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.
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).
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