Kingston & Surbiton Pub Review 2001



Last Visit Comments  Score
Kelly's Arms Everards Tiger 28th December 2001 Forget French sports bars. This place has got everything. Pool, table football, darts and a decent pint. You can almost forget the sun isn't shining outside. The electric score board still presents problems but hey who said life was supposed to be easy.  9
Coconut Fullers 21st December 2001 From what I can remember a little too much Xmas cheer for our miserable crew saw an early exit to visit the Swan. Once we had come to grips with the wizardry of the electronic scoring system raucous behaviour was only prompted by a most unlightly 180 albeit on two separate throws. 6
Bricklayers Morlands 14th December 2001 If you fancy a quiet beer this is the place for you. Major on the quiet mine as the old clientele have left for pastures new. At these prices the walk into Kingston must be quiet attractive. 6
Woodies Fullers London Pride, Young's Ordinary 7th December 2001 How do you turn a quiet Friday night drink into a DIY exercise? Miss the dart board so badly that your dart gets lost behind the board of course. The bar staff are not amused particularly as closing time approaches. Mind you they had probably spent the day putting up the Xmas decorations amongst the memorabilia. A bit OTT for my conservative taste I'm afraid. 7
Wych Elm Fullers London Pride 30th November 2001 As usual the public bar was the place to be as all other seats were occupied except those beneath the dartboard. No matter.  A darts demonstration seemed to wake and inspire some late on but not the left hander among us. Was his mind on a letter to British Rail following the cancellation of the 8.15 from Gomshall? 8
Lamb Pedigree, Tanglefoot 23rd November 2001 This is a such a good location it was even proposed as the pre Xmas meal hostelry. It may be a bit small for that, but with good beer, good music and somewhere to park the bikes it looks like remaining a favorite for some time. A week off darts was a welcome relief but idle conversation resulted in a small wager. Will they find Bin Larden before Xmas or will he escape wrapped in Bed Linen in a Bin Liner? We should visit more often and consider playing darts to avoid such senseless conundrums. 9
Willoughby IPA, Forgotten guest 16th November 2001 Pool, darts and good beer are always on the agenda at this revived location. The beer is so good that the locals are named after car manufacturers and foreigners can win at darts playing left handed. Always plan for a long night however as things only get going around closing time. 8
Waggon & Horses Young's Ordinary/Special, Guinness   9th November 2001 The public bar is always the best bet but with the footie and the wind chill this was briefly brought into question. A slow start built to a frenetic finish with the darts failing to hit the target it was anyone's game. Relief was at hand for some but it was "a curry too far" and an early night for the sub aqua brigade. More like a holiday too far as I see it. 7
Kelly's Arms Courage Best
Dr Harvest
Golden Arrow
Some Mild??
2nd November 2001 The interesting variety of beer coupled with the electronic scoring system confused the early arrivals so much so that in a game of 401 it was reported that there was only 898 remaining. That's double 449 I believe. Gosh that mild was strong. Enter a Manchester City supporter who also struggled to hit the target for some late entertainment. What was he doing in the Kelly's? I never did understand his explanation. 8
Spring Grove Young's Ordinary/Special, Guinness   26th October 2001 The venue is solid but the punters are lacking stamina. Too many excuses from the regulars meant the darts were fast and furious with little time between throwing and chalking to take the odd sip of Guinness. Wayward darts can only be put down to a lack of concentration perhaps brought on by dreams of leading the Premiership. Dreams however have a habit of coming true! see table 7
New Prince Gales Butser 19th October 2001 Things are looking up! This previously smoky pub is transforming into a real gem. The introduction of a dartboard makes a return visit all the more likely. The 1p pint offer however cannot be sustained as it confuses the punters who find it necessary to use up their beer tokens by buying the entire bar staff a drink. 8
Coconut London Pride 12th October 2001 A transformation has brought in the student drinkers so the supply of beer is limited. Tight leather trousers now replace old baggy jeans and a disco has displaced the pool table so there's plenty to catch the eye but not much to encourage a early return. I guess it's back to a pipe and slippers pub for the over 40's next week. 6
Park Tavern

