Middle Class Pubs

Friendly chat, questions, reviews, find old friends or relatives. Not limited to Sydenham only issues but keep it civil!
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Greg Whitehead
Posts: 474
Joined: 11 Apr 2005 15:44
Location: SE26 5RL

Post by Greg Whitehead »

I tread carefully here but I must say I was ashamed as I walked past it on Tuesday night. OK, the area's not looking overly great right now what with all the road works BUT after estolling the virtues of Sydenham to my friends there were a few guffaws as they commented on the clientele. Don't get me wrong, each to their own but is it really neccesary to let your children run amok (yes even running in to the road, luckily the traffic is going quite slow during rush hour) but then to proceed to smack and swear at them whilst dragging them back to the outdoor area (Paris's pavement cafe culture has nothing on the Greyhound !) It's going downhill fast, and I am certain it's the type of people that are causing the rot - there I said it, call me a snob if you will. The evening I spent in the Dulwich Wood Tavern's beer garden was very nice. I would have preferred to have taken my friends to the GH (it's much closer) but right now it's a chav sh*&hole - excuse the vitriol but it is. When you consider the beautiful streets in the surrounding area it could do really good business as a wine-bar or gastro-pub. I know we've been here before on the lack of places for "my type" to go but the way I see it is if you want pound shops, boozers and fast food then knock yourself out, you're more than catered for...not if you want something that the demographics dictate ought to be there as choice (I notice Honor Oak Park has another trendy new bar...) consider that Sydenham is full of high-earning young prof' as is Forest Hill yet Brockley and Honor Oak Park are full of young low-earning couples yet they get all the nice bars - what gives?
megan
Posts: 24
Joined: 9 Dec 2004 12:15
Location: sydenham

Post by megan »

Sorry Greg what make you think that Honor Oak and Brockley is full of low income earners!! when the train from london bridge stops at Honor Oak the train emptys out very quickly, I would say that Honor Oak is full of young professionals, the bars will open where they think the money is, and as I have said before like it or not Sydenham is a poor area, yes good value for properties but its poor hence the shops on the high street, they are catering for the majority, before you start going on I grew up in Sydenham went to primary school their & lived in Longton Avenue for 22 years and I can honestly say Sydenham is getting worst not better, the problem is the amount of council estates, we are lucky in Honor Oak as I can only honestly think of 2. I do think Sydenham will get better but it will take a long time as it seems to be getting worse before better.
Tim
Posts: 5
Joined: 27 Jan 2005 16:01
Location: Sydenham

Post by Tim »

I didn't know that council estates were a "problem"? Or do you mean people who live there? What an odd and outdated point of view.
activist
Posts: 15
Joined: 1 Oct 2004 08:22
Location: Sydenham

Post by activist »

Tim,

When the police come round to inspect your latest burglary - they often say "that'll be the lads from XXXX estate".

We can discuss whether the police are best placed to form this view but in the absence of any better information, it is a view that propogates through the community. Odd that you should not have noticed it.

Which, of course, should not be interpreted as saying that council estates don't have a lot of very good people living there who are great assets to the community. Perhaps they are best placed to comment on whether their neighbours are over represented in the asbo universe.

The real problem is facts tend to get squeezed between stereotypical prejudice and political correctness
Tim
Posts: 5
Joined: 27 Jan 2005 16:01
Location: Sydenham

Post by Tim »

I've never been burgled, the police have never said to me "that'll be the lads from the xxx estate". The people I talk to in the local community do not have this view. I'm not being politically correct, I'm being anti-discriminatory.
activist
Posts: 15
Joined: 1 Oct 2004 08:22
Location: Sydenham

Post by activist »

Tim wrote:I've never been burgled, the police have never said to me "that'll be the lads from the xxx estate". The people I talk to in the local community do not have this view. I'm not being politically correct, I'm being anti-discriminatory.
Lucky for you (or I may say very lucky). I have been burgled many times, my neighbours have been burgled many times. Did we get to meet the wrong type of police or imagine what they said?

Or did I imagine the community meetings at which police or council officers identified problems by estate or of other comments in this Forum?

If I wanted to be in a gated community I wouldn't be in Sydenham. The mix of housing & people here makes it more interesting and I, for one, want to see the mix continuing or even increase. Preponderence or concentration of any particular type of housing can lead to ghettos. Ghettos lead to discrimination and friction. I think that is the issue being got at.

