In our second spotlight on happy hours in bars and pubs around Reading, Explore Reading heads to The Greyfriar for their after-work drinks deal. They’ve recently extended their regular midweek offers to Thursdays and Fridays, meaning you can now sample their happy hour every weeknight.
What’s the deal?
All draught beers, a house gin and tonic or medium glasses of house wine are £3.50 from 5-7pm every weekday.
How are the drinks?
All draught beers are in the deal, that’s eight on keg and six cask ales. On our visit this included Mad Squirrel Bitter and Hogsback Bitter. There’s also two taps always dedicated to hip Finchampstead brewers Siren Craft Brew.
For happy hour, the beers aren’t that much cheaper than full price (normally around £3.75-£4), but the gin and tonic is better value and one of the cheapest we’ve found outside of a ‘spoons.
The shelves behind the bar at The Greyfriar heave with a surprisingly impressive range of craft gins, but in happy hour you’ll be on the house gin. It’s South Bank, a value gin and not widely well known, but it’s crisp and dry with a gentle juniper twang. The value element comes in the premium tonic though; for your £3.50 you can choose your preferred Fever-Tree variety and ‘The Mediterranean’ gives you the botanical notes that the gin is missing. It also comes in a big gin goblet with a choice of garnish.
And the service?
Minimal, but you’re not coming here for waiter service. The happy hour offer isn’t written anywhere, and one bartender looked completely baffled when I asked what’s included. The other was sharp and friendly, offering beer suggestions when I was undecided. After a first sip of one of the cask beers in our order we realised it was spoilt. But it was dealt with swiftly: we were offered our choice of another pint (which was good) and, importantly, the tap label was turned around while they deal with it.
What’s the vibe?
Male. On my visit the crowd was a mix of men in suits, men wearing office lanyards and men scrolling through their iPhone, all of whom were sampling that wide beer selection. I was the only woman in the pub, and the only gin drinker, until a group of four ladies arrived ten minutes before the end of happy hour. They squeezed in a bulk order of cut price G&Ts to kick off an office dinner out.
The pub itself is comfortable, friendly and relaxing, if a bit bare. With stripped wood decor, tap badges on the walls and a Chesterfield sofa in the corner, it feels like it’s caught halfway between boozer and craft beer bar.
Is it worth it?
This is your classic after-work, “fancy a quick drink?” happy hour. It’s perfect for a cheap pint and a bit of post-office decompression in town. Most of the crowd nip in for one or two drinks and a gentle natter before drifting off for home.
Happy hour details
5-7pm Monday-Friday | The Greyfriar, 53 Greyfriars Rd, RG1 1PA | Read more
Hello! I'm Claire, the founding editor of Explore Reading. I'm a Reading native and former digital director of Time Out Shanghai. I founded Explore Reading so no one can say, ‘there’s nothing to do in Reading’, again. When not editing Explore Reading, I'm probably drinking a Manhattan.