First impressions are, it must be said, a little concerning. The Old Red Lion is a Grade II-listed mock Tudor pub that was apparently rebuilt in 1929. Try and look beyond the black and white half-timber frames, the leaded windows and the sheer sloping roofs because, inside, it’s actually quite a cosy pub.
This former locals’ hangout and Charrington pub has been recently taken under the wing of the same people who own the Dogstar, Balham Bowls Club and the Tooting Tram and Social, among others.
The acutely traditional interior – complete with two separate bars – has been given a spring clean with a rather kitsch and eclectic feather duster.
Retro furniture from the 1960s and 1970s has been scattered throughout and, in the garden room, sneaked into numerous nooks and cosy alcoves. It feels a bit like a car boot sale waiting to happen but is just about keeps the right side of contrived.
It remains to be seen whether the young folk of Kennington can bolster business in the same way they’ve done at the Balham Bowls Club, but it deserves a visit if you’re local.
A number of the wines, of which there are more than a dozen, come in a carafe as well as a bottle and begin at £3.25 a glass. There’s the usual range of yellow lager fizz with cask lovers restricted to two choices – Doom Bar & Purity Ubu. The latter tasted as if it had been sitting there for a while and was a bit ropey (it’s normally a delicious drop), so try before you buy.
Much pleasure and no small amount of stats was gleaned from a retro football annual placed on our table. If QPR’s attendance figures for the 1976-’77 season are of no interest, then there are plenty of board games about the place and wi-fi too.