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BITE user comments - steve2905

Comments by steve2905

Thorn Tree, Langley Mill


The Thorn Tree is a long established road side inn on the A610 at Woodlinkin between Langley Mill and Codnor. Like many similar pubs, it fell on hard times in the 1990s and probably would have been closed and demolished by now if it had not been taken over a few years ago by George's Tradition, an East Midlands chain of fish and chip shops. After extensive refurbishment it re-opened as a fully licenced fish and chip restaurant and has gone from strength to strength from there. There is even a take-away if you're in a hurry.
Needless to say, the fish and chips etc are first class and reasonably priced – especially the children's meals. There are three hand pulls – when we visited last Saturday only one was clipped – for Dancing Duck Sapphire, which was excellent too.

The staff were really friendly, helpful, efficient and genuine, rather than being the brainwashed, pre-programmed zombies employed by some other outlets. The major downside is the road access from the dual carriageway. No problem if you are heading towards Codnor on the A610, but in the opposite direction you need to overshoot the pub and use one of the authorised U-turn locations. Ditto if you are continuing towards Langley Mill after your visit.

6 Oct 2015 05:19

The Wheatsheaf, Stoke on Trent


At first sight, this is a bog standard Wetherspoons outlet, but where it bucks the trend is the excellent service, not normally a feature of Tim Martin's establishments. On a busy Friday lunchtime, I was served with drinks almost immediately, the food soon followed. The tables were cleared (and cleaned) very promptly. There were 12 hand pulls in use – three or four the usual JDW suspects, but also a good selection of guests from near and far. I opted for a Marston's Old Empire – one of my favourites and I wasn't disappointed.

There certainly did not appear to be too much evidence of the Stoke lowlife frequenting the pub, the major downside was running the gauntlet of the smokers gathered around the entrance.

3 Oct 2015 23:30

Duke of Wellington, Acrefair


We called in here in August after a very pleasant cruise on a narrow boat along the Llangollen Canal across the stunning Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and back. Only a short distance from the boatyard, this is an unspoilt friendly two room pub located in a short layby off the A539. Only Doombar and Bombardier available on hand pump, but my two pints of the latter were excellent and were served by two very pleasant ladies. We didn't eat here but the menu looks amazing – nothing poncy – just bloody good honest home cooked pub food. The size of their all day breakfast at just £5.00 is unbelievable !!! No wonder it seems popular with the locals

1 Oct 2015 01:14

The Maypole Inn, Long Preston


The Maypole certainly deserves its high BITE rating. OK, it is not perfect by any means, but the beer, the food and the staff are all excellent. Three hand pulls were available – Black Sheep, Copper Dragon Bitter and J.W.Lees Bitter. I did not try the Black Sheep but my pints of the other two were tip top. The food was pretty good too. The steak and ale pie with homemade chips and mushy peas was yummy.

21 Sep 2015 03:35

Derwent Hotel, Whatstandwell


Another Greene King failure. This once very popular and busy Kimberley pub on the A6 began going downhill after G-K took over the Hardy & Hanson Brewery at Kimberley and tried to foist their dreadful imitations of the once great Kimberley Bitter and Olde Trip that they were now brewing at Bury St Edmunds on the public.

The result is the Derwent Hotel is now de-licenced and has been renamed the Family Tree and is now no more than a roadside cafe. A similar fate has befallen another once popular and busy former Kimberley pub, the Homesford Cottage, less than a mile north on the A6.

11 Sep 2015 06:12

The Prince Llewellyn, Beddgelert


That this dump is currently rated as the best pub in Beddgelert on BITE is a total travesty. Reviews in 2008 and 2010 described it as “shabby” and “tatty.” In August 2015 nothing seems to have altered except that the decline has continued. OK, my pint of Robinson's Trooper wasn't too bad quality wise, but there was no enjoyment drinking it in such dreadful surroundings. My wife said that the ladies loo was disgusting and there was not even any toilet paper.

How Robinsons, whose pubs in my book are normally pretty good, can have let this place deteriorate so much is a mystery. Their other two pubs in the village – the Saracen's Head and the Tanronen are both much better. As for the Prince Llewellyn 0/10.

24 Aug 2015 03:18

Royal Queen, Grantham


The Royal Queen does not seem to have changed very much since the previous review in 2010. There are still two Everard's brews (Tiger and Sunchaser) on the handpumps – but although my pint of Sunchaser was OK, I have had much better ones elsewhere. The previous reviewer said don't go out of your way to visit here and I don't altogether disagree with that. It is a typical suburban estate type of pub, but as one of the nearest pubs to Belton House, for us it was a worth the short detour from the A607 to unwind after an exhausting afternoon with our grandsons on Belton's amazing adventure playground.

8 Aug 2015 06:05

Stag, Barkston, Grantham


The Stag is certainly worth more than its present 5.9 rating. In my book it deserves to be much nearer 8/10. It is in delightful position on one the side of Barkston's unspoilt village green and I have no complaints about the beer. My two pints of Everard's Tiger were excellent,. They also had Beacon and a guest ale from the Bath Brewery on the handpumps. The staff were friendly and efficient and everywhere, including the toilets, were spotlessly clean. We did not eat here so I cannot comment about the food.

It is the nearest pub to Belton House and was the ideal place to relax with a quiet drink before meeting our daughter-in-law and our two lively grandsons for a frenetic afternoon on Belton's brilliant adventure playground ...

8 Aug 2015 05:57

The Abbey, Derby


I am pleased to report that the Abbey has now almost fully recovered from the trauma of Humphrey Smith's totally disastrous decision to let a couple of completely inexperienced kids try to run the pub. During their tenure of the Abbey, it was only kept alive thanks to the heroic efforts of barmaids Nikki and Philippa. Thankfully the new tenants, Kevin and Sue seem to be intent on keeping up the high standards set by Lee and Sally Jackson. The mass exodus of regulars after Lee and Sally departed last November has been reversed and the atmosphere is starting to buzz again – and the OBB is as good as ever. Good luck to the new management and thanks again to Nikki and Philippa for keeping the Abbey alive.

31 Jul 2015 06:34

The Old Bell, Derby


The front bar reopened earlier this month after a tasteful refurbishment which must have cost mega bucks.

6 hand pumps of which 5 were in use when I called in last week. 2 were from the local Dancing Duck Brewery (Dark Drake and Ginger Ninja), and 2 from Salopian (Oracle and Lemon Dream) plus Bass were all available. I had two excellent pints of Oracle which were in really tip-top condition.

The slight downside is that there does not seem to be much atmosphere at the moment. Maybe some old photographs on the walls would help, but potentially this and the adjoining Tudor Room will be “must visit” venues on future pub crawls of Derby city centre.

I am giving it an 8/10 to thank and encourage the local entrepreneur who has rescued this Derby institution from oblivion.

20 Jul 2015 02:58

The Fox And Hounds, Coxbench


Seeming now a popular gastro-pub, with the accent on food rather than drink. Only Pedigree and Doombar available on hand pumps. For a serious beer drinker, I guess that says it all – the Pedigree was drinkable but it was WELL below par. The food is good quality, freshly prepared and nicely presented, but is rather expensive and the menu varies on a daily basis, so you have to stand and read several chalkboards to see what is available.

As a pub, only 4/10. If you want decent real ale, the Queens Head at Little Eaton and the Dead Poets at Holbrook, only a mile or so away are both a million times better.

19 Jul 2015 02:14

The Lattice House, Kings Lynn


This is certainly not the usual sort of Wetherspoons outlet that we either love or hate. In my book, the Lattice House is a real gem. It is a Grade 2* listed building whose history as pub goes back several centuries and much of the atmosphere seems to have been preserved. That said, it is probably better now than it has ever been. I counted 10 handpumps – 5 dispensing the regular JDW suspects; the remainder were clipped for Norfolk brewed ales from Adnams, Woodfordes and Wolf breweries – all at very reasonable prices. My pint of Tasmanian Wolf IPA was excellent and so was the service. A well deserved 9/10 from me.

7 Jul 2015 02:55

Kings Head Hotel, Hoveton

A large, rambling pub in the centre of the village which is obviously geared up to cater for the tourist trade. It also seems to be geared to RIP OFF tourists. £6.05 for a pint of Woodforde's Nelson's Revenge (4.5% abv) and a J20 is way OTT, specially when the beer less than top quality. It was drinkable, but I have had much better pints elsewhere.

6 Jul 2015 02:16

Bridge Inn, Duffield


One of only four pubs remaining in Duffield, the Bridge Inn is in an attractive location at the side of the River Derwent on the road to Little Eaton. Formerly a Home Ales house, it is now part of Marston's empire.

The accent is on food, but nothing really special – the usual Two for One kind of fare – the quality of which can vary depending on which chef is in charge of the kitchen. I have had some excellent meals there, equally I have had some pretty dire ones. There are usually up to four hand pulled real ales available – Pedigree, plus “guest ales” from one of the Marston group breweries. These are usually pretty good and served by pleasant barstaff.

The plus points are a large car park and the lovely outside riverside terrace. This is great when the weather is warm and sunny, specially on summer evenings when the sound of church bells sometimes drifts across the river from the nearby parish church.

30 Jun 2015 05:18

Wilmot Arms, Derby


Over recent years most of the pubs in the sprawling residential Derby suburb of Chaddesden have closed, but the oldest, The Wilmot Arms, has bucked that trend and has recently been bought and completely refurbished by Steamin' Billy Brewing Co. It is the brewery's first pub outside Leicestershire and hopefully it will not be their last in the Derby area. The Steamin' Billy Bitter is an excellent brew. The downside is that although it is on a bus route, the Wilmot is a bit too far out of town to be on the regular pub crawl circuit.

18 Jun 2015 23:22

The County and Station, Matlock


Congratulations to Lee and Sally and their team for being voted Matlock and District CAMRA's Town Pub of the Year after only six months of running the County & Station.

24 May 2015 02:41

The Chine Inn, Shanklin


Visited twice during a short break to the IoW last week as it was the nearest real ale pub to where we were staying. The choice of ale was a bit disappointing – Doombar and Bolt Maker on the hand pumps and Landlord from the barrel. Both times I opted for the Bolt Maker (£3.50/pint) which was excellent. The pub is rather tired, but somehow this seems to add to the atmosphere of the place. Add to that, some really friendly locals and a very politically incorrect landlord whose acerbic observations had us laughing until it hurt, made drinking here a real pleasure.

12 May 2015 03:47

The Green House, Belper

The Kelham Island Riders of the Storm was in really superb condition today and served by a very efficient (and very pretty) barmaid. At £2.70 a pint excellent value too.

6 May 2015 03:11

Metrobar, Derby


Now sadly down to two hand pumps - but only one clipped - Bass. But not a bad pint and at £2.50 a pint, pretty good value for a city centre pub.

Overall, no longer a must visit boozer in the real ale capital of the world.

30 Apr 2015 23:51

The Swan Inn, Aston Munslow


The family run Swan, which is claimed to be the oldest pub in Shropshire, is located in the attractive village of Aston Munslow on the B4368 road from Craven Arms to Much Wenlock.

We called in for a lunchtime pint on our way home from a lovely short break near Ludlow. The Swan proved to be an excellent choice. It was spotlessly clean, very comfortable, the staff are genuinely very welcoming and there is a selection of local ales. My two pints of Hobson's Town Crier were in absolutely tip-top condition.

This is a pub that deserves to succeed BIG time ....

22 Apr 2015 05:16

The Park Tavern, Kingswinford



We called in here for a lunchtime pint and a cob on the recommendation of one of the staff of the nearby Broadfield House Glass Museum. It was a good call. The Batham's Bitter was first class and the crusty cobs were excellent and super value for money. I wish my local pubs were as good as this ...

20 Apr 2015 04:10

The Feathers Hotel, Ludlow


I honestly cannot see why this is currently rated as the top pub in Britain – and by such a large margin. In my book, it is NOT even the best pub in Ludlow, never mind the rest of the UK.

Yes, the frontage of the main building is architecturally outstanding, but the bar is located in the plainer building next door. The bar itself is clean and comfortable, but beyond that, it NOTHING special. The same goes for the beers. I tried two out of the three beers - a pint of Hobson's Old Prickly and a pint of Ludlow Boiling Well, which were both OK, but not outstanding. This is just a VERY average pub, which for some reason seems to be being over hyped … 6.5/10 would be a more accurate score.

19 Apr 2015 05:52

The Church Inn, Ludlow


The Church has been a favourite of mine since I first visited Ludlow in 2008, so I have been rather concerned by the recent spate of negative reviews. Having called in for a pint during a recent visit to the town, I can only conclude that there is some sort of conspiracy to talk down the Church and hype the Feathers.

In my book the Church is as good as ever. OK, the interior is perhaps getting a little tired, but the service was good and there is an excellent choice of mainly local ales. My pint of Hobson's Town Crier was superb.

19 Apr 2015 05:49

Arkwrights Real Ale Bar, Belper


Called in for a swift half to pass the time whilst waiting for a bus. Seeing that Thornbridge Jaipur was available, there was an immediate change of plan – from a swift half to a very leisurely pint or two and sod the buses! And at £3.05 a pint, it is brilliant value for a 5.9% abv brew. Keep up the good work Mr. Arkwright !!!

9 Apr 2015 06:10

The County and Station, Matlock


The County & Station's second beer festival got underway yesterday with an excellent selection of 20 ales of various strengths to suit all tastes; 8 are on hand pumps, the remainder on stillages. All beers are £3 a pint, many from micros whose brews are not normally seen in Derbyshire. There are several ciders too. A selection of bar snacks is available. Although we didn't try one, the chip butties looked really yummy! The festival continues over the Easter weekend and is well worth a visit.

Keep up the good work Lee and Sally. After only four months, I am delighted to see that you have been nominated for the Matlock and Dales CAMRA Pub of the Year!

3 Apr 2015 05:59

The Beehive, Liverpool


Called in to pass the time whilst my wife was shopping nearby. Not a bad pint of Directors and not too OTT pricewise (£3.23 if I remember correctly) Spitfire was also available.

But I was NOT impressed at having to stand for most of the time because more than half the tables are strictly reserved for diners only. This really p**sed me off because in the middle of the afternoon, nobody was eating, but the numerous drinkers were all herded together like sheep. This is a pub, not a restaurant. Trying to be both in such a confined space is not an option.

23 Mar 2015 03:57

The Encore, Stratford upon Avon


Fairly close to the RSC theatre and uses this fact to rip off tourists. It had three real ales on when I visited last week. I opted for a pint of Purity UBU which at £3.60 is probably about par for the centre of Stratford, but I do expect to be served a FULL pint – not one a good half inch below the top of the glass. Equally I do not appreciate the hateful look of the barman when I asked politely if he would top it up, or having the glass slammed down on the bar afterwards. After all that, it certainly wasn't one of the best pints of UBU I have had.

The biggest rip-off is charging £4.55 for a pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord. Apart from greed, how can this be justified ???

18 Mar 2015 05:39

The Red Lion, Stratford Upon Avon


This is a Whitbread Table Table establishment opposite the Premier Inn where we were stayed. It is very much food orientated. The menu is predictably chain pub and the quality similarly average.

The staff seem to be all programmed to sing from the same hymn book, which I find very depressing.

Only two real ales available. I opted for a pint of the locally brewed Old Hooky, which was served way too cold. In fact, my wife's white wine was warmer than my pint!

The pub is obviously geared up for the Stratford tourist trade. I just hope that not too many foreign visitors go away thinking that this is a typical English pub. 3/10.

17 Mar 2015 05:57

The Rose And Crown, Stratford Upon Avon


Almost opposite the Golden Bee on Sheep Street, but definitely not in the same league. Only two handpumps. I opted for a pint of Tornado from the Cheshire based Storm Brewery. It was served by a very pleasant young lady and the beer was OK, but not outstanding. Overall, the pub is tired and seems to lack atmosphere and my wife was very unimpressed by ladies toilet.

17 Mar 2015 05:53

The Golden Bee, Stratford Upon Avon


Called in once again on 12/3 for a pint en route to the RSC Theatre. The pub has 10 hand pumps, but most of them were labelled “Coming Soon.” The Duty Manager apologised for the lack of choice as they were getting ready for the JDW Beer Festival beginning on Friday 13th. I opted for a pint of North Cotswold Brewery's Windrush Ale at £2.65 which was excellent. I was also very impressed by the manager's enthusiasm to try to persuade JDW to include some beer served straight from racked casks in for future festivals.

After the RSC performance, I tried three more pubs nearby. In retrospect, I really regret that I didn't return to the Golden Bee.

14 Mar 2015 03:27

The Bridge Hotel, Stanford Bridge

3 glowing reviews in just over an hour - all by first timers. I smell a rat, but I'll let you draw your own conclusions ...

11 Mar 2015 15:18

The Bear Inn, Alderwasley


Called in for a pint on a miserable, cold, wet day last week. Only two beers available, Bass and Thornbridge Jaipur. Much as I would have loved a pint of the latter, I was driving, so opted for the Bass. It was not a bad pint and it was served by a very friendly lady.

But oh dear, the smell of stale cooking oil was horrendous and destroyed the taste of the Bass. Several hours later, when I arrived home, my wife could still smell it on my clothes.

6 Mar 2015 05:50

The Joiners Arms, Quarndon


Sorry, but I do not quite share twohalves's enthusiasm for the “new look” Joiners.

First impression as I parked the car was the incredible number of picnic benches on the pub's grassed areas – there must be 40 to 50 of them in total – enough to accommodate the entire population of Quarndon! But on a bitterly cold February day, drinking outside was not an option. In fairness, the inside of pub was comfortably warm, but the furniture, fittings and décor don't seem to have changed very much under the new regime.

The bar staff initially seemed to be friendly and efficient, but having watched and listened to them serving other customers, it seems to be entirely superficial. It is programmed politeness rather than a genuine welcome.

The pub is doing food now, but a brief glance at the menu put me off because of the high prices. The same goes for the drink. £3.40 for what was only a very average pint of Castle Rock Harvest Pale (3.8% abv) is well OTT, especially when a couple of miles down the road you can get a MUCH better kept pint of the same brew for £2.90.

The new management at the Joiners need to sharpen their act very quickly if they want to compete with the nearby Kedleston Hotel, shortly to be re-opened by the Derby Brewing Company. If the DBC revive the Kedleston in the same way that they have revived the Queens Head at Little Eaton, the Joiners will be in trouble.

5 Mar 2015 05:40

The New Inn, Shardlow


I called in the New Inn yesterday lunchtime when the pub was comfortably busy – mainly with diners, but I was NOT impressed by being charged £3.50 for a pint of Oakham JHB.

I do not mind paying that sort of price for a high gravity beer, but for a low gravity (3.8% abv) brew, £3.50 a pint is a RIP OFF. I have no complaints about the quality of my pint or the choice of the three or four other beers on offer.

That said, I won't be hurrying back ...

28 Feb 2015 07:30

The County and Station, Matlock


The County & Station is currently running an excellent mini beer festival which finishes tomorrow. There is a choice of 8 beers on handpump and 12 from the barrel, all at £3 a pint. 4 are Shiny Brews (it's a Shiny pub) with the others from micros in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cornwall and Gwent with abv's from 3.5% to 7%. Shipwreck, a superb 6.5% IPA from the Liverpool Organic Brewery is dangerously moreish! Some basic, but very tasty and reasonably priced, hot and cold bar snacks are available.

In the two months since they took over the County and Station, Sally and Lee in partnership with Pedro are already making a big impression on the Matlock beer scene.

31 Jan 2015 07:38

The Roebuck Inn, Nottingham


Located on a narrow lane off Angel Row on the north-west side of Slab Square. It was quite busy when I called in on Thursday, so inevitably there was a long wait to be served and almost impossible to find an empty table without any dirty plates or glasses on it.

It is a pity that Tim Martin and his team don't seem to be willing or able to cure this problem in many of their outlets because for me, it detracts from the enjoyment of drinking their usually well kept and reasonably priced real ales.

The Kelham Island Pale Rider (5.2% ABV) at £2.29 a pint was top notch, but I would have enjoyed much better if I hadn't been surrounded by dirty glasses and plates of leftover food.

25 Jan 2015 04:28

Company Inn, Nottingham


This is a JDW pub located in part of an old British Waterways building alongside the Nottingham Canal, but it faces fierce competition from the several other nearby pubs. I usually choose to drink here because as well as the usual JDW mainstream offerings, there is a good choice of reasonably priced, well kept other real ales.

I cannot fault the Purity Pure Gold at £1.95 a pint when I called here on Thursday and although there was the inevitable delay in being served, full credit to the barman for apologising for keeping me waiting.

24 Jan 2015 02:34

Bluebell Inn, Belper


I will not be returning here in a hurry after being charged a rip off £3.50 for a just about drinkable, but VERY POOR quality pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord. Add to that a very unwelcoming, if not a hostile atmosphere that, a stranger had dared to disturb the staff and a few other punters watching snooker on TV and the story is complete.

16 Jan 2015 00:33

The Greyhound Inn, Belper


The Greyhound is a spacious, two roomed, family friendly pub serving the large residential estates on the east side of Belper. It is just under a mile from the town centre.
There are usually up to four real ales available, but for me, the selection is never very inspiring. On my last visit, Pedigree, Doom Bar, Tribute and Abbot were available, but given that there are some really outstanding beers available from local micro-breweries, such as Blue Monkey, Thornbridge and Dancing Duck, (to name but a few), why sell mainstream beers from as far afield as Suffolk and Cornwall?

That said, the Greyhound has Cask Marque accreditation, so the beer is usually pretty good. I cannot comment about the food as I have never eaten here, but there seems to be plenty on the menu to suit most tastes and the prices also seem reasonable.

Another plus point is that the hourly Trent-Barton 6.2 Derby to Ripley buses stop outside.

14 Jan 2015 05:22

Last Post, Derby


This is the second micro-pub in Derby, the first being the Little Chester Ale House. Both are owned by the locally based Wentwell Brewery. Both were formerly shops, the Last Post having once been a Post Office. As would be expected, Wentwell brews are to the fore, and when I visited in October last year, their Derby Pale Ale (3.8% ABV) at £2.60 a pint was very drinkable.

That said, the Last Post seems to be even more spartan than their Chester Green outlet. OK, I may be old fashioned, but I prefer drinking in surroundings that offer a little more comfort and personal space. With Mr Grundy's only 150 yards or so along Ashbourne Road and the Greyhound, a similar distance in the opposite direction, I won't be hurrying back to the Last Post.

9 Jan 2015 03:07

The Nelson Brewery Tap, Chatham


I am not sure if the Nelson Brewery Tap really qualifies for a BITE entry as it only consists of a couple of picnic benches outside a micro brewery, which is housed in a unit in one of the buildings in the Historic Chatham Dockyard. Add to that the megabucks entrance fee charged visit the dockyard and the fact that Brewery Tap closes around 4.00pm, you will hopefully see my doubts about its BITE qualification.

But there is a shop in the unit that sells the full range of Nelson Brewery products in bottles and you can also buy a pint of the draught beer of the day to drink on the benches outside.

