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Username: ToffeeJim

Age: 168

Sex: male

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The Blythe Hill Tavern, Forest Hill

There was a time when it was a given that all pubs would have plush chintzy seating, frosted windows, separate bars and smoking would be compulsory. Then, one day, somebody who carried a clipboard for a living said: "I know, why don't we turn most of the pubs into restaurants and make much more money. Only let's pretend that they're still pubs but sneakily stick cutlery and menus on every table so that the customers feel uneasy if they're not eating. Oh, and while we're at it, let's knock down all the walls and turn them into great big open spaces and put in clear windows just to really intimidate the poor sods".

So what happened then was that all the people who enjoyed drinking and smoking and having a convivial chat with the folk sitting on the opposite side of the snug and eating nothing more than the occasional packet of crisps while doing it had nowhere to go. This was very nearly the end of civillised life as we knew it.

But before you all leave for somewhere with a decent drinking culture - Holland or northern Belgium for instance - note this: a plucky group of renegades has banded together and is holding fast the barricades at the last place in London that understands what going to the pub used to be about. So if you like drinking good beer, smoking a lot, talking convivially with strangers and having the occasional chese and onion toastie this is the place for you. But then you knew that already didn't you?

4 Dec 2006 00:38

Herne Tavern, Forest Hill

Fair's fair - the beer is extraordinarily good. Judging, that is, by the one pint I will ever drink in there.

This isn't a pub, it's an operation to extract the maximum possible amount of money from a certain type of uncomplaining wallet. I was there at Sunday lunchtime. There was nowhere to sit inside unless you were buying food. I sat outside, in the freezing cold, with a view of the kitchens on one side and the series of mudslides that is the garden on the other. But the revamping of the interior would hardly have made that a cosier option anyway.

So rated 10 for beer, 0 for anything else, 5 overall.

24 Nov 2006 14:25

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ToffeeJim has been registered on this site since 23rd November 2006