March – Ye Olde Griffin Hotel

This is a grand former coaching hotel and it is much larger than I had expected, quite a quirky building. It’s operated by Stonegate, who purchased it from Bramwell Pubs when they went under a few years ago. Bramwell had commenced a large refurbishment of the premises, with an upgrade to the hotel rooms upstairs, and some modernisation throughout. CAMRA note that there are rumours that the pub is haunted and if anywhere does have ghosts, this is the type of pub that would.

The grand interior of the hotel and the listed buildings records note that there are elements from the sixteenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (the side wings were added during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries), so it has been most changed over the years.

I looked through some old newspapers and I quite liked the ad in 1900 that the hotel placed, looking for “a sharp, active boy, about 14, wanted as a billiard marker”. What kind of job is that? Sounds a good one though.

There were six real ale options on, again for today, surprisingly generic. I opted for the Sea Fury from Sharp’s as I’ve never had that and it was fine, clean tastes, appropriate temperature and all that. I’d have rather had a darker beer though, the choice was a bit all too similar for my liking. Anyway, I ordered my half a pint and was told that it was £2.70. I must admit to saying “£5.40 for a pint of Sea Fury?” in an unimpressed manner and the staff member remembered he had poured me half a pint eight seconds before and told me that it was £1.35. That pricing is very reasonable indeed.

What an awesome menu for anyone going in on their own. Really well thought through that is. Anyway, onto TripAdvisor.

“We advertise on booking.com /laterooms etc that at the weekend we are open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays at 2am , we even supply earplugs to the rooms.”

Someone complained about the noise and I think it’s fair to say that if you want to operate a hotel, having loud music until 2am is beyond brave. The hotel has some of the poorest ratings in the town, it’s not exactly a surprise reading this management response.

“Really sorry for your nights sleep but we can’t do any more to inform customers of the weekend noise and looking back over TRIPADVISOR it is mentioned on numerous occasions.”

And another poor review about the noise. It could be suggested there’s an obvious thing that the pub could do about the loud music that they play until 2am… And I’m even slightly humoured that the hotel is surprised that this is a recurrent problem on TripAdvisor.

“All rooms have secondary glazing and we offer earplugs.”

It’s almost as if there’s a theme here in the reviews that the hotel has to reply to….

“When we arrived at ye olde griffin car park we greeted by the sight of a man urinating openly and we saw his private parts too , don’t think that was necessary as there where men’s toilets inside the pub,”

At least this customer had a different issue.

During my visit the pub was having problems with some customers who were being a little too exuberant. By ‘having problems’, I mean that they weren’t doing anything about it. But, ignoring the near riot going on, the pub was otherwise clean, comfortable and there were plenty of quiet areas to hide in. The prices, once queried, were cheap and the food being brought out seemed fine, with the food being well reviewed in the pub.