“ Address: Market Square / Northgate St / Chester CH1 2HA / England „
The Dublin Packet is a small pub located near Chester Library and also Chester Cathedral. Its location is something that you woud think they would use to promote and develop, but no. It is located near to a inside shopping mall as well it being inside the main shopping centre of Chester.
The exterior of this pub looks great with its black and white walls, which is probably to be in line with the rest of the Chester walls. I think it is a protected area so all of the exterior needs to look the same.
On entry into this small and very local pub you get nothing but stares as if everyone wants to ask you "what are you doing in my home"? You kind of want to leave because of the amount of pressure your getting, but just to spite them decide to stay.
Its one of those pubs where you have to be a local to be in there but also have passed the initiation test before you can become a ´local`. Needless to say if your not part of the ´gang`, the atmosphere isnt very nice.
Upon ordering a drink, I noticed that the prices were quite attractive. Maybe thats why there were some rather stale looking old men in there. I remember it was about 90p or there abouts for half a cider and black(currant). The staff seemed to have the same attitude as the customers. They didnt seem to want business... no wonder I had only been here once before and I remember why now!
They served food in this place, but I didnt have the chance to order any food before I was put off my the stares and grunts coming from the surrounding drunks. The furniture inside was all wooden and fitted in with the old style exterior.
I rememember the first time being in here, there was a big group of us on a student night out. Maybe about 15 of us and I couldnt sense the atmosphere as much then, but now it was just me and a friend.. oh we could sense it!
I believe this pub certainly does have potential to be something special. It has a great exterior, the interior isnt so bad, just need to take out all the people and start afresh! I dont think I will ever go to this pub again, big group or not. The atmosphere is unbearable and something that should be looked at.
The Dublin Packet sits right in central Chester next to the Market, with the Cathedral and Town Hall close by.
It is a pleasant looking mock Tudor building in fairly good repair. It is ideally situated to nip in for a quick lunch and a drink whilst taking in all the sights and shops historic Chester has to offer.
That's what I thought anyway!
I had an American colleague with me and he wanted to try British 'Pie and Chips'. The menu board outside the pub offered two meals for £7.00 and one of the meals on offer was pie and chips. I wouldn't have chosen to go in myself but his back was hurting him and I didn't want to make him walk to my favourite pub down the road.
On walking in you are greeted by the noise of a fruit machine, not too loud but they took away some of the peace and rest we needed.
We went over to the bar. One pleasant young bar-girl greeted us cheerfully and Hank ordered a lager. So far so good! It all went rapidly downhill after that. An older lady came up the bar to serve me. This is exactly how the conversation went.
Me. "Hiya! I'll have a nice pot of tea, please."
Lady "We don't do pots." (no explanation or apology. Just the blunt statement.)
Me. "Oh! Okay then, I'll have a mug of tea please." (I could see a row of mugs by the coffee machine.)
Lady. "We only do cups of tea."
Me, (baffled.) "Right. I'll have a cup then."
I looked at the menu.
"I'll have Chilli and chips please."
Lady. "It comes with rice. You can't have Chilli and chips. It's Chilli and rice!"
Me, (getting a bit irritated but still being polite.) "I'll have a cheeseburger and chips then."
Lady. "They aren't in the 'Two for seven pound' offer."
Me. "But they're cheaper than the Chilli!"
Lady. "They aren't in the offer."
(At this stage, if Hank hadn't been paying and his back hadn't been hurting, I would have walked out. I was getting really annoyed. It was like being in a Monty Python sketch only not funny.)
Hank. "Can she have a side order of chips and get rid of the rice? she doesn't like rice."
Lady. "Yes, but it's extra."
Hank. "Just do it please."
She agreed to that and Hank asked what kind of pie it was.
Lady. "Meat." (I walked away before I lost my cool. Would it have hurt her to say what kind of meat?)
I just couldn't believe that the woman was behaving like this to customers. I felt humiliated that I had brought Hank into such a place when I had been raving about how great Chester was.
Hank was anxious and embarassed by this time. I think he thought that I was going to drag the lady over the counter.
We sat at a table. The regulars greeted us and moved around so we could sit together easily. I was so relieved that someone was showing a foreign guest some civility.
The tables were typical pub tables, slightly wonky but balanced with beer mats under the appropriate leg. They were clean and set with condiments.
The seats were comfortable but a little stained. The place had an air of not being too well cared for. (but sometimes old pubs look like this.)
A young barlady brought me my cup of tea and it was okay. Not very hot but okay. She was well mannered and helpful. She brought us cutlery and napkins.
The meal was served within ten minutes and was nice and hot. Whilst we were waiting I apologised to Hank for the way we were being treated. I explained that not all pubs were like this and that most will go out of their way to accommodate your wishes.
He laughed and said that he thought that he was going to see me lose my temper for the first time in the twenty years we had worked together. I said it was a close thing.
Hank tried his pie and I asked if it was okay. It wasn't a home made one. It was one of those that were reminiscent of a baked turtle. All shell and no meat. He seemed to think it was okay. (Either that or he was afraid that I might go off the deep end if it wasn't good enough.)
My Chilli and chips (No rice!!!) tasted quite nice. The chips were brown and crispy. The Chilli was a medium temperature and the size of the serving was adequate.
Halfway through my Chilli I found that I was chewing on a large unidentified object. I fished it out of my mouth and inspected it with disbelief. It was a two inches by half an inch flat strip of something fibrous. Neither Hank nor I could work out what it was. He thought it was a bag tie. Whatever the object was, I was less than thrilled to find it in my dinner!
I called the girl over. Brandishing the unidentified foreign object I told her that I just found it in my Chilli. She was very apologetic.
By this time I had had enough. More than enough.
"Just get me a refund please!" Through gritted teeth.
Off she went with the offending article.
She came back with a refund for my meal. Nothing else was offered.
To add insult to injury the older barlady came back and told me it "Was just a piece of Chilli pepper stalk." She was very dismissive of the incident.
It wasn't a piece of stalk. I don't know what it was, but I grow Chillies and it was definitely not a chilli stalk.
Overall it was an ordinary town centre pub. Clean enough with a decent cheap menu. Apart from what we ordered there was fish and chips, burgers of different kinds, the usual staple lunches. Nothing fancy but just what you would expect for those cheap prices.
The toilets were clean but a bit past their best in terms of decor. There seemed to be no problem for wheelchair access that I could see.
I will never go in there again. A perfectly reasonable old pub was ruined for me by the attitude of one staff member. I was ashamed to be British because of the unwillingness of this staff member to be helpful or courteous.
If you want a cheap, standard pub lunch with unidentified added extras, and you don't mind a surly barlady who won't make any effort to be polite or helpful, this is the place for you.
If not, there are literally hundreds of lovely places to eat in Chester. Choose one of those instead. Don't make the mistake I made.