Usually one of those city centre boozers you’d walk straight past on your way to the Imperial from the Spread (or else generally avoid), the Queen’s is a pub on the corner of East and Broad streets with an interesting history.
Once three separate premises, it consisted of a greengrocers on the right (later a newsagent), the original Queen’s Arms on the left and another separate pub at the back on the East Street side, known as the Punch Bowl (the Punch and Queen’s were later amalgamated in 1901). And that’s its remarkable bit, because there’s not a lot else that makes this place interesting and plus points are hard to find: the drinks are poor, its outside space is lacking and the atmosphere … well, there’s not usually much of one! But its ‘rustic charm’ is part of the appeal and on a Friday and Saturday night it draws quite a crowd. And despite its no frills character it comes alive in a way that a lot of modern pubs don’t.
With the place packed out looking like the party of the year, we pushed through to the bar, bought our VK Blues (just to fit in like, and frankly, it’s probably the best drink they do) and belted out Someone Like You on the karaoke with the rest of the pub. Karaoke seems to be the one thing that draws the punters in time and again here, and after a few bottles there’s not many who can resist it (despite the ‘X Factor audition’ abilities of most of the singers!).
But never mind the karaoke! This is obviously the place where Hereford’s middle-aged crew go to get lucky. Everyone’s giving everyone else the eye: women you thought were out with their husbands now have their hands on some other bloke’s arse. And the guys are doing much the same. There’s clearly a lot of suburban front rooms round Hereford that become ‘swap shops’ on a Saturday night and this is where is it all must start. Who said middle age was dull!
What can we say, this isn’t really a bad pub but there’s certainly nothing special about it either: if it wasn’t in town you wouldn’t make the effort to go. But if you are on your way up to the Imperial from the Spread, and you’re too pissed to make it out of Broad Street, make your hangover even worse and have a sing-song in the Queen’s.