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BITE user comments - beermann

Comments by beermann

The White Bear, Fickleshole

Nicely situated in the hamlet of Fickleshole, only a few miles from New Addington yet feeling very rural, the White Bear is an attractive old building, perhaps originally a row of cottages but then combined into one. It says on the outside wall of the pub that it dates from the sixteenth century. On our visit on Sunday, 11th September, we scanned the bar for hand-pumps. There were three, but it was initially alarming that none appeared to be in use (no clips on them). Then we spotted the four gravity-dispense casks nearby. Panic over, we went for the Pilgrim's Fickleshole and it was very good. I was concerned that the cask not being sited in the cellar might mean that the beer was lukewarm, but it was pleasantly cool. Two pints, plus a half pint of orange juice came to £9.90, which I thought rather expensive, but nevertheless a decent pint and a pub I'd be happy to visit again.

12 Sep 2016 13:08

The Albion Vaults, Conwy

Having walked from Llanfairfechan to Conwy, this was the first pub we came to on reaching the town. Seeing something written outside about it being a CAMRA award winner, we decided to give it a try. Inside we found it very busy, and there was nowhere to sit, so we had to sit in the beer garden (really more of a yard at the back, but not unpleasant). The beers we had ('Sweet Lips' and 'Brenin') were okay but nothing special. (There wasn't anything wrong with either of them -- they were both just generically 'hoppy', which isn't my favourite beer taste.)

Despite not particularly enjoying the beer, and having to sit in the back yard, it seemed like a nice pub.

1 Aug 2016 13:56

The Queen Victoria, Llandudno

On a recent trip to Llandudno, we visited the Queen Victoria once. It's pleasantly situated up a side street in one of the older corners of the town. We were enticed by the setting, with tables out front, so we went in on the off chance. The beer we had (Dragon Ale) was okay but nothing special (and may well have had extra gas added).

1 Aug 2016 13:30

The Palladium, Llandudno

I'm normally a big fan of Wetherspoons but in this case less so. On a recent trip to Llandudno we visited the Palladium several times, but I found it less than satisfactory. The former theatre certainly makes for an appealing conversion, and the atmosphere was busy and lively, but it was very noticeable that the tables weren't getting cleared and cleaned in a timely manner. Therefore, we had to sit at greasy, dirty tables, and clear piles of plates and glasses left by previous customers, who in many cases seem to allow their children to run about and make a mess both on the table and carpet. To be fair, the staff were likely at full stretch, but it's bad management not to hire extra staff if that's what it takes to keep the pub acceptably clean and tidy.

As with all Wetherspoons, there were plenty of ales available and I had a good experience with a locally brewed Elderflower Ale, but another beer I tried (can't remember what it was called: '--- Stone') was cloudy and tasted bad.

1 Aug 2016 13:21

The Cottage Loaf, Llandudno

The Cottage Loaf is in the centre of Llandudno and seems to be a lot older than most of the surrounding buildings. On a recent trip we visited the pub twice, having just a drink on the first occasion, and both a drink and a meal on the second. Around four or five ales were available on both occasions and I particularly enjoyed something called London Porter, from the Colchester Brewery, I believe.

Being situated literally next-door to the Palladium (Wetherspoons) it is inevitable that the two would be compared. While the prices for food at the Cottage Loaf are much higher than at the Palladium, the quality is better and I think worth paying for (the haddock and chips I had at the Cottage Loaf was very good). On the downside, the Cottage Loaf feels more like a restaurant than a pub.

1 Aug 2016 13:03

The Admiral Byng, Potters Bar

My wife and I paid a return visit on Sunday 10th July after a country walk. At the bar, a man recommended the Trooper ale, so I chose that and it was indeed very good, although mid-pint I swapped it with my wife's pint of Conqueror's (which she wasn't keen on, but I liked just as much as the Trooper). For my second pint I switched to something called East Street, which was fine but not as nice as either the Trooper or Conqueror's. The very friendly man we had spoken to earlier came by again a little later on and it turned out he was one of the managers at the pub but on this occasion was on his night off. All in all, this is a decent Wetherspoons and very convenient for the railway and bus stations, so we'll no doubt be back again the next time we go walking in the Potters Bar area.

11 Jul 2016 11:38

The Six Templars, Hertford

My wife and I came here once on a Saturday night a few years ago and I remember it being crowded with very young customers seemingly getting tanked up before moving on to nightclubs. We visited again on Saturday, 9th July after a country walk and were surprised to find it at well past 8 pm not too crowded, and that most of the customers were middle-aged. We theorized that maybe somewhere else had opened up in the town and the younger crowd now went there. But then, around 9.30 or 10 pm, it all changed. Within half an hour or so all the older people seemed to vanish, to be replaced by rather noisier youngsters. These seemed oddly segregated by gender, so it was groups of six men, and groups of six women, with few mixed groups that I could see. Pitchers of blue liquid seemed to be selling well. Having had a meal and a couple of pints each (Exmoor Gold and one other I can't remember; both good), we had a train to catch and we left at around 10.40 with the place heaving.

11 Jul 2016 11:27

Railway Bell, New Barnet

Feeling thirsty after a walk from Brent Cross shopping centre, up through Hendon, Mill Hill, and Totteridge, I visited the Railway Bell for the first time on Friday 10th June. With it being a Friday night, and Euro 2016 starting that evening, I was concerned that there might be nowhere to sit, but I found that the pub, which looks small from the street, extends quite a long way back, with a pleasant conservatory-type area and beyond that a beer garden with tables. As expected the pub was certainly crowded, but I secured a table by the back window and found the atmosphere to be quite pleasant, although a little on the noisy side. The ales I had (Courage Directors and Sambrook Junction) were both very good, and I'll certainly be coming back when I'm next in the Barnet area.

11 Jun 2016 12:50

The Moon and Cross, Waltham Cross

Lots of locals exchanging banter gave this Wetherspoon's in central Waltham Cross a lively feel when I visited on Saturday, 7th May, after a walk from Walthamstow. While there didn't seem to be that many ales available (many had the dreaded 'available soon' attached to the pump clip), the Titanic Lifeboat Mild was nice.

7 May 2016 23:30

The Moon Under Water, Watford

Large, spacious Wetherspoon's in central Watford. Interior well kept; service polite and friendly. Was pleased to find two stouts available (Black Gold and Anastasia's Exile). Both very good, Black Gold the smoother of the two.

I was interested to read on Wikipedia that this site on the High Street was earmarked by the Metropolitan Railway as the place the company would have liked to build a terminus for the Watford branch of the Metropolitan line. Indeed, the building was acquired in preparation for this, but the local council didn't want the railway to go through its recently purchased Cassiobury Park; hence, the line terminates south of the park at a station called 'Watford', but which is some distance from the town centre.

13 Apr 2016 14:27

Waterend Barn, St Albans

After a long walk and a stop-off for a drink at the Six Bells, my wife and I decided to head into the middle of town for another drink and something to eat. This is a rather unusual Wetherspoon's occupying a couple of historic timber-framed barns that originally stood in completely different places. One was at Water End, not far from Brocket Hall, and it was dismantled in 1938 and rebuilt here in St Albans. The other barn was originally at Little Hormead, near Buntingford, before being brought here and added to the one from Water End. The main room in the pub is an impressive showcase of the large timber-framed structure as well as a pleasant place to drink/eat.

