What’s it named after? The main road this pub sits on used to be known as the New Cross Turnpike – it charged its users a toll. The road led to… New Cross.
What’s the carpet like?
This pub shouldn’t be here. Or it maybe it should be called The Phoenix instead. On the morning of 31 August 2015, fire wrecked The New Cross Turnpike. More than 100 firefighters were called to the bank holiday blaze, which started in a boiler room, but the roof and half the first floor were destroyed. There were no injuries, but the smoke could be seen for miles.
Thankfully for the pub-goers of Welling, JD Wetherspoon rebuilt the New Cross Turnpike, and it opened its doors again less than six months later. The local fire commander cut the ribbon. And the new-look pub is… well, a bit swish. Look, there are plug sockets and USB ports for your phone!
It’s Monday, and it’s quiet. Quiet enough for the friendly team leader to nip upstairs for a chat with her mates. The crowd’s younger than you’d expect, with a couple of guys furtively listening to football commentary upstairs.
The interior’s unusual – you come into a wooden-floored bar area, and then you can take the steps up to a mezzanine floor, or there are stairs at the side up to the first floor. Or you can climb more stairs to a roof garden. (It’s winter, it’s 9pm, we’re not doing that.) It’s brightly lit and if you’re a fan of Spoon’s Carpets, you have to head for the stairs.
There’s even a little window where you can see into the magic of the “cellar” (it’s actually on the mezzanine level). We can’t decide whether this is a Wetherspoon take on a craft beer bar or a town centre bar (despite closing at midnight) or a bit of both. It’s cosier upstairs, though, and you can look down and gaze upon the rest of the pub.
But it’s so quiet, there isn’t really much to look at. Apart from the man who nearly falls down the stairs, managing – miraculously – not to spill his pint. It’s only 9.30, and already the scrubbing brushes are out behind the bar. It’s been suggested that some of the regulars followed the staff to Bexleyheath’s Wrong ‘Un and Furze Wren after the fire, and still haven’t come back. Looking around, that makes sense.
Despite the friendly staff, it all feels a bit soulless, a pub looking for the kind of crowd that isn’t going to head to Welling.
Maybe it’s a bit livelier at the weekend, or perhaps this is one for summer, with its roof terrace, and beer garden. Hopefully, the New Cross Turnpike will find its mojo again.
Address: 55 Bellegrove Road DA16 3PB
Buses: 51, 89, 96, 422, 486, B15, B16
Trains: Welling (Zone 4 – Southeastern)
Social media: The New Cross Turnpike is on Facebook.