Remembering the time we made The Prodigy’s Keith Flint respond to TripAdvisor reviews of his Essex pub

Keith Flint, vocalist in The Prodigy has died aged 49. In July 2015, we spoke to Flint about his pub and some of the reviews on Tripadvisor and got a taste of his self-deprecating humour.

Keith Flint bought and restored The Leather Bottle – a pub in the village of Pleshey in his native Essex – in 2014. Like all modern landlords, he has to deal with snarky online reviews on top of usual responsibilities such as arguing with drunks and worrying about running out of scampi. So NME gave turbo electro’s most ferocious frontman the right to reply to some TripAdvisor comments…

“Awful”

jojo1Essex says: “Ok if you stick to the basics of burgers / fish and chips, but don’t let the fancy menu fool you into thinking the chef can cook. Don’t expect bread rolls to accompany your starters or your food to be served hot, or even on a hot plate. Very disappointing indeed given previous write ups.”

Keith says: “Yeah… This is the very reason I don’t read reviews normally. It’s the same with anything like this. This is someone’s opinion, they’re entitled to it. I suppose that I’m in there enough to see happy faces and happy people, so the physical feedback is the only feedback I can take on board.”

“Surprisingly upmarket food in a pub”

Jeff196 says: “Chef here can cook, food presentation, seasoning and menu are well executed. The place is tiny with just a few tables so make sure you book in advance. I will defiantly [sic] return, only reason for not giving five stars was the radio was playing as background music and the service was not what I was expecting.”

Keith says: “The thing is, if I’d been in there on the real ales or had a couple of Jagers inside of me, the radio will creep up… You can always tell who the landlord is because he’s at the end of the bar drinking halves, but he’s been there eight hours – he’s had about twelve halves.”

“Light bite lunch”

AndyS1980 says: “We visited the Leather Bottle as we’d heard it was under new management so wanted to check it out. We weren’t hungry enough for a big dinner so ordered a portion of chips, some onion rings and the cheese board – all of it delicious. The beer (Firestarter) and wine were lovely too, so nice I had an extra pint.”

Keith says: “Firestarter. That’s our own ale. Skinners made that for us. It was and is really really popular. Obviously, it trades on the back of something we’d done for the band. But it is fucking great, so I couldn’t turn it down. Plus the pump-handle clip is great.”

“Friendly and Inviting Fire Starter!”

Carol T says: “Found by my husband on one of his Walks. New owners and staff were very welcoming. Hope he doesn’t mind us saying but we are from the era when owner Keith was on our TV’s all the ice and very popular with my husband. He came home telling me had me the “fire starter” and yes he was actually trying to start the fire in the pub! Hubby managed not to sing at him, thankfully.”

Keith says: “To avoid disappointment – it is not a shrine to The Prodigy. If fans come down they need to want to be in a small boozer drinking real ale. My aim is to sell real good ale to people and be a boozer and not to be a gastropub or take the soul out of it, to be a part of the village and village life, and have some good times.”