Pub 27. Potters Wheel, Porthill. 6/6/18
In attendance – DJT, Po, Bram
So, this week we’re back to more familiar surroundings, this being a pub that I have been to a couple of times although I wouldn’t call it a regular haunt. However, a couple of beers in here on a Christmas Eve a few years back does still stick in the memory for some reason. The Potters Wheel in Porthill is a pretty large place, sat on a main road with a large carpark at the rear. The “Sizzling Pub” signs outside allude to its main function being a food style pub rather than a real ale establishment. I would say, even before you’ve entered, you know what you’re going to be getting. No alarms and no surprises please. Whether that’s a good thing or not is probably just down to personal preference I suppose.
There are two entrances at the front of the pub, at either side of the building. The main door to the right takes you into the more lounge feel part of the pub, and this is where most people will probably venture. There is a lot of varied seating available, from proper sit down tables and chairs, to more casual sofas, to more a booth style with high stools. The thing that stood out for me was the sheer amount and type of lampshade throughout the pub. Whether this was a concerted effort, or there was a sale on at Dunelm Mill Shop I couldn’t tell. Let’s just say that there was a hell of a lot of lampshades. If you’ve got a fear of lampshade, don’t go to this pub. I’ve just checked, and there isn’t actually a name for this particular phobia, more’s the pity.
Flooring wise, there is a combination of wood, carpet and tiles in the pub. Anyway, enough about light fittings and interior design. The serving area is generously sized, and is slightly to your left as you enter. Further to the left is the bar which features a slightly lower luxury levels, and a pool table, although I didn’t see a dartboard. There is a decent enough choice of beer, although not a particularly great range (if that makes sense). If you want a lager, the choice is either Stella, Carling, Coors, Carlsberg or Heineken. If you wanted a less fizzy variety, it’s either John Smiths, Guinness, Worthington, Doom Bar and some IPA kind of thing. I opted for what appears to have become my “go to” beer when there aren’t any other choices, which was a nice pint of Doom Bar. A Carling and my Doom Bar was £5.50 so pretty steady. Strongbow was available, but not Fruli. As previously mentioned, they very much do food. The menu looks pretty decent, and quite well priced. It’s the kind of place that you’d know what you were getting. Perhaps a nice burger or some nachos.
We took our drinks outside initially, as it was a nice evening. I counted 15 benches at the front which had big parasols. There is a smaller area to the rear of the pub as well, which had less benches although I didn’t count how many. Once the sun started to go down, we went back inside and took a seat part-way between the bar and the lounge, on a comfy leather sofa near to a flat screen TV. In fact, there were a few flat screens knocking about and I counted 4 fruit machines at various locations in the pub, but other than that it’s got a pretty standard chain pub vibe to it, being a couple of places above a Wetherspoons in both quality and price. You can’t really vape inside in this kind of place, but there is a small smoking area with a little covered area and a hearer next to the entrance at the bar side of the pub. I was disappointed that there weren’t any pork scratchings. Having thought about this in depth (I’ve got a lot of time on my hands), I’m thinking about sending a petition to the EU to make it a legal requirement for anywhere serving beer to also have a range of pork scratchings available. Although, Brexit may have kicked in by then. But let’s really not open that can of worms on here! Po did have to have some fajitas instead which I really don’t think were the same, but he seemed to enjoy them.
The gent’s toilets were pretty good overall, and one of the more spacious of the pubs so far. There are 4 urinals, 3 sinks and 3 cubicles, the latter being a change from the normal one cubicle vibe that most pubs seem to have going on. The two initial hand dryers were quite good, and this is the first pub so far that has a condom machine. I hadn’t actually noticed the absence of one before, but it’s actually appearing to be quite a rarity. There were not females in attendance again, so I cannot verify any information regarding the ladies toilets. Plus, I’ve not summoned the courage to pop my head into a women’s toilet yet. Particularly not a women’s toilet in Stoke on Trent. However, I don’t know why but the gents did make me think of a smaller version of the toilets at a motorway service station.
To wrap this up then, I’ve not got a problem with this kind of place. It’s got a decent range of food, the beer is sufficient and there’s a decent sized outside area. It’s where you would bring your significant other if you couldn’t be arsed to cook something on a weekday night. To some people it would actually be a fairly decent local as it is quite a nice place, and I didn’t get the feeling that it gets particularly “fighty”. However, I don’t live in Porthill so it’s probably somewhere I will go to a few times a year and I’m perfectly fine with that.
Beer choice/range – 2.5/5
Ambience – 3.5/5
Facilities – 2/5
Location – 4/5
Pork scratchings – 0/5
Fruli – 0/1
Toilets – 4/5
Other – 2.5/5
Overall – 22.5/41
Random Attendee Comments –
“Potters Wheel is good if you like Carlsberg. When they don’t have scratchings, have fajitas instead. A worthy replacement” – Po
“Not massive range of beers/ales but got the basics, standard chain interior, smart etc. Decent range of two for ones etc on meals. Good local for a couple of beers” – Bram