There must have definitely been something in the air last night. I’m not sure if it was the fact that it was Friday, payday (FINALLY!), or it was just a long week, but all I wanted to do after work was chill out and possibly go out for a drink or two.
Or maybe because I’ve been spending so many Friday nights at home, I just wanted to be out and about.
Unfortunately I hadn’t planned anything, and I wasn’t about to head into Soho alone. There’s no worse feeling than being in a busy pub by yourself watching others chat away with their little groups of friends.
So instead I came home after reading for a bit in a coffee shop in Brixton. After having a simple dinner, I was curled up on the sofa reading some more when my housemate suggested we head into Crystal Palace for a couple drinks, and maybe do a little pub crawl.
What a terrific idea. And funnily enough I had thought about heading into Crystal Palace for a drink or two when I was on my way home.
So off we went and headed to a pub called Westow House that I’d never been before, but had walked by many times heading to the park or the bus station. It’s a fairly large pub with a big front garden/smoking area full of picnic tables, and occasionally has live music on the weekends.
It was an alright pub, but the crowd wasn’t really to my taste – was a mostly younger, somewhat preppy crowd that you could tell could sometimes get a bit rowdy (as evidenced by the bouncers on the door).
After a pint there, we headed down the road to The Alma, a very clean, modern pub with super high ceilings and really wide tables that are more suited to a restaurant-type scenario (they do food as well, obviously).
Although the staff was friendly (and kinda cute lol) and they had a more upscale selection of beers, ales and ciders, the place has one fatal downfall – it’s LOUD. When we were there, there was maybe a dozen people there and the music wasn’t super loud, but because of how it’s set up and the high ceilings, you had to almost shout to be heard.
After that we headed across the street to the pub we both like in the area – The White Hart. We’ve both been there many times before, even going for their ‘burgers & beer’ mid-week special a few weeks ago.
I think what’s great about this place is how it’s an old-school pub that’s been modernised without losing the charm of the place. It’s got a great back garden for smokers as well as tables out front for when they close the garden later in the evening (to reduce noise for the residential neighbours), and a super friendly staff.
What’s also great about the place is how it’s somewhere anyone in the area can go to and just be themselves. There’s been a couple times when I’ve seen a couple guys holding hands without fear of anyone making an issue of it (plus one or two of the staff are obviously gay, though the place isn’t a gay bar).
Interestingly while we were there last night, I ran into a former shag who lives in nearby Penge. I hadn’t seen or heard from him in years despite us previously going out for drinks a couple times as mates (long story.. maybe another time). He was there with some family visiting from Ireland to celebrate his 40th birthday. It was nice to bump into him, and hopefully will again sometime soon.
A little bit later my flatmate and I found ourselves chatting out front with one of the cute bartenders from The Alma who’d just moved to the area (he’d come for a drink after his shift). He’s clearly straight, but was funny and charming, and it was great to get a newbie’s perspective on the area.
Last night made me consciously realise that there is a social life out here in the suburbs, I just need to be willing to get out there and find it.
And hopefully it’ll lead to me making a few friends in the area to hang out with here and there.
Though for today, it’s all about getting past the hangover. 😀