The Catherine Wheel, Henley-on-Thames, June 2018

Is this the worst Wetherspoon’s in the country? In my experience so far, yes. We arrived on a Saturday lunchtime, and it was reasonably busy, but not totally packed out, a bit of a surprise as the World Cup is on and they were showing it on their various long in the tooth TVs with BBC News idents burnt into the screens.

It’s a massive pub/hotel, big enough to have two separate bar areas. They serve mostly different beers too, save for the flavourless big lager company “lagers” which appear on both bars. That looked like a good sign.

It was not. At the right hand bar (as you enter), three pints were ordered. First one looked like chicken soup (and wasn’t a NEIPA), so it was rejected. The next one was full of nasty floating lumps. No thanks. The third one was at least clear, but very musty.

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My pint came from the left hand bar. JDW Devils Backbone Four Point Blanc, a session IPA hopped with Hallertau Blanc Hops brewed exclusively for JD Wetherspoon at Hook Norton Brewery. Again, it was not the greatest, this pub really need to go on a course to learn how to look after cask beer.

Food wise, well, it’s a Spoons, so it’s the same food that you get in every one. Ham and cheese panino with a smattering of chips. Fodder, nothing more.

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There are so many great looking pubs in Henley. We opted for the tried and tested Spoons, because they are usually reliable. Today that was not the case. Next time we will research in advance, and choose before we go, so we don’t make the same mistake.

Normally I would tag in a venue on Twitter when posting, but since they rather bizarrely shut down all of their social media accounts in April (definitely something dodgy behind it rather than their lame excuses), I can’t do that. So I think I’ll tag it with #avoidthisspoons, because that’s what you should do. According to TripAdvisor reports, the attached hotel is pretty awful too.

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