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PUBSPY: Old Bank, Sutton
Pubs next to stations tend to be rather grotty affairs on the whole.
I don't know why it is but a grimy station boozer with garish luminous signs announcing Jaegerbombs for £1 and sausage supper specials is a staple of most towns.
Maybe it's to catch the streams of punters fresh off the trains unaware there are much better pubs further into town with old fashioned values like clean glasses and a no knives policy.
Sutton however is blessed. It's closest pub to the main station is the Old Bank a gleaming example of how a public house should be run.
The first thing to commend about this pub is the service.
Many a time I have stood at other bars, tenner clutched in hand, expectantly waiting to be served a pint of beer and a bag of crisps but being roundly ignored by the staff.
In the Bank however you are often being served by one member of staff while another joins in to help complete the round.
The bar staff even know who is next to be served as they use that often overrated bar tradition of paying attention to who comes to the bar first.
Secondly, the range of real ale is one of the nest in town and to help those struggling in these times of austerity they are trialling a different ale at the 1980s price of £1.99 a pint - yes £1.99. The most popular will become a permanent fixture I understand.
The Bank is a very popular pub which has a gang of jovial regulars who sit at the door side of the bar and office types who cram into the upstairs portion near the quizzy. The middle is a melting pot of murder squad detectives and council employees with a smattering of builders playing on the golf machine.
Smokers have their own play pen out the back with tables on the patio but get there early when the sun is out as it always rammed.
And they have an affordable menu of food that always looks good on the plates passing by my nose.
Other station pubs take note you don't always have to be the town's scummiest pub.
The Old Bank 2 High Street, Sutton, SM1 1HN
Decor **** Old style British pub
Drink**** Good range
Price *** Some deals to be had
Atmosphere *** A busy boozer
Staff ***** Lightning fast service