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Secret Drinker reviews The Admiral Rodney in Horncastle

Sometimes a drink costs the sort of silly money that makes you question whether you should neck it or insure it.

It still feels like a gut punch every time I remember – pre-Covid – paying £14 for two pints of Camden Hells in Covent Garden, all enjoyment of the drink taken away by the sheer insanity of the price.

There was a time in a hotel bar in Italy where I didn’t get change from 20 Euros for a bottle of Bud and a JD and Coke. Perhaps I should’ve read between the lines when the receptionist warned about thieves operating in the area.

The Admiral Rodney in Horncastle
The Admiral Rodney in Horncastle

For some reasons these horror drinks tend to stay in the mind longer than the most enjoyable ones.

But on those occasions I’ve had to remortgage for a pint I’ve consoled myself with the knowledge that those daft tourist trap prices haven’t found their way up here to civilisation yet.But we’re getting a lot closer as a recent trip to The Admiral Rodney in Horncastle proved.

The bar area at the Admiral Rodney
The bar area at the Admiral Rodney

First things first, the Rodney – an 18th Century coaching inn-turned 31-bed hotel – is a fine venue.

I’ve sat in the bar and thoroughly enjoyed watching bike after bike parade through Horncastle following the British Superbike weekend at Cadwell Park. I’ve tucked into a couple of cracking Christmas dinners there and even watched the worst karaoke performances known to man performed at a party in one of the function rooms.

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It’s comfortable, warm, the food tip-top and the place spotlessly clean. There’s a brilliant outdoor seating area to help you lose a summer afternoon. The staff are a credit.

A great place to lose a summer's afternoon
A great place to lose a summer's afternoon

The restaurant is nicely furbished and the bar area a good looking spot with ample seating options and a nice place to relax and have a good old natter.

There are ample reasons why the Admiral Rodney is a popular, successful venue.

But, it is expensive. As my £6.50 pint of Brixton Reliance proved.

Brixton Reliance... a lovely pint
Brixton Reliance... a lovely pint

Yep. £6.50. Six. Fifty.

This was the first time I’d tried this pale ale (thank you - I think?? - to the bar staff for recommending it) and it was fantastic but, in my opinion, not good value.

A quick glance at the Brixton website and I noted you could get a 330ml can of the stuff for £2.40 – so for £4.80 you could actually get an extra mouthful of the stuff and save almost £2 in the process.

Plenty of comfortable places to enjoy a pint
Plenty of comfortable places to enjoy a pint

Keen to do some extra research I asked a family enjoying a drink on a nearby table what they thought of the prices.

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Without needing to say a word, Dad - a fellow curmudgeon, it seems – shook his head and tossed me his receipt: pint of Moretti £6.20; 125ml Sauvignon Blanc £5.90, plus 30p for soda; apple juice £3.60; Diet Coke £2.80.

That’s £18.80 to keep the kids quiet in front of their tablets for 10 minutes.

The Admiral Rodney in Horncastle
The Admiral Rodney in Horncastle

To maintain high standards – and the Rodney does have high standards – I accept you have to cover those additional overheads, those costs passed on the to the punters.

But as someone as happy in a spit and sawdust spot as a place like the Admiral Rodney, I’m afraid the price – unlike the beer – left a bitter taste.

The place is spotlessly clean
The place is spotlessly clean


DECOR: There’s nothing offensive about the Rodney. No quirks, but it’s comfortable and fine. 3/5

DRINK: Brixton Reliance (ABV 4.2%) is a cracking pale ale with a little bit more life to it than many of its competitors. I’m now a big fan. 4/5

PRICE: £6.50 a pint, I’ve already said enough. 2/5

ATMOSPHERE: Pleasant. Lots of groups of friends and families waiting for their tables or enjoying a catch up over a drink. 2/5

STAFF: Absolutely fantastic. A really pleasant, helpful group that were a credit to the venue. 4/5

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Do you agree with the secret drinker or have any suggestions where he should go next? Email secretdrinker@lincsonline.co.uk or comment below.

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