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BITE user comments - drtimthornton

Comments by drtimthornton

The Riflemans Arms, Kendal

Good news! Anita has persuaded the owners to refurbish this pub with new carpet and upholstery, although keeping its traditional feel. Coupled with the fresh flowers she puts out and its delightful setting, this remains a fine Fellside pub.

26 Sep 2011 22:02

The Station Bar, Glasgow

Sad to say my partner and I had two very poor pints in here on Saturday night. Mine, a pint of Abbot, was made up of three part glasses of pre and post barrel change and tasted, predictably, very stale. But if that's how they do it in these parts... We left most of both pints.
Today I've just had a fine pint of Abbot in the Riflemans in Kendal: so different, so fresh. That's proper attention to beer.

13 Mar 2011 18:31

Hawkshead Brewery Beer Hall, Staveley

The brewery has now moved about 50 yards into a different building. The bar area is downstairs in the new building and has thus lost the fine view of the river of the previous set up although the view of the brewing equipment is now better. It also means that it no longer has the symbiotic relationship to Wilf’s cafe. But, instead, the brewery now sells its own food: an initially surprising tapas menu with small items (such as a slice of cold pork pie, some hot sausages, hummus, fish goujons, chips with cheese and onion gravy) for £2 or £3 and a few larger meals (such as macaroni cheese with truffle). Despite my misgivings, this worked quite well and the quality seemed high. Beer quality, as ever, was excellent.

21 Feb 2011 11:31

Gateway Inn, Kendal

I have driven past this pub many times but never been in. It is outside Kendal’s ‘city limits’ but not yet far enough into the Park to count as a country pub and it is situated on the roundabout at the end of the 1974 bypass. But in fact, at a table overlooking the landscaped car parks, it seems not an unpleasant location with a view over the bowl of Kendal.
The building is substantial: more a hotel than a pub. One enters into a hall area with one small dining room to the right, the bar opening off to the left and a further main dining room to the left of that. Beer is from Thwaites (sadly Wainwright and ordinary rather than Bomber on my visit). Food is modestly priced for the area (£9 for traditional mains) but I didn’t eat.
On a lunch time between Christmas and New Year the atmosphere was of pleasant busy-ness.

29 Dec 2010 14:03

The Duke of Wellington, Danby

A welcome sight after a surprisingly hilly sustrans cycle route, we stayed the night and sampled good pints of Wharf Bank Cam Fell, Copper Dragon 1816 and Daleside Bitter. There is a pleasant seating area by the road outside (Danby is very quiet) and a three room bar. The only odd thing was that, at least on the night we visited, the kitchen wasn't able to cope with more than half a dozen tables ordering food over a 90 minute period (there was no chance of us eating earlier than 8:30pm) and whilst of good quality, the food was quite ordinary. (A good breakfast the next morning cooked on a more normal schedule.)

31 Aug 2010 10:45

The Marine Bar, Bridlington

The interior is just too big and open plan to be attractive: something of a modern function room feel. But we enjoyed a plausible pint of Landlord sitting outside in the evening sun with a sense of the sea just across the road. There isn't much competition in Bridlington, however.

31 Aug 2010 10:37

North Riding Hotel, Scarborough

A fine pub of the 'old man's' variety reminding me of the urban pubs of Bradford from my youth. We drank Elland Brewery Faith Healer, Pictish of Rochdale Corn Dolly and Newby Wyke Kingston Topaz all in fine condition. Cheekily we asked whether we could eat our sandwiches in the pub (it serves no food) and they were happy to agree.

31 Aug 2010 10:28

Tweedies Bar at Dale Lodge Hotel, Grasmere

As they proudly boast, this is the only CAMRA listed pub in Grasmere (the Travellers Rest a little to the north of the village seems to have slipped out in recent years) and a fine place for beer. There must have been 6 or 8 beers on on my visit yesterday (there are 2 or 3 in winter) from all over the UK.

The interior comprises two rooms: one with the bar and a TV, one a dining area. Both sport a modern light wood design. There is large garden areas with perhaps 20 tables and a carpark (useful in Grasmere in summer).

I ate a £12:50 burger and chips. Expensive, of course, in the Park but very good. There are £6 snacks as well.

17 May 2010 12:21

The Heron Inn, Kendal

I wandered in here on election night as it is next door to a polling station and enjoyed both Weston organic scrumpy-style cider and a special Robinsons beer. It’s odd that although it is merely a mile from where I live (and the second closest pub) I never aim to go here but it is an entirely acceptable new pub in a housing estate. Sadly there has generally been only one real beer (but there was a real cider) on my infrequent visits and there are disturbing numbers of children but it seems that the latter may be learning good Continental style pub/bar going habits and all seems quite friendly.

I’ve not eaten here but it was well reviewed in the local newspaper (search the Westmorland Gazette website) this year and one can also buy take pizza from it.

10 May 2010 19:11

The Masons Arms, Strawberry Bank

I popped back here for a latish Sunday lunch on a cool May Sunday. We managed to get table 6 (very much dining pub upstairs: or dining rather than pub) and it didn't seem too busy. Food was good (huge and good fish in the fish and chips but only a 6/10 for the chips; good gammon; delicious-looking sweets) and there were four well chosen and kept local beers. In other words, it is still a fine, somewhat posh lake district pub where one can eat well but also still simply go for a good beer.

10 May 2010 18:59

The Newfield Inn, Seathwaite

This is, of course, a pub in the Seathwaite in Dunnerdale not the one in Borrowdale and thus is miles from Keswick. On a cold and sunny Saturday afternoon the Dickie Doodle was in fine form (I recall a Tirril beer and one other). The space is a fairly basic but comfortable and there’s a pleasant enough beer garden behind. Much chocolate for sale I noticed.

18 Apr 2010 17:55

The Tower Bank Arms, Sawrey

Having attempted too late to book a table, I arrived here as a party of six on Saturday evening and struck lucky with a big enough table in the bar (the better place to be in any case). Five local beers included Tag Lag and Laughing Gravy (also Hawkshead Bitter and Brodies Prime) both in fine condition.

My beef and ale casserole with dumplings was delicious although the chips were more of the small roast potato kind. Interesting cheeses.

A good fire at the far end (which can be too hot to be close to). Overall an excellent and friendly pub.

18 Apr 2010 17:45

Fanny's Ale And Cider House, Saltaire

I sometimes call into this pub on the way to visit my parents around 7pm on a Friday and it is always packed at that time. For anyone visiting after a gap the extension into the next building (such that Fanny's now wraps round a take away restaurant) comes as a bit of a surprise. The pub is now rather large. But as others have said, the bar is still small and squeezing round once one has a drink to get to the quieter pastures behind can be a struggle. But I've always found the service to be quick (four staff crammed into the tiny bar area).

Most importantly: the beer is good and changing. I wish I could have tried the 6% Kelham Island pale ale (and the 11% beer next to it) this Friday but thought it might sap my small remaining will power for the Baildon Boundary Run the next day.

29 Mar 2010 12:26

Ring O' Bells, Kendal

Seemed to be open again last night although I didn't get chance to visit.

17 Mar 2010 14:16

Alexanders (The Castle Green Hotel), Kendal

Alexanders is a hotel bar of sorts but in a building detached from the main hotel which thus makes it a bit more like a pub. The hotel bar theme returns in the fact that the chairs and tables are very much set up for dining (cutlery and glasses). There is also something a little unlike a pub in the fact that much of the roof is glass. But it is thus a very light space (very valuable in Kendal).

Still if you ignore the (friendly) staff at the door (waiting to seat you) and walk straight through there's a nice, if small, bar area at the back (darker, cosier). Even better, there are three changing local beers in good condition. The manager is friendly and there's never been any problem when I've popped in for a beer after a run, and thus still in scruffy shorts and trainers.

In the last week or so, it has had a face lift and mild refurbishment which has improved the bar area.

Finally: the location overlooking Kendal makes it an ideal place to watch the setting sun (over Scout Scar) in summer.

9 Mar 2010 18:49

The Riverside Hotel, Kendal

On a preternaturally warm Saturday afternoon in February I sat outside the Riverside on a balcony that hangs over the river Kent. Given that Kendal does not really make anything of its river, this could be a great spot in summer.

