Jan 25 16

Hart’s Boatyard, Portsmouth Road, Surbiton

Jack Cutforth

Visited: Sunday 10 January by JB

Hart's Boatyard

Why is it so pleasant to sit next to a river? Or any body of water for that matter? If it’s a warm day then you will always find Boozehound sat next to a river/canal/toilet, cool pint in hand and a rare smile on face. It’s not like the water does anything interesting; it just sort of sits there, not moving. And it’s not like Boozehound ever goes for a dip: we’re too drunk for that. But despite that it is, undeniably, pleasant.

Even in central London the Thames is a glorious place to be sat next to with a pint in your hand. You can almost – almost – relax. But if you’re willing to travel outside of Zone 2 (and I wouldn’t usually recommend it), then you’ll be rewarded with a host of riverside options which are even more idyllic.

Hart’s Boatyard in Surbiton offers one such experience, and they make the most of it. There’s a great deal of outside seating on the decking, and as the name suggests, it really is as close to the river as you can get without floating in it. The view is, as you would imagine, superb. Our favourite part of the vista was the semi-submerged transit van in the river, but maybe that’s just us.

There’s a good selection of ales and lagers, and considering the location they’re reasonably priced. We didn’t try the food but it looked good.

The service is as good as the view, if not better. There was a slightly embarrassing incident when one of the staff was a bit too efficient and cleared away a pint when there was still a bit left. Boozehound usually takes a British approach to such misunderstandings: that is, never mention them. However not all of Boozehound’s friends are quite as restrained and when it was mentioned we got three pints and a massive apology. It didn’t quite make up for the huge embarrassment caused by actually complaining but it more than made up for the small error and was certainly a demonstration of excellent customer service.

This is definitely a pub worth visiting if you’re in the area, if only for the fantastic views by the river. They’re well aware of their best selling point as well, and give you plenty of space from which to enjoy being waterside. One complaint is the lack of free parking. This isn’t an issue worth complaining about in central London but when you get a bit further out a lot of (unfortunate) people are driving to the pub.

Maybe that’s why that guy parked his van in the river.

Beer: 4
Price: 4
Service: 4
Atmosphere: 4

Do they do food? Yes and it looks really nice.
Are they in the 21st Century? No contactless but no minimum charge
Are there dogs? Huge bulldog splayed out by the bar, definitely dog friendly
I’m hungover, do they do a Bloody Mary? You bet.
I want to smoke: Great, expansive two tiered decking area right on the river.