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I love the Wetherspoon pubs! I have the pleasure of living in the middle of London, but still have access to the country in a matter of half an hour. I find the Wetherspoon pubs of the City of London especially appealing. They still retain their old charm and are steeped in history. I think the best one I have found so far is the Hamilton Hotel, just outside Liverpool Street station in Bishopsgate EC1. I remember when it actually used to be a hotel, when city gents & tourists would stay over on business or a weekend away. I'm glad to say, its not changed a bit. The hotel foyer has been transformed into a bar, with lavish woodwork to match the rich renaissance style decor which still remains. The place is huge, sumptuous decorative windows go from floor to ceiling.It has an upper floor connected by a grande winding staircase where it takes you to the restaurant area and yet another smaller bar. While you dine, you are graced by golden angels looking down on you from the ceiling and a rather splendid crystal chandelier. Its like going back in time, and one feels rather underdressed in such a rich and elaborate setting.
The food is as wonderful as ever. This particular Wetherspoon pub is adequately staffed, having to cope with the onslaught of busy city life where workers come to lunch and travellers and tourists take time out to enjoy London life. Its even open for Sunday lunch, where normally the city shuts down for the weekend.
Unfortunately, staffing does seem to be a problem for some of the other Wetherspoon pubs. The Walnut Tree in Leytonstone, London E11 has one such particular problem. This pub has been purpose built, there was a gymnasium on the site before.
The decor is wonderful, reflecting Leytonstone's history and is warm and inviting.Unfortunately, each time I have been there I have either had to wait a minimum of 45 minutes for a meal, or , as what happened this Monday afternoon, I was told no food was being served until the kitchen staff said so! I was so disgusted that I wrote a letter of complaint to Wetherspoon head office. I am awaiting their reply.
My only complaint about these pubs is the method by which you have to order food. Its a bit of a free-for-all as you take your turn at the bar to place an order, and if its busy, there can be a very long wait.
All in all, these are wonderful pubs. They are good value for money, the portions are massive! (try the treacle sponge and you'll know what I mean!) the drinks are cheap, and they have bags of charm.
Good and enjoyable review, showing a passion in the chain that I share too.
One complaint with the Hamilton Hall though is that is full of Suits during the week and then drunken football fans of a weekend. Not one for the family outing.
phil2001 20.05.2002 21:01
We have two of these pubs in Leicester, they're not that bad here. - Phil