Another year has passed and 2014 will see major changes in the town. This is something we have been seeing each year, and the expectation of Peach Street refurbishment has been a common theme too. That work is now underway and should be completed this year. We will see the start of Elms Field and the old council office conversion. Lots of new housing at Waterloo Road and in London Road will add to the demand for places to eat and drink in Wokingham.
The old Lloyds Bank in Broad Street is undergoing conversion to a Cote French Bistro inspired by those in Paris. They promise "we are dedicated to serving authentic classic brasserie dishes". They are cuurently recruiting staff and management.
Have you tried the new Cleaver Restaurant that replaced the first Prezzo in the Plaza (off Demark Street)? It has a rustic retro style interior, with leading edge open kitchen design, and focuses on grills, burgers and chicken.
Wokingham has been referred to as one of the happiest and wealthy places of England, but in reality there is a wide range of incomes in the area. Being a popular place to, both to raise a family and to retire, many are on a fixed budget for the luxuries of life such as eating out.
With this in mind it is no surprise that those around Wokingham are keen to take advantages of discounts, offers and vouchers. Marks and Spencer continue the dicount 'Meal Deals' with regular frequency, and the town centre Waitrose often matches the deals in price but with alternate offerings.
We watch Wokingham town centre stores and restaurants for such special deals, putting an alert up on Twitter.com/inwokingham when we get news of any, if you spot one we miss, send us a tweet and we will retweet it.
More and more pubs, bars and restaurants are getting into Social Media, Tweeting and offering info and deals via Facebook, GroupOn and Foursquare. We also see many review sites and printed magazines, setting up local franchises that list eating places and invite reviews to to be posted. Most of these incorporate generic content and are often subject to periodic updating.
We've highlighted the seasonal newspaper vouchers that aim to draw diners at the quiet times, and also pointed to the regular lunch special deals at places like Ruchetta, Loch Fyne and Miltons. But a new trend for the chain owned restaurants is the online discount voucher promotions. Some are kept 'under-the-counter' and are only available to those 'in the know', others are in limited supply and 'when they are gone...'. One such offer that was applicable in Wokingham was that of Zizzi’s 10th Birthday offer, this required the registering on their web-site and printing your own voucher. You could enjoy one main course plus either a starter or dessert* for just £10. This is an example of "you give us something and we give you something back" promotions. Of course, after you sign up with a valid email address, you may receive further promotions ahead of general release. If you take advantage of such offer it is advised to use a 'disposable' e-mail address rather than your primary one. This is easy to do with ’ such as Virgin( NTL, BlueYonder) by setting up an extra post box and forwarding the mail to your main account.
At the beginning of 2013 we said that change continues as the 'word' for business in Wokingham. While last year proved a difficult one for many individuals and businesses, the value of such a guide as this has increased as many other 'franchise' review guides are only updated infrequently, when Wokingham eateries are changing so regularly.
We see a lot less empty shops in the town centre, with the Town Centre Initiative and More Arts making a difference around the town. The new Station is nearly complete and the Peach Street development is well underway. The loss of Woolworth left a hole in the range of shops until Alworth opened, then closed and re-opened again as PoundStretcher. Coffee shops are proving more and more popular though, with Costa Coffee, Nero, Brown Bag amongst the popular ones. It is telling that such major chain groups are bringing their brands to Wokingham. The mini Morrisons has proved a real draw to the Market Square with quick service and extended opening hours.
Some History of this guide: Eating.inWokingham evolved from a printed directory produced and distributed in the 1990'ies and focusing on real ale and real good food, we had a principle to include all venues in the town, rather than list only those places that advertise. At that time the changes were coming so thick and fast that the printing schedule just couldn't keep up. We added the web version as the Internet became a common source of news and information. We now present just the web version styled to help you search online or print out as a pocket guide. Our latest style changes reflect the needs of the mobile visitor. Bandwidth lighter pages are delivered to those visiting from known mobile browsers. We continue to improve the site, suggestions are always welcome. We are looking at providing a dedicated mobile version for 2014. Send us feedback via Twitter or our contact form.
Wokingham shopping is shopping on a boutique level, we do have some supermarkets (Waitrose and Marks & Spencer in the town, Tesco and Sainsbury’s outside), but when it comes to those little luxuries that make life special, Wokingham has many treats available. Nail bars, spa & relaxing, meeting up and leisure in Wokingham has become a wealth of choices over the past 25 years. Previously known as having the most pubs per head of population, Wokingham has evolved as the population of Southern England has changed in make-up and attitude. The style of Wokingham is a contrast to Reading & Bracknell town centres, and complimentary in many ways.
On the other pages we list the places to chill-out, be pampered
in, host your party, enjoy a great lunch or night out in and around
If you are planning a family get-together or have something special to celebrate we aim to guide you in finding a venue to match the mood & budget. Well respected places like Sorrento, Ruchetta & Miltons fill up quickly at holiday times. For parties look at Don Beni down Denmark Street.
We continue with our research into the hospitality of Wokingham, we will note the highlights as we find them. We have no affiliation with any of the places listed and aim to list all those in and around the town centre,as well as some a little further out.
We are, however, very pleased to be associated with Amazon who will highlight selected products within the guide. Although so well known, Amazon.co.uk is a regular innovator and now offers a wider range of products with short delivery times and easy ordering. Check the terms for the relevant advertisers for details of how they use any information you provide.
After the New Year burst, places are much quieter and discount specials can often be found at Wokingham eateries. These offers have lasted much longer this year. Eating out of a newspaper used to be the stock in trade of the Fish & Chip business, but look out for the discount promotions that run in several national newspapers over the year, some require vouchers, but these are often available for printing off via the web, others will just require you to quote the publication.
This revised format hightlight’s the
listed pubs and eateries to help you appreciate Wokingham's choice of over 65 eateries and drinkeries.
Do you have a problem choosing a gift for a family member or friend? They probably have everything they want, but you do not want to sent a gift certificate or voucher. Well I have the same problem and I recalled that Amazon offer a Wishlist service. So I suggested that my brother, who already uses Amazon, update his wishlist. Then I logged in and selected some items up to my budget, in fact I got extra because they were offering a free shipping deal and by adding one extra small item I was able to take advantage of the free shipping and give a bonus present for no extra., what a deal!
It can be helpful to visit the manufactures or other review web-sites for the nitty-gritty lowdown on some products, especially it you are the first the review the item, but many times there is a raft of opinions on the product or gift already up on the Amazon site. I am selecting some items and providing direct links from this site to help you out. As we have UK, US & Worldwide visitors some links will go to Amazon.com and these show the prices in US Dollars. You can also use these links to send gift certificates via email to friends and family, or just buy the item yourself and have it shipped for you direct within the US and territories.
Building a social life in Wokingham is made easier by the friendly atmosphere in some to the smaller local pubs. Choosing the right crowd is more difficult, check out the Queen’s Head, The Metropolitan, The Victoria, The Ship, The Broad Street Tavern (aka the BST) and The Crispin. We always enjoyed the story of a visitor to Wokingham who was advised by her language teacher to visit some pubs in town to find out how to use the English language in the real world. She met a group of regular drinkers and they have been friends ever since. She decided to settle in Wokingham permanently as a result.