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The Will Adams, Gillingham

73 Saxton Street

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E TA left this review about The Will Adams

Dating from around 1874 and originally called The Anglo Saxon, this pub is a small corner bar with a long-standing reputation for good beer. It was renamed in the 1990s after the famous explorer, ostensibly to disassociate it from a previous troubled reputation, but local rumour is that it was more likely done through political correctness. The current owner, Pete, has been there for around 19 years so wasn't involved in this decision. There are some quirky paintings, wooden floors and a calm atmosphere. The clientele comprises a few locals and some CAMRA types. There were only 2 ales on this time, so I had a pint of each - Everards and Dark Star were both in excellent condition. A good place to spend an evening's libation and definitely the best pub in Gillingham Town centre.

On 19th May 2012 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2708 recommendations about 2675 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Will Adams

This is an interesting and friendly back street pub, easily reached by a short detour from the High Street. The entrance takes you into a narrow room with the bar running along the left hand side and some low stools and tables positioned in the narrow, carpeted gap opposite. There is a small, wider section at the end of the bar counter, where a couple more tables have been positioned, one of which is under a dartboard. I noticed on entering some fine etched glass windows but these were obscured by large, heavy curtains on my recent evening visit. The walls are half panelled, with the top half painted to resemble what I took to be a cartoon, Wild West saloon look - although it appears that the desired effect might have been to resemble the interior of an old ship, in keeping with the Will Adams theme. This is expanded upon at the rear of the pub, where an open area containing a pool table and dartboard, has been painted with a mural depicting the explorer's adventures. A small TV above the side door was showing local news and music played quietly in fits and starts throughout my stay.
There were three ales on when I dropped in - St Austell Tribute, Wolf Battle of Britain and Greene King London Glory. Three boxes of cider from Weston's were propped up on the counter and I spotted a keg version of Hop Back Summer Lightning amongst the usual tap offerings. I tried the Tribute and Battle of Britain and found them both to be well kept. A big stack of CAMRA magazines from all over the country was piled up at one end of the bar and the pub is currently listed in their Good Beer Guide. I was served by a cheery barman who was wearing a Gillingham football shirt, in anticipation of their cup fixture later that evening.
I thought this was a pretty decent pub, if perhaps a bit tired looking, and having enjoyed an extended stay in here I would certainly make a return visit the next time I'm in town.

On 21st December 2011 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2607 recommendations about 2607 pubs]

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Steve C left this review about The Will Adams

The Will Adams is a small back street boozer with a bar that supports five hand pumps. Two of these were unused during my Monday night visit, but Nethergate IPA, Pin Up Beers Red Head and Tirrel Ales Pennine Pilsner were available alongside some standard draught. This pub certainly has the most adventurous ale options in Gillingham Town. Star Trek was on the TV and the woman behind the bar was engrossed in it, but I was served quickly and she was very polite. There is a regular dartboard by the entrance and at the rear there was a practice board with only doubles and the bullseye on it.

This pub is a little quirky with the ship theme painted throughout and I liked it in a theme park kind of way. Would I return? Yes, this is one of the better pubs of the area.

On 11th November 2011 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3592 recommendations about 3572 pubs]

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Rich Gibbs left this review about The Will Adams

Great beer in a friendly environment - if all pubs were like this then we wouldn't see so many closing!

On 28th March 2011 - rating: 9
[User has posted 35 recommendations about 35 pubs]

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Simon Ellwood left this review about The Will Adams

The Will Adams is my local and has first rate Ale with typically three guest ales on and real ciders available too. The pub is a small back street boozer but very welcoming. If you like good beer and conversation this is the place for you. The decor and fittings could do with an update but do not let this put you off. Open evenings and lunch times at the weekends only.