That said, a couple of pints here provided a very welcome relief during a visit to the Dockyard back in late August, when fortunately the weather was OK …..

7 Jan 2015 06:23

Five Lamps, Derby


My boozing companion and I have visited the Five Lamps several times in the last few months since we discovered that our favourite brew, the superb Thornbridge Jaipur (5.9% ABV) is usually available here at a very reasonable price (£3.50 a pint). At the other end of the strength scale there is normally Castle Rock Harvest Pale (3.8%ABV) and a range of twelve other beers of different types and alcohol content in between. Several are from local breweries but Everard's Tiger is usually available, because Everards own the pub.

It's a long time since I've eaten here, so I'm unable to comment about the food except that the menu is varied and the meals look pretty good. The staff are all very friendly, helpful and efficient and all in all, it is not difficult to see why this is a “must-do” on a pub crawl of Derby even though it is a bit out of the city centre.

24 Dec 2014 03:59

The County and Station, Matlock


Over the years, I have driven along the A6 past the County & Station hundreds of times, but yesterday I ventured inside for the first time. The reason for my visit is that three weeks ago it was taken over by Lee and Sally Jackson, who in the last two years had transformed my local, The Abbey, in Darley Abbey, from a moribund Sam Smith's house into a vibrant village pub.

Sadly for Darley residents, Lee and Sally have moved on to tackle, in partnership with the Shiny Brewery, a much bigger challenge at the County and Station in Matlock Bath. But by dint of working 16 hour days, their efforts are already beginning to reap rewards. They have deep cleaned the public areas which are now all now gleaming and showing off the Art-Nouveau inspired interior décor to advantage. The pub now has a changing selection of eight handpulled real ales available. Some are Shiny's own brews, but beers from micro breweries in other parts of the UK are available. The three pints that I sampled during my visit were all first class.

Lee and Sally still have some steep hills to climb, but they are already making a very good impression. When I left, the pub was comfortably busy and its potential is enormous. Matlock Bath is a popular tourist destination; the pub is on the main road, the entrance to the railway station is just opposite the pub, and there are bus stops less than 100 yards away. I shall be very, VERY surprised if it does not feature in the 2016 GBG and is not a leading contender for CAMRA's Derbyshire Pub of the Year.

20 Dec 2014 06:31

The Abbey, Derby


The sad news for Abbey regulars is that Lee and Sally will be leaving for pastures new at the end of next week. In a little under two years the couple have transformed the rather moribund atmosphere at the Abbey into a vibrant, welcoming and popular village local. The new tenants have got a really hard act to follow.

Lee and Sally are taking over the County and Station Hotel, a dozen miles north along the A6 in Matlock Bath. I wish them the very best of luck, but given their track record at the Abbey, I will not be at all surprised to soon see the Station and County high on the list of top CAMRA pubs in Derbyshire.

20 Nov 2014 06:32

The Spanish Galleon, Greenwich

We called in here on Thursday afternoon on our way from the DLR station to visit the Cutty Sark. Yes, I guess that it was populated by more tourists than by locals, but it was comfortably busy and certainly does not rip off its customers, like many pubs in some other popular tourist areas. Three Shepherd Neame brews on the handpumps – Spitfire, Whitstable Bay Pale and Spooks Ale. The Whitstable Bay, whilst not perfect was very quaffable, and the food – mainly from the on-site fish and chip shop looked good and was reasonably priced. No problems with the service either. Overall it rates a good 7 from me.

3 Nov 2014 06:05

The Fox Inn, Newark


The Fox is a large attractive roadside inn on the A617 Newark to Mansfield Road. The car park is huge and there is a pleasant garden to enjoy your drinks outside when the weather permits. The pub has two bars and a spacious dining area.

Three hand pumps were in use when we visited last week – Speckled Hen, London Pride and Doombar. Our travelling companion who spends a lot of time in Cornwall was impressed by the Doombar, but the London Pride, although drinkable was IMHO a bit below par. No complaints at all about the food which was freshly made, good quality, good value and quickly served. The staff were very friendly and efficient, but overall, the pub and particularly the toilets are very, very tired and in desperate need of a full makeover.

11 Oct 2014 05:20

The Plough Inn, Hathersage


Called in here on an emotional high en route back home after witnessing the awesome sight and sound of the two Lancaster Bombers flying low over the Derwent Dams on Sunday afternoon. The main reason for calling was to have a pee, but I believe its only courtesy to stop for a swift drink. I wished I hadn't bothered. Being charged £3.90 for what was a VERY ordinary pint of Bradfield Brewery Farmer's Blonde (4% ABV) is a complete rip off.

There can be no justification for charging prices like that … it is nothing but GREED. There is not even an electric hand drier in the gents – just paper towels.

I have a very strong aversion being ripped off. 0/10.

23 Sep 2014 05:25

The One Legged Shunter, Blythe Bridge


Called in for a pint last Sunday after a pleasant trip on the Foxfield Railway. I cannot remember how many hand pumps they had on my last visit two years ago, but on Sunday there were eight, although two were not clipped. Of those that were, one was Crumpton Gold cider and another Titanic Plum Porter. The others seemed to be proper ale from various micros. I opted for a pint of Cross Bay (Morecambe) Halo (3.6% abv) which I have no complaints about at all. I would have certainly had a second pint if I hadn't have been driving ...

20 Sep 2014 03:36

Prince Of Wales, Cardiff


The building may have had an iffy past, but it has to rate as one of the most architecturally interesting pubs in the Wetherspoon's portfolio. Some of their theatre/cinema conversions elsewhere are perhaps a bit predictable, but retaining the fly tower and a lot of the other original features makes the Prince of Wales quite special. I had a very nice pint of London Pride (£2.65) in here last week and was served very quickly, so full marks there. Unfortunately, the usual JDW gripes of uncleared and sticky tables also applies and it would have been nice to see a better selection of real ales as several of the pumps were clipped "Available Soon" Never the less, I was impressed, 8/10.

17 Sep 2014 05:43

Terra Nova, Cardiff


We sat outside here last week watching the world go by. The Brains' SA Gold was pretty good, but the interior is getting very tired and dated. It has not changed since our last visit in 2011. It's no wonder the Terra Nova was quiet, but there was a long queue waiting to be served at the nearby Wetherspoons. That perhaps says it all !!!

16 Sep 2014 06:06

Robin Hood Inn, Monmouth


The Robin Hood Inn, which claims to be the oldest pub in Monmouth, has low beamed ceilings and panelled walls which certainly give it plenty of atmosphere. Bass and Speckled Hen were available on draught - the same brews as six years ago. The Bass was OK, but not particularly outstanding, but the lunch time sandwiches were excellent. The more recent additions to the building however seem rather tired and would benefit from a makeover. For example there are wall tiles missing in the gents toilet and a lick of paint would not go amiss.

6/10 is about right, but this pub has a massive potential ...

13 Sep 2014 05:22

Master Locksmith, Derby


Now a just pile of hardcore.

5 Sep 2014 04:35

The Hollybush Inn, Makeney


I USED to be a big fan of the Holly Bush, but on a recent visit (last Thursday 28 August) although there was a good selection of beers available, the Brampton Star of India IPA was not particularly outstanding.

But what completely p*ssed me off was being served cheese and onion rolls that according to the label had been made TWO DAYS earlier. OK, I did receive a full refund when I returned them unopened, but I certainly won't be returning in a hurry.

If a pub cannot be bothered to serve freshly prepared food and instead tries to foist what I consider to be stale produce on it customers, one has to wonder about what other corners the management is cutting ….

2 Sep 2014 05:08

The Castle, Bodiam


Called in here for for a drink en route from Bodiam Castle to the K&ESR station to catch the steam train back to Tenterden. As it was a nice sunny afternoon we sat outside in the garden. Four hand pulls; Spitfire, Master Brew, Whitstable Bay Pale and a cider. The Whitstable Bay was tip-top, but rather pricey at £3.90 a pint, but that seems to be the norm in this part of the country.

I know there is a tax differential, but how it is it that I can buy 500ml bottles of all three of these Shepherd Neame brews for less than £1.50 at most of my local super markets. How can being charged an extra £2.40 for drinking the same brews in a pub be justified?

25 Aug 2014 07:51

The White Horse, Sundridge


We called in here on spec for a lunchtime drink en route to visit Sir Winston Churchill's home nearby at Chartwell and was very surprised when I checked it out on BITE later to find that it had such a low (3.8) rating.

The White Horse is clean, comfortable and the staff were friendly and helpful. We did not eat here, but plenty of other customers were, which is usually a good sign. Three hand pulls, Tribute, Deuchar's IPA and Young's Bitter. The Tribute was probably as good you'll get this far from Cornwall. The pub certainly deserves a better BITE rating, so 8/10 from me.

23 Aug 2014 03:45

Essex Yeoman, Upminster

Having looked at their website before visiting recently, I got the impression that this was Upminster's equivalent of a Wetherspoons. But I was wrong. Over the years I have been in some iffy JDW outlets, but nothing approaching as dire as the Essex Yeoman. It is very tired and shabby and in urgent need of a complete makeover. Three hand pumps but only Young's available, the Doombar and London Pride clips were both turned round. The Young's was just about drinkable, but I suspect that it wouldn't be long before that clip was turned round too. Add to that Sky Sports football commentary turned up to maximum volume …

22 Aug 2014 01:23

Fishpond, Matlock Bath


The Fishpond is hosting the Matlock and Dales Annual CAMRA Beer Festival on 8 and 9 August which we visited yesterday. 40 different brews available – all from local micros – and it is an excellent selection to suit all tastes.

The Fishpond's food is top notch. My friends and I had a brilliant time there yesterday afternoon – in spite of being drenched by a sudden tropical storm! The Fishpond staff were all great.

9 Aug 2014 07:42

The Coopers Arms, Weston upon Trent


The Coopers Arms is a restaurant/event venue in an old manor house that dates back to 1628. Opened in 1991, it has been the only pub in Weston since the Old Plough closed back in 2006. Because of its history and its main business activities today, calling the Coopers a pub is perhaps a bit misleading. That said, they have a tempting real ale selection including Bass, their own house beer (brewed by a local micro), and when we visited earlier in the week they had got guest ales from Blue Monkey (Giltbrook) and Shiny (Furnace Inn, Derby). Both the latter beers were pretty good.

The food was pretty good too, but perhaps a bit pricey, although it is not the sort of place where you would expect budget prices. No complaints about quality or service, but a big gripe from one of our group was there is nothing on the menu for strict vegetarians.

The Coopers is in a pleasant, fairly rural location with outside seating and a large fishing lake close to the front.

9 Aug 2014 07:29

The Kirkstone Pass Inn, Kirkstone Pass


We called in here at lunchtime last Wednesday. Whilst the rest of the UK was enjoying warm summer sunshine, the Lake District was being lashed by heavy rain and the visibility at the summit of the Kirkstone Pass was down to about 15 yards. In view of the appalling weather … (we got drenched just running from the car park into the pub) I was surprised to find it was already comfortably busy. There were two real ales on handpull – Kirkstone Black, (which it seems is the landlord's favourite) and Old Faithful from the local Tirril Brewery. I had a couple of pints of the latter which were tip-top.

Foodwise, the Kirkstone has an excellent selection of reasonably priced hot and cold bar snacks. By the time we left the pub had got even busier, in spite of there being no improvement in the weather outside. But it is easy to see why it is so popular. Good beer, good food, real fires, and a very friendly welcoming Cockney landlord. 10/10

23 Jul 2014 06:44

The Barley Mow Inn, Kirk Ireton


I cannot add very much to the previous reviews except that I began visiting the Barlow Mow in the late 1960s, when it was run by the formidable Mrs Lillian Ford. Back then, you poured your own pint from the barrels behind the bar and paid Mrs Ford who sat at a table at the side of the fire. Even after coin decimalisation in 1971, the currency at the Barley Mow remained in old £-s-d until she died in 1976 at the age of 89.

The Barley Mow was then bought by the present landlady, Mrs Mary Short, who has kept the pub more or less than same as it was when I first knew it. In spite of some previous comments, I have ALWAYS found Mrs Short to be very friendly, pleasant and polite. In my book she is a heroine for preserving the traditions of the Barley Mow, which has a Grade 2* listing because of its historical importance.

When I called in for a pint last Monday, the pub was alarmingly quiet. I think that I was the first and probably the only customer in the lunchtime session. The Piffle, straight from the barrel, was top notch. 10/10.

Please be aware that if your tastes do not go beyond drinking nitro-keg gnat p**s, sky sports and microwaved food the Barley Mow is NOT a pub for you.

18 Jul 2014 15:17

Arkwrights Real Ale Bar, Belper


My first visit to this micro bar (which opened in November 2013) was during the Belper Summer Food Festival yesterday, Sunday 13 July. Not surprisingly, the bar was very busy, but the staff seemed to coping very well. Six hand pulled real ales were on offer, all from local micros, plus Pedigree from the barrel. I had a couple of pints of Amber Summer Gold (3.6% abv) which were both excellent.

The bar does not open until 4.00pm on weekdays, but it is open from midday at the weekends. The downside it is rather small and parking in Belper is a bit of a nightmare, but there are good bus links. A good 9/10 from me.

14 Jul 2014 07:05

The Queens Head, Longford


The Queen's Head is on the A38 Tewkesbury Road, close to its junction with the A40 north of Gloucester. It is a gastro pub which does not do bar snacks, but it does serve pretty good real ale and I am pleased to say that drinkers only are not treated like lepers.

We called in here en route home from a lovely short break in the Forest of Dean. Three real ales were available, Wye Valley Brewery's Butty Bach, Prescott Hill Climb and the ubiquitous Doom Bar. I started with a pint of Butty, which was excellent, followed by a pint of Hill Climb which was even better.

The Queen's Head is clean and comfortable and the staff are friendly. It's just a pity about the food policy. Not everyone has the time, the money, or in our case, the appetite for a big meal ...

24 Jun 2014 04:49

The Ostrich Inn, Newland


I am amazed that it is over six years since anybody reviewed this delightful, unspoilt pub in a very picturesque Dean Forest village. These days the accent is on food and my main gripe that it does not serve bar meals. Not everybody has the time, or the money, or in my case, the appetite for a full meal morning, noon and night.

Some gastro pubs treat customers who choose not to dine like lepers, but fortunately, this was certainly not the case at the Ostrich. There was an interesting choice of five real ales when I visited recently – Doombar, Wye Valley Butty Bach, Otter Bitter, the RCH brewery's Pitchfork and the locally brewed 5.1% abv Abbey from the Kingstone Brewery in Tintern. I opted for a pint of the latter which was superb.

The Ostrich will certainly be on the itinerary for my next visit to the Dean Forest.

21 Jun 2014 04:32

The Bell Inn, Lower Broadheath


The Bell is a multi-roomed gastro-pub with a large garden, located about a mile from the excellent Elgar Museum. Very pleasant and friendly staff, but there is only a limited range of bar snacks. The BLT was pretty good, but was somewhat spoilt by the addition of bland frozen chips. The Bell does serve real ale and there is an impressive display of pump clips from previous guest beers. The two beers available when I visited were Thwaites' Wainwright and Lazy Days from the local St. George's micro brewery. I opted for a pint of the latter which was drinkable, but was far from being in tip-top condition.

20 Jun 2014 05:15

The Blue Boy, Chaddesden


The last comment in 2010 that the Blue Boy had been demolished is incorrect. Although long closed as a pub, it is Grade 2 listed building in the art-deco style which in 2004 Derby City Council WASTED £400,000 of taxpayers' money on a New Deal Scheme to employ the mostly unemployable to refurbish it as a community pub. The other reviews tell the story of the abject failure of this project. The building is currently undergoing conversion into a Heron frozen food store.

Ironically, about half a mile away, the former Smith & Jones pub, the Peregrine on Nottingham Road, (not listed on BITE) has been sold by the administrators to Iceland and is also currently being converted into a frozen food outlet

3 Jun 2014 03:09

The Narrow Boat, Skipton


It is no wonder that the Narrow Boat seems to be a permanent fixture in the BITE list of top 20 pubs. OK, it's not perfect, but it does have an excellent selection of very well kept ales.

For old time's sake, I opted for the Okell's Bitter which is brewed on the Isle of Man and which I drank many pints of in my younger days when visiting my parents who lived on the island. I cannot fault the beer, or the young ladies who served me.

Our meals (there were four of us) were all excellent too. For me, the downsides are that it is rather dark and seems a little claustrophobic and the former church pews, which are used for seating, are not very comfortable. But it was heaving when we left and definitely well worth an 8/10.

30 May 2014 04:36

The Three Horseshoes, Morley

The Three Horseshoes is a small, independent Marston’s house located on A608 at Morley Smithy It has three handpumps, one normally serving Pedigree and the other two serving rotating guest brews from the Marston group’s breweries. The beer is always in tip-top condition. I have never ever had a bad pint here and it is always served by friendly staff.

The food is superb with an interesting mixture of traditional and some more adventurous dishes to choose from. It is all freshly cooked using mainly locally sourced ingredients, but as it is cooked to order, there is inevitably a wait at busy periods. But it is always worth waiting for. The homemade chips are yummy.

Although the food portions are good and prices reasonable, the slight downside is that the beer is rather expensive by local standards. A pint of Pedigree is almost £3.50.

14 May 2014 07:01

The White Post, Ilkeston

Once a popular community pub but sadly, in spite of considerable local opposition, it has been closed and demolished so that the owners can sell the site to property developers.

13 May 2014 06:03

The Green House, Belper

The Green House, which is probably the largest pub in Belper, is part of a fairly modern building complex on the steeply graded King Street. The gradient is such that the access to the pub is at street level at one end whilst at the opposite end there is a shop actually underneath the pub.

Formerly a Smith & Jones house, it is now part of the Stonegate Group. Both before and after the change of ownership, it has been clean and comfortable and the staff are normally friendly. The are usually two mainstream real ales available as well as the usual selection of lager and nitro-keg. On all my recent visits one of the real ales has been Courage Bitter, which has been in pretty good condition is very good value indeed at £1.79 a pint .

I have never eaten here so I cannot comment about the food except that it is a typical chain pub type menu.

5 May 2014 05:36

The Pickerel Inn, Cambridge


We called here for a beer during a recent day trip to Cambridge after visiting the wonderful Kettles Yard and gallery which is 100 yards or so away on Castle Street.

The Pickerel seems to be a relatively unspoilt pub which is claimed by some to be the oldest pub in Cambridge. With its low, beamed ceilings and a variety of nooks and crannies, it certainly has plenty of atmosphere. Today serves an interesting selection of real ales including Theakston Old Peculiar, Woodforde's Wherry and the same brewery's Nelson's Revenge. I had a couple of excellent pints of the latter which were served by a very helpful and friendly barman. The downside was that the beer cost £3.75 a pint, but I guess that this is probably about par for the course for pubs in the tourist hot spots of the city.

2 May 2014 08:53

Black Bulls Head, Belper


This used to be a popular Hardy's and Hanson's pub until Greene King took over and closed the H & H Brewery at Kimberley. From there on (as with a lot of other former Kimberley pubs) things went downhill very quickly. Most discerning local drinkers simply voted with their feet resulting in many formerly thriving community pubs sadly being closed for ever.

Fortunately, the Black Bull's Head is one of the moribund ex Kimberley pubs that has bucked that trend and been rescued from obscurity by new owners and within a short time have become very desirable and popular places to enjoy quality beer again.

The Furnace Inn in Derby and the Queen's Head at Little Eaton are two other shining examples.

The Black Bull's Head now serves an excellent selection of up to 8 mostly locally brewed ales and has deservedly been voted Amber Valley CAMRA's Pub of the Year for both 2013 and 2014. On my last visit the beers ranged from Castle Rock Harvest Pale (3.8% ABV) to Oakham Brewery's Green Devil IPA (6.0% ABV). But beware of the mega cheese and onion cobs !!! No hesitation 10/10.

29 Apr 2014 05:21

The White Lion, Colsterworth


This is the only pub in the attractive village of Colsterworth. It appears to have been built in the 1960s on the site of a former coaching inn, but incorporating a few parts of the original inn. Behind this curious facade is a very friendly and welcoming and immaculately clean establishment, serving three real ales and excellent food. When we visited last week, Adnam's Bitter,Doom Bar and Spitfire were available. The Spitfire was pretty good and I have no complaints at being charged £3.20 a pint.

Our food was excellent. It was freshly prepared and nicely served, it was top quality and very good value for money.

If you look closer, the White Lion is perhaps a little bit tired, but overall, it is worth more than 9/10 so I am giving it full marks. It is well worth a detour off the A1 and it is not too far from Woolsthorpe Manor, where Isaac Newton was born, which is now in the care of the National Trust.

27 Apr 2014 07:07

Hayloft, Giltbrook


For me, ANY pub is a welcome port in a storm as the alternative to being dragged aimlessly round IKEA by the wife. For that alone, The Hayloft, one of the nearest pubs to the Nottingham IKEA, has a lot to commend it, and better still, it is NOT owned by Greene King as are many of the local pubs which G-K acquired as a result of buying and promptly closing the nearby Hardy & Hanson brewery and producing dreadful imitations of the former excellent Kimberley brews at Bury St Edmunds.

When I escaped from IKEA yesterday, the Hayloft had hand pumps clipped for Hobgoblin, Doom Bar and St. Austell Proper Job. Doom Bar was not available, but the Proper Job at £3.15 a pint wasn't bad and it was served by pleasant bar staff. I have had perfect pints of Proper Job at the St. Austell brewery, but I will give the Hayloft an overall rating of 7/10.

19 Apr 2014 07:48

Jonty Farmer, Derby

As it is over 7 years since I last reviewed the Jonty, it is long overdue for an update.

Originally built by Wolverhampton & Dudley in 1984, it is now a Marston's pub. Pedigree is normally always available, plus a rotating selection of two other hand pulled real ales from the Marston group's breweries. The beer quality is normally excellent and is always served by welcoming and efficient staff.

Food is served all day everyday until 10pm (9pm Sunday). There is a comprehensive menu to suit most tastes at reasonable prices, but the quality can sometimes be a bit variable according to which chef is in the kitchen. That said, it is usually pretty good and the Jonty is very popular and gets very busy at lunchtimes. There is a large beer garden and a children's play area and numerous Sky Sports screens.

All in all, this is a popular community pub which deserves to have a much better BITE rating than the current 4.8. 8/10 is more in in line with what it deserves.

5 Apr 2014 07:00

Little Chester Ale House, Derby


Basically this is a former corner type shop that has been converted into a micro pub by the Derby based Wentwell Brewery.

There were four brews available when I last visited; Wentwell's Derby Pale Ale was tip-top and cost £2.60 a pint. But the key word is micro. The few times that I have visited it has never been very busy, but I can imagine that at peak periods it can get very crowded and very uncomfortable.

That said, it has proved to be very popular with Derby drinkers and Wentwell are rumoured to be opening a second micro pub in the city in the old sub post office on the corner of Ashbourne Road and Uttoxeter Old Road.

