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Crazy antics at The Turks
The Turks (Reading)
Member Name: kelr101
The Turks (Reading)
Advantages: Live Music, Cheap Alcohol, Lively Bar Staff
Disadvantages: Drab furnishings, broken chairs
The Turks, previously know as The Firkin has recently undergone several dramatic changes. The ownership has recently changed hands, and The Turks has been left with some fantastically vibrant personalities and a friendly atmosphere. Generally speaking The Turks is known as a student bar, especially considering its pint prices (Guinness, Carling, Fosters and a few local beers) start from GBP 1.80 - a vast change from the more expensive prices of the many town bars. There are plentiful amounts of spirits available ranging from Jack Daniels, to Smirnoff Vodka, although the mixers are less well known. For example, where most pubs offer Red Bull or alternatives, The Turks sell "Shark" a very similar drink to Red Bull but cheaper in price.
The interior of The Turks would put off all but the most heartened newcomers, with it's wooden tables and chair, gaudy sofa's and dark drab appearance, but once past the lack of glamour and sophistication you will find a pub that welcomes you with open arms. The Juke Box is always kept updated with the latest punk/metal bands albums, and the bar staff are always open to suggestions for alternate music that could be incorporated. Alongside the Juke Box, The Turks have recently (over the last couple of months) starting allowing local bands to play live on Saturday nights. These nights are guaranteed to leave you with your ears ringing, but also an appreciation of the local talent often unheard in the bigger towns. As an example "Confuzin Jack", "MonkeyFist", "Outlaw" and "School for the Gifted" and a few of those chosen bands appearing over the next couple of weeks. Their music varies from stoner metal, to southern rock, to thrash metal and although this may not appeal to all certainly ensures a lively and vibrant evening, alongside free entrance and low priced drinks.
Sporting events are another big event at "The Turks" and they have 3 standard screens available to watch as well as a larger screen to the rear of the pub. Alongside this is a pool table operating on the same rules as many, with winner stays on. I have never seen any arguments over the way this is operated, and seems a lot fairer than one group putting twenty quid down, only for no one else to get a look in. Quite often even the sporting events are only localised of not main events they will only show them at the rear of the pub, allowing the Juke Box to be heard down at the front and to allow for different types of clientele.
The Turks has recently started to serve food again, between the hours of 12-3 and 6-9 on most days. The menu here is plentiful serving your traditional pub grub, e.g. burgers and chips, rump steaks, etc, and all for very reasonable prices. A typical ham, eggs, and chips meal will cost around GBP 3.50, and the rump steaks are on offer with two, including all the trimmings, for GBP 6.99. A bargain if I ever heard one…and to be honest the pub food is a lot taster than many I have tried. Simple but effective.
One of the few disappointing points of The Turks are the toilets, although compared to some bars the problems are insignificant. I mean, toilet rolls are always in plentiful supply, as is hot water, an automatic hand drying machine, and lockable toilets, but they just don't have the touch of class you would get at the Hilton. Basically they are typical pub toilets - it's not like you plan on spending the entire evening in their anyway!
On the opposite end of the spectrum however, is the entertaining bar staff. One girl in particular, a huge Down fan, sports a stunning mass of bright pink hair, several facial piercing's and a large array of tattoo's, however don't ever let that put you off (yes, it does some people) as she is one of the most lively and brilliant personalities in The Turks. The majority of the bar staff do support multiple tattoo's, piercings and wear their own unique style of clothing but that's what makes The Turks so appealing. There is no pretentiousness or bitchy sarcastic bar staff serving you, everyone is genuine and approachable - something I prefer 10 times over to the more snooty wine bars - and they can all serve a decent pint!
Inside the pub is also an ATM machine, allowing for easy cash access - although typically this does charge you GBP 1.50 to withdraw your own money, and a cigarette machine which although more expensive than a newsagents is cheaper than some…and generally in stock with your preferred band.
Outside The Turks is a reasonable sized paving area, allowing for outside seating - a must when the sun is shining and you can people watch with a nice pint in your hand - off which several small tables and chair are provided and a traditional picnic bench. Unfortunately there is no parking, but that's to be expected in a town bar…and you can always park your car in the Oracle Car Park and walk the 5 minutes to The Turks head (even stopping at Great Expectations on the way). The paving area allows for easy wheelchair access, and although the entrance is a little narrow there is plenty of room inside.
Although a lot of people would be disappointed by the old wood furnishings, the drab décor and the small narrow entrance, once inside what more do you need than to be served a decent pint, at a decent price, and can listen to bands than most of the mainstream pubs wouldn't even dare play. Generally during the day the atmosphere is lighter, and is the ideal place to stop for a refreshing pint on the way home, and in the evening varies from day to day dependant on the bands playing and the day of the week, but I have never had to wait ages to be served, and any delays are quickly apologised away. Basically I thoroughly recommend The Turks head, and will be a frequent visitor for many a day to come. Check it out - you might find you enjoy yourself.
If you fancy being scared about the antic at The Turks, check out www.myspace.com/theturksreading and be prepared to live a little!
Summary: A lively, cheap bar in the heart of Reading
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