“ Walkabout / Australian Themed Sports Bar „
Australians...famous for being good at cricket, when playing the English, and little else in my eyes. Now I'm trying to sound patriotic and all that, but when an Australian 'themed' bar rolls around, I expect merely a lot of booze being drunk by not many people. Say hello to Walkabout then.
Walkabout is a chain of bars found across the country in all major towns and cities. Being from a sleepy Cotswold town originally there was nothing of the sort to compare Walkabout to, but having been to university in Nottingham and now living in London, I've been to my fair share of Walkabouts. They're seemingly everywhere...
So what's different about them to other various bogus Tudor bars? Well, they're hardly Tudor bars for a start - simply places serving alcohol, cheaply produced food and not too expensive a price and plenty of sport of the television...again, something all good Australians crave, or any red-blooded male for that matter!
The food does have an Australian theme to things. Yes there's the generic pub grub, but there's also food along the lines of Kangaroo burgers...I've never actually tried one but rest assured its genuine Kangaroo. I'm not put off by trying it, it's just quite a bit more expensive that a bit of standard beef. Then comes the alcohol...
...Being a big chain bar that buys it's lager in bulk, you probably aren't too surprised to hear that what you'll be drinking can feel gassy and not particularly pleasant compared to other pubs. Hardly surprising, but what you'll buy is still drinkable as they're clearing booming as they always tend to have plenty of people in them. They do of course sell all the sorts of drinks you'll find behind any bar, and the odd Australian one, such as the famous Victoria Bitter.
And to top it all off, there's the sport. Being Australian themed it tends to favour rugby events if they clash with football for example, and Aussie sports such as Aussie Rules, but usually all major matches in most sports will be broadcast. It'll open early for rugby matches in the Tri-Nations for example which could be shown as early as 8am British time.
In the evenings most Walkabouts do transfer into a bar-cum-club operation. On many nights of the week you'll need to pay a small price to get in...or up to £6 as I once discovered in the Walkabout on Shaftesbury Avenue, but that's hardly surprising! £6 isn't too much for a city centre club, but this is really just a bar playing genetic popular cheesy music/the hits of the moment. Those Walkabouts with two or even three floors will all transform on big nights of the week, but the music will be similar between all of them.
Now it predominantly sounds like I've knocked the franchise throughout this little review, and although they're hardly the best bars out there, they do have their plus points. Price wise, you will certainly find more expensive bars out there, both in food and drink. There's always a good atmosphere for big sporting events. But unfortunately you can find better food, drink and general atmosphere in some other places if you look hard enough. Those who don't, happily go to Walkabout.
Walkabout is a chain of mainly bars running nationaly in the UK. They comprise 48 bars, 3 hotels & a nightclub. They are all Themed on Australia.
The bars in my opinion are best described as Sports Bars. They Have Live Sport on all day & at night (although commentary is turned off in favour of music at night. They even have TV screens in the toilet so you don't miss a key goal!
The Pub's always have a lively atmosphere & they are nice places to have a drink. Just like any nightclub, they also have bouncers on the door in the evening. They sell a variety of drinks & cocktails including imported Australian Beers like VB.
Aa has become popular with Pub's, the Walkabout serves food. This is all reasonably priced & there is a lot to choose from. Lasagne, Curry, Grills, Sandwiches, Burgers. Even Chocolate Fudge cake for dessert. Most of the dishes range in price from around £5.00 - £7.00. I have eaten in the Blackpool, Doncaster & Sheffield branches & have always enjoyed my meal & found it good value for money. Also, with it being an Aussie themed pub they sell Kangaroo dishes. They used to serve Crocodile & Springbok but when I visited last, these were no longer on the menu. If you eat, give Kangaroo Curry a go.
If you like an evening out in the pub, or don't have Sky & regularly find yourself seeking a place to watch the football I would recommend going into one of these bars. Even if it's just to look at a TV in the bog!
Walkabout - a National chain of Oz themed bars. They are a cheap and cheerful alternative to Wetherspoons and really good venues for watching live sport, or enjoying a lively night at one of the themed nights. All of the Walkabout bars that I have been to have always been busy, usually a student crowd. This is partly to the drinks promotions and the 'Boomerang' card (keeps them coming back, sorry :-) couldn't resist!!). The card has recently been relaunched and costs £3.00 and offers the holder 25% off food and drinks. However if you use the card in Glasgow it only covers soft drinks, possibly due to local licensing laws.
