Kingston & Surbiton Pub Review 2017

Pub

Recommended
Beer

Visit Date Comments  Score
Waggon Tribute, Youngs Ordinaire, TEA     29th December 2017

Our 19th trip to the Waggon in 2017.  With virtually nobody in the pub it seemed likely that we would have an undisturbed evening on the darts; however, not to be, as the match was interrupted by a group of young chaps celebrating an 18th birthday who insisted on a game, although they didn’t really want to play.  Anyway, we did manage a few games and the evening ended with a familiar sight in the Waggon – look out the window and it’s pouring with rain.  Here’s to some better darts in 2018! (KS) Doubles: B-5, D-5, K2-4, K1-3

7
Waggon Tribute, Youngs Ordinaire, TEA 22nd December 2017

Darts is now characterised by a player having a burst of form and then going to sleep for an hour.  This week it was my turn to take six on the bounce before dropping off and allowing Brian to take four to equalise.  Meanwhile Dave, after early promise, was soundly asleep and showing early signs of the yips that were later to affect his golf putting style.  More punters and better atmosphere in the Waggon. (KS) Singles: K1-7, B-6, D-2

8
Willy Plateau from Burning Sky Brewery East Sussex    15th December 2017

A rapid return to the Willy for the annual Climbers’ Xmas curry.  After two weeks with just one single finish it came as a great surprise when a sudden burst of form arrived including many tons, some quick finishing and 7 games on the trot including a 9-dart 250 (20,20,20; 20,T20,20; 20,20,Bull); it must have been inspiration drawn from the appalling Xmas music that had Dave appealing for televised golf.  Of course, the form rapidly disappeared and K2 took the final 4 games.  Another highlight was Glenn being enticed into a bizarre high-five/low-five game – I still have no idea what that was all about.  We tried a ‘new’ beer that had a good combination of taste and weakness. (KS) Singles: K1-7, K2-4, D-2

10
Willy Weltons, Grandstand, Stout?  8th December 2017

There are probably no other pubs in the world where a punter can come in, switch off the music and switch on some obscure golf tournament on the big screen – only the Willy!  No matter, history was made as Dave won the first six games, including a bull finish, then went to sleep for an hour or so before reviving to take the final game.  Good beer selection as normal. (KS) Singles: D-7, K2-5, K1-1

8
Waggon Doom Bar, Youngs Ordinaire, Mixed 1st December 2017

Dave kicked off the evening with a ‘fish’ and there was little improvement from thereon.  Brian, with little recent practice, was finishing well, K2, with a touch more recent practice was OK, but Dave and K1, with no excuses, were not finishing at all until a late Dave surprise checkout.  So, Brian won comfortably, and K2, with no partner support, unfairly came last – the joy of doubles darts.  Good beer as usual in the Waggon. (KS) Doubles: B-8, K1-5, D-5, K2-4

8
Willy Weltons, Felday Legacy, Grandstand 24th November 2017

Some ‘Friday night football’ featuring the ‘unhappy hammers’ and then a chat in the saloon bar – Malcolm recounts his adventures in Oz and NZ.  No enthusiasm for darts I’m afraid.  Excellent beer choice as usual. (KS) Singles: K1,K2 and Malcolm could not be bothered

8
Waggon Tribute 17th November 2017

A large number of punters in the Waggon for some reason and the high pressure singles match was cancelled in favour of a friendly international with an unusual and slightly inebriated trio.  Excellent beer, low quality darts but high quality amusement. (KS) Doubles: K1+Wendy - 3, K2+Sue2 – 1, D+Trent (Aus) -1

9
Willy Weltons, Felday Legacy (from the Royal Oak, Holmbury St Mary) 10th November 2017

Many of the England squad had dropped out of the friendly with Germany (0-0!) due to injury; darts players come from tougher stock – injuries to ribs, wrists, knees, elbow, shoulder and now Dave’s bicep did not keep us from the oche where we played some entertaining arrers including some good 3-dart finishes amongst the normal garbage.  K2 was on top finishing form all evening and came out the worthy winner.  Excellent beer in the Willy as normal. (KS) Singles: K2-9, K1-6, D-2

