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The Pub Review - Stage Two

Thursday 9th November 2006

Pub One - The Horn Reborn

Horn On entering the Horn Reborn I was pleasantly surprised that it was smarter inside than I had expected.
Another nice surprise was that the pub had a real ale, Green King IPA, available on hand pump. The only problem was how to get served! There was nobody behind the bar and it was a good two or three minutes before somebody appeared. I looked around and noticed that Stuart and Rachel had already arrived and found a seat. As a few others would be turning up we hunted round for an area with more seating and found a sort of games room with tables at the back. The first thing that we noticed about this room was a large weird sculpture on the far wall. It looked as if it may have been a lion but it certainly looked out of place in a St Albans pub. Other features in this room included a juke box, pool table, bar football and a small tv.
Dave, Neil, Makis, Alex and Graham arrived and joined us in the back room.
It was soon noticable that this was a very poor pint of IPA; it was so bad that I nearly considered not finishing it.
I started complaining to those around me that someone had turned the juke box and it was far too loud.
However it was pointed out that this was the live band practicing in the room next door.
The Horn seems to have live bands on a Thursday and Saturday that perform in a separate room and the admission charge can vary betwen 6 to 12 pounds.
Anyway, time to go. It was a strange feeling being sober in the Horn as the only other time I have been in this pub is many years ago when other pubs closed at 11pm and this was the only pub left in St Albans selling beer.

Pub Two - The Robin Hood

Robin Hood After taking the group photo we crossed Alma Road walked passed Iceland and arrived at The Robin Hood.
It was good to see three real ales, including Wadworth 6X and Adnams, as we approached the bar.
Prices seemed a little expensive but the bar staff were friendly.
The many small tables at the front were mostly taken so we headed towards the back where the long tables resembled a dining room.
Some of us found the music from the juke box rather loud but fortunately it was quieter where we sat at the back.
Geoff joined us in this pub to bring the size of our group to nine for the evening.
The music being played was actually quite good and consisted of mainly eighties pop and rock classics.
Other things that we noticed was that the lights were rather bright and there was a good mix of ages drinking in the pub.
We found this to be a nice comfortable friendly pub with a decent choice of real ales.
Time to move to the next pub and take the group photo.

Pub three - The Glass House

Glass House The Glass House is only a few yards away along Victoria Street so very little drinking time was wasted. As usual the first thing I look for when I enter a pub is how many real ales they have and fortunately the Glass House had one.
From the outside this pub (formaly The Acorn) looked as though it may be a wine bar and just sell wine and bottled beer.
The bar staff were very friendly and actually asked how much tonic Geoff wanted in his drink.
My pint of real ale was too cold although seeing a few girls in the bar soon took my mind off this.
This pub was very stylish and contemporary with a large plasma screen on one wall. The background music consisted of rather cheesy 70's and 80's hits, which I quite enjoyed. This pub can sound quite noisy even with only a few people in as the music and conversations seem to bounce off the walls.
There was a very tempting list of Tapas dishes displayed on a large blackboard. These dishes were advertised as three for ten pounds and was served between 6pm to 9pm.
This bar appears to be aimed at trendy people who are in their thirties as they sell a wide range of wine, cocktails and champagne.
Their flyer decribes the Glass House as a "Tapas and Cocktail Bar".
After the group photo we started the climb up Victoria Street towards the main city centre.

Pub Four - The Slug and Lettuce (formally Casa)

Slug and Lettuce
After about 500 yards we were at the Slug and Lettuce.
The problem we now had was to convince the two bouncers (sorry doormen!) that we were a nice sober bunch of people and that we should be allowed into their pub.
I suspect the fact that the pub was fairly empty and they could see that we would boost their takings helped us get in.
My fears were justified - no real ale!
However, there were lots of fancy taps selling a good selection of the cold gassy stuff at very hot prices.
Some of us went for the Nastro on draught that actually tasted quite pleasant whilst the more adventurous went for the fruit beer.
We headed towards the back of the bar where we found plenty of seating, much of it resembled seats in train compartments.

Most of us found the decor to be too modern and lacking in character.
Exactly the same can be said for the music that they played, which sounded awful.
The only redeeming thing about this pub is that it does attract some rather pleasant looking girls.

Pub Five - O'Neils

Not far to walk as O'Neils is next door to the Slug and Lettuce.
O'Neils is a large pub that used to be known as the Philanthropist and Firkin and before that it was the main library of St Albans.
Fortunately there was one real ale pump (London Pride) as well as a good selection of draught beers.
The London Pride tasted especially good; best pint of the evening. Service was good and the long bar on the right made it easy to get to.
This place had the youngest drinkers of the evening. It appears that O'Neils is popular with students. Plenty of tables inside and we felt quite comfortable sitting down in this large spacious pub.