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

Westow House – Crystal Palace

Yes, I am aware that many of you have suggested places for us to visit in and around Crystal Palace. Rest assured we do plan to visit them all. However, I think it would be wrong not to start with Westow House. Wrong because basically this is always the first place I go to when I visit the Crystal Palace triangle (for those that don’t know, there is a road system at the heart of Crystal Palace that creates a triangle full of pubs, bars and restaurants … very trendy). The reason it’s the first place I go to may or may not have a lot to do with being desperate for a drink after walking up that hill from the train station!

However, even putting dehydration and exhaustion to one side would still make passing this most inviting looking pub very difficult.

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Out front is a vibrant and constantly buzzing seating area which draws any passing drinkers in like moths to a particularly attractive flame. On a sunny Sunday afternoon like the one we visited, it would be downright rude to walk on by.

Inside can be just as alluring. We were lucky enough to find a fantastic trio playing a selection of  Django Reinhardt covers.

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Once you add to this a varied choice of craft beers, 8 ale pumps, a selection of rotating beers and a Sunday roast menu that included half a roast chicken, and I think you’ll agree that we were in Sunday heaven.

If all of this wasn’t enough, there are two other aspects to this pub that I really love. The first is that it is such a lovely big building. No matter how busy, (and bearing in mind the craft beers, 8 ale pumps, Django Reinhardt, half a chicken etc, it’s safe to say this place can be popular), you’re almost always guaranteed a space. If not in the buzzing large front garden, or the musical front bar, then you can always try the lovely eating area at the back of the pub, complete with leather chesterfields and chandelier. (And the ubiquitous wobbly lampshade to signify that this is indeed an Antic pub – see the East Dulwich Tavern review for in-joke).

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The final thing (and most important in terms of this blog) that I love is its dog friendliness. It’s always great to go to a place that doesn’t forget our canine friends.

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If a table of help-yourself water bowls and treats wasn’t enough to make this pub a favourite for Grenson, then the fact that it is the local of his new mini schnauzer friend Honey sealed the deal. To follow an afternoon in this great pub with a run around Crystal Palace park together (see our Instagram page @manaboutadogblog if you’re interested in live footage of this momentous occasion) made this one of his favourite days.

And just for a change, (as Grenson wasn’t in a posing mood that day) I’ll leave you with a little piccie of her instead.

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A real beaut I think you’ll agree.

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

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Model Market – Lewisham

Model Market is the biggest thing to happen to Lewisham since … well … since ever really!

Now in its third year, the novelty of having such a fantastic event on our doorstep has still not worn off for En Brogue and I. And this year we get to introduce Grenson to the market vibe. For praise be, it’s dog friendly! Whoop!

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It’s run by the guys at Street Feast so if you’ve been to their Dalston Yard, Dinerama or Hawker House sites, then you’ll know what to expect from Model Market – tasty beers, super tasty cocktails and super super tasty food from the various street food vendors filling the stalls around the market. All of this is served up in an atmosphere of pure cool (I know. There is that word again! – see YDBMF post for in-joke details).

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What makes Model Market a particular favourite of mine is the fact that it is situated in an old abandoned 1950s market. I love that you can still see the old signs for electronics stalls or hairdressers alongside the modern signs advertising the street food on offer. It’s nice to be able to see a bit of the venue’s history, rather than having it all ripped out and the whole place sanitised. It also makes you feel very much like this is an organic event that has sprung up from the weeds to transform this previously abandoned and unloved site.

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I’m also pretty partial to the fact that it is just down the road from my house!

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The temporary nature of the whole experience is also enhanced by the fact that it doesn’t hang around for long. It’s open Fridays and Saturdays, 5pm to 1am (£3 after 7pm but free beforehand) for the few short months of the British summer time. It washes in like the tide, blooms for the summer and then is extinguished in time for winter (I’m throwing in mixed metaphors now for fun – see YDBMF post for in-joke details).

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The only problem with a visit to Model Market is that you may well find it very difficult to decide which one of the amazing aromas to follow to find your dinner. The choice can be overwhelming! You may find that you have to keep going back for more. After all, it’s only fair that you spread the love. Last night, after much deliberation (and libation) En Brogue and I opted for some burger action from Mother Flipper .

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Holy Moly! By rights you should really have a shower after eating the candy bacon, it’s so damned deliciously filthy!

As for Grenson, what did he think of his first visit to Model Market? Well lets just say that during his time there he had approximately 15,678 attractive young ladies (and men for that matter) come over to him and give him a cuddle! One of his favourite nights ever I think.

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We’ll be back again soon.

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

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The Gladstone – Borough

I have a confession to make. Our visit to the Gladstone in Borough actually happened a pleasant lunchtime in the distant past. There was no hint of Summer back then, not even a whiff of Spring. So why wait this long to write the post I hear you cry out in confusion? Well basically I forgot something. Something very important. Upon leaving I forgot to take this picture…

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… I know! Stupid, eh! How can you write about the Gladstone and miss out this fantastic painting on the side of the building? Without that giant piece of art most people would innocently walk on by and ignore this great little pub hidden down the back alleys of Borough.

In my defense I completely blame the pub and its tempting lunchtime deals. I had entered with the aim of a nice quiet lunchtime pint. Just the one to ease the soul after a walk around nearby Borough Market. My eye was then caught by the lunch deal of pie, mash, peas and gravy, plus a pint of real ale (wine, Becks or soft drinks for you none ale drinkers) for £9.95. Well, I wasn’t going to resist an offer like that, was I?

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So with a full belly and 100% more ale in me than I had planned, is it any wonder that I forgot to take photos when leaving?

