I was in a really good mood as I approached the Windsor Castle, Clapham. It was Friday, the sun was beating down and I was just about to have my first pint of the weekend.
On my way into the pub, I walked past two cigarette-toting bald bruts wearing football shirts. They looked like the sumo-wrestling incarnations of East End bad boys Phil and Grant Mitchell.
When our eyes locked, their stare bore right to the very heart of my soul, so I scurried inside like a sissy. I soon wished I hadn’t bothered.
The barman, who could barely even take his eyes off television coverage of the horse racing, pulled my pint with about as much vim and vigour as a donkey being led to the glue factory.
I paid my money, walked across the sticky wooden floor and sat down at a sticky wooden table where I took a swig of ale only to find a white flake – perhaps it was dry skin, or dandruff – embedded in the froth of my pint of Doom Bar (4%).
I didn’t want to draw attention to myself by causing a fuss, so I removed the offending flake and took a few tentative swigs.
Any hint of music being played over the speakers was drowned out by a mixture of hacking coughs, horse racing commentary and expletives. The latter rattled out faster than machine gun fire by a rather ropey rabble of punters.
The people in the beer garden had the right idea, at least they just had to put up with the continuous din of passing traffic.
I knew it was time to leave when, having taken a particularly big mouthful of beer, I had to extract an extremely long hair from between my teeth.
But looking on the bright side, at least it wasn’t a short one.
Ten minutes after walking in, I was walking out of the Windsor Castle. To be honest, it was ten minutes too long.
The Windsor Castle’s close proximity to Clapham Junction railway station is its one redeeming feature, meaning you can be miles away in a matter of minutes.
THE INNSPECTRE’S SUMMARY…
ADDRESS: THE WINDSOR CASTLE, 36 St Johns Hill, London, SW11 1SA.
ATMOSPHERE: * Well, there were people in the pub, but that’s about it.
DECOR: ** Looks OK from the outside with the mock-Tudor design, but rather soulless on the inside. If it wasn’t for the flags of nations competing in the summer’s big sporting events hanging on the walls then it would be a rather bleak place to booze. The hanging baskets outside added a splash of colour and thank crikey for that.
SERVICE: * The barman looked like he wanted to be anywhere else in the world other than behind the bar serving me.
PRICE: *** £3.20 for a pint of Doom Bar is reasonable.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS: The Windsor Castle is split into two bars. The smaller bar at the front of the pub frequented by portly red-faced geezers with wild grey hair and sideburns. This battered old bunch looked unkempt and in dire need of a good scrub.