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Review: The Bull Tavern, Woolwich
YOU haven’t even got the through the door and you’re already being warned.
The threatening message makes it clear you shouldn’t even think about using the toilets if you’re not going to buy a drink.
Believe me - If you did visit the toilets first, you wouldn’t even consider staying to buy a drink.
Being as Irish as it is, just about everything inside The Bull Tavern is green and the way it’s decorated, you could be forgiven for thinking a jumble sale had just finished, particularly on the stage.
And, just to confuse any newcomers further still, there are no signs on anything.
Trying to find the toilets which are a strict ‘no-go area’ for non-locals, I found myself in the kitchen. Returning from the kitchen, I decided although £3 for spag bol and garlic bread is incredibly cheap, I wouldn’t be sampling the food.
It’s one huge pub with a number of doors leading off the bar.
I presume the lack of notices is a plan to further confuse non-locals and keep them out of the facilities.
The gents, by the way, are miniscule and scruffy with stacks of broken and missing tiles.
The ladies, I later discovered, sits directly behind the quiz machine (the intelligence of the locals was confirmed by the fact I won £7.90 and I never win on these things).
My attention was first attracted away from the Colour of Money game by an extremely rude woman with short cropped silver hair.
Rather than politely ask me to move so her friend with a walking stick could visit the ladies, she simply gesticulated in an offensive way.
And believe me, her manners just got worse after this.
Her friend, however, was extremely polite and pleasant and thanked me kindly for holding the door open.
Having faced the hag from hell, I started to notice the rest of the clientele.
Most were littered along the bar, one had a Liverpool FC bag casually slung over his shoulder, two older people had moved away from the bar and were surreptitiously holding hands – surely an illicit affair.
But this is a massive pub and your senses are smashed by the greenness and massive flags everywhere, so it’s difficult to concentrate on individuals.
I decided I could handle one more pint of Kronie without having to brave the gents again, so spent another £3.60.
But I downed this fairly quickly as the TV was still showing monotonous snooker and it was six days until the Wednesday quiz evening (which surely I would have won).
By the time I got my second pint, the barstaff had changed shift.
The beardy, very pleasant man had taken up a seat on the customer side of the bar and his new colleague was serving and swearing in equal measure.
I have to admit his sweary vocabulary, even over his pronounced accent, was impressive.
I think I’ll ignore the fact this place is called both O’Flynns and The Bull, choosing to say simply - it’s Irish.
If you want the only jumble sale with mass swearing, a rude, cropped haired harridan and cheap food served from what looks like the toilets, this one’s for you.
The Bull Tavern, Vincent Road, Woolwich
Decor: ** (like a jumble sale)
Drink: ** (the basics are covered)
Price: *** (£3.60 for a pint of Kronenbourg)
Atmosphere: ** (like thousands of Irish pubs in Ireland)
Staff: *** (the beard was great, the other fellow swore a lot)
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