The Spinning Mule, Bolton
Pub - Address: Nelson Square, Bolton BL1 1JT
1 reviews from the community
Review of "The Spinning Mule, Bolton"
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THE SPINNING MULE, BOLTON.
Breaking a journey from the East Midlands to Liverpool and persuaded by a good offer for a night in a hotel, we found ourselves back in my old secondary school haunt of Bolton. From past experience, the delights of Bolton are wasted on my husband from the south, so our original plan was to find somewhere to eat enroute and not have to venture outside the hotel. But, as with many of our best laid plans, it didn’t quite work out due to a combination of roadworks, heavy traffic and the fact that reasonably priced eating places are not too easy to find by a motorway. Reluctant to divert to find somewhere, we ploughed on to Bolton, which I inauspiciously drove into in the midst of a deluge that was so heavy I was forced to pull over or risk a collision with something else.If I’m on an expenses budget then I’m happy enough to pay what I consider to be inflated prices for mediocre meals in hotels. but, if we’re picking up the tab, then that’s entirely another matter. Logging onto the hotel wi-fi via my smart phone (how did we ever cope in the dark pre-internet days?) I did a quick search for all the usual reasonably priced brands and found The Spinning Mule, Wetherspoons within easy walking distance of the hotel. I wouldn’t describe myself as a Wetherspoons ‘regular’ by any stretch, but in the past their offering of reasonably priced meals and the all-important drinks often in town/city centre locations have suited us well and we have friends who are great fans.
Luckily the rain abated and we were able to walk from the hotel, although, having been brought up in the north west I wasn’t going anywhere without an umbrella!
Address: The Spinning Mule
Unit 2 Nelson Square
The Spinning Mule is located 0.2 miles on foot from Bolton Town Hall, on Nelson Square, set back off the main thoroughfare of Bradshawgate. There is no on street parking, but Crompton Place Shopping Centre car park is a 3 minute walk (0.2 miles) away.To put it into its slightly broader north western context, The Spinning Mule, Bolton is 17.3 miles south of Blackburn, 18 miles west, slightly south of Rochdale, 12.1 miles north west of Manchester and 35.6 miles north east of Liverpool.
I will admit that Bolton is not exactly centre of the universe, but it was central to my transport network during the secondary school years of bussing into Bolton and out again to a school on the outskirts.
A secondary education in Bolton (at least in my school) wasn’t complete without learning in history about the spinning industry (I’m talking cotton rather than the likes of Alastair Campbell!) and the contribution that the local lad, Samuel Crompton (1753-1827) had made to it with his invention of the Spinning Mule. The school being located within walking distance of his former residence, Hall in’ th’ Wood’, added to the fascination.A statue of Samuel Crompton is located on Nelson Square and gives rise to the name of the nearby Wetherspoons pub, The Spinning Mule, opened in 1998 and decorated with memorabilia harking back to the days of Samuel Crompton.
As we entered Nelson Square from Bradshawgate, we soon spotted The Spinning Mule on the left, with pavement and cobbled street in front facing onto a small garden, war memorial and statue of Samuel Crompton in the middle of the square.
Most of the frontage was of modern red brick with large beige stone around forming an arch and striking entrance, with a large framed window above rising to a pointed apex. More large beige stonework formed an edging below the gently sloping roof.
Narrow tall windows on the ground floor appeared to have a bar running across midway and the option of a retractable sun canopy running above them. (I know the north west has a slightly unfair in my view reputation for being wet, but even here there are days when we get the sun.) Once inside, and seated by one of the windows, it became evident from the hinges that on a warm day the windows could be opened out completely to create a kind of balcony area.
I’ve often noticed with Wetherspoons pubs that the branding is not always obvious. In this respect The Spinning Mule Bolton was no exception. On either side of the building the word Freehouse was in large gold capitals with Spinning Mule in similar gold lettering above the entrance. A moderately sized cream plaque was suspended to the right above the entrance with Wetherspoon on it in dark print.
