The Horn, 2 Castle St, Reading RG1 2LS.
A lot of people have asked us why we’ve never given them The Horn before. Our answer? Well, it’s taken us a good four months or so of reviewing pubs to come up with a really strong opening for a write-up of the place. But now we’ve clearly got one? With a particularly excellent joke in the first sentence – we’re good to go…
Location: Opposite St. Mary’s Butts churchyard and round the back of the Broad Street Mall, you’re slap bang in town. Nearest other boozers for a crawl are The Sun down Castle Street and The Allied Arms opposite. Or, if you like dreadful cocktails in soulless bars full of mindless cretins, staffed by dreary automatons, Be At One‘s across the road.
Drink Selection: The basics are covered. As is the tart fuel shooter end of the market. 3 Corky’s for a fiver. Wallop!
Food: Never known as a food pub, The Horn has taken the unusual step to get Edible Reading favorite I Love Paella in to take up residency in their kitchen. It’s a bold move, but a welcome one. Especially if You Love Paella.
Punterwatch: Weekends get the usual dose of pub normals, but during the week there is a slightly higher than average proportion of professional freelance drinkers. Like The Gateway and The Butler and fifty-odd other RG1 pubs, The Horn calls itself a London Irish pub. So expect rugger types (the watching rugby types more than the drinking each other’s piss types).
Beer Garden/Smoking Area: A little enclosed area out back with decking, seating and heaters makes for a comfortable enough fag break and trumps a fair few other town centre smoking areas. The painted-on beam effect to the brickwork means you can squint at the walls and imagine you’re off of Tudor times or something. Which is a plus, obviously.
Toilets: Basic. Minor annoyance – the toilet seat in the sole cubicle in the gents doesn’t stay up. Fine for number twos, but anyone who suffers from urinal stage fright is forced to widdle all over the seat and bring great shame upon themselves and their family.
Sports? Aye. A few screens dotted about will show both Sky and BT. All rugby and football gets an airing, as well as Sky Sports News throughout the day. Ordinarily, we’re against muted TVs spewing out recycled news coverage, but we don’t mind SSN. Because we’re bloody blokes.
Price: No problem. Two pints squeezes in at a shade under eight quid.
Decor: Quite recently spruced up, the place looks alright.
Events: As well as regular quiz nights (Wednesdays) and Karaoke evenings (Thursdays), the Horn also puts on the odd [COPIES & PASTES FROM WEBSITE] race night, charity event, open mic night, ‘Bohemian music event’, reggae night, seasonal party and BBQ day.
Pub Games: Nada. The old dartboard’s disappeared too. (UPDATE: There is a board in there, by all accounts – we just missed it…)
Seating: Comfortable. Even outside. Head to far end of the left bar for optimal leather sofa-based seating enjoyment. Comfort levels can be affected by your willingness to reflect on the gruesome death that happened in one of the flats above the pub last year.
Not a bad pub, all in all. But not amazing. A bit like this review. Sure, there’s not much all that wrong with it, but it’s just not the best one of these you’ve read, is it? Even with that truly outstanding opening gag. It seems like a long time ago since you read that now, eh?