Fox & Hounds, 51 Gosbrook Rd, Caversham, Reading RG4 8BN.
All ‘information’ in this review is ‘accurate’ as of June 2016.
You know The Fox & Hounds in Caversham, don’t you? It’s been the Reading Pub of the Year a couple of times. It’s a popular boozer that’s known for its excellent drink selection, its sexy beer garden and for putting on the odd gig. At the time of writing, the place has just opened back up after a short spell being refurbed. So what’s it like now? Well, we’ll bloody well tell you then, shall we? And for free too. We spoil you, you know.
Location: Caversham. The opposite side of the road from The Clifton Arms. So a crawl would take you to those two and maybe The Price of Wales. Via The Baron. Then maybe onto The Griffin. And The Crown on the Bridge. It all depends how pissed you want to get, really.
Decor: So, then. The old Fox n’ Hounds you know and love has gone. It’s all very different now. And, for our money, it ain’t for the better. Why? Well, it just doesn’t look like a pub anymore. It’s kind of cold and austere. All wooden floors and wall tiles. Greys and blues. It looks more like a poncy fish and chip shop now. Or The Castle Tap. Maybe people like this new style of pub, but we bloody don’t. What was wrong with pubs looking like pubs? *crosses legs, smokes pipe wistfully*
And before any F&H regulars get on our backs – a) This is just our opinion and b) Sod off. Just sod off.
Drink Selection: Right, that’s the moaning out the way. Now onto the good stuff. The Fox & Hounds does booze. Loads of it. Lagers, ales, IPAs, craft beers, ciders, spirits, wines… Draughts and bottles. Domestic and foreign. Familiar and exotic. The range is wide and impressive.
And, because it’s now a ‘modern’ pub, there are – of course – 600 wanky gins to look at and not buy:
Food: The new-look Fox & Hounds have got a new food plan too. They’re keeping it nice and simple and just offering a pizza menu. That’s what these modern ‘beerhouses’ do, you see. They’ve teamed up with Barrel & Stone for ’em. We didn’t eat there, but they looked pretty tasty.
Price: It’s not the cheapest, but – as ever – you have to dig deep to buy these fancy beers, don’t you? But it’s always a stinger when you order a snazzy looking bottle and you’re informed you’re about to pay nearly six quid for it (that was Old Dominion GiGi’s Farmhouse Ale, by the way). That said, draughts come in at an average price.
Beer Garden/Smoking Area: Look at this. Lovely…
Toilets: Nice and new and shiny and white. Though cramped.
Sports? Aye. There’s even a TV out in the back garden, which is a nice touch. Plus two screens inside.
Pub Games: Darts and pool (they’ve a pool team and three darts teams). And – get this – there’s only a bloody billards table in there now. Which always earns a pub extra SaNSPiR points.
Seating: These weirdly-low down and not very comfortable things…
Look. The Fox & Hounds is a good pub. It always was and it still is. We just like that ‘pub’ feel to a pub. And not a ‘non-pub’ pub feel. Do you see what we’re saying? We’re talking about pubs.
Great beers, nice food, a top beer garden, pool, darts, billiards, a jukebox, a quiz night (Thursdays), live music… It’s got it all. Including a terrible new look.
Wow, the bogs! Beer tip – they’ve always got a ludicrously strong ale for under £4 a pint. That’s where the value is. Never buy a bottle in a pub! You know that.
First visit since refurbishment. Seriously not that different apart from the tiles behind bar and vastly improved bogs. Love these reviews but way off mark here.