Arriving on the late side on a Sunday night, we found that many of our preferred meal choices were not available. Nevertheless we found something we could eat, and the barman was very apologetic. The beers we had (Bateman's Dark Lord and Nethergate Ruby Mild) were both very good.

5 Apr 2016 14:56

The Six Bells, St Albans

Pleasant, unassuming, comfortable pub in a historic part of town. It was the first place we reached after a long walk, so we decided to give it a try. There were about four or five cask ales on, and my wife and I both chose Tring Brewery Ridgeway, which was really nice.

5 Apr 2016 14:36

The Society Rooms, Macclesfield

On a recent trip to Macclesfield, my wife and I paid several visits to the Society Rooms. It's a building with character and certainly very spacious but I don't feel that Wetherspoon's have done a terribly good job of converting it. The lighting seemed bright and the wood panelling looked a bit cheap. Overall the pub doesn't have a cosy ambience. Nevertheless, the beer and food were perfectly fine, and the service was always friendly.

21 Jan 2016 11:02

The George, Croydon

Visited again on Sun. 13 December 2015. The Twickenham Ales Small Batch Stout was very good and I'm warming to this place a lot. Much more relaxed, though still lively, on a Sunday (gets very crowded on Saturday evenings).

14 Dec 2015 15:16

The George, Staines

I visited this spacious branch of Wetherspoons on Staines High Street on Sat. 12 December 2015. The beer (Adnam's Shingle Shells) and food I had were both good, and the service was fast and friendly.

14 Dec 2015 15:11

The George, Croydon

After a recent bad experience with below-par beers (see review below, posted 8th September), I again had occasion to visit the George (following a Sunday-afternoon walk from Tadworth to Merstham). This time the ales we had -- Twickenham Yakima Valley ABA and Surrey Hills Ranmore -- were fine.

16 Nov 2015 15:12

The Bull, Theydon Bois

A building of some age, The Bull in Theydon Bois looks quite inviting from the outside. Inside we found it comfortable, and the beers we had (Young's Bitter and Courage Directors) were both in tip-top condition. The only downside for us was that there was no food available (the kitchen closes at 4:00 pm on Sundays).

9 Nov 2015 15:00

Old Surrey Hounds, Caterham

Visited here on Sunday 11th October having taken a walk from Kenley to Caterham. We couldn't see any other pubs in the immediate vicinity so decided to give this a try. It seemed a bit like a Wetherspoon's but the food and drink were of course rather more expensive (but not excessively so). Meals (burger of some sort, sausage and mash) were ok but inferior to similar JDW fare. Beer (Hog's Back TEA and Butcombe Haka bitter) was decent. No complaints overall and very convenient for the railway station.

3 Nov 2015 13:48

The Moon on the Hill, Sutton

After a Sunday afternoon walk from Caterham to Banstead, my wife and I took a bus to Sutton, where we sought out this Wetherspoon's which is in the centre of town, about a five-minute walk from the railway station. We found it satisfactory, although the bench-style seats in all the booths were oddly uncomfortable. (The depth of the seats meant that the seat-backs were too far away to provide proper back-support -- I could feel a pain in my upper back developing after sitting for just 15 minutes, so we moved to a table with ordinary chairs.) Food and drink (Q.E.D., Cennen Welsh bitter, and Et Citra -- all guest ales in the beer festival) were fine.

3 Nov 2015 13:35

The Full House, Hemel Hempstead

Occupying a former cinema, this Wetherspoon's seemed surprisingly empty when we arrived at about 7 o'clock on a Saturday night after a walk from St Albans. But it steadily filled up and became pretty busy by the time we left at about 9.30. As the beer festival was on, we had plenty to choose from and the ales we had (Stonehenge Old Smokey, and Two Birds) were both excellent. Service behind the bar was efficient and friendly and the pub seemed clean and well kept.

18 Oct 2015 08:52

JJ Moons, Tooting

This is a rather small Wetherspoon's just across the road from Tooting Broadway tube station. On Saturday 3rd October we paid a visit and found it pretty busy, with an England Rugby World Cup game playing on the TV. Both the beer (Zinzan World Cup Drop bitter, Welton's Red Rose mild) and food we had were good, and the service was very friendly. As mentioned in several other reviews, this seems like a real regulars' pub, and very cosmopolitan. A nice atmosphere, we thought.

5 Oct 2015 12:08

The Queens Head, Downe

A nice pub in the centre of Downe village. We visited on Sat., 26th Sept. after a walk from Gravel Hill. I had Bass (hand-pump) and my wife had something called Scotney followed by Whitstable Bay Pale Ale. All the beers were good and the service was friendly. Our meals were also decent.

27 Sep 2015 09:12

The Dumb Bell, Chalfont St Peter

Stopped off here on Friday 11th September during a walk from West Ruislip to Chorleywood. It's a nice old-fashioned place, not far from Chalfont St. Peter but in a separate hamlet called Horn Hill. My wife had Timothy Taylor Landlord and I had Courage Best, both of which were fine. There may have been another hand-pump ale on but I can't remember what it was.

21 Sep 2015 18:38

The Sir John Franklin, Greenhithe

My wife and I stopped off here after our walk from Dartford. We'd been here once before, several years ago, but I forgot to post a review on that occasion. On Sunday afternoon we found it pleasant, and we were served politely. They only had the one hand-pump ale on, Doom Bar, but it was good.

21 Sep 2015 18:19

Case is Altered, Old Redding

My wife and I dropped in here for a drink during a walk from Bushey to Headstone Lane. We found it a reasonably pleasant place (there was background music -- Kiss FM playing from a flatscreen TV in the corner -- but not too loud, thankfully) that seems to focus more on serving food than drink (not that it was very busy, despite it being a Saturday evening). Two hand-pumps were on: Black Sheep Bitter and Tribute. We tried both and they were decent.

8 Sep 2015 18:27

The George, Croydon

I went to this pub late last year and had a decent pint, so when in Croydon again a few weeks ago (30 August) I thought I'd pay another visit. Sadly, all the ales my wife and I tried were well below par. (We tried four, one of which was a Sambrook's beer but I can't remember what the others were.) They were all on the borderline of being undrinkable, but perhaps not quite bad enough to demand a switch. Perhaps it was something to do with the bank holiday weekend but it was disappointing.

8 Sep 2015 18:15

The Bull Inn, West Malling

After a walk from Borough Green, my wife and I arrived at the centre of West Malling in need of a drink. The first pub we spotted was the Bull but we thought we'd have a quick look to see what else there was nearby. For various reasons we didn't much fancy the other pubs we saw (e.g. the Joiner's Arms was out of Shepherd Neame bitter, and the Swan appeared to have no cask ale) so we returned to the Bull. Once inside, we wished we'd just gone straight to the Bull in the first place -- the interior was pleasant and comfortable, and there were about six hand-pumps on the bar (these included some tempting ones, but we opted for Harvey's Sussex Bitter, a favourite of ours). We only wished we could have tried a home-made pie as well, but sadly the kitchen was closed (it shuts down at 4:00 pm on a Sunday).