Something we should address not avoid.
Rebecca
Posts: 20
Joined: 29 Oct 2004 12:42
Location: Sydenham

Post by Rebecca »

Tim
For what it's worth I totally agree with you that it isn't just political correctness. A ghetto only exists if poeple make assumptions that all people living in one type of housing act exactly the same. I lived on an estate until a year ago, and I didn't experience any problems. Perhaps if there was less snobbery and prejudice, there would be more integration in the community and less social problems.

Activist - can you produce any reliable statistics to back up your claims?
The Clown
Posts: 392
Joined: 8 Apr 2005 14:04
Location: Sydenham

Post by The Clown »

I think we are heading way off the original point here.

The original point was that there are a lot of people living in Sydenham that want a few decent places to drink. Seems fair enough to me!

Personally I don't mind paying a little bit more for a higher standard of decor and a bouncer to make me feel safe. One of the pub landlords should schedule a refurb and a relaunch and they may be pleasantly surprised at their success.

Anybody from the local council estate is welcome to join me for a drink when they open!
activist
Posts: 15
Joined: 1 Oct 2004 08:22
Location: Sydenham

Post by activist »

I agree Clown. The point I was trying to make was that a strength of Sydenham was the diversity of housing, people, culture and income.

Why the diversity is not reflected in the range of pubs I do not understand. Why can Honor Oak can support a groovy bar and Sydenham can't?

There must be enterprising pub manager out there to solve the problem.
Greg Whitehead
Posts: 474
Joined: 11 Apr 2005 15:44
Location: SE26 5RL

Post by Greg Whitehead »

megan wrote:Sorry Greg what make you think that Honor Oak and Brockley is full of low income earners!! when the train from london bridge stops at Honor Oak the train emptys out very quickly, I would say that Honor Oak is full of young professionals, the bars will open where they think the money is, and as I have said before like it or not Sydenham is a poor area, yes good value for properties but its poor hence the shops on the high street, they are catering for the majority, before you start going on I grew up in Sydenham went to primary school their & lived in Longton Avenue for 22 years and I can honestly say Sydenham is getting worst not better, the problem is the amount of council estates, we are lucky in Honor Oak as I can only honestly think of 2. I do think Sydenham will get better but it will take a long time as it seems to be getting worse before better.

Once again I disagree. Point in example, my friends in Honor Oak Park and Brockley earn significantly less than my other friends and I who live (and own) in Forest Hill and Sydenham. They want to live in the many beautiful streets that THERE ARE in Sydenham and Forest Hill but cannot afford it so move to the areas in question.That's what I base it on and it is a robust comment. They cannot afford the type of property that I am looking to move into on Mount Ash Road. Sydenham is not a poor area but as with say Fulham or Barnes, Greenwich (delete as applicable) Sydenham does have it's areas. Try telling people in the Thorpes or the other lovely streets in both Lower and Upper Sydenham that it's a poor area. A friend is about to pay over 300K for a 2 bed cottage on Halifax Street which is very small. I'm not down on Honor Oak or Brockley but my experience is that it is the lower earning bracket couples that get off or live there. It's Sydenham and Forest Hill that the 'suits' stream out at and get on at - not everytime, but as a more than general rule. Back to the original point, maybe it's because there are more low earning people in HOP or Brockley means they have a higher propensity to go out more often and that means they get the bars but all I am asking for is one decent Gastropub, one decent wine bar and one decent coffe shop etc, etc on the High St or in Upper Sydenham - there's certainly more than enough demand from the local residents.
megan
Posts: 24
Joined: 9 Dec 2004 12:15
Location: sydenham

Post by megan »

Greg I am very pleased that you earn more then your friends in Honor Oak & Brockley but that doesn't mean the whole of Honor Oak and Brockley are low earners, but well done to you for earning more than them!!! I do think that perhaps you should look into property prices in both areas as you may find that its just as expensive as the 2 bed in Halifax Street and Mount Ash. As goes your comment re: most of the suits get off at Forest Hill and Sydenham, well most of the city now operates casual dress so perhaps you should not judge a book by its cover! Honor Oak and Brockley are closer to London Bridge after all so why you think properties are cheaper I don't know
Greg Whitehead
Posts: 474
Joined: 11 Apr 2005 15:44
Location: SE26 5RL

