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Secret Drinker reviews the Riverside Inn in Surfleet

A busy car park is usually a good indicator that you’re about to head into a decent pub.

And that was the sight which greeted me as I prepared for my first visit to the Riverside Inn, with cars even lining the narrow street which leads to the boozer.

And, even if some of these belonged to the residents of the nearby houses, there weren’t too many spaces left for those who dared to squeeze through either. Not bad considering it was only about 6pm.

The Riverside Inn, Surfleet
The Riverside Inn, Surfleet

I do like a pint at this time of day, when you get to observe the conflicting cross-section of punters.

And I wasn’t disappointed as families, couples out for a a drink, the post-work crowd, diners, outside smokers and even what appeared to be a business meeting could all be spotted in this labyrinth of a pub.

I wouldn’t be able to tell you how many times I’ve passed the Riverside on the A16 at Surfleet over the years and wondered what it was like inside.

The well-stocked bar
The well-stocked bar

But until recently, I’d never taken the - ahem - plunge. But I’m glad I did as it was far from the little old brown pub I was expecting.

You can’t get to the front door without sniffing the food being prepared in the kitchens or spotting the decent sized patio area packed with tables for drinkers and diners to enjoy a summer’s day watching the boats pass by on the River Glen.

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Inside, I headed for the bar area after navigating my way past the rows of tables and chairs in the dining areas and conservatory. This place really is bigger than expected.

Some of the nice, big patio area by the River Glen
Some of the nice, big patio area by the River Glen

The bar itself is a nice big L-shaped rustic looking thing with a bright neon Riverside Inn legend above the wide selection of spirits and snacks.

The pumps were well stocked with Amstel, Neck Oil, Cruzcampo, Guinness, Old Moult, Inch’s, Moretti and runt of the litter Fosters lined up like they were ready for a pre-match photo.

And, as we’re preparing for the Euros, the tables were littered with literature telling up when we can watch the matches at the Inn.

The bar wasn't packed but there was still an atmosphere
The bar wasn't packed but there was still an atmosphere

But on this occasion there was no footie so we had to make do with the nostalgic hits of the Magic music channel on the impressively huge TVs.

“I’ll be watching you…” sung Sting from the box as if letting us know he was up for Germany-Scotland tonight.

The crowd in the place was mixed but everybody seemed in the mood, and there was a vibrance to the place, despite it being nowhere near capacity.. and punters spread out across the many rooms.

A pint of Landlord
A pint of Landlord

There was even a sizzle of noise from the kitchen which was churning out good-looking meals at an impressive rate, the doors wide open to allow customers a peek inside and a whiff of what they could be lining their stomachs with.

After all those years of promising to pull over for a pint I’m glad I did. The Riverside Inn was a pleasant surprise.

You could smell the grub on the way to the Riverside Inn
You could smell the grub on the way to the Riverside Inn


DECOR: The main bar was nicely stocked and main bar area nicely done, dimly lit with bold green and purple walls but plenty of brightness off the tellies. The patio and conservatory areas looked appealing if there was better weather and there were plenty of seats and tables. 3/5

DRINK: I went for the Timothy Taylor’s Landlord (ABV 4.1%). 3/5

PRICE: At £4.40 for the pint I can’t complain. 3/5

ATMOSPHERE: It wasn’t a busy time when I opened but there was still plenty of punters in and a good vibe to the place. 3/5

STAFF: The nice young man working the bar certainly earned his money as he darted from pulling pints to delivering dishes to diners and back to the bar, covering more ground than Mo Farah on marathon day. 3/5

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