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Picture of The Rochester Castle (JD Wetherspoon)
Image posted by Tris C
Submitted on Thursday, 27th May 2021
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The Rochester Castle (JD Wetherspoon), Stoke Newington, N16

143-145 Stoke Newington High Street
N16
N16 0NY
Phone: 02072496016
Correct details

Pub Type

J D Wetherspoon

Served areas

Reviews of The Rochester Castle (JD Wetherspoon) (Average Rating: of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Tris C left this review about The Rochester Castle (JD Wetherspoon)

Date Visited: 13th August.

A pub has been here since 1702: the Green Dragon, with this Grade II-listed former replacement arriving in 1900, the original being built by Richard Payne of Rochester, whose countenance can be seen above a fireplace. It’s been under the stewardship of Wetherspoon’s since 1983, which makes it their oldest surviving branch.
I’ve passed this place countless times and it always seems to depict the tableau outlined in the previous review, some earlier ones too. Indeed, I almost entered here a couple of months before the previous reviewer and saw a customer- the same one? - slumped at a table early evening and of course, there were the staggering all-day drinkers.
Well, I think that maybe Timbo read the previous reviews because the place seems to have upped its game. It matches the earlier descriptions though now with a marble bar top, but the tables to the front are, booths aside, now high; it’s hard to slump at a high table. There are still the multiple games machines near the entrance and seemingly just the one TV and a real fire, albeit gas; something of a rarity for a 'spoons. But the real reason to visit is the fine frontage with the marvellous glazed tiles with integrated mirrors in the front section; there’s also the very ornate and impressive lantern in the middle section which was probably the billiards room. Walls and ceiling are clad in Anaglypta, painted mainly white or Eau de Nil; the fireplaces seem now to be in good condition. The only sign of tattiness that I saw was a small patch of peeling paper which looks to be the result of water ingression.
The customer base was probably the most interesting aspect of the place, as the large majority of customers were either middle-aged Afro-Caribbeans or elderly Africans, having a high old time. Another oddity here is that there were no empty glasses or plates on tables – what’s going on here?
The other item of note were the prices with all ales priced at an astonishing £1.99, apart from Abbot at £2.29. For the record, the other ales were: Portobello’s JPA, Block109 Brewing’s Wembeerly, Three Sods’ Mon Cheri or Session, East London Brewing’s Cowcatcher or Pale, which was in excellent condition; Doom Bar, Abbott and GK IPA as staples.
I don’t know how long this pricing will last, but as things stand, this is now one of the best boozers in Stoke Newington. If they continue to sell ELB’s Pale to this standard and especially this price, I’d make a return.

---------------

A promised return with an altered ale option, with Stonehenge Danish Dynamite and the still excellent Cowcatcher.

On 28th September 2021 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1174 recommendations about 1153 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Pub SignMan left this review about The Rochester Castle (JD Wetherspoon)

I’ve been to some grotty Wetherspoons in my time, but this one, with a prime High Street location, has to rank right up there as one of the grimmest. You enter into a carpeted room with some seating under the front windows and banquette booths down the left hand wall, broken midway along by a neglected old fireplace. The servery is over on the other side of the room, along the right hand wall, and has a typical dark wood counter and ‘Spoons bar back, plus an unusual white canopy. A small skylight above the bar area acts as a vaguely eye-catching feature and helps illuminate the high tables and stools that fill the central part of the room, opposite the bar. Two arches lead though to the pub’s mid-section, carpeted by both carpet and a layer of detritus (menus, waste food, beer bottles) that had accumulated over the course of the day (or perhaps week – who knows?). Tables and chairs run through the centre of this area, with floral wallpaper, contemporary paintings (including one of the eponymous castle) and ‘Spoons info boards on the walls. The nicest area in the pub by some way, the area also boasts a large skylight surrounded by elaborate moulded plasterwork and a series of small, nude statuettes. Moving on again, you reach the rear section of the pub, which looks like a modern addition thanks to conservatory style windows around three sides and plenty more seating within. A garden can be accessed from here, but it was too dark to get a proper look at it, which may just have been for the best. It took me some time to find a table that didn’t have a pile of uncleared plates, glasses, or other such crap on it and even then, I ended up amongst rowing couples, staggering all-day drinkers and one bloke slumped, possibly dead, across his table.
The bar offered some kind of salvation for the unsuspecting visitor, thanks to five guest ales that took their place alongside three ‘Spoons regulars and a real cider. After a bit of fuss and confusion with the hopeless barman, I managed to extract a pint of Enfield Pale Ale at the usual reasonable price, which was very much sub-par and arguably on the verge of turning undrinkable, although I managed to get through it.
What an absolute dump this place is – it must go down as one of the most uncared for ‘Spoons in the country, which seems to be reflected by the clientele it attracts. I’d had enough of this place after the first five minutes or so and things didn’t get much better after that. ‘Spoons get a bad reputation at times and places like this don’t do anything to help dispel that myth – it would take a pretty serious overhaul to get me back in this pub again.

On 15th January 2019 - rating: 3
[User has posted 2607 recommendations about 2607 pubs]


Please Note: This review is over a year old.


Real Ale Ray left this review about The Rochester Castle (JD Wetherspoon)

A very disappointing display of ales on handpump on our visit, so managed a quick half of Banks Goldingot. The interior of the pub had an impressive skylight in the middle section and a display of Victorian glazed wall tiles in the front room, which covered the majority of the wall. The pub is tatty around the edges, but the beer selection was the downside.

On 2nd November 2016 - rating: 5
[User has posted 3012 recommendations about 3012 pubs]


View more reviews of The Rochester Castle (JD Wetherspoon) (11)
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Pub location see interactive map of local area
Map location corrected by Steve C
Stoke Newington, 0.32 miles, 6 min walk (show)
Rectory Road, 0.39 miles, 7 min walk (show)
Clapton, 0.86 miles, 16 min walk (show)
Latest updates View all updates for The Rochester Castle (JD Wetherspoon), N16
28th Sep 2021, 17:22
Review submitted by Tris C amended by Tris C
 
21st Sep 2021, 17:17
Picture submitted by Tris C approved

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 18 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Bar Billiards : No last updated 18 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Beer Festivals : Yes - April & Oct - last updated 03 January 2014 by john mcgraw
  • Beer Garden : Yes last updated 23 March 2014 by hondo .
  • CAMRA Discount : No last updated 18 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Car Park : No last updated 18 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Child Friendly : Yes last updated 23 March 2014 by hondo .
  • Darts : No last updated 18 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Dog Friendly : No - Guide dogs only. - last updated 24 April 2021 by Tris C
  • Function Room : No last updated 12 February 2016 by john mcgraw
  • Hot Food : Yes last updated 23 March 2014 by hondo .
  • Jukebox : No last updated 18 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Karaoke : No last updated 18 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Live Music : No last updated 18 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Live TV Sports : Yes last updated 18 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Micropub : No last updated 12 February 2016 by john mcgraw
  • Pinball : No last updated 18 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Pool Table : No last updated 18 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Quiz Night : No last updated 06 March 2016 by john mcgraw
  • Real Ale : Yes last updated 23 March 2014 by hondo .
  • Real Cider : Yes last updated 18 November 2013 by john mcgraw
  • Wheelchair Access : No last updated 17 February 2016 by john mcgraw
  • WiFi : Yes last updated 23 March 2014 by hondo .
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