FIRST VISIT: SUNDAY 19 JANUARY 2014
The Sunday lunch the morning after the Half Man Half Biscuit the night before.
The Kings is an Arkells pub. It is one of their flagship establishments. It does food. And at weekends it is the place that 30 and 40 and 50-something Swindonites go to dance badly. The place has an air of grand opulence. But grand opulence on the cheap. I assume that in days gone buy it was the place that visiting dignitaries liked to stay when business brought them to Swindon. These days they’ve decamped to the bland anonymity of the Holiday Inn Express.
It’s not a place I’d normally choose to go but we needed somewhere to eat and time was time was at a bit of a premium. I’d eaten in the Kings before and I found it decent enough and I figured it was somewhere that we’d manage to get a table without a reservation. We got the last table. It was slap back in the middle of the main room and consequently it felt like were in the spotlight but it was a place to sit and eat and nurse a beer. Previous visits to the Kings meant being confronted by a bar that only featured beers from Arkells (alongside the usual macro lagers and ciders) but this time it was also home to a few beers from Donnington Brewery (established 1865) who I’d never previously encountered. I ordered a Donnington Black Swan – a 4.8% stout. It was a well enough constructed beer but certainly nothing that’s going to make you crack out the ink & quill and compose a love ode.