The Clifton Arms, 12 Gosbrook Rd, Reading, RG4 8BS.
All ‘information’ in this review is ‘accurate’ as of March 2016.
Caversham’s very nice, isn’t it? We all know that. The bolt-on village that’s bang on the Thames, it’s a top little spot. Part of its charm comes from the unique feel of its pubs and restaurants and The Clifton Arms is one of those pubs. In Caversham. Jesus, this is a shitty intro.
Location: Gosbrook Road is just off Prospect Street in Caversham (see above). Equi-distant between The Baron and The Fox & Hounds, you can get a pretty decent pub crawl going on in Cav, really.
Drink Selection: All your pub usuals and for you ale types – it’s Brakspear. The Clifton’s not a favourite of Reading CAMRA, but that’s probably less a reflection on the quality of the beer and more of a reflection of the snobby bloody attitudes of that rabble of sadsack Real Ale Twats that think they’ve got some sort of authority over the concept of drinking beer. Our hatred of these people – that we know very little about – isn’t something we fully understand, by the way. So don’t bother calling us out on it. YOU HEAR?
Food: It’s no gastropub by any stretch (thank Gawd), but a limited selection of lunchtime options are available. Not that it matters – you’re there to drink, not eat. You’re not Michael bleedin’ Winner/some other food critic that isn’t dead.
Atmosphere: Pubby. Friendly enough and not unwelcoming.
Beer Garden/Smoking Area: There’s a decent sized covered area out back which is also accessible from the front for smoking cigarettes, roll-ups, cigars, cigarillos, pipes, etc.
Toilets: Down a weirdly long corridor with strange art stuff on the wall. We went towards pub close of a weekend and they didn’t stink of piss like O’Neill’s’ toilets, so what more can you ask?
PUB DOG?! Oh, yes! You don’t get many pub dogs in Reading, but here’s where The Clifton comes up trumps. They’ve got the friendliest Staffy you’ve ever seen. Cassie, her name is. And she’s great.
Price: Standard boozer prices.
Pub Games: Darts and pool are taken care of nicely, with a decent board and a table that gets its own room. The pool room’s even got a few bits of local football memorabilia up, which is a nice touch. Most pubs in town are ‘London Irish’ pubs and that’s your lot.
Punterwatch: We’ll be honest, of all the pubs in Caversham (The Fox & Hounds, Crown on the Bridge, Griffin, Baron, Prince of Wales), The Clifton probably has the more *ahem* ‘working class’ clientele. But it’s no Pheasant.
Pub Trivia: Despite local folklore, The Clifton Arms is not named after the upper limbs of popular entertainer Bernie Clifton.
Decor: Proper bloody pub. When you walk in, you could be anywhere in Britain and in any year since 1979. And that’s exactly how it should be.
Sports? Aye. A nice big screen shows Sky and BT.
If you thought the intro was shit, it’s nothing compared to this summary… The Clifton Arms. Not a bad pub. Go have a pint in there sometime. Go on! There’s a dog in there and everything.
Actually, I am a food critic. Looking forward to you reviewing a cocktail bar shortly. Not that I like cocktail bars, may I add.
I’m a real ale twat and don’t drink there cos, well, the ale is often terrible. So there.
BUT THEY HAVE A DOG.