Red Lion

Bar, Eatery

1 Mill Lane
Godalming, Surrey, England
United Kingdom

01483 415207 | map

View: Place Reviews
Reviews by TheLongBeachBum:
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
TheLongBeachBum from California

2.71/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3 | service: 1.5 | selection: 3

BA RichLightWeight and I had amassed visits to six fine Country Pubs set in the splendid Surrey Hills, an area of outstanding natural beauty. Sadly after leaving our last stop, the Jolly Farmer in Bramley, the Sun had long gone and darkness had fallen to fill the void. A light chill hung in the air as we fiddled around for ages trying to get our lone Torch to work, we would need it to traverse the dark woods and country trails that would lead us across and down into Godalming, following the Canal at times.

The bothersome Torch was fixed, and held out such that made it safely into Godalming with little incident yet rather muddied, but definitely ready for our next Pint.

The Red Lion has a cream colored two storey frontage with red painted window frames, a characterful Red Lion swinging sign and even a large Red Lion motif set high into the exterior wall above left over the front door. Yes, I think we knew we were at the Red Lion.

Inside, it was quiet. Seems we entered the Saloon part, apart from a pair of young mail order Ting-Ting Macadangdangs brides sat with their older balding Mr. Dudley’s, we were the only ones in here. Nice interior is warm and welcoming, the bar is set in between Saloon and Public Bar; you can get access by walking down a hallway at the back of the bar, which also offers access to the Toilets. The Red Lion has many historical connections, and old Photos of the Red Lion and Godalming litter the walls. The ceiling is literally covered with Pump Clips from past Guest beers and there are even hop vines to complement the beery them too.

…then it wall went pear shaped. Five Beer Engines offered no sign at all of the regular beer, Harvey’s Bitter, and the ever changing range of four fine craft brews were nowhere to be seen. Moreover, it only offered beers from such well known large regional's like as Marston's and Greede King, etc. in fact I forget what the other beers were, but not one was worthy of note. This was the first big let down for both of us. The second was the “Southern Sharon” that served us; seemingly far too busy playing with her nails to even notice us at first. Passing on the Cask beers we ordered a couple of Belgian beers, Sharon slammed a Pint glass down with these…oh dear, oh dear….we asked for some “proper” glasses and she duly obliged with some serious finger pointing towards the type of glasses that we needed.

After sitting down near the noisy Ting-Tongs, RichLigtWeight was puzzling to work out what the hell had happened to the usually excellent beer range here when he noticed a poster advertising a beer festival. Some questions at the bar had us eventually dispensed with some torn bits of paper with some scribbled writing on it and a pointed out back. Glad we asked. A stillage was set up in the back yard with some 40 or so Firkins neatly arranged and labeled. Unfortunately no-one else was here and we were not sure how to get served. Then “Southern Sharon’s” Brother turned up, “Kevin”, he served us but soon disappeared. The Beer Festival range was good but the whole thing was very poorly managed and staffed, it seemed like the Red Lion was poorly staffed, despite the lack of Customers and the staff themselves knew nothing at all about the beers. We had a couple of halves here, the quality was OK.

RichLightWeight spoke very highly of the Red Lion, so we both had high hopes for one of our last Pints of the day. We were both let down. The beer range and service have obviously suffered. Since I got back to the US, I find out that the Red Lion was sold in October 2006 to Punch Taverns and that the Tenants have been replaced with Managers. Oh dear!! This definitely explains the situation that RichLightWeight and I experienced and will probably mean that this place could well be nuked from BeerFly if future reports confirm this.

A lovely Pub, but the average Cask beer range on the bar, brain dead staff and lack of promotion for the Beer Festival which meant that we came very close to missing it was a sorry state of affairs. Even when we asked and finally discovered the well hidden Beer Festival out back, which was a nice surprise, it was short lived. The service whilst out here was dreadful, as other people that joined us soon found out to their chagrin also. Despite the poor Cask Ale range, the staff really let this place down. Maybe it was a bad night but they really need to sort this out. The bottled Belgium offering is passable and rescues a 3.0 for selection (this excludes the Beer Festival as it was temporary). If it had not been for the Beer Festival, I would have probably walked from here.

I hope it gets back to its former best, and soon.

Last Visit: Sunday 29th October, 2006.

Nov 13, 2006
Red Lion in Godalming, Surrey, GB2, United Kingdom
Place rating: 2.71 out of 5 with 1 ratings