I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m always a little bit on edge when I visit pubs close to railway stations, particularly as it nears closing time.
But, stepping through the door of the Railway Tavern it was still early – 8pm to be exact and there was certainly no need to worry.
Now, there are occasions when I am forced to visit pubs at the sort of times even hardened drinkers haven’t shown up yet. However, at this time on a Saturday night I thought I might have to queue at the bar, jostle with regulars for a seat, that sort of thing.
Busy it wasn’t, soul-less it definitely was.
In fact the liveliest and brightest things about this pub respectively were the smell of new paint and the glowing tan on the legs of the lady sat at the bar.
The place has obviously undergone a major overhaul and the toilets are absolutely spotless – immaculate, the cleanest, most pristine thing you’re likely to witness.
Sadly this same sanitised, stark feel is exactly the same in the bar. Even the barmaid got into the act and didn’t dare crack a smile lest it would somehow liven up the place.
At this point the silence was broken and the pub livened up as a fellow walked in and quietly asked to exchange two £20 notes for four tenners. Sadly this 30 seconds of excitement passed all too quickly.
With nothing else to take my attention my eyes started to wander around the bar. A notice announcing that Andy Owen, otherwise known as The King, aka Elvis would be rocking the joint on Saturday March 15, caught my attention.
But, try as I might, I just couldn’t imagine this place rockin’.
The selection of drinks was very basic, although the Kronenbourg I selected, £3.80 a pint, was fine.
My drinking partner went for a large glass of white, which was £5.25 – there didn’t appear to be any choice on offer.
On the website it describes warm and friendly staff with a picture of a smiling barmaid. I can only assume Saturday is the smiley one’s night off.
The site also claims a ‘warm and welcoming charm’ with which they ‘welcome all guests’. Maybe that part of the makeover is still to be done!
In fairness it does also mention a fantastic garden and judging by the colourful lights at the end of the car park this may well be true. So, roll on the summer I say, when you can sit outside and not have to endure the main bar.
One final, not massively important, but strange point nevertheless, who, when they did the makeover, decided the gents needed a mirror, but the ladies didn’t?
In reflection, I’m afraid I can’t recommend the Railway Tavern as a starting point for a great Saturday night.
Railway Tavern, Wrotham Road, Meopham
Decor: **** (recently decorated)
Drink: ** (an average offering)
Price: *** (fair)
Atmosphere: (an atmosphere free zone)
Staff: * (a smile never hurt anyone)