The Chelsea Pensioner
© Jamie Lau
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Posted: Wed Aug 13 2014
Fancy living in the most expensive borough in Britain, but don’t have a few million to spare? Don’t worry, it’s easy – join the armed forces, lead a long and distinguished career serving Queen and country, then upon retirement move into the palatial Royal Hospital and settle into your scarlet coat and new-found role as a Chelsea Pensioner.
Failing that, drop into this new pub on Fulham Road, just a sharpened coin’s throw from Chelsea FC’s ground. It’s owned by the same people behind the good-times Simmons bars in King’s Cross and Camden, and brings some of the same irreverency to a trad corner pub. There’s a junk shop’s worth of kitsch ephemera on shelves, a pool table and, for some unexplained reason, a bike hanging from a wall. Food is straightforward – crisp flatbread pizzas with simple toppings – although Sunday roasts are to come soon.
Given that the Pensioner is a free house with no brewery obligations, a more exciting beer offering might have been expected – a few bottles or kegs from some of west London’s fine craft producers would be welcome. But the speciality here isn’t beer, it’s ‘Sharey Marys’: big jugs of the bloody stuff mixed however you like, to set you up for a Sunday (or a couple of hours at the footy).
The Chelsea Pensioner is a solid place, rather than an exciting one, but this bit of Fulham Road isn’t exactly a party strip. Save that for if the Happy One fulfills his promise and brings the Premier League trophy to Stamford Bridge.
By Euan Ferguson