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The Signal, Forest Hill, SE23

7 Devonshire Road
SE23 3HE
Phone: 02082912225

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Signal

This is a surprisingly large pub, almost on the 'drinking barn' scale, situated on a busy junction directly opposite Forest Hill station. The pub is situated on the hill, so you find yourself ascending different levels as you move from one end of the building to the other. The lower left hand area has been set out as a casual seating space with dark floorboards, plain painted walls and a high ceiling. There's a mix of banquette and and chair seating throughout, including in a small snug-like space to the left of the entrance porch and the walls have been decorated with plain mirrors, arty blackboard images and a load of railway themed pictures. A step up takes you into the bar area which has a small raised seating section on the front wall accommodating a few tables and chairs beneath a step ladder suspended from above and in turn, hung with objects such as jugs, pans and the like. The bar is on the rear wall and has a grey painted counter front which describes a wide arc through the room, plus a large L-shaped shelving unit on the bar back an a nicely patterned side wall. Keg badge inserts decorate the upper section of the bar along with an illuminated 'Drink' sign, which is handy if you forget what you went down the pub to do. Over to the right, the pub rises again onto a very lounge-like platform furnished with sofas and armchairs around a nice tiled fireplace with a large plain mirror above and various paintings around the rest of the wall space. An upright piano and an unused TV screen also catch the eye here, as does the unusual glass case used to partition this area from the bar, which contains an old model steam engine. Fancy light fixtures and some fake floral bouquets can be spotted around the pub and I noticed a collection of board games close to the entrance as well. A door to the right lead though to what seemed to be a dining room whilst stairs take you up to a first floor function room, neither of which I explored. Dance music was playing fairly quietly and there was a reasonable mid-week evening crowd in generating a decent atmosphere.
I didn't expect much, if any, cask ale here, but there were three handpulls in operation dispensing Taylor's Landlord, Robinsons Scrooge and Black Sheep Blitzen. I opted for a pint of the latter, which the barmaid needed about a dozen attempts to pour, an even then, it was still a bit of a short measure. the pint was nothing special and I suspect they don't really get the throughput to justify three handpulls. Craft keg seemed to be more the pub's forte, with several banks of keg fonts dispensing a fair few interesting options.
I was surprised at the size of this place and thought they had done a pretty good job of not letting it all feel a bit too vast and impersonal. The lounge section was a nice enough spot to relax in although the beer could've been a lot better. Not too bad overall but there are several better pubs nearby that are likely to find favour over this place in the future.

On 12th April 2020 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2541 recommendations about 2541 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Alan Winfield left this review about The Signal

The Signal is a decent sized pub with a slight curved frontage,the pub is right outside Forest Hill train station,so very handy for me after a cock up in my travel plans.
Once inside there is a single room which runs the width of the pub,the bar faces on entry,the room is bare boarded and the seating a mix of tall tables and chairs a few posher looking chairs and normal tables and chairs,the room is on two levels due to the slight hill it is on.
There were three real ales on the bar,i had a drink of Brick Sir Thomas Gardyner which went down very well after a prolonged journey down here,the other beers were Doom Bar and Brixton Reliance Pale Ale.
There was some decent background music playing and the pub was fairly busy on my early Saturday dinner visit.
I thought this was a decent enough pub to start another South East London crawl.

Pub visited 14/5/2016

On 3rd June 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 6113 recommendations about 6113 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Rex Rattus left this review about The Signal

There were three ales on in here - Clarkshaw's Gorgon's Alive! (£2 a half), Ringwood Razor Black, and Brixton Brewery APA. All worth a punt I reckon, but I went for the Gorgon's Alive! which was in great nick and possibly the only beer with an exclamation mark in its name. Bit like Westward Ho! perhaps. This is the sort of place that surely does food, but there were no menus on the tables in the downstairs bar area. I did spot a chalkboard outside advertising plaice as the special of the day, plus I guess the food operation must be upstairs as I saw a sign at the bottom of the stairs pointing up to Georgi's Bar Rotisserie & Grill. Not investigated obviously.

The bar area downstairs is a fairly large affair, obviously stretching along the length of the pub - the width of the pub can be judged by the photographs. There is a trio of armchairs surrounding the fireplace on the right, a couple of tall tables/tall stools in a corner, but furnishings are predominantly normal tables and chairs. There were a couple of old school desks posing as tables though. There was a table by the entrance bearing magazines and leaflets and the like; a piano; several large coloured glass jars on ledges as decorative features; and most unusual of all was a large wooden Pinochio puppet sitting atop the stillion. This is the sort of lounge-like place that wouldn't have any games machines or others of their ilk, but it did have a TV on showing a rolling news channel, but muted in favour of the 70s and 80s soul music being played.

This is the sort of place that's meant to look a bit different from the norm, and I reckon they achieve that. It's not the sort of traditional pub of the sort I favour, but all in all it's a reasonable enough place in which to stop off for a pint. The real ale selection was good even if there were only three on - none of the usual suspects were present. It has of course lost any original heritage features it would once have had, but it's still worth a visit. It was very quiet during my midweek lunchtime visit - just me and a lady with her child in there - but no doubt it gets busier in the evenings.

On 16th February 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2577 recommendations about 2495 pubs]