Newest Review: ... or two after plays have finished in the evening. My boyfriend and I stopped by for a pint after seeing The Merchant of Venice last Monday e... more
Dirty, Sexy Shakespeare
The Dirty Duck (Stratford-upon-Avon)
Member Name: charby
The Dirty Duck (Stratford-upon-Avon)
Advantages: Great location, good drinks and food, actor spotting
I haven't been writing as many reviews as I normally do of late, largely down to the fact that I've been spending most of my time in flats without an internet connection, and so I haven't been able to get onto Dooyoo or Ciao to post them. Over the last weekend, however, I've had a further reason not to be able to write: I've been on holiday. A holiday in the UK, but a holiday nonetheless. After doing a couple of English Literature classes last semester in Germany and living on a street marvellously called Shakespearestraße, I've discovered in myself a new passion for Shakespeare and his works, and so I booked a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon for me and my boyfriend at the start of September. We've just returned and now I'm going to review as much of my experience as possible before I start back at university next week.
== The Dirty Duck ==
Also known as The Black Swan, The Dirty Duck is a pub that was recommended to us by our taxi driver as well as by our youth hostel, as it is a great little pub very close to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Swan Theatre. It is therefore a convenient location to go to either before or after productions, and so many of the company actors can be found here having a drink or two after plays have finished in the evening. My boyfriend and I stopped by for a pint after seeing The Merchant of Venice last Monday evening and were delighted to see a few of the main cast members sitting and drinking together. I didn't want to bother them for an autograph or anything, but it was amazing to see the performers just having a drink after the play.
=== Food ===
The Dirty Duck serves food and shares a menu with The Garrick Inn, which is located a few minutes walk away in the town centre. They largely serve typical pub fayre such as sausages, scampi and pies, but also have a selection of burgers as well as some more Asian inspired dishes such as curry and more oriental dishes. They serve food in the main bar at the front of the pub as well as in the conservatory restaurant towards the rear.
When my boyfriend and I went for lunch I went for a blue cheese and bacon burger while he chose a smothered chicken breast. My burger came served open with the top of the bun to the side so that I could add the provided relish or other sauces to my burger before eating it. There were already onions and some salad on the burger as well as the cheese but I added a bit of the relish as well. The burger itself was gorgeous with the blue cheese and the relish complementing each other well. I also had chips, which were very good as well, and mayonnaise and ketchup were provided when we asked for them. His chicken, which came with grilled bacon, goats cheese and a tomato Provençal sauce as well as a side of chips, was also gorgeous. The chicken was well cooked and the sauce was well made. Full marks for food.
=== Drink ===
In terms of beverages, The Dirty Duck had on offer what you'd expect from a typical English pub. There were lagers and ales on draught and in bottles, as well as a decent wine selection and spirits. I was also happy to be able to get Crabbies Alcohol Ginger Beer here, as although a lot of places now do serve it, it's not as common as I would like it to be in pubs. I had a glass or two of wine with my lunch when we ate here and they were reasonably priced and good quality.
=== Atmosphere and Location ===
Despite being situated in a town, The Dirty Duck has more of an atmosphere of an English country pub, with its pleasant mix of rustic and modern. There are many Shakespeare and RSC related pictures decorating the walls, including some signed photos from actors and actresses. My favourite part of the interior decoration, however, would have to be the few Shakespearean quotes, which can be found at the top of some of the doors and over the doorways. There are a couple from Macbeth and from Richard III amongst others and I really feel that this adds to the atmosphere of this pub that is famed for its RSC clientele. The outside patio to the front is also an attractive feature, with curved, old stone steps leading up to it from the street.
As I have said, this pub is located only a few minutes walk away from the RST and Swan Theatre and lies very close to the river on Waterside. This is a lovely location and it is nice to be able to look out onto greenery and a swan filled river while still in the town proper.
=== Prices ===
Drink prices here are representative of most pubs in Stratford upon Avon - a round of two drinks will set you back around £7, which isn't too bad, in my opinion. The meals that my boyfriend and I had cost around the £9 mark each, which I feel is a very reasonable price considering that they kept us full as well as being well cooked and delicious.
== In Conclusion ==
With its good food, location and (thespian) talent spotting potential, The Dirty Duck really is a great pub. I enjoyed eating and drinking here while in Stratford and, were I to visit the town again (which I hopefully will in the near future), I would definitely come back here again.
Summary: A brilliant pub near the Royal Shakespeare Theatre