Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Duke of York

This pub is so generic, even the bar-lady looked like an amalgamation of 101 expressionless faces merged into one.  Just another place gone gastro, so much better competition elsewhere.
The most exciting thing that night was when we thought we were locked in at the end, but it turned out we had to go round the side - yeah proper amazing times man.
I'm with the guy who was at the bar - "Let's go over the road, where it's cheaper".
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Food served
Real ale
WiFi
Outside seating
Snacks (nuts on a plate)
Pint of Speckled Hen, J20, plate of nuts:

£7.35
Alex - 5.0
Oliver - ?

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Maypole

Do you like lager, football and shouting?  Do you find your testicles producing an uncontrollable amount of male steroid hormone?  If you answered yes to all of those questions, get yourself down to the Maypole!
The only thing you need to bring with you is a wallet and an attitude problem.  Our clients often stand directly behind doors, this ensures maximum confrontation with anyone who dares to swing it open in their direction, yay!  We do ask that during the game you make strange animalistic noises and drink copious amounts of alcohol.
Notice: Due to chair shortages, you may need to stand crushed against the wall.  Hope to see you soon!

Pub facilities / features:

Sports screens
Real ale
Food served
Dartboard
Doombar, J20:

£5.30
Alex - 4.1
Dave - ?
Oliver - ?

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

The Lamb

"A Tent in a Pub!" says the board outside. That just about sums up the place, because I tell you, it is bloody eccentric in here:
  • I assume the reference to 'tent' refers to all the fabric draped across the ceiling.
  • By the back door there is a disco ball and a massage chair.  The chair needs money to operate and seems counter-productive when you have a full pint in your hand.
  • There is a big hat in the shape of a cheese wedge.  Yes.
  • A mental cat will jump around on the seats and then bolt out the back-door.
I was angry about the small multi-packet of Doritos we given, although the pub did redeem itself later when they came around with a tray of free pork pie.
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Food served
Real ale
Outside seating
Lemonade x2, amaretto, Holsten Pils:

£9.80
Alex - 7.2
Andrew - ?
Dave - ?
Oliver - ?

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Fox and Hounds

I know some people say drinking is bad for your health, but making a pub into a doctors waiting room is going a bit far.  From the tiny carpark, anti-drug posters on every wall, to the magazine rack and seats next to the window.  I was half waiting to be called in for an examination.
Thankfully towards the back, they do have a pool table and darts board to detract from that.  By the end it had filled up with regulars and due to the lack of seating, found ourselves being stared at for occupying I can only assume, their 'seats'.
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Food served
Real ale
Pool
Dartboard
Outside seating
Car park (two spaces)
J20 x2, Amaretto:

£9.10
Alex - 5.6
Andrew - ?
Dave - ?
Oliver - ?

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Hotel Bosco

This is a hotel masquerading as a trendy bar.  With Weatherspoons just next door, it makes me wonder how this place attracts any punters, but then I take a look around - they're making their money from the guests.  The type of people who bring their laptops and remain very quiet, even as a group.  I guess for those who need to get some late work done it works quite well, as the beautiful barmaids are more than willing to keep serving you drinks at your table throughout the night.
Gets all a bit expensive after the second round (even if you don't tip), so we nipped back next door to the Weatherspoon.
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Food served
WiFi
Alex - 6.6
Andrew - ?
Dave - ?
Oliver - ?

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Coronation Hall

Hooray, a decent pub in Surbiton and it's a Weatherspoon so reasonable prices too.
If you've ever played the game Bioshock, this is what it reminds me of.  The huge open floor and tall ceiling, the balcony that goes around the top, a bar that almost stretches the length of the pub and a great big arty planetarium thing.  There are a good selection of ales and the bar-staff are kind enough to give you a sample of any if you so wish.  Comfortable seating areas and sports screens that aren't too obtrusive.  Probably the nicest JD Wetherspoon I've been to, beats The Kings Tun any day.
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Sports screens
Snacks
Real ale
WiFi
J20, Coke, Pint of Caledonian 80:

£5.80
Alex - 8.8
Dave - ?
Oliver - ?

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Castle

If this is what has happened to old pubs, no wonder it's all gone gastro and trendy bars now.  This is everything you'd ever hate from a pub.  The only thing traditional about this pub is the building.  Which doesn't look like it's had any looking after since the 1980's (which I've heard was it's heyday, until the drug police moved in).
The car park had cars with broken windows, similarly to the front door, we through... into pitch blackness.  Okay, where is everyone?  Oh we've gone through the side door, why is that even open!  We go back out and round and open the other door to find we're the only proper customers there.  The other people appear to be friends of the landlord who all look very confused to why there are actual customers in his pub wanting a drink.  We order a J20, Jack Daniels and a packet of crisps.  There appears to be a rule of thumb here, if it isn't alcohol, it's from a multi-pack.  You pay the same price for a 2/3 size packet of crisps or a bottle.  They must know people won't ever be coming back.
There was a games room, but that was also in darkness, so we sat with our backs to the stereo which had about 6 songs and kept getting stuck.  What a waste of a licence.
One thing which I found very thoughtful was the selling of Chistmas wrapping paper and cards, just what I needed in the middle of January, thanks(!)
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Sports screens
Pool table

Outside seating (lol)
Car park
Multi-pack crisps/drinks
J20 (tiny), JD & Coke:

£5.40
Alex - 3.5
Andrew - ?
Oliver - ?

