Remembering the pubs and bars of Berkshire, people drank their very first pint in

It’s always a special moment when you discover alcohol for the first time.

This has not changed over the generations, with today’s young adults choosing between the pubs currently available in the county when it comes to where they will first taste an alcoholic drink.

It made us think of pubs and bars in Berkshire which turned out to be the most common to enjoy our first such drink.

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We posed this question to Berkshire Live readers with a post on our Facebook page and you certainly answered!

The wide variety of responses perhaps illustrates the staggeringly vast number of drinking establishments that once existed in the county, even though their numbers appear to be steadily shrinking.

It’s often a sad moment to walk past those once thriving businesses that provided us with a memory for a lifetime, now closed while others have started a new life.

We’ve selected 10 of our favorite answers that several past and present residents have recalled as the place that appropriately answered the question.

Did we miss yours? What was the name of the Berkshire pub where you had your first booze?

The George and the Dragon

Starting with a pub that is no longer with us and gave many Berkshires their first experiences with alcohol.

The George and Dragon was at 162 Bath Road and has not reopened to the public following numerous recent lockdowns.

A particular memory of this boozer said: “The George and Dragon, Bath Road, with my father Tommy Pope.”

four horseshoes

What are the four horseshoes

Another pub that received many mentions on our article was the Four Horseshoes on Basingstoke Road.

This pub was built on the site of a former Four Horseshoes, also known as The Long Pull in the 19th century.

For many years the Four Horseshoes were run by the Ransom family while a pair of horses and a horse and a trap once stood outside.

After closing, the building was demolished and the site was transformed.

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The round head

There were perhaps three pubs that were mentioned above all others when answering our question, and the Roundhead in Coley Park completes the trio.

It also matches the first two in the sense that it is no longer available for today’s teenagers to experience their first drink.

It was a large estate pub with a 1960s two-bar design; it has now been converted into accommodation and is a loss to the area as it was the only local pub.

A reviewer on the Beer in the Evening website said in 2005: ‘This pub is a great pub, it has a pool table, darts board, 2 bars etc. The best service a customer could wish for, a great atmosphere and a great owner. ”

The Great Bear

The Plow at Tilehurst
The Plow at Tilehurst

Our first surviving pub is The Plow at 78 School Road in Tilehurst.

This has been described as a local pub on the Tilehurst triangle with a darts board and many other activities throughout the year.

As stated on their Facebook page, there are live bands on Thursdays and Saturdays as well as live sports on their three ‘quality flat screen TVs’.

The sporty one

The sportsman's pub
The sportsman’s pub

On the corner of Shinfield Road and Elm Road in Reading, and now owned by Greene King, is the Sportsman which provided more than a couple of once-innocent teenagers with their first taste of booze.

Described on the What Pub website as “a real local pub in the heart of its community, with a quiz on Wednesday nights and Killer Pool on Sunday nights”, its building and beer garden are impressive.

The pub has averaged a 4.5 star rating on Tripadvisor, leaving many visitors feeling warm at the end of the evening.

The peacock

Two different outlets on Broad Street have already been given the Peacock name.

The first was present in 1827, when the publican was Charles Cooper, before being demolished to build a Woolworths.

A new luxury pub on the south side opened under the management of Mr LE Deamer under the same name before also closing.

college arms

The College Arms is now the Palmer Tavern
The College Arms is now the Palmer Tavern

Once found at 128 Wokingham Road was the College Arms.

Pub features included live music, large screen TV, jukebox, pool table, darts board, fruit machines and quiz machines.

Although the name no longer exists, the site remains a pub having been refurbished in the summer of 2016 and renamed Palmer Tavern.

The blue lion

The old Blue Lion pub
The old Blue Lion pub

Moved to Bracknell and the popular Blue Lion pub on Broad Lane.

The pub closed in October 2014 in what was described as “a bombshell” by then-owner Trevor Cook, despite having had a record week in revenue shortly before that announcement.

It was then demolished in 2018 to make way for apartments.


The Crispin in Wokingham
The Crispin in Wokingham

At least two Berkshire Live readers remember having their first booze at The Crispin in Wokingham – and it’s still there!

Renowned as one of Wokingham’s oldest inns, this local pub is located in the heart of the town.

It was named after Saint Crispin who is the patron saint of cobblers, hence the pub sign displayed outside the pub.

Charity events are held and beer festivals are held in the garden, which also has a gazebo and smoking area.

new hostel

The New Inn can still be visited today
The New Inn can still be visited today

The end of this journey to our first pints is the New Inn in Maidenhead.

Described on What Pub as a ‘homey traditional community pub located where Farm Road joins St Mark’s and Pinkneys Road, with two large bars, pool table, darts, Sky TV and Cribbage’.

Occasional live music, particularly on Thursday evenings when the Maidenhead Folk Club meet here, adds to its appeal.

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