Newest Review: ... happen, but is much rare now, is that they have left food orders in the hatch from the kitchen and forgotten to deliver them to the table.... more
Probably Norwich Riverside's busiest pub
Queen of the Iceni (Norwich)
Member Name: julwhite
Queen of the Iceni (Norwich)
Date: 07/03/08, updated on 08/03/08 (1056 review reads)
Advantages: Good Wetherspoons value
Disadvantages: Sometimes just too busy to be comfortable
Queen of the Iceni is a JD Wetherspoons pub in the centre of Norwich, located at the Riverside complex next to the train station. Opened in 2002 many people know it as Lloyds No 1 bar, as it changed its name recently to Queen of the Iceni.
The bar is large, with a couple of dedicated food areas (which used to be the non-smoking section before the national ban) and an upstairs area. The toilets are large and spacious, and I am reliably informed that the women's toilet even has a comfortable sofa. The male toilet doesn't have such luxury, but is still clean and well laid out.
I've been to this pub many times, and in general, the service is always excellent. There are inevitably times when mistakes are made, but they are always resolved promptly and efficiently. The biggest mistake that used to happen, but is much rare now, is that they have left food orders in the hatch from the kitchen and forgotten to deliver them to the table.
Drinks wise, Wetherspoons is a cheap venue, with very good value drinks prices. Food is also reasonable quality at good prices, and in many ways you get what you pay for, good quick efficient service, as the venue doesn't pretend to be an up-market restaurant.
This Norwich pub features good views over the River Wensum, and an outside seating area which spans a large part of the rear and side of the pub.
There are two other bars next door, Squares and Norwegian Blue, but these are rarely as busy as Queen of the Iceni. That is really this pub's major downfall, as although the pub is busy in the day, it can cope with the numbers, but at night-time, the place becomes packed. It can take a very long time for people to get served, which then leads them to order double rounds at the same time, which then makes service for others even slower.
For a time the pub put in an upstairs bottle bar, but this seems now to have gone. Personally I find it too much of a challenge to get served in here on a Friday or Saturday night after 9pm, but it is hard to criticise a pub for being really popular.
In terms of opening hours, this pub opens a little later than the other two JD Wetherspoons in the city (The Bell Hotel and the Glass House, which both open at 9am) as it opens at 10am. It then serves good value breakfasts until 12 and then food until an amazing 11pm every night. The pub shuts at 12 from Sunday to Wednesday, and at 1am from Thursday to Saturday.
I've seen some minor incidents in the pub with arguments, but these are always well controlled and well managed. Doormen on the busy nights often struggle to get to the scene of any trouble, but I've never seen them struggle to handle it. Overall the pub is definitely family friendly, although of course children have to leave at 9pm, and are really only especially welcome in family groups when ordering food.
On a minor point, the choice of real ales seems a bit lacking compared to other pubs in the chain, and I have had a couple of occasions to query whether the lines have been cleaned recently, not something I've ever noticed at other Wetherspoons. However the drinks are generally well looked after and the venue as a whole is kept clean.
So overall, a good venue because of its views, large size and also because it has the traditional good JD Wetherspoons value. More information about the chain as a whole, their offers and contact details for this pub and others can be found at www.jdwetherspoon.co.uk.
Summary: Definitely one of the better JD Wetherspoons for location
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