AFTER last week’s debacle with the pint half-filled from the slops tray, PubSpy was not keen for another disaster pint.

It was not looking promising when the first pint I picked puffed and spat from the pump, but the kindly lady behind the bar wisely decided not to serve it.

Instead I was offered a pint of the ale on the clip next door, Adnams Gunhill. Feeling open minded, I went for it despite not having been able to size it up properly because the clip was facing inwards.

Judging by her desperate attempts to pull an adequate pint, it must have been a new barrel.

It was heartening to see such effort to serve something drinkable and she was fastidious in her examination of each pot, discarding several before finally passing me a mahogany dark drink.

That said, I didn’t find much pleasure in it. Its acrid taste stayed with me and didn’t sit well.

Such attention to detail was unexpected when I entered this small, tired-looking boozer.

I squeezed past a tattooed geezer in the doorway laughing maniacally into his mobile only to be confronted by another eight to ten similar laaaads all staring.

Nothing beats the semi-hostile turning of heads failing to generate a welcoming atmosphere.

Darting glances continued throughout our stay when the gang of blokes – not a woman to be seen – engaged raucously in what I imagine they call ‘banter, mate’ with each other.

Having helped out at events and the like in the past, I’ve become aware that you shouldn’t focus on the shortcomings of a volunteer (they’re only trying to help) so I tried to look favourably on The Volunteer’s interior.

Let’s call it rustic. The beams with old tankards hanging from them, historic pictures of Bexleyheath and large, brick fireplace, I liked.

The dinginess and threadbare carpets, I didn’t.

I won’t be volunteering to go back.

The Volunteer, Church Road, Bexleyheath

How it rated:

Decor ** (Mixed feelings)
Atmosphere * (alright if you’re one of the lads)
Drink * (The pint I wanted was off, the one I got was horrid)
Staff **** (Proficient and accommodating)
Price *** (£5 for a pint and a J20)