Monday, March 10, 2008

The Victualling Office Tavern

What can I say about this pub? Nothing bad that's for sure although it almost certainly wouldn't be everybody's cup of tea. Small, perfectly formed and tucked away all the done the end, but not at the very end, of Stonehouse. Almost, but not quite, next door to Royal William Yard.

Why did we choose to go there? Well after the frankly rather safe and predictable football pubs we had been to so far it was time to get off the beaten track as it were. There is also a preponderance of pubs in Stonehouse, Devonport and the City Centre so we have decided to go there every other time. Once we had settled on Stonehouse I chose this one because it used to sponsor Barry Hayles ~ and let's face it one good turn deserves another!!

I'd only been to this pub once before but I remember the occasion quite well. If you are a Plymouth-based paintballer then you will probably know Steve Brien fom the Sparkwell Paintball place. Well I used to work with him years ago and when he left there was a party at the VOT. There was no late opening in those days (it was the night that Croatia beat Germany 3-0 in The World Cup (so Summer '98?) and he reckoned the VOT was a good place for a guaranteed lock-in and so had a do in the back bar, used as a restaurant now, there. Since then little has changed. In fact it is one of those places that has probably never changed and, to be honest, I hope it never does. It has a small framed display of nautical knots adorning one wall and horse brasses on another. I wouldn't go so far as to say the pub had developed a theme but given it's name and it's proximity to Royal William Yard the decorations were at least a nod to the days when Stonehouse would have been a place teeming with horses dragging loads to and fro the various ships that were loaded up there. To be honest despite the industrial nature of much of Stonehouse that could not apply less to this sleepy little corner and the days of bustling industry have long since departed probably, and I'm guessing here, along with most of the locals who once would have made this the hub of a busy and thriving community.

My only grump would be with the bar maid who was working at the time. She did not want he photo taken, which is fair enough, but she was a bit on the touchy side and to be honest was a bit lacking in the sense of humour department. No such problems with the Landlady though who was happy to be pictured dsepite having only just walked through the door having done a spot of shopping. "I don't look my best" she apologised rather sweetly but we aren't here to judge people on their looks alone ~ who would be so shallow? Sadly I forget their names which is rather unfair of me, really.

It seems to have moved with the times though. It had a large screen TV showing the 6 Nations Rugby while we were there and the beer was good and reasonably priced. There was also a good selection of meals available on the menu and the Lamb Shanks were road-tested and found to agreeably good. There was even a couple of real ales on. Doom Bar was one. I forget what the one one was now (I think there was another anyway).

A quick scout about soon revealed a small but adequate beer garden with a sea view!!

As we were about to leave a couple arrived with a small dog, so dogs were obviously welcome and, on enquiry, we discovered that kids were welcome too.

It is a proper honest, little boozer and if I lived locally one I would be happy to call my local. Give it a try one day. You won't be disappointed but if you are looking for somewhere that will add to the pre-match buzz then this just is not the place ~ a bit too quiet and a bit too far away from the ground; look on the bright side though ~ you'll have no problems getting served and a #34 bus will avoid parking problems and take you from door-to-door (almost)!! It's worth noting that a Day Rider bus ticket costs only £3 so from your house to Royal Parade, thence on to the VOT, up to HP, back into town and home again all for £3 ~ you have to say that's good value!!

Next: The Butcher's Arms.


At 9:05 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the vot well,i had a great time there,and realy nice locals,in fact i was the landlord there for a year in 2000,and was the one to put the big screen in aswell,i think ofthe vot nearly every day as i have a painting of it in my hall way.


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