This was my second visit to the Hop and Vine in Hull, and it’s fair to say that my first visit last year impressed me. I can almost hear Nathan muttering about the bloody Hop and Vine given how many times I mention it, but it was my pub of the year for 2019. And Tony kindly did an interview for me a few weeks back.
So, I went back with two other people and, to be honest, I wasn’t sure whether the engagement of my first visit could be repeated. Perhaps I was just fortunate the first time and it might all be a let-down. More on this later.
This is what Richard ordered, a bottle of mead. It’s not something that I’d think to order, but he enjoyed it. I ordered a rather lovely dark beer, but, enough of that, let’s move briefly onto the food.
The pork pies….
And the cheese-board, for a bargain £5.
I’m going to speed over the subject of food and drink, not because they were bad, indeed they were impeccable as ever. The choice of drinks was wide and carefully thought through, whether that was with the whiskies, the beers, the ciders or the gins. To me, the main part of this visit was seeing if the customer service was as good as I remembered it. And – it was.
When we entered, and without the customers knowing who was coming in, someone moved to another table to make space for us. This is a very good start in any pub. But here, the customers were speaking to each other, whether they were locals or newcomers, and my plan to visit for an hour got ripped up as we stayed for over four hours. I’m not going to drone on about this pub again, it’s clear I think it’s the best pub I’ve been to in the country. It has community written all over it, it’s marvellous.
All I’ll say is that I’ve no idea how a landlord can build up an atmosphere where customers feel welcome and, most importantly, they make other customers welcome as well. This pub in a cellar has an almost undefinable quality and only twice in the hundreds (probably thousands) of pubs I’ve been to have I experienced this level of engagement and both times it’s at this pub.
This pub is as near perfection as I could want it to be. I will be back next year. And, to anyone visiting Hull, just pop in, I’m confident nearly everyone will be pleased that they did.