The Ashburnham Arms
Ashburnham Grove SE10
Estate Agents hyperventilate over any property that comes onto the market in “The Ashburnham Triangle” (more about that another day) – they know they can make huge profits and easy sales. The people who live there realise this, and make sure that it stays nice.
This is pretty much exactly what you might expect in an area as swanky as this – a local mid-Victorian boozer updated for what is clearly a local community who actually use it.
I guess from the wine-bar-ish decor, it’s not long been refurbished – wood panelling around bottom of the walls, a fireplace stripped back to the brick, squashy armchairs at the back and a rather splendid painting of a sort of abstract map of Greenwich – The Ashburnham Arms marked with an A, of course. There’s a little conservatory at the back. Frankly it could have been done a little better, in my humble opinion – it feels a bit hastily-done, but it nevertheless provides nice surroundings in which to enjoy a quiet pint.
The beers are by Shepherd Neame (allegedly the oldest brewery in the country) who are presumably trying to meet head-on other top pubs in the area such as The Union. The punters are clearly well-heeled regulars, and they clearly love it. I’m told the food is home-cooked and lovely – but whenever I’ve been in I’ve always managed to be too late (tsk…)I will make an effort to be there when the food is still on and report back.
The pub takes a bit of finding, and I suspect the locals count on this. The piano player doesn’t quite stop when you walk in (though maybe they would if the place actually had a piano…) and it’s not an unfriendly look you get as you walk in, but there is an-ever-so-slight raising of heads and a ‘not from these parts’ atmosphere. And Quiz Night is definitely not a time to be a stranger here.
Would that there were more ‘local pubs for local people’ of this quality. The Ashburnham knows it audience and plays to it (if sometimes to the very slight exclusivity of others.)
The Ashburnham Arms is the local meeting place for our local Morris dancers, the Blackheath Morris Men. I daresay they’ll be out in force on St George’s Day…
BTW the loos are quite fun – two separate entrances leading to one room divided by a low glass barrier. His & hers sections, then a glass wash basin each, next to each other by the barrier so you can spoon over the soap.