The Dairy

If you didn’t know the Dairy was there, you’d never find it. Tucked away in an alley way at the edge of the University, it looks more like a machine room from the outside than a bar. And the sign saying “Building L14” on the outside doesn’t exactly change your opinion of that. Continue reading “The Dairy”

The Horn

The Horn is a funny pub to try and describe. I’ve re-written this introduction about ten times now, because what is it? Is it a town centre pub? A sports pub? A local? Posh? A dive bar? Well, it’s somehow all of those things simultaneously. A jack of all trades. Is it master of any of them? Continue reading “The Horn”

The Turks

I’m confused, because I’m sure The Turks used to be called The Turks Head. And I have a sneaking suspicion that they changed their name simply because they thought that people would just google “The Turks” and so it was better for the name to match what people search for. If that’s true, it sets a bad precedent for Donald Trump, who’s going to have to change his name to some pretty unprintable things. Continue reading “The Turks”

The Red Cow

I’d heard a lot of great things about the Red Cow in Amersham Road. A bunch of people had suggested I go there – apparently it did great food and great beer. It gets a 4.5 star rating on Google reviews, and 5 on trip adviser (admittedly that’s only from 3 reviews). However, the Nags Head get’s gets 4.7 and 4.5, the Fox & Hounds gets 4.5 and 4.0, so The Red Cow must be great. Right? Continue reading “The Red Cow”

The Hop Leaf

This is a follow-on from an evening that started with the Hope Tap, moved on to the German Doner Kebab restaurant, and then ended up in the Hop Leaf in Katesgrove. A trio of reviews that in my mind is like the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy (The Hope Tap = Shaun of the Dead, for the all day drinkers obviously, the German Doner Kebab = Hot Fuzz, because of the butchery and because it’s the most successful of the three, which makes The Hop Leaf = The World’s End, because of the mile long walk to get there). See – it works, and the Hot Fuzz analogy isn’t forced at all.

Continue reading “The Hop Leaf”

The Retreat

In many ways this review began with my good friend Austin brewing some amazing beer which, for reasons that are now lost to me, became named “Dirty Diana”. I can’t remember if it was a tribute to the people’s princess, or to pop princess Michael Jackson. It’s not important – let’s say both. Continue reading “The Retreat”

The Griffin

I met a bunch of other twitterers (tweeters? twitterati?) at the Blue Collar Meat Fest in the abbey ruins a few weeks ago (hi guys), and amongst other things it was an excellent opportunity to get some feedback on my work so far.  The overwhelming feedback was that I was favouring the good pubs, and perhaps I should review some more of the worse ones. And they’re right – I do tend to go to the better pubs, not least because I hate drinking vinegary beer, or being threatened by some twat who doesn’t want me in “his” pub. However, I had a plan for how I could please the masses with a pub that is rubbish and yet safe at the same time.  So with that in mind, Grobber and I headed to the Griffin in Caversham – a pub I dislike intensely for having turned its back on beer, serving up stale slops as an accompaniment to its chain restaurant food. Or so I thought …  Continue reading “The Griffin”

The Castle Tap

I’ve lived in South Reading and North Reading, and worked in East Reading. I know them pretty well, and like to think I’ve been in the majority of the better pubs in all of them (and of course many of the not so good ones as well). But even after two decades in Reading, west along Bath Road is a bit of a mystery to me. It’s still just the road to get to Sainsbury’s as far as I know. However, the Castle Tap on Castle Street (the steep one heading out of town – you know, on the way to Sainsbury’s) keeps generating enough buzz that I had to check it out, as pub three of the epic pub crawl. Continue reading “The Castle Tap”