hardly any alternatives left in this spot to reward you after trekking up Park Street. Granted the ales are kept in good order but the depression that hangs in the air is made more acute when one realises that the vastly superior Quinton Arms just around t'corner has been put up for sale and likely to re-open as a Bagutte du Mort or some such atrocity. Cheers,

5 Mar 2009 19:27

The Lansdown, Bristol

Shows promise with a reasonable choice of ales in good nick, all served with civility, attentiveness and efficiency. In fact at one point there seemed to be half a dozen behind the bar falling over themselves to offer to replenish my half finished pint in a manner that suggests I was a prime suspect for a 'mystery shopper'. One niggle is that there seemed to be very little room to pass stand-up drinkers, but it wasn't a major hassle. Seemed very popular and I would suggest it's definitely worth including in anyone's Clifton crawl.

5 Mar 2009 18:33

The Bag O' Nails, Bristol

The sort of bar that once entered takes a massive surge of will to leave. Several ales on the go, all kept in good order and dispensed with gentle good humour and attentiveness by the landlord.There's a copy of the CAMRA good beer guide on the bar so you can bone up on the various brews on offer or receive trustworthy advice from the staff. The clientele are sometimes eccentric, but nearly all are chatty and friendly, so unless you ask for it you're unlikely to feel like an obvious outsider. The Bag O'Nails is somewhat reminiscent of the White Lion, but with a bit more legroom and wider choice of beers. Watch out for the cartoonish spaniel. It's a genuine local, relaxed with bags of character which may well set the standard that you judge other pubs by. Altogether excellent.

16 Feb 2009 18:16

The Victoria Vaults, York

Very much a local's pub - I got the sense this is an example of the type of alehouse where the drinking residents of York head for when wishing to avoid the tourist traps or the hangouts of the rugby shirt and blazer types. Fairly basic, unpretentious and used by those with a preference for plain, even blunt speaking whilst being equipped with bawdy good humour. Landlord is fairly chatty and attentive. There are a couple of handpulled ales, unfortunately the Jennings was off for my visit. Basically sound.

27 Jan 2009 21:58

The Priory, York

A pint of below-par Landlord served by someone dressed as the chef, a bunch of regulars sitting right in front of me interrupting my view of the footie and seemingly oblivious/indifferent to the fact and a very cold atmosphere in all senses of the term are the only distinguishing features I can remember about my visit.

27 Jan 2009 19:21

Brigantes Bar and Brasserie, York

The exterior wasn't all that promising, something of the Chelsea/Hampstead wine bar look about it. But a CAMRA endorsement on a board outside drew me in, and very glad that it did am I. Half a dozen ales on of which the major discovery for me was First Gold, all served by highly efficient and civil bar staff. This seems a pub for all seasons. Lacking in muzak it supports unstrained conversation, convivial enough for groups of socialites yet just as welcoming to those in search of a quiet corner to sit alone with either book, paper or fantasies. During my visit the lads bounded in, on a quest for hangovers and vomit and after noisily announcing their arrival they found all attempts at scandalizing the regulars failing dismally, only to depart fifteen minutes later. quieter, somewhat confused that they had been subdued by the civilised atmosphere and to presumably head off to The Priory. Good work.

27 Jan 2009 19:10

The Old White Swan, York

Someone, somewhere awarded this best pub status in York, 2007/2008. OK, I'll take their word for it and conclude that there was something lacking on my part. But a Saturday afternoon visit with a less than on form Tim Taylors, two or three milimetres from the brim despite the head (this was a halfpint), some extremely rowdy and attention seeking clientele adding to a general ambience of a typically overated city centre bar, sent me skulking off wondering what all the fuss was about. Can't see meself returning somehow.

27 Jan 2009 18:26

The Blue Bell, York

Did you know that all of the commercial outlets on Fossgate were originally constructed to the specification that their premises be thirteen feet wide? I didn't and my enlightenment didn't come out of any guide book, but instead from the quietly welcoming and authoratitive landlord of this charming, 'proper' boozer. I was also further educated in the appreciation of Osset's ales. Two small bars, both warmed by open fires with at least half a dozen handpumps on the go and one of the most relaxed and congenial atmospheres I've ever come across in a York pub. I can recommend the stilton and blueberry toasties as well. Excellent - one of the few pubs on BITE I award a 9/10 to - still in search of the perfect 10.

