Your (Almost) Comprehensive Guide to Reading’s Great Post-Lockdown Pub Reopening

What a snappy title, eh?

Now, unless you’re a landlord/lady, were clued up about secret lockdown lock-ins or are some sort of alcoholic squatter type, chances are you won’t have stepped foot inside a pub in at least three months.

THREE MONTHS.

Bloody mad, innit?

As of Saturday July 4th though, UK Big Minister Bozza Jozza is generously allowing public houses to reopen their doors to us drinkthirsty lot in England. But with relatively little notice given to the industry, a fair amount of boozers won’t have quite had the time to sort themselves out ready for the 4th.

If you’re planning a session in these first few weeks of deprohibition, you’ll need to know where’s open in Reading and where’s not. Also useful to have stored up in your brainboxes is what you can expect rules-wise from reopening pubs and what they might expect from you in return. We’re talking revised hours, decreased capacity, if you need to book, changes to seating, how to order, toilet business, altered dogs/kids rules, all that cobblers.

Luckily, boozy Uncle STiR’s got your back. Just like he always has.

Here follows a fuck-off list of what we know so far about (most) Reading pubs’ and bars’ reopenings and that, in no particular order…

… BTW I’ve linked the names of the place so you can see the latest on their site/social media channels. Hey, I told you this was (almost) comprehensive.

Buckle up, yo. It’s a big ‘un.

COVID secure Pubs in Reading
Graphic design par excellence.

PUBS

The Weather Station

The crafty folk behind Wild Weather Ales showroom and former Eldon Arms ‘Village’ pub The Weather Station are taking things slow. They’re opening from Thursday 2nd July (Thursday + Fridays 4pm – 9pm, Saturdays 12pm – 9pm), but only for takeaway beers. It’s one person in there at a time.

They’ll announce plans for full reopening at a later date.

The Fox and Hounds Beer House

Keen Caversham drinkers will no doubt have seen that Kevin at The F&H has been doing takeaway beers the past few weeks and snazzing up the pub’s already pretty bloody good beer garden. All while dealing with a few well-publicised issues around their landlords.

They’ll be opening their doors properly from the 4th. A full list of their measures can be found here.

The Castle Tap

Castle Street’s unfairly maligned (by me) boozer The Castle Tap is taking their reopening seriously. They’ve got plenty set up and a fair few rules, all of which are fair enough. The headlines are that they’ll be opening on July 4th, shut Mondays and Tuesdays, operating shorter hours and asking people to book.

Assistant manager Phil got in touch, which was nice of him. He said this: “We’re aiming for a full bottle selection as normal. Normal keg selection for craft, lager, cider. 3 cask probably. We’re gonna continue our click and collect service for the foreseeable future.”

“The garden has had a well-needed makeover too and should have new covered seating by the reopening.”

For a full list of restrictions and rules (it’s not as Naziesque as that sounds, they’re just being very open about it all), check out this info from The Castle Tap Facebook page.

The Nag’s Head

The Nag’s been replacing their cellar floor recently so there’s a delay in opening. They’ve not name a date yet, but it won’t be long. They’ll no doubt announce a date on social media when they come up with one. So just be bloody patient, eh? JESUS.

The Water Tower

Emma, the very lovely landlady at Tilehurst’s vastly improved Water Tower Greene King says this about her place: “We’re open from 12pm on Monday 6th July. Booking is preferred, as you may not be able to get a table. You will be asked to stay seated, and keep your little ones seated too, unless you are going to the toilet/bar/out for a cigarette. There’s a one way system around the pub and we encourage you to use our pay and order app to support social distancing. We’re booking up fast already!”

The Roebuck

The Buck’s (no idea if people call it that, I hope not) opening on the 4th, despite recent silliness around some local flytipping nearly putting the kibosh on things. Bookings only. Full list of rules and that here.

The Fisherman’s Cottage

Unfortunately we will not be reopening on the 4th of July. This is a situation we will be monitoring and we will keep you all updated on our social media channels.

The Greyfriar

Smaller pubs with small or no outside space like the excellent Greyfriar by the station are a bit shafted, really.

They’ve said: “Due to our small size and lack of reasonable outdoor space we have made the difficult decision to remain closed on the 4th of July. We will be readdressing this over the coming weeks and will post updates on our social media.”

Shame. Hopefully they work something out soon.

BrewDog

Scotch hipster types BrewDog are opening from Saturday the 4th and say this: We’ve kitted out our bars with new social distancing signage, hand sanitiser stations, contactless payments and more!”

The Last Crumb

Their social media channels have pictures and – no doubt – more info to come.

