The last time I went anywhere near The Stoneleigh was 20 years ago when I had a temporary job as a litter picker.
I spent an eye-popping couple of weeks trawling the streets picking up all kinds of rubbish, ranging from beer bottles and coke cans to mucky magazines and ladies' undergarments. Thank crikey it wasn’t men’s undergarments – that would have been a step too far.
Armed with just my pad and pen, I returned to Stoneleigh ready to pick up more dirt about its drinking den.
It wasn’t a difficult task – the place was infested with Hackett polo shirt-wearing lads with closely-cropped hair who scowled if I happened to even look in their direction.
In terms of the social make-up of this pub, its split into three sections. Young ne’er-do-wells must go to the left and congregate around the pool table.
Scaffolders, plumbers, plasterers, painters and decorators must mingle in the middle, and those who don’t support Chelsea have to go to the right.
Just a word of advice; supporting any other football team apart from Chelsea is frowned upon here.
If only I had known all this before taking my seat near the pool table where the T-shirt-wearing tearaways were busy getting leathered on lager-top.
I witnessed an endearing exchange between two young lovebirds who were obviously feeling fruity. It went like this...
Boy, wearing a pink Yves Saint Laurent T-shirt (in a loud voice): ‘She is fit, innit bruv?’
Gum-chewing girl with large-hooped earrings (in a louder voice): ‘Oh my days! He is well fit’.
Well, I don’t know about you, but it sounds like a match made in Stoneleigh to me.
So, to the pub itself. On the face of it, the Stoneleigh looks a nice boozer with it’s mock-Tudor design.
It’s part of the Newcastle-based John Barras chain of pubs which explains why there are pictures of the Tyne river on the hideous turquoise walls.
It’s a spacious boozer and there’s plenty of room if you want a quiet drink and a bite to eat underneath an array of national flags which hang from the ceiling.
On the plus side, there were some decent ales on draught. I opted for Fuller’s London Pride which, in my book, always hits the spot.
The Stoneleigh certainly makes for an ‘interesting’ place for a pint, but I don’t think I’ll be back for another 20 years, at least.
The Stoneleigh, The Broadway, Stoneleigh, KT17 2JA
DECOR: XX Turquoise walls? Honestly...
DRINK: XXX London Pride, EPA and The Reverand James are all excellent ales.
PRICE: XXX My pint of Pride was £3.16 which isn’t too bad.
ATMOSPHERE: XX Lively but ever so chavvy.
STAFF: XXX There were plenty of guys working behind the bar and the chap who served me was really friendly.