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Ramblers Rest, Chislehurst

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user reviews of the Ramblers Rest, Chislehurst

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

Our 2nd pub just a short walk from the Imperial Arms was the iconic and historic Ramblers Rest. Another pub that I have never been in before.

In an ideal position laying back from the common and main road, with it’s own parking to the front this is a very popular pub during the summer months, this visit was no different with no seating room outside as the locals had taken it over!

A weather boarded frontage and some dangerous looking steps from one part of the pub to the other outside, inside you feel like the ceiling is closing in on you in certain parts. To the front outside a sign depicts that the pub originates from circa 1684, oh how different the area would of looked back then.

4 ales on the hand pumps these were all national branded ales apart from the very dark & quite drinkable Ramblers Special Ale @ 4.1% and brewed by Scottish brewers Caledonian.

We stayed for 2 pint before moving on, on this visit I didn’t feel the pub staff or clientele were overly friendly but maybe the site of 3 chaps quaffing ale on a Wednesday night confused them, especially as none of us are locals.

Lots of history but not a pub that did much for me on this visit.
lezford - 22 Aug 2016 13:13
Came away from the bar with a suspiciously cloudy pint which, sure enough, turned out to be off. Took it back to the barmaid saying it tasted vinegarry, only for her to say "I thought you'd say that" - so why sell it to me in the first place?! I later heard her say to (I presume) the manager, "we've got to change the barrel, that's the third person this week who's said it tastes of vinegar"...! The pint they replaced it with was also well past its best, but I was honestly too embarrassed on their behalf to take that back as well and so left it behind a menu and sneaked out. Such a beautiful old pub deserves better than this....
Tmuk99 - 18 Aug 2015 12:55
Pub has had been recently refurbished and have to say the drinking experience is better for it. The beers also appear to be better maintained than previously, I have visited a few times now and each pint has been in good condition. Long may it continue.
Dynamo1 - 27 Nov 2013 14:53
I too visited this pub on the 4 October 2012 and was shocked at the rudeness of the landlord as I believe that you should always behave in a manner that you would like to be treated yourself.

Yelling across the bar at someone was not appropriate for the situation, how could holding a bottle of water after spending the morning walking be ignorant and thoughless - is this not the 'Ramblers Rest'?

The fact of the matter was that the group had bought drinks an hour earlier and when others arrived it was a matter of less than 10minutes before all leaving to explore the sites of Chislehurst. The intention was to come back later on that day after exploring the sites of Chislehurst - however, the rudeness of the landlord put everyone off.

The Imperial Arms is absolutely fantastic, the food was great, very friendly and welcoming atmosphere and the bar staff were excellent. We all stayed for hours drinking, eating and listening to the brilliant live music. I would recommend this pub to everyone who visits Chislehurst. We also talked to some of the locals who were some of the nicest people we have met. I encourage people to visit Imperial Arms it is a wonderful spot!!!
Dee21 - 5 Nov 2012 11:53
For God sake, if you want tea, meet your friends in a cafe.

And as for bringing out your own bottle of water, that's just ignorant and thoughtless.

No wonder he wasn't worried about the repeat business.
Pat_Bateman - 5 Nov 2012 10:30
I visited this pub in the afternoon of 4 October 2012 in the expectation of using it as a meeting spot with a few friends. Firstly, I was astonished that when I asked for a cup of tea, the barmaid said that it couldn't be done - there was no facility in the kitchen to do it! Unbelievable! A few of us bought drinks and, after around 30 minutes, another friend arrived. We were going to finish up when the landlord yells at my friend for bringing her own drink (she had a bottle of water in her hand). He insisted that she buy a drink or leave....and all this from across the bar to where we were seated - the other side of the room! And in the font of a gathering of locals. Extraordinary rude act to do in a pub - I couldn't believe that such a rude landlord was so dis-interested in repeat busiess.
However in the evening we visited the other pub - the Imperial Arms - and wow, what a difference. What a welcoming, lovely and cosy pub this is.
I believe in businesses that treat their clients in a respectful and in a fair manner. This pub fails this on all accounts and I ask all readers of this review to not spend a penny at this pub. Instead turn left, go to the end of Mill Place, and spend your pennies at the Imperial Arms.
lukey - 4 Nov 2012 23:11
Excellent pub, friendly staff, full of locals. Good pints of Doom Bar. It's a shame that they don't serve food on a Sunday.
gartoa - 16 Nov 2011 13:21
great pub,lovely beer lovely food top staff
se9er - 29 Oct 2011 13:24
lovely to see the Ramblers hasn't changed. We always came Sunday lunchtimes especially in the summer - all the vintage Bentleys parked in a line. That was before the lower bar was extended, and when Fred and Alice were behind the bar. The lower bar was a real snug ! Oh happy days. Was a good place to be - looks like it still is.
pubinthedip - 11 Sep 2011 21:24
Lovely old fashioned pub with friendly staff set on the common.
Had a couple of pints of Youngs which was excellent. They also had Courage Best and Sharps Doom Bar.
Only downside was the price. 3.40.
zapsincl - 3 Jun 2011 23:08
I go to this pub around 4 times a year, I've always found the staff very friendly and the beer excellently kept, however, in a follow up to BR59's comments, I too have been aware of a particularly unpleasant group of middle aged locals which has in turn put me off visiting this pub more often.
beerandpaperman - 29 Nov 2010 13:46
Went there on 25/11/10. Grotty pub, unloved, no fire. Only Courage Best Bitter on and that not to a good standard. Obnoxious bloke at the bar mouthing off loudly about "f***ing n***ers" as well as muslims and benefit claimants. He looked like a throwback to the 1980s, a character out of Only Fools and Horses but without the charm. He was being looked on admiringly by the other locals and not challenged by the bar staff. If the BNP don't hold meetings here, then they should., Everyone else should avoid this place.
BR59 - 26 Nov 2010 18:20
Nice pub, with very friendly and helpful staff.

My only complaint would be the 8 charge for a pint of Wrongbow and a bottle of Bulmers. That's a bit much and would put me off a return visit.
Pat_Bateman - 7 Jun 2010 09:55
What a characterful place inside and out. I dont know of any other pub which has a ground floor on so many levels! Five real ales were on when I went and the Brakspear bitter did taste very good. The outside bench in the photograph wasn't there, maybe taken away during Winter - I hope its re-instated soon. Ive been before and wonder if I'm going to like it when I see young lads there - but I always do.
Trinker - 15 Mar 2010 23:14
A great pub. Nice Light & Bitter.
youngsandcouragefan - 17 Jul 2009 17:06
Went there for the 1st time is years last week. The staff were struggling to pour the beer (apparently due to the temperture, it was a hot day). The beer did take ages to settle but it was worth the wait. Due to the weather the beer garden was packed but overal a decent experience.
davetheaddick - 16 Jul 2009 17:42
Really nice pub in a picturesque location, can get quite boisterous with large groups of lads.
Chislehurst - 26 May 2009 13:13
Gorgeous, lovely, characterful little pub with racist regulars at the bar - I could not believe my ears!!
KBmo - 22 Feb 2009 12:19
Excellent little place worth going out of your way to get to especially when the trees out side are blossoming. The Brakspear Bitter is tasting brilliant here at the moment and the bar staff just add to the nice feel about the place.

beerandpaperman - 22 Jan 2009 02:48
Couldn't agree more with Beefheart's assessment. Wonderful location, clean and tidy pub with competent staff but a horribly dull array of never-changing brown ales from the bigboys. Even if just 2 of the handpumps were dedicated to guest beers from aspiring microbreweries this place would be markedly better. But I doubt this will happen under the current regime.
young_camra_collectiv - 23 Aug 2008 16:11
Unique 'country pub' feel close to Chislehurst Station. Although I'm an irregular visitor both staff and other customers are always welcoming. Up to 5 real ales are available and they are always in good condition. It's a shame they miss an opportunity to serve some interesting local ales but concentrate on the national blands. With local ales it would score 9; without 6.
Beefheart - 20 Aug 2008 12:46
As a young local this is my pub of choice for a cosy night catching up with friends. The most picturesque and traditional pub in the area, there's a low-ceilinged copper-tabled upper tier and a more spacious lower section leading out to a small pleasant beer garden. Out the front is a huge grassy verge for those lazy summer evenings. It's a pub that appeals all year round: in the winter it's warm and comfortable, while in summer the outdoor space is used to its full advantage.

Staff are generally pleasant, there's still very much an everyone-knows-everyone-else feel but this doesn't mean first time visitors are treated any differently.

Bit of a nightmare to drive down to the minute carpark so I'd recommend testing your handbrake and parking on the road at the top of the little valley in which the pub nestles.
box_twenty - 11 Aug 2008 01:00
Agree with the last posters comments(on the 7th March)Have been to the RR many times - and the 'vinegar' reference for me is nonsense too.
trottis - 10 Mar 2008 01:12
Can't believe some idiot can suggest the beer at the Ramblers is 'vinegar'. I drink here about once each week and it is the most consistantly superb beer in Kent; and I have been drinking bitter for 50 years.
a.dyer - 7 Mar 2008 19:04
Visited Dec 2007 on a Sunday. Immediately spotted the "Most welocoming pub" award certificate on the wall, however couldn't be further from the welcome we received.

Very unimpressed - cold welcome when asked if they were doing food got a cold flat "No". Barmaid served the locals before us, even though we were stood at the bar first, whilst she munched on her sandwich.

Freezing cold, no heating on. Beer tasted like vinegar.

Won't be going back - my first post was deleted by Bite, no explanation, let's see if this one makes the site for telling the truth.

I'll award it 3 just for the outside decor.

lobster56 - 27 Jan 2008 17:13
Lovely little pub. One of the boroughs best. Nice range of beers & ales, - 'Bombadier' is still excellent. Pleasant place to spend a summers evening.
trottis - 17 Jul 2007 21:01
So whats the latest??The pic doesn't show any pot holes.I lost a friend down one last year he was missing 3 days.He won't buy a 4x4 so wont go back.
Is Bombadier still available.& hows the food.
robertmiles - 13 May 2007 22:07
You can't fault the location and the range of beers but, since its been taken over by a new landlord the atmosphere in this pub has totally changed. The landlord and staff aren't particularly welcoming and as a result it seems to be losing its 'local' feel.
Walden - 29 Mar 2007 18:40
This is a top notch old-fashioned pub. Great beers, fantastic landlord and a lovely location just off Chislehurst common. Been living in the area for three months and this already feels like a proper local.

goatrider - 29 Jan 2007 14:24
Best pub in Chislehurst retains all the olde pub flavour without any of those "fancy makeovers"
The "Bombadier" is so well kept a beer to die for no wonder they won an award.This place is a real treasure look after it

Big Robbo
robertmiles - 28 May 2006 20:47
I used to visit the Ramblers fairly reg over the past 3 years and remember the "Chubby" young man who worked behind the bar & Jean the barmaid.Range off beers always excellent.
However something seems to have happened to the food.They use to serve lovely whole grain bread from the village baker .Last time I went it was steamed supermarket sliced brown yuk!!For the increased prices sorry not worth it.
Competition in Chislehurst is fierce .Try Tigers Head ,The Bulls Head Inn or the Crown newly refurbished.
Must do better.
robertmiles - 8 Mar 2006 18:07
Excellent trad ale house midway between Chislehurst station & town centre. 5 ales including Courage Best, Wells Bombardier, Green King IPA & Brakspear Bitter all perfectly preserved. Draft lagers include the lesser-spotted Becks, alongside Fosters & 1664. Home-made mulled wine served around Christmas. 2 bars on 2 levels with friendly, welcoming & accommodating bar staff, especially the landlord!

Almost impossible to find if driving, accessible off Old Hill, down a long, winding, narrow drive with no signposts. However this is probably best as I'm sure you can imagine the carnage once the 6-vehicle car park becomes full. My suggestion: park on Old Hill near the Imperial Arms & walk through Mill Place then left up the footpath towards the pub.

No reservations in saying this is the best pub in Chislehurst.
young_camra_collectiv - 29 Dec 2005 16:56
An excellent Pub indeed, great for the summer, cosey in the winter. However I think you will find it was built in 1680, and if the bar man was 'rude and unfriendly' it was probably Nick and that was part of his charm.
Tedward - 26 Aug 2005 12:34
My favourite pub in Chislehurst. Not a huge selection of beer, but a nice place to arrange to meet up, and the garden is lovely in the summer.
Paulie - 8 Feb 2005 14:40
What a lovely pub especially as it is the oldest in chislehurst 1890, also now under new management seems like a family pub again must be seen
Jack - 6 Sep 2004 09:48
What a lovely looking picturesque pub, it looks like something off a chocolate box. However upon entering we were very disappointed. The bar man was rude and unfriendly, it's always nice to be acknowledged when you enter a pub but no chance, a smile would not have gone a miss either. Shame really, other than this it was relaxed, authentic and cosy. Although was quite expensive and also lacked atmosphere.
Mary Shepton - 2 Feb 2004 14:02
Relaxed and easy going old skool local. 4 or 5 real ales, selection of lagers, open fire, beer garden. Mixed clientel (and no arseholes so far) resulting in a very comfortable atmosphere. Reasonably priced drinks (never had food in there - don't know if they even do it). No music but loads of conversation. Great little pub.
Andy - 7 Nov 2003 10:21

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