A real triumph next, as I beat both Pubmeister (who was actually conceived at Elm Park) and BRAPA (who saw Hull Tigercity win a corner at Madejksi recently) to this one.

GBG pubs in universities aren’t that rare; I can recall Lancaster, Liverpool. Warwick and Keele over the years.  My own University, the Conservatoire of Life (a 2:2) is of course a GBG regular.

Reading University is in the bit of town not overrun by eccentric CAMRA members who believe in putting quality before range.

The Whiteknights are coming

I spent the last year of my working life visiting University campuses in East Anglia, and there’s still a frisson of excitement about walking round the grounds with loads of young people having the time of their lives, with a Dr & The Medics Tribute act and pub quiz to look forward to at the weekend.


Huge queues are forming outside the dining complex, beguilingly called “Eat“.  “Disappointing salads” says Mike on Google, clearly missing the point.

It took a while to discover the Park House, but for once the Guide sticker is useful.

Easily mistaken for the Finance Office
Unexpectedly formal

With it’s (unique to GBG) card only policy I’d been expecting a modern student bar, like the one at my son’s Sheffield union HQ with Abbeydale and Punk IPA.  Perhaps there is one of those at Reading, but the Park House is very much common room with handpumps.

Oh look !

Despite the handled jug, a joy

I should have expected a handle, shouldn’t I ?  But despite the lack of straight glassware this was a joy of a Plum Porter, NBSS 4 at least.

Plenty of pint men in cardigans, you could have been at a CAMRA branch meeting.

NBSS 4 Plum Porter, folks

I contemplated lunch, probably something like spag bol or cottage pie or oxtail soup, but there was drama at the bar over astonishingly complex room bookings and the Plum Porter was a meal in a glass, anyway.

Formal but pubby

A pub fit for Royalty, and an ideal companion piece for the next estate pub that Reading CAMRA stick in the Guide.




  1. Had an interview at Reading University in 1980. Didn’t go there because I got a better offer elsewhere. Might have changed my mind if I’d seen that bar.


  2. The Old Bar at Leeds University is of similar ilk, don’t believe it’s ever been in GBG though. It is on the official Otley Run agenda, which incidentally is a very good itinerary for a Proper Day out in Leeds (strictly outside term time and selected pubs (includes two good GK pubs which would suit Life After Football!)).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh dear, I try to avoid going over the £2.00 mark for a pint. However, I do find that it cuts down the number of pubs that one can partake in.


  3. Trouble is that I don’t live in Rochdale ; down here, “economy drinking” rules out all but a handful of ‘Spoons.
    Even Sam’s OBB is £3.00 per pint in the Three Goat’s Heads !


  4. Wow that “Easily mistaken for the Finance Office” is very accurately described! I sometimes wonder if the GBG is including certain locations for the sake of variety? Surely the “least likely to have a drinking establishment behind it” of any front door ever photographed for your blog!

    I’ve been meaning to ask about your rating system. I interpret “NBSS 4” as among the highest ratings you’re likely to give, but I’m guessing you’ve sometimes gone as high as 4.5. Is 5.0 off limits as a matter of principle?


    1. I worked in an office (actually an old asylum) that looks just like the University pub. There’s some very unlikely places still in the Guide. One in Ipswich only accessible by buzzer entry sticks in the mind.

      I don’t really have principles. The Dark Star Hophead in that really basic Hendon pub last year was pretty perfect, as was Citra in a new entry in Stamford. But you’re right, a 4 is high praise indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I understand people liking Plum Porter but don’t you realise that swathes of barley fields across North Staffordshire are giving way to plum orchards, and Titanic are to blame ?

    Liked by 1 person

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