Side Pocket, Town Boyd’s Lincolnshire Woolpack, Harvester, Brakspears

5th October 2001 An absolutely solid middle-aged drinkers pub – beards and big woolly jumpers welcome.  An excellent selection of real ales and plenty of noisy rabbit.  The major downside is the lack of arrows and a late burst of insipid irritating juke-box music. (KS) 7
Swan Brakspears 28th September 2001 A pleasant enough local. Darts was the name of the game after the kinder garden had disbanded. The beer flowed and the form of previous weeks continued but why was there always a spare pint? Absent friends or just confusion exasperated by the darts and excess drink I guess. Did I get lost on the way home or was it a late finish. My memory must be playing up! 7
Grey Horse, Lamb, Wych Elm Youngs, Shepherd's Neeme, London Pride 21st September 2001 This mini tour of the pubs in North Kingston highlighted the contrasting ways the locals spend their Friday nights. From vinegar to nectar the question is why? Who wants to sit in an overcrowded Young's pub where the beer is less then drinkable or sit and listen to youthful over exuberance around the pool table of a deserted pub when the alternatives are so much better. Good beer, an empty dart board and a friendly greeting are a few of life pleasures which await the more adventurous of these poor souls. 5,4,9
Woodies Fullers London Pride, Young's Ordinary 14th September 2001 Now a regular on the circuit the main danger to its removal must come from the risk of  fire provided the punters don't get lost.. A good variety of beer caters for all tastes and how a game of darts changes an evening when numbers are down and spirits are low. A 6-1 victory is what we expect from England these days. 8
Willoughby IPA 7th September 2001 The traditional pub still remains but the punters seem to have departed. Einstein put this down to a noisy group of lumberjacks in the corner. Still all aspects of the pub needed to be explored so a few beers in the street outside estimating the coefficient of friction of motorbike tyres was followed by some beers inside discussing the leakage of Shere swimming pool. All was rounded off well into the night at the dart board to the accompaniment of the local butchers sweep stake. 7
New Prince Gales 31st August 2001 The surprise of a new Gales pub in the area was well received and the beer, although strangely varied, was none the less very acceptable. The waitress service confused some of the punters but I am sure they will get used to it. I guess this now constitutes a solid pub for some noisy conversation particularly before a curry across the road. 7
Spring Grove Young's Ordinary/Special, Guinness   24th August 2001

Questions were raised about a hat-trick of Young's pubs (Vic/Wagon/Spring) when other welcoming hostelries are still genuinely available on the list.  However, the Grove is a solid drinking pub with reliable beer and the complaints did not last long.  Due to exceedingly balmy conditions the garden proved too magnetic and the possibility of arrows was not even mentioned.  I reckon the Spring Grove is better in winter when other ‘garden’ pubs become less attractive. (KS)

Waggon & Horses Young's 17th August 2001 With the restaurant temporarily out of action the number of punters was reduced accordingly and the old values of a Young's pub returned. An improvement in some ways. All that was missing was the saw dust on the floor. Maybe that comes next week. 8
Victoria Young's 10th August 2001 Excellent venue allowed recent holiday exploits to be discussed whilst downing some traditional English beer. Good riddance to San Migal and 1664 for another year. 8
The Oak (Grove etc.) Greene King IPA, Ruddles County 3rd August 2001

After its third makeover since the much lamented end of JA’s tenure, The Oak is now a large and reasonable pub with a huge walled garden including some newly developed decking outside the back door.  A good summer pub if you bring sufficient clothing to remain al fresco.  Whether it’s a good winter pub is yet to be investigated. (KS)

Lamb forgotten guest 27th July 2001

The Lamb welcomed the return of some punters and some very pleasant hot weather allowing a full evening in the garden.  The guest beer was excellent, so excellent in fact that its name has been erased from the memory banks.  Good traditional pub, friendly landlord, pleasant garden, excellent beer and some great garden weather – only an outdoor dartboard is missing. (KS)

Wych Elm London Pride 20 July 2001

Where do you go when you realise finally at 9pm that you are the sole punter?  To the Wych, of course, with pipe, slippers and a good book.  (KS)

