Pub 17. The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Hanley. 21/03/18
In attendance – DJT, Po, Swin
So, another pub that’s relatively close to the centre of Hanley that I never knew existed. This time, it’s The Wheatsheaf Hotel which is more towards the Shelton/Etruria end of the City. The pub is situated on a side street, just off a main road that goes from Stoke to Hanley although it I reckon it’s the kind of place you need to know about, otherwise you’d certainly miss it. From the outside, the pub looks fairly large, with a generous amount of glass.
As we entered, we immediately got lost. Not the most auspicious start to proceedings. “The bar’s through there lads” was the shout that alerted us to our misdemeanour. Although in our defence, the door to the bar does say “restaurant”. There are actually 2 rooms with the main bar to the right, and another room to the left which has a dart board but not a great deal else, other than a few seats. As there appears to be various tools and building materials in this room, it would suggest that there is some ongoing renovation. The pub itself is a bit of a weird set up, which is probably down to it also actually being a hotel and/or B+B.
You get into the bar via a door that wouldn’t look out of place in a 1970’s front room. That being said, once in the room you can tell it has been recently done up, with a nice wooden floor, and pleasantly upholstered chairs & benches. There are 2 large flat screen TVs and an even larger projected screen, which were playing a music channel at a decent enough volume. If anything, the total screen size is probably disproportionate to the size of room, but during sports events you should have a great view. The décor does seem to be largely horse related, with many pictures of an equine variety adorning the walls, combined with a display cabinet which featured more horse based paraphernalia and various items of pottery. The end of the room features a bare brick wall, with built in log burner, which does look pretty smart. There isn’t a pool table, or smoking area (if there is, I couldn’t find it), and you can vape inside. It was also pretty busy for a Wednesday night, with a selection of locals enjoying a few beers, the majority of these being towards the older age range. I’m not sure whether they do food, there was a smell of curry but I think some hotel guests may have bought their own food in.
Beer choice is pretty good, with Carling, Hop House 13, San Miguel and Stella being the choice for lager drinkers. If you want a real ale, there’s Abbot Ale, Loud and Proud Bitter, Green King IPA, Worthington, Guinness and something just called “Dark”. More than enough choice to keep you happy. If you like a fruitier beverage, you can choose from Sommersby Cider or Strongbow Dark Fruits but unfortunately no Fruli. I had a Green King IPA, which at £2 a pint was cracking value and a decent pint of beer. There was also an offer on the Stella, also at £2 which could get a bit messy!
There aren’t any pork scratchings, which was disappointed. We were offered crisps or chocolate covered pretzels but we all know these pale in comparison to a nice bag of swine. We spent all of our visit in the bar, the service was friendly and there was a decent enough vibe, the locals seems harmless enough and this is yet another pub where they enough a nice game of cards. I’m not sure whether they were playing “Nap” though, I still don’t actually know what this is.
The toilets are through the back of the pub, the gents are to the left and you go passed a nice fish tank which is something I’ve not seen in a pub before and in hindsight I think more pubs should have them. The gents has a long trough porcelain urinal, 1 sink and 1 cubicle. It was actually quite warm, clean and didn’t smell too bad. However the floor slanting slightly towards the urinal is a useful, but initially concerning feature. There isn’t a hand dryer, but paper towels and an actual towel is provided so that you can dry your hands. As there were no ladies with us, I cannot verify any information regarding the facilities for females.
Overall then, a bit of a mixed bag. The building itself is a bit strange, but the bar is a nice environment and you can tell that they are trying to spruce the place up. There is a lack of facilities if you want a nice smoking area and/or a pool table. Otherwise, beer choice is good and it’s actually not too bad a boozer, although on some levels it is quite a bizarre place. I’d pay it a visit again, if only for a few more £2 pints of Abbot Ale. Plus there’s a fish tank.
Beer choice/range – 4/5
Ambience – 3.5/5
Facilities – 1/5
Location – 2/5
Pork scratchings – 0/5
Fruli – 0/1
Toilets – 3.5/5
Other – 3/5
Overall – 20.5/41
Random Attendee Comments –
“Reminded a bit of “Fawlty Towers” tbh, LOL. A lot of horse stuff on display. Not a real pub though, and no swine, so didn’t score highly with me tho” – Swin
“Weird pub for the second week in a row. What they lack in pork scratchings, they make up for in Irish equine paraphernalia”.