8
Berry Cornish Coast, Youngs Ordinary, Naked Ladies, Vinegar  3rd November 2017

Good to try a different pub (not commencing with ‘W’).  However, the football success was not repeated from a previous Berry visit and the darts was out of action due to a party.  We did not get involved in the ‘Psychic Event’ that was occurring somewhere.  After an initial pint of vinegar the beer was fine so after a chat we all went off home for to early bed. (KS) Football: Wolves 2 Fulham 0;  Darts Singles: K1-0, D-0, B-0  Party stopped play)

6
Bell and Jorrocks (sometimes known as the Gel and Borrocks), Frittenden Harveys  all the way 27th October 2017

Thanks to Rob and Jenny for organising a combined event (omnium?, triathlon?) comprising the traditional annual autumn cycle trip (last held Cotswolds 2008), a John Reay style Gomshall/Petworth curry evening and the regular weekly Friday evening beer and darts (the main event).

We carefully followed the advice given in Cliff Thorburn’s (with a foreword by Eddie Charlton) 1981 magnum opus ‘Winning Darts’, starting with his recommendations for the day’s warm-up for the main event.  A hearty English breakfast, a 100 km long cycle (mainly flat) taking in Rye, Lydd, Romney and Dungeness, including a hearty ‘seniors’ lunch at the Pilot Inn, a few beers at home, a hearty homemade curry and a cycle to the pub ready for action.  All went to plan in the warm-up including a short walk across a field (courtesy of OS) and ***** taking a short lie-down in the road after an attempted U-turn.

We would hate to criticise Mr Thorburn but the players did appear rather fatigued after his prescribed warm-up and we witnessed one of the longest 301 darts matches ever (over 40 minutes with a 30 minutes shootout for double 1) – certainly the darts chipped away at various wooden features in the pub including roof beams and the darts cabinet, with K2’s extra height causing particular problems.

Cliff’s recommended warm-down comprised a slightly shorter (70 km) but hillier version of the warm-up. Hearty breakfast, coffee in Yalding, hearty lunch in Goudhurst etc.  All went to plan except **** leaving his bag in the pub; Rob gave them a bell and explained that **** would be passing through later with his carer to collect said bag, no doubt containing essential prescription drugs, a pair of furry slippers and a bus pass.  Just as the ride was passing off essentially incident-free, **** then decided that it was time that he and ****** took a lie-down in the road/hedge by providing a gentle nudge from the rear.

Conclusions from the event:

1.  Accommodation, food and general organisation was excellent – thanks to Rob and Jenny.

2.  The cycling in Kent in nice autumn weather was also great and the general lack of hills was much appreciated by some.

3.  We are no longer young chaps and really must stop falling off our bikes.

4.  Thorburns’s book is outdated rubbish and has been binned.

5.  and finally...what did the ‘Men of Kent’ make of seven French men cycling round their county, all speaking fluent (well, maybe) English? (KS)

Doubles: Dave+Glen-5, K1+Jenny-5, JR+Mike-2, K2+Rob-1

10
Willy Weltons, Sundancer, Twickenham?, Starry Nights   20th Oct 2017

After watching the Hammers humiliated, the darts kicked off with one of the longest games ever – double 1 proved elusive for about 10 minutes.  This was followed by some very rapid games; K2 chipping in with a 3-dart bull finish (85: 17,18,B) and K1 consecutive 3-dart D20s. This wayward pattern continued all evening as we tested all draft beers on offer.  The deciding game degenerated as the players felt the pressure and took almost as long as the first game. (KS) Singles: K1-8, K2-7

8
Waggon TEA, Youngs Ordinaire   13th October 2017

After last week’s improved performance, there was quite a good crowd in hoping for more of the same.  However, it was not to be and an early shoal of fish accurately forecast the rest of the evening.  Sadly, K2’s form took a dive, maybe due to a cycling injury.  However, the beer was good as usual and it was great to see more punters in the house. (KS) Doubles: B-9, K2-6, D-6, K1-5

