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The Boat Inn, Towcester

Bridge Road
Stoke Bruerne
Postal town: Towcester
NN12 7SB
Phone: 01604862428

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

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Quinno _ left this review about The Boat Inn

Characterful canalside (Grand Union) boozer. Pub is distinctly separated into two halves, the ‘front’ (roadside) and the ‘rear’ (canalside). The entrance from the front is fairly unspectacular, enter via a functional set of doors into an almost hotel-like lobby before entering to a fairly basic main bar area (note the bar front is designed and shaped like a boat), offering an excellent selection of Marstons-list ales; Banks bitter (good nick), Jennings Cumberland, Marstons New World and Old Empire, Hobgoblin and Ringwood Boondoggle plus Thatchers Heritage cider. So far, so fair – however head past the bar and take the door on the right through to a set of fantastic rear rooms overlooking the canal side. These are rustic in feel - whitewashed, quarry tiled flooring, polished wooden settle seating, coal fires (lit), massive tree trunk table and a canal-themed wall mural. The biggest draw is the Northamptonshire skittles table which got a couple of games off us. Mention of the cheery landlord, who seemed dead pleased we were taken with the place (found out later that it’s been in the same family since 1877). All-in-all, a bit of a cracker and I’d really like to do this one again someday.

On 30th March 2016 - rating: 9
[User has posted 4219 recommendations about 4206 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Blackthorn _ left this review about The Boat Inn

This seems to be very much a pub of two halves. At the back are a couple of great old snugs, with a frontage that is right on the canal. At the front is a much more open, contemporary lounge with perhaps slightly less appeal for the traditional pub aficionado.

The entrance way from the front car park is unusual in that you first enter in to a sort of hallway with a couple of sofas, but little in the way of character. It’s difficult to imagine anybody sitting there and having a pint. To the left, is a large open room with a modern looking wood vaulted ceiling, a wood strip floor and a stone built bar counter that has a couple of large wooden ship’s keels built in to it. Decor wise there is wood panelling on the lower part of the walls with cream paintwork above, a few pictures of the canal and other nautical scenes and a mixture of tables, chairs and a few cosy looking low leather sofa’s. A fruit machine was in the corner and a plasma was stuck on the wall which perhaps seemed a little out of place, but the only thing that it was showing was a message saying “no input signal”. Beyond this is another room with exposed stone walls that looks as though it may be more geared up for dining, although there was another room beyond this again marked up as a restaurant.

The real character of the pub is undoubtedly at the back. Besides the pleasant outlook on to the canal (as opposed to the car park) the popular and cosy snug was bursting at the seams on a recent early Wednesday evening, whereas the front bar was deserted. It has an old flagstone floor, real fire and wood backed pews around the perimeter. This is a really small room, and was full to capacity with only a dozen or so people in there. These were a mix of friendly locals and boaters who all seemed to mingling and chatting amiably. Beyond this is another small room with a red tiled floor and next to this something that I initially took to be a skittle alley, but then found that it was only about eight foot long. There was some sort of table skittles game at one end, and a sign saying something about under arm shots. Clearly skittles in these parts is very different to what I’m used to at home.

Food was a bit of a mixed bag. The menu looked to be a decent enough selection of pub grub, with a good choice of burgers, as well as jackets and a (very) small specials board. Most of the mains were around the £8-£9 mark, and whilst my chicken breast with bacon, caramelised onions and goat’s cheese had some interesting flavours, the chicken was somewhat tough and stringy. Similarly, desert which was a concoction of ice cream, caramel sauce, mars bar pieces, chocolate buttons and cream was ok but had a somewhat artificial taste to it.

There was a good selection of beers on tap with Banks Bitter, Pedigree, EPA, Frog Island, Marstons Old Empire, Hobgoblin and Jennings Cumberland. Ciders were also well represented with Scrumpy Jack, Strongbow and Thatcher’s Heritage. In spite of a slight disappointment on the food front, this is still a cracking pub and in a completely different league to the other one in the village and I would happily return.

On 2nd November 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1771 recommendations about 1701 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Thuck Phat left this review about The Boat Inn

Traditional boozer right on the cut with traditional and functional front bar with tiled floor, wood benches and real fire. Friendly service and quality beer with five real ales on, of which the Marstons Old Empire IPA was excellent. Both the village, traditional canalside, and pub are well worth a visit.

UPDATE - September 2011
The Boat remains traditional but worth noting a couple of updates/things I missed previously. At the back, as you enter from the canal, is a large and comfortable lounge area and to the right of the small bar area is a games room with a Northamptonshire skittles table.
As ever, if you sit in the small bar area for long enough, less than a pint usually, conversations become intertwined and the whole has a very friendly and welcoming atmosphere with some entrants wishing a good evening to each table.
Beer is predominantly from the Marstons range with Pedigree, Old Empire IPA, EPA, Jennings Cumberland and Hobgoblin offered as well as the ever present Frog Island Bitter.
An iconic boozer.

On 11th September 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 670 recommendations about 669 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Bucking Fastard left this review about The Boat Inn

Wonderful traditional boaters boozer,go in the entrance off the canalside to find the small back bar with the friendly atmosphere are real coal fire.There is also a Northamptonshire skittles alley off the quarry tiled bar area.Good selection of real ales,including Marstons Pedigree,Old Empire,Jennings Cumberland,Wychwood Hobgoblin , Frog Island Bitter and a real cider which all help to lubricate the conversation. The bar food grub is good value and well cooked.The front lounge from the car park is a bit dull but no worse than the rather corporate feel in The Navigation near by and is popular with the young folk from the village in the evening.There is a seperate first floor restaurant in this family run pub with great views over the canal.

On 22nd April 2010 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2230 recommendations about 2230 pubs]