The Grapes was once a pub that was a bit rough round the edges, always somewhere you went to because you couldn’t be bothered to walk as far as the Barrels. The locals were a bit on the unsavoury side and the drinks weren’t up to much (although they did serve the now-classic GL). That was then.
Nowadays this not-long refurbished city centre pub is a bit more of a sophisticated place to be (that’s ‘sophisticated’ in local terms, where the ‘highest class’ of place is that bar on St. Owen Street, full of the cast from The Only Way is Hereford); it’s all upholstered seats and fancy food in vein of many of today’s refits. But it does it one better.
The food isn’t just yer usual microwaved Wetherspoon fare, the menu is actually pretty good. It prides itself on its local produce and locally influenced cuisine; there’s not a lot of pubs doing much like this (although their vegetarian selection leaves A LOT to be desired!).
And the drinks just get better: if like us you’re big cider fans then behind (dare we say it) Wetherspoon itself, this is probably the place to go. There’s your usual Stowford Press on tap, but there’s usually another couple of local ciders too. We’ve sampled a very good selection including Robinson’s, from just over the border in Tenbury; Gwatkin’s, from down in the Golden Valley; and the Orgasmic Cider Company from Eardisley. Plus the occasional rough perry too.
One of the downsides of the refurbishment seems to have been the loss of the locals. It always seems to be the way that when a pub tidies itself up many of the long-time regulars feel that the place becomes too posh for them and go elsewhere, which is a shame. The atmosphere can be a bit on the solemn side, which is alright for a quiet Tuesday drink but when Saturday nights don’t get much busier you feel like you’re missing out on the party somewhere. It could do with a bit of the liveliness back (whatever happened to the days when you were in constant fear of being caught by a misaimed pool ball?!). The prices could also do with a bit of a cut; you don’t get many pints for a tenner.
But if you’ve not been to the Grapes for a while try it out. Your laziness for not walking to the Barrels will be well rewarded.