As we went in we were struck by a fair amount of oak wood panelling and a blue, cream, orange tastefully patterned carpet. I have since read that each Wetherspoons pub has its own bespoke carpet made to order. To the right there were low tables and chairs, with bookcases on the wall, giving the feel of an old library setting. Further along the right wall was a long oak panelled bar. I have yet to go in a Wetherspoons pub where the bar has not been very long. In front of the bar there was an area of high tables with bar stools. To the rear of the building I could see separate function rooms.To the left of the entrance there was a raised wooden floored area with tables and chairs. Further along the left wall, opposite the bar there was a very grand wood panelled staircase leading up to the toilets on the first floor.
Although I sometimes find Wetherspoons pubs a little dark inside, The Spinning Mule, was reasonably well lit and where we sat, on the raised area to the left by a window, there was plenty of light.The Spinning Mule, Bolton at 6pm on a damp Thursday evening mid June was 70% full, but we found no trouble in finding a table to the left on the raised area by the window. I often find Wetherspoons establishments have a tendency to be dark inside, but The Spinning mule was well lit and sitting by a window meant that viewing the menu was no problem.
There were two menus on offer. The large standard menu, offering a wide range of dishes at what I would describe as reasonable prices. We have often been able to pick up a couple of meals for under £10, which these days I consider reasonable. Even given price increases over recent years, the main Wetherspoons menu provides reasonable value for money, especially taking into account that meal deals include a choice of drinks.
There was also a paper menu for Thursday’s offering of Curry club, which grabbed our attention. A range of 8 curries and one salad plus a drink (of which more later) were available for £5.49 each. I felt the menu was a little overweighted towards chicken, as it was in 6 out of 9 choices, with chicken korma, tikka masala, jalfrezi, Balti, vindaloo and a chicken tandoori salad. Other dishes were lamb rogan josh, beef madras and sweet potato, chickpea & spinach curry, which I thought was a little hard on vegetarians. All the curry meals were served with pilau rice, plain naan bread and poppadums.Sides, starting with onion bhajis or vegetable samosas were available from an additional £1.25 were available, although the upgrade to a large curry, incorporating an onion bhaji and a vegetable samosa for an extrsa £1.25 looked like a better deal. Bombay potatoes were £1.50, poppadums and dips, £2.10 and tandoori chicken bites £3.09. For 20p a plain naan could be upgraded to a garlic naan.
If the curry wasn’t filling enough, any dessert from the main menu could be added for £2.50.One thing that especially struck me with the menu was the amount of detail. Granted you needed good eyesight or reading glasses to take it all in, but Wetherspoons clearly take their responsibilities seriously to give as much information as possible. Each dish had a symbol indicating how hot it was and the calorie content. Vegetarian and Vegan dishes were noted. Lower fat dishes containing 5% fat or less were shown. Gluten free dishes were indicated and attention was drawn to dishes containing nuts, although a note in the small print was careful to point out that Wetherspoons couldn’t guarantee that ‘food will be completely free from these allergens’.
I ‘ve always tended to think of Wetherspoons pubs as fairly reasonable for drinks prices. The Spinning Mule, Bolton, was no exception, with pints available from £2.19. The Curry Club basic meal for £5.49, like many Wetherspoon meal deals, included a drink. We could choose from pints :Foster’s, John Smith’s, Carlsberg, Carling, Kronenbourg 1664, Tuborg, Coors Light, Guinness, Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Thatcher’s Gold, Magners, any real ale,Bud Light or Shipyard American Pale Ale. To my mind that represents a very good choice.
If a pint is too much, there were also bottles on offer: Beck’s, Sol, Beck’s Blue alcohol free, Kopparberg alcohol free, Estrella Galicia gluten free, Hazy Hog cloudy English cider and devil’s Backbone – American IPA. There were also craft cans: Bengali, 13 guns American IPA and Uprising Treason west Coast IPA.For some reason Wetherspoons pubs in Northern Ireland are more generous with their spirits, adding 10ml to the standard 25ml available everywhere else. Gordon’s, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold, Captain Morgan white and Bell’s whisky were all available with a mixer.