8 Sep 2015 18:02

The Crown and Sceptre, Streatham

From as long ago as when I was coming home from school, I must have passed this pub on the bus hundreds, if not thousands of times, but I’d never been inside until, returning from a visit to my mother’s, I decided to stop off for a pint. As it was a Friday night the place was doing good business; I opted for a pint of Caledonian Merman XXX, which was okay. Considering that the pub looks huge from the outside, the interior was surprisingly small and I found it a bit cramped and oppressive feeling. Looking out of the window at the traffic piling past endlessly on the South Circular didn’t make me feel any more relaxed. The clientele looked like regulars in a lot of cases, and they all seemed to be having a perfectly good time, but I was happy to leave after the one pint.

21 Mar 2015 14:58

Ye Olde Nags Head, Castleton

On a recent visit to Castleton (on Garland Day), we chose this pub and found the beer and food very pleasant. At the time, the ales on offer were mostly (if not all) Farmers ales from the Bradfield Brewery, near Sheffield. We tried the Farmers Stout and Farmers Brown Cow, both of which were excellent. The pub was comfortable and well kept, and the service was friendly and efficient.

9 Jul 2014 14:56

Baxter's Court, Hackney

I am a fan of Wetherspoon's but this place was one of the worst I have been to. The design is open-plan with a long bar at the back, which makes it rather un-pub-like and lacking in atmosphere. To my eyes, the interior appeared a bit dowdy and unappealing. The decor was rather frayed at the edges and, unlike, for example, the Toll Gate at Turnpike Lane, which is quite cosy and always seems to have a fairly lively but relaxed atmosphere, this place seemed miserable.

17 Feb 2014 19:29

St Dunstan Inn, Macclesfield

This very nice little pub in the centre of Langley features good views out back of the slopes of nearby Tegg's Nose. Friendly service and good beer. (Banks's Bitter appears to be permanently available and is augmented by other guest ales, e.g. Happy Valley's Five Rings and Wincle's Butchered brown ale.)

20 May 2013 10:37

The Garden Ladder, Harringay

I've been in here several times over the years since it opened and I would say it has improved a lot. From the outside, it doesn't seem very promising because it is a conversion from a shop, so it doesn't appear very pub-like at first glance from the street. However, inside is quite different. It feels homely and lively, but not too much so. Whereas before it felt a bit like a bar/restaurant, it now feels like a proper pub to me, although food is still available. Beer-wise, they seem to have Courage Directors as a fixture, with one guest ale. On this recent occasion it was a Brains seasonal beer called Fir King Good, so I plumped for that while my wife had the Directors. Both pints were excellent. I also found the service to be very friendly and efficient. My only criticism is that I don't like the music selection. In the first place I recognized a lot of the same tracks as on a previous visit several weeks before (perhaps as many as 75% of the tracks I heard over an hour or so on each visit were the same). Also, there seems to be a strong bias towards what sounded like late '90s quasi hip hop instrumentals, or something like that, and it is not a style of music I have any nostalgia for.

17 Dec 2012 11:07

The Devereux, Temple

Similar to the previous reviewer, came in here on a Friday night when it seemed like every other pub nearby was full to bursting. I am actually a big fan of Shepherd Neame beers but the Spitfire wasn't terribly nice. My wife had the Hook Norton Hooky bitter. Both pints seemed to be very slightly flat and uninspired (and, in common with the experience of the previous reviewer, were served short). As to the pub, it looks promising from the outside, being situated down an alleyway near the Temple, but it features a rather bland, refurbished interior, with irritating canned music playing. Food is on offer but appeared very expensive for what looked like (on the menu) Wetherspoon's style meals.

17 Dec 2012 10:37

The Old Red Lion, Islington

Slightly shabby but comfortable old-fashioned pub interior; lively atmosphere; friendly, efficient service. I noticed Woodforde Wherry, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Doombar, and Harvey's Sussex Bitter on hand-pump. I opted for Harvey's as it's one of my favourite beers and the pint I had was in tip top condition.

1 Dec 2012 11:09

The Duke of Kendal, Marylebone

After tramping around the back streets of Paddington on a Friday night in the rain looking for a decent pub (or one that was decent but not packed out), came across this place. It's a small, somewhat old-fashioned corner pub with a homely feel. The people running it appeared to be Spanish, as were a proportion of the clientele. Three hand pumps on the bar but only one in operation (Bombardier). Beer was fine and service very friendly.

6 Oct 2012 10:09

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

I recently paid my first visit here for some years and it seems to have come on a lot. It felt lively, with quite a diverse clientele. I was also pleased to see that there were a number of guest beers available (I remember when it first re-opened that it only offered Milton ales). However, the two beers I tried (Banks & Taylor Black Dragon Mild and Colchester Brewery Red Diesel) were both a little on the lukewarm and flat side. Neither was bad enough to return but they were not in an optimum state, to my mind.

4 Sep 2012 10:44

The Cock Tavern, Hackney

As I am a fan of the Southampton Arms, I was delighted to hear that they were opening a second pub. I've been here a couple of times now and all the beer I had on both occasion was fine (not warm or flat). Obviously that's hit and miss; there are lots of beers to choose from, so maybe I was just lucky. As regards the pub itself, it seems as if it has been done out according to the same template as the Southampton Arms: Similar colours, plain wooden seating, distressed original features, even the "same" kind of music playing (ie 1950s, '60s, '70s rock, jazz, r&b; but seemingly off CD or some other digital playback, not vinyl as at SA). Although the overall effect is more or less the same, it has the feeling of being a little characterless and following an existing formula a bit too closely. I'd still be happy to go back, though, at least until it becomes too crowded (it seems to be a bit below the radar so far). At that point, my search for a pleasant, **half-full** pub will have to begin again.

16 Aug 2012 19:40

Potters Wheel, Swansea

A decent quality, well-run Wetherspoon's pub in Swansea city centre. Good beer selection but I have to say I stuck to the Brains SA as it is one of my favourites, and I wasn't disappointed.

21 Jun 2012 15:08

The Salisbury, Harringay

@joffle I understand the pub management are restricted but it seems to me that the restrictive policy doesn't make a lot of sense and whoever is in charge (not the people at the pub but those at the brewery) need to consider a different policy. I noticed this the other day in High Holborn: Penderel's Oak (Wetherspoon; does excellent business right through the evening); Melton Mowbray (Fuller's; empty when I passed around 10:00 pm). I understand Fuller's want to use their pubs to sell their own beer, but by offering a better choice they might well get more business overall. For example, if I visit one of their pubs and drink three pints, one or two of them might be a Fuller's beer, plus they make some money from the sale of 3rd party beers if I order them. But if I choose to go somewhere else that offers a better selection, Fuller's get nothing from me.