The food in Walkabout is typical bar fayre including handmade burgers, made with 100% beef, lamb, chicken and veggie options and served with chips, beer-battered chips and salad. The thing that makes the menu stand out and really makes it Australian is the option of Kangaroo. This appears on the menu as a lean fillet or as a burger. Its described as an alternative to red meat and helps with reducing cholesterol. I've only manged to have this once as every other time it has been sold out, so must be popular. I found my kangaoo fillet very tasty, along with tomato chutney. Also if you do manage to get it, it is meant to be pink so don't send it back thinking it's undercooked. If you want to try something else exotic then you can also try Springbok.
The majority of Walkabout bar's are old cinemas and even newer bar's follow the same layout of bigger bar, smaller bar(s), dancefloor and stage area. They all have large screen and several smaller screens around the bar. The decor is basic with wooden floors and the Australian theme throughout.
The bars can be hired out for stag/hen nights, party and functions, details can be found on website or in the venue.
With the size and layout, and big huge screens; Walkabout is a great place to watch live sport, typically Rugby Union, Rugby League, Boxing, Cricket & Football. This combined with drinks promotions they do get very busy, so if you are wanting a seat my advise is get there early!!
Each Walkabout bar offers several different nights and they advertise them locally. These include Karaoke, Poker Nights where you are invited to play Texas Hold'Em with chance to win upto £50. Whilst visiting Glasgow recently we did enjoy the Tuesday night playing Guitar Hero on the big screen, absolutely hilarious. We followed this up on the Thursday with the Walkabout Cocktail Society. It's worth checking your local venue for upcoming events/celebrity appearances, or have a look at the website.
I've found the majority of the staff really efficient and quite entertaining, always up for a laugh and good banter. I think a lot of them were students and a few had been Australian or New Zealanders which added to the theme.
These vary slightly from place to place but usually open from about 11am to 2-3am
I live in Newcastle and my nearest Walkabout used to be in Durham, I went to this one at the weekend a while back and was dissappointed with standards as it was not what I had previously experienced at other venues. Walkabout Durham has since closed and I can't say I was surprised to hear it.
I've visits a few Walkabout bars and I can recommend the following:
Carlisle - Unit 6, English Gate Plaza, Botchergate, Carlisle CA1 1RP
Cardiff - 65-74, St.Mary Street, Cardiff CF10 1FA
Glasgow - 128 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3AL
I would welcome any comments about your local Walkabout, and if you haven't been and you want a cheap and cheery night then it's worth a visit. Check out the website (www.walkabout.eu.com) for you local venue and offers. Enjoy.
This should be my final review about Cardiff from when I was on my Hen Weekend. I have saved my best experience until last.
We stayed in the City Centre whilst in Cardiff in the Travelodge which was right next to train station but also right next to all the pubs. This made life so much easier for us and luckily for us Walkabout was the pub right next to our hotel so it was the first place we went.
I have already touched on the subject of Walkabout on a previous review but I think the pub actually deserves a full review of my experience there.
A little bit about Walkabout
There seems to be several Walkabout pubs in the UK which surprised me because I've never heard of them before. But if you would like to see if there is one near you go to http://www.walkabout.eu.com/home/venues and it has a list of all the bars in the UK.
Walkabout is an authentic Australian Sports Bar. Throughout the day I was aware that they were showing sports on the big projector screen and also several other tv screens they have around the pub.
In the evening Walkabout Cardiff turned from being a sports bar into being a club with live music or a DJ. This seemed to be the perfect bar for this and can hold a massive 1,500 people so definitely a great place to party.
So once we were all ready to go out we walked out of the hotel and took in the nightlife already starting with loads of people wandering or should I say stumbling along the street. We decided to go into the nearest pub so we weren't caught up on Street Wars (imagine explaining that to the hubby to be!)
We walked into Walkabout and from the outside the bar looked pretty dark and although it wasn't a small bar on first impressions it didn't look that big and I was glad we would be starting the night here and not finishing it here.
We went to the bar which seemed pretty full, there was a lot of people standing around which made the place look busier than it actually was. Once we bought our drinks which was about £15 for 5 drinks which I thought was an excellent price, we then went to go and sit somewhere but unfortunately we had nowhere to sit so we stood at the side and started to enjoy our Friday night.
There was a live band playing and they were absolutely brilliant, I was delighted when they started sing Proclaimers (I will walk 500 mile!) That really got us in high spirits so we had a couple of drinks at the pub before moving on.
On our way out we were stopped by the bouncers and asked about our tiaras (we were all dressed up for the hen night), they asked if we had any spares and if we took them down the next night we would get free entry and get to skip the queue. We promised we would be back with them the following night.
