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The Nightingale, Balham, SW12

97 Nightingale Lane
SW12 8NX
Phone: 02086731637

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 8 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

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hondo . left this review about The Nightingale

Young's pub with a bare boarded interior and a U shaped bar. 6 real ales and food served.

On 29th October 2017 - no rating submitted
[User has posted 2762 recommendations about 2704 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

custodian 42 left this review about The Nightingale

Young's pub with six hand pumps with their usual offerings. Lounge and tap room with the bar in the middle. TV not on, happily. Some outside seating.

On 28th August 2017 - rating: 4
[User has posted 1673 recommendations about 1671 pubs]

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Pub SignMan left this review about The Nightingale

This is a Grade II listed Young's pub, dating back to 1853, that has thankfully survived the brewery's penchant for destroying this type of pub with over the top refurbishments, leaving a wonderful, community based pub that is well worth seeking out. The interior, despite having no physical demarcation, is essentially a two room affair, with a U shaped area to the right which wraps itself around the servery and seems popular with the locals, and a more open space to the left with a lot more room and a mixed clientele. The area around the servery boasts some lovely etched glass windows and a huge Nightingale mirror. A few button backed pews and standard banquettes provide a bit of seating for those who decide not to line the bar counter. There are old paintings on the wall, all in keeping with the pub's traditional feel and I noticed a big TV screen which was turned off on my visit. In the furthest corner there is a dartboard, but you'd need to visit at a much quieter moment than I did to stand any chance of playing on it. The rest of the pub is essentially a decent sized rectangular room split by a few structural pillars and walls. Banquettes and standard chairs provide most of the seating options although there are a few centrally placed armchairs that look worth bagging if you arrive early enough. More old pictures can be viewed on the walls, as well as cigarette cards, a lovely painting of the pub and a display of the Young's bottled beer range. There is also a large cheque on the back wall which I believe shows the amount raised by the 'Nightingale Walk' - an annual charity event run by the pub for over 30 years. A small extension at the rear has a few stools along a ledge and leads out to a garden which I didn't bother to explore in the dark, although I did notice posters promoting garden parties. The pub does food and there were a fair few eating when I arrived. I didn't manage to spot a menu, but the specials board listed a few very tempting meals.
The ale selection here is encouragingly not exclusively restricted to Youngs beers, although Ordinary and Special were both available. Guests on my visit were Adnams Topaz Gold, Robinsons Dizzy Blonde and McMullen's Cask Ale. I gave the Dizzy Blonde a try and it was in great shape. Keg options included Meantime Yakima Red and Aspalls Cider.
I have been meaning to pay this pub a visit for ages but it's slightly isolated location meant that I never got round to it. I'm really glad I finally made the effort to get out here as it's a really well run pub that serves a good cross section of the community well. I was really impressed and will be back sooner rather than later.

On 8th December 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2546 recommendations about 2546 pubs]

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Just a quick pint, then I'm off left this review about The Nightingale

Attractive Youngs house, partly opened-out inside to form a 'J'-shaped bar with three connected seating areas to the rear. Unfussy decor. Patio beer garden with a few tables out front. Five of seven handpumps in operation, including Adnams Topaz Gold (£3.84) as a guest. A nice place for a pint, giving the impression of being a valued community pub.

On 6th November 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 6222 recommendations about 6222 pubs]

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Malden man left this review about The Nightingale

This is an attractive double gable fronted pub which unusually has an unsymmetrical appearance due to one gable being smaller than the other. Built in London yellow stocks, the front elevation also has a pair of panels of probably original Victorian tiling. L-shaped inside, the front entrance marked "Saloon Bar" leads into an area with a dartboard, a picture of the pub, the 1899 pub cricket team and a couple of cartoon style drawings of an old boy fishing. The longer area beyond the bar returns back quite some way leading to an add-on which in turn leads on to a pleasing sunny rear garden with cover, patio heaters and unusually a second dartboard. This rear area has a few more framed cartoons, some cigarette cards as well as a wall dedicated to the pub's chosen charity, guide dogs. Seating is mostly of the traditional type plus bar stools although there is one long high table in the rear area and a pair of armchairs. Central is an unusual high level island fireplace.
The add-on section has a hop sack on the wall with a host of pump clips around it confirming that although this is a Youngs pub, they have a very good guest rotation policy. Beers on were Youngs Ordinary (Bitter), Special was turned around, Sambrooks Wandle, Doom Bar and Twickenham Honey Dark. Behind the bar were various bottles of Meantime beers from Greenwich.
Food specials menus on the tables have suggested beer companions, eg oven baked whole baby plaice (Meantime Pilsner); lambs liver, bacon and mash in red wine gravy (Meantime Chocolate Porter).
I thoroughly enjoyed my short stay in this welcoming proper pub, the overall ambience enhanced by the TV showing horse racing with a few animated locals urging their bets on, the small black dog lying in its corner with a few toys and a bowl and just seeing groups of friends drinking, chatting and enjoying the day. Highly recommended.