The Little Chester Ale House is open Monday to Thursday 3pm to 10.30pm and Friday to Sunday 12.00 noon to 10.30pm.

2 Apr 2014 05:34

The Plough, Greetham

The Plough is a traditional pub in an attractive village which is only a mile and a half or so from the A1. There are several pubs in the village, but I selected this one because of its fairly good BITE rating and also because it is a recent Rutland CAMRA Pub of the Year.

It was good to see a selection of four fairly low gravity real ales on offer. London Pride, Timothy Taylor Golden Best and two from the local Grainstore Brewery, Rutland Panther and Rutland Bitter. The latter is a former original Ruddles brew which, thanks to its protected geographical status, Greene King were fortunately not allowed to produce after they took over and closed Ruddles' Langham brewery and started brewing ersatz Ruddles ales at Bury St Edmunds. It has however been revived by the former Ruddles' head brewer, who now runs the Grainstore Brewery.

I cannot fault my pint of Rutland Bitter – when I EVENTUALLY got it. The problem was, thanks to the barmaid, who was a very pleasant lady and who was also the waitress, has to be the most inefficient bar person EVER. I will not go into the details, but from ordering my pint at 12.45pm, and being told that the barrel needed changing, after several reminders, I eventually got it 25 minutes LATER at 1.10pm. Admittedly, another woman, (who I assume was the landlady) must take some of the blame for initially changing the wrong barrel, but overall, this is NO WAY to run a pub.

In spite of the excellent beer and the Plough's other good points, I am giving it a zero rating because of the abysmal service.

1 Apr 2014 05:40

The Liversage Arms, Derby

Just read in the Derby Drinker that the Livo has been de-licenced and will be converted into flats. It is always sad when a pub calls time for the last time, but at least there are plenty of other real ale pubs nearby. The Peacock, the Exeter and the Royal Standard/Brewery Tap are all only a couple of minutes walk away, and if that is not enough, the Smithfield and Derby CAMRA's Pub of the Year, The Furnace are both less than five minutes walk away.

25 Mar 2014 06:01

The Coach & Horses, Ashbourne

The Coach & Horses has recently been thoroughly refurbished and is clean, comfortable and the staff were all pleasant. Three real ales on when I visited, Doom Bar, Jennings' Cumberland and Ambridge Just Jane. The Doom Bar was pretty good although I have had better. The food wasn't bad either, but it seems a bit expensive for what it is. £4.95 for an egg mayo sandwich plus a £1 extra for a dozen or so greasy home made chips is not good value for money. And having to wait well over half an hour for my sarnie and chips to be served at a time when the pub didn't seem too busy does not fill me with much confidence that the new management have got their act together yet. Overall, OK, but it is not a pub that I am going to hurry back too

16 Mar 2014 10:19

Honeycomb, Silverhill, Mickelover


The Honeycomb was built by Everard's in the mid 1970's to serve the then new Silverhill housing estate. 40 years on it is still owned by Everards, but it is not at all tired and is immaculately clean (specially the toilets). The usual Everard's brews are available and are in tip-top condition. Tiger is £3.00 a pint. The pub grub, although pretty basic, is very good quality and is very good VFM. The kitchen has a 5 star hygiene rating and the staff are all very pleasant. It deserves a high mark and gets 9/10 from me.

2 Mar 2014 04:06

The Kings Head, Duffield

Called at the weekend and wish that I had not bothered. Only Bass and Doombar available. The Doombar was dreadful. Either the barrel was well past its sell-by date or the beer lines are in dire need of cleaning. Maybe both. At £3.30 a pint, I expect my beer in tip-top condition. Add to that a very unfriendly atmosphere and extremely loud music a rating of 1/10 is being very generous.

12 Feb 2014 01:12

Master Locksmith, Derby

Closed and boarded up and surrounded by a security fence when I drove past yesterday.

30 Jan 2014 10:28

The Crown, Eaton Socon

We used this Chef & Brewer pub whilst staying at the adjacent Premier Inn, which was as good as ever.

I cannot say the same for the pub which is poor. Three real ales were available – Doombar, GK-IPA and a Xmas brew from Adnams. I opted for the Doombar which was OK, but I have had much better pints in pubs elsewhere. I was very unimpressed by the barmaid who couldn’t see anything wrong with serving my wife chilled wine in a warm glass just out of the glass washer.

We did not have our evening meal here and if the quality of their English breakfast is anything to go by, I’m glad that we didn’t. Rather than being cooked to order, the food had been obviously kept in a bain-marie for goodness knows how long resulting in baked beans being the consistency of mushy peas and bacon that was like cardboard.

Dreadful. 2/10

4 Dec 2013 06:06

Rising Sun, Matlock


Some reviewers seem unable to count !!!

There were SIX real ales available when I visited last week … Pedigree, Landlord, Doombar, plus two brews from Blue Monkey and one from Shiny. I had two superb pints of Blue Monkey BG Sips which were first class and were served by friendly barstaff.

But I was NOT impressed with the food. There are plenty of choices on the menu and the food is freshly cooked, but I have had much better quality and value bar meals elsewhere.

If my experience is typical, the Rising Sun has a fundamental heating problem. There are nice real log fires at both ends of the bar, but it seems that to try to reduce the smell of wood smoke, the outside door is regularly propped open resulting in the bar becoming VERY cold and draughty. This is a far from an ideal environment to either eat or to drink in.

Superb beer, but the management need to get their act together on both comfort and food.

17 Nov 2013 07:31

The Golden Bee, Stratford Upon Avon


I called in for a swift one at the Golden Bee last week en route to the RSC Theatre. Yes … the interior is pretty typical of many JDW outlets but I had a pint of Exmoor Wild Cat (a left over from the recent beer festival). It was in excellent condition and I have no complaints at all at being charged only £1.99 a pint.

What I specially liked was that one member of the bar staff was delegated to make all the hot drinks, whilst the other served the other drinks and looked after the till. This is a much more efficient system than in other JDW outlets I have visited where beer drinkers often have a frustrating wait when several of the bar staff wait their turn to use the coffee machine.

Definitely worth an 8/10

15 Nov 2013 07:11

Dick Whittington, Gloucester


Not a particularly good experience.

There was a choice of four or five hand pulls on offer from which I opted for a pint of North Cotswold’s Windrush Ale. It was drinkable, but I have had much better pints of this excellent brew elsewhere.

The décor and furniture are very tired and long past their best before date and there was an overwhelming smell of chip fat.

My wife described the ladies toilet as UGH !!!

7 Nov 2013 06:39

Central Commercial Hotel, Liverpool


The Central Commercial Hotel on Ranelagh Street is another superb architectural gem with a Grade 2 listing. Built by the original Cain’s Brewery, (who also built Liverpool’s famous Philharmonic Dining Rooms) the interior has large etched glass mirrors, side by side, on every wall together and a high, beautifully crafted plasterwork ceiling and dome. It is well worth a visit just to admire the interior. Four real ales were available when I visited last week: Threakston Best Bitter, Thwaites’ Wainwright and Lancaster Bomber and Copper Dragon Golden Pippin. I opted for the Wainwright was tip-top and at £2.60 a pint is excellent value for a city centre pub and was served by a pleasant barman.

25 Oct 2013 05:10

Crown, Liverpool


The Crown is an architectural Art Nouveau gem and well worth a visit for that alone. It was one of several flamboyant pubs built in Liverpool in the early 1900s by Walkers of Warrington and now has a deserved Grade 2 listing. Several real ales were available (sorry I can’t remember which) but my pint of Rudgate ‘Zest is Best’ was excellent and served by a friendly barmaid. Bearing in mind that it is probably the closest pub to Lime Street Station, being charged less than £2.50 for a decent pint is very good value indeed !!!

24 Oct 2013 09:57

The Vines, Liverpool

Was closed - possibly for refurbishment - when we were in Liverpool last week. There were no obvious notices about a reopening date, but from what little I could see through the windows, the Vines does have a quality interior, so hopefully the closure is temporary.

23 Oct 2013 17:20

Richard John Blackler, Liverpool


Called in here for a pint and snack about 6.30pm last Wednesday and the place was heaving with punters, so in spite of the mainly negative BITE reviews, it must be very popular with the locals. We got the last empty table in this huge pub, but were served both food and drinks reasonably quickly. It was Day 1 of the current JDW Beer Festival. I opted for the Butcombe Haka which was excellent … even better at only £1.99 a pint.

When the rush died down a little the tables were cleared fairly quickly.

It is not the best of Wetherspoons outlets, but I have been in much worse. 7/10

23 Oct 2013 06:36

Bridge Inn Hotel, Port Sunlight

We called in here at lunchtime last week for some alcoholic refreshment after visiting the nearby Lady Lever Art Gallery and the excellent Port Sunlight Museum.

I agree with AleMan70’s comments that the Bridge Inn has character, but it is very tired and in dire need of refurbishment.

According to a chalk board only two real ales were available; I opted for a pint of Director’s which was OK, but I like to watch my beer being poured, so I am always rather suspicious when the barmaid disappears into another part of the pub and returns with my pint.

21 Oct 2013 07:16

The New Bridge Inn, Derby


This is a very busy and popular, no-frills, local pub, which is now a Marston’s house. The pub dates from the 1920s and replaced an earlier pub built to cater for traffic passing through Shelton Lock on the long derelict Derby Canal. Now serving a large residential suburb it has well kept Pedigree and EPA on handpump and does budget 2 for £6 meals at lunchtime. Friendly staff and quick service.

24 Sep 2013 06:59

John Thompson Inn, Derby


Called in the John Thompson at lunchtime yesterday and I am delighted to report that it is good as ever and gets another perfect 10 from me again.

As well as being in a delightful rural location overlooking the Trent, it is spotlessly clean and comfortable, the staff are all very welcoming and efficient, the beef carvery has to be one of the best, if not the very best in the UK and the beer is excellent. JTS XXX and Gold were both available plus a guest, Doombar. I had two pints of Gold with my lunch and they were superb.

19 Sep 2013 05:45

The Black Swan, Masham


We stayed here recently on a short break in North Yorkshire. Fearby is a very picturesque, unspoilt village and there are stunning views for miles over the Vale of York from the back of the pub. No problems at all with the accommodation. Our room was nicely furnished, clean and comfortable, and the breakfasts were first class. Where possible the food is sourced locally; the bacon, sausages and black puddings are all supplied by the Masham butcher, W. S. Rogers & Sons.

Inevitably, being only two miles from Masham, both Black Sheep and Theakston’s Best Bitter were available, and I have no complaints about the quality of either. Rudgate’s Grain of Britain and Jorvik Blonde were also available. I am not an expert on Rudgate brews, but the Jorvik Blonde seemed to be rather below par, so after that I stuck to drinking the local Masham brews.

16 Sep 2013 05:23

Hare and Hounds, Burton Leonard


Called in for a lunchtime pint after seeing a sign for the Hare and Hounds on the A61 south of Ripon. The car park was pretty full which is always a good sign.

Although the lunchtime trade is very much food orientated, the friendly landlord was not at all fazed that we were only there for a drink and not for any food (having had a mega Yorkshire breakfast only four hours previously).

Only Timothy Taylor Landlord and Black Sheep were available on draught. I did not try the Landlord, but my two pints of Black Sheep were absolutely superb – certainly as good, if not better than they serve at their Masham Brewery.

If the food is as good as the beer, the welcome and the spotless condition of the toilets, it is not surprising that the Hare and Hounds is so popular.

Certainly well worth the detour from the A61. 10/10

14 Sep 2013 06:13

The Courthouse, Derby


Reopened last month after a major £270K refurbishment.

The original name, the White Horse, has been retained and hopefully it will now be selling real ales regularly. Previously the availability of real ales was rather hit and miss, but when I called in recently, Pedigree and Hobson’s Town Crier were available … the latter was pretty good. At £3.05 a pint it was not a bad price either.

The downsides are that the pub still seems to lack atmosphere and the music was so loud that in industry it would be mandatory to wear ear protection !!!

13 Sep 2013 17:14

The Kings Head, Duffield

Reopened recently after several month of being closed.

Called in to try a pint on Wednesday lunchtime. It was empty apart from two kids sitting on a sofa watching TV. No sign of any adults. After waiting for five minutes to be served I walked out.

If this is how they treat customers I won't be at all surprised to to see it closed again soon.

6 Sep 2013 10:00

Black Cow, Ashbourne


It is two or three years since I last visited the Black Cow. Since then it has undergone what must have been a very expensive refurbishment, but on the way it seems to have lost the plot completely. It seems to be trying to be both a traditional village local and an upmarket gastro pub … but IMHO it has failed on both counts. The refurbishment has all but destroyed the atmosphere of a village local … no more local free-range eggs on sale on the bar, but equally it does not seem to have established itself for its food. It advertises heavily in local newspapers and magazines. That perhaps says it all.

Three beers were on when I visited; Pedigree, Doom Bar and a guest ale, Springhead Ginger Pig. The Pedigree was OK, but I have had much better pints elsewhere. The food was OK too, but again, not outstanding.

The manager/landlord or whoever needs to get his act together pronto. I don’t think that he smiled once the whole time I was there. Serving the very few customers that were in the pub seemed to be a very low priority and the bar was unattended most of the time. One potential customer walked out after five minutes of waiting to be served.

The pub, overlooking the village green, is in a superb location. The potential is enormous, but the key to unlocking that potential seems to have gone missing at the moment.

2 Sep 2013 05:08

The Miners Arms, Eyam

Plus points:
Superb location in the centre of an historic Derbyshire village.
Very friendly and efficient staff.
Freshly prepared food using high quality local produce, quickly served and good value for money.

Minus points:
Only Greene King ales, including Olde Trip which apart from being alcoholic, bears absolutely *NO* resemblance to the superb ale of that name formerly brewed by Hardy & Hanson at their Kimberley brewery.
Be aware too of the unbranded “Charity Ale” which claims to donate 10 pence for every pint sold to a childrens’ hospice. I do not doubt that this is the case, but “Charity Ale” seems to be GK IPA being marketed under another name.
Finally, the Miners Arms may have a 5* local authority hygiene rating for their kitchen, but their front of house hygiene leaves a lot to be desired by not only allowing pet dogs into the dining area but allowing them to sit on the seats. Smoking has been banned in pubs for health reasons. Dogs, except for assistance dogs, should be totally excluded too.

5 Aug 2013 05:30

The Abbey, Derby

I agree entirely with Admin 1041. Stimac, whoever he or she is, for some reason, appears to be running some kind of vendetta against the Abbey. For a start, why post the same review twice ???

I stand by my review of 4 July 2013. The new tenants of the Abbey have breathed new life and created a really good atmosphere into the pub since taking over from the previous regime.

I think that the validity of ALL Stimac’s remarks can be judged by the comment about the exponential price rises.

When I first reviewed the Abbey back in April 2007, the Old Brewery Bitter was £1.37 a pint. In 2009 it was £1.46 a pint. Today it is £1.80 a pint; that is a price rise of just 34 pence over a four year period.

Bearing in mind external factors such as inflation, the increase in VAT, the annual beer tax escalator and the horrendous increases in the cost of fuel, etc., etc., 34p seems pretty modest. By comparison a pint of Bass in the nearby Woodlands Hotel in Allestree has risen by 61 pence over the same period.

But more to the point, where else in Derby can you get a pint of well-kept 4% ABV cask bitter for £1.80 ???

One final comment … A few days ago I called for a pint at the Britannia Inn in Tadcaster which is the temporary brewery tap for Sam Smiths pending completion of the refurbishment of the Angel & Horse. The OBB at the Britannia was on a par, both in terms of quality and price with the OBB at the Abbey.

17 Jul 2013 05:59

Afon Conwy, Llandudno Junction

This is NOT a pub but a large Brewers Fayre restaurant at the side of a Premier Inn. It does serve alcohol, but NO real ale … only nitro keg gnat’s p*ss. No problems at all with the Premier Inn and the drink problem can be solved by buying some bottles of real ale from the Tesco supermarket near the next junction (18) along the A55, and drinking them in your room.

16 Jul 2013 05:35

The Britannia Inn, Tadcaster


The Britannia is in a pleasant position on the bank of the River Wharf on the main A659 road through Tadcaster. During the refurbishment of the nearby Angel and Horse, the Britannia is acting as the temporary brewery tap for Sam Smiths. As was to be expected, the OBB was in tip top condition and I’ve definitely no complaints about being charged only £1.80 for a pint. Very friendly landlord and a very clean and comfortable pub.

14 Jul 2013 06:04

The Blackwell Ox Inn, Sutton-on-the-Forest


Like the previous reviewer, we stayed at the Blackwell Ox during a short break in Yorkshire. Although there is a public bar, it is more a hotel and restaurant than a village pub. The three ales on during our recent visit were York Brewery Guzzler, Black Sheep and Landlord. The Guzzler seemed a bit tired, but the Black Sheep at £3.05 a pint was pretty good. The food, which is freshly cooked to order, is excellent and the staff are all very friendly and helpful.

There is an hourly bus service from outside the Blackwell Ox into the centre of York which we found very useful. Sutton-on-the-Forest is a delightful village and I can certainly recommend the Ox as an ideal place to stay when visiting York. 9/10

14 Jul 2013 05:41

The Abbey, Derby


To expand on the comments by Lajderby, the Abbey has been under new management since the end of last year. The new landlord and landlady are breathing new life into the pub. It is much fresher, much cleaner and much friendlier than it’s been for years and the Old Brewery Bitter at £1.80 per pint is always in tip-top condition.

The undercroft bar is now open ALL DAY from 12.00noon to 11.00pm and the upstairs bar is open in the evening and at weekends. Dogs are now barred from the upstairs bar, (hooray !!!) but are still welcome downstairs.

As it is my nearest local pub, I have been drinking in the Abbey, on and off, since it opened back in October 1979, but in recent years my visits have been very few and far between, thanks mainly to the indifferent and often surly attitude towards customers of the previous tenants. But I am happy to report that that has now changed. I have started drinking there regularly again and other locals have too. Keep up the good work Lee and Sally ... you are on a winner !!!!

4 Jul 2013 05:54

Elan Hotel, Rhayader


Called in here for a bar lunch last week. There were two real ales on, Tomas Watkins CWRW and Three Tuns Solstice, which was very apt, as it was 21 June. My two pints of Solstice were excellent, as were the sandwiches and the home made chips. We returned to eat and drink there in the evening and were very disappointed to find that both the pump clips had been turned round.

At lunchtime the landlord seemed to be far more interested in buying himself a second hand car. He should be much more interested in looking after his customers. This potentially could have received a 10/10 rating from me, but I’m only giving it 5/10 because of the lack of beer and the landlord’s seemingly indifferent attitude.

28 Jun 2013 06:24

Crown Inn, Rhayader


The Crown has a good selection of well kept Brains' beers which were served by very friendly and efficient bar staff. We ate here twice and on both occasions the food was good quality, freshly prepared and good value too. The Crown seems to be very popular with the locals, which is always a good recommendation.

23 Jun 2013 05:26

The Fox Inn, Great Barrington


No hesitation, my rating for the Fox is 10/10. After an excellent stay there, I could not believe that it currently has a BITE rating of only 4.3/10. But having read the negative reviews, most of which seem to have been written by first timer reviewers who have never contributed anything else to BITE, I have drawn my own conclusions. I am sure that you will too ….

I think that it is time for a regular BITE reviewer to put the record straight ….

The Fox is in an idyllic rural location alongside the River Windrush. I cannot fault anything about the accommodation, the staff, the service, the food or the drink. Our room was tastefully furnished, very comfortable and spotlessly clean. The staff were all very friendly and efficient and our meals were freshly prepared, well cooked and nicely presented. Being tied to the Donnington Brewery, the choice or real ale is a little limited, but I opted to drink the Donnington Gold which was tip-top.

On both the (mid week) nights that we stayed at the Fox the car park was full and the bar busy, which is always a good indication of a good pub. We certainly look forward to staying at the Fox again in the future and I have no hesitation in recommending it …

6 Jun 2013 04:37

Bell Hotel, Saxmundham


We had an excellent short-break here recently. The staff were all very friendly and helpful and our room (no.4) was clean, very spacious and comfortable. The small but nicely furnished bar had Timothy Taylor Landlord and Adnams’ Southwold Bitter on handpump. Being the local brew I had several pints of Adnams which were well kept, but at £3.90 a pint very much OTT pricewise !!!

3 Jun 2013 06:06

The Old Cannon Brewery, Bury St Edmunds


We called here for lunch en route to a short break on the Suffolk coast. As well as enjoying a couple of superb pints of Gunner’s Daughter (which is brewed on the premises), the bar meals which are freshly prepared from locally sourced produce, were first class too. I can’t fault this place. No hesitation, 10/10.

1 Jun 2013 06:33

The Haywain, Little Bromley


We found this gem of a pub by accident during a short break in the area … and I'm really glad that we did. The Braintree Blonde was superb (I mean the beer, not some fair haired Essex barmaid). The landlord was very friendly and helpful and the freshly prepared food was top quality and very good value. The pub has an interesting collection of Laurel and Hardy memorabilia.

1 Jun 2013 06:13

White Lion Inn, Starkholmes

A Marston's house in a peaceful location away from the noise and crowds down below in Matlock Bath. The Pedigree and EPA were both in tip-top condition. Excellent bar snacks. The home made chips are yummy. Well worth the detour off the A6. 9/10

22 May 2013 10:02

Victoria Hotel, Derby

Don't be fooled by the external appearance which purports to make the Victoria still look like a pub. It has been converted into flats.

15 Mar 2013 16:54

The Wild Duck Inn, Ewen


Although it has six hand pumps and serves a good selection of mostly locally brewed ales, this is definitely NOT a pub for the discerning drinker. At 3.50 a pint the beer quality leaves a LOT to be desired and seems to be routinely dispensed short measure, which is only very grudgingly topped up.

The food is dreadful. It is over priced and poorly cooked and was served by a couple of scruffy looking youths in t-shirts and jeans.

As much as I find it difficult to say this, a McDonalds burger and chips is not only much better value, it is much better quality for a fraction of the 12.95 charged here. And at least McDonalds staff are smart and polite. McDonalds also cook their chips properly which is more than can be said for the chips here. And beware, the menu says there is a discretionary 10% service charge, but this seems to be routinely added to the bill and is only grudgingly taken off afterwards.

This is a pub with a fantastic potential but at the moment seems to have totally lost the plot. At the moment 2/10 is being generous as the management need to get their act together.

1 Oct 2012 05:18

The Three Nuns, Loughborough

I first reviewed the Three Nuns in 2008 and four years on it is still as good as ever. Everard's beers in first class condition, very friendly and efficient staff and excellent, value for money pub grub. There's not much more to say except keep up the good work guys ... you have a great pub !!!

30 Sep 2012 03:29

The One Legged Shunter, Blythe Bridge

I have visited twice recently and was impressed on both occasions. I could not fault the beer, the welcome, the atmosphere or the service by very efficient and knowledgeable young lady behind the bar. It is certainly well worth a visit but my only reservation is that it is room is very tiny and it can easily become VERY crowded. That said it seems to be popular with the local CAMRA members. If it was just a bit bigger I would give it 10/10, so sorry guys and girls it has to be a 9/10.

