dog friendly pubs, London, pubs for dogs, the dog blog

The Crown Tavern – Lee

There is nothing better in life than a summer evening spent in the beer garden of a country pub … ok some of you may think a beach in Barbados may trump that, but we’re a man and a dog of simple needs.

In truth The Crown in Lee is not a country pub, and alas we are still a long way from the balmy heights of summer. However, if you visit on a crisp, blue-sky spring afternoon, like the one Grenson and I enjoyed, you can sit in the excellent beer garden and fantasise about those halcyon days of summer to come.

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It is only very recently that this pub has taken on a face lift of 80s hollywood leading lady proportions. Mere days after it reopened En Brogue (whilst lost on a detour avoiding the A20) was drawn to it like a bee to nectar. I have a feeling that any fine new pubs that open in our area send out some kind of beacon, calling all those in need of a decent pint in pleasant surroundings. And this pub definitely provides that. Cask ales aplenty on offer, world class wines (according to their website), and lip smackingly good pub grub. All served in plush new interiors, either in the large bar area or in the even larger restaurant area.

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And if that wasn’t enough it also provides excellent quality floor tiles for all of your shoefie needs.

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But as already mentioned, it is the beer garden that really floats my boat.

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I very much like that it is big enough to accommodate a fair few summer revellers whilst also keeping an intimate air due to the booths (see above). I also approve of the fact that it is at the front of the pub rather than the back, so that anyone approaching on a summer evening will immediately begin to feel the garden buzz.

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But my favourite aspect has to be the use of artificial lawn. If it was good enough for Luton Town FC in the 80s then it’s good enough for a pub in Lee today, (unless you are into football and of a certain age it’s best to just ignore that last statement and skip to the picture below).

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Yes , that is a dog bowl of water brought out especially for Grenson by the bar staff. That always wins bonus points in my book. Add to that the fact that the barman also recommended a new draft ale then let me have a little taster of it first, and this pub is getting bonus points all round.

So yes, I stand by the fact that if you give me a pint of ale, a sunny evening and a beer garden with fake grass, then you can keep your Barbadian beach … (unless of course anyone wants to send us to Barbados to review their dog friendly beach bars … I’m not crazy!).

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The Man and the Dog.

 

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dog friendly cafes, London, the dog blog

Archibald’s – Lee

You can’t get much more dog friendly than a cafe that is named after the owners’ pooch. This is the case with Archibald’s in Lee. In addition to the canine friendliness, it also happens to be just a short walk from Manor House Gardens (which is Grenson’s favourite walk at the moment), and even better than that, as a bonus it also happens to be a fantastic little cafe.

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Once you step behind the green door (ooh I came over a bit Shakin’ Stevens then for a second, sorry!), you enter a beautiful little cafe that very much feels like it belongs to a different decade … in a good way.

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But it’s not just the lovely retro decor that makes this place special, it’s the top quality fare on offer – coffee from Climpson and Sons, tea from Teapigs, and cakes from … well I’m not sure where they’re from actually but I’m guessing heaven by the looks of them.

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And all that is before I even mention the brunches. All I’m saying is ham and cheese in an eggy bread sandwich. Yes that’s right, you heard me, eggy bread!

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If my word (and the above pictorial evidence) isn’t good enough for you, then may I just add that it was voted winner of best cafe / coffee shop in the Lewisham area for the 2015 Time Out Love London Awards, so it’s not just me singing the praises of this little place.

My only problem with this delightful cafe is that for some reason Grenson has taken to refusing to walk when he enters. Instead he has begun spreading out on all fours and insisting on being dragged across the floor like a mop. This obviously causes much glee for any customers quietly tucking into their eggy bread sandwich (Yes! EGGY BREAD!!). On the positive side he’s doing his bit for keeping the floor clean, thereby disproving any complaints that dogs shouldn’t be allowed in places because they might make the place dirty. My one sweeps up with his belly!

If the worst comes to the worst I’ll just have to carry him. I’m not missing out on this great little hidden gem. Did I mention that they do EGGY BREAD?!

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The Man and the Dog.

 

 

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dog friendly pubs, pubs for dogs

The Lord Northbrook – Lee

For any of you that have read previous posts (see my About page and Seaview Hotel post) you will be aware that before Grenson entered my life, my hopes for dog ownership centred very much around a vision of a roaring fire, a leather chair, a pint of ale, a packet of pork scratchings (I know they’re not to everyone’s taste but I’m from the Black Country; we give our babies scratchings instead of dummies!), and a sleepy dog snoozing at my feet. Indeed, the quest for this idyll has, in no small part, led to the very existence of this blog. However, the picture that I had created wasn’t simply a product of my imagination, it had inspiration behind it, and it was this very pub – The Lord Northbrook – where it originated.

One day, while enjoying an afternoon pint, I spotted a gentleman on the other side of the room reading the paper and enjoying an ale. But unlike me, sitting on my own like a saddo, this fellow had a little pal curled up at his feet snoring away … just to be clear: it was a dog, he didn’t just have a small tired friend sleeping under his table, that would have been weird (although, I’m sure we all know pubs where this is a possibility!). From that moment on I’ve been looking forward with great anticipation to recreating this dog/pub nirvana for myself.

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First things first, the Lord Northbrook is a great pub. Only a few years ago there were no decent pubs at all in this area of south east London where I live. It was all to do with Scottish presbyterians or something. Apparently some kill-joy Victorian built most of the area and because he didn’t enjoy enjoying himself he wrote it into law that no one else was allowed to either. Thankfully, things changed, and at around the same time that we got the refurbished Station Hotel in Hither Green, we were also gifted the Lord Northbrook. The day that an Opentable, Time Out and Shortlist award winning pub opens up just a short walk away from home is a very good day indeed!

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It’s a pub that looks good. It’s a pub that serves great ale (it’s highly likely that the staff will offer you a small taster if you find it hard to choose – always a nice touch).It’s a pub that serves great food (see all the awards). It’s a pub that also supports live music, with a band performing there most weekends. But most importantly, it is a a pub with leather Chesterfields next to an open fire! Grenson and I commandeered one of the leather sofas just as another log was put on the fire.

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As you can see from the picture above, Grenson duly obliged me by lying down, transfixed by the warming glow of the fire. I had my leather chair, I had my fine ale, I had my open fire and I had my dog curled up at my feet!

As the barman passed I enquired about the final piece in the jigsaw – ‘Excuse me, could I get a packet of pork scratchings please?’ to which I received the heartbreaking reply ‘sorry we don’t sell scratchings’… NOOOO!! So near and yet so far!!!

To be fair to The Lord Northbrook, I did then recall a Sunday evening last year when I had asked for scratchings and in lieu of the real thing, they had kindly provided me with an entire board of leftover pork crackling from that day’s roast dinners. With that filthy deliciousness in mind, I really can’t hold the lack of scratchings against this wonderful pub. And to paraphrase The Stones, ‘you can’t always get what you want … and in the case of scratchings and after a heavy festive period, that’s probably a good thing for the belly’ … or something like that.

Maybe the full dream scenario is just that, only a dream? If so, then I’m fine with that, and in the meantime I’ll have great fun continuing my quest to search it out, especially if all pubs are as good as The Lord.

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

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