Now our first round of reviews is complete, it’s time to review our findings.
What did we find from our quest then?
Well, for a start we realised that there are actually several brilliant pubs right on our doorstep. The clear winner was ‘The Narrowboat’. Part of a small Yorkshire based pub chain (Market Town Taverns), this little boozer does everything perfectly. It has an excellent selection of real ale at great prices, good food, no gambling machines or widescreen TVs to distract you from conversation or from the reading material you’ve taken, and it also does a brilliant quiz night every Wednesday (including free chip butties). What’s not to like about any of that?
The process has been both eventful and insightful. We found a pub which had no other customers except ourselves (‘The Albion’). We sat in the corner strumming our fingers on the table in time to the irritating hum of the beer fridges. Then when we left the premises, the barmaid shut up shop and headed to the chippy. We found one place decorated half like a strip club and half like a traditional country pub, with toilets that would make even the most hardened music festival veteran turn a nice shade of green (‘The Fleece’). We encountered a pub which had an atmosphere like a funeral parlour and was decorated like a set from ‘The League of Gentlemen’ (‘The Craven’). We reviewed a pub with a comedy name, prices to make your eyes water and blackboards and chalk above the urinals for the casual mid-piss graffiti session (‘The Cock and Bottle’). We were shocked and surprised when one establishment rated quite highly in the toilet department, when normally you can smell the shitters from the street outside (‘The Railway’) and on one memorable night we unwittingly gate crashed a funeral wake and had to cut our review session short. We realised we were the only people in the pub not dressed in black – I think I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt (‘The Cross Keys’).
Sadly some of the pubs bit the dust before we had a chance to review them. ‘The Commercial’ closed its doors and reopened a few months later as an all you can eat Chinese buffet restaurant, ‘The Royal Oak’ closed down and is set to reopen as a trendy boutique hotel and wine bar, and ‘Breeze Bar’ also closed its doors mysteriously one day, presumably on public safety grounds – that was the one we were least looking forward to, as it looked like the only place in town you’d go to if you wanted glassing by a walking advert for Donnay casual sportswear.
So, here are the results as we scored them:
- The Narrowboat (33)
- The Bay Horse (31.5)
- The Woolly Sheep (30.5)
- The Castle (29.5)
- The Cock and Bottle (29.5)
- The Red Lion (29)
- Royal Shepherd (28.5)
- Craven Heifer (27.5)
- The Cross Keys (26.5)
- Herriots (25)
- The Rose and Crown (24)
- The Devonshire (24)
- The Craven (22.5)
- The Fleece (21)
- The Black Horse (20.5)
- The Albion (19.5)
- The Railway (17)
Whilst the top scoring pubs mostly reflect our gut feelings on how they should be ranked, there was a surprise with the number two spot going to The Bay Horse. We would probably have put this pub at the number 5 spot if we just ranked them based on previous experiences without scoring them. This is mainly due to it’s location, but also because it is primarily an eating pub rather than a drinking one.
Scoring System Changes
Some of our reviews show that our scoring system needs some tweaking to make it fairer and more consistent. For the next round of reviews we shall be making the following changes:
Service – Change from 1-10 to 1-5 scoring as we feel this isn’t as important as other categories.
Atmosphere – Change from 1-5 to 1-10. After the quality of the beer, the “feel” of the pub is the most important.
Toilets – Remove from the scoring, but give minus points if they are truly terrible.