27 Jan 2009 18:16

The Shakespeare Inn, Birmingham

My comments on the Shakespeare, Summer Row could equally apply to this particular Shakey, which is run by the same chain. In short, diners munch away in one part, daytime drinkers either stare impassively at the horrors of BBC News 24 or chat away in clusters over a lunchtime pint 'n' wine around the main bar. A reasonable choice of ales are on offer, at competitive prices. I have to admit I've run out of things to say about this pub - slightly above average is the best I can do really.

4 Jan 2009 09:14

The Old Joint Stock, Birmingham

Large, multi roomed, two levelled pub offering such novelties as a theatre as well as musical diversions. It attracts trendies, suits, and cultured real ale types yet to a sociable type like myself I also find it totally impersonal. Hang around the bar for any length of time and you're soon made to feel a nuisance. The standard and range of it's ales is reasonable, unlike the prices. The service is variable, never above formally courteous but often applied with harrassed surliness. However there are regular punters who swear by this pub and it's cavenous, ornate interior stands comparison to a small cathedral. This is either your type of pub or not, if so it's up to the mark, if not there are suitable less intimidating alternatives nearby.

31 Dec 2008 18:31

The Red Lion, Shirley

A visit on the first Saturday afternoon after Christmas revealed a fairly relaxed and friendly atmosphere, attentive service and a comfortable, pleasant interior. The screens were busy with the racing from Chepstow which concerned the majority of punters, so I could watch my choice saunter it's way around the course without demeaning himself by breaking out into anything resembling a sweat. If the Lion served ales other than Pedigree, Abbots or Adnams I could offer a more wholehearted recommendation but in any event it is one of the more atmospheric pubs in Solihull (or the Silhillian surburb Shirley if you prefer) and a pleasing contrast to the majority of boozers in the town centre.

28 Dec 2008 14:22

The Commercial Rooms, Bristol

Huge, cavenous place. Despite the favourable comments of the previous posters I've always found this a bog standard Spoons, no better no worse. Seems to attract it's fare share of fist faces. At 9.30 one Sunday morning a juiced up guy weaving about on the smoking porch outside offered to entertain me with a punch-up just for having the temerity to walk past and mind my own business. It was lucky for him I'm such a cowardly weakling who'd get outpointed at shadow boxing otherwise I'd have murdered him.

17 Nov 2008 17:49

The Trocadero, Birmingham

For years the only reason I would recommend any sort of foray to Temple Street was for the excellent indie record shop "Swordfish" - which is still there, more power to it's fin. I certainly wouldn't have advised anyone to visit the Troc. as I always found it totally null and void of any atmosphere, or anything remotely quaffable with the slowest service I've ever known outside of a Wetherspoons. But just hold on, because recently persuaded against my better nature to drop in for a Sunday lunchtime session there are signs of some genuine improvement. Two or three good ales on (inc. Taylors), served reasonably promptly with an attempt at some civility for a change, quite comfortable and roomy with good views of the screens. And some very nice food. What would have previously been a 3/10 rating has convincingly jumped up to a 6/10 and possibly rising. One to watch. Doesn't encourage stand up solo drinkers at the bar though. Sorry ladies.

17 Nov 2008 17:30

Station, Sutton Coldfield

Two recent Sunday lunchtime sessions, and both fairly succesful. We enjoyed the food, the ambience, the service was adequate - there was nothing excessive in the way of personailty or individuality on display from the staff, and more importantly the ales were in excellent condition. There's a nice little gimmick at the rear of the pub, if you think hard enough you should be able to guess what this feature is. Quite possibly if I used this pub more frequently the little niggles and irritations would start to surface, but at least there seems to be a genuine attempt to turn the Station into a lively interesting quality music's on offer as well. Let's face it the Station doesnt have much in the way of rivals in the Sutton area does it?

