After the first few stops which took me through built-up South London suburbs, Barnes is very much a leafy interlude with an expanse of green on both sides of the station. Architecturally it also has the feel of a village railway station. Its main station building by Platform 1 was designed by William Tite and dates back to its opening in 1846. Tite was a prolific architect who designed many early railway stations in both Britain and France and was also behind London’s Royal Exchange. The brick ‘Tudor Gothic’ style construction on Platform 1 is now a private residence, perfect for a train enthusiast with suitably deep pockets – Michael Portillo perhaps? Nearby stations Putney, Mortlake and Richmond all had similar buildings from Tite but Barnes is the only one still standing.
Today it is served by eight trains an hour in each direction and is the last station before trains diverge on the Hounslow loop line. There was a major rail crash near the station in December 1955 which killed 13 people and left an additional 41 injured.
The Brown Dog, 28 Cross Street, SW13 0AP
The area around Barnes Station is a bit of a pub desert so it was a little bit of walk to the pub here. Coming out of the station past the old station building by Platform 1, head along a path that follows the railway line until it reaches Vine Road. Going over the level crossing, turn into Vine Road recreation ground and keep to the path bordering the railway line, head straight on and out of the park until you come to a pathway on the left. Follow this until you reach Cross Street where The Brown Dog is located a few minutes down the road.
The Brown Dog is a smart Victorian pub which has a nice mix between traditional and modern. It retains heritage features like a nice old fireplace which is nicely complemented by the light and airy decor which gives it a more contemporary vibe. It also had a nice wreath and some other tasteful Christmas decorations. One side of the pub is effectively its dining room while the other is more cosy with some comfy leather seats There are also lots of old adverts for Schweppes here which I always like when I see in pubs.
Two ales were available on tap when we dropped in, Black Sheep and a beer whose name currently escapes me as I can’t make it out from my notes! As a bitter fan, I plumped for the Black Sheep. You don’t actually see it too often in London pubs these days so it was a nice treat. The menu here is updated regularly and is is high-end gastropub fare. A few of the dishes are north of £15(smoked haddock was £16, as was the roast hake) – it looks like you get what you pay for from the dishes I saw people getting and there were plenty of people in the dining room area tucking in.
The pub is dog friendly, which is reassuring given the name, and there was a dog bowl just near the bar on our visit. It was fairly busy on our Saturday lunchtime outing here, primarily in the dining room area but there were also a few people having a couple of drinks propping up the bar.
I really enjoyed our visit to The Brown Dog. I also liked the fact that although the food is clearly one of its main selling points, we weren’t immediately accosted and asked if we were going to be dining with them today – some pubs are starting to get a bit pushy in that regard these days! A charming pub on a quiet street in Barnes. It is certainly well worth a visit if you’re round these parts.