SOMETIMES you find yourself in a neighbourhood with no particular plan when something interesting comes up and smacks you between the eyes.

That’s what happened when I was in Blackheath last week.

Driving down the residential Old Dover Road, the first you see of the British Oak is a leafy sign leaning out into the street. At first glance, it could be for a furniture shop.

But the closer you get, the more inviting it is, standing imposingly with a pretty verandah and a fresh red and cream paint job.

It is so gleefully out of place, so inviting, that I was virtually dragged in.

Inside, the British Oak lives up to expectations with two bar areas and a handful of cask ales on offer.

I settled for a zesty Mad Goose (£3.35 a pint), which slipped down a treat as I sat in a comfy booth.

It is worth saying that the barmaid here was one of the nicest around – very cheerful, making small talk with the regulars and at one stage actually saying ‘We have great characters in here, that’s why I come back day after day’.

Admittedly, this made me a little paranoid that she was saying it for my benefit but it seemed to be borne out by the friendly-looking locals.

Sitting in the light and spacious saloon with flowers on the tables was pleasant, while over on the other side I spied a dartboard and jukebox keeping a gaggle of people happy.

If that’s not enough for you (why not?) then the pub also has regular quizzes, a curry club, karaoke and plays host the Blackheath Folk Club every Thursday.

British Oak, Old Dover Road, Blackheath

How it rated:

Decor **** Smart and inviting
Staff***** Really friendly and helpful
Atmosphere ***** It’s what keeps the staff coming back
Drink **** Pleasing range
Price *** Not bad for the area