Pub Spy: Bad Apple, Croydon

For fans of comic legend Alan Moore and author HG Wells, the word Steampunk does not conjure images of a ripped denim and safety pin wearing, mohicaned 1970s reject in a rage.

Instead picture, if you will, a Victorian gent replete with perfectly waxed moustache, deer stalker and pocket watch driving a submarine made of wood and brass powered by steam. He is likely to be carrying a blunderbuss and would almost certainly be on an adventure to far away climes ie India, China Bolivia.

So with this image in mind you can picture Bad Apple, Croydon's newest public house, which has been freshly spewed from the pages of Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentleman on to the borough's streets.

Once I had completed the rigorous security procedure involving surrendering my fingerprint, photograph, email address and, I imagine in the future, some DNA. I was propelled from the cold into a fantastic purple room with brass piping, disco balls and chandeliers. Seating ranged from comfy Chesterfields and deep sofas. A monster sized dance floor at one windowed end and a bar at the other gave the room the look of a steamship's lounge.

At the bar a man with the most incredible beard split in twain by plaits served me a frothing pint of lager and through his flesh tunnel earrings and I noticed an array of fine spirits with which no doubt to fashion a gin sling, blue blazer, gimlet or even a glass of port.

I was peckish and the Steampunk theme had me wishing for a slice of stargazey pie with a touch of spotted dick for pudding but alas all I could spy on the bar could offer me was popcorn or a hot dog - all very cinema foyer - although I was assured that there was a full menu available.

I plonked myself down on one of the baguette seats to find my neighbour had been accosted by a wandering magician performing card tricks in a top hat. Thankfully I avoided his gaze by staring at the jugglers performing nearby.

The clientele were a good mix of working types without the steely glares of so many patrons in Croydon's other boozers. This is probably down to the club's management style which, like it's sister venue the Black Sheep, caters for a more alternative crowd and avoids attracting the pint-of-lager-and-a-fight brigade that prefer their pubs 'normal' and tend to avoid people with purple hair and monocles.

The only let down was when you stepped into the toilets which were typical steel urinals with porcelain sinks and devoid of character - a bit of brass and wood panelling would go down a treat.

Overall a good addition to Croydon's night life for discerning late night drinkers who prefer to sip their beer rather than wear it and are no longer young enough to mix it with the Tiger Tiger crowd.

How Bad Apple rates: DECOR: **** (Steampunk chic). DRINK: *** (great list of cocktails, unusual beers and an abundance of spirits). PRICE: *** (Not too bad). ATMOSPHERE: *** (Funky, relaxing comfortable cool). STAFF: **** (Friendly and fitting with theme). Address: 3 - 7 Park Street, Croydon CR0 1YD.

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