7
Willy Weltons, Grandstand 6th October 2017

An evening of quality darts at the Willy.  Sam has been practising and beat the ‘old man’ on four occasions including a classy 3-darter.  However, K2 was showing excellent form throughout and convincingly won the ‘battle of the Keiths’ to take the evening.  Excellent Weltons beer and reasonable music meant a late finish. (KS) Singles: K2-9, Sam-5, K1-4

8
Waggon Tribute 29th September 2017

The board is worn and Dave’s darts are blunt – a sound recipe for a score of ‘1’.  The small crowd, disappointed with the entertainment, all went home leaving just the two of us for a while.  However, the beer was excellent and the darts, although slightly down on quality, was close and exciting. (KS) Singles: K1-6, D-5

7
Wych Pride, Seafarers  22nd September 2017

What’s happened?!  The normally empty public bar is full and everybody is interested in darts.  After a few games we were forced into a match against Poland – normally this results in a humiliating defeat to drunks that have never played before but this time fortunately Brian registered a 3-dart finish.  We then admitted defeat and retired to the saloon where K2 was able to rest his recently operated leg. (KS) Doubles: B-2, K2-2, D-1, K1-1;   Friendly international: England 1 Poland 0

7
Waggon Tribute, TEA, Youngs  15th September 2017

A win for Dave – he even managed to throw a ‘1’ before winning the final game.  There has to be some hope for us when you see the style of Mensur Suljovic who won the latest televised event.  He twiddles his dart to prevent dartitis and lifts one leg as he throws ...and still wins.  The Waggon was as ever – good beer and no problem getting a game. (KS) Singles: D-5, B-4, K1-3

8
Willy Weltons  8th September 2017

Virtually no audience for the televised football or the live darts doubles.  How to win at doubles is no longer a secret – one simply plays with the man on form.  Apart from one nice 3-darter (85; 15,20,bull) I was complete garbage  but thanks to my playing partners came out as the evening’s top man – I put it down to supportive and encouraging coaching! (KS) Doubles: K1-9, D-7, B-7, K2-7

8
Waggon Tribute, TEA 1st September 2017

A late start for the darts as we watched England struggle to beat Malta.  ‘When it started Dave had a purple patch of scoring and finishing but then faded.  K1 then kicked in with his purple patch but soon faded.  Meanwhile K2 struggled to score with borrowed darts but was snappy on the finishing and consequently wrapped up the match around midnight.’  Excellent beer again – more consistent than the arrers.  Apparently this darts report is garbage and K1 in fact won but has no memory of this famous victory. (KS) Singles: K1-8, K2-5, D-5

8
Wych Pride 25th August 2017

A very noisy public bar in the Wych – could have complained to the landlord except it was his party.  The darts seemed slightly better than usual and K2, playing with borrowed darts, managed a very small fish ‘1’ followed closely by a 100+ finish (102; T20,6,D18).  It really should have ended 5-all but Dave claimed the last game at midnight to take the evening.  I dunno who said that darts is not a real sport – I was completely knackered on Saturday.  (KS) Singles: D-6, K1-5, K2-4

9
Willy Sheer Drop  18th August 2017

A strange day started with bands of pirates strolling past Laithwaites (rum?) at 9.30 and continued with a very large Italian/Rumanian truck trying unsuccessfully to traverse Hogden Lane – stuck at the bottom of the dip.  No better way to complete the day than a trip to the Willy – excellent beer and very bright darts lighting, football on the big (and small) screen with nobody watching and very loud music.  The darts produced a number of 3-dart finishes and a shoal of fish including the very rare ‘super royal fish’ (3xT1) that summed up Dave’s luck.  The day finished suitably courtesy of the group of women who had displaced the men at the bar; one of their number, practising for the new Olympic sport of ‘throwing the phone’, launched her handset across the pub and then collapsed in a flood of tears.  Bonkers! (KS) Singles: K1-7, D-5

9
Wych Pride  11th August 2017

Another evening where we sat under the dartboard but could not find the energy to get up and play a game; a vicious circle – we’re not good so we are not motivated to play so we get worse and hence less likely to play and...... time to get a grip and invest in a serious training block!  Good chat and decent beer – surprisingly, the Wych was punter-free by 11 pm. (KS) Singles: K1, K2 and D couldn’t be bothered

8
Waggon TEA 4th August 2017

A quick return to the Waggon for more darts.  A sign of trouble was that the K1/D warm-up game took just slightly less time to finish than the concurrent 10,000 metres world championship race won my Mo Farah – the excuse could be that we were partially watching the race.  Anyhow, Brian finally pitched up for a rare guest appearance and demonstrated that practice is of no value.  The TEA was excellent. (KS) Singles: B-5, K1-2, D-?

