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In the Hop Garden with Wittenden on the Pub Forum

Aeronaut, Acton, W3

264 High Street
W3 9BH
Phone: 02089934242

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about Aeronaut

Interesting pub with unusual curved entrances on either side of the main building, repaired after a bad fire early on New Years Day 2017 and now back in full operation. Features a largish bar (with a mixed circus / early aviation theme) and a similar-sized single-storey side Circus Room extension (with people getting ready for a 'Hot Salsa' session when I visited on a Sunday evening). The counter has two hooped keg founts but initially appears to be devoid of handpumps, but looking around the side return I found Take the Red Pill from Portobello Brewing and the Laine's Bestest Bitter (£4.45, which didn't quite live up to the name...).

On 15th December 2018 - rating: 6
[User has posted 6000 recommendations about 6000 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about Aeronaut

This large pub in the heart of Acton has quite a few interesting selling points, from its aeronautical theme décor, to its own on-site micro brewery and perhaps most remarkably, it’s own circus venue. The pub has been through a number of guises down the years, but is currently operated by the people behind the Laines brewery, with their brew plant visible behind the servery. The main entrance sees you enter past some pavement side seating, into the main bar area. The room has scuffed old floorboards and lots of back-achingly low benches, with the odd concession to comfort thrown into the mix in the shape of a few sofas and wingback chairs. The bar is on the rear wall with a simple dark wood counter and a low bar back that allows you to peer over into the brewing space. A table football game dominates the front floor space and I noticed a collection of board games behind the bar. The room has an aeronautical theme which has been taken to extremes in places, including a huge model plane hung from the ceiling which has been painted sky blue with clouds, a hot air balloon basket in the far corner, some sort of lunar landing capsule in the front window and a life size picture of an astronaut with the face cut out so you can stick your head through and have your photo taken. The end wall has a huge portrait of local aviator George Lee Temple, who in 1913 became the first Englishman to fly in a loop over home soil. Other items of note include a dentist’s lamp, a full suit of armour and a pendant from a Pensioners Club in Skegness. Folding doors to the right of the room open out to reveal a large performance area where a hapless chap was practising juggling whilst being heckled by a couple of barflies. This room, with its striped ceiling designed to look like a big top, has dark wood panelling and rows of small tables and standard chairs. It is used for evening circus and cabaret performances, with a stage at the far end under a neon ‘Dodgems’ sign. A passage between this room and the bar leads out to a sizeable rear garden which was very popular on an overcast, drab afternoon.
On the bar there was Aeronaut Laine Stinger, Session IPA, Tomahawk, Laines 48, Summer Stout and Hopfeweiss, with one clip turned around. More Laines beer can be sampled from the good selection of keg taps and there were a few interesting bottles to be spotted in the fridges. I tried a pint of the Tomahawk, served to me by a disinterested barmaid. I was hoping for a great drop, straight from the brewery a couple of yards away, but ended up with a dull, lifeless pint that was a real chore to get through. I watched a few other ales being poured, and they all looked to be poorly conditioned, although obviously without sampling them all I can’t be entirely sure – suffice to say I wasn’t tempted to research the matter further.
This pub struck me as an interesting place which offers something very different to your average pub-going experience. However, to my mind, it is criminal for a brewpub to be serving such poorly conditioned beer as I had here – there really can be no excuse when the brewery equipment is within sight of the handpulls. I’ve enjoyed Laines brewery pubs in the past and I do wonder if I caught this one at the wrong time, but it certainly gave me an unfavourable impression of the place and I’m not sure I’d bother again unless I planned to see a show.

On 27th October 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2446 recommendations about 2446 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Rex Rattus left this review about Aeronaut

What an absolutely eccentric pub this is. The most unusual thing here is the "Annex" on the right where they hold (pay for entry) circus shows on Friday and Saturday evenings. But the pub itself is quite fascinating. The tone of the pub is set by the words DARE ASCEND on a couple of the pillars; then there's the large black and white photograph of George Lee Temple, a local aviator who was apparently the first Englishman to fly an aeroplane upside down (a very British first!); the large model aeroplane on the ceiling; and the life size photograph of a lunar astronaut with a hole where the head should be so that those who wish can presumably stuff their face in it to have their photograph taken. All this draws you to the inevitable conclusion that airborne activity is celebrated here. You also have the onsite Laine's Brewery, with fermentation tanks and the like clearly visible behind the servery, plus a (fake) suit of armour guarding the entrance to the live entertainment area.

On to the less exciting stuff - furnishings seem to be mainly large wooden tables, all of which seem to be at least 10-seaters, and all reserved for the evening when we were in here on Wednesday lunchtime, plus a few sofas. The garden at the rear also had cabins, or cabanas perhaps. There were around eight Laine's Brewery beers on, as well as a draught cider. A CAMRA discount is offered. There's a £5 lunch menu, offering stuff like a cheeseburger, fish finger or a roast beef sandwich. The standard a la carte menu's a fair bit more expensive - for example, the beefburger on here is £12.

The ales we tried (Laine's Stinger, and Red Baron) were both in excellent shape. The ale selection is good even if they are all Laine's beers; it's reasonably priced if you're a CAMRA member and can enjoy the benefit of the generous 20% discount; the pub's reasonably comfortable, and is very interesting. I would recommend visiting this pub if you're in the area.

On 13th December 2015 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2575 recommendations about 2493 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

john gray left this review about Acton Arms

Now changed again its the Aeronaut brewpub and circus. Same ownership as the Laines brewpub Brighton. On the left as you enter a large bar with plank tables and bench seating. To the right is a room with a striped tarpaulin style roof to give the circus effect. Entertainment on nightly. Great out door space at the rear with cabins done out like fairground booths around a granite and brick paved courtyard. Impressive convertion.3 beers from Laines brewery and all in good condition.Loud music.

On 9th November 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 940 recommendations about 927 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Steve C left this review about Redback Tavern

You need to be well oiled to venture into this grimey Antipodean pub and the only times I've found myself in here have been after a Brentford game where the drinking started at midday and the rational decision making flew out of the window early evening.

This place is full of people that I don't want to know and I'll surely never return, will I?

On 9th April 2009 - rating: 4
[User has posted 3586 recommendations about 3565 pubs]