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PubSpy reviews the White Swan, St Mary Cray
UNTIL you have seen a woman dressed like a Scooby Doo villain selling bundles of meat out of a holdall by the loos, you have not experienced a proper pub.
“That's eighty quid, shop price. I'll do it for sixty five,” came her wheezy saarf landaan rasp from beneath a pair of oversized Primark sunglasses and a pink velour tracksuit.
The next minute, a tattooed man making an exit: “Sorry babe, I bought the lot.”
The velour tracksuit woman to a disappointed punter: “Na, don't worry. I'm gunna get some more.”
True to her word, in less than five minutes she disappeared with an empty holdall and reappeared full again. Et voila.
To say the White Swan is rough around the edges is probably accurate, but that would be to ignore its charms.
Aside from being a good place to buy cheap meat – contacts dependant – there were three TVs showing two games of football, a jukebox, radio, a games machine, darts and a slotty all in a space not much larger than your average semi.
Despite not serving food, the Swan was popular on an early Sunday afternoon with charming salt of the earth locals who seemed to enjoy each others company in the casual way people ought to in a good pub.
So what that the interior wood and red bench seat and carpet combo was drab and the collection of ceramic swans looked like the last items left at a rainy car boot sale, we were made to feel welcome.
The bar maid even made up for the absence of choice behind the bar by asking my driver if they would prefer two bottles of J20 or one.
And she was even willing to forgo an outstanding 10 pence when the PubSpy's pockets seemed too shallow (don't worry, my cache of change was found and I left debt-free).
The White Swan, Kent Road, St Mary Cray
How it rated:
Décor** Effort made outside
Drink * Not a great range
Price *** Beer ok; randomer selling meat, a bargain
Staff **** Pleasant and forgiving
Atmosphere ***** An ideal local boozer
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