21 Jun 2012 14:54

The Tudor Rose, Upper Upnor

This lovely old pub is situated next door to Upnor Castle. Pleasant, old-fashioned interior with no gimmicks or modernisation. Spacious beer garden at rear. Large number of Shepherd Neame ales on hand-pump. We tried Kent's Best and Whitstable Bay and both were excellent. Service efficient and very friendly. Highly recommended 10/10

28 May 2012 12:28

The Brownswood Park Tavern, Finsbury Park

Interesting, @georgesmiley, I didn't realise that. Visiting the respective websites for these pubs it is plain each pub has been targeted towards a particular market and strongly so. So, while the Brownswood and Jolly Butchers both focus on cask ales, the way they are presented on the Brownswood website is different. I noticed as well that in the Brownswood they don't use the brewery pump clips but have a house style of handwritten pump clip. Overall, the effect of these clips is less "rough and ready" or "CAMRA nerd" and more "refined" and "tasteful" or something of that kind. It's clear a lot of thought has gone into it. (On the other hand, I know from the Southampton Arms website that they accuse the Jolly Butchers of having copied their concept and exterior sign style, and they are not too happy about it either.)

18 Apr 2012 17:10

The Salisbury, Harringay

Paid my first visit to the Salisbury for a long time the other day and it struck me it could do with a serious revamp. The people running this place do not appear to have noticed the success of places like the Southampton Arms (Gospel Oak) and Jolly Butchers (Stoke Newington). With such a wonderful interior and the catchment area, if the Salisbury dispensed with the mundane ale selection (all Fuller's beers bar one guest) and utilised the large bar real estate to offer an extensive selection of independent ales and ciders, I reckon their business could double or even triple. This pub, revamped in the right way, could become one of the best in London. Instead it is rather resting on its laurels and past reputation.

26 Mar 2012 13:25

The Admiral Byng, Potters Bar

This Wetherspoon's is located on the ground floor of what appears to be a 1970s office building on the high street at Potters Bar. The space is wide but not very deep, so you can never be that far away from the front door, which seems to prevent it from ever feeling particularly cosy, wherever you choose to sit. Despite that, I found the service to be very friendly and polite. My visit was during a Wetherspoon's real ale festival so there were plenty of interesting beers to choose from -- I opted for the Caledonian Coffee Porter and it was very good.

26 Mar 2012 13:12

The Bell, East Molesey

This very attractive half-timbered building dates from c. 1460. The Bell is a pleasant, comfortable, non-gastro (although it does serve food) place that caters without frills to locals in the way pubs used to. Ale selection was uninspired (Black Sheep Bitter, Courage Directors and Courage Best) but the Black Sheep was fine and the service very friendly.

21 Feb 2012 13:01

The Nobody Inn, Newington Green

This pub has been revamped as "The Clarendon", which is perhaps a reversion to its original name ("The Clarendon Arms"?), I'm not sure. I've been in a couple of times recently and found it quite pleasant (I say pleasant because it was on the quiet side and I don't like heaving, noisy pubs).

They have a decent selection of ales and ciders on hand-pump (mainly Dark Star beers and Weston's ciders, but with a guest ale - Alton's Pride on the most recent occasion). My beer (Dark Star Hophead on both visits) was very good. Prices a little on the expensive side (3.50 per pint) but typical for the area. Service very friendly. They also do Thai food, but haven't tried that.

11 Feb 2012 11:35

New Fairlop Oak, Barkingside

Decent, comfortable, spacious Wetherspoon's with the usual good ale selection. Weltons' Deep & Crisp & Even was found by my companion to be a little sour but staff were happy to replace with an alternative.

16 Jan 2012 14:02

The Railway Arms, Downham Market

Travelling on a train from Watlington to London, our carriage fortuitously drew up right outside the entrance to this small pub and caf, which occupies part of the old station buildings at Downham Market station. On a whim we decided to hop off and give it a try. The interior was cosy, with interesting old railway photographs on display and a model railway track snaking round the upper walls; the small bar was serving two ales (Polar Express and Little Sharpie) and one cider (Pickled Pig), all on gravity dispense. Both beers we tried were excellent and we also had a very pleasant conversation with the friendly owner. Highly recommended 10/10.

23 Dec 2011 11:47

The Baring, Hoxton

Decided to give this pub a try having glimpsed it many times from the buses passing nearby. Its a smallish space downstairs (theres also an upstairs area with dartboard and pool table, which I didnt see). At one time this must have been a very traditional back street pub a la Wenlock Arms etc., but it feels like its been revamped into something that is somewhat modern but with almost a whiff of a 1980s wine bar about it. On hand pump were Spitfire, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Harvey's Sussex Bitter (guest) and Brain's Reverend James (guest), plus one other resident beer that I've forgotten. I opted for Harvey's and the beer proved good, although a tad expensive at 3.50. (I suppose one can't complain too much -- the people running the pub have to make a living and times are hard.) The service was efficient and friendly so no complaints there, either. What let the place down for me was the noise. It has wooden floors, wooden chairs and tables, plus large plain glass windows, which is a recipe for unwanted reverberation. On top of that, there was rock/pop music playing at moderate to loud volume. Of course, people want to talk to each other, so they are forced to raise their voices to be heard above the music. Combine music with a number of rather loud, sometimes over-exuberant male voices, all in a clattery acoustic environment, and you have quite a lot of noise, which I didnt find terribly relaxing. It seemed to me that a fair few of the customers were regulars, and they appeared to be having a great time, and, as Ive already mentioned, the staff were also very friendly. Its just I could do without the dreary likes of Oasis, Pulp, and The Bangles on repeat play, and the overall noise levels.

29 Oct 2011 22:42

The Fox and Goose, Hebden Bridge

After a walk round the hills we were looking for a pub in Hebden Bridge and this was the first we came across (having seen it earlier in the day from the bus, when we noted it looked promising as there was mention outside of an upcoming beer festival). At first we weren't sure if we'd made the right choice, as the pub seemed a little on the quiet side and the interior a bit dingy, although the beer selection was interesting and very reasonably priced. But it was as the evening wore on that the pub really showed its quality. More and more customers appeared, many of them apparently regulars, and a very lively, friendly atmosphere developed. We got into very enjoyable conversation with a couple of regulars and it struck me that this friendly atmosphere, along with good beer, of course, is what elevates this kind of place far above the average modern pub. 10 out of 10.

18 Oct 2011 16:54

The Red Cow, Harpenden

As we approached the outskirts of Harpenden, feeling tired after a walk from Luton in the unseasonably hot weather, we were on the look out for a pub. For once, the very first one we came across was ideal. This is a lovely old fashioned place on the outskirts of the town, just off the Lower Luton Road. The building looks to be fairly ancient, with low ceilings and some evidence of timber beams, but seems to have undergone some necessary reconstruction. The low-ceilinged interior is delightful, comfortable and well-kept. Three hand pump ales were on at the time of our visit (Sharp's Doom Bar and Cornish Coaster, plus London Pride) and the Cornish Coaster was excellent. Food also available (mainly various varieties of fish and chips). Very friendly atmosphere and pleasant service.

Incidentally the pub was surprisingly uncrowded for a Saturday night. It would be a real shame if a place like this had to close through lack of business.

2 Oct 2011 11:13

The Moon and Cross, Waltham Cross

Called in here on a Saturday evening after a walk around the local countryside. This pub is long and narrow, and not particularly cosy. Moreover it was surprisingly empty and dead for a Saturday night. I am normally a Wetherspoon's fan but the atmosphere here was somewhat gloomy and the beer I had wasn't that well kept.

