The Union Pub

Royal Hill.

This is best known for its beer. Greenwich Meantime Brewery is justly renowned for its attention to detail and fine ales and The Union is its preferred watering hole. A friend of ours who travels all over the world writing books about beer still reckons that the Meantime Brewery is among the best – certainly in Britain. I guess we’re lucky to have a local pub that only serves decent brews. Of course this means nothing to me as a non-beer drinker, but my partner is a big fan and is always delighted to sample a new beer in the name of Quality Control.

I confess that beer is the best thing the Union pub does. Saturday was our latest visit. They’re friendly enough – though admittedly we weren’t allowed to sit where we liked in an otherwise empty pub because they were expecting a “large party” – who never turned up.

They supply papers so you can lounge around reading and drinking, but – well – for me, the place lacks atmosphere. Decent beer goes a long way – but this place is either full of hideous trendy types – or empty of anything other than the aforesaid beer. The menu looked ok on Saturday so we decided to forgo The Hill, which we were on our way to (they do good chips) and try out the food.

It took several beers to arrive though I didn’t mind too much as the music was good. Trouble is – the food just isn’t much cop. I had to send my fish and chips back – the fish was still uncooked, inside very underdone batter. The second version frankly wasn’t much better – sloppy, watery, anaemic and bland. The chips were a similar pale cream colour. My partner’s food was just about ok – but as he admitted – what can go wrong with a baguette?

As we were leaving the trendy brigade was trickling in – suddenly we just didn’t feel even slightly welcome any more. It needs more than good music and beer to make a pub work – and somehow I realised that I was never going to fit in here. My partner’s a big fan of the beer – but you can buy it in bottles from The Cheeseboard down the road. We won’t be bothering with the pub any more.

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