The Last Crumb, 76 Prospect St, Reading, RG4 8JN.
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday: 9am – 11pm, Friday & Saturday: 9am – Midnight.
All ‘information’ in this review is ‘accurate’ as of November 2019.
There’s no point pretending anymore. When a nice traditional old pub closes down, a nice traditional old pub isn’t going to open up in its place. Instead, it’ll be a ‘craft beer house’, or flats, or a gastropub. Or flats.
So the sooner we get our collective bonce around that fact, the better. When The Prince of Wales in Caversham shut its doors for the final time a few months back, we knew what was coming. Luckily, it wasn’t flats. It was the blue/grey walls, the vegan burgers and the £5.80 2/3 pints of mac n’ cheese-flavoured sour Minnesotan IPA. It was a modern pub springing off the subs bench, unzipping its tracksuit top and swigging from a large blue Lucozade bottle full of Sierra Nevada.
The pub chain is Dodo Pub Co., a smallish Oxford mob who have four other boozers of a similar style. Their fifth venture, the old Prince of Wales, is called – rather shamefully – ‘The Last Crumb’. Which, depending on how kind you’re feeling, either sounds like a wanky Hoxton cafe or Mary Berry’s final TV series, presented from a hospice.
Here’s what we made of it… Before we start, though – put your reading glasses on, eh? You’re squinting. You’ll get wrinkles if you carry on like that, Magoo.
Drink Selection: Think more craft beer place than regular pub. The ale selection isn’t great, but there are quite a few different lagers/pilsners (‘Dodo lager’, Staropramen) and IPAs (Neck Oil, Siren Craft Soundwave). Plus there’s a Dodo stout, a couple of ciders and few other things.
There’s a half-decent top shelf, as well as all the wines, cocktails and soft drinks you’d expect.
I had the stout and didn’t like it much. Mind you, I don’t really like stout, so WHOSE FAULT WAS THAT, EH?!
Location: In Caversham, at the top of Prospect Street. Just before the Peppard Road that takes you into Caversham Park Village, Emmer Green and Oxfordshire. It’s where The Prince of Wales used to be. We’ve been over this already. You know where it is.
Decor: Almost exactly what you’d expect. Dark grey/blue walls, shelves full of old jacketless hardback books and ‘distressed’ furniture that looks like the contents of a house clearance van that’s just left someone’s late grandparents’ bungalow. Plus loads of daft ornaments and cutesy paintings on the wall and all that lark.
In the words of Moe Szyslak from The Simpsons…
Food: I didn’t eat there because, as we all know, eating is cheating. I took a photo of the menu for you all, though. That was pretty nice of me, wasn’t it? Even though that picture is far too small for you to read. Still, you can’t have everything, can you?
The kitchen’s shut for a few hours in the afternoon, presumably because the chef is Spanish or something. Or likes to nip down the bookies. Who knows? So do check their website before heading down there for lunch. Or don’t. I’m not your mother.
If you want to read about food in Reading, you’ve come to the wrong place. You want Edible Reading for 7,000 word sagas explaining in detail why any and all places to eat in Reading that aren’t Clays Hyderabadi are staffed by incompetent idiots, something, something Brexit, overcooked lamb, Boris Johnson.
Atmosphere: You know me, I love a party with a happy atmosphere.
There wasn’t one to speak of when I went to The Last Crumb, but it was early and midweek. Apparently weekends get busy. So busy that you get the dreaded SINGLE FILE QUEUE FOR THE BAR. 😡
Beer Garden/Smoking Area: Take your bloody pick. This may be The Last Crumb’s secret weapon. In the summer, a choice of three outside areas could be a real winner. Let’s ask Mrs. B from Essex for her thoughts on it, shall we?
We agree, Mrs. B!
Toilets: I mean, fuck OFF. The absolute STATE of this ↑↑↑
Prices: Drinks don’t come in cheap, although the grub is reasonably priced enough. There’s a happy hour every weekday from 5pm to 7pm, however. Three quid pints, cocktails a fiver and £3.50 vino. Not bad.
Why is the price section all the way down here? Wouldn’t it make more sense for it to be under the bit about the drinks nearer the beginning? Probably, yeah. It’s a great point.
Service: Decent. It was quiet at the time, but everyone was helpful and knew their stuff. The fella up there in the green was especially friendly. He even held the door open for me on the way out (as a gesture of courtesy, I wasn’t being thrown out).
NB: Mrs. SaNSPiR wants me to mention that she went in on a Saturday night and there weren’t enough bar staff for the number of drink drinkers. So mixed reports. Although, my old lady might be talking rubbish. You know what women are like.
Music: We were in of a Thursday late afternoon and it was top drawer. Some nice old tunes, at a reasonable level. Pleasant background sounds unlikely to cause severe inner ear damage à la The Weather Station.
Seating: Mixed. Get a booth and you’re alright. Miss out and you could well be sat at the sort of tiny little chair that you’d find under the stage at a primary school.
Punterwatch: It’s Caversham, so y’know… *cough* WANKERS *cough*
JK, guys! It seems like the place gets a mix of folk in. When I was in there looked to be a brew of youngsters, a couple of fellas on laptops and older geezers with papers who you get the impression might still think they’re in The Prince of Wales.
I’ve heard that the yummy mummy types get in there during the day, though. So you can plan your visits accordingly (avoid the daytime if you’re a normal person/pitch up at 11am if you’re into that kind of thing, you filthy perv).
Any Other Comments? Yup – the temperature. We went in once and have had a few other reports from pals that had been in before… It is fucking FREEZING in there. At least it was just after opening in November ’19. So maybe wear a vest. And a pullover. And a fleece. And your Peppa Pig mittens.
C O N C L U S I O N
Look, The Last Crumb’s not really our sort of place, you probably know that by now. It might be yours, though. If so, this place will probably hit the mark. It does all that modern pub stuff pretty well. And we’re keen to revisit in the summer for outside booze drinking in the new garden(s).
In summary, then? One up The Crumb, no harm done.*