Pub 11 – Red Lion, Hartshill. 30/1/17
In attendance – DJT, Po, Pete Cotton, Kate, Amy, Quinny, Geoff.
A number of years ago, my local was a pub in Stoke called “Corky’s” (some of you may remember it). I basically lived there. Whilst not a perfect place by any stretch of the imagination, it had the “something about it” factor. It was simply a cracking pub with great people and good beer. Many a night was spent in there, putting the world to rights, a couple of quiet pints easily turning into five or six. The reason I say this is since it closed, I feel like there has been somewhat of a Corky’s shaped hole in my life.
So, moving onto this week’s pub. The Red Lion is a large pub (much in the mould of my beloved old local), set in a side street off the main road in Hartshill. In fact, it would be fairly easy to miss the pub if you just stuck to the main road. Having frequented pubs in the area on many occasions, I have actually been before albeit it’s been a while since my last visit. Whilst there isn’t a carpark, there is plenty of space on the street outside and over the road. There are two entrances, one for the lounge and the other for the bar. I think you always find out more about the vibe of a pub by spending your time in the bar. That, and the beer always used to be a bit cheaper than in the lounge (back in the day)! The bar is to the right of the pub, and you enter into a room with a tiled floor, pool table and juke box. The décor gives you what I’d call a proper pub vibe, with pretty nice seating facilities, football (Stoke City) based pictures adorning the wall and pump clips along the walls. There is also a small-ish flat screen TV which wasn’t turned on but music was being played from the jukebox at a fairly decent volume, and throughout the night had an eclectic mix of songs. The pub wasn’t particularly busy, but since it was a Tuesday night you probably wouldn’t expect it to be. Despite this, the atmosphere was decent, helped by the friendliness of the landlord/landlady.
Beer choice was pretty good, with a number of lagers available, namely Carling, Staropramen, Pravha and once again the obligatory Coors Light. For non-lager drinkers there is Doom Bar, Worthingtons, Guinness and Caffreys. Otherwise, both the normal apple and dark fruit Strongbow can be obtained if that’s your bag. No Fruli though. The service was good, quick and friendly from the get go and we were told that the new landlords had only taken over the pub on the previous Friday. I had a pint of Doom Bar for £2.80, which was really good in both value and quality. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it’s one of the best pints I’ve had so far! I just hope that the price of the Doom Bar isn’t just an introductory offer! Whilst food isn’t available at the moment, there is a small sign at the bar that says food is coming soon.
To the left of the pub, there is a darts room and a fairly large lounge which looks like it’s got some decent seating facilities and as you go through the room, towards the back of the pub is a smoking area which has some soft furnished seats, heaters and a medium sized beer garden with a number of benches. In summer, I can see this being a quality area to spend an afternoon in, particularly with there being a full sized ping pong table! You can vape inside, although this did set the smoke alarm off at one point. I was in the gents at the time and can confirm that the alarms are in good working order!
Pork scratchings were by “Mr Porky” and were only 50p, and tasted really good although you don’t get that many it is offset by the cost being half the price of some other establishments. There are 2 gents’ toilets on either side of the pub and they pretty much give the same vibe with 2 urinals, 1 cubicle and 1 sink in each. Both are light and clean, are pretty fresh smelling and although there isn’t a hand dryer, paper towels are provided. To be perfectly honest, I’ve got no issues with this as I’d rather dry my hands on a paper towel than stand for ages using a hand-dryer that has the blowing capacity of a 90 year old, asthmatic gran. The women’s toilets were very clean, there was toilet paper and women’s sanitary items and the words “a joy to be in” were mentioned. However, I cannot verify this information.
So, I’ll wrap this review up. I’ve actually got nothing bad to say about this pub. Granted, a couple more real ales wouldn’t go amiss but I don’t think this is a massive issue. The Doom Bar is a great pint, it’s a friendly pub with a good vibe, and has all the facilities that you need (and more). The landlord got talking to us outside, and got us all a free drink in which was a really nice touch. We ended up staying until closing, and had 5 or 6 pints each. The pub basically reminds me of Corky’s, and you can’t get much higher praise than that in my eyes. If you’re in the Hartshill area, pop in for a couple of scoops. I know for a fact that I’ll be frequenting it again whenever possible.
Beer choice/range – 3/5
Ambience – 4.5/5
Facilities – 4/5
Location – 3.5/5
Locals/Safeness – 4.5/5
Pork scratchings – 4/5
Fruli – 0/1
Toilets – 3.5/5
Other – 3.5/5
Random Attendee Comments –
“A really enjoyable experience, couldn’t find fault. The free round of beers was such a kind gesture from the new landlord, he’s obviously keen to make a good impression. I would definitely go back here” – Kate
“50p Pork Scratchings and cheap beer. Definitely worth sliding into obesity for” – Po
“Always a sign of a decent boozer when the 2 pint perspective turns into 5. Very impressed with the free round on the house” – Pete Cotton
“I come to this pub every week for 12 frames of high-quality pool with my old man, so I’m quite familiar with the place. It’s recently been taken over though and so whether it begins to be frequented by scrotes remains to be seen. Judging by the persistent herbert who wouldn’t take no for an answer when he insisted on hijacking our game (Herbert: “play the winner mate, that’s how it works here” Geoffer: “no it fucking isn’t”) it looks like our playing pool in peace days are numbered. Shame really as it’s a decent enough boozers with nice ales and a good table, hence the reason we go there in the first place” – Quinny