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Brave New World

I hate the word 'brave', it conjures up some middle aged woman patronisingly stroking my head after I've had a crap time in my life.  I wasn't brave I just got on with it, f' off!!
Anyway... yeah so this pub has a silly name.  It's very much a student sports bar/restaurant thing with pool tables,  a bar and curtains.  One thing I was impressed with were the free sandwiches, I'd missed dinner that day and they filled a brave hole.
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Sports screens
Food served
Real ale
Pool table
2x Amaretto, Fosters, J20:

£11.00
Alex - 6.9
Andrew - ?
Oliver - ?

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Saucy Kettle

The lack of real beer and a American neon themed bar gives me the impression this is a kind of place the young like to come down on a Friday night to be 'out on the lash'.  I have a quite active sense of smell and I found it to have a waft of soft jellied meat going on - couldn't quite place it, but it was a popular cat food brand.  One old woman looked after the bar, we ordered drinks, had a look at the jukebox and sat down.
They have loads of sport memorabilia covering the walls in here - signed boxer shorts (not the underwear type), boxing gloves, football shirts, baseball caps.  All fake from some dodgy geezer down the market I suspect.  Other things to look out for include a worn out TV from the 80's and forgotten Xmas decorations littering the tables and floor.
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Food served
Sports screens
Outside seating
Jukebox
Amaretto, coke, J20:

£7.25
Alex - 7.0
Dave - ?
Oliver - ?

Black Lion

Turning up late on a quiz night, standing up crushed against the bar, in the busiest pub in Surbiton probably isn't the best situation to form an opinion.  The brief time we were in here it was difficult to judge the place, perhaps we'll try and go back and try again when it's not a quiz night and there aren't any teams of people called Therapists (emphasis was on the R).  Until then - no scores!
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Food served
Real ale
Dartboard
Outside seating
Quiz night
?
Alex - ?
Dave - ?
Oliver - ?

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Antelope

A mans pub.  The barman was huge, he towered above the bar and raised an eyebrow in contempt when we tried to order anything but a pint.  Very much rugby themed, with dozens of faded photos on the wall and TV constantly showing sporting highlights.  We sat at the back of the pub on a couch right under a speaker blaring out country music.  One of the cool things was an old Pinball machine, but that wasn't enough to keep us from getting annoyed at the stupidly loud music.  We ended up going back to O'Neill's for the rest of the evening.
I'd probably not bother coming here again, especially when there's a risk of dying in a fire - the back doors are locked by a dodgy bicycle D-lock.
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Sports screens
Pinball
Outside seating
?
Alex - 5.3
Andrew - ?
Dave - ?
Oliver - ?

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Waggon and Horses

Although this pub right on the main road, we still got some cold stares through the window as we pulled up into one of the parking spaces outside.  Maybe we looked a bit too much like students, and being so close to the university the older generation were trying to keep it their local.
Once inside, we ordered our drinks and leapt over to the quiz machine.  It wasn't long before one of the old locals was standing behind us, "I know this one, but I'm not going to tell you what it is, haha", yeah real useful, go finish your pint.  Finally he was distracted by a young girl coming through the door and embarrassingly tried to buy her a drink, after that failed he went back to his corner where he belonged.
The place is okay, I like how they've separated the bar and the food areas. It's a bit expensive but I think that is to keep the the uni students out.
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Sports Screens
Food served
Real ale
Car park (three spaces)
?
Alex - 7.9
Andrew - ?
Dave - ?
Oliver - ?

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

El Peyote

This place hadn't been open very long when we visited, which explains the high prices, but overlooking that I was pleasantly surprised. Again, it's more of a Mexican restaurant rather than a cocktail bar, but the option is still there and they have some comfortable sofas at the front if you just fancy a tipple. I really like the layout, the stone walls gave the place a cool holiday feel and you can't go wrong with a Volkswagen Beetle (unless your Hitler).
The staff were very friendly, we were served drinks at our seats and given a tab.
Later on we were asked our opinion on a poster they had created for a salsa dance class - at first we thought they may have been serious, but who in their right mind would ask us for advice. They probably do the same routine for all their customers as a cheeky way of getting people to turn up.
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Food served
(Mediterranean, Mexican)
Cocktails
Herbie
Coke, orange, Corona:

£7.70
Alex - 8.2
Dave - ?

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Canbury Arms

Not sure how we missed this one before, a modern type of pub which focuses more on food than beer.  You do get table service here and a tab to put it on, attractive bar staff are a bonus too.
A mixed crowd in here, young couples mostly eating and geriatrics using laptops (something you wouldn't normally see in a pub!).  This is somewhere I'd probably go for something to eat rather than have a few drinks though, especially at these prices.
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Food served
Real ale
Outside seating
Car park
London pride, J20, lemonade and orange:

£9.50
Alex - 7.2
Andrew - ?
Oliver - ?

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Fairfield Tavern

After getting away from the horror which was The Bricklayers Arms we ended up here.  Not a bad pub, much better more civilised than the one up road that's for sure.
They had a guy playing live on a guitar.  He started off with the theme of Rainbow which suddenly turned into some Spanish song, that was a bit odd.  Inside had a TV showing UFC and outside had a marquee with a pool table.  They also did well on the snacks front - good old Monster Munch.
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Food served
Sports screens
Real ale
Pool table
Outside seating
Coke, J20, Amaretto and coke:

£7.90
Alex - 7.4
Dave - ?
Oliver - ?

