To be entirely frank, I was certain I was going to dislike O’Neills before I even walked in.

Based entirely on prejudice, I thought it would be a big, faux-Irish chain bar. In fact, such was the height of my winter blues I was almost looking forward to hating it.

Now I am just struggling to cope with the fact I rather liked it.

Let’s not go over-the-top, mind, it’s not Valhalla but it’ll do for a few pints.

It is indeed a big, faux-Irish chain bar with lots of bargain drinks deals but that belies the fact it was a more than agreeable spot to relax of an afternoon – and they’re proud of their live bands at the weekends so it might be worth a visit then, too.

From the moment I walked in and the place opened up before me more like a Wild West saloon than a barrage of shamrocks, Guinness and god-awful celtic music.

Sure, dashes of emerald green and orange decorate the walls but there was very little other Irish cliché on display.

Big screens aren’t for some, but I rather like sitting and gazing at the cricket, and the safe, mass-market beer selection was OK with me because it included Peroni and one little treat in the form of Brewdog’s tangy Punk IPA (£4.30 a pint), which did me very nicely indeed.

The two lads behind the bar – one clearly glad to be escaping a quiet kitchen – couldn’t have been friendly or more helpful to the few customers dotted around.

I’m led to believe O’Neill’s is packed out when bands turn up on Fridays and Saturdays and it looks a good place for it, with plenty of floor space (and adequately-space tables during the day) and split levels with rustically-attractive stairs and balconies. It remains to be seen what the atmosphere and clientele are like during these peak periods.

While the pub is warehouse-big, just the right amount of lighting serves to make it cosy but not dim.

If you’re in search of a value-for-money lunch, this could be your spot too. If only I could have justified an extra meal between lunch and dinner to myself then I would have been stuck picking between several tempting and well-priced options.





O’Neill’s, East Street, Bromley

How it rated:

Décor **** Surprisingly uplifting

Atmosphere *** Relaxed when I visited

Price *** Good value but not cheap

Staff ***** Friendly and helpful

Drink ** Good Punk IPA, but little else tempting on tap