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Place Reviews in 2020, give us your totals

OK, I know some of you don’t bother to review places, but plenty of us do.

2020 has been a very difficult year for the ardent places reviewers, so let’s let them crow about how many and how!

My total is a pretty good: 38

23 Pubs
9 Shops/Internet stores
5 Brewpubs
1 Restaurant

Luckily I was in California at the start of the year and on returning to the UK we decamped to Brugge for their Beerfestival weekend. So my first four reviews are from those two places. Not ventured far since then.

A day bus trip to Stafford (meeting @Martinsh), a weekend in Chester and a walkabout in Shrewsbury gave me my next few reviews and the internet more or less saw to the rest. Oh, almost forgot a quick trip to Oxfordshire via Gloucestershire where I managed a few more.

Feel free to ‘wax lyrical’ about your Place Reviews.



If I only count places I’ve visited in 2020, exactly double that - 76.

Something like:
30 bars
22 restaurants
12 breweries/brewpubs
12 stores

Czechia, Croatia, Slovenia and Germany I guess. Managed to go back home a few times, got a solid place ticking spree pre-covid, fantastic short trips to Germany and Slovenia too when things had calmed down during the summer.

Got 2-3 more rakes of places I’d visited before but forgot to rate. Could have added a few more in all honesty, online shops for example, but eh.

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I’ve visited 14 places this year that I’m going to add a review for. Unfortunately 10 of those are in my place rating backlog (down from 11 at the start of the year, so very slowly heading in the right direction.

My favourite new place this year was the Steamboat Inn, in Carsethorn (south of Dumfries). A gorgeous old pub in a stunning beachside location, with amazing views, great food and really friendly staff. Beers were just a range from Sulwath, which was fine by me as I hadn’t rated that brewer before.

Second favourite new place was the Weather Station in Reading, which is effectively the brewery tap for Wild Weather.

Fingers crossed next year will be better for place rating (if any survive…).


32 place ratings, half were back logged from 2019. I have a backlog of 2020 places as I get to them when I get to them.

I managed to rate 89 new places this year, without the restrictions I suspect that 100+ would have been easily achievable but I’m happy with that total.

Roughly comprising of the following totals (see below)

If you dug a little deeper I think how some places are categorised can be a little misleading, for example, a lot of the German places despite the huge amounts of beer sold are designated as restaurants as they also sell food. Similarly some of the breweries that I have also visited could easily be classed as restaurants or even beer shops *for the internet based brewery websites.

32 restaurants
14 Bars
22 Shops,
21 breweries

Hopefully 2021 will see us add to our totals.


I agree @Fin, the category’s sometimes don’t fit the place, or at least could be classed as a couple of them.

Hope you’ve settled in Bavaria and all is going as well as can be expected under the current circumstances’.


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43 new places of which 4 were online so have not actually visited (and then a couple more also added from 2019 so 45 in total). Could have added a few more ratings for webshops but those places already have plenty of ratings.

Will add the place I got the Northumberland beer box from because their communication was very good.

Mainly places in London from before the March lockdown and a trip up there in August. Then a week in Swanage (with detours via Bournemoth and Poole), a weekend in Portsmouth and a drive around Berks. Also a few garden centres/farm shops and first visits to local pubs.

Top places:

  1. Mikkeler Brew Pub, even though in August I was one of two customers on a Friday lunchtime. Friendly helpful staff, decent beer range of course and a light and airy interior. Also quite easy to get to for me as there is a bus route from Waterloo.

  2. Square & Compas, Worth Matravers. Shirley brewery must trump cidery for associated place - I am probably pissing someone off by changing it back to Hattie Brown’s when they’ve changed it to the cidery. Even though only the garden was open it was a great spot for social distanced halves and a pasty. And the dog on the roof kept the boy entertained. If only my wife was prepared to drive outside of a 5 mile radius of our house because I could have then tried some of the ciders.

  3. A Hoppy Place, Windsor.
    Need to actually visit the latter. Always an interesting array of beers including some more obscure breweries. Great communication (inc. personal thanks on FB after my first order) and they dropped one order off at my house because they were in the area. Although I see they pissed one person off by substituting beers when they had been specifically asked not to and then refused a refund. A guy at work was randomly gifted a decent beer in the office car park after they did that to me.

