The Reardon

Bar & Dining, Hospitality, Snooker

News And Events


Part One

From the off let me say I’m not intending to target any particular establishments in my quest to catalogue the public houses of Stoke-on-Trent. However comments on my previous post from the landlords of two near neighbour pubs have starkly illustrated the reasoning behind my starting this journey – success and failure. The former is not always due to good fortune, nor the latter to bad judgement.

So this and part two are devoted to two such pubs. One, the Victoria Lounge, is thriving while the second, The Smithfield is struggling in the market. Both inhabit a similar portion of Hanley, close to the new bus station and the hyped Smithfield 1 development. Between them is the A5008 Potteries Way. a strip of concrete that encloses the town. Always busy, it’s a barrier between the Smithfield and the City Centre, whereas the Victoria Lounge lies inside its boundary. Surrounding the Victoria is the Victoria Hall, bus station and museum, the Smithfield has a more residential neighbourhood, though peopled by a large Asian population and elderly residents.

Maybe I’m being oversimplistic in this, I make no claims to a knowledge of economics and there are locations in the town of Hanley that are supremely located, yet still derelict.

Time to move this to the first of the pubs, the Victoria Lounge. I want to hear the voice of the people for this project, those connected to the establishment, whether owner, landlord or regular. Thanks to Mandie contacting me, I got to speak to David Deakes, her father and the man who owns and built the Victoria Lounge.


The first thing to note is that the Lounge is a purpose built establishment rather than a longer standing building. The Lord Mayor Dougie Brown officially opened it on 11 November 1983. While the 80s were a time of greater affluence and growth, any investment of this scale came with a risk. The man that made this decision would have to be very brave indeed!

David is a very affable chap, a sparkle in his eyes when the subject falls to what is obviously his pride and joy. As you walk into the Victoria Lounge, you notice the warmly lit and well appointed interior, then the number of people enjoying a lunch with the conversation bubbling away. No jukebox, a single large screen TV and the mandatory slot machine hidden out of direct view. Nothing interferes with the ambience of the lounge.

David began his business interests in Hanley with the snooker hall, on Tontine Street, opposite the old Post Office. As the numbers using the amenities increased, a waiting list of members built up, it was time to move upwards and diversify. I wanted to know why someone would ignore the apparently easier route of taking on a tenancy and go for a complete demolish, build and promotion. With a smile, David told me he had no intention of working for someone else, it was going to be all from his own hard work with no-one else taking the glory and that is obviously where the pride comes in. For 3 decades, through growth and deflation, the Lounge remained strong and popular.

I got a sense of the strength of David’s conviction with his plans and the support from his wife and family in building the business. No fly by night hit and hope approach to get things running, a strong plan and determination to make things work, years of hard work to get established all make up the man. Where I pondered the risks involved, David mitigated these, ensured that they would minimise risk in going forward and truth be told, has established a wonderful environment that customers love to visit and his family love to be associated.

A strong, determined man, but also a very approachable man. At an age I’d seriously consider putting my feet up on some distant shore, he’s still involved in the Victoria Lounge and after the time and sweat put into it, I’m not surprised. His daughter Mandie handles the day to day running with a deft touch, unruffled by the stream of customers. I’d say the Victoria Lounge is in good hands for decades to come!

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David Deakes and his daughter Mandie – warmly welcoming everyone to the Victoria Lounge.

While other pubs have a longer history, it’s rare to talk to someone whose history flows from the beginning of that history and still continues to this day!


Campaign for Real Ale – Pub of the Month

Camera - Potteries Branch

July Pub of the Month

The Campaign for Real Ale Potteries Branch

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