BY BILL LACY
This pub’s reputation preceded it so much that I travelled a couple of hours to get there.
Not that I thought it would take long, but I underestimated how big Bromley is, although any resident will tell you it is London’s biggest borough.
When I arrived at the Star and Garter, battle-weary, negotiating the cold and the Christmas shoppers, it was worth the investment in time.
Knowing it was a beer Mecca, I may have expected a tiny converted shop, but was met by the magnificent frontage of a late 19th century Grade II-listed building.
The interior has been recently refurbished but retains simplicity.
At the pub’s entrance was an array of cans and bottles on display – it doubles up as a beer shop.
The selection of beer is simply extraordinary, with some very unusual choices.
I sat down with a beer sipping a yeast I had never heard of, which had an unusual berry-like vintage.
These days there may only be one or two I haven’t sampled in any bar, but in the Star and Garter it was nearly all of them.
It really is worth seeking out. A couple of Christmas shoppers next to me had clearly done the same, one remarking to his mate that he only shopped in Bromley so he could pop into this bar.
Real ales, keg ales and bottles and cans are available – there truly is something for everyone, served by passionate and knowledgeable bar staff.
While these places always have a ridiculous £8 beer, overall the prices were very reasonable, especially the cask ale.
I had never been in a pub where so many people had come in on their own.
Clearly, the beer itself does the talking.
I had a confusing conversation about whether I could sit at the bar – who knows these days?
In the end I opted for a table strategically placed so close to the bar you could order directly.
A couple more real ales all round. It had a quiet, simple air. There was no rubbish music or jukeboxes. It was all about good conversation and beer.
We are entering another uncertain period for the hospitality industry.
Days we thought we left behind may be coming back. I will enjoy my strawberry cornetto imperial stout while I can.
Star and Garter, 227 High Street, Bromley BR1 1NZ
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