Get involved: Send pictures, video, news and views - text NEWS SHOPPER to 80360 or email us
Review: The Catford Bridge Tavern
Seeing someone turn and run out the door two seconds after entering a pub doesn’t usually fill you with hope for the boozer in question.
But on this occasion, my excited friend’s fast getaway from Catford Bridge Tavern only spoke volumes for the recently re-opened pub.
He’d spotted the antique-looking Bar Billiards table – something I’d never before encountered – and, reverting back to his childhood, had come over all giddy and run out to withdraw cash to play with.
The 1980s arcade machine had also captured his heart.
Complete with 1,000 of “the best games ever made”, he assured me this box was something special.
Left to order the drinks (a pint of Cotswold Lager and a Diet Coke at £5.20), I desperately searched for the food menu amidst the quirky 1950s deco.
My stomach was growling and I’d heard amazing things about the tavern’s chef.
Naturally, however, we’d made the trip over on a Monday evening – the only day of the week when food isn’t served.
Gutted is not the word.
Trying to ignore the incredible-sounding specials on the wall, I took a stroll around the roomy pub and drank in the homely atmosphere.
It really is like a time warp in here, and quite literally old school with a dining room that looks like a common room straight out of St Trinian’s.
Complete with old bowling skittles, badminton and tennis rackets, desks and a mishmash of retro chairs, it has the feel of a period drama film set.
All You Need is Love by The Beatles rang out as I sank into one of the comfiest armchairs in the world and noticed a model train set winding all the way up the wall.
When my companion returned, pound coins spilling out of his pockets, we decided the eccentric interior designer had rammed everything good about his childhood into one vintage masterpiece.
And it’s not just unique knickknacks the proprietors collect – there is also a varied assortment of ales, wines, lagers and spirits to peruse.
It is, as my friend put it, “an ale lover’s dream come true” with nine different real ales on tap.
I even saw the helpful barmaid offer an indecisive rugby player the opportunity to taste a drop of each before he finally found his favourite.
You’d never know this place, formerly known as The Copperfield, was the same troubled pub which was closed down by the council in January.
Now taken over by Antic Pub, I think a bright, happy future is in store for Catford Bridge Tavern – especially if the fantastic food reviews are true.
Just to torture myself further I looked up the chef on Twitter (@eddie_the_chef) and had to stop myself from drooling over his delicious photographic evidence of what goes on in the kitchen six days a week.
Apparently, he’s just finished the final touches on the spring/summer menu so I’ll definitely be back to put it to the test.
On Monday night however, I settled for getting thoroughly whooped in my first game of Bar Billiards.
How The Catford Bridge Tavern rates
Decor: **** (homely 1950s retro, full of unique charm)
Drink: **** (excellent choice of real ales and lager)
Price: **** (good value, average priced food)
Atmosphere: **** (charming, friendly and fun)
Staff: **** (barmaids are incredibly happy to help)
Address Catford Bridge Tavern, Station Approach, Catford Bridge, SE6 4RE