The second pub of the evening on our little tour was the JD Wetherspoon operated Kings Fee which they opened in 2001. The building (which is architecturally of moderate interest, although it’s not listed) was previously used as a Kwik Save supermarket, but as for the pub name, I’ll quote from the JD Wetherspoon web-site:
“The name of this pub recalls the early years in the history of Hereford. The central area around the cathedral was the Bishop’s Fee (or property) and the rest (within the city walls) was the King’s Fee. Hereford’s ancient cathedral is dedicated to the city’s patron saint Ethelbert, the Saxon king murdered at the behest of King Offa on the outskirts of Hereford in AD794. During Offa’s reign, the city expanded. The extended area became known as the King’s Fee, the eastern part including the ancient priory of Saint Guthlac.”
Surprisingly to me, given that this is a city centre location, it’s on pretty much the cheapest price band for the chain and is offering the ‘Top Plates, Low Rates’ menu. Those prices for breakfast really are hard for anyone else to compete with.
It’s a sizeable pub and it was relatively busy on the Saturday night that we visited. It was certainly quite vibrant, but the service was fast and the team members seemed friendly. It is rather difficult to picture this as a supermarket, they’ve done a decent job at converting the building to become a viable pub.
I went for a pint of the Devon Dumpling from Bays Brewery of Paignton, a well kept golden ale which was hoppy although didn’t quite have the depth of flavour that I would have expected from a 5.1% beer. Jonathan was already on double whiskies, a drink that is affordable in JD Wetherspoon at least.
The reviews of the venue are fairly average for the chain, I noted one customer had an interesting experience:
“Food tastes like the carpet looks. Waiting for service had to endure a conversation between a man chewing straw and wearing wellies and someone wearing a cravat, sunglasses and desert boots, thinking he was Rambo. I thought I was on a film set!”
Certainly sounds like they have some customers with character and I can’t say that there’s much wrong with that. Also, the above photo shows the carpet, it’s hard to imagine the food tasting like that.
“I asked for mixed berries Stowford press and she started pouring normal, I then notified her that I asked for mixed berries and I arrived at an very abrupt no you didn’t, to which a few times I assured I asked for mixed berries and she was adamant and very argumentative that I hadn’t asked for what I know I ordered to then she gave in and muttered ” for fuxks sake” under her breath. Disgusting service to what seems like a nice pub.”
If this is true, and there are always two sides, it doesn’t sound like the most optimal of customer service engagements. Certainly a bit of drama for anyone watching though. I’m impressed that they gave the pub two stars out of five in their review given that.
“We came to the kings fee for a friends birthday, the staff were extremely rude. We arrived at 12 and by 5 they were refusing to serve us any more drinks – due to us being rowdy. Understandable that we may have been a little loud, but, this is a pub not a library.”
I rather feel I can tell what has gone on here….
“Refused another drink because we are Welsh.”
I suspect there’s more to this story, but sadly no more details were provided.
Anyway, I digress once again after looking at the reviews of the venue. We were visiting Good Beer Guide pubs in Hereford, and some other interesting looking independent venues, but this was also worth a quick visit as they had a small real ale festival going on. No issues here, but there are other pubs in the town which have a bit more character to them.