Tag Archives: Varsity

Nostalgia In Leeds

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Heeeeey!

In a few of my previous entries I have recalled certain venues and places which remind me of my teenage years but there is really only one city which sums up my young princess years – Leeds.

(BTW: When pronouncing Leeds, try and say it in a short, snappy kind of way with a reeeally deep voice with an emphasis on the LE. Leeds, say it again Leeds – Good job!)

So yes Leeds was the first city where I was allowed to go shopping with my Girlfriend’s for the first time. We would get the train, hang around outside the Corn Exchange for a few hours looking super cool (An action that young people still do as it happens – Note to self, they don’t look cool, they look cold and miserable) then we would head to a pub for the remainder of the afternoon.

I have a few friends who went to Uni in Leeds, so we decided to head up to see what the students of 2012 are up to, we hadn’t been for a good 12/13 months and we felt like we were missing out – on what exactly I’m not sure…but oh well. Next stop Leeds!

All the decent pre-club bars in Leeds are about a 10 minute walk away from the train station heading up towards The Light shopping/cinema complex. You have your usual suspects, Wetherspoons, Yates, Woo Woo, and of course what city would be without a Varsity and an Oceana! OOOP and would you look at that, the two just happen to be next to each other. Now that’s what you call convenient!

I tell you what – Varsity has sure changed since the last time we were there. 100% changed for the better, it looked completely different. Loved the different types of lamps over the bar and the leather chairs round a fireplace. Fixed seating had been put on a new terrace and a new dance floor had been put in at the back of the pub.

I liked that there were several different areas, each had a different feel to it and I could get a big group of mates together in one area or have a quiet dinner/drinks with one person in another.

Hands down, my favourite part of the referb is the addition of (what I now call) The Lipstick Bar in the girls toilets. It’s perfect for doing a few touch-ups and the likes.

I ordered a southern fried chicken wrap (minus the chips) which was very yummy, as was the glass of Rose Pinot Grio I washed it down with. Great promotions actually – buy two large glasses and get the rest of the bottle for free. I think that’s a pretty good deal when you spilt the rest of the bottle between two people.  The staff were really attentive and smiley which was a nice change from the grumpy faces from the others on the strip – step it up guys cuz Varsity sure have!

We had a few more drinks before moving on to Oceana, the plan was to move on to another bar but to be honest, we didn’t need to. It was comfy, with good prices and great music too.

Scores on the (royal) doors: 

Food and service:  Service with a smile.
Atmosphere and decoration:  Great new décor, really brought it up to date and stood out in comparison to the other bars in that area
Facilities:  Beautifully clean and pretty!
Talent Radar:  Perhaps…….
Fun Factor: Great to re-visit Varsity and catch up with friends
Perfect for: Pre-clubbing, cheap food,  large parties, small parties too!
In 3 words: Var-Sit-eyyyyy

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Walking in a Wunder Sunderland Part Two!

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Hey

So hopefully you have read my previous blog as this one follows on straight from it. If not, I’ll give you a short run down.  I’ve been to Newcastle, then decided to pop up to Sunderland to see what’s goin’ on. So far I’ve been to Chesters on Chester Rd for a bit of dinner and now we are moving on and ready to paint the town! We all up to speed? GOOOOOOD!

So next stop was Chaplins, on the corner of Stockton Road. This pub had a great old fashion feel to it. Very welcoming, warm and a nice row of regulars round the bar. I had the great honour of having a pint and chat with the bar’s oldest regular. For 49 years he has been coming to Chaplins for his weekly pint! 49 YEARS, that’s nuts!!

Gotta' love the locals! x

Great decor

I wouldn’t say Chaplins is a pub for pre-clubbers however I would really recommend it for anyone wanting a pint while watching the game (the pub has 4 different screens) or some good Sunday dinner. The mix grill looked pretty yummy. I came out of this pub feeling all warm and fluffy, like I had been given a big hug (that sounds weird but I’ll explain) The customers and the staff were both so lovely. If I wasn’t up my eye balls in foundation and wearing mile high heels I would have totally stayed!

