AT The Maxwell, you may enter with close-minded trepidation but you’ll leave with a grin.

Pubs next to stations often come with a prejudice and consequent low expectations – sometimes that is justified, sometimes not.

You’re expecting dimly lit and grubby with a hostile cast of tracksuited all-day locals.

Well, not at The Maxwell.

Never before have I been in a pub with such ‘regular’regulars. All around were happy faces, entirely unthreatening and no archetypal craggy old drunks slouched in the corner.

There were no ignorant loudmouths holding court or chavvy kids running around to the chorus of screeching parents.

It was just so normal and comfortable.

That extends to the staff too, who instead of dotting bowls of nuts along the bar put out little bowls of (presumably left-over) roast potatoes. And they were crisp and salty outside and cloudlike inside. It was enough to win me over.

Inside is far from dingy too, though it could do with a bit of love.

There’s high ceilings and lots of light, a couple of big screens to watch sport, quiz machines and a pro-looking Oche for the darts fans.

But there are odd touches, like the giant inflatable rugby posts on one wall and in general bits of upholstery are a bit faded, some tables in need of a varnish and bits of walls could do with another coat of paint.

The side of the bar is lined appetising pump clips of exotic and unusual beers, so it was a shame that there was only the usuals, plus Doom Bar and Young’s London Gold on tap.

It was warm and spacious and there were all the papers around to read too, which made for a pleasant half hour. Trouble was conversation was possible, though made a little tricky, but music which teetered on the cusp of too noisy.

The Maxwell, Station Road, Orpington

How it rated:

Decor *** Needs a bit of love
Atmosphere ***** Absolutely charming
Staff ***** Great
Drink *** Disappointly average
Price *** Middling (£5.80 for Kronenbourg and a J20)