22 Sep 2012 06:08

Berkeley Arms, Tewkesbury

Quite a good pint of 6X when I called in yesterday lunchtime, otherwise it is very difficult to find anything positive to say about this pub.

20 Aug 2012 06:07

The Spotted Cow, Holbrook

Dreadful foodie pub. The 'exclusively brewed house bitter at 3.20 a pint was cloudy and at that price is a rip off. The smell of cooking was overpowering. The barman was far too obsequious and the final straw was the background music. I am a great fan of the late Karen Carpenter, but 'Goodbye to Love' every other track was just too much.

4 Jul 2012 05:09

Furnace Inn, Derby

After years of being in the doldrums, due to Greene King trying to foist their products on the discerning Derby drinkers, they have thankfully given up and the Furnce reopened on 31 May as a free house.

Good luck to the new owners. They have spent many s cleaning, decorating and refurbishing the pub and are offering up to 8 real ales with Bass and Blue Monkey being the leading brands, supported by brews from a variety of other micros. The Furnace should certainly now be included in the Derby real ale trail and is definitely a GBG candidate.

4 Jun 2012 04:22

Queens Head, Little Eaton


Once again the Derby Brewing Company have rescued a once excellent and popular local pub from obscurity after being in the hands of disinterested owners ... in this case Greene King.

The Queens Head opened again on 17 November and is pretty unrecognisable internally to the old pub. A good selection of ales are available ... I counted 9 hand pumps. The pub was buzzing when I called in for a lunchtime pint earlier this week. The DBC Business as Usual was spot-on. Well done DBC !!!

26 Nov 2011 02:32

The Swan, Kidderminster


Certainly worth a detour off the A448. Chaddesley Corbett is a pretty village and The Swan is an interesting pub with a large beer garden. It is worth a visit to admire the ceramic Bull's Head tiles (Batham's trademark) that line the corridors.

I cannot recall drinking Batham's brews before, but their nicely balanced Best Bitter was tip-top ... and only 2.45 a pint. Add to that friendly, efficient and helpful bar staff and the Swan gets 8+/10 from me

8 Oct 2011 02:32

The Church Inn, Ludlow


Just returned from my 4th annual pilgrimage to the Church and I am delighted to report that it is as good as ever.

Hobson's Town Crier top notch again as are the national prize winning Ludlow Sausage butties.

Has to be the best pub in Shropshire and a contender for the best pub in the UK.

10/10 again !!!

6 Oct 2011 04:53

Sheffield Tap, Sheffield


I can only fully endorse all the positive comments that have been made before. The Sheffield Tap is an abslotue gem in every respect. As a Thornbridge fan it was almost as if I had died and gone to heaven to find that four of the ten hand pumps were dispensing Thornbridge brews including my favourite, Jaipur which was in tip-top condition. The Wild Swan, which I sampled later in the day, was faultless too. NO hesitation. 10/10.

6 Aug 2011 02:08

The Green Man, Ashbourne


I agree with Gristy at the moment the Green Man is in a state of limbo and is just a shadow of its former self. We called in on Saturday at lunchtime. The food was OK, but no where near as good as it used to be and there were only two real ales on Blue Monkey BG Sips and BHB Cosmic. As with the food the beer was OK, but somewhat below par.

It is not going to be an easy ride for whoever buys the Green Man. It is in desperate need of a lot of TLC, but with a Grade 2* listing the new owners will have their work cut out to get the necessary Listed Building Consents to make too many improvements. Presumably Wetherspoons proposals for updating the pub were too radical and were rejected, which is why they have lost interest.

I hope that the situation is soon resolved satisfactorily because it has the potential to be one of the top pubs in Derbyshire.

5 Jul 2011 04:56

Britannia Inn, Kegworth

Closed, boarded up and for sale when I passed yesterday.

Another Greene King failure.

1 Jul 2011 04:12

The Mill Wheel, Hartshorne


I decided to check out the Mill Wheel after seeing it listed in the 2011 GBG and was very unimpressed.

The almost empty car park on a Friday lunchtime started the alarm bells ringing. There was only one other customer in the bar when I arrived and he soon departed. The only real ale seemed to be Pedigree which was WELL below par and I had to ask the barmaid to top it up.

On the plus side the pub is clean and comfortable and incorporates the restored 24 feet diameter water wheel which once provided the motive power for the variety of different industries that occupied the mill building before it became a pub.

If this experience is typical then I will be very surprised if it features in the 2012 Guide.

25 Jun 2011 03:20

The Boathouse Inn, Saltaire


The Boathouse is a convenient place to relax and unwind after visiting the nearby Salts Mill. There are pleasant views from the windows across the River Aire to Roberts Park with Shipley Glen in the background.

We called in on Wednesday afternoon when it was very quiet and totally lacking in atmosphere. The Saltaire Blonde was OK, but I have drunk much better (and cheaper) pints of this brew elsewhere.

29 May 2011 04:08

Craven Arms, Appletreewick


Even ignoring the Craven Arms stunning location, it ranks as one of the most interesting pubs that I have ever visited.

The weather stone at the entrance puts a smile on your face before you even walk through the door and when you do you are greeted by friendly staff and an impressive line-up of hand-pulls. I opted for Moorhouses Blonde Witch which was superb. There are several different public rooms decorated with everything from photographs and memorabilia relating to the pub to display cases containing birds eggs to old coins and other metal objects dug up locally. Even the toilets are interesting

I have to agree with Cravenites comments about the replica cruck barn built at the back of the pub in 2006/7. It is amazing.

I cannot comment about the food except to say that although we did not eat here, plenty of other customers were, which is always a good sign

Full marks !!!

29 May 2011 03:48

The Old Glen House, Baildon


Good luck to Claire and Stephen in their new venture. From our visit early last Wednesday evening, their mission statement of giving customers An experience to remember for all the right reasons is working VERY well indeed.

There were several real ales available my pint of Saltaire Blonde was spot on.

Our meals were superb too. They were freshly prepared, well presented, and excellent quality. By the time we left around 8.30pm the pub was buzzing with both drinkers and diners many of whom seemed to be locals, which is an even better sign

Keep up the good work guys you seem to have hit on a winning formula

No hesitation 10/10 !!!

28 May 2011 05:23

The Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater


The Kirkstile Inn seems to be miles from anywhere but it is surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery in the whole of the UK.

We called in mid afternoon last Thursday and found it difficult to find anywhere to sit because of all the RESERVED signs on the tables as the staff were busy laying up for what appeared was going to be a sell-out evening meal session. Reading previous reviews the popularity of the food seems to be par for the course.

On the beer front, the Loweswater Gold, which was originally brewed on the premises, was superb. Production of Loweswater beers has now been moved to another micro brewery in Hawkshead.

I guess that if we had visited at lunchtime or in the evening, it would have been manic, so mid afternoon seems to be an ideal time to call in for a pint or two and admire the stunning Lakeland views

17 May 2011 02:21

The Bush, Cockermouth


Walking along Main Street in Cockermouth it is hard to believe that 18 months ago, in November 2009, it was submerged under up to 8 feet of flood water when the Rivers Cocker and Derwent burst their banks after 12 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. Today, nearly all the shops, businesses and pubs are trading as if nothing had happened, but the numerous plaques on walls indicating the height of the flood water are a stark reminder of the trauma that the town experienced.

The Bush a Jennings pub on Main Street was one of the many premises affected by the deluge, but today there is no trace of the trauma. The Cocker Hoop was tip top, as were our toasted sandwiches. The comprehensive lunchtime menu is obviously popular with the locals of all ages. The staff were all very friendly, efficient and courteous. The slight downside was that food is only served at lunchtime.

My rating is 9/10

16 May 2011 02:46

The Travellers Rest, Grasmere



This is a very good pub in a very attractive rural location which can be visited without having to pay for parking. As the previous reviewer says, the views from the windows are stunning.

It offers the usual selection of Jennings brews the Cocker Hoop was pretty good, as was our food which took a while to be served but was obviously freshly cooked to order and good VFM.

The Travellers Rest will certainly be on our itinerary for our next visit to the Lakes unlike many of the other pubs that we tried during our recent visit.

15 May 2011 03:36

The Kings Arms, Hawkshead


The Kings Arms has a good selection of real ales from local micros. The Loweswater Gold was pretty good.

But when we decided not to eat here (having had a mega generous Cumberland breakfast at our hotel less than four hours previously) we were suddenly treated like lepers.

Rating Beer 5/5 staff attitude MINUS 4/5 so overall 1/10

It totally spoiled what had been a most inspiring visit to the NTs Beatrix Potter Gallery just around the corner.

15 May 2011 03:11

The Tithe Barn, Cockermouth


A traditional pub a Jennings house close to Sainsburys.

The Victorian tiled floor of the entrance and the leaded light windows and screens give the pub a WOW factor before you even get to the bar.

The Cocker Hoop was superb and served by friendly and enthusiastic bar staff.

We did not eat here, but it seems to be VERY popular with the locals

14 May 2011 04:07

Kings Arms Hotel, Keswick


**RIP OFF**

My wife and I had very happy memories of drinking in this pub from when we stayed in Keswick in the 1970s, so it was top of the agenda when we visited Keswick last week.

I wish that we hadnt .

Paying 5.75 for what was only a very average pint of Jennings Cumberland and a J20 is way OTT bearing in mind that you also have to pay around 1/hour to park anywhere near the town centre

Add to that being served by totally disinterested and charm-less Eastern European barmaids/waitresses

IMHO you only rip off people once and having been ripped off my rating is 1/10

14 May 2011 03:37

The Bay Horse, Hereford



We called here on spec during a short break in Hereford. If I had checked it out on BITE beforehand , we would have probably driven past, but the number of cars in an out of town pub car park is always a good measure of what is on offer, and as the car park was pretty full we decided to check it out.

It had three real ales on offer; Landlord, Doom Bar and a Wye Valley brew that had just run out, but which the landlord was in the process of changing to Ludlow Gold. I can drink TT and Sharps brews at home, so I decided to wait for the Ludlow to come on stream. OK, I had to wait for a few minutes, but it was a superb pint, brought to our table by the landlord himself.

We didnt eat here, but the food being served to adjacent tables looked pretty good. Add to that the half a dozen or so staff who were all friendly and efficient, a comfortable ambiance and clean toilets etc., so I was gob-smacked to see when I checked it out on BITE that the Bay Horses current rating is only 4.4.

IMHO it deserves to be at least 8/10 overall. I am marking it higher to try to redress the balance a little.

24 Apr 2011 01:57

The Golden Fleece, Hereford


A small, dark, narrow pub in the High Town area of Hereford. 3 real ales available. The Banks Bitter at 2.00 a pint was what tempted me in, but even at that discounted price I expect a beer to be in much better condition. Add to that a barman who seemed to be more interested in playing the gaming machine than serving the customers and the overall picture is not good

23 Apr 2011 02:58

The Lichfield Vaults, Hereford


With a BITE rating of 7.9, this was my first port of call during a recent short break in Hereford. For me the downside was that all the 5 real ales on offer were more or less mainstream brews. There are some great local micros and it is a great pity that none were represented. I cannot fault my Adnams Broadside. Our food was top notch too and the staff were very friendly and efficient. The number of other customers, of all ages, confirms that the management have got their act right. 9/10. It would have got a 10/10, if a decent local brew had been available.

23 Apr 2011 02:28

White Swan, Littleover


I was not at all impressed when I last visited the White Swan just over six months ago. From memory the beer was just about OK, but not outstanding, and there was an alarming lack of other customers.

But the Swan seems to have since undergone a radical transformation. It has been mentioned in the Derby CAMRA news sheets and seeing the number of cars in the car park when I passed yesterday, I decided to try it again.

There was a beer festival taking place with 12 real ales available on handpump. I opted for the Joules Pale Ale which was superb, but more encouragingly, the pub was full of punters eating and drinking. Whoever is in I/C seems now seems to have a winning formula.

The slight downside was the lack of staff OK, it may have been a temporary glitch, but there seemed to be only one lady serving beer and being the waitress. collecting glasses etc., etc,

The bottom line is that whoever is now running the White Swan is doing a very good job and deserves to be supported

7 Apr 2011 02:54

Ye Olde Packhorse Inn, Derby


Having been somewhat critical of the Pack Horse previously in my review of 22/05/09, after a visit on 31/3/11, I have to give a much more positive update and agree with the previous two reviews. Marstons Burton Bitter, Pedigree and Ringwood Boondoggle were available on the handpumps. The Pedigree was a tad below par it was quite drinkable but it was either towards the end of an old cask or the beer lines were due for cleaning.

No problems with the food. It is home made from mainly locally suppliers and the portions are generous sized. The young ladies serving the drinks and the food were pleasant and efficient.

For me the downside was the quality of the Pedigree, but viewed overall this is a pub in the ascendancy. Keep up the good work guys you are certainly heading in the right direction 8/10

1 Apr 2011 03:10

Queens Head, Little Eaton


The Queens Head dates back to 1835 when it opened as the Delvers Inn a delver being a quarry worker. It was sandwiched between the Derby to Ripley turnpike (now the B6179) at the front and the Little Eaton Gangroad, one of the countrys early horse drawn tramways, which was in operation between 1795 and 1908 which ran past the rear of the pub. Because the tramway and the road were not parallel, the pub is narrower at the north end than it is at the south end.

I used to drink here regularly when it served the excellent beer brewed locally by Hardy & Hanson at Kimberley, but since H&H were taken over by Greene King and the Kimberley Brewery closed, the number of times that I have visited the Queens Head can be counted on the fingers of one hand as I am not a big fan of most G-K brews.

However, on a recent visit G-Ks St Edmunds Ale was on draught. It proved to be a refreshing and very pleasant change from the normal taste of G-K beers. Other than for its brewery ties, the Queens Head is a pretty good pub. It is clean, comfortable and I was served by a friendly barman probably the manager.

16 Mar 2011 02:46

The Strutt Arms Hotel, Milford


This pub could probably qualify for an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the number of times that it has closed and reopened during the last 18 months.

I called in for a pint on Sunday lunchtime and wished that I had not bothered.

OK, it was clean and comfortable, but I was the only customer. And no wonder. I had a very indifferent pint of Pedigree which was served by a very scruffy barman in a baseball cap and a filthy t-shirt. Under normal circumstances I would have complained about the quality of the beer, but the barman was not the sort of guy that I would pick a fight with.

My advice is to avoid until which ever pub group owns that owns the Strutt Arms gets its act together. I will not be at all surprised the next time that I drive past to see the all too familiar Under New Management banners outside.

15 Mar 2011 03:42

The Red Lion, Chellaston


Now gone for ever.

Drove past today and saw that it was being converted into a Tesco Express.

Tesco have crippled many pubs by selling cheap booze and now ironically they are selling more cheap booze in the pubs they have crippled.

25 Feb 2011 03:33

Mill House, Milford


The Mill House is due to close on 31/1/11 for two weeks for conversion into a Fayre & Square outlet.

Hopefully this will include a quantum leap forward in the quality of the beer that is served here.

When I visited with my family last weekend, the Pedigree was DREADFUL. How long is it since the beer lines were last sterilised ???

It put me off eating, but from the comments from those of my family that did, it seems that I did not miss much

The one redeeming feature is that the staff were all first class.

18 Jan 2011 02:41

Five Lamps, Derby


Called in at lunchtime yesterday and was rather disappointed by the lack of clientele. There were a few other customers, but given what the Five Lamps has to offer, I would have expected more.

It isis excellent. 9 handpumps all of them on ... and all (except for Everards Tiger) were from local micros. The Peak Ales Chatsworth Gold was first class, as was the double-decker BLT sandwich at 3.00. The barman was very friendly and helpful.

The Five Lamps closed and was boarded up around this time last year, but reopened again in June.

Having now come back from the dead for a second time, it is a pub with a great potential and I hope that Derbys discerning drinkers will both appreciate and more importantly, support it.

7 Jan 2011 02:16

The Innkeeper's Lodge Derby, Derby


In October 2010, this Inn Keepers Lodge became a Travelodge. But dont go there looking to drink anything alcoholic. It is not licensed neither was its predecessor.

The Inn Keepers Lodge should not have been listed as such on BITE in the first place

It is the Toby Carvery next door, formerly the Chaddesden Park Hotel, which most Derbians know as the Chad Park that has the license. I eat and drink here fairly regularly. The Toby Carvery is normally very good and the food can be washed down with three real ales which when I visited last week were Bass, Pedigree and Banks Bitter, all at 2.40 a pint.

There are much better kept (and sometimes cheaper) pints of Bass and Pedigree available in Derby. But overall, the little below par quality of the real ales, is offset by the quality and good value for money of the carvery.

3 Jan 2011 03:31

Dead Poets Inn, Holbrook


The Dead Poets is without doubt the BEST pub in Holbrook and is in the same quality league as the top pubs in the neighbouring villages the Holly Bush at Makeney and the King Billy at Milford.

The Dead Poets beer menu (which quotes the % ABV and price) is displayed on a chalk board just inside the entrance. It seems to be a mixture of regular beers and guests some from mainstream breweries, some from micros some served from the jug.. The quality is always first class and the service is usually pretty good too.

Lunchtime food is a selection of filled bread rolls. I have had better elsewhere, but the redeeming feature is the selection of Tyrells crisps on sale including my favourite the Ludlow Sausage flavour.

Overall, the Poets maintains a traditional pub quality and atmosphere. I am supportive of its children and dogs policies. LONG may it continue 9/10

21 Dec 2010 02:59

The Church Inn, Ludlow


I have just returned from my third annual pilgrimage to the Church at Ludlow.

Nothing seems to have changed much since my last visit 18 months ago. It is as good as ever. It was market day so it was busy. The Hobsons Town Crier was once again tip-top as was my speciality Ludlow sausage sandwich. It was worth the 150 mile round trip from the East Midlands for that alone. My wife opted for the pork and smoky bacon pie which she said was absolutely delicious.

I know from previous reviews that the performance of the staff sometimes perhaps leaves a bit to be desired. On Wednesday lunchtime the mature guy behind the bar was definitely on the ball, but the girl serving the food does seem to be in need of a little more welcome approach training.

But overall, if more pubs were like the Church, the depressing number of pub closures would immediately be reversed.

12 Nov 2010 02:47

The White Cow, Ilkeston

Drove past today. It is no longer a pub. It has been recycled into a Tesco Express

8 Nov 2010 16:47

Woodman, Ripley


Now renamed the Sir Barnes Wallis in honour of the inventor of the WW2 Dambusters bouncing bomb, who was born in Ripley. It is another joint venture by Everards and a local micro, (as is the Poet & Castle in nearby Codnor). In this case the partnership is with Amber Ales micro brewery.

There are 10 handpumps in the Lounge Bar 6 dispensing Ambers own brews. As I was not driving I opted for the heavy gravity 5 point something % abv Dambusters, which was tip-top and served by a very enthusiastic barman.

The food was excellent too. OK, it took a while, but it was freshly cooked to order. The home made chips were yummy.

Amber Ales brewery tap is the Talbot, which is on the other side of the town.

I have been drinking, albeit rather infrequently, at the Woodman since the late 1970s. In the period prior to Everards becoming involved it seems to have achieved a rather bad reputation, which all concerned in the new venture are trying to correct.

They seem to be winning. Good luck. 8/10

5 Nov 2010 03:45

The Courthouse, Derby


It has recently been refurbished and re-branded under its old name The White Horse and seems to be making a brave attempt to re-establish itself as one of Derbys leading pubs, as it was in the 60s when the formidable Alice Baker and her manager Charles ran the business.

Since then it has gone progressively downhill. Renaming it the Courthouse some year ago was a BIG mistake as it seemed to attract the dross celebrating that they had somehow escaped prison sentences handed down by the High Court opposite.

The current management seem to be boldly trying to reverse that image. There is now a dining area and a daily carvery. They have an uphill struggle particularly as the Castle & Falcon nearby is probably the worst pub in the country.

I agree with goalman2000, the availability of Pedigree has been very inconsistent, but it was on today and in reasonable condition and served by a friendly and efficient barman who seemed to be a refugee from Eastenders.

There is still a long way to go, but I hope that a 6/10 rating will be an encouragement.

26 Oct 2010 03:49

The Jolly Sailors, Brancaster Staithe


We called in Jolly Sailors for lunch last week. I opted for the in-house Brancaster Bitter (3.8% abv) which was superb. The staff were friendly and the pub seems to welcome muddy boots, dogs and children. I am not too sure about the meals which seem overpriced and the so called hand-cut chips were rubbish.

Beer 10/10. Staff and ambience 9/10. Food 6/10. Overall 8/10.

12 Jul 2010 04:21

Five Lamps, Derby

Good luck to everyone involved with reopening the Five Lamps. You certainly deserve to succeed. A good selection of well kept real ales I opted for the Everards Tiger which I could not fault. The food was excellent too a good choice without being too poncy or too pricey and which was freshly prepared and top quality. Friendly staff too.

With so many other pubs closing it is great to see that the Five Lamps has bucked the trend. Keep it up guys !!!

At the present rate the Five Lamps should be a cert for next years GBG !!!

4 Jul 2010 04:26

Whitelocks, Leeds


Whitelocks is certainly a pub with character. In some ways seems to be almost a clone of the Ship Inn, (which is currently not BITE listed), located in another narrow alley a bit further up Brigate.

But for my money, the Ship is better.

OK Whitelocks has a good selection of beers the Leeds Pale was top notch and the staff were pleasant and efficient. As previously reported, it has interesting architecture and fittings The downside is that it is *VERY* cramped, specially as a large part of the pub is curtained off and reserved as a dining room, even when food is not being served. Even in the middle of a quiet Thursday afternoon it was impossible to find a seat without overhearing other peoples personal conversations. For me, that made it rather uncomfortable. It is definitely not a pub that I would visit if I wanted an intimate tte tte.

12 Mar 2010 03:57

The Shambles, Whitby


We called in here last week during a day out in Whitby.

It is a clean and very comfortable pub. I opted for the Theakston Black Bull Bitter which was pretty good. The staff were friendly and efficient and full marks to the barmaid who topped up my pint without me asking.

As previously reported there are great views over the harbour, but that said, I got the feeling that this pub somehow doesnt seem to be quite right for the location.

I cant comment about the food as we had eaten some superb fish and chips from the Magpie chippy on the opposite side of the harbour.

7 Mar 2010 04:13

The Old Crown, Shardlow


For a relatively small village, Shardlow is very well blessed with pubs. It has six on the Derbyshire side of the River Trent, plus the Old Crown which lies just over the border (the River Trent) in Leicestershire.

The Old Crown is a comfortable and relatively unspoilt Marstons house, a few hundred yards along a narrow lane off the A6 on the Leicestershire side of the Cavendish Bridge. This lane at one time was actually part of the A6 until the old Cavendish Bridge was swept away in the massive floods during the thaw that followed the winter of 1947.

That the Old Crown has survived for over 60 years at the end of a cul-de-sac, and is still going strong, has to be a recommendation in itself.

