17 May 2012
The Bear managed to put me at my ease despite being well out of my comfort zone in this part of town! We popped in to pick something up (well, 2 dogs) from a friend, ended up staying for a drink, ended up staying for food, ended up staying for the pub quiz. Decor fits in the reasonably familiar theme of ‘modern traditional’ with old style pub tables/chairs, darkish walls and wood galore, enormous stuffed bear on the bar. There's a reasonable range of house wines (5/6 of each colour) as well as the ales and ciders which you'd expect from a freehouse. The menu has the normal pub stalwarts, steaks, pies etc, which look reasonably appetising but I think the quality was fairly mixed. My onglet was so chewy it was not easy eating but the dogs, who got the lion's share as they bypass molars and swallow things whole, gave it 3 woofs out of 5 for flavour. On the upside, the battered fish was very tasty and the side of fries was enormous, so it was reasonable value for money, although mains falls in the not particularly cheap £12-18ish bracket. Service is relaxed and friendly without compromising efficiency, and bonus points to the very personable quizmaster. The Bear seems to have a fairly loyal following which gives the pub a wonderfully warm, neighbourhood atmosphere in which regulars happily talk to strangers (and their dogs!). I imagine the locals are delighted to have this on their doorstep.