As a pub reviewer, I occasionally get invited along to openings and events (which I tend not to go to). However, this week Zerodegrees managed to trick me into going to their grand re-opening by not telling me about it and me coincidentally turning up for a long overdue review. Normally I’d not review somewhere on opening night, but given that they were closed for just 3 days, and that the changes were simply a lick of paint, and a neon sign, I think it’s fair for me to proceed.

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The Corn Stores

The Corn Stores was, surprisingly enough, originally a storage building. For corn. You might think that is obvious, but it wasn’t to someone I met there, so I thought I’d mention it. Some time after being a warehouse (for corn) it became a Fullers pub, then an Italian restaurant, then it sadly closed in 2015. Having frequented it a lot in my youth though, I was delighted to see it open again last year.

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The Hope Tap

Generally I plan in advance to do a review – I’ll persuade someone to come with me and make a special visit. However, on this occasion I ended up doing a review simply by accident of bus timetables. I was meeting someone for dinner, and the bus times meant I had a choice between being 20 minutes early or 10 minutes late. 10 minutes late is rude, and 20 minutes early is a long time to wait in the cold. So I did the only thing I could – I picked 20 minutes early and took refuge from the cold in the Hope Tap while I waited. Continue reading “The Hope Tap”

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 Thirsty Bear

It’s hard to describe where the Thirsty Bear is without referring to the past. It used to be the Wynford Arms. You know, next to where the ugly tower block with a face on it used to be. And yes, it used to be a gay bar.  Well, now it’s called the Thirsty Bear, it’s next to a building site, and everyone who is a fan of watching sport on TV while drinking beer and eating pizza is equally welcome. Continue reading “The Thirsty Bear”