Monday, 5 March 2012

LEWISHAM (18/02/12)
Sporting a ferocious hangover from our Cutty Sark adventure, we decided the next evening to nevertheless press on and try to tackle Lewisham.  It would be quite simple we argued as Lewisham is within walking distance of our flat, and as far as we could tell there were only 4 pubs to visit.  I’d located these pubs on google the day before.  It turns out that one of the ‘pubs’ is in fact merely a Chinese pharmaceutical store.  Why I didn’t realise earlier that no landlord in a healthy state of mind would choose to call their pub ‘The Herbal Inn’ is beyond me.  Still, a result, only 3 pubs to visit and our second DLR station could then be ticked off. 

First up was The Bridge House.  We walked in and joined the 11 other customers that were already there.  After being served by possibly the friendliest and most Irish sounding man I’ve ever encountered (and I’ve been to Ireland) we sat down to take in our surroundings.  It was immediately obvious that we were probably the only people present to be born this side of 1960.  In fact, take away the two HD televisions and it was almost like going back in time.  The pub consisted of one large room, had a fire in one corner and looked like it probably hadn’t changed in 40 years.  But it was friendly.  People were quietly chatting in an unassuming manner; a guy at the bar would occasionally break into a little Irish jig for no apparent reason, then return to his manlier pose of leaning against the bar.  It felt like a proper pub, a pub with a sense of community.  They even had a lotto syndicate running which to me is another sign of a good reliable local.  It didn’t seem to matter that the poster for it was dreadfully misspelt.  ‘You have to paid up pay to win it’ it said.  I loved this little pub.  Negatives though were the lack of food on offer.  No food in fact, unless you wanted a bag of crisps from Ireland, you’d have to go hungry.  And for a worrying moment there was the misleading sensation of everyone piling into the men’s toilets at the same time, until we realised that the ‘Gentlemen’s’ door was also an escape route to outside for those that smoked.  After drinking our pints, we moved on and were told on departure to ‘come again soon’ by the barman. 
From here we faced a short walk into a now deserted town centre in search of the next bar, ‘One’.  On arriving we didn’t need words to tell each other that we’d only be having one in One.  It wasn’t the most welcoming of pubs.  In fact, I’m not quite sure this place knew what it was trying to be.  It had a hollow set up, strange lighting and lacked atmosphere.  Indeed, whilst sitting watching a group of Eastern Europeans playing pool, we were briefly joined by a roaming dog that also seemed less than enthusiastic about its surroundings.

Lewisham’s only other pub in our radius was The Joiners Arms.  Another Irish pub, and an Irish pub that was proud to be so too, painted bright green and looking like you’d imagine a stereotypical Irish pub would look like.  It was impossible to be unhappy inside The Joiners Arms. I think I had a smile on my face the entire time I was there although not necessarily for the right reasons.  This pub was truly awful.  On entry we were greeted by a grossly overweight DJ, who too was truly awful.  We bought 2 pints from a barmaid that was – you’ve guessed it – truly awful.  It took her 4 attempts to pour a pint of Fosters, which is no mean feat.  Nothing seemed to fit in this pub, and yet bizarrely it was an enjoyable experience.  The DJ was playing 60’s party classics that overlapped with the TV’s they had neglected to turn down.  He persevered though urging the aging crowd to ‘come on now, lets all have a sing along’ as he poorly mixed yet another track.  His enthusiasm was accompanied by disco lights, although they’d decided to leave the pub lights on at the same time.  It was a mess.  Unbelievably though, people were loving it.  According to the DJ one man displayed some excellent Michael Jackson moves on the dance floor (there was no dance floor), this despite no Michael Jackson music being played at any time.  To be fair though, the enthusiasm of the locals was infectious, everyone there was just there for a good time.  As good a time that can be had at a disco night in an Irish Bar in Lewisham anyway. 

The Bridge House Ratings

Facilities - 3
Atmosphere - 4
Cost - 4
Entertainment - 3
Selection - 1.5


One Ratings

Facilities - 2
Atmosphere - 2
Cost - 3.5
Entertainment - 4
Selection - 3


Joiners Arms Ratings

Facilities - 2
Atmosphere - 4
Cost - 4
Entertainment - 3
Selection - 3.5


Lewisham DLR then despite it being quite a major hub with great connections to the rest of London, really lacks in places to go out and drink in the immediate area.  Incredibly though, we’ve found that by applying our rating system it ranks more highly than Elverson Road.  Still, you live by the FACES system, you die by the FACES system, and as long as we continue to treat each station equally and measure each pub on the same scale then we should have a clear and fair winner at the end of proceedings.  Two down, 43 to go!

Area – 3/5

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