The Bishops Mill is a JD Wetherspoon pub and it takes its name from the historic mill which stood for centuries adjacent to this site. First recorded in the Boldon Book of 1183, the Bishop’s Mill was the place where the freemen of Durham could grind their corn. The corn mill was rebuilt in the 17th century, and stood here until 1972. The mill race was later used to power the adjacent ice rink.
We’ve now eaten and drunk here several times in our Durham foodie careers, so it’s only right that we should put fingers to keyboard and tell you bit about it. There are two Wetherspoons pubs in Durham; the smaller one of the two is in North Road opposite the bus station, called The Water House. That’s not the one we’re talking about here though. The Bishop’s Mill is near the Gala Theatre complex, just downstairs from Fat Buddha, Chiquito and Nandos restaurants.
The place itself is massive, with lots of seating available both inside and out. Chairs vary from leather wing backs to conventional dining room chairs and also booths. It does get busy however, so if you have a favourite seat, chances are someone else will like it too. We like the leather armchairs and can recommend them as they give you the experience of proper relaxation. There are always a good selection of Real Ales on offer and the pub is Cask Marque Accredited, so you know they keep a good pint, and like all Wetherspoons pubs, it’s cheap! Most real beers can be had for around 2 quid.
The Bishops Mill is actually superb as an early morning pub, where you can have breakfast to set you up for the day. The breakfasts are only about 4 quid and you can get unlimited filter coffee until 2pm as well. It’s next to Clayport Library as well, so if you’re a bilbio-fiend you can go get your library books and sit feasting your face while you read them. We chilled out further by getting ourselves a bottle of Cava for only £10. Superb with the addition of an ice bucket.
Near the Bishops Mill is the Loveshack nightclub, which comes to life at night, but needn’t concern anyone wanting to have a drink during the day. It tends to get a bit rowdy at night, with the queue at the bar being about 10 deep at times. My advice is to avoid the place at night unless you’re a party animal, but if you are, go for it!
The only real complaint about the Bishops Mill is that the service at the bar is sometimes slow, and it wouldn’t be so bad if the bar staff would just acknowledge you to let you know they’ve clocked you and they’ve got you in their mental ‘head queue’ and won’t be a minute, but modern bar training seems to result in you being ignored until they’re ready for you, which is a bit annoying. It’s not just Wetherspoons either, most establishments seem to suffer from this. Has anyone else noticed this when drinking in Durham?
Just a note – even in the pub itself, they don’t seem sure whether it should be Bishops Mill, Bishop’s Mill or Bishops’ Mill. There’s signs and posters that spell it in different ways. See how many variations you can spot.
Durham Food and Drink Ratings
First Impression : 8, Service : 7, Food : 7, Value : 8
Tel : 0191 370 8510