31 Oct 2008 19:43

The Prince of Wales, Birmingham

With just a little more effort this could be a great pub rather than just a good one. Just a little too often I've encountered indifferent service, or as in a recent case the barstaff chatted away to regulars whilst pouring my drink, taking my money, returning my change without the slightest in the way of civil acknowledgement. On more than one occasion the Prince has played host to loud corporate boorish types who drag the chairs and barstools all over the place, amd clog up any potential space around the bar. Also I once saw the most blatant examples of pricing on the hoof as the barman changed his mind three times about how much our round was going to cost (going up each time). Well there were the gripes, honestly reported and without any sense of satisfaction because it has considerable attractions. The ales - including Bombadiers and Taylors - are consistently well kept; you can nearly always get a seat; it has a mixed clientele, you shoudn't feel out of place; it's Sunday afternoon acoustic sessions are semi-legendary; and it's the nearest and best oasis from living life to the max on Broad Street within walking distance. So always worth a trip, but sometimes just lacking that something extra.

31 Oct 2008 19:27

Sandy Bells, Edinburgh

Everyone smiles. You feel the single malt warm your throat and listen to the music swelling up from one of the tables, and as you look down beneficently at a terrier called Archie that looks up at you whilst opening your packet of nuts (that's you not Archie), you are smiling as well. Always a pleasure. One of the finest bars in the land.

28 Oct 2008 21:14

The Oxford Bar, Edinburgh

Nothing special and that's to the Oxford's credit in my book (which remains unwritten). If this was local to me I'd use it all the time as it's credentials for a simple, unpretentious, discreet little bar are impeccable. Recommended for drinkers who like somewhere they can hear themselves think, let alone talk where the option to socialise or remain in a corner entertaining your own thoughts is always available. Isn't this what a local should be like? In it's own ordinary and unassuming way, excellent.

28 Oct 2008 21:02

The Jekyll and Hyde, Edinburgh

A commercial pub to be sure, but it knows what it's doing and it works. This is due in part to good bar service, and a mellowness about the pub's atmosphere despite the wackiness. The more you drink, the more fun it becomes - funny that.

28 Oct 2008 20:48

The Frankenstain Pub, Edinburgh

For novelty value only. Despite the ornamentation no detectable atmosphere or personality. Preferred Jeckyl & Hyde.

28 Oct 2008 20:41

The Scotchman and His Pack, Bristol

No ales on for my visit. Landlord seemed slightly irritated that I should even ask. I have had some good nights here, but the general grumpiness of my last encounter - from staff & punters alike - was disappointing. Left with my lager unfinished. Better luck next time?

27 Oct 2008 21:24

The Masons Arms, Solihull

A nice pint of Timothy Taylors Landlod is kept here, the only other choice of trad. ale being Bass, and for an early evening or Sunday lunchtime drink the Masons is as good as anywhere in Solihull. Not an earth shattering statement I know. Litlle nooks and crannies and plenty of TV's in these corners that show Sky Sport, the antithesis of a good pub as my comrades in crime are concerned. I thought 2.20 was reasonable for a pint, and heartened when the barmaid remarked to a friends that they'd sold more Taylors than Carling. I celebrated my 21st here let's not get into that.

27 Oct 2008 08:30

The Old Contemptibles, Birmingham

On one of my excursions into the OC's I stopped musing about the PC worshipping shirts behind the massive plate glass window opposite to send a text to one of my co-conspirators to the effect of "I bet Jeremy Clarkson would like this pub". I'm still not entirely sure what I meant but I stagger by every word. But let's face it it's been years since someone tried to realise any sort of potential with this pub. Previously it seemed to be trying to get itself nominated for some sort of ghastly competition to find Birmingham's most clinically depressed pub. What we now have here is a pleasantly decorated pub, with brisk efficient service, and a well kept Timmy Taylor's on the go plus one or two guest ales. Problem is we also have some pretty high prices to match those well cut suits, who swell the pub to capacity and beyond at lunchtimes and early evenings. If you feel out of place just clamp your mobile to your ear and swear fashionably and loudly - remember you da man! Alternatively visit at the weekends.

