Archive for the ‘pubs’ Category

Lunch at The Keystone

July 25, 2014
fish cakes and salad

fish cakes and salad

Dark clouds, a thunderstorm. That had scuppered eating outside at The Keystone, thought I. Luckily not, I was able to sit under one of the umbrellas.

Eating my lunch, fish cakes and salad, the sun cam back out.

Whilst I was there, a band was setting up for later. I think part of the Guildford Fringe, for which The Keystone is one of the venues.

The Keystone is also a participant in Guildford Independent’s Day.

The Keystone is located at the bottom of the High Street over the bridge, behind St Nicolas Church.

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The Gloster

July 19, 2014

On a businesses park, a pub The Gloster or Hungry Horse, confusing as it has two names, and a businesses park a strange place to have a pub, even more so with private security and signs saying No Entry Private Business Park. I have come across ghastly pubs, but none as ghastly as this pub. On offer, a hog roast, at least there was if you were willing to pay £5 or was it £15, as two signs with different price to gain entry

Greed rules ok for local pubs. Fleece visitors every which way.

On a par with the rough pubs in Aldershot, and seemed to attract the same clientèle.

Lunch at The Swan Inn

July 18, 2014
The Swan Inn

The Swan Inn

view of airfield deliberately obstructed

view of airfield deliberately obstructed

I had decided to have lunch at The Swan Inn. Had I not already decided, I would not have eaten there, as I was appalled at the marque and vans that were deliberately obstructing view of the runway from the main road. Something locals may wish to reflect upon.

A special Airshow menu. There was nothing special on the menu, other than the price, therefore reasonable to assume Farnborough Airshow being used as an excuse to rip off customers.

A chalk board advising 20% discount with voucher if you register to receive their newsletter.

Registration made, voucher printed and presented.

I have come across bad service, but nothing to compare with the reception of my voucher.

First girl looked at it with distaste, called over a second girl. She spent at least five minutes scrutinising it, trying to find grounds to refuse it. Finding none, she told me to go to a different part of the bar. This I did, but finding it busy, I came back, made it very clear their behaviour was unacceptable.

A third girl who looked like she was moonlighting from school, then intervened. Grudgingly, she accepted the voucher.

I also ordered a drink, to be told does not cover drink. The beer was served in plastic, not a glass.

Second girl told me voucher required two courses. Nothing on the voucher to say so, even though she tried very hard to find.

Third girl asked where I was sitting. I pointed to a table in the bar.

No, you cannot sit there, the offer only applies to our restaurant.

I asked was the menu different.

She said no.

Earlier, I had said I wished to sit on the veranda, to be told no. No reason was given. I then said garden, to be told it was £30 to sit in their garden.

But odd, I am being asked where I am sitting. On walking in, a sign saying ask to be seated.

Maybe I should have pointed out their own sign.

Maybe too, I should have pointed out their very prominent sign saying subscribe to their newsletter and receive a 20% discount voucher.

Or drawn attention to their website (actually I did):

Subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll give you a voucher for 20% off your food bill!

I then settled down to what I excepted to be a long wait.

Impossible to relax, moronic pop music blasting out.

Surprisingly not a long wait.

beer battered haddock

beer battered haddock

Haddock and chips. The haddock served upside down and plonked on the chips. The so-called chips, potato wedges, that most people would have thrown out. Mushy peas, in a tiny little pot the size of an egg cup.

No salt and pepper on the table. I was not asked if I required. I looked around and could not see any. No one inquired was my meal ok.

I was not the only person not happy. Other people I spoke to, were not happy either.

The kitchen closed at three, not open again until six. What world are they living in?

Ropes were across the door on entry, and across the door leading down to the veranda. Rope trailing on the ground, ideal trip hazard walking into a dark pub from brilliant sunshine outside. One of the girls (not who served me) did trip as she came in from the bright sun.

After the girl tripped, it was pointed out a trip hazard, but no action taken.

In the absence of a discount voucher, haddock and chips £10-95.

Again from their website, I think someone’s idea of a sick joke:

An historic building set in a fantastic location, The Swan Inn is now open after a major refurbishment and this welcoming, independently run gastro pub boasts a stylish beer garden with unique views over the London-Farnborough runway.

Enjoy quality, freshly-cooked food with locally sourced ingredients … Our popular lunch and dinner menus serve traditional and healthy pub alternatives, and our friendly staff will gladly take you through the seasonal menu and daily specials.

Gastro oub it certainly is not, whether locally sourced ingredients, I know not, apart from the fact the haddock came not from the nearby Basingstoke Canal, and there is nowhere local growing potatoes or peas (which were mushy not fresh), and the stylish garden (an area of grass with tables) costs £30 to sit in, and if what I experienced is welcoming, one wonders what unwelcoming is like.

The garden, for which it was being charged £30 to sit in, even though you were a customer, is on the centre line of the runway. It is not safe. It is within the PSZ (Public Safety Zone), defined by 1 in 100,000 risk contour, within which cannot build, cannot allow people to congregate, as deemed too high a risk, ie not safe. The 1 in 10,000 risk contour lies just short of the garden.