The ex-Prince of Wales Dodo Pubs Co. boozer and burger place reopens on Saturday the 4th as well. They’ve put all their plans and new rules into this handy little video…

The Seven Red Roses

If you’re unlucky enough to live in (Lower) Earley, you’ll no doubt be eyeing up the return of The Roses.

They’re opening on Saturday 4th of July and asking punters to download the My Pub app (Android link + Apple link) to order drinks. It’ll work across all Stonegate pubs and bars, so could be quite a useful for the town centre drinking (Yates, Monks, etc.)

The Moderation

The Mod are saying this over on their Facebook page: “We’re really excited to re-open on Saturday 4th July. We will be open from 12 noon, by reservation only. Give us a call to reserve your spot, we will be doing table service only and concentrating on keeping our guests and staff safe, whilst providing an enjoyable environment for everybody.”

Hope & Bear

East Reading’s former pub of a thousand names is back from 12pm on the 4th. Info is minimal at the moment, but it’s a big boozer and has plenty of decent outside space. No idea if it’s mandatory, but they’ve mentioned booking on Facebook recently, so you may want to think about that – especially if you’re planning on eating. You can book here.

The Butler

They’ve spent lockdown doing the place up. No word as yet on a reopening date or anything.

The Retreat

Small independents like The Retreat have a tricky task safely and fully reopening in the small window of warning they’ve been given. They won’t be able to open immediately, but their loyal locals shouldn’t have to wait long.

“At The Retreat, we will not be in a position to open on 4 July as we need to make arrangements to ensure we can operate safely and look after you, our customers, in line with all the rules and guidelines. Additionally, we need to get beer back in the cellar and prepared for sale.”

Keep an eye on their social for updates, they’re pretty active on both Facebook and Twitter.

The Allied Arms

Info is vague so far, but they’ll be open from the 4th. You’d have to imagine it’ll be busy, though. So if you’ve got your heart set on a bench out back for your first pub session since Gawd knows when, you might want to get in there early.

The Forester’s Arms

The newly renovated (it’s very nice) Forester’s is good to go from the 4th. Friendly landlady Maria says this: “We will be booking tables and keeping to social distancing. You can have your table for as long as you wish. There will be antibacterial stations and regular cleaning, with contactless payments providing a sensible social environment.’

‘It will be limited hours, 12pm-7.30pm closed by 8pm to ease ourselves and our lovely community customers into our new seating system. Bookings only for Saturday/Sunday this week (4th/5th July) so everyone can adjust. 👍😊 We’re looking forward to seeing you all! 🍷😘

The Alehouse

They’ve not said anything yet. Given its size and popularity with passing bored men out shopping with their wives, it might be tricky to get too many of you in there.

We’ve heard word that the landlord doesn’t plan on opening at all until all social distancing measures are scrapped.

No photo description available.
This picture is here to break up all the text. It’s a good idea, isn’t it?

The Sun Inn 

Tim and Gill at The Sun are opening up from Midday on the 4th. The rules are:

– There will be no standing to drink
– No children in the bar
– If there are no seats you will have to wait outside
– Do not move tables/benches
– Please fill in track and trace visitors book
–  Only one person from table to collect drinks from bar
– If possible return your glasses to bar
– Card payment where possible

The Horn

Early revellers/piss artists take note – The Horn in town opens from 11am on Saturday the 4th. They’ve got a pretty comprehensive set of rules and notices about what they’re up to (see ’em here). Including having your bloody temperature checked as you go in…

Looks like The Horn is the pub for anyone that’s a little bit ‘wary’ of the virus still, shall we say. Each to their own and that.

The Queen’s Head

They’re open from the 4th. Full list of what they’re saying can be found here. They’re talking about temperature checks too…

The Jolly Anglers

Old school Kennetside boozer The Jolly Anglers is opening from Midday on the 4th. With a bang too. Well, a party. Book a spot with Jamal and Valentina here. It’s only diddy in there, so places’ll be limited, you’d think.

The Blagrave Arms

No word as yet, maybe they’ll announce something on their popular and generally pretty active FB page soon.

The Pond House

‘Can’t wait to welcome you all back on July 4th. We have screens at the bar for everyone’s protection and all the the other safety measures. We have redecorated the pub and built a beer garden. Looking forward to seeing you all very soon.’

The Monk’s Retreat

Town’s ex-spoons reopens on the 4th. Their rules and stuff are in this dreadful corporate video.

The Victoria Cross

The former Pooper Trotts is opening its doors from Monday 6th. It’s much better than its predecessor (you know that from The Vicky C review you’ve already read of ours) and there’s plenty of room in there, it’s a behemoth.

