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Review: Westow House, Gipsy Hill
A Garfield look-alike cat, glittery goat’s head, six different types of whacky wallpaper and drinkers doing feline impressions are just a handful of reasons to visit Westow House.
From the outside, this Gipsy Hill boozer looks like a rather gothic hangout, with its intense black columns – but a whole world of wonders is waiting to wow you through those ebony doors.
I quite literally didn’t know where to look first.
With countless, random pictures all over the walls, the fridges behind the bar are just as interesting.
In the mood for cider, it was thirsty work to choose from the generous selection.
I went for the sweet and refreshing apple and blackcurrant Rekorderlig, my companion playing it safe with a pint of Grolsch.
However, not everyone was playing it safe in the rammed pub.
One elderly man had thrown caution to the wind – risking an arrest by the fashion police at any second.
As my housemate pointed out, he was wearing the most startlingly box-fresh white sneakers I’d ever clapped eyes on teamed with an old fleece, which I was almost too snow-blinded to see.
The quirky bar attracts a plethora of people from all walks of life, from couples to families and groups of mates.
It was charming to see one party hat wearing family had chosen the venue for a child’s birthday bash and had hired out a wing for their celebration.
I couldn’t help but laugh when one of the humorous mums told her daughter to shout ‘beep, beep’ as an elderly uncle went whizzing past in his electric wheelchair.
The only problem with this funny bunch hiring the space was we were forced to watch beautiful-looking plates full of roast dinners being delivered to their table, whilst having to wait an hour for menus to become available to us.
My poor stomach was ready to eat itself, so I asked the barman when we’d be able to order.
“The menus will go out on tables at about 2.30pm.” He said.
Settling back down to observe the resident ginger fluff ball pacing between the bar and punters, I kept a hungry eye on my watch.
When it got to 3pm, the old red leather couches began looking increasingly delicious.
An angry growl from my tummy scared me into approaching the bar again – where I realised the menus had been lying for the last 20 minutes.
I ordered the cheese burger with chips (£10) and half a pint of Heineken (£1.90).
A lovely waitress brought over cutlery and told me how jealous she was of my impending meal – I warily met her gaze with a look which said ‘you’re not having any of it.’ No wonder she was green with envy – it was definitely the nicest, juiciest burger I’ve ever had in a pub and worth every last penny.
Washing it down with my lager, I nearly slashed open my lip with the worryingly broken glass.
But despite the near split face, it was the most enjoyable Sunday afternoon I’ve spent down the pub for ages.
The furniture’s shabby, ragged but retro, there are incredulous collections of weirdness all over the walls – but Westow House has it going on.
Address: Westow House, 79 Westow Hill, Gipsy Hill, SE19 1TX
Decor **** (marvellously quirky)
Drink **** (oodles of cider and wines to choose from)
Price *** (a little expensive but worth it)
Food ***** (best burger ever)
Atmosphere **** (busy and friendly)
Staff *** (a little sloppy giving out chipped glasses)