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Merchant's Place, RG1 1DT
Reviewed On: 18 May 2007
Public Houses in Reading
Previous Names / Status:
Blagrave Street, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 1PW
0.16 miles from Reading station
|Steve's Score:||4 (Out of 5)|
|Gray's Grade:||3 (Out of 5)|
|Steve Supped:||Bateman's Portugoal - tasty!|
|Gray Gulped:||Bateman's Portugoal|
|Garden / Facilities:||No special facilities!|
It's changed hands again since the last review but we've not been back yet.
6 June 2007
Still a good "proper" pub in the centre of Reading but not as good as it once was. We've been back here plenty of times since the first review despite not adding more comments. On this visit we were in here before the England game but there were no signs of them putting it on the TV (not that we asked before we left for the next pub) and it was a quiet atmosphere with a scattering of a few after-work types. The pool table was broken (but no problems as you could pay at the bar). There's a TV missing leaving just one. They could probably do with a few more chairs in here too as it has a feeling of being wide open. The biggest disappointment for me is the reduction in beer - both quantity and quality. There's often just one or two cask beers available and the guest ale seems to be a thing of the past. I still like this place but they could do with paying more attention to the beer and pub as a whole. G.|
6 July 2004
Good pub with a good pub atmosphere. I thought it was strangely relaxing and it was good to go into a traditional-style non-chain town pub where they actually look after it. I'd never been here before and wasn't expecting much from the outside (check out the boarded up window). A pleasant suprise then inside - bright and breezy, a good mix of people, and a decent place for a proper pint. Couldn't decide on a 3.5 or a 4 for the score. Opted for the 4 since there wasn't really much actually wrong with the place to take it down, and I'd definately come back here - especially if it's Steve's round. G.|
I guess it would be as well considering you bought me that one. Nice review Gray, it was a nice 'pub' in the actual sense of the word and it seemed to do it all very well so I agree that you would find it difficult to score it less than 4. I've already said the beer would bring me back and the pub itself would as well. Very nice indeed and so far my top choice of the actual pubs in the town centre that we have been to. Good work Blagrave, keep it up. Oh yeah, nice mirror too! S.
Were you catching my reflection? G.
The Bateman's Portugoal was a very tasty pint, and looking around the place it looked as though they had a good range of beers. A couple of Courage ones - Directors and Best Bitter, and Bombardier for good measure. Portugoal is obviously the Euro 2004 special, so I guess it was their current guest beer at £2.50 a pint. Not bad at all. G.|
Can't disagree with the man there. Very nice pint and the hope of a tasty guest beer in the future might bring me back to this establishment. S.
I've been back a couple of times to this pub since the initial review and have always encountered a different guest ale. It's always been reasonably priced and an excellent pint, confirming the landlords comments in the visitors section below! G.
Where's the guest ale gone? G.
(Rated 9 out of 10)
visited in May 2007
"I was taken aback by the comment made by Daz. We have taken a great deal of time & invested muhc of our energies in this pub (since Oct 2000). We are tenants of another traditional style pub on the next street (in the town centre)but find it impossible to run two pubs as well as we had initially envisaged. We are leaving the Blagrave to concentrate on the other pub. We have assigned the Blagrave Arms to another couple & they are taking over the Blagrave Arms end of May 2007. You will see a dramatic change of this pub this summer, they are planning a refurbishment that will knock the socks off some of these branded bars. Watch this space! In the meantime, back to Daz & his comments plus the three-star out of ten-stars rating he has given us. I would like to put the balance back where it ought to be and have voted it a NINE, not because I think we are up there with the Gods, but to redress the balance, because THREE is way off mark, and Daz knows this. And by the way, one of our staff tells me Daz has been banned from our other pub & if seen in the Blagrave while we are tenants of it, to keep a close eye on him. Not sure what that means or the reason "Daz" isnt washing as white as he appears on this page, but maybe "Daz" would like to comment on this & explain himself better. Good luck to you Blagrave, may you get back up to the 8 out of 10 and after this summer refurbishment be there with the Gods, 10 out of 10. As I said before, WATCH THIS SPACE & the revisits in the future will back up what I have said."
(Rated 8 out of 10)
visited in May 2007
"Sorry to hear your experience was not as good as previoulsy Daz, we have several different nationalities working for us, we have three people from Reading, one from Wales & one from Slovenia. We have had Malaysian, Australian, New Zealanders, Indian, South African, Latvian, Czech Republic, German amongst others.
