The Kraken Wakes...or does it?
posted on Wednesday, 26 May 2010 @ 06:51 | permalink
Anyone who has resided in (and many who have visited) our fair city of Portsmouth will recall the wonderful public house named The Registry, or, to it's many loyal fans and customers, The Reg. More recently, they may recall the closure of said pub. And it's replacement, The Kraken Wakes. Although very much in the 'Save the Reg!' camp, I decided to withold judgement on the quite frankly rubbishly named new venue until I'd seen it with my own eyes.
However, today I paid The Kraken (the Krak?) my first visit, after handing in a lengthy piece of coursework and fancying a bite to eat and a quick drink. Upon entering, my first obervation was just how dead the place was - granted, The Reg wasn't often bursting at the seams with bodies at 12.20pm, but it was often populated with students having a mid-day chat over a cheap burger. The new decor is, quite frankly, overdone and fussy and the music playing in the background was some dull minimalist sounds that sounded like the worst kind of elevator music.
We decided to ignore this negative start and check out the food menu. £4.95 for a burger, seems like a good deal. However, when said burger comes with no bun, no chips....basically, a meat patty with a little bit of rabbit food on the side. Anything else was around the £7-£7.50 mark...for a burger and chips. Not including a drink. Ridiculous. It's a pub in a student area, not a restaurant. When a beer and burger can be purchased at nearby pubs such as The Fleet (which seems to have taken on a lot of the 'old Reg crowd') and Wetherspoons for under a fiver, it's a wonder this place sells anything...
Now, I know I haven't been there on a busy night, and all the fanboys and girls will bleat on about the 'atmosphere being amazing, you can't get that in the day!', but I also picked up a programme of events happening throughout April/May. With the exception of an oddly out of place metal night and Southsea Mafia live band/DJ night Awesome Noise (the only reason I'd visit this pub again), all the music events seem to gravitate towards indie/trendy types - the old days of hearing all sorts played through the jukebox is long gone. Previous DJs played alternative and rock - but clearly the venue's preferred clientele has changed radically.
I wanted to like it, I really did. The building itself is gorgeous, and in a brilliant location. Perhaps I'm just not enough of a hipster, as overall, the Kraken Wakes reminds me of some pretentious indie bar in a 'trendy' central London borough. However. We are not in Soho, but a heavily student populated area of Portsmouth. Like many I loved the Reg, but this is not complaining for the sake of complaining. I'm not adverse to change - if the place had been somewhere more welcoming and relevant to student budget, then perhaps I would have discovered a new favourite haunt.
Verdict? Dear Kraken, go back to sleep. Not much love, Milly.