The Griffin

Caversham’s cosy Griffin reopens on Monday the 6th. Which is good news for the locals, including notorious trouble-making Griffin barfly Stewart Harding.

Bookings advised. You can book on their site here.

The Wishing Well

It’s a weird place to choose for the grand boozer reopening, but horses/courses. The Craft Union Bar Company that own the place have put together this fucking horrible video if you want to find out what’s going on.

The White Eagle

Most of us will have only sampled the Occy Road’s lively Polish pub late at night. They’re open from 11am on Saturday the 4th, though. They say this about what to expect:

• Customers will not be able to congregate at the bar
• Hand sanitisers will be available around the pub
• There will be no live entertainment until further notice
• Customers will not be able to move tables
• Kids corner will be unavailable
• Parents will be responsible for their kids to comply with social distancing
• We will be limited to table service only
• Toilet is “one in one out”

In case you missed it, that last bullet point is funny.

The Turks

The Turks’ll be open from 11am on the 4th. They’re taking things pretty seriously with reduced capacity, bookings advised, sneeze guards, one way systems on the go and none of their usually decent live music. More info here.

Great Expectations

“Due to several factors we have chosen not to re-open from the 4th. We will keep our costumers informed when we have an opening date.”

The Spread Eagle

This West Reading boozery is opening from the 4th and suggests you book. Looks like a maximum of two hour slots. They specialise in Indian food with ‘Banarasi’s Kitchen’ working out of ’em now.

The Hop Leaf

Word is this charming little Hop Back Brew pub might not reopen at all, which would be a shame. Looks like there’s a group on Facebook trying to save it as an Asset of Community Value.

WEATHERSPOONS

Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin slams 'elite Remainers' as profit ...

The Hope Tap

All Wetherspoons in England will be opening on the 4th and implementing the same sort of measures, the extent of the changes tying up with what the place is like (size, access, etc.). Here are their basic guidelines:

The Back of Beyond

BoB’s manager dropped us a line to say that they’ll be shut until the 25th because of some ongoing electric works. But once they’re open, expect the same rules as all the other ‘spoons.

BARS

Opening of new bar and community space MNKY Lounge halted by ...

MNKY Lounge

These poor sods would’ve opened their Fruit Bat replacement a few months back, so they’ll be keen. And they are – they’re opening at 11am on the 4th. Look, they’ve got a promotional video for their opening event and everything.

Caffeine & Cocktails

They were delivering cocktails throughout lockdown, which was weird. Anyway, they’re open from the 4th. Here’s what they say:

‘Maximum group sizes will be 6 people and we will need to take everyone’s details on arrival in accordance with the government guidance. If you do not give your details you will not be allowed to enter the venue. Hand sanitising stations will be installed throughout the venue and on entrance – please use them!’

‘We will have a one way system for entering and leaving the venue please use it! We will have a designated area for smoking and a limited amount of people will be able to use it at one time. There will be no service at the bar, you will have a designated server. We will not be accepting any cash, but we are aiming to have an app in place to make ordering easier.’

Milk

Rum ‘uns Milk are open from Monday the 6th. New hours are 5pm to midnight. Walk-ins are fine apparently, but you can still book here if you like.

Oakford Social Club

‘We are behind the scenes getting ready to welcome you back on Saturday We are still sifting through an extraordinary amount of bookings so if you haven’t heard back yet, you will. There’s some small changes in the interest of safety and we hope you’ll understand and be patient while we settle in to the new ways.’

‘We will be seated only for both drinks and food, and we are only accepting card payments. There’s plenty of sanitiser to keep your mitts germ free as well.’

Up the Junction

Tony, one of Reading’s favourite nocturnal faces, says he’ll not be opening in the very near future, but we won’t have to wait long. He’s giving the place a lick of paint too.

The Boundary

The old Pav’s is open from the 4th. Their spiel goes like this: ‘We will be observing minimum 1m distancing, will have hand sanitising stations across the pub and our pub will be table seating only. We will have a dedicated PPE professional sanitising and keeping all areas clean. We are also introducing an app at which you can order from the comfort and safety of your table.’

That app is that My Pub app, btw.

The Thirsty Bear

Perhaps the best pizzas in town (certainly the biggest) come from this place which isn’t a bad spot to just have a drink, especially if you’re watching football. They’ve been open for deliveries throughout the lockdown, so they’re geared up for a Saturday 4th reopening. Bookings are advised.

The Tipsy Bean

This little Caversham wine bar effort isn’t opening in the very near future, as they say they ‘need a little bit more time with suppliers to get going’, but plan to open soon. They’re planning to operate at 60% capacity and won’t take cash. It’ll be table service as usual and they’ve even done the place up during lockdown. Follow them on FB here for updates.

