One word screams out at you when entering Balham’s Blithe Spirit pub – functional.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not necessarily a bad thing. The Blithe Spirit serves a purpose.

Two minutes walk from Balham train station, an interesting, three-tier layout and reasonable, though not astonishing decor, this is a good place to nip into for a drink – or a meal from the venue's pretty solid menu.

But with such stiff competition in the surrounding area, it's not a place to make an evening of.

The Blithe Spirit is not somewhere that gets crushingly busy often, but there’s a fairly decent crowd in on Pubspy's latest visit, mixed with all ages.

Service is immediate and a pint of Kronenbourg is £3.50.

It does pain me to say this doesn’t seem too bad in this day and age – especially around Balham – but that’s inflation for you. There’s a fair selection of ales on tap too, though I must confess my pint was pretty average.

As for the decor – it’s reasonable, a bit sterile, but it's inoffensive enough, even if some of the tables have seen better days. There’s a small, but nice patio area out by the back too.

The Blithe Spirit is simply a place to meet. It’s convenient, a pretty reasonable place, won’t get too busy and a pint won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

But I doubt it’s a place to hang around in for more than a couple of hours.

The Blithe Spirit, 157 Balham High Road, SW12 9AU

Decor: XXX It’s not ghastly, but there's nothing here that really catches the eye.

Drink: XX A fairly wide selection, but the taste was pretty ordinary.

Price: XXX £3.50 for Kronenbourg is fairly reasonable Atmosphere: XXX It's not quiet, but it's not party central either.

Service: XXXX Immediate.