On 28th February 2011 - rating: 8
[User has posted 4 recommendations about 4 pubs]

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Alex Short left this review about The Will Adams

Formerly The Anglo Saxon – as is shown etched on the window by the Saloon Bar entrance – The Will Adams is a Gillingham hostelry with a reputation for serving well-conditioned ales in a secure and friendly environment. Being a local resident and someone always eager to try new haunts, I looked forward to my most recent of evening visits. The first signs are not entirely positive, with a not-too-inviting, façade and within, the interior is tired, dated, run-down and in serious need of sprucing up. The walls are painted to depict a kind of old wooden house, but the effect unfortunately comes off as rather amateurish and almost child-like. It all seems rather tacky. To the right of the bar area is a large mural depicting the seafaring adventures of the pubs namesake. Further on is a darts board – pleasingly in use – and a small mounted television – showing the football during my stay. Although not busy, the clientele within seemed a well behaved friendly group and evidently enjoyed engaging in banter with the Chris Moyle’s look-a-like landlord. Five hand-pumps are on display at the bar, though only two were in use: Hop Backs Summer Lightning and Meantime London Pale Ale. The former was served in very good condition and shows that the CAMRA recognition is deserving – local pub-of-the-year 2006. It was also pleasing to note copies of the local branches magazine by the bar – Medway Beer Belly. To conclude: despite the praise received on the beer front, this reviewer personally found the surroundings a little too uncomfortable and cold, for here to ever become a regular stop-off. If they could make the interior more homely and address the slightly hollow atmosphere, then The Will Adams could justifiably be considered a pub of genuine merit.

On 2nd June 2010 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6 recommendations about 6 pubs]

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train man left this review about The Will Adams

Castle Rock Hemlock, Sharps IPA, Summer Lightning; tried first two & both in excellent condition. Friendly welcome from big Gills-shirted guvnor who asked if we were down for the game (nope, northern accent but not Accrington). Narrowish pub with bar, barstools, & table seating as you enter, dartboard at far end, pool table between. A portrait of the eponymous Will Adams hangs behind the bar and a mural depicting his adventurer/seafaring exploits decorates the centre wall (partly hidden by St George flag). Otherwise the décor is made of dodgy plastic panels in the style of mock wild-west wood fencing(?), but don’t let that put you off, this is a proper friendly drinking venue. Two Westons ciders were available in boxes on the bar, food was hot-dogs, burgers, chilli; eg cheeseburger & chips £3. (review dated Aug08)

On 19th February 2010 - rating: 7
[User has posted 411 recommendations about 410 pubs]

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Roger Button left this review about The Will Adams

This smallish corner pub just off the main drag is certainly one of the better options in Gillingham. Named after the locally born explorer and adventurer, the centerpiece of the pub interior is a massive mural that covers all the walls and tramsforms the visitor to the deck of an old sailing ship moored off a rugged olde worlde coastline (spot the current pub, looking a bit lost among the 16th century mariners on the shoreline!). If this were a Cornish harbour town you would probably dismiss it as a touristy gimmick but for Gillingham town centre, one can accept is as being a bit of a pleasant surprise. A good selection of beer (probably the best in Gillingham given that there is no Wetherspoons in town) with 5 hand pumps albeit 2 were not in use on my visit (Summer Lightning, Landlord and Harveys were all available) supplemented by a selection of ciders and perrys in boxes behind the bar. Beneath the nautical gimmicks lies a down to earth locals pub with darts, pool, jukebox, fruit machines and all the characteristics you would expect but without the menacing or intimidating atmosphere that can be an issue with other nearby pubs (my visit was prior to a Gills match and whilst police were monitoring every pub in the Town Centre for trouble, the Will Adams was pleasantly off limits to any potential hassle. Some of the seating is a bit awkward, especially in the pool area where the absence of any tables means there is nowhere to place your drinks. Whilst they do have Setanta as well as Sky, the only TV I saw was fairly basic and not conducive to comfortable viewing. Other than that, a decent enough place to visit and whilst I have barely scratched the surface of Gillingham pubs, I would hazard a guess that this is probably as good as you will find in town.

On 22nd January 2009 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1238 recommendations about 1232 pubs]

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nik somerford left this review about The Will Adams

vast selection of real ales, great food on match day (20 mins walk from priestfield stadium) inside is decorated to look like a galleon in keeping with the will adams theme, friendly staff. i reccomend the landlady's home made chilli.

On 16th November 2008 - rating: 10
[User has posted 1 recommendations about 1 pubs]