21 Sep 2011 23:35

The Penderel's Oak, Holborn

This pub has improved immeasurably since I last 'reviewed' it a number of years ago. At that time the service was poor and slapdash at times, but I think this is something that Wetherspoon's have addressed in more recent years. For the most part I find service at Wetherspoon's pubs efficient and friendly, and this was true of my recent visit to the P.O.

The pub gets rather over-busy during the week but was quite cosy on Sinday evening (busy enough to feel lively but not overly so). The range of beers (and quality) was good as well. Revise rating from '4' to '8'.

21 Sep 2011 23:25

The Ship Tavern, Holborn

The Ship Tavern is located in a narrow alleyway that runs between Kingsway and High Holborn. Apparently there has been a pub of this name operating on the site since the 16th century, although the current building appears to be much more recent than that. The pub interior is pleasantly old-fashioned in style and there were a good range of hand-pump ales available (as listed in the previous review). The prices were rather expensive (about 3.50 for a pint), but the quality was good and the service very friendly. As an earlier reviewer (blue scrumpy) suggested, this is not really a CAMRA fan's dream of a pub. The decor, while pleasant, is a little bit on the bland side; also there was unimaginative, slightly annoying * piped music playing. So, all in all, a bit middle of the road but not bad.

* Complete albums of artists like Depeche Mode and the Stone Roses - fine, I like the Stone Roses but I don't want to hear an entire album by them when in a pub (and then have that followed by an entire Depeche Mode album)

16 Sep 2011 09:40

The Alma, Newington Green

I'd seen this pub many times before when travelling past on the bus but had never been in. I finally decided to pay it a visit at the weekend.

The pub's best feature is its bowed front windows, along with a number of other original (19th century) structural and decorative details inside. The pub has been gently refurbished to give a rough-around-the-edges cafe/bar feel (food and hot drinks are served along with alcoholic drinks). The attractive bar is loaded with local food items (cakes and biscuits, also jars of jam if I recall). Only two hand-pump ales were on offer. These were Sambrook's Wandle and Ringwood Brewery's Fortyniner. Both were excellent, although very expensive at 3.55 per pint. Overall I thought the place had quite a nice, relaxing atmosphere.

6 Sep 2011 18:29

The Plough Country Pub and Dining Room, Galgate

Nice old building on the main road through Galgate, the Plough is enhanced by a pleasant beer garden. Unfortunately the pub has gone the way of many in recent years and been converted in line with the dreaded 'country pub and dining' model. Pubs undergoing this transformation get blandly tarted up to give a degree of (imagined) sophistication, losing all the rough-around-the-edges charm of a traditional 'warts and all' workaday pub.

The second big change is that food takes subtle precedence over beer, in that the atmosphere of the pub is altered (when serving my pint, the barman asked, "will you be dining with us?") It's not that the Plough doesn't serve cask ales. It does, but it's worth mentioning the prices are rather expensive (3.30 for a pint, if I recall).

4 Sep 2011 16:56

The Blue Boar Hotel, Maldon

Lovely old building (in parts dating back to c. 1400) and former coaching inn, just off the High Street in the centre of Maldon. The Blue Boar operates as a hotel but incorporates a pub/bar that is open to the public.

Visited yesterday to find a beer festival in progress but opted for two of the Blue Boar's own ales ('Drop of Nelson's Blood' and 'Puck's Glory'). These, along with several others, are available on gravity dispense. The two myself and my companion tried were both excellent, and reasonably priced at 3.00 per pint. Service was friendly and efficient.

The interior is decorated with stuffed animals and other curios. It's personal taste but I found this all slightly twee. Fortunately, the quality of the ancient building shines through and, combined with the excellent quality home-produced ales, I most strongly recommend this pub.

4 Sep 2011 16:25

The Green Ayre, Lancaster

This is a Lloyd's Bar style Wetherspoon's, which means dimmer 'club' style lighting and music playing at moderate to loud volume. Despite this, I thought it not bad. There were some decent ales and ciders on hand-pump (eg Addlestones Cloudy Cider) and on two separate visits last week all the drinks I had tasted very good. Staff were friendly and helpful.

30 Aug 2011 19:28

The Brownswood Park Tavern, Finsbury Park

This pub was one that I have passed frequently on the bus over the years but had never got around to visiting. It appeared to have closed down recently, but this closure is now revealed to have been temporary and the place has been revamped and reopened as 'The Brownswood'.

First off is that I don't like the renaming. The place was called the Brownswood Park Tavern, and was no doubt referred to informally by regulars as 'The Brownswood', but I don't see the need for this trend towards enshrining an informal name as the actual name of the pub. (I have seen this elsewhere, eg another pub in Stoke Newington that has had its name shortened in this style.)

As to the pub itself, it has a fair few ales on hand-pump but the selection was not particularly imaginative and the prices were on the expensive side (3.30 for a pint of Harvey's Sussex Bitter). My pint, which I noted was served somewhat short, was drinkable but not a patch on the same product (Harvey's) served at the Half Moon, Balcombe. I am not an expert on what makes the difference between an excellent pint and a distinctly average one, but this definitely fell into the second category.

This pub, although appearing to be jumping on the real ale bandwagon, is not a patch on places like the Southampton Arms or Jolly Butchers. The ambience is different (I'm not keen on the 'clean' interior and bland star motif decorations on the walls of the upper floor). I would say it appeals to a different crowd. It doesn't appeal to me, that's for sure.

30 Aug 2011 19:16

Fishery Inn, Boxmoor

Bland 'country pub and dining' style place. Focus seems to be very much on the food, which I was not interested in. However, I can't complain about the quality of the beer. The selection wasn't extensive or unusual but the Young's bitter (one of three on hand-pump) was very good.

30 Aug 2011 18:58

The Feathers, Merstham

Called in here after a Sunday afternoon walk across the Downs from Coulsdon. The attractive looking pub (apparently 17th century building but looks like it was restored in the late 19th c. or so) has a pleasant, roomy interior.

TV on showing sport, plus piped music on at low volume; both unobtrusive. Service was efficient and friendly.

Three ales available (London Pride, Bombardier and Marston's Pedigree). My companion and I had London Pride and Marston's and both were excellent.

Both food and drink were surprisingly cheap (food seemed not far above Wetherspoon's prices; portions generous but Sunday roast a bit overcooked).

15 Aug 2011 15:14

The Brewery Tap, Wimbledon Village

After a walk across the Common I fancied a drink and so looked for a pub in Wimbledon Village. I was tempted by the array of about five hand-pumps (London Pride, Deuchars, plus three lesser known ales) on the bar here and so decided to give it a try. The beers (Newman's Summerberry Steam and one other I've forgotten) tasted ok but were both on the lukewarm side for my taste.

Pub interior pleasant but unexceptional, and few customers on the night I was there. I'm not sure exactly why but the Brewery Tap appears to be fighting a losing battle against the Dog & Fox (Young's) across the road.

2 Aug 2011 14:27

The Last Post, Southend on Sea

Called in here on a summer Sunday evening and it was doing good business. Excellent beer selection and surprisingly friendly service, considering some of the customers appeared a little far gone. I can't remember what ale it was I had but it tasted good.

