IF looks were the only thing to judge a pub by then you wouldn’t touch The Barge Pole with....well, you get the idea.
As my driver trekked down Harrow Manor Way – that’s right, I’ve got a driver, let’s not make a fuss about it – I did not know if it was a good idea to pull in.
PubSpy has oft drunk in places with horses tied up outside, but not normally in the middle of a brutalist mass of pebble-dashed flats.
The nags perhaps brighten the place a little, I guess.
Miniature by comparison but in keeping with the impressively hideous tower blocks, walking into The Barge Pole felt like wandering into a grotty public lavvy.
I imagined a couple of hostile stares from the smokers when I walked over the threshold, but that was probably justifiable curiosity – I obviously didn’t fit in. I wasn’t even wearing tracky-bottoms.
Inside is a not total, but at least a significant, turnaround.
The Barge Pole is pretty well decorated for a toilet block. It is clean and follows a pleasing nautical theme in terms of its layout and wooden decor.
With few windows, it is dingy, the carpets are miserable and it has a lingering smell of urine and your opinion on the Hammers paraphernalia probably depends on your allegiance.
A pleasant surprise were the jovial punters, a couple of charming dogs and a wonderful Irish barmaid who was happy and most certainly not to be messed with.
The language around the bar was suitably ripe, adding to the earthy atmosphere and only once provoking a sweetly ironic rebuke from behind the bar.
“Are they talking filth Carol?” she chimed. “The dirty fecking arses...”
You don’t get a huge range of drinks on offer – it is more or less limited to Fosters, Strongbow, Guiness, Kronenbourg (for the poshos), John Smiths, a rank Courage bitter and another bitter that looks like it may have been from Lidl.
If you’re more keen on the craic than the tipple and surroundings, there’s a chance the Barge Pole may have enough to float your boat.
The Barge Pole, Coraline Walk, Thamesmead
How it rated:
Outside Nothing, nada.
Decor** Sort of like a boat
Drink ** Covers some of the bases
Price **** Signs boast two Jagerbombs for a fiver
Atmosphere *** Great staff
Staff *** Nice and authoritative