Scores on the (royal) doors:  

Food and service:  very promising
Atmosphere and decoration:  loved the wine bottle display. It almost rivals my own!
Facilities:  Full length mirrors always get thumbs up
Talent Radar:  Not really my type
Fun Factor: Fun little stop
Perfect for: Watching the game, dinner time, drinks with the lads
In 3 words: Bright bubble (of) Happiness!

Next stop on to The Ivy House

When we were hunting around for good pubs to go to, The Ivy House came up a few times. One for its live music, two for its pool and three because it had a great indie music bar theme to it. How can you say no to that!

Most of my friends are smokers (naughty naughty guys, tut tut) so I was forced to sit in the cold beer garden which – to be fair was really cute – filled with fairy lights and posters. Loved the posters round the bar and rocked up just in time to hear the band play their first song.
I Heart Beer Garden

I’m RUBBISH at pool but decided to flaunt my…erm…”skills” with a nice group of boys and alas lost, terribly, but I meant to do that – clearly!

Scores on the (royal) doors:  

Food and service:  Pub doesn’t serve food
Atmosphere and decoration:  heavy music theme.
Facilities: great beer garden and pool tables
Talent Radar:  A few floppy haired fitties
Fun Factor: losing to pool is always a fun experience!
Perfect for: Chilling out with a good track, Cheeky JD and Coke in the Sun, live music
In 3 words: Quirky, relaxed atmosphere.

Next stop Varsity Sunderland. As usual Varsity NEVER cease to show me a good time. The crowd was a little older than the other Varsity’s I have been to in the past. I bagged a hottie though. (Massive joke, let’s not annoy the Boyf!) We stayed in Varsity, dancing the night away till the wee early hours of the morning!

I had a great time in Sunderland and feel we picked the best pubs Sunderland had to offer. Do challenge me though if you don’t believe me!

xxPP

Party at the Pub – Barracuda Party

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Hey Party Go-ers

I had the MASSIVE honour of being invited to the Party at the Pub (Barracuda) Christmas Party! “A Christmas Party at this time of year?! ” I hear you cry, well to be honest that was my response as well, but the hospitality industry and Christmas kind of go hand in hand and now the streamers, fake snow and baubles have cleared, I guess they can all breathe and cut loose.

I have un-knowingly blogged about a number of Barracuda pubs including the whole Varsity chain, The Alchemist in London, The Albi in Manchester, The Capitol in Bolton and even The Abbey in Liverpool.  So when my invitation for the Barracuda Pub Managers Ball popped up I grabbed it with both hands and ran up to Loughborough.

The party had a Hollywood theme to it and I liked the little touches such as the giant Oscars, casino tables and the film prop statues. You know what else I liked? The nearly free bar, what a result! What with a dedicated Bacardi Mojito bar, a free for all bar and the shot/J-bomb waitresses, I’ve never had so much alcohol in front of me. Surprisingly I took the sensible option and only had a few drinks (HONESTLY, I was actually really good!!).

Fully enjoyed the Barracuda Pub Group Awards, and it was nice to see that everyone’s hard work was being acknowledged and rewarded.

Some bright spark decided a foam machine would be a GREAT idea. Note to self, don’t mix new suede shoes and foam together. I don’t know why I bothered doing my hair, one minute in that stuff was enough to strip nearly half my make – up off and de-fluffed my hair. I have to say I do love a good foam party though, it brought me back to my Uni days!

Me and Ian from I am Vip

I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.

Hello Bacardi Bar!

Winner from the Barracuda Awards 2011

I made a friend! Awwww "Friend"

Im in there somewhere (Middle right-ish)Blurh Jager-Bombs.

