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Username: aliconor

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The Albion, Kingston Upon Thames

Hurray, a decent beer focussed pub in Kingston. I can't believe it's taken this long.
The Good :beer selection is really impressive. IIRC 10 on cask, 5 cider cask and 20 on keg. The keg selection is really the best I can think of outside of central London, many new and upcoming macros with the Lager drinker catered for too (Pauline if you ask). The staff are friendly enthusiastic and always keen to let you have tasters. Top marks to the management for including sours- they may not always b to my liking but I appreciate the effort the pub has made, I'm hoping to acquire a taste for them from the freebie tasters.
The Not so Good: The food is very average, this surprises me as the Antelope (it's sister pub in Surbiton) is really quite good without being exceptional. I've had Pizza that really was quite poor, too much burnt cheese and a terrible base- if you haven't got a proper oven and don't hand knead your dough then forget about it, there are too many places that specialise in Pizza in Kingston now and people's expectations have increased over the last few years. Burgers are so so, definitely not as good as the Antelope. Sandwiches are nothing special though the home made soup was quite good when I had it once.

All in all a fine addition to Kingston's pub scene, let's just hope the teething problems on the food front are resolved and we could have the perfect local.

31 Oct 2016 20:07

The Antelope, Surbiton

Recently came across the Antelope because of reviews from like minded beer buffs like myself. I've been living in Kingston for the past 20 years and I reckon this pub is one of the best I've come across in all that time.

Firstly the beer, a brilliant selection of 10 cask hand pulled ales mostly from independent companies that you've never heard of- just my thing. These are always well kept and in my opinion reasonably priced at £3.90 irrespective of strength, prices did increase by about 30p at the back end of the summer. Given they have a loyalty card- buy 9 get 1 free- this effectively takes the price down to about £3.50 which for this part of London/ Surrey is almost a bargain. The new on site brewery has produced some really good beers. The first stronger American pale ale was really good, as was the Porter and Best Bitter. The session IPA was less successful and on the two occasions that I tried it, it felt sourish and not quite like a standard beer- perhaps a yeast infection. I didn't have the heart to complain as the staff are wonderful always with a smile, happy to talk brewing and beers with bores like me. They encourage you to sample any new brews and unlike a lot of pubs make you feel that your custom is appreciated, unlike your average pub co.
There is a good selection of keg beers too, even ales and stouts are not the usual mass market stuff in every pub in the land. Some of the specialist imported keg beers are really good though on the expensive side, some touching £7 a pint. The staff always give a price warning to customers who order one of these, which is a nice touch. 6 hand pulled ciders are also available.

The other big plus with this pub is the atmosphere it is the almost the antithesis of your traditional pub feeling yet at the same time feeling warm and friendly. This may sound a contradiction but it has none of the usual boorishness that one associates with pubs. The Male / Female ratio must be around 60:40 which gives the pub a relaxed feeling. Add in the raft of new borns and toddlers with Mum and Dad and it all adds to a nice unpub like feeling in the nicest possible way. The pub also never feels empty no matter what time one goes there which helps it feel like it's alive and not like some cavernous pubs which feel dead unless you go there on a Friday or Saturday night.

Room for improvement: 1- Toilets, they always have a bit of a whiff about them (Gents at least ), I know expectations can't be great but seeing as the pub gets almost everything else spot on, this black mark kind of stands out.
2- Food, On the first two occasions that I tried the food I was rather disappointed, most of the bites / tapas type of stuff was dry and a bit unappetising, chips limp and coldish and generally didn't live up to the descriptions on the menu. The last time I tried the food- burger and pulled pork IIRC - it all seemed much better so perhaps they've had a change in the kitchen or perhaps I was unfortunate on previous occasions.

Don't let the last two points put you off- this is a pub for all ages and personalities. I take along with me two old hardened pub types who between them will have spent over a century drinking in pubs and they agree that The Antelope really has something going for it, if I took these two guys to some of the trendier pubs around Kingston I would be given short shrift.

Antelope- keep up the good work.

25 Nov 2014 22:30

Woody's, Kingston Upon Thames

A really nice alternative in downtown riverside Kingston. As others have commented it's nice to see real ales being served in a non traditional pub though some of the lagers on tap (Brooklyn and Freedom) are worth a detour for in their own right. Food is always good and the homemade soup served in cooking pots has never disappointed yet, my only issue is that it gets claustrophobic with more than two dozen inside as the layout of the chairs and tables is more geared for a restaurant than a 'stand at the bar' type pub though this is a small sacrifice given the unique feel that this establishment has. IMHO it's the only half decent place for a pint in Kingston all the others feel too corporate.

13 Nov 2012 21:12

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aliconor has been registered on this site since 27th August 2004