On my most recent visits all 9 hand pumps were in use and the beers that I drank were all tip-tip. I cant remember all of them but there was Pedigree and Old Empire from Marstons, a selection of Jennings brews including Cumberland and Cock-a-hoop, plus guests.

The food, which is perhaps a tad on the expensive side, is freshly cooked and I have no complaints about the portion sizes. The homemade chips are excellent.

The pub has an interesting dcor. Old signs, mirrors and posters decorate the walls and there must be at least 300 water jugs hanging from the ceiling beams.

An 8/10 from me

14 Feb 2010 05:03

The Puss in Boots, Windley


The Puss in Boots is a long established unspoilt country pub located on a lay-by just off the B5023. It has a traditional bar and lounge, and according to the landlord, is one of only six pubs in the UK with the same name. Things dont seem to have changed much since the first review back in 2003. It still has well kept Bass and Pedigree on draught which I guess are probably served by the same Landlord and Landlady who served the previous reviewers.

When I called in at lunchtime earlier this week it was encouragingly busy, which for a pub with hardly any local population, is a VERY good sign indeed.

And speaking of signs on one side of the sign outside the Puss in Boots is this poem

The water kindly turns the mill,
While I grind corn for many.
And ale, I hope may further still
assist to turn the penny.

Then try, my lads, how soon or late,
How ale your strength recruits.
You'll always find a cheery bate,
At honest Puss in Boots.

Like the King William at Milford and the Holly Bush at Makeney which are both only a few miles away this is a real unspoilt pub. Long may it continue

29 Jan 2010 04:28

Five Lamps, Derby

In spite of being reopened by Everards just over a year ago, the Five Lamps was closed and boarded up again when I passed earlier tonight.

21 Jan 2010 03:49

The Bell Inn, Smalley


Nearly three years on from the last review, it is nice to report that the Bell Inn seems to have hardly changed.

I can confirm that the BITE reports of 24.01.07 and 28.08.06 are as valid today as they were when they were written.

The Bell offers a good selection of real ales, the regulars seem to be Whims Hartington Bitter and IPA, Pedigree and JHB, plus two guests, which when we visited recently were Adnams Broadside and London Pride.

No problems with the staff who were all very friendly and efficient, and to repeat the previous reviewers comments, the food is good and not over expensive.

From now on the Bell is definitely on the list of quality pubs where we will drink and eat at again.

29 Nov 2009 05:04

Navigation Inn, Derby

I wish that I hadnt have bothered. As a previous reviewer says, it has a nice exterior, but the moral is never judge a book by its cover.

Several handpumps on the bar, but only 2 were clipped Hobgoblin and Pedigree. The Pedigree was rubbish and at 2.80 a pint for an out of town pub, it is an absolute rip off.

The beer lines (at least for the Pedigree) are in desperate need to be properly cleaned and sterilized.

Add to that an oriental guy openly trying to sell pirate pornographic videos to customers and the picture of a pub in terminal decline is complete

25 Nov 2009 02:37

The Gordon Arms, Orton Longueville

The Gordon Arms is a large Punch group pub on the outskirts of Peterborough trading under the Fayre and Square brand. It is clean and comfortable and seems to be very popular with the locals. But I suspect that that is because it is family friendly and serves good quality budget priced food rather than for its beer. In fact, only one real ale is available Bombardier which was not bad and at was least served at more or less the correct temperature. Other than that, it was the usual selection of brands of bland nitro keg gnats piss.

For budget priced food, the quality was WELL above average, freshly cooked (rather than micro-waved) and quickly served. If there had been a better selection of real ale available, I would have marked it higher.

23 Nov 2009 01:08

Haslam's, Derby

Sadly Haslams has become another victim of the recession when the company running the bar and restaurant went into administration last week.

Hopefully it will only be a temporary closure.

25 Oct 2009 01:25

The Golden Fleece Hotel, Thirsk


We had lunch here whilst visiting Thirsk in March this year and were impressed. I would certainly rate it as certainly one of the better pubs in the town.

It is clean and comfortable and the staff were friendly and efficient. And as oldboots says there is a strong horse racing theme. The Black Sheep was pretty good and so were our meals. We checked out the other pubs nearby, but the Golden Fleece seemed to be head and shoulders above the others. More to the point it seemed to be very popular with the more discerning locals, which is another pretty good sign.

After lunch we visited the World of James Herriot (BBC TVs All Creatures Great and Small) in nearby Kirkgate, which was very good too.

17 Oct 2009 02:40

The Argosy, Derby


Another M&B pub this time a Sizzler on Derby City Councils Hall of SHAME for its VERY POOR PERFORMANCE and more to the point, its GENERAL FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH FOOD SAFETY LEGISLATION.

14 Oct 2009 04:04

The Strutt Arms Hotel, Milford

A handwritten sign on the door says Closed temporarily due to unforeseen circumstances.

Talking to the locals in the King Billy about it at lunchtime yesterday, it seems that the unforeseen circumstances is that the owner has gone bankrupt.

I hope that things soon get sorted, because although the Strutt Arms is not one of my favourite pubs, it is a million times better than the cold soulless barn a few yards away called the Mill House

12 Oct 2009 03:16

The Broadway, Derby


I have just noticed on Derby City Council Environmental Heath website that The Broadway has a rating of ZERO stars in respect of food hygiene.

Zero stars indicates VERY POOR PERFORMANCE and GENERAL FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH FOOD SAFETY LEGISLATION.

11 Oct 2009 02:56

The Bubble Inn, Stenson


The Bubble has been closed for much of the summer due to the bankruptcy of the previous owner, but according to the barmaid, it reopened under new ownership about 6 weeks ago. There were 3 handpumps in use when I called in yesterday, Pedigree and two brews from the Ashbourne micro Leatherbritches. The beer was pretty good and I was served by a very pleasant barmaid.

The downside for me was the background music which was not only a little bit too loud, it was continuous Elvis Presley. I dont dislike Elviss music in small doses, but after 45 minutes of nothing else but Elvis, I was getting thoroughly pissed off with it.

Good luck to the new owners. I hope that you will succeed. But PLEASE choose the kind of background music will appeal to a wider audience.

10 Oct 2009 04:49

The Norman Arms, Derby


The Norman Arms is a 1930s style mock Tudor building a few yards off the Derby Ring Road (A5111). Most of the clientele seem to be locals from the surrounding council housing estates. As such, it is a typical pub of its type. Yes, it has darts and Sky Sports etc., but it is bland, but much more to the point it does NOT serve any real ale.

My advice is to continue along Village Street for another 100 yards to the Greyhound, which IMHO has a much friendlier atmosphere and better still, it usually serves a pretty good pint of Bass.

24 Sep 2009 03:27

Three Stags Head, Darley Bridge


I have a few words of advice for a first time reviewer like verdin whoever he or she is To be credible you need to think VERY carefully about what you are writing If you do not you make yourself look very foolish.

Please remember that the vast majority of BITE readers are intelligent people who can very easily differentiate between a genuine review from a long standing contributor and an obviously biased one-off by a virgin reviewer, particularly one that does not attempt to address any of the negative issues raised.

Claiming mistaken identity is one of the oldest tricks in the book. It might just possibly work if the pub was called the Red Lion or the Royal Oak, but definitely NOT for a pub called the Three Stags Heads.

The bottom line is that when we visited the Three Stags Heads (which for the avoidance of any doubt is located at Darley Bridge, DE4 2JY), the management and staff appeared to have lost the plot completely. Nobody seemed to be in charge and the numerous barmaids and kitchen staff (probably 5 or 6 of them) only seemed interested in blowing up balloons giggling and indulging in girlie talk about their boyfriends and what they were going to wear to some gig at the pub later in the day. Serving the customers was the least of their priorities. Hence my ACCURATE review about the appalling service and the abysmal quality of the meals.

23 Sep 2009 05:49

Swan Inn, Fradley Junction


Whilst in the area last weekend we decided to make a detour to check out the Swan.

I wish that we hadnt bothered.

Yes, it is in an interesting location directly opposite the busy junction of the Coventry Canal and the Trent & Mersey Canal, but other than that I cannot find very much else positive to say.

Four real ales were available, Abbott, Black Sheep, Pedigree and Blonde from the local Quartz microbrewery. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate the quality of the Black Sheep around 4/10, but I am downgrading this by being served by a very surly bar maid.

Bar staff are employed to SERVE customers, NOT do to do us a favour, which certainly seemed to be the impression the girl behind the bar was giving.

But more to the point, having entered the pub by the car park entrance and seeing the filthy state of the chiller cabinet containing the sweets, and then the seemingly chaotic state of the kitchen, I suggest that the hygiene standards of this establishment should be very carefully scrutinised by the relevant councils Environmental Health Officers. Add to that the long overdue to be washed clothes that the youth employed to serve the meals was wearing and the picture is complete.

In summary; my overall rating is 1/10; and my recommendation is to AVOID until the beer quality and the the hygiene standards are improved and the staff are given 'Welcome Approch' training.

22 Sep 2009 03:31

Metrobar, Derby


In spite of the previous rather negative comments, I actually like the Metrobar.

OK, it has its faults, but I dont find either the dcor or the furniture a problem. More to the point, I feel really comfortable drinking in here because unlike many of the other nearby city centre pubs, it does not seem to attract the dregs of Derbys lowlife.

It has five hand pulls. St. Austell Tribute and Sharps Doom Bar seem to be the regulars, plus a selection from a variety of micros, all of which are usually in pretty good condition. I cant remember seeing all five pumps in use, but IMHO, post-it-kinda-notes on the pump clips saying Sorry, Run Out or Coming Soon is the sign of a good turnover and a good cellar man.

Admittedly, whilst it is not quite in the same league as the Babington, the Olde Dolphin, the Royal Standard or the Silk Mill, the Metrobar should be a MUST for inclusion on any pub crawl around the real ale capital of England.

16 Sep 2009 04:24

The Castle Rooms, Ashby de la Zouch


Almost 3 years on from the previous review, the Royal Hotels public bar seems to have changed its name to Chaplins. Only two hand pumps; one delivered Old Rosie Cider, the other Marstons Pedigree. The Pedigree was OK, but not particularly outstanding.

I guess that as an hotel it must have a national 3 or 4 star rating. It is very clean, and very comfortable. The surroundings are very elegant and all the staff were very friendly and efficient. No problems with the bar meals. There is a comprehensive menu. Meals are freshly prepared, well presented and good quality, but a tad on the expensive side.

I am sure that this kind of establishment is not everyones cup of tea. If you like pubs with pool tables, juke boxes and Sky Sports and who serve micro-waved meals you need to go elsewhere.

14 Sep 2009 03:07

The Rose of England, Nottingham


Almost a year on from the last review, it seems that the new management has been very successful in turning this pub around. It is clean and comfortable and there didnt seem to be any of Nottingham low life on the premises when I called in recently.

There was a good selection of real ales, including one of my favourites, St Austell Tribute. Having sampled the real thing after a brewery tour, I have a yardstick to measure other outlets by. It wasnt perfect, but it wasnt bad. 7/10 is my rating for the beer and the pub as a whole.

I also have to agree (being a fairly recently reformed smoker myself) that the nicotine addicts on the pavement outside are rather off putting

4 Sep 2009 04:41

Three Stags Head, Darley Bridge


As the Three Stags Head is now a Greene King house, I would normally have driven past, but a chalk board advertising a beer festival over the Late August Bank Holiday weekend tempted me to give it a try. In retrospect, I wish that I hadnt bothered

First impressions werent too bad, but I guess the alarm bells should have begun to ring because most of the festival beers had been brewed by the pubs puppet masters in Bury St. Edmunds; the exceptions being Bass, Batemans XXX and one each from the local micros Falstaff and Leatherbritches.

The staff, all female, and plenty of them were very friendly too. And the menu was attractive, so we decided to eat. It was a bad mistake because from here on things really went downhill

The girls seemed to be more interested in socialising amongst themselves than looking after their customers. Although the pub was almost empty, after several reminders it took 45 minutes before our food was served and then it was not as had been ordered and was almost inedible. Even the home made chips were rubbish.

After complaining we were given a derisory refund of 5.

I wish that I had driven past. In future I will DEFINITELY do so.

30 Aug 2009 04:55

The Murderers, Norwich


I am not quite sure what to make of this seemingly two-in-one pub which trades as both the Gardeners Arms and the Murderers.

For me, drinking beer surrounded by photographs of an electric chair and convicted and executed murderers and is a TOTAL turn off. It may appeal to some ghouls, but not to me.

On the positive side, it is one of the few pubs we found that serves real ale in Norwich city centre. And when buying your drinks you are invited to roll a pair of dice. If you roll a double six, your drinks are FREE.

Another novel feature (for the men) is whilst you are pointing Percy at the Porcelain (having a pee), you can watch England showing the Aussies how to play cricket because there are flat screen TVs embedded in the wall behind the urinal stalls.

On the positive side it does serve real ale which seems to be a rarity in Norwich city centre pubs. The bar staff were friendly and the beer quality was pretty good too. But for me the gimmicks rather put me off.

26 Aug 2009 03:25

Gardeners Arms, Norwich


I am not quite sure what to make of this seemingly two-in-one pub which trades as both the Gardeners Arms and the Murderers.

For me, drinking beer surrounded by photographs of an electric chair and convicted and executed murderers and is a TOTAL turn off. It may appeal to some ghouls, but not to me.

On the positive side, it is one of the few pubs we found that serves real ale in Norwich city centre. And when buying your drinks you are invited to roll a pair of dice. If you roll a double six, your drinks are FREE.

Another novel feature (for the men) is whilst you are pointing Percy at the Porcelain (having a pee), you can watch England showing the Aussies how to play cricket because there are flat screen TVs embedded in the wall behind the urinal stalls.

On the positive side it does serve real ale which seems to be a rarity in Norwich city centre pubs. The bar staff were friendly and the beer quality was pretty good too. But for me the gimmicks rather put me off.

26 Aug 2009 03:22

The Coachmakers Arms, Norwich


I must agree with the previous comments about the location of the Coachmakers Arms. IMHO it is definitely on the WRONG side of the Norwich inner ring road.

To reach the pub from the city centre means either running the gauntlet with the traffic to try to cross the busy road or chance being mugged in one of the alternative pedestrian subways. Admittedly in daylight the subways seem pretty safe, but there is *NO* way that I would use them at night.

As for the pub itself, there is little to add to previous reviews. GK-IPA, Abbott, Wherry and Golden Jackal, all straight from the barrel were available when we visited. My pints of Wherry were tip-top.

No problems with the food either. Our meals were freshly prepared, nicely presented and not bad value for money.

25 Aug 2009 03:18

Lobster, Sheringham


I cannot understand why the Lobster has currently got such a low rating currently 4.9. I have been in many pubs with much higher BITE ratings, which by comparison have been absolute CRAP compared to the Lobster. In my book 8/10 is much nearer the mark.

OK, it is not perfect, but depending on ones point of view, very few pubs are.

Maybe the previous reviewers visited at the wrong time. Yes, the bar does have 10 hand pumps and when I visited on Saturday 22 August, FIVE beers, Adnams Bitter, Woodfordes Wherry, Landlord, Abbott and Wolfs Golden Jackal were all available. I opted to drink the Wherry which was served in the CORRECT glass, and topped up by the barmaid without me asking her too. I have no complaints at all about the quality of the beer.

We didnt eat here, but the food looked appetizing and I heard numerous positive comments from those who were dining.

As for the lack of choice, there is a beer festival at the Lobster over the August Bank Holiday weekend during which they are advertising that 30 different beers and 6 ciders will be available.

24 Aug 2009 02:59

The Bishop Blaise, Derby


Definitely NOT my kind of pub.

Yes, it is clean and comfortable, but beyond that, it is difficult to find anything else positive to say.

The pub was empty apart from me and a very miserable barmaid.

I dont blame her for being miserable, she must have been bored out of her mind.

3 hand pumps, but only 2 available. The Spitfire was only very average in quality. I was initially served a short measure and then charged 2.95. I have bought MUCH better quality and CHEAPER beer in London.

Add to that, loud crap radio 1 kind of music

No wonder the place was empty.

Another pub chain that has lost the plot

4 Aug 2009 03:48

The Thomas Leaper, Derby


Yatess in Derby has been closed for at least a year, but was reopened by Wetherspoons as a Lloyds No.1 and renamed the Thomas Leaper last Friday 24 July.

With the popular and much larger Standing Order next door, it seems a curious choice of location for JDW to open another outlet in the city. Although much smaller and has 10 handpumps (including the usual JDW brands) it already appears to suffering badly from the usual Wetherspoon malaise of poor service, which normally is not a problem next door in the Standing Order.

When I visited at lunchtime on Tuesday there was just one guy behind the bar serving drinks and taking food orders. Another guy was just serving meals and clearing tables, and the duty manager was seemingly doing nothing but run round like a headless chicken fielding complaints about food quality and service.

As the saying goes, first impressions count and there is no such thing as another chance to make a first impression. First impressions were not good. The Shardlow Brewery Fools Gold was well below par, even though JDW donate 10p per pint to their childrens charity.

Yes it is clean and comfortable, but in my view a much better alternative would have been to have made this an annexe to the Standing Order.

29 Jul 2009 05:07

The Griffins Head, Papplewick


I have driven past this pub on many occasions but this is the first time that we have stopped off here. The car park was pretty busy, which is always a good indication of a pubs popularity.

Overall, we were not disappointed.

5 hand pumps, but only 3 were active. I opted for the Bombardier. It was not the best pint of this brew that I have ever drunk, but equally it was a long way from the worst. The staff were all very friendly and helpful and our meals were excellent.

The Griffins Head is definitely on the list of pubs where we will drink and eat at again specially when we visit the remarkable Papplewick Pumping Station

28 Jul 2009 05:07

Horse and Groom, Derby


jarofporter seems to have rather missed the point as to why the Horse & Groom was so highly rated in this years Derby CAMRA pub of the year. Just look at the facts

It is NOT a Punch Tavern or Enterprise Inn or owned by a national or a locally based brewery.

The Horse & Groom was a long closed and semi-derelict pub that would probably have been demolished by now if a young couple, Adam and Sarah, had not had the courage and foresight to invest their life savings to buy and refurbish it.

In the good old days pubs were at the heart of the community, but as we all know, that has all but been destroyed by the greed of many brewery and pub groups.

Yet, against all the odds, in just a year, by dint of sheer hard work and running the kind of pub that people ACTUALLY want, Adam and Sarah have put the Horse and Groom back to where it belongs in the centre of Derbys West End community where everyone from 18 to 80 can be sure of a warm welcome and be served with top quality beer.

There is an object lesson here for the money grabbing morons who think that they know how to run pubs. In reality they havent a clue, which is why so many pubs the length and breadth of the country are sadly being closed and boarded up with alarming regularity.

25 Jul 2009 05:11

The Judges Lodgings, York


I sat outside at the front of this attractive building on a very pleasant sunny July afternoon with my wife, daughter and grandson.

The Great Heck Brewerys Final Judgement (which it seems is exclusive to this pub) was absolutely superb. It was one of the best kept pints that I have drunk for a long time.

No problems with the staff either, they were friendly and helpful and topped up my beer to give a full pint without even being asked to do so. The slight downside was that the outside tables would benefit from a better cleaning regime.

That said, I have sampled many York pubs in the last couple of years and this is definitely one of the better ones.

20 Jul 2009 05:47

The Maltings, York


Sorry, but I was very unimpressed with this pub. Yes, it does have a very good selection of real ales, but my pint of York Brewery Guzzler was OK, but nothing special.

As for the dcor it could have been designed and built by Steptoe & Son. To me it just looks very tatty and the seat that I sat on was very uncomfortable. This sort of thing may appeal to some, but drinking only average quality beer and surrounded by materials that have probably all been found in rubbish skips is not for me.

There are much MUCH better pubs in York

Beer 3/5, ambience 0/5.

18 Jul 2009 03:08

The Betjeman Arms, St Pancras International Station


Very interesting. The staff seem to charge different prices. Maybe it is the time of day or maybe it is beacause I am better looking guy than trainman !!!

We called in the Betjeman Arms for a pint last evening whilst waiting for the train home after watching my son-in-law performing on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square and I was only charged 2.90 a pint for the Sharps Betjeman. It was not a bad pint either. It was a pleasant ending to a pleasant day.

Certainly a definite improvement on the old Shires. My wife wouldnt be seen dead in the Shires but she really enjoyed sitting outside on the concourse under the magnificent roof.

I cannot comment about the food or the toilets as we bought some sandwiches from M&S and used the toilets on the EMT train ...

14 Jul 2009 16:34

Mayze, Newark


The Mayze is clean and comfortable with friendly staff, but it was very quiet when we visited and was lacking atmosphere. A few more punters would have made all the difference. Two hand pumps but only one real ale on (Tribute) but it was pretty good. The food was pretty good too. The menu is quite comprehensive, but we opted for sandwiches which were good quality, nicely presented and served quickly. The home made chips were excellent.

10 Jul 2009 02:16

The Coach and Horses Inn, Chepstow


Very VERY VERY disappointing.

The Reverend James (one of 6 handpumps) was served far too cold and was consequently tasteless.

The food was absolute rubbish. It was poor quality, badly cooked and very poor value for money. The so called "chef" could not even microwave a bought-in budget lasagne properly ... not once but twice.

If it had been a 99p 'credit crunch lunch' it would have been a rip-off, so charging over 6 for a meal of this standard is totally unacceptable

The chalk board outside claims this pub serves the best beer and the best home cooked food in Chepstow.

If this is the case I feel really sorry for the residents because I certainly wont ever bother to eat or drinkin Chepstow again.

2 Jul 2009 03:47

The Worm's Head Hotel, Swansea


The Worms Head Hotel is in a superb location and there are stunning views over Rhossili Bay and Worms Head from the bar, the lounge and the outside terrace. The bar area is perhaps a little bit basic, but the adjoining lounge is extremely comfortable. Two real ales were available at the time of our visit, both from the local Hurns Brewing Co Tomas Watkins Cwrw Haf and Worms Head.

The food was excellent too. It was good quality, nicely presented, quickly served and given the hotels prime tourist location, very good value. The beer was pretty good and not overpriced either. The staff were nice too the barmaid even taught me how to pronounce Cwrw Haf as she was pulling my pint.

The slight downside is having to use the village car park, but given the other attractions within walking distance, 2.50 for all day, is not a rip-off.

Rhossili and the pub will definitely be on our itinerary next time we visit Gower

27 Jun 2009 02:48

The Green Man, Ashbourne


The Green Man & Blacks Head Royal Hotel to give this pub its full name is a 17th century coaching inn in Ashbourne town centre. There is no excuse for missing it because the pub sign spans right across St. Johns Street which is on the northbound A515 through the town.

It is the brewery tap for the Leatherbritches micro which moved from nearby Fenny Bentley last year and who now brew on the premises. I opted for the 4.8% abv Hairy Helmet which is only 2.30 a pint. No complaints about either quality or price. Dr. Johnsons which is 4% abv is only 2.00 a pint. No complaints about the bar food either. It was freshly cooked, well presented, good value for money and the home made chips are very yummy.

