Brentford Station first opened by the London and South Western Railway in 1849. It was called Brentford Central for a period between 1950 and 1980, reverting to its previous name after that.
The station was significantly modernised at the turn of the century with lifts to the platforms and a new footbridge and entrances. These refurbishments to the station were paid for by Glaxo Smith Kline following the opening their new headquarters(following the merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham) in GSK House near the station in 2002.
The Pub: The Griffin, Brook Road South, TW8 ONP
As well as being home to the huge pharmaceutical company I just referred to, Brentford also is the location of a football league club of the same name, based at Griffin Park a short walk from the station. Brentford has not previously been a happy hunting ground for me – many years ago, before I’d moved to London, I saw my local team Brighton lose here 4-0 in a midweek fixture. I think it is relentlessly unsuccessful evenings such as those which are actually good preparation for some of the disappointments life can throw at you. On a happier note, the ground is also famous for having a pub by each of its four corners. We chose to go to The Griffin, sharing its name not only with the ground but also the nearby Fullers brewery. It’s located on the Braemer Road edge of the ground.
Inside, its very much a traditional pub, complete with carpet, old red seats and wooden bar. There are shelves with a variety of trophies on(one or two very large) in one corner of the place – they also have a dart board which make explain the trophies.There were two ales available on tap during our visit, London Pride and Olivers Island. I went for Pride and it was a particularly good pint which perhaps isn’t surprising given how close we are to the brewery. They also have a back garden with a couple of yukka plants in it My friend told me that on match-days they can serve pints out there via a serving hatch out of the pub.
The Griffin does food everyday bar Mondays – the weekday we visited sadly so had to make do with some pork scratchings. The rest of the week you can get pub staples like Fish and Chips for £11.50 and a range for Burgers for £10.50. However there is more variation on the menu than you might expect, with Basil Pappardelle with chargrilled artichoke available and even a ‘Lobster Specials’ Menu. Finally, they also have a ‘bar snacks’ menu too with cheesy chips, ribs and the like. Quite frankly, providing you aren’t here on a Monday you’re spoilt for choice.
Being here on a Monday evening, the pub was fairly quiet but there were still a few people here enjoying a quiet pint. I very much enjoyed the fact they had Absolute 80s on, playing classics like ‘The Sun Always Shines On TV’ and ‘Cuddly Toy’ by Roachford, the latter of which now always makes me think of the Alan Partridge film. Talking of TV, The Griffin was used for the pub scenes for the 2005 movie about football hooliganism, ‘Green Street’, starring everyone’s favourite Hobbit Elijah Wood as an American student who gets involved in hooligan culture. My advice if you’re thinking of seeing the film is come down the pub instead…
With plans for a new stadium progressing, Brentford’s time at Griffin Park will soon be coming to an end. It will be interesting to see how The Griffin and indeed the other pubs here cope without the large matchday incomes. I asked a similar question back in March 2014 when visiting The Boleyn Tavern by Upton Park, I’ve not been back since the Hammers move out so do wonder how its getting on.
The Griffin is a great old school pub with character. Whatever happens once Brentford leave Griffin Park, I hope Fullers(or whoever owns the place in the future) don’t change this traditional boozer.