For a while, the fate of the White Swan in Charlton Village hung precariously on a knife edge.

Its recent history is too detailed to list here, but in short it was sold to developers and closed – potentially permanently - last year.

But thanks in no small part to a dedicated grassroots campaign, it remains a pub and re-opened in September. For locals to value their local boozer that much is enough to make a man spill a salty tear into his pint.

I can’t say I visited the White Swan before its closure but I can say I am very glad it is open now. This is an A-grade drinking establishment.

It certainly ticks all the boxes – a large range of tempting ales at comfortable prices (including, but far from limited to, a Caveman brew), decent seating, a fetching patio out the back and board games

The muted green décor, candles on the tables, taxidermy, piano and vintage pictures and boxing posters give the place a traditional yet comfortable feel.

With Nina Simone playing over the stereo, this was a nice place to sit and read the paper.

Maybe it’s because of my network but I couldn’t get any reliable phone signal, which is probably for the best – no-one wants to sit in a bar full of people whose faces are lit up by the blue glow of an iPhone or, worse yet, be forced to listen in to their mind-numbing calls.

Popping in late afternoon, I was a little dismayed about the lack of food until 6pm but the White Swan is not the only pub that doesn’t serve food at that time of day and there was quite a range of bar snacks – and even a lush-looking carrot cake – that could have kept my hunger at bay.

During my visit, the pub was doing a decent trade for the time of day and seem to attract regular kind of folk; casual drinkers and the odd football fan.

With a long list of live music and entertainment coming up, the management are doing all they can to get people through the door. And let’s hope they manage it because this pub deserves to do well.


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The White Swan, The Village, Charlton

How it rated:

Décor ***** Good looking

Atmosphere **** Welcoming

Staff **** Very friendly

Drink ***** Impressive selection

Price *** OK