The Hawkshead Gold was very good.

20 Feb 2010 17:25

The Glen Rothay Hotel and Badger Bar, Rydal

I popped in for a mid afternoon post walk beer at the end of the February half term holiday. The two tooms were both quite quiet (except for the half term children) but there were three local beers (from Keswick, Ennerdale and Barngates) in good condition. Had it been a bit warmer I'd probably have sat outside in the shabby but pleasant garden area (which isn't particularly spoiled by its roadside location).

20 Feb 2010 17:21

The Kirkstone Pass Inn, Kirkstone Pass

I visited the Kirkstone Inn aftre it hade been closed because of heavy snow for a month (mid December to mid January) on a sunny and cloudy Saturday afternoon. It was surprisingly busy with a constant stream of walkers drinking the three beers: Thwaites Wainwright, Tirril Red Screes, Heskett Newmarket Kirkstone Porter.

Sad to say the fire wasn't lit but the two main rooms (a bar area with three tables round it and another room with tables) were cosy enough. (There's a third room that wasn't quite needed.) Food looks simple but appealing with a standard menu but also a curry selection and a number of vegetarian options but we didn't try on this occasion.

14 Feb 2010 15:57

The Queens Head Hotel, Troutbeck

This pub is now (has been for a while, in truth) a Robinsons pub and thus sells a range of their beers: XB, Cumbria Way, Dizzy Blonde, Double Hop, Old Tom etc. Whilst I am not sure that these are the best of beers in Cumbria, they are good enough and well kept, in my experience at the Queens Head, which remains one of my favourite post walk pubs.

3 Feb 2010 17:43

The Shakespeare Inn, Kendal

I popped in one lunch time between Christmas and New Year. As well as a some standard pint (Tetleys?) there were a couple of interesting seasonal beers (in the 4-5% range) although, sadly, I've now forgotten what they were.
The decor is, as has been said below, stuck in the 1970s but not unpleasantly so. Rather, it just isn't a particular cosy or stylish place. But it seemed to me to be an entirely reasonable pub, making an effort with changing beers and would be a good place to include in a wander round town with a few friends.

8 Jan 2010 18:12

The Riflemans Arms, Kendal

For anyone worried during this cold snap that the Riflemans is not always altogether cosy, the current acting landlord is running both the (coal effect) gas fires to the full! I'll be making my way for a preprandial this evening despite Kendal's frozen pavements.

8 Jan 2010 17:08

The Castle Inn, Kendal

I bought a pint of Ennerdale Blonde here which turned out to be cloudy and tasted tart, quite unlike the pints of it I have enjoyed elsewhere. The Landlord refused to exchange it, however, on the grounds that he could not improve its condition. This was just how it was for him. It is a pity that he hadn't pointed that out when he accepted our order in the first place, however.

25 Oct 2009 15:55

Burgundys Wine Bar, Kendal

There is now an upstairs outside drinking area: a kind of first floor terrace. Excellent for warm Kendal evenings.

31 Jul 2009 18:21

The Castle Tavern, Inverness

This is a great CAMRA pub. Cairngorm Wild Cat and Trade Winds, Belhaven 80' and Hebridean Brewing Company Berserker at 7.5% were available on my visit. I sat outside on a chilly late August evening making use of the patio heaters because it was deservedly full inside.

4 Nov 2008 17:12

The Sun Inn, Crook

I ate here one midweek evening last week on a cold October night. There is a real fire on the left of the large-ish square room one first enters with the bar directly opposite. Then there are then two further (open plan) dining rooms to the left. A number of calor gas fires were needed to keep the place warm on my visit but it was busy with diners and the atmosphere was attractive.
The beer was a Holts (I think) guest and Theakston's Best Bitter and Coniston Bluebird.
The food was good. I ate a fine steak following potted shrimps but other vegetarian and fish main courses looked equally good in a reasonable simple style. It is well worth knowing about as a rather less formal environment than the Punch Bowl at Crosthwaite.

4 Nov 2008 17:08

The Tipsy Laird, Kingussie

This modern looking bar is as much an eatery as a place for beer but it did have Cairngorm: Stag in good condition. The food looked good and had a few vegetarian options.

29 Aug 2008 15:38

The Glen Hotel, Newtonmore

Although CAMRA rated, I was a little disappointed to find only Deuchars IPA and Old Speckled Hen on my visit both of which are very ordinary but the latter (all we tried) was well kept. (And, in fairness, the landlord had been let down by his beer suppliers.) A useful pub to stop at on the Sustrans Route 7.

29 Aug 2008 15:35

The Moulin Inn, Moulin

This is an attractive pub up the hill from Pitlochry which, as has been said, brews its own beer. In truth, my companions and I only really liked two of the four beers: Moulin Light and Ale of Atholl (the first and third by strength). The other two had slightly odd flavours. We also ate: my lamb shank was very good but the fish and chips were less good with rather small portions of so-so chips. So a mixed experience but I'd definitely go back. Also a kindly couple offered us a lift 2 miles back to our B&B which gave a nice end to things.

29 Aug 2008 15:32

The Lade Inn, Kilmahog

One slight glitch. On a second visit, a pint of the middle beer tasted quite sour. When I politely suggested that, because it tasted much worse than a previous visit and in the bottles I'd bought, it might perhaps be 'past its best', a member of bar staff simply replied 'that's impossible, we sell it too quickly' and turned away with no attempt at good customer relations. We had to insist that it be exchanged.

29 Aug 2008 15:23

The Clachan Inn, Drymen

On a pretty village green, this very attractive looking pub carried a single handpump: Inveralmond: Independence on my visit. Divided into two spaces, the public bar to the left was a comfortable and sunny space.

29 Aug 2008 15:17

The Bon Accord, Glasgow

Three of us visited this traditional, CAMRA rated, English-style pub and drank three rounds of three different pints from around the UK. All were in good condition and, except for the live music on a Saturday night, it seemed an excellent pub. (The food looked fairly basic but attractive and quite cheap.) It is only a shame that it fronts onto Glasgow's inner motorway.

29 Aug 2008 15:13

The Harbour Bar, Troon

I visited this pub because it is on the Sustrans Route 7 from Carlisle to Glasgow and otherwise probably would not have stopped. It is not very inspiring from outside. But inside (11am on a Saturday) it was a cosy 'old man's pub' with two beers: Strathaven: Duchess Anne and the eccentric Tryst: Zetland Wheatbier. Stop cycling!

29 Aug 2008 15:09

The Welltrees Inn, Maybole

This pub lacks real ale and thus we were forced to drink Youngers Tartan Special and Belhaven Best before retreating to glasses of the house red wine. Whilst the staff were very friendly, the food was very ordinary and expensive for it (macaroni cheese for £7, a small steak and ale pie in a dish with a recently added puff pastry lid for £8). Given that Maybole is not particularly attractive, it is hard to know why things are so costly.

29 Aug 2008 14:58

The Cavens Arms, Dumfries

This is (still) an excellent pub, well liked by CAMRA. Visiting at 8pm on a Wednesday, most people were eating and, indeed, one is invited to wait on entry to be seated. But the beer (we tried Phoenix: Arizona and Palmerston: Queen of the South) was well kept and the food good (if not very interesting).

29 Aug 2008 14:48

The Coach and Horses, Dumfries

This is a CAMRA rated pub on the river. I was disappointed to find Bass simply because it always seems rather a dull beer. But there was also, on my visit, Edinburgh Brewery EPA: a fine pint (with good flavour despite low strength) in good condition. It is fairly basic in decor but comfortable and with a friendly landlord.

29 Aug 2008 14:42

The Blue Bell, Annan

This seems to be a good local beer-orientated pub. I drank a fine pint of Strathaven Old Mortality but there was a 7% Cumbrian Legendary Ales beer also on the bar (too strong for lunch time on a cyle holiday!). At the rear is a beer yard which was filled with casks for an upcoming beer festival. Well worth a visit.

29 Aug 2008 14:38

Ring O' Bells, Kendal

Unlike most of the other recent closures in Kendal (it has been a bad year especially for Punch Taverns pubs), this pub has risen from the grave and reopened. (Though I note from the web that the lease was still for sale as recently as last week.)
There's new garden furniture on the pavement and I have the feeling that there's been some new painting inside. (Is the amazing Dyson Airblade in the gents loos new?) It is a shame that the snug is not yet operational.
On my visit there were three beers: Abbot (in good condition), Black Sheep Bitter and a mild.
I wish it luck.