The Bricklayers Arms

This is the Official Kingston Pub of Jeremy Kyle Rejects.  Members of the Cambridge Estate have meetings here all day, every day.  The clientèle include inbreeds, drunks, chavs, hooligans and idiots.  Dress code is a shaved head, England top, shorts and white trainers.
You have to try and play along in a place like this, so after walking to the bar like a Liverpudlian with giant testicles we ordered a 'rand of drinks' from the butch lesbian behind the bar (testosterone levels are high in here, even in the women), for some reason she was very adamant that Disaronno isn't Amaretto (and we didn't want to argue).  Not feeling very comfortable, we sat down on a table across from the games room and noticed a very drunk old fat man trying to play pool with the wrong end of the cue.  This was to be a series of messed up incidents we'd witness in the one round we stayed.
This drunk could hardly stand, he had no teeth and for some reason homed in on us.  Coming over with his pickled breath trying to shake our hands and slurring something about the length of Dave's hair before wandering off, getting another pint, coming back and doing the same thing again.
Another family of strange looking inbreeds were sitting at the bar.  For some reason the daughters had their hands down their mums jeans pockets throughout the evening - seriously they just sat there with their hands in there, WTF?  Later there was a bit of a scuffle outside (since the smoking ban I guess most of this pub drinks outside now), some girl with a black eye was re-enacting something she once saw on Eastenders.
After she left the scene we took our chance to leave, we gathered ourselves up and pushed through the obnoxious comments thrown by the morons as we waded through the pub towards the door.  It felt good to be out of there.
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Food served
Pool table
Uneducated proletariats
Coke, J20, Amaretto and coke:

£7.15
Alex - 0.3
Dave - ?
Oliver - 0.0

Saturday, 11 September 2010

The Cardinal

This is the Bugsly Malone of pubs - almost everyone in here was a student, even the barboy. Quite surprising really as it's far from any campus, just a large building on the corner of a residential road.
Another dog-friendly pub, After wading through the kids and grabbing our drinks, we sat down in the side room, only to be startled by a group of police wading through. They appeared pleasant enough, but I knew they were up to something. As soon as we pulled off in the car, the police were right behind us, lights flashing.
Top tip: if you want to drink and drive, don't go to this pub.
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Food served
Sport screens
Real ale
Outside seating
Carpark
WiFi
Fosters, J20, London Pride, coke:

£10.90
Alex - 5.8
Andrew - ?
Dave - ?
Oliver - ?

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

No.88

Previously known at the Kingston Tup (which was pretty nondescript), the newly refurbished Bar 88 has gone with a fresher contemporary feel.  A few things remain, the bar hasn't moved and there's a huge unsightly hole / fireplace in the wall which must have some kind of dodgy preservation order on it because it doesn't fit with the rest of the decor at all.  There's a pool table and a quiz machine at the back and the barman is freaky tall.
A pleasant place, but doesn't really stand out as somewhere I'd keep coming back to.
-Alex

Pub facilities / features:

Food served
Real ale
Pool table
J20, coke, Fosters, Amaretto and cranberry:

£8.80
Alex - 6.9
Andrew - ?
Dave - ?
Oliver - ?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The Willow Tree

If you ever receive a text from a mate saying 'Hold your breath when you come in'. It generally isn't a good sign of things to come...
Setting the tone of the area - we were a witness to a gang of hoodies hurrying down the street carrying a plasma TV. Of course, I am in no doubt they were just delivering it for their grandma.
First thing to notice upon reaching the pub is that it had been split into two halves, the other half now being a Korean restaurant. From peering through the small windows of the now elevator sized pub, we could see a Korean man in a puffer-jacket watching TV, two small seating areas and a dark shadowy bar.
Not sure if we were invading someone's living room we attempted to open the latched door, after several seconds of fumbling we managed to get inside only to be confronted with the most unpleasant, disgusting odour known to man. The only way I can describe it is like rotten meat infused with burnt fat.
We walked up the lightless bar and the guy in the puffer-jacket ran round and took our orders. "One Budweiser please" I asked, he stood there, thought for a second, disappeared behind the bar for a few minutes, appeared with the bottle only to go away again looking for a bottle opener. Also, for anyone out there learning Korean, Strongbow is translated as Fosters.
We sat down in the only available seating area with our drinks, the stench making every swig taste like bitter oven shavings.
A few minutes in and old man with his dog turn up. Well greeted by the Korean, he was obviously a regular and had either lost his senses or just his sense. The dog was very friendly with Andrew, a bit too friendly, by the third time it was getting awkward, which was when we decided enough was enough and got the hell out.
-Alex



Oh dear.... that’s what i said to myself is i entered this pub, alone once again as the others were running late (surprised?), and as this place was in the middle of nowhere I thought heading in was better than hanging about outside, this was a mistake! Walked in and the air was thick with some smell which I can only hope was coming from a kitchen shared with the oriental restaurant next door, but this was not pleasing odour, I did all I can to not pull a face. At this point I realised the guy sitting on the sofa watching the match had jumped up and went behind the bar and I also noticed there was no one else in this place, and there was hardly any lighting beyond the bar. For some reason I felt compelled to order a drink while I waited for the others (also didn’t want to walk out to have to walk in again). Realising there was no bottled beers on offer (couldn’t see in the fridges behind the bar it was so dark) I went for a Fosters and sat down. Decided to text the others while the guy sat on the other sofa with the following message "Hold your breath when you come in! I think I'm in someone’s living room". Living room is the only way to describe the decor here. when Alex and Ollie came they instantly knew what i meant form the looks on their faces i knew this was going to be a '1 round pub' so they went to get a drink, placed the usual order but the guy serving still poured a fosters instead of the Strongbow as he disagreed with Alex's order, personally I didn’t mind this as 56 weeks of drinking Strongbow every Tuesday was starting to lose its appeal. After a swift drinking session and one other customer coming in with an overly friendly dog we headed to O’Neil’s instead for the rest of the evening. I wouldn’t come back here if I lived next door to it and they had a 'drink all you can for free' evening!

