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 bug bears 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.
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).
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;
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”
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’.
Thanks Ian, that makes sense. The Daylight was M&B. Looked well maintained, though clearly quiet compared to the Wetherspoons over the bridge.
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.
Yes, i do inside, so staff can avoid photos. The incidents I mentioned were both outside though.
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.
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 !