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Kings Road, RG1 3AR
Reviewed On: 25 Sep 2004
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Public Houses in Reading
Berkshire, England.
Previous Names: -
Station Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 1JX
0.13 miles from Reading station [Map]
Final Score: 7.0 out of 10
Steve's Score:3.5 (Out of 5)
Gray's Grade:3.5 (Out of 5)
Steve Supped:Old Speckled Hen
Gray Gulped:Old Speckled Hen
Garden / Facilities:Lots of hotel rooms and a restaurant next door.

21 August 2007

Malmaison is another brand spanking new bar fitting firmly into the top tier of swanky Reading drinking establishments. This place has a very similar feel and set-up to Cerise - a posh bar attached to a fine eating venue. Expect to pay a bit more than usual pub prices - but actually this wasn't too extortionate considering the table service. We only ordered a couple of beers, but the supply of olives and nuts to nibble on made it feel good value. It felt different to Cerise perhaps even edging towards seedy (but not in a bad way). We were in here straight after work, but FTV (fashion TV apparantly) on the plasma screen by the bar was showing a stream of topless women that made it very difficult to concentrate on my reviewing duties. This is very much the place to bring a lady with some interesting "couples" seats where you can get intimate with a Champagne holder between you. The place is done up in extravagent purples and fine paintings and photography, add to that the subtle lighting and it generates quite an atmosphere. Not the place for a group of blokes, and especially not two blokes! But the place to bring your (or someone elses) lady, and I imagine a group of girls would love it hear if they can afford the cocktails. G.
Hey I imagine 'two blokes' could quite love it here to - if you know what I mean! This place is a little OTT even for the kind of atmosphere it's going for. The deep purple satin chairs, chaise longue and footstools are a little boudoiresque for most peoples taste, though it did make a ‘hit in the face with a big wet fish’ kind of statement. The complimentary olives and nuts were top notch though - not the bombay mix level of free snacks we were offered later on in another bar, and as G-man said, this made up for the slightly overpriced beer (though let's face, everywhere in town is overpriced these days). Bikini clad (not that clad actually, about half clad if truth be told) models on a yacht in the south of France were a bonus but it did add to the slightly un-nerving feeling that this place is a little seedy really, just dressed in it's bourgeoisie finery rather than the traditional dirty old mans mack. Let's face it, the lighting in here isn't atmospheric, it's just off! Big black blinds obscure any day light that might be outside and it takes a good 5 minutes for your eyes to adjust after coming in. A bit over the top really. Better trendy overpriced venues can be found at the aforementioned Cerise or Mix bar for me. S.


We're talking swanky here. Beer drinking is probably frowned upon, and I can only imagine the huge takings for Champagne orders. Cocktail menus are scattered around to encourage orders for those too. Beer and lager was restricted to a selection of 330ml bottles behind the bar. The Old Speckled Hen was served nice and cold though, which somehow seemed to work given the swank-factor. G.
The OHS was freezing, but yes it worked. There were plenty of cocktails for the ladies to choose from and there was a slot in the fridge for a selection of the usual upmarket lagers you would expect to find. There were probably some excellent wines as well but I can't really comment on that. There is something for everyone, but it suits the ladies and posh city types best. S.

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