Unfortunately that concludes the Kingston pubs now, it’s a shame it ended on such a low but onwards to pastures new!
-Andrew

Drinks Price
(Fosters, Budweiser, J2O)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£7.90

Unfit for human consumption

0.1

1.0
(Only because I got a Fosters instead of Strongbow)

-10.0



Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The Norbiton & Dragon

We strolled in just before 9pm, and first impressions were very good. The place has been recently refurbished into a very trendy looking pub, with a good selection of ales, a bar menu and wine list to boot.
Due to its popularity we initially squeezed into the corner of the restaurant area, which has to be said, was a bit too warm for comfort. Fortunately we didn't have to wait too long for one of the many comfy sofas to become available.
Seems that many people choose to come here for a drink after work, including the crabby barmaid from The Albert (fair play for bunking off, I know where I'd rather be). Heading towards the end of the night sees a younger crowd before closing at 11:30.
It may not be your traditional English pub, but I'll be coming back here in the future for sure.
-Alex



This pub has a very deceptive look to it, from the outside and the photos its looks like quite a large establishment, and while it not a small place it seem to lack the floor space you would expect from the outside impressions. Again, I arrived a little earlier than the others so decided to head inside for a drink and a snack. When I asked if they had any crisps they said all that they had was prawn crackers, so I asked for a bag of them and then realised there were freshly made, spiced prawn crackers with sweet chilli dip served in a basket. While I was not expecting this it was a nice suprise and I must say very tasty! There was a high level of trade in this evening as it also plays host to a thai restaurant in the back, thankfully I found myself a table to sit and wait but alas this was right on top of a radiator which was on fairly high. Later in the evening after the others had arrive we managed to relocate to some low level couches which were quite comfy and right next to the bar so this made the round ordering less of a chore (you could practically place the order without standing, if you wanted to).
Overall this place seemed to get things just right, good level of atmosphere, interesting snacks and an average price (bear in mind the price below is for 4 drinks, not the regular 3), and the only real downer to this evening was the heating system and the fact it wasn’t open later as if it was we would have defiantly stayed for another round or two.
-Andrew

Drinks Price
(Strongbow, JD & Coke, glass red wine, J2O)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£11.15

Only in a bowl

8.5

8.3

8.0



Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Kingston Gate

Amazing. No, not the pub, but imagine a carpark so unorganised that it would seem that half the people that drove here were already drunk before they even got to the bar. You'll also need to get a 'parking ticket' from the bar or you'll end up getting 'clamped'.
Inside is huge. Mainly split into three areas - an area for pool, an area for watching sky sports, and a corner for the weekly poker game. We were doing neither of those things, so things got complicated trying to find somewhere to sit. Upon finding a table by the TV we were told by a regular we could get a better seat, this was even after protesting we were not interested in the game. Coming to this pub for just general chitchat is unheard of.
If you're male and you enjoy constant shouts of jubilation from every angle, this is your place.
They also advertise WiFi, which is all lies.
-Alex



The pub had a few things going on this evening, a poker tournament, football on the tv not to mention the other range of entertainments from the dart board, pool table and the ever more popular IT BOX which seems to be appearing in a whole host of pubs around Kingston (we hardly ever play them but I am noticing them more). There is a huge amount of floor space here, could have room for more tables and chairs but the they do use it and this makes for a more social atmosphere yet you don’t have to worry about overhearing the conversations form adjacent tables, a relatively nice balance. Sadly nothing was super amazing and the overhanging possibility of having to make an early move did detract from the evening.
-Andrew

Drinks Price
(Strongbow, Budweiser, J2O)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£7.85

Walkers and Walkers Max

6.6

6.5

4.0



Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The Alexandra

Perhaps due to the inches of snow and ice that lined the streets this week, there was very little life in the Alexandra. It's quite a contemporary pub fitted with good seating areas, small TV screens and a jukebox that will play a random record once every twenty minutes.
The lady on the bar was very friendly, I think she was happy to see some life in her pub! Prices are also reasonable.
Look out for the "cockdryer" notice in the gents toilets (no, I am not making that up).
-Alex



This week almost didn’t happen due to the inches of snow over the previous few days but we braved it and even had a 4th member of the party with us this week (in fact a 5th turned up just before we left as well, only the 2nd time there have been a group that big, is it us or do people really have better things to do on a Tuesday?) Anyways, not many people in this pub but the meant we could choose a couple of rather large sofa’s to sit for the evening. Quite ironically shortly after mentioning the lack of ambient music, the jukebox sprang to life with a random track, this happened a few times during the night which wasn’t a hassle but probably could have done with a bit of a turn down on the volume as voices had to be raised slightly for the duration of the track. Actually got to the point where it was closing and some of us were saying if only it opened till 12 which has to be a positive note (either that or we were getting a little drunk, shots had an innings this evening).
-Andrew


Drinks Price
(Strongbow, JD & Coke, glass red wine, J2O)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£11.00

Yes, but all out of scamp fries :(

7.8

7.6

7.0



Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The Albert

If you have to drive here, don't bother. Being opposite the hospital, parking spaces are non existent. The cost of non residential parking usually results in pawning off your own limbs. We decided to keep our body parts intact and walk a half mile down the road.
I must say, once inside, this is a very nice clean pub. It has a nice cosy feel, huge amounts of room and good selection of real ale. They even have special chairs if you ever need to queue for the toilet.
One thing to note is the smell of tobacco smoke and catfood coming from the kitchen (not at the same time). I hate to imagine what was on the menu.
Also, the staff are rather brusque and certainly won't give you service with a smile. In fact, come 11:30 we were rudely told if we 'wouldn't minded leaving'.
Overall The Albert is a lovely pub, just falls short on steep prices and crabby barmaids.
-Alex