29 Jul 2008 10:00

The Bridge Hotel, Buttermere

I'd like to to the previous review that the Bridge has a useful outdoor area for rare warm sunny days. Inside there are two interconnected rooms which are generally more atmospheric than the more village-hall-like Fish.

27 Jul 2008 17:26

The Sun Hotel, Kirkby Lonsdale

The Sun is a nicely refurbished pub in the centre of Kirkby Lonsdale which has recently been recommended by the Observer as a pleasant little hotel. It has very friendly staff. The main bar is a long narrow room with bare floorboards and a variety of different tables. Behind the bar area are two dining areas with modern furniture which, whilst obviously not a traditional pub, at least remind one of one.
There were 4 beers on my visit including Hawkshead Bitter, well kept Taylors Landlord and Jennings Cumberland Ale.
The midweek lunch time food is very modestly priced (eg £7 for (warm) ham, egg and chips) and good quality but it is worth noting that a portion of chips numbers only six.

27 Jul 2008 17:23

The White Lion, Patterdale

I ate a late lunch here on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Although the food was not particularly attractively presented, it was nicely cooked and modestly priced for the Park. The beer, Tirril and Cumberland Ale, seemed to be in good condition. It is not a great pub but it is now worth visiting.

16 Jul 2008 11:35

The Waverley Hotel, Callander

Only three beers were on (from 8 hand pumps) on my visit on a busy May bank holiday but they seemed to be in good condition. Not the most cosy of pubs: a long bar area; an eating area and a TV room. But worth visiting if in the area.

6 May 2008 16:13

The Lade Inn, Kilmahog

I agree with the previous comments. It is worth the stroll our from Callander on the ex-railway-line cycle track to sample the three beers. It is also a fine place to call in after climbing Ben Ledi, a couple of miles to the north.

6 May 2008 16:10

The Riflemans Arms, Kendal

This pub has just been named the Westmorland branch of CAMRA's Pub of the Season. Well done!

9 Apr 2008 17:48

Farmers, Portinscale

This pub is closed and for sale.

9 Apr 2008 17:33

The Riflemans Arms, Kendal

This is one of the three good pubs (only) in, or just out of, central Kendal. (The others are the Castle and Burgundys.) It has three rooms including one for a pool table, with a central bar. There are up to four changing beers in good condition (and no food). On Thursdays there is a folk night. It is about a mile down from Scout Scar and might be the best candidate for a walkers’ bar in Kendal. I’m worried, however, that except on Thursdays, it is rather quiet. We should support it in case we loose it.

30 Mar 2008 12:48

Strickland Arms, Kendal

After a period of closure, the Strickland reopened two years ago as a nice foody pub, owned by the National Trust. Downstairs there is a bar to the right with a fire. The beers are usually Thwaites Bitter and Lancaster Bomber, Hesket Newmarket Doris 90th Birthday and, often, Coniston Bluebird. On the left is a larger room and there are a couple of dining rooms upstairs. The impression is one of (deliberately) slightly faded grandeur.
Whilst the menu seems unnecessarily complicated (one needs to examine 4 pages), the food is consistently good.
Though a bit too close to the A591 Kendal bypass for complete peace, there is a pleasant beer garden and tables between the pub and the quiet (because bypassed) road. It makes a pleasant cycle ride via Natland and Sedgwick from Kendal.

24 Mar 2008 18:34

The Punch Bowl Inn, Kirkstone Pass

Owned by the same people who own the Drunken Duck (and the posh café Chesters at Skelwith Bridge), this is a less busy foody pub in the rolling country to the east of Windermere, at Crosthwaite. Unlike the Drunken Duck, one could have a drink at the bar without feeling the need to eat to fit in. The beers are from the Barngates range: Tag Lag, Westmorland Gold etc. A few years ago these seemed odd to my taste but they are now reliable and interesting enough.
The food is very good (the pub won Dining Pub of the Year last year) though with a hint of a multiple small dishes approach at lunch time rather than more typical Lake District approach of substantial dishes.
Outside whilst the view is nothing like the central Lakes, it is very pleasant. I aim to move to Crosthwaite!

24 Mar 2008 18:22

The Star and Garter, Leamington Spa

I revisited this pub over the weekend and it is still one of the best pubs in Leamington. It is a good stripped wood style spce with well kept beer. The one change I noticed is a greater range of food and lots of people eating it (around 8pm on a Saturday evening).

3 Mar 2008 12:43

The Royal Oak Inn, Welton

This seems a pleasant little pub. The bar (actually called 'Village Bar') is a narrow room with a real fire at one end and the bar at the other. There was only Jennings Cumberland Ale on on my visit but it was a wet January. The lunch time menu is traditional and around £7 but the food looked good. There is a more expensive evening menu and a dinining area. The barman seemed very friendly. All in all it was a pleasant experience, all the more so as it was tipping down with rain outside.

29 Jan 2008 21:03

The Queens Head Inn, Tirril

This pub has clearly changed hands and is no longer a Tirril Brewery pub. It has also had a touch of paint here and there. It now sells Robinsons beer and today had three on (XB, Unicorn and Cumbria Way). Though I'm not a big fan of this brewery the beer seemed in good condition. The food menu is in the £9 to £13 for main courses with other cheaper options and was pretty good. The staff are also trying hard as we were asked three times whether the food was OK. All things considered the change seems for the better.

27 Jan 2008 17:13

Ring O' Bells, Kendal

This pub has now closed.

23 Jan 2008 10:14

The Moorcock Inn, Garsdale Head

I agree with the previous comment: the decoration is surprisingly hippy for the location on the moors(think: scatter cushions, sofas, a young man playing classical guitar) and on a wet winter day it was, sadly, cold inside. But there were 4 beers (including Copper Dragon, a Daleside beer and Black Sheep bitter) and a good if fairly simple food (eg. hot baguettes, filled Yorkshire puddings, fish and chips). Probably better on a warm summer's day.

27 Dec 2007 16:18

The Swan, York

This is a fine drinkers’ pub, often in the CAMRA guide. The layout is unusual: a tiled corridor leads past one room, to the central bar and then to a further room beyond. It is a pub which has been much improved by the smoking ban and serves excellent beer (on my visit there were 4 including Taylors Landlord, Rudgate Good Elf, and a Salamander seasonal beer and a real cider).

27 Dec 2007 16:18

Burgundys Wine Bar, Kendal

This is one of the three or so good pubs in Kendal and a regular in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Situated off a dark busy road which carries traffic on the Kendal one way system away from the town centre shops it is not very inspiring from the outside and also lacks a beer garden. Inside is a single space leading at the far end both up to an upper deck (where bands play jazz on Thursday evenings) and down to a basement. The bar itself has a bizarre second internal terracotta roof as though imported from southern Europe. But there is a range of 4 changing beers with local emphasis as well as lagers, fruit beers and wines. Like the whole of Kendal, it is empty before about 9pm even on Fridays and Saturdays (it only opens at 7pm) but it is reliably atmospheric afterwards.

14 Dec 2007 18:11

Scafell Hotel, Keswick

There is a climbers’ bar at the back of the Scafell Hotel which is probably the best place to have a drink in Borrowdale. It comprises three interlinked spaces with a fireplace, and well managed fire, dividing one from the main bar area. The bar itself carries half a dozen changing local beers and there is a menu of informal modestly priced food (and a huge array of sauce sachets on one end of the bar). If there is a disadvantage it is that it is quite dark in summer. But on my visit in December there was a real buzz, the fire was warm and the bar staff were very welcoming.

14 Dec 2007 18:04

Kings Head, Keswick

This is in a small chain of pubs that also includes the Traveller’s Rest in Grasmere and Sweeney’s Bar in Keswick (and it resembles the former). The pub part comprises a traditionally furnished dining room with a small real fire at one end and a modern bar area recently refurbished in light wood. It sells Jennings beers and has a good if expensive food menu but my one experience of it was very good. The bar also sells local produce. Overall it is perhaps not as atmospheric as the Travellers Rest, a couple of miles further south, but generally less busy in summer.

