We all know staff – whether great or diabolical - can make or break any business, not least a pub and that was certainly the case at Ye Olde Black Horse in Sidcup.

Apologies to those expecting me to now launch into a tirade about poor customer service. This is actually a case of the opposite – a relatively uninspiring boozer lifted immeasurably by a hard-working, friendly barmaid.

Though she didn’t do anything especially out of the ordinary, this young lady was the picture of amiable efficiency, serving us with a smile and a strong knowledge of what was on offer at the bar and the menu and generally gave the impression she cared about the job at hand.

A minor crisis with a broken card machine was no sweat and we felt well looked-after.

She also aided the already hospitable atmosphere at the bar, chatting away to the (presumed) regulars.

Let’s not get carried away, this lady was not the Mother Teresa of bar staff but she did make a material difference.

I suppose it is just one of the hallmarks that points to this being a decent community pub.

The Ye Olde bit may make the Black Horse sound utterly preposterous though it has not put of the drinkers. On the weekday lunchtime we visited, there was a steady string of customers and, from a snippet of overheard conversation, I believe it was rammed to the rafters at the weekend.

In part, this must be due to the live sport shown on a handful of screens dotted around the slightly depressed-looking building, which has plenty of spots to sit among the mock-Tudor beams.

A handful of ales and craft beers, including one from Belhaven and Meantime, were well-priced at around £3.50 a pint.

The generic menus make it obvious you’re in a chain pub, but when the food is as cheap as it is then that’s not a particularly bad thing. The grub itself won’t make Gregg Wallace so impressed he faints, but it fills a hole.

News Shopper:

Ye Olde Black Horse, Halfway Street, Sidcup

How it rated:

Atmosphere **** A good community pub

Décor** A little dilapidated

Staff***** Faultless

Food** Does the job

Drink**** Better than expected

Price***** Hard to beat