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Secret Drinker Reviews Bar Eleven in Woodhall Spa

For this week’s pint, I thought it was time I took a trip back to a place I’d not visited for at least 20 years.

My first, and only, previous visit to Bar Eleven – in an era of bootcut jeans, Sonneti jackets and 5ive Slam Dunkin’ Da Funk– feels so long ago that, as such, you’ll have to excuse my hazy memory.

I don’t recall if the place was even called Bar Eleven back then, or why I was in Woodhall Spa (I’d probably been to Kinema In The Woods, that seems to always be the reason anyone who doesn’t care for planes or golf is in Woodhall Spa).

Bar Eleven in Woodhall Spa
Bar Eleven in Woodhall Spa

But I do remember having time to kill with friends one midweek evening. I remember watching some nondescript football match on a walled TV (I want to say a Champions League fixture in the days when the most exciting thing was Barry Venison’s suits). I remember it was an eerily quiet place with only one other punter. And I remember the layout being so different to the old town pubs I was used to.

From its branded outside awning to its long, slim, brick-walled interior, Bar Eleven has the feel of a New York City watering hole. So it did raise a smile when I remembered it’s situated off Broadway.

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Well, The Broadway. Hey, fuhgeddaboudit!

With its long, thin shape, Bar Eleven felt like a New York watering hole
With its long, thin shape, Bar Eleven felt like a New York watering hole

As I took my pint of Intruder (Lancaster image on the pump, obviously) I spotted the giant TVs still hang from the walls, but when I arrived on this Sunday afternoon – prime football viewing for pubs – they were all switched off.

There was no need for distractions as everybody was having such a good time.

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Seating at the bar area was all taken up by groups and couples and the room was filled with laughter. You Can Call Me Al and Wonderwall (probably both veterans of Bar Eleven’s playlist long before my first visit) punctuated any short silence.

A pint of Intruder and a lime soda
A pint of Intruder and a lime soda

Towards the back of the bar one chap drank alone, nodding to familiar faces, and a couple played cards as they discussed who Arsenal should sign in the transfer window.

The decor has obviously changed since my last visit, and what an impressive job they’ve done.

The modern bar look is executed well with comfy seating and posh lighting fittings that add warmth to the place.

A bold lighting choice with eyecatching wine crate wallpaper
A bold lighting choice with eyecatching wine crate wallpaper

I liked the old wine box-inspired wallpaper that hung on the stairs and the toilet was incredibly clean – but then it probably has to be when you plump all-white tiling.

But the one thing that stood out was the lay-out. No space was wasted with plenty of space to sit even though the place felt full.

Sticking plenty of tables together at the front of the bar kept the place lively and lining the wall opposite the bar with stools gave more seating options while allowing punters plenty of space to get their order in.

The gents were nice and clean
The gents were nice and clean

The good layout made for a good atmosphere and the good atmosphere made for a good afternoon.

I’ll definitely not leave it 20 years until my next visit.

There was a lively atmosphere around the bar
There was a lively atmosphere around the bar


DECOR: A nicely modern and cosy feel to a bar that makes the most of its space to create a decent atmosphere. 4/5

DRINK: Intruder Pale Ale (ABV 3.9%) by Lincoln’s Ferry Ale Brewery isn’t a bad drop. Of course, it had a bomber on the tap. 3/5

PRICE: £5.70 for a pint and a lime soda was a decent price. 3/5

ATMOSPHERE: Nice and lively. Plenty of chat and laughs from the bar area. 4/5

STAFF: On a busy Sunday afternoon I didn’t get much interaction but the lady serving was pleasant enough. 3/5

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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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