Kelly's Arms Abby Ale 13 July 2001 What a pub has to do to survive is beyond me but converting to a betting shop and rerunning the 3 o'clock from Utoxeter doesn't get my vote. It just drives the punters away. Let hope they lost enough money to return to normal for the next visit. 3
Waggon & Horses Young's & Guinness 6 July 2001 Another evening of topical discussion in the fresh air. This pub really does have everything to suite the occasion. The only problems is the smell of the food can make you feel hungry when you haven't eaten. Luckily we were seated well away from the kitchen. 9
Black Lion Young's & Guinness 29 June 2001 Thank goodness its summer. What could have been a night of moaning and groaning about the state of the pub and some of the punters turned into a pleasant evening under the stars. Since I can't remember much about it I can only assume we made plenty of noise and agreed on next weeks outing. 7
Newt & Ferret Breakspears Best Bitter 22 June2001 The low turn out can only be explained by inside information regarding the demise of this previously popular pub. Surely evictions from the big brother household have not caught the attention of all the Friday night drinkers in Kingston. There must be some other exciting event that can explain the lack of drinking on this pleasant summers evening. A bonding session perhaps. 5
Spring Grove Young's & Guinness 13 July 2001 *
15 June 2001
A lone punter seated below the dartboard prevented some real action. This meant those attending had to converse for a change. A evening in the garden maybe but the kindergarten in the back garden proved less attractive than the seats at the front until the rain came. 6
Fox & Hounds Courage Best 8 June 2001 A brief visit before the arduous Gomshall Curry highlighted one of the well know deficiencies of this pub. If only the pub was on the other side of the Portsmouth road the traffic noise would be all be it to provide a very pleasant evening beside the river. 7
Richmond Park Fullers London Pride 1 June 2001 Oh dear! The beer is OK but the garden needs attention particularly since the Irish music makes this only sensible place to sit. I'm not sure what the attraction is of lights which only come on when somebody moves but someone somewhere must think its a good idea. A brief visit to the Wych Elm may help the landlord see the benefits of a nice garden as that's where the punters end up. 5
Wych Elm Fullers London Pride 1 June 2001*
25 May 2001
The garden season is now well upon us and what a pleasant change it is to sit in the fresh air away from the smoky bar. 8
Waggon an Horses Young's Ordinary,  Special or Guinness 18 May 2001 A comfortable seat and plenty of Guinness helped jog the memory of many cycle trips past. 8
Lamb (Surbiton) Halcyon Days 11 May 2001 When the darts start to go down hill its time to think of something new. So what better than to arrange for the sun to appear and celebrate the long summer evening in the garden of a friendly pub. Add to the experience by reminiscing about cycling trips past whilst drinking some decent beer. Oh yes! More of the same next week please. 8
Kelly's Arms Priory 4 May 2001 This excellent local has all the right ingredients for a good evening's entertainment. The state of the darts however can only be explained by the choice of beer. It's definitely a case of practice doesn't make perfect. The excuse that the board is a little high can only accelerate a visit to a local physiotherapist. 8
Coronation Hall Spitfire
Fools Fortune
Victory Ale
27 April 2001 This popular Wetherspoon pub provides a good variety of beer at rock bottom prices. So if you're happy to trade the traditional intimate pub atmosphere and the possibility of a seat and friendly bar service for the opportunity to stand, cheap beer in hand in an overcrowded old cinema, then this is the pub for you. Evidence seems to suggest this is preferred by the younger drinker on a Friday night at least. If this is the future it's no wonder the internet is so popular. A return is only expected when the memory has faded I'm afraid. 5
Spring Grove Young's Ordinary,  Special or Guinness 20 April 2001 Another visit so soon! Flowing beer improving darts followed by a curry and one hell of a hang over. I must be getting old! 9
Kelly's Arms Woodthornes
Courage Best
13 April 2001 Ah, Relief. At last a real public bar with darts, pool and even table football. Throw in decent beer and a friendly atmosphere. What more can a man want? 8
New Prince Wadsworths 6X 6 April 2001 This pub lacks atmosphere. Unfortunately the attempt to sway the score with cheap beer did not work. It would have helped if the beer was in tip top condition however. The lack of a dart board or decent music is not balanced by pink flowers in a no smoking extension. I'm sure we'll be back in the summer to sit in the garden or when a curry is on the agenda but I'm in no rush. 6
Spring Grove Young's Ordinary,  Special or Guinness 30 March 2001 Following the Young's formula this excellent pub never disappoints. On this visit the landlord had even arranged for Fulham's game with Tranmere to be televised for their faithful supporters. What's more he had somehow ensured a impressive Fulham victory to keep the punters happy. Those not so keen on the football enjoyed a game of darts and brushed up on their take aways. No fancy electronic scoring system here thank goodness. 9
