Kingston station first opened on 1 July 1863 on the London and South Western Railway branch line from Twickenham. At the time it was called Kingston Town, partly to avoid confusion with nearby Surbiton and Kingston station(now simply called Surbiton). In 1869 separate platforms were added on the South West Main Line, referred to as Kingston High Level.
The two stations were brought together in 1935 and the station was rebuilt, giving us the brick modernist ticket office building which still stands today. The station building has echoes of some of the Charles Holden designs on the Piccadilly Line.
The Fighting Cocks, 56 Old London Road, KT2 6QA
Kingston is a busy outer London suburb, a mixture of pedestrianised streets and old buildings combined with big new shopping centres. Added to that its riverside location and status as a royal borough, it seemed to me a very unlikely place for a rock bar. But that’s exactly what’s here in the shape of The Fighting Cocks.
The pub is located Just down from the station, on the semi-pedestrianised Old London Road. The mixture of white and black as the colour scheme of the exterior combined with a pub sign of a skull with wings leave you under no doubt this is a rock pub. The decor inside continues the theme with some interesting items including a mock up of an electric chair and a mooses head wearing a gasmask! The fan on the ceiling is also shaped like batwings. Lots of the wallspace is covered with gig posters and information on nights and offers at the pub.
There are gigs here most evenings – The Fighting Cocks has a real history of hosting live music, dating back to jazz acts in the 1930s and 40s. They also have regular comedy nights and even find time to fit in quizzes too. The pub also has a pool table as well as a couple of pinball machines. I was very taken with the Street Fighter 2 machine and had a go on it, the soundclips used from the original game brought back happy memories of one of my favourite games growing up. They also had the Six Nations on here too, albeit with the sound off. It also runs drink promotions during the week including ‘Cheap Ass Tuesdays’, surely the perfect time to buy a round for your friends?
Normally rock bars aren’t great for ales but there were two on tap here, Hophead from Darkstar Brewery and perhaps appropriately, Trooper, the beer devised by the cult rock band Iron Maiden. They don’t do food but they do sell chocolate bars as well as nuts and crisps behind the bar. There is Happy Hour here every day from 5-8pm, with 2-4-1 cocktails as well as 2-4-1 Jagermeisters. You can also get your hands on a ‘Fighting Cocks’ T-Shirt for a mere £10, which may be a better use of your money than Jagermeister.
The Fighting Cocks is a great rock pub – its a unique place with loads of live music and comedy events. It reminded me a bit of a much cleaner version of The Intrepid Fox(mark 2) which used to be by Centrepoint. Its well worth a visit and once again proof that its not all sleepy in suburbia!