22 Oct 2008 21:54

Dragon Inn, Birmingham

A superior Wetherspoons (which isn't saying very much I know) but with the irritating tendency of running out of it's guest beers. It has the compensatory inclusion of Amstell lager (about the only fizzy drink I can stomach), but the hit-and-miss stocking of advertised guests seems to be a standard problem with Spoon pubs of late. On the plus side I've rarely seen it so busy that you despair of ever being served (unlike othet Spoon outlets countrywide), the staff readily exhibit a degree of personality and engagement with their customers, the food is fine, and the atmosphere is relaxed and civilised. On a good night this is a handy stopping off place on your way to the lovely little Lamp Tavern.

22 Oct 2008 20:50

Assembly Rooms, Solihull

I wish I could like this pub more than I do. It's a handsome building (once the borough's council house and then Bar Censsa), comfortable, roomy, generously equipped with TV screens for live footie matches. However for my visits the guest beers are often off, or depleted so for real ales the choices are often Abbotts or Pedigree - not bad ales in themselves but tediously disappointing in a specialist pub. The s-shaped bar causes confusion as to just where you stand for service, a beam obscures the top half which becomes a blind spot for staff and punters alike. I also find the Sunday roasts somewhat uninspiring and below par. Being a Lloyds outlet this should be a flagship pub for the company but I still prefer the more basic White Swan around the corner. A missed opportunity, but I'll give it another chance.

21 Oct 2008 22:01

The Prince of Wales, Bishopston

Beers, excellent. Food, great. Service, erratic. Weekend clientele, infuriating.

17 Oct 2008 19:56

The Shakespeare, Birmingham

If your requirements are for a fairly basic, comfortable, unpretentious edge of city centre pub with well kept and modestly priced Timothy Taylor or Amstell's then the Shakey could be the place for you. Can be deathly quiet at times and absurdly rammed at others, but generally a fairly relaxed, pleasant drink can be had here with some reasonable pub grub. Not too exciting, but usually reliable for a quick one or wasting a couple of hours watching silent BBC News 24.

17 Oct 2008 19:27

The Green Man, Harborne

Filth Hounds of Hades!! Even the usually dependable Black Sheep ale was bland. Can't really deviate from the most recent comments posted about this Ember Inn (there are some decent ones out there) except to say that the Green Man is distinguished from the rest of the bunch by some truly laughable interior decorating. Had the misfortune to be sitting on the speaker as it dribbled out a selection from the "Now That's What I Call Crap" compilations. It seemed well used but perhaps this was because of a lack of choice. Just where do discerning Harbornians go for a decent drink nowadays? Handy for the bus though.

17 Oct 2008 14:36

The Lamp Tavern, Birmingham

Not a pub you would just "happen upon" as it is nestled in a back street on the edge of the edge of the city centre, some effort and stout heartedness is needeed to find it amongst the warehouses and the two ferocious looking pubs that are the Lamp's near neighbours. For my visits the resident ales, Tiger and Church End, are always on form which are nicely complimented by the regular appearence of another two or three guest beers. It's one of the smallest bars around, so thankfully most of the regulars are friendly (exceptionally so in some cases). The landlord is quietly charismatic, a little unpredictable and without doubt in full authority over his little domain, which I find refreshing. The large unfolding tv screen can be a little dominating when showing footie, racing or even Songs of Praise (!) but a minor quibble in an otherwise relaxed, charming, quality boozer.

12 Oct 2008 08:32

The Lord Clifden, Birmingham

Can I just say with the fiery courage that is available when using a nickname that I preferred this pub before the re-furb? WIth no concession to proof or even accuracy the impression I get is that if the management can't get a pub in Moseley, then Moseley must come to them. Very welcoming and to the new Hockey-ites in their nearby lofts and penthouses - a new emphasis to the description Jewellery Quater perhaps? - with prices to match. But for all of the contemporary Sunday supplement additions of which you happy while away a pint just looking at, something of the pub-of-the-people atmosphere and charm of previous has been lost. But then that's a personal bugbear of mine and this is by no means a bad pub which still knows how to serve a decent pint, and I'll very rarely pass it without popping in. Points for professionalism.