The best place to observe the planes, unless you wish to view the underside of a plane landing or taking off, is outside and to the side of The Swan Inn.

In light of the fact The Swan Inn was deliberately blocking local residents passing along the main road of a view of the airfield (many were enjoying that view earlier in the week), I suggest locals show what they think of this pub by boycotting it.

Apart from blocking the view, there were vehicles parked on the footpath, forcing people out onto a very busy main road. Police on cycles came by, stopped for several minutes outside the pub, but took no action. Nor did they take action on drinks being consumed outside the pub.

The Swan Inn was refurbished some years ago. Before then a very rough pub. A quality pub, good food, may work in Farnham or Godalming or Guildford, but not Farnborough. Revisiting a couple of years ago they seemed to have repositioned themselves at the lower end of the market, their clientèle being rowdy drunks. The outside of the pub is now looking the worse for wear.

The Swan Inn is owned by TAG who also own the airfield.

Hartwood Timber and Crafts

July 12, 2014
wood products from Hartwood Timber

wood products from Hartwood Timber

Hartwood Timber have a display of their wood products at the Beer and Cider Festival at The Keystone.

Although not on show, Hartwood Timber produce much larger wood products.

Beer and Cider Festival at The Keystone

July 12, 2014
barrels of beer and cider

barrels of beer and cider

I had looked in yesterday and seen all the barrels lined up in the back courtyard.

On my way to Godalming, I stopped off and had a beer.

pleasant crowd in the evening

pleasant crowd in the evening

I my return from Godalming in the evening, I again stopped off and had a beer.

A dozen or more barrels of beer and cider, from real breweries not industrial chemical plants.

Hartwood Timber, had a display of wood products on one of the tables.

It could not have been a nicer day or evening, very pleasant and warm.

In the back courtyard, a very pleasant atmosphere, not obnoxious drunks.

half pint of real ale

half pint of real ale

The Beer and Cider Festival at The Keystone is a part of the Guildford Fringe.

Guildford Fringe was launched last year by The Star Inn. A very successful programme. This year they have expanded to include more venues. The venues put on events as a part of the Fringe, for example the Beer and Cider Festival at The Keystone. Guildford Fringe runs 1-27 July 2014.

The Keystone are participants in Guildford Independent’s Day (a celebration of indie businesses in Guildford). Apart from maps on the bar listing the indie businesses, there are also maps on all the tables.

The Keystone is located at the bottom of the High Street over the bridge, behind St Nicolas Church.

Lunch at The Keystone

July 11, 2014
courgette soup

courgette soup

fish cakes and salmon

fish cakes and salad

This is my third visit to The Keystone since it changed hands and the food has been consistently good.

Today, courgette soup, a summer soup. Generous portion, but sadly only lukewarm, not piping hot, but tasty. White bread, not brown.

Fish cakes and salad was good. Again doused in something unpleasant.

I learn the painted doors were all different artists. I assumed the same artist. One is by the same guy who has the two paintings of musicians on the wall. Apparently he only took up painting a year ago. An incredibly gifted artist.

I met the new owner. A really nice guy called Richard, keen. He needs to be as he has to rebuild the reputation of The Keystone whist at the same time being screwed by zombie pubco Punch.

The worry was, any new owner would ditch all the good things. Luckily not, he will build on them.

I floated the idea of alternative book festive to tally with the Guildford Book Festival. A Fringe Festival to tally was launched last year, a great success.

barrels of beer and cider

barrels of beer and cider

A large number of beer barrels outside. A beer and cider festival over the weekend.

The Keystone are participants in Guildford Independent’s Day.

The Keystone is located at the bottom of the High Street over the bridge, behind St Nicolas Church.

Lunch at The Queen Hotel

July 8, 2014
steak and chips

steak and chips

After a successful opening in April, The Queen Hotel in Aldershot is now rapidly going downhill.

Tuesday steak day, ordered rump steak and chips.

The steak was ok, the solitary mushroom hot, the plate cold and the chips absolutely disgusting.

It beggars belief how any self respecting chef could serve chips that looked disgusting and tasted disgusting. Chips are never very good, but never this disgusting.

Meal comes with a free pint, and usually a reasonable choice of real ales from small breweries. Not today.

The manager who has been there since it opened not there. Not seen for some weeks. Maybe she has left. Maybe that is why it has gone downhill.

Lunch at The Keystone

July 4, 2014

I was eating at the Guildford Institute, but the lady who usually does the food was not there. It would have been nice if last week she had told people.

What was I doing in Guildford? It was too hot to be in Guildford.

I had shopped at the North Street market for fruit and vegetables.

I thought, maybe Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage, but too nice a day to be stuck indoors.

Walking down the High Street, I stuck my head in the Tourist Information and picked up a map listing all the indie retailers, pubs and eateries and coffee bars participating in Guildford Independent’s Day.

It was Friday. I thought The Keystone would be full of drunk obnoxious office workers, but luckily not the case. The pub was almost empty.

Inside moronic music blaring out, sufficient to drive customers away. I sometimes wonder, do pubs hate customers.

Luckily, outside quiet.

