On a cold winter’s day, what better to do than take a trip to a nice old country pub to have a few pints and some food by the fire. I get that if you stumble on this review in July that’s not helpful, so substitute “on a warm summer’s day, what better thing to do than a trip to a nice old country pub to have a few pints in the garden” if that’s the case. Either would be equally true of this pub – The Bird In Hand, in Sonning Common. Continue reading “The Bird In Hand”
This week I had the absolute, but unexpected, pleasure of joining the Reading Board Games group in the Hope and Bear for a night out. How can it be unexpected? Well, I invited Reading’s premier gin expert, The Gin Devil (Daryl) to come for a review with me, and when I suggested the Hope and Bear, he let on that he is not just the Gin Devil, but also the Board Games King (my words, not his), and started a board games night years ago that still runs there. I thought I was quite good at board games so happily agreed. It didn’t quite turn out like that. Continue reading “The Hope and Bear”
I have to admit I was surprised when I got a tweet from an internationally famous celebrity, volunteering to review of all places, The Bugle. In fact, she claimed it was the one pub in Reading she most wanted to see reviewed. It seemed implausible, but who am I to turn down the opportunity?
Reviewing hotel bars isn’t really my thing. They are generally so impersonal with middle of the road beer, middle of the road food, and high-end prices. But the Crowne Plaza looked to be potentially different. It has one of the few bars in Reading where you can sit outside by the river, and it’s got an outside bar in collaboration with West Berkshire Brewery, so it was worth an investigation. Continue reading “The Crowne Plaza”
I hate pubs with ambiguous names. It really distresses me to write about somewhere without knowing exactly what it is called. The Queen’s Head is one such example. Outside the pub it’s called “The Queens Head Inn” on the wall, “Queens Head Inn” on the sign, “Queens Head” over the window, and “The Queen’s Head” on the mirror behind the bar (the only version with a possessive apostrophe). To make matters worse, their Facebook page is called “The Queen’s Head PUB” (their capitalization, not mine), and What Pub calls it “Queens Head”, although notes that it’s also known as “Nob”. I’m weeping as I write this.
My first attempt to visit West Berkshire Brewery was a bit of a disaster. It was meant to be a Father’s Day treat, but when we eventually got there we found that everyone else had had the same idea – the place was overflowing, no spare seats at all, and over an hour wait for food. And apparently kids don’t want to just stand there starving while they watch you downing pint after pint of Good Old Boy on your own, even if it is Father’s Day. But it looked great, and a return visit on a day not dedicated to the wonders of fatherhood was clearly essential. Continue reading “West Berkshire Brewery”
My day job (yes, blogging about pubs is not a full-time job) involves me occasionally flying to America. And if that has taught me one thing, it’s that flying and drinking more than a pint is one of the worst things you can do for jetlag. However, that opinion isn’t a popular one, especially with people jetting off on holiday, so here’s your indispensable guide to the bars at our local airports. Continue reading “Airport Bars”
There’s only so many times you can visit a Wetherspoons’ pub and have something novel to write. A few years ago that number of times used to be capped at an absolute maximum of four if you were limiting yourself to Reading. Now that the Baron and the Monk’s Retreat have both passed in to the hands of other pub chains though, there are only two ‘Spoons left in Reading, which surely makes this review reading. Continue reading “The Back of Beyond”
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”
Smokin’ Billy’s is a funny old place. I’ve always wondered who on earth goes in there, because from the outside it doesn’t look like much. With so many nice looking places in Reading, it’s hard to imagine how it stays in business. Thanks to my extensive research, I can fill you in. Continue reading “Smokin’ Billy’s”