Thursday 6 August 2020


Samuel Palmer wasn't the only person who indicated that Redhill might not be the most beautiful place I'd visit during my epic Surrey holiday, but then again, his was the only quote on the wall in the local Wetherspoons.  Maybe if he too had been hitting the Old Peculiar at 11am, as I was, he'd have had a slightly SUNnier outlook on the town. 

The Sun, Redhill (1765 / 2982) felt like a good fit for the town to me, after all if you want to see 'life' there are no better places to come to than the local 'Spoons. A few haunted looks on the faces of the locals as I plonked myself down into a very inviting looking seat, all on it's own, facing out into the pub.  Then I noticed the plaques of the dead, TEN of them all around MY seat.  I suddenly felt chilly, and it wasn't the Old Peculiar which was as room temp as you'd hope!  Ever been to that pub in Fleetwood nicknamed the Dead 'Uns?  It was that, but more concentrated.  Epic.  The cackling of a motivated witch in the centre of the room added the 'life' we needed, and when one her male companions got up to offer her a drink, she jumped up and shouted "ROCK ON TOMMY" at the top of her voice.  That is a comedy reference even I'm too young to get.  Probably.  What a way to start the day.  

A brisk 15 minute walk to the outskirts of town took us to pub two, possibly not far enough out for Samuel Palmer's liking but certainly a bit more of a gentle village style feel to these surroundings.  'Twas time to go 'Down the Hatch' .........

Don't you have a Sunday board?  

"You sittin' in or out?" asks the bored looking barmaid at The Hatch (1766 / 2983)  it was a question I'd be asked a lot this week and after a quick appraisal of the interior, total lack of customers and boom boom boom of the music (no, it wasn't even as good as the Outhere Brothers) I decide it is one of those occasions where you'd actually feel more 'a part of things' in the cute little courtyard at the front, even if it was a perfectly formed freehouse.  After all, the barmaid had sneezed whilst serving me and was a bit too quick to point out that she has hayfever!  'Definitely not Coronavirus then?' I ask, just wanting to check.  She didn't laugh.  A later trip to the loo made me notice a nice hidden snug, and a sign for 'even more secret seating'.  I'd normally pick up my pint and go for a wander, but this 'modern pubbing' kind of forbids that in some places, and I didn't wanna cause consternation so stayed put!  My ale was from a new brewery to me, Godstone, and it was nice to smile in a superior way at the passers by who looked as miserable as you might expect from a Redhill resident without a pint in hand.

In even leafier climes, but on a main road slightly back in the direction of centre, came my third and final Redhill tick.

Nerves were a-jangling, because during my 'pub research period', I'd not seen anything quite like this next one.  Seemed you had to ring the pub, they would email you a document to complete and return, and then they'd think about giving you a two hour slot on either there upper, lower or middle garden at designated points in the afternoon.  'Bollocks to that!' I thought, 'I'm gonna have to wing it'. 

My heart sank a little bit more as I approached and saw the kind of metal gates you get at a gig venue, turning you one way to pick up your 'take out' beer.  And the other way for pre-bookings.  Uh oh.     

But as I sidle up to this kind lady sat at a desk, she was more than happy for me to come in for a drink at the Garibaldi, Redhill (1767 / 2984), handing me over to this young dude who leads me through to the garden, and wow, it took my breath away, I've rarely seen a more wonderful pub garden in the whole of the UK, and I have seen a lot of pub gardens.  I could now appreciate the upper, middle, lower aspect, think I was in 'middle' as he gives me this laminated drinks menu with about 5,000 drinks on but where's the cask ale, I ask with panic in my eyes, turning to a strangely empty blackboard .......

"Oh don't worry, the rain washed them off the blackboard!" he tells me, and I end with an Iron Pier and wonder if BRAPA didn't exist how nice it would be to sit here all afternoon and work my way down the craft beer list!  Might skip Newcy Brown, ya know, never been a fan of that stuff.  Colin is in his element, and for a sunny Sunday peak afternoon, the almost total lack of any other customers cannot have been what this pub was envisaging on 4th July when they put their strict measures in place.  I see it is a community owned pub, but a gosh darn friendly one (strangely I find they are often the most insular).  I wonder if a sense of responsibility to the local community weighed heavily on their shoulders and therefore forced their hand re the stricter online measures.  But sat out here, resting on a grassy bank, I can't think of many moments during my nine days in Surrey where I felt more content.  

I heard about another great Redhill pub called the Garland, but despite seeing it, no time for that as I had GBG pubs in Reigate and Dorking to do.  My luck couldn't last could it?  Of course not, this was BRAPA.  Join me in part 4 tomorrow for more tales of that.



  1. Great photos again. Have you been on a course or has Lockdown steadied your hands.

    Redhill is a dump, isn't it?

    The Spoons and that Youngs place over the road were my last pints before a 1998 Gatwick flight to Harare, which felt like Paradise in comparison.

    I only did the Garibaldi last year, and had to revisit the Sun, it was gloriously scruffy.

    I have no recollection of the Hatch at all, despite my massive spreadsheet telling me it was good.

    You'll be back for that Garland, I wager.

    1. Redhill is definitely a dump, with very few redeeming features. Several years ago, son Matthew was seconded there for a six month stint, to the local branch of the hardware chain he works for. He couldn't wait to leave.

      It's a pity the Garland isn't in the guide, as it's a Harvey's tied house, which is something of a rarity in Surrey.

      The Young's pub (Home Cottage?), has seen several incarnations, but I haven't been in there for ages.

      A pint of Old Peculiar as the first pint of the day? What a legend!

    2. Haha! New phone, bigger lens, better quality. I can take no credit.

      Yes I love how deliciously dumpy Redhill is. Take that Surrey!

      Wow , I can't think of a better pre-Mugabe duo. Was that when you walked into his grounds or something thinking they were the southern most Brunning & Price?

      I assume Garibaldi is more boring inside? I sometimes think these outdoor expereinces actually HELP.

      Happy to go back for Garland, after all, I have unfinished Dork business nearby. Not to mention the Bell in Reigate grrr.

    3. Yes, wandering into Mugabe private grounds hoping for a preemptive tick. Try that in North Korea, Si.

    4. Oooh yeah, that's a challenge, Kim Jong's Ale House, no doubt I'd get there and there'd be evidence of a visit from those bikers with their beer towel outfits!

      Thanks Paul! Always surprises me how people tend to 'build up' to the stronger ales. To me, makes more sense to start on the heavier, harder to drink strong ones, and work your way down to more sessionable stuff when your drinking slows down - but think am in minority who believe that!

      You know when the plaques in the local Spoons slags off Redhill, it must be bad. Can't imagine that happening in pretty much any other town!

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  2. Well if there ain’t going to be a happy ending, at least a nice happy bit in the middle is good. Waiting for Pt4 worriedly....

    Glad to see that the Garibaldi was so good - and that bottled beer list really takes the biscuit...

    ..and lovely to see Colin enjoying himself in the garden - should have his own raised bed really. ;)

    1. Oh yes GH, funny how pub ticking days are never 'straight line'. There always has to be a good point, followed by a low, followed by a high, followed by another low just when you are getting relaxed.

      Haha, I see what you did there re Garibaldi. Now why didn't I think of that?

      Colin seemed perfect for that garden, and a couple of others I did. It'll be interesting when I take him up north or to other counties whether he gets more reaction than he did in Surrey, which was next to none.