Firstly, an apologyIn welcoming Pubs Galore readers to the blog I referred to them as fellow “weirdy tickers“.  There is, of course, nothing weird at all about visiting lots of pubs and writing about them on a website.

Perhaps someone familiar with pubs in Watford will let me know what I’ve missed in town on my 3 recent visits, the highlights of which I’ve lovingly collated here.  If you want the truth, take a look at Alec Latham’s blog.

Luton Hatter probably has the Hornets as his local “big” team*, just as I support Citeh from little Cambridge.


Bing Maps won’t let me print an OS extract without peppering it with those blue bed symbols signifying Spoons.

Something to do with Spoons HQ in Watford

Watford, a place I can’t love, but whose brightly-shirted team of unpronounceable players kindly let my beloved City trample all over them at regular intervals these days. And then leaves their calling cards in pub toilets.

See the source image

Been there a while, that one

All of England has merits, some well hidden“, I set off from Watford High Street station (scary) to Watford Junction station (scary, but with a Beer Guide pub).

Modern art
No idea

Ask Beer Twitter for a recommendation for Watford and 89.2% of responses will say “West Herts Sports and Social Club“, which is a bit pointless.

This is the 3rd image that comes up for WHSSC;


Luckily, the most recent new Guide entry is a Paul Mudge approved “Proper Pub” in the Watford Junction style, complete with pouffes, Spoons-style carpets and improbably long opening hours.

How inviting is that ?
Lacings fail

The Wellington takes on the “trad boozer in the Guide” mantle from the Estcourt Arms, Tetley Bitter stronghold of yore.

How we miss Benskins, almost as much as Websters
Another corker

Grief, getting quite sentimental now.  Let’s damp that down with a trip to the cavernous Flag (nee Firkin), home to 2 visits 20 years apart.

Barn-like beauty by the Junction
A quid !

“Frankly, nothing much had changed since 1998, which can sometimes be a bonus, but here it just felt like an unloved Hungry Horse with foreign students instead of OAPs.”

More lacings fails

In Scotland, a tired Doom Bar pump will get you in the Guide. Here, Side Pocket for a Toad fulfills the same function.

Into town,

Like Hendon, Watford feels a bit underpubbed. No GBG entry in the centre for years, though the venerable Moon Under Water (practically the Spoons Tap ?) has one of the more impressive beer ranges I’ve seen, including some verifiable craft keg alongside the Shipyard.”

Probably listed

One gem, the One Bell, and that’s long lost as a pub. The rest is chain dreadfulness.

Promises, promises

My third brush with Watford, wisely anonymised at the time, gave me this classic exchange;

Excuse me, this doesn’t taste right, can you replace it please ?”

It’s fine,  it’s not the end of the barrel“.  Walks away.

Sorry, it doesn’t taste right“.

Draws a bit off, looks at it. Didn’t accept my invitation to taste it.

Looks fine to meNot had anyone else complain about it


*Don’t hit me.

14 thoughts on “HORNETS

  1. Never really seen the point of Watford. Despite some fun away days working out whether the home fans were cardboard cutouts as we lost 1-0 to convicted Post Office robber but not yet sex offender Marlon King, it has a tinpot football club with less calibre than Halifax, the town serves no function but to drain people to that crap town between Luton and Brighton, the ‘Spoons is the most generic Tim Martin drinking hall it epitomises the craptitude of his whole chain and the Estcourt Arms, whilst it shows technically superb signs of great quality simply does nothing for me. Perhaps I should go to the Wellington.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to enjoy our long Estcourt Arms sessions- long, because nowhere else to go, until we discovered the S&S club with its green ale. The Wellington looks well worth a visit.


      1. Talking of luck, a little bird tells me that we are to be treated to the “relaunch” of Beer In The Evening.

        I wonder whether it will meet with the good fortune of Chris’s other ventures? Like his crypto site’s send-off just before the crash, and, er, cruises?

        Maybe the lockdown is all his fault?


  2. No, I can’t find any reason to revisit Watford either, whether in the realm of pubs or of anything else.

    Incidentally, as a Moby Dick reader, you might be interested in what this one says about it, Martin –

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Had a fun day in Watford in January as it turned out eventually. Wellington very good pub and nice pre match atmosphere, not overly busy. Flag is now an O’Neills which somehow mixes very dark and very bright to terrible effect. Won’t rush back to Watford but Bushey and Oxhey pubs were good post match.


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