Scores on the (royal) doors:  

Food and service:  Handy hot dog stand to soak up the Barcadi
Atmosphere and decoration:  Great fun!!
Facilities:  Great big venue and lots of areas to chat or dance.
Talent Radar:  Can’t name names, they might be reading!!!!
Fun Factor: HUGE servings of fun!
Perfect for: Pre-clubbing, cheap food, large parties, sports. Would def return for a student night.
In 4 words: PARTY AT THE PUB!

Leicester, Take Two…ACTION!

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Huzzah dear readers! x

Given that my last jaunt to Leicester was so fantastically awesome, it would be incredibly rude of me to turn down an invitation to hang with those crazy Leicester students again. This time my invitation was from the second Varsity on London road.

Expecting a heavy night, I packed my berocca, my heels and a toothbrush and whizzed up to Leicester. Talk about timing, it would so happen that my visit coincided with the end of exam celebrations, I couldn’t have asked for a better excuse to round up the students of Leicester and De Montfort, and boy were these guys ready to party!

Even at 12pm, hoards of relived, blurry eyed and smiley student piled through the doors of Varsity looking for food and most importantly…booooze! The J-bombs started to flow and even got a cheeky few passed my way. Yes I know 1pm is a little early to start but, whilst in Rome an’ all! An army of burgers and curly fries made their way out of the kitchen to feed the students.

I got talking to one very lively (to put it lightly) group of chemists. Well, one thing leads to another and I ended up challenging one boy to a Man Vs (Varsity) Food!

Mission (Should you choose to accept it) “Consume a Dirty Dogs Dinner in less than 5 minutes, with your hands tied behind your back!”

Granted, that doesn’t sound too bad, well hang on and let me explain what the Dirty Dogs Dinner actually is. Imagine a mountain of sausages, a big pile of chips smothered in Heinz Baked Beans and smoked bacon pieces, all served in….(wait for it) an actual steel dog bowl! Doesn’t that sound beautifully glamorous! Unsurprisingly it wasn’t! Seeing the poor bloke bobbing his head in and out of the dog bowl, we didn’t think to cut up his sausages beforehand which made watching the whole gut busting experience a little gross. Soon he had the whole bar including the staff cheering him along and he managed the dish in 5.30 minutes, so close, dang and blast!
Surprisingly, I lost my appetite for lunch and dinner!

"Hi Im Jonny Knoxville and Welcome to Man Vs Food!

On to the nightlife! Shots, J-bombs, pints, glasses of wine and bottles all £1! The Varsity Pound Party had begun. The tunes were rolling out and the crowds were rolling in to join in the party. The upstairs section of the bar had been booked out for an international students party and the downstairs was split between the cool kids at the back of the bar on the sofas playing pool and the rest of the nutters throwing out some choice moves on the dance floors.

I couldn’t have a night out in Leicester without visiting my buddies over at The Reynard and Varsity on Friar Road. (Read my previous Leicester blog here) I met my future Party Prince, Jef (DJOneEf), and sat and had a nice drink with the guy at The Reynard who told me about the success of their own student social parties on Wednesday, do I hear another invitation?! I think so!!

Scores on the (royal) doors: 

Food and service: Doggie-licious?! I did actually share a dirty dog bowl, and with proper cutlery, it’s pretty darn good!
Atmosphere and decoration:  Big and airy, mixture of sofas and booths along the side.
Facilities: HUGE girl’s bathroom!
Talent Radar:  If you love chemists with a face full of beans, then YES!
Fun Factor: As always, Leicester rocks it.
Perfect for: Filling your tummy and rocking out on the dance floor.
In 3 words: Student hang out.

Read other reviews for Varsity London Road here at View Leicester, Inapub.co.uk, BBC.co.uk and Qype

See you on Friday for my Newcastle/Sunderland Tour Part 1 through 3 

The Vineyard – Islington

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The Vineyard 

I’m on a constant quest for the best possible party venues, up to the point now where my friends, colleagues and relies are getting a little annoyed with me. However I stumbled on a little gem yesterday. I would say The Vineyard is one of London’s hidden treasures. You can seek it out in-between Angel and Islington/Highbury.

