Closing Time…

After over four years and 319 pubs later, I’ve decided it’s time to end my blog. Right now I feel like a break is in order from dashing around London visiting pubs in far flung places. So I’m not visiting any more rail stations for the blog, it’s the end of the line.

That’s not to say I’m done with pub exploring. A rest is definitely in order and then perhaps returning with a fresh idea. Doing all the rail stations after all the tube stations was a bit ‘more of the same’ and didn’t offer anything new. I was starting to find it a struggle to make what I was writing interesting and that’s why I knew it was time to call it quits. Plus it’s tiring, very tiring!

Thank you to everyone who has read this from the start and maybe even picked up a couple of recommendations along the way. It was incredibly enjoyable to do, taking me from pubs in the heart of the city to village inns out in leafy Zone 9. Even the trips to Heathrow were fun in their own way, as was visiting a bar in a bowling alley because there simply wasn’t anything else in Park Royal.  Special thanks also go to all my long suffering friends who have been dragged to these remote locations.

I still can’t believe I ended up on ITV London News and BBC Radio to talk about it all. TimeOut were great, as were Londonist even if they did include a reference to my blog at the end of an article on best pubs for first dates under the header ‘for a quick getaway’. No comment…

I hope this has inspired some of you to venture out and explore the huge variety of pubs in London. We are very lucky to have so many great ones and I was very lucky to visit so many of them. Now I’ve got more time to go back and revisit some old favourites. All that’s left to say is thanks again for reading and keep your eyes open for whatever I end up writing about next.

Cheers!

P.S: If anyone wants to turn my tube adventures into a book, I’m still all ears.

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West Croydon

West Croydon station has a long and varied history. It was the first of the Croydon stations to open, way back in 1839. It was originally simply called Croydon but was renamed in 1851, after East Croydon had arrived on the scene in the 1840s. The station ticket office building dates from the 1930s and is incorporated into a parade of shops with a Portland Stone type exterior.

West Croydon now serves as a suburban transport hub. As well as Southern services running to both Victoria and London Bridge, it is also the southern terminus of the London Overground network, with trains going all the way up to Highbury and Islington. On top of that, the Croydon Tramlink also calls here, replacing a little used rail service which ran from this station over to Wimbledon.

The Old Fox and Hounds, 1 London Road, CR0 2RE

Croydon has picked up a bit of a negative reputation over the year, being associated with lots of grey, concrete buildings and ’60s office blocks. Of course like so many stereotypes, there is usually much more to a place than meets the eye. Truth be told, the pub here is right opposite the station so I didn’t do much exploring. Just make sure you head out of the main exit onto London Road and you’ll see the Old Fox and Hounds.

While its outside could do with a lick of paint, its interior is in decent condition. The walls are decorated with old sporting memorabilia, including photos of footballers from yesteryear wearing very long shorts and old tennis rackets. They also have some historic gaming machines on the wall, one of which I think is an Allwin, based on a similar device I encountered at Ye Olde Mitre up in High Barnet. It’s a pretty spacious place as it spans back a fair way. It also has a back garden too.

It’s a Greene King pub so the only ales on tap were their IPA and Abbott Ale. I don’t like either so I was on the lager. It’s only really the choice of ales that gives the game away its a Greene King venue. It has survived getting one of the generic makeovers which make so many of their Central London pubs such dull tourist traps. They don’t do any food so crisps are your lot here.

On our Wednesday evening visit, The Old Fox and Hounds had a steady crowd, with quite a few people popping over straight after work for a quick pint.  A variety of entertainment was being offered up on the pub’s TVs, you could choose from At the Races, Sky Sports or BBC1. The sound was off as they had the radio on. It must have been Magic or Heart as it was belting out 80s classics like Papa Don’t Preach and Abracadabra. Inspiration surely for the Karaoke nights they hold on Fridays.

I liked The Old Fox and Hounds as a decent old school pub and ideally situated for the station. If you find yourself in need of a pint in West Croydon, it’s a solid option.

(The pub has no website)