8
Wych Pride 21st July 2017

Compulsory darts!  I am not sure we would have played darts but once Pete had rolled out the oche we basically had little option.  A funny evening where time seemed to be running slow despite stimulating conversation with Holly and Malcolm and some reasonable darts and good beer.  It seemed to be affecting everybody because the pub was pretty much empty by 11pm and our leaving time of 11.45pm seemed more like 2am. (KS) Singles: K1-5, K2-3)

8
Wych Pride 21st July 2017

Compulsory darts!  I am not sure we would have played darts but once Pete had rolled out the oche we basically had little option.  A funny evening where time seemed to be running slow despite stimulating conversation with Holly and Malcolm and some reasonable darts and good beer.  It seemed to be affecting everybody because the pub was pretty much empty by 11pm and our leaving time of 11.45pm seemed more like 2am. (KS) Singles: K1-5, K2-3

8
Akbars/Wych Cobra, Kingfisher, Pride, G+T  14th July 2017

Game on!  Expecting a long and arduous match, we thought it was important to take on sufficient fuel to see us through the evening and hence an early trip to Akbars for a ‘birthday’ curry.  Expectantly transferring to the Wych we were disappointed to discover about ten blokes having a Friday-night darts special.  Forced to sit down and talk we then discovered that the excess ‘fuel’ made drinking nigh-on impossible so we retired early to watch Tour de France highlights.  Disappointing! (KS) Singles: K1-0, F-0

5
Wych Pride 7th July 2017

Absolutely no excuses except maybe a touch warm – quality match board, good lighting and no crowd.  However, the first three games took an eternity and it was a great relief when Malcolm and Holly turned up so that we could call an extended chat break.  Eventually we resumed and Dave took a well-merited win.  Beer much appreciated in this hot weather and it took willpower not to have the fifth pint. (KS) Singles: D-5, K2-3, K1-1

9
Waggon Tribute  30th June 2017

The evening started with a 1-hour coaching session from Clive and Luke that started with darts, moved on to all sport and finally to life in general – they do quite well as life-coaches considering they have been in the pub since 3.30 and had about 10 pints each.  Once they had staggered off in their arctic-wear the darts match was of reasonable quality and was decided on a tie-break.  The Tribute beer was excellent. (KS) Singles: K1 beat Dave 3-2, 2-3, 1-0 tie break

9
Willy Grandstand, Weltons 23rd June 2017

Are we ever going to get a game of arrows? – this week the game was called off due to our old nemesis, Bossog; to be fair the Boss seemed to be playing a reasonable set and the small audience sounded happy.  A quiet evening of chat (again!). (KS) Singles: Bossog!

7
Brave New World (Bun Shop) Doom Bar 16th June 2017

For a change trying out a pub not visited for many years – more ‘The End of the World’ than ‘Brave New World’.  Good beer, plenty of seats and tables, dubious decor but, more seriously, a lack of punters, with the exception of three geezers playing darts who brought their own board, a sure sign of professionalism.  Difficult to know how these places are going to survive with so few punters on a warm summer Friday evening – anyhow, it is certainly worth a visit and there may be a chance of  game of arrers. (KS)

5
Pride 9th June 2017

To celebrate a totally unexpected general election result, ‘Billy No Mates’ goes for a beer on his own. (KS)

2
Casafrassi,  Castellina in Chianti, Tuscany Beer: Chianti wine 2nd June 2017

Following a long ride and a swim the team enjoyed an excellent evening of eating and drinking in the hotel bar and restaurant – a far better attendance than events held locally! (KS)

