by Steve Barton
Victoria Lounge Bar (Reardons)
Many Potters Bar readers will be familiar with the two great pubs of ‘Good Beer Guide’ quality we are fortunate to have in the centre of Hanley, namely The Coachmakers and The Unicorn, but many may not be aware there is another hostelry of a similar kind just a few minutes walk from both. Together they form a perfect triangle of beer drinking pleasure for the discerning punter and are all very close to the new bus station too.
The Victoria Lounge bar is little gem of a place and forms part of ‘The Reardon’ snooker club. Although quite a new building in the grand scheme of things, opening in November 1983, it was built on the site of an old commercial hotel and a motor workshop in the centre of Hanley and is tucked away (almost out of view) in a tiny side street. It has the look and feel of quality, rather like a gentleman’s club, with plush carpets, smart red leather Chesterfield sofas as well as conventional tables and chairs. Most major sporting events are shown, including of course all snooker matches, on a screen in one corner but the relaxed atmosphere is not disturbed as the sound is discreetly piped around the main lounge area at a sensible volume by several speakers on the walls.
Licensee David Deakes assisted by wife Eileen, has been at the helm since it opening day. Despite David being tee-total, he has a lifelong connection to the licensed trade.
His father was steward at the old Michelin Social Club and he can remember as a child helping his parents during busy times by collecting up empty glasses. Also during the hot summer months he would spend hours in the cellar pouring cold water on towels and sacking wrapped around the barrels to try and keep the beer cool. How times change and David openly admits that the job is much easier these days with modern cooling equipment to keep pub cellars at a constant temperature.
The bar boasts 6 hand pulls with regular Bass and five constantly rotating guests. As a true free house beers, can be sourced from all national brands as well as smaller local and more specialist brewers. David is always open to suggestions put forward for different beers to try.
It can get very busy at lunchtimes where home made food is served everyday 12 till 2 at very reasonable prices. A limited bar snack menu is available at other times. There is a large self contained function room for hire upstairs.
If you are not sure of the exact location of the Victoria Lounge, it’s opposite the entrance the buses use to enter and exit the new bus station. If you are of foot in the town centre, stand at the top of Albion Street looking at the cenotaph with Hanley Town Hall behind you. The road to the right of the Town Hall building is Bagnall Street and Adventure Place is about 50 yards along on the right hand side.
David with wife Eileen and staff always offer a warm welcome and professional service to all customers old and new.
The above was written by Steve Barton for the latest edition of Potters Bar