I must admit I have passed this pub hundreds of time while heading into and out of Kingston and have always looked inside curious what it was like so I was quite pleased when we reached this part f our mission, and yes, we have now started on the Norbiton area just outside Kingston itself, seems the pubs are running out at an alarming rate!
inside the pub has a warm atmosphere and we found ourselves seated at a sofa in the far corner of the pub just by the kitchen, from here we could only see half the bar as it continued round the corner and to be fair we probably could have found a better seating area but alas this is where we set up base. This is defiantly the sort of place to sit and chat with friends, we were a bit surprised at the prices, so much so than when I got my round in I wasn’t expecting change but thankfully the barmaid came up to where we were sitting to give it to me, my mind must have been elsewhere at the time but it’s good to know there are still honest people out there!
-Andrew

Drinks Price
(Strongbow, JD & Coke, Feel Good Lemon stuff)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£9.40

Yes

7.6

7.9

5.0



Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Foresters Arms

This was actually the first pub we visited in Hampton wick, but upon the previous visit, our sensitive gag reflexes could not stand the smell of what one can only describe as Captain Birdseye's fingers. We stayed as long as it takes to enter through the front and exit through the side door.
Today thankfully fish must have been off the menu, as for the tonight’s odour was much more bearable, similar to Nicky Clarke's fingers after a day at the salon.
If you hadn't already guessed, it’s a gastropub with traditional bar stools and tables one end, and restaurant based amenities at the other. Unfortunately we ended up in the restaurant surrounded by half a dozen menus, towering candles (which nearly took an eye out) and the usual gritty condiments. Food looked nice though.
Across the ceiling, giant cloth sheets stretched themselves into each corner of the room... only to hide big holes no one bothered to fill in while decorating.
The Foresters Arms is the best Hampton Wick has to offer, but that isn’t saying much looking at the competition. It’s also hotel for £50 a night, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about hidden cavities or strange aromas.
-Alex



I missed the first attempt of heading to this place as I was running late on that evening, which is probably for the best looking at Alex’s post regarding the fishy aroma. After getting our drinks we looked for somewhere to sit that didn’t look like it was part of the restaurant, weirdly the people in the pub part of the venue were eating so when we did find a seat we were in the restaurant area. This didn’t really cause an issue however, apart from the candle in the centre of the table being at eye level making a blinding effect, easily resolved by sliding it to one side but worth mentioning if you go for a meal and the plates are in the way of moving the candle. As the evening went it was another of those uneventful ones I'm afraid, either that or I am writing this so far after visiting that anything that did happen cant have been that great/bad for me to forget it.
-Andrew



Drinks Price
(Strongbow, Budweiser, Pineapple)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£7.40

Stupidly overpriced

6.7

5.9

6.3




Tuesday, 6 January 2009

The Old Kings Head

Based on Hampton Court Road, isolated from pretty much the rest of Hampton Wick, the location of this pub makes me wonder why or how it still trading. I suppose it could cash in on the students living opposite, but instead The Old Kings Head decides to have less character than a doctors waiting room.
Bear in mind we visited when some temperatures were some of the lowest in 15 years, and were looking forward to settling down in a cosy pub over a cold beer. No such luck, the radiators were about as warm as your grandma's feet after a week of having her heating cut off. Even the barman took the liberty of keeping his coat and scarf firmly wrapped round him.
When it came to ordering there was no Strongbow for Andrew but they did have 2 for 1 on pints of Fosters, something worth celebrating at last...?
Well almost, it was quite short-lived. Even though there was only 4 other people in this sizeable pub they seemed to run out before we had a chance to get the second round. In fact everything on tap seemed to run out and they were even down to their last packet of McCoys crisps.
Perhaps they were doing a badly marketed closing down sale which would explain the lack of décor and heating. One can only hope.
-Alex



This place seemed to lack atmosphere on the evening we visited, upon entering we realised we were one of about 3 groups in the bar, and for a large place, made it look quite empty which was a shame as we were informed about a promotion which was basically buy one get one free on the fosters, something which could be very popular with the student accommodation for the Uni just across the road., it would have been more popular for us had it lasted for more than one round before running dry.
It was a very cold evening and unfortunately there was very little heating (see Alex’s post) and the lack of other bodies in the place did mean a cold draught swept through whenever someone went in or out the door.
Overall I would say this place defiantly has the potential for an alright and cheap night out, but the night we went it was just cold and nothing much else to write about.
-Andrew



Drinks Price
(Fosters and J2O)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

?

