PUBSPY: O'Neill's, Sutton
2:44pm Monday 6th February 2012 in Freetime
I, like many fellow members of the beer appreciation society, would be loathe to include any 'chain pub' in my top ten.
It's not simple snobbery that prevents it, merely an appreciation that something mass produced struggles - no matter how well run the establishment - to present any real character.
And so it is with O'Neill's in Sutton.
Perched on a corner of the High Street, rather overshadowed by neighbouring Ivory Lounge (bruv), as you walk in, you can't help but feel like a poor relation.
But this isn't necessarily a bad thing, many a good pub has a somewhat gruff exterior.
Immediately upon entering, that rather tatty exterior is forgotten, as I was immediately embraced by the warm welcome of bar staff.
Yet my new-found feeling of good will was to be short lived, as I was informed by embarrassed bar staff the pub was, basically, "pretty much out of beer".
Oh dear. No beer.
It is with great sadness I report this, as I'm sure it doesn't happen very often, but the one thing I expect when nipping somewhere for a pint is at least some semblance of a choice of beers.
Here, it looked as though I would have to choose between Guinness and Heineken.
Both were reasonably priced, no doubt about it, but the mere absence of much else was a real kick in the stomach.
I persevered, nursing my Heineken as I perused the menu, which is - as with any chain pub - standard fare, with reasonably priced burgers sitting alongside a range of baguettes, sandwiches and chip-based variations.
So it is with great regret that I am forced to leave this Pub Spy somewhat abruptly, as this is exactly what I did when in O'Neill's.
I couldn't face another Heineken and just wasn't in the mood for Guinness, so I went elsewhere.
I will return however, as my initial impression of the pub was a positive one. So don't let what I'm sure was a very rare occurrence put you off...