5 Oct 2008 11:03

The Crown, Old Hill

A gloomy, rainy early Saturday evening in October, and the barman (manager?), nuclear family and Baggies fan are huddled around one table. Enter windswept, rain sodden stranger and everyone parps a good evening after a moment's worth of sudden silence and suspicion. No real ales and the Banks's was off but some particularly abrasive cheese cobs were on offer. It's not long before rain sodden stranger is embroiled in the general chatter as though he'd been using it for years. Stayed for a second pint of something I wouldn't normally drink out of compassion as it seemed this was as busy as they were expecting it to get, and also because of the genuinely warm company. Points awarded for the people which may be all you need from your local.

5 Oct 2008 10:43

The Old Royal, Birmingham

Unfortunately I will not be returning to this generally sound pub until a particular member of the bar staff is either replaced or has an attitude transplant. For reasons I couldn't fathom on my last visit his idea of serving my pint was to virtually throw it at me over the bar. Not once, but twice. I don't need this nor it seems does the pub need me, so ta ta for now. His presence has reduced my rating. Shame.

24 Aug 2008 07:26

The Star Bar, Edinburgh

Nice little bar this. The interior is a shrine to all the good things in music with posters, sleeves, magazines, etc., plus an imaginative jukebox. Although I didn't stay as long as I would have liked all the indications were that later on in the evenings this becomes an interesting and lively boozer, much loved by it's regulars. Nice beers, attentive service, the most memorable bar I'd visited whilst in the Stockbridge area.

30 Jun 2008 21:13

The Cumberland Bar, Edinburgh

A smart, wood panelled affluent pub with an ambience in keeping with the tasteful Stockbridge district it nestles in. Extremely comfortable seating, but not especially welcoming, with the bar staff eyeing newcomers with either suspicion or apathy. Ales not particularly memorable. It seemed very popular, but to be fair this is type of bar is not really my cup of tea. Now immortalised in Alexander McCall Smith's '44 Scotland Street' stories.

30 Jun 2008 21:04

The Sheeps Heid Inn, Duddingston

Comfortable and tastefully rustic. For a sunny afternoon visit the atmosphere could best be described as conservative. Decorum is the name of the game. Still pleasant enough after a trek across Arthur's Seat, with a good choice of ales. The service was efficient and civil, but on the whole an unremarkable experience.

30 Jun 2008 20:42

The White Swan, Digbeth

If you can't get into the Anchor - and it is often rammed - a more than acceptable alternative is this handsomely tiled pub. In fact the more you use it the more The Swan might become your preferred option. A smaller choice of real ales, but always well kept. Very attentive service, there's often at least three staff behind the bar. Great for watching footie and a handy stopping off point before and after matches at the Blues. The vibe is usually cheerful and friendly with Bluenoses at their most philosophical.

4 Feb 2008 09:00

The Croham Arms, South Croydon

I've never been to this pub, and judging by the comments nor do I feel inclined to do so. I just want to say that my_world's contribution was the funniest I've read in ages. Please submit some more reviews, it'll mack my day.

19 Aug 2007 10:53

The Swan Inn, Stone

Really nice pub with some fine ales. Locals seemed friendly and laid back and our visit coincided with the climax to the week long beer festival. Will definitely re-visit at the earliest.

8 Jul 2007 22:47

The City Tavern, Birmingham

C'mon is this pub really that good. My recent visit seemed quite typical of what I've been experiencing over the past couple of years. Two very young barstaff had to tear themselves away from Hollyoaks blaring away in the corner in order to serve anyone. Just as Channel 4 news kicked off the set was quickly switched to "Emmerdale". Twice a week there's usually a karaoke loud and intrusive enought to disturb customers in the Brasshouse. A clique of guys whose devine right is to sit in a burly huddle around the serving hatch in the lounge make you feel absurdly grateful to get served, and for my trouble I've been rewarded with more than a couple of dodgy pints. The lived in look soon reveals some much needed tlc. To be fair against most of the Broad St. fair this pub is infinitely preferable, but stood against the excellent and refreshingly straight forward Vine not ten minutes away on Ruston Street and the Tavern is shown to be shabby, apathetic and rather overated.

