I took Mrs RM for a day out pubbing in South West London yesterday. On Waterbeach station she met one of her mates who was off to shop in Liberty for pashminas or something. Some folk don’t know what they’re missing.
The full, gory details will follow, but Sutton deserves it’s own post. Partly because it won’t then look like we did nine pubs in a day, but also as I’m convinced is in Surrey anyway.
In the 1970s, I actually thought it was the small Fenland village a few miles north of Cambridge that held the mighty Leeds to 6-0, and to be honest the Pathe News footage doesn’t entirely dispel that view now.
The glory-hunters were out in force yesterday, as Sutton entertained the giants of Cheltenham Town in the FA Cup. At least one child, presumably on his way to Gander Green for the first time, was repeatedly asking his dad about a half-and-half scarf. I blame Manchester City for that atrocity.
We didn’t spot much Cup fever walking through Sutton’s endless pedestrianised High Street, which is a triumph of modernity and tradition. Perhaps.
The Winning Post is the only traditional pub among the biggest collection of discount pharmacies I’ve seen outside of Cairo. That was quite handy, allowing me to buy a legitimate Christmas gift for one of our family.
FIVE POINTS FOR GUESSING WHAT THIS WILL BE USED FOR
I’m a fan of functional High Streets, as opposed to a row of coffee shops with attached retail park. Sutton has things that people want, including an outlet of M. Manze’s eel and pie shops. You really could be in Barking, rather than the edge of Surrey.
Architecturally, Sutton has some good examples of the brutalist tradition (I haven’t got a clue what that means), but the Wilko is incapable of categorisation.
The street art is short but sweet, even if I thought Herbert was a resident of Woking.
All the pub action is focused in a fairly small area between the shops and the station, and a few attractive side streets to the west. Fans of chain pubs will find their All Bar One, Spoons, Slug & Lettuce etc. within easy staggering distance.
Our Beer Guide tick looked awfully familiar, but that’s something Fullers pubs tend to have in common. The Cock & Bull is a spotless example of the style, and we were privileged to enter just before Gary Cahill kindly gave City the lead against Chelsea. My modest cheer attracted no interest among a room of modest Chelsea fans.
Mrs RM wasn’t sure, but I thought this was a superbly kept Pride (top), worth NBSS 3.5 at least. The steps to the toilet probably warranted NSSS 1.
The whole pub looked like an advert for Peroni, and one chap at the bar who asked for that but got Carling provided the main half-time entertainment. “Carling ! I’m not having that foreign muck !”. He really did say that.
“Get outside your comfort zone” said Mrs RM, pushing me into a crafty new pub just over the road. Look how fast she walks when she spots a 6.2%er.
Well Mrs RM, you mucked up our plans, but Shinner Sudtone was a great little place, reminiscent of Fuggles in Tunbridge Wells. What’s wrong with a normal name like 67 High Street though ?
On reflection, it could only have been a new Antic, but it took a look on WhatPub to reveal that chain as the source of this slice of shabby chic heaven/hell. I thought the use of no-expense spared popcorn on the Christmas tree, the beer menu, and the department store relics compensated for a slightly dull cask beer from Bristol (I think) , but I can blame that on the handled jug.
The lovely barman kindly asked me if the handle was OK after handing it over, bless him. Apart from that he was a star.
As was the Guardian reader across the room whose loud phone conversation included the line “I met Father Christmas this morning“. All my life I’ve wondered where he lives, now I know it’s in suburban Sutton. To be fair, it could equally be Carshalton. Carshalton has the Hope, so if I were Santa I’d live there too.