Pub revamps seem to be all the rage for Waterlooville; The Woodpecker has just completed it’s £700,000 revamp (though sadly Jayne and Miles are leaving on 14 June). Next in line for an overhaul and refurbishment is The Plough & Barleycorn Pub, Cowplain which is located on Tempest Avenue.
We have been patrons of the Plough & Barleycorn since 1999. Our first house was in Coralin Grove which is literally a stone’s throw away. We have since moved, but are still located along Tempest Avenue, which makes The Plough & Barleycorn our nearest public house.
Back in 1999 the Plough & Barleycorn was an Eldridge Pope owned pub; I remember tucking into fab food and the landlord and landlady at the time were friendly, accommodating and seemingly quite happy with their lot.
In 2007 the Eldridge Pope chain of pubs was sold to Marstons for £155m, and re-branded shortly afterwards. In 2013 the pub had another (minor) renovation; purple featured heavily, and although a little garish, the beer tasted just as good and hey it’s just a colour scheme!
The Plough & Barleycorn used to be our favourite pub: it’s local (walkable), child friendly plus there is pub garden. As per our review written in 2013 the nosh was great and throughout summer a bouncy castle was inflated for everyday that was sunny for the kids (genius!).
Unfortunately, by the Summer of 2014 all this goodwill had fallen through and we experienced two dreadful visits. I don’t think it is fair to go into all of the detail, suffice to say an uncalled for and aggressive confrontation with the landlord on the first occasion. Then, after deciding to give the pub a second chance, due to it being just around the corner, we had a final and thoroughly deplorable ordeal when we returned a few weeks later for my wife’s birthday (as a side-note, my wife’s birthdays are cursed: in 2013 we went to The Red Lion and that was lousy too).
Complaining to the landlord would have been pointless and we felt blogging about the experiences would have been counter productive. We wrote to Marstons HQ and made the decision not to return to The Plough & Barleycorn until we knew that Marstons had resolved the issues at the pub.
I’ll be honest, we were pretty upset that we wouldn’t be going to our nearest pub, but it was a positive for the cash registers of The Spotted Cow, The Red Lion, and The Fox and Hounds Waterlooville.
In Spring 2015, we found out that the landlord and landlady of The Plough & Barleycorn left the pub in September 2014 for new ‘adventures’. The change of management at the Plough & Barleycorn took us by surprise; it had not been announced or discussed on the Plough & Barleycorn’s Facebook page.
Assistant Manager, Nathan Mott, took over the running of the pub. In November 2014 Nathan became the licensee of The Plough & Barleycorn. The recent reviews on the Plough & Barleycorn’s TripAdvisor page are all very positive.
So what is our favourite family pub in the Waterlooville area that has a garden in which our children can play safely? Well, we don’t currently have an outright favourite, they are all special in their own way and they need to be treasured, used and enjoyed. Use ’em or lose ’em.
An local day out for us is now to venture to a few play parks with our children and then have a pub lunch. We can walk past The Playpark that Time Forgot then off to the Tempest Avenue Play Park at Westbrook, followed by the Cowplain Play Park. Then off to the The Spotted Cow Pub which has a brilliant kids play area and garden, followed by lunch either at The Red Lion in Horndean or Cowplain Social Club (I ought to add the that Cowplain Social Club has a bouncy castle and children’s disco twice a month, but before you get too excited I need to mention that the club is for members only). Going the other way, we can walk to the Springfield Play Park then go to The Fox and Hounds Waterlooville for lunch and my 8 year old son can ‘beat me’ at pool. The Fox and Hounds also has a brilliant kids area and the staff are fab with the children.
The revamp of The Plough & Barleycorn completes on Friday 12th June and they pub will be open from 5pm. You can keep up to date with their progress via their Facebook page and you can sign up to news and offers from their website.
We would like to wish Nathan and his team all the best for the future; I am sure we will drop in for a bite to eat.
In May 2015 we asked Marstons HQ for their comment prior to publishing this story but they did not reply