Matthew Eley

Matthew Eley

Matthew Eley

Matt Eley is an Inapub contributor. Follow him on Twitter @mattheweley

24.4.2014 Matt Eley

"Great...we all get to talk to our screens rather than meet in a pub, thus taking away the best bit of a launch."

Matt Eley
15.4.2014 Matt Eley

"Let's be clear about one thing, pre-loading is about as original now as guitar music was in the 1990s. It has all been done before, arguably better as well."

Matt Eley
4.4.2014 Matt Eley

"In very basic terms there is a lot more beer and far fewer places to sell it. Something has to give."

Matt Eley
28.3.2014 Matt Eley

And while I have tried to reserve judgement until I have experienced one of these for myself I couldn't help thinking 'well, that does sound a bit shit, doesn't it?'

Matt Eley
24.3.2014 Matt Eley

"As soon as we walked in we knew it was going to be about advertising because there was a man with a cool beard and natty attire with a small dog that got excited when people clapped."



Matt Eley
9.12.2013 Matt Eley

How about this for the start of a working day: Seven different beers, with seven different breakfasts in the company of about 20 women. In a pub.

Matt Eley
5.9.2013 Matt Eley
I just spotted an entry in my diary that made me laugh. It read ‘Well done  Matt you have now gone 100 days without a drink’.
Matt Eley
30.8.2013 Matt Eley
You would think that a book called The Good Pub Guide would focus on the positive side of the industry.
Matt Eley
20.8.2013 Matt Eley

Diversity: an energetic dance troupe or a box-ticking exercise at local authorities across the UK?

Matt Eley
2.8.2013 Matt Eley
altOne of the many excellent things about going to pubs for food and drink these days is just how often your expectations can be exceeded.

I have lost count of the times I have walked into a fairly standard looking set-up and been met by lovely surprises such as an unfamiliar beer on tap, amazing service, amusing banter or a meal that you’d expect from a Michelin starred gaff, but at half the price.

The flip-side of this is the disappointment of going somewhere where the experience just doesn’t match the expectation. This happened most starkly when I took The Wife and The Boy to a pub that had received a glowing write-up in an esteemed beer guide, only to find the pub was shut for lunch on the day of our visit.

I haven’t been back in a hurry.

Last week I at least managed to get inside the pub of my desires, but it was when there where my hopes were dashed.

I won’t reveal the name, to protect the innocent, but it was on an A road somewhere between my home in Sussex and my holiday destination in Dorset.

We passed it in the car on the way West and I would have been tempted to stop had it not been for a toddler meltdown a few miles up the road that had already caused me to pull over once.

Plus, I thought, it probably looked a bit posh for me and my clan to go in and create havoc.

It looked stunning, a new coat of bright white paint and signs in the type of font that screamed class with tempting food and drink offers. The car park and hanging baskets were immaculate and the fact that a village cricket match was taking place next to the garden added to the romance.

I took a mental note to check it out at a later date.

Well, that later date came as we returned from holiday and needed to make a pit-stop – The Boy had spilled a tiny drop of drink on his leg, which created more havoc than you could possibly imagine.

So, into the perfect car park we went and ventured up the stone steps of this wonderful looking freehouse. Only when we got inside the class disappeared and it bore more resemblance to a pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap managed chain.

Of course the food was anything but cheap. My steak, ordered medium rare, managed to be rare in places but also medium and well done in others. That was quite a neat trick that I doubt the chef could have pulled off had he been trying.

The wife’s veggie option was described as ‘bland’ by the wife and ‘something she could have done herself’. I let that hang without disputing her statement.

And then the boy’s kiddie’s portion was more fit for a hulking 16-year-old than one who had just turned three. I’m sure we would not be the only parents to despair at seeing an adult size plate covered in chips with a handful of token greens.

He was also served an anaemic looking orange squash that was about as tempting as the idea of pouring it over him and seeing what the reaction would be.

That said, The Boy wasn’t grumbling and he duly scoffed his chips down.

The peas were more problematic for him, particularly with grown-up cutlery. But by then I knew how much I was going to be paying so I wasn’t going to worry about a few peas being scattered about the place.

On top of the food itself the service was a little slow, due to a lack of staff rather than the skills of those working, and the atmosphere was stale.

I ended up looking forward to getting back in the car and heading off, £40 lighter.

My suspicion is that whoever runs the pub is brilliant at marketing and running a business – afterall how many more people will stop like we did to go in to the pub? This is all well and good for a pub that probably relies more on passing trade than local custom.

So maybe they have in fact got the offer right for bringing in people and money, but I doubt most people wouldn’t stop for a second bite.

Matt Eley is the editor of Inapub. Follow him on Twitter @mattheweley

Matt Eley