14 Dec 2007 17:52

Swinside Inn, Keswick

This pub is situated by itself with the wooded slope of Swinside behind it and a view of the Newlands Valley in front. There’s a good space to sit outside in summer. In winter there are a number of interconnecting rooms with a fire at one end of one. There’s a small central bar serving 3 beers (Jennings). It has been in the Good Pub Guide. Sadly I’d have to say on my last visit that it seems to have gone off the boil. The lighting was gloomy rather than atmospheric with too many of the candle holders empty and, away from the fire, rather chilly. The food is cheap (£8-£11) but very ordinary. It was a bit disappointing really but probably better in summer.

13 Dec 2007 18:32

Farmers, Portinscale

This is a small pub in the village of Portinscale about a mile from Keswick. It describes itself as a 'village bar and dining room' with a bar at one end with a few tables on a wooden floor and a more formal (though not very formal) dining area (on carpet). The furniture has an Ikea feel (its modern and light). There were three Jennings beers on on my visit and the food menu is plausible (not too large, fair price for the location, good local reputation). I've enjoyed a beer here on many occasions though on my last visit (8.12.2007) the Sneck Lifter was in the worst condition of any beer I've tried in years: utterly undrinkably vile. Such things happen and it was replaced quickly with a different beer but it was worrying that I was offered the explanation: it may just be the first pint. At £2.90 it would be good if, if that is a risk, the first pint (or 2) were drawn and thrown away not given to the first customer.

10 Dec 2007 14:16

The Sun Hotel, Coniston

I finally got round to eating here, in the bar, on a cold Saturday evening in October. There was a reasonable selection of local beer: Hawkshead Bitter, Coniston Bluebird, Black Cat and Wobbly Bob. The food raises an interesting question. I had a Cumbrian sausage with apples, red onions and mushrooms in a slightly sweet sauce and very mildly ‘onioned’ mashed potato. It was delicious: the most spicy Cumbrian sausage I've ever eaten but with a compensating sauce. My partner had a good vegetarian lasagne. The question, however, is whether £12.50 is ever a reasonable price to pay for sausage and mash as a bar meal? There comes a point where one begins to want something a little less rustic or rough and ready at that cost. Still, if a spicy Cumbrian sausage is what I wanted, I’d go back.

16 Oct 2007 15:56

The Traquair Arms Hotel, Innerleithen

Usefully situated on the Newcastle to Edinburgh cycle route, this is an obvious place to eat. There's Deuchars IPA (as ever!) and Traquair Ale (worth trying but a bit watery when I tried it). The food in the next door formal dining room is very good if quite expensive. When the mountain bike resort is fully operational it will be interesting to see if it gets busier than it was on my visit.

23 Sep 2007 15:31

Central, St Andrews

This is a pretty good Scottish pub. It is a single room dominated by a central bar. On my visit the beers included a predictable Deuchars IPA but also Houston Texas, Fullers ESB and another micro-brewery IPA. The food is pretty basic (fish and chips, pie of the day, scampi etc) but fine for the price. It's a shame about the television. (On a previous visit, the weather was hot enough to sit outside at the pavement tables.)

23 Sep 2007 15:26

The Red Lion, Alnmouth

Returning to visit this pub after two years it was, again, delightful. There's a relaxed bar area and a second more formal, less pleasant, dining room. We ate in the bar and the food, though a tadge expensive, was very good. There were three micro-brewery beers in good condition on the bar.

23 Sep 2007 15:19

The Barrels Alehouse, Berwick upon Tweed

This is a small two roomed bar on the corner of two small streets down near the river. The feel is fairly basic but comfortable (eg Sunday newspapers were available). It is in the CAMRA guide and the 5 beers on offer were interesting (not the usual suspects on my visit) and well kept. Well worth visiting.

23 Sep 2007 15:15

The Station Hotel, Carnoustie

Obviously recently refurbished the bar is very clean and comfortable. In addition to the normal keg range there was, on my visit, a single guest on hand pump: Inveralmond's Thrappledouser, which was delicious.

23 Sep 2007 15:06

The Ship Inn, Stonehaven

Set by the harbour, on a sunny lunch time the tables outside were a very pleasant place to drink either Green King IPA or Speckled Hen. There was what looked to be fairly basic food though it stopped promptly at 2pm.

23 Sep 2007 15:02

The Corner Shop, Thornton

Quite a basic pub (wooden benches, lino etc) with only keg McEwans on offer but at lunchtime there was a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere and very friendly bar staff.

23 Sep 2007 14:59

The Old Blackfriars, Aberdeen

At 5pm on a Friday evening, this felt to be a nice enough pub with - at that time - no sign of food (although a friend asked me whether it was a Wetherspoons: it has the feel of the best of that pub group). I noticed Abbot and Deuchars IPA and a couple of other beers in addition to the Inveralmond Ossian Ale which we three settled on. It is in the CAMRA guide. I liked it but then I'd just finished a 370 mile cycle holiday and had warm feelings generally.

23 Sep 2007 14:36

The Rupert Brooke, Grantchester

On a busy day in Grantchester - one of the few sunny days of summer 2007 - The Rupert Brooke was surprisingly empty. On the bar, it had Woodford Wherry and Sussex Best Bitter, the latter in excellent condition (the former, less so). We ate outside in a pleasant enough beer garden but the choice of smaller meals (baguettes, salad and chips) was very good.

13 Aug 2007 10:50

The Wasdale Head Inn, Wasdale Head

Some pubs in the National Park are almost a victim of their own glorious location. The Wasdale Head Inn is just such a pub in a location to rival the Old Dungeon Ghyll in Langdale. Like the ODG it has opted for a fairly basic style. In this case, the main bar area is brightly lit, there are lots of tables packed into stalls and a partially open conservatory at the rear. It isn’t very comfortable or cosy. But if the sun is shining it is very pleasant sitting outside by the river.
They brew their own beer (the Great Gable Brewing Company brews 7 beers a number of which were on offer) and that is reason enough to come here. But I must agree with the previous comment that unless you had to, it would be odd to choose to eat here. It is, in effect, a café. I suspect that this is the only way they can keep up with demand given the number of walkers and campers who pass by. But better to have a beer here and go to Nether Wasdale or Santon Bridge to eat, if you can.

24 Jun 2007 18:01

The Golden Rule, Ambleside

Whilst one shouldn't pick a pub on this basis, I was impressed, on my last visit, by how nicely refurbished the loos were. In the Lake District even an old man's pub can have posh loos!

20 Jun 2007 18:30

The Bridge Inn, Santon Bridge

In truth I booked in here because I couldn’t book closer into Wasdale and Santon Bridge suffers slightly from not offering a sense of proximity to the great central hills only 10 miles away. But arriving late on a Friday in midsummer, it was possible to eat before the pub stopped serving food (9pm Fri/Sat) and walk up the nearby Irton Pike (only 230 m) for a view into the head of Wasdale in the gloaming.
The bar area is delightful. It’s quite large but partly divided up into stalls and by shelves. There’s a fire tucked into a corner (happily lit on a cold June evening). The bar itself is curved and made like the hull of a clinker boat and the carpet gives way to floorboards nearby. There were five Jennings beers on my visit and, oddly, Tribute. The Sneck Lifter was particularly good. Food was good (excellent chips!) and good value for the Lake District. As a pub it is first rank and well worth visiting.
As a hotel it is a little basic with some rooms in need of redecoration (which is ongoing). The slight feeling of a youth hostel is increased by lots of notices. Because breakfast isn’t cooked to order it is worth arriving at the start. But the staff were very friendly and helpful.

18 Jun 2007 11:34

The Woolpack Inn, Boot

The beer is the thing here. On my visit there were three beers brewed in the attached micro-brewery, another from Loweswater, a cider and, perhaps, another beer. The 5.6 percent (and strongest) local beer was delicious and the 3.6 bitter good. I sat outside on a sunny Sunday afternoon when traffic along the Wrynose-Hardnott road was minimal and the location seemed idyllic. I could imagine making this the goal of a cycle trip (and the classic 17 mile Eskdale skyline starts only a mile away). Inside is, however, very sparse and thus I hope they do something imaginative on cold winter evenings.

