MICRO PERFECTION IN PETTS WOOD

Since the latest Beer Guide came out at the end of August I’ve been to another forty micropubs, and a good hundred overall, with mixed feelings.  Their best feature, chatty owners and locals, can also mean they’re not great places to visit if you want a bit of time to yourself.

One of my bugbears about micros, limited opening hours, had scuppered a number of plans to visit One Inn The Wood before family visits to Tunbridge Wells. To be fair, if more sensible hours means you get served by a cheerful owner the tighter hours are probably a price worth paying.

I’ve read consistently good things about the Petts Wood micro, which had just that bit more of a lived-in feel, as well as better beer, than the average micro.

 

Apart from the colourful use of beer barrels for outdoor seating, it won’t look a lot different from the micros of Thanet or Merseyside.  Internally, the seating is very comfortable, and reminds me of the 39 Steps in Broadstairs.  This certainly is a place to while away the hours with a book (or CAMRA newsletter).

 

The beer range is close to perfect.  Most micros seem to work to a range of three, plus ciders; Inn in the Wood had five, spread across the range of styles and strengths.

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Half a dozen middle-aged blokes (and a rather younger barman) were making good inroads into that range at 2pm on a wet Tuesday in a suburb of a bigger suburb (Bromley). Thinking about it, it’s the ciders I rarely see drunk in micros.

I really should have had the Gadds, but I’ve enjoyed every Cloudwater beer I’ve encountered across the country. This was as cloudy as promised but luckily I don’t drink with my eye (NBSS 4).

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Depending on your viewpoint, it has a great/horrifying line in toilet humour.

 

Petts Wood itself is a particularly attractive early 20th century suburb, comparable to Harborne, with its own bit of National Trust woodland. The Sovereign of the Seas is a consistently good Spoons too.

You may not be surprised to hear that I spent my birthday overnight near here a few years ago. The Travelodge in Sidcup High Street is a gem, with a Waitrose, Chinese takeaway and a top Spoons (Tailor’s Chalk) on the doorstep.

Apart from the Spoons and the micro, an unlikely clutch of Beer Guide entries includes Orpington Liberal Club, another of South-East London’s club gems.

NB I nearly called this Perfection and Paranoia.  While admiring some of the architecture around the micro, I took a photo of this gem, complete with Toby badge;

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As I walked back to the station a friendly member of staff rushed out and asked why I was taking photos.  She seemed happy with my excuse of being retiredmartin, but I did feel a bit uncomfortable.  This happened to me in Gravesend too, and Cathy Price reports a similar experiences in Red Lioness.  Any ideas why the paranoia ?

10 thoughts on “MICRO PERFECTION IN PETTS WOOD

  1. Could there e a concern that you might be from an estate agency? Publicans aren’t always the first to know that a pubco might be putting their pub on the market, especially if it’s a ‘block trade’.

    Ian

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  2. I always ask before I take any photos Martin, I’ve never been refused although often the bar staff do not want to be photographed. I assume for various reasons, from simple lack of self confidence or just having a bad hair day through to working while they are on the pan crack.

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  3. Like you Martin, I’ve got mixed feelings about micros, although they do provide variety and, normally, consistently good beer. I applaud them for what they are doing, and for their support of local beers, but on the whole I prefer to go for a more established pub, when visiting a new town; providing there’s a decent one to be found, of course. To a certain extent micro-pubs could end up becoming a “distress choice” for CAMRA members, when on unfamiliar territory; a bit like Wetherspoon’s are for many.

    I haven’t purchased a Good Beer Guide since 2013, but I get the impression many CAMRA branches are selecting Guide entries, along similar lines. Either that, or “Let’s support the newly-opened micro, because it’s championing local beers, and we like its atmosphere. ”

    Fortunately I’ve heard good reports about the One in the Wood from fellow CAMRA members, even though Petts Wood is slightly outside our branch area. It’s a pub I ought to get to; especially as it’s probably the nearest micro-pub to where I live.

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    1. Same here Paul. I’ve no problem with Beer Guide selection as beer has nearly always been good. If I had to choose a micro or a Spoons with same quality beer I may well opt for the Spoons though, unless J feel like raiding the CAMRA newsletter supplies !

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