Of the last five pubs to have been in every Good Beer Guide, Dorset’s Square and Compass was the one I was most looking forward to revisiting, as much for the glorious coastal views from the garden as the pub itself.
So far London’s Star and Buckingham Arms have been better than I remembered, while Newton’s Queen Head (in my county) is as good as ever.
The views over the famous fields were wonderful, but not quite the best in the area.
The beer (Palmers on gravity, NBSS 3.5) was excellent too, but also bettered a couple of miles down the road. The steak pasty has no equal anywhere though.
The building itself looks more wonderful than ever, beautifully kept and teeming with cosy corners. One of the best places to enjoy a pint anywhere, and of course outside toilets.
The biggest surprise was in how much this felt like a real drinker’s pub rather than a National Trust tourist attraction. The lack of food (pasties apart) helps, but there was little of the boorish behaviour you sometime see in places like this. Lulworth Cove a few miles west would be a very different experience.
Even the little museum added rather than detracted from the effect, mirroring the Yew Tree in Cauldon in some respects.
The rooms themselves are relatively simply furnished, but with striking colour. A few pictures and cuttings tell the story of the pub. This one is particularly fascinating;
Possibly the most relaxing pub trip of the year so far, and like the Queen’s Head I expect the Newman family will not need an ACV to maintain this wonderful place for years to come.
Roscoe Head will complete the set of five, also a classic pub but with more risk to it’s future.