The Saturday Night
Ok so we had decided that this would be a quieter night due to having to fly home the next morning. We came to the conclusion we would be best heading back to Walkabout to have a few drinks as it would be free entry and it was right next to our hotel.
As promised we took the tiaras to the bouncers who let us in free of charge. I noticed the music was loads louder than the night before and so much busier. We decided that there was no point in us all going up to the bar as it was so busy so we went to find a seat and that's when I noticed there was a downstairs!!
The night before there hadn't been any lights downstairs and I had just assumed the stairs were for staff like you get in quite a lot of pubs. But this was different, where we were standing was like the balcony for the downstairs. We decided to go downstairs and join the party. There was a DJ doing the music tonight and the music was more current songs from the charts which was great.
I did notice that most people looked about 18-20 so even though I'm only 25 I did feel slightly out of place and definitely under-dressed with jeans and a hen night t-shirt on whereas everyone else was dressed in their party dresses and men in nice shirts and trousers etc. For this reason and also for the reason it was so packed you couldn't move we decided to make a getaway and headed back up the stairs. Finally I could breath again and we managed to find a seat.
Upstairs still over-looked the dance floor so you could still hear the music and the DJ and if you got a table at the balcony bit then you could watch everyone on the dance floor too.
Upstairs was more comfortable with sofas to sit on and room for us to dance if we wanted, the toilet queue was non-existent compared to downstairs and the bar was still busy but at least we wouldn't be spending the whole night at the bar waiting to be served (ok now I'm sounding old and grumpy!)
The tv's which are dotted around were all on and they had an advert on the screen that says if you text the number with a message then it will appear on all the screens and the large projector, you could also request the DJ does a shout out. The downside is it would cost you £1.50 to do this which I think was way over priced but then a lot of people were obviously willing to pay for it as loads of message came up on the screen.
I couldn't believe the toilets in here, they were really clean and there was more than enough toilets so even the female toilets didn't have a queue. The surprising part for me though is they had an attendant in the toilets who will give you soap, a spray of perfume or even a lollipop in the hope that you will leave her a tip. I have heard of this before but her stall was like a mini shop in the toilets there was so many items you could also buy from her.
I've never seen this before so it was a wee bit different and the attendant seemed to be really busy also so it can only be a good thing. I have to say I was quite impressed by this.
They were absolutely brilliant and really quick at serving people. Even though there was constantly a queue at the bar it seemed that everyone was served quickly. There was dedicated staff to come round and clear the tables so there was no dirty glasses sitting on the tables, again they were quick and you're table didn't have empty glasses for long.
It has to be said that the door staff were by far my favourites though, and not only because they let us in the bar for free but because they are the friendliest door staff I have ever met. They don't take themselves too seriously like door staff up where I live but then you know that if there was ever a problem then they would be the first to break up a fight or to escort someone from the building.
If you want any more info go to the website - http://www.walkabout.eu.com/home/venues/south-wales/cardiff where you will get a lot more information that I have given but I am unable to review something I have not used. For instance it does state they serve food but whilst there I never seen anyone eating a meal and I didn't even see a menu so there's no way I could comment on this.
I had a fantastic weekend and I don't think I would've enjoyed it as much if I hadn't gone into Walkabout. I have heard that a lot of people don't like it because of sticky floors, dirty toilets etc. But I will defend them for the reason that I didn't experience any problems at all. Saturday night was a lot busier and better than Friday night, but they were both excellent nights in their own way.
Walkabout is a chain of Australian themed sports bars located across the UK. I have visited quite a few of these including brances in London, Manchester & Reading, so thought I'd use this review to summarise my experiences.
The bars are open during the day for food & drink. The food is good value for money but you get what you pay for, I've noticed the quality of the meals isn't that great when I've eaten here before. It was almost like the food had been previously prepared and then was just re-heated in the microwave. You can't go wrong with their drinks though, which are competitively priced whilst watching your favourite football team play on their massive screens.
At night, the bars transform to welcome the evening drinkers in force. On Friday & Saturday nights, the bars can get get very busy & there is also normally a DJ and a mini dancefloor. I think the place is so popular due to it's relatively cheap drinks prices which people love especially in the current economic climate.
Personally apart from the cheap drinks prices, Walkabout bars aren't really my top choice of bar to visit. The atmosphere isn't normally that great & you get your shoes sticking to the sticky floors of spilt beer which gets worse as the night goes on!