18 Jun 2007 11:03

The Kirkstone Pass Inn, Kirkstone Pass

Conveniently placed nearly half way round a pleasant walk up Red Screes from Ambleside via the path above Stock Ghyll, the Inn seems to have improved over the last few years since it was a bit of a bikers’ bar. A couple of days ago there were three local beers: two aptly named Hesket Newmarket beers ‘Red Screes’ (well flavoured despite a low strength) and ‘Kirkstone Porter’ and, I think, a Coniston brewery bitter. The bar area is long and narrow with a stone floor. People were eating baguettes but there is a conventional menu at a reasonable price. Although not a pretty seating area because just by the main road, you can sit outside and gaze up at the route up red Screes.

13 Jun 2007 11:48

Bar Eden, Whiting Bay

This is a bar on the left hand side of a larger hotel overlooking a bowling green and, from the garden at least, with a view of the sea. It is in the 2007 Camra guide. On my visit, although there were two hand pumps, only one of them was operating serving Deuchars IPA. But the beer was good, the menu looked interesting and sitting outside was very pleasant.

27 May 2007 18:05

The Pierhead Tavern, Lamlash

This is a more of a traditional old man’s pub than the nearby Drift Inn: a long narrow room overlooked by the bar on the main road through Lamlash. Beer was keg McEwans 60 and 70 shillings. When I was there, food wasn’t being served. It is not worth travelling any distance for but it seems an acceptable bar in the Scottish style.

27 May 2007 18:04

The Drift Inn, Lamlash

If staying in Lamlash, this is the bar in which you will be encouraged to eat. I didn’t, but the food looks ok if unimaginative. The only beer was keg McEwans 80 shillings. There’s a Sky tv screen at one end and a pool table at the other of the large single room but, if it were warm and sunny, it would be pleasant to sit outside looking out across the bay at Holy Island.

27 May 2007 18:04

The Kildonan Hotel, Kildonan

This is a recently refurbished bar within a hotel towards the south of Arran with good views of the sea. There’s nothing to trouble the score keeper by way of cask beer but the Arran Brewery beers are available in bottles. The feeling is more a café bar than a pub with modern wood furniture and no more difficulty in getting a coffee than a proper drink. But it is worth knowing about.

27 May 2007 18:03

The Catacol Bay Hotel, Catacol

This hotel bar is in the Camra 2007 guide. It feels comfortable in a slightly shabby and informal kind of way. On my visit, they had a seasonal Arran Brewery beer – Sunset - on hand pump. The food is generally fairly basic: mainly snacks. I ate a steak pie which was fine but my partner had smoked fish cakes which were delicious.

27 May 2007 18:02

The Ormidale Hotel, Brodick

This is a strange place. Like many pubs in Scotland, it is the bar of a hotel, hidden round the back. On my visit there was Arran Ale and, I think, Deuchars IPA, both real but not on hand pump. (It is in the 2007 Camra guide.)
I ate the venison casserole and it was pretty good for £9 (great chips!) but presented as a pile of stew, a pile of chips and a uniformly chopped pile of salad pushed together on a tiny plate.
Behind a dark bar is what looks to be a Victorian conservatory which was quite atmospheric in the gloaming but needs some fairly urgent attention and it seemed a pity that the furniture was of a village hall style with green plastic table cloths.
I couldn’t help feeling that it could be a really good pub, close to the great walking country of the north of Arran, but it hadn’t really made the effort.

27 May 2007 18:01

The Brodick Bar, Brodick

When I visited, the bar area was closed (till 3pm) and thus I had a beer in the brasserie half which is gastro-pub in feeling: heavy but modern wooden tables fashioned as though from drift wood. The main food was in the £13 bracket but I ate a snack sized lunch time fish and chips at £6 which was nicely presented but of only fair quality (very poor chips). It is in the 2007 Camra guide serving Deuchars IPA and McEwans 80 shillings though not hand pulled. For what it is worth, on my visit a young man was in charge and seemed friendly enough.

27 May 2007 18:00

The Queens Head Inn, Tirril

I'm pleased that other reviews here have been generally positive because that will encourage me to try it again. On my one visit, on a warm Sunday afternoon (after a walk on the far eastern fells from Howtown), it seemed a bit strange. This was partly because it was empty (it was between meal times on a Sunday). But when empty the space is a bit cold and dark on a sunny afternoon: small windows, dark old furniture, a fire but only at one end of a large area. I think it would be better both in winter and with more people. There were three Tirril beers - which are not my favourite Cumbrian beers but every local micro-brewery is a good thing. On this occasion they weren't attractively poured (lots of quickly dispersing head to leave a very empty glass which I still had to ask to be topped up) but perhaps it had been a busy and tiring weekend up till then. I'll try it again when passing but I wouldn't go out of my way.

1 May 2007 21:54

The Blackfriar, Blackfriars

On a preternaturally warm April Saturday, finding an open pub (emerging from the City) selling both Broadside and Landlord (and two other changing beers) with an affordable, if unspectacular, scampi and chips (£7) and a place to sit outside was a delight. The pub has a leaflet of pub walks relating to other Nicholsons pubs.

16 Apr 2007 14:08

The Wheatsheaf Inn, Ingleton

After a walk in the Dales last Sunday, the Wheatsheaf had a nice atmosphere: comfortable rather than smart but not strictly a walkers' bar, a real fire with good looking food menu chalked on a board above it (which I will try next time) and piped music but only played very quietly. I think that normally there might have been four beers on but on my visit it was Tim Taylors Golden Best and Black Sheep Bitter. The obvious competitor is the more ambitious Marton Arms a mile away.

21 Mar 2007 17:19

The Talbot, Knightwick

I agree with the very positive comments already made. The beer, brewed just behind the pub, is indeed good ('That' is perhaps better than 'This') and the food looks appetising in an informal hearty style. It may be worth mentioning the real fire in winter and the two curious non-matching but paired seats facing the bar.

26 Feb 2007 16:25

The Station, Oxenholme

The Station now has a new and friendlier landlord who is also showing an interest in the beer. Since Autumn we've now had Castle Eden, Landlord, Moorhouse Blond Witch and best of all at the moment Hawkshead Red (in addition to the Black Sheep and Tirril).

5 Feb 2007 10:15

Hawkshead Brewery Beer Hall, Staveley

It's worth knowing that the opening hours of the Beer Hall are limited at present (according to their own site) to: "12-7pm Wed-Fri and 12-5pm Sat and Sun. For now, it is closed Mon and Tues." Also, as the photo on the Hawkshead brewery website listed above suggests, it is a hall, like a modern American micro-brewery, stylish but aesthetically cool so it's an idea to go with a few people. But the beer quality is excellent and there are, I understand, plans to grow the relationship between businesses on this successful site. One aspect of that is that one can drink beer on a balcony overlooking the fast flowing river Kent by popping through Wilf's famous cafe. I really like it because it complements rather than directly competing with Staveley's other triumph: the Eagle and Child.

4 Jan 2007 21:30

The Travellers Rest, Grasmere

Situated just outside Grasmere on the A591 heading up to Dunmail Raise, the Travellers Rest is a really fine pub. It's a long narrow building with an entry in the middle opposite a small bar and with a fire. There's only space for 2 or 3 people to sit here who have to contend with people coming in but it's a great spot to grab. To the left is another room with a pool table and, beyond, a fire and where recently smoking was allowed. But, for my tastes, now it is banned throughout the pub this second room, when the fire is lit, is also a great place for a pint. Rooms to the right become progressively more dining orientated. The beer is a range from Jennings, generally well served. Food is good but too expensive and perhaps too ambitious (the gammon, for example, was good but not £11 good on my last visit; the fish better but very modest). Still it is one of my favourite pubs in the Lakes.

4 Jan 2007 19:43

The New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, Langdale

This is indeed a Lake District institution and the kind of pub where one’s spirits naturally rise. This is in part the simple knowledge that one is in Langdale, surely one of the best places in the world, even if it isn’t actually visible from inside the pub. But the beer is also very good. Over New Year there was Black Sheep Bitter and Ale, Theakstons XB and OP, Yates Fever Pitch, Jennings Cumberland Ale and a real cider. It’s very much the kind of pub you need to visit in walking boots and is rather basic: wooden benches (there’s no upholstery), formica topped tables and, despite the stove, it isn’t always very warm. But ever since I got lost on the Crinkles in snow as night came on and only narrowly made it down to the ODG, it’s had a kind of totemic significance and comfort for me.

