Croydon’s cosiest pubs for Christmas: our insider’s guide/1

A roaring open fire in a Croydon pub. Not as easy to find as you might think

Some Guildford-based small-circulation newspapers rely on TripAdviser listings and remote correspondents based in Aberdeen to provide their ‘recommendations’ of places to visit in Croydon. Not here.

We sent the intrepid KEN TOWL out into the winter weather on a mission to discover the cosiest, most Christmassy pubs in Croydon, and he’s just made it back in time for the egg nog

It’s a hard job, but somebody’s got to do it. But how?

This could never be an objective survey, but is based on the atmosphere and welcome offered by some of the best pubs in the area, and some of the less well-known. Where could you go, settle down in the warm, and have a cheery chat with some mates this Festive Season?

I decided to start in the north of the borough and work my way south. What I lost in sobriety, I would gain in fresher air.

The Pawsons Arms (69 Pawsons Road CR0 2QA) is too close to Selhurst Park to be anything but a Crystal Palace supporters pub. On non-match days it is a friendly local. This week it was decked in tinsel, but entirely in alternate stripes of red and blue which, while evincing loyalty to Roy Hodgson’s boys, ends up looking a bit less Christmassy than it could.

Christmas cosiness rating: 5/10

The concession to Yuletide in the Two Brewers

On, then, to The Two Brewers (221 Gloucester Road, CR0 2DW) for a pint of Spitfire at Croydon’s only Shepherd Neame pub. With its partitioned bars it is effortlessly cosy at any time of the year, while its decor appears to have remained unchanged since the Spitfire was our first line of defence against the Nazi hordes. Alas, the only concession made to the season of goodwill was an arrangement of decorative twigs and coloured pine cones in the fireplace. The stuffed crocodile in a case on the mantelpiece was more impressive, but unfortunately not very photogenic.

Christmas cosiness rating: 5/10

The extent of the Christmas decorations inside The Bull’s Head

In the centre of town, the interior of The Bull’s Head (39 Laud Street, CR0 1SX) appeared to be saying “Bah, humbug” to Christmas. In fact, the only indication that Yuletide is almost upon us was the inclusion of roast turkey and stuffing crisps in the pub’s snack offering. But after dark, and venture outside, and the pub does indeed look festive, crowned as it is by a huge spiral of illuminated modernist tree.

Christmas cosiness rating:  6/10

(extra points for the tree/crisps combination)

The landlord at the Bull’s Head on Laud Street and Wandle Road has gone to town with their Christmas lights

Follow the sound of the jingle bells. Keep up with Ken Towl’s quest for Croydon’s cosiest Christmas pub by clicking here…

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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