10
26th May No event
Waggon Tribute Vinegar, TEA, Ordinary 19th May 2017

A quiet night down the Waggon and an early finish – the Waggon is a place slowly running out of punters.  The normal mix of good and poor darts – the highlight being Brian’s attempt to finish a x2 when Dave was on 4 and Brian was actually on 140 – now that’s a real lack of concentration. (KS) Singles: B-7, D-4, K1-2

6
Willy Welton’s England’s Pride 5th May 2017

You go to the pub to watch some footee (Hammers vs. Spurs) but it is spoilt by very angry men who appear to think they own the pub – what is the matter with these people? No fun and certainly no wit.  No matter, when the match finished we transferred to the saloon bar and had a chat – no darts again. (KS) Singles: couldn’t be bothered again

4
Willy Welton’s England’s Pride  28th April 2017

Was there a slight improvement in the quality of the darts? – I believe there was; a few more 20s, a few tons, some more competent finishing mixed in with the usual fish and other rubbish.  A major handicap is golf on the big screens – the debate was whether this is more boring than snooker and the consensus was that we would prefer to watch snooker.  However, in the pub it would be great if the screens were off and we could have some music – no wonder the punters have gone awol.  No matter - the beer was very good. (KS) Singles: B-8, K2-7, K1-7, D-5

7

Akbars/Wych Elm

 

Pride, Seafarers, others 21st April 2017

Anyone who’s had a birthday since 15th April 2016 (I’ve had two) can count this as their birthday curry – after a long gap we finally managed a traditional birthday curry evening and it must be deemed a great success.  Unfortunately there was little sympathy for the organiser who failed to register at all in the post-curry darts.  An unbeaten performance by Malcolm was the highlight. (KS) Doubles: Malcolm-6, K2-3, D-3, K1 – was I there?

10
Willy Grandstand, ?forgot (Shere Drop) 14th April 2017

Well – we did at least manage to play some darts this visit although the quality was sadly lacking again.  The question was asked – ‘was this the worst we had ever played?’ but sadly the answer was ‘probably not’.  K2 did at least manage to win 5 games on the trot despite some equipment problems and deservedly won the evening again.  The ambience and beer were good but I cannot remember what I was drinking!  Tasty beer – that will have to do. (KS) Singles: K2-7, D-4, K1-4

8
Waggon Tribute 7th April 2017

The Waggon really ought to pay us to visit – without us playing some noisy darts the pub was almost completely devoid of atmosphere and pretty much punter-free – a rather sad situation for a previously rocking venue.  K2 got off to a slow start, but picked up as the beer was quaffed.  Excellent Tribute beer and no obvious reason for the pub to be so empty – where is everybody these days? (KS) Singles: K2-6, D-4, K1-4

9
Petworth Arts and Darts Social Centre Ballards + others    31st March 2017

Another excellent beer, darts and curry evening in the Petworth Centre.  A good cycle down with Glen finding a new way of missing the peloton by setting off before the agreed starting time – a surprise solo break.  Excellent beer, a top curry and some exciting if wayward darts.  Following a good night’s kip, a good cycle home.  As usual a top evening at the Centre. (KS) Doubles: J-5 Champion.   Mike, Glen, Malcolm, Evan, Frank, K1 also scored)

10
Willy Weltons, Winter Star, Naked Ladies 24 March 2017

A quite awful football match (Eire 0 Wales 0) to start the evening.  Following that it transpired that only Holly was not suffering from manflu-induced fatigue and frankly we just could not summon up sufficient energy to occupy the oche.  For the second time in a row at the Willy the dartboard was not troubled.  Good beer, good chat – no problem. (KS) Singles: couldn’t be bothered again

7
Waggon Grandstand  17 March 2017

Some pretty exciting darts with some rapid finishing, particularly from Dave who finished the first two games of the evening with his first shot at the double and went on to claim another win in the Waggon.  Good beer, good atmosphere and some top arrers – another successful visit to the Waggon. (KS) Singles: D-8, K1-6, K2-4

