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Dulwich Woodhouse, Sydenham

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user reviews of the Dulwich Woodhouse, Sydenham

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Does anyone else have a view?
I returned by mistake. They were surly about kids in the garden after a certain time. I don't want ankle biters annoying me but these were reasonably grown up teenagers. Garden was only half full and we weren't bothering anyone. Use your discretion I say. Oh it is health and safety they say. Bolloxs!
The Sri Lankan waitor was helpful and pleasant. Only plus point
Oh and the police cordon around the woods as they had found a dead body was the most exciting part of the evening. Not foul play.
baggydave - 28 May 2016 11:16
So what could be lovelier on a scorching evening like tonight, than a beer in a traditional English pub with a nice beer garden.

Wrong.

I so wanted this to be right, and some return to what it was like 15 years ago when the ambience and decor suited its great history.

Dunno where to start. The brash barman. The noise. The failure to try to make it look like an 1870s pub interior. All trendy and modern.

So outside, and even worse. Not relaxing but artificial. The grass (wtf), the tables, the boxy squareness of it all. And the artificial grass. I think I will give up now.

Still it was doing a trade, I don't run a pub, so what do I know. Artificial grass? May as well pave over the outside.
baggydave - 29 Jun 2015 20:22
Rumour has it that the refurb will return the pub to some of its former glory, you know like a front door and bar in the main front room. Always good for a start.

I was going to check it out for my birthday but feel with indifferent reviews on Tripadvisor (oh dear, how bad have things gone if I go there to check a place that isn't a hotel out) perhaps I'll go to a real restaurant instead.

I did like this earlier review though as it sounded as if could have written it.

Looking back a few years when Pete and Jo Henderson were managing "The Woodlouse" as it was affectionately known locally. Was probably the front runner for best pub in London. Frequented by a motley cross section of humanity. Journalists actors Musicians Bikers Doctors Tradesmen of all kinds Bus drivers and Cabbies. The conversations that could be heard covered every subject under the sun. This of course stimulated discussion and on occasion serious debate. To spend an evening in here was a joyous experience. That is until the Brewery patriarch a Mr John Young died. Then everything changed, a new manager was installed and we the merry band of Ale lovers were told we were no longer welcome, as Youngs new owners intend to turn a thriving busy local hostelry into a Gastro pub. The result of this action saw the heart torn out of the historic interior and the once friendly atmosphere sucked out the door. Now its business is slow and locals avoid the once vibrant ale house to sup their pints inn pubs other than this..
baggydave - 17 Jun 2015 23:10
I'd say a few reviewers are being slightly unfair here.
I've been past this interesting looking establishment as a motorbike courier many a time, but never been in as I'm a NW London man.
Popped in yesterday when cycling. Solo visit. Very warm day. Opted for a bottle of Bulmer's (Yes, sacrilege. Wrong site, etc. - I am normally a "proper" beer drinker) and was a mite peeved that the ice machine had packed up, so no ice! You don't primarily quaff Bulmer's fruit cider for the taste - I could have bought a chilled cherryade at a Mr. Patel's somewhere.
Five pounds and three shillings was very steep. I bought a different Bulmer's fruit cider in the yuppified Clapham North boozer on the corner of Bedford Road and for 55p less earlier in the week.
Fair selection of Young's ales and it is a nice pub. Spacious and well-tended beer garden, though there were quite a few kids running around: not out of control; just being five-year-olds.
The food looked OK.
Not really my cup of tea, but this is a very affluent area. If Young's can get away with charging these prices for a pleasant atmosphere and a relaxing setting, I can't see that we can complain. It was busy but there were plenty of staff on.
I wouldn't rule out a return visit. Hopefully in beer weather... or when the ice machine's fixed.

MarlingSnallard - 9 Jun 2014 15:40
It feels like you're in the countryside when you step off the bus here. The pub also feels like a village local with groups of elderly men and their dogs chatting away, with diners enjoying a post-meal drink or two. The guy behind the bar was also very friendly. Being a Youngs pub, it only stocked their ales - Bitter, Special, London Gold & Winter Warmer. At least this was a larger selection than my previous 2 Youngs pubs earlier in the day. Nice pub. But not the easiest to get to.
blue_scrumpy - 10 Nov 2013 14:15
Very nice staff, Very nice garden. Very nice food, Very overpriced. drinks.
3 out of 4 aint bad.
starquake - 30 Aug 2013 16:34
Have to agree with Pat on this one, another pub ruined.
Picasso09 - 17 Jun 2012 08:03
Again, Bateman tells us to ignore first time posters - who are just as worthy to comment as the rest of us. Youngs did a fine job on the refurb - and eatimg and drinking here is a pleasure.
tradervic - 18 May 2012 11:15
I'd ignore the previous three reviews (all first time posters ... need I say more) if I were you.

What was once a great pub with a superb beer garden, is now nothing more than an expensive Young's restaurant.

I certainly wouldn't class it as a pub.