Another option was a 175ml glass of any Coldwater Creek wine.For those preferring a soft drink, any draught soft drink (398ml glass) was available, or a can of Monster, bottle of J2O, Strathmore Spring Water, standard juice (398ml glass), can of Sanpellegrino, or a can of Old Jamaica ginger beer. Alternatively you could choose any coffee or tea.
I think this meal deal represents excellent value for money, especially if you choose what should normally be a pricier drink. I’ve been known to have to pay around the £5 mark for a 175ml glass of house wine alone in a hotel bar (which, granted is not in quite the same class as Wetherspoons) but to get a reasonable meal thrown in as well for a total of £5.49 represents for me excellent value.
Having found a seat by the window and, after a quick scan of the menu, it didn’t take us long to decide on our order. As I often seem to be the one carrying the cards and cash (along with every other possible necessity in my bag) I usually have the job of putting the order in. From experience in similar eating places, it pays to have someone stay at the table or we’ve been known to return from ordering our food to find others sitting there!Although the bar area was big and busy, it was well staffed and I didn’t have to wait long before my order was taken. I ordered one Chicken Tikka Masala with a pint of Guinness and a Chicken Jalfrezi with a pint of Strongbow Dark Fruit, giving our table number. Payment was contactless and quick. I could have made it quicker by downloading the app and ordering from the table I think, but that’s a step too far technologically for me. No doubt, in a few years we’ll all be using the app.
The biggest challenge was navigating back to our table, carrying two generously filled pint glasses.I sometimes find the wait for food can be drawn out and tedious, especially when we’re hungry, but I’m pleased to report that our food was served in around 10 minutes.
Both meals were served on large identical blue floral plates. The curries were in stainless steel dishes, with rice, naan bread and 2 poppadums on the plate. I tend to be a little wary about the temperature rice and chicken dishes are served at, having a friend who worked in the catering industry, but I’m pleased to report that, our food in The Spinning Mule, Bolton was piping hot. Portion sizes were reasonable and the Chicken Tikka Masala and Chicken Jalfrezi both tasted very good with a plentiful amount of good quality chicken in each. In fact we found the meals so filling that we had no room for a dessert, which was a shame, as, at £2.50, they were reasonably priced.
It’s worth noting that the total cost for 2 meals plus 2 drinks on my bill was £10.98, showing a saving of £4.64.
No review of an eating/drinking place, to my mind, is ever complete without a mention of the toilets. I have to say that having climbed up the oak panelled staircase in The Spinning mule, Bolton, to find the Ladies upstairs, I was a little disappointed. They were certainly nothing special and reminded me of the old public conveniences akin to those I would have expected in Bolton bus/train station over 30 years ago. The room was predominantly white tiled with a row of nondescript cubicles along one wall, some with overflowing sanitary bins. On the opposite wall there was a row of white sinks.
Where would we be without the internet! When looking for somewhere to eat in an unfamiliar location, a quick search on a smart phone can be invaluable. Or better still, for the more organised among us, a bit of research before leaving home can be very helpful to avoid trailing around unfamiliar streets looking for somewhere to eat and can sometimes turn up a useful voucher. Although I should note here that prices are so reasonable that I have yet to find a voucher for Wetherspoons.We found in The Spinning Mule, Bolton, that its worth going for a meal deal, rather than buying a meal and drink separately. A few minutes studying the menu can equate to a few pounds saved.
I am well aware that the Wetherspoons brand is not to everyone’s taste and I certainly wouldn’t be recommending it for that special anniversary meal! However, we found that The Spinning Mule, Bolton fitted the bill for us, serving up reasonably priced food and drink to order.
I guess the test would be would I go there again? My answer would be yes.Would I recommend? Again, yes.
Thank you for reading.
Product Information : The Spinning Mule, Bolton
Manufacturer's product descriptionPub - Address: Nelson Square, Bolton BL1 1JT
Address: Nelson Square, Bolton BL1 1JT
Listed on Ciao since: 10/08/2017