The staff have captured the perfect Christmas atmosphere. A small Christmas tree stall had been set up in the entrance of the beer garden/courtyard so as you wa

lked through to enter the pub all I could smell was pine mixed with spicy oranges and berries form the homemade wreaths.

The rest of the bar was like a scene out of a Christmas book or film, log fires, Christmas trees, mulled wine, dinners drinking merrily wearing crooked paper hats and white and cream fairy lights twinkling and tinsel lining the bar shelves. It was so so lovely!

Id brought my party crew with me to The Vineyard for a spot of dinner; I ordered a steak sandwich and chips, the other diners scoffed down club sandwiches, burgers and steak frites. Next time I visit I’m defo going to have the garlic and bacon pasta, sounds very yummy!

Such a shame that it was raining otherwise I have liked to get wrapped and sit outside with a glass of cider or 2. Pergolas were used to separate the courtyard with benches, plastic moulded “sofas” and chairs. I bet in the summer it’s a real sun trap. Mirrors were on the walls on either side of the bricked walls which looked cute and made the space seem a lot bigger than it was.

I really enjoyed my night in The Vineyard; it’s a cute little pub with filled to the brim with character.

Scores on the (royal) doors:  

Food and service:  Service with a smile
Atmosphere and decoration:  merry and bright, tra la la la laaaa
Facilities:  Old white porcelain tiles made an impact.
Talent Radar:  Too wrapped in my Christmas wonderland to take notice actually.
Fun Factor: Yeeeeeah!
Perfect for: Quiet drinks, topping up your festive spirit, good hearty food, mulled wine
In 3 words: New Years EVVVVVVE!

Check out other reviews from View London, Party Offers, Qype or Yelp

Adventures in Bolton

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I came across a great quote on my travels this week; it was on a poster for a local bar. I didn’t catch the name of the bar but remember the saying;

 “A pub for romancers, dancers, soul boys, beat kicks, young go getters and should know betters”

Now it’s not often that I watch football, in fact it’s never, that it is if I got my way all the time. Alas that is seldom the case.

After spending a few days in Manchester I popped across to Bolton for a catch up with some old friends, a few not so cheeky drinks and a spot of dinner then it was a case of…see where the night takes us.

We started in The Capitol which is right next to the church, which may I say in the night light looked very pretty. So The Capitol…what can I say about it? It reminded me a lot of the Varsity bars ive been too before which made sense considering I was told very soon after making that statement that it indeed did used to be a Varsity. It would seem that im drawn to Varsity’s!!

The Capitol had a few similar traits of The Alibi that I visited in my last blog. They had a gazebo type thing in the entrance where there were 20 or so light bulbs hanging down. I liked it, thought it was a good effect. Upstairs was a large seating area but there was a semi hidden seating area to one side of the bar down a small step, I think if someone wanted privacy or a quieter bit of the bar, that would have been perfect.

Drinks were cheap, and fresh cocktails were flowing but I opted for a glass of white wine, chilled perfectly and soon I became perfectly chilled too!! It would just so happen that the football was showing so what was meant to be a nice catch up with friends ended into a screaming competition with the TV screens (of which there were 3 or 4). Another – shall we say lively – bunch was on the table near us and seemed to be enjoying the football too. Good job their team won!

Feeling a little peckish we ordered a few bar snacks, Jim Bean and sesame seed chicken bites and chicken tikka skewers. The Jim Bean bites were AMASING, really sticky and with the slight hint of Jim Bean. The tikka skewers were good too but a bit too curry-ish for my liking. Drinks were nice and cheap and all bombs were on promo for the night. Bombs away!

