Finishing early must be a Friday tradition for many in Green Street Green because the Queen’s Head was filling up nicely by the time I arrived mid afternoon.
All around the bar were thirsty, amiable blokes, some still wearing work-scarred gear and a number who had clearly been home and spruced up for an evening on the sauce. A steady, incoming flow swelled the numbers.
As much as anything, pubs can be judged by their drinkers.
I saw lager-swilling Men with a capital M. One had a t-shirt which said ‘sometimes I wake up grumpy, sometimes I just let her sleep’.
I saw women with big hair and bigger heels.
In short, these were regular Friday night people.
And having spent countless afternoons and evenings sat in pubs surrounded by the elderly, the perennial barflies, chavs and - worst of all – hipsters, it was a blessed relief.
With a fetching red/brown colour scheme, fabric flowers on the table, old wine bottles used as candle holders and an unused piano, it is easy to imagine customers think the Queen’s Head is a little bit more sophisticated than your average drinking hole.
Background music was solidly mainstream and a reasonable volume (the likes of Coldplay and Paolo Nutini’s first album).
The butch, no-nonsense barman was smart and called me mate but I didn’t especially feel like he wanted me to be his friend.
There were six ales on tap, though none of them were that appetising – including Marstons, Harveys and Greene King concoctions.
The lagers, which were on the discerning side of mainstream, did not disappoint. Highlights included Grolsch Blond and Peroni.
Pints were cheap too, at between £3 and £3.50.
The good value also extended to the food, with a big sign advertising £4.95 meals.
Comfortable surroundings, cheap food and drink and normal people is a recipe for a pub that can’t be faulted.
I could have done without the faff of (unsuccessfully) digging deep in my pockets for change for the pay and display car park, even if you can get a refund inside.
The Queen’s Head, High Street, Green Street Green
How it rated:
Atmosphere **** TFI Friday
Decor **** Smart
Drink **** Effort made
Price ***** Great value
Staff*** Did the job