What’s it named after? There’s been a Greyhound public house on this site since at least 1797.
What’s the carpet like?
And there’s tiling too…
Bromley is lucky enough to have two JD Wetherspoon pubs. We’ll visit The Richmal Crompton another time, so you join us in what the regeneration-minded council would have you believe is called “Bromley North Village”. Indeed, there’s the village idiot taking a piss out in the street, at 7pm on a Sunday, while a mum and her kids are walking past. Charming.
The “village” thing may be a load of old rubbish – check out the terrible Hollywood-style “BROMLEY NORTH” sign by the station (closed on Sundays, as travelling by train is considered sinful by the town fathers). But the north end of Bromley has needed a kick up the backside for years. Slowly, the area’s pubs seem to be responding to newer arrivals, priced out of inner London and finding a berth in BR1. Whisper it, this might be the new Penge some day.
The geezerish Swan and Mitre has had a mini-makeover, the Barrel and Horn has had a revamp too, while by the station Antic has refashioned the Railway Tavern into a fine pub. And the Star and Garter has been reborn as a craft beer emporium, albeit with a terrible gloomy soundtrack and some way to go until it is finished. (Once they sort that, it’ll be great – it’s worth a visit.)
The Greyhound was, frankly, a dump. Full of “the least friendly grunts in Bromley”, the original pub was put out of its misery in 2006. Five years later, JD Wetherspoon revamped and reopened it – and you know what? The Greyhound is bloomin’ terrific, like stepping into first class after being stuck in economy.
First things first – it has a fire. There’s a Christmas tree next to it. You can sit by the fire and feel like an old-style festive TV announcer. This is one of the cosiest pubs we’ve set foot in, but it’s actually deceptively big, with another room opening up to your left. It’s the Tardis of pubs. You can tell it’s a newer Spoons because it’s well-lit, but not too bright.
In fact, there are two Christmas trees here – and the decorations seem a touch above the standard Spoons tinsel. There’s also an incredible chandelier. (Or maybe it’s just a fancy lightshade.)
The crowd is mixed, with fewer of the solo male drinkers you tend to find in Wetherspoons. Though there is a middle-aged chap on his own quietly watching videos on his phone, and a man who’s wandering around staring at people. Maybe he loves the Greyhound too much. Later, there’s an older gentleman who appears to be watching a war film on his mobile.
The beer selection wasn’t up to much when we visited – American Graffiti isn’t all that, but Todd washes all that away. But what’s this? £3.09 a pint? It was only £2.39 at The Capitol in Forest Hill. Five years on, a few pence on a pint is still needed to deter the village idiots. Nobody seems to mind, though – the bar is busy and it’s clear they could do with an extra pair of hands serving.
There are some Wetherspoon trademarks – a steady turnover of customers, and the tables are, as usual, crammed into the place. There’s a lovely cosy spot in the corner by the fire that would be great if two tables hadn’t been crammed into the space rather than one.
The Greyhound gets busier as the evening goes on, with the gentle hubbub of middle-aged men’s laughter.
The couple next to us checking the time of the next 358 bus have gone and are replaced by another couple, this time with their grown-up son. Just above them, there’s a man preferring the company of his smartphone to his wife. And every now and then, a chap on his own will amble past, just looking delighted to have a pint in his hand.
It’s time for us to head off – we’ve chums to catch up with elsewhere – but we might just come back before the winter’s out to enjoy another fireside chat at the Greyhound. If you’re looking for a thoroughbred Spoons – head to Bromley North.
Address: 205 High Street BR1 1NY
Buses: 61, 119, 126, 138, 146, 162, 208, 227, 246, 261, 269, 314, 320, 336, 352, 354, 358, 367.
Train: Bromley North (Zone 4 – Southeastern; closed on Sundays); Bromley South (Zone 5 – Southeastern, Thameslink)
Social media: The Greyhound is on Facebook.