8
Willy Weltons English Pride, Grandstand, Dark Star? 10 March 2017

Plenty of choice of entertainment in the Willy: rugger and football to watch and darts to be played – however, just for a change we ignored all these goodies and sat down for a few decent pints and a chat.  Good to see one of the dartboards in action. (KS) Singles: couldn’t be bothered

8
Waggon Grandstand  3 March 2017

Two-man singles – a tough ask after a long day.  Dave played some reasonable darts and chalked up a convincing win.  One of the problems with two-man darts is the dizziness brought on by walking round in circles throwing and chalking – maybe we could employ a chalker for the evening? (KS) Doubles: D beat K1 3-0 in sets – 3-2, 3-1, 3-1

8
Wych Elm Front Row, Topaz 24 February 2017

The squad had been affected by a bout of contagious manflu and seemed quite happy to sit down and discuss cycle routes and have a chat with Malcolm and Holly.  However, the team coach (Pete) had other ideas, insisting that darts were to be played.  The team complied and managed a few low concentration games whilst chatting.  K1 kicked off with the first 4, Dave chipped in with a hat-trick and K2 rounded off a successful evening of low quality arrows.  A good evening in the Wych. (KS) Singles: K1-4, D-3, K2-1

8
Berry Trumans Swift, Red Wine  17 February 2017

A guest appearance by Sheila and Fran and hence no attempt to un-sheath the arrows; a good decision anyway because you never get on the board in the Berry now.  Brian and Sheila were looking forward to their imminent departure for South America so a depleted Friday night attendance for the next few months.  Good atmosphere and good beer in the Berry but sadly no longer a darts venue. (KS)

8
Waggon Doom Bar, Grandstand  10 February 2017

An unusual event when the afternoon team are sober enough to carry on through the evening session; Clive and Luke, who kicked off at 3.30, lasted out well until the final game of the evening when their form disappeared completely – a commendable effort for an 8-hour darts session.  As you can well imagine the concentration levels were low and the darts of dubious quality, but an excellent evening was had by all. (KS) Doubles: B-7, K2-6, K1-5, C-5, L-3

8
Druids Head Proper Job, Naked Ladies 3 February 2017

We always knew that JA’s absence from the Friday Night Drinking was just a temporary blip, so it was great to welcome him back after a short break of 26 years (last seen in 1991!).  An excellent reunion evening in the Druids when we demonstrated that memories of times past were both blurry and confused.  The hardcore team started early (7pm!) and finished off with a late ruby in the Akbar – in my opinion an excellent effort. (KS) No darts but a good attendance – hardcore team: K2, JR, JA, Andy, Hamish, Nigel,  Wimps: K1, Dave

10
Willy Weltons, Copper ? 27 January 2017

The Willy as normal – just one punter watching the FA Cup game and a few others scattered around – and the pub has an excellent selection of beers – what can be done to attract more drinkers?  The darts was the normal mixture of rubbish with some short bursts of good play.  Sam substituted for K2 and Brian and various times. (KS) Doubles: D-8, B-6, K1-6, K2-6

7
Waggon Tribute, Ordinary 20 January 2017

It’s good to have a game of doubles but the low concentration levels do lead to some pretty poor play – apart from K2’s dropout from a 180 I cannot remember much good play – oh well, the beer is good in the Waggon and you do normally get a game at least. (KS) Doubles: K2-8, B-8, K1-7, D-5

8
Wych Elm Pride 13 January 2016

An unpromising start to the evening with both Ks feeling less than 100% and threatening to call an early finish to the evening’s proceedings.  However, there is nothing like a challenge to generate enthusiasm and we eventually departed just after midnight.  Rod is a very good dartsman but was dragged down by the rest of the players to produce an even and very lively session.  When you are short of punters you have to find some mates! (KS) Doubles Friendly: K2 and K1 played well against Rod, Chris and Dave

9
Waggon Tribute, Ordinary, Mixed   6 January 2016

(Repeat from last year) Happy New Year to all old and new (surely not!) readers and another year of ‘Friday night drinking’ – comprising beer, arrows and general chit-chat re beer, arrows, bikes, football, music, films and pretty much anything else.  A solid game of doubles to get us started. (KS) Doubles: K2-8, B-7, K1-6, D-3

9

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