  4. Cask & Kitchen in Pimlico - in pre-RB days I regularly visited when I was in the area for work but February was my first visit in 4 years. The cost of two US cans did make me wince but that was my fault for not looking at the prices.

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Just 6 place ratings for me, evenly split between bars (pubs) and grocery stores (supermarkets) - have been a little reluctant to rate most places to be honest, due to the operating restrictions in place at the time (I’ve only really become active since the first lockdown), seems a little unfair to rate them based on limited access and beer options, and atmosphere in a lot of places, when I know they were very different before. Hopefully 2021 will offer more opportunity to see places as they would wish to be seen

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I have 87 new reviews for 2020, the benefit of getting away with the caravan when they opened up the country along with reviewing more on line places than I have ever done before.
My top places this year have been.

  1. Hop Inn, Swindon. A real surprise and delight on the day despite Covid regulations. A full range and chatty customers. Top notch.
  2. TripelB Belgian Cafe, Worcester. There wasn’t a lot open in Worcester on the 2nd day after the first lockdown was finished but the guy that runs this place had done a cracking job. There is a good list and some good kegged offerings. Will definitely return when we can.
  3. Nip & Growler Alehouse, Kings Lynn. Went here on the off chance as they hadn’t shown any opening times. Well organised under Covid restrictions and a very good range of local ales. Best place in Kings Lynn.
  4. Hoptimism, Loughborough. The best of the on-line shops that I tried this year purely for the range.
  5. Tuppenny, Swindon. The bars in this part of town cannot be missed and Tuppenny made a great partner with the Hop Inn offering a very different choice of beers.

I only managed 39 places. Which for me is well low, last year for instance I rated 157. I’ve only rated two places since March.

I got in a fair bit of travel at the beginning of the year, some London rates, plus places in Worcestershire, Derbyshire, Shropshire and Leicestershire. As usual for me, they are mostly pubs or bars with the odd brewery/brewpub and beer store thrown in. Top places for me: the Bailey Head in Oswestry, Kidderminster’s Beer Emporium and Cider House and the wonderful Sophie’s Beer Store.

Not new rates but a shout-out to the local Leicester establishments that kept me in beer. Ordered online from the Two-Tailed Lion and Blue Boar, and got fresh cask from the Real Ale Classroom. And I don’t know what I’d have done without the Offie, the city’s treasure of a beer shop.

Not much else to say other than what a shit year. I am a pessimist so don’t hold out all that much hope for 2021, but I hope this isn’t the ‘new normal’ i.e. pretty much forever.

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118 new place ratings, 69 actually visited in 2020 rest is backlog from 2019.

Out of 118 place ratings only 2 are from my country of residence. That has to be some kind of a record.

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128 new places in 2020. Visited Aarhus in Denmark in February and had a brief visit in Northern Finland in July. Most of my ratings are from my “Tour de Norway” in June/July. 8500 km by car!
Breweries/brewpubs: 18
Bars: 33
Shops: 68 - Not many bars in rural parts of Norway worth rating, but shops and state monopoly stores (Vinmonopolet) often have local beers. Fun beer hunting!
Restaurants: 9

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I got two, but I don’t tend to rate places. Managed to tick off Sri Lanka and Qatar though, for new countries!

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Even though I originally joined Ratebeer merely to rate the bars in Latvia, nowadays I tend to concentrate more on rating beers rather than places. I usually tend to forget to make any notes about the places I visit.

Having said that I managed to rate 32 places this year. There was one grocery store, one beer shop and the rest were “bars” . They were all in England as I haven’t been abroad this year. Also all places that I had visited before the year began – so the reviews take into account the effect of Covid on the establishment.

They were split as follows Derby 8, Chester 7, Macclesfield 4, Stockport 3, various other places 1s and 2s.

The place I rated highest was the Smithfield in Derby – in fact it has the highest rating I’ve ever given. I was very surprised when I added the numbers up ! But I have been going there a lot since Lockdown 1 …

Checking my own records, I make it that I’ve visited 119 pubs this year. Of those only 18 were first time visits. Best of the new places probably Tap and Can in Shrewsbury.

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