12 Jul 2011 15:02

The Southampton Arms, Gospel Oak

I've been here twice now and I think it's become my favourite pub (and one I would visit a lot more frequently if I lived closer). In a previous comment I remarked that it seemed like an impersonation of an old-fashioned pub, but I've revised my opinion. I think inevitably it has an element of impersonation, but the people who run it seem to be pursuing this entirely sincerely, not as part of some fake 'hipster' stance.

12 Jul 2011 14:48

Euston Tap, Euston

You can't complain about the beer on offer at this place. The selection is first rate. It's just unfortunate the building is so small and cramped.

12 Jul 2011 14:37

The Doric Arch, Euston

I used to really like this place but the beer selection was poor the last time I visited (wall to wall Fuller's plus Timothy Taylor Landlord). There's nothing wrong with Fuller's beer but Fuller's need to wake up to the fact that people want more choice. They should cut out a few of the Fuller's selections and offer some guest beers. If Wetherspoon's can do it, why can't Fuller's?

12 Jul 2011 14:31

The Half Moon Inn, Balcombe

I paid my second visit to this pub last Sunday after a walk from Haywards Heath. It's nicely situated in the middle of a pleasant Sussex village (albeit rather spoiled by cars driving through almost constantly). The Half Moon is an unpretentious, straightforward place, the way pubs used to be and should still be (but in a lot of cases aren't). There weren't many cask ales to choose from but the one I had (Harvey's Sussex Bitter) was tip top. Lovely flavour.

12 Jul 2011 14:27

The William Morris, Hammersmith

Last Saturday I found myself in Hammersmith town centre and in need of a pub. Not knowing the area that well I thought there might be a Wetherspoon's, and so there was but the William Morris is a 'Lloyd's Bar', which is not quite the same as a normal Wetherspoon.

Despite it not look promising I decided to give it a go, in preference to the Nicholson's pub next door. I wish I hadn't. The interior is dark, apparently in an attempt to make it appear more like a bar or nightclub in atmosphere, and there are music videos blasting out on umpteen screens (completely pointlessly, in my opinion, as most patrons appeared to be ignoring the screens and either talking to their friends or staring into space).

Beerwise there were a fair few cask ales on offer. I opted for Brain's SA, but was informed by a slightly surly barman it had just become unavailable. I chose Brain's Reverend James instead, which I've had before and liked, but on this occasion it tasted bad. Not blatantly off, but not pleasant to the taste - heavy and unsatisfying. I suspect it of being responsible for the slight stomach upset I suffered the next day as well.

I am a big fan of Wetherspoon's normally but I'll be avoiding these Lloyd's Bar ones from now on.

12 Jul 2011 14:11

Green Dragon, Beverley

Had a quick afternoon pint in here after a visit to the Minster. The pub offers a good selection of hand pump ales and the interior of the pub was pleasant enough. My only criticism would be that it seemed a tad on the expensive side (7.40, I think it was, for two pints and two packs of peanuts).

1 Jun 2011 19:13

The Royal Oak, Paull

There are three pubs on the main street in this small village by the Humber Estuary. I took pot luck, tried this one and wasn't disappointed. It is a very cosy, comfortable little place with an ambience very authentic to the way pubs typically used to be (no blaring music for a start). Available on hand pump were Jennings' Cumberland Ale and Banks's bitter, both of which were good.

1 Jun 2011 19:02

The Jolly Anglers, Reading

Very nice little riverside pub. A good selection of ales was on offer when I visited at the end of April, augmented at that time by a beer festival. I thought the atmosphere in the pub very friendly and the staff behind the bar were very helpful. Highly recommended.

1 Jun 2011 18:54

The Red Cow Inn, Pontsticill

After a walk from Storey Arms over Pen y Fan was delighted to find this very nice village pub. The service was friendly and the beer good (Wye Valley Bitter and one other I've forgotten). Comfortable, cosy interior; highly recommended all round.

20 Apr 2011 19:17

Rye House, Hoddesdon

Pleasant enough pub by the River Lea if you are out for a walk. Black Sheep bitter was good on my recent visit. It is possible to sit outside, although the noise from the motosport at the nearby Rye House Stadium was pretty intrusive on this occasion.

22 Mar 2011 15:31

The Shakespeare's Head, Holborn

Although I disagree with you about the pub, that is very interesting to read, because I had wondered myself what the building was previously used for.

5 Mar 2011 17:06

The Shakespeare's Head, Holborn

This is a very busy pub that attracts huge numbers of people coming out of work in the early evening, so it is true the service can be slow, but in my experience the staff do their best and I have always found the service very pleasant and helpful. If it's slow it's because they can't have thirty people behind the bar, but having said that I've encountered much slower service in pubs a quarter as busy.

I must admit I do like this pub. There's a certain cheeriness about it and they always have a good selection of ales on. But the bag thieves are definitely an issue so you should be cautious, and hold onto bags or use the hooks conveniently fitted to the undersides of the tables.

5 Mar 2011 14:25

The Valiant Trooper, Aldbury

Pleasant old-style village pub with some good ales on my recent visit (I had the Tring Ridgeway, my companions the Wadsworth Celebration stout and Brakspear bitter).

5 Mar 2011 14:12

The Rochester Castle, Stoke Newington

I like this pub. It has a good range of interesting, value-for-money ales, pleasant/helpful service from behind the bar, and a nice mixed clientele.

5 Mar 2011 14:06

The Old Ale Emporium, Harringay

I visited this pub a few times about ten years ago but didn't like it much at the time. I remember it being overcrowded, a bit rough, and offering poor beer selection, so since then have tended to stick to the Salisbury (or the Oakdale Arms until its closure) in this locality.

However, I decided to pay a visit to the Old Ale Emporium last night and was very pleasantly surprised. This is now a very friendly, characterful pub. It had the feeling about it of a pub in a town or city far from London, yet at the same time it was very London. Beerwise, I had Brains SA, which I have a soft spot for so was pleased to find it on sale. I believe there are normally four handpump ales available, although on this occasion two pumps appeared to be out of action, but this was fairly late in the evening.

I am not normally a fan of music in pubs but the music here comes via a juke box, which is always more interesting than purely piped music (it's interesting in that you are hearing what different people in the pub like, so it's social), and secondly the sound system is excellent. The music is loud enough to make an impression but not to drown out conversation, and the sound quality is crystal clear, unlike the awful sound system at the Salisbury.

5 Mar 2011 11:51

The Southampton Arms, Gospel Oak

Having read the previous comments I was intrigued, so paid a visit just recently. I was really impressed with the way this small pub has been tastefully renovated, the excellent array of ales and ciders on offer, plus the friendly and efficient service. I opted for a pint of Lurcher stout, which proved highly enjoyable. I didn't try the food but it looked appetizing enough. My only criticism (or, to be fair, an observation, not a criticism) is that this is effectively a genteel pastiche of what 50 to 100 years ago would have been a rough and ready London pub. To repeat, it's not really a criticism. In fact the balance they have struck suits me down to the ground, but I did think it worthy of note.

