We Are Open This Weekend

Harveys Sussex Best Bitter

Following our ‘see how it goes’ opening last week will be opening this weekend:

Friday 15 August, 16.00 – 23.00
Saturday 16 August, 12.00 – 23.00
Sunday 17 August, 12.00 – 18.00

Real Ale

Harvey Sussex Best and Butcombe Original will be on tap. As ever, the barrels aren’t bottomless, so they are ‘subject to availability’.

Guinness and Pravha will be on tap and many of the regular bottled beers will also be available.

Guidelines for Visitors

We are limited to 20 people indoors. See our Guidelines for Visiting The Retreat before you arrive.

Distancing guidelines are also important in front of the pub.

Gasping for a Pint?


Gasping for a pint? Well, we’d love to be hosting you again really soon.

The government has now indicated that pubs can start reopening on Saturday 4 July. At The Retreat, we will not be in a position to open on 4 July as we need to make arrangements to ensure we can operate safely and look after you, our customers, in line with all the rules and guidelines. Additionally, we need to get beer back in the cellar and prepared for sale.

Please keep an eye on our website, Facebook or Twitter for updates on our plans.

Many independent and chain/brewery owned pubs are also planning to open later than 4 July. They cite the short notice and consumer confidence as issues for their own decisions. Less than a fortnight’s notice is indeed a tall order for many to prepare for re-opening against a developing set of rules and guidelines.

Boris Johnson said on 23 June that pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in England would be able to reopen on 4 July. He also announced that two-metre social distancing would be relaxed to “one metre plus”, with some conditions. But despite the easing of restrictions, a trip to a local bar or place to eat could be a very different experience from how it was before the coronavirus outbreak.

Will The Village Easter Festival go ahead?

We have just taken the decision to postpone the Three Buck Shirt gig this Saturday and the Sunday Jazz with Stuart Henderson and Simon Price on 29 March. This decision has been taken with the interests of our customers and our community coming first. We are continuing to monitor the situation and will provide updates on our other events soon.

We are monitoring the Government and NHS advice every day. These are difficult times for us all, and we want to do the right thing.

The Village Easter Festival plans are under review. We will be making a decision soon as to whether it should go ahead or not.

If it cannot go ahead as planned, we will consider a later date for an event that is a variation on the theme.

We will keep you posted.

The Retreat Snowball Christmas Special

The Retreat Snowball 2019 Christmas Special is being served from today. It is so good that Santa has messaged Brian to say that he will be leaving all the glasses of port and sherry when he does his rounds this Christmas. He still wants your mince pies though.

This is all on the condition that Brian provides a Retreat Snowball Christmas Special at his fireplaces. Brian has four fireplaces at The Retreat, so I don’t fancy Santa’s chances of flying in a straight line after that!

Santa on the roof

The recipe is a closely guarded secret, but you might spot them when Brian makes The Retreat Snowball 2019 Christmas Special for you.

It's Advocaat time at The Retreat pub in Reading

Theakston’s Christmas Ale has arrived

We have one barrel of Theakston’s Christmas Ale, available from 16.30 today, Monday 16 December 2019. First come first served.

Theakston's Christmas Ale at The Retreat pub in Reading

Chew on this: a fictional Yorkshire beer which starred in a hit US crime series in 2011 is now being brewed every year for Christmas… it’s Theakston’s Christmas Ale.

Billed as, “A rich festive ale with cinnamon, raisins and a hint of walnut,” this seasonal real ale almost needs a spoon and a fork to consume it. And it is hugely popular. Theakston’s go on to describe their Christmas Ale as, “An outstanding rich, fruity, dark and mellow ale – just like liquid Christmas pudding!”

You can read the history of this once a year real ale on the Theakston website.

Saving The Retreat

Reading most famous ‘back street boozer’ has been saved from an uncertain future by three local residents.

Dave Gray, Di Whitaker and Mark Birmingham, all long-term residents of ‘The Village’ Eldon Street Conservation Area, moved quickly last week to secure the suddenly available lease from Admiral Taverns and make safe their Landlord Brian Moignard.

Mark said, “Brian Moignard has been instrumental to the continued success of The Retreat.  Both Brian and The Retreat are dear to us all; to lose both was untenable. Dave suggested we secure the tenancy for the pub and we immediately agreed. None of us has substantial experience of the on-trade, so we’ll be relying on Brian’s extensive experience to guide us.”

The trio aims to make some subtle changes to the pub but vow not to lose the character of The Retreat which has become a Reading institution. They urge the local community to visit soon. The legendary Pickled Onion Contest, the popular Village Easter Festival and live music are all events that are guaranteed to continue.

The Village has three pubs: The Retreat, whose future has been secured by Dave, Di and Mark; The Lyndhurst which has just reopened with a good new team and The Eldon Arms which is scheduled to open this autumn under new ownership.

Dave and Di, noted local musicians, joked they are inadvertently The Retreat house band; in fact, their band will be performing live on Sunday 25 August with Hugh Crabtree’s PIG warming the house up on Saturday 24 August.