On 21st April 2013 - rating: 8
[User has posted 1687 recommendations about 1663 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about The Nightingale

This is a Young’s house, but as well as the usual range they had on Sambrook’s Wandle and Butcombe Bitter. The Butcombe Bitter was superb, but at the not so superb price of £3.40 a pint. It seems that this week (13 – 17 Sep) they’re have a “British week”, with “British food specials” being served, and Young’s Bitter at £2 a pint. The Bitter is confusingly referred to as “Young’s PA Bitter”, a term which I had not seen before, and does not appear on the pump clip. But not to worry. The British week is followed immediately by a beer festival from 18 Sep to 3 Oct. The pub itself, like so many, clearly has roots as an old fashioned boozer (note the date of 1853 on the outside wall), and still retains the basic character of a traditional pub.
As you enter, the main bar area on the left is carpeted and furnished with normal tables and chairs, and the smaller bar area on the right, which looks as if it might have been the public bar in a previous incarnation, is bare boarded with banquettes and more normal tables and chairs. The walls are covered with masses of decor, including numerous prints, and the giant sized cheque to which a previous reviewer has referred. In keeping with British week, there are Union Flags all over the places, plus pictures of beefeaters, Tower Bridge, and St Stephen’s Tower (referred to as Big Ben if you’re a tourist). To be a honest I don’t think all the British stuff adds to the appearance of the pub, but that’s just my opinion, and in case I guess that it’s just temporary.
I had a warm welcome form the barmaid, Joanie, which made me feel welcome even if it was only my first visit. This is the sort of honest, clean, comfortable yet unpretentious pub that I really like, and to which I should love to pay a return visit.

On 15th September 2010 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2577 recommendations about 2495 pubs]

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Steve C left this review about The Nightingale

This is a decent Young’s pub that had four of their ales available along with Bombardier and a selection of standard and premium products during my visit before Christmas. I found the staff to be very friendly and the locals harmless. There were too many people eating for my liking, but there was a Christmas party in attendance so maybe the number of diners is not normally so large.

There is a dartboard at the front of the pub where the bar is very narrow, but there is plenty of standing space and seating at the rear where the pub opens up. There is also a good sized well kept beer garden out the back that I’d imagine being nice in the summer.

The plasma screen was off and I spotted no sport advertisements and I cannot remember any background music being played. However, I did spot a lot of photos of past charity events on a back wall and an admirable cheque of £425,000 highlighting the monies raised by the pub for various charities since 1979.

I’m not the biggest Youngs fan, but the Guinness was good and I liked it in here so would gladly return.

On 11th February 2010 - rating: 7
[User has posted 3592 recommendations about 3571 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about The Nightingale

A small traditional Youngs pub with the ghost of the old two-room layout, with an island bar. On a dreary December afternoon this place was very welcome – a cosy interior, real fire and a lovely atmosphere. Ales were the usual Youngs plus a welcome sighting of Tribute, which slipped down a treat and was in great form. There were also a wide range of Youngs bottled beers available. The barman was friendly and on-the-ball. A dart board was available and the TV was thankfully turned off. The pub seems big on charity events with a section of the back wall plastered with photos of past events. I really liked the windows at the front of the pub and am pleased in general that the Youngs pub-wrecking crew have been kept out of here.

I had a great time in here as did my drinking companions and I’d be more than happy to go back at some point. A proper pub.

On 30th December 2009 - rating: 9
[User has posted 4042 recommendations about 4030 pubs]

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lee de villiers left this review about The Nightingale

its in balham sw12 not baltham sw12

On 10th December 2006 - rating: 10
[User has posted 1 recommendations about 1 pubs]

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Philip Carter left this review about The Nightingale

Very nice pub, walls adorned with pictures of guide dogs.

On 5th October 2006 - rating: 8
[User has posted 753 recommendations about 716 pubs]