Whatever reason for your feel for your return visit, we are sorry if we did not meet your expectations.
There has been no takeover as yet, the new owners are taking over, from Monday 14th May & they have some great plans for the Blagrave Arms, please dont let your revisit spoil your future visits here.
We took over a pub that was about to disappear under a mountain of pigeon droppings, floods & cold, not to mention not conforming to EHO standards, that was back in Oct 2000.
Six & half years later, the pub is packed out on Friday nights & is busy at other times. We have assigned the pub in its present condition to new owners who have a great vision & will be refurbishing it around mid-summer this year (2007).
As for the "Eastern European" comment, this ought not to affect the service you receive, its possible that like any Aussie or other, it may be that someone had an "off day" or there were issues with other customers prior to you coming in, which have reflected badly on the bar server at the time.
I can tell you that all our bar servers are enthusiastic & helpful and chatty, if you will allow them they will talk the hind legs off several donkeys, given the chance.
We run two town centre pubs so we are not leaving the trade, the Blagrave Arms is need of a lot of TLC & the new owners have a great vision which you will come back again & again for. So cheer up a bit & revisit soon. As I write we have Louise, our Welsh bar server on duty this evening, fantastic lady who will liven up any Aussie barbie & would certainly not say no to a tipple if you are a good-humoured chap who offers her a drink, she is permitted, as are all our staff, to drink whilst on duty (not get drunk!), also we always encourage all our staff to chat to customers, new & regulars.
I will repeat the score on this pub, biased as I am, the same as this websites visitors, and eight out of ten for content, stock, friendliness and generally relaxed. Though on Fridays and Saturdays it is rammed on most week-ends. We are currently closed on Sundays & between 2.30pm & 4.30pm. We open at 6pm on Saturdays.
John & Pamela Monteiro
(Rated 4 out of 10)
visited in March 2007
"Visited this pub whilst in Reading and it just never had the same feel about it, gone are the friendly aussie staff and now the eastern european, the atmosphere was just not the same, is it under new ownership?"
Daz visited in June 2005
"Great wee pub, i used this pub for around 3 years and i miss it now I have moved back to Glasgow. Not many "proper" pubs in Reading town centre and this is the best of them!"
John Monteiro (the landlord) visited in December 2004
"Thanks guys for the review. Pleased to know that our work is appreciated here at The Blagrave Arms! Our apologies to you (and our regulars) for the boarded-up window but a passer-by decided to head-butt it on the way to the station. Lucky not to be decapitated since the weight of the glass alone would have chopped off his head or sliced him half had he used any more force than that applied. We had it boarded up immediately for safety reasons but by the time our insurance people and the glaziers got their act together, two months had passed before we had both sides replaced. Total cost for this idiotic act? £750 (we had to pay the excess of £250) plus all the VAT......... Very irritating indeed.
As you already know our Real Ale is popular, we have at least 3 on the go at any one time (but most of the time we offer four ales), the Guest Ale is changed every 3 to 5 days, depending on consumption and/or cleaning cycle of our beerlines (we are very fussy and clean on each change over or at least once per week).
We came to The Blagrave in October 2000 and the turnover of Real Ales has improved tenfold with the Lagers, Guinness & Ciders improved four-fold! But that may have something to do with the fact that we are a very relaxed pub, with no door-staff & non-threatening atmosphere.
We are at the end of our cyclical (for decoration) period and will be doing up the pub (keeping it traditional), in the Spring of 2005.
We open from 12-11 Mon to Sat and 12-10.30 on Sun. Food is available at lunch time 12.30 to 2pm and from 5.30-7pm. Cheers folks!"
Average Visitor Score: 7.00 out of 10
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- Chronicles Cellar Bar Valpy Street, RG1 1AR
- Coopers Arms Market Place, RG1 2DE
- Corn Stores Forbury Road, RG1 1SB
- Elements Novatel Hotel, Friar Street, RG1 1DP
- Malmaison Station Road, RG1 1JX
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- Oakford Social Club Blagrave Street, RG1 1PZ
- O'Neills Friar Street / Blagrave St, RG1 1QB
- Pitcher and Piano Friar Street, RG1 1DB
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- Yates's Wine Lodge Friar Street, RG1 1DB
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