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|PUB NEWS - DECEMBER 2000||Dave McKerchar||
PUB NEWS - DECEMBER 2000 Compiled by Dave McKerchar<p>A round-up of the latest news on the pub and beer scene within the branch area. 25 reports about pubs in Reading and Mid Berkshire.
<p><OL><LI>There are proposals to open a second HOGSHEAD pub in Reading ? this time in the old gas showroom in Friar Street. It is not known whether the existing Hogshead in Kings Road will close or not.</p><p><LI>Edwards (in Station Road,Reading) has now changed its name to BAR 12 ? sadly all the handpumps have been removed (it is a café/venue bar and real ale never really caught on ? it does sell Staropramen Czech lager however).</p><p><LI>Still no sign of works starting on the new ALL-BAR-ONE outlet which is due to open in Market Place, Reading. The planning notices have been up for months but perhaps the project has been delayed due to the turmoil within the Bass group (or is it Punch taverns now?) Real ale is often sold in All-Bar-One?s (usually Fullers London Pride)</p><p><LI>Another new café bar/venue is scheduled to open in King Road. BAR CASA will be sited in the old colour print shop next to the library. No details of products but real ale is not expected to be available.</p><p><LI>As mentioned elsewhere, the old Roundabout pub has now become BANTERS and has lost its cask beers. It is now yet another venue bar for the youngsters.</p><p><LI>It sounds like a catalogue of losses but we sadly must report them ? yet another old town centre boozer has lost its real ale and its identity. This time it?s the Tudor Tavern (Friar Street) which has been ?transformed? into the READING RENDEZVOUS (wasn? t this the old Reading FC social club ?) O.K. ,so the Tudor had gone downhill in recent years and the beer was never very good ? if available at all ? but it was a pub and with some TLC could have been a winner. Now it is just another stop on the central crawl.</p><p><LI>Almost next door ? THE BROADWALK ? has drastically reduced its range of real ales with only London Pride now being sold. This is another pub giving-in to the kids trade with lagers and bottled fizzies being preferred to the real stuff. It is even sadder that Fullers (normally a big supporter of cask beer) have dropped their own brands from the pumps.</p><p><LI>It looks like THE BOAR?S HEAD is destined for the axe. This famous old landmark is, we hear, due for demolition along with the cinema next door, to make way for ?.. who knows? Another office block? A theme bar or fun pub? A shopping mall? Again, this was a pub that with a little bit of love and attention could have been a thriving outlet in Friar Street and could have offered something different from all the current trendy bars in this area of town. The Boar?s Head was originally a Simonds house, then became a Magic Pub Co outlet before finally ending up with Greene King.</p><p><LI>Continuing our sad list of closures ? THE CROWN in Crown Street.Reading has been boarded ?up despite protests from locals, CAMRA and the press (you may have seen the Evening Post articles). This is yet another ordinary boozer being closed because of all the new bars in the town centre even though it offered many things that the new pubs don?t (local trade; friendly atmosphere; pub games and a changing real ale selection). We live in hope that all is not totally lost and that a new owner may still be found and the pub re-opened.</p><p><LI>You will have noticed the article about The Cock-a-Snook elsewhere on this website but Pete Taylor?s old pub THE HORSE & JOCKEY (Castle St/Castle Hill, Reading) has finally been sold to a company we have not heard of before ? London Free Inns. We don?t know their beer policy or if they intend to keep the pub open. Watch this space?..</p><p><LI>Over in Caversham, THE RED COW in Star Road has had a coat of paint and a new landlord (Milton Inns). There is one cask ale on tap ? Brakspear?s Bitter. This is very much a local?s pub and can be found at the end of Gosbrook Road.</p><p><LI>Some good news for a change!! (Hooray) ? still in Caversham we have found a new real ale outlet in the form of Caversham Park Village Social Club which is situated off Northbrook Road (25 bus terminus) and offers 4 cask beers on handpumps. On the last visit Brakspear?s Mild and Bitter were available along with Adnams Fishermans Ale and a Shepherd Neame autumn beer. This is a member?s club (new members are welcome, but I would hope that CAMRA would be able to have a social meeting there very soon in the new year and help promote this outlet. </p><p><LI>Also in Caversham, THE FOX & HOUNDS, Gosbrook Road has been up for sale in the trade papers recently. This is an old Courage pub which has in the past sold real ale.</p><p><LI>Back to Reading town centre, where the real ale selection at THE RAT & PARROT, Market Place is now reduced to Courage Best Bitter.</p><p><LI>A new beer for the area is Bankss Bitter which is sold alongside Marstons Pedigree at T.P.WOODS in Friar Street. (This bar was formerly known as The Newt & Cucumber)</p><p><LI>Pedigree is also available, sometimes, at THE PITCHER & PIANO also in Friar St.</p><p><LI>There is now a choice of 3 cask ales at THE HOODEN IN THE HAT (The Mitre to you and me !!) where Adnams and Bass have been seen as well as one other unidentified ale.</p><p><LI>Up to Tilehurst now, and some more good news. The former White House pub which was closed and changed into a Chinese Restaurant has now re-opened as a pub again under the banner of THE VICTORIA with Fullers London Pride on sale. The pub, which has two bars and a conservatory, is on the corner of Kentwood Hill and Norcot Road.</p><p><LI>Out to Pangbourne - and the long-awaiting re-opening of THE CROSS KEYS following major repairs and re-furbishments. This listed building has a new bar counter but the small rooms have been retained and one is a non-smoking area. The new licensees are offering an imaginative menu and food is available all day, every day. Many nice features have been retained or incorporated including flagstone and timber floors; real fire; solid timber beams and posts; old boarding and doors. The patio has been enlarged and you can still sit and watch the fish swim by. There will be 3 letting bedrooms available from next year. The cask beers are Greene King IPA and Abbot plus one guest from the GK range. Well worth a visit. (Park in the public car park or take the train)</p><p><LI>Elsewhere in the branch area ? down at Woodside which is near Ascot ? alterations and extensions have been completed at THE ROSE & CROWN and the bar area has been enlarged; new toilets added (including disabled facilities) and the kitchen extended. The pub has been refurnished throughout and the exterior re-painted and re-signed. Beers on offer are Greene King IPA, Triumph and a guest (Jennings Cocker-hoop was available for the re-opening party)</p><p><LI>Back to Reading where the beer range at THE LITTEN TREE (Castle Street) now includes Brakspears Bitter in additional to their own house beer (which is actually Worthington Best Bitter).</p><p><LI>Just up the road is THE BREWERY TAP which has now completely stopped brewing and, in our opinion, is not the pub it was when it re-opened last year. Very sad, as we thought the home-brewed beer was excellent and would prove popular and be a lasting feature of the pub. Cask ales are still sold but it is just not the same somehow!! (There have been management changes with the owners ? Tudor Inns so this may explain it all)</p><p><LI>Brewing has also stopped (some while ago to be honest) at THE FLYER & FIRKIN although the equipment would appear to be still in place. This pub has changed hands recently and its overall future style is not certain. Real ale is available (Tetleys Bitter?!?)</p><p><LI>Have you noticed the change in Morlands Original Bitter in recent months? Has it got sweeter? It is, of course, now brewed by Greene King in Suffolk.</p><p><LI>Finally, just a quick mention that Wetherspoons have bought THE CATHERINE WHEEL in Henley(only Courage Best and Theakstons on sale at the moment) and are to open a pub in Maidenhead The company are looking for other sites in the Thames Valley.</p><p></OL></p>