The Racehorse Inn, Taunton, Somerset

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Rating: 3.5 Rating: 3.5 Rating: 3.5 Rating: 3.5 Rating: 3.5

The Racehorse Inn, TauntonI’ll be honest and admit that I have read several reviews of the Racehorse Inn and not all of them favourable, but my experience so far has been a good one. However, it must be said that I have never been there during the evening when I’m led to believe it can get very crowded, particularly at the weekend when live music is on offer, so this review - such as it is - is simply based on my experiences during daytime visits, and my star rating (above) reflects that.

First things first; the Racehorse exists under the St Austell Brewery umbrella which slightly reduces the ales on offer, but if like me you like a pint of ‘Proper Job’ then you’re in luck.

If you want a meal, or a snack beyond a packet of salty things however, this is not the pub for you. Oddly, the St Austell Brewery website lists this as serving lunches: it doesn’t . Perhaps it did once but it doesn’t now, and that could be due to the nearby eateries available (including a JD Wetherspoons, which I will talk of in another post).

The next thing is to explain that The Racehorse is pretty much an authentic pub and looks like it hasn’t changed in many, many years. Three or four interconnected “rooms” lead to an outdoor area , and the pub is longer than it is wide, so is deceptively larger than it looks from the street.

The furniture is somewhat eclectic, as are the walls and shelves that are packed with pictures, old signs and a wide variety of bric-a-brac with no apparent common link; apart from all possibly coming from a house clearance sale, and none the worse for that.

The highlight of many visits though is the presence of Mary the landlady. Ah, Mary: not one to mince her words, or be totally effusive with a welcome, I’ve never heard of any trouble in The Racehorse and with Mary there I’m not surprised. An Irish lady who can be loud, totally the boss, and not averse to using some ‘strong’ language, but who I think/hope/pray warms to customers who return on subsequent visits.

So, do not go to The Racehorse for lunch, go afterward; don’t go expecting the height of comfort; expect some bad language (so it’s not for the easily offended), but enjoy the atmosphere of a town centre pub that still retains the character that, in my opinion, a pub should have.

Just don’t upset Ms Mary.