This fantastic deal isn’t the only reason to visit this pub. It’s simply great. A real musical legend in the area – check out their live listings. You have a high chance of stumbling across an amazing new live act here, and catching them when they are basically giving you a private performance in your living room. That’s what it feels like, as the main bar is so small and cosy. An evening in here with a pieminister pie in your belly, a few pints of ale and top quality music, all delivered in a small candle lit atmosphere…heaven.

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Due to this bijoux character, you may find it a bit difficult during a busy evening if you bring along a big dog, (or even a little dog like Grenson when he’s in his ‘I’m going to stand as far away from you as possible and in the exact spot that ensures that everyone is going to stand on me’ attitude). However, there is an upstairs seating area and a roof terrace for the Summer months, there are chairs outside too, so I’m sure you could make it work. I’m also duty bound to point out that there is a pub cat! We didn’t see it on our visit but if your dog lives up to stereotype then be warned.

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Personally I prefer to visit during the day when, if you’re lucky, you can get the place to yourself and really appreciate the laid back style of this bar. Just be careful not to get a little too comfortable. The other downside to my extra pint, other than forgetfulness, was a full bladder. This is a difficult thing to deal with when it’s just you and your pooch. Grenson was also still at the stage where he would eat EVERYTHING he found on the floor (now it’s just 80%). This would not be a good thing in a men’s urinal. Luckily, as I was about to bite the bullet the  very kind barmaid saw me struggling to the gents and offered to hold him for me (the dog! stop making up your own jokes you filthy minded people at the back!).

I fully expected Grenson to be blissfully enjoying the company of his new female admirer when I returned. But to my surprise he was straining at his lead and crying for me, thinking that I’d left him. Bless him. He does love me after all!

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Well … he did then anyway, nowadays he’ll stay with anyone so long as they have treats.

So there you have it. Better late than never. The Gladstone. Fantastic live music, real ale, lunch deals, pies, art, cool decor and the possibility of bouts of forgetfulness.

Love it.

The Man and the Dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Plume of Feathers – Greenwich

OLD MAN PUB ALERT!!

Any avid readers of this blog will know that this alert, far from being a warning, is in fact a call of pure joy and approval.

I love an Old Man Pub. They’re always cosy. They always have comfy seats. They always have psychedelic carpets. They always have great ale. And they always have no nonsense bar snacks. In the case of The Plume of Feathers, it goes one further and supplies an electric fire for added cosiness. You don’t get much more Old Man Pub than an electric fire.

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But what did you expect? Of course The Plume of Feathers is a great Old Man Pub. It’s the elder statesman of all Greenwich pubs. Built in 1691 it is the oldest pub in Greenwich. It’s virtually a world heritage site. Not only do you get to experience a fantastic pub but you get a bit of history too. It’s an educational visit if nothing else!

The provision of high quality food is not necessarily a prerequisite of an Old Man Pub, however, The Plume doesn’t disappoint in this respect either as it provides a great pub grub menu. This can be enjoyed either in the bar or the lovely little restaurant room at the rear of the building.

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On top of all of this there is the added advantage for dog lovers of being just outside Greenwich Park. Grenson and I enjoyed a lovely walk, which is always good in my opinion for making your pint taste even better.

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I don’t need to say much more about this beautiful pub as the following two pictures sum up both my own, and also Grenson’s feelings…

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I think both pictures accurately convey our total satisfaction in this pub.

So if you feel the need for a bit of history, a walk around one of the best parks in London and to top it all off with a fine ale in a fine, fine pub (and personally I reckon this would all be enhanced with a Sunday roast, after all, what in life isn’t improved with a Sunday roast?!) then hunt out The Plume of Feathers. For you should always remember the famous old saying ‘You don’t have to be an old man to enjoy and Old Man Pub’ … (Note: it might not be famous, I may have just made it up, but it’s still true).

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The Man and the Dog.

 

 

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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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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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The Orchard – Brockley

We visited The Orchard on a Saturday afternoon, and despite it being what can only be described as ‘bustling’, we managed to grab a prime position on one of the leather sofas next to the Christmas tree. This comfortable spot prompted Grenson to immediately fall into a deep sleep whilst stretched out on En Brogue (or Mommy as she may be referred to in private…in relation to the dog obviously…that’s not a pet name that I have for her…that would be weird!)

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With Grenson doing his famous sleeping pub dog routine, I set about ordering a beer from the extensive menu of craft beers (and also noted the ‘let’s get quizzical’ sign. Two great things in one – a pub quiz and a cheesy pun. Must return on a Sunday and make up a team with Grenson).

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As we were in Brockley it felt only right to go for the local Brockley Pale Ale. After all, we all know that famous saying – ‘when in Brockley, drink Brockley ale’ (I think it’s famous anyway). I can report that it is a mighty fine ale indeed.

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But it’s not just the beer menu that is impressive in this place; it’s really much more of a good foodie establishment. There’s an open plan kitchen so that you can watch the chefs at work (and be assured that none of them are picking their noses whilst preparing your dinner!), all food is prepared on site or bought from local artisan suppliers, and ingredients are sourced from independent local suppliers, too.

In short, this is a great all-round independently run bar, selling local ales from local breweries, and producing food sourced from local family run businesses. So really it’s the very definition of a modern ‘local’.

I also noted that the brunch is served until 4pm on a Saturday, so you can wake up late, then indulge in a full English, complete with secret family recipe baked beans (hello!!), or alternatively if the mood takes you (and you’re a bit of a lush) you could start the day with a Breakfast Martini.

Grenson and I will definitely be returning soon. Special baked beans and a martini sound like the perfect prep for getting quizzical! We just need to brush up on Grenson’s general knowledge…and try to keep him awake long enough to participate…

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The Man and The Dog.

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