You had me at “Prosecco on tap”.
Though the makers of this increasingly-popular Italian fizzy wine are up in arms about it being served on draught in some British pubs, it’s a great gimmick to get a diverse range of drinkers through the door of this former sports bar.
If more proof were needed that the site’s former guise of TJ Doyles is long gone, you need only step inside.
The Irish flags and sports memorabilia have been ditched in favour of a more contemporary loft vibe with bare brick walls, chandeliers, a feature Vespa and an impressive copper bar. It all blends together well and really makes the most of the period features of this historic pub.
After lying derelict for two years, the pub reopened last November with the aim of breathing new life into the Deptford drinking circuit, a route once walked by the workers at the nearby shipyards.
And the new look has enough about it, without being over-the-top contemporary, to lure new people to this off-the-beaten track stretch of pubs, which also includes the King’s Arms and The Saltgrass. It still offers Sky Sports and a good range of real ales for the regulars, but the screens aren’t too in your face for those who’d rather give the footy a miss.
A renovated beer garden was also prettier than I expected with its lavender pots and hanging baskets, further boosting the site as a destination pub for those wanting to spend a night on the tiles in Deptford, away from the hullabaloo of the bars in town.
We visited early doors on a Friday night to try out the food after hearing good things.
It was pretty quiet ahead of the throng of Friday night drinkers so we had the waitress’ attention all to ourselves.
For those after a real bargain, make sure you visit on a weekday between 2pm and 5.30pm when you can pick up three courses for a purse-pleasing £6.95.
We chose from the post-5pm main menu, which includes a range of English-inspired pub grub classics such as beef hotpot (£7.95), corned beef hash (£6.95) and a range of dips including pork and stuffing dip (£4.95). However, the vegetarian options are somewhat limited. And, weight watchers beware too: the menu is all proper hearty stuff that befits its pub setting.
I dipped into the grill section for my choice of 8oz fillet steak. It’s the priciest option on the menu at £16.95, but it’s a fair price for this cut of meat, which comes with chips, balsamic roasted tomatoes, onions and mushrooms.
I swerved chips for extra salad which didn’t prove a problem and our orders of three steaks were served pretty soon after ordering. I’d asked for it medium rare and it was just that: a satisfying thick hunk of steak in which my knife slid into with ease to reveal its pink flesh.
You can pay an add on of £1.95 each for sauce, but one of the huge boats of thick peppercorn would have been enough for the three of us.
After the meat feast, we were stuffed, but a dessert blackboard made a valiant attempt at tempting us with choices such as Oreo cheesecake (£3.15) and banana split with toffee and chocolate sauce (£3.75) – told you this isn’t the place to go if you’re counting calories.
Instead, we chose to round off our meal with more of that free-flowing fizz (£3.95 a glass). And for the Prosecco purists out there, it still tasted as good out of a keg as a bottle.