On my first visit to the Baring Hall Hotel a couple of years back, it was just amazing the place had reopened.

It seemed poised for demolition after being ravaged by fire but was saved by the Antic Collective and reopened as a trendy, shabby-chic boozer.

Clearly the transformation was not quite complete when I popped in shortly after it opened.

The scarred fire-damaged interior left as it was had an eery, unnerving effect but now – still unpainted – it feels like it has bedded in and looks decidedly chic with the mismatched furniture that populates the large seating area.

Dodgy taxidermy still manages to provoke a mild case of the spooks, however. I found myself sat below a particularly horrid stuffed squirrel, itself above a tatty bird.

But a vast selection of unusual beers (I opted for Adnams dry hopped lager, £4.40) and friendly staff who greet you as you walk in more than make up for a little kookiness in the décor.

The sound system appeared to have stolen one of the playlists from the ipod of my late teens/early twenties – playing early Oasis, Graham Coxon and Cornershop – which, naturally, made me feel right at home.

With quiz nights every Tuesday, regular stand-up comedy and highly rated roast dinners (which I didn’t get to try), this is a pub which certainly makes an effort.

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The Baring Hall Hotel, Baring Road, Grove Park

How it rated:

Atmosphere *** Pleasant

Décor *** Certainly different

Price *** On the upper end of comfortable

Drinks ***** Brilliant range

Staff **** Nice and friendly