The Branksome Railway Hotel
429 Poole Road
Open all day
The Branksome Railway Hotel
This pub has two bars (three distinct areas plus restaurant) and is opposite the railway station. Built in 1894, both the inside and outside are good examples of Victorian architecture. This is reflected in the high ceilings for the main bar.
The saloon bar is smaller and by one of the main entrances near the toilets. Here you have bench seating with round tables and stools at the bar. The lounge bar is at the back of the room, accessed via a large archway in the saloon bar. Here again you have mainly small round tables with chairs and some bench seating. High windows let in a lot of light and there is a classic feel to the place. Note the floor covering. There is also a separate dining area further beyond the lounge bar. This is accessed through the pool room by another access door.
The real ale is great, plenty of guest ales with 3 always on. Ale is served without a sparkler by default, so if you want a large head you need to ask for it.
Food is available lunchtimes 12-2.30 and evenings 6-9pm. The food is wholesome and filling, if a little on the traditionally basic side. However, there is a late supper licence so they can open until midnight to serve food and drink.
There is an annual beer festival, usually on the same weekend as the Poole beer festival to mop up those who couldn't get tickets. The pub is not far from the festival venue either, so you might want to visit both if you can.
There is occasional live music coming from a variety of bands. A private function room (for 50) with bar is available for meetings and weddings - catering can be accommodated.
Accommodation here, though not seen on this occasion.
Car parking is at the rear, accessed via the road to the side.
Branksome railway station is just over the road. Access for the disabled is possible, though there is a slight step into the pub and no disabled toilet.
They have now opened a 'sports lounge'.
The Hotel has two bars, one used also as a bar billiards room. The standard real ale is Strongs Bitter, brewed by Hampshire Brewery, with two others which are variables. There are 6 large bedrooms, a mix of singles and doubles. The singles, including breakfast from £25/pppnt. The standard of the rooms is good, as is the food. We had an all-day-breakfast, one item on a list of about seven, all very reasonably priced at £3.50. The Landlord is in the throes of modernisation, which started when he took over in 1998.
Historical details? The Hotel dates from 1894 and is, as previously stated, a three storey Victorian building - very attractive, typical of its era. Parking at the rear, is accessible via Langley Road, on the Poole side of the Hotel and is ample. Though a bit smoky on first impressions, the main bar is comfortable, though 'well used' and, on the sunny side of the Hotel, enjoys a birds eye view of the main rail line!
Food: all-day-breakfast - very nice. The other beers on tap today are Banks and Taylors bitter @ 4% and the Cottage Brewing Company's Santa's Steaming Ale @ 4.5%.
The Landlord was very obliging and showed us the rooms, which are very nicely decorated, all with en-suite. He said the upstairs part of the pub was in such poor condition when he moved in that the surveyor refused to go past the second floor!
His next project is to renovate the cellar, the bar and his quarters above that to be done last.
Other pubs to visit: The Central Hotel, 81 Commercial Road, Lower Parkstone. (01202) 743970. Badger Beers. Music
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