Pub 16. The Queens Arms, Hanley. 14/3/18
In attendance – DJT, Kate, Po, Swin, Bram
You know, the best thing about taking this project on (other than getting to drink beer) is finding out about pubs you never knew existed. I’ll be honest, I didn’t have any prior knowledge of The Queens Arms in Hanley before it was drawn out, and even had to do a Google search to determine where it was! Basically, the pub is on the outskirts of Hanley, a short walk from the town centre and close to the Job Centre. It is situated on a corner, the side streets that surround it are mainly filled with terraced houses. Whilst there isn’t specific parking for the pub, a handful of carparks are close by or I imagine that you could park on one of the side streets without any trouble, although with the location it might be residents parking. I didn’t check this.
Before I launch into the review, I’ll just share a little story I was told about this pub. It used to be known as “The Electric Bar”. No, not because it was shocking! Although, there was certainly electricity involved. Apparently the rail at the bottom of the bar was hooked up to the mains and when someone at the bar was playing up, they switched it on and gave them a dose of voltage! This was all verified by the landlady.
When you enter the pub, you can turn left to enter more of a lounge area, or right to go to the bar. Obviously, we went into the bar as there didn’t appear to be any lights on in the lounge. The bar is to the left with a few stools trimmed in a nice cow pattern material, and there are various items around the pub, in fact too many to mention here. If I could sum it up, it would be part pub, part bric-a-brac shop and part old ladies living room. That is, an old ladies house that has a mirror on the roof, a disco ball, and serves you beer. However, the general feel of the pub is really good, with a great little atmosphere going on. There’s a flat screen TV which had Coronation Street on, and although the pub was fairly quiet at first, with a couple of locals at the bar, a few more heads came in for a pint as the night went on. Another thing to note is that on the seating areas, there are a range of cushions. Simply lovely. Although the pub could do with a spruce up, in doing so you’d take a lot away from the feel of the place. It would also be a travesty if they ever removed the random stuff that’s attached to the ceiling (see photo of the upside-down poker game).
Onto the beer choice, this is something that lets the pub down a little, with Carling being the only choice if you want lager, and either John Smiths or Worthington’s as the bitters. There is no Fruli, but Thatchers & Strongbow dark fruits if you didn’t want a beer. I had a pint of Worthingtons, which retailed at £2.80, and although it’s not my favourite tipple, it was drinkable enough. You can vape inside, but I’m not sure if they do food. I wouldn’t have thought so. Pork Scratchings are Black Country Pork Scratchings from “The Snacks Company”, cost £1 and were a pretty decent bag of swine. Service was friendly, and we were made to feel welcome despite never being to the pub before.
The smoking area is at the back of the pub, it is an alright size but is a bit dark and doesn’t have any heaters or much seating. To get to this area (and the toilets) you go through a strange little room with a sofa. Again, this looks like someone’s nan’s house apart from instead of your nan watching TV, she has developed a gambling habit and spends her evenings playing on a fruit machine. In the main pub, there is a dartboard precariously positioned between a mirror and a TV. Not for the new and/or inebriated player. The pool table is towards the back of the pub, and doesn’t appear to have a great deal of room around it but I’d always prefer there to be one than not.
The gents toilet has a fairly large L shaped porcelain trough, and are a little dated but were clean and didn’t smell too badly. There’s 1 cubicle, and a sink which has flannel in case you wanted to wash your face, something I’ve not seen in a pub toilet before! The “World Dryer”, which despite it’s looks, provided a pretty impressive amount of hot air.
Overall, then, despite predicting a pub with a bit of an edge, I was pleasantly surprised. Granted, the beer choice wasn’t very good, but otherwise the pub has most of the facilities you’d expect, a great ambience, and at no point did we feel unsafe. I’m under no illusions that with the pub being close to the job centre you might get a different type of crowd during the day, but if you were in the area on an evening, and wanted a decently priced pint in a quirkly, friendly environment, you could definitely do a lot worse.
Beer choice/range – 1/5
Ambience – 4.5/5
Facilities – 4/5
Location – 2/5
Locals/Safeness – 4/5
Pork scratchings – 4/5
Fruli – 0/1
Toilets – 3/5
Other – 2.5/5
Overall – 25/41
Random Attendee Comments –
“One of the most random pubs I’ve been in a long time. Stuff & things on the ceiling. The Story of the “Electric Bar”, shocking people who played up! Absolutely loved the place. More variety of drinks wouldn’t go amiss but apart from that a superb and friendly boozer. Simply lovely!” – Swin
“Last night’s pub gets a solid 10/10 rating from me. I absolutely loved the place haha” – Bram
“This is what I want my living room to look like. Only with less hand written posters warning me to not take drugs on the premises” – Po
“Friendly, comfortable, probably go again” – Kate