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The Swan

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May 31, 2014 / English / By
Nicola

 

The traditional English pub has become a bit of an institution - people base their social lives, their routines, and even their housing choices around them! However, it can be a bit hit-and-miss with what to expect from one pub to the next. In some small villages, you can walk in and all eyes will be on you as the room falls silent, simply because all the locals know that you're not from the area. Other pubs are dark, dingy places which seem to be filled with drunken men. Then there are those pubs which have a relaxed atmosphere, are family friendly, and which serve food as well. Obviously some qualities are more desirable than others, but The Swan in Ash Vale, Hampshire, England, is the perfect blend, offering everything you could want from a traditional English pub.

Nestled in a tranquil, leafy clearing, The Swan is tucked away from the main road. It's very easy to get to, but somehow it has found a secluded little patch of countryside. Originally a military tavern, the pub is set beside Basingstoke canal and has a large outdoor seating area. This means that you can sit and enjoy yourself with canal boats and swans passing you by.

Inside, The Swan has been separated into two main sections; towards the rear is an area for sitting down and eating a meal, and at the front is a more typical pub-type area with a bar. The bar is well stocked, and there's a range of stools and chairs for groups to relax with a drink.

The food itself is amazing! You can always rely on traditional, hearty pub grub such as pies, pastas, fish and chips and Sunday roasts. However, they do also offer lighter meals like salads, and occasionally they even put on special menus. I've tried things as varied as partridge and guinea fowl! On top of all that, they serve a deliciously sweet range of desserts, and I have never been left disappointed.

I always think that you can measure the quality of any eating establishment by how full it is. If a place is always empty, it's never a good sign, but if it's always heaving them it must be popular for a reason! The Swan is one of those places that's always busy, any day of the week. The bar always has plenty of patrons, and most of the tables become taken up quickly. There have been several occasional where I've had to wait for a table, as it was full to the rafters!

One of the things that makes The Swan so brilliant is that it's a comfortable setting for any occasion. I've been there for meals out with the family, reunions, and even a (very successful) first date! I've seen others having meals with colleagues and nights out with friends there, too, and everyone has always felt right at home. There is none of that awkwardness which I mentioned before, which you feel from some pubs in rural areas, when you walk in and everyone can tell you're an out-of-towner. Walk in to The Swan, and immediately you feel comfortable and welcome. I couldn't ask for much more from what is essentially a small, loval pub restaurant. I didn't realise that this pub is, in fact, part of a much longer chain until I came to write this, such is the welcoming, personal atmosphere.

Overall, there's no doubt that The Swan in Ash Vale is a top quality place to eat or drink. Whether you want a few drinks or a full sit-down meal, they offer it all - in a lovely setting, inside or out. In my opinion, it is the perfect traditional English pub, which I wholeheartedly recommend. I couldn't ask for anything more!


The Swan

Country: United Kingdom

Province/State: Hampshire

City: Ash Vale

Address: 2 Hutton Road

Zip/Post Code: GU12 5HA

Location Tips: On the banks of Basingstoke Canal

Phone: (01252) 325212

Website:http://www.chefandbrewer....

Price Guide:$$ (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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