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BITE user profile - mattygroves

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Username: mattygroves

Age: 55

Sex: female

Latest comments by mattygroves

The Rifleman, Twickenham

Despite having lived in and around the Twickenham area (for a somewhat generous definition of 'area'), I'd never visited the Rifleman. This has now been rectified.

To have two excellent pubs (this and the Sussex Arms) within a (say) two mile radius is indeed a treat. The Rifleman is a small pub with eclectic seating, a couple of benches in the front and a lovely rear garden (complete with a wildflower bed). There were four (I think) real ales on when I visited, including Twickenham Vanguard, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Buttcombe and one other (a session ale) whose name I can't remember. These ranged in price from £3.30ish - £3.55 (Landlord) - good prices for SW London. They focus on wet sales - unless you want crisps or a toastie, this is not the place to come for food.

The barman was extremely friendly and knowledgeable, both about the ales and about the pub itself. There are a couple of televisions which were on but on silent (one showing cricket the other Grand Prix) - this, ideally I could do without though I know many people welcome such things.

The loos were clean (and completely intact). In fact, the pub itself was clean and comfortable - a pub I would certainly be pleased to visit again.

9 Sep 2013 14:42

The Sussex Arms, Twickenham

Once upon a time, pubs were places where the people provided the entertainment - not fruit machines, not large screen TVs, but people. Perhaps some live music, a game of shove ha'penny, a pint or three and lively conversation. Once upon a time has come again at the Sussex Arms.

This pub, just off Twickenham Green harks back to the old days. There are up to 12 (I think) real ales on offer and six real ciders. The ales vary constantly and there is no one 'regular' ale. Just a different selection, even from tiny microbreweries, every day. All draught beer and cider is (as of this writing) £3.50 a pint and they operate a superb loyalty card scheme. Buy 9 beers, get the 10th for free. I use mine regularly.

The food is good, though slightly pricey. The pies are made by AJ and are usually excellent, though the last couple I've had were slightly less good than usually (slightly over cooked meat and pastry).

The atmosphere is lovely. It is an old-fashioned pub - no posh gastro seating here. A long bar displays the plethora of ales on offer and also hides the record player (yep, vinyl) that supplies any recorded (as opposed to live) music. There is a large, decently tended garden.

There is live music many evenings. Again, like with the beer, there is something for (nearly) every taste. I attend with friends every second Monday for the Sessioneers (yep, not a great name, but you get the jist) - acoustic rock, folk, rock n roll and the like. You can also find Irish music, bluegrass, blues - whatever (older) music takes your fancy (I've never seen hip hop or the like, thankfully).

The clientèle varies from the stereotypical real ale drinker (beardy, male, older - including a guy who is the spit of Walder Frey from Game of Thrones) through to younger families and singles.

All in all, a pub I thoroughly recommend.

2 Sep 2013 15:42

The Fox and Hounds, Belgravia

Youngs have turned many pubs into slightly upmarket eateries. Thankfully, that hasn't happened here. The Fox and Hounds - a quick walk from Sloan Square tube station - is remarkably traditional and welcoming. And small. It's REALLY small. Being on a little side road though, it doesn't attract the hoards of tourists and so (at least on a Friday lunchtime) seems cosy, not crushed.

This pub is clearly frequented by locals. As I type this, the customers are happily chatting (having no problems with the occasional interjection by yours truly) on a variety of topics - just as a local pub should be.

One of the first things you may notice when you walk in is the presence of two large German Shepherds. Fear not, they are as friendly as the staff and locals...though you may struggle to stand up as they lean on you hoping for some love (be warned - one of them is white - not a good mix with black trousers!).

This is a Youngs' pub, so the choice of beer seems limited to Youngs' Special, Bitter or St Austell Tribute, but the beer is well kept and reasonably priced, especially for the area (around £3.70 a pint). Given its size, food is not its priority. I'm told there are sandwiches available during the day (though not in the evening). There are also the typical bar snacks on offer (crisps, nuts). I didn't sample a sandwich so cannot comment on them.

Despite its small size, there is a surprising amount and variety of seating, from stools, to tables and chairs to a couple of leather sofas. The toilets are adequate - clean and, predictably small.

All in all, this is a lovely, cosy little pub. I gave it a 7; it would have received a 9 from me had it been a free house. Ah well, you can't (always) have everything.

Highly recommended.

22 Mar 2013 14:04

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mattygroves has been registered on this site since 24th January 2006