28 Jun 2007 21:08

The British Oak, Birmingham

Get a few down your neck beforehand, leave your attitude problems at the door and silently but firmly chant the mantra it-takes-all-sorts to yourself and you might just have some seriously sleazy fun here. The Oak is an intersection representing all sorts of extremities of pub culture. Be respectful and go with it and you just might want to come back again. Warning: if you go looking for trouble then you'll definitely find it here pal.

22 Jun 2007 22:15

The Prince of Wales, Ledbury

Popped in quite recently. Still seems as good as previous comments suggest. Likeable eccentric clientele, wonderful falling down water, interior full of unforced olde worlde charm. It does this pleasant little town proud. Just don't tell everybody.

22 Jun 2007 21:37

The Woodman, Birmingham

It has some great interior tiling and a traditional ambience. Yay! But when it's packed it's hard to navigate your way to the loo's Doh! The bar service by the young barmaids was prompt and attentive. Yay! But I had to send both my pints of real ale back. Doh! However I had a great pint of Amstells. Yay! But the shaven headed, burly tattooed raucus, 95% male clientele and a magazine on the bar with a double paged spread devoted to skinhead culture unnerved me. Doh! Then again they were, apparently, all Bluenoses and the black faces that entered were greeted warmly. Yay! But someone announced over the sound system that there was to be a collection in aid of someone I didn't know who had got wrongly sent down (actually I seem to remember a rattling tin present for his kiddie's birthday). Doh! But then everyone was genuinely courteous and friendly towards me, and considering the length of my hair I felt quite as though I belonged - yay! - 'cos on Saturday night they blast out some utterly brilliant northern soul, 60s r&b, ska and Two-Tone. YAY! I hope this helps in your decision of whether to tarry a while here or not.

22 Jun 2007 21:12

The Highbury Vaults, Bristol

There are about half a dozen other pubs in walking distance (climbing if you've just ascended St. Michael's Hill) but once you're inside the Highbury there doesn't seem to be any good reason to go anywhere else. TWG sums this excellent boozer up precisely. I'll just add that if you want to sit in a corner in a conspiratorial way like a character from Conrad this is the place. Also good for chortling at post grad's and their interior designer career anxieties and also having some real conversation with the urbane but walnut faced guys at the bar. Actually doesn't have to be just guys...I'll get me club.

22 Jun 2007 20:45

The Holyrood Tavern, Edinburgh

Hmmm. You name it and they've just ran out of it. In particular the last drips of Laphroaig had evaded me by nanoseconds. In the midst of the Fringe fest last year this pub only seemed to come alive when there were plays on in the back. Otherwise the only other highlight was being sidled up to by a man wishing to lie down with his fellow man. Hey! you have to be good looking. Comparing this occasion to my previous visits the atmosphere of the Holyrood would be much improved by a repeal of the non-smoking ban.

22 Jun 2007 20:20

The Victoria, Clifton

Sorry to sound a dissenting voice. We had eagerly looked forward to revisiting this pub after having spent a delightful saturday here early last year. Then we were in a funky little alehouse with interesting, without contrivance, 60's ambience that had excellent beers and a genuinely warm welcome from the lovely lady behind the bar. When we did return a couple of months ago it was only to find the interior had been reduced to something like mundanity. The service was to say the least indifferent, the clientele appearing rather stuck up and for our visit an obnoxiously pissed up geezer slumped at the bar who let out a foul mouthed tirade in the direction of a Mediterranean looking punter, once the guy had left the pub I should add. And this seemed to be tolerated. To be fair there was a rather cheery pipe smoker at the bar who waved us a hearty farewell, and the beer was half decent. I'd been using this pub for years, my Dad was once a member of the dart team for Chrissakes though you don't need to know this, but this was a very disappointing encounter. By the way, does the previous management have a pub elsewhere in Bristol? Be very grateful to learn where.

20 Jun 2007 19:30

The Lyndon, Solihull

A pub on the up, hopefully. God knows Olton needs it. I'm aquainted with the current manager from his time at the Stage, Birmingham and he knows the game well. He brought a lot of positive changes to that pub, including a vigorous music policy in the aftermath of the annoying demise of the Fiddle & Bone. Too soon to say how this pub is shaping up so I'll confine my ratings on two enjoyable but brief visits.

