It’s a funny thing, architecture. The Hop and Rye in Bromley, for example, is recognisably a pub but it doesn’t look much like a pub.
Its position lends itself more to a tyre fitting garage, or maybe a bathroom showroom.
The building itself has more of a feeling of a clubhouse.
And inside it feels a little bit like a hotel bar, maybe a Travelodge.
It’s all quite clean, with plenty of space and tables but not much in the way of character.
The walls have a heavy floral print, the carpet has a heavy floral print, the chairs have heavy floral print: it’s like being trapped in a nightmare designed by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.
Where the place does resemble a pub, however, is where it matters.
The bar has a decent range of drinks and they are reasonably priced.
As well as all the regulars, there were also three decent ales on tap.
I opted for a Knots of May Light Mild. I’d never heard of it but it was, as the name suggested, light and mild. It only cost £3.14 a pint.
A decent mob of older gents congregated socially in the middle of the room and, for a moment, it felt like I had wandered into a three-score club as they nodded along to My Ding-a-Ling on the sound system.
They were a friendly bunch and just the kind pubs thrive on, and normal service was resumed musically once they’d had their fun.
While older folk dominated the afternoon I visited, I expect The Hop and Rye tends towards a younger crowd. There’s a pool table and a full schedule of football lined-up for the big screens.
I also noticed promotions on bottles of WKD; not such a draw for the grey brigade.
The Hop and Rye, London Road, Bromley
How it rated:
Atmosphere *** Friendly enough
Staff ** Surly but efficient
Decor ** Fine, but not to my taste
Price **** No complaints
Drink **** Unusual ales a plus
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