4 Nov 2010 14:51

The Village Swan, Ivinghoe Aston

Having walked from Tring to Ivinghoe Beacon, my wife and I fancied a quick drink before continuing on to Cheddington, so we hastened to the Village Swan just down the road in Ivinghoe Aston. It seemed like a very nice, old-fashioned village pub, and was filled at the time with satisfied-looking customers enjoying sunday lunch. We both tried an ale from the local Tring Brewery. I can't recall its name but it was nice.

11 Oct 2010 20:22

The Three Horseshoes, Cheddington

Pleasant, old-fashioned village pub with friendly staff and characterful local clientele. At the time of my recent visit, three hand pump ales were available: London Pride, St Austell Tribute and Greene King IPA. I had the Tribute, and my companion the Greene King, both of which were good.

11 Oct 2010 20:10

The Toll Gate, Hornsey

I am a big fan of Wetherspoons, although they can be highly variable, ranging from very nice (for what they are) to hellholes. This fairly small (by Wetherspoons standards) pub is at the 'very nice' end of the spectrum. I have visited it twice now, and each time I have found it to be on the lively side of 'quiet' (which is perfect for me). It appears to attract good-natured but well-behaved regulars from the immediate locality (when I visited the pub for the second time, I recognized a group of men from my previous visit, who looked like they might be local shopkeepers or businessmen). On my recent visit, I found the beer selection good, opting for Banks & Taylor mild (excellent). Also worthy of mention was the very friendly service from behind the bar.

15 Sep 2010 17:19

Robin Hood, Botany Bay

Having finished a brisk Sunday afternoon country walk at Botany Bay, we decided to drop in here for a drink before catching the 313 back to Enfield. I can only concur with a large number of the previous comments, ie that the pub is pretty bland and sterile. The description of the pub outside ('COUNTRY PUB & DINING') gives the game away. Nevertheless, they had McMullen cask ale and Country Bitter on hand-pump, and the garden was pleasant.

15 Sep 2010 16:57

The Old Shades, Whitehall

I paid a visit to this somewhat touristy pub recently when in dire need of food and drink after a lengthy river trip all the way from Hampton Court. I was very relieved to find that they serve food until 10:00 pm (why do so many places stop serving food at 9:00 or even earlier?), and the sausage and mash was quite good (as is always the case at these Nicholsons pubs). The pint I had (either Timothy Taylor Landlord or Doom Bar, as I recall) was also fine, as well as being on the cheap side: that was probably to do with the competition from the Wetherspoons on the other side of road.

My only major gripe was the music blaring out.

9 Sep 2010 20:27

Ye Olde Smugglers Inn, Alfriston

I first visited this pub in the summer of 2006. Returning very recently, I noticed that it appeared to have undergone some refurbishment since 2006 (there were previously some odd wall paintings in the back garden, but these have now been removed). Overall I found it a very pleasant, comfortable place, with a nice range of ales (Doom Bar, Harvey's and Heart of Rother, plus one other I don't remember). I also found the service very friendly.

9 Sep 2010 20:15

The William IV, Brighton

On a previous visit to Brighton I was unable to find a pub of the kind that I like in the part of the Lanes area nearest the seafront. Everything seemed quite chainy and depressing around there, so this time - on Sunday 8th August - I ventured into the so-called 'North Lanes' area, which is a bit more grubby and down-to-earth. I soon stumbled on this attractive-looking, maroon-painted pub on a corner and decided to give it a try. I liked the old-fashioned, but well-kept '70s style interior, and found the barman very courteous. Beer-wise, I opted for the Midhurst mild, which was good.

10 Aug 2010 18:12

The Bree Louise, Euston

I have been in here a few times in the last few months and quite like it on the whole. Nice interior with a lively feel. Plentiful selection of ales, both gravity and hand pump (I think perhaps that in warmer weather - as recently - the gravity ales are not cold enough to satisfy basic thirst, so have gone the hand pump route instead).

One other thing I have noticed is that one or two of the bar staff are a little unfriendly. Most are absolutely fine but there is at least one who was noticeably frosty and didn't quite meet what I consider to be the minimum standard for basic customer service, acting almost as if they didn't want to be there.

27 Jun 2010 14:14

Hoy & Helmet, South Benfleet

A nice-looking old pub (the building is partly 15th century apparently) with about 4 or 5 hand pump ales available when I visited. I opted for Adnam's Broadside, which proved very good.

My only complaint was that no food was available after 9:00 pm (which was shortly before I arrived). I know this is a common policy but it seems crazy to me when people are starving hungry and want to order food not to be a bit more flexible with the hours rather than operating a strict cut-off at 9:00. If restaurants can stay open until 11:00 or midnight, why not pubs?

27 Jun 2010 13:58

The Lobster Smack, Canvey Island

Lovely old 17th century building situated by the sea wall on the south side of Canvey Island. Pleasant, timber-framed interior with plentiful seating available outside as well.

Although it was the only hand pump ale available at the time, a cool, refreshing pint of Young's bitter was just what I needed midway through my walk right round Canvey Island on a hot summer's day.

27 Jun 2010 13:48

The Druids Head, Brighton

I took an immediate dislike to this pub when I discovered that Harvey's bitter - one of only three hand pump ales on offer - was not available. The London Pride I was forced to turn to as an alternative was perfectly ok but I had fancied something local, not the over-common Pride. My frustration was added to when the Chicken & Mushroom pie with mashed potato I ordered came scaldingly hot, and not especially delicious (in fact the mashed potato was stodgy and slightly sickly). I was also annoyed by the tedious piped music, which bizarrely alternated between nu soul and Michael Buble style vocal jazz (when I say 'alternated', I mean literally back and forth between those two genres, track after track). I don't mind a spot of nu soul now and then, but here it seemed chosen only for its suitability as a bland soundtrack, and, as such, it fitted this middle-of-the-road, rather annoying pub.

21 Jun 2010 23:57

Prince Of Wales, Cardiff

This is a nice conversion of an old theatre in central Cardiff. As with all Wetherspoons, offers exceptional value for money. On my recent visit the Ruddles and Brains cask ales were both good.

22 Jan 2010 18:57

The Harcourt Arms, Marylebone

A nice looking pub, both inside and outside. On my recent visit only two cask ales were offered, but both these (London Pride and Brakspear) were good. I also enjoyed the fish and chips, although my companion was less enamoured of her burger.

The staff were also friendly and helpful; however, the one major criticism I have was the music. This was mostly 1970s to '80s rock classics, which was not a problem for me, but it was sometimes rather too loud, and, worse, frequently sounded like what was being played were very poor quality MP3 files that exhibited gross data compression artefacts, making the music incredibly annoying and extra-intrusive.

22 Jan 2010 18:45

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

After my second visit to this pub, last weekend, I have to revise my opinion. I loved the run-down but cosy feel, and the music (a mixture of dub reggae instrumentals, Bob Dylan, and some obscure-sounding '70s softish rock) really hit the spot, as did the various ales I drank.

I also liked the way the staff drew the heavy red curtains at 'closing time', recreating the old-time 'lock-in' feel (as far as I'm aware they simply remained open after 10.30, but with the curtains drawn, rather than it being a true 'lock-in').

I'm not so sure I'd have been quite as impressed had it been packed out (which it wasn't on a Sunday night), and thumping live trad jazz was being performed, but that's just personal taste.

All round, a great pub, which I'll be visiting again soon, I hope.