Pat_Bateman - 18 May 2012 10:20
What a great place!!! Really does feel like you've escaped from the grind of London. Met a friend there earlier, we had a lovely lunch and were very well looked after, just a shame the sun wasn't shining, as would have loved to have sat in the garden and got some rays!
Ballet - 17 May 2012 15:14
the dulwich Woodhouse really took on following the refurbishment , now a great place for the family, with a fantastic garden, sorry for Pat that he doesn't feel the same. As a woman it is the kind of place where I feel comfortable coming in and going up to the bar, great atmosphere, love the entrance through the garden, real country feel with access for everyone. This place deserves good positive reviews.
lavenderblue1909 - 17 May 2012 14:50
I'd ignore the previous two reviews (both first time posters) if I were you.

What was once a great pub with a superb beer garden, is now nothing more than an expensive Young's restaurant.

I certainly wouldn't class it as a pub.
Pat_Bateman - 15 May 2012 11:12
The Dulwich Woodhouse is a charming place to visit for a drink and a meal. The garden is a real oasis as you would think that that it was a country pub. The staff are friendly and families are made very welcome. I have enjoyed eating out in the charming garden after a walk in the nearby woods with my family. The food is excellent, generous portions and a great barbecue menu. This pub is a definite must for all ages.
lavenderblue1909 - 15 May 2012 00:18
I was quite surprised to see what the other reviews said about the dulwich wood house after i had visited. I was very pleased with our visit there. A group of us went for sunday roast and had a splendid meal in comfortable and stylish surroundings. Although it was busy we never had any of the problems we had read on other peoples reviews.

When we looked around inside and out we were amazed a finding such a hidden gem in london. It has the feel of a country pub with real fires for the autum and winter and for spring and summer they have the most beautiful beer garden with an out door barbeque. You really could be anywhere in the uk and can forget the daily grind of a capital city.

The food was wonderful and there was plenty of ales and lagers to choose from. I have been reliably informed that the best time to appreciate this pub is weekday evenings when they do staeak nights and quiz nights and its at a nice capacity.

I urge others to try this place despite some of the reviews its a hidden gem
Foresthillboy - 27 Apr 2012 13:27
This is a wasted opportunity. A cosy pub near Dulwich woods, which should surely reward you for climbing that hill...well, only in part. The food is abysmal - you have to go for the safest thing on the menu in order to tolerate what you're served (ie: something that doesn't require being heated; something that's less prone to going off - so meat and fish are out of the question!). In the summer staff find it impossible to cater for those in the garden and inside the pub - the kitchen, it would seem, is insufficient to cope with demand. There is what appears to be a BBQ area outside, yet I have not witnessed any outdoor catering as yet. Should this be used, it may improve the situation considerably, if there are enough qualified catering staff to hand.

Other things - namely, the ambiance: the choice of music is terrible - not sure why the Dulwich Wood House tries to appear 'upmarket' when the music is anything but. Silence would be an improvement on the tinny hip hop radio music you have to contend with (as if you were a teenager!). And why the fruit machines? This is incongruent with the 'upmarket' image too: you don't get fruit machines in pubs which cater for semi-intelligent punters! The staff are hit and miss: sometimes you will find some very professional, friendly staff, while on other occasions service will be very slow, as if you are being ignored. Furthermore, there is too much banter between a couple of uncouth members of staff with a few uncouth locals - it is offputting when considering the prices you pay to sit and drink, hoping you can do so in civility.

Leading me on to prices - it is far, far too expensive a pub, considering it is situated in a residential area. Most of the punters seem to be locals, yet, they presumably have to pay over £4 a pint, which seems wrong.

This pub is a confused place - Youngs want it to match their string of upmarket venues, yet inherently it does not want to be upmarket; it wants to be a local. It would be good if Youngs could cut the landlord a bit of slack, enabling him to personalise it a little and turn it into a place with some atmosphere, charm, and integrity. It's often empty early in the week and on Sundays, yet this place could be full if only the locals had the incentive to visit.
monkeyjoe - 23 Feb 2011 01:05
The reason I am giving this any marks at all is because of it's location and because the service was not too bad at all. In fact because we had booked a table in advance the waitress came up and took orders for drink and food which was appreciated.
However the Sunday roast meat was tough (beef) and my fish and chips came cold and was one of the greasiest dishes I have ever seen. The prices were extremely expensive. I don't mind paying a bit extra if the quality of food is there but it just wasn't. On top of that a pint of ale, a pint of larger and a large glass of house red cost £13.50. Pretty expensive. This pub is pretentious but has very little quality. Future walks in Dulwich would will be followed by a more desireable location.
beeland53 - 9 Jan 2011 19:14
This used to be a great pub, but Young's went and ruined it. It's now one of those gastro places where they look askance at you if you're just ordering beer. And the beer's expensive and it takes an age to get served. I'll be avoiding the place in future.
paul154 - 4 Jan 2011 09:51
It does Winter Warmer and on a snowy day that goes a long way.