Antelope Fullers London Pride 23 March 2001 How did we end up here? It can only be nostalgia for this once popular traditional English pub has been extended to enable half a dozen extra drinkers while away their time playing pool. So why can't you get a seat? The beer is lousy so the lager must be extra special or many others also have memories of the past. Summer return visits only from now on I guess but only if the beer improves. 4
Wych Elm Fullers London Pride 16 March 2001 One of the few remaining traditional public bars on the list presents the ideal opportunity to wind down with a game of darts after a hard week work. With excellent beer in hand what more can you ask for? The darts to hit the target I suppose. 8
Maypole Wadsworths 6X, Fullers London Pride, Flowers, Boddingtons 9 March 2001 The electric atmosphere has definitely suffered a power cut probably caused by overloading the heating. If you are retired and want to talk to the dog over a pleasant pint however this is the pub for you. You'll have no problem finding a seat and don't worry about bring cash as you can even get cash back using your debt card. 6
Waggon & Horses Young's Ordinary,  Special or Guinness 23 Mar 2001*
2 March 2001
Cold Guinness and a Tai restaurant are worrying signs for this traditional Young's pub but providing you get a table and a seat to rest those weary legs it still provides an excellent venue for discussing the week events. 7
Fox & Hounds Courage Best 23 February 2001 The pipe-and-slippers brigade has been enlivened by a cacophony caused by ‘sad’ big-screen charity horse-racing, televised football, a new pool table and a glut of video games machines; darts potential is snuffed out by the TV. Those souls desiring stimulating conversation are forced to adopt a stand-up blocking role in the main thoroughfare. Frankly any future votes for this nondescript hostelry must indicate chronic amnesia or early-onset senile dementia.  Objective verdict…rather sad. (KS) 4
Lamb (Surbiton) Heartbreaker or Top Totty 16 February 2001 Always a friendly welcome but a bit too cramped to spread your legs out. Beer selection is a real plus and darts is always a possibility if the locals aren't playing. Oh for the summer when you can sit in garden and enjoy the barbecue. 7
Cricketers Courage Best 9 February 2001 Oh dear! What has happened to this previously traditional cosy pub? A Chinese restaurant has taken over attaching too many young women for the comfort of some. The live music and lack of seats makes a game of pool in the sports bar seem attractive for a while but a hyperspace is the predicable result. 4
Grove IPA, Ruddles County or Guinness 2 February 2001 It can only be nostalgia that takes us back to this pub struggling to find an identity after a series of disastrous renovations. I suggest they return to the old layout and style when it was difficult to find a seat and rename to the "Oak". What happened to drinking up time never mine after hours which is definitely off limits. Watch you glass when it gets low, be prepared for a tour of the pub to get to the toilets and don't forget your bike lights. 5
Spring Grove Young's Ordinary,  Special or Guinness 26 Jan 2001 Always a solid pub with the Young's look and feel. Darts are a bonus particularly when the random throws work in your favor. 8
Park Tavern Fiddlers Elbow or Coniston Bluebird 19 Jan 2001 Grey hair and a taste for good beer are essential for a visit to this small lively free house. Get there early to ensure you get a seat away from the music so you can enjoy listening to the chink of dominos above the background rabbit. 8
Brave New World IPA 12 Jan 2001 Appears to be ideal for the consumption of designer bottled drinks by those who don't mind standing after a hard days work. Insipid beer and lack of seats resulted in an early exit and guarantees a long wait until the next visit. 4
Richmond Park Fullers London Pride 5 Jan 2001 Even though the beer and atmosphere are a little cold and the background music a little radio 2 the large tables make serious discussion a real possibility. If you run out of things to say why not try the dominos or even venture into the public bar for a game of pool. 6
Waggon & Horses Young's Ordinary,  Special or Guinness 12 Jan 2001*
29 Dec 2000
Spacious middle aged drinkers pub in the traditional Young's style. No background music makes it ideal to have a lively conversation with friends or simply sit and read the paper. 8
Coconut Fullers London Pride 22 Dec 2000 Solid, spacious middle aged drinkers pub with excellent beer, darts pool & background music. 8
Swan Courage Best 15 Dec 2000 Busy student pub with good beer, darts,  pool & music.  Small tables make it a little cramped. No sign of closing early! 7
Bricklayers Morland's 8 Dec 2000 Middle aged regular drinkers pub. Nothing to write home about but ideal for a quiet drink after a hard days work.  6
Victoria Young's Special 1 Dec 2000 Solid spacious drinkers pub with good beer to encourage lively conversation. A favorite over many years, Long may it continue. 8
Willoughby 24 Nov 2000 Excellent revival of a traditional pub. Lively atmosphere and no sign of leaving for a early night in front of the tele. 8
Newt & Ferret 10 February 2001*
15 Nov 2000
A little cramped but good beer and music make this a regular. Pop videos a little distracting but pool available when conversation wanes.  7

* Denotes visit following hyperspace

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