Yeah, if you're lucky

5.8

5.5

4.3



Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The Railway

Things to note while at this pub:
  • Entertainment includes happy hardcore music, sport and Only Fools and Horses on TV.
  • Probable sign theft from Hampton Wick station opposite, displayed around the bar.
  • Drunk punters asking random people their postcode and shouting "Breadbin" for unknown reasons.
  • One guy in a scarf by himself, shouting very loudly over everyone at the football.
  • A very large man trying to play darts but only able to do so by leaning on the pool table for support. Same man manages to ride home on a moped.
  • Everyone, including the barman will disappear and leave the pub every so often.
  • The resident canine likes Scampi Fries.
  • No longer under Mafia control.
-Alex



This place is ideally siutated just opposite the station, so was expecting it to have more than a few people in it from passing trade of people coming home from work etc, but alas, when we arrived there were only a handful of people there. Over the course of the evening i cant remember any new people arriving, but most people left before closing, even the bar staff for a short while. TV was showing sport, but then when that finished it was switched to Paramount COmedy which prooved distracting to a point, then only fools an horses came on and that was about the end of conversation for us as all attention was on the tv (or a mobile). Not a bad place, tho could do with more customers to give it a better atmosphere.
-Andrew

Drinks Price
(Strongbow, Budweiser, Orange)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£7.15

Yes

6.2

6.8

5.0



Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Swan

We ordered the usual, but it wasn't until we sat down and actually started drinking we noticed these weren't quite the same beverages we were used to. Upon going back for round two and leaning over the bar we noticed the J20 was called something else, a similar printed label, tasted ok, but with an added bonus of scraping sugar off your teeth after every mouthful. The Strongbow was dark and cloudy and certainly wasn't Strongbow. I wouldn't of normally minded, but it would of been nice to be told and pay cheaper brand prices.
Bar staff were ok, two guys. One of which at the end of the night cleaned the table next to us three times in 30mins, no idea why, it's not like we have anything worth eavesdropping on for.
When are these pubs going to learn not to put the jukebox on random? I'm fed up with hearing the likes of Cliff Richard, gangsta hip-hop and Brazilian samba in the space of 20mins. I was thankful when the machine got stuck and they switched the bloody thing off.
Oh and there's free pool on Tuesdays.
-Alex



Admittidly I am writing this about a month after going (after a busy christmas etc and much harrassment from Alex to 'DO THE BLOG!!!!' I thought I had better get it done.
THis place seeme to be pretty good but i think there was something up with the drinks as the next few days i was feeling really ill, after the 2nd drink the barrel ran out on the 3rd round so that may have had something to do with it, i dunno. Must say that after asking the barman to reccomend a shot we had some cherry liqueur thing that was quite nice, one of the saving graces from the evening.
-Andrew

Drinks Price
(Strongbow?, JD & Coke, J2O?)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£8.15

Yes

6.4

6.0

7.0



Tuesday, 18 November 2008

The White Hart

Although retaining all it's traditional features on the outside, this once pub has now been refurbished into a generic hotel bar.
After ordering a rather expensive round from the bar from a couple of waitresses (who were also busy serving the guests their evening meals), we found a table in the corner next to the window.
It felt a little discomforting to be surrounded by people having their evening tea, reading newspapers and loudly talking on their phones in foreign languages. The only good I can say has any value are the the ales.
By 11pm they were laying out the breakfast plates on the tables ready for tomorrow morning. My guess is that The White Hart is run by hotel owners who have no experience with pubs.
It's got a warm feel, with the log fire and soft furnishings, so you could take a date along here, but not on the first date, that would be stupid.
-Alex



Well, Kingston I believe is done, but the list is not yet through, our source list has a few others on the outskirts which are close enough to test out, and this one is just the other side of the river. Looks like your standard traditional pub form the outside but what a shock when we went in, looks more like a hotel reception than a bar, at one point I thought we had walked in the wrong part. The set up is more for hotel patrons than passers but it’s not exclusively for guests so we found ourselves a table and sat down. Price was a little surprising for its location but this was probably more due to the hotel attached than anything else. Can’t see a reason I would come here socially unless I moved far away from the area and then come back for a visit staying at this hotel.
-Andrew

Drinks Price
(Strongbow, Budweiser, J2O)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£9.10

Yes

6.5

5.7

6.0


Tuesday, 11 November 2008

The Kings Tun

The resident JD Weatherspoon bar is no doubt the largest and most popular drinking venue. We've been putting this one off due to it's impersonal and commercialistic feel.
Over the last few years this place has turned into a haven for the young, loud boozer. Deafening DJ's often play sets on weekends with their sole purpose to make you talk less and therefore drink more. If driving past on a Friday or Saturday night, be sure to keep to the middle or right hand lanes as you undoubtedly be blocked by an ambulance otherwise.
It was pleasant to come on a weekday and see the contrast of getting served straight away and being able to find somewhere to take a pew.
Those who work in a pub should know how to pull a pint, which made it especially strange that staff made us walk from the upstairs bar all the way to the downstairs with no explanation when ordering a round.
Bear in mind this place closes at 12am weekdays, there will be no 'time at the bar' warnings and you'll have literally 5 minutes to drink up and get out.
Other things to note are the jet powered 'air-force' hand-dryers in the WC, they claim to use 50% less energy than regular dryers, this is because no one dares to put their hands under them for any length of time for fear of dislocating both wrists. Towards the end of the day it will be nigh on impossible to find a table that won't smell of food scrapings or not be stickier than a gecko's foot.
The Kings Tun might not be the nicest, but it will certainly be the cheapest place you can buy a pint in Kingston.
-Alex




Really we should have done this one ages ago but we left it till last as we used to go here lots until it changed to a lloys bar then it all went downhill. Personally the whole point of Wetherspoons bars was somewhere to go to get some cheap drinks and catch up with your mates, then move onto a place playing music loud enough to cause permanent damage. Once it went to Lloyds it then took over 20mins to get served while standing under a 200W speaker which is almost one of the reasons this website came into existence, to catch up as our usual Friday hangout meant we were meeting up but couldn’t actually talk. I was pleasantly surprised to find they have now disconnected the upstairs speakers and being a Tuesady it was really empty so service was very fast as well, this is of course until 11 and everyone upstairs is forced to relocate to the ground floor, not great when you have to settle at a new table for the last hour of opening, then all of a sudden as soon as 12 hits you have bouncers saying to drink up now and get out, which is not great when you have just been served and have a full pint to get through, having to neck it in less than 10mins did not help me the next morning, if they want to leave work at 12:15 then stop serving at 11:30! Otherewise defiantly the cheapest round and central location in Kingston work in its favour so they can afford not to worry about the service level as people will always come back. I know I will more for these reasons than any other!
-Andrew