However it is obstensibly a gastro pub by appearances and this is a shame. The focus seems to have shifted to food.


terenced - 1 Dec 2010 11:08
This was such a good pub, serving such good beer, in such a good location. Even the best efforts of mutton dressed as lamb and her hubby did not manage to prevent it being full most nights, even as a non food pub. Almost two decades of drinking there.

In the words of Swiss Tony it needed to be cherished and caressed. Not the total makeover, and succession of short term managers. SHAME ON YOU SHAME ON YOU SHAME ON YOU SHAME ON YOU.
baggydave - 5 Nov 2010 19:26
Youngs really need to sort out this pub. It's in an absolutely lovely location and has so much going for it, such as a large garden for the summer and nice, cosy enclaves for the winter. But my oh my is this place badly run. The last few times I've been there has been meltdown because people's food was late or unavailable. The times I've eaten there it's the food has been very poor.

The manager seems a decent guy and I fear he isn't being given the resources to run such a large and busy pub. The place always seems understaffed. He could however make a few immediate changes. 1. Make the menu less reliant on fancy cuisine that takes ages to cook. Focus on good pub staples - homemade pies, sausage & mash, fish & chips etc. If the quality is right then people will like it. 2. In the summer have a bottle bar in the garden so the main pub doesn't get swamped by people who are just after a cold lager. 3. Do some promotions to attract locals. Have some guest ales. Stop some locally sourced bar snacks. Introduce a loyalty card. Make people feel like they are welcome. 4. Employ more staff!

I really hope this place does improve as it could be a really great pub in the SE and hope that Youngs get a grip on the situation.
halfafarthing - 12 Oct 2010 16:12
Disappointed to say the least. Service for a start was painfully slow. The pub was very empty – although I did find the staff watching the US V Slovenia match (perhaps that was the problem?)

15 minute for drinks- water, lemonade & apple juice- complicated I know.

We ordered three mains- two of which were very good. The hamburger however was cooked on the outside and raw on the inside. Had to search for a member of staff to the hamburger situation rectified. Was it better on return? No not really. Although, it did make a good toasted cheese sandwich once I discarded the 11.95 burger.

The bill totalled £41.00, which in my view is way too much for a meal & service that would only rival your local Harvester.

As a North Londoner, I am not that familiar with the South London scene. I am CAMRA member but as this was work related lunch, there was no ale involved. I was so annoyed by the food and service that I honestly could not even consider the drinks on offer as I would never come back! Sorry guys—huge thumbs down from me.

tollhouse - 19 Jun 2010 17:26
It has been a while since I last posted on the Dulwich Woodhouse, and really nothing much has changed the opinion of it I supplied in December 2008. The other posts about this pub are pretty spot on.

However, I will give it a couple of boosters.

Firstly, if you miss a decent pub quiz then come along to the Woodhouse every Wednesday because a really well attended and popular quiz gets hosted here once a week. I love it.

Secondly, the staff are always a pretty decent bunch. Other than that not much new to add, other than that it is really expensive to drink and eat here (within the context of south London rather than the West End). My third boost is that the Youngs beer and their guest beers are still cheap and are well kept. Heh, i still keep coming....
themanwhowouldbeking - 11 Apr 2010 21:36
I've been to this pub years ago when that kind of refurb was perhaps a good thing considering the delapidated state of many pubs as was then the case in SE London. Now it is just another computer designed one size fits all refitted pub. And that's the thing about Young's pubs these days. they took over a pub in SE5 which was PACKED full of art college students and the stuffy manager frightened them all away. Pity because that pub was one of three worth visiting, but the Youngs with their amplified over jolly radio 1-esque quiz master wasa real off putter for me. That and the lack of other customers. The manager's attitude matters as much as the refurb (or in style redecoration). And young's just don't have that in general.
declan88 - 16 Dec 2009 16:59
The point of this pub was surely to cater for dog walkers, regulars, dart players and families enjoying Sydenham woods. That they used to provide a dog bowl for dogs (obviously) illustrated their generous and hospitable nature. Now you can't even get into the place - the front door has been locked (one has to wander around the back!), but frankly it's a blessing, as I'd rather be locked in the home furnishings Dept of the HOuse of Frazer - in the late 80's - for the night, than spend longer than 5 seconds in this taste abortion.
This is the perfect pub, for people who prefer restaurants to pubs, yet have never in their lives been to a decent restaurant.
TomAngel - 18 Jun 2009 14:21
With so many bland, soulless pubs taking over our high streets and ruining the pub-going experience for anyone with a hint of a pulse, it's always refreshing to stumble accross one that tries something a bit different. And boy oh boy, is the Dulwich Woodhouse 'different'.
The guys running this place have deconstucted the concept of the pub as you and I would recognise it and then seemingly reassembled it blindfolded, throwing in random elements of other related industries to add to the confused mix. The results of so much brainstorming, speak for themselves.
Why, for example, have the entrance to the pub at the front or side of the building, when you could make punters trudge round to the back, via a beer garden full of out of control kids high on sunshine and e-numbers, before finally entering the premises through an enormo-conservatory with an astro-turf floor?
Why paint numbers on the tables in the beer garden, when you can give punters a nigh-on invisible bit of drift-wood with a number hidden on it, thus reducing the job of the poor bugger trying to serve you your food to that of a bingo caller?
Why bother maintaining the original Victorian interior of the pub, when you can turn it into the lobby of a 3 star hotel?
Why charge a sensible price for a pint of beer, when you could fleece the poor folk who finally make it to the bar for £3.78 for a Hieneken or £4.25 for an Erdinger?
Part of me wants to give this place a high rating just for the sheer balls-out madness of the whole enterprise, but having read through some of the comments below, it seems like this is another case of a well loved and respected local pub selling it's soul for an easy buck.
Pubsignman - 4 Jun 2009 00:20
I've not been to the Woodhouse for years mainly because I live in West London, but was considering going there tomorrow night. I'm very sorry to read the recent comments and reviews and can only say this seems to be typical of Youngs policy in the last couple of years. Two Youngs pubs in my area - the Britannia in Kensingtonand the Cumberland in Parsons Green have similarly been refurbed, the Britannia with particularly disastrous results. Youngs seem intent on ruining and banishing from London life the very essence of our city's social culture - the traditional and characterful London pub. The Britannia is like a hotel lobby with as much charm as one. I'm not against re-furbing and modernising but the important thing is to keep the characteristics and the spirit and the charm of a venue. We now have this international, vapid, could-be-anywhere standard of blandness and anonymity in our social spaces.
Ullage - 20 Feb 2009 16:54
I moved to the area a few months ago, with my partner and young baby, and have never visited this pub before the recent infamous refurbishment.

