Tag Archives: chain

The Yeadon Way

Blackpool:

It’s a Brewer’s Fayre, so a family feedbag blandfest, next to a Premier Inn. However, it was nearly 9pm, and we needed food and alcohol, so in we went.

It wan’t bad. Pretty devoid of atmosphere, of course, and the beer selection was the standard keg rubbish, but the Stella was OK, the wine OK, the staff efficient, and the food OK too. The pub exists mostly to serve as the Premier Inn’s restaurant, so expect children, but this wasn’t a problem.

The Ben Nevis Bar

Fort William:


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Fronting on to the High St, this large pub has a rear terrace with a fine view of the A82 dual carriageway Loch Linnhe. Ok, it has a view of both, but look up and you can shut out the A82.

There was ale, but sadly only 1, and that a dark one, so our stay was shorty than otherwise: staff were pleasant, food was good value and, joking aside, the terrace at the back does have a good view.

The Cabot Court Hotel

Weston-super-Mare:


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A ‘spoons, so you konow the drill. Cheap food and beer (though food was notably a little inflated above the nearby Dragon Inn, and noticeably inflated over The Avion. Still reasonable though.

This is an actual hotel you can stay in, but the pub still feels like a typical Wetherspoon, but a fairly good one. Beer was decent, as was the food and service, and despite the price hike for the seaside, good value.

The Fradley Arms

Near Fradley, Lichfield


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Just a few hours after whinging about them, I find myself in a chain-pub “restaurant”. In my defence, it was on the way home; an awkwardly-timed appointment in Burton-upon-Trent saw us heading south back home without having eaten, so we called in. I was last here over 10 years ago, and I think I recall a traditional pub. The old building still looks attractive, but it shares its site with a Premier Inn, has become a behemoth collection of buildings, and is part of the Fayre & Square chain, itself a brand of the Spirit Pub Company. See what they did there? It sells Fayre, at a fair and square price, and *giggle* some of the food is square (the burgers). How very whimsical, I do believe my sides have split.

It was OK, as a better alternative than McDonalds or the chippy, and it was pretty cheap (£17 for 2 meals, a soft drink, and a large wine). There was cask ale, and a good choice of other stuff. There’s a wacky warehouse for kids to run about in, though that didn’t stop some parents letting theirs run about the place (fortunately, as it’s a big place, we went to the other end and escaped them). The food was serviceable, rather than exceptional, and the menu standard family feedbag stuff (PDF, 11MB). Staff were nice enough, but a bit corporate training manual:

“Pint of lime & soda please”

“Is that a large or a small?”

[facepalm]

Overall, you could do worse, but you’re not going to get atmosphere or haute cuisine.

The Lord Clifden

Hockley, Birmingham:


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I was ready to hate this, but thought one of my companions might like it, as she has a less grotty taste in pubs than I do. Hockley can be a bit of a game these days, what with The Rose Villa Tavern, and the increasing ‘cool’ of the area, so with that and the company that owns this (and its sister pub, The Red Lion, making a chain of 2) calling itself Urban Art Bar Group [shudder], I was ready for it to be replete with bell end hipsters (is there any other sort?).

Actually, I was pleasantly surprised. Inside, it looks like a pub. An actual pub. OK, there’s art on the walls, but it actually looks OK. The staff were friendly, efficient, and normal. The food was good, the ale was excellent (as per the reputation), and the music wasn’t some dreadful shite no-one would ever listen to for pleasure, and not so loud we couldn’t talk. The prices weren’t too bad either. There’s a big outside smoking shelter for those of you that might want it- with a TV (so we can get the two objectionable things in one place! (edit: there’s a TV in the bar too, but not the lounge)).

Best of all, the customers were normal too.

The Avion

Aldridge:


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A ‘spoons.

But finally a ‘spoons in a place that has been crying out for one.

I love the Avion. It’s a 1930s cinema, that closed as a cinema in 1967, then as a bingo hall in 2009, then was the subject of speculation 2 years ago.

It’s now open as a pub, and they’ve done a great job. It’s still a ‘spoons, but the inside is pleasant, with deco touches, and there’s local ales from Beowulf & Backyard.

The view from the ladies’ toilet is rather nice too, featuring the original stained glass (I’m relying on female companions for this information) from what was, I believe, originally the cafe.

Staff were friendly too, and the place was very busy.

The Lych Gate Tavern

Wolverhampton:


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The latest in the Black Country Taverns chain, this is tucked down a pedestrianised street, just by the gates to St Peters Church.

There’s lots to recommend it: the landlord and landlady previously ran the Black Country Arms, and the owners generally do a good job.

It was quite nice too, but for some reason, it didn’t hit the spot for me, and I don’t know why: the beer was great (with a large selection of very well-kept ale), the welcome was fine, there wasn’t loud music, and there were cobs. The building is old- 16th century in places- and hasn’t been wrecked during the refurb, but for some reason, it seemed to lack something, like the BCA does for me. The worst thing is, there’s nothing wrong with it I can put down in words, I just felt more at ease in The Posada, just up the road, even though there’s so much right here.