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The Railway, West Wickham

Red Lodge Road
West Wickham
Phone: 02087760043

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Pub Type

Ember Inns (Mitchells & Butlers)

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

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about The Railway

Just over the road from West Wickham station, the aptly named Railway is a large, featureless Ember Inn with a heavy slant towards food. The pub has a large patio area to the front and side which was chock full on a hot, sticky midweek evening, much to my surprise. It wasn't any quieter inside either, with tables occupied around all four corners of the huge room which runs in a circle around a large central servery, although the was partly due to the pub quiz which was about to commence. The bar counter only runs along the front and left hand sides of the servery, suggesting a very different former layout. The decor will be familiar to anyone who has been to an Ember Inn before - red carpet, cream and grey walls, the odd bit of wood panelling here and there - all very unremarkable. One unusual feature was a series of raised fireplaces, including one right next to the front entrance, whose unusual elevated position may have been for either practical or aesthetic purposes, although I couldn't figure out which. Moving left, there were some plush padded benches and standard chairs, much of which was hidden behind a series of clumsily arranged support pillars, with another fireplace thrown into the mix. Further back, the seating area opens up a touch and there is access to a rear garden, although in reality this is a tiny patio area with minimal seating and a weird multi-arm drinking ledge. Moving round the back of the servery, a mix of lounge and dining room seating vies for space, with this arrangement continuing into the right hand portion of the pub, all accompanied by more raised fireplaces. Carrying on to the front right corner, you complete the circuit of the bar in a sparser space with a genuinely attractive fireplace and a few potted plants. A few sketches adorn the walls and there was a shelving unit holding random bits of bric-a-brac, but it was the endless supply of blackboards that oppressively dominated the walls, giving the place a very corporate feel. They must like quizzes in West Wickham, as the pub hosts two a week and the place also advertised a psychic night.
The pub has made the occasional appearance in the Good Beer Guide in recent years (although not the 2017 edition), and maintains a decent ale policy. Options on this visit were Brakspear Bitter, Black Sheep Ember Pale Ale, Fullers London Pride and something badged as Sky Sports New Season, with two more pumps unclipped. An encouraging collection of pump clips runs all around the bar back, mocking you with glimpses of far more interesting beers that have been on in the past. I tried the Brakspear Bitter which was a good 50p cheaper than any of the other ales and in reasonable shape.
Ember Inns generally leave me cold and I have to say that were it not for me chancing upon a particularly busy evening, I would have had little to enjoy here. In fact, the decor and layout put me in mind of a Flaming Grill-type pub, which can't be a good thing. Having said that, it redeemed itself with a decent ale range at sensible prices and a buzzy atmosphere from an obviously appreciative local crowd. For me, it's okay in passing but I wouldn't want to spend a whole evening here.

On 6th October 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 2620 recommendations about 2620 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Quinno _ left this review about The Railway

Large, modern Ember Inn. Well kitted out, smelt new so must have had a recent refurb. Comfy hotel lounge style décor with warm shades from the palette. Six pumps, four ales (Pride, Youngs, Harveys, Sunny Republic) plus Thatchers Heritage. My Harveys was a solid drop. Noticed a ‘Vote for the next guest ale’ display at the bar. As is normal for Ember, there’s a hefty slant towards food and families though the youngness of the Saturday evening crowd was more teenage/twentysomething than toddler. A selection of board games was available plus a limited number of daily papers. A tidy place that is a worthwhile train-waiting pub, if not quite an alighting special. A 6.5 but I’ll be generous and let it have a 7.

On 27th January 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 4200 recommendations about 4187 pubs]