We have visited several times for Sunday afternoon meals and find the pub extremally tolerant of families and children, a blessing.

Not having visited the pub before the refurbishment, I have nothing to compare the current decor/ambiance too. I imagine it was a friendly local boozer beforehand, but reading previous comments it seems it did used to be unfriendly to children and also have it's contingent of unfriendly regulars.

From my own experience, its a very friendly pub, it has a nice, peaceful, contempory ambience, the front of house staff are excellent and are alway helpful. It probably though shouldnt actually be described as a pub anymore, rather as a restaurant with bar / drinking area. The bar area is indeed reminscent of a hotel lobby, but a stylish one.

Some down sides, the food is not A class, and is very over priced. Roast chicken that is still bleeding (which they then microwaved for me after informing them) and the worst pork belly I have ever tasted. Once they get a chef in to match the prices, then it will be a place worth making a trip too.

I think if it used to be my local pub for an evening pint, I'd be annoyed at the recent transformation and would make my dissatisfation known. Being new to the restaurant/pub though, its a very nice place and I will certainly be returning (though perhaps not ordering the chicken next time).

Interestested to see how it fairs in the summer.
Jonson - 14 Dec 2008 20:36
Popped in for a drink after a lovely frosty walk in Sydenham Hill Woods to find that I could not get in. The main front door was locked and so was the secondary front door. There were people inside, rather up market and eating at what looked like a restaurant. Maybe it was a private party or perhaps a film set.

Found myself agreeing with a lot of what you said themanwhowouldbeking but certainly I will not get used to it. SHOCKING
baggydave - 7 Dec 2008 20:24
Could not agree more with the recent comments made by posters about the newly refurbished Dulwich Woodhouse. My views are not from an embittered local (though I am local) or a pub traditionalist but stem instead from sheer bewilderment.....

Firstly, the old pub did need some work doing on it so there is nothing wrong with change per se. However, this refurbishment is a Bridge Too Far. It has changed the whole emphasis of the pub by marginalising the drinking function in favour of more formal dining. The garden, one of the better parts of the old Woodhouse, has been crammed so full of tables I am really interested to see how it works as a space during the summer. The old raised wooden decking area, which had a really nice 'colonial' feel about it (I used to love sitting there during the summer) has been ripped out and replaced with a black astro turfed area with furniture to match, giving it a feel of a chintzy 'chill out' zone of a Ibiza nightclub during the 1990s.

One of the recent posts (Bobbo) suggested that it had the new bar area had the feel of a hotel lobby. He is quite right and it is precisely the view many of us arrived at after we had visited the 'new' DW for the first time. Despite Young's spending all this money they have not got the simple things right, like shifting the kitchen doors to face the new restaurant rather than having staff entering and exiting through the new bar area. Ditto with the coffee making area. Surely this is better placed in their spacious new dining area rather than plonked next to drinker’s tables?....

Yet if this pub was really supposed to be all about food then the new DW should have provided a more progressive menu and changed the chef. Both are exactly the same as before. Very odd. I never came to here for the food and neither did many others I know.

