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Disappointment of the week with Tris39 on the Pub Forum

The Fat Badger @ White Hart Hotel, Harrogate Central, Harrogate

Cold Bath Road
Phone: 01423505681

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Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Fat Badger (White Hart Hotel)

This is a large bar situated in a designated room at the left hand end of the impressive White Hart Hotel. Unlike many hotel bars, this place has had a bit of thought put into its presentation, with the effect being a rather upmarket looking space with quality furnishings, befitting the posh looking hotel it serves. Entering through the bar's dedicated entrance (as opposed to the main hotel entrance), you pass through a nice looking porch entrance before emerging into a simple rectangular room with the servery down the left hand wall. The room is bare boarded throughout and has a small raised area in the front right corner where several comfy looking armchairs stand under the heavily draped front windows. The bar has a long dark wood counter with a series of high tables and stools opposite and a couple of button backed banquette booths on the facing right hand wall, each separated by a high screen with patterned glasswork and a stuffed badger on top. The grand mirrored bar back in its dark wood frame with built-in clock and original arched windows behind, is arguably the star of the show here and a good example of how traditional pub design can be applied to a hotel bar to great effect. The rear of the room has a series of U-shaped banquette booths which look very cosy and stand under a number of framed period portraits, each with the subject's head replaced by that of a woodland animal. Nice muted lighting from the elegant light fittings gave the bar a decent ambiance although this was spoiled somewhat by the loud music that played throughout my stay.
A decent looking ale range of Copper Dragon Golden Pippen, Tetley's Cask, Taylor Landlord, Saltaire Trio Pale, York Beta Max and Black Sheep Bitter was available, although my pint of the Beta Max wasn't up to much and I struggled my way through it. There was a pretty strong crowd in on a Saturday evening, but the atmosphere felt strangely flat and I found it difficult to settle in.
I was impressed with the presentation of this venue and would never have guessed it was essentially a hotel bar, had I not already known. Having said this, I still felt that the place lacked that spark that you get in a genuine pub and matters were not helped by a poor pint. I felt that this place merited a look as part of an extended crawl around town but doesn't really match up to the top pubs Harrogate has to offer.

On 16th June 2015 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2347 recommendations about 2347 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Real Ale Ray left this review about The Fat Badger (White Hart Hotel)

This Hotel bar was busy, with people dining on our Saturday afternoon visit. The large bar, with 8 handpumps faces you when you enter from the main Hotel side. The bar counter and back servery is a dark stained mahogany and is heavily embellished in keeping with the rest of the Hotels grandeur. The choice of ales in here were all fairly mainstream, apart from a couple of York Brewery beers. There was also a small patio area found from exiting the corner doorway. Another feature in here was the etched glass in the doors and partitions.

On 28th May 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2906 recommendations about 2906 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

ROB Camra left this review about The Fat Badger (White Hart Hotel)

A good addition to the Harrogate real ale scene. It's a nicely done out with high class furnishings and decor. This large room has some raised floor levels to give the impression of distinct areas. Full of yobby suits on our Friday late afternoon visit, but full of parents and kids on our Saturday afternoon visit. Efficient service on both occasions though. There are six handpumps with a pretty unadventurous selection of regular ales including Tetley, Theakston, Copper Dragon, Taylors & Black Sheep. The guest was from Roosters, so not very inventive either. Both pints I had were in good nick though and Ms CAMRA liked the wine. Get some good micro brewery beers on and this will be a really great place, at the moment it's just good.

On 5th March 2013 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2749 recommendations about 2677 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Old Boots left this review about The Fat Badger (White Hart Hotel)

A make over for the hotel bar has produced a reasonable place for a drink, their press release says they have made it a “Traditional Pub”, well a good try but not quite, although there is certainly more of a pub atmosphere than before. The décor retains the elegance of the posh hotel bar but with some nice glass and dark woodwork added, the floor has been taken back to bare boards, but the chandeliers remain. There is a separate entrance but you can still enter via the hotel as many customers seemed to have done, others appeared to be a mix of curious locals and their kids. Seating is a mix of tables and chairs, sofas and benches and the decoration is art work made up of pictures of badgers and other animals in “old master” style. It is still the bar of the hotel and that is very apparent in the style of service provided, the staff are very much hotel oriented and I counted six behind the bar at one point giving an impression of much activity but actually doing very little serving. Various waiters and waitresses bustle in and out with drinks orders from other rooms and food orders for the bar. The bar manager does know his stuff however remaining cool while his staff did headless chicken impressions. I won't be cruel and say if JDW did posh it would look like this because it's still early days, opening date was 20th May and it will be worth watching how it beds down. There are six handpumps with local favourites from Copper Dragon and Black Sheep plus national ales Pedigree, Tetley Cask and Ruddles County, a brace of brass horseshoe shaped pipes house a selection of popular kegs. The beer quality was good to excellent. Pricing was reasonable for Harrogate and compared well with the Old Bell and Hales Bar down the road. The cask beers are listed on a blackboard with the title Badger Beers – I hope no-one from Blandford is watching!

I must admit this place is growing on me, the elegant Victorian style décor and the overall atmosphere, when there's not too many children in the place, is fine. It's still a bit like drinking in a restaurant due to the number of bustling waitresses and you can never quite forget you're in a hotel bar. The staff seem to have settled down a bit and there's less of the headless chicken about them now. The beer quality remains as good as it was when it opened.

On 3rd September 2011 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2133 recommendations about 1981 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Old Boots left this review about White Hart Hotel

A bar in one of Harrogate's larger elegant and expensive hotels. Usual posh hotel type furnishings and décor, Stella four percent and Guinness are the only “draught” beers otherwise the usual spirits and I'm sure a good range of wines. Probably not the best place to have a few beers with the lads, more a place for executives to compare golf handicaps and the size of their cars.

On 21st July 2010 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2133 recommendations about 1981 pubs]