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John the Unicorn, SE15

Pub added by Pub SignMan
157-159 Rye Lane
SE15 4TL

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

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

john gray left this review about John the Unicorn

Well described by my fellow Galoriteers. its the usual chic ,casual dump but it seems to work as its busy.Only Volden -pale and light ale but the latter was very good.

On 23rd July 2016 - rating: 6
[User has posted 965 recommendations about 951 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Pub SignMan left this review about John the Unicorn

This is one of Antic's latest ventures, opening in February 2016 in a former shop unit just a minute or two from Peckham Rye train station. You enter into a large open plan room with terrazzo flooring and a U shaped servery on the rear wall. Annoyingly, the hand pumps have been split into two banks down each side of the bar, so you need to fight your way from one side of the pub to the other in order to view all of the ale options. A lot of standard and bench seating has been used to fill the bulk of the room, which has mixed panelling on the walls and some ledges under the front windows supplemented by high stools. You can pass the bar on either side to move through to a cosier lounge style space with lots of framed pictures on the walls and a selection of comfier looking seating options. Beyond is a rather cold and lonely looking area, devoid of any customers on a busy Friday night visit. Here, large windows run along the back wall and there is some trippy, cube patterned wallpaper, with seating confined to flimsy looking plastic chairs. Stairs near the entrance lead up to a large first floor room with stacks more seating and a kitchen which was serving up a basic pie menu from a local company, but apparently has plans for expansion in the future. Music played throughout our visit and the place was absolutely heaving in the after-work peak hours we visited.
Having made my way round the bar to establish all ale options - Volden Porter, Otley Oxymoron, Brick Kinsale Bitter and one unclipped pump - I then endured an epic wait for service and when someone did eventually come to take my order, a fellow barman knocked a glass of the bar and my barman scurried off to clear it up before returning and serving someone else. I eventually got served a very good pint of the Porter and probably enjoyed it even more thanks to the prolonged anticipation.
This place felt like a bit of a work in progress, with certain areas seemingly rushed in their design and food only available from local providers, rather than from the pub's own kitchen. The service was also dismal - slow and unfocussed with no idea as to how to serve people in turn. I generally enjoy Antic pubs, but this one needs a lot of work to convince me to return - at least the beer tasted good.

On 7th April 2016 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2795 recommendations about 2795 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Rex Rattus left this review about John the Unicorn

There were four real ales on in here. The handpumps aren't on the bar counter in front of you as you enter, but instead there are two on each side as it returns to the left and right. It was necessary for me to look at what they had available on both sides, as they weren't duplicated. I had a half of something from Clouded Minds Brewery called Hazel Nutter which, somewhat unusually for a beer, but perhaps not for an ice cream, contains Italian hazel nuts. Nonetheless, it tasted like a pretty decent porter to me. This is the latest addition to Antic's rapidly expanding London empire, and it's par for the course for them to open their pubs before the kitchen is fit for use, and such is the case here where food is not yet available.

I don't know what these premises were before Antic got their hands on them, but it certainly wasn't a pub. To be honest, in typical Antic fashion, it doesn't look much like a pub now. The front of the room has some normal, but obviously cheap looking, tables and chairs, but Antic have pushed back the boundaries of tattiness with the furnishings on the left, which have tall wooden benches as tables with tall plastic and tubular metal stools that look as if they must have been around since the 60s. But possibly someone won a design award for them, they're that bad. The ceiling shows off the wooden joists, along with what looks like the underside of the floorboards in the above rooms. The toilets are upstairs, and you walk through the upstairs rooms to get to them, which affords one the opportunity to view the packing crates and the like cluttering up the place. But it's clearly a work in progress upstairs, and maybe it will be a comfortable lounge area when they've finished - of course I'm assuming the stuff lying around up there aren't some quirky decorative features. In short, it's all typically Antic.

As Antic pubs go, this one doesn't seem to be particularly comfortable, and doesn't have much of interest that is usually a feature of Antic's pubs. It doesn't really have much to entice one in - apart from the beer of course. But I'm unlikely to seek this one out again.

On 19th March 2016 - rating: 5
[User has posted 2599 recommendations about 2513 pubs]