There are two bars. The Boswell Bar which has 6 hand pumps has a more traditional atmosphere for the more mature customer. The Johnson Bar caters for the younger drinkers. Definitely on my list of pubs to eat and drink at again.

26 Jun 2009 05:09

The Newcastle Arms, Worksop


For me this is just an OK sort of pub. It is clean, comfortable and the staff are friendly. Only one hand pump, currently Bombardier, which was pretty good. So too were the landladys homemade chips.

It is not the sort of pub that I want to rush back to, but equally, it will not be a pub that I will avoid when I visit Worksop again.

22 Jun 2009 05:14

The Mallard, Worksop


I was very disappointed to find when I was in Worksop last week that the Mallard does not open until 5pm Monday to Thursday, 2pm on Friday and 12 noon at the weekend.

As an alternative I can recommend the Station Inn just across the road where I did have an excellent pint of Barnsley Bitter which was one of several real ales available.

21 Jun 2009 04:23

The Springfield Inn, Lowdham


A large pub, which was surprisingly quiet on a Saturday lunchtime.

Three hand pumps, Landlord, ersatz Mansfield Bitter and Black Sheep. I was very unimpressed by the youth behind the bar sneezing several times whilst he was pulling my pint. Yes, he did turn away and the youth might have only had hay fever, but with a swine flu epidemic alleged to be just around the corner my first impressions of the Springfield were not good. Neither was being charged 2.85 for what was only a very average pint of Black Sheep.

I had intended having lunch here, but the lack of customers did not exactly inspire much confidence, and when started reading the menu I discovered why it is a Vintage Inn. I have had some excellent meals at Vintage Inns in the past, but recently their quality standards seem to have plummeted whilst their prices have continued to rise. Perhaps this explains the lack of custom

21 Jun 2009 04:02

The Rhino, Chaddesden

Closed, boarded up and has been partially burnt down.

7 Jun 2009 00:26

The Red Lion, Riddings, Derbyshire

Driving past the Red Lion yesterday I noticed it that it was closed and boarded up and is for sale.

4 Jun 2009 01:15

The Red Lion, Chellaston

Has been closed and boarded up for at least a year.

3 Jun 2009 00:54

The Old Silk Mill, Derby


To update jarofporters review, the Old Silk Mill has 8 hand pump ales, all from independent brewers plus Bass straight from the barrel. The hand pumps currently include Purity Pure Gold and Mad Goose, Brewsters Wicked Women and Thornbridge Jaipur.

I have called in twice this week but both times the pub was alarmingly quiet. As the previous reviewer says Be sure to visit soon, you will be impressed.

29 May 2009 02:03

The Queens Head, Lichfield


The Queens Head is definitely worth the few minutes walk from Lichfields city centre. It has a good selection of well kept beers and a good value for money lunchtime menu. Admittedly the food service was on the slow side but there is a sign on the bar warning customers that the pub does not serve fast food, but they do serve good home cooked food as fast as they can. It seems that a lot of the regulars phone or text their orders and e.t.a. in advance and so avoid the wait.

From previous reviews it seems that the selection of beers is now not as good as it used to be, but it is still much better choice than is available in most other Marstons pubs that Ive been in. The Oxford Gold was excellent.

26 May 2009 03:13

Horse and Groom, Derby


The Horse & Groom is a Victorian street corner pub which has been serving Derbys West End community for well over 150 years. Remarkably, although virtually all the buildings around it were razed to the ground in the 1960s as part of a slum clearance programme, the Horse & Groom lived on to serve the residents of the replacement housing in the surrounding area.

More recently however the pub fell on hard times, but after a period when it was closed and boarded up and its future looked uncertain, it was bought by the former landlord of the nearby Woodlark. Following a complete and tasteful refurbishment, the Horse & Groom reopened as a free house in July 2008.

It is purely a drinking pub and music pub. No food, but the beer is first class. Pedigree, Bass and Theakstons Mild are the regulars, plus a guest, often one from Hartington.

23 May 2009 05:31

Ye Olde Packhorse Inn, Derby


I am not at all sure what to make of this pub.

The first time we called in about 18 months ago it had just changed hands and a variety of excuses were given that the new management team hadnt got their act up to speed. That said, the beer wasnt too bad and neither was the food probably around 6/10 on the BITE scale.

We called in again last weekend and it was just like turning the clock back 18 months because it has just changed hands again. But the new management team seems to be even lower down the learning curve than on our previous visit. The only real ale available was Pedigree which was only average and the only food available was a very below standard and very poor value for money carvery. At 7.95 a head it was a rip-off. No credit cards either, it was cash, or you didnt get served.

For the same price the John Thompson, about 3 miles away in Ingleby has a carvery to die for.

The one redeeming feature was the new landladys enthusiasm. Without that and her plans for major improvements in the future, 2/10 would have been an over generous rating. If she succeeds, and I hope that she does, the Packhorse could be a really good pub. But right now no more than a 4/10

22 May 2009 04:29

The Grange Inn, Derby

Another waste of a BITE page. Shut down as a pub some years agao and is now a shop selling outdoor clothes.

21 May 2009 02:18

The Grandstand, Derby

Whoever suggested the Grandstand and given it a rating is taking the piss. It closed down and was demolished 10 years ago.

21 May 2009 02:16

The Church Inn, Ludlow



Having read some of the BITE reviews since my last visit to the Church in May last year, I was a bit apprehensive about what we would find when we were in Ludlow during the this years May Bank Holiday.

But as my favourite gourmet sausage butties and sandwiches were still being advertised on the menu outside we decided to go inside and give it a try

We were NOT disappointed.

The Church is as good as ever. There was the usual good selection of real ales. I opted for the Hobsons Town Crier which was tip-top.

No problems with the staff either. The service was quick and friendly. And the food was as good as ever, freshly cooked, well presented and promptly served.

So whats the problem ???

No hesitation ... full marks again !!!

13 May 2009 03:11

The Three Horseshoes, Leominster


I honestly cannot see why this pub has got such a low BITE rating (3.8 at the time of writing) as in my humble opinion it should be nearer 7/10. OK, it is nothing outstanding, but it serves a very nice pint of Brains Bitter, It is clean and comfortable, and the food, although standard pub fare, was pretty good, freshly cooked, nicely served and good value for money.

And when we visited, the young lady behind the bar was friendly and helpful.

What more do you want ???

I have been in other pubs with much higher BITE ratings which have turned out to be crap compared to this one.

12 May 2009 03:43

The Innkeeper's Lodge Derby, Derby


I need to update my previous review.

After several years of submitting on-line Toby customer satisfaction surveys to M&B in which I have complained bitterly about the lack of and/or poor quality of their so called real ales, they have at last done something about it. I am not claiming any credit for it, as I am sure that many other discerning Toby customers have also told M&B that their beer is crap.

Anyway, a few days ago I received an e-mail from M&B announcing that the Chad Park was now serving REAL ales and so I checked it out over the weekend .

Hand pulled Pedigree, Banks Bitter and Everards Tiger are now available on hand pump and I opted for the Tiger. I have had much better pints of Tiger elsewhere, but more to the point I have had much worse elsewhere too. It was served at more or less the correct temperature which has been one of my regular gripes, and I cant complain about being charged 2.30 a pint either.

Well done M&B. You have done something right at last !!! And the carvery is as good as ever .

3 May 2009 04:03

The Royal Oak, Chesterfield


Well done to the new owners. In the 6 months since my last visit they seem to have turned the place around completely. It is now warm and friendly and was comfortably busy. It appears to have been redecorated and refurbished and offers 6 real ales, including the superb, but expensive Thornbridge Jaipur IPA (5.9%abv). I cannot comment about the food except that plenty of customers were eating, which is usually a good sign, and the food looked pretty good.

2 May 2009 03:29

The Market, Chesterfield


For me, the Market is still the best pub in Chesterfield. They have good selection of well kept real ales with a changing selection of guests from both mainstream breweries and local micros. The Ashover Poets Tipple that I had yesterday was first class and the food, as always was superb including of course the yummy home made chips. If only all pubs were like this ...

2 May 2009 03:22

The Joiners Arms, Quarndon


The Joiners is a very average kind of pub. It has been around for years and is clean and very comfortable and the staff are friendly, but the real ales on offer Landlord, Pedigree and Speckled Hen are rarely much better than average.

But more to the point, as the only pub in Quarndon, which is one of Derbys more up-market suburbs, it seems to have lost the plot completely. The potential is enormous, but it only serves cold snacks at lunchtime and seems to rely mainly on wakes after funerals at the nearby crematorium to keep it in business. I am giving it a 5/10 which is probably a bit on the generous side .

30 Apr 2009 03:53

Swan and Salmon Inn, Derby

Closed and boarded up

28 Apr 2009 02:35

The Gallant Hussar, Derby

Closed and boarded up

28 Apr 2009 02:33

The Neptune, Derby


The Neptune is an old established pub which has been serving ale to the citizens of Derby for well over 250 years. The present pub isnt as old as that, but it has been around for a while so it does have a bit of atmosphere and it is opposite one of the entrances to Derbys hideous Westfield Shopping Centre.

The downside is that the only real ale it serves is Pedigree. Its OK for a swift half whilst her indoors is shopping, but my recommendation is to walk the 200 yards down Osmaston Road and then up Babington Lane and sample the excellent selection real ales in the Babington Arms.

23 Apr 2009 02:58

Poet and Castle, Ripley


Previously known as the New Clock, and before that the Red Admiral, after a period of being closed and boarded up, it reopened about a year ago by the Ashover Brewery as the Poet & Castle.

With a choice from 8 hand pumps it is now a real ale drinkers paradise. Two mainstream ales, Landlord and Everards Original seem to be regulars as are Ashovers own Castle Light and Poets Tipple. Normally at least one of the guests is dark beer and several draught ciders are available too.

There are no TVs, no jukeboxes, no pool tables, and better yet, no nitro-keg gnat piss. It is a pub for the serious drinker but there is live music in the evening once or twice a week. I havent eaten here yet, but if the food is as good as the beer, it will be pretty good.

21 Apr 2009 03:40

Castle and Falcon, Derby

This is probably the WORST pub in Derby.

It is a bland, windowless, claustrophobic 1970s structure which for the last 2 years or so has been known as the Castlebar. Its attempt to be a pseudo Irish pub seems to have failed miserably and it has probably only escaped prosecution under the Trades Description Act because it serves Guinness. That said, when I passed today I saw a guy up a ladder apparently fixing the & Falcon part of the sign back.

The only positive thing to say is that it serves Draught Bass, but the last pint I had in there was pretty dire.

Without going into detail, my overall rating is MINUS 5, but as BITE does not deal in negative quantities, I will have to rate it as zero. And that is doing it a favour ...

15 Apr 2009 04:33

Ranbys Public House, Derby

Has been closed and boarded up for at least the last two years.

15 Apr 2009 04:01

The Innkeeper's Lodge Derby, Derby


This used to be called the Chaddesden Park Hotel.

The keywords in the previous review is that it is now a Toby Inn.

The food is normally excellent and very good value for money. But the beer, as usual in many Toby outlets is CRAP. The only real ale available is Bass which is served far too cold and is consequently tastless.

If the Toby group get their act together and serve quality beers to compliment their quality food, they could have a winning formula. But until they do most of their outlets will be excellent eateries but dreadful pubs.

12 Apr 2009 02:54

The Coliseum, Derby

Whoever suggested this is taking the piss.

It was closed and demolished years ago to make way for the hideous Westfield shopping centre.

12 Apr 2009 02:25

The Royal Oak Inn, Wirksworth


*NO* hesitation what so ever 10/10 because the Royal Oak is an absolute GEM.

It is a small privately owned, traditional and totally unspoilt pub, run by the owners, John and Avis. It is like a breath of fresh air for the serious mature drinker because it is what REAL pubs used to be like

No plasma TVs, no jukebox, and no cooking smells. But there are interesting items of brewery and local memorabilia on display and you can be assured of a genuine warm welcome and a choice of five real ales normally Landlord, Bass and Hartington IPA plus two guests (often including one from Sharps) ALL of which are in a SUPERB condition.

I have to declare an interest because John and I have known each other for more years than either of us really care to admit to. That said, there can be few licensees who have been in the trade longer and have so much experience. The quality of the beer and the atmosphere at the Royal Oak are a testament to this.

But please be aware of the limited opening hours to avoid disappointment. The Royal Oak is only open in the evening from 8pm and their only lunchtime session is 12 noon to 3pm on Sundays.

8 Apr 2009 02:13

Victoria Hotel, Derby

Sad to say another traditional pub has closed and in is now up for sale.

4 Apr 2009 06:04

John Thompson Inn, Derby


I cannot fault gillhalfpints review. The John Thompson is an absolute gem. Their excellent home brewed beers are not too expensive; the superb JT Gold (4.5% abv) costs just 2.40 a pint. The lunchtime beef carvery is one to die for. It has to be one of the BEST, not just in Derbyshire but in the in the WHOLE of the UK.

The staff are all friendly and efficient and are totally dedicated.

No hesitation 10/10.

4 Apr 2009 05:26

The Lion Hotel & Restaurant, Belper


The Lion is an old coaching inn on the main road (A6) through Belper. I have driven past it 100s of times but had never been in until a few days ago on a cold snowy February day.

Other than the heating being a bit lacking, I was impressed. It was clean, reasonably comfortable and the staff were friendly. There were three mainstream ales on the handpumps Pedigree, London Pride and Landlord plus one from the local Amber micro brewery Barnes Wallis IPA which was excellent.

I have no complaints about the food either. The two-course Credit Crunch Lunch at 5 is very, VERY good value. I had home made soup with a freshly baked bread roll and butter, followed by sausages (from a local butcher) with proper mash and yummy onion gravy which was excellent. (There are other options).

My wife gave the ladies loo a 5-star rating (quite a rarity !!!) and I couldnt fault the gents either. We will definitely be eating and drinking here again

7 Feb 2009 02:57

The Fitzwilliam Arms, Peterborough


The Fitzwilliam is actually part of the M&B Vintage Inn chain. Some Vintage Inns can be very good, others can be dreadful. This one falls somewhere between the two.

Bombardier and GK-IPA were available on the hand pumps when I visited. The Bombardier was just a tad below par, but quite drinkable. Similarly the food was OK, but nothing special. The staff were friendly and efficient but seemed to be programmed so I agree with the previous reviewer about the contrived atmosphere. In some ways, I found that this atmosphere is uncomfortable.

The Fitzwilliam is a very attractive thatched pub in a pleasant village within very easy reach of Peterborough city centre. Given the right conditions it has ENORMOUS potential, but whilst M&B are the puppet masters, it will sadly remain just an average pub that serves average beer and average food

27 Jan 2009 04:59

The White Hart, Duffield

Of the 5 pubs in Duffield, (of which 3 are currently listed on BITE), the White Hart is without doubt, the best of the bunch. The Kings Head is dreadful, and I never feel entirely comfortable when I call in for a pint at the other BITE listed pub, the Patten Makers. The atmosphere in the White Hart is much, much better and although it is not perfect, it is clean and comfortable, the staff are very pleasant and in spite of previous comments, I have never had any problems getting served.

There are normally four real ales available Bass, Pedigree, Landlord and a guest, normally from a local micro. I have never had a bad pint in the White Hart, but at 2.85 a pint it is a tad expensive. The food also tends to be a tad on the expensive side too, but it is freshly prepared and the quality is usually pretty good. There is an interesting concept for Sunday lunch parties of four or six are served with a whole joint of beef or lamb which they have to carve and serve themselves.

15 Jan 2009 04:10

Master Locksmith, Derby

The Master Locksmith is a modern (early 1990s) pub on the edge of the large Meteor retail park which is also the car park for one of Derbys Park & Ride schemes. It is clean, comfortable and family friendly, but other than that, it is just a pretty average pub of its type, although it does have Cask Marque accreditation for its real ales Pedigree and Bombardier, which are not too expensive. Both have been pretty good when I sampled them recently and I have been served by pleasant staff

I cant comment about the food as it is a long time since I have eaten there, but the menu seems to be pretty much the same mixture that you will find on most other chain pub food menus.

10 Jan 2009 01:49

New Inn, Little Eaton

Like many other NEW Inns, the New Inn at Little Eaton is actually a very OLD village pub, but over the years the character of this New Inn has been totally destroyed by a number of very unsympathetic extensions which has now resulted in it being a large, rambling, bland, totally characterless and soulless Marstons establishment. It is located a few yards off the main road (B6179) through the village and can be accessed along Duffield Road or via New Inn Lane. Either way has access to the large car park.

I cant comment about the food as it is a long time since I have eaten here, but the odd times that I have called in for a swift pint, the Pedigree has normally been pretty good.

1 Dec 2008 04:49

Mill House, Milford

Yes, the Mill House is in a beautiful location at the side of the River Derwent, and I guess that on warm summer weekend afternoons and evenings the place is heaving and has a terrific ambiance.

But what is it like in the winter ???

When I called in on a cold miserable rainy November day it was like walking into large empty and souless barn. In spite of the very friendly guy working the bar it seemed to be totally devoid of any atmosphere and it wasnt very warm either.

There was only one real ale available (TT Landlord) and it was WELL below par especially when it cost 2.75 a pint. As the alternative was the usual selection of tasteless nitro keg gnats piss, I drank the TTL, but if that is the best that this establishment can do, I definitely will not be returning in a hurry

24 Nov 2008 06:10

The Ashford Arms, Ashford in the Water

Excellent !!!

Of the two pubs in the idyllic Derbyshire village of Ashford-in-the-Water, the Ashford Arms, in my opinion, is by far the better one. It is clean, comfortable and has a very nice ambiance. The guys and girls working behind the bar and in the restaurant were all very welcoming, friendly and efficient.

It serves three real ales Black Sheep, Bass and Abbot. The Black Sheep was excellent and definitely on a par, with the Black Sheep that I drank in the brewerys own bar when we visited Masham recently.

The food at the Ashford Arms is superb. The pretty comprehensive menu seems to cater for most tastes and appetites. It is freshly cooked and the quality and presentation are first class and definitely much, much better value for money than the rather pretentious and much more expensive menu in the neighbouring Bulls Head. When we checked out the Bulls Head it was virtually empty the Ashford Arms on the other hand was very pleasantly busy so it appears that plenty of other people have reached the same conclusion

It is most definitely on my list of pubs to visit again ...

20 Nov 2008 05:38

The Boat Inn, Cromford

I wish that I had read the previous review before I visited the Boat last week because if I had the words dogs welcome would have totally put me off. I am not a fan of dogs being allowed into pubs at any time, ASSISTANCE DOGS EXCEPTED, specially when food is being served. Although many publicans do in fact have the common sense to do this, it is not actually against the law to allow dogs into public dining areas on licensed premises

My first impressions when I walked into the Boat on a cold damp miserable November day were pretty good because it seemed to be a nice warm cosy little pub where I could enjoy a nice pint and a quick sandwich

But I was wrong because from there on things began to go downhill. It had four real ales on when I visited two mainstream and two from micros. I had a pint of Slaters Top Totty, which wasnt bad, but it certainly wasnt outstanding. Then, when I enquired if they served sandwiches or rolls, I was brusquely informed that the only food available was a choice of a few main meals displayed on a chalk board at the side of the bar. The barmans take-it-or-leave-it attitude certainly didnt impress me at all.

Being on quite a tight schedule, I decided to leave it, and Im damn glad that I did because when I sat down, I noticed that there was a large black dog begging for tit-bits from the four people who were eating on a table nearby. I became even less impressed when I realised that it was not their dog when it moved on to trying to scrounge food from other diners. The final straw was when, after one of the diners got very uptight and complained quite strongly and the barman reluctantly ushered the animal behind the bar, I realised that it was the pubs own dog.

For me, this is totally unacceptable. If the management allows the dog to beg scraps from customers, where else, and what else is this animal allowed to go and do in this pub ???

9 Nov 2008 04:12

The Greyhound, Derby

Ignore both the previous reviews because the writers have confused the Greyhound on Friargate in Derby with this Greyhound on Village Street, in the Derby suburb of Old Normanton.

The Friargate Greyhound (currently closed and boarded up) is on the fringe of Derbys student quarter, hence the reference to students in the reviews. The Village Street Greyhound is a friendly estate type pub built in the late 1920s and I guess that most of the customers are locals.

The real ale choice is limited to Bass, which is pretty good; otherwise it is nitro-keg. A selection of pub food is served at lunchtime with a carvery on Sunday and seems popular and good value for money.

To avoid any confusion in the future (if the other Greyhound re-opens), I have uploaded a photo of the Village Street Greyhound

3 Nov 2008 03:16

The Twitchel Inn, Long Eaton

First impressions of the Twitchell Inn is that it one of the better Wetherspoon's establishments although like many others in the chain that I have visited, I found parts of it a bit claustrophobic. That said, the beer is pretty good and the staff seem on the ball too. And it doesnt seem to be frequented by much of Long Eatons lowlife either.

As for the previous comment Long Eaton IS in Derbyshire. OK, the towns post codes are Nottingham (NG) and the phone numbers all have the Nottingham prefix (0115), but the town and the pub are on the Derby side of the county boundary.

26 Oct 2008 03:06

The Three Nuns, Loughborough

A smallish and fairly unspoilt pub on the outer fringes of Loughboroughs main shopping area, but which, never the less, at lunchtimes at least, seems to be very popular with local shoppers.

Being an Everards house the choice of real ale is limited to Beacon, Tiger, Sunchaser and Original, plus the Everard seasonal brew (currently Equinox), but they are all pretty good beers and all the pints that I have drunk in the Nuns have been first class and served by very friendly and helpful staff.

The pub grub is pretty good too. Nothing too fancy, but it is freshly prepared, good quality and very good value for money, particularly the 2-4-7 meals, which in terms of both quality and quantity totally blow the equivalent deal at pubs like Wetherspoons completely out of the water.

Overall, a very nice pub with a really good atmosphere.

24 Oct 2008 02:39

The Royal Oak, Chesterfield

The Royal Oak seems to have just reopened after a period of being closed and boarded up. Good luck to the new proprietors in saving Chesterfields oldest pub, but they have a long way to go ...

When I had a pint in there yesterday lunchtime there just two old guys in the bar and an old couple in the lounge. The lack of customers was not surprising because the place was freezing. I felt really sorry for the young barmaid, who although wearing a woolly hat, scarf and body-warmer looked really really cold. There were two mainstream real ales available, (which I think were Tetley and Stones), plus two (Golden Bud and Best Bitter) from the local Brampton micro. The Brampton Best was OK, but would have been much better if the surroundings had been more convivial.

I did not pay too much attention to the opening times, but be aware that they are NOT normal pub hours

23 Oct 2008 04:22

The Crown Inn, Tiddington

The Crown is a clean, spacious, well-kept pub on the main road (B4086) through Tiddington village. There were 4 real ales available when we called in recently. These included Bombardier, Speckled Hen and Hobgoblin plus a brew from a local micro. The Hobgoblin was excellent. The food was pretty good too. Nothing special, just ordinary pub grub, but it was freshly prepared, good quality and reasonably good value for money, given that the pub is only 1 miles out of Stratford.

