Visited: Friday 22 January by JB and JC
This Nicholson’s pub styles itself as ‘the perfect railway waiting room’, and sure enough when I was there it really did have a waiting room vibe about it. I was early so had about 15 minutes drinking on my own, but I was by no means the only solo drinker. I was probably one of the only people there who wasn’t actually waiting for a train.
There’s been a pub here for over 150 years. At first it was also a hotel, but more recently it was a branch of O’Neills, that omnipresent chain of hellish bars claiming to be Irish (HQ in Birmingham; first set up in Scotland; zero bars in Ireland). Having never visited it before we can still safely say it is much better now. Because it’s not an O’Neills anymore. Hell, it could have just been an decrepit building filled with soiled mattresses and used needles in which I drank a can of Tennants Super and it would have still been better than it was as an O’Neills.
I’ve just remembered how much I hate O’Neills and have spent a fair bit of time rage-researching it online, like when you browse the Facebook profile of someone you really can’t stand just because you get a self-righteous kick out of the anger. Anyway it turns out they’re owned by the same company that also owns Nicholson’s, which is the chain which currently runs the Railway Tavern. You wouldn’t know it, though: the Tavern is a very pleasant place to have a drink.
They have a good lager and ale selection (the usual Nicholson’s fare), and the pricing is reasonable for Richmond: a pint of London Pale Ale only set us back £4.50. If you want something a bit different they also have a selection of canned craft beers.
The bar staff were very friendly, and the slightly odd shape of the building gives it an interesting layout with plenty of places to hide away with your pint.
We probably wouldn’t spend an entire night here as there are so many other pubs to choose from in the area, but it’s certainly a great place to wait for a train, wait to meet someone, or start off a crawl around Richmond (which is what we did). It’s got a relaxed, friendly vibe, which is good because South West Trains operate Richmond station which means you’ll probably be waiting for your train for a while.
Do they do food? Yes, the usual Nicholson’s stuff.
Are they in the 21st Century? Card machines anchored to the bar, contactless and no minimum spend.
Are there dogs? Seems dog friendly.
I want to smoke: Small part covered terrace.
TVs?: Yes, showing Sky Sports News when we were there.