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BITE user profile - RexRattus

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Retired Civil Servant. Beer drinker since the age of 17 (obviously a late starter, but spent last 43 years catching up!). Worked and drunk (sometimes both at the same time!) whole career in Central London. Expert on pubs in the the Whitehall area - some no longer around, some changed beyond all recognition and some still going strong. Interests are tenpin bowling, history of London with emphasis on historic pubs, travelling the world.

Username: RexRattus

Age: 71

Sex: male

Latest comments by RexRattus

The Mawbey Arms, Lambeth

There were a couple of real ales on during my midweek lunchtime visit – Young’s Bitter and (Marston’s?) Resolution. The resolution was excellent, and at Ł2.80 a pint pretty reasonably priced (for London anyway). They don’t do food at lunchtimes. I’m not sure about other times, but I would suspect not. The Chelsea affiliation remains, as mentioned by previous posters, manifested by numerous team photos and suchlike on the walls and over the bar. There was a large flatscreen TV, but switched off when I was in, and presumably it’s only switched on when there is something worth watching – luckily Loose Women seems to be deemed to fall outside that criteria! There were a couple of dartboards, which looked as if they were well used, especially with the mass of trophies on display above one of them. There was a one-armed bandit flashing away by one of the walls, and some music being played not too loudly when I came in, but when the CD or whatever finished after a few minutes the ensuing silence was only interrupted by one of the handful of locals having a word with the landlady, or the workings of the cash register.

As you would expect in what is evidently a locals’ backstreet pub, furnishings were normal tables, and normal chairs with a sort of red velvelette covering, plus a few high stools at the bar. Floor covering is a mainly red carpet. There’s also a small outside covered area for smokers. The light wood bar counter looks as if it was the result of an inter-war refit. These are the typical furnishings of the sort of pub that we saw on many street corners 30 or 40 years ago. I felt very comfortable in here. A previous poster mentions that this is a late Victorian pub from the 1890s, but unfortunately there are no original interior features remaining from its Victorian past.

This is one of the dying breed of unpretentious backstreet boozers that I like so very much. I would be very happy to pay a return visit to this clean, comfortable and welcoming pub.

31 Jan 2010 11:59

The Surprise, Stockwell

This is a Young’s house, so don’t expect anything unusual in the way of ales. That’s no problem for me as I quite like Young’s ales. I was in during a weekday lunchtime, when unfortunately they don’t 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 pub’s name, but it didn’t look good enough to be an original feature, though I could be wrong.

From my description it doesn’t 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.

31 Jan 2010 11:56

The Pensbury Arms, Clapham

This pub looks good from the outside with its faux Tudor beams, but I’m afraid that inside it’s very tatty without any of the character that can be retained in a pub that has had hardly any money spent on it. There are a few beaten up old prints on the walls depicting hunting scenes. They’re not particularly attractive but they’re not improved by having “jokes” stuck on them – e.g. on the deceased pheasant “I’m not dead, I just called in sick”. The landlord seemed a decent enough bloke, and commenting on the lack of real ale, he said that he had tried unsuccessfully to sell it. Rather poignantly, during my visit he was dismantling the Adnam’s pump. This looks as if it could be a good pub, but it was just a bit too grubby and tasteless for my liking. Coupled with the absence of any real ale, I doubt whether I shall be making a return visit.

31 Jan 2010 11:51

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RexRattus has been registered on this site since 22nd October 2006