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Surprise, Stockwell

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user reviews of the Surprise, Stockwell

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

Went to watch Wolves v Chelsea FA Cup match with my son. Friendly boozer and reasonably priced beers. Decor looked a bit tired but otherwise comfortable.
boriss - 19 Feb 2017 11:04
Young's pub right on Larkhall Park, 4 pumps dispensing 2 Young's Ales, Special and Bitter.

My pint of Special was not Special but was good nonetheless.

Welcoming pub, locals chattering away, charming bar maid but not too many in during my visit on a Saturday lunchtime

Large outside area by the park makes the pub feel a lot bigger than it actually is.
lezford - 12 Aug 2013 14:34
Change of management again this spring and they are now taking plastic again, which may or may not be a good thing for my budget. And the beer has really improved. I actually have the odd pint of Youngs Ordinary now, instead if sticking to boring but safe lager all the time. It's still my local, still bloody expensive for the location.

But even in this grotty so-called summer, the location by the park is good and it's mostly friendly. There are a few rather eccentric new 'regulars though and I for one will be happy never to hear Don McLean ever again off that jukebox.

Photo om this site is very out of date.
Southerngirl - 22 Jun 2012 11:36
cosy pub, regulars are friendly enough, beers not cheap mind you. I live locally and its one I freqeuent the most. I have strated to get a taste for the Youngs Special
scarr - 6 Nov 2011 14:59
This is very much a pub for the locals and has been pointed out by a previous reviewer; you do feel like you have walked into a strangerís living room.
It is however very friendly and over the last 12 months has been cleaned up. The beer is good and the caricature drawings in the back room provide some good amusement value.
This pub is warm and cosy, so donít feel like a stranger, go and have a pint there!

JonnyConsumer - 28 Oct 2011 08:50
traditional youngs pub not been messed around with too much outdoor seating backs on to larkhall park main bar with flat screen tv for sports or a cosy back room with pictures of locals covering the walls nice and clean would go back
pinksurprise - 19 Oct 2010 10:02
Youngs pub overlooking Larkhall Park and as such popular with outdoor drinkers. There are tables at the front and at the side in a covered area. The bar area itself is fairly ordinary and was showing football. The rear bar was empty and had modern seating and furniture, a skylight and caricatures decorating the walls. England flags were very much in evidence. Pizzas appeared to be the staple food. The bog standard Youngs range was served. Nice setting. But other than that, nothing to write home about.
blue_scrumpy - 27 Jun 2010 12:25
This is one of those awful little pubs where everyone turns round and looks at you when you go in. You down your pint in double-quick time to end your intrusion and leave wondering where the nearest Wetherspoons is. (It's The Asparagus on Falcon Road.)
Ian_Chapman - 20 Jun 2010 21:25
The Surprise is an excellent, unpretentious, traditional locals pub situated at the end of a small cul de sac off the Wandsworth Road and backing on to Larkhall Park. It's one of a sadly diminishing breed of old fashioned "proper" Youngs pubs - let's hope the Wells and Youngs changing rooms brigade can be persuaded to continue to leave it largely well alone.

It's a small pub with a narrow curved bar area at the front which leads through to a further room at the back with a dartboard and which, pleasingly, retains the framed caricatures of regulars that I remember from previous visits, although I suspect that, by now, some of them are now drinking in that great pub in the sky.

My previous review of this pub for BITE back in January 2008 was not kindly received by the locals as I expressed my dislike as being incessantly barked at and licked all over by the pub dog. Whilst the landlord and the pub dog in question are no longer in situ, it was perhaps ironic, as I'm sitting outside in the evening sunshine thinking how much more enjoyable the pub is now, that I suddenly realise that I've trodden in Ö.( you can guess the rest ), necessitating a quick visit to the nearby park to clean my shoe on the grass.

Unfortunately, I arrived too late for the advertised happy hour between 4-6pm, but the Youngs Special - £ 3.15p - was in good form. The pub has been in CAMRA Good Beer Guides.

Pubs like this are sadly disappearing from the London landscape - even though I wouldn't describe it as my "lucky"pub, let's hope this one is still around for years to come

JohnBonser - 10 Jun 2010 12:56
This is a Youngís house, so donít expect anything unusual in the way of ales. Thatís no problem for me as I quite like Youngís ales. I was in during a weekday lunchtime, when unfortunately they donít serve food. But the lady behind the bar was very happy for me to pop round the corner to the local caff to buy a sarny to bring back to the pub to eat with my pint. I really appreciate that sort of helpful and accommodating approach. There is a front bar that is bare-boarded, but it leads on the left to a carpeted room at the back with some comfortable banquette seating. The wall of the back room is covered with some caricature prints. There were a few stools at the bar in the main front bar, plus some small armchairs around a table in front of a real wood fire, that was especially welcome on a cold day in January.

The usual flatscreen TV was on the wall in the main bar, but switched off; some pop music was playing softly in the background; and those other mechanical monstrosities, the one-armed bandit and the games machine, were also present. There was some fairly attractive etched glass panels in the doors bearing the pubís name, but it didnít look good enough to be an original feature, though I could be wrong.

From my description it doesnít sound like an exceptional pub, but in fact I liked it a lot, and thought it a charming and friendly little watering hole. I would love to visit again.
RexRattus - 31 Jan 2010 11:56
Further update. Things have improved and pub is cleaner. Refurb said to be taking place next April but worth a visit now to encorage the new landlord.
IFFLYNN - 23 Dec 2008 13:00
Toffee is gone to the great kennel in the sky and there is a new owner. It will hopefully retain its "local charm" and it feels as though that is the intention of the new tenant. The best way to support this pub is to visit it and give encouragement to people who want to make a go of a great little place. It's well worth it.
IFFLYNN - 14 Dec 2008 13:55
If you looked forever you wouldn't find the Surprise, and you would be missing out. Friendly, (staff and punters) and in a really nice location (next to a big park and some tremendous Portugese restaurants) this is a great pub. Well kept beer very much a part of that.
pt1234 - 12 Aug 2008 01:36
I would have to agree with JohnBonser on this - like smoking, its intrusive. I like animals in principle, but I don't like to go to the pub and have my crotch sniffed or my hands licked by the local hound, traditional or not. If we want to go traditional, perhaps we should bring back cock-fighting...I'm sure Toffee is a lovely dog, but, like fags, just because you like them, it doesn't mean other people do.
mattcanty - 18 Jun 2008 12:11
As a group of regulars at the Surprise we were disturbed to read the comments of JohnBonser about our beloved Toffee. Indeed, as someone who seems to appreciate 'fine traditional unspoilt' pubs, we were a little confused about your attitude to pub dogs in general. There are very few pubs left in London where dogs are welcome, and what is more traditional than taking the dog for walkies to your favourite local. We have several regular canine friends at the Surprise and we love them all, even if they are sometimes a little boisterous. Toffee is now an old gentleman,and if indeed he is not here the next time you visit, you will find it a much saddened pub.
toffeelovers.utd - 18 Feb 2008 18:21
Fine traditional unspoilt Youngs pub - it hasn't yet had the benefit of a "tasteful refurbishment" - located in a cul de sac off the Wandsworth Road and backing on to Larkhall Park.

Note in particular the back room with the caricature drawings of pub customers.

In marked contrast to other reviewers, unfortunately, I am no big fan of the pub dog, Toffee.

My arrival yesterday ( Sunday ) afternoon at approx 12.45 pm, which purely by chance coincided with the arrival of another customer ( also not a regular ), was met with several minutes of unrestrained barking until the landlord managed to quieten him. Not the best of welcomes, I would suggest.

No, I'm not a fan of pub dogs in general - particularly in small pubs like this when they take up too much room by sprawling all over the place. Occasionally they try and jump all over you and lick you, which I'm not keen on as you never know where they've been.

This is a fine traditional pub, however, I won't be disappointed if said dog is not there next time I call in.

Had he not been there, I might have stayed longer as the Ordinary was in good form.
JohnBonser - 28 Jan 2008 12:47
The dog is always on a diet, but I understand it can't be kept out of picnics in the summer. A really fine pub.
PSKI - 22 Jan 2008 12:36
One of the more atmospheric Youngs pubs and certainly sold a very decent Ordinary, though I sensed real ale not the strongest seller. Very welcoming too.
mtaylor40 - 8 Sep 2007 12:32
Lovely location, friendly, and the dog, Toffee, is still there and now on a diet.
Southerngirl - 18 Apr 2007 14:09
used to visit at lunchtime really great place love it in the summer when you can perch yourself in the beer garden and it feels like you're in the middle of the park.
scotney - 5 Dec 2006 23:33
I echo the comment below nice old fashioned pub worth a visit
juzza - 29 Aug 2006 14:07
Very nice, quiet, old-fashioned back street pub. No music playing, just the clink of glasses and pleasant sounds of human conversation.
beermann - 16 Dec 2005 23:49
Small but just about perfectly formed. A countryside feel in the heart of darkest S London
redrocket - 24 Aug 2005 21:50
Iīd forgotten about this pub. I used to drop in the odd time when I worked in Stockwell. Donīt tell me that dog is still alive. Nice one !
The_Inspector - 13 May 2005 02:34
It took me by surprise
Great small pub with youngs beer and dog; what more could one want!
anonymous - 13 May 2005 00:11
Outdoor seating by the park is as pleasent as it gets in Stockwell, although the pub is quite small and smoky inside. Friendly staff, well priced beer, but the dog has to go on a diet - it can hardly walk!
vinrouge - 3 May 2005 20:54
Great little pub, the beer is kept in good condition and the only down side is there is no pinball anymore.
batboy - 1 Nov 2004 08:22
It's amazing to consider this pub is just off the Wandsworth Road as it feels so hidden. I love sitting outside while my kids lavish love onto Toffee. Staff are friendly.
roxy - 1 Sep 2004 14:09
I like it if only to have a quick one. Nice to sit outside with the sun out and people inside are friendly. The pub dog is huge! I saw a minicab driver pull up outside and give the dog some fried chicken and drive off.
Arfur - 14 Jul 2004 08:51
Tucked away in a secluded corner of Larkhall Park this is a lovely tiny 'secret' place. Especially nice on long summer evenings when you can sit on the quiet grass and watch the sun come down. Gorgeous.
bob - 25 Mar 2004 02:26
Marie is a great landlady and
Toffee is the best pub dog in the country. Period.
Simon Marchese - 21 Dec 2003 23:28

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