The downside was the lack of atmosphere. That is not a criticism of the staff, who were all very friendly and efficient. It is the rather rambling layout of the pub which has the large dining area segregated from the bar that is the problem. And it probably isnt a problem at all when the pub is busy. We called on a Saturday lunchtime, when given what the pub has to offer, it was surprisingly quiet.

As this is the Crowns first BITE review and it is otherwise pretty good, I will be upbeat and give it 8/10

21 Oct 2008 03:00

The Cuckoo, Peterborough

The Cuckoo is a large and attractive pub in very picturesque surroundings on the outskirts of Peterborough, just a few 100 yards along the A605 from the southbound A1 It is part of M&Bs Vintage Inn chain, so as one would expect, it is clean and comfortable. It also has a very pleasant outside seating area.

But other than that, it is somewhat less than average. When I visited, it had 3 mainstream real ales available; GK-IPA, Landlord and Bombardier. I opted for the Landlord which was drinkable, but quite a long way below being in tip-top condition. I have had much better pints elsewhere which, I have to say, I have been served by much pleasanter and sociable bar staff.

The biggest disappointment was the food. Being lunchtime I opted for what was described appetizingly described on the lighter bite menu as a honeyed ham and mature cheddar cheese sandwich with bramley apple and red onion chutney and seasoned chips.

Cambridgeshire Trading Standards should check this one out ...

The mature cheddar was OK, but for the rest there is probably a good case for a prosecution under the Trade Description Acts. The apple and red onion chutney appeared to be nothing more than ordinary apple sauce spread on one slice of the bread with a layer of Branston pickle spread on the other slice. The seasoned chips were just bog standard frozen chips and what the menu described as Hampshire outdoor reared honey roast ham was a wafer thin slice of reconstituted ham which contained quite a high percentage of translucent fat. And for that, I was ripped off to the tune of 4.50.

I could go on but overall, my impression is that this is a pub in decline. It has below average quality beer and well below average quality food served by seemingly disinterested staff. I certainly will not be calling again Vintage Inns can be very good, but this one definitely is NOT.

18 Oct 2008 03:35

The Botolph Arms, Orton Longueville

When I walk into a Sam Smiths pub for the first time, I am pretty sure that

1. The Old Brewery Bitter will be pretty good.
2. The bar staff will be pleasant.
3. I am not going to be ripped off.
4. The pub will have its own unique character and not be a carbon copy of every other pub in the chain like Beefeater/Harvester/Toby/Ember Inn etc etc .

In all these respects, the Botolph Arms is a classic Sam Smiths house. The OBB was spot on, it was served by a very pleasant young lady, and a pint cost only 1.49. The pub has lots of nooks and crannies and a well worn quarry tile floor, and at the moment, a previous reviewers comment about the Botolph looking like a manor house is even more valid because the Virginia Creeper covering the walls is in its autumn glory

Being set back from the road (on the north side of the A605 into Peterborough from the A1) it is quite easy to miss, but it is definitely worth looking for and calling in

17 Oct 2008 04:15

The Broadway, Derby

I started drinking in the Broadway in the early 1960s when I regularly used to call in for a pint or two, two and three nights a week , whilst waiting to catch the bus home after night school classes at Kedleston Road Technical College now the main campus of Derby University.

Then, when I moved into the area, the Broadway became my local, which was in the days when the landlord was a colourful character named Norman Graves, who drove a Pink Cadillac. Back then, the pub had great beer and a fantastic atmosphere, but since Norman left, the Broadway has progressively gone downhill. Now, after several refurbishments it is an Ember Inn, so it does serve one or two mainstream real ales, which normally arent too bad, but as with all chain pubs of this type, the food quality varies from average to very poor.

But it is the last two reviews which described the pub as plastic that have prompted me to write this because earlier this year, Ember Inns (which I guess as most of you know, is part of M&B) dug up a section of the Broadways car park for a garden and then planted PLASTIC flowers in it.

If this is the best that M&Bs management can do to attract custom, it is any wonder that they are having financial difficulties ???

13 Oct 2008 04:19

The Golden Ball, Scarborough


We decided on the spur of the moment to have a day trip to Scarborough, so I didnt have chance to check out any BITE reviews of the pubs there before we set out. So after walking in, and promptly walking out of several pubs on the seafront that were only serving nitro keg gnats piss, we next hit the Golden Ball. After that, there was no need to try any more

OK, it has a quirky layout with several quite small bars on different levels, and yes, it only serves Sam Smiths beers. But I like Old Brewery Bitter, and I like it even more when it is only 1.41 a pint (which is 2p cheaper than my Sam Smiths local in Derby). The Harbour Bar, with its sea views was full, but there was room up a few stairs in the Mariners Bar which is very comfortably furnished with leather armchairs and settees.

I cant comment about the food as we had sat on the promenade and eaten absolutely superb fish and chips from Winking Willys (I think thats what its called) Chip Shop nearby before visiting the Golden Ball.

But at the end of the day, it leaves two questions The first is why cant all fish and chip shops serve fish and chips like Winking Willys but the second, which is more relevant to this website, is why cant other brewers sell quality beers at Sam Smiths prices ???

10 Oct 2008 04:14

The Royal Oak, York

It is a year now since we last drank and ate here, but I can report that the beer, the food (specially the home made chips) and the staff are as good as ever. In my book, there is no contest. This is the BEST pub in York. 10/10.

7 Oct 2008 05:32

The Golden Slipper, York

Nice friendly atmosphere and the beer quality pretty good too, but in my opinion the choice of real ales is not as good as in the Royal Oak next door.

5 Oct 2008 08:13

The Gillygate, York

The Gilligate is a nice unspoilt pub in which we received a very warm friendly welcome from the guy behind the bar and the pretty young barmaid. As previously reported there is a choice of two real ales. I am not a John Smiths fan, but the Hobgoblin was excellent.

But I have to say that in the light of some of the previous reviews that we were VERY disappointed with the food. It was OK, but we have had much better quality and better value for money meals in other pubs in York and the surrounding area.

4 Oct 2008 05:41

Black Swan, Uttoxeter

To translate the previous comment into plain English the pub which was formerly known as the Black Swan is now known as the Old Swan

That said, the Old Swan is one of the best Wetherspoons pubs that I have visited. It is very comfortable, the dcor is tasteful (including some very nice original watercolour paintings by a local artist), the beer is first class and was promptly served by pleasant bar staff. And it doesnt seem to have attracted much, if any, of Uttoxeters lowlife.

The food is bog-standard Wetherspoon fare and was no better or no worse than the meals Ive had in their other pubs. Its not cordon bleu cookery, but at just over 7 for two main meals, I certainly dont expect it to be, but its adequate and good value.

Having been in several very tired Wetherspoons pubs recently, this one was like a breath of fresh air.

20 Sep 2008 03:15

Lord Burton, Burton-Upon-Trent

I agree with previous comments about Lord Burton being rather dark and claustrophobic, but I recently had a couple of very nice pints of Burton Bridge Festival Ale which were in tip-top condition. That said, I dont expect anything less than a beer in first class condition in a pub in Burton, especially in one less than a mile away from where it has been brewed.

I agree too with the comment about the pub being seemingly being popular with the locals, but it is possibly too popular and too well used because it appears to be well past its best before date and is in dire need of refurbishment.

I cant comment about the food, but Ive no complaints about the speed or quality of service.

12 Sep 2008 03:00

The Lathkil Hotel, Over Haddon

The Lathkill is in a fantastic location with stunning views across the Lathkill Valley to Youlgrave and the high moors beyond the Wye and Derwent valleys. And full marks for the beer. There are five real ales available and none seems to be a mainstream brand. I did see brews from Kelham Island and Peak Ales before I noticed a Hartington pump clip and being a Whims fan it was no contest after that. It was excellent and it is easy to see why the pub is a regular in the GBG.

But I am not sure if I like the style of food presentation with the main meals, salads, bar snacks and sweets all laid out together in buffet style on one large table. Although the quality is pretty good and it is reasonably priced, the choice is somewhat limited.

In summary; the Lathkill is in a lovely location, it serves excellent beer and pretty good food, but for me it has poor ambiance. Sitting in the lounge of the pub reminded me SO much of being in the dining room of a 1960s boarding house. But Ill go with the flow and give it another 8/10 rating ...

7 Sep 2008 02:42

The Market, Chesterfield

In spite of previous comments, I think that the Market is a pretty good pub. It is clean and comfortable, the staff and locals are friendly and as previously reported, there is a good selection of real ales available. I think that there were 6 on when we visited including a mild. I opted for the guest ale, which happens to be one of my favourites St Austell Tribute and I went back for more because it was in tip-top condition.

The food is tip-top too. No overpriced pretentious poncy continental crap just good honest British food, much of which is sourced locally, including from the market, which is just outside the front door. It is freshly cooked, nicely presented, very good value, and best of all, the home made chips are delicious.

We will definitely be eating and drinking here the next time that we are in Chesterfield.

30 Aug 2008 04:38

Fisherman's Rest, Belper

This is a delightful little pub a few yards off the A6 just north of Belper. It seems to have recently been refurbished to a very high standard, including the toilets, which must be amongst the best, if not the very best, not only in Derbyshire, but in the whole of the UK.

But I guess that commenting about the toilets first is maybe putting the cart before the horse. Hand pulled Pedigree and Ringwood Seventy Eight were available when we visited recently. I did not try the Pedigree, but the 78 was excellent. Although the food initially seemed to be a tad expensive, in reality it is pretty good value for money. Our meals were freshly cooked and very nicely presented and I could not fault either the quantity or the quality. I could not fault the staff either, they were great.

There is a really nice ambiance in this pub and it certainly deserves a much better rating than its current 6.0/10. In my opinion my rating of 9/10 is much nearer the mark, and it is definitely high on the list of pubs that we will be visiting again.

14 Aug 2008 03:48

The Bubble Inn, Stenson

We called in at the Stenson Bubble for lunch with some friends recently during a boat trip on the Trent & Mersey Canal. I have to say that the women werent too impressed with the ladies loo, but other than that, it was pretty good. There is plenty of room both inside and out; the staff all seemed to be good at their jobs; and on the real ale front there was a choice of either hand pulled Pedigree or Tanglewood, both of which were first class.

No problems with the food either. There is a good selection of reasonably priced pub grub on the menu and our meals, all of which were excellent, were freshly cooked, served fairly quickly and the chips were home made.

Although the Bubble is basically a canal side pub, there is good road access too and we will definitely be calling there again by car, if not by boat

12 Aug 2008 04:47

Church Inn, Chelmorton

The Church Inn is a delightful unspoilt pub in a delightful Peakland village. There are up to five real ales available on draught Marstons Burton and Pedigree, together with Adnams Bitter seem to be the regulars, plus two guests currently Wychwood Wychcraft and Whims Arbour Light, from the nearby micro brewery in Hartington. For a pub which relies heavily on passing trade, their selection of fairly low ABV, but quality beers is very commendable. Being a Whims fan I did not try the other brews, but I could not fault the Arbour Light; it was absolutely first class.

The food was pretty good too, although a previous reviewers comment about the meals being budget priced is a bit misleading because the prices seem to be about average for this part of the world. The staff were not only pretty, they pretty good too. The young lady behind the bar certainly knew how to pull a pint and the food waitresss customer service skills were spot on.

All-in-all, although Chelmorton is a little bit off the beaten track, we will definitely be diverting off the A6 or the A515, to eat and drink there again

30 Jul 2008 03:14

The King William IV, Fenstanton

With no BITE review for over four years, I did wonder if the King William IV was still open, but I can report that it is.

It is the first pub that you pass when you drive into Fenstanton from Junction 27 of the southbound A14. When we diverted off the A14 at this exit for lunch in early July, the pub with lots of hanging baskets and half barrels filled with flowers outside, looked very attractive.

But not quite so attractive for me were the two words on the bottom of the sign GREENE KING.

Inevitably, G-K IPA and Abbott were available on draught, as was Brains Reverend James as the guest ale, but I have to say that it was well below par and I have had much better pints of it elsewhere.

Lunch was quickly served and Ive no complaints about the quality; the staff were pleasant too; but the quarry tile floor in the restaurant looked like it had been quite a while since it had last seen a mop and bucket. If that it is representative of front-of-house hygiene, I have to wonder what the behind-the-scenes hygiene standards are like.

As the first impression of the pub was very good, I do wonder if the iffy quality of the beer and the un-mopped floor were just glitches in an otherwise well run operation. So this time I will give them the benefit of the doubt and give a rating of 7/10. If we call again, (and Im sure we will), and things havent improved then I definitely wont be so charitable !!!

29 Jul 2008 02:50

Grouse and Claret, Rowsley

The Grouse and Claret is a large and seemingly very popular Marstons house on the A6 between Matlock and Bakewell, and is close to both Haddon Hall and Chatsworth House. Accommodation is also available and there is a caravan park at the back.

It is very much a dining rather than a drinking sort of pub with only Pedigree available on the hand pumps. Although the Pedigree is very good, it seems a rather a short-sighted policy for a pub which relies heavily on passing trade not to offer drivers a lower gravity alternative like Jennings Cumberland, or Marstons own Burton Bitter.

The meals that we have had at the Grouse have all been excellent and not too expensive. They have been well cooked and well presented, and even when it has been very busy, the service has been prompt and the staff very friendly and efficient. A lady, (who I presume is the Manageress), seems to act as the Maitre D and she keeps the ball rolling very smoothly. A nice touch is that whilst waiting for meals to arrive (which normally isnt very long) we are usually given a plate of Nachos with a salsa dip as nibbles.

Definitely recommended. I would rate it higher if the beer selection was better

2 Jul 2008 04:46

The Mermaid Inn, Porth

With an overall rating of 9/10, I expected that the Mermaid would be something special, but it isnt just the very opposite, in fact. Admittedly, it is in a prime location on the beach at Porth and the bar staff all seemed quite pleasant, but beyond that it is difficult to find anything else positive to say, not even about the beer. Doom Bar, Betty Stogs and John Smiths Cask Bitter are available on hand pumps. I did not try the John Smiths, but I have to say that I had very much better pints of both the other two in all the other pubs we visited whilst in Devon and Cornwall.

The interior dcor of the pub is very tacky and seems to be stuck in a 1960s time warp. Some sort of entertainment seems to be provided most evenings. There is a free quiz one night, but the on the evening that we called in it was provided by a very second rate singer.

The Mermaid does have a very comprehensive food menu, but the food quality is only very average at best, and like the beer, we had much, much better meals in all the other pubs we ate at.

But what has totally put me off the Mermaid is their policy of allowing dogs into the bars whilst food is being served. I do NOT mean Assistance Dogs, which I dont have a problem with, I mean ordinary family pets. Surprisingly, (having been in touch with Restormel Councils Food Safety Enforcement Officer about the matter), this does not actually contravene food hygiene regulations, but it is most unpleasant eating a meal with a bloody big hungry looking Alsatian watching you from only two or three feet away. The waitress stroking this and other dogs in between serving meals did not inspire any confidence in the pubs own food hygiene standards either.

OK, I guess from the previous ratings (if they are all genuine) that the Mermaid appeals to some people. It certainly does not appeal to me and it will definitely not be on the itinerary on our next visit to the south-west.

26 Jun 2008 01:33

Steam, Newquay

Steam is the recently refurbished bar and restaurant of the Great West Hotel and is open to non residents. The room itself is huge, but there is a nice warm homely feel about it and there are stunning views from the windows over the Great Western Beach and there are similar views from the large outside terrace.

The hotel, which is part of the St Austell Brewery estate, serves Tribute, Proper Job and Tinners. I did not sample the Tinners, but the pints of Tribute and Proper Job that I drank were superb.

The food is pretty good too. Perhaps the menu which features a selection of Cornish and Mediterranean dishes might not suit everybodys taste, but it is freshly cooked, nicely served, and many of the ingredients are sourced locally.

All-in-all, there is nothing really to be critical about. Steam is clean and very comfortable; the dcor is tasteful; the staff are very friendly; even the toilets are first class.

25 Jun 2008 04:54

The Globe Inn, Sampford Peverell

The Globe is about a mile from M5/Junction 27 (Tiverton) and is definitely well worth the detour into Sampford Peveril village if you are in need of refreshment. All four of the Otter Brewerys regular brews (Bitter, Bright, Ale and Head) are available through hand pumps. I had a couple of pints of the Bright which were pretty good and although the food service was a bit tardy, the food was good with generous sized portions.

21 Jun 2008 03:53

The Salutation Inn, East Looe

The Salutation and the Ship Inn (which I have previously reviewed) are almost opposite each other on Fore Street in Looe, but the atmosphere and the ambience in the Salutation are poles apart from those in the Ship. Admittedly the beer choice isnt so good only Doom Bar on the hand pumps but the couple of pints that I had were pretty good. And the Salutation being much smaller has a much more homely and friendly feel.

Although we didnt eat here, the food looked excellent and was quite reasonably priced. We arrived just after 7pm when things were already pretty busy, but when we left an hour or so later the pub was heaving with folk queuing waiting to pounce as soon as a table became vacant. I guess that you cant get a much better recommendation then that !!!

19 Jun 2008 05:32

The Ship Inn, East Looe

I totally agree with the previous comments about the Ship Inn being quiet and lacking in atmosphere and that also it needs a refurb. It is a shame because the Tribute was superb, but the bad vibes made us want to drink up and move on, which we did, across the road to Ye Olde Salutation. Although the cleanliness (or the lack of it) has been commented on previously, it wasnt a problem when we visited; everywhere including the toilets were clean, its just that the whole place is desperately in need of a bit of TLC

17 Jun 2008 05:22

The Grapes Inn, Falmouth

Called in for a swift half in the middle of the afternoon but ended up staying and drinking two excellent pints of Doom Bar which were served by a very attractive and friendly barmaid named Louise. Although I did not try them, there were three other hand pulled real ales available, all from Skinners Brewery. I cant comment about the food as it is served lunchtime and evening only, but I do agree with previous comments about the pleasant views of the harbour and estuary from the rear of the pub.

16 Jun 2008 05:11

Lifeboat Inn, St Ives

From the outside, this appears to be a traditional Cornish fishermens pub, which it probably was originally, but the Lifeboat has undergone several unsympathetic extensions to create one large and somewhat claustrophobic room. That said, it is comfortable, the barstaff were friendly and the draught St. Austell beers (HSD, Proper Job and Tribute) were excellent. Although we didnt eat here, the food looked good and seemed to be being served quickly.

15 Jun 2008 04:49

The Taw River Inn, Sticklepath

A very nice friendly unspoilt thatched village pub on the main road through Sticklepath, almost opposite the National Trusts Finch Foundry.

There are four real ales available; Tribute, Doom Bar, Abbott and Bass, all at 2 a pint, and a good value for money food menu. I sat outside in the delightful little garden and enjoyed a sandwich washed down with a couple of excellent pints of Doom Bar.

It was definitely well worth the detour off the A30 both to visit the foundry and enjoy the beer and food in the River Taw Inn afterwards.

14 Jun 2008 07:13

The Rose and Crown, Middle Mayfield

I am very undecided about the Rose & Crown. Although there are several hand-pumps on the bar, the only real ale available seemed to be Pedigree, but that said, it was pretty good.

Foodwise, the main meals seem to be somewhat expensive and the items on the fairly limited menu of bar snacks werent cheap either. But I must say that the quality was excellent and the food very nicely presented.

What wasnt so good was the very surly barmaid/waitress whose welcome approach/customer service skills appear to be very sadly lacking. She seemed to be treating other customers in exactly the same very offhanded way. OK, the young lady may have been having a bad day, but I have to say that her attitude certainly took the edge off the enjoyment of our visit and calls into question previous comments about it being a friendly pub with a lovely atmosphere etc.

If other customers picked up the same vibes, I guess that they wont be returning in a hurry, which is a shame

8 Jun 2008 04:19

The Ship Inn, Styal

A very average sort of pub, which according to the small print on the back of the menu, is owned by the Spirit Group. I admit that the Bombardier was pretty good, (the other real ale choice being Theakstons Bitter), but other than that it is difficult to find much else positive to say. The staff did not seem at all interested, except for one very pleasant and helpful young waitress.

For food, we opted for sandwiches served with chips and salad garnish, which I have to say, were like the pub VERY ordinary. They were made from bog standard sliced bread, which seemed less than fresh, and they were served with only about a dozen chips and a few bits of salad that were smothered in dressing.

I wish that I had checked out the BITE reviews before visiting. Does the Post Office opposite, still do fantastic bacon butties ???

4 Jun 2008 05:20

The Wheel Inn, Holbrook

Very disappointing to say the least in the light of previous reviews. OK, the Wheel does offer five different real ales, but they are all mainstream brands, (Directors, 6X, Pedigree, Abbot and Deuchars IPA). I opted for a pint of 6X, which although drinkable, was definitely in less than tip-top condition. It wasnt cheap either; my pint and a glass of white wine for the wife came to 7.00.

Foodwise, although there were chalkboards advertising food, and a full menu on display outside, when we enquired about food we were informed, quite brusquely, that the chef was away and only items on the short menu (basically a few snacks) were available. With that, and the fact that the place also smelt damp, we decided to vote with our feet ...

2 Jun 2008 04:37

The Pembroke House, Tenbury Wells

I came across the reviews for the Pembroke House whilst surfing through BITE to find some good pubs to eat and drink whilst on a short break to the Marches. Admittedly the last review was written over 3 years ago, but a pub with a rating of 9.2 deserves checking out. We were not disappointed. . Well over 400 years old, the black & white, half-timbered coaching inn is a gem and inside there is a charming assortment of small higgledy-piggledy rooms in which nothing seems to be level or straight.

The patrons seemed to be a cross section of local residents from all age groups from young mums with buggies to senior citizens, but although we were first-time visitors, we received an equally warm and friendly welcome as the regulars. Much of the pubs popularity is doubtless due to the excellent freshly cooked food which is very reasonably priced.

The real ale choice appears to be limited to either Hobsons Bitter or Talbot Blonde from the Teme Valley Brewery. I opted for the Blonde which was superb. The Pembroke will be definitely on the itinerary when we visit the area again. 10/10.

27 May 2008 02:56

The Church Inn, Ludlow

I can only really endorse what has been said previously about the Church Inn. It did take a little bit of finding in the labyrinth of alleyways off Ludlows Castle Square, but it is well worth the effort because it is a real gem and certainly deserves its high rating. The eight hand-pumps include a good selection of beers from the local Ludlow and Hobson Breweries. Hobsons Mild seems to be extremely popular. I had to smile at what at first appears to be a smooth-flow dispenser at one end of the bar but on closer inspection the label reads Severn Trent Brewery Pure Filtered H2O ABV 0.0%

The food, like the beer at the Church, is excellent. I can highly recommend the Sausage Baguette where you can choose the filling from a menu of several award winning sausages made by the towns Master Butchers.