4 Jun 2007 20:18

Pennyblacks, Birmingham

If you must drink in the Mailbox then please make it this one. Excellent in it's choice of beers, relaxed and restrained in it's 'smart' vibe. Found the quality of the food to be of a high standard and the service generally attentive and prompt. It's light years ahead of it's neighbour, the horrendously overated Tap & Spile.

4 Jun 2007 19:27

The Crown and Cushion, Edinburgh

So is this pub Jock's Lodge, or the Crown & Cushion? If it's former that has it's name over the door then my review is relevant (as much as mine can be of course.) For a Saturday night this seemed a fairly relaxed local boozer with a large screen to relay the boxing from Meadowbank. At the same time, directly under the screen, a karaoke was unobtrusively(!) crooning away to itself. One of those blunt Ediburgh boozers that take it's drinking seriously and with no fuss. Respect that and you'll be fine. Likeable, unpretentious and I'm pretty sure self moderating.

4 Jun 2007 19:02

The Bunch Of Roses, Edinburgh

What's known these days as a local pub for local people, most of whom were, for our visit, sprawled outside puffing away because of the fag ban. Inside is a fairly large bar with a gigantic tv screen one end and an atmosphere of having either some quiz or talent show just finishing, or just about to start. Not a very distinctive choice of ales, I suppose it's not aimed at the overly discerning, rather at the large housing estate it nestles in the middle of. On that level of course the Bunch of Roses obviously works. Although I'd been pre-advised otherwise I detected no hostility towards us as strangers - though that they have been due to having taken several glasses of falling down water beforehand and the obvious fact that we're very nice people. Impeccably mannered, that sort of thing.

4 Jun 2007 18:53

The Hatchet Inn, Bristol

Popped in one gloomy Sunday afternoon during the winter. Almost entirely empty and bar staff seemed preoccupied with matters other than us. Food not especially inspiring and there was a general air of complacency. I suppose we were meant to find the notices of local legends about the pub dotted around the walls entertainment enough. Perhaps we will try again, but then again perhaps not.

4 Jun 2007 18:08

The Old Market Tavern, Bristol

Nice friendly pub (for my visit at least.) Weird football commentary accompanies your progress when using the loo.

4 Jun 2007 17:56

The Wellington, Birmingham

All the vices and virtues of this pub have already been well presented. I offer some alternative points which it is hoped will either further enhance or diminish your enjoyment of this legendary legless house. CHEESE NIGHTS: a bizarre but succulent event, usually monthly, which you can only gain access to by bringing in your own exotic stinkies. QUIZ NIGHTS: best enjoyed when the quizmeister is well into his cups and has left his teeth in the pie crust. THE WELLYCAT: leave her alone, she hates the sight of you all. GUYS SEATED AT THE BAR: they will move aside for you to get served, but no more than six inches in either direction. Don't grumble, it's genuinely the best they can do. MAN WITH THE SCARVE & CIGAR: who is he looking for? what does he want? MAN WITH THE FOPPISH HAIRCUT, BEARD & RAINCOAT: what is he talking about? THE LOO'S: if needed on busy nights and you're seated by the dart board it may prove prudent to use the toilets in The Joint Stock. POETRY NIGHT: there may not be another one so have no fear (sorry Mr. P I have my tongue firmly cheeks here.)LADIES: mostly soft featured persons without beards. I hope this helps.

4 Jun 2007 17:35

The White Lion, Bristol

The sort of pub that restores your faith in city centre boozing. It stands it's out ground against the Wetherspoons, Hogsheads, Walkabouts that try to bully the traditionals out of the way. The rickety rackety staircase to the loo is a good 'how pissed am I?' indicator. There's usually some erudite conversation at the bar as well, though the Landlord is definately of the seen-it-all before school. A small pub with a big heart and brain to boot.

4 Jun 2007 11:36

The Eldon House, Bristol

Had a lovely time in here recently and the staff made us feel very welcome. Slight cock-up on the catering front, last time I'll use that catch-phrase - honest, was gracefully rectified by extra servings of veg. Stockingly good beer and a mellow atmosphere, a great place to take your lover. Can't remember what it used to be like, which may of course be a bonus.