Youngs should have taken a leaf out of The Plough on Lordship Lane in east Dulwich. This has been recently renovated - post-smoking ban - yet has retained all its character and importantly got it’s drinking versus food balance just right. The staff are also terrific. It is also very child friendly (as long as they are not present after 7), so makes money during the day from lunches for the areas 'nappy valley' mothers instead of having a few old men nursing half pints for hours on end.

Like Griffith, I expect to see the Woodhouse on Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares in a few years because the pub will have a) alienated all the 'locals' (concur with Rich66 though, I won't miss some of them, it was like a Daily Mail editorial some nights) and b) be empty of diners because the food is overpriced and just not good enough. Which is a shame; because there was a real opportunity here to make a great venue but someone at Youngs gave an architect/interior designer team too many crayons.

Having said that the gents toilets are among the best I have been too in a long time, but that’s not really a reason for visiting a pub..... Maybe I will get used to it.


themanwhowouldbeking - 1 Dec 2008 12:26
I concur.

The new refurbishment is nice, however it now feels like a hotel rather than the charming local it used to be. The switching of the drinking area to the old restaurant feels like you are in a hotel lobby and in the way.

The food we had was fine but rather stingy for the prices. I was however slightly mortified by the cheese board for two, which at £8 came with only 7 water crackers, which by my calculation doesn't divide by two and is hardly generous or inventive, water crackers are nice but how about a little variety. And to add insult to injury the cheese came plonked on a load of lettuce....! Lettuce and Cheese? Celery or grapes wouldn't break the bank. All in all a poor effort and well over priced.

This pub used to be my favourite local but it has lots everything that was good about it which is a huge shame.

Bobbo - 21 Nov 2008 11:24
The woodhouse has been refurbished as a "Pub and dining" experience. It is a classic case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Gone are the pub carpets, rag roll and other relics of bad refurbishments, sadly also gone are the original features of the victorian pub, the atmosphere and the customers.

If you are going to market your boozer as a 'dining' venue I would delicately suggest putting some effort into selecting a chef who can cook. The only thing not refurbished in the Woodhouse is the chef who is turning out the same old stuff (which was never it's selling point. in an area stuffed with award winning gastro-pubs it is important to get this stuff right. the food here is below sub standard. Gordon Ramsay would make a feature length episode from this place.

The only thing I can say positively about the changes is that the staff are charming, friendly and helpful. I suspect they will become jaded and go if they face as many unhappy clients as were there on our night there. 3 groups eating, 3 groups complaining.

Youngs just can't get it right, they closed the brewery and now they are ruining their pubs, given the woodhouse is my (very) local I am gutted as it should be.
griffith - 19 Nov 2008 23:31
What an absolute unmitigated disaster this recent refurbishment has been. This place is unrecognisable inside and is effectively now a restaurant not a pub.

For a start you have to walk right around the back to get in, entering through the beer garden and the new extention that was added several years ago. There's a small bar and bland open plan seating; turning to the right and going up the stairs into the original Victorian part of the pub one finds dining tables and the original bar has just vanished to be replaced by some sort of catering table.

As I sat down with my post-work pint, hoping to relax for half an hour after a long day in the office, I was offered a menu which I decline. A couple of minutes later the same staff member returned and asked me to move to the downstairs area as I was "in the restaurant". I was so disgusted and disillusioned I walked out, probably never to return to the nearest pub to my home of the past 24 years.

This used to be a characterful early Victorian pub in a leafy yet densely populated area, always busy with locals who clearly lived within strolling distance but also attracting passing trade being on a busy residential road and bus route. Some of the regulars propping up the bar could be a bit of a nuisance at times, giving the impression that it was very much "their" pub, but nevertheless it was an enjoyable place to relax with the pleasant views along Sydenham Hill from the front windows.

Now it's just appalling.
Rich66 - 31 Oct 2008 23:28
I'm afraid reviewer "baggydave" is right, and it's getting worse. I went for a pint on Saturday lunchtime and discovered that as of Sunday (7th Sept) the pub is closed for 6 weeks for refurbishment. Time will tell but I was told the (historic) bar was going to be removed and the restaurant extended, as well as, inevitably, dogs being banned. I also had a chat with a couple of locals including one of the darts team who were equally upset, especially as darts does not seem to fit in with the management's idea of a pub - or restaurant - as this is clearly what they want to turn this into.

I'm not averse to change if it is for the better and there's no doubt the toilets, for example, are in dire need of a refurb, but I have a fear that the management are going to destroy what was left of the locals bar and replace it with more "covers". Missing the point that the issue with this place is that the food is overpriced and very very average.

I don't even live in the area yet but have been looking to buy locally and inbetween house viewings have popped into the pub on many occasions. I consider the Dulwich Woodhouse to be one of the area's assets. I hope this remains the case but I do fear that the lifeblood of the place will effectively be thrown out along with the old fixtures and fittings...I hope I'm wrong but previous experience suggests otherwise!

Hockers - 8 Sep 2008 12:43
Great pub for a sunday afternoon. Friendly. On my list.
SkyJ - 6 Sep 2008 23:06
A lovely location, and excellent building, that I will continue to visit as I have for almost 20 years.

