Review: The Hob, Forest Hill

News Shopper: The Hob, Forest Hill The Hob, Forest Hill

MAD Men fans will remember a scene where sexy ad exec Don Draper is asked for his views on a bold new 60s hotel marketing campaign involving a cartoon mouse.

The slogan: "When the country mouse comes to the city."

Don's response: "I don't think anybody wants to think of a mouse in a hotel." And with that, the campaign died.

After walking through The Hob's wooden front doors with a giant white rat looming over my right shoulder (see picture), I struggled to get that line out of my head.

But after settling down in a comfy sofa next to an open fire, the fears of a menacing rodent nibbling on my toes disappeared as quickly as my warming pint of Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter (£3.65).

At 6.30pm the venue was as dead as a door nail with a couple of old crusties propping up the bar slagging off the weather and the fact it was a Monday.

But as more and more commuters piled out of the train station across the road, the two friendly bar staff struggled to keep up with the surge of punters queueing for the comedy upstairs.

And here lies the Hob's charm - its huge array of events which cater for just about everyone.

Monday and Saturday are comedy nights. Tuesdays and Fridays see live music, while Thursday is quiz day and Wednesday film night.

This is a place which is trying to tick all the boxes. Even the decor screams of a place desperate to be liked by everyone.....but then, maybe, loved by no one.

The sofas and open fire place have the potential to offer a warm cosy hideaway after a long hard day at work. But the fact they are next to a pool table and noisy speaker blaring out indie tunes kills the charm.

Meanwhile, the quirky multicoloured lampshades and daunting model of a Valentine's skeleton could offer a perfect haunt for art lovers, but the chavvy fruit machines and mainstream lagers knock that on the head too.

However, once you take into account the varying clientèle, decor and events, you are left with the overall impression of a patchwork quilt - and there's nothing wrong with that.

Warm, comforting and pleasing to the eye, The Hob is a friendly, quirky, lively pub which deserves better representation than an evil-looking white rat.

The landlord needs to give Don a call.

The Hob, 7 Devonshire Road, Forest Hill, SE23 3HE

DECOR ****(Cute and quirky)

DRINK *** (Decent range of beer, wine and champers)

PRICE **** (£3.65 for the perfect bitter is not bad)

ATMOSPHERE **** (Good for a Monday)

STAFF - **** (Helpful and friendly)

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