30 May 2007 19:38

The Bull, Birmingham

I remember this pub in the late 70s when a lot of the Salvation Army guys (residents) used it. You stayed in your seat and the landlady, in carpet slippers, would fill your glass up from a vase of foaming mild. If I've misremembered this please don't correct me. It's not much like that now, but I agree with most of the comments that for a quiet, decent, comfortable drink it's by far the best pub in the area. The eccentric little parlour is it's distinguishing feature of course.

30 May 2007 18:57

Black Horse, Birmingham

Ruined as far as I'm concerned. Used to be a decent traditional local residents boozer, with a discreet smattering of discerning students. Has had the re-furb and I retain no clear impression of it now after my last visit apart from being anonymous, with an irritating atmosphere. Sorry.

30 May 2007 18:48

Victoria, Birmingham

Not the cheapest pub in the area, although they do have a five minute happy hour at some obscure part of the week. However on a good night this pub has shed loads of atmosphere and charm. Plus good food and a notorious karoake night to boot. And this hetero sexist pig of a scribe has never once encounted any hostility from percived lesbians or otherwise during all the times he's visited it.

30 May 2007 18:25

The Prince of Wales, Moseley

Sorry lads, I just don't get the drinking in Moseley fetish. I'm willing to admit there's a lack on my part and my disdain is down to jealousy. More than likely it's down to trying to cram myself into this overpoweringly packed pub on the wrong nights. I enjoyed the beers right enough, but less than enamoured by the feeling that this is the place nay, the room to be seen in drinking in. Why else would anyone queue along the corridor for ten minutes to get served and then find the only standing space is in the bogs, listening to therapists and artists congratulate themselves for drinking in a 'real pub'? And travel all the way from Sutton Coldfield to do it? Actually I realise I might be making this pub sound quite attractive. Sorry for all this inverted snobbery, maybe it's cos I couldn't pull in here or summat. Or perhaps I should go on a Monday.

30 May 2007 14:48

Zero Degrees, Bristol

I would only recommend this bar for warm, summery afternoons when one can sit outside and gawp at those redfaced from struggling up Christmas steps with their shopping bags. Often the red faces are of anger because yet again The Suger Loaves is closed. Zero Degrees has some great beers for sure, and the service is very civil. But the interior suggests sterility rather than chic(ness?).

30 May 2007 14:05

The Highwood, Solihull

Of the half dozen or so pubs in the area this is the best although this doesn't say an awful lot about the standard of boozers in and around Olton. For my recent visit to watch the last Blues match there was a choice of several screens in the lounge, and a larger one in tne bar. There were one or two real ales and the vibe was generally friendly and sociable, belying it's unpromising outside appearance. A brooding alsatian often patrol the roof. But it's unpretentious and seems to offer a great deal in terms of events for local elderly residents and charities. I retain affection for this alehouse as my late father used it, and we held a wake for him in the lounge.

30 May 2007 13:47

The Halfway House, Edinburgh

Great little (in italics) little boozer. Made the mistake of making this my last port of call first time in Edinburgh, so nearly missed my train home. The sort of pub that makes you wish you lived near it.

30 May 2007 12:43

The Queens Arms, Birmingham

Nice discreet pub which isn't aggressively pushing itself for the custom of the lofthouse and luxury flat dwellers nearby (Apres & Metchus, or whatever it's called, are there for that). Service is generally excellent and despite previous reviews I think the quality of their modest selection of real ales is extremely good. I agree that the prices are quite high, but then so is the standard of food.

30 May 2007 11:03

Cobbs, Birmingham

Cobbs had previously been a social club with something of an open door policy. It still seems to revert to social club status when it suits, but generally it's open to all. A mixed clientele of local residents, exiles from former pubs such as The Firebird and the Trees, gays and local workers, it's also pleasingly multi-racial. The atmosphere is often boisterous and can appear intimidating to the newcomer, it's not an easy place to leave discreetly. Two big sports screens and events nights often add to it's general lust for life. No real ales though.

30 May 2007 10:52

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