2 Jan 2007 16:34

The Britannia Inn, Elterwater

This pub featured on the front cover of Camra’s Good Beer Guide a couple of years ago and, in summer, it is a lovely place to sit outside. Things are a bit less good inside. Although there’s a dining room, drinkers are squeezed into a strangely blind back room, a corridor or the cosier front bar, though this is often divided by a queue of people waiting for drinks. There’s a fire but the best place to sit is out of the way in the window. I was a bit surprised to find the fire unlit and the Hawkshead Red in poor condition a couple of days before New Year’s Eve but things were better on New Year’s Eve itself.

2 Jan 2007 15:34

Wainwrights Inn, Great Langdale

I agree with the general tenor of the previous comments. This pub was pretty much built from scratch in the 1980s, replacing a smaller hotel bar, and is part of the Langdale complex. For that reason it is a family eating sort of place – not a place to escape from children – and isn’t very atmospheric. But on the other hand, the décor is perfectly pleasant with a real fire and there are 6 real beers (on New Year’s Day: three Thwaites, two Barngates and a Derwent Brewery beer). A casual glance at previous pump clips suggested a commendable local bias.

2 Jan 2007 15:04

The New Britannia, Preston

I popped in here yesterday and enjoyed a fine 5% Wigan beer. There were perhaps 4 or 5 other beers (changing guests, it turns out) and an atmosphere which suggested that beer quality mattered to bar staff and customers. The pub is fairly basic and fairly small with 2 rooms, one of which is for a pool table. It isn't open all day but it is a really good beer orientated, Camra type pub.

12 Dec 2006 21:38

The Golden Rule, Ambleside

A regular in the Camra Good Beer Guide, this little pub is well placed for the paths off Red Screes and Dove Crag. I have three slight qualms: it can be quite smokey; there can be a surprisingly large number of dogs; and it is a Robinson’s pub. That said, it has pleasant atmosphere, six beers (so you can pick the best of the Robinson’s beers: I think Double Hop) and is cosy if you can get near the fire. (Not a food pub although I may have once seen a roll on the bar.)

10 Dec 2006 14:47

The Langstrath Country Inn, Stonethwaite

This is now under new ownership and so previous comments about atmosphere hopefully will no longer apply. The bar is a small with a good fire at one end: very welcome on a damp cold November afternoon. Today there were four beers (two Jennings beers, Black Sheep and Hesket Newmarket). The setting is obviously great. (It may be worth noting that it will not be open during Christmas week this year.)

26 Nov 2006 18:58

Dog and Gun, Keswick

This is a Camra favourite pub in Keswick, tucked 50 yards away from the market place. On my visit the beer comprised Theakston's Best Bitter and O.P., Yates Bitter and Keswick Brewing Company Thirst Run (a light but very pleasant beer). In winter there's a good fire at one end of the long bar (though it can get too hot if you are drawn to sit next to it). There's pleasant simple food (no chips!) including a great goulash. It can get a bit smokey and you need to get there early to secure a table for evening food but other than that it's the sort of pub that raises the spirits when you walk through the bar.

21 Nov 2006 17:21

The Stickle Barn Tavern, Great Langdale

Descending the very popular path from Stickle Tarn on a preternaturally warm day in late October I was able to compare both the Stickle Barn and New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel, 50 yards apart in the same complex. The Stickle Barn had 5 beers on (Coniston Old Man, Theakstons Bitter and OP, Deuchars IPA and Barngates Catnap) whilst the New Dungeon Ghyll just had two Thwaites beers. At both pubs, the food was pretty ordinary but at £5 for snacks and main meals for between £7-9 was cheap for the Lakes. (So both are more for taking on fuel on a walk than a great lunch out but I’d say the Stickle Barn seemed slightly better.) Whilst the main room of the Barn is a bit cheerless, there is a second cosier room with a lit stove. (The New Dungeon Ghyll is somewhere between the two in feel.) The main difference however was that it took 20 minutes to get served at New Dungeon Ghyll whilst, although generally busier, the Stickle Barn seemed a much more efficient operation. For a beer sitting outside, looking at the view, the Stickle Barn seems the best bet of all three pubs nearby. But inside, I’d say the Old Dungeon Ghyll half a mile away is by far the best in atmosphere. (And sadly the New Dungeon Ghyll seems to have little to recommend it at the moment.)

30 Oct 2006 11:10

The Black Bull, Haltwhistle

This is a cosy little pub tucked down a side road from the market square in Haltwhistle. There is a main bar area and a further small dining room to the right. Tables are small in the bar area and eating here is informal but the food, whilst surprisingly expensive (the town doesn’t feel like a tourist destination), was very good. A number of beers were available on my visit and there is clearly a rapid turnover although I had to take the first beer back, which is always unsettling (there was no problem about an exchange, at least, and the beer was then taken off). This was the last pub I managed on a cycling holiday before damaged tendons sent me off to the station the next morning but, despite that, I really enjoyed the final evening here.

9 Oct 2006 12:55

The Angel, Corbridge

This is a very posh pub or hotel really (don't enter by the left hand door if under-dressed!) with light spacious feel and a food focus. Nevertheless it also has some interesting beers: High House Farm Nel's Best, Wylam Golden Tankard, and Durham Brewery Magus on my visit. One can sit outside overlooking the road and, on a warm september lunchtime, it seemed a good place for a pre-prandial.

9 Oct 2006 12:45

Alum Ale House, South Shields

Located by the passenger ferry landing, this is a great pub to wait for the next ferry. I think there were 5 interesting beers on offer on my visit including Oakham Ales Monpessons Gold, the Rev James, High House Farm Auld Hemp and Houston Killellan. There’s a strange outside seating area (we didn’t have time to lock our bikes) but inside is comfortable and feels friendly.

9 Oct 2006 12:24

The Old Well, Barnard Castle

I didn’t know the history of this pub but compared to the other pubs in the town it is a gem. Decent Taylors Landlord, Black Sheep bitter and Directors (oh well, two out of three isn’t bad) and very good food. It is clearly now a foodie pub but before 7pm and after 9pm would also be the best place to drink in town. Given the competition I can forgive the pub its foolish tub chairs!

9 Oct 2006 12:12

Tan Hill Inn, Keld

As well as the Pennine Way, this is now on the cycling W2W route and thus a welcome stop after a hellish ascent. There are three main areas each of which is comfortable rather than smart. Six hand-pumps for three Back Sheep beers (including Emmerdale and Riggwelter) and three Theakstons beers (inc OP). Our random selection was in good condition. The fire is a god-send on dark and wet afternoons but the best feature, on my visit (mid-September 06), was a cute if feisty kitten on the bar.

9 Oct 2006 12:07

Hawkshead Brewery Beer Hall, Staveley

The new (ie. 2nd) Hawkshead Brewery in Staveley has an attached Beer Hall. It is on the first floor of a fine old mill building in the Staveley Mill yard (home also to a number of small businesses including Wheelbase, the cycle shop, and Wilf's Cafe, a Lake District institution). The Beer Hall is joined to Wilf's and food or beer can be carried between them. It is akin to a U.S. brew pub with wood floor, wooden furniture and a light, spacious and slightly industrial feel. When I visited in heavy rain, the view of the rising river Kent provided a typical Lakes’ entertainment. (In better weather it may be possible to walk through Wilf’s and stand out on the deck over looking the river.) There were five (Hawkshead, obviously) beers: Bitter, Red, Gold, UPA and Five Hop and some bottled cider / lager for any benighted souls not up to real ale. Sadly opening hours are limited: 12noon - 7pm Wed/Thurs/Fri and 12noon - 5pm Sat & Sun. But well worth a visit.

