Address: Ellerslie, 3 Robert St, Auckland.
Ph: (09) 579 5592.
It's been a while since I've been in this particular Cock & Bull and I was interested to see if it had changed much.
I'm happy to say that it has.
Previously the service was patchy unless you were a friend of the manager. But these days the staff seem genuinely glad to see people, which is a huge improvement.
I still have a slight problem with the whole "English pub" concept that the Cock & Bull so proudly promotes, mostly because I've never seen a pub in England with what amounts to a shrine to the royal family in one corner.
But then so many "Irish" pubs seem utterly alien as well, so maybe it's a translation issue.
Other than the fading pictures of far-off Germans, everything else you'd expect from an English pub is there - low tables, horse brasses, sport on the telly and a menu that takes its pub grub seriously. And that food is good.
The Sunday roast is excellent and the servings are wholesome and hearty.
But really it's the beer that attracts me to the Cock & Bull chain. The beers are good and in many cases excellent. The dark Star, Monk's Habit and Fuggles are traditional English-style ales and worth seeking out. The Buxom Blonde is a fine wheat beer and even the basic lager, Blue Goose, is more than palatable. Add to that a range of seasonal beers and the near-ubiquitous Guinness and it's a pretty decent line-up.
The Ellerslie branch of the chain has live bands on the weekends and the layout is good, allowing dancing and dining to co-exist with the drinking.
What more could you want?