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Picture of The Retreat
Image posted by Quinno _
Submitted on Friday, 13th August 2021
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The Retreat, Reading

8 St Johns Street
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Reviews of The Retreat (Average Rating: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

john gray left this review about The Retreat

This is a lovely smart looking pub after the refurb.4 regional beers on and my Sussex bitter was spot on.Sat outside talking with a few locals so had a pleasant time.

On 26th January 2022 - rating: 7
[User has posted 965 recommendations about 951 pubs]

Pub SignMan left this review about The Retreat

Set slightly out of the town centre, this is a welcoming little backstreet boozer with a very simple two-room layout. The front room is a rather cramped bar area that felt a bit like a micropub when I arrived to find a packed room with barely enough space to get to the bar. The room has some pleasant modern floorboards, half panelled walls painted in a gloomy shade with somewhat warmer upper sections, and the servery along the right-hand wall. Benches along the front, left and rear walls provide the bulk of the seating options, supplemented by a load of low stools and all serving three or four tables. The bar counter is made from the same panels that adorn the walls and has a surprisingly simple bar back that suggests the whole thing has had a relatively recent refit. A large clock on the back wall acts as the room’s focal point, whilst a few old enamel advertisements add a much needed splash of colour. A corridor to the rear left leads you into the rear room which is fortunately a fair bit bigger and therefore acts as a most welcome additional seating area. The room has a tartan carpet and similar paint scheme to the main bar area, with rows of tables and chairs down either side, whilst the walls are decorated with a collection of old brewery mirrors and a TV screen is mounted next to the small servery at the front. Four small tables with metal garden chairs were squeezed into the tiny front paved garden area, which was quite a quiet spot given the pub’s backstreet location. The toilets rank as some of the smartest I’ve seen in a pub for a good long while and the gents had a large photo of someone taking a leak in what I would guess was the old toilet block.
I was a little taken back to find five handpulls in operation when I arrived, giving me a choice from Taylors Golden Best, Brakspear Gravity, Harveys Sussex Best, Otter Ale and Wye Valley Butty Bach. A very friendly and welcoming barmaid served up a decent drop of the Butty Bach which I took out on the pokey front patio given the packed front room and empty rear seating area.
I was aware that this pub had been through a lot of licensees over recent years and was therefore a bit sceptical about what I might find here, but I thought it was a very nicely presented pub, perhaps still needing a little bit more time to fully find its feet, but clearly attracting a good bunch of loyal customers and managing to keep a decent selection of ales on the go as a result. Worth making the short detour to check out.

On 7th January 2022 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2795 recommendations about 2795 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Quinno _ left this review about The Retreat

A comprehensive re-furb here. A bit less cosy as a result, the rear room especially is like drinking in a shipping container (please paint the ceiling a different colour from the dark blue walls!). However the grotty (or 'characterful') toilets are gone, with very nice replacements. Beer quality remains good, enjoyed my pint of Dartmoor Jail the other week.

October 2017
The hopeless holding company were finally ejected and a proper licensee has been in situ for a fair while now. He's doing well - beer choice and quality has started to return (usually 5 on from regionals and the odd micro) and so has a lot of the old atmosphere. The cider range has fallen by the wayside but there is at least now a fairly impressive bottled range. Service is friendly too. There has also been a brightening-up of the place and some new furniture. The live music is also back. Worth heading the extra few minutes out of town for.

Has been going through licensees as fast as socks thanks to a bunch of spivs who hold the lease but then don't allow the poor bugger in the pub to order beer in. Surely Admiral aren't going use this as a an excuse to shout 'unviable' given it seemed somewhat viable before they essentially blocked Jane & Bernie from a new lease by quoting unrealistic figures...?

Jane & Bernie gone. New licensee installed. Ales still there but not sure quite how well the imminent addition of Ruddles County will go down with the regulars...we'll see. So far the overall ale quality is holding up. The Belgian beers have had to go and the new licensee is battling with Admiral to get a decent stock of proper cider back on. Has been listed as a Community Asset by the local CAMRA branch which hopefully secures its medium-term future.

October 2011
A take-it-as-you-find-it backstreet local, serving 5 real ales (Ringwood Bitter and Loddon Ferrymans alongside three interesting guests), a good selection of cider/perry and some Belgian gubbins in the fridge too. The beer quality is good and prices fairly reasonable. Toilets are, shall we say, rudimentary. Landlord and landlady are professional eccentrics. Live acoustic sets each week in the back bar. Piano and darts available. Feels like a real community local.

On 26th June 2021 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 4401 recommendations about 4387 pubs]

View more reviews of The Retreat (17)
This pub features in the following crawls:
Reading - a Friday afternoon by Clive Thompson
Reading ramble by Quinno _
External web links for The Retreat

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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Steve C
Reading, 0.88 miles, 17 min walk (show)
Reading, 0.88 miles, 17 min walk (show)
Reading, 0.88 miles, 17 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for The Retreat, Reading
26th Jan 2022, 20:54
Review submitted by john gray
7th Jan 2022, 17:08
Review submitted by Pub SignMan

Pub Details

Pub details supplied by members of this site to the best of their knowledge. Please check with pub directly before making a special trip.

  • Accommodation : No last updated 30 September 2013 by Quinno _
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 29 July 2013 by Quinno _
  • Beer Festivals : No last updated 07 May 2014 by Quinno _
  • Beer Garden : No last updated 29 July 2013 by Quinno _
  • CAMRA Discount : No last updated 29 July 2013 by Quinno _
  • Car Park : No last updated 29 July 2013 by Quinno _
  • Child Friendly : No last updated 30 September 2013 by Quinno _
  • Darts : Yes last updated 29 July 2013 by Quinno _
  • Dog Friendly : Yes last updated 22 September 2015 by Quinno _
  • Function Room : Yes last updated 22 September 2015 by Quinno _
  • Hot Food : No last updated 29 July 2013 by Quinno _
  • Jukebox : No last updated 30 September 2013 by Quinno _
  • Karaoke : No last updated 29 July 2013 by Quinno _
  • Live Music : Yes last updated 29 July 2013 by Quinno _
  • Live TV Sports : No last updated 29 July 2013 by Quinno _
  • Micropub : No last updated 22 September 2015 by Quinno _
  • Pinball : No last updated 29 July 2013 by Quinno _
  • Pool Table : No last updated 30 September 2013 by Quinno _
  • Quiz Night : No last updated 29 July 2013 by Quinno _
  • Real Ale : Yes last updated 01 February 2019 by Quinno _
  • Real Cider : No last updated 02 October 2017 by Quinno _
  • Wheelchair Access : No last updated 30 September 2013 by Quinno _
  • WiFi : No last updated 29 July 2013 by Quinno _
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