THE CRAYFORD TWINS

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South-east London into Kent is now a journey via a sea of micropubs; three new ones in five miles along the A2 have entered the GBG this year, to join some impressive company.

As always, the real joy of micros is in the exercise of self-control as you realise the published opening times are totally irrelevant.

So bless you, Penny Farthing in  Crayford, for sticking to your published hours (all day Friday !), as well as being a little bundle of cheerfulness.  On a par with the ones in Worthing and Wellingborough for their welcome.  As you can see, a lot of pale beer being drunk, and all in pints.

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The dark beer from Milestone was a winner too (NBSS 3.5), enjoyed while the owners and nearest locals talked me through the pros and cons of the competition.

Actually they didn’t, they were genuinely excited to be part of a micro movement that matches Thanet for breadth and quality.  If anything, there might now be a bit of nervousness as competition for a place in the next Good Beer Guide heats up.  The Penny Farthing should have nothing to worry about.

The layout forces conversation, an array of four seater tables round the walls were all occupied so you have to share.  That suits me, but it’s not a place to come to hideaway.

The Penny Farthing may be Crayford’s star, but there’s some classic Courage and Shep Neame roadhouses around the corner.

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Crayford itself isn’t as exciting as Dartford, but the regeneration of the area around the Town Hall is impressive.  This is the pick of the sculptures;

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I can’t claim the walk to Blackfen is a classic, but with a slight diversion you can take in some decent suburbia, including the Red House.

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I tipped up at the Broken Drum right on 3pm opening, and found myself the only customer, happy to read CAMRA magazines over a second superb beer of the day from 360 Degrees. Just as good as the Penny, just a bit quieter.

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For a complete contrast, head to the George Staples a few doors down. Astonishingly, I spent my 47th birthday here, a real treat of an evening ending in the Sidcup Travelodge.Even Simon can’t match that.

This is your classic South-east London fun pub, rewarded of late for beer range by GBG appearances you might be surprised by.

 Five points for naming the film showing on the screen below.

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The other 20 screens, including those in the smoking shelter, had the Maltese Invitational Snooker on, a big draw round here.

The weekend clearly starts early in Bexley borough; the place was packed by 3.30; all human life was there.

There was less life in my half of Titanic though, with the pumps hidden firmly behind the couple at the bar.

I love the fact that in the Beer Guide micropubs rub shoulders with places like this, where the conversational gem isn’t about beer, but chips.

“Don’t come between a man and his chips, Tracy”.

Wise words.

15 thoughts on “THE CRAYFORD TWINS

    1. I’d hate a world made up entirely of micros. Though it would be a Beer Guide world, not a real world.

      You must visit the Dove in Bury St Edmunds on your next trip by the way. It really is among the greats.

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      1. The Dove has been on my list for a long time. It looks like the best combination of all things. I’m not in any way anti-micro pub. With limited time though, ambiance tips me to places like the Dove or Olde Vic. I have watched with great interest the rise of pubs that are tailored after the american craft beer design. The modern industrial heat duct look with Spartan steel furniture. Serving lots of pale ale:)

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  1. Classic picture there – you’d struggle to get a shot in Spoons including so many pint glasses containing nothing but bitter. But it does rather sum up the archetypal micropub clientele.

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    1. They were chatty and cheery, but I do like a good mix of people. The string of Antic pubs and their immitators have similarly small age range, just 20 odd years younger. Manchester seems less prone to that than London, you still gets older folk in the Port St, Abercrombie and Smithfield.

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    2. I went in the Coronet Wetherspoons in Holloway on Saturday,on my way out i noticed and A board which listed drinks sold the previous week,real ale topped the list with over 1300 pints sold,craft crap was a poor second at just over 800 pints that may include bottles,the average meal times served was 7 and a half minutes.
      I thought that was impressive and the real ale choice was really good.

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      1. That sounds a lot, though it’s only about 12 pints an hour, which will include busy football times and quieter mornings. With 8 beers on, it’s only selling an average 20-25 of each beer. Is that enough ? I don’t know.

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  2. I do not know either,there were over 8 guest beers and hardly any Spoons regulars,my half of Windsor & Eton Knights of the Garter tasted as good as it should do to me.
    Not sure how i would rate it on the NBBS score system though,i either really like a beer,just like a beer or think a beer tastes crap or even worse off

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