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Review: The Beckenham, Beckenham
It was freezing, I was hanging from a boozy extravaganza the night before and all that could save me was a hot cup of tea.
My hard-core friend however was looking for hair of the dog, so when we spotted a typical Wetherspoon’s in Beckenham I knew it would sort us both out cheaply and cheerfully.
Oh how wrong I was – this was no ‘Spoon.
The huge pub’s outdoor smokers’ pen and curly calligraphy sign had fooled us.
We bounded in, expecting a bustling bar full of people tucking in to Sunday lunch in a warm, inviting atmosphere.
Instead we found an empty, deserted shell of a club which was obviously suffering as much as I was from the previous night’s debauchery.
“Alright guys?” shouted a shaven-headed supervisor as he swaggered over to serve us at the spirit-laden bar.
Instantly sheepish and already knowing there was no chance of my desperately needed cuppa, I gave it a go anyway.
“Just a tea, please” I said while watching my dear friend’s grip on reality gradually return with every sip of cold Amstel at £3.40.
With a wry smile the barman told me “we don’t do hot drinks”, and with a long sigh I ordered a Diet Coke and fought hard to disguise my disgust.
I was suddenly paranoid that The Beckenham was something more than a swanky club after dark.
For one it offers a bottle service, a novelty I have only ever seen in strip joints.
And with its Porn Star Martini topping the cocktail menu, the raunchy scene was set.
Managers are happy to lay down the law here.
Rather amusing, yet contradictory, rules scrawled on the wall dictate who their ideal drinkers are.
They say ‘no’ to sportswear, hoodies and Croc wearers (despite screening the football) and ‘yes’ to good bar food (despite not offering any food whatsoever).
The Beckenham also says ‘yes’ to knee-high boots.
We literally had the pick of the pub, apart from the booth covered in dirty cleaning rags and Mr Muscle, so we settled in to let the paracetamol do its thing.
Clocks on the wall let businessmen know the time in Tokyo, Paris, New York, London and Beckenham in case they get carried away.
I was surprised to find time in Beckenham actually runs two minutes faster than London – but you learn something new every day.
This is clearly a hip bar looking to attract young and wealthy punters who are after a completely different sort of tea to me.
The extensive drinks list offers Tea for Two – every variation of Long Island Ice Tea imaginable at £9.50 for two.
I would have loved it the night before.
A rather scantily-clad barmaid returned to pick up her scrubbing gear from the booth next to us so she could carry on wiping the tables others had probably been dancing on the night before.
Her black mini, mini skirt and chain belt ensemble was all a bit too much for my tired eyes to take.
It’s safe to say we hadn’t caught this spacious and swanky bar at its finest hour.
Michael Jackson wailed “You Rock My World” in the background, as I’m sure The Beckenham had done just a few hours before.
How The Beckenham rates:
DECOR **** (80s Chinese restaurant meets Ikea)
DRINK *** (cocktail-drinkers’ heaven but no real ale or tea to be found)
PRICE ** painful on the purse ATMOSPHERE *(deserted at lunchtime)
STAFF *** (friendly and dressed to impress)
Address: The Beckenham, 75 Beckenham High Street, Beckenham, BR3 1AN