Soup was potato and leek, a heavy winter soup, the last soup you would wish for on a hot summer’s day. Why not light summer soups, watercress or pea and mint?

fish cakes and salad

fish cakes and salad

I ordered fish cakes and salad.

The fish cakes were delicious, the salad ok, could do better, but drowned with either vinaigrette or balsamic vinegar which gave it an unpleasant vile taste. Surely leave to the customer to add.

A little wooden box was brought whilst I was waiting, salt and pepper, knives and forks, but not extra virgin olive oil for the salad.

Whilst I was waiting, I looked at the map for Guildford Independent’s Day, and saw The Keystone was listed. I asked that it be stamped (two to go), which it was. Some are offering extars. If The Keystone was, I was not offered.

The Keystone used to be an excellent pub, then it went downhill when the owners fell out. Each time I visited it got worse. It now has new owners. This is my second visit under the new owners.

I was there about ten days ago with a friend. It was Sunday lunchtime, I expected it to be packed, as today, almost empty.

The dilapidated outside furniture has been replaced with new.

Luckily no one outside bar me and another guy, which meant I was not molested by smokers. But why not make the back courtyard no smoking? Smokers, if they really must indulge in their disgusting habit, can sit outside the front of the pub. Non-smokers should be able to sit outside a pub in a smoke free environment.

painting of a musician

painting of a musician

painted doors

painted doors

signed by Nick Mason

signed by Nick Mason

Inside a couple of paintings of musicians, and a collection of painted doors, one with a Pink Floyd theme had been signed by the drummer in Pink Floyd.

Two large widescreen TVs is a very retrograde step. Even more so a big banner outside advertising football.

When is free wifi not free wifi, when it is a scam to steal and abuse personal data. The Keystone is offering The Cloud, a Murdoch company. To use, register with name, address, e-mail address, mobile number. This is totally unacceptable and an abuse of customers. If you are offering wifi, offer genuine free wifi, not abuse your customers.

The Keystone is part of the Fringe Guildford Festival this year.

The Keystone is located at the bottom of the High Street over the bridge, behind St Nicolas Church.

courtyard overlooking St Nicolas Church

courtyard overlooking St Nicolas Church

Pink Floyd painted door

Pink Floyd painted door

No problem with traffic congestion

June 9, 2014
The Tumbledown Dick traffic congestion

The Tumbledown Dick traffic congestion

No problem with traffic congestion, that is what the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor in the pocket of Big Business and greedy developers said of plans to demolish the c1720s Tumbledown Dick for a 200 plus seater Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

Fran Beauchamp for local community award

May 2, 2014
Fran Beauchamp lead singer of Sounds of the Suburbs

Fran Beauchamp lead singer of Sounds of the Suburbs

Fran Beauchamp is lead singer of Sounds of the Suburbs, a popular punk rock group. She fought tooth and nail to save The Tumbledown Dick, a c 1720s old coaching inn, until its closure, a popular live music venue.

Fran managed to pull together the local community behind her, they were willing to stump up the money to acquire the pub, to provide the expertise to run it as a local arts and music centre.

But the local council, the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor was having none of this, they were determined to see it knocked down for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s, with someone claiming a £20,000 finders fee from the Fat Clown, someone within the council doctoring Wikipedia entries.

The council played dirty, smear campaigns were run, the pub a drug dealing den, a centre of antisocial behaviour, the building contaminated with asbestos, the local community were smeared and vilified by councillors and local trolls, often one and the same. Fran was smeared and subjected to vitriolic attacks.

The local community stuck by Fran and her vision for the pub.

No one has worked as hard on behalf of the local community certainly not the local councillors.

It was therefore no surprise when the local community nominated Fran for a local community award.

Did Fran receive it even though deserving of the award?

Er, no, she was knocked out at the first stage by two councillors. Now there is a surprise.

Vindictive and vicious to the end.

A ward councillor who did a dirty behind closed door deal with the Fat Clown to destroy the Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s. Then when the dirty deal was rubber stamped by the planning committee, gloats on his blog that he is lovin it.

A member of the planning committee who made derogatory comments re the local community. Who voted to destroy The Tumbledown Dick. Who later that evening asked to explain himself, said he did not know what was going on, therefore could only vote as instructed by officials.

Two councillors, who had clear vested interests, who should not have been part of the process, who should have declared an interest and left the room, were the ones who prevented Fran from receiving the local community award.

Two councillors who were not fit to lick Fran’s boots.

The meeting that decided who received the local community award took place in secrecy behind closed doors. A bit like the meeting with McDonald’s to stitch up the local community. Unbelievable, a meeting to award a community award to someone of outstanding merit takes placed in secret out of sight of the local community.

And so who was put forward for the local community award, what were their outstanding contributions to the local community?

A litter picker!

Well yes, we do need litter pickers, we will need a whole army of litter pickers to clean up the filthy mess caused by a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

Hey, why not give the Fat Clown an award for services to the local community. He generates litter so a litter picker can pick litter and claim a litter pickers community award.

The local community hoped to kick out two councillors who made derogatory comments and voted to destroy The Tumbledown Dick. Both have stood down and are not standing for re-election. Rumour has it that at least one of them was deselected.