Once upon a time a very youthful Mr Fueled by Beer studied lists of things, sought them out, and then checked them off. Back then it was called trainspotting and Mr Fueled by Beer was only 12 or 13 at the time. Yes, Mr Fueled by Beer admits it: he was one of those anorak-clad weirdos who stood shivering and wet at the end of countless British Rail station platforms just hoping that “Deltic-headed special” from York or Crewe would come through as rumored…
It only recently occured to the adult Mr Fueled by Beer that his current pursuit of CAMRA LocAle pubs and breweries is kinda like trainspotting for grown-ups. The parallels go beyond checking things off lists: today’s CAMRA membership replicates the Ian Allan Locospotters Club of yesteryear. And so, with all this in mind, it was only natural that Mr Fueled by Beer should feel driven to ‘complete the set’ of JD Wetherspoon pubs in Reading. We’re three down with one to go: The Baron Cadogan.
Of the four Wetherspoon pubs in Reading the Baron Cadogan (pronounced “Ca-duggan”) is smaller yet still unmistakably a ‘Spoons: everything is just on a smaller scale. The simple rectangular space is not much larger than the front bar area of the Monks’ Retreat. The standard Wetherspoons menu is offered. And there are fewer handpumps for real ale and cider; just six ales during our visit, including Abbot and Ruddles from Greene King.
The Baron Cadogan carries both LocAle and Cask Marque accreditation. We were able to enjoy two LocAles: Wild Weather Ales’ excellent Stormbringer and Cadogan Gold, essentially a rebranded version of Loddon Brewery’s Ferrymans Gold. The other real ales were: Lancaster Brewery’s Red and Ringwood Brewery’s Bold Forester.
When you consider that Caversham, a distinct neighborhood separated from Reading by the River Thames, enjoys an almost village-like atmosphere, the scale of the Baron Cadogan is just right for its surroundings. There is one thing its larger stablemates across the two bridges don’t have though: a car park. I speak of the Chester Street pay & display. The pub has a rear entrance with direct access to the car park. Parking rates are reasonable if you must drive.
The preferred way for Mr & Mrs Fueled by Beer to visit of course is as a walk & dine destination and this pub provides a fine opportunity. This is particularly the case when combined with other nearby attractions, such as the recently restored Caversham Court Gardens or Caversham’s other LocAle pub the Fox & Hounds. Recommended start and finish point is Reading Station; check out the map below for details.
A word about Caversham Court: besides being a great place to take a stroll by the river at anytime, during summer the gardens host a series of outdoor movies presented by Cult Screens. Also, during July, Progress Theatre stages their annual Open Air Shakespeare production here.
JD Wetherspoon’s Baron Cadogan: Recommended 🙂