Drinks Price
(Strongbow, JD & Coke, J2O)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£6.03

Yes

7.3

7.9

8.7




Tuesday, 4 November 2008

The Wych Elm

Upon entering this establishment the first thing to notice was how subdued the air was. Two aged regulars never moved an inch off their stools from when we arrived to when we left.
Perhaps the barman thought we were lost when we stood at the bar waiting to be served, as he continued his undertone conversation with them oblivious.
Over the course of the evening it was hard not to notice previously mentioned barman staring intently at us, this coupled with a loud ticking clock, it was quite unnerving. I don't think he was being rude or defiant, but probably was more out of curiosity. Perhaps like when a westerner goes to visit an Amazon tribe, but instead of race it's an age thing.
The pub itself had a nice traditional feel to it and the only one I've seen so far with a dartboard.
Last weeks ginger cat made an appearance too, which was nice.
-Alex




It seems the last pubs on the list are all in the same area, third week running in this area and a stone’s throw from last week’s pub, this place is defiantly am improvement. The pub is another one for the locals but has a large seating area to make yourself comfortable in and also a garden area. Relatively quiet with only a couple of locals and a smallish group over the other end of the bar we had no issues with getting served. All in all not a bad place, but nothing remarkable about it as well.
-Andrew


Drinks Price
(Strongbow, Budweiser, J2O)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£8.10

Yes

6.8

6.7

5.5




Tuesday, 28 October 2008

The Willoughby Arms

Promoted as mainly a sports pub this place looks incredibly like the Kelly Arms with it's late 19th century masonry. Once we were inside, first thing to notice were the walls covered with large fearsome hunting trophies - antelopes, foxes, bears and large cats. Also sharing the wall with the animal heads were plenty of awards, curiously none of them issued after 2003.
There is also a separate games room so no one has to endure the oversized sky sports screen if they don't want to.
Now you'd be thinking this sounds the nice traditional sort of pub, and you'd be right if traditional means intoxicated old men in body warmers constantly swearing at staff and customers alike. This one particular guy was ordering a pint with with the intelligence and dialect of an infant, now you'd think he'd be told to go home but no. The bar maid was clueless and didn't batter an eyelid even when being told she was a "f**king c**t". After finishing his pint and rummaging round for 10 minutes in search of his keys he finally left, but not before falling into Andrew on the way out.
Plenty more weirdos came and went, an egotistical yob who entered by shouting "No autograffs!!!" I didn't understand it either. A fat man in tracksuit bottoms who managed to drop his keys down his trouser leg and under our table, I don't want to know where he keeps them.
The landlord spent most of his time at the bar on a laptop making naff posters with clipart, not noticing or caring about a thing.
By the end I felt like the poor ginger cat who sat black-eyed praying to be let out. If we were stupid enough to come back I'll imagine he'll be next on the wall.
-Alex




Another one of those pubs over in ‘East Kingston’, far out of the town center and set up as more of a local pub, and it defiantly gave off that vibe. As I arrived a bit before the others and it was a chilly evening I went in to see what it was like and although large looking form the outside it was quite cramped within, a few small groups and the largest room was darkened for a big screen football game. I would assume that we were the only non-locals and everyone seemed to have a passing familiarity with each other adn the guys giving abuse to the bar staff didn’t seem to provoke any action to stop it and acted as if it was the norm. Interesting decoration of certificate form years gone byand possible some stuffed roadkill (the larger ones possible coming from Richmond park perhaps. Probobly not one to re-visit, even if I lived locally!
-Andrew


Drinks Price
(Strongbow, JD & Coke, J2O)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£8.50

Yes

4.6

4.2

5.2




Tuesday, 14 October 2008

The Wheelwrights Arms

One of the last remaining independent high street pubs in Kingston, when I came here a few years ago I was greeted with grumpy unwelcoming faces, good to see it's modernised and much more friendly.
Has a fresh feel to the place, sells food, a few different ales and a jukebox that loves to play Michael Jackson even through it's supposedly on random. One word of advice is not to go for the peanuts they taste rotten and will make your breath smell like boiling animal fat over a stove. Oh also don't lean on the radiators they still have cobwebbed fag-ends in them from prior to the smoking ban.
Being positioned in the heart of Kingston it is the perfect place for sitting by the window and people-watching. Tonight we saw Mohican Haired Kid, Moonwalking Cardigan Guy and a street-cleaner coupled with girl in string-vest and blue tracksuit bottoms. We think it was weirdo's night out.
The blinds came down shortly after that and we got the feeling we should leave. Good place, to sit down, chill out with a beer and have a chat (and be nosey).
-Alex




This is one of the places that I have seen many many times in Kingston but never ventured inside to see what its like, usually its rammed or just has a couple of older guys dotted about the place, nevertheless, its next on the list and we were going here tonight. Having been a little early and the other running a little late I decided to head solo to grab a seat and wait for them, found it fairly busy but managed to grab a table by the door so I could see out the window and also watch the TV while I waited, once the others arrived we carried on our usual weekly banter, the drinks seemed to be flowing quite well this evening, I must say it was one of the heavier nights we have had, and they’re a fairly rare occurrence, only a few times have we exceeded the standard ‘3 rounds then home’ routine.Overall quite a quiet place, music piped into the background but the mix that was playing was quite a random one.
-Andrew

Drinks Price
(Strongbow, JD & Coke, J2O)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£8.00

McCoys and some mouldy 'Big D' peanuts.

