A bloke walks into a pub – The Ravensbourne Arms


A bloke walks into a pub – The Ravensbourne Arms, Lewisham

Walk in to a tastefully tiled huge trapezoid building and stumble into a cross between an old school gymnasium and a faintly chintzy living room blessed with a generous bar.

Nobody stops what they're doing as you enter and a smiling, gentle, pleasing face greets you with a polite question about what you'd like to drink. Move the framed wine list aside from the furthest right of the five hand pumps and the orange glow of Thornbridge's Jaipur pump clip beams its sunny disposition right at you. Your face lights up like either Terry's All Gold or Tim Roth opening Marcellus Wallace's briefcase. A full 5.9% of flavour awaits.

Hell, you're even given the choice between a jug or a straight glass. Then gasp in disbelief as the price quoted is a mere ?3.20. For crying out loud, this is dangerous. The only thing that would make it better would be coat hooks at the bar, but that's just plain demanding.

A bar billiards table in the corner next to its cousin, bar football. Floral lampshades and stuffed animals vie with miniature coats of arms, a Welsh dresser and frankly incongruous net curtains for the eyes' attention. Assuming they're not already drawn to the remarkably attractive French students struggling to order something suitably sophisticated now cocktails appear to be off the menu.

It's time to confront the Brew Dog demon again as a small chalkboard proclaims it is available for sale on draught at a paltry ?3.90 a pint. Keg too; the better (maybe only acceptable) medium. While still clutching the flavour of used Ford Capri ashtray to its bosom like a comfort blanket, even it manages to raise its game for this place.

I've eaten already, but what I see coming out of the kitchen still tempts, especially at the prices I see chalked above the bar.

This place is doing pretty much everything right. The five ales include Pin Up Milk Stout, Adnams Old Ale, Purity Mad Goose, Sharp's Doom Bar and the Jaipur. Bottles are limited but interesting enough and the spirits selection looks well thought-out and fairly comprehensive.

Really not what I expected to find in darkest Lewisham. Shit, there's even a bowl of fruit for sale in case you need a quick shot of healthy ballast. If only there were more people asking 'may I have?' instead of 'can I get?' So yet another reason to despise Friends, then. But nothing you'd justifiably hold against this place.