The Turks, 31 London Rd, Reading RG1 5BJ.
It shows how old and boring you’ve become when you find out that a pub normally referred to as ‘The Turks’ is actually called ‘The Turk’s Head’. We made this discovery this past weekend and it genuinely made us go ‘Oooooh…’ Jesus.
Anyway, let’s review this bugger, shall we? Why not? We’ve got this far. A few of you have pestered us to write up The Turks, so we get the impression it’s a bit of a fan’s favourite. We’d best be nice, then… Luckily for us, though – it’s a decent boozer. With not a single Turk in sight.*
Drink Selection: Three ales and the usual other boozedrinks are catered for. You won’t find an exciting range of ‘artisanal’ and crafted world beers, but you will be able to get pissed.
Location: A bit of a walk from the town centre, it’s down the end of London Street and on the left if you’re coming from town. Or another way if you’re coming from somewhere else.
Atmosphere: It’s a big sod, so when it’s quiet, it can seem a little depressing. But squirrel yourself away in one of the little cubbyholes and you’re fine. Where The Turks comes into its own though, is when they’ve got live music on the go (which is most weekends). Local cover bands can really pack ’em in here like nowhere else in town. It’s strange – there’s actually an atmosphere. IN A READING PUB.
Beer Garden/Smoking Area: Smoke out front sat at a bench or get yourself into the smaller area out back.
Food: Every time we’ve been in, there’s been a new food set-up. Recently it seems as though food has taken a back seat. Which is good as it really doesn’t have a driver’s licence (that’s a metaphor). Only last year, The Turks had the world’s biggest pub menu, serving (pretty ropey) grub from about fifty different world cuisines. We’re not entirely sure what the craic is there now, but whatever it is – probably best you eat before you pitch up.
Toilets: Hopefully it’s not representative, but our visit saw all three urinals blocked. Which lead to the almost inevitable dropped trousers sink piss from at least one refreshed patron. It’s no O’Neill’s, but it wasn’t nice.
Decor: The faux-brick wallpaper’s a bit shit, but otherwise – no complaints. Which is pretty generous of us as you can clearly see they’ve got framed photos of Paul Weller on the wall.
Price: Pretty reasonable, actually. Not amazingly cheap, but there are deals to be had. Especially if you’re happy to buy two pint pitchers. Not that any self-respecting pub type would, but if you’re on a budget and like pouring – you’re on to a winner.
Visible Savory Snack Selection: Traditional pub snack fans will be pleased to hear that Scampi Fries are available from behind the bar.
Pub Games: Aye. A darts board and pool table. Both decent.
Seating: Plentiful of a week, limited when there’s a gig on. Comfy leather sofas near the front are what you want for a sporting event. Bag ’em early, mind.
Sports? Yip. They’ve got a good forty or so TVs in there too, so you should be fine.
Punterwatch: A mixed bag: Students, young ‘uns, drunkies, mod types, rugby fans, football people. But, again, minimal Turks*.
So, there you go. The Turks. A good pub.
Here’s a clip of a gig from local punk-y/mod types The Highwasters playing the place to end on:
*Not that that’s a good thing. We love Turks. In fact, we love everyone from all nationalities, creeds or religious backgrounds**.
**Except the Welsh, obviously.