8.3

7.9

7.8




Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The Spring Grove

Right behind the University campus, this huge pub is quite a hidden gem.
Two polish female staff provided fast service as soon as we walked in, and although it was slightly more expensive than the average, the pub had a good lively but comfortable feel to it.
A mixture of both young and old frequent here with plenty of comfy couches, seating areas and a garden, modern jukebox, and couple of quiz machines to boot.
I personally wouldn't bother playing Monopoly on the quiz machines. Every time you get to the last question before payout, the machine picks an impossibly hard question then laughs in your face with the most abrupt game over screen ever.
-Alex



I think I mentioned before that I am an ex-student of Kingston uni, and once again I am disappointed that I never explored the local pubs more while I was there, this is defiantly the type of place where you could easily spend an whole afternoon after lectures with a few friends. Thankfully this also applies to today where we enjoyed a chilled out evening on 2 large leather sofas, never had to wait to be served at the bar, the only downside was the IT Box being very stingy on the questions on Video Monopoly. This is defiantly one I would re-visit if I am in this part of Kingston going for a drink.
-Andrew


Drinks Price
(Strongbow, Budwiser, J2O)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£8.50

Yes

8.2

8.4

8.2




Tuesday, 30 September 2008

The Park Tavern

Tucked away, The Park Tavern took us 20minutes of driving around to finally find. It is a quaint little place with ornaments scattered all around the inside, including a moose head and dead parrot.
Had a good cosy feel to it like you were in someone's living room - complete with fireplace. Well that was until we sat down on a seat I can only describe as a 'choir bench'. Good for your posture they may be but totally uncomfortable for a relaxing evening of drinking. I've known more comfy bus-stops.
As the football was on it was pretty busy, with a good sized plasma screen on one side of the pub without distracting anyone who wasn't interested in watching. Drinks were a fair price and when asking for a Jack Daniels & coke we got a proper a glass bottle of coca-cola not the stuff from the tap, which we found surprising.
Nice friendly place, as English as it gets!
-Alex




One of the most easterly pubs in Kingston, and quite well hidden this must be one of the ‘real’ locals in Kingston, most other patrons seemed to be really familiar with the place and the other people there/staff. We decided to seat ourselves in the non tv area and after placing our order I found myself behins the other two as they headed for the ‘couch-style’ seats, only to find that they were harder than boulders on a cold day, meanwhile I sat on the wooden char what was actually quite comfy, naturally Alex stole the seat when I got my round in but as his was next I let him have is victory and reclaimed it later, this might sound ‘petty’ but the other seat was really not that nice to sit on.Overall atmosphere of the place was quite pleasant, the bar staff even say bye to us when we were leaving at closing time, I would have no trouble having a drink here again, provided I got a good seat of course.
-Andrew


Drinks Price
(Strongbow, JD & Coke, J2O)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£7.55

Yes

7.7

7.2

6.8




Tuesday, 16 September 2008

The Peel

By all accounts this public house is named after Robert Peel, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the late 19th century. All very nice, but now ask yourself - how does that tie in with being a strip club?? That I cannot answer.
The pub has three main areas, games room, live music room (a few bands play on weekends) and the strip club is at the back.
After going through the five-inch thick double doors at the entrance we arrived in the games room. The barman looked like something from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, an old bald guy dressed in a vest and jeans with tattoos all over his arms. I approached and tried to order a round but every time I tried, he'd wander off. It appeared he'd only serve us from the strip club.
After getting the drinks and shuffling back to the games room we played a couple of games of pool, then out of nowhere the old barman started shouting "Don't go behind the bar!!!". It was aimed at some other young guys who were the other side of the games room. We were all looking a bit confused, as no one had or even could of been near there.
Inside the strip club itself the lighting is quite dim, with two poles on centre stage. I didn't bear thinking about what I was sitting on, none of the stools looked particularly healthy. There was a strange musty smell too, perhaps it was decades of smoking clinging to the walls. Scattered about the place there were three old men who were probably regulars and lived alone. There were two alternating dancers who were somewhat attractive. Unfortunately Oliver forgot his glasses so didn't get to see anything!
-Alex



Now, after going out in Kingston for many many years I was quite surprised to find that there was a local strip bar, not that I would go out looking for one, but you usually hear about the locations of them when you are such a local to the area. The venue is also home to a live music venue which is active on a number of nights of the week, unfortunately this was not one of those nights. We started out in the bar area which is quite a small area with a pool table, after a while we realised that the barman was reluctant to serve us in this room and we then moved next door to the larger bar area, complete with stage (and poles....you can see where this is going). So we stayed for the entertainment on offer for a round or two then headed back to the small bar to continue our games of pool for a while before catching the last show before we left, just as we were leaving the stage artist was collecting £1's for a final show she was putting on for a couple of guys who had just arrived and didn't want them to have wasted their time, a sign of good service.
Overall not a bad bar, with a surprising feature to boot, not sure if its a place I would frequent a lot unless it was on a large lads night of a special occasion (stag do etc.) However I would like to see what the live music is like when its on. Defiantly not a good idea to mess with the landlord, from the looks of things he's a dab hand of dealing with trouble!
-Andrew

Drinks Price
(Strongbow, JD & Coke, J2O)

Snacks

Alex's Score

Andrew's Score

Oliver's Score

£7.40

Yes

6.5

7.4

7.9
(8.3 with glasses)