Each year’s Beer Guide quest throws up one pub that becomes the Holy Grail, the Kilimanjaro*, the Cloudwater cask of pub ticking.  It used to be the Old Forge and the Sixpenny Tap; this year’s it’s Platform 3 at Claygate.

One for Tom

It should be a doddle; a platform bar at a busy railway station just outside Zone 6 (and hence just outside the Travelcard coverage, hey-ho).

But opening hours are more restricted than Cranborne’s finest, for the simple reason that it doesn’t have any indoor seating.  As WhatPub says, opening is highly “weather dependent”.  You sit outside when it’s dry.


So the “office” above is just a space for the barrels, Pipers crisps (hoorah !), a long chat with the owner, and a contemplation about how many bottles to take back to Mrs RM. Two strong ones.


You might be thinking this doesn’t sound like a pub, more like a beer tent at a village fete. But a pub is just a place where you can drink beer and talk nonsense (to yourself if necessary).

As per usual, Pubmeister is spot on;


Typically, Duncan beat me there by a day.

The locals were cheery and engaging.  We chatted about orchids, the hacking of America’s president, and the potential for hacking into North Korea’s weapon systems. You don’t get that in The Emigration. Chat beer ?  Not really.

Their own beer, despite the plastic glass, was cool and tasty (NBSS 3.5).

A gem.

Astonishingly, Platform 3 is the fourth GBG entry for Claygate in recent years.

The village pretty much is your idea of Surrey, a mix of whiteboarded buildings, electronic gates, bijou shopping arcades and a rare 17th century one-sided football pitch that I think Duncan may have missed on his visit.


*Original cover, of course


  1. How very quaint Sir! Worth missing a few train for, not so sure it’s one for the cold winter evenings! However Julian Cope’s masterpiece ‘Kilimanjaro’ is. I’m looking at my own copy and fondly remembering his ‘Club Zoo’ era, particularly one evening in The Pyramid Club, Liverpool and a drunken spat I had with Pete Byrne.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These micro pubs are getting worse,lets suppose it is in the middle of winter and it rains for days on end,no one would want to drink outside in the cold,the beer must then go off if it does not open.
    What is this GBG thingy up to putting places like that in for poor souls like you Martin to go off and do,there must be some proper pubs close by more deserving of being in the GBG.
    But i am a pub fan and as i have said before the beer comes second.

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  3. I have used my Oyster card to go to Dartford which is well out of zone 6,it worked out quite a lot cheaper than getting a tube from Golders Green to Liverpool Street and paying a separate train fare,i an not sure if this is the case in Surrey,but going East to Kent it worked for me as they had a Oyster Card point at Dartford train station.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Martin, that is a good, well chosen, well executed phot of the 455 at Claygate. You must have a good mind for such things as I chose the same image when I visited on the 8th of March 2014 prior to the second BRAPA pilot day to North London. I recall a high standard but posh and expensive on the station approach road. I’ll try to dig out my pictures from the day – I suspect I have one of the pub in its previous guise.

    There is a map of where Oyster and contactless bank card can be used here: this is what is traditionally called the London Connections map. Various non London areas have been added – I think Dartford was added to Zone 8 because so many people thought it was valid there – the number of penalty fares issued to even interchanging passengers was huge.

    Claygate is not valid on plastic cards, however with a Day Travelcard you can get a (cheap) day return from Boundary Zone 6 to Claygate. Similar fares are available for the majority of NSE destinations, they will vary depending on the time of day and if it is a weekday or weekend. Some self service machines will issue them, any competent booking clerk and if you come across one the TTI on the train into London. Just be sure to have it before boarding the train to your out of Travelcard zones destination.


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