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Red Lion, Cirencester

Pub added by elizabeth mcgraw
London Road
Ampney St. Peter
Postal town: Cirencester

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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.

Jonathan Wilde left this review about Red Lion

This is another must visit pub in my view, that was brought to my attention after visiting Tuckers Grave near Radstock/Frome and researching pubs without bars.

The review below by Mr Bonser describes the premises perfectly and with only 2 hand pumps on view serving Timothy Taylor and Timothy Taylor Best I didn't even contemplate asking if any lager was available as I hadn't fully read the review below prior to visit so am now glad I didn't embarrass myself by asking.

We sat in the main room (2) the locals were very hospitable and in a room so small it's very hard not to become engaged in the conversations that are ongoing when news/current affairs were being discussed as referred to below. A very nice customer/local even moved from the main table to a chair at the edge of the room to allow my friend and I a place to sit together without making us feel unwelcome or reduced to the second room which was empty on our visit, which we would've reverted too had such kindness not been shown.

Sadly on our visit John wasn't present as he'd spent a night in hospital recently and although raring to return wasn't allowed by who I assume was his daughter who refused to pick him up to take him to the pub tonight. Although he is destined to return by Friday when it's his birthday/day before and a surprise awaits.

A note for any would be visitor is the limited opening hours. Monday 6-9 pm Friday and Saturday the same and Sunday's 12-2pm.

I too can only amplify Mr Bonser's advice do it if you can factor it in as you won't be disappointed.

On 15th September 2014 - rating: 9
[User has posted 361 recommendations about 343 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

John Bonser left this review about Red Lion

A few miles outside Cirencester is The Red Lion, a 300 year old typically Cotswold building which houses one of Britain’s most unspoilt rural pubs.

The porch still retains the old “West Country Ales – Best in the West” ceramic plaque which pre-dates its subsequent Whitbread days.

The premises consists of two basic unspoilt rooms either side of a central corridor leading to the landlord’s private quarters. The right hand room – denoted as room 2 – is the main bar, nd has a quarry tiled floor, one long table, wood panelling and basic bench and window seating. There’s no bar counter at all – the real ale is served from two handpumps set into the back wall in one corner of the room. No keg beers or lagers are served – some bottled drinks are stored in a long wood and glass cabinet which effectively acts as the bar back. Note the small copper ring attached by string to a bell which can be used to summon service when the landlord is elsewhere. An old photo of the pub in 1982 here shows deep snow and it being a Whitbread pub.

The room on the left is equally basic with fixed bench seating, several tables and stools and an old fireplace. In the entrance to the room is proudly displayed the framed article from CAMRA’s What’s Brewing in April 2004 when the pub was the featured Heritage Pub. Note also the old picture of Queen Victoria dating back to 1887. In this room is also a framed print of the pub presented to the landlord, John Barnard, in October 1997 by the CAMRA Cirencester Branch “in recognition of his 21 years of preservation of The Red Lion”. John proudly relates that he is only the 4th licensee since 1850, which probably helps explain the lack of improvements and modernisation. Needless to say, there’s outside toilets.

Some 14 years later, John Barnard is still here and looking rather more sprightly than when I last called in. On my recent late September Sunday lunchtime visit, John was initially in the kitchen when I arrived, but another customer quickly rose to serve me, asking me to pay John on his return. I bet you don’t get that in The Cockroach and Cucumber ! This is a pub where beer and conversation rule and strangers are warmly welcomed and expected to join in.

Beers on were TT Golden Best and Landlord, which is the normal range, although I have seen Hook Norton in here.

The pub had been a CAMRA Good Beer Guide regular for many years, but was not included in the 2011 Edition when fears for John’s health forced temporary closure and put the pub’s future in jeopardy. Pleasingly, he is now back in action, but opening hours are very limited indeed.

Do make the effort to get here sometime if you can.

On 18th October 2011 - rating: 7
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]