Post by Greg Whitehead »

Dear, Dear, why so defensive? Can you not listen to a reasoned argument? I've just checked and for decent Victorian and Georgian stock SE26 and SE23 (Forest Hill side) are considerably more expensive. Combine that with my experience and you can see how I reach my conclusion.
Always one to listen to other views I accept that there MAY be one or two high-flyers in SE4 so I retract my earlier statement about HOP and Brockley being ONLY low earning couples - how about generally? As for it being close to L.Bridge, so is Walworth...Half the trains don't stop at your station anyway therefore Forest Hill and Sydenham are better connected - hence more expensive. Again with your comment, I mention our respective earnings only to demonstrate that if there are about 40 of us (and we're certainly not alone) earning very good money who own beautiful houses in Sydenham, how can it be 'poor' as you constantly claim? and what a sweeping generalisation. I've got a brave idea where you lived in Longton Avenue....yep it's all becoming a bit clearer. Just as importantly, if you're so clearly 'down' on Sydenham....what are you doing on this site?
nasaroc
Posts: 602
Joined: 1 Oct 2004 12:41
Location: Sydenham

Post by nasaroc »

I agree with Greg. It's surprising - and a bit depressing - that Sydenham contains a significant section of comparatively well-off people but that Sydenham Road does not offer a decent pub/bar and a majority of stores which cater only for the comparatively poor. And before people jump down my throat - I've lived in Sydenham for 25 years, appreciate the diversity of my neigbourhood and do 95% of my shopping on the High Street. I've no wish to turn Sydenham into another Clapham or Balham or to push the average Sydenhamite out of her local drinking hole. It's just that we need Sydenham Road to begin to reflect the diversity of its inhabitants. At the moment the majority of my neighbours simply wouldn't go anywhere near Sydenham Road and travel out of the area to shop, eat out and drink. That has got to change but it will need a few very brave business people to start to reverse the trend by opening new businesses catering for the hordes of well-off people I see leaving Sydenham station each evening. For a start, our local council could spend some money rebuilding and tidying up the footpaths, railings, street furniture etc. on Sydenham Road. It really is a complete mess and local councillors have done little to improve the situation over the last ten years.
fishcox
Posts: 628
Joined: 4 Mar 2005 13:55
Location: lawrie park road

Post by fishcox »

unless i am much mistaken, this was tried when the pukka bar was opened a few years back.

i am pretty certain that it was backed by some michelin starred chef (or summat like that) and it was a sort of indian gastro pub. great idea, i thought, and frequented it a couple of times.

unfortunately, it was (maybe) a bit ahead of its time, and it must have lasted all of 6 months. i dont think many of the target clientele went in there, and it soon reverted to its present moniker 'the two halves', next to the post office. it doesnt look too inviting anymore. i would feel out of place in there without a vest on.

it really does take a brave person to try to change the clientele of a pub. i go to forest hill quite a bit, and use the dartmouth arms and the old malt shovel (now called question). both of them have undergone a transformation over the past two years, and a very brave one too. i also used to go in the both pubs before they were 'done up', so have seen both sides of the coin.

the dartmouth arms had a difficult transitional period. when it was finished, they would still get some die hard drinkers going in - i witnessed a couple of quite disturbing incidents, but these stopped after a while (i think the prices scared the drinkers off). now it is a fully fledged 'gastro pub' and a big improvement on what it was (even if it is a bit on the expensive side).

the same goes for the old malt shovel,although to a lesser extent - they have not gone too far upmarket, and have opted for a more average 'pizza and beer' crowd.

both of them should serve as an inspiration to potential businesses of that ilk in sydenham.

or maybe another bar along those lines would go the same way as the pukka bar.
nasaroc
Posts: 602
Joined: 1 Oct 2004 12:41
Location: Sydenham

Post by nasaroc »

Fishcox, I think you're right. The Pukka Bar experience is a very salutary one. I never thought that a pub and curry restaurant under one roof was a particularly good idea but the owner of the Pukka Bar spent large amounts of money on the place and essentially this was an experiment that failed.

