Yates. The Former Post Office, Friar St, Reading, RG1 1DB.
Yates Wine Lodge. Yates. Yates’. Yates’s’s. Whatever you call it, it’s been a chain Reading staple for some time now. It even brought us a little fame when it was featured on BBC One’s Rogue Restaurants a few years ago for being all illegal and that. It’s just had another refurb, so we went along to check it out. Check out what we checked out right here. Check it out:
Location: On Friar Street, next to the WalkAbout. Opposite that bloody great big Haslam’s that looks like a wanky London bar. Come on, don’t pretend like you don’t know where bloody Yates is.
Food: They’re a little less rogue now, what with millions of people having been a little bit sick in their mouths watching Matt Allwright telling everyone how unhygienic the old kitchen was. Now, the grub’s actually pretty good. It’s no romantic meal for two or special occasion place, but if you’re in there and you’re hungry – it’s hot, tasty and bloody cheap (and probably not contravening multiple Health & Safety laws).
Drink Selection: The renovation’s nudged the budget booze chain predictably towards that ‘new’ – yet already tired – hipster bar thing. So new craft beers are now available. BrewDog and London Lager and the like are on draught, with Goose Island and Sierra Nevada, et al, by the bottle. All the old favourites are still on offer. Here’s the latest bottle selection:
Atmosphere: Look, it’s a Yates. You know what you’re going to get. When there are sub-£2.50 pints on sale in a town centre bar, Saturday nights are hardly going to be high tea at The Ritz. That said, we’ve never actually had high tea at The Ritz. Maybe it’s full of blokes from Tilehurst getting tanked up on Becks Vier and grinding tarts.
Beer Garden/Smoking Area: The biggest beneficiary of the new re-jig, the garden actually looks alright now. See?
Sports? Aye. It’s all been shunted upstairs now into what they’re calling ‘The Loft’. So don’t be alarmed if you wander in on a Sunday afternoon to be greeted with the site of a TV-less bar. Head upstairs for half a dozen excellent, brand new, massive HD screens.
Price: There’s the biggest price differential in beers you’ll ever see in town. But it’s no bad thing. On a budget? Strongbow’s £2.45 or something. Feeling flush? The crafty buggers come in at £4.60.
Toilets: Now, toilets are notoriously expensive to do up in pubs, bars and nightclubs, which is why a lot of renovations leave them to carry on being the piss-stinking shitholes they always were. So we’re always thankful when the owners’ hands go into their pockets, they pull out their moneywangs and pump cash all over them. What we’re saying is they’ve done up the bogs.
Pub Games: None. Unless you count fruit machines. Which you shouldn’t. You can always tell what demographic a place is going for by their attitude to fruit machine distribution. Yates are clearly trying to attract a clientele of exclusively tracksuitted degenerate gamblers.
Decor: Have you seen the new Pavlov’s Dog? That half-arsed hipster showing that’s as increasingly prevalent as it is totally fucking bollocks. This isn’t Dalston in 2009, chaps. Come on. Look at this wall toot, for instance:
Seating: Chairs, stools, booths. Comfortable and plenty.
Punterwatch: How can we put this politely? Have you ever been to Whitley…?
Any Other Comments: Fellas – remember that omnipuddle by the lavs? IT’S GONE.
Yate’s’s’ Wine Lodge. Don’t head here for a night out, or an ale tasting session or a sit down dinner for two. But don’t write it off as a boozer entirely. An improved drinks selection, decent bar food and the best screens in town make it perfectly suitable for a quick pint, bite or footy match (we say ‘footy’ because we’re bloody blokes).