A heavy coating of matte green paint may help the Bridge House to blend in but it will never totally camouflage such a huge lump of a pub.

This is a seriously square hunk of brick and it needs to be in order to house all that it does, because this is both a boozer split over two levels and a blinking theatre.

Not unheard of, I know, but it’s still a nice little add-on.

A stone’s throw from Crystal Palace Park, this drinking hole is apparently a popular stop-off for those who need a bit of refreshment after their fresh air – and you wouldn’t be disappointed to wander out of the park and into the Bridge House.

Downstairs feels airy and bright with mismatched furniture and boards advertising quiz nights (Thursdays) and other entertainment while a wide staircase doesn’t so much as invite you upstairs but almost drag you up.

At the top is the bar, but I noticed the little kiosk beside it first, offering hot drinks from mulled cider to hot chocolate and coffee etc.

It is darker up top. I guess you could say more intimate, but for me it is just a bit too dark. Perhaps some slightly higher wattage bulbs wouldn’t go amiss under those retro lampshades.

Free dog biscuits on the bar are a nice touch although I’m sad to say I didn’t share the place with any four legged friends during my visit.

Drinks-wise, the Bridge House has a pretty good range on tap. There’s an eclectic mix of lagers and ales, including the ever-popular Leffe.

At some points, this already good pub did seem to be trying a little too hard.

I don’t doubt the food is excellent (though I didn’t have the appetite for it on my visit) but the menu is a bit fancy and the starters are generally a similar price to main courses in some more down-at-heel places.

Similarly, I appreciate drinks in jam jars are an in-thing, but it made me feel a bit like Paddington bear attacking a container of marmalade.

Not that I fancied sitting out there on a chilly Spring day but the glimpse I got of the garden was very promising.

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The Bridge House, High Street, Penge

How it rated

Décor **** Very pleasant if a tad dark upstairs

Atmosphere ***** comfortable

Staff **** Friendly

Drink **** A pleasing selection

Price *** Could be more reasonable