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The Retreat, Reading

8 St. Johns Street

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 8 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Quinno _ left this review about The Retreat

A comprehensive re-furb here. A bit less cosy as a result, the rear room especially is like drinking in a shipping container (please paint the ceiling a different colour from the dark blue walls!). However the grotty (or 'characterful') toilets are gone, with very nice replacements. Beer quality remains good, enjoyed my pint of Dartmoor Jail the other week.

October 2017
The hopeless holding company were finally ejected and a proper licensee has been in situ for a fair while now. He's doing well - beer choice and quality has started to return (usually 5 on from regionals and the odd micro) and so has a lot of the old atmosphere. The cider range has fallen by the wayside but there is at least now a fairly impressive bottled range. Service is friendly too. There has also been a brightening-up of the place and some new furniture. The live music is also back. Worth heading the extra few minutes out of town for.

Has been going through licensees as fast as socks thanks to a bunch of spivs who hold the lease but then don't allow the poor bugger in the pub to order beer in. Surely Admiral aren't going use this as a an excuse to shout 'unviable' given it seemed somewhat viable before they essentially blocked Jane & Bernie from a new lease by quoting unrealistic figures...?

Jane & Bernie gone. New licensee installed. Ales still there but not sure quite how well the imminent addition of Ruddles County will go down with the regulars...we'll see. So far the overall ale quality is holding up. The Belgian beers have had to go and the new licensee is battling with Admiral to get a decent stock of proper cider back on. Has been listed as a Community Asset by the local CAMRA branch which hopefully secures its medium-term future.

October 2011
A take-it-as-you-find-it backstreet local, serving 5 real ales (Ringwood Bitter and Loddon Ferrymans alongside three interesting guests), a good selection of cider/perry and some Belgian gubbins in the fridge too. The beer quality is good and prices fairly reasonable. Toilets are, shall we say, rudimentary. Landlord and landlady are professional eccentrics. Live acoustic sets each week in the back bar. Piano and darts available. Feels like a real community local.

On 26th June 2021 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 4200 recommendations about 4187 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Moby Duck left this review about The Retreat

Stopped in for a pint today and the pub appears to be alive and well, four beers available on my latest visit and Robinsons Dizzy Blonde was in great shape. Not as quirky a place as it once was, but well worthy of a visit.

On 15th August 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1436 recommendations about 1420 pubs]

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Steve C left this review about The Retreat

The Retreat is a mid-terrace backstreet boozer with a small bar area at the front with seating and a bar on the right hand wall. There are seven hand pumps that were drawing an interesting array of ales during my visit on a sunny Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago. I do not recall seeing any draught taps so this is a pub for fans of real ale.
There is more seating at the rear where there is also a dartboard and table skittles. There are no televisions and there was no background music. This is a small pub, but thankfully it had just the right amount of visitors during my visit to make it very enjoyable.

I found the staff to be friendly and I would make a point of returning here if in Reading.

On 25th July 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 3599 recommendations about 3579 pubs]

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Soup Dragon left this review about The Retreat

This is a terraced pub, with a bench outside. I am not sure how long it has been a pub, the only on the street mapwise is the Beehive on the corner with Eldon Terrace (1880s- 1930s at least). Anyhow, it is in undressed brick, with a later porch (including entablature and pediment), all in the Georgian style. The interior has a a couple of rooms, although it is open plan. The front bar area is in yellow and wood panel and has old photos, jugs and menu boards for the array of drinks they purvey. The rear room is in white and wood. There is a dart board and a table skittles game, with a few mirrors and posters. The service was very friendly and the clientele consists of a general mix - locals and real ale fans that really do see this as a spiritual retreat. I saw no TV and i heard no music, other than the pulling of beer. Beer; usual tap stuff, with masses of continental bottles. On handpull, i had listed; Pedigree, Marston's ashes Ale, Cottage Boundary, Cameron's Mosaic, Deuchars IPA, Sharpes Cornish Coaster and Saddler's Red House. I had the Cameron's and the Cottage - both decent. A great little place - somewhere where you can sit for hours.

On 19th July 2013 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 3067 recommendations about 3062 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about The Retreat

This is a good pub to retreat to and enjoy some well kept ales. I had an inclination that this would be a decent pub due to its location and appearance. The front bar was small and the table we sat at was right next to the bar counter. I could literally have just turned round and ordered another pint. I went for the Cottage Boundary, which was superb. I would like to spend a good few hours in here next visit. Note Mon-Thurs 4.30 opening and the rest of the week is 12 noon.

On 17th July 2013 - rating: 9
[User has posted 3035 recommendations about 3035 pubs]

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Bucking Fastard left this review about The Retreat

An old school boozer,set in a terrace .The interior is small with the front bar a lively spot ,and there is much banter with the friendly guv'nor.There are a few benches,and in good weather another bench at the front,while the serving bar extends from this front room ,through to the rear lounge.This is where the darts board,table skittles and a rare bagatelle board are all housed.This back room is a lot less hectic than the front,but doesnt have a lot of natural light.
The seven handpumps had a fair selection in Sharps Cornish Coaster,Deuchars IPA,Cottage Boundary,Pedigree,Sadlers Red House(£3.50,OK condition) and Camerons Mosaic.That's a lot of ale for a small pub to shift,but there did seem a reasonable flow of local custom besides the large crawl.It's easy to settle into the relaxed vibe here,and always worth putting on the list when planning an ale tour.

On 14th July 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2198 recommendations about 2198 pubs]

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Nigel Sheppard left this review about The Retreat

Probably the best local pub in reading.
Good chioce of well kept beers of wich most change, great local atmosphere and you are made to feel part of the furniture. A real gem not to be missed.

On 30th June 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 192 recommendations about 192 pubs]

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Moby Duck left this review about The Retreat

Remains a good pub ,very ramshackle and quirky but a very comfortable place to be, with Jane & Bernie set to leave after Janurary not sure if it will remain open or not,will be a big loss to the Reading pub scene.

On 10th December 2012 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1436 recommendations about 1420 pubs]

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Moby Duck left this review about The Retreat

A very decent backstreet pub,can appear a little shambolic inside at times but this serves to add a certain charm to the place,good beers including Whitehorse, Loddon and Ringwood always been in good shape in my experience. Unfortunately The Retreat is under threat of closure when the lease runs out and will quite possibly close before the end of the year,so get there while you can.Recommended.

On 24th June 2012 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1436 recommendations about 1420 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

picasso 09 left this review about The Retreat

An excellent, eccentric pub, worth seeking out,beers always in top condition.Firmly among my top three Reading pubs.

On 4th April 2012 - rating: 8
[User has posted 14 recommendations about 14 pubs]

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