Formerly the Old Zoological, Pearson’s Bar is a new venture from the owners of Garbutt’s, also on Princes Ave. First impression is that the bar has had a radical makeover from its new owners. The Zoo had become pretty grotty over the years and this fresh new look is certainly pleasing on the eye.
There has been a portion of a wall removed which once partly separated the main area from the dining area, making the place more open plan. The seating along the windows has been made into alcoves with a ‘u’ shaped seat around a fixed central table. Looks okay but I have to say that they were a little awkward to shuffle in and out of.
At the bar, the good news as that we have a selection of real ales on offer. The bad news is that is it the usual suspects… Taylor’s Landlord, John Smith’s Bitter, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin and the increasingly ubiquitous Doom Bar. At least we were spared the Tetley’s and Black Sheep Bitter! I’m sure that there are many drinkers who might appreciate these ‘bog standard bitters’ but for me this is not the way to attract repeat custom from ale enthusiasts. The quality of the Doom Bar was fine though, we enjoyed what we had. There was also a Westons Traditional Scrumpy on handpump but this was not on sale when we visited.
The food menu is quite limited, and not overly cheap, for example two small chicken kebabs and a bowl of chips was just under £10. The service was pretty slow considering there were not many people eating, and the food was disappointing; chicken and halloumi kebabs were both dry and overcooked and could not be recommended on this showing.
Overall it was a pleasant visit, and a vast improvement on the Zoo, but I have to confess to being somewhat disappointed on my first visit to Pearson’s Bar. I will probably go back at some point, but it won’t be at the top of my list of places to go for a meal or a drink for a while.