Purple Turtle

Town’s premier late night spot is taking it steady and seeing how things go before opening.

‘We have decided not to re-open this coming weekend 4th July. The media attention on the bar world is going to be intense, and for the safety of our customers and staff, we feel there could maybe too many people trying to get into Reading’s venues who have all had their capacity greatly reduced for social distancing reasons. Stay safe everyone, see you soon.’

WEIRD CLUB THINGS

Image may contain: people sitting and indoor

Reading Railway Club

We’re yet to hear any real specifics but this members club where you don’t need to be a member to get in looks to be making concessions to social distancing and all that lark judging by the picture above. Hopefully more info about opening hours and days and all that will be announced soon.

Black Diamond Gentleman’s Club

Even the booby bars are reopening! Which is great news for anyone who’s missed shelling out £30 to barely make out the augmented breasts of a Lithuanian woman in a dark room at one in the morning.

‘Tables are extremely limited due to capacity reduction. We encourage you to book in advance to avoid disappointment. 1 metre distance will be in place between yourselves, the entertainers and other groups of people. Strictly table service only! No service at the bar. You will be asked to sanitize your hands upon arrival.’

‘Your temperature will be taken on arrival. Temperatures above 38 degrees celsius, you will be turned away. Door Entrance is £10. Contactless and card payments are preferred methods of payment.’

TAPROOMS

Siren Craft Brew Tap Yard

Successful local craft types Siren aren’t opening their Finchampstead taproom for boozing any time soon, but they’ve been open a while for collection and ‘growler refills’. You can find out more in this comprehensive blog on their phased reopening.

Loddon Brewery Taproom

Loddon’s Dunsden taproom re-opens Saturday July 4th. Punters will have to make do with outdoor drinking only for the foreseeable future, mind. It’s all decked out there, so as long as the weather holds, you’re fine.

Their Bottle Store thing opens again on Friday July 3rd with loads of new lines of stock too, apparently.

The Haunt – The Phantom Brewing Co. Taproom

Phantom won’t be open their Meadow Road taproom on the weekend of the 4th, but they’re not ghosting us. They plan on opening their doors to paying punters the weekend after. So ex-spectre to be able to visit from the 10th or 11th.

There’s also an even shitter joke to be made about them serving spirits, but I can’t be buggered to make it, I’m nearly at 3,000 words FFS.

Double-Barrelled Brewery Taproom

The DB lot say they’ve no plans to change from their current in ‘n’ out growler fill-ups set-up for the foreseeable, so fans of the brewery will have to wait a while before they can sit in the taproom again. They are opening up from 2pm on Saturday (’til 5pm) for takeaway pints and click and collect items, though.


That’s as much as I know/have been told/could be arsed to find out at this point. I might update this list as and when I find out more (I probably won’t) until it doesn’t really matter anymore and we’re all either used to the new stuff, the government decides the virus has fucked off, we’ve all given up on the idea of going down the pub completely or the world ends.

If you run or work in a boozehouse – or you’re just a barfly busybody – and you want the details of your place on this list for pissed-up Reading people to see (or you want what I’ve written updated or edited), get in touch. You can leave a comment below or message me on social media: Facebook, Twitteror Instagram.

One quick last thing – not to lecture you or whatever… but be sensible, eh? Whatever your views on what’s happened, happening and going to happen – have a think before you gob off too much (says me). Especially to those working in and running the pubs. They’ve had enough on their beermats since March, don’t make it any worse for them by getting lairy, kicking off and being a bloody nuisance. Even if a lot of these new measures are a bit bloody daft. If you don’t like what a pub’s doing, try somewhere else or stay home.

As my old Nan always says, ‘you can be a bit of a cunt, but don’t be a total cunt.’

Ta-ta for now. Oh, and here’s to the return of pubs. Even if they’re probably going to be a bit shit for a while… CHEERS! 🍻

COVID secure Pubs in Reading
An image so clear, captivating and well designed it features twice.

5 thoughts on “Your (Almost) Comprehensive Guide to Reading’s Great Post-Lockdown Pub Reopening

  1. Ed July 1, 2020 / 4:49 pm

    Absolutely bloody brilliant. Nice one SaNSPiR this is so useful

    Like

    • Shit Things July 1, 2020 / 4:56 pm

      Ta, ducky.

      Like

  2. father_jack July 2, 2020 / 4:41 pm

    Not my part of the world but a fiend is quoted as saying the Butler has been taken over by a local brewery and will open on the 4th. The previous management was due to move on before this STD came along.

    Like

    • Shit Things July 3, 2020 / 3:04 pm

      Interesting.

      Like

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