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Review: The Bricklayer's Arms, Beckenham
I never thought I’d be within reaching distance of Spider-Man’s bottom.
However, there I was, bizarrely sitting right beneath the superhero’s spandex-smothered butt.
We had gone to The Bricklayer’s Arms in Beckenham for what, from the outside at least, seemed like it was going to be a quiet night in a traditional old man’s pub.
But when we stepped through the door, my eyes had to widen to their full extent to take in the wildly out of place, gigantic Spider-Man model glued to the wall.
You wouldn’t look twice at this life-size, silk-spinning weirdo if you were in Universal Studios, Florida – but it caught me off guard in the otherwise plain and simple Brickie’s.
Getting over the initial shock and moving in amongst the regular barflies, we ordered a pint of St Austell’s Tribute and an Appletiser (£5.40) and took a seat underneath our new friend.
My gaze fell upon the comment box on the bar.
Punters are encouraged to contribute their ideas, criticisms and compliments and I wondered whether Spidey was the product of one of these suggestions.
I’m not sure how drunk the landlord must have been when he gave the go ahead on this one.
The flirtatious young barmaid was fun to watch, as the middle-aged regulars chatted her up.
She clearly helps reel in the customers.
They were visibly gutted as the clock struck 6pm and she slammed the till drawer shut in celebration – her shift was up.
But luckily, yet another pretty girl replaced her to keep the old dogs happy.
Feeling peckish, we ordered sausage, beans and chips and yet more chips with lasagne.
Along with another soft drink and a pint of Harvey’s, this feast came to £14.40.
My beer-swigging pal told me St Austell’s Tribute can be the best pint in the world on a good day – hoppy and refreshing with slightly tangy fruit flavours.
Unfortuantely, it was not one of those days and his drink, although still refreshing, felt too tired and slightly too warm for the ale’s subtly notes to come through.
Apparently, the Harvey’s felt like it was kept with more love and so tasted nicer.
The food was served by a delightful Thai cook, who must dedicate all of her care to the Asian dishes on the menu.
Our food was as I expected for the price – it had obviously been zapped in the microwave, but nonetheless filled a hole.
Taking a trip to the loos, I laughed out loud at the sign on the back of the door, warning women not to flush nappies down the toilet.
I’m not sure what sort of ladies would even attempt such a ridiculous feat.
But should it even cross some lunatic’s mind to give it a go, hopefully this will deter them.
This place, although not my kind of joint, seems to keep the locals satisfied.
One gent in particular was hoping for an especially satisfying evening, thanks to the two women he had accompanied to the pub.
The giggly trio were sharing a bottle of white, when I heard him chatting to a fellow drinker.
“You’ve got the right idea, two women for one man.” The stranger praised him.
“Yes.” He replied.
“But it rarely works out that way – not unless we start on the second bottle.”
Maybe this is the true superhero of The Bricklayer’s Arms.
237 High St, Beckenham, Kent, BR3 1BN
Decor: ** (shocking Spiderman among otherwise dull decor)
Drink: *** (good selection of beers, ales and ciders)
Price: **** (cheap as chips)
Atmosphere: ** (busy and popular with regulars)
Staff: *** (friendly and efficient)