So after Capitol came the next pub…The Dragonfly.  This was your typical pub in my opinion, good crowd of customers, friendly staff up for a bit of banter and a warm atmosphere. Just as we got there a huge pink limo rocked up and out came 20 pink cladded girls on a hen party, their party looked fun, and the bar had created a little area for them and decorated it with balloons and confetti and the likes. About 15 mins before we left the DJ hit his stride and was throwing out some dance floor classics, I hope the hen and her chicks had a good time.

Scores on the (royal) doors: 

Food and service:  Jim Bean chicken all the way!

Atmosphere and decoration:  Great northern atmosphere in both pubs.

Facilities:  Very cosy and comfy.

Talent Radar:  not too shabby, the hen party looked awesome; I hope Bolton locked up their sons.

Fun Factor: not too wild but had a great time anyway.

Capitol Perfect for: Sports, shots-a-hoy, light bar snacks, a great warm-up bar.

Dragonfly Perfect for: dance floor boogie, ale, hen and stag parties.

In 3 words: Friendly Northern Atmosphere.

Aberystwyth – Small Town, Big Heart

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Hey!

As you have gathered, I’m a busy bunny, I’m constantly travelling about visiting friends, partying or away with work but every now again the Party Princess needs to hang up her heels, throw on some slippers (granted sparkly multi glitter slippers) and just sit and breathe.

FINALLY I got the chance this week. Those who read my previous blog about Brighton know that I love being by the beach, I lived in Eastbourne for 3 years and miss the sound of seagulls yelling my ears and, as my other previous blog about Cardiff says, I’ve started a brief love affair with Wales. So what do you get when you cross the seaside with Wales? No not a Welsh Seagull but – Aberystwyth! And what a lovely little town it is, quiet, slow, cosy and I could feel myself instantly relax as the train ran through the open countryside, not a car, building or corner shop in sight. Heaven.

Now what could be better than walking around in the cold sea air wrapped in in coats, scarves and hats? Walking into a warm pub and warming up with a hot chocolate and a pub dinner. Surprisingly that is EXACTLY what I did. I found a cute little pub which I thought was called The White Horse Hotel, turns out it’s a been converted into a Varsity. It looked nothing at all like the other Varsity’s I’ve been to in the past, couldn’t be further from them actually.

 

Bay windows had become cute little seating areas, the original wooden flooring and the ceiling mouldings gave the place a really cute old-ey world-ey feeling to it. All it needed was a giant open fire place and a book shelf and I would have been in some old Sherlock story from the 1880s

After a round of hot chocolates and a Jim Bean burger – which may I say one of the tastiest burgers I’ve had in a long long time – I started to wind down.

Before I knew it I was chatting to half the bar! The staff were so friendly, didn’t seem stressed and seemed to be happy to be at work which considering some of the bars I’ve been to in the past – that’s a massive achievement. The locals and regulars joined in our conversation and what felt like minutes became hours and soon the students came in looking for cheap bargains before heading out again. The staff told me that normally on a Wednesday the bar is filled to the rafter for sport social and I was lucky it was such a quiet night. I would be interested to go back and see what it’s like on a busy night.

The bar soon filled up, the music got louder but my bed was calling me. A few cheeky glasses of wine later I wrapped up my conversations and headed back to my hotel. Fantastic little break and surprisingly it was Varsity that help me relax which is funny as they are the ones I normally end up dancing about and having wild crazy nights in. I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover!

Scores on the (royal) doors:  

Food and service:  couldn’t have asked for better staff.

Atmosphere and decoration:  Warm, cute and downright lovely.

Facilities:  liked the faux fur on the stools.

Talent Radar:  Sweet older guys up for a nice chat – if that’s your type of course.

Fun Factor: different kind of fun to what I’m normally looking for but fun none the less.

Perfect for: Afternoon tea break, dinner after walking on the beach, cheaper than average prices.

In 3 words: quiet pub – big heart (I know its 4 but hey!)

Check out other reviews and info on Fancyapint.com or Qype