Southend-on-Sea – Pub of the Month
Landlord John Murray and his wife Chrissy have been welcoming guests to The Olde Trout Tavern in Southend-on-Sea, since they refurbished and re- opened the pub five years ago.
“We opened it because we couldn’t find anywhere to have a nice, quiet drink, particularly for the more mature people in town. Most of Southend catered for youngsters and to an extent, still does.
“We wanted a pub where you could get a decent real ale which is our niche product and of course, we try to keep our prices down,” said John.
It is a roomy, cheerful, characterful pub, bigger than it looks from the outside. The Olde Trout has so much personality. Its collections of beer mats, pump clips and miniatures adding interest to the decor and its friendly team of staff helping to create the cosy ambience.
John said: “Most of the staff have been working at the pub since we opened. Phil, our cellarman assistant, was with me at my previous place and has worked with me for 14 years. So has Lisa on and off for 14 years. It’s a close-knit team. Customers like seeing the same people every time. It’s like an old local. Nothing changes that much.”
There are some things that do change regularly. One is John’s tie. He has a personal tie collection of about 300 (currently). Also, the guest ales.
The pub has an unbeatable reputation for guest ales, having between four and six on every week. In the last five years or so, almost 1,100 different (unique) guest ales have graced the bar.
The house beer, Olde Trout Ale 3.7% ABV, is brewed to John’s requirements at Brentwood Brewery. A session beer, it’s a traditional coloured ale with a hoppy flavour.
Variety is the buzzword when it comes to real ale at The Olde Trout. Every palate is catered for with so many different beer styles available. A varied stock of bottled beers adds to the choices on offer. Little wonder then that The Olde Trout has appeared in The Good Beer Guide each year since opening and was South East Essex CAMRA Pub of the Year in 2013.
For those that like it, there is craft lager and Rosie’s Pig scrumpy cider on too.
On the food front they specialise in home-cooked, cooked to order, traditional fare, serving lunchtimes from noon to 3pm, Monday – Saturday. Their steak and kidney and chicken and mushroom pies are in demand as well as their homemade beef burgers. But an exceptionally popular favourite is their sausage baguette, containing two big 4oz Cumberland sausages (£4.75).
Upstairs, a restaurant area can seat up to 32 people. It’s also home to two men’s and two women’s darts teams. Available for private function hire, the restaurant offers buffet and carvery menus.
In the summer, tables and umbrellas placed behind wind barriers turn the outside space into a patio-like sun trap. A great place to cool off with a refreshing drink whilst watching the world go by.
Entertainments include regular fortnightly Sunday quiz nights and there is a weekly draw. Many charity fund raisers are held throughout the year. As a result The Olde Trout recently donated a £1,000 cheque to local charities.
Trevor is pictured above with bar team member Nicole McKenna.
Trevor the Trout is the pub’s infamous mascot, known globally for his love of selfies. Having holidayed in far away destinations like Sri Lanka, Egypt and Bangladesh, he is a very well-travelled fish. As his exploits on Twitter will testify, he keeps ’mysteriously’ popping up on vacation with members of the bar team. But inspiration for the pub’s name didn’t come from Trevor. Instead it was John’s wife Chrissy.
“I said ‘I’ll name it after you’. And she said ‘what’s that?’ And I said ‘The old trout’. So, to my surprise she said ‘that’s a good idea’. At the previous place we had customers who jokingly called her an old trout. It was Chrissy’s idea to stick with it,” said John.
Situated within walking distance of the town centre and seafront as well as Southend United’s Roots Hall stadium and the train station, The Olde Trout is well located.
“What brings people back to The Olde Trout is the warmth of welcome, the diverse range of beers and of course the keen prices come into it,” added John.
Beer & Food Match Suggestion
A pint of Olde Troute Ale 3.7% ABV (£2.85), a traditional coloured ale with a hoppy flavour, teamed with homemade beefburgers topped with fried eggs served with coleslaw and French fried potatoes (£6.95).
The Olde Trout Tavern
56 London Road, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS1 1XN. www.theoldetrout.co.uk
01702 337 000
Love Beer, Love Brentwood