A couple of contrasting pubs to finish off lovely but overpriced Surrey. First up Friday Street, of which there is more than one in the GBG.
Compare and contrast the pristine pink-penned Beer Guide page with my ragged old Philip Navigator.
I’m a fan of the Surrey Hills below the A25, in the heart of the bluebell woods,
except on a Bank Holiday where the townies* are out in force.
“It’s almost, literally, like, the countryside”
(Deep breath) “Ahhhh”
And aren’t folk from London slow ? I thought they all had important work to get to. At least that meant I beat about 350 of the sloths to the bar at the Stephan Langton Inn.
It’s what we’d call a “honeypot” location in Cambridge, thought that often describes the diacetyl expected in the beer in posh dining pubs.
Making its first appearance in the Guide (in my pub lifetime, anyway), it really is gorgeous, though as expected it’s 80% restaurant/20% pub.
This was my view in the bar;
Anybody who just squinted at the handpumps is missing the point. The place was full of folk massively over-prepared for a ten mile stroll in the hills, imagining they were up Skiddaw or something. While the trainee Wainwrights dithered, I commandeered the last free posing table, much to their annoyance (impressive evil eye). Pace, people, pace.
This was my ringside view of the action;
Apart from folk in Guy Richie hats, there were children, there were riding crops, there were pointless neck scarves, there was a couple who sat silently and stared sullenly at each other for 15 minutes. All human life was here, and most of it was acting like it had never been in a pub before.
Best of all, we had very topical beer payment drama. A lady attempted to buy a pint with her card, was shocked that it didn’t cost more than the £5 minimum payment, and proceeded to attempt to add items to it to get the total just over the £5. Her mental maths were quite shameful. “Buy the Pringles. Buy the Pringles” I hissed under my breath, to no avail.
It was brilliant, and the local Tillingworth beer was good as well (NBSS 3.5). And only £3.60 a pint. In Surrey.
If that isn’t enough to tempt you there, the toilets are marked Duck and Drake. What on earth does that mean ? And, more importantly, who’s taking a bet Simon will go in the wrong one (as I did).
An old posh chap said to his wife “I’m just going to use the bathroom. I don’t know how long I’m going to take“. Only in Surrey.
The walks from the pub door were full of hikers saying “Hi“, which I hate, so I headed uphill into the Copse, which must have been more challenging an ascent than it looks as I saw not a soul for the next half hour.
Tomorrow, Reigate, the land that Craft forgot.
*Folks from “that London”.