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Swan Hotel, Wells

11 Sadler Street
Phone: 01749836300

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 5 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Pub SignMan left this review about The Swan Hotel

This is a large historic coaching inn that is currently operated by the Best Western hotel chain and has a prime location close to Wells Cathedral. The hotel operation occupies much of the present-day building, with only two relatively small front rooms given over to diners and from what I saw during the course of my time in Wells, the customers here tend to be almost exclusively guests from the hotel. This is perhaps not all that surprising, as neither room is particularly interesting, both having a corporate hotel bar feel to them. You enter via a corridor, with the bar through a door to the right and a lounge area over to the left. The bar area is pretty unremarkable, occupying a small room with poor quality modern floorboards, dark ceiling beams, low panelled walls with plain painted uppers decorated with a few paintings of birds and four small tables with some rather comfortable chair in support. The servery is along the rear wall and has a wood panelled bar counter front with a polished stone top and garishly lit bar back with an unused TV screen to one side. The right-hand wall has been decorated with some very impressive hummingbird and flower pattern wallpaper which surrounds a nice old fireplace, but this is where the points of interest start and finish as far as this room is concerned. The lounge area is slightly more appealing, occupying a slightly larger room to the left of the corridor. It has a carpeted floor and spectacular feature fireplace on the left-hand wall surrounded by boring cream coloured panelling. The same comfy chairs have been laid out around a few more tables and there was a pretty wild jazz soundtrack playing quietly in the background. Following the corridor to the rear, you will find the hotel reception desk and an attractive, fully panelled dining room. A very nice little beer garden is available across the road on the site of a couple of former buildings which the hotel purchased and demolished in order to give their guests a view of the cathedral – it’s a nice spot and would be a vast improvement on a seat indoors, should the weather permit.
Sadly, there was no cask ale available, but they did have Bath Gem on keg at £4.80 a pint, so I opted for that against my better judgement. Two Thatcher’s ciders were also available along with some other mainstream brands. The bar staff here seemed really ditzy and it was a bit of a chore trying to get all the Covid stuff done but we got there in the end. We also stayed in the hotel for a few nights, with a room in the Coach House outbuilding, and found the rooms to be of a very high standard.
I was quite hopeful that the fine historic building which this venue occupies would guarantee a good visit, but this is really just a boring corporate hotel bar with a couple of nice fireplaces and not much else going for it. The presence of just one cask ale could improve this place a fair bit, but I suspect they don’t get enough people through the door to make it viable. Aside from the excellent views from the beer garden, there’s not much to recommend here and I’d say this one can be safely ignored.

On 24th November 2020 - rating: 4
[User has posted 2545 recommendations about 2545 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Blackthorn _ left this review about The Swan Hotel

A prominent pub/hotel in the centre of Wells just opposite the cathedral, rumour has it that the hotel purchased the building opposite about 200 years ago and knocked it down to make their beer garden, meaning of course that any punters sitting there have to cross the road with their pints! This has the added benefit of opening up the view of the cathedral, which looks quite splendid from both the garden and the pub itself.

As might be expected from a hotel bar, it has quite an elegant feel to it with purple and gold fabric arm chairs, gold embossed wall paper and an attractive stone fire-place. Whether that’s ever used or not I’m not sure, but there was a copper scuttle filled with coal next to it so it at least looked the part. Flooring was some type of wooden laminate whilst there were plenty of beams on the black wood ceiling. A few black and white photos of the locale were on the walls, which were otherwise covered with pale yellow paintwork and some fawn wood panelling down below. A small TV at the end of the bar counter was showing a terrestrial news channel. A large window at the front gave an excellent view of the cathedral as mentioned previously. A separate lounge bar to the left looked to have a much larger fire-place with cream wood panelling above it and there were plenty of leather arm chairs in here as well as carpet on the floor.

The menu looked to offer a decent selection of pub grub dishes such as burger, ham egg & chips, fish & chips, etc., and these were mostly priced somewhere around £8, which was slightly unexpected. There is a more formal dining room to the rear, so presumably there is another menu available here. As is the trend in many such places, a selection of croissants and other pastries were on the end of the bar.

The solitary beer on tap was Tribute, whilst the ciders were Thatcher’s Gold and Addlestones. All in all, I thought this was better than many hotel bars - the prices were reasonable and the staff friendly, although the limited ale choice perhaps makes it an unlikely destination for the true beer aficionado.

On 1st May 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1749 recommendations about 1684 pubs]