Looking at what's emerged from that experience is very depressing. One afternoon two weeks ago, I was in Sydenham Road with my business partner. He suggested a drink and pointed to the "Two Halve's" (have I got the apostrophe in the correct place!?). We are two "big lads" and certainly no shrinking violets but the sight that greeted our eyes when we entered the pub made us both stop, stare and decide to quickly retrace our steps. The half a dozen drinkers in the pub were all practically legless and were screaming at each other and the barman. A couple of the drinkers greeted our entry by trying to wrap their arms around our shoulders whilst ushering us to the bar.

Just in case I'd arrived at the wrong time when a meths drinkers' convention had unexpectedly hit town, I looked in two or three days later. Same scene exactly; this time, one of the clientele was on his hands and knees on top of the bar!

The Greyhound isn't much better. We're now on to the fifth landlord (she's a landlady actually) in eighteen months because the place has regular "crowd trouble" and is too difficult to control.

I know this may upset some of the correspondents who have already contributed to this discussion but any new Sydenham pub that wants to attract the mass of Sydenham inhabitants never mind the well-off needs to exclude most of the present clientele who'd be drawn to such an establishment.

The new landlady at the Greyhound says she wants to institute a fresh regime and wants to make it a "family" pub. Very best of luck to her. I wager a bet she'll receive no support for such a policy from the brewery who are much more interested in the profits from binge drinking than than creating a neighbourhood pub.

Call me effete, middle class or whatever you want, I head straight for the Dulwich Woodhouse when I want a drink.

Bring on Sydenham's equivalent to The Dartmouth Arms. Please!!
fishcox
Posts: 628
Joined: 4 Mar 2005 13:55
Location: lawrie park road

Post by fishcox »

maybe by 'family' she means something along the lines of the kray family, or, more fitting to our area, the richardsons.

i wish her well, and, as always, will give it a go when it changes.

i think, nasaroc, you may have hit the nail, squarely, on the head, 'call me middle class....etc'.

from my experience, the middle classes only go out for a drink once a week (usually saturday/sunday lunchtime) which, unfortunately, is not going to keep a big pub like the greyhound, in business. you cant even blame the breweries/landlords. we live in a predominantly capitalist society, where profits are the gods of business. they cant be expected to run a charity, where the takings are £73-58 a night (from a couple of jugs of pimms, a few pints of organic beer and a kaliber). they satisfy the masses, for which alcohol has overtaken religion, and become their opium.

the worst part of all this, as i was trying to make in my last post, is that when someone does try something like the pukka bar, no one actually turns up and uses it, and then, when it closes - due to lack of patronage - they all moan about the fact that there is nowhere for them to go.
Kasparov
Posts: 4
Joined: 15 Jul 2005 08:12
Location: Sydenham

Post by Kasparov »

Well, I guess it all boils down to personal experience. But in an attempt to at least give this thread some balance, I have to say that I've been in the Two Half's a fair few times and, whilst I'll admit that it's not my favourite watering hole, I have never witnessed scenes as described by one of the previous posters.

As for the comment that, "from my experience, the middle classes only go out for a drink once a week"...if we're going to indulge in sweeping generalisations, from my experience, that couldn't be further from the truth - the middle classes are bigger drinkers than the working classes. It's just that the latter are more honest about it.
fishcox
Posts: 628
Joined: 4 Mar 2005 13:55
Location: lawrie park road

Post by fishcox »

sorry kasparov, but my point was not about the amounts of alcohol drunk by the various parts of society, but where it is actually consumed.

i hope i didnt upset too many of my lashed up, lary, middle class neighbours, who, i am certain, can put away as much sancerre as the next man.
Kasparov
Posts: 4
Joined: 15 Jul 2005 08:12
Location: Sydenham

Post by Kasparov »

You're a funny guy...ever thought of a career in stand up comedy, although I hear that most comedians like a drink and, as you well know, most middle class types rarely touch the stuff (it's just the plebs who get drunk and disgrace themselves), so maybe not.
fishcox
Posts: 628
Joined: 4 Mar 2005 13:55
Location: lawrie park road

Post by fishcox »

'most comedians like a drink' ? a sweeping generalisation, if i ever heard one.

i have no wish to turn this thread into a slanging match, but i hope you are not accusing me of being middle class ? i do not consider myself so, and have no aspirations to be so.

let's leave it at that.
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