6 Sep 2006 10:16

The Watermill Inn, Ings

Given that everyone else has said very positive things about this pub I’d like to point out the slight disadvantages since, given the very favourable reviews here and the CAMRA commendation, I’d have had very high expectations and then been a bit disappointed. Perhaps these are just tiny quibbles but:
1) though there are 16 beers most, except for OP, are below 4% so one can’t work slowly up through flavour and strength. I am not convinced they are always in completely perfect condition (but I should add I’ve never had to return a beer). Visiting with a friend last week we both decided we’d actually had fresher tasting beer at the Eagle and Child earlier.
2) whilst the main bar area is attractive, it is windowless and the other rooms can be dominated by eating (though, thankfully, it has not become a restaurant like, say, the Drunken Duck). Somehow the atmosphere /lighting just isn’t great: there’s no perfect table, for example.
3) on one recent visit there was folk music in the main bar and story telling in the other. I know this is great for some people but it’s worth knowing the risk if neither appeal.
All that said, it is clearly a very good, beer focussed, pub. It’s just not perfect.

28 Aug 2006 19:07

Globe, Kendal

This pub is on the Market Place in the centre of Kendal. It serves Thwaites Original and Lancaster Bomber and, because of the latter, is worth popping in for a beer especially if one sits upstairs looking out of a window. (Downstairs can be quite smokey.) On a Saturday lunchtime it is often quite full (with people eating what looks to be reasonable functional and fairly cheap food) but is emptier by about 3pm.

21 Aug 2006 16:45

The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

One slight caveat having now visited the Brewery for a year. At its best, the Brewery is very pleasant indeed:
the outdoor area is very useful and attractive;
the pizzas are so much better than Zeffirellis in Ambleside (and Kendal turned down a Pizza Express!);
there can be 6 beers including 3 changing guests.
But at its worst, there can often be merely 3 rather dull beers or even, on one occasion, none; the bar can be stiflingly hot; the muzak too loud for conversation; and they can run out of cheese (a pizzeria with no cheese!). I do hope these problems can be ironed out and I hope the Brewery made financially secure for the future.

21 Aug 2006 16:28

The Hare and Hounds, Bowland Bridge

This pub sits in the tiny Hamlet of Bowland Bridge in the Winster valley and beneath the Masons Arms (which is visible higher up the valley side). It has two cosy rooms downstairs with the bar in one and also a useful table upstairs for 6 people. The beer on my visit was Jennings Bitter and Cumberland and the house bitter 'Hare'. I visited it with guests who had a couple of small children, assuming it would be less formal and cheaper than the Masons Arms. That isn't true and the atmosphere was perhaps not as relaxed as one might wish - we didn't order quickly enough because of the children (I'm amazed how really good publicans can be relaxed running busy food pubs, but they can be / are). For those reasons I would prefer the Masons. But the food was good if in the £10-£15 range and the beer pleasant. There's a good looking beer garden for when the sun shines (better than the Masons). Best to try it and decide yourself!

21 Aug 2006 16:19

The Masons Arms, Strawberry Bank

As a post-script. I ate here on a very sunny Sunday in July and, although it was very busy outside, having booked a table upstairs (table 6 is wonderfully formal, by the way) enjoyed a pleasantly quiet meal. Although the food is expensive the Beef Cobbler was well worth it (if perhaps sufficient calories to outweigh the good effects of a week's walking). It's not far (though a drive) from Gummer's How if you fancy staggering (after the Cobbler!) a half mile from the road up to a good view.

27 Jul 2006 14:33

The Marton Arms, Thornton in Lonsdale

A number of friends booked in here for my partner's 40th birthday this week and thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and fine beer choice. There's both a beer yard at the front of the pub and a small garden to the rear and ample seating inside. I suspect the menu is too large and the food was perhaps not as good as it might be (not as good as I remember): perhaps sticking to the specials might be safest. But I'd certainly stay there again and, obviously, drop in for beer when driving down the A65.

27 Jul 2006 14:24

The Castle Inn, Kendal

This is a proper pub with Black Sheep Bitter, Tetleys (spit, spit!), Jennings Cumberland and a Dent brewery beer (the one to have). The food is amazingly cheap and, for the price, very good (in a scampi, sausages, pie kind of way). Unlike some Kendal pubs, it has lots of atmosphere (although the downside of this is that a near fight at a funeral wake didn't seem so surprising). The only real problem is that it can be very very smokey.

27 Jul 2006 11:34

The Brotherswater Inn, Hartsop

Although there are fine views, a growing number of interesting locally brewed beers and some very good food (at a price!) in the Lake District, lots of the pubs seem to have some particular fault or other: the hikers bar is dire (Scafell Hotel), the pub is really cold and draughty in winter (Old Dungeon Ghyll), there's no space inside (Britannia), there's no view outside (Watermill) etc. Given this, I half wonder whether the Brotherswater Inn is the best pub in Cumbria, not so much because it is brilliant at anything but it does not get anything wrong. It has four changing beers (last night: Jennings Bitter and Cumberland, Barngates Chester's Strong and Ugly, Tirril Old Faithful), a nice sense of light and space outside in summer, a fire inside in winter and entirely reasonable food. Try it and then tell me of a better all round pub.

27 Jul 2006 11:28

The Patterdale Hotel, Patterdale

Descending Helvellyn on a warm summer evening there is a depressing choice of places for an interesting beer: the two hotels and the one real pub in Glendridding don't offer a good beer between them. But a man in a Camra T-shirt lasted night suggested the Patterdale Hotel. It's a big chain pub and the atmosphere in the bar is poor. Sitting outside, however, there is a fine view of Place Fell, not entirely shaded for the evening sun and one can enjoy either Landlord or a Heskett Newmarket micro-brewery beer (Helvellyn Gold last night). It doesn't compare to the Brotherswater Inn 4 miles south but for an immediate beer in nice surroundings when you can sit outside, it is worth knowing about.

27 Jul 2006 11:13

The Queens Head Hotel, Troutbeck

After spending a glorious July Sunday evening on an empty Red Screes (empty by 7pm with the whole of the Lakes still spread before one), I picked the Queens for my post walk pint. There was a good choice of beer (Jennings Cocker Hoop perhaps the best on that evening but also beer by Hawkshead and Coniston available) and, sitting outside that evening, it wasn't very busy. The inside is surprisingly large but pleasantly broken up into smaller rooms. Asking a diner who was paying at the bar about the food, I got only a fairly cautious recommendation (portions perhaps rather small for the standardly high Lake District prices) but I will certainly try eating there myself.

18 Jul 2006 16:23

The Hole int' Wall, Bowness on Windermere

This is a medium sized, split level pub with a seating yard outside. Think: dark wood, fireplaces, animal head trophies on the walls. The beer, on my recent visits, has comprised a couple of Robinsons beers and Hartleys XB. Given how dull that last beer has become in recent years, the Robinsons Double Hop is the obvious choice and has been good. I have not tried the food because, after an evening kayaking, I've found that the fish and chip shop on nearby Fallbarrow Road has the nicest, firmest haddock.

4 Jul 2006 10:42

The Sun Hotel and Bar, Lancaster

As an earlier comment says, this is a beautiful C17 pub converted into a contemporary real ale bar. There are up to 6 changing real ales with, usually, a good representation of Lancaster Brewery beers. Whilst there are only smidgeons of food in the evening, the lunchtime pie is the best I have ever had in a pub. I wish this were my local.

25 Jun 2006 15:48

The Miles Thompson, Kendal

This is Kendal's Wetherspoons pub and shares many of the pros and cons of that chain. Thus the food is cheap but uninspiring and the beer is cheap but generally in good condition. Strangely, in the run up to Christmas I found myself one of only six people in the pub (which can house hundreds) at 10:30pm (the contrast a day later with the 'Spoons on Leicester Square was dramatic). More recently, however, it has been packed on weekend evenings and getting served thus a major task. There is a beer yard behind which is useful in Kendal where the sun cracks the flags most days.

25 Jun 2006 12:49

The Riverside Hotel, Kendal

This is a hotel bar rather than a pub that happens to be called a hotel and as such may be thought by some to be a dreadful place to go for a drink by choice. It is true that the decor has rather an anonymous and corporate feel: tub chairs on a slate floor with identical wooden tables. But it has two Hawkshead beers - which tasted excellent on my visit – and is thus the only regular outlet in Kendal (I think). One half is smoke free and thus the place to go if fed up of the smoke in the nearby – albeit more generally atmospheric - Castle.

