Mother's Day meal for a family of four. We waited 1 hour 10 mins for our main course. When it arrived we could not cut the childrens meat for their roast dinner - an alleged simple roast beef dinner. They took it back which meant we had to feed them our food and then theirs came again. Meat was still inedible and two children who normally eat any meat refused to eat it. When we complained the managers only response was that they had had 170 covers and only 4 bad ones - that is ok then. Then they refused to reduce the price. Would not recommend it unless you want inedible over priced food albeit in a lovely venue. BTW - we had eaten their before some 5 years ago and the food was great but would not recommend it. Obviously they cannot cope on such a day. They would be better off reducing the number of covers and improving the quality of food.
There are so many pubs in this area that I couldn't possibly begin to tell you about them all. So what I will endeavour to do is tell you about the one's to go to when in the area, and the one's to avoid. The top end of Watford High Street currently has a total of 13 pubs. With more on the way I believe. There are also two clubs in the same area and a large number of restaraunts. This opinion though is purely about the pubs of Watford and the surrounding area. Bodegas is a new pub at the very top of the high street. For awhile it was by the far the trendiest, and on a Friday and Saturday night it's certainly the one with the friendliest clientele. It is full of people who there purely to have a good time, meet with mates and get some quality drinking in. It is slightly over-priced compared to some of the others around it, but who cares about 5p when the atmosphere is good. It is very grand looking pub that has been refurbished within an old bank. It is stylish, friendly and well-staffed (you don't have to wait long to get served even on the busiest of nights.)I haven't eaten there, but I have seen them serve up some food. Pizzas, pies, chips, etc. It all looked fairly fresh. The kind of food you'd expect to get from say the Slug and Lettuce type bars/pubs in London. The Artichoke pub, almost opposite Bodegas, is a strange one. It really is local pub for local people. Myself and four friends recently popped in for one drink and it was like the opening scene of An American Werewolf. The entire pub seemed to watch us all the way to the bar and alway to our seats. Despite this, it was a very relaxed atmosphere. Everyone knew everyone. I think they wanted to make sure we weren'y looking for trouble before accepting us to their public house. The Rat and Parrot is about half way down the high street. There seems to be a brother or sister pub of the Rat & Parrot opening up in most major to
wns. The drinks aren't cheap, but they have lots of sofas, and comfort is a great bonus for me when I'm on a session. It doesn get packed, loud and roudy at the weekend, but Monday to Thursday it's one of the quietest places in town. A good place to meet up with friends mid-week for a snack and a drink. They also sell a variety of flavoured vodkas i.e. Mars Bar, Bounty, Strawberry, Apple & Blackberry etc, vodka jellies and huge selection of new and exciting coloured liquids that go to your quicker than you'd like. Maximos. This is the newest pub on the high street at the moment. I've only been there twice, once mid week to eat and once on Friday to meet some friends. Mid week, very quiet, the food was nice enough, very similar to that of the Rat and Parrot, and the drinks were avarage prices. Although they tried to charge us for three pepsi's which we had returned because the pump wasn't working and the syrup hadn't flavoured the fizzy water. Other than that it was fine. On the Friday night when I went, I wasn't allowed in because I was wearing trainers. When I explained that it was someone's birthday they let me in, but then wouldn't let my partner in because she was wearing trainers. Ridiculous. Away from the high street is the place I have always considered to be my local - the Estcourt Tavern. Badly decorated, badly staffed, but a great pub none-the-less. Beers are slightly cheaper than those on the high street, and it's always full of people who are their to meet friends and talk. I've been going to this pub for 12 years and the clientele has hardly changed. It's still the same sad people with a few new faces. Further out of Watford and in to Croxley Green, again there a few pubs, but two of which are particularly good in the summer. On the green itself are The Coach and Horses, and The Artichoke. Both have biggish beer gardens, and being on the green means th
at even if the gardens are full you sit out the front. The Artichoke is slightly bigger, but not by much, and becuase they are so close together, there is really no difference in price. Food is better in the Artichoke. It is standard pub food, but they do have a specials board which changes on a daily basis. I used to drink in the Coach and Horses when I was younger, but at around 25 moved on to The Artichoke. This seems to be the way that it is. The Coach and Horses is definitely a younger pub. Both have swings and slides and things for children. Now, even further out of Watford, about 10 minutes by taxi, is a little village called Sarratt. In this weeny village are three pubs - The Boot, The Cricketers, and The Cock. I have eaten, drunk and staggered out of all three. Let's start with the biggest - The Cricketers. On second thoughts... The pub itself is fine, but the food and service were lousy the last time I went there. I asked for the pudding menu - I was corrected by the "waitress" that it was a dessert menu. Apple Pie and Custard, Rhubarb Crumble, Rice Pudding - I don't think I need to say any more! Also, every Wednesday is bikers night. It is quite amazing in the Summer when you see a row of around 500+ motorbikes all the way down the green. But if you don't like crowds, Wednesday is one to avoid. (I once saw one of the locals try and take on about forty of the bikers with a stout stick - very amusing!) Half way through the village itself is sat a small looking pub, the Boot. This has always been a real locals pub, but it has recently opened up a restaraunt using fresh fish, game, poultry and meat. We popped in recently to eat there, looked at the fantastic menu, and then couldn't get a table because they were booked out all night - we got there at 6pm. Obviously the food is as good as it sounds. It has only the basic drinks, two lagers, a real ale, a stout, you get the picture
, but the service is good and the staff are really friendly. It does have that American Werewolf feeling when you first go in, but once you're in their and drinking it's fine. The final pub is the one to go to if you want good food. The Cock. This is off of the main Sarratt Road and his hidden round by a beautiful country church. It is quite a big pub, but is much better known for it's food. It has a top class menu, serving top class food, and at good prices too. It recently had a stunning review on one of the national papers, either the Times or the Guardian, I can't remember now. But this is definitely worth the trip out of town. My girlfriend lives in Sarratt, so for me they are all within walking distance, which is nice!! Anyway, those are my recommended pubs of Watford and surrounding area - here are my don't-do-these-one's! The Moon Under Water - one of those blasted Wetherspoon places. Once you've got past the cider drinkers at the front - you know what I mean - you then have to wait for ages to be served by one of two staff working the enormous bar. Someone usually jumps in and gets served before you too. The drinks may be a lot cheaper than most pubs, but the reason for this is quite clear. It's not a nice pub! My next - avoid - is the Ice-O-Bar. Serving the biggest range of bottled lagers to the biggest crowd of people who shouldn't be allowed to handle bottles in the first place. Not a nice place at the weekend. Yates - for the same reason as above - being so close to Destiny nightclub, it tends to have alot of trouble go on. The Leviathon - they took away the darts board and snooker cues for a reason you know! One that deserves a mention is O'Neills. It's not a great pub, but they do sell Sausages and Mash with Onion Gravy, and Veggie-Sausage with mash and onion gravy - one of the best things in the world on those cold winter
nights! The others which have been left out, it is nothing personal, they are fine, just not great. Watford has become a real focus for night life at the moment and some of it is great, a small percentage though is not. One thing is for sure, we are certainly spoilt for choice at the moment. If you do come to Watford and visit any of my favourite pubs, go to the bar, ask for Paul, and if I'm there I'll buy you a drink. Alternatively, try the Green Room Bar at the Palace Theatre, a lovely quiet place that nobody visits (does get busy for about 20 minutes during the intervals, but otherwise...) Happy drinking