Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pub Day

Sat 2 Feb 2008

For quite a while now I've been touting the idea of a day out in Leeds, drinking at "pubs that are good but that you might not know about". At various points in time I've got as far as putting together an interactive google map, floating dates, sending emails, and so on ... but we've never actually managed it.

On Saturday, under the guise of visiting the joint beer festival run by the Grove and the Scarbrough, we actually managed part of the original mapped route.

The day began, in the morning, at the Grove. I actually passed on this part. While the beer at the Grove tends to be in good nick (I say tends because I once had an iffy pint of Black Cat) at the moment it's one of my least favourite venues, because it is unbelievably cramped when it's busy. Of course, Saturday morning reports suggest that it was a haven of tranquility with an excellent beer selection.

My day began, in the afternoon, at Mr Foley's. While the Leeds Brewery Winter Spark was quiet lively it was a tasty, ruby red beer. Other choices were York Brewery's Guzzler, Abbeydale Moonshine and the Czech pils, Zatec.

Next stop (and in search of some food) was the Town Hall Tavern, a Timothy Taylor pub. I like this place, not only because it sells Ram Tam, but because it is such a calm and down to earth place. The beers were, unsurprisingly, excellent and our resident Timothy Taylor fan was extremely happy. Unfortunately, he was also extremely hungry - as the pub doesn't serve food on Saturdays.

By the time we left the Town Hall Tavern it was dark and thoughts of food had been temporarily banished from our thoughts as we made our way to the Victoria on Great George Street. Pints of Tetley's Cask, Acorn's Barnsley Bitter and Staropramen soon revived our interest in food and before long we were out the door.

Fortunately, the Vic is just over the road from the excellent Thai Cottage. For just £15 a head we munched our way through yet more beer, prawn crackers, a starter and a main course each. After the mind numbingly hot larp gai of my last visit, I was a little more circumspect and started with fish cakes, followed by pad kee mow (drunken noodles). Despite my noodles rating zero chillis on the menu's hotness scale, I felt that they were just as spicy as the one chilli red curry.

Fed, and hardly requiring more watering, we decided to try our original destination, the Scarbrough. But at half past 9 on a Saturday night it was far too busy. There was just time for a quick drink (mmm, Budvar dark) at Milo, before heading home.

Leeds has so many interesting places to go ... if you're stuck in a rut, try any one of these venues. I'm not suggesting that at every time of the day they're all ideal (stay well clear of Mr Foley's around 6pm on a Friday night), but they serve decent beers and all have their own quite unique feel.

1. The Grove, Back Row, Leeds, LS11 5PL, phone,0113 2439254
2. Mr Foley's, 159 The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 5RG, phone 0113 242 9674
3. The Town Hall Tavern, 17 Westgate, Leeds, LS1 2RA, phone 0113 244 0765
4. The Victoria Family and Commercial Hotel, Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3BB, phone 0113 245 1386
5. Thai Cottage, 39 Great George St, Leeds, LS1 3BB, phone 0113 245 922
6. Milo, 10-12 Call Lane, Leeds, LS1 6DN, phone 0113 245 7101
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Blogger iriash_man said...

I was recommended by quite a few colleagues where I work, so I took their advice and decided to take some members of my team,
I ordered a Chicken Burger and your infamous beer battered chips and a Tuna sandwich with a bottle of Magners and a glass of Coke, I ordered this at 13:55,
at 14:20 the Tuna sandwich arrived and at 14:25 someone asked if we ordered Chicken Skewers, I replied no, I ordered a Chicken Burger. 10 minutes later I went to the bar and asked if my Chicken burger was coming? the gentleman did initially show concern when I told him how long I was waiting for my food,
he had a discussion with the two other employees behind the bar and explained to me that he would sort this out.

I waited another 10 minutes and went to the bar at 14:35, I approached the barman that said he would sort it out, he just looked at me in confusion, (did he think I would not
ask where my food order would be?) anyway I explained that I was due back at the office and have no time to wait any longer, I honestly don't believe he was going to offer
me a refund as I just stood there until I asked for my money back, he gave me £3.75 back, I questioned this and explained that I purchased a Chicken Burger, he started to get confrontational and said I ordered Chicken Skewers, ( Not great customer service, could have at least explained himself and what happened) I replied that I had not however he was handing over the money when I commented that three orders on my table had also been incorrect, he retracted the refund and said that they are not at fault. (Sorry, but what kind of answer is that?) I did say that this was really poor service, waiting for 45mins on my lunch break and getting attitude from the bar staff is not the
kind of experience I would expect from anywhere, never mind a place that serves food and drink and one that seems to have good reviews on several leeds websites.
The conversation ended when the barman said that I know where to go in the future. (Nice!) I agreed and left with my colleagues.

I have obviously found this experience so frustrating that I am writting this review, to be treated like the way no customer should be treated, I am surprised Mr Foley's have not recieved many complaints about the attitude and lack of customer service towards the staff.

Needless to say I will post an e-mail to everyone in my company as a negaive experience in Mr Foley's, I do not mean for this to come across as a threat however
staff that get paid wages too have infuriated both my and my colleagues who intended to have a nice enjoyable lunch in you pub is not good enough.

2:17 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

Hmm, well, never having eaten at Mr Foley's I don't know if this experience is representative or not. Has anyone else eaten there?

Since you obviously feel quite strongly about your experience (and, it sounds, quite rightly) I wonder if you have written to either the pub or the York Brewery, which owns it? I daresay someone in management would be interested to hear about your experience!

8:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there. I am the manager at mr foley's, and as Alex suggested I am interested to find out more on what happened here and I would also like to find out the staff members involved. Iriash man, I would appriciate it if you could contact me to disscuss the matter further, and there would be a complimentary meal for yourself and a colleague as a thank you for you help. Best regards, Dean Pugh. 0113 2429674

9:03 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

Hi Dean

Thanks for responding to this comment. I hope the original poster gets in contact with you.

I should also say that I've noticed an identical comment on another site ...

11:32 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have since discussed the matter with Dean Pugh the owner & manager of Mr Foley's, he apologised for the experience and offered a complimentary meal. Dean did ask about the staff that gave me such such poor customer service, I do hope that Dean has a stern word and more importantly they learn that when customers are unhappy they will not just sit back and take it. Afterall its not their pocket that suffers.

Thanks Dean for letting me discuss this with you.

12:45 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

I'm really glad that you got the chance to talk through this with Dean!

11:52 am  

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