KEN TOWL ventures forth to the furthest reaches of Croydon and beyond in search of a micro-pub, which closes at 9.30 each night but before then serves up the best cider in the area
An internet search for “radius arms” used to provide the contact details of companies that sold suspension components for off-road vehicles. Now the top results are for a micro-pub in Whyteleafe, deep to the south of the borough, though the 407 stops right outside the door.
The landlord is Vincent Glen, erstwhile bus driver and long-time Land Rover enthusiast who, in his search for a punning name has cleverly, or accidentally, found a way of marketing his retail drinks business to fellow off-road fanatics.
Glen had never even worked a shift in a pub when, in 2015, he read an article in CAMRA quarterly Beer about micro-pubs. He visited a few, said goodbye to the bus garage and set up his pub in a parade of shops in Whyteleafe, serving beer and cider directly from kegs at the back of the room.
We have good reason to be grateful to the Campaign for Real Ale. On a national scale they are a hugely successful campaigning organisation that has inspired a revolution in the brewing industry; locally they have inspired Glen to set up a pub in their own image – no music, no TV, just a range of impeccably kept beers on constant rotation.
And it is brewing up success: this year The Radius Arms was awarded CAMRA’s top regional cider pub award.
There are usually some seven or eight beers on at a time reflecting a variety of styles, so you are bound to find something you like, whether it’s a hazy, unfiltered session beer, a citrusy IPA or a strong 7 per cent Garden of Death. And here’s the thing: you can order beer in 2/3 pint “schooners”, and even 1/3 pint, so there is no excuse not to try something from every barrel.
The Radius Arms really does have the feel of a miniature pub.
Photos of the interior from May 2015 when it opened show bare walls and the sterile atmosphere of the classroom, but since then customers have brought in dried hops, bottles and posters for the walls and transformed the place.
On a weekday evening it was busy and abuzz with conversation.
Finally, a warning. If you fancy going – and you should give it a try; it’s a nice little pub – get there early. It is a micro-pub with micro opening hours and Glen likes to close at 9.30pm.
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Strictly speaking Whyteleafe isn’t in the south of Croydon Borough, it is south of the borough in Tandridge (there are a couple of streets heading north behind Whyteleafe station that straddle the border). The village of Whyteleafe itself was originally an outgrowth of Warlingham. But the Radius Arms is well worth a visit.