9 Jan 2009 18:48

The Doric Arch, Euston

For me, the chief attraction of this pub is its transient 'railway bar' ambience and the view of the buses out of the window. I am not enough of a connoiseur of ale for the reduction in the number and variety of beers on offer to be a significant problem for me. Having said that, I know what tastes good and bad and so far I have not been disappointed in my visits to this pub since the renaming. I have also found the staff to be pleasant and helpful.

Taking all this into account, the Doric Arch remains one of my favourite pubs in London.

5 Dec 2008 22:14

Rutland Arms, Hammersmith

Was looking forward to a drink after a bracing 10 mile walk along the river in fairly wintry conditions. Opted for this place instead of the gastro-seeming establishment a few doors down (I hate gastro; pubs should be pubs in my opinion).

Anyway, the beer here was perfectly ok but I found the ambience slightly depressing and characterless. I had been hoping to find a more authentic, old-fashioned riverside pub, but this certainly wasn't it.

5 Dec 2008 21:37

The Mudlark, London Bridge

Compared to many of the reviews I found this pub perfectly satisfactory. My pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord was very good, and so was my plate of Lincolnshire sausage and mash (which was good value, certainly for the area, at 5.95). Service was prompt and pleasant enough, and the toilets were clean. Either significant improvements have been made over the last month or so, or perhaps some of the commenters go looking for trouble?

25 Nov 2008 10:48

The Prince George, Hackney

On a summer afternoon/evening this attractive pub in a leafy Dalston back-street is a wonderful place to sit outside with a drink. Probably one of my favourite London pubs for that reason.

7 May 2006 04:51

The Penderel's Oak, Holborn

1. Just because your findings when you visited the pub didn't tally with those of other people on previous visits doesn't make their comments 'absolute rubbish'.

2. Are you seriously saying that EACH time you went to the bar to order your next Magners you also checked to see what real ales were available?

--

Nevertheless if what you say is true it more likely suggests that the pub has cleaned up its act with regard to availability of beers, not that the previous claims were false.

7 May 2006 04:41

The George, Temple

Pleasant interior and service. Excellent beer (London Pride) but background music just that bit too intrusive.

2 Apr 2006 19:51

The Savoy Tup, Strand

Visited this pub on a very rainy late afternoon this week and was served promptly. The Tup ale was ok. The slightly anonymous, hidden back-street atmosphere suited the rainy weather. I enjoyed it.

12 Mar 2006 19:40

The Shakespeare's Head, Holborn

Visited on Saturday 4th February when it was packed out. I quite liked it. Beer ok (London Pride - although that became unavailable late on so switched to Marstons Pedigree which was also ok). Bar staff very pleasant, which makes an enormous difference in my book. The pub does have atmosphere in my opinion - the same atmosphere present to varying degrees in most if not all Wetherspoons I've been to - which is one of repressed sadness. Wetherspoons pubs attract significant numbers of lonely, impoverished people looking to drown their sorrows cheaply.

5 Feb 2006 19:17

The Pembury Tavern, Hackney

Was in here on Sunday 8th January (the weekend of opening). Lovely beer (can't remember which bitter it was) but a terribly empty pub. This is a brave enterprise but I wonder if a pub of this kind can survive in such a bleak location.

ps I passed by on Friday evening (20th January) and saw a notice on the door referring to cleaning up after the 'unexpected visitors' (or similar phrase) of the previous night. What happened?

22 Jan 2006 17:05

The Wenlock Arms, Hoxton

Went in here last night. The beer (Crouch Vale bitter) was fine, the interior was pleasant and there was a jazz band playing. There was nothing really to criticise except it all felt a little insular to me.

22 Jan 2006 16:58

The Narrow Boat, Islington

Twice now I've been to the nearby Island Queen on a Saturday night and been exasperated by the sluggish approach to service behind the bar. On both occasions I left without ordering anything and went to the Narrow Boat instead. I can't say I'm keen on the style of decor (a bit too 'bar'-like for my taste) but it's a pleasant enough place and the beer was good (Fullers 'Jack Frost' last night, 'London Pride' on a previous occasion).

22 Jan 2006 16:52

The Old Kings Head, Borough

Never been in here before but pleasantly surprised. Nicely dingy/comfortable with a good, mixed clientele. Had one pint of Harvey's Sussex bitter which was good.

15 Jan 2006 16:14

The Anchor, Southwark

I used to go in here a lot back in the early '80s (I used to frequent a nearby rehearsal studio). In those days it was nice, with old buffers with their own tankards still installed in some of the side bars. That kind of thing. Went in again last night and, although the nook and cranny side bars still have traces of the old flavour, the pub as a whole was pretty bland and unappealing. The beer I tried - Courage Best - had a suspiciously 'creamflow' quality to it. Just about acceptable to drink but no more.

15 Jan 2006 16:09

The Surprise, Stockwell

Very nice, quiet, old-fashioned back street pub. No music playing, just the clink of glasses and pleasant sounds of human conversation.

16 Dec 2005 23:49

The Hamilton Hall, Liverpool Street

I've passed this place many times during the week and eyed with distaste the throngs of City folk standing outside. However the atmosphere on a Sunday night a few weeks ago was quite different. A nice mix of customers, including some families upstairs, plus that rootless, transient station bar feel which is always appealing. Had a couple of pints of Courage Best which were very good and, at 1.49 a pint, incredibly good value. I found the bar staff very pleasant and helpful and the interior very interesting.

20 Nov 2005 21:55

The Cittie of Yorke, Holborn

Paid this very interesting pub a visit at about 9.30 on a Saturday night. Atmosphere kind of dreary - not dead exactly but muted (perhaps this is only to be expected for Holborn/City fringes on the weekend). Had one pint of Sam Smiths draught bitter (hand-pump) which was over-cold and tasted foul to me. I don't understand the appeal of Sam Smiths pubs to be honest.

20 Nov 2005 21:36

The Penderel's Oak, Holborn

Pleasant, comfortable interior. However upon arrival at about 10.15 pm on a Saturday night was informed that only two (Abbot and Golden Delicious) of approximately 10 real ales were currently available. This was down to one (Golden Delicious) by the time I ordered another drink at about 10.50. This is ridiculously poor service in my opinion. I also didn't like the sour-faced attitude of the male member of staff in a blue shirt, with ponytail and keys dangling down.

20 Nov 2005 21:31

The Salisbury, Harringay

Nice pub. Always somewhere to sit even when it's busy. Pleasant, relaxed atmosphere.

15 Jan 2005 17:38

Mabel's Tavern, Euston

Came to the area to try the Head of Steam just by Euston Station but was forced to look for somewhere else because the H.o.S. was shutting early. Had a little wander around and found this place. I would describe it as vaguely pleasant but nothing special.. perhaps a little characterless. Tried the Spitfire bitter which was fine.

15 Jan 2005 17:32

The Doric Arch, Euston

Arrived at about 8.40 pm on a Sunday and was told they were shutting at 9.00. Had a quick pint of Holt bitter which tasted good. I like the railway signs and pictures. I think they are genuine railway relics, not fakes as suggested by another user. If you get a window seat you can watch the buses pulling in and out of the Euston bus stands.

15 Jan 2005 17:26

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