Royal Tunbridge Wells – Compasses

Whatpub describe this as “the oldest building that is a pub in Tunbridge Wells”, so this seemed sufficiently interesting to pay it a little visit. It’s also got a bar billiards table, although this is sadly out of commission at the moment. Unfortunately, the pub is operated by Greene King, so a hopeless beer choice was near guaranteed.

The pub is in a building dating to the early eighteenth century (and much is later) and it’s likely that it was a pub for most of the period since. For a time it was called the Three Compasses and it gained some notoriety locally when the landlady at the end of the eighteenth century was killed in a fight within the pub.

The staff here were really friendly and welcoming, so there were no issues with the customer service. The staff seemed to be seating everyone outside, with no real choice in that matter, although this suited us to sit in the sun. Well, under the overcast sky to be more precise, but it was still warm. Greene King has though really improved the area outside the front of the pub, which was until a few years ago the pub’s car park.

The advantage in having no-one inside the pub meant that it was easier to take photos and this is a building which has lots of character. Only one customer using the toilets was allowed inside and that process was all well managed.

The beer choice was limited and it still bemuses me that Greene King charge well over twice the price that JD Wetherspoon do for Greene King IPA. I ordered the Beavertown Neck Oil IPA which was satisfactory, although it’s not really what I was hoping for. But, at least it’s not Greene King IPA. Customers seemed to be forced into using the app to order, which is convenient for me, but perhaps not others. There were a fair few food orders going through, with everything looking well presented.

Anyway, the staff were friendly, the pub was clean and it’s an interesting environment. The beer tasted as it should have done, but the drinks range from Greene King is the usual bland affair. However, the pub is well reviewed and so it’s still a location that’s worth visiting and perhaps when I go back the bar billiards league in Royal Tunbridge Wells will be operating once again.