Locomotive Inn, Heron Cross

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Pub 13 – Locomotive Inn, Heron Cross. 20/2/18

In attendance – DJT, Po, Pete Cotton, Quinny, Danni, Doobs

We hadn’t actually planned to visit the Locomotive in Heron Cross. The pub initially drawn had closed down (a sign of the times I suppose). The other two pubs being The Regent in Fenton and The Railway in Heron Cross, both of which were closed. This may have been something to do with it being a Tuesday, in hindsight probably not the busiest night in the pub trade. However, saying that the Locomotive was the fourth choice would be doing it a disservice.

From the outside, it doesn’t look like a massive establishment, there is a fairly small carpark to the left and a few benches along the side of the pub which appears to be the smoking area. As you enter, the bar is to the right and the lounge to the left but there is the one bar between these that serves both areas of the pub. The lounge is a pretty pleasant area with nice curtains, wooden tables with a decent amount of standard bench and stool seating. The stools are upholstered in a decent checked fabric, some are reminiscent of the old Burberry check. For this room, it reminds me a bit of The Albert in Newcastle that we visited previously, but with less brass. There are high shelving with various trophies, and a pretty massive cobweb suggesting the trophies are awarded every decade or so. In the bar, there is an open fire and the walls are adorned with Stoke City paraphernalia. Towards the back of this area there is a large pool room with two dartboards and a pool table. I’m reliably informed that the pool table is fine but apparently one of the cushions is dead. In this area there are also two fruit slash gaming machines. Vaping is allowed inside the pub, although they don’t do food there are sandwiches and the like available predominantly on match days.

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Drinks-wise, there is San Miguel, Carling and Calsberg for lager drinkers, whereas if you prefer a less fizzy drink you can have Pedigree Amber Ale, Hobgoblin, Wainwrights, Mansfield Smooth or Guinness so not a bad choice overall although there was no Fruli. I opted for a pint of Pedigree Amber Ale at £2.75, service was fairly quick although when the local sports team are playing at home you’d imagine the pub gets busy and would require a couple more staff. We were sat in the lounge which was empty but the bar had a few more heads in and there were some people playing pool, including a few children. I’m not going to share my view on kids in pubs just yet, but you can decide for yourself whether you agree with it or not. Actually, I will share my views. I’m not a fan of children in pubs, not “proper” pubs anyway. If it was a Harvester or Hungry Horse type food pub, it would be okay. Anyway, I digress. The lounge had a flat screen TV that had the snooker on, and music was being played at a decent volume, and gave quite a lively vibe for a Tuesday night.

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Pork scratchings were the old favourite “Q Pork Scratchings”, and retailing at 85p were below the average. As always there are a great compliment to a good pint of beer. I’m pleased to say that the beers I had were all decent, and there were no complaints from the rest of the group on this point.

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The smoking area does consist of the couple of benches at the side of the pub, close to the carpark and a bucket outside the front door! Needless to say, there are no heaters. To get to the toilets, you go through/into the pool room, and the main gripe would be that they aren’t signposted too well. In fact, one of us accidentally went into the ladies! The gents has a long porcelain trough urinal, 1 cubicle and 1 sink. The toilets generally smelt pretty good, and they seemed clean and tidy. The CED hand dryer wasn’t the best in it’s hand drying application but eventually got the job done. The women’s toilets are OK, and reported back as being old but clean with 2 cubicles and a window. However, I cannot verify any of this information.

Overall then, there’s not much to add about this pub. The beer choice was good enough, and competitively priced with a decent bag of pork scratchings. The pub has all the facilities you need (unless you smoke cigarettes) and a friendly vibe, this meant that we had a pleasant visit and I’d return to the pub if I was ever in the area and felt like a couple of scoops, game of darts/pool and a nice bag of swine. I left the pub thinking that it was actually a good thing that the other pubs decided to be closed on a Tuesday.

DJT

Beer choice/range – 3/5

Ambience – 3.5/5

Facilities – 3.5/5

Location – 3/5

Locals/Safeness – 4/5

Pork scratchings – 4/5

Fruli – 0/1

Toilets – 3/5

Other – 3.5/5

Overall –27.5/41

67%

Random Attendee Comments –

“Another pub that I’m no stranger to but this visit was the first time I’d ever ventured into the lounge. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that they had my favoured premium lager on draft in there (I’d been paying over the odds for bottled Peroni in there for years previous). Moral of the story: pub lounges are not just for coffin dodgers and women” – Quinny

“A decent enough establishment. Hobgoblin on draught was a nice enough pint and at £2.80 relatively cheap. A particular highlight was the air freshener with the gel block inside like your nan used to have. This particular one was perched high on the shelf. Interesting” – Doobs

“Decent boozer despite the tropical temperatures due to the fireplace the other side of the bar. A little disappointed we didn’t get to meet the massive spider that crafted the world’s largest web up on the trophy shelf” – Po

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