“ Manvers Way / Rotherham S63 7EQ / Tel: 01709 877664 „
Location and a brief history about the area
Located in the Manvers area of the South Yorkshire village of Wath upon Dearne near Rotherham "The Bluebell" is a country-styled inn that offers food and drink to its customers. An ex-mining village, the area where the inn is located has undergone somewhat of a facelift over the last 10 years and where the British Coal headquarters and the series of collieries once stood is now home to a RSPB bird sanctuary, a large lake and an industrial area. In recent years a new private housing estates have sprung up along with several large call centres providing jobs for hundreds of local residents with more businesses and developments still to come.
The BlueBell Inn
The BlueBell Inn has somewhat of a captive audience with its presence being where it is, the only pub in the area which until the new houses were built mainly saw a regular stream of nearby call centre workers and people calling in as they passed by on the main road. After the first new owners of the new-build houses took residence business seemed to pick up for the pub with lunchtimes and early evenings being the busiest time to visit with 12-2 and 4-6 being the times to avoid if you were wanting to sit in peace and quiet and not having to wait an extended time to be served.
I have visited The BlueBell on numerous occasions over the last few years at different times of the day both with my wife and with relatives and friends for family celebrations and have on the majority of occasions always enjoyed the experience and found the food and drink on offer to be tasty and reasonably priced. The pub did go through a rocky patch with me when a new chef was employed quite a while ago, this saw a massive decline in the quality of the food and after a particularly bad experience we avoided the place for a number of months. Fortunately the new management and chef(s) have brought the standards back up to how they originally were and we have been more than happy with all of our recent visits.
Outside and In
Being custom built The BlueBell is attractively designed both inside and out and set just off a busy main road with ample of car parking spaces, even at busy times the car park is never full to capacity and we have always managed to get a space. Disabled drivers have their own marked areas in which they can park which are directly outside the main entrance to the pub and to the side of the building is a covered area for eating al fresco and where smokers seem to congregate with drink in the warmer weather. Entering the pub there are seating areas to both the left and right of the entrance with the long, wooden bar being the first thing you see. Well stocked with wines and spirits and offering the usual selection of Lagers and bitter (Carling, Fosters, Marston's etc) plus draft and bottles soft drinks and set against a mirrored backdrop the bar is always kept immaculately clean and is always well manned with friendly bar staff who greet you with a smile and a warm welcome.
Generally you can sit wherever you want without having to be led to a table although at particularly busy times (normally a Friday/Saturday night) a greeter will be on hand to point you to available places to sit. As we tend to visit during the quieter times of the day we tend to just sit where we want and after a few minutes are approached by one of the staff.
The interior of the pub is comfortable and designed in a contemporary, modern fashion with wallpaper on some walls and exposed brick work on others. The carpeted floors have a thick, plush feel to them and the tables are set out in a random manner with a mixture of tables for 2 among larger seating ones. All the chairs and seats are upholstered and comfortable to sit on and offer a variety of choices from long benches along the walls to carver style, grand looking ones at the heads of the larger tables. There are intimate corners where tables are set for 2 for anyone looking for a romantic night out and the lighting can be described as ambient. Music is normally playing in the background and tends to be popular chart CD's that seem to be on a loop and is set at a low volume so is not intrusive and all in all there is a warm charm to the place that you can easily get comfortable in.
Menus are on each table along with details of any specials that are on offer and for the most part you can expect to choose from a wide selection of 'pub grub'. Rotisserie chicken is the speciality of the place with a lot of the meat choices being centred around chicken dishes, although the standard fare of steak, pork and beef do appear on the menu plus options for Vegetarians and those looking for healthier, low fat/calorie meals. There are the usual starters of soup, garlic mushrooms, pate etc on offer as well as platters of a mixture of items for sharing.
Main meal choices are good, if not uninspiring with there being plenty of dishes available for even the most fussiest of customer. Being very easily pleased and tending to stick to simple food I generally opt for the classic burger and chips, which although sounds dull is in actual fact absolutely delicious with the burger being handmade, thick and juicy and served with onion rings in a large floured bun, salad and a leafy side salad. The chips would be better if they were homemade rather than being the bagged variety but they are always perfectly cooked and make a great addition to my meal. My wife tends to stick to the chicken and bacon salad whenever we visit and that always comes in a large oval dish with plenty of ingredients and succulent white chicken breast - this not only looks impressive but my wife adores it and it is her favourite choice whenever we go there. Over the course of many visits and when looking for a change from a burger I have selected other choices from the menu including homemade pie (made with Marston Ale - delicious!) Lasagne served with garlic bread and when feeling indulgent, steak (cooked as required) and have found everything to be well cooked, hot and tasty with good sized portions. Deserts and puddings again are pretty much standard for a pub and offer plenty of choices from ice cream to more indulgent cakes and hot puddings, all served by the attentive and welcoming service staff.
Pricing wise the meals offer good value for money with a starter costing anywhere from a couple of quid for a bowl of soup up to £5 or £6 for a sharing platter and main courses generally start from £5.95 and work upwards with Steak costing around a tenner. There are 'light bite' options where you can chose from a selection of fresh sandwiches or jacket potatoes and during the day there is an ongoing promotion where you can select 2 main meal dishes (from a separate menu) for just £10.00 - this usually runs during the week and up to 6pm. We tend to go late afternoon at around 4ish and for me and my wife can expect to pay around £20.00 which includes a starter for me and a desert for my wife, a main course for us both and a drink each, this is perfect for us for an occasional treat or for when we can't be bothered with cooking at home and for £10.00 each I consider this to be fabulous value for money.
The staff have always been friendly, chatty and well dressed whenever we have been and from their initial greeting to the service have always provided a welcoming atmosphere. By ordering drinks with your meal you don't need to stand and queue at the bar and even at busier times the service has always been quick and efficient. There is always a delay in bringing out the meals which I find to be reassuring - I wouldn't expect everything to be ready made and raring to go and by having a 15-20 minute or so wait I am reassured that my meal is being freshly made to order and when it does turn up it has always been piping hot and carefully prepared with nice attention to detail.
Conclusion and Rating
The place is always immaculately clean and tidy with used plates being whisked away quickly, the tables are always polished and the chairs put to where they should be. The (Gents, I can't comment on the ladies, obviously) toilets are equally as immaculately clean with plenty of loo rolls provided and the basins are well stocked with soap and hand dryers in an always-working condition and overall The BlueBell is a nice place to visit for good food, friendly staff and a comfortable atmosphere.
Despite a period where the quality of the food took a bit of a nosedive I do rate The Bluebell highly and would award a 4/5 star rating. It isn't fine dining where you need to dress up for the occasion but it is warm and welcoming and offers a good selection of food and drink all at great prices.
Recommended by me, thanks for reading my review.
For more information or to see a sample of the Menu the website for The Bluebell is at: