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The Blacksmiths Arms, Cudham

I visited the Blacksmiths Arms, Cudham recently on a Tuesday evening. I and three friends called in for a drink. We noticed that the pub was busy with people dining - we arrived at about 21:15.

The bar staff were polite and we had our beer - a bit pricey at 3-70 and 3-80 a pint for Sharp's Doom Bar and Harvey's Best bitter. Central London pubs are charging less for the same.

By 22-15 the pub was empty apart from our foursome. The two staff immediately started clearing everything away without any notice to us that they would be closing early and wanting us to leave. Even the salt and pepper was briskly removed from our table without any verbal interaction from the staffman. In essence they both did everything possible except talking to us.

We bought another round of beers and the 'wall of silence' and frenetic activity behind the bar continued. At 23:00 we all went to use the gents before leaving and noticed that the barman was waiting outside the gents for us to go.

Rudeness and indifference to customers simply means we won't be rushing back to drink the overpriced beer when we clearly were not welcome to stay to closing time. A little proper communication with customers goes a long way.
We had spent approx 50 that night. The till will be lighter if they continue to blank customers.

9 Aug 2012 09:04

The Royal Oak, Crockham Hill

I visited this pub on Sunday 15/4/12. My two companions and I were all seated at the bar enjoying our beers when the landlady asked us if more cyclists were coming and said, "We don't encourage large groups of cyclists on Sunday lunchtimes." It was obvious from our clothing that we were cyclists.

My question is simple - why should cyclists be any different than other paying customers? I can only assume it was because we were not buying meals. One of our group did buy a meal after which we were invited to a table with four chairs. Finally a sixth cyclist arrived upon which the landlady made a second comment, "we don't want customers to be seated too close to each other" which was directed at the standing gentleman before we found another chair for him.

As the meals cost about 10 each I estimate that our group spent an equal amount to say four diners who might have used our table.

The landlady was rude and treated us as if we should not have been there. This attitude was amplified by her serving the 'locals' first even though my friend was already waiting to be served at the bar.

I would not recommend this pub purely because of the rank attitude and rudeness extended to paying customers. If you want to run a restaurant with a tiny space for beer-drinkers then this is the place to go. If you arrive by bike with the clothes to match don't bother.

17 Apr 2012 15:13

Swan Inn, Sutton Valence

I visited The Swan, Sutton Valence, Kent today 3/07/11. I found three cask beers - Harvey's Sussex Bitter, Rother Valley's Level Best and Youngs Ordinary Bitter.
All three beers priced at a very reasonable 2-90.

For those who prefer keg beers there was Iced Guinnness, Iced Fosters and Iced Kronenburg. There was also a keg cider, Stowells.

Jeremy & Fiona are the licencees who apparently have been in situ just 4 months. The bar staff were all very efficient and friendly - very impressive on a first visit. The interior was simple and unfussy. There were several different rooms to accommodate eating, darts and socials such as the quiz on Sunday evenings.

There was no food available because of a private function but normally food is available until 3pm on Sundays.

The toilets were well situated away fron the main rooms and were clean and well kept. Hot & cold water, soap, paper towels all available.

The garden is on two levels and mostly paved over.

The pub regulars were all well-mannered and friendly characters.

To summarise - a great pub in a charming village. Well worthy of a repeat visit.

3 Jul 2011 23:04

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Alesman1 has been registered on this site since 3rd July 2011