When the editor makes a special request for a PubSpy visit then it’s a good bet one of two things has happened – either I’ve cocked up or he’s looking for a few free pints!

Imagine my surprise then when he sent me off to the Duke of Wellington. I might not have cocked up, but someone definitely had – but more of that later.

At first appearance this looks like a proper local boozer and stepping through the door I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a real pub, with real people and I got an incredibly warm welcome.

All the screens above the bar were showing James Martin cooking up another rustic masterpiece with three pints of cream and several pounds of butter. That bloke is everywhere on the telly these days. Fortunately he was muted and another screen in the bay-windowed area was playing a variety of decent tunes and was, I’m pleased to say, set at a very agreeable volume.

Then I spotted the Doombar and I thought to myself: “That editor’s not too bad after all, he’s sent me to a decent place”.

This is a real regulars’ watering hole with stacks of people popping in for a quick drink after work. But there’s nothing clique about this place and before I knew it I was welcomed into the conversation – which is when I found out why I was there!

And the hot subject on the local’s agenda was News Shopper itself.

Apparently an error by someone had led to a report suggesting this thriving local boozer was derelict. Clearly this couldn’t be further from the truth, but the locals were obviously miffed by the mistake.

Of course I didn’t let on who I was but I could understand why they were disappointed at the obvious error mixing up the Duke of Wellington with another pub, now sadly no longer with us.

Well, I can place on record that the Duke is going strong and what’s more I’d heartily recommend it. The Doombar is great, there’s free wi-fi, a decent looking pool table and two darts boards.

Most of the locals were lined up around the bar on stools, with their jackets and bags hung on those hooks you so rarely see these days.

Okay, so there were pink straws on the bar and ads for toffee vodka at £2.50 so there must be a different clientele at some points in the week. But there’s plenty of seating so I’m sure everyone can co-exist well enough.

The décor’s what you’d expect, not flash but certainly not dingy and nothing looks ragged or torn.

I even spotted some kids toys in one corner to keep visiting nippers engaged. There was only one junior in when I visited and she couldn’t have been better behaved.

And if you’re really feeling lively then the Karaoke on Friday at 7.30pm sounds perfect.

But the best entertained was saved until the end – it seems the friendly barmaid is off for her first skiing trip and heading to Marybelle. Her story of how you need to spit to see which way up you are in an avalanche was brilliant.

All in all a really welcoming, decent local pub, you could do a lot worse than the Duke of Wellington in Crayford.      




Duke of Wellington, London Road, Crayford

Decor: *** (a real bar, a few scuffs and bashes but all the better for it)

Drink: **** (anywhere serving decent Doombar is fine by me)

Price: *** (pretty good)

Atmosphere:  **** (good buzz for this time on a Tuesday evening)

Staff: **** (helpful, friendly and soon on the slopes)