25 Jun 2006 12:38

The Bridge of Orchy Hotel, Bridge Of Orchy

I stopped for lunch on a wet summer Friday coming back from Knoydart. The bar area is hardly cosy but would be better in winter with the stove lit or on a rare sunny summer day. The Deuchars IPA and Caledonian 80 shillings were, however, very well kept and although (or perhaps because) the food menu is fairly modest both the steak casserole and the chowder were excellent (around £9). A procession of West Highland Way walkers recommended to one another the soup of the day. Had rooms not cost £95 I might have been tempted to stay (there is a bunk house also).

25 Jun 2006 12:23

The New Bulls Head, Stratford Upon Avon

Just to add to my comment from two years ago: this is still an excellent pub with fine Uley Old Spot, good if fairly expensive food and with a pleasant terrace on which to sit out in summer (should that happen this year). Whilst one will not see RSC actors after a show here, the beer is so much better than at the Dirty Duck.

30 May 2006 15:59

The Black Dog, Belmont

If you like Holts and need a family friendly pub by the moors, this pub fits the bill. There is a substantial menu of standard pub food. Try the range of bottled Holts beers if the bitter seems dull.

14 May 2006 17:52

Ring O' Bells, Kendal

This small characterful comfy pub has three rooms including a tiny, but not very snug, snug. It has been in the Good Beer Guide in the past. Now with a new and very friendly landlady, the beer has still been good recently with a guests such as Abbot and Speckled Hen. I've not tried the food menu yet.

14 May 2006 17:28

The Shakespeare Inn, Kendal

The landlord of this long thin pub on the main road through Kendal is clearly makiing an effort. As well as Theakston's ordinary bitter there's a well kept changing guest (it's been around the 5% mark when I've visited). The food at around £5 is very good value if of the scampi and chips variety.

14 May 2006 17:22

Grey Wall Inn, Windermere

On a Friday evening in April this was a busy pub but not packed. There were seats hidden away behind the tv screen so conversation was possible. The beer was Black Sheep Bitter and Moorhouse Black Cat. It would be good to know a more comfortable pub with better beer selection nearby but failing that I would go back if necessary.

27 Apr 2006 13:22

Three Shires Inn, Little Langdale

This is a good pub in a delightful valley but thankfully not always impossibly busy. The beer is, I think, Coniston Bluebird, Jennings Bitter and a Hawkshead beer (so that's the one to drink!). The food is fairly good and fairly good value (relative to generally high Lakes prices). There are two rooms one with a slate floor and sometimes a real fire. It's not quite the most atmospheric of Lakes pubs but it's very sound.

19 Apr 2006 11:59

The Masons Arms, Strawberry Bank

This is a delightful pub but it can be very busy even though it is off the main tourist track. It overlooks the broad valley of the River Winster and has tables outside in a yard. Inside there are three small rooms, one with a fire. Of the four beers, the Hawkshead Gold seemed the most interesting and was in good condition. It is a food-orientated pub with an interesting but therefore fairly expensive (even for these parts) menu.

18 Apr 2006 10:07

The Sun Hotel, Coniston

The location is what makes this a good pub. From the patio behind it, one looks out over the Coniston valley or back up towards Swirl How and Wetherlam. (There's also a bit of a garden below.) In winter there's quite a cosy bar with a fire. Beer this weekend included Coniston Bluebird, Hawkshead Bitter and Adnams Broadside. I cannot vouch for the food but it looks fairly traditional at typical (ie expensive) Lake District prices.

18 Apr 2006 09:58

The Eagles Head, Satterthwaite

This is an unpretentious pub on the main road through Satterthwaite a couple of miles away from the developing Grizedale Forest facilities (mountain biking, adventure playground etc). On a generally busy Easter weekend in the Lakes it was - perhaps surprisingly - not completely packed out. Beers included 2 Barngates beers and a Moorhouse. The food at around £8 per main course is fairly good value if rather traditional (pies, fish, scampi etc).

18 Apr 2006 09:45

The Tower Bank Arms, Sawrey

Now under new and friendlier management. The removal of the photographs and a slight rearrangement of the furniture makes things seem a bit brighter. There were four beers on this weekend: two Hawkshead, a Derwent Brewery beer and a Barngates beer in good condition. The food has changed and I’d say was a bit expensive for what it is, even for the Lakes. (The baked mushroom starter, for example, was very disappointing: small and single, little sign of the filling and hardly baked.) But worth a try.

18 Apr 2006 09:33

Eagle and Child Inn, Staveley

This is a very pleasant, relaxed and informal pub. The real fire, comfy chairs in the bay windows and mixture of large and small tables verges on the gently shabby rather than the brutally neat but this adds to the atmosphere. On dark evenings it is mainly - and delightfully - lit by candles. There are four or so well kept changing local beers. The food is good, again in a generous and fairly simple style rather than formal and elaborate. It is my favourite pub in this corner of the Park and these days eclipses the nearby Watermill at Ings.

22 Feb 2006 20:53

The Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

This is a busy Arts Centre with a busy bar and small restaurant attached (very good pizzas are available in both). The beer varies but there are between 3 and 6: regulars being Jennings Cumberland Ale, Yates Bitter and (I think) Black Sheep but there can be three further guests. To eat in the bar on a Friday or Saturday evening one needs to arrive early. In summer the split level outside area is very pleasant. The Brewery runs the risk of being the obvious place to go in Kendal.

6 Jan 2006 13:56

The Station, Oxenholme

This is a pleasant pub up a steep road through trees from Oxenholme station. The beer is Flowers Original, Black Sheep Bitter and Tirril Old Faithful which is fairly, rather than very, well kept. The surroundings are pleasant with a large smoke-free area both in an eating lounge and at the half of the bar and also a smoking area from the other half of the bar. Food is popular. It is underneath the Helm which makes a good brief stroll for views over Kendal to the Lake District hills.

5 Jan 2006 22:21

The Cape of Good Hope, Warwick

This is a good pub but I'm not sure that it is a brilliant one. It serves a range of 6 or so beers including 2 or 3 unusual ones and it is liked by local Camra members which suggests the condition is generally as good as it was when I was last there; it has a canal side location (albeit in a bit of a light-industrial quarter of Warwick); the food looks good (although I've not eaten there in a couple of years). The minor 'but' is about atmosphere. But because that is very subjective I strongly suggest you try it if in the Warwick area. (The competitor pub for beer in Warwick is the Fourpenny Shop which is also not completely brilliant in feel/decor to my taste. But both are well worth supporting.)

16 Mar 2005 17:40

The Plough Inn, Warmington

I visited on Sunday 7th March 2005 and found a well kept pub with good beer (including Tanners Jack and a White Horse beer I think). There was a warm atmosphere in a low ceiling / bric a brac sort of way but also a variety of wine neatly displayed and a good looking menu on a chalk board.

8 Mar 2005 16:47

The Green Man, Kenilworth

"Patronising arrogant"? There's nothing wrong with cheapish but good value food: one can eat there often. But useful, surely, to know that that is what's on offer if, mistakenly, one expected more the style of food to go with the Kenilworth eatery mentioned by Russler (in which sadly I've never been able to afford to eat).

11 Feb 2005 18:03

The Three Tuns, Bishops Castle

This is an attractive pub serving its own micro-brewed beer which was very good. It has an attactive beamed interior and serves food. There were free sausages were on the bar on my visit (6:30pm Friday).

6 Dec 2004 10:24

The Six Bells, Bishops Castle

This is a fine pub which serves beer from the attached micro-brewery (4 on my visit, 3 lighter hoppy beers and one dark substantial winter beer). One room is a real drinkers' bar with a fire (and chestnuts really were roasting on my visit), motley collection of tables etc, camra guides and so forth. Another, again simply furnished, is set out for eating. Sadly I did not get chance to sample anything other than the free roast potato on the bar.

6 Dec 2004 10:13

The Graduate, Warwick University

Now in its third year, this is the only plausible source of real ale at the University of Warwick (the quality at other bars being low). It has Tiger and its own Church End Graduate Ale on handpull and up to three guest beers by gravity. Because - I assume - of fluctuating demand the guest beers run out quite often. But it is an attractive retreat for much of the day with fairly reliable beer.

23 Nov 2004 10:40

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