Pubs dont come any better than the Church Inn 10/10

25 May 2008 01:14

Welkin, Liverpool

Called at The Welkin for breakfast at about 9.30 am recently, and was pleasantly surprised to see not only how busy it was, but also by the clientele. Inevitably, there were a few of the usual serial Wetherspoon all-day drinkers, but the place was mainly populated by guys (and a few girls) in hard hats and high-viz jackets or vests taking a breakfast break from the numerous nearby building sites. But not one of them was drinking alcohol.

Being on holiday, I do admit to having a pint of Pedigree (which was pretty good) with my breakfast, but it is easy to see why The Welkin breakfasts are so popular with non-drinkers quick service, good quality, and very good value for money.

17 May 2008 05:56

The Wheatsheaf, Upper Benefield

Although the Wheatsheaf is actually a four-star residential hotel, it does not seem to have abandoned its roots as Upper Benefields village pub. Admittedly, the real ale choice is limited to either Barnwell Bitter from the local micro Digfield Brewery, or the ubiquitous G-K IPA. As I avoid drinking any G-K brew whenever there is an alternative, I cannot comment on the IPA, but the Barnwell Bitter was superb.

The staff were all very friendly and efficient and the food was excellent, and for a **** hotel, not too pricey. I can thoroughly recommend the BLT baguette (crammed with 4 thick rashers of best back bacon) served with home made chips.

Based on our experience, the Wheatsheaf thoroughly deserves its four-star rating and I have no hesitation in giving it 9/10.

16 May 2008 05:55

Blue Bell, Melbourne

I have to more or less agree with gillhalfpints review of the Blue Bell, except that during my visit although the locals were watching football on Sky, it wasnt at all noisy and although for obvious reasons I didnt check out the ladies, my wife did, and was well impressed too.

The Reverend Eaton, which in my opinion is one of the Shardlow Brewerys best beers was superb, and as a bonus, it was served by a very attractive young lady.

Food-wise, although it took well over half-an-hour to be served, I could not fault the ham, egg and chips that I ordered. In fact, the hand carved ham was absolutely delicious and I cannot think of anywhere else where I have had anything better. On the other hand, my wife did not have such a good experience. She ordered salmon, but after waiting for about 20 minutes she was told that it was not available. She then ordered lamb in red wine sauce, but was actually served lamb shanks.

In fairness, the landlady was very apologetic and offered to correct the mistake, but as we were rapidly running out of time, my wife ate the lamb shanks which she said were OK. Accepting that cock-ups with orders do sometimes occur in busy kitchens, I will give the Blue Bell the benefit of the doubt and give them 8/10.

15 May 2008 06:13

Haslam's, Derby

Although Haslams is part of Derby RFCs club house, the spacious, family friendly, upstairs bar and restaurant is open to the public and is well worth visiting. My wife and I have been eating and drinking here regularly for over two years now and we have *NEVER* had the slightest cause to complain about anything. The staff are really friendly and efficient; the meals from the comprehensive, value for money menu are excellent and served promptly and there is normally a choice of up to six well kept real ales including Bass, Pedigree, Spitfire, Landlord, London Pride and St. Austell Tribute.

19 Apr 2008 02:01

The Red Lion, Willingdon

3.04 a pint is a definite rip-off !!!

Hopping Hare was included in Wetherspoon's recent beer festival. This was only 1.69 a pint in my local Wetherspoons ... and probably even cheaper in some of the JDW outlets.

17 Apr 2008 08:54

Flying Standard, Coventry

Nothing seems to have changed very much in the eight months since the previous review.

My wife and I called in for a late lunch last Saturday (April 12) when the place was heaving with football supporters who were a bit noisy and boisterous, but apart from that they were no trouble. We opted to sit in the quieter dining area. Bearing in mind how busy it was, I was pleasantly surprised by the speed that I was served at the bar and by the short time that we had to wait before our food arrived. OK, the food was nothing special, but we didnt expect it to be otherwise, but it was adequate and at just over 7 for two meals, pretty good value for money.

Our visit was on one of the last few days of Wetherspoons Real Ale Festival. There was still a good choice of festival beers available, which at 1.49 is a pretty good price to pay for a excellent pint in a city centre pub (and 20p cheaper than in my local Wetherspoons)!!!

I seem to be the same wavelength as the previous reviewer because my rating for the Flying Standard is a 7/10 too.

14 Apr 2008 08:26

The Crispin, Ashover

The Crispin Inn is one of the oldest pubs in Derbyshire. The building which dates from 1350 has been an inn since 1416 and was the scene of a skirmish during the civil war. Today, it retains a lot of its olde-worlde charm and character. We called in for lunch on Good Friday and were well impressed. Quite a few tables were reserved for pre-booked parties, but there was still plenty of room for casual visitors. The lunchtime menu offers a good selection of mainly English bar food and our meals were excellent. OK, we did have to wait for a while, but it was worth it; the meals had obviously freshly cooked to order, the portion sizes were good, and the quality was first class and better still the chips were home made.

For the real ale drinker the Crispin offers Jennings Cumberland and Cocker Hoop, Adnams Broadside and Pedigree. I opted for the Cocker Hoop which I couldnt fault except that both the barmaids seemed to routinely serve all the beer with an inch of froth on the top. OK, they did top mine up when I asked, but it was like they were doing me a favour rather than giving me the full pint that they were charging me for. Had it not been for that, I would have given the Crispin 10/10

23 Mar 2008 01:44

The Hardwick Inn, Doe Lea

The Hardwick Inn is in a picturesque location alongside the exit from the National Trusts Hardwick Hall estate and the pub, which dates back 15th century, although privately run, is also a National Trust property. Being in such a prime location, it does get very busy at peak times, but in no way has it abused its position and become a tourist rip-off. Children are welcome and there is a nice beer garden.

For the real ale drinker there is a choice of Bombardier, Speckled Hen, Black Sheep, Old Peculiar and Theakstons XB, which are all reasonably priced, and Ive not been able to fault the Black Sheep or the XB which are my usual choices when I drink there. If you are into malt whiskies and you visit to the Hardwick Inn, you will probably think that you have died and gone to heaven because it offers 200, yes two hundred, different brands !!!

Food wise, there is a lunchtime carvery and a comprehensive selection of mostly traditional hot and cold bar meals. I cannot comment about the carvery, but all the bar meals that we have had there have been excellent. They have generous sized portions and are well cooked, well presented, and are quickly served by pleasant friendly staff.

Just be aware that the post code for the Hardwick Arms is the same as for Hardwick Hall itself. The OS grid ref for the pub is SK458633.

17 Mar 2008 03:12

Markeaton, Derby

The Markeaton is a large rambling late 1930s pub which over the years has undergone several radical makeovers and is now one of M&Bs Ember Inns. So, if you are familiar with the Ember brand, the Markeaton will hold no real surprises.

It is clean, comfortable, but bland; the staff are friendly and it serves a selection of 3 or 4 mainstream cask ales (Bass and Pedigree seem to be permanent fixtures, with a couple of guests) which are normally all in reasonable condition. Food wise, I guess that the menu in the Markeaton is pretty much the same as the menus in most other Ember Inns; in other words, bog standard pub food, the quality of which seems to vary from average to very poor.

In summary, the Markeaton is OK, but there are MUCH better places to drink and eat in Derby.

23 Feb 2008 03:23

Blue Pig Inn, Grantham

I will start with my score for the Blue Pig which is 10/10 because I cannot fault it.

For me, it is a perfect pub; excellent beer, excellent food and excellent ambiance. Unspoilt by progress, it retains a delightful olde worlde charm and long may it stay that way. There were six real ales available when we visited. As I was driving I could not sample all of them but I can say that the Timothy Taylor Landlord, and the Ahtanum Gold from the local micro Oldershaw Brewery were both spot on and served by a very attractive young lady. Foodwise, the Blue Pig has a comprehensive menu of mainly good honest English dishes, which are excellent value and were freshly cooked and the chips were real.

The Blue Pig will definitely be on my itinerary on my next visit to the Grantham area, and it is definitely worth a detour off the A1

17 Feb 2008 04:22

Blue Pig Inn, Grantham

I will start with my score for the Blue Pig which is 10/10 because I cannot fault it.

For me, it is a perfect pub; excellent beer, excellent food and excellent ambiance. Unspoilt by progress, it retains a delightful olde worlde charm and long may it stay that way. There were six real ales available when we visited. As I was driving I could not sample all of them but I can say that the Timothy Taylor Landlord, and the Ahtanum Gold from the local micro Oldershaw Brewery were both spot on and served by a very attractive young lady. Foodwise, the Blue Pig has a comprehensive menu of mainly good honest English dishes, which are excellent value and were freshly cooked and the chips were real.

The Blue Pig will definitely be on my itinerary on my next visit to the Grantham area, and it is definitely worth a detour off the A1

17 Feb 2008 04:22

The Wilsons Arms, Knowle

As it has not been mentioned previously, I had better start by pointing out that the Wilson Arms is actually a Toby Carvery, so the food and staff are fine, but the beer is crap. They do sell hand pulled Bass, but it was served much too cold and was consequently tasteless. Alternatively, it is even colder nitro kegs. Ugh. When are Toby going to cater for the serious beer drinker ???

And another word of caution Although it did not effect us because we arrived fairly early for lunch yesterday (Saturday 9/2/08) and were served at the carvery fairly quickly, by the time we left an hour or so later at around 1.15pm, there was a long queue and it must have been taking 15 or 20 minutes to be served

10 Feb 2008 10:07

The Blue Peter, Alvaston

The Blue Peter is one of three almost identical Art-Deco style pubs built on the outskirts Derby in the mid 1930s by the long forgotten local brewers, Offilers.

Now trading under the M&B Pub & Carvery brand, the accent is definitely on the carvery element, which is basically a cheap and cheerful, but downmarket version of the Toby carvery, but at only 3.50 per head Monday to Saturday and a fiver on Sundays, it is even better value. No complaints about the food or the staff, but as a pub, forget it, unless you happen to have an addiction to nitro keg brands. Sadly there isnt any real ale in sight.

In summary, food OK and good vfm, but the beer is crap. 6/10.

5 Feb 2008 09:44

The Vernon Arms, Sudbury

My wife and I called at the Vernon Arms for lunch on Saturday 26/1/08 and were *VERY* disappointed.

It began promisingly enough; a welcoming open coal fire in the entrance hall and a choice of three real ales (Pedigree and Whims Hartington IPA and Arbour Light) in the upstairs bar which were served by a very pleasant and helpful lady.

But when you notice that this ladys shirt and trousers were long overdue for a visit to the laundry, you have to begin to wonder about the standards, particularly the hygiene standards of the establishment

As the small upstairs bar was full, we returned downstairs to find that both the rooms were uncomfortably cold. We eventually moved back to the upstairs bar when some earlier customers left, just in time to witness another customer settling his tab, but refusing to pay for the food as it had been inedible

Our lunch was already ordered, so the alarm bells began ringing ..

My wifes fish and chips were OK, but the two thick slices of ham served with my ham and eggs, not only looked very peculiar and unappetising, they were rubbery and difficult to cut, and very chewy and tasteless. As my wife was becoming convinced that ham was raw, the waitress noticing us examining the plate came to ask if all was OK. When I pointed out the problem, she whisked the plate away without any hesitation and offered me an alternative. I am sure that she was anticipating that there would be a problem. I selected a gammon steak, and when this arrived about 25 minutes later (when my wife had long finished her meal) parts of the gammon were definitely under cooked and I ended up leaving most of it.

Before we departed, my wife went to the ladies and said that they were disgusting as they had not been properly cleaned, there was a lack of toilet paper and neither of the cubicle doors would close properly.

I am giving the Vernon 1/10 and I think that that is being charitable based on our experience there. We certainly will **NOT** be calling again and I would strongly recommend that other BITE readers do likewise

28 Jan 2008 02:38

The Shireoaks Inn, Worksop

Made a detour on our way home from a short break in York to have lunch at the Shireoaks, which was an ideal way to end to the holiday. The staff are so nice and the meal and the beer were excellent. I didnt recognise either of the two micro breweries whose ales were available, but Im not an expert on micros. The landlord of the Shireoaks obviously is an expert, but more to the point, hes an expert at keeping his beers in perfect condition.

It was definitely worth the extra petrol and another 10/10

9 Oct 2007 00:33

The Black Bull in Paradise, Masham

We went on the 3pm Brewery Tour, the last one of the day, which finished here to sample the Theakston range. Included in the tour are vouchers for two free half pints. I tried the Black Bull Bitter and XB which as one would expect were superb, and my wife, who is not normally a bitter drinker, enjoyed her two free halves of the current seasonal ale, Grouse Beater.

Rightly or wrongly, I get the impression that this is just a bar attached to the visitor centre rather than a proper pub. Although nothing was said, I got the definite impression that the staff couldnt wait for the group to sup up and sod off so that they could go home. I dont blame them one little bit, but it kind of took the edge off some of the enjoyment of the visit.

8 Oct 2007 00:31

The Jolly Sailors Inn, Whitby

Before visiting Whitby last week, I checked out all the BITE reviews for the local pubs before selecting the Jolly Sailors firstly because I enjoy Sam Smiths OBB, but what really swung it was the comment in the previous review regarding the excellent gammon steak.

When I ordered a pint of bitter, the barmaid immediately began pouring a pint of the nitro-keg bitter and when I asked for the hand pump OBB she said it was off. Fortunately a male colleague behind the bar overheard my request and corrected her. The staff not knowing whats available wasnt too good a start, but I have to say that the beer was very good.

As for food, I ordered the gammon steak. OK, it was nicely presented, but very very ordinary and not particularly well cooked. If it was the same as was served to the previous reviewer, he must have eaten some pretty dreadful gammon steaks in the past. My wife had fish and chips and wasnt too impressed with her meal either.

We opted to eat in the upstairs dining room which has good views of the harbour, but with only one other guy eating, it lacked atmosphere. If we visit Whitby again, the Jolly Sailors wont be on our itinerary.

7 Oct 2007 16:38

The Royal Oak, York

As I predicted in my previous review of the Royal Oak, it was our first port of call when we visited York again last week. In fact we drank and/or ate there 5 times in 4 days. As before, the beer and the food were excellent with proper chips and the staff always very nice and friendly. The quiz on Monday evening was really good. No hesitation, the Oak gets 10/10 again.

7 Oct 2007 12:08

The Shireoaks Inn, Worksop

Based on the previous very positive reviews and its high rating, we decided to call in the Shireoaks for lunch whilst visiting Worksop today and were not disappointed. The place is a gem. Choice of two handpulls from local micros ... the one I had was superb. The quality of our meals was excellent ... and very good value for money. In spite of being busy (the locals obviously know a good thing when they see one) the service was quick and the staff nice and friendly. Definitely 10/10 ... I just wish I could give it more ...

13 Sep 2007 00:50

The Ship Inn, Oundle

Had lunch here with the family on Saturday and was well impressed. The Ship is a charming unspoilt pub with a lot of character and friendly and efficient staff. The meals were excellent and reasonably priced. Choice of 4 real ales. I had a couple of pints of Springhead Bitter which were very drinkable but maybe just a tad below par.

4 Sep 2007 02:17

The Artichoke, Shenfield Common

This is a difficult one to score, because I am a fan of the Toby Carvery concept of serving good wholesome, value for money food. In this respect The Artichoke gets full marks for its food quality, and full marks for service and the pleasant staff. Nice location too. But as this is a beer orientated website and I am a real ale fan, I must deduct points from The Artichoke for its lack of hand pulled beers. Smooth-flow Speckled Hen is pretty poor in comparison with the real thing.

31 Jul 2007 00:40

Masons Arms, Mickleover

Although Mickleover is one of Derbys big residential suburbs, the Masons, which is in the centre of the old village and has been around since the 1700s, still retains a lot of the atmosphere of a village local. The staff are friendly and efficient, there is a choice of well kept real ales, the service is good, and so is the food. Although there isnt a wide choice on the menu, which for me isnt too much of a problem, the meals that I have had there have been well cooked and served promptly. And theyre good value for money. There cant be many pubs where double egg and chips is only 2. Well worth a detour off the A516.

30 Jun 2007 09:52

The White Cow, Ilkeston

Forget the fab carvery mentioned in the previous review I guess that it probably disappeared at around the same time as the Kimberley brewed beers did when this Hardys & Hansons house was swallowed up by Greene King last year. I havent eaten here but the menu now seems to be pretty much the same as in the other ex H&H dining pubs that I have visited not that I have a problem with the menu because there are snacks and meals to suit most tastes and appetites at a reasonable price. As for real ale, it seems that there are only two hand-pump beers on at the moment Hen and GK IPA. The White Cow is about mile or so from the centre of Ilkeston, but with the IPA at only 1.40 a pint, it is worth the journey .

16 Jun 2007 01:00

Victoria Hotel, Derby

This is a largely unspoilt back street type of pub that has been serving Derbys West End community since 1895. It has a separate lounge and public bar. The bar counter and the back bar display in the public bar could well be the originals. Up to four real ales available, Bass, Pedigree, Theakstons Bitter and Deuchars. There is a pool table and plasma TV in the bar.

10 Jun 2007 00:36

Seven Wells, Etwall

This is a large, modern, mainly dining pub built in the style of an old farmhouse and is located in open country alongside the A516 about mile from Etwall village. It was opened in 2001 by Hardys & Hansons which became part of the Greene King empire last year. Although the H&H name lives on, GK have closed the Kimberley brewery, and sadly, the Kimberley Best Bitter and Olde Trip have been replaced by GK brews. Abbott, Hen and IPA are OK, and are well kept at the Seven Wells, but they are not, in my opinion, in the same league as the Kimberley brewed beers. The menu is quite varied and reasonably priced. The meals that I have had here have been well cooked, the service, even at busy times, has been good, and the staff smart, polite and friendly.

3 Jun 2007 00:41

The Red Cow, Allestree

Although this is an unbranded M&B pub, it offers pretty much the same selection of real ales and a very similar, if not identical menu as the nearby Ember Inns (The Broadway and The Markeaton). The Red Cow, in effect, seems to be a mini Ember Inn but as it is smaller and not on a main road, the atmosphere is much more friendly and relaxed.

The food, although nothing special, was satisfactory and I have no complaints about the quality of the beer, the staff or the service.

The pubs history as quoted in the previous report is somewhat wide of the mark. Although there have been several later additions, the original pub building dates from around 1800 and parts of it are reputed to be older.

29 May 2007 20:42

The Standing Order, Derby

I much prefer the Standing Order to the other Wetherspoons pub in the city (the rather claustrophobic Babington Arms). What the Babington lacks in height and light is more than made up for by the Standing Order, which actually has even more hand pumps (24) than the Babington. Sadly, only 3 or 4 of these seem to dispense guest beers the remainder are for the Wetherspoons regulars, Abbott, Pedigree, Directors etc., etc., but Ive no complaints about the quality of the beer, the staff, or the service. Although Wetherspoons isnt everyones favourite pub chain, they do deserve a lot of credit for taking over redundant inner city properties and giving them a new lease of life. The Standing Order is an excellent example. It is a magnificent Grade II* listed building, formerly a bank, which dates back to 1876.

20 May 2007 18:37

The Babington Arms, Derby

Of the two Wetherspoons pubs in Derby, I prefer the Standing Order to the Babington Arms.

For me, the Babington with its low ceiling, the dark wooden wall panelling and the lack of natural light make it rather claustrophobic. The plus side however are the 18 hand pumps most of which dispense guest beers Interestingly, the Wetherspoon regulars (the Abbott and the Marstons) pumps are discretely tucked away at far end of the bar.

I know that Wetherspoons get a lot of flak about the quality of service, which from my own experience in a number of their other outlets, is probably justified, but it certainly isnt the case at the Babington because the staff are great and I have never yet had a problem with the service here.

20 May 2007 18:34

College Arms, Peterborough

In my opinion, the current rating of 3.4/10 is very misleading. I visited on Saturday and Sunday last weekend and Ive no complaints about the patrons, the prices, or the selection and quality of the beers. The bar staff were on the ball, but maybe breakfast on Sunday morning could perhaps have been served a little bit faster

19 Apr 2007 20:31

The Red Lion, Ripley

If you are dying for a drink, I suggest that you quench your thirst in one of Ripleys many other pubs first before venturing into the Red Lion because the service at times is appalling Waiting 5 minutes or more to be served is not unusual. But it is NOT the fault of the bar staff It is the lack of them that is the problem. Those who are on duty sometimes it seems like there are only 2 or 3 of them not only have to serve drinks, they take the food orders, serve the food AND clear the tables which must be pretty daunting for a large busy pub !!!

The positive side is Wetherspoons very competitive pricing both on food and drink (maybe it is cutting down on staff cost that keeps the prices down !!!) Another plus point is the selection of real ales At the moment, Abbot, Directors and Pedigree are resident with three or four guest ales, although it would be nice to see a few more session beers included in the selection

6 Apr 2007 19:37

The Abbey, Derby

I have been drinking on and off in The Abbey since it became a pub way back in October 1979 and although I admit that it isnt the best pub in Derby, it certainly deserves more that the present 5/10 rating. For a start, the prices are a plus point Sam Smiths OBB is only 1.37 a pint, Alpine Lager (for some reason known in The Abbey as cooking) is 1.58 a pint, and even 2.18 for a pint of the premium Pure Brew Lager isnt too bad. Another plus point has to be the unique 700 year old building (which is the only surviving part of Abbey of Darley) and is there anywhere else where the toilets are branded Nuns and Monks ??? As for the bar staff, I have no complaints at all as I have always found them welcoming and friendly. On the minus side, the pub only serves Sam Smiths beers and it is quite small, so it is often difficult to find a seat. And I do have to agree with the comment about dogs. Does it have to wait until someone is bitten or badly injured before any action is taken? Having witnessed several near misses here is an accident waiting to happen .
The rarely open downstairs bar is even smaller than the upstairs room and although it does feature a real open fire, the low ceiling and the complete lack of windows make it somewhat claustrophobic.

1 Apr 2007 19:49

Jonty Farmer, Derby

The loss of the juke box and particularly the pool tables when the Jonty was refurbished are a definite plus point. The pool tables were much to close to the seating area for comfort and for safety. The pub is clean and comfortable, the staff are friendly, and the bar meals are good vfm, but it only serves Banks Bitter and Pedigree on draught.

21 Mar 2007 19:16

The Royal Oak, York

We have just returned home from a short break in York when we visited a number of hostelries in the city, but this is by far our favourite because it is what a pub should be like. A good selection of six well kept real ales (including Abbott, Hen, Landlord, Deuchars IPA, and Jennings Cumberland), really friendly staff, good service, a great atmosphere and excellent, reasonably priced bar meals. OK, maybe there is nothing too fancy on the menu, but the meals are good honest, freshly cooked, and home made ... and if you opt for chips, you will get real home made chips. For me even the "naturally ventilated" (ie) outside gents toilet adds to the charm ... When we visit York again, this will definity be our first port of call ...

9 Mar 2007 17:36

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