Yet I get progressively more disillusioned. They have now got rid of all the nice traditional feel to the main bar, getting rid of the characterful banquet seating with those bloody high chairs and tables. The generic Lordship Lane bar has now reached the top of the hill.

Agree totally with Goodfoodie, the food is average yet they charge near gastropub prices for it. It may be twice as nice as Wotherspoons food, but at three times the price?

What really upsets me is that this pub had a near magic formula in any place - lovely traditional pub, with a large garden, on top of the hill. Nowhere within miles could compete with this, it had its regular established clientelle (notwithstanding the general hatred of kids from successive managers). Yet they conintually have to change it (adding ultimately to the price of food and beer). It smacks of short term management. Hope the management are reading. This explains why it scores 6/10 rather than the 9/10 that it should do automatically.

baggydave - 25 Jul 2008 13:19
Lovely looking Youngs pub, very much a local, above average real ale, worth a look.
mtaylor40 - 13 Feb 2008 20:52
What a shame the food is now so poor and some of the staff are so gormless, it's really gone down hill, the surroundings and atmosphere have such potential but the quality of the food has changed it from being our local as we've just got sick of being served tasteless slop (the 'runny' pate starters at £6.50 each are the worst), very bad value, what's happened??
goodfoodie - 11 Feb 2008 13:46
Popped in for a quick after-work pint following a visit to the area. Impressed by the building and its location. Service was quick, polite and efficient. Young's Special was the best I've had since the move to Bedford. Obviously popular with regulars of whom there were many but certainly not unwelcoming. Has a restaurant, and although didn't eat the menu looked very good. Will certainly return when next in the area. One to remember.
davewat - 2 Feb 2008 09:21
havn't been to this pub in years but the food has really improved. the new managers seem to be doing a good job as the beer was on top form even if it was a bit strange to be drinking Directors in this flagship youngs pub. I might even try the quiz this tuesday as I was informed they've changed the quizmaster, maybe one of you could help me who was the quiz master two years ago? Big fellow with glasses he seemed missing when I went in.
Eskrimo - 22 Sep 2007 23:38
Whatever the politics of Youngs and Wells, the pub is a place you can visit and have a decent pint of beer and watch the 363 bus go by. If it was up to me we'd all be drinking Phoenix's Wobbly Bob but let's get real - a good pub with good beer.
realmeerkat - 11 Jul 2007 22:53
We stumbled across this pub, starving hungry late one afternoon, and we very happy to tuck into a hearty sandwich and some very nice chips. The cosy chairs in the pub restaurant together with Amy Whinehouse playing in the background made a good impression that stuck with us long enough to want us to go back for another meal, this time in the evening, where the food was even more excellent than before. The burger is the only thing I wouldn't recommend, and the toilets need a refurb, but overall a great place for a quiet drink in the lovely beer garden or to enjoy a good bit of pub food : )
lhaddad - 27 Jun 2007 10:42
What can you say about the demise of Youngs beer, curiously ignored by official CAMRA HQ. The Bedford bitter does not bear comparison. Its pleasant, but only that and over an eveing tends to become "boring". Whereas the Youngs Wandsworth taste was refreshing, hoppy, and the flavour remained intense with pint No 2 and No 3 etc. This pub is a very pleasant place to visit particularly with the new young, enthusiastic and helpful landlord and the food has definitely improved. Now we read that the Wells Youngs brewery is going to brew Courage Best. Says it all! Such a shame. And I was amazed to see how much Bombadier was being served in this die hard Youngs pub. Must be me that's losing it!
GrahamH - 6 Feb 2007 22:04
Popped in with the wife and mother-in-law a couple of Saturday's ago, and the DWH delivered the goods.

I have been a few times before and been a bit disappointed with the food - although this has been on Sunday evenings when practically everything was sold out. On this quiet Saturday lunch, I thought the service and food was excellent, helped by the autumn sun streaming in from the front windows.

I had a bottle of Young's Champion for a change, which was superb.

Also convenient for a gander around Sydenham woods - one entrance is about 100 yards down the road.
Donnington - 18 Nov 2006 12:02
I’ve been going to this superior Young’s pub for many years and have just discovered that they’ve gone and gastro-pubbed it. All the comfortable old wall-backed seating has gone and now you have to sit at square wooden tables on straight-backed seats. Fashion dictates that apparently that’s what we want. Well, I don’t want it. They’ve left just one piece of original seating in the small room with the dart board... it looks lost and forlorn. Even the big old ‘Captain’s Chair’ downstairs has gone… shock, horror.
So, a lot of the cosiness has gone but, even so, this is still a pub worth visiting and the beer is usually in pretty decent condition. As well as Ordinary and Special, Charles Wells’ Bombardier was also available today (and will be a regular beer from now on).
The furniture change is another move in the gradual inexorable drift that seems like it is going to destroy the traditional British boozer forever… but I hope not.

karloff - 5 Nov 2006 13:09
Called in late Sept to test a pint of Youngs new Bedford bitter following the demise of the Wandsworth brew. Told the landlord that we couldn't tell the difference - I'm not surprised was the reply as we are still on a supply from Wandsworth. Story was that Youngs have been feeding their pubs with a mix of Bedford and Wandsworth brewed beer so that customers can less easily spot the switch in taste - the Bedford variety is more "watery" it was said! And there's more - Youngs pubs will be OBLIGED to put Well's Bombardier in a handpump on their bars from October, from which time Bombardier and Youngs Ordinary are to be the two premier brands with Youngs Special relegated to second tier. R.I.P. John Young.
GrahamH - 2 Oct 2006 09:12
Haven been in this pub for years (25) but nice to see it is still going strong…would like to here from any of the locals from back then…if they are still drinking there. email me ernestcarter@cox.net
waxmax - 25 Sep 2006 21:25
Great ales, great food, great pub. Popped in with my children last Sunday as I heard the Woodhouse had got one of my favourite jazz quartet's playing, and had a fantastic time. Staff were friendly, ale was well kept and the pub had a great atmosphere. Can't wait to see what theyr'e gonna do next.
ilikebeer2 - 22 Sep 2006 15:58
We saw a couple get their sunday lunch delivered to their table, the guy asked for some cutlery and the delivery boy said "it's over there" and went and stood with his mate who was havin' a larf i.e. get it yourself. Meanwhile baby Kylie and Britney screamed in the corner and their 6 year old brother/cousin Tyler kicked a ball against our table while dad in a pair of blue shorts, white Reeboks and a sun-reddened skin-top (with optional beer gut included) sweated happily in the corner thinking about his Sky+ subscription.
This is how it was, I will go back because I like the ale and it's an amusing place. Don't go for food but do call in for a pint.
MarkFresh - 3 Aug 2006 21:48
Updated due to change of management. Location lovely and Youngs beer. Food OK - and trying to be imaginative. Attitude to kids still sucks, and seems even worse. Drank here pre and post kids so think I have a good perspective. When the play area was there at least the ankle bighters had a place to go rather than annoying us parents! (say that tongue in cheek). That said think the management are waking up. As an acredited old fa*t it was actually down hill once they'd knocked through between the bar and lounge, removed the boules pitch and stopped kids playing in the hedge due to a grumpy neigbour
baggydave - 28 Jul 2006 13:01
DMO I was back recently and it seems that the old chef has gone and I don't blame him. Now known as the "I'll have a pint and a taxi" meeting place, the woodhouse has taken a sharp turn for the worse(in my opinion and that of friends that used to be regular) I agree that the kids should be welcome, and the removal of the play area will affect their trade hugely, if it hasn't already been affected by the new style management.
Joanie.S - 22 Jun 2006 22:32
Went there for fathers day lunch, one day in the year where you'd think their attitude towards children softens. No such luck. I just cannot understand why a pub in that location, with those facilities would want to discourage families.

Interesting to read some of the comments on the food which was nothing short of disgusting, the worst food I have ever paid for. This also included being given 8 chips (small) with an adult meal. Of course the Fathers Day menu didn't include childrens meals because you really wouldn't want children there whilst you cash in on their parents.....
DMO - 19 Jun 2006 10:46
I see there is a new menu.A big improvement on the last offerings, it is bringing this pub into the 21st century. The new managers must be doing something right. great to see the playgrounds gone!The last comment was this by any of the crowd that hug the top bar and don't allow people to get thru! If things continue like this I might be back in the winter.
anonymous - 3 May 2006 13:57
Beertastingmonkey, I can certainly confirm that the food here has greatly improved over the past 18mths or so(new chef).The foods great...if you go on the right day! make sure the scouser cooks your food and you're laughing!
Unfortunately, the managers seem to be changing almost weekly at the moment, no good for a pub in my view.Haven't been in this week but from all accounts the latest arrivals don't know what they're doing, but then again,it may have all changed by the time you read this!!
Joanie.S - 25 Mar 2006 20:04
Pub has a good setting and is Youngs so good beer in my book.
Was put off returning for food after the worst pub food I have ever had. This was 2-3 years ago. Can anyone confirm whether it has since improved?
Beertastingmonkey - 24 Mar 2006 12:04
I have a love/hate relationship with this pub. There is no competition in the area - a lovely building, a pretty sympathetic extension, a garden and Youngs. But the attitude of the old and new management always seems to stink. "We are a local pub for local people" (and I've always lived within two miles of the place). The inability to get more staff on, on warm sunny days when the place is crowded. Their hatred of kids, when the place makes so much money out of families. The notices are not polite, they are "kids unwelcome". I came here regularly pre and post kids.
Ate here 4 years ago and it was pathetic, told the staff so but they were pretty brain dead. From all accounts it is so much better now.
And as for progress it was a shame when they knocked through between the bars and they lost their boules court (yes dear readers that was a LONG time ago!
But a lovely area to walk (Sydenham hill woods) the remnants of some fantastic victorian villas and close to where Telly was invented. And they had ITV digital (for lower league football) when virtually all other pubs refused to show it. Not that it is a nasty bland sports pub (telly is in one quarter)
The ex managment are in the Morpeth (nice Youngs pub by the river/ Tate Britain. Have a chat with them about the Wood House
baggydave - 10 Feb 2006 15:54
A classic Youngs pub. Consistently good beer quality and an off-sales service ie buy from their full range of bottled beers at very reasonable prices. After several meals I have to admit to disappointment with the food. Steaks are tough, tasteless and expensive and the Chillie - well, beware the chef's temper. We complained, he ranted at us, and the landlord told us that the fuss was all our fault because chef's are known to be temperamental. Still a good pub , but stick to drinking.
GrahamH - 19 Jan 2006 13:47
Regarding Steveo's comment below, if you sit in the original part of the pub, especially the old back bar, you won't really notice any difference, except that it doesn't become so uncomfortably smoky or crowded. The wall where the kitchen presumably used to be has been knocked through and a big extention with a long bar added on a lower level catering primarily for diners, which helps keep the original part free of dining clutter and food aromas for the drinkers. Definitely an improvement in my view.
Rich66 - 15 Jan 2006 15:45
this is where it all started for me - chr1st this gaff has got a lot to answer for! dunno what the form is there these days but always used to have a cosy feel. a lot of that was due to the layout which surely can't have changed - or have the brothers refurb paid it a visit? hopefully not, there's absolutely no need.

excellent garden as previously mentioned. remember one of my first sessions i here, i saw my housemaster out the back on an illicit date and he saw me legless on pints of snakebite. wonderful knowing glances all round at the next house meeting.

last thing to say - this gaff used to have it's own fanzine. i sh1t you not, some old codger used to knock out a few pages every month for his felloe locals!
steveo500 - 22 Dec 2005 16:44
I only pop in occasionally for a couple of pints as it's the nearest pub to my home, but the ale prices (Young's) are certainly not over the top. Unlike a lot of Young's houses they generally stock all the seasonal and special edition real ales, always served in good condition.

It's a detached Mid-Victorian building on a leafy but fairly busy residential road with no other shops or businesses within about half a mile. The building was roughly doubled in size four or five years ago when an extention was built onto the back. A nice relaxing place to settle in for a few hours, although can get very busy in the evenings.
Rich66 - 10 Nov 2005 21:49
best pub in the area, you pay for what you get, and thats quality food and drink, so pricing not an issue. Great Garden, even better now decking area is covered. Must visit if your hungry
anonymous - 27 Sep 2005 09:30
V. Nice pub.
Youngs are taking the P£$%s with prices though.
This is now the most expensive pub in south london, which is a real shame.

Thomas, not much has changed since Pete and Jo left, except the restaurant extension, landscaped garden, and prices have rocketed.!!!
same_again - 8 Sep 2005 17:07
This pub still has the original wooden bar and feels like a real pub should. It is relaxed, if a little basic inside. It is well worth a visit though.
walklim - 30 Jun 2005 13:21
Good pub for the summer, if you dont mind kids in the garden. Huge space at the back. Beer is well kept, and the food has always been reasonable enough, they have some fantastic pictures of the old Crystal Palace. Atmosphere-wise, it's the best pub in the area.
fishcox - 23 Jan 2005 19:34
Veal, Venison, Partridge, Rabbit what next?

New menu. New atmosphere. Excellent visit with excellent service and excellent food all topped of with excellent ale.

Will be back for more.

Chef, can we have hare????
A happy customer - 5 Nov 2004 10:16
Superb working team in-house.
anonymous - 9 Oct 2004 16:15
New chef since early autumn 2004, food very much improved since then. will be back regularly!!
liz - 11 Sep 2004 15:50
Great beer garden, good Youngs beers - Waggledance well kept. Food adaquate, but great watering hole after an energetic walk in the local woods.
Cassius - 5 Jun 2004 16:49
Nice beers, good pub to go to after a long walk. Isolated in the winter months.

Drastic improvements now the extension on the rear of the pub has been built. At least you can know get in the pub on busy days? Garden has improved too since the extension, good for families in the summer. (ban the children from front bars, which is agreeable to most) Haven’t tried any food in there since last summer but it was reasonably Priced then.

Have to say that regulars can be a bit UN friendly to new people. Not a friendly place if you want a beer on your own. Better take a mate, to stop the eyeball treatment.

Not a particular good pub for woman. In actual fact I’ve never seen a group of woman in there having a drink and a chat. Kind of pub you take your old man too on a Sunday after a roast at home.

Have great beer take out offers, normally stock the whole range of Youngs Beers.


David - 16 Feb 2004 15:44
Whats it like since pete and jo left?
thomas - 9 Jan 2004 19:54
Excellent